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. Primewonk

    So scientists have hijacked the definitions of science and evolution.

    How the hell does that work? Is this nutter for real?

    February 4, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
    • Shawn

      If you would watch the debate and give the man a chance to explain what he means before you blindly presume something (which I'm sure you accuse Ken Ham of blindly presuming) you would know what he means.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
      • LessBias

        Still watching it, and he's not getting much more rational. He's using the same tactic of many creationists before him – redefining words which already have an common, understood meaning. His opening does a good job of summarizing what creationists and scientists already agree on: the only possible way to understand creationism as science is to re-define the term "science".

        February 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
      • gerryharrington

        Heh. So, you presume he is presuming.

        How presumptuous.

        February 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
  2. Episcopal, thank God.

    Answers in Genesis may have have "Ph.D.s in astronomy, geology, biology, molecular genetics, the history of science, and medicine" on their staff, but that means nothing if those experts have the same problem as other creationists. Namely, their faith gives them an a priori belief in the Genesis account, so they select and favor observations that support that belief.

    Can Mr. Hamm or any other creationists produce any scientists that do not ascribe to one of the Abrahamic religions, yet believe in a young Earth and special creation solely from _observational_ evidence? If evolution were as debatable as they claim, surely at least ONE really bright heathen would empirically come to the same conclusion.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      That's a very fair question.

      As far as I know, pretty much only the bible th.umping fundies in the United States (and places where they have exported biblical literalist religion, like Australia where Ken Ham is from) believe in young earth creationism.

      Young-earth creationists are the laughing stock of the thinking world.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
    • EMCC

      The same can be said for secular scientists. Their world view or lack of faith gives them a prior belief in something besides the Genesis record. They are not un-biased.

      I can't figure out why so many who believe in macro evolution think that insulting someone who disagrees with them helps to make their point. If you have nothing constructive say, just insults, you've already lost the debate. You cannot have a constructive debate with someone, if you have no respect for them, or their opinion.

      Reading some of the comments here makes me lose all faith in a caring society.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
      • Tkojar

        Note that nothing would change his mind. How arrogant ?! To enter the profession of science the first admittance you must make is: I know that I don't know. Humans make mistakes all the time.

        February 4, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • EMCC

          Yes, humans do make mistakes. However, I took a science class, and in the book it said the science must exclude any supernatural explanation of things. Which makes the humanistic scientific world just as blind and arrogant as you state Ham is.

          February 4, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
        • Episcopal, thank God.

          EMCC, I'm very glad you took a science class. It should have made clear that supernatural causes have no place in scientific theories. Science describes nature. By definition, things supernatural lie outside its realm.

          I've got to go to bed, so I'm going to end by suggesting that you go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-overlapping_magisteria. Don't dismiss it out of hand because of the tenets of your faith. Read the discussion of WHY science may not examine matters of faith AND VICE VERSA. You might gain some insight.

          February 4, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
      • Episcopal, thank God.

        Point by point:

        Disbelief in the literal Genesis account does not make one a "secular scientist." I am a Christian myself, but I do not accept the Bible prior to Abraham as history. I believe it is allegory. When asked about this debate, our parish rector once replied, "The Bible is infallible regarding 'Why.' It is not intended to be an explanation of 'How.'"

        One does not have to know or believe in the Genesis account to draw opinions on its validity based solely on the observable facts. Holding no preconceived notions and letting empirical observation guide your conclusions is not biased–it is essential for good science. Believing in special creation because of faith in the Bible IS biased and inimical to the scientific method.

        It is not insulting anyone to assess the validity a scientific theory; rather, challenge and re-examination is the very heart of scientific inquiry. Empirical inquiry demands questioning everything. What I typed above is insulting to you only because of your belief that Genesis is revealed truth so my statements call that which you hold most dear into question. Your devotion is admirable, but not a basis for scientific theory.

        February 4, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
  3. Fake It Good NASA !!

    Hey, check out this new alien planet NASA discovered! Perhaps it's where we all came from via meteoric shrapnel striking earth billiards of years ago.....


    February 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
    • La Femme Nikita

      Billiards of years ago? I like your style.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
      • Joan

        billiards makes sense because it's just math...like quantum mechanics or stellar cartography or evolution adaptions...

