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Ken Ham: Why I'm debating Bill Nye about creationism
Bill Nye and Ken Ham will debate the origins of life Tuesday at the Creation Museum.
February 3rd, 2014
01:15 PM ET

Ken Ham: Why I'm debating Bill Nye about creationism

Editors note: Ken Ham will debate Bill Nye on February 4 at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, with CNN's Tom Foreman moderating. The debate will be livestreamed at CNN.com at 7 pm ET, and Piers Morgan Live will interview Ham and Nye on Tuesday at 9 ET.

WATCH TUESDAY NIGHT'S DEBATE HERE: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/cvplive/cvpstream1.html

Opinion by Ken Ham, special to CNN

(CNN) - Public debates on evolution and creation have become increasingly rare. Several hundred well-attended debates were held in the 1970s and 1980s, but they have largely dried up in recent decades.

So I look forward to a spirited yet cordial debate on Tuesday with Bill Nye, the "Science Guy" of television fame.

I also look forward to the opportunity to help counter the general censorship against creationists' view of origins. While we are not in favor of mandating that creation be taught in public school science classes, we believe that, at the very least, instructors should have the academic freedom to bring up the problems with evolution.

Even though the two of us are not Ph.D. scientists, Mr. Nye and I clearly love science.

As a former science instructor, I have appreciated the useful television programs that he hosted and produced, especially when he practiced operational science in front of his audience.

He and I both recognize the wonderful benefits that observational, operational science has brought us, from cell phones to space shuttles. But operational science, which builds today’s technology, is not the same as presenting beliefs about the past, which cannot be tested in the laboratory.

For students, the evolution-creation discussion can be a useful exercise, for it can help develop their critical thinking skills.

MORE ON CNN: Bill Nye: Why I'm Debating Ken Ham 

Most students are presented only with the evolutionary belief system in their schools, and they are censored from hearing challenges to it. Let our young people understand science correctly and hear both sides of the origins issue and then evaluate them.

Our public schools arbitrarily define science as explaining the world by natural processes alone. In essence, a religion of naturalism is being imposed on millions of students. They need to be taught the real nature of science, including its limitations.

Nye, the host of a popular TV program for children, should welcome a scrutiny of evolution in the classrooms.

As evolution-creation issues continue to be in the news - whether it relates to textbook controversies or our debate - there is an increasingly bright spotlight on the research activities of thousands of scientists and engineers worldwide who have earned doctorates and are creationists.

On our full-time staff at Answers in Genesis, we have Ph.D.s in astronomy, geology, biology, molecular genetics, the history of science, and medicine. Yes, creationists are still a small minority in the scientific community, but they hold impressive credentials and have made valuable contributions in science and engineering.

I remember the time I spoke at a lunchtime Bible study at the Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington. I was thrilled to meet several scientists and engineers who accept the book of Genesis as historical and reject Darwinian evolution. They shared with me that a belief in evolution had nothing to do with their work on the Hubble Space Telescope. Why should our perspective about origins be censored?

Our young people and adults should be aware that considerable dissent exists in the scientific world regarding the validity of molecules-to-man evolution.

It’s an important debate, for what you think about your origins will largely form your worldview. If you believe in a universe that was created by accident, then there is ultimately no meaning and purpose in life, and you can establish any belief system you want with no regard to an absolute authority.

Ultimately, I have decided to accept an authority our infallible creator and his word, the Bible over the words of fallible humans.

Ken Ham is founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis (USA) and founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The views expressed in this column belong to Ham.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Creationism • Culture wars • Evolution • Opinion • Science

soundoff (4,336 Responses)
  1. Ah

    ..Bill,, sorry, but the superst!tious can't debate. A flaw caused by a proven mental blockage to reasoning caused by childhood fears of hell, monsters and such. Doctors call it childhood trauma, and that changes the brains early development.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:57 am |
  2. clubschadenfreude

    most excellent to know that Ham is already conceding when he says that he doesn't want a winner or loser but for people to "look" into his nonsense.

    I do wonder, how does Ham figure to show that it was his god that was the creator? Why not Vishnu? Why not the Wicca goddess? Tezcatlipoca? the Great Spirit?

