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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. JAB

    Hmmm... One guy with evidence and facts, the other with nothing. Doesn't seem like much of a debate. GO BILL!

    February 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
    • Barcs

      It'll be like every evolution debate prior. Nye will present facts, Ham will twist them to fit his view or ignore them. Ham will ask questions about evolution that have nothing to do with it and play to the crowd with the god stuff that he won't be able to prove.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • can

      science has proven that the universe started from nothing via thermal dynamics. the big bang theory. so you either believe that no one made something out of nothing, or that someone made something out of nothing. this proof you claim in science only raises more pointed questions. i suggest you look into them.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • JP

      You believe the universe was created from nothing millions of years ago yet you don't realize that you have no evidence whatsoever to support this. In fact, observable science confirms that life cannot come from non-life. Your belief is solely hinged on the fact that you refuse to submit to the reality that there is a Holy God who is Creator and Judge. I hope all of you who have faith in man-made theory will one day repent of your sins and submit to God, putting your trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. He is the One Who was, and is, and is to come. As the Lord God said in Isaiah 45:23, "By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear." Romans 14:11, "It is written, 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God."

      February 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  2. Evangelist 101

    Do not let science or knowledge interfere with a good faith based scam, carry on.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      Nobody really wants to know how the sausage is made...

      February 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • missrepresentedusa

      amen to that.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  3. Jack 2

    I don't know who's right but i find it hard to believe a bunch of fanatical middleeasterners. The apostles are basically the same fanatics we see in Islam over there. Those people are deep into religion.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  4. Bob

    Faith is the source of all things bad in this world.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • @Qcity

      “Faith in the possibilities of continued and rigorous inquiry does not limit access to truth to any channel or scheme of things. It does not first say that truth is universal and then add there is but one road to it.”
      ― John Dewey

      February 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • HappyB

      No, people making blanket generalizations are the source of all problems in the world.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
      • Bob

        Believing things without supporting evidence (faith) is wrong.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
  5. Michael

    I love how even in a proper debate his best debate point is "God says so, I can't hear you, LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!!!"

    February 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
  6. Bob

    Why is Jesus a real prophet and Mohammad a fake one? Please explain without contradicting yourself too much.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • Madtown

      "It says so in the book we read."

      – Topher, et al

      February 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  7. tony

    If mankind had put a tenth of the effort put into religion, into world health care and education, we'd be traveling to the stars by now.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Absolutely. We'd also be well on our way to saving this planet, instead of believers pasing the buck and saying everything is a sign of the end times.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
  8. hollywood

    For gspot–The probabilities class that all science students take is appropriate to recall here. Hal Lindsey, years ago , wrote of the extremely low statistical probability of all the prophesies in the Old Testament about Jesus coming true in one man. (ignoring that all prophesies were fulfilled and none were wrong). With scientific research-in twenty years, 80% of research findings are found to be "off" or incorrect. The Bible foretells the future in many places–all extremely accurately–for example Daniel is an easy book to read. Daniel interpretes, with the spirit of Gods help:-the single hand writing on the wall, the colossus of a man vision, and then he writes the history of the world over a number of chapters. Daniel is thrown to lions, thrown in a furnace, and treated shabbily from time to time. Isaiah and Ezekiel are longer books that are more tiresome that discuss very interesting topics in the middle chapters–involving again, predicting the future. Then the time from Daniels predictions about Isreal being back in the land are accurate to the day (arguable because of the different calenders in use at the time of writing–but right on using one calendar). The building of the dome of the rock was predicted–and the year. It seems odd that a God of love would set up a system where the Arabs hate the Jews and visa versa. If you can't see Gods hand in creation then perhaps you can see the evil in the world-and the constant conflict between some moral standard level and no moral standard level-where do you set the level. So faith / believers rest on facts to support their beliefs and recognise that lot of contentious issues cannot be proven. The problem is that evolutionists insist that they have facts backing them up-but as humans are concerned–there is no fossil continuum–clearly demonstrating addition of chunks of DNA spontaneously, in all its intimate complexity. Please consider how random genetic changes in the existing population have resulted in an epidemic of cancer. And note how difficult-read impossible it is to add horse DNA into a human genome–even if they would mate.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      For predictions to be considered fulfilled they need to be very specific – what and when. Biblical prophesies are very general.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  9. notogop

    "I also look forward to the opportunity to help counter the general censorship against creationists' views of origins." Does this guy live under a rock. He needs to tune in to Fox or listen to any Teapublican speak on the record. Has he never heard of the Texas Board of "Education"?