        ...them god and bible beliefs?

        ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, not so much.

        Hee! Hee! 🙂

        February 4, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
    • Dana

      I bet you can't count to a billiard.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        George Bush probably thinks it's a little less than a brazilian . . .

        February 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
  4. Fake It Good NASA !!

    Since we now know that NASA and the Russians have been faking 'human spaceflight' since the inception of their "space agencies" by the Nazis, then we can know that all of their evolutionary claims are indeed fraudulent, like the rest of evolution...


    February 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
    • La Femme Nikita

      Adjust your foil cap accordingly.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
    • La Femme Nikita

      OMG! So sorry! You're right!! How could I have missed this? Thank you!!

      February 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
  5. john Rosen

    If we all hold hands and pray the world will be a better place.

    February 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • Lou

      Praying does nothing. It's all about having the best plan of action and everyone getting aboard to get it done.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
  6. russ139

    Hamm's means of argument is not in defending creationism (since it can't be proven), it's in challenging the definition of "science", so that creationism can be included (in his definition of "science"). It's a bogus and hollow argument.

    February 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      February 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
  7. JB

    You know of no other book that tells the history of the Earth and Universe. Do you know anything about polytheism and Greek and Roman Mythology? Clearly you are not well read. There are other books that tell stories about the origins of the Universe. You just do not believe in those.

    February 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The way Ken Ham kept going on about "logic" being a Christian world-view, it seems evident that he is woefully ignorant that the Greeks are the ones who, if they didn't invent it, certainly codified it.

      The Greeks had no idea of Yahweh or Jesus or any of the Judeo-Christian tradition but they seemed to have figured out "logic" without the bible.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
  8. john Rosen

    I just do not understand how any intelligent person could dispute the Bible.I

    February 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I just do not understand how any intelligent person can believe The Babble.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
    • Dismounted Gish

      I don't understand why people still believe in the reliability of the Bible.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
  9. TheFred

    Here's what TheFred knows... Evolution is not a modern theory. I have trouble understanding how evolution just stopped. Why did it stop with humans? Why does recorded history only go back @ 5000 years? Lastly, where are all the people?

    February 4, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
    • saysame

      Evolution has not stopped at all. There are unique genes being found all the time in specific regions. In time they would spread to other regions if advantageous (or lucky). For example the Italian region that has a gene that protects against heart disease.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
    • Enlightenment

      Recorded history goes back nearly 10,000 years. Not 5,000. Evolution didn't stop, and continues today. And lastly... what people? The ones that died? They're dead, and their bones have been found and archived. So this is what TheFred knows: not much!

      February 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
    • Christian Crusader

      If you smelllllllllllllllelelellllelllllll what TheFred is cookin!

      February 4, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
  10. Erik

    I will put my faith in atheism and I will believe macro evolution just as soon as someone can make a coherent,compelling argument for how we got something from absolutely nothing without an uncaused first cause (i.e. a "Creator"). Until that occurs, evolution – which has never been observed in action – is a hypothesis, and atheism is just another religion.

    February 4, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Have you read Lawrence Krauss' explanation?

      February 4, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
      • Erik

        Yeah unfortunately A Universe From Nothing was a lot of talking in circles and theoretical gymnastics and a very convenient redefining of what "nothing" is. It's easier to answer hard questions when you change the definition of words. Nothing means nothing, its doesn't mean quantum vacuum. Its like a page of Bill Clinton's "it depends on what the definition of 'is' is" argument.

        February 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          You're perfectly happy to accept that a god came from nothing to create the universe from nothing!!
          Try some remedial reading: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

          February 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Interesting. I found it way more understandable and believable than The Babble.

          February 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
        • chris ozman

          For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the discernment of the discerning will I bring to nought. Corinthians 1:19

          February 4, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
        • Erik

          You found it more understandable and believe than "The Babble". Really? Maybe you didn't actually read it. At the end of the book he basically completely gave up trying to explain his hypothesis and he repeatedly admits that something can only come from nothing if a.) we redefine what nothing is, or b.) there is something inherent – something that always was/is/will be – in the midst of the nothingness. If this isn't a complete cop out, I'm not sure what is. The book was a "theoretical light show", it wasn't an explanation.

