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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. Akira

    Bill Nye debating a creationist is a bit like John Glenn debating a member of the Flat Earth Society.

    February 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • Eyeroll

      Nice name stealing.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
    • Steel On Target

      I would suggest Nye do a demonstration of evolution at work. He should walk in with a bee suit and release a swarm of Africanized Honey Bees and see how many people run away. The slow and allergic creationists would quickly be "selected" to not pass on their genes to the next generation.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • r goodfellow

      It is so funny to read this and to think that this guy, (Ham) actually has no idea how foolish he is. Of course it is just as likely that he is just scamming the "believers" out of the cash they fork over to have their silly fantasies validated. (There is one born every minuet I understand) Nye is, of course, just wasting his time and breath trying to debate a dunderhead who is proud of his unwillingness to accept a simple truth.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
  2. Richard Booker

    An intelligent design requires an intelligent designer. A Ph.D. is not required to understand this.

    February 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • A traveler

      It also requires a runaway imagination.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • ME II

      Who says its an "intelligent design"?

      February 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
    • michaellocher

      On the contrary. If you've got a PhD in a pertinent field, you're unlikely to give "Intelligent Design" a second thought – because it's silly and unscientific.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • Yellow#5

      Meaning an intelligent designer also requires an intelligent designer. Turtles all the way down!

      February 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • Barcs

      Dumb dumb dumb dummmmmmmmmmmb! Prove it's an intelligent design, THEN we'll talk designer. 😆

      February 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
  3. ego_death

    salvation for dummies:
    Jesus: Knock Knock... Let me in
    People Inside: Why?
    Jesus: So I can save you from what I am going to do to you if you don't let me in!

    February 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
  4. kyzaadrao

    I doubt many Christians care. Possibly even atheists. It's old, tired and no one is going to convince the other of anything. Have fun.

    February 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
  5. wallingdad

    does not evolution subscribe to the big bang where everything was created from nothing? and does not the thermodynamic laws of the world (which was created) contradict the actual ability of creating something from nothing? please show proofs and not postulated theory.

    February 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
    • ME II

      Evolution says nothing about the Big Bang.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • michaellocher

      1) The Big Bang Theory does not postulate "something from nothing." You're misinformed.

      2) The presence of challenges, holes, gaps, and voids in the scientific understanding of any given mechanism comes with the territory. Theory and consensus are, always have been, and always will be moving targets. Critics of science like to suggest that scientists are "dogmatic," but all one need do to disprove that is compare a textbook from 1930 with one from 1960 and one from 1990, and so on. Scientific inquiry is an always unfinished journey.

      3) You don't get to fill knowledge gaps with the supernatural explanation of your choosing.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • A traveler

      You obviously have not understood the theory of evolution.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Wow. OK. No, and no.

      Evolution as a theory is separate from how the world itself was created. Nor does the big bang theory postulate a whole bunch of something from nothing. For references – come on now – this is the internet – if you want the basic understanding of these theories, there are a few million sites that will provide it. But right now, your questions show you haven't even the beginnings of understanding this.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • Mike

      The current theory is that there was NOT nothing before the big bang, the multiverse may not have a beginning even though our universe does. There for because there was something before the big bang it does not violate thermodynamics.

      Secondly, thermodynamics only applies to our Universe, the laws of physics could be different in other universes or dimensions.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
    • Akira

      Why are you conflating evolution with cosmology?

      February 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • thrasher_S

      Evolution has nothing to do with creation of the universe or the creation of life. Evolution simply describes how existing life can, through changes to genetic sequences (by various mechanisms), change into new forms of life.

      Evolution does NOT explain creation....

      February 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
  6. Sua Sponte

    If the bible is the sole authority for creationism, than who worte it? When was it written? And why are certian books excluded form the bible? Aren't the Tora and the Koran religious texts? But creationists never quote them. Why?

    February 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • Jay

      The Torah is extensively quoted by Creationists. In case you didn't know, Genesis is the first book of the Torah and the Bible. In fact, Ken Ham's organization is Answers in Genesis.

