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. Giorgio

    Rather well said. Debate is always good if it is done in a civil manner!

    February 4, 2014 at 11:25 pm |
    • Dana

      There is nothing to debate. Evolution is a fact.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
      • dmcentire

        People who say evolution is a fact either dont know what evolution is or what a fact is. It is still a theory, not a law. But no one is allowed to question it anymore. Evolution has become a religious statement of faith, because scientist should always be seeking where the evidence leads, even if it indicates they might not have gotten it completely right. I'm not saying evolution is wrong, I'm just saying it is still incomplete with too many unanswered questions.

        February 4, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          You know scientific theories don't become laws right? They are two entirely different things

          February 5, 2014 at 12:10 am |
        • redzoa

          Evolution is both a fact (i.e. a change in allele frequency in a population over time) and a scientific theory (i.e. the fact of evolution in combination with the relevant empirical physical evidence from every relevant scientific discipline (physics, chemistry, geology, biology, astronomy, etc) used to explain extant and extinct biodiversity). Both scientific laws and theories are subject to falsification, but, to my knowledge, in the relative hierarchy, scientific theories provide greater explanatory power because they are not constrained to strict physical parameters (e.g. compare the law of gravity v. the theory of gravity).

          Regarding evolution as a religious statement of faith, unlike religious faith which cannot be falsified with physical evidence, every experiment and fossil dig is inviting contradictory evidence. Furthermore, every scientist and scientific journal wants to publish the paradigm-shiftng research that fundamentally alters our understanding of the natural world. Careers are based on challenging the current scientific understanding, not simple blind acceptance of the status quo. The same can not be said of religious faith.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:16 am |
        • douthink

          Why do you not respond to Cedar Rapids? Could it be that you were posing as someone whom understands science more than they actual do? Don't be afraid to investigate what the truth really is and don't be afraid to be wrong. It is the only way you will be able to increase your intelligence. Above all stop viewing scientific evidence with your mind already made up and so certain your are right.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • Counterww

          Not even close to fact. Educated guess...conjecture .

          February 5, 2014 at 1:08 am |
        • saysame

          Evolution is both a theory and a fact. Like gravity and the theories that describe it. The evidence is overwhelming that life evolved from earlier forms. The theory is how that happened.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:39 am |
  2. Dan

    “If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”

    ― Penn Jillette

    February 4, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
    • Sharee

      THAT was the most perfect quote. Thank you!

      February 5, 2014 at 1:33 am |
  3. Dusty

    I was a biology major and was taught evolution. However, something never quite reconciled with me. If we evolved from apes, Why are there still apes? Why didn't they evolve? Are they going to evolve to be humans or are they going to stay apes? The more I studied the human body the more amazed I became and the more I believed in God.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
    • Dan

      You must have missed the class where we evolved from a common ancestor of the apes.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
    • @OD

      Clearly you know nothing about biology. We did not evolve from apes. Apes and humans evolved from common ancestor...be amazed, banana too. We share a lot of DNA with banana about 60% I think. And genetically we are closer to A Chimp then a Chimp to Gorilla....WOW

      February 4, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Several populations of ape-like ancestors evolved under selection pressures felt by those groups, but not others. Through their contributions the human line developed. Other populations, under different pressures, evolved into current ape species. Chimps, orangs and the rest are as modern in their way as you are.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
      • Matthew Kilburn

        No. It still falls short. Because if we truly did evolve from a common ancestor, then they have had just as long to evolve as we have had. And yet they are far less advanced than we are. In thought, in language, in creativity, etc.

        February 4, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
        • Dana

          Things can evolve in different directions. What don't you understand? Go put your head back in the sand.

          February 4, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
        • Bill Nye

          Somebody didn't pay attention in science class.

          February 4, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
        • @OD

          Banana had the same time to evolve as humans scince the day they parted ways on the road of evolution...go read some books about how it works

          February 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          It's hard to say whether our traits are "advanced" – they enable us to survive in many environments, but we seem to be degrading those environments. Also, I'd rather be lost in a wilderness with a chimp than a stockbroker. If I can keep up with the chimp I've more hope it can find its way through alive

          February 4, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
        • saysame

          There were many other proto-human / apes that simply didn't make it. We met some of our cousins and bred with them in the not too distant past. Which is why non-Africans carry ~4% Neanderthal DNA and some East Asians carry a few % Denisovan DNA. The actual chimps and apes that survive today are well suited to their environment, which was not our habitat. We had a different path.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:07 am |
    • Saraswati

      Where did you go to college?!?!?! That's just scary....you really didn't get taught evolution in any meaningful way. Was this an accredited college? Four year?

