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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. Furball

    I'm religious (light) but wouldn't want creationism taught in school. First question is, whose creationism are we teaching? Jewish? Christian? Muslim? Buddhism? Cannibalism? Something else? Let's say we go with Christianity (and annoy a ton of people, including the understanding of separation of church and state) – do we go with Roman Catholic? Protestant? Mormon?
    How do we test these findings? So someone talks about Adam and Eve, how do we prove that? What kind of experiments do we show to give evidence of it?
    At least, with science, we can say experiments were done and experiments can be done. It's been peer reviewed. The people who ran these tests and made discoveries were not given this information from a book that was written a long time ago by men who had a political agenda.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
    • fifthsystes

      Its sort of the same issue as why they teach that washington was the first president when there were 8 before him.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
      • MythBusters

        http://www.snopes.com/history/american/hanson.asp

        February 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • i miss you

      FURBALL!!!!
      I haven't heard a word from you since I had you put to sleep a few years ago!
      How are you? Were you reincarnated, or are you in another world? I still have your favorite chair, and the new kitten doesn't appresiate chasing string as much as you did.
      Just one nagging thing though – you ate whatever food I kept in your bowl without much complaint, but tell me for the sake of the other cats, which one did you like better?

      February 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  2. gspot

    With Kids today we need a new kind of Lord. We can create an APP for all IPhones we can tell the kids that God and Santa created the App to watch over us and you had better be good or he'll kill your wifi connection for good. That would strike more fear in kids than locusts or plague.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  3. Tom Bukowski

    Don't waste your time, or energy, Bill.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  4. Steve in CT

    In the field of nuclear power, we still teach "Nuclear Theory." Like the Theory of Evolution nit is continually tested and debated. Is nuclear theory true? Ask the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    February 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
    • OldSchool

      My attempts at publicly denying the theory of gravity unfortunately have yet to lead to my being suddenly flung into space... I've been praying pretty hard too...

      February 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  5. Permaban

    Jesus Christ is the king.... of schizophrenics.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
  6. Zoey Kay

    I would like those creationists to explain why, if they don't believe in evolution and science, why do they trust in medicine, doctors and hospitals? Is it because insurance doesn't cover witch doctors and faith healers?

    February 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Some of them do go to faith healers. Some won't allow their children to be vaccinated because they believe it shows a lack of faith.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
  7. Cornelius

    Ok, here's what has always bothered me about the entire God concept in general.

    So, the reason the entire idea of God exists is that people looked around and said "How did all this get here? Something must have created it. A Creator Being. We'll call this creator being "God."" (An example of humans creating God in their image as opposed to vice-versa, but thats an entirely different argument)

    So, the issue here is that once you come up with a Creator Being to explain existence, how do you explain the existence of that Creator Being? The usual answer is "Oh well God has just always been there." which is just as much a cop out as the Big Bang Theory's premise that the universe just spontaneously popped into existence. If you're going to say God is necessary to explain the existence of the known universe, then you have to explain how God got here. Who or what created God? And who or what created that which created God? And who or what created that which created that which created God? And on, and on, and on ad infinitum. Thats the problem with God. If you're going to ask the big questions, you have to keep asking them. You can't just stop at a certain point and say "Well, God has just always been there." because it's convenient for you.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • :)

      Wow. You are using a lot of faith to determine why everyone else believes in God!

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

      So, an all-powerful being wanted one garden with a Minnie-him and a woman,
      so he made billions and billions of stars.
      He also made a heaven and hell, because he was all knowing too.
      He put a tree of knowledge in this garden,
      just to tempt Adam who he had created without the will power to resist it.
      When Adam ate from the tree, god threw him and his woman out of the garden
      and put a sin on everyone who had not been born yet,
      because he is just and loving and fair.
      Several centuries later, after he drown almost everyone,
      he got a married virgin pregnant and tortured the child to death.
      He did this because he had to.
      There was no other option for this all powerful creator of everything and maker of the rules.
      If god had not done this, there would have been no way for god to have forgiven us
      or judged us fairly when we died.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • Jake

      Exactly. If the god theory was a plausible answer to the question, I wouldn't consider belivers to be so irrational. But it's not plausible. By clinging to an inplausible theory, believers fall behind the rest of us as we learn more truth about the universe.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
      • MythBusters