      Other religious or sacred texts are excluded from the Bible for many reasons: some do not claim to be the word of God, others because they conflict with the Bible, in particular over the nature of God or other key doctrines.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
  7. mpoidvin

    God according to the bible, sacrificed himself to himself to protect us from himself. Now debate with someone who would swallow that? I just don't know why.

    The day when, not if, science cures death religion will be out of business. It is that simple.

    February 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • A traveler

      It's already over - mankind no longer needs the man-generated fear of organized religion (if it really ever did).

      February 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
  8. michaellocher

    I'm generally all for pluralistic society in which cultural traditions and religious systems are cherished and honored, and I usually frown on active efforts by self-described atheists to "discredit" the devout – but where conflict between religion and basic (BASIC) science are concerned, I say let loose the hounds of war. Zero tolerance for the intrusion of religious dogma into science books, the classroom, or meaningful scientific inquiry. Terminate with extreme prejudice. Take no prisoners. No quarter given. Safeties off. Charge.

    February 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
    • Steel On Target

      Romeo Foxtrot: shall we dance!

      February 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • michaellocher

        Target is painted.

        February 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
  9. Nunya

    Bill Nye is a complete hack with no credibility whatsoever. You are wasting your time debating him.

    February 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • Marco

      Boy I hope that's sarcasm, otherwise, you need serious medical help my friend.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • ME II

      Perhaps you meant Ken Ham; he's the Creationist.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
    • Jeff

      Nunya, you are a fool.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
    • A traveler

      No but we've wasted our time reading your post.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • Eyeroll

      Ham destroyed his credibility with this sentence: "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. "

      February 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
  10. Horus

    I would much rather watch Sam Harris debate this guy. Nye will be to diplomatic.

    February 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • gold

      I'm with you on this!!!!

      February 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
  11. Almighty3201

    BOB – this message is for you!!! My omnipotent God could just "snap" his fingers and do whatever he wants, but instead out of the grace and mercy he gave people a free will, a free choice to govern their own decisions. You non-believers want everything handed to a on a platter!!! Your anger your hostility, you deserve nothing! WE (myself include) are ALL worthless good for nothing low-down sinners who desereve to burn in an eternal hell for our wickedness! Paul reminds there are is none good, no not one! I trust you quit looking for God to provide you with all the proof and everything you need to believe in him. Romans Ch 2 says he gave the faith to believe in him! You can choose what you will...... heaven or hell!

    February 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Horus

      Been reading 'Sinners in the hand of an Angry God' sermon a few too many times? Who's angry? ;-}

      February 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Why do you think that anger and hostility is the reason that people don't believe in ancient superstitions?

      February 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      I have more self worth than you. I do not have the low opinion of humanity that you do. It's amazing. It's like when a battered wife comes to believe she deserves the beatings she's getting. Pick yourself up, man.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • Christopher Frantz

      Well said

      February 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • Pete

      Another great example of the negativity of the Christian religion and why it is so bad for society.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
    • Marco

      If your god is that powerful....PROVE IT.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
    • Anthony Crispino

      I knew it! My wife's groin doctor also said God has fingers. Some of these athiest types seem to think God is not like a man.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
      • WordUpToo

        WTH is a "groin doctor?"

        February 4, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
    • Bob

      All-pathetic3201, grow some courage and use the reply button, coward.

      Anyway, no, your free will defense got an epic fail long ago, dummy. So, again, really, 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.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      February 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
      • Almighty3201

        I tried to respond to you but they took away my comments, I guess it's too much truth for ya

        February 4, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          You probably used a word that the filter objects to.

          February 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • AJK

      You don't have to worry about going to Hell, there is no such place. Hebrew (Sheol) Greek (Hades) simply mean the GRAVE. Study the Bible and you will learn that God is Love and He has no intention of torturing people forever. The book of Revelation says the Lake of Fire means a death that there is no resurrection from. So you don't have to worry about suffering for eternity, you will simply stay dead if you are a wicked person, no resurrection for you. If you are a good person than you have a chance (good by God's standards not yours).