      February 4, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      There is no way anyone who was a biology major could actually seriously ask that question

      February 5, 2014 at 12:12 am |
    • saysame

      Your cousin and you share a common ancestor called grandparents. That doesn't mean your cousin evolved into you or that he is going to transform into you tomorrow. I never get tired of the fundamentalists who lie about their education. Is that really what faith did for you? Made you into a pathological liar?

      February 5, 2014 at 3:01 am |
    • visitor

      I am sorry for the bad program you were in.

      February 5, 2014 at 10:22 am |
    • Nathan

      This sentence alone proves that you were either a) NOT a biology major or that b) you sukced at biology and skipped a number of your classes. Descent from common ancestor is the basis of all advanced biological learning.

      Lying for Jesus is STILL lying, son.

      February 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • Nathan

      This sentence alone proves that you were either a) NOT a biology major or that b) you were one of the worst biology students ever and skipped a number of your classes. Descent from common ancestor is the basis of all advanced biological learning.

      Lying for Jesus is STILL lying, son.

      February 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • Nathan

      This sentence alone proves that you were either a) NOT a biology major or that b) you were one of the worst biology students of all time and skipped a number of your cla sses. Descent from common ancestor is the basis of all advanced biological learning.

      Lying for Jesus is STILL lying, son.

      February 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
  4. happypuppy

    But to the atheists. What do you think happens when you die? What if there really is a spiritual Something or Someone that you are accountable to? What if that Something or Someone held you to a certain standard of behavior, measured you against a certain set of values? And if It measured you against those standards, or values, would you pass or fail? I can hardly believe that as you get closer to death, that some of you wouldn't at least think about these things.

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

      I would pass but that is a bunch of nonsense. Do you try to be a good person just because you are afraid of an imaginary guy in the sky? I sure hope not.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
    • Gawd

      Please keep your delusions to yourself.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
      • happypuppy

        Why is believing in God, or a higher spiritual being, delusion? A majority of people in the world believe in something spiritual that is higher than this world. So why shouldn't I talk about it?

        February 4, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • Gawd

          It is completely in your head. There is no basis for it in reality. The earth is not flat. The sun does not revolve around the earth. There is no invisible magician in the sky that controls everything, no talking snake, no magical ribs, etc. It's time to grow up.

          February 4, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
        • happypuppy

          Gawd said:

          It is completely in your head. There is no basis for it in reality. The earth is not flat. The sun does not revolve around the earth. There is no invisible magician in the sky that controls everything, no talking snake, no magical ribs, etc. It's time to grow up.

          Well then, at the time of death, we will see what happens. Will there be a God, or will there not? Will there be a reward for living a good life, or will our consciousness simply wink out of existence. I haven't got too many years left to find out. That will be exciting. The ultimate voyage of discovery.

          February 4, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
      • Jasmin

        Gawd, I'm pretty sure this comments section is an open forum for people to express and challenge each other's beliefs. All of us are here searching for the Truth through evidence and faith. Just because you believe something doesn't mean someone else's beliefs are "delusions".
        happypuppy, great question. It is a very challenging and heart-searching matter everyone will face one day.

        February 4, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
    • @OD

      I would hope that burning witches on a stick would not pass and questioning of the existence of god wouldn't bee seen as a problem...otherwise I wouldn't care much about the judgement because it would not make sense to me while I lived all my life in a world that did make sense .

      February 4, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
    • Saraswati

      How does one know what the stndards are?

      February 4, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
    • Shaun

      Nothing happens......because you're dead. Believe what you want.....

      February 5, 2014 at 12:01 am |
    • saysame

      Well, what if your faith is wrong? Not only could there be nothing but there could be an infinite number of potential gods and goddesses with an infinite number of potential judgement metrics. There is no assurance that their judgement metric was passed along so you could be doing the wrong thing without knowing it. The metric might even reward people for using their brains and not being gullible in which case you'd be in really big trouble.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:19 am |
    • Nathan

      Do you ever think about what if the random god you've chosen is the wrong one? What if the standards you will be held accountable to are those of Ra or Odin or Zeus? Do you ever think about that?

      I think about your god about as much as you genuinely think about those other ones.

      February 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
  5. Matthew Kilburn

    Tell me what is less logical:

    1) Everything that exists, or has existed, or will exist, was the result of a spontaneous, random, singular, unrepeated, unguided, cosmic coincidence. Everything that is bound by natural laws came from nothing, by nothing, and with nothing.

    2) There is a power which exists not bound by natural laws that directed the creation of our natural universe.

    No, I cannot "prove" in the terms that Bill Nye might desire, that such a supernatural being or power exists. But even based on what we understand of our world – you have to violate more natural laws for the first principle than you do for the second.

