What I learned moderating the creation/evolution debate
Creationist Ken Ham makes a point in Tuesday's debate with Bill Nye, the "science guy."
February 5th, 2014
08:49 AM ET

What I learned moderating the creation/evolution debate

By Tom Foreman, CNN

CNN's Tom Foreman moderated the "creation debate" Tuesday night in Petersburg, Kentucky, between Bill "the Science Guy" Nye and creationist Ken Ham.

(CNN) - It says something when a person shows up at the Creation Museum wearing a top that says, "This is my atheist T-shirt."

At least that's what I think it said. I saw it in a blur as she passed in the parking lot; a thirtysomething with a young boy in tow, striding through the bitter winds of Kentucky to visit a place that proclaims those who deny the existence of God are dead wrong.

I thought about chasing her down to ask her what had compelled her to come, but it would have been a foolish question.

She was here to see a fight. And I was here to play the referee, to moderate a debate on a question that has raged for well over a century: Was humankind created by God in a rush of divine power, or did we evolve over time with only nature to take the credit?

Or as the organizers put it: "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era?"

About 900 people snapped up tickets to this event just a few minutes after they went on sale, and I was told they expected at least "hundreds of thousands ... maybe a million or more" to watch as it streamed online.

It was not just the topic drawing the throngs. For this crowd, the debaters really mattered.

On the left (literally for the audience, and figuratively in every other way) was the champion for the evolutionary side.

Bill Nye, "the Science Guy," made fundamentalist Christian heads snap recently when he declared it was flat-out wrong for children to be taught creationism.

I met him in a room behind the stage as the audience milled around, waiting for the event to begin. Having just spoken to an adoring crowd of science fans at a university the night before, he feared he was in hostile territory.

MORE ON CNN: 'Creation debate' recap: Science, religion and terrible jokes

"I think my agent is the only one on my side," he said, only half-joking. "I think the other 899 people in here don't really see it my way."

It was hard to tell. Aside from the woman with the T-shirt, there were others wearing pro-Nye gear, but no good way to count them.

Still, it looked like his supporters were probably in the minority, and I mentioned to him that some scientists were grousing online he was validating the creationist argument by even showing up. "So why are you here?" I asked.

"I'm here for the U.S. economy," he said. "See, what keeps the United States in the game for the world economy is our ability to innovate, to have new ideas, and those inventions come from science."

"And you see creationism as sort of poisoning the well for science?"

"Yes. I mean, I'm all for (creationism) in philosophy class, history of religion class, human psychology class," but bring it into science class, and Nye gets upset.

And that is what disturbs Nye's debate opponent. Ken Ham is a rock star in the creationist community who is quick to point out his own educational credentials and those of other scientists who support creationist views.

He is one of the founders of the Creation Museum, where dinosaurs are depicted as living alongside humans and the Great Flood of Noah is an indisputable fact.

He believes it is fundamentally unfair of folks like Nye to push creationism further into the educational shadows and to deny what Ham sees as its scientific components. (Ham concedes, though, that the great number of scientists and citizens agree with Nye: evolution is real.)

I first met Ham back when the museum was being built, and he greeted me Tuesday night in his affable, Australian manner just outside the room where Nye was waiting.

"I must admit I'm a little nervous," Ham told me looking out at the audience. "I want to passionately present my case and defend what I believe, but we never imagined it would become this big. It's amazing. Just shocked all of us."

It was impressive to see how much interest the event generated. A riser with a phalanx of production cameras sat in the middle of the room, 70 or so journalists were clustered to one side of the stage, and security officers seemed to be all over the place.

I was told that metal detectors were being used to screen the audience, and I saw what I presume were explosive-sniffing dogs quietly working the hallways.

Both sides in this debate know the subject matter can spur extreme feelings, and they did all they could to make sure extreme actions didn't follow.

Just the same, one organizer pointed out a corner some 30 feet behind my spot on the stage. A door there opens to the parking lot, he said, "just in case, for any reason, you need to get out fast."

The advice was appreciated but unnecessary. The crowd proved to be polite, attentive and admirably restrained through the entire 2½-hour debate.

So were the debaters. Although they were firmly on opposite sides of the fence, Ham and Nye presented their arguments calmly and respectfully. Neither tried to shout the other down.

I spent my time listening to what they had to say, watching the clock to make sure they got equal time and trying to ensure people in each camp felt their man was treated fairly. Both debaters shook hands at the end to rousing applause. It was not a fight after all.

MORE ON CNN: Ken Ham: Why I'm debating Bill Nye about creationism

Considering the depth of feelings people have about this issue, I asked both men before we began if they expected to change anyone's opinion.

Ham said, "I will present (my information) trying to change people's minds, but knowing as a Christian it is God who changes people's minds, not me."