      February 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
      • Almighty3201

        First of all you don't speak Greek or Hebrew, no one does, both languages are dead! So use your little lexicon all day long but hell is hell! My King James (1611) got it right. Luke 16. Dont be a bible "corrector" be a bible believer! Bible correctors are dangerous, cuz eventually you start correcting the bible to suit your sin

        February 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Isn't that exactly what King James did?

          February 4, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • Almighty3201

          Great question santa and to be honest with you I cannot do the answer justice, but here on this forum...unfortunately it's pointless. Lets just say I believe it was "translated" and it is the inspired word of God.

          February 4, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
    • Akira

      Wouldn't your particular god be ultimately responsible for how his creations turned out, even if they turned out to be "wicked"? A bad worker blames his tools, a bad god blames his creations.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
  12. Marg

    Can't we just agree to disagree?

    February 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Not when creationists want to introduce non science into science classrooms.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
      • Nunya

        Really dumb reply.

        February 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Marco

          No, a really succinct reply. Creationism has no place being taught in secular schools. It is non-science. In fact, it is pure fiction.

          February 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • epoxide

          You shouldn't beat yourself up too much...

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

      I have no problem with that, but when creationist fight publicly against evolution and science it becomes difficult to ignore their stupidity. People SHOULD be called out and ridiculed for science denial in this day and age. Especially when you use a computer to market this opinion, a product of science.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
  13. Chris

    I think it is laughable that there are still any ADULTS that believe in the old tales of god. Don't get me wrong, they were important lessons that got us to this point. But the light switch has allowed us to learn there are no monsters under the bed.

    February 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
  14. Detached Observor

    It rained so heavily for 40 days and nights that the ocean level rose so high that it covered the whole planet up to 5 1/2 miles deep (that's the height of Everest). Where did all the water come from? Where did it go?

    February 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
  15. Danomite

    Man I wish they taught Creationism when I was in school. The answer to every question is "God did it". Talk about an easy A!!!

    February 4, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • fancimcguffin

      Sir, not quite.
      He is making the point that censorship is regularly practiced when it comes to this issue.
      What are the evolutionists so afraid of anyway?
      They believe we are here by accident and so have no soul, no purpose and no eternity.
      With that belief system, why should they care what anyone chooses to believe? It is all vain.
      I could run down the street screaming I was a tree and my belief would be no less valid than another.
      My emotions, actions, thoughts, and physical sensations are all ACCIDENTS of evolution.
      Useless.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
      • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

        Believe whatever you want, but don't teach it in schools, presented as a reasonable alternative to the theory of evolution. Because it isn't. Why can't schools in the south teach that black people are inferior to white people? Come on – what are they afraid of – it's only a theory. It should have equal time.

        Another example of how religion absolutely rots people's brains.

        February 4, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Barcs

        Holy lie machine, batman. Evolution is a fact and there is an entire scientific theory about it because it's a fact. Please explain the censorship you are talking about? Science should be taught in a science class. Myth / religious folklore should be taught in a world religions class. Stop equating evolution with belief systems about soul, afterlife and purpose. You can still accept science and maintain those beliefs. Being a fundamentalist is so irrational in today's society. It's time to grow up. When you're 7 you usually realize that Santa Clause doesn't exist.

        February 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
  16. Noah, in theaters March 28

    Is CNN's parent company the same one that owns the production company for this movie?

    February 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
  17. Mycroft

    It's going to take many generations before humans get pass the creation belief. What I don't understand is why creationists give their "Creator" so little credit. In their mind if it's not in the Bible then it didn't happen. They confine the Christian God to a book.

    February 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
    • David C

      Christians do indeed believe in many things which are not found in the Bible, which is most of human history and knowledge, including the entire story of the United States of America. What Christians most certainly do not believe in are things which contradict the Bible. If you believe that the Bible is the word of God, then it is a completely indisputable source.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        How would you verify that it is the word of a god? Modern knowledge shows that the foundational stories are incorrect and are clearly the best attempts of a primitive people to explain the natural phenomena of their world – we know what causes eatrhquakes, eclipses, etc. and no god required. So the creation myth in the bible is wrong and it doesn't really explain anything so why rely on it?