    February 4, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • Vishnu

      I have many appendages!

      February 4, 2014 at 11:58 am |
      • FSM

        Mine are noodley

        February 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
      • clubschadenfreude

        then you win 🙂

        February 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
  3. Gary

    I just popped over to "Answers in Genesis" and found the article "How do we know there is a God?". I guess I should have expected what I found considering the "Answers in Genesis"....the claim is that "It's in the Bible". I guess we can expect the debate to be based on the following assertion: "Because it's in the Bible!"

    February 4, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • nathanrobertham

      You misunderstood the article. Skeptics want proof, but proof to them is anything other than the recorded eye-witness testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Paul.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:58 am |
      • doobzz

        That's because there is no proof that the gospels were written by the so-called eye witnesses.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • Gary

        So what you're saying is "because it's in the Bible". Got it.

        February 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • OldSchool

      Nobody explained to them that citing the bible to substantiate the claims made by the bible isn't a scientifically nor logically sound methodology...

      February 4, 2014 at 11:59 am |
  4. AC

    I find it disturbing that CNN would give an audience to this. The support of creationism and rejection of science is more than just an alternative way of tihnking – as the creationists would like you to believe. It is a dangerous rejection of fact that allows one to arbitrarily dismiss any scientific fact that one does not agree with.
    Throughout history there has always been much we didn't understand about the world around us. Man used to believe that fire and the wind and the rain were the result of gods. We now know this to be false. Today there are other things in the universe that cannot easily be explained through science: the origin of life, how black holes work, etc. Our lack of understanding does not, and should not mean that they are unexplainable, or only explainable by believing in a supreme being. It just means we don't have all the facts or technology to understand it yet.
    But by supporting ideas like creationism, we are steering our children away from the idea of furthering our understanding of the universe and holding on to a fantasy of untruths. These beliefs have serious, terrible repricutions for our future.
    These beliefs lend to a lack of support and funding for our schools; especially in the areas of math and science, and have already become apparent in our having fallen behind much of the world in the quality of our education. Once cannot expect taxpayers to support advancing math and science when they hold onto religious views to explain scientific fact. Religion requires no effort, no study, no exploration of the unknown. By supporting creationism, one is essentially saying we know all we need to know. What a terrible concept.
    I hope that CNN and other legitimate news organizations reconsider their support for such discussions, and dismiss it as the folly that it is.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:56 am |
  5. tony

    If Harry Potter or "ET" had been written a coupla handred years before the bible, no-one on earth would know that there ever was a bible.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • Oh

      You have faith in that?

      February 4, 2014 at 11:57 am |
  6. Craig Channell

    I'm sorry Bill Nye has agreed to this debate because it legitimizes creationism as a "theory" equal in scope, explanatory power, falsifiability and rationality to the theory of evolution. Also the setting for this exchange of views is clearly designed to promote the creationist beliefs.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:55 am |
    • Ray Sanders

      Ken Hams infallible creator couldn't make mankind without cancer. Nonsense.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:58 am |
  7. William Polhamus

    There is scrutiny of evolution. It is called the scientific method. It is falsifiable. On the other hand, god is not. Having said that, it is futile to attempt to prove the existence of god with science. You can not prove a negative. That is why I think that Dawkins and his band of misfits are full of garbage.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:55 am |
    • tony

      Did you say anything there?

      February 4, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • William Polhamus

        ummm.....if you can't figure that out, I would suggest you start with some nice pop-up picture books or something....

        February 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • Dave

        He is simply saying that since science takes the time to actually test and prove its hypotheses, sometimes those hypotheses are proven wrong. But since he never bothers to question God's existence, it must be true. By his logic, all scientific theories would be true if they were never tested. He probably reached that conclusion whilst riding his triceratops into the sunset.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
    • doobzz

      "On the other hand, god is not."

      Of course, religious relics are never falsified. Never.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  8. Little Joe

    The most ironic part of the author's article is his conclusion: "Ultimately, I have decided to accept an authority — our infallible creator and his word, the Bible — over the words of fallible humans." Ironic because his bible was written by fallible humans, with the modern English versions at the end of a long chain of translations by other fallible humans.

