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. Rob

    Jesus cliamed by word and displayed by deed that He was the creator-God Almighty and He said he would prove it by physically raising from the dead. I would encourage everyone to study the evidence for the ressurrection. Truth ALWAYS excludes untruth.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • igaftr

      There is no evidence that it was anything more than a story. Since it cannot be verified, you do not know if it is truth.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Can you tell us what the evidence is?

      February 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
    • Bob

      Rob, the foundation of your religion, this Jeebus-sacrifice thing, is complete nonsense. How is it that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?

      Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
    • Adam

      If you could provide any evidence for the resurrection, I would be glad the read it.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
    • Horus

      Better yet... can you reproduce this evidence?

      February 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the veracity of those stories is highly suspect. considering the lack of any supernatural evidence there is no legitimate reason to accept them as true.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • mnfolkgirl

      Creationists – perfectly willing to call a religious belief fact without proof, yet perfectly willing to criticize science for doing the same thing. Except science openly states that something is only a theory or hypothesis that needs more research to call it proof.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  2. gspot

    Can I interest you in a Ham sandwich, Bubbles

    February 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
  3. Ellen

    The Creation Museum is a short drive away from me. I'd love to attend the "debate" to support Bill Nye, but the tickets being sold will benefit the museum, and there's no way I'd spend my money to support a place that claims people used to live with dinosaurs.

    It's a shame that Nye will be "out cheered" by the crowd, who will be overwhelmingly creationist. The winner of the debate isn't always who gets the most crowd support, but the creationists will inevitably claim victory here.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • snowboarder

      i agree. i would go for the laughs, but i don't want my money to support the museum.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
  4. Universe

    Quran says (Islamic Scripture)

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]

    “We have honored the children of Adam, and provided them with rides on land and in the sea. We provided for them good provisions, and we gave them greater advantages than many of our creatures.” Quran [17:70]

    “O children of Adam, when messengers come to you from among you, and recite My revelations to you, those who take heed and lead a righteous life, will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.” Quran [7:35]

    “O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise, and the removal of their garments to expose their bodies. He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them. We appoint the devils as companions of those who do not believe.” Quran [7:27]

    “Losers indeed are those who disbelieve in meeting God, until the Hour comes to them suddenly, then say, "We deeply regret wasting our lives in this world." They will carry loads of their sins on their backs; what a miserable load! [6:31]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • igaftr

      More of your Islam garbage. It is just as harmful to humanity as christianity has been.

      Quetzlcoatl will be waiting for you, he is not happy you worship the wrong god.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
    • Span.k Your Imam

      Universe, do not be spamming us thusly with your website so verbosely and pastedly. Here it is now said. Hearken:

      For such overt and voluminous spamming, you must nakedly assume the to-be-spanked position, and so receive. Lean forward now, with hands grasped tightly on ankles.

      Do not be embarrassed as such with red post-spank posteriority. We have experienced vestal goats close quartered in Tehran if you need to be resanctified.

      Of this year, shall no imams be spanked without above goats. No more.

      Here it is written and must be so.
      Here it is written and must be so.
      Here it is written and must be so.
      Said thricely. Hear well. You have been spanken.

      Tehran there.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Orchal

    "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."
    Sorry paleontologists, archaeologists, and geologists. Apparently your science is not science. Take your bones, pot shards, and rocks and go back to seminary where you should have been all along.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • dkaplan73

      And don't forget about redshift. All those astronomers looking through their scopes and measuring redshift to see how old and how far away things are... it's all nonsense.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
    • wannabegates

      Just because you a scientist does not mean you represent FACTS. How can a scientist claim that uranium has a half life of X when not one single person is even alive to record a quarter of it? it is not a fact. Don't claim it as so...

      February 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • Aleks

        The most basic wikipedia search will tell you how half-life is measured. Not only are the half-life models scientifically derived, they can accurately predict the decay of materials after any amount of time has passed. They are verifiable and yes, they are fact.

        February 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
  6. Liss

    Debating with creationists is a waste of time. Here is why: It is not like they are debating one theory against another. Religion is not a theory. It is a personal belief. It is not testable, or verifiable and as such varies wildly in one "expert" to the next.
    It would be like debating "I think black holes exist" and "I like turtles."

