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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. Science Works

    Fro around the planet and the live link for debate .

    China Creates Monkeys With Custom Gene Mutations

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-03/china-customizes-monkeys-with-gene-mutations-for-medical-research

    Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham – HD (live)

    {https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI&feature=share}

    February 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
  2. Andrew Zurick

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

    I'd just like to point out that God did not write the bible. Humans wrote the books of bible and also chose which books would be included in the "standard" bible. Ironically many of those books conflict with one another. And the ultra religious tend to pick and choose which parts of the bible they practice such as disgracing gays, but not going after fortune tellers, or people with tattoos equally. The bible states we need to pay our workers immediately, not even waiting until the next morning. And even though Jesus, the lord and savior, speaks that only he with no sin shall throw the first stone, all these sinners line up for first swing against whatever sparks their fancy.

    This will be Bill's problem. The only way to win the debate, is going to be to discredit the bible. What a predicament.

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

      If that is his approach, fine.
      The bible is full of mistakes and logical fails.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
    • Just a person

      He does not need to discredit the bible to prove that Evolution exists. By proving with facts that Evolution occurred, he wins his argument logically. It is not circular, nor a belief. It is provable science and therefore a fact, so it exists. No need to disprove the bible to prove his point. So this debate is truly nonsense for publicity and hype.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
  3. kendallpeak

    One attribute of faith is that often the believer becomes highly upset when their faith is criticized. This is very common among evolutionists. I like to ask them to explain why and how lizards became birds. Their confusion is comical.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • michaellocher

      I'm quite calm, I find you comical, and I subscribe to the theory of evolution (part of that whole member of modern society thing).

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

        All of the replies reinforce my point. Name calling etc.. Including the assumption that I am promoting the Bible. The point is that evolution has many flaws, but if someone like myself alludes to that he is attacked with slanderous put downs. That is one reason why evolution is seen by intelligent folks as a faith, not as fact.

        February 4, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • michaellocher

          Kendall, come on.

          I employed almost the EXACT same language as you did.

          Quit the self-victimizing obfuscating nonsense.

          February 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • michaellocher

          (A science-embracing proponent of mainstream science myself, I have no problem observing that evolutionary theory is rife with gaps, missing elements, and unanswered questions – like any complex scientific question. Contrary to your strange reply, though, that assertion has never earned me ridicule. Perhaps that's because I recognize that such limitations aren't appropriately described as "flaws," but merely as the inevitable artifacts of so intricate a question as this.

          Or, more likely, it's because I don't frame that point as an obvious attempt to antagonize, like you did – promptly before playing the victim.)

          February 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Nowhere (on this thread at least) do I see anyone calling you names. Look, you apparently think evolution says "lizards became birds". This demonstrates that you know little to nothing about evolution. Ignorance per se is not a crime, but if you want to debate evolution, then we expect you to do something about it first.

          February 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Here's what I should've said: "Lizards became birds" sounds simplistic and and strawman. Perhaps you didn't mean it that way, but that's the way it sounds. Yes, birds evolved from reptiles.

          February 4, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
    • michaellocher

      One thing very common among your ilk, while we're at it: pretending that science, a discipline inherently subject to revisions in technique, data, conclusions, and theory, represents dogmatic thought...

      ...when we all know that those who defer, at the end of the day, to a 3000 year old oral tradition belonging to a particular nomadic desert tribe, for fixed, immovable "truth," are the real Captain Dogmas.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Why do some snakes still have a pelvis? Did the creator screw up?

      February 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
    • Barcs

      Why not read a book about evolution so you can learn for yourself?

      February 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Here this will help: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

      February 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
    • michael walker

      They are confused because birds never evolved from lizards. They evoloved from ather reptillian clad, the dinosaurs, which were not lizards. And theire is a plethora of fossil evidence that shows the emergence birdlike adaptations in successive species of dinosaurs untill the point where transitional species like archeoptryx evolved. Of course it took 10s of millions of years for these things to occur, but creationsist are too narrow minded to think in geological timescales. They throw out these ridiculous arguments about how there is no such thing as a Croccoduck (half dack and half croccodile, conjured up my idiots like Ray Comfort and Kirt Cameran) , which just shows that these dolts did not pay attention in Jr.High when evolution was taught and the rest of us understand.

