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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. methos75

    This guy is absolutely insane. You cannot observe the age of the earth. HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA.

    "Screw Geology, I've got the bible. I can observe the bible. You cannot observe geology. And CERN, and all of the stuff making this broadcast possible, and the medical science used to keep me alive, because reasons, blimey"

    That is basically the guise of Ham's entire debate, this guy is an absolute moron.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
  2. Og

    The people living on earth 3000 – 100,000 years ago never had free will explained to them. God wasn't there until he turned himself into a magic sperm so that a virgin could give birth to his son (who was him). That way he could sacrifice his son (him) in order to be able to forgive people for acting on the instincts that God gave them.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
  3. Og

    I just listened to this Ham speak a bit......just false words, no facts, all faerie kine words.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
  4. JB

    The Science of Evolution is not anti-God. You can believe in God and understand Evolution. Creationists are brainwashing kids to believe a Pro-God Creation story while hijacking the term Science.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
    • Child Of God

      Really I don't undestand evolution since it says we are supposed to evolve from a ape name Lucy. We did not evolve from no ape. People that believe in evolution are decieved from the great deciever himself. I pray that all that were and are being decieved come to know that God is our creator and ask for his forgiveness. I can not judge those that are lost in transition but I can show them love and try to bring thm to the truth.

      February 4, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
  5. silo11

    I see a lot of people saying that Evolution has been proven. Evolution has NOT been proven. There is not one single piece of evidence that proves one species of animal came from a completely different species of animal.
    Now, microevolution does take place and I believe that both creationists and evolutionists would agree. Yes organic forms do adapt to their surroundings, and yes it does take time, some quicker than others, but this adaptation is NOT evolution because they are still the same species.

    There are more and more "top tier" scientists who believe or at least admit the idea of intelligent design is more probable than not.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      "There are more and more "top tier" scientists who believe or at least admit the idea of intelligent design is more probable than not."

      Completely fabricated.

      February 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
      • JB

        Simple challenge. They can prove this 'more and more' or they can just make more wild claims with no EVIDENCE because for Creationists like this evidence is not necessary. Blind brainwashed adherence to faith is all that is needed.

        February 4, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
      • fringed

        http://www.humanevents.com/2013/12/16/intelligent-design-theories-gaining-steam-in-scientific-circles/

        February 4, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          As evidence that "the scientific theory of intelligent design (ID) continues to gain momentum", the article presents a single book (not published peer reviewed papers), written by Stephen Meyer, who is the FOUNDER of ID. The founder, mind you.

          Please try again.

          February 4, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
  6. JB

    If God is the only authority, prove the existence of God. Unless you can do so, the basis of your position does not exist.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
    • Peick

      What do you mean by prove?

      February 4, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
  7. JB

    So . . . if the question is 'it a viable model' why is Ken Ham spending so much time debating whether or not scientists can be Creationists . . . . that is not the topic of debate, is it?

    February 4, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I didn't think that was the topic of the debate.

      I don't think anyone would argue that a creationist cannot be an engineer – though it is intended to as an a-priori rebuttul to the the premise that Bill Nye alluded to (that teaching creationism makes us weaker compared with education systems in other countries.)

      February 4, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
      • JB

        It is a rather long winded rebuttal and off task. Nye spent very little time mentioning the issue, Ham is obsessive about it. I see the Gish Gallop is going full tilt though.

        February 4, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
  8. Charles

    Had to respond to the last sentence as well:
    Quote: "I have decided to accept an authority — our infallible creator and his word, the Bible — over the words of fallible humans."

    I don't believe science is about deciding to believe/accept any authority. You don't have to believe Einstein existed to learn and test the theory of relativity. I don't need to accept that Newton existed or accept his authority to learn and test his three laws of motion.

    That's the difference between science and religion. In science, You test your theory and modify the theory if the tests don't support it. in religion, you test your theory and modify the experiment to support your theory.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
    • Ric P

      Well said!

      I can't help but be bothered by that last sentence as well, considering the Bible was compiled by those same "fallible humans".

      February 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
  9. Bee-Sides

    I can't recall whether it was actually Ham or another goofball, but from the mouth of a noteworthy creationist came an explanation of why debates like these are of vital theology importance, and it was better than I could have put it.

    In sum: the entire Christ story relies upon the LITERAL FACT that man was created perfect and fumbled the grace of God away. You can't be a christian if you don't believe man was in need of a spiritual redemption it doesn't really deserve, and the only that makes any moral sense if we squandered it. Otherwise He just created us wrong, and imposed an innate punishment He (the father) also (pointlessly) intervened to spare us.

    If evolution is true, Jesus ain't. There can be no cutsie middle position. So go get 'em Science Guy. Open some eyes.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
  10. Foz-man

    "Observational science denies the supernatural science"

    Ken Ham just said that. He really did say that. I still don't think he knows the definition of science.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, he tried to create what he thinks is a new kind of science called "historical science" based on the bible as the source of the 'history'.

