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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. From Down Under

    Bill Nye Open Letter

    An open letter to Bill Nye, the Science Guy

    Dear Bill, Sunday 2nd Feb 2014

    We’re sorry. We’re really sorry.

    We know how you American rationalists think of us Aussies. You think we’re all so busy clinging on to the bottom of the world with our fingertips that we don’t have time to waste concerning ourselves with silly creationist ideas – that we’re a haven of straightforward logical thinking, secular education, free healthcare and good-looking half-clothed beach bunnies.

    But we’re really sorry, Bill – Ken Ham is our fault, and it’s time we took responsibility for him. We, the people of Australia, have allowed our zealots to escape to your fair shores. It’s not just Ham, either. Fine specimens like Gary Bates, who left for the forgiving climes of Georgia, still manages to send his tentacled pods back over the Pacific and feed our kids rubbish about how the earth is only 6000 years old – a particular head-scratcher for our Indigenous population, whose families have been here since 50,000 BCE. I mean, talk about breathtakingly rude.

    Read the rest at link below !

    http://secoa.org/media/bill-nye-open-letter/

    February 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • Jake

      Thank you for the apology. However, he is a step-up from the typical American religious whacko in that he has been outside the country.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • not bob levy

      Excellent letter. Its hard to debate crazy.
      -not bob levy

      February 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
    • numbnut

      Well done, mate.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  2. Duane

    Oh my goodness. Science is doomed. Bill Nye is a nitwit. Somehow he thinks he is the logical guy to fill in for Carl Sagan. NOT!!!!! Dawkins would have cleaned this guys clock. Sadly I will bet on the bible nut.

    February 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • Jahtez

      Why not Nye? Sagan taught him.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • Barcs

      He's not a nitwit. Just because he hosted a kids science show, doesn't mean he doesn't know science. Of course he does.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
  3. MBane

    Just because your little mind does not understand something, doesn't mean it's not true. You also don't understand quantum physics, nuclear reactions, brain surgery or how Intel packs so much computer power into a tiny microchip. Were they created by God as well? No.

    February 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
  4. Calcommuter

    Public debate on evolution and creation have become rare. Why is that? How about because science trumps fantasy? Talking burning bushes? A boat with two of every animal? Except the unicorn of course. Seas parting for Charlton Heston? A vengeful God in the first firction book turns into a nicer one in the second one. New and improved with a son who was born from questionable cirumstances with 30 years of lost time? Sure, that beats science. Evolution, astro physics, all bunk. not.

    February 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
  5. Knowledge bombs

    You can't exactly call it a debate when it's scientific fact versus fairy tales in a book.

    February 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • Ryan

      Do you know what "theory" means?

      February 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
      • rahul

        science allows for theories – for criticism and questioning when and where more credible evidence may be presented in a counter – argument.

        religion allows for no questioning or criticism. thats what faith dictates – that you accept it at face value.

        there is absolutely 0 to gain from this debate because the fundamental principles guiding either side are completely different. it won't go anywhere or gain anything other than to make the rational question the irrational claims of the religious even more, and the religious will continue to believe, in blind faith, that they are right.

        February 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Ryan

          Rahul...you are wrong about religion. How many different religions are there with different Gods/beliefs? The difference is science folks need something tangible to explain. Its out of there scope to consider that they cant explain something.

          Its arrogant and silly.

          If I cant explain it or touch it...it must not exist.

          I believe we have a creator. I'm not so sure he is a personal God as many do. That is a struggle that I'm fighting. But I do belive some kind of intelligent designer started it all.

          February 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
      • Michael Hunt, Esq.

        Do you? Theory =/= hypothesis.
        Creationism is an untestable hypothesis.
        Evolution is a theory, which means that not only is it testable, but it has been elevated beyond a mere hypothesis by overwhelming amounts of evidence. Evolution is about as close to fact as it science can get.

        February 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
      • igaftr

        Ryan
        Do you understand what a "scientific theory" is?
        Evolution is fact. The only thing left to figure out is some of the specifics, which some parts are still theory.

        February 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
      • Barcs

        Shhhh, don't tell anybody but I think Ryan doesn't know what a scientific theory is!