      February 4, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
  4. Loathstheright

    Doesn't matter, anyone who believes in an invisible, magical being cannot be reasoned with....they believe, and that is all that matters to them....facts not needed.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
    • Raphel

      Don't we all believe in things we cannot see? Is it silly of me to believe in tomorrow even though I cannot see it?

      February 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
      • Steve In SD

        What does that mean "believe in tomorrow"? Are you suggesting that the belief there will be a tomorrow is kind of like believing in an invisible being? That's not a very argument honestly. There were plenty of days past and there is no reason to believe tomorrow will be any different. Where is the God that is supposed to exist?

        February 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • Raphel

          In the same place as tomorrow. We all believe that tomorrow will come even though we can't see it, or prove that it exists. Time is a man-made creation, just like the bible, evolution, the big bang theory. I for strive to learn all aspect of our creation and take everything I learn with a grain of salt. There are mysteries in this life that may never be uncovered but its fun to read how we lean toward one theory more so then other based on man-made discoveries.

          February 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Do have any evidence for a god?

        February 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • Raphel

          I don't have any evidence...never said I did. But that doesn't change what I said in my original post.

          February 4, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
        • Raphel

          I did not imply there was a god with my question, you did that on your own merit. I asked a simple question about how we view time and believing in something we cannot see. I have been taught there is a tomorrow, but I have yet to see a tomorrow. I only experience the present, but I continue to believe based on experience that tomorrow is coming. How silly is that?

          February 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
      • snowboarder

        @raph, you have no "faith" that tomorrow will come. you have experience with innumerable days. if this was your first day and you had never experienced a tomorrow, that would make it faith.

        February 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • Raphel

          But tomorrow may not come for me. My days are numbers as I am dying. I do not believe in tomorrow...only today as this is all I have.

          February 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          And yet you spend it posting cryptic comments implying a god.

          February 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
    • Loathstheright

      See, ole' Ralph here is a perfect example.

      February 4, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
      • Raphel

        I am not a good example of anything. I am searching for the answers just like everyone else. My perception may be different from yours, but that is all based on what I have seen and experience in my life. Here's to hoping tomorrow will come!

        February 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
  5. Nick

    There IS NO 'both sides' to the evolution issue. Evolution is a fact of our history, and anyone who denies that is absolutely not a scientist in any way. This man is a fraud, and Bill Nye is going to destroy him. How could he not? He has the facts on his side.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
  6. chilosahatak

    One way or another, this should be interesting.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
  7. NorthVanCan

    Amazing that science might end up enabling the religious to overpopulate and self destruct .

    February 4, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
  8. stephaneetienne

    I am not against one belief system or another but for me to believe in something, I need supporting evidence. The bigger the claim, the stronger the supporting evidence needs to be. Otherwise, I would have to accept all belief systems and that is not practical nor useful.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • Loathstheright

      And which gave way to the great Spaghetti Monster faith, same reasoning.

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

        Ramen

        February 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
    • Kel

      Agreed.

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

      How much more supporting evidence can one ask for that's better than the Bible? It's clearly written there in black and white, after all!

      February 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
      • Steve In SD

        If the bible is good supporting evidence, than any piece of holy writing is good supporting evidence. That would mean I would need to become Muslim, Mormon, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. Why can't God shows himself to us all? That'd be good evidence. Why is that so complicated? He created the universe after all, right?

        February 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • Steven Hill

          God did come to earth. God's name is Jesus/Yeshua.

          February 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Ancient superstition with no supporting evidence.

        February 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
      • UncleM

        The bible was written by tribesmen with no scientific knowledge.

        February 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
  9. Engineer in Raleigh

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

    That's really interesting considering the fact that every time this comes up in court, the creationists claim their problem with evolution is based in science, not religion. In other words, they are lying.

    Mr Ham, perhaps you should get a grasp on those 10 commandments you ostensibly follow before trying to force them on the rest of us.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
  10. Common Sense

    Ok, here goes......All of you on here posting vitriol and laughing uproariously at the mention of God, please do me this favor......go to reasonablefaith.org..................just look around at some of the articles written about Christianity....Greater minds than mine have written those articles...Go ahead, I dare you to open your mind and look at some of the writings therein.....However, I do have one last thought before I have dinner with my family, and that is this: 99% of you WILL NOT go to that site, not because it is disreputable, or has no merit, but it IS because you have made up your mind that you will not believe, no matter what arguments are put forth for the truth of Christianity.....I hope you do.....but, like I said, the vast majority will not......And that refusal says all that needs be said......Now, it is time for lasagna, meatballs, baked bread, and broccoli......I bid you all a fond adieu..........