    February 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Jon

      Couldn't agree more. Creationist is a bit sad as it is based (like all religions) on beliefs of a man-made story. I still, to this day, cannot believe how many people actually follow religions. I'm not saying they can't or that it's wrong but it is fake even if good values come of it. I don't either have the answer to how we came to be but I will stick to evolution until someone presents me with a better option. Funny how way back when they couldn't explain something, they would go straight to " I'ts God! " and that today a lot of these unknowns are now explained (not by God). The goal here is to respect the choice others make and agree to disagree.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
  7. georgex9

    On a Bill Moyers show (PBS )he mentioned that there will be an updated "Cosmos" program on the National Geographic channel in March. This is from the Bill Moyers site:
    "Starting in March, Tyson will host a new, updated version of the hit PBS television series Cosmos, which made the late Carl Sagan a household name. This time the new series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, comes courtesy of the National Geographic Channel and Fox TV."
    For those who were around at the original time of Cosmos it was a ground breaking experience for television which emphasized the naturalness of the universe. I am looking forward to this and I am sure that many of the posters here will want to tune in.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
  8. Swamilive

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

    The Bible...you mean that book written by fallible humans, right?

    February 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
    • rockysfan

      LOL! Good one! thank you!

      February 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • magicpanties

      "... a religion of naturalism is being imposed ..."

      Yes, not believing in imaginary beings is somehow also a religion, eh?
      The old "you have faith too" argument is simply baseless.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
  9. tony

    Intelligent design allows for any number of gods to be involved. It strikes at the very heart of monotheism

    February 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
    • igaftr

      Intelligent design IS creationism...the various creation stories sometimes include more than one god, so there goes your monotheistic thing.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • Ben

      exactly. i hope bill nye makes that point

      February 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
  10. jamesnyc

    "Ultimately, I have decided to accept an authority — our infallible creator and his word, the Bible — over the words of fallible humans." – The Bible being written by fallible humans...

    February 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
  11. sam

    This should be interesting. Bill Nye loves to pick apart creationists theories, if you can call it that. What exactly are they going to debate? Bill will have millions of man hours of research and carefully collected data that shows undoubtedly that not only is evolution an ongoing process, but that it can create all the diversity we see in life today. Ken will have a book written thousands of years ago that has been translated hundreds of times and edited by the church to fit their own power structure. Which version of the bible I wonder will he choose? Shouldn't we have a guy with a Koran present too?

    February 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
  12. Phillip

    The difference between someone with a Ph.D in the sciences who supports evolution, and someone with a Ph.D in sciences who supports creationism, is the creationist was brainwashed from birth to believe in fairy tales, even before they had a chance to go to college and earn their Ph.D.

    The evolutionist went to college and learned something new.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • UrineTrouble

      The true difference? One is a thinker, the other a moron. Simple.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • Tom

      Interesting. You mentioned both sides of the debate having a Ph D but say only the evolutionist went to college.

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

    Without finacial fund raising, collections, etc., religion would disappear.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • mudbone9

      My father said that very same thing after his experiences in WWII and his life long career as a Physician. However at the end he turned back to religion. You never know what is on the other side waiting for us. I never heard of anyone returning to tell their story.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
      • mudbone9

        Sorry this should have been attached to your other comment.

        February 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
      • rockysfan

        Funny how your father waited until he was a death's door to "find" religion. Just because he "found" it doesn't make it exist. People used to believe the earth is flat too.

        February 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
  14. patrick

    A divine force isn't required for existence to be – but would be required to prevent existence from being.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
  15. tony

    I learned to stop believing in god, due to my continual learning about the world and it's inhabitants over many years.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
  16. mudbone9

    We exist in the Matrix therefore both evolutionist and creationist are wrong! We will never find out the truth until Neo saves us:)

    February 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • Smith


      February 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
      • The Real Agent Smith(s)

        You disappoint me.

        February 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
  17. mnfolkgirl

    What this guy fails to mention is that scientists will be the first ones to state that a hypothesis is just that – a hypothesis, not fact. However, researchers don't just come up with hypotheses off the top of their heads but instead base them on the evidence that exists. They then spend their careers trying to prove or advance their hypotheses using modern technology. The evidence of a planet far older than 10,000 years exists in many disciplines – geology, anthropology, biology, etc – and cannot be tossed out the window because of what a religion believes. Religion is man's way of explaining things they don't understand (remember that lightening used to be Zeus' way of showing he was mad) and science is man's way of refusing to sit on their laurels and learning all they can.

    By the way, those of you stating that Bill Nye isn't a scientist are obviously ignorant. He has an engineering degree (studied under Carl Sagan) and actively works in his field besides creating shows to help the next generation catch up to the rest of the world in math and science.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
  18. HM8432

    Though I like Bill Nye, I don't think he'll do as well as expected. Here's why:

    1.) He's a physicist. Since when does need evolution to do his job? It's like a meteorologist explaining microbiology to us.
    2.) People like him tend to surround themselves with people ('Yes' men) who blindly agree with their opinions. When they do debate an intellectual from the opposing side, they're often unaccustomed to the questions/responses.
    3.) He's going into the debate incorrectly assuming most Christians don't believe in evolution. They do. It's Darwin's interpretation they disagree with. BTW, Darwin was a failed Theology school student who had good friends in the clergy.
    4.) America came to lead the world in scientific/technological prominence when most of it's population believed in creationism. There's no evidence that believing in creationism actually harms America's scientific progress.
    5.) He subjectively falls for the idea that religion is somehow anti-science. It's not. God created everything, evolution resulted, and science study's His creation. There are plenty of famous successful scientists who were devout Christians.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
    • Observer