    These debates always come down to one side saying, "because bible". Sadly, it doesn't make for much of a debate.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:54 am |
  9. Dave

    Good luck Bill Nye. After debating the Tea Party types for years I can tell you this will not go well. No matter what you do.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:52 am |
    • CommonSensed

      You cannot use facts to debate with fundamentalists in any form.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • tony

      Yup,

      I wonder why Bill want's to gve any credance to the dinosaur riders.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:54 am |
    • Duggar

      It's an exercise in redundancy and pointless rhetoric. What does he think it will accomplish? He certainly won't be convincing any Creationist of what he believes and vice versa.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:54 am |
    • doobzz

      It's easy to look like you're winning a debate when the audience is front loaded to your side.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  10. CommonSensed

    Dear Belief Blog Editor. Please move on from fluff articles on the pope and useless debates and bring up articles about real happenings like missionaries in Africa imposing christian canon law in country's legal systems. Vis a vis death penalties for consensual acts.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:52 am |
  11. mudbone9

    Some people are so stupid and can't think outside the box. If God created everything do they really think God is subject to the laws of Time? Get real....he is God! So why would it not be possible that evolution is part of God's grand design? I never understood the arguement that evolution or creationism is right or wrong. I think they both are right.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:51 am |
    • Duggar

      "People are stupid and can't think outside the box..............." LOL. The irony is palpable

      February 4, 2014 at 11:52 am |
      • mudbone9

        I think the key word here is "Some". That would be all religious nuts and Atheists. OK maybe a lot of people then:)

        February 4, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • Sungrazer

      My question to you would be: What do you believe about creationism? Did god create two people, who had no ancestors, and all humans today descend from those two people? If so, then that is in direct conflict with evolution. Do you believe something else?

      February 4, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • mudbone9

        Sorry I just don't think in that kind of detail. Nor do I care. I also don't believe in all the crap I've read in the Bible. Using that kind of argument to discredit a Creationist when it was written a long time ago by dead people is not right. I believe in evolution and I believe in a God. I also don't believe in any God that organized religion has invented. Religion is just a tool to control the minds of idiots.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          There are plenty of people who believe in the biblical creation story as literal. That is what is meant by creationism. If you don't believe that, then you don't believe in "both" creationism and evolution. You certainly can't say you believe in creationism if you haven't thought about it in any detail. The god you seem to believe in may exist, but if so, he is completely irrelevant.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • mudbone9

          Only a Sith believes in absolutes. I think I pretty much explained what I believe in and I don't give a crap what label you might give it. My contention is that it is possible to believe in some of both arguments. In my opinion if you believe in only one or the other then you are either an idiot or a hater.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          You can believe in both biblical creationism and evolution but that would not be a rational belief. They are in direct conflict with one another. You can believe in both a god and evolution; these do not necessarily conflict. Your ad hominem attacks are uncalled for.

          February 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
      • mudbone9

        Only a Sith believes in absolutes. I think I pretty much explained what I believe in and I don't give a crap what label you might give it. My contention is that it is possible to believe in some of both arguments. In my opinion if you believe in only one or the other then you are either an idiot or a hater.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • The Jester

      He said, oblivious to the obvious irony.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:59 am |
    • CosmicC

      If I understand you correctly, god created the universe, including the laws of physics that govern time, biological processes, etc. and evolutionary processes are just part of that created universe. While not a provable or disprovable assertion, it is irrelevant. Ham and fellow creationists deny that evolution is real, that the earth is more than a few thousand years old, or that man and dinosaurs were not contemporaneous. They reject any and all evidence, accepting only the word of the bible (most often, versions that are three or four translations removed from the original, but let's not try to further confuse the situation by injecting logic).

      February 4, 2014 at 11:59 am |
      • mudbone9

        They belong to the group of stupid people I was talking about. I was raised a Catholic but thank God I had the brain power to think for myself. I don't really care if anyone thinks like I do. However I don't want a religious nut case nor a God hating Atheist telling me what I should believe. I am a live and let live kind of person until they start trying to force their beliefs on me or my children. In my eyes freedom of religion also means to not have a religion if I so please.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
  12. Rosslaw

    What about the Hindu version of creation? Oh, I forgot, the Hindu version doesn't have a talking snake. How the heck can you even have a religion without a talking snake?