    February 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
    • michaellocher

      Later.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • A traveler

      I'm surprised you didn't conclude with "bowing our heads" before your meal.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
    • Madtown

      go to reasonablefaith.org
      ----
      Before any of us do this, will you please do us a favor? Go to any online dictionary, and look up the word "Bias". Thanks..

      February 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
      • Fedup...more....

        Your going to talk about bias on the website of the company that re-defined bias.....hmmmm.....

        February 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • Madtown

          I said nothing about CNN, nor did the poster I responded to. But, you're certainly correct about CNN.

          February 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • Alias

          This is FOX? Really?

          February 4, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
    • Fedup

      Not going to your recommended site has nothing to do with not having an open mind. I've made my decision after many years of having an open mind. How about YOU open your mind to fact and common sense. Why waste your time with "faith", ie- believing without proof? It makes no sense. You wouldn't believe me if I promised you unicorns were real even though I haven't seen them, but you want me to believe everything in an old scripture full of simple mythology is factually true? I've outgrown that kind of nonsense. When will you?

      February 4, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
    • Steve In SD

      Actually been there and done that. Still looking for any kind of evidence that demonstrates the existence of God, or any god for that matter. If you have any evidence, please enlighten me.

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

      Problem is they only approach it from a science point of view, not historical nor linguistic, and to a degree not even philosophical. Linguistically almost every holy book is a giant cut paste and edit of 2-3 other religions and writers. Now than none of this proves there is NO god, but to assume it is the "theistic god" whichever Rowe and most of western philosophy argue around is proven false time and time again. Eastern religions have a bit more backing/are a bit more logical but to a degree they are impersonal and sometimes just a sort of "force". The best conclusion is basically agnosticism since either there is no god(s), or at best it's some unknown thing which we can't describe at all and is impersonal. In which case we might as well label it as a force.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
    • Chris

      I took you up on it. I went to the site. I read a couple of articles - intelligently written, non-provable, "opinions". That's all.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
  11. Fedup

    I find it disturbing that Mr. Hamm uses terms like "academic freedom". I wouldn't want my children taught by a teacher who, in practicing "academic freedom" decides to teach that women should be educated, all creation was saved by a guy with a big boat, or that women discovered not to be virgins on their wedding night should be stoned to death. -all in the bible. I don't think there should be "Academic Freedom". I think 2+2 should equal 4 no matter who you pray to on the weekend.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
  12. michaellocher

    If the origin of species is a complex murder scene, the scientists working on the forefront of evolutionary biology are a crack CSI team working tenaciously, for decades on end, to gather and analyze forensic evidence, constantly refining their theories as the observational techniques available to them become more and more powerful. The arrive at dead ends, they debate, and their theories don't all pan out, but their dedication to process guides them.

    Creationists, by contrast, arrive at the crime scene with no credentials, but a pre-conceived belief that the victim was shot with an invisible ray gun wielded by an invisible dragon piloting a cupcake-shaped orbital weapons platform circling an undiscovered planet several thousand lightyears away. That theory can never be evaluated, of course, but that doesn't stop them from loudly proclaiming it each time the CSI team is hashing out a difficult aspect of their investigation.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  13. livingston

    Creationist – stuck in 1925. It's 2014, try to keep up.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  14. Maynard

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

    He is a true idiot. THE BIBLE WAS WRITTEN BY FALLIBLE HUMANS.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
    • A traveler

      And constantly revised by the same.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
    • danielbradburry

      The council of Nicaea elected the components that would be in the bible, ignoring some and including those that seemed to elevate Jesus from mortal prophet to ethereal deity. This council was made up of fallible humans. The impetus behind Martin Luther's revolution is also fascinating – the idea that money bought salvation, and that salvation should be available to all classes. People have created religion, as well as the Bible, which has also received various translations by fallible humans over the centuries. I wonder which version he prefers to read, the King James version?