Nye said, "Here is my hope: I will remind Kentucky voters that this is a serious issue and that it is inappropriate to include creationism as an alternative to ... the body of knowledge and the process called science."

MORE ON CNN: Bill Nye: Why I'm debating creationist Ken Ham

By the time the debate was done, a fierce winter storm had settled in. I waded through the Creation Museum parking lot ankle deep in snow, with sleet pelting down. And I think it was a worthwhile evening - a debate humankind was created to have, or to which we evolved.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Creationism • Culture & Science • Evolution • Science

soundoff (3,342 Responses)
  1. palintwit

    Countless studies have shown that there is a higher incidence of incest in the bible belt states than in any other part of the country. Experts agree that the likely cause is close living quarters, such as trailer parks.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:39 am |
    • DaddyMac

      If this is the most intelligent idea you can add to the conversation, please stay with your beliefs..........

      February 5, 2014 at 11:49 am |
  2. Xandman

    啊呀,真是太好了!Soon I will not need to learn English anymore because all of America will need to learn Chinese! China will pwn America! Science bad! Creationism good! - 華耳之樂! ("Music to Chinese ears").

    February 5, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  3. Theodore Hyczko

    Jesus Christ said all things are possible with God I believe him

    February 5, 2014 at 11:36 am |
    • magicpanties

      My invisible pink unicorn said all things are play-doh.
      I believe her.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • DaddyMac

        I think both of you should live happily with your beliefs.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:51 am |
    • Pete

      Then he lied because according to the Bible god can't defeat iron chariots. See Judges 1:19 which reads as follows. And the Lord was with Judah, and he took possesion of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • saysame

        To be fair iron chariots are pretty tough.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
  4. thunderbolt

    Man tries to disregard, that in which, he cannot see, feel, or touch Yet we know the atom exist...........now. Same goes for germs, bacteria etc. etc.. As science has its credentials, it has also had its flaws with theories being changed, or even proven dead wrong. But for the scientific community to disregard faith and god is going against its own foundations of discovery. But there are truths in the bible that ,even when read, go unnoticed. Like when god told his people to wash in running water of a stream. Why? Could it have been god telling us how to protect ourselves from disease, germs, and bacteria?Couldn't you see a scientist from today's time, going back to the bible days, and trying to explain, the things we as the human race didn't know till modern times? Might it be considered witchcraft? But the fact remains, there in the bible, all that time ago, when the world was still flat, and the moon didn't have man's footprints on it. This is just one example of many in the bible, where god's words go beyond man's understanding of the times in which they lived. Even today, mans ego still gets in the way of him being truly enlightened.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:36 am |
    • Jake

      Uh, you realize we CAN see atoms, bacteria, etc, right? Science isn't in the business of dis-proving wild fantasies. Science just defaults to no belief in god since there's no evidence or reason to think there is a god. If there was evidence, then science would support a belief in god, but there isn't.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:41 am |
    • Madtown

      where god's words go beyond man's understanding
      Entertaining irony alert. Human beings wrote the bible, not God.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • youreyesareweird

      It's amusing how you use the discoveries of modern science to retro-fit the validity and understanding of bible verses. You have forgotten that until man shed the fairy tales of the bible, there was no understanding, only darkness.

      There is nothing in the bible that is above common sense. In other words, there are no opinions, advice, or directions in the bible that a non-reader of the bible couldn't figure out on their own. The Native Americans of North America were far more sanitary and healthy than any bible reader of the dark ages.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:46 am |
    • WASP

      we can see bacteria, it's called a microscope.

      we can see atoms, •An atomic force microscope has a very fine tip, sometimes only an atom wide, which is dragged across a sample surface. The tip rises over atoms and falls into the spaces between. The rise and fall are so small that a laser is used to record the movement. A computer uses the information to produce 3D images of atoms. You see the image on a computer screen, not through an eyepiece like you do in optical microscopes.
      •The scanning tunnelling microscope measures changes in electrical current between the probe tip and the atoms on a sample surface.
      •In a magnetic force microscope, the tip senses changes in the magnetic structure of the surface at the atomic level.

      we can measure the force of the winds, even though we can't "see" the wind itself.

      "But for the scientific community to disregard faith and god is going against its own foundations of discovery."
      faith goes against science itself; faith means no proof, in science without proof nothing is accepted to be fact (aka theory)
      as far as a god, which one? we have created millions of gods throughout human development. not to mention the fact that physics shows how a universe can exsist without the need for a creator.

      humans are flawed either due to imperfections through evolution or all humans are flawed because of imbreeding from two seperate events. evolution explains why we have "junk parts" like the appendix, i would love to hear what religion believes we have these extra parts for; couldn't your god create us without the need to give us parts waiting to explode and kill us?