    February 4, 2014 at 11:51 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      LOLOLOL

      February 4, 2014 at 11:54 am |
  13. drefromla

    sorry, Ken, you already lost. scientists who claim the book of Genesis is historical are not considered "scientists" by real men of science. But you keep trying little fellow, it's really quite amusing watching a grown man try to convince people one dude biting an apple was the ruin of all of us.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • No2theprideofman

      What I notice is a trend – the agnostic/atheist community ALWAYS speaks to those who disagree with them on rational, factual basis in a dismissive, belittling, we-are-superior tone. It is an arrogance that historically finds itself seated at a table with a large helping of humble pie (not that modern science would ever admit a possible alternate explanation for anything, let alone a wrong).

      February 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • OTOH

        1. Few things are more arrogant than saying, "I'm *saved* for *eternity* and you're not!"

        2. Some scientists spend their whole careers testing and looking for errors in the work of other scientists. It's how science works. It's how they finally hammer out the real stuff.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • No2theprideofman

          You obviously know little about the Christian gospel. To say I am saved for eternity, not because of my own integrity and righteousness, but because of a gracious gift of the Son of God, it the farthest thing from arrogance you can get. Sorry but you are ignorant of the gospel message.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • OTOH

          You are *saved* ONLY IF you *believe*. A truly 'gracious gift' with strings attached? A truly 'gracious gift' that has no verifiable evidence for actually existing? A truly 'gracious' gift-giver who refuses to make its existence undoubtable?

          You boast your perceived "integrity and righteousness" by claiming that yours is the ONLY truth.

          February 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
  14. Lou

    So the Flintstones is actually another example of art imitating life?

    February 4, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • Drummond

      Much like your personal example of an 'ape' imitating 'human'

      February 4, 2014 at 11:50 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        oh the ignorance ...

        February 4, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  15. Janis

    Wouldn't it have been better for a physicist to do this? Bill Nye is a scientist, yes, but this is not his field.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • Sungrazer

      A biologist would be best. Many qualified to debate choose not to do so, for a number of reasons, but one of which is that it gives the appearance that there is something to be debated.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:52 am |
    • CommonSensed

      It's all kabuki theater. Two unqualified people attempting to set the record straight.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:54 am |
  16. Oioi

    You can't reason with faith.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • vudoodaddie

      That is why they call it faith. It is faith in fairy tales. It is faith out of nothing. Costco was right to categorize the Bible as fiction.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  17. gspot

    If we start talking about bible pieces in the school then i would like to start teaching Zombie assault tactics. There are just as many believers in dead bodies coming back to life as there are people that believe in an invisible kingdom in the sky and a horrible heated torture zone below our feet where the devil resides to punish bad people. You can talk about God in school if you like but you have to air all the bibles stories. I want to know more about this devil. Can I see him, or talk to him how about a face to face debate between the lord our God and Satan maybe a WWE Slamtacular on Saturday. The Fact of the matter is creationism lacks facts where evolution has Scientific FACT in remains and Radial carbon dating. Religion is and always will be mans greatest invention it spread positive messages of love and humanity for mankind that can never be taken away but on the other hand it has also been used to divide and conquer and separate the population of the earth. We should take the peaceful side of religion and teach it at home along with family values and responsibility and use religion for what it was created "peace and humanity to all men"

    February 4, 2014 at 11:46 am |
    • CommonSensed

      The story of Jesus IS a zombie tale.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • No

        Do you know anything about science fiction? Jesus was resurrected. He was living. Zombies are the living dead.

        February 4, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • Fan2C

          Suuuuure he was! And so were a bunch of other dead people who "went into the holy city and were seen by many" (Matthew 27), which NOBODY (not even the other story writers) reported.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Those positive messages can be spread without religion. It doesn't take religion to achieve peace and love. In fact, it often is responsible for war and hate. Religion may have been useful in the early evolutionary history of man, but it no longer is.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    Why doesn't your god appear to the world and put an end to any doubt?