          February 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          "Theoretical light show" – an apt description of The Babble – a book unsupported by a single shred of proof for even a single supernatural claim that attracts the easily distracted. . .

          February 4, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
        • Erik

          So you're just going to sling mud then, you don't have answer do you?

          February 4, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Where did I sling mud? What question did I not answer?

          February 4, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
        • Erik

          Let's see, you're calling the Bible "The Babble", and you are belittling those who believe it by saying they are "easily distracted" and you've not answered how we have arrived at something from nothing.

          See most commentators here – including apparently yourself – seem to be primarily interested in one thing: shoring up and defending their system of beliefs. One of the very predictable approaches to doing that is to implicitly mock those that don't hold the same beliefs and to do so especially in lieu of a cogent answer. Of course no one is expected to have ALL the answers. That would be ... well ... divine; but if you don't know just admit that you don't know and that you choose to believe whatever it is you believe despite it all. If you don't, it betrays the fact that you are more interested in winning an argument than you are with discovering truth. The approach on both sides is implicitly self-centered. That's where I part company with most of you – I have no interest in that.

          February 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I don't know how the universe was created. There is no evidence that some god did it. If people chose to bring their unproven claims into the public square, they should expect to be challenged and mocked when unable to back up their claims. They have a right to believe and say anything they like – they don't have a right to not be mocked. Whinging about being mocked, not having their childish myths respected, is just a way to maintain the stays quo, religion's undeserved special status.

          February 4, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
    • JJ

      You really need to get out of your trailer more often and stop listening to only your pastor and Sunday school teacher.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
      • Erik

        So that's your answer then?

        February 4, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      If you need to believe in God to comprehend 'first cause', fine with me. No problems. There's nothing to stop you accepting the big-bang theory and evolution as all part of "God's plan".

      Young earth creationism however is still nonsense.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
      • Erik

        I don't buy young earth creationism – there doesn't seem to be much evidence to support it.

        February 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
    • Enlightenment

      Evolution and abiogenesis aren't the same thing, for starters. Secondly, if everything needs a creator.... who created your hypothetical Creator? Or would you like some special pleading saying he didn't require creation? Doesn't that undermine your first principle that everything needs one?

      February 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
      • Erik

        I believe you missed the "uncaused" portion of the Creator definition. Logically, for there to be anything, something that has no cause, something that wasn't created, something eternal, must exist. Once you get past that, you can deal with the implications and mechanism, but weaseling by quantum physicists not withstanding, you have to somehow explain how there can be SOMETHING where there was NOTHING if there is no God/Creator/Uncaused-First-Cause to initiate that action.

        February 4, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
  11. Ivan

    This debate was so laughable, Ken Ham believes both man and Earth are 6000 years old. I wonder where does he fit the dinosaurs on his Noah's Ark. According to his theory they couldn't have lived before man. But at the same time neither man or Ken's god have ever seen a living dinosaur. Maybe they never really existed and the evil darwinists faked their bones just to trick people to doubt god's teachings, lol

    February 4, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
    • JB

      Check out AIG when it comes to Dinosaurs . . . their position is that Dinosaurs walked the Earth WITH humans and that they are cited in the Bible along with Dragons all over the world. I wish I was kidding, but they believe this.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
    • Skylar

      The average size of a dinosaur is about the size of a sheep. He did not have to take every species on the ark only every kind. The bigger dinosaurs as with most animals were probably taken as juveniles, about when they are starting to reproduce.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        No, no, Ken was very clear. The bible doesn't talk about species. It says "kinds" which according to Ken Ham, is different.

        February 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        He seemed to think "kind" was a really important distinction.

        February 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • jade

      One small question for Ken. Do you have any biblical or other evidence that east Asia people were created by your God?

      February 4, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
    • Terri

      Why does it annoy you so that he has a different belief than you? You don't have to believe it, nor do I think he's stalking you trying to covert you to his way of thinking. It used to be that we could learn from other people and possibly learn something, even if you don't adopt those beliefs. Try it sometime and you may be surprised.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Different beliefs are one thing – like buddhists and christians, these creationists are trying to prevert science and teach that in schools. There is no scientific basis for creationism so there's nothing positive to learn about creationists from that discussion.