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

      That's an old paradox. What are the odds things ended up they way they are? They are exactly 100% because you are simply observing and commenting on... the way things are. Because you can't understand or fathom what happened doesn't mean Gods and supernatural things had to have taken place. It just means you don't have all the information. And like what Bill Nye said, that's the fun! It's learning more everyday about why things are the way they are that make life interesting. Shutting down and just proclaiming that God made it isn't nearly as interesting.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
      • Matthew Kilburn

        Yes, but in the absence of other proof, it is the existence of a Divine or supernatural power that is the most logical explanation.

        February 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • Dan


          February 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • Fill

          Ummm... no. I found a scratch on my car the other day I couldn't explain. Because I can't explain it means God did it, therefore that's proof there is a God?

          February 4, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
    • Gawd

      One has a mountain of evidence behind it. The other has a bunch of nonsense behind it. You are too far brain-washed to see that. Go give 10% of your income to the child molesters at your church.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
      • Matthew Kilburn

        What an eloquent reply you made.

        No, in fact, there is not a "mountain of evidence" that provides an alternative explanation for how creation came to be in the absence of a divine being. If there were, rest assured that every anti-religious individual would be screaming it from the roof tops. And yet, when you get into the question of "where did everything come from" rather than quibbling over the process themselves, those forces fall strangely silent.

        February 4, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
        • Dana

          You are holding back civilization with your flat earth ideas. Keep up the great work (sarcasm).

          February 4, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
        • saysame

          You are failing to apply the same standard to your own beliefs and then you declare victory. There is no answer in the bible for why there is something rather than nothing. It was likely beyond the philosophical range of the bible's authors to address. If you actually think about the issue it should be perplexing no matter what you believe. But it may be that you've repeated your pat answers often enough that you've drained it of all wonder. A supernatural being floating in a void is no stranger to me than an eternal energy source, multiverses, strings, inflation or anything else. They are all strange and completely outside of my causal experience.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:31 am |
    • Dan

      Please don't reproduce.


      February 4, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Less logical? Number 2

      February 5, 2014 at 12:14 am |
  6. The matrix

    The Broncos won the Super Bowl because I believe it to be true.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
  7. Shannon Byrd

    This is basically Nye's argument: 1) Evolution is he basis for all life 2) Lack of belief in evolution will lead to lack of innovation in America. 3) Therefore, evolution must be taught. The problem with his argument is that it does not logically follow at all. First off there is no proof evolution is the basis for any life; it is just a theory with no explanatory mechanisms for the information in the genome. Secondly, there are lots of innovations that do not come from the historical sciences. All innovation comes from observational sciences. Thirdly the conclusion: "Therefore, evolution must be taught," does not logically follow his other premises. His conclusion is based off a worldview of naturalistic lenses, of organisms competing for resources and survival. If he truly believed in evolution he would allow others to believe, what he views to be false beliefs that would lead to lack of innovation so that He would survive over the others, it is what the religion of evolution teaches after all; survival of the fittest.

    February 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
  8. Redeye Dog

    I don't understand why we spend so much time on the two questions. Divinity or Evolution? It is more likely it is neither.....

    February 4, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
    • Dana

      It is evolution.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
    • @OD

      Could be both, if you ignore all the ancient silly texts, you realize that there is no need in contradiction at all

      February 4, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
      • Redeye Dog

        It could be both but together would only play a minuscule role in the outcome we understand to be consciousness.

        February 5, 2014 at 9:24 am |
  9. russ139

    This is really silly. i mean, really, really silly. There are billions of stars in this galaxy, and apparently billions of galaxies in the known universe. And this poor Hamm guy wants to believe that God created the universe in six Earth days? Because ancient humans wrote it in a book? So incredibly silly, and Bill Nye has to waste a perfecly good evening of his short life to debate this silly man?

    February 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
    • Dana

      It is hard to believe that anyone still believes in that absurd, magical nonsense.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
    • EMCC

      Did you read my post? Because insults will accomplish nothing.

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

        What post, moron?

        February 4, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
        • EMCC

          This is my first time posting on this site. I misunderstood who the comment was directed too. Thank you for so kindly pointing out my error.

          February 4, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
  10. Dan

    A mountain of evidence vs a bunch of faith

    Bill wins!

