Creation Museum founder Ken Ham hosted a debate with Bill Nye the Science Guy on February 4 at the museum on whether or not the Earth is roughly 6,000 years old.
The debate occurred in front of a sold-out audience, who were anxious to view the spectacle between science and religion.
Even the victory itself (if there was one) was disputed by the spectators, arguing both sides of the coin based on what they witnessed at the event. For example, The Daily Beast writer Michael Schulson called the conversation “a nightmare for science,” supporting Ham’s side of the discussion. And writer Chris Mooney as well as the American Geophysical Union’s website bragged about Nye’s triumph as if there was no contest about who won.
The deliberation began with a coin toss won by Ham, who initialized his side of the argument by listing several scientists who believe in Biblical creationism. He continued by referencing the Bible and stories about Jesus, but interestingly enough did not even mention the story of creation.
Nye responded by alluding to fossils and the Grand Canyon, stating that this evidence proves that the world is not 6,000 years old.
At this point, both Ham and Nye were given 30 minutes to present their point of view on the subject at hand.
Ham began by displaying numerous slides of scientists who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old. He then exhibited slides about science and technology today and concluded that “we’ve only got the present.” Ham stated that our current technology did put a rover on Mars, but we can disagree about the birth of the planet.
The museum founder then went on to discuss Darwin’s finches and Noah’s Ark, which brought confusion from the audience as to how the subject matter supported the theory of creationism.
Ham concluded his argument by listing the Seven C’s of Life: creation, corruption, catastrophe, confusion, Christ, cross and consummation.
The floor was now open to hear Nye’s point of view.
The scientist again referenced limestone (in a chunk of dirt) and that it could not have existed if the Noah’s ark flood actually happened 4,000 years ago. Nye then pondered about kangaroos, saying that if the ark landed in the Middle East and the animal now flourishes in Australia, why haven’t we discovered kangaroo bones somewhere in between?
The attention of the attendees perked up during Nye’s next declaration about fish sex. He related fish sex to humans having intercourse, inquiring, “Why does anybody have sex?”
He stated that evolution was the answer, and that species that sexually reproduce contain fewer parasites.
The two moved on to the rebuttal portion of the debate, now arriving at the meat of the matter.
Ham again referenced the Bible, using Hebrew definitions of the word “day” to defend the Earth’s age. He also stated that there is no confirmed method to use in order to age date a rock. He added that the only witness who was there to confirm what happened in the past was God.
Nye responded by asking Ham if the animals on Noah’s ark were all vegetarian. The scientist then attacked Noah’s shipbuilding skills, saying that even his ancestors could not have built a ship that elaborate and detailed. Ham replied by stating that neither one of them have met Noah and asked Nye, “Why would you say Noah was unskilled?”
The deliberation persisted, this time with questions from the audience.
“How does creationism account for celestial bodies?” Ham replied to the question with a one-word answer: God.
“How did the atoms that created the big bang get there?” Nye responded by saying “this is a great mystery.”
Nye answered another question directed at him with “this is a great mystery,” making the science community seem less credible.
Several questions later, the two men finalized the debate by reinforcing their beliefs and supporting arguments.
Looking back at both sides of this discussion, it is obvious that neither Ham nor Nye can literally prove their theory. We will just have to agree to disagree.
By Amy Nelson