      February 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
      • thunderbolt

        lol.....really? So you can't comprehend that we didn't always have a microscope? Or a cellphone for that matter. And before these inventions we knew what they have taught us before their existence? Come on now, this isn't even what science calls critical thinking............

        February 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • thunderbolt

      Your argument of who wrote the bible, tells of your understanding of the bible, more than it tells about me. Do you also have the same stance on Jesus walking among mankind? You do know there are other ancient books that tell of him as well. The kings of Egypt, which are told about in the bible were real. I mean, you have seen the pyramids, or at least know about them. And how did time change from BC to AD? Man has left a record in more ways than one, of the history of mankind, and his relationship with god. But we live in the AD, the world was a much different place BC. Gods relationship with man changed, and a path was provided. It didn't say you were forced down that path. The choice is still yours to make. With man thinking the world was flat(scientist of the times theory, I might add) and doctors believing you could bleed someone out to save them in the civil war times. Burning people at the stake a few hundred years ago, I just can't understand how the truths of the bible escape people, even when they have record of man's, and science's blunders throughout history. The bible is truly a magical book, and its teachings ring true, thru all time. You say man wrote the bible when the wisdom within the bible, hasn't truly all been revealed. Unless you can explain revelation? And some truths have yet to be uncovered. When god told man to wash when he was unclean in running water, have you ever wondered why?Why not some type of tub? Could he have had the knowledge of disease, germs and bacteria? How would you relay such a message, to man when he couldn't understand the concept yet? But its there, written all that time ago, by men, as you put it, with no education, by today's standards. How do you explain these truths that were beyond their comprehension? aliens?, luck?, chance................Oprah, Jerry,......................

      February 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
      • Madtown

        You say man wrote the bible when the wisdom within the bible, hasn't truly all been revealed
        LOL. Yes, humans wrote the bible. All the MANY different versions of it. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • thunderbolt

          Which came first?......the chicken or the egg?.......................prove it?

          February 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • Madtown

          "Prove it"? Prove that humans wrote the bible?! Well, we know the names of the authors of most of the books. They are human.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • thunderbolt

          Like throwing diamonds, ruby's, and gold at their feet...........................no, you don't understand............but there are those that do.................................Have A Good Day!........................

          February 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • G to the T

        " And how did time change from BC to AD?" Realy? It's because a someone who believed like you decided to divide the calendar that way. And they've been listed as "BCE" (Before Common Era) and "CE" (Common Era) since back when I was in college.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
      • Jeff Williams

        """You do know there are other ancient books that tell of him as well."""

        Oh, really? Care to share this information, because no one else seems to have access to it. As far as I know, there is only one obscure reference outside of biblical literature, and even that one is a subject of much debate.

        """And how did time change from BC to AD?"""

        Is this a joke? If there were any calendars from – say, 2,012 years ago, how do you think they were dated? 2 AD?

        That BC to AD concept is a Christian construction. It proves NOTHING.

        February 5, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
    • G to the T

      "But for the scientific community to disregard faith and god is going against its own foundations of discovery." And just how would one go about doing that? By what criteria could the scientific community control for "faith" or "god"?

      February 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
  5. ladyatheist

    I think CNN should try to adopt the debate model and not let people shout over each other on air. They are part of the problem when they let people do that no matter what the topic.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:28 am |
  6. L

    Atheism is a cancer for mankind.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • Smeagel4T

      Religion is a cancer for mankind. See how easy it is to make unmeaningful statements?

      February 5, 2014 at 11:25 am |
      • L

        Reversing what atheists claim is fun! I can say whatever I want and when asked for proof, I'll just slap the "I can't prove a negative" onto anything I am too lazy to prove! That will put you trolls in your place! 😄😃😀😊

        February 5, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • Dyslexic doG


      February 5, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • L

        Bad doggy!

        February 5, 2014 at 11:28 am |
    • Jake

      Trolls who are too dumb to over a coherent point are a cancer to this board. One short-coming of science is it has yet to find a cure that is effective in getting rid of L.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:43 am |
    • youreyesareweird

      Religion has been around far longer than anti-religion and look where it has gotten us: wars, famine, poverty, racism, torture, sickness, etc...it's time to try something else.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • toodark

      Much more accurate to characterize it as an innoculant. Belief in silly things for silly or no reasons is the cancer.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:50 am |
  7. monk