    February 4, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
  11. Gawd

    Hey Ken, the middle ages called. They want their fairy tale back.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
  12. Dan

    Are there seriously still people that believe an invisible guy in the sky created people with a magical rib? Grow up.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
    • Jasmin

      Dan, when you see a building, how do you think it originated? It had a builder, right? When you see the Mona Lisa, you don't think that the colors just magically appeared to create a beautiful piece of art. No, you know that there was a painter. Even if you never meet the builder of the building or the painter of the painting you know that they are responsible for the building and the painting. In the same way, you see the world, human beings, animals, and plants, which are much more detailed than a painting or building. Thus, creation has to have a creator. Similarly, you don't physically see wind, but you see the effects of it in the rustling of the leaves or the flowing of hair. But you know that wind is there. You physically do not see God, but because of the effect He has on people, you know He is there. I encourage you to study what Christians and creationists actually believe before making judgments on their beliefs. Christianity is actually a very historically accurate and truth based faith. There is no "magical rib" or "invisible guy" in the sky. God is not invisible and is directly involved in the lives and matters of people. He created Eve through Adam's physical rib. Anyway, I hope you take the time to actually consider and look into the beliefs of Christianity (read the book of Genesis).

      February 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        Sure, read about Adam and Eve and how this all knowing, all seeing god didn't know they were going to eat the fruit, didn't know they had done it and had to go look for Adam to ask him about what he had done.
        The whole idea stumbles and falls right from the get go.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:18 am |
        • Jasmin

          Cedar Rapids, you are misinterpreting the point. God knew from the beginning what would happen. Even thousands of years ago, he knew everything that would happen on this very day. He gave Adam & Eve free will to make choices and decisions. He warned them about the tree and they gave into the temptation. Adam and Eve were embarrassed and tried to hide from God. God knew exactly where they were but asked Adam where he was as a representation of a deeper question "Why are you hiding from God?" I encourage you to check out "The Evidence Bible" from Living Waters (www.livingwaters.com) which gives a clear interpretation of many parts of the Bible that may be shady to you (including the evolution/creation debate).

          February 6, 2014 at 12:19 am |
  13. Saraswati

    Russ, I'm using this definition of "real" from the OED:

    "actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed:"

    What is your definition?

    February 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
    • @OD

      Lol, how can you tell that something actually exists and it's not just your brain in a jar imagining things because researchers stimulating it. A very scary scenario isn't it? But then again that brain would never now what is happening.

      February 4, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
  14. Yo

    I haven't seen the debate but it scares me seeing that he did a televised debate in the name of Creationism and Christianity. As a Christian, he doesn't represent my interpretation of the Bible or origins of man. He's case in point (it happens on both sides by the way) of starting with your conclusion and lining up your "research" to prove your point.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
    • Fill

      At least Bill kept saying that's it's "Ham's idea of Creationism", which I think at one point Ham took offense to and said other people believe the same thing. At one point Ham's "research" involved dating a rock and some wood found together and proclaiming that because they dated differently that our dating technology is broken. And Bill said, well, why can't the rock be older? Ham's rebuttal was that because they were found together they had to be the same age. *face palm*

      btw- You can watch the video on YouTube.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
    • Gawd

      At least Bill has evidence.

      February 4, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
  15. @OD

    There is one problem with any debate about "smart creator", creationists use logic only partially yet it's the only thing that allows any sensible debate possible. Logic is so fundamental that if there was any smart design it was made by using logic, so please creationists, forget what he said, she said 5000 years ago and use some nudles.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
  16. russ139

    Most teachers learn early on not to argue with children. Children will pick a defense (the dog ate my homework), and stick with it to the end. The child has no sense of what he is up aganst – he sees the moment only in the present, so as long as he sticks to his story – he is safe.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
  17. Fill

    I expected more from Ham. It basically came down to, I can fit some 'facts' to support Creationism and the rest of Science that contradicts it is just broken and wrong. When asked what would it take to change his opinion, he basically said he can't because the Bible tells him so. Bill Nye on the other hand said just some simple proof could convince him of Creationism, but all arrows seem to point towards an old Earth in an old Universe.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
    • Elementary darling


      February 4, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
    • OTOH


      I didn't see the debate, but if Nye presented that question to Ham, it is strikingly similar to a discussion that frequent poster, redzoa had on this forum just yesterday with a poster named Greg.

      redzoa was outstanding, as usual:

      February 5, 2014 at 12:48 am |
  18. Jose

    Man, that bible is one sick book if you realize that their is no dog!! (sorry, I'm dyslexic)

    February 4, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
  19. russ139

    In North Korea, the government runs a museum that holds supposed gifts from world leaders to Kim Il-sung. It tells how the world's leaders hold the deceased leader in the highest regard. The entire story is fabricated, and the gifts are fakes – not really from any world leaders. But the poor citizens believe it totally.

    February 4, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
    • Heloise

      Maybe they have a sacred text from Him that makes it more believable?

      February 4, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
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About this blog

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.