        Actually there are a lot of believers probably know more about science than you. "The rest of us" doesn't include you if you want to refer to our brightest and most intelligent scientific minds.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • Jake

          Oh really? And how do you know that exactly? My brother is literally a rocket scientist and I'm the smarter one. 🙂

          February 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • MythBusters

          Because there are people in the "rest of us" category that are demonstrating their superior scientific knowledge that believe in God. You probably aren't as smart as you think or claim you are. And most likely there are religious people that are smarter and contribute more to our knowledge of science than you.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
    • mudbone9

      Ah the old chicken or the egg routine! I think the problem with your contention is that you assume a God is subject to the laws of time. If time was invented by God when he created our reality then I seriously doubt he has an age. Hard to wrap your head around that concept? Maybe our creator always was and is. God has no age therefore no one had to create him.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • Rck

      OK, then how did the universe just pop into existence?

      You can't have it both ways!

      February 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  8. Permaban

    Jesus Christ is the king of... schizophrenics.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • TrollBusters

      Schizophrenia is a disease, not a term one should use to insult others. Have a heart.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
      • Permaban

        Thank you for following my line of thinking. Now accept the fact that "faith" is a cognitive illness that many people in the world suffer from. You have to be ill to blindly follow your parents religion (99% of the time) and assume it has to be "the right one", without realizing it has more to do with where you were geographically born than anything else.

        Schizophrenia is an illness many prophets may have suffered from, and faith is a cognitive illness suffered by the ill informed masses.

        Have a brain.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
  9. hallbrain

    Which is open minded? To say "nothing exists outside of my ability to observe it" or "maybe I'm not as big as I think I am, and be able to hear when God speaks to you through the Bible"?

    February 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • Alias

      I would have to say both of those views anr equally close minded.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
  10. L.S.B.

    Once again, the most idiotic person is defined to be one who argues against christianity. It's almost an act of suicide.

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

      Nye isn't arguing against Christianity.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  11. comeonman!

    "to bring up the problems with evolution."
    That's his main problem, there's no problem with evolution!

    "...increasingly bright spotlight on the research activities of thousands of scientists and engineers worldwide who have earned doctorates and are creationists."
    What a waiste of resources spent on this guys, including you!

    "Yes, creationists are still a small minority in the scientific community..."
    Thank, umm, yeah, God for that!

    "It’s an important debate," (NOT REALY) "for what you think about your origins will largely form your worldview" (MAGICAL THINKING?).

    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.
    LIER, LIER, PANTS ON FIRE! One thing is not related to the other...live WAS created with the right conditions at the right time...deal with it!

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

      Well, your little tirade didn't accomplish anything other than to reveal your fear that he might be correct. Creationism may not be the answer, but maybe evolution isn't either. What then?

      February 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
    • Travis Berry

      What are the "right conditions" for nothing to make something? Even more, what are the "right conditions" for non-life to give rise to life? This is why it takes blind faith to reject God. They say they believe in the scientific method, which requires repeatable and observable data, yet no one has ever observed or repeated what we have been told happened million or billions of years ago. Those who say they believe in science and macro evolution want their cake and eat it too.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
    • LaughingMyHeadOff

      Just by the way you write, I figured you missed the perfect opportunity to stay quiet and look smart!

      February 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
  12. Good Luck Bill!!

    Im just really happy all this "Babble" nonsense is really being brought to the light of day. In a few hundred years, with scientific advancement, people that believe this crap will be proven wrong...but they will hold on but be proven to be false

    February 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
  13. Sheeple

    Does it really matter what you label yourself? As long as you're not proselytizing your "truth", who cares what you believe. Provable science belongs in school, unprovable personal beliefs belongs in whatever brand of Church you belong to, or something like comparative religion courses when the student is ready to make up their own mind.

    "Teachers", untrained to teach either subject, should not be pushing their agendas on impressionable minds.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • fifthsystes

      It much more provable that we were created than that we are just a "speck" as Bill says.

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

        How would you go about proving that god chanted magic spells and the earth and everything in it popped out fully formed?

        February 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  14. gspot

    I know that was my point! Thank You

    February 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
  15. George Costanza

    Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
  16. bostontola

    Mr. Ham is very similar to the Christians centuries ago that debated with scientists about whether the earth is at the center of our universe with the heavenly bodies going around us, or the earth, and planets go around the sun. Many of the same arguments were used.