        February 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
      • EricR

        Yes...evolution is a theory because, while it has not been indisputably proven scientifically, it has a buttload of evidence to support it. Creationism is a hypothesis. One that has zero evidence to support it...hence why it is a hypothesis and not a theory.

        February 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
  6. Engineer in Raleigh

    "there is an increasingly bright spotlight on the research activities of thousands of scientists and engineers worldwide who have earned doctorates and are creationists."

    So? I work with a lot of Engineers that are Hindu. Mr Ham, have you accepted Vishnu as your lord and savior?

    February 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
  7. Ryan

    If we all evolved from a single organism...how did we get so many different species?

    February 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • syz

      Read Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. You will get the answer.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
      • Ryan

        He explains how the genetic makeup of a dog can produce a cat?

        February 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • wil

          Haha, science can't connect every single dot yet, so you dismiss all of the connected dots? Fine then, use magic to make a cat out of nothing.

          February 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Strawman. No one has ever said evolution produces dogs from cats. Are you deliberately spreading disinformation? Or do you know next to nothing about evolution?

          February 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Barcs

          Oh god. Another paid liar here to denounce evolution with ZERO understand of it. You do realize that when you don't even attempt to research the opposing viewpoint it only makes you look bad right? I wouldn't try to argue against nuclear physics because I don't know much about it. You sound like a first grader trying to argue against calculus when you just learned basic addition and subtraction.

          February 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • doug

          Ryan, you seem like a relatively intelligent person with an inquisitive mind. You can find the answers to your questions about evolution if you look in the right places and keep an open mind. You can't figure it out if you jump to unwarranted conclusions like a dog producing a cat. That's not how evolution works or even "what" it is. Start at the beginning, not at the end. Fill in the basics first. You can do it.

          February 4, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
    • Kevan

      Is that a serious question? I am laughing as I am sure you're pulling my leg.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
    • Damocles

      If a perfect deity created everything, why do we have so many species? Is not one perfect spider enough? Why can't antelopes survive five miles under the ocean? Why do we have pine, fir and oak trees when the simple, humble 'tree' would suffice? Why are there so many ways to die when one does the job?

      February 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
    • HoustonOilMan

      It's called evolution

      February 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
  8. Magister

    So the Creationist will argue about the origins of the Cosmos and Human destiny with a man who demonstrates scientific principles using vinegar and baking soda?

    February 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      And yet that scientist who does those experiments largely for young children, will out evidence Ham who has nothing.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
  9. Joel Z. Williams

    Let me save everyone who plans on watching this some time and tell you what's going to happen. Neither of them will change their minds. (Boom. mic hits ground).

    February 4, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
  10. CaptainObvious

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR8qIrJcJh4

    I am actually not telling anyone how or what they should believe. Again, I think it is merely a personal preference, nothing more. There are plenty of well known thinkers who are very open about their personal beliefs. Again, I don't think they are tying to convince anyone (unless, of course, we are talking about Richard Dawkins who clearly has a very aggressive personal agenda). Rather, I think most scientists see their beliefs as personal and not in conflict with their observations one way or the other. So it always has been, so it always will be.

    Again, this whole debate is an argument in futility. To many, including myself, God and science are not mutually exclusive of one another. Others may disagree but, again, I see that as their personal belief. Best.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • Horus

      And when 'personal beliefs' not shared by all become codified law?

      February 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • wil

      Haha, except facts aren't "personal beliefs", you can believe there isn't gravity all you want, but you'll still fall when you try walking up the wall.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
  11. tony

    Getting educated requires dedication, passion and years of hard work.

    Getting religious is quick, simple and easy.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • John

      .....and being devoutly religious to one's own beliefs in practice is an entirely different matter.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • Dave

      Let's not forget...religion requires blind faith as well.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • Weird

      When you try it right, it's not quick or easy.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
  12. hohotai

    I fell down this morning. If it hadn't been for my fervent acceptance of the "gravity belief system" I probably wouldn't be bruised right now. Just look at the astronauts and cosmonauts in the ISS. They are accomplishing wonderful things while floating around. To be an astronaut you must attest that you do not accept the gravity belief system.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      What??? That was a whack load of stupid in a few short sentences.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
  13. Steve Inselberg

    What worries me more than widespread disbelief in evolution is the widespread belief in the "Young Earth" theory, though I understand that they are connected. My reason is that not understanding the kind of time scales over which the various physical process that affect our world work can lead to really bad public policy decisions, especially about issues involving chemical pollutants and radioactivity.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Well said. 🙂

      February 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
    • John

      What worries me more is the widespread belief that the young earth – almost always brought up as 10,000 years or so – IS a widespread belief – which it is not – at least by degreed creationists.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • wil

        What does "degreed creationist" mean?

