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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. longtooth

    The earth was obviously flat until it was proven to be round. The sun obviously revolved around the earth until it was proven the opposite was true. Science will never prove there is no God, because you can't prove a negative. The creationist argument against evolution is a noble, naive crusade against proven fact. We don't have to call each other names. Let's just tolerate each other. When we die, we'll all learn the answer. Personally, I'm in no hurry to find out.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      I just want to point out that it is not true that you can't prove a negative. It just depends on the size of the searchable universe. Suppose I say to you: "Prove there aren't any quarters in my right front pocket." It would then be a simple matter for you to empty the contents of my right front pocket. If no quarters come out, you have proven a negative. Now, it is true that "you can't prove a negative" is generally used with respect to the existence of deities. But it is "true" in this case only because the size of the searchable universe it too large for a human lifetime.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
  2. Got Science?

    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.”

    Evolutionary Biology is not a “belief system.” It is science. Creationism is NOT the “other side” as it is not a science. The teaching of evolutionary biology to students IS teaching correct science. To teach all sides of creationism, the students would take a religion class where all religious beliefs could be discussed. This would be an appropriate class. Creationism does not belong in the science classroom, nor does it belong in the public school system. Creationists would like to equate evolutionary biology with a belief system in order to place creationism on the same playing ground. Science is not a religion/belief system and creationism is not science. Pastors do not have the background to teach evolutionary biology, physics, chemistry, etc. in the churches, teachers and professors do. Keep the pastors employed by allowing them to do their job, and let the science educators to theirs.

    Ken Ham: “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.”

    One does not need a belief system such as the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis to have meaning and purpose in life. There are many, many religious beliefs that do not include the Young Earth Creationist views, even no religious belief at all. If you asked these people if their life was meaningless and without purpose, I bet they would disagree with you.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
  3. Freddo

    Evolution is not a "belief system". The spin creationists employ to push their nonsense is just pathetic.

    Eat him up, Bill Nye.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
    • Christian Crusader

      Nuh-uh. Evolution is indeed a belief system. Some guy wrote it. You believe it as gospel. I mean what kind of scrutiny is that? You can't prove it. These so called "higher thinkers" don't know anything. HAM FOR LIFE!!!!

      February 4, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
  4. billybathgate

    I am a Christian who accepts biological and geological evolution. I believe the Genesis account of creation is a useful myth crafted to illustrate the truth of man's depravity and separation from God. There is no reason to believe that all of Genesis' content is literal historical reporting, and nothing in the Bible itself makes that claim.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
    • Christian Crusader

      Sorry, but the scriptures are the infallible word of god. I know they have been rewritten and translated hundreds of times, but god ensures that the message and words stay the same (at least in my version).

      February 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
    • LinCA

      At what point in human evolution did they get their soul? At which point where they human enough to enter heaven? Did the Neanderthals qualify? What is the determining factor?

      February 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
  5. BBJA

    I personally beleive and have faith in a higher power – who/what/how – I accept that I may never have those answers. My beleifs are based at looking at all evidence presented objectively. My faith is based on my own personal experiences. (I feel that religion/faith is a highly personal matter and no one should ever PUSH their faith on others but should be allowed to openly express themselves without constantly being mocked) That being said....Evolution exists – it has happened and continues to happen every day, we are always evolving.

    Does that rule out a "creator" ? not necessarily. No one knows all the details of our existence and how we came to be, we are still piecing it all together. Needless to say we have alot of theories and alot of missing peices we still need to find. Part of evolving is constantly learning, asking questions and seeking the answers. I see both sides calling eachother stupid and so on, but when you stop asking questions and just blindly accept something (I'm speaking to both sides) that is when you become stupid. Throughout time and history many things once accepted as fact have changed because people continue to open their minds and look for those missing pieces. For most of us, look how many things have changed or been discovered/invented just in our lifetimes – we are but a small speck in time and to think we "know it all" is laughable.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      What is a "higher power"?

      Ever notice how some terms are passed around unthinkingly by everyone?

      Why in the world would I want to have "faith" in some kind of "higher power", and why would I think of it as a "personal matter"!?

      That's just so silly! When we're talking about what we think is actually true, I want my views and everyone else`s views to be subject to all the criticism they deserve.

      May the best idea win.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
  6. JimBoston

    God also said that ham is an unclean meat and to stay away from it.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
    • Someone

      GRIN

      February 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
      • Scriptural Scientific Evidence

        That was lame. Are we trying to attack people's names because evolutionists don't have a better argument?

        February 4, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
        • Christian Crusader

          Give a medal to this man. The science behind the scriptures has been proven time and time again!