    He seems to be narcissistic enough and vain enough and insecure enough to want all the adoration and all the worship of every person in the world. Your book which you keep bleating is the "word of god", certainly sees god commanding you endlessly to adore him and worship him and bow before him and idolize him and praise him. "Oh love me, love me, tell me how wonderful I am!"

    It would be effortless for him to show himself, like he seemed to do pretty regularly back in the bronze age, and he wouldn't have to send so many people either born in the wrong place or people trusting logic and science over blind faith, to eternal fire and pain and torment. Surely, if he is the loving god that you claim, he would be anxious to save all these people rather than damn them?

    I am shaking my head as I write this, in amazement at the pure infantile foolishness that enables you to believe in something so patently false.

    It's amazing. Simply amazing.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • idiot check

      "I am shaking my head as I write this, in amazement at the pure infantile foolishness that enables you to believe in something so patently false."

      Don't you mean as you copy and paste this? This is like the 3rd time you've posted this this week!

      February 4, 2014 at 11:53 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        but I wrote it. 🙂

        February 4, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • idiot check

          And then like a troll you copy and paste it over and over. And imagine you somehow proved a point.

          February 4, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          idiot, Have you refuted the point? Why don't you think it sensible to keep a copy of commonly used comments – believers post the same comments daily.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • idiot check

          What doG claims is not what is taught in Christianity. That is like a 2nd grader's understanding. God is not narcissistic or full of himself... like, well, doG is. It seems he is projecting himself into God.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
  19. bostontola

    Why atheist vs Christian?, I have explained why many times and don't want to rehash it in this post.

    Next question: Why atheist vs deist?
    The difference in my mind between atheism and deism is miniscule. Both groups agree that the universe and life operate through natural means. Both groups don't think there is a supernatural being that relates to individual humans. The only substantial difference is in the origin question, atheists think the universe and life had purely natural origins, deists think universe was created by a God.

    That difference is currently not provable either way. You could deal with that by being an agnostic, and in a strict technical sense I am agnostic, recognizing I can't know. But I also recognize this will not be settled in my life time and I don't want to be a purist and not take a stand because I don't know. So I choose to go beyond agnostic and believe something.

    So I have to choose between deism and atheism. The deciding factor is evidence (not proof). As the trove of scientific knowledge grows at an accelerating pace, it comes closer and closer to explaining our universe in purely natural terms. Mystery after mystery falls. There are plausible explanations now that require no God that can explain the origin of the universe. These are not proven of course, but in just the next few decades there is likely to be experimental validation of the theory (out of a few that are being developed) that will choose which of the plausible origins is the likely one. Even with that, it wouldn't rule out a God, but in that scenario, a God which created the universe even though it didn't need to is irrelevant to us today. So I choose atheism over deism because there is no evidence that such a God exists and no evidence for the need of a God to create the universe.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      beautiful!

      February 4, 2014 at 11:48 am |
  20. trip

    YOU EITHER BELIEVE OR DON'T BELIEVE. ITS AS SIMPLE AS THAT. NO REASON TO DEBATE. IN FACT ITS FOOLISH TO DEBATE, ESPECIALLY IF YOUR A CHRISTAIN AS I AM. THERE'S NOTHEN SAID THAT WILL CHANGE ME. DO I HAVE DOUBTS? NOW & THEN REGARDING SPACIFIC THINGS. BUT NOT ABOUT MY FAITH. THAT DOES'NT MEAN I'M A FANATIC. I BELIEVE THE ONLY WAY RELIGION CAN WORK FOR THE GOOD IS TO SEPERATE IT FROM STATE. YOU CAN' FORCE SOMEONE TO PRAY IF THEY DON'T WANT TO. SCHOOL WORKS BEST WHEN FOCUSED ON THE 3 RS

    February 4, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • Sorting mixed nuts

      I agree regarding separation. Turn your caps off – it looks ridiculous.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • bostontola

      Do you accept that evolution has and is happening?

      February 4, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • Dicker

      WHY ARE YOU YELLING?

      February 4, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • OldSchool

      Looks like you should have spent a little more time focusing on the three Rs...

      February 4, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • Shaped

      You really feel strongly about your adult fairy tales.

      I mean, the bible.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.