      February 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
  11. VLY9333

    So many fallacies, so many trolls.
    Debating this ham only gives them legitimacy and serves no purpose.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
  12. The debate ?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI

    February 4, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
  13. Rembrant

    The Bible is a good story that explains how the world came about before there was a science that could explain how the world came about. That was then. As humans evolved, they became smarter and will continue to become smarter.
    Religion came about to suppress people into a certain way of thinking. Will I go to hell simply for questioning the Bible. What about all those people who don't read the bible? Aren't all those Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims sinners... will they all go to hell too? Isn't following religion hell enough already?

    February 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
  14. Charles

    Quote: "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."

    My school taught me the definition of science in the dictionary
    From Merriam-Webster: sci·ence
    noun \ˈsī-ən(t)s\

    : knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation

    : a particular area of scientific study (such as biology, physics, or chemistry) : a particular branch of science

    : a subject that is formally studied in a college, university, etc.

    From Wikipedia:
    Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"[1]) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.\

    As opposed to Religion:
    Merriam-Webster: re·li·gion
    noun \ri-ˈli-jən\

    : the belief in a god or in a group of gods

    : an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

    : an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

    Wikipedia:
    Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.

    Seems pretty clear to me where evolution and creationism fall in those two definitions.

    but maybe that's just me.

    February 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
  15. Rational

    All of the Christians would call this debate a waste of time, a show, and mockery if Ken Ham was spouting off bunk science crafted to support the creation myths of ancient greece. Why is it that your creation story deserves to be considered science? How exactly is anything you believe more reliable, from the standpoint of the origins of the universe, than any of the other eastern religions, viking myths, roman gods, or pastafarians? Why is it that 99.9% of scientist hold that evolution is true? Is it really that big of a conspiracy? Is almost every scienctist on earth having secret meetings trying to figure out how to keep there lie from folding? There is no aganda, if the facts, the data, the countless papers, the studies, the computer models, THE EVIDENCE pointed towards the creation model than that is what 99.9% of scientist would believe. It simply does not. While I respect everyones right to believe in whatever deity they want, I simply do not respect the attempt to force "scientific religion" on anyone let alone children. Facts are facts, and unfourtunatly for the creationist team, it isnt in your corner.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
  16. Patrick

    My biggest issue in this discussion is I'm not certain what is meant by "Creationism". I don't really have a problem with people who believe that God exists and that He "created" the world in the sense that he created the physical laws of the universe and science is how we categorize and understand those laws. I do have an issue with people that claim the story of Genesis is the literal truth, particularly if they are going to throw in the count-up-the-people-in-the-Bible timeline. Evolution aside, Mr. Ham has expressed admiration for what he calls "observational, operational science". Perhaps my understanding is lacking, but I though things like carbon dating and such would fall into this type of science (since we can observe and measure the half-life of carbon 14) and carbon dating shows the existence of things a lot longer ago than a few thousand years. And this is where I have a problem with scientists with belief in the literal Bible: even if a scientists' field of study isn't related to evolution, the belief in the Biblical age of the world can only be explained by a willful blindness to the evidence, which would then lead to questions of what else the scientist may be blind to.

    As I stated above, there are certain assumptions underlying my comment. If those assumptions are inaccurate, please let me know.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      In this context "creationism" essentially means "young earth creationism" – that the earth is literally less than 10,000 solar years old.

      He will argue that humans did not evolve into their current form but were created 'as-is' and magic'ed into existence from dirt.

      Ken Ham's creationist museum features humans and dinosaurs coexisting.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The "Answers In Genesis" website tries to refute all kinds of radiometric dating.

      February 4, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
  17. Tammy LaSala

    We have a Creator (God) who started the world in Genesis. He is an all powerful, all knowing, and able to do exactly what He said He has done in the Bible. This is truth, and fact. There is much proof, and prophecies that has already been fulfilled. One of the biggest prophecies is Jesus. Many chapters in the Old Testament had Prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, and Daniel, all real men who testify real messages given to them by God. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    My testimony about Jesus is that He saved my life, both physical and spiritual. Since knowing who He truly is He has changed my life. He saved my soul in 2002 when I forever gave Him my heart. In 2009 Jesus saved my life when a car hit me while I was crossing and icy road. The way I landed could have only have happened if Jesus was there. That car almost ran me over but Jesus made my body fall right between the axil. The car ran over part of me, but the wheels did not touch me because of how Jesus made me land. If it weren't for Him, I wouldn't be here. Those who question of Jesus or God is real, all they have to do is pray directly to Jesus. Jesus will always answer. Just be honest with Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to open your heart to understand what you don't in the Bible. He is always listening. He came to die for all of us, in hopes we will be saved. John 1: 1-14; John 3:3-5; John 3:16-18; 1 John 1:9

    February 4, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      You had a lucky escape – it doesn't mean that there are guardian angels or supernatural beings.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
      • True story

        My domestic partner was getting arrested, something came into my dream and told me about the arrest/where and when. I found him the next day. It was what it was.

