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. A. Reasoner

    This should be conducted at a neutral facility with all proceeds going to charity. It should be live without either side being able to selectively edit it. The stacked deck of a creationist audience, money going to support a monument to morons, and ability of Ham to twist the tape to his purposes only adds indignity to the unjustified recognition he's being handed.

    February 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
  2. Lee

    I look forward to his thoughts on another unreasonably censored theory: FSM creationism. Put plainly (or al dente if you wish), the Flying Spagetti Monster (sauce be upon him) created the universe 20 minutes ago and any belief otherwise is an illusion planted by the FSM. We have a Bible to verify this, so it's definitely true. TEACH THE CONTROVERSY!!

    February 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
    • bostontola

      There's thousands of creation stories, oh where to start...

      February 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
  3. CommonSensed

    Folks – let's be clear. This debate is fairly useless. Facts do not get in the way of folks' beliefs – they've already developed myriad ways to explain them away.

    February 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      For the deluded, dogmatic religionists, any excuse will do, anytime, anywhere, for any reason.

      February 3, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
  4. Brian Limond

    Robert Griffiths: “If we need an atheist for a debate, we go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn’t much use.”

    February 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Maybe, but even scientists who believe in god don't agree on who he is and what he wants..........but they all agree on gravity, math, and chemistry. Hmmmmm...... Wonder why that is?

      February 3, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
  5. bostontola

    "instructors should have the academic freedom to bring up the problems with evolution"
    I couldn't agree more, that is part of science, that is how science has advanced for hundreds of years, by knowing where the frontier is to explore. There is no science, none, that points to evolution being wrong. At the frontier, there are conflicting ideas of how it works in detail, some will be proven right, other wrong and discarded.

    "operational science, which builds today’s technology"
    This person doesn't understand what science is, never mind evolution. Engineering builds technologies on scientific principles.

    "presenting beliefs about the past, which cannot be tested in the laboratory."
    Evolution is not belief, it is tested science, corroborated and cross checked through independent tests in multiple disparate disciplines (genetics, archeology, geology, chemistry, etc).

    "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."
    Again, this man shows he doesn't know what science is and he doesn't know what naturalism is. Science is a methodology of explaining phenomena and testing the explanation. The body of knowledge that accu.mulates from that process is also called science and has proven to be the most trustworthy body of knowledge in existence. Science and naturalism are not the same thing.

    "Even though the two of us are not Ph.D. scientists, Mr. Nye and I clearly love science."
    Exactly. This is not a scientific debate. It may be entertaining (I hope so), but it will resolve nothing.

    Christians are not well represented by Mr. Ham. Most Christians accept most of evolution. Mr. Ham will make them look like a bunch of nut cases.

    February 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Putting the fun in fundamental!

      February 3, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Boston, Mr. Ham does not speak for me or most of the people I know. I'm of a mind that we should withhold conclusions until we find all the evidence we can. In the case of evolution , I think we have established pretty good evidence.It's interesting to me how hard people will work to disprove something that is before their eyes. But by the same token, it is also interesting to see intelligent, thinking people totally discount the possibility of an intelligent designer,when I see proof all around me.

      February 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
  6. Jill

    Rainer Braendlein, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

    So there brown stare. Feed your deeper walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Lionly Lamb – is that you, too?

      February 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Nothing new to add? The same old response to Rainer gets a little dry after awhile, it almost makes you no better than him.

      February 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Go frolic with the corn dogs in the cornfields.

        February 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Personal experience speaking there LL or did you finally get your hands on that weed you've been crying for and are just now speaking from a dazed mind?

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

          "frolic with the corn dogs"?
          Are those the ones that take batteries?

          February 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
  7. md444444444

    OMG! Bill Nye is a creationist himself!! The Big Bang was started by a Catholic priest trying to prove God was involved in creating our universe. Hubble, himself, began questioning red shift equaling speed a star, galaxy, etc. is moving away from us. Cosmology today is pure imaginations by mathematicians. They create equations, and fill in variables with particles, forces, etc. For the real story, read scientists and engineers who use math to describe science instead of the opposite. http://www.thunderbolts.info has videos and articles for every educational level. The Big Bang never happened, black holes do not exist, neutron stars do not exist, etc., etc., etc.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      OMG your rant is fail!