    February 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
  10. pcg

    This reminds me of the Ancient Aliens show on History Channel. Do I believe in aliens influencing mankind after watching it? No. But it was entertaining. I learned about the ancient alien theory. It was interesting to see how facts can be twisted and people manipulated. There were a lot of interesting places and events from history that I would have never known about as well. My point being that if the editor of History channel would've been as blindly close minded as many of the commentators here the show would've never been created and I would be more ignorant for it. I think there is always something to be learned even from people you disagree with.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      But there's no one pushing the alien beliefs into our culture.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
    • Ah

      at least the History Channel show NEVER states it as fact. Unlike the religious who brainwash children.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
  11. mdaneker

    Let's debate scientific evidence against "cause the bible says so" except the bible leaves out a ton of crap like dinosaurs and any tangible explanation of existence other than "god said it and man wrote it down and guessed at all the stuff he found later" let's be honest, either the devil left evidence of dinosaurs and a million's year old planet or the bible just forgot to mention Jesus's pet pteranodon? We debate observation, testing, evaluation and peer review against stories and daydreams. Really!!!!!!!!!!! WAKE UP WORLD. THINK.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • can

      Thats not true. the bible does speak of dinosaur like animals. our word dinosaur is not their word however. your statement just shows that you havent read the bible and are judging it. how scientific of you.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
  12. Bret

    Why is it thought to be a legitimate debate about science when neither debator is a scientist?

    February 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • Ah

      Bill is..

      February 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
  13. LessBias

    Mr. Ham is not accurately representing the truth. The scientific community isn't "silencing" the debate on creationism. Instead of spending thousands if not millions of dollars on this sort of debate circus, the folks at Answers in Genesis are welcome to spend money on research to submit peer-reviewed articles on creationism. But they don't. Why? Because creationism does not offer any sort of testable hypothesis. It offers no position on where or where this "intelligent designer" is, where it came from, or how it can be verified. Creationism is not science, it's religion. This has been proven time and time again in academia as well as the court system. Belief beyond knowledge and fact is faith. But belief *in spite of* knowledge and fact is ignorance.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • 4rkids

      Well said – these two topics are mutually exclusive so there is no debate.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
  14. Charm Quark

    Does anyone know where to view a live stream of the debate? Comedy Central perhaps.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • Drivenb4u

      There won't be any live stream. There will only be the selectively edited version released by Answers in Genesis afterwards.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
      • georgex9

        Might end up a bit one-sided.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Hmm, I thought I read somewhere that a church in Texas was getting a feed of the debate and selling tickets to the congregation to watch it. Money maker.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
      • georgex9

        They don't want to miss a chance to be blessed again.

        February 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
  15. Jake

    That's a self-contradicting statement. You leave no doubt that you're not as intelligent as you think you are.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
  16. Bob

    Man created the gods, not the other way around.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • Don

      Prove it! That is an assumption on your part. I can't PROVE god exists but i know it in my heart. You know nothing so have fun with your nothing, loser.

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

        man has always created gods,, history.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
      • Bob

        Do you think the Greek gods created themselves?

        You know it in your "heart" that god exists? Just like racists know their "heart" that another race is inferior to them? Faith is always wrong. It is the source of all falsehoods. You believe in a lie.

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

          What i believe is irrelevant. It's about what IS! Greek mythology is myth. The bible IS NOT! We already know this so why you argue about it is ridiculous. Pick up the bible and read, maybe learn where we really come from.

          February 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • Tim

          Don't you have faith, or confidence in your own views/logic? So, by your own standards, nothing you really believe in deserves any consideration, because in your own words, " all faith is wrong." So, why are you expressing your "wrong" opinions? Just bored?

          February 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • Madtown

        "but i know it in my heart" = "I believe", you don't "know"

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

        The bible is myth. The Greek gods are real. Try to prove me wrong.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
      • I have!

        I *have* read the Bible, in some detail. I was born in the deep South, in a religious family, and I still study it today (primarily because it's probably the most influential book in history and therefore worthy of study). I'm willing to bet that unless you are a Biblical scholar, I know more about the Bible than yo do.

