Creationist Ken Ham offered a point-by-point rebuttal to a column published Monday by Bill Nye, the “Science Guy,” about their debate earlier this year on the origins of life.
The head of the Answers In Genesis ministry disputed nearly every claim and characterization made by Nye, including how plans for the debate came together, whether the Creation Museum was open when the scientist visited, and the mood of the museum staff afterward.
Nye said he hadn’t expected the Feb. 4 debate to draw such widespread attention, but he came to understand it was a “high-pressure situation” and that many of his colleagues were concerned about his participation.
“Perhaps there was no winner, as this was not a scored debate,” Nye said in Skeptical Inquiry. “Nevertheless by all, or a strong majority of, accounts, I bested him.”
Ham said he’d hoped the debate would open a public discussion on creationism that he says has been “largely shut down” by secularists, and he said Nye’s agreement to participate was enough to declare a victory.
“I believe this debate did and continues to spark interest across the world about the creation/evolution issue, and has opened the door for Christians to witness to their friends and family,” Ham said. “I have also seen more Christians (including young people) becoming more bold for their faith! Meanwhile, I ask you to continue to pray for Bill Nye.”
Ham said he was encouraged that Nye had apparently changed his mind and no longer considered him a “charlatan,” but had come to respect his sincerity, if nothing else.
“I held strongly to the view that it was an opportunity to expose the well-intending Ken Ham and the support he receives from his followers as being bad for Kentucky, bad for science education, bad for the U.S., and thereby bad for humankind,” Nye said. “I do not feel I’m exaggerating when I express it this strongly.”
Ham took offense to those remarks Wednesday in a Facebook post.
“As Bill Nye rejects God, and believes life developed by natural processes (an atheistic worldview), how he can decide what is ‘bad’ or ‘good?’” Ham said. “By what authority can he decide this? Bill is borrowing from the Christian worldview to use such a word as ‘bad.’”
The creationist went on, attacking what he described as Nye’s “sad tirade.”
“Bill Nye wants his anti-God religion of naturalism imposed on generations of students — now that’s what’s bad for humankind!” Ham said. “Sadly, Bill Nye wants generations of kids to be told they are just animals that arose by natural processes —thus ultimately, life is without meaning or purpose.”
One of Ham’s associates, Danny Faulkner, wrote a sidebar criticizing Nye for his characterizations of Creation Museum security guards.
Nye said he and his agent were accompanied back to their hotel by security employees, who he described as “absolutely grim.”
“They had the countenance of a team that had been beaten — beaten badly in their own stadium,” Nye said. “Incidentally, if the situation were reversed, I am pretty sure they are trained to feel bad about feeling good. They would manage to feel bad either way, which is consistent with Mr. Ham’s insistence on The Fall, when humankind took its first turn for the worse. And by his reckoning, we’ve been plummeting ever since.”
Faukner, who has previously demanded equal time for creationsits on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” program, said the paragraph showed that Nye didn’t understand science.
“He took what he saw as a grim demeanor on the part of our officers as a tacit admission that he (Bill Nye) had won the debate,” Faulkner said. “But then he completely reversed himself by observing that he thought that the officers were trained to appear grim regardless of the outcome. We can view this as two hypotheses: (1) If Bill Nye won, the officers would appear grim. (2) If Bill Nye lost, the officers would appear grim.”
“The officers appeared grim, so Bill Nye concluded that the first hypothesis was confirmed,” Faulkner said.
[Image: Bill Nye via Shutterstock]