        February 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
      • Ivan

        It wouldn't annoy me if this is only their belief, that would be just amusing. But when people like Ken try to replace science curriculum in my son's school with their nonsense that is not only unproven but also factually wrong you bet I am annoyed.

        February 4, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
  12. magicpanties

    Ken Ham: "because the bible says so"

    Bill Nye: "because I have a brain"

    February 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
    • thelastdovahkiin

      Human brain is too limited to understand the mechanism of God's work.
      You should understand a fact, humans are stupid and liable.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
  13. JJ

    So Ham answers every question with "the bible says". How is this a debate?

    February 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
    • JB

      It wasn't. It was a sideshow meant to provide Creationism some level of credibility . . . which was a failure.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
  14. CEC

    This will be as close as a debate over gravity. Do things fall when you drop them? Find out!

    February 4, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It's just finished.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
  15. KSKS

    I am not Christian, but I do believe in God and Science. I would like Mr Ham and Mr Nye to answer how humans obtained a soul – which raises us above the level of the beasts.

    February 4, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      What is a "soul" and why do you believe humans have one and "beasts" don't?

      February 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
    • CEC

      What's a soul?

      February 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
    • John

      Could you define "soul" and provide evidence of its existence?

      I mean, how do we know we have one and animals do not?

      February 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
      • CEC

        I think it has something to do with music.

        February 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
        • methos75

          This was greatness. I love how you answered every piece of actual factual tangible evidence Nye presented with the old stand by "the bible says". LOL, no one cares what your faith states, we care what reality states. You can try to address the bible as accurate retelling of creation, but you ultimately fall into the same trap as you tried to snare in as you were not there to witness creation nor the bible being written. You have no actual evidence that divine creation occurred nor do you that it is the word of god. But who knows,this debate might not of actually happened, I just have the words and a video that a book might disprove as evidence and I wasn't actually there. I observed something resembling a debate I theorized on youtube, but I lack the "historical science" evidence to prove my observation is real.

          February 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
      • Goose

        If a soul is what is being debated, then I would argue that 'beasts' have a much more deeply connected and pure soul than humans do. All organisms have an impact on this planet, but none more devastatingly negative and selfish than that of humans.

        This is my main problem with religion, it tells humans that this world is put here for us; that it is here for our taking. I prefer the soul of the beast, to consider the earth, to take but to also give back which I firmly believe humans rarely do.

        February 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ken Ham had an answer to this. It is:

      "For the bible tells me so."

      This was his answer to every question.

      It wasn't a question put to Bill Nye. The presumption in the question is that there is a soul. If you mean consciousness, then yes, Bill Nye was asked that question. His answer: "We don't know."

      February 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
    • JJ

      That's like asking how does Santa visit every household in the world in a single night.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        But the answer to your question is easy: "Because Santa is a fictional character with supernatural, not actual, powers. Same as every alleged and unproven (which is all of them) god, of course.

        February 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
    • JB

      Can you prove the existence of a soul. If you truly believe in a soul, are you trying to state that only humans have them? I mean, to you what is a soul?

      February 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
    • magicpanties

      I would like to know how the invisible yellow-green light in my tummy exists and why you can't see it and maybe it's my soul?

      February 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
  16. apt

    It is absurd to say "considerable dissent exists in the scientific world regarding the validity of molecules-to-man evolution" There does not. There are a handful of folks who thing Adam and Even rode dinosaurs to church. That is the "considerable dissent".

    February 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
  17. JB

    We have, as humans, have created new life. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/synthetic-genome-cell/

    February 4, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
    • JI

      It depends on how you define new life. What those scientists did was take an existing life (a bacterium) and inject a synthetic genome into a cell that already had every component necessary for life. It is a great accomplishment, but it is akin to taking a computer, formatting it, and writing completely new code (albeit MUCH more difficult). This feat does not show how life began on Earth.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
  18. CEC

    "Creation science" carries the same intellectual weight as "dragon anatomy".

    God ‏@TheTweetOfGod

    February 4, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Why does Ken Ham think that logic and the "laws of nature" come from a Christian world view?


    February 4, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I'm glad that is over.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
  20. Theo

    Ham just stop talking my IQ is lowering just hearing your excuses and that is what you are giving excuses not answers

    February 4, 2014 at 9:20 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.