        February 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Barcs

          It means "idiot".

          February 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
  14. gspot

    I'm the Meek get off my planet.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      gspot
      Good idea. Can you get me to the top of the list for the one way trip to Mars? Along with Megan Fox, Clara Alonso, Claudia Lynx, Nicola Faria, Carmen Soo, just for company, you know.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
  15. scientificpoetry

    Ken Ham is a fool. In his creation museum they show dinosaurs cohabitating with humans – which is absolutely absurd. Ken Ham believes the universe is 6,000 years old. Another absurdity. No need to go on. The man is a fool. It will be fun to see what ridiculous statements he makes this evening.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
  16. Causal

    The debate I really want to see is one between this guy and Francis Collins, a scientist and a Christian who doesn't labor under the false belief that Christianity and science are somehow unavoidably antagonistic.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
  17. T

    Until "evolution" explains everything to the "T" I'll stck with a better explanation – "God did it"

    February 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • tony

      I think that's the lazy explanation. Getting educated is usually a long period of hard work

      February 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Until christians provide evidence for their god, I'll stick with the evidence science has provided for Evolution.
      There's a reason creationism can't be taught in schools and evolution can be.
      Look up Scopes Monkey trial, you might actually learn something.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • Eyeroll

      It is more comfortable to believe that, yes?

      February 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
  18. eric

    So let me get this straight. Scientists believe that nothing (empty space) somehow went boom and magically created millions of planets, most of which are thousands of times larger than earth? Then these solar systems formed that you can set a watch to... then millions and amazing animals and vegetation, and then mankind? That just all went poof and formed in absolute perfect harmony from NOTHING? When you think about that the idea of a creator suuuuure makes a lot more sense. I see order and design everywhere in space and in earths creation. If it was random nonsense there would disorder and garbage everywhere, half evolved creatures laying around with eyes in their mouth and other mutations. Just stupid, no common sense to believe in evolution. Scientists are book smart, but no logic and common sense.

    February 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • tony

      Yes.

      You can't even begin to visualize how big just the part of the Universe we can see is, can you?

      February 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
    • Eyeroll

      🙄

      February 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • snowboarder

      i must assume your comment is a joke.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
    • Dave

      So then where did god come from? Oh let me guess....god has always been and always will be. A great answer to a mythical question.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Yet you believe that a god appeared out of nothing and that nothing (empty space) somehow went boom ....

      February 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • Damocles

      For the love of chocolate cake, it is not 'something from nothing'.

      Your faith relies on that. Something from nothing. There was nothing and then a deity made something. From nothing. Which you just said can't happen. Oh, but my deity is a magical deity. No. But, but, its always existed. No again. Wait, there must be more hoops I can jump through. Probably, but you sound tired, perhaps you should lie down.

      February 4, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
    • Jason

      Eric, scientists do not claim to know what CAUSED the Big Bang, though there are several ideas that don't involve a creator and maybe we will have the technology one day to answer that question definitively. In fact, scientists never claim to know anything for which there is no evidence. "I don't know" is an acceptable answer to a scientist until something comes along that can answer the question. It is far better to admit the limitations of one's knowledge than to pretend you know something you can't prove.

      But that there was a "Big Bang" is an indisputable fact. All you have to do is see that the stars and galaxies are all moving away from each other and work your way backwards.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • TIMMY

      and who created the creator? thought so....

      February 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
  19. tony

    I wanna handmaiden!!!

    February 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  20. hohotai

    Next: "Pope debates preacher who wanted to burn Korans". "Ben Bernanke debates guy who keeps money stuffed in mattress".

    February 4, 2014 at 1:47 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.