          February 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • Scriptural Scientific Evidence

          Actually, I'm a 15-year-old girl, but I know of the evidence supporting creation. Thanks!

          February 4, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          "Scriptural Scientific Evidence"

          How silly.

          But maybe not as silly as calling someone an "evolutionist".

          Get out of your bubble, Scrip!

          February 4, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
    • mary

      A lot o things in the bible were nothing more than rules to keep people from getting sick. At the time Ham could not be kept safe to eat.. And we all know its full of worm larva .. And there was no refrigeration etc..
      So what people think are odd commands and based on some fanatic religious rules , was really only a comment on how to keep from getting sick.
      The bible is as much a book on the times it was written, and the issues at the time..As it is about the other things regarding morality and decency and being the kind of person that might have eternal life.
      Too bad people don't actually 'read' it.. And instead make remarks on scriptures and think, "that about sums it up"~!

      February 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
  7. JimBoston

    Ham is full of bologna.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
    • Christian Crusader

      Sorry, but you are wrong. The bible says no such thing.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
  8. Chris

    Debates on this issue have become scarce because there is no debate. Scientific consensus agrees on the Theory of Evolution. Creationism is not being "censored," there is nothing to support the idea. I have no problem with challenges to established scientific thought (this is how we learn) and I think that creationism should be presented as an alternative, provided proponents of this idea present real, peer-reviewed evidence.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
    • pixelologist

      They can't present what doesn't exist. As you say, though – there's no problem with having differing opinions and the debates they engender. But religion is NOT science no matter what knots creationists twist themselves into attempting to prove otherwise. Testable, reproducible data does not support their contentions and faith is not part of the scientific method. Religion has absolutely no place in a SCIENCE classroom.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
    • hondroid

      you misspeak when you say creationism is not censored in public schools. Do better research please. As for evidence... if you listen honestly you will hear there is zero evidence for Darwinian Evolution and learn how the supposed examples and evidences are not examples nor evidence at all. In short the academia has lied. For instance, you cannot tell me of 1 fossil that shows evolution and you cannot tell me of 1 example of evolution from 1 kind to another. You attempts will be adaptation s at best, which is a loss of genetic info, not a gain. If you wish to believe evolution and millions of years by bkind faith you are free to do so

      February 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
  9. msadr

    I was acquainted with a former curator of the creation museum. he explained to me the many displays that were totally bogus as we were walking through the museum to his office. The creation story in genesis is a poetic adaptation of a much older story that came from a religion having nothing to do with judaism or christianity. Although I do believe God created all life, I believe that evolution was the mechanism the Creator put into place so that life would become what it is today. The 7-days story is just a monotheistic version of an old pagan myth. There might be some elements of truth to that myth. But, taken as a whole, it's a childrens story. I don't know whether Mr. Ham will lose a debate. But he should. He has no grounds – christian or otherwise – on which to base some of his assertions. it's about time Christians started to investigate the origins of the stories in Genesis. They might be shocked what they discover. These stories do not have jewish roots.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
  10. mvrunner

    The Jatravartid people believe that the Universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure. They live in perpetual fear of the time they call "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief". (Douglas Adams)

    If any Christian can tell me why their belief system is more likely to be true than the Jatravartid's, I will concede the debate. And no, you can't use the Bible as 'evidence'.

    February 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
    • Darcy

      Beware the coming of The Great White Handkerchief!

      February 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
    • sbalhara

      The evidence my friend is that "Science" is still in very infancy. And so called "scientistis" understand very little. Otherwise, if Science was progressed enough, people would not be dying of cancer, etc

      Since Science is still very less-developed, relying on Science makes no sense. So basically, we have no evidence on religion, or no evidence on Science. It is tied 0 – 0 , so you go with what you feel in your heart.

      I have to say, that because some people are able to recount their past lives, for that reason alone, I feel religion is more likely correct.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        That's your argument that ancient superstitions are correct?

        February 4, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
        • sbalhara

          yup. that is it bro. keep it simple 🙂

          February 4, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
      • sly

        Science is not to be trusted on anything? Wow.

        People have evidence of their past lives? Wow.

        People really believe in this stuff? A bit scary, but it does explain a lot of the things we read in the news.

        February 4, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
    • Chris

      Well sir a lot of science backs up the existence of a creator. For evolution to be true, that would mean at one point there was nothing and then there was something, since most scientists agree that the universe had a beginning. Also for evolutionary theory to be true, life would have had to come from a non-life. Which the experiments of Louis Pasteur proved was impossible. Evolution claims that all the complex organisms you see today are products of a completely random system and lucky mutations. So processes such as mitosis, meiosis, DNA transcription and translation do not have an intelligent mind behind them. Somehow they just happened. If living thing came from one bacterial cell as most evolutionists believe, how would that one cell carry all the genetic information of all living things (plants and animals). What about the laws of physics. For there to be laws, wouldn't there have to be a lawmaker?