        February 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
      • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

        @ David C: So then, do you believe that rabbits chew their cud? Do you believe that bats are a form of bird? Do you believe that insects go about on all fours? All of that is in Leviticus. If you;re not sure, here's a hint: rabbits aren't ruminants; bats are mammals; insects have 6 legs, not 4.

        February 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • David C

          The Bible contains many accounts which at first glance appear to contradict modern knowledge, but upon more in-depth examination and study are in fact demonstrated to be accurate. This includes the rabbit, for which the practice of refection meets the Hebrew definition to "chew the cud" (and similar enough that rabbits were initially classified as ruminants).

          With these verses, the problem is not one of inaccuracy but rather a lack of correct Biblical understanding.

          February 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
    • Barcs

      50 years at best. In this digital internet age of information, the kids can easily learn stuff for themselves. The more knowledge that is out there, the quicker that the already declining fundamentalist christian population will vanish.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
  18. Yellow#5

    Bring back alchemy and astrology in schools as well. Teach the controversy!

    February 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
    • Eyeroll

      Why not?

      February 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
    • igaftr

      Alchemy was the search for the ability to change lead to gold.
      We can now do just that....though it costs more to do it than the gold yeild, but we have done it.

      February 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
    • Ron

      How about blood letting as a useful medical practice?

      February 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • Danomite

        Bring on the leeches1

        February 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
      • Super D

        Glad to see someone with some humor

        February 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
  19. OldRick

    "...instructors should have the academic freedom to bring up the problems with evolution."

    There are no "problems with" evolution, other than the bogus nonsense that those who believe in magic "create" in order to justify their irrational beliefs and actions. Evolution has been demonstrated in so many ways that only the totally ignorant could ignore the weight of the actual evidence.

    February 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
    • Highland3r

      The "Theory of Evolution" is still just that – a theory – not fact. If you look at it from a statistical probablility point of view, the odds that a single event such as the big bang or even multiple events could produce life forms so varied is astroniomical.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • Steel On Target

        Evolution is a fact. The only reason it hasn't been made a natural law yet is because there is still minor debate at a lower level within evolution as to how some certain specific organisms work. Otherwise 99.99% of sane, real scientists agree with the fact of evolution and the process at a macro level.

        February 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
      • MikeT

        Lets play a little game. Take 100 decks of playing cards, each with a different back so you can tell the cards from the different decks apart. Now, mix them all up together, and then lay down each card face up until all cards have been laid down. What are the odds of that exact combination happening? They are one in 5200! (5200 factorial, or 5200 * 5199 * 5198 * ... * 3 * 2 * 1). If you do the math, you will find that is a pretty astronomical number – yet it happened. Why? Because even though there were an astronomical number of possible outcomes, you had to end up with one. Same with life and evolution. There may truly have been an astronomical number of possible outcomes, but one had to happen, and here we are.

        February 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
      • Barcs

        Why do you guys keep repeating this lie? Read about evolution! Please, just a little bit. A scientific theory is BASED ON FACT. 😆 at "just a theory". Learn what a theory is and how it works in science. I can't believe so many people are THIS DISHONEST about their beliefs that they wrongly attack a field of science in favor of ancient myths.

        February 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
  20. Horus

    To get a better understanding of the creationist's view, go to YouTube and search "A scientist visits a creationist museum". Towards the end you will see an interview with one of their scientists. He is pointedly asked: "what do you do if the evidence doesn't support your theory?" Answer: "We go with the word of god" ....translation: We believe a book written by men during a time of far less understanding. This, for me says it all. When you are a scientist and willing to ignore evidence in favor of religious conjecture, you are no longer being objective and simply cannot be taken seriously as a man of science.

    February 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
    • Eyeroll

      "God did it."

      February 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
    • Clayton Colwell

      When you start with omnipotence, then absolutely *anything* is possible, including macroevolution, the Biblical creation account, the Icelandic Kalevala creation account, or the universe springing into being in its current state 3.2883 attoseconds ago. It has absolutely no useful predictive power.

      February 4, 2014 at 3:17 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.