My wife and I were still out making our monthly run to CostCo while last night’s debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye was going on. It was not like the SuperBowl or anything, but somewhere between a half a million to a million people watched the YouTube version online.
I only caught the closing statements near the end and rewinded to the beginning to catch their opening statements. I actually thought the exchange went better than I thought it would, and it did turn out a little different than I expected and predicted here on Veracity.
Instead of focusing on the harm evolution education he reports is causing in our schools, Ken Ham focused more on the distinction he was making between historical science and observational science. His main argument was that he and Bill Nye actually share the same perspective on observational science that gives us things like modern technology today. The disagreement is over historical science. For Bill Nye, historical science gives us genuine knowledge about the past. For Ken Ham, science can not give us reliable knowledge about the past. We must look to the Bible for that.
Likewise, Bill Nye surprised me, too. Though he clearly has an agnostic orientation towards the Christian faith, he made some approving mention that not all Christians share Ken Ham’s Young Earth Creationist views.
If you missed the debate, should you watch it? Mmmm….If you are not terribly familiar with the subject matter, I would encourage you to watch it, but with a strong caveat involved: Take the time to look into what other Christians are saying about the issue. For example, Reasons to Believe, the premier Old Earth Creationist ministry, made a statement about the debate beforehand, and interestingly references a number of the resources we here at Veracity have talked about representing their position. At BioLogos, the most prominent Evolutionary Creationist think-tank, a group of scholars offered their post-debate reflections. Then you might consider this evaluation of the debate from Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological seminary, and a Young Earth Creationist.
From a more secular perspective, a young reporter with Time magazine did some live blogging coverage of the debate. The general take away of this blogger is that last night’s event was a throwback to the “creation culture wars” of the 1990s. She has a point here, but what is different now is that through the advances of the Internet, you can interact with a variety of perspectives and get access to information (some good, some not so good) easier than ever before, something that simply was not available to me when I had my first crisis of faith experience on this issue some thirty years ago.