Written by Caleb Hall. Media by Jessica Sturgeon.
This Tuesday, a debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham was televised live in the DMC for students to attend. The basic concept the two men addressed was ‘whether or not creation is a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era’. A discussion led by Dr. Darrell Iler followed the event in which questions were fielded and opinions shared.
The two men are both highly thought of for work done in their respected fields. Bill Nye is a TV and radio personality best known for his children’s programs on science education. He has a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. Ken Ham is an Australian by birth, but immigrated to the States many years ago. He is a bestselling Christian author, founder of the Creation Museum, and has taught science to students both in the U.S. and abroad.
Both men presented the most effective, current information to illustrate the scientific authenticity of either creation or evolution, as well as the necessity of imparting that knowledge to our nation’s students. Nye’s original statement revolved around the assertion that in order for the U.S. to remain a world leader in technology and innovation, our youth must be taught evolution as their foundation for scientific thinking. Raising many examples of evolutionary science and its implications for the formation of our planet, Bill Nye implied that no logical, reasonable scientist could ever accept young earth creationism as a possible theory. Ken Ham, on the other hand, prospected that scientists can very well be Christian and believe in a literal translation of Genesis as it pertains to creation ( that is, God having created the earth in a week of real-time as we know it now, and the earth being around 6,000 years old).
Neither man seemed to fully win over the audience on any aspect of the debate, but at the very least presented food for thought. Interesting to many was the fact that Nye and Ham each went about their argument in a very different way. For example, Bill Nye is much more knowledgeable in the field of evolutionary science and was therefore able to give far more instances of its proposed successes in predicting future events. Likewise Ham spoke on Christianity and quoted Scripture far more than the opinion of himself or his peers. Neither one really seemed willing to leave their comfort zone, rather,
they kept coming back to the same points of contention.
In the following discussion led by Dr. Iler, students weighed in. Most had concerns with both men’s views and were not willing to fully endorse either. I personally found a comment from Dr.
Iler very poignant. He said, “Science and Christianity should be complimentary. As a scientist I love discovering more about God’s creation and the world in which we live. God has given us minds and curiosity for a reason. I find great joy in that.” The majority of students seem to believe in creation, but Ken Ham’s beliefs are somewhat extreme. Also, many find it hard to disagree with a well-intentioned Bill Nye who is extraordinarily knowledgeable on cutting-edge evolutionary science, and bases all of his arguments on pure logic and reason. His brand of empirical science is very hard for anyone to deny. One student, Ben Wiltse, reflected this. “Both made convincing arguments. It all comes down to having faith in your convictions, whatever they may be. Faith in a creator God or faith in science, it’s all faith.” Ham finished up by stating, “The views I’m putting forth aren’t my own, they come from a Biblical worldview…the only way it makes sense. It’s not just my view. Lots of scientists agree with what I’m presenting.” Nye ended with the assertion, “This is the great mystery, what drives us, this is what we want to know. Let’s keep looking. Let’s keep searching.”
Some last thoughts to be considered: This issue should not divide us as brothers and sisters in Christ. For all intents and purposes this is not a salvation issue. Loving one another is far more important than being right, no matter how sure we are in our interpretation. While questing after new knowledge and innovations is definitely a good thing, it pales in comparison with the need to present the Truth to those we meet. Let that take precedence over petty disagreements of doctrine. Simply love as He first loved us.
Bill Nye: the false dichotomy guy