    Does It Matter What You Believe?
    Do you think that life has a purpose? Evolutionist William B. Provine says: “What we have learned about the evolutionary process has enormous implications for us, affecting our sense of meaning in life.” His conclusion? “I can see no cosmic or ultimate meaning in human life.”32
    Consider the significance of those words. If ultimate meaning in life were nonexistent, then you would have no purpose in living other than to try to do some measure of good and perhaps pass on your genetic traits to the next generation. At death, you would cease to exist forever. Your brain, with its ability to think, reason, and meditate on the meaning of life, would simply be an accident of nature.
    That is not all. Many who believe in evolution assert that God does not exist or that he will not intervene in human affairs. In either case, our future would rest in the hands of political, academic, and religious leaders. Judging from the past record of such men, the chaos, conflict, and corruption that blight human society would continue. If, indeed, evolution were true, there would seem to be ample reason to live by the fatalistic motto: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die.”—1 Corinthians 15:32.
    By contrast, the Bible teaches: “With [God] is the source of life.” (Psalm 36:9) Those words have profound implications.
    If what the Bible says is true, life does have meaning. Our Creator has a loving purpose that extends to all who choose to live in accord with his will. (Ecclesiastes 12:13) That purpose includes the promise of life in a world free of chaos, conflict, and corruption—and even free of death.—Psalm 37:10, 11; Isaiah 25:6-8.
    With good reason, millions of people around the world believe that learning about God and obeying him give meaning to life as nothing else can! (John 17:3) Such a belief is not based on mere wishful thinking. The evidence is clear—life was created.

    Not in six days..

    Face of a clock
    The Bible states that God created “the heavens and the earth.” This broad statement, however, makes no reference to the length of time involved in creating the universe or to the methods he used to shape it. What about the widespread creationist belief that God created the universe in six literal 24-hour days? This concept, widely rejected by scientists, is based on a gross misunderstanding of the Bible account. Consider what the Bible really says.

    The Bible does not support fundamentalists and creationists who claim that the creative days were literal 24-hour days
    The Bible does not support fundamentalists and creationists who claim that the creative days were literal 24-hour days.
    The Bible frequently uses the term “day” to designate various periods of time. In some cases these periods are of an unspecified length. The account of creation found in the Bible book of Genesis is one example of this.
    In the Bible account, each of the six creative days could have lasted for thousands of years.
    God had already created the universe, including a lifeless planet Earth, by the time the first creative day began.
    Evidently the six creative days were long periods during which Jehovah God prepared the earth for human habitation.
    The Bible account of creation does not conflict with scientific conclusions about the age of the universe.
    Theoretical process of evolution
    Many who do not believe in the Bible embrace the theory that living things emerged from lifeless chemicals through unknown and mindless processes. Supposedly, at some point a bacteria-like, self-replicating organism arose, gradually branching out into all the species that exist today. This would imply that ultimately the mind-bogglingly complex human actually evolved from bacteria.

    The theory of evolution is also embraced by many who claim to accept the Bible as the word of God. They believe that God produced the first burst of life on earth but then simply monitored, and perhaps steered, the process of evolution. That, however, is not what the Bible says.

    The Bible account of creation does not conflict with the scientific observation that variations occur within a kind
    According to the Bible, Jehovah God created all the basic kinds of plant and animal life, as well as a perfect man and woman who were capable of self-awareness, love, wisdom, and justice.
    The kinds of animals and plants created by God have obviously undergone changes and have produced variations within the kinds. In many cases, the resulting life-forms are remarkably different from one another.
    The Bible account of creation does not conflict with the scientific observation that variations occur within a kind.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:20 am |
    • Madtown

      According to the Bible
      Human beings wrote the books contained in the bible. Human beings are imperfect, and everything we create contains elements of our imperfection.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • DaddyMac

        According to The Bible:
        1- People wrote the words of the Bible under the inspiration of God
        2- A perfect God created imperfect people

        February 5, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Jake

          According to anyone with a brain:

          The bible is a work of fiction.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • DaddyMac

          Jake, are you the one person who determines who has a brain and what everyone can believe....you have all the answers....enlighten everyone please as insults merely suggest a lack of intellectual thought.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • Jake

          Obviously I was exaggerating. But anyone who believes in the Christian god is not very good at logical thinking. To put it simply, the Christian god is described in the bible. We have proven that the bible is false and that the things the bible claims the Christian god did are false. Therefore, the god described by the bible is fictional. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand this. If you don't get this, you're either not very smart or delusional.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • Madtown

          People wrote the words of the Bible under the inspiration of God
          Yes, of course we're told that. Is there any objective reason to believe this is true? Of course the humans that wrote the works want us to believe they were divinely inspired!

          February 5, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • DaddyMac

          Jake, I am going to assume you are intelligent and I hope you do the same for me. I completely understand and respect your opinion but I believe something different. If you want. please elaborate how true science has proven The Bible false and I am open to listening. I have no agenda here, it is good for intellectual debates to occur. Both evolution and creation have issues that have no answers. I just hope that people on both sides and those who are searching can respect each other and stop the name calling.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • DaddyMac

          Madtown, I an sure you have heard Christians mention the word faith. Faith is defined as believeing in something that you cannot see. i clearly agree that believing in God requires faith, as does any other theory....evolution. True science