        If you do in fact read it–and read all of it, objectively–as well as study it's history, I don't see how you reach any conclusion other than that it was the work entirely of humans (and not always the humans whose names appear as the authors), shaped very much by political battles, and containing many contradictions. It could not possibly be the work of, or even influenced, by a divine being. There may be some wonderful lessons in the Bible (and some not so wonderful), but it carries no weight in a discussion of science (or history for that matter).

        February 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
  17. tony

    A giant turtle swimming through space, with 4 huge elephants standing at the 4 corners of his shell.

    A flat circular world, with ocean all around the variosu continents, resting firmly on the backs of th elephants. The great A'tuin.

    Thanks an apologies to Terry Pratchett for giving us a better alternative to the bible.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • mnfolkgirl

      Awesome reference that made me smile!

      February 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
      • truthmatters

        Is it irrelevant to you that none of that comes from the bible? The bible says the earth is round and is suspended in space. Does that surprise you that the bible is the only ancient text that gets that fact right?

        February 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
  18. D Hayden

    The main reason creationism has a foothold in media and classrooms is because some people publicly debate the issue. SIr Richard Dawkins is the worst offender. Now Mr Nye?! Regardless of the skills of the debaters, all this does is dispute evolution as fact. Imagine if psuedoscience debates were publicly about the biollogical heirarchy of race, or gender? Such debate is not tolerated, so statements about isues of racial or gender inequality are limited to personal beliefs. It's the same for evolution. If creationsism was ignored, as with other inarguable arguments, it would just go away. And the religious could begin to embrace evolution into their understanding of God's world as the world's Catholics and others have done. God loves us, because he gave us choice and happenstance: He lets us choose our husband or wife at chance, and let us form through chance from the soil of his creation.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • istenno

      D Hayden, you are correct. thank you for such a clear response.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
    • doobzz

      Particularly when a good number of the viewers will judge who "wins" the debate, not by what is said, but by how loud the audience claps.

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

      Evolution is based on observational evidence that relies, not huge jumping conclusions, but on a long chain of progressive small and incremental changes in succeeding generations of animals and plants. Evolution is a science, and science demands, if not proof, then at least plausible evidence of a logical nature.

      Creationism not only has not observational evidence to support its contentions, acceptance of creationism requires rejecting established scientific principles, such as carbon dating, without any supporting evidence with which to justify that rejection. Creationism IS a religion, and religions are, by definition, BELIEF systems that require no proof.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
      • truthmatters

        You BELIEVE that nothing came from nothing which defies all that we know about the observable world, scientifically speaking. You BELIEVE that life came from non-life which once again, OOPS, defies scientific observation. Oh well, I guess evolutionists don't have to play by the same rules.

        February 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • Ewo2

          The whole "something came from nothing" argument is a red herring. Evolution doesn't explain the origin of everything because it isn't supposed to – that's beyond its purview. Evolution is simply the process by which biological organisms change over time. The reason it conflicts with creationism is simply that, if organisms were designed as they are found today, evolution could not have occurred. Evolution doesn't have to prove anything about how the universe began in order to disprove creationism, unless the argument is solely that god created a "spark" that set evolution into motion.

          As an example, in order to prove that a glass of milk curdled, you don't have to say anything about who poured the milk. However, if someone argues that the milk was poured already curdled, and you can demonstrate that that isn't the case by observing factors about the milk like its temperature, comparing it to the milk that's still in the fridge, and a wide barrage of other tests, you can disprove the "curdled pour" theory because by nature it conflicts with the evidence.

          February 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Ewo2

      There's far too much money to be made hosting debates about creationism and religion for those on both sides of the issue for the topic to ever be dropped. There are no new arguments on either side, just different players and venues. It's a tired discussion, but Dawkins, Ham, Harris, and Comfort make way too much on books and debates to ever let it go.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • Milton Platt

      Evolution and the bible are fundamentally at odds in numerous ways and are incompatible. There is no god at all in evolution. It isn't necessary.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
  19. SixDegrees

    "Several hundred well-attended debates were held in the 1970s and 1980s, but they have largely dried up in recent decades."

    That's because there's nothing left to say. Science won the debate on its scientific merits, and creationism cratered utterly.

    Creationism is NOT science.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
  20. Rev. Rick

    Quoting from the article: " 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?"
    Neither do I believe it (Creationism) should be censored, but it should be labeled for what it is – theology, not science nor history.

    February 4, 2014 at 12:24 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.