      " He subjectively falls for the idea that religion is somehow anti-science"

      Everything in the Bible dealing with science makes ALL the laws of science OPTIONAL.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
    • duh

      This is the dumbest thing I've read all day. Thank you for the laugh. Now use the thing called the 'internet' and go research the ridiculous drivel you just spewed forth like an uneducated orangutan. I will be promptly expecting your apology to the interwebs and the world when you come back for dumbing down the entire populace.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      1. Is he? I thought he was an engineer? But I don't know. I agree he is not the best representative that could be put out there.
      2. What is your evidence for this?
      3. I think polls say otherwise. And what does Darwin being a Theology student have anything to do with it?
      4. Are you implying causation? If so, where is the evidence?.
      5. I see a lot of theists on this blog that reject a number of scientific claims. What do religious scientists have to do with anything?

      February 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
    • igaftr

      A lot of assumptions based on....oh yeah...nothing.
      "God created everything"...or not or a different god that you don't even know about, or any of an infinite number of possibilities.

      I saw you tried to open your mind...just because you failed this time doesn't mean you should stop trying.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Chris

      Since your very first point was incorrect, I stopped reading. He is not a physicist. He has an engineering degree.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Nye is specifically debating a Young Earth Creationist and biblical literalist.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      1) Bill Nye is a science educator. He has come a long way from being on the Thicke of the Night show on channel 13. He knows a lot more about many fields of science than Ham does.
      2) Scientists do not surround themselves with yes men. The best way to get ahead and famous in science is to disprove a long standing theory. If someone were to disprove evolution they would be instantly famous. Hasn’t and won’t happen.
      3) Strawman fallacy
      4 & 5) Xtianity IS the anti.thesis to science. There are many things in the bible that are straight up WRONG. When you can claim that you know the answer because your god told you what it is you will stop looking for the answer. Science pushes us to look at and understand the world around us.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
    • mnfolkgirl

      1). The debate is about how the world started which is studied by physicists.
      2). "Blindly" can also be used to describe those who are content to believe in Genesis without any proof. Bill is an intelligent enough man to prepare for such a debate and has often written articles on the difference of opinions.
      3). Darwin's theory of natural selection can be easily seen (albeit, much more quickly) when you look at the domestication of animals and the creation of different breeds, encouraging genetic lines with preferred traits. I agree that most Christians do believe in evolution, but will say God created the world because that's what we humans do when we don't understand something (remember that lightening used to be Zeus throwing a temper tantrum).
      4). When the context of science textbooks is chosen by those who are not in the scientific community, as in Texas, it definitely will impede on our children's ability to compete globally. Unless you live under a rock, you'd know that we're already behind much of Asia in math and science.
      5). Prove that God created everything. Prove that the Christian God is the "correct" one. Religion is man's way of explaining what we don't understand. Lightening used to be Zeus throwing a temper tantrum. The problem with creationists is that they are able to call a religious belief fact without proof yet accuse physicists and evolutionists of doing the same thing. At least scientists will openly state that something is a theory or hypothesis and actively search for proof rather than blindly believe a book written by man.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • Barcs

      Bill Nye could say nothing the entire debate and he'll win by default because Ken Ham is full of lies.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
  19. Atheist, me?

    Explain why the Tabernacle resembles the human brain functions then! And why the brain sciences agree with the Bible!

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

      They don't.

      That was easy.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
  20. Chris

    I hope it's an interesting discourse on metaphysics and the nature and limitations of science. I'm not very religious, have a firm respect for science and mostly believe in evolution theory with a few caveats. However, it's interesting and I think important to note that science is entirely dependant upon on our ability to observe (either directly or indirectly) and the accuracy of the instruments with which we make those observations.

    For example, if a hypothesis is based upon the ability to accurately measure temperatures and the instruments which are used to measure temperature under those conditions are inaccurate in a manner which is impossible for us to detect, then science is very likely to give us an answer which is objectively flawed and inaccurate and we will have no way to tell that it is without having some else that isn't dependant upon similarly flawed observation to test the hypothesis against.

    In other words, yes we really all could be heads in a jar somewhere and the world around us just an illusion. We don't believe it likely that we are, and there is no need for us to act as if we are, but objectively we must accept at least an infantesimly small possability that we are.

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

      Yup, you have never worked in Science, that much is abundantly clear. That has to be the most worthless attempt at a comparison I have ever read

      February 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
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About this blog

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.