      February 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
    • Wayne Marsh

      Have you been to the Creation Museum? Have you considered all that has been presented? All I can say is if you think that we are all here by accident and that all of creation just happened, then you like me will have a chance to one day tell God about all His mistakes. Then we will see who has the last word! I hope you will not have to suffer that final judgement.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
  15. John

    Oh, man.

    Watching this debate is going to be like watching the Super Bowl, with Ham playing the part of the Denver Broncos.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
  16. Overlord Number 9

    One guy will list mostly facts with some theories, the other faith and theories that have no merit.
    2014, and still the super being overlord myth lives on, perpetuated by parents brainwashingn their children.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
  17. dirtybird

    Anyone that believes that the world is only a few thousand years old is to be totally disregarded. Any such person should be ridiculed and treated with utter contempt.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
    • Barcs

      Agreed. We live in the scientific age. Denial is futile.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
    • Fedup...more....

      And that is an incredibly open minded view point......

      February 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
  18. epoxide

    @steelerguin

    Ken Ham is a Young Earth Creationist, who believes that the universe is only six to ten thousand years old. This totally flies in the face of everything we know about the world.

    It flies in the face of chemistry and atomic theory therein, where we have the concepts of radioactive decay, half-life, and radiometric dating.

    It flies in the face of physics, where we have the speed of light and the fact that we can see stars and galaxies that are billions of lightyears away – thus making a young universe impossible.

    It flies in the face of geology and plate tectonics which shows that all of the continents of the Earth were once one large land mass (pangea), and slowly drifted away from each other to form the world we know today, in a process that would have taken hundreds of millions of years to complete. The Earth is also abundant with metamorphic rocks that were formed in a process that takes millions of years at the very least.

    It flies in the face of biology and genetics which are completely BUILT UPON the theory of evolution.

    It is contrary to all established science, and it's absurd for that reason.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
    • Barcs

      But the bible is infallible and man is fallible! That means all science is wrong and the bible is right! Yeeeeeehaw!! Jeeeeeaaesus lives!

      February 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
  19. Rajun Cajun

    All I got to say every time I see a "serious" debate on creationism versus evolution is: Why? Is there ever a debate between whether songs should be just hymns or they can be purely secular? Do the two have anything at all in common such that sober adults should feel the need to pit the relative merits of each against each other?

    It's like silly debates as to which is a better sport, baseball or football. One is better than the other? Really? Well, when did I have to make a choice between one or the other? I can't have both? Isn't it the point that they are so different that they fulfill completely different needs? Other than generating media attention, help me understand the point of the having the discussion.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      No, you can't have both creationism and evolution. They say very different things about human origins and development.

      Whether there is a point to this debate is...debateable.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
    • michaellocher

      The theories are incompatible.

      One holds that life, in complex and varied forms, was deposited on earth by supernatural means.

      The other, in keeping with biological mechanisms that are literally the bedrock of all modern biology, suggests that complexity and variation were arrived at through eons of change.

      You can't possibly honor both.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
    • Matt M.

      The importance here is that objectively both views are not compatible. You analogize this to a debate of which is better; baseball or football? (which obviously football) but that's looking at a purely subjective debate. Opinions can differ as to which sport is better (still football) because there's not objective measurement to somehow prove one is superior to the other. We can quantify particular aspects of the game, which has more injuries, which has larger stadiums, etc. but there is no definitive definition of "better" that lends itself to settling the enquiry even though we all know it's football.

      There is objectively a correct answer to the question of which theory is correct. Both theories are mutually exclusive and therefore either god created people 6,000 year ago or over a long period of time biological processes led to the development of people from much simpler organisms. You can't have it both ways and there isn't a subjective component to the question. Therefore the purpose of this debate is to convince people that one or the other theory is correct. Because objectively this is like the Highlander; there can be only one.

      February 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        Well said.

        And yes, football. College and high school, to be specific.

        February 4, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
  20. Engineer in Raleigh

    "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."

    So, we should ignore evidence from Biology, Geology, Cosmology, etc, because otherwise Ham might have an existential crisis. It's not important that we teach kids the truth. No, what's really important is preventing Ham from experiencing buuthurt.

    February 4, 2014 at 4:26 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.