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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. Amy

    Lol = our infallible creator and his word, the bible. A work of fiction.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • Neil

      What makes me laugh are people who believe firmly in EITHER 🙂 Big bang = no proof, just mathematics, and in the end.. something from nothing? Defies physics itself! As for the creator? It actually makes more sense logically, at least it gives us a starting point. In reality it's probably something more like the creator started the unvierse off with a big bang.

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

        accepting the likelihood of a scientific theory has no bearing on the vast majority of the population, as scientific theories make no demands.

        February 4, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • Damocles

        So TBBT doesn't make sense to you, but a deity making TBB happen does??

        February 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • snowboarder

          if we can not at this moment determine how it was done it most certainly must be his particular god.

          February 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Damocles

          Yeah, that's usually how it goes.

          February 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
  2. lunchbreaker

    1. There are stars Billions of lightyears away.
    2. We can see them.

    So how did that light get here?

    February 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • tony

      Not by Genesis 1:13 for sure

      February 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • ME II

      1.5 some of which no longer exist

      February 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • faith

      Who said anything about Noah knowing who sent the light? I didn't say that.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • Jahtez

        Huh?

        February 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      God really concentrated when making The Earth as opposed to, say – the Andromeda galaxy.
      You see, when God was creating the Earth he placed it in a time dilation bubble in order to give it the attention it needed.
      This is how we see light from distant galaxies – they are, relativistically speaking, billions of years old – but thanks to God's chronoton singularity, we are only a few thousand years old.

      ..... or, an alternative L4Hian hypothesis:
      The speed of light is variable.
      Do cars travel the same speed in the city as they do in the country?

      February 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
  3. CaptainObvious

    I have never truly understood how or why some creationists and some scientists claim to be at odds with one another. To me, science just represents our beginning to understand the tools God used in organizing his grand design.

    There are plenty of scientists who believe in a higher and intelligent being. To me, belief or disbelief in God is a personal preference, and nothing more. It is not something that can be tested, neither is one personal belief system superior to the other. Moreover, a simple look at the facts show that, throughout history and even in modern times, science on one end is certainly not mutually exclusive of God on the other. There always have been (and always will be) a great many scientific thinkers out there who will claim their personal beliefs in a supreme being are not in conflict with their observations.

    In short, I think this debate is somewhat of an exercise in futility and irrelevance. Just saying.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • WASP

      to slightly agree......................yes both sides will walk away having accomplished nothing. each side of the debate will hold to their own personal views and give nothing when all is said and done.

      i respect Mr.Nye for attempting to fight ignorance in all it's forms, yet this debate is a lost cause.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      RED DRAGONS!

      February 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
  4. biglio

    As a European I can only shake my head in disbelief that in the US this is even a topic of discussion.......the matter was settled centuries ago.......apparently the message didn't cross the ocean......

    February 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • ME II

      And from this American...
      I Agree!

      February 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • NYVeteran

      This was also adjudicated in the US courts system and is the subject of a movie. However as you have seen in our press, the Tea Party has devolved from humans into primordial ooze. In the USA, we are free to be as ig norant as our mouths will allow us. For this we are nationally embarrassed in front of the entire world.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Steve Inselberg

      Apparently, like some wines, it didn't travel well.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
    • Tex

      Europe is truly enlightened. Much better than the other continents where the majority of people believe in God, the supernatural, etc. But then again, Europe is being overrun with Muslims, so enjoy your cultural superiority complex whilst you can.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  5. AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

    This guys problem is what he thinks "origin" means. Evolution simply claims that everything stemmed from staggeringly simple single cell organism undergoing billions of years of tiny mutations into increasingly more complex organisms. His "origin" is a staggeringly complex supernatural being that arrived out of nothing to create by hand the complex organisms we see today....oh, and he must've either created the evolution process or continue to create by hand every day other complex organisms that we can actually observe mutations in.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
  6. Fred the buddhist

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

    Well, there you go. It's not a debate; it's an opportunity for a sect of America to convince everyone else that they're going to Hell.