        February 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      I am glad you were okay. But if god saved you, he also caused the accident, or at the very least allowed it to occur. You can't have it both ways.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
    • Doris

      "..One of the biggest prophecies is Jesus. Many chapters in the Old Testament .."

      Yes, everyone knows about how Gullible's Travels, Part 2 was made to fit well with Gullible's Travels, Part 1.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
    • Griffy00

      Tammy i truly feel sorry for you and your delusions, years of medication and therapy will help you break free of your cult and its false message that has run your life. good luck!

      February 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
      • jay

        Science is based on what we know and can be proved, tested, and repeated through experiments. Religion is just a glorified "hunch" that something is true. That's how I see it, in a nutshell.

        February 4, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
    • LinCA

      What evidence do you have that makes your god any more likely to be real than the Tooth Fairy? What makes your god any different from the thousands that have been worshiped in the past and long since discarded? What distinguishes your "encounters" with Jesus from indoctrination induced hallucinations?

      February 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
    • OTOH

      Tammy,

      Why would you be happy about not dying in that accident? That was your chance for a way out of this vale of tears. You were rejected!

      February 4, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
  18. methos75

    I hope Nye goes for the reverse-Gish, and starts galloping away with points about the validity of the bible as we know it; who translated what, the reinterpretations that have been imposed, the idea that someone who lived several hundred years after an event can record "first hand" information about it, etc etc.

    Basically go for their source material, and leave Ham debating the validity of the bible iteself.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
  19. VK

    really CNN you're doing a screen capture of the youtube website and you're calling it your own video??? not to mention it's over a minute behind...

    February 4, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
  20. chris ozman

    CNN already shows its bias, by the front page line of Ham answering Nye with "and why I'm debating the science guy" as if Ham is not also a Scientist. BOTH are Scientists, both work with exactly the same data, it is the interpretation of the data that matters. Having said that there are a dozen Creation Scientists better than Ham notably Dr Jonathan Sarfati, author of "The Greatest hoax on Earth" in reply to Dawkins. But CNN, like all left-wing (read anti-God) broadcasters, would never put Sarfati up against Nye, as he would eat him for breakfast.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
    • midwest rail

      "...like all left-wing (read anti-God) broadcasters,..."
      Delusional nonsense.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
      • chris ozman

        Has anyone wondered why Evolutionary Scientists seems to be in a constant state of "surprise" and "astonishment"?

        It is because their firmly held beliefs are mangled almost every year by the facts, causing them to have to invent more and more elaborate stories to justify their interpretation of the data both sides of this debate share. That's right, both sides have the same data, only the interpretation differs. It is important to know that Creation Scientists agree on natural selection, but not the totally different concept of one kind of thing becoming another over ANY amount of time. Why don't you all spend, say, the next couple of years (and you still won't finish all the articles) soaking up the science of Creation Ministries International on their website? You will still totally believe in science, but the truth shall set you free from your Evolutionist dogma. Evolution is the Greatest lie on Earth, it has been incrementally taken apart from the very day Darwin wrote it. If Darwin knew today even what we know about a single cell, let alone the coded information in DNA, (anyone heard of a code not intelligently written?) he would renounce it in total embarrassment.

        February 4, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
        • epoxide

          >Has anyone wondered why Evolutionary Scientists seems to be in a constant state of "surprise" and "astonishment"?

          No, I haven't, because they're NOT.

          February 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      There is no evidence for creationism.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
      • Peick

        I know you're just trolling for a reaction, but there is proof of creationism: the people who believe in it. Maybe what you meant to say is that there is no evidence that the earth was created. Yes, there is, but it has to be connected to that belief. Man's moral motions indicate that a law giver put morals into our hearts. That's evidence. You can explain it differently, but it's still evidence. Maybe what you mean is that there is no test tube experiment which proves we were created. You're right, there isn't. Most things can't be proven in that way.

        Please be careful with words when you debate. It keeps you honest, and maybe both sides will actually learn something.

        February 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Come on. I think you know what anyone means by "there is evidence for creationism" or "there is no evidence for creationism." No one is talking about whether the IDEA of creationism exists.

          February 4, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Peick

          You said, "Man's moral motions indicate that a law giver put morals into our hearts. That's evidence."
          Complete and utter nonsense. You only believe morals to be evidence of your imaginary friend. They aren't. the fact that you fail to understand how morals came about doesn't give any credence to your fairy tale. Morals, just like hands and feet, evolved.

          February 4, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Whatever Ham is doing, it's not science. And I'm sure many people could beat Nye in a debate? So? Debates don't determine truth, and truth is not always an important factor in winning debates.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
    • Joe

      Unfortunately, Ken Ham is neither scientist nor theologian – he has no formal training in either.

      February 4, 2014 at 6:53 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.