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

      Except that didn't really happen.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Not really. Back then their arguments came down to believe or I'll get out the torture implements.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
      • MythBusters

        A lot of our scientific contributions came from Christians.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • doobzz

          No one is arguing that point. But many of those early scientists, who were funded by the church, had their discoveries suppressed for decades or centuries if it didn't support the bible narrative. Some were arrested, threatened with excommunication, or worse.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • MythBusters

          Politics.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • doobzz

          In reality, it was the fear that people would realize that the bible had flaws, that it is flat out wrong about many things, and that it would lead people to (rightly) think that other parts of the bible could be wrong as well, and that they had been mislead and lied to by the church.

          So I suppose you could call it politics, or you could call it CYA by the church. Either way, the truth was suppressed in favor of religious dogma.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
  17. Frederick Potacky

    All my Science teachers as a child were in fact, Catholic Priests, and evolution was taught full on. Conflict of interest? Not at all.

    Creationism vs. science is mostly a recent media myth. 'Course now, most of the US has bought into it. But the true position of Catholics for example, is that science and evolution is part and parcel of creationism. If you indeed believe that an eternal, unlimited and infinite intelligence does exist, that is fully aware and cognizant of all systems of the universe from the atom to the galaxies, it's "creation" would in fact be dynamic and ever evolving as per design.. because if it wasn't, that wouldn't exactly be "intelligent" design would it?

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

      Umm, no. This fear-driven reaction has been around since Darwin published 150 years ago.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        Not from the Catholic quarter, however.

        Creationism has always been a peculiarly evangelical malady, with Southern Baptists being by far the loudest troglodytes.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • Frank

          Welcome to Oklahoma, tried to outlaw sharia law, overturned by court, tried to defend traditional marriage as law in Oklahoma as between man and wife, overturned by court. Currently leading the way in AFA supports contraception and that's against my religious beliefs so now a Corporation(Hobby Lobby) is trying to claim that it as a corporation can declare itself to be a religious organization that will not allow its workers federally funded contraception(even though they don't have to pay any money into it, all covered by the fed and the actual healthcare providers, but why should that change Oklahoman's opinion that the government should be so deeply involved in such personal matters such as family planning and gay rights).

          February 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • MBane

      Agreed. When to Catholic school and was thought evolution. Had a nun as a science teacher too.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  18. Duke

    Ok

    Science is definable measurable facts. DAtes are derived from radioactive istope decay, which gives the dates for when things were created, etc.

    Therefore, we derive the dats for the millions of years ago things lived.

    Therefore we know the world is older than the few thousand years described in Genesis.

    The reason creationism has dfissappeared over the years is that fewer and fewer people take things on faith when hard cold facts disprove them.

    You can come up with any number of "people with degrees" to back up your opinion (I notice you name NONE of them) After all why let the facts get in the way of a cherished belief, no matter how incorrect it is proven over and over again.

    Here is a last thought: God creates things to work on the basis of evolution, We only have the accounts written down by man to go by for the story of creation. I think God would prefer we use the skills and talent he gave us to figure out the truth,

    February 4, 2014 at 11:59 am |
  19. fifthsystes

    Bill is an agent of the Illuminati. He has already lost.

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

      Wow.

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

        are you in shock and awe?

        February 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • Viki

      *removes tin foil hat*

      February 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
  20. MBane

    Creationists only exist in the USA. This is not a Christian belief. After all it was a Catholic priest who came up with the Big Bang theory Not to mention that it was Darwin, trying to prove the existence of God through nature who came up with the evolution theory. Evolution is thought in every European Catholic school and is not disputed by the Vatican. Creationists are the same people who believe that the Bible just dropped out of heaven and is the true word of God. These people are not Christian – they are nut cases.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:59 am |
    • No2theprideofman

      Creation beliefs are as old at the writers of the Old Testament including Abraham and Moses. It was refereed to in the 10 commandments and was a fundamental basis of teaching for all Old Testament prophets. Later it was incorporated by Jesus Himself in New Testament teachings (i.e. – Have you not read He which made them from the beginning made them male and female..) . Sorry but you are grossly mistaken.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        All the evidence points away from a literal reading of the bible.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:15 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.