      February 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Sorry to see our education system failed you.

      February 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
    • ME II

      "The Big Bang never happened,"

      How would you explain the CMBR and the red-shift?

      February 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
    • Bones McCoy

      Thank you for providing a prime example of why home schooling is BAD.

      February 3, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
  8. ME II

    @Ken Ham,
    Why doesn't AIG allow public responses to it's articles on it's web site?

    February 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      ME II
      Cowards, perhaps, much like many of our fellow posters that are fundies and cut and run when their apologetics runs down!!!!

      February 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
  9. SKV

    There is nothing to discuss. This is the matter of believes.
    Here is the single argument that makes any 'scientific discussion' a farce.
    According to creationism: The World as we know may be created a day ago with all our memories, physics laws and anti-creationism artifacts strategically planted to look exactly like World was created 14.3 Billion years ago.

    Remove dogma and creationism cannot pass radioactive decay dating.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • RB

      ...and there are zero problems with radioactive dating methods.

      February 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • King of Darkness

        very true. the only problems with radiometric dating are in the minds of stubborn fundamentalists. There are many methods of dating, and surprise surprise many of them confirm one another. If 2 different methods of dating got vastly different results then it would be something to talk about, but that simply isn't the case.

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

          Hopefully you noticed that when Ken Ham mentioned the 45,000 year old wood encased in 4.5 million year old sediment... the bill gave him was that the rock fell onto the wood... think about that one for awhile...

          February 4, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
  10. CommonSensed

    Can someone answer me how you can have a debate when one side uses facts and the other uses myth?


    February 3, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
    • Vic

      That's a negative propaganda.

      The debate is about "origins" and not mechanisms. Science has no facts whatsoever regarding the "Origin" of matter and life. All parties have the same empirical scientific facts—note that the word "fact" has polymorphism within the scientific community, in that case there is also a debate about it.

      February 3, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
      • King of Darkness

        Origin of life and matter? Which one are we talking about here? Life or matter? Abiogenesis does indeed have a few successful experiments. They have sucessfully duplicated a few parts of the process. The are a ways away from proving it, but to suggest there are no facts whatsoever would be a blatant lie. Creationists do this a lot for some reason.

        February 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
      • Bones McCoy

        So I take it you have evidence for god?

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

          conscience and the knowledge of right or wrong just naturally evolves from survival of the fittest...

          February 4, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
      • ME II

        "Science has no facts whatsoever regarding the "Origin" of matter and life."

        Not true. Science has date ranges of when they "started", or more specifically, date ranges for the oldest evidence of their existence.

        February 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
  11. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Hilarious... only Creationists think there is dissent on evolution... everyone else thinks Creationists are quacks...

    February 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • Bones McCoy

      Nailed it.

      February 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
  12. Doc Vestibule

    Looks like its time for another installment of:

    There are 5 laws in the Theory of Evolution.
    1) Evolution as such.
    This is the understanding that the world is not constant, nor recently created, nor cycling, but is changing; and that the types of enti.ties that live on it also change.
    2) Common descent
    This is the understanding that every group of living enti.ties that we know of on this planet descended from a common ancestor.
    3) Multiplication of species
    This is the understanding that species either split into or bud off other species, often through the geographical isolation of a founder species.
    4) Gradualism
    This is the understanding that changes take place through the gradual change of population rather than the sudden production of new individuals.
    5) Natural selection
    This is the understanding that individuals in every generation are different from one another, or, at least some of them are. In every generation some individuals survive and reproduce better than others. Their genes multiply.

    The vast majority of evolutionary biologists find no conflict between religion and science, with the caveat that religion is recognized solely as a social adaptation.