      February 4, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
  11. Piccolo

    Honestly, the best possible outcome of this debate is for Ham to just rattle off his fallacies, guesses and denial of proven science, while Bill Nye just points and laughs. Honestly, I don't know why Nye is wasting his time debating a scientific illiterate like Ham. It's going to be like a 3rd grade math teacher debating a calculus professor on the validity of calculus.

    February 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
    • Scriptural Scientific Evidence

      Have you heard Ken Ham speak?

      February 4, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
      • Piccolo

        Nope but I've seen his "work" and denial of science and that says enough. He's a con man. He doesn't believe himself.

        February 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
  12. truthis

    I find it hard to believe that people refuse to let go of three thousand year old myths. Do they really think this universe was created for such a pathetic life form?

    February 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
  13. you need meds

    I had such a debate a long time ago. When we spoke of the resurrection of Christ, I was told that the proof that Jesus had risen from the dead was "because the stone had been moved away... miraculously." I reminded the kind preacher that the same centenarian soldiers who rolled the rock in front of the cave could have rolled it away... and he just stared at me like he had never heard of anything so silly.. but he said nothing. It is what happens when you debate zealots who have never tried thinking outside their belief.

    February 4, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
  14. i6465490170@aol.com

    Im a Catholic, I believe in God, and Jesus Christ, yet I reject the myth of "Creationist" views. I don't understand why its impossible to believe that God created living organisms through evolution. Human beings have atoms that make up stars and many other things found on Earth, yet thinking that atoms and chemicals by chance being in the same vicinity joining and creating a larger or different thing, living or not, is alien or improbable to some.

    February 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
  15. Lisa D

    Bill Nye RULES. I will be on his side all the way.

    February 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
    • Mark

      Well, at least you're not a closed-minded individual.....

      February 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
      • Scriptural Scientific Evidence

        How would you define a close-minded individual? A creationist? If so, why would you call them that?

        February 4, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • Christian Crusader

          Us Christians are as open minded as they come. While they are stuck in their narrow minded worldview of evolutionism, we know there is a higher purpose. Ahhh, I miss the good ol' dark ages when people couldn't get away with such blasphemy.

          February 4, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
  16. dmcqueen

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

    Wrong. Mr. Ham you have decided to accept your (a man's) interpretation of the Bible (translated by men). That is two levels of fallibility.

    February 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
  17. Richard

    `The ideas about Creationism are not just a little bit ridiculous. They are among the most ridiculous ideas ever conceived by mankind. They are unworthy of debate. So, Bill Nye, you're wasting your time. Of course, I suspect you already know this. Despite winning the debate hands down, they will never admit it.

    Debating a Creationist is like trying to play chess with pigeon. It knocks over the pieces, poops on the board, and then flies back to its nest to declare victory.

    February 4, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
    • Detached Observor

      Love the pigeon analogy.

      February 4, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        I agree... +1 for the pigeon analogy

        February 4, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
    • IvanFlorida

      Hahaha.....that last line was one of the funniest comparisons I have heard on this.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
    • Josh

      Wow you understand you have to be open minded about these things or your just about as ignorant as anyone else. Debate is to open minds about two sides of an argument not as much to prove someone wrong. Socrates said "I know one thing, that I know nothing". Therefore a close mind is an ignorant mind.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
      • Primewonk

        "Debate is to open minds about two sides of an argument"

        This is the problem with the fundiot nutters. This is not about a debate with 2 sides. On one hand you have valid peer-reviewed science. On the other hand you have over a thousand mutually exclusive creation myths.

        February 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • Scriptural Scientific Evidence

          Actually, there are hundreds of christian scientists who have real evidence, not just "mutually exclusive creation myths" like you are saying.

          February 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
  18. Yuphah Kingkhuntz

    Please. A "scientist" who denies evolution is just plain ignorant. I have no issue with those who still believe in some flying spaghetti monster creating the world in 6 days; but only an imbecile (or republican) would deny the truth of evolution.

    February 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
    • Observer

      Why not trow up and come up with a handle that shows you have a high school education.

      February 4, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
  19. Pig in a Poke

    I was just thinking about what the Velociraptors and T-Rexs would have done to Noah's Ark.....Hummm?

    February 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
    • Christian Crusader

      Read your scriptures, they died in the flood, NOOB!

      February 4, 2014 at 6:16 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.