    Not much of a debate premise.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • Kevin

      Excellent point which I foolishly overlooked – it's not a debate if one (or, I suppose, both) side(s) go into it with the commitment that no matter what is to be said, they won't change their minds.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
  7. LaurenL33

    "If you believe in a universe that was created by accident, then there is ultimately no meaning and purpose in life..." ...why is that, exactly?
    "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."...and that means what about the credibility of religion?

    Like every creationist, this guy's arguments are full of logical fallacies. We should be teaching theories in school that are grounded in testable evidence and observation. I agree that students should be taught the shortcomings of our current theory, so that we are better able to improve upon our current understanding.

    There is absolutely no evidence that there is truth in the bible. However, the book is full of anachronisms and historical contradictions that only serve to provide evidence against the idea that any of the stories are any more than fiction.

    Bill Nye is going to crush this guy.

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

      But only the educated will realize it.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • trinityarod

      You wrote, "We should be teaching theories in school that are grounded in testable evidence and observation." How does history fall into this definition? There is a radical difference between historical science and observational science.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
      • tony

        Video at 11 records history OK. What's your problem?

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

      So, let's see. Science tells us that at some point in the distant past, everything came into existence out of nothing. Light appeared, and eventually matter and then life, which started in the seas. Some time after that, humanity came on the scene and there was one woman (mitochondrial Eve) from whom all women are matrilineally descended. Some time later (thousands of years), there was a man (Y chromosome Adam) from whom all men are patrilineallly descended. No real scientist disputes these.

      Genesis says that at some point in the distant past, everything came into existence out of nothing. Light appeared, and eventually matter and then life, which started in the seas. Some time after that, humanity came on the scene and there was one woman (Eve) from whom all women are matrilineally descended. Some time later (thousands of years), there was a man (Noah) from whom all men are patrilineallly descended. No Bible scholar disputes these.

      If you ignore the time scale (in a book where it says that a thousand years is as a day and a day a thousand years i.e. time is meaningless), the Bible's story in Genesis matches up exactly to the observable science. As someone trained in the hard sciences, I can either believe that this story with the salient points that match scientific observations unknown until the twentieth century was randomly guessed by people thousands of years ago and accurately preserved until now, or I can ask myself how an ancient people would know all of these key scientific facts and wonder if there isn't some truth to the story that it was provided by divine knowledge.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
  8. magicpanties

    My invisible pink unicorn says she is debating god, but I can't figure out which one.
    Zeus? Ra? Jehovah? FSM?
    So confused.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  9. Jeebusss

    This debate will be a disaster and was a bad idea by Nye. Ken Ham has had plenty of practice constructing his lies and BS arguments that he spews, while Bill Nye is not a regular debater at all. Bill Nye is accustomed to facing other educated individuals who when presented with clear evidence can recognize it, while Ken Ham would sit and argue with you that the sky isn't blue if the Bible said it.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  10. Daxton

    Ken Hamm is an idiot.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
  11. Nancy

    It is quickly becoming main stream that being atheist is synonymous with supporting oppression of non-atheist believers

    February 4, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • tony

      Oh the wicked war on religion! Without any tax breaks for the agressors BTW.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
    • snowboarder

      lol! you're just making stuff up.

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

      Can you name some examples? Because I don't see it, Nancy. Please post some links where non-atheists (?) are being "suppressed."

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

      Ah another Christian a$shole playing the professional victim. Surprise surprise.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • Jim

      Oh yes...religion is so oppressed. Maybe someday you will get a Christian into the white house...

      February 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • WASP

      @mrs.drew: "supporting oppression of non-atheist believers"

      1) "non-atheist believers" would be a theist.........better known as a believer.
      2) we don't support oppression, we support equal rights for all humans regardless of what gender you were born as, whether or not a female decides to carry to term, or whom any marries (mind you as long as they are of legal age).

      oppression is typically a religious thing; i.e. all three of your "trinity" are MEN. XD
      how's that for oppression?
      -females are blamed for sinning first, then tricking/persuading adam;
      -after that female have no real role other than noting whom begat whom, the daughters of eve weren't worth mentioning yet all of adam's sons were listed, why is that?
      -there are countless rules on owning slaves and how to treat your wife/husband (depending on whom is reading it).

      February 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  12. TomGI

    I'm 100% certain that no words coming from Ken Ham's brain mean anything to me. I'll have to take a pass on this program.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    Pointless to debate a religious person. If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people!

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

      Exactly, DD. I often say similar things.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      It's like stabbing jello. Xtians can use their big book of multiple choice to rationalize any position.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  14. magicpanties

    I will watch this with my trusty colander firmly atop head.

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

      Shuck some fresh peas with it instead. Some of the articificially evolved ones are tasty.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  15. gspot

    You would think he would get off his all knowing ass and answer some questions.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
  16. tv22

    It is ridiculous to present this as an either/or debate. It seems most people can get their heads around the idea of a God/ethereal force/mother nature/etc. "creating" the universe, via the Big Bang.

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

      But with no evidence to support a "creator" so you also have to allow for the other infinite other possibilities as well.

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

      hmmm and when i was southern baptist "god/he" did it with a snap of his finger.....so to say and then was sooooo tired needed to rest.

      how can a being without a body, get tired and need a break?

      February 4, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • Fred the buddhist

        Because it's magic!

        February 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • nepawoods

        Well, six days of hard work after having done nothing for an eternity ... that's gotta be tiring.

        February 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • OTOH

        How can a perfect being make mistakes... and regret 'his' actions?

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

      Ken Ham is a believer in a 6 day creation event. Specifically, six consecutive 24 hour days, about 6,000 years ago, before which there was only God, and after which there was the whole universe, with the Earth orbiting the Sun, and Adam and Eve and a talking snake.

      Bill Nye is a "science guy".

      It's definitely an either/or debate.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
  17. Tara

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

    Who wrote the Bible? – fallible humans...

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

      That's an easy comment to make. But who inspired the writing of the Bible? God. How is that proven? The Bible itself. It is historically and scientifically accurate, and even has proven prophecies that have been and are being fulfilled. Such accuracies are being validated as new discoveries in the world are being made. For example, the Dead Sea Scrolls. They are dated back thousands of years, when Babylon was still a great city. Those scrolls written at the time prophesied about the fall of Babylon, which happened after the death of Jesus. Undeniable fact that man could not have written without divine inspiration.
      “Prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.”—2 PETER 1:21.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
  18. stevie68a

    "Intelligent Design" would not give innocent children cancer.
    My own theory of how we got here, is that it was always here. Infinity might go both ways, the past and the future.
    A bit hard to grasp, because our thinking thinks everything has a beginning. But maybe it doesn't.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
    • tv22

      Both ways? Maybe in many ways, dimensions we're not tuned into.

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

      " Infinity might go both ways, the past and the future"

      now you're getting the idea, it's a shame that most children understand things don't need a "start and a finish"; yet adults forget this fact.

      have you ever tried to get a kid to go to bed? they truly believe the day NEVER ENDS. XD

      February 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      My personal opinion is that the universe is the only thing we could consider as eternal and has been expanding and contracting in an endless cycle, fluxing back and forth between matter and dark matter. We may be just one of billions of species that have evolved, lived, wondered about existence and then was swallowed up again to be reborn into a new universe. I feel this is a far more believable explanation to claim some ultimately complex eternal self aware being waited for eternity and then just decided to create us and because we are so special created a mind blowingly huge universe just as a night light for us.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  19. LDH2O

    I's there even an accepted defination of "creationish" or is it an overarching term for a variety of beliefs. Can one believe that man evolved but God created and be a creationist?

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

      Creationism is belief that everything was created by some sentient creature.

      Evolution is the mechanism that life uses allowing life to adapt to a changing world. It has no claim to how life exists or what life is.

      The two really have nothing to do with each other. It is the extrapolation of the basic ideas where some think they cross, but they really do not.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    "If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people!" – House

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

      Marvellous piece of condensation.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:23 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.