    Evolution is fact.
    Even the Catholic church accepts that!
    There is an ever growing mountain of evidence from different branches of science accu.mulated over more than a hundred and fifty years that verify Darwin’s 5 laws. Not one has been falsified.Creationists have yet to advance a single shred of evidence to support their assertions.
    As a matter of fact, the leading rabble rousers in the Creationist world – The Center for Science and Culture (sponsored by the Discovery Inst.itute) openly admit that their goal isn't to teach what they think is fact. An internal doc.ument leaked in 1999 described the Discovery group's objective in pushing for creationism to be taught in schools as to defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies. They want to use Intelligent Design as a "wedge" to separate science from its allegiance to atheistic naturalism.
    In other words, they fear that teaching FACTS to children will drive them away from religion.
    Answers In Genesis is a collection of rationalizations, not scientific theories.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
    • ME II

      @Doc Vestibule,
      Well said!

      (although I don't think "5 Laws" is technically accurate)

      February 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • L

      Those are your personal beliefs and opinions which you think "proves" you correct. Teaching children atheism in science classrooms is WRONG. Kinda funny, you don't view that as bad. No biased atheists please.

      February 3, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I see you trollin'.....

        Science teaches neither theism nor atheism – it is simply a means of describing the natural world and chronicling its workings.

        February 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
      • ME II

        Science is not Atheism and Atheism is not science.

        However, Atheists often see science as an example of how religion deludes people into believing unsupportable ideas.

        February 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
      • Alias

        Just because evolution contradicts YOUR religion that does not make evolution a religion.
        There are lots of other holy books out there, and I don't want them taught in schools either.

        February 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It is essentially the same play as trying to discredit human-influenced climate change.

      February 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
  13. Cal


    "Which is another way of saying that science is constantly being proven wrong."

    Except for the science you and your Bible agree with, right?

    February 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Cal : Except for the science you and your Bible agree with, right?

      Science is a methodology, not a destination. The Bible provides history and prophecies, both of which are untestable following the scientific method. So, science and the Bible can never agree, nor disagree.


      February 3, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
      • Alias

        Until science proves we ddid not all come from one mated pair, or the earth is round and moving around the sun, or the world never flooded .....

        February 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
      • ME II

        "Science is a methodology, not a destination."

        Well said!

        "The Bible provides history and prophecies, both of which are untestable following the scientific method."

        Close. History can be determined to a certain extent by the evidence, although, not all of history nor all aspects of history are amenable to this investigation.

        February 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : History can be determined to a certain extent by the evidence, although, not all of history nor all aspects of history are amenable to this investigation.

          How do you propose to repeat the history to test it? We cannot. All we can do is to re-test extant evidence and project our beliefs upon what this evidence means. That fails the scientific method, which stipulates that the experiment itself must be repeatable.


          February 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • Alias

          So finding the ruins of a city does not prove a city ever existed?
          Unless we find it more than once?

          February 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • ME II

          "How do you propose to repeat the history to test it? We cannot."

          I don't propose to repeat history, but aspects of history can be determined by experiments in the present.

          "All we can do is to re-test extant evidence and project our beliefs upon what this evidence means. That fails the scientific method, which stipulates that the experiment itself must be repeatable."

          Yes, the experiment must be repeatable to determine the validity of hypothesis. History does not always need to be repeated.
          For example, If someone claims to have flown to the moon with their own wings under their own power, then we can determine that that is unlikely to have ever happened, because of the lack of air and mechanics of flight.

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

        @Liv4Him: It just seems quite an odd statement considereing you are constatnly addressing dino soft tissue (scientific study) as proof of the falsification of evolution, when your statement acknowledges said study could be proven wrong later.

        February 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
  14. chris

    Sure, the theory of evolution is constantly "evolving" and there are still unknowns and gaps in evidence, however poking holes in evolution does not suddenly give credence to Creationism at all. The fundamentals of Evolution are pretty solid and it has been observed in nature. Creationism, on the other hand, requires first of all the belief in a supernatural being, and there is not one scrap of evidence either for or against it. It cannot be observed or measured or recreated in a lab, and therefore it cannot be used as a basis for anything in science. In addition there are many dozens of versions of creationism, ranging from the Christian belief to Hinduism to many more ancient beliefs, so assuming there is suddenly solid evidence of an invisible hand manipulating the universe, the next question would be, whose hand is that? Yahweh, Allah, Krishna? I would think the "God" whose characteristics are consistent with our current scientific knowledge should be the most likely candidate. Would we want to believe in the God who tells us the universe is only 6000 years old even though science clearly sees differently? Obviously not.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
  15. ME II

    @Ken Ham,
    "Our public schools arbitrarily define science as explaining the world by natural processes alone."

    It's not arbitrary, it's science.
    If you know of a reliable and reasonably accurate method that is a reasonably accurate way of exploring our world/universe and determining is real that does not rely on natural processes, please present it.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
  16. Trees B Forelight

    Hope they talk about the validity of unformitarianism (James Hutton) and geological actualism before wasting energy discussing biological evolution (Charles Darwin.)

    February 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    This "debate" is Ham's way of garnering publicity for his failing Creation Museum.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
    • Colin

      Please, tell me it IS failing. I had not heard that. It is an educational Chernobyl.

      February 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        When they started out, they had around 400,000 visitors per year and attendance has declined steadily since then, down to around half that number last year. They're hurting enough that they've added attractions more in line with an amusement park than a museum like zip lines and a sky bridge and their project to build a life sized Noah's Ark is on hold.

        February 3, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
  18. IJK

    You care about science? It does not show: Your tenets violently clash against fundamental experimental facts in astronomy, cosmology, physics, chemistry, geology, biology and history, to name a few. If what you believe is true, all those scientific disciplines are wrong at a very fundamental level.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
  19. Colin

    I'm in two minds about this. It gives creationists an undeserved credibility to debate them. Let's face it, he is not going to change any creationists' mind, because they do not require evidence to support their beliefs. To the extend they think they are relying on "evidence" it tends to be selectively ignoring mountains of evidence for evolution and relying on perceived gaps (real or imaginary) in the fossil record to support their "six days and a talking snake" theory.

    All this will do is make many young people think there is a genuine debate in scientific circles over evolution v. creationism, which there most certainly is not.

    It's a bit like Neil DeGrasse Tyson debating the origins of the Universe with a Hindu who argues that the entire Universe formed when the Lord Brahma copulate with Shiva, the destroyer.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
    • Shri

      Colin – your comment re: Hindu guy and belief that universe was created by Brahma and Shiva copulating – very funny! I am Hindu, and for the life of me can't think of a single Hindu I know – aunts, uncles, grandparents, extended family, family of friends, etc., age group 20-95, who seriously believe for a second about the Brahma-Shiva stuff. Everyone takes it with a dose of salt – that folks needed a mythological reference to explain things way back when... hope no offense was meant, and in any case, none taken, but seriously – no one, and I mean no one, would dream of defending it.. 🙂

      February 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
      • Colin

        No offense meant Shri. I guess nobody in your circle is as inane enough to try and scientifically defend religious mythology. Unfortunately, that is not true in the USA, where a jawdropping 40% of the population believe this talking snake mythology. I am serious – 40% !!!

        February 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • Shri

          Colin, I cannot believe that figure... I live in the US now, and when I see school councils debating whether to include creationism (any creationism – Christian, Hindu, etc.) in the curriculum, I just point my finger at my head, and think – kill me now. Cheers, mate.

          February 3, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • fred

      Creationists twist science just as much as you do when it comes to justifying their belief. You are both equally wrong when you attempt to apply science to the things of God. The kingdom of God is not of this world and certainly does not operate according to the natural laws.
      Perhaps if I gave you a simple example you would understand. My company builds a bridge and our employees pray for each other every day with real love doing the best we can to follow Christ in all we do. Local, federal and state offices will inspect various aspects and conduct tests based on strict engineering standards and the like. You will drive over that bridge and in the natural it will seem like any other bridge and comply with all known natural laws. No one could prove or measure any real difference between this bridge and the competitors using the same specs.
      The eternal difference is that our team built the bridge with Gods presence and we were blessed by Gods presence in the process. The people we touched while building the bridge will be blessed. All the while the natural remains the natural and the things of God remain in the spiritual.
      So it is with science and the things of God.

      February 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
    • fred

      🍝 → 🐒 → 👫

      February 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
  20. Madtown

    our infallible creator and his word, the Bible
    Oh boy. If our creator is infallible, why didn't he just create an infallible word himself? Very fallible humans have created the bible, and credited it to God. If Ham wants it to be an absolute authority, it needs to be objectively proven to be authoritative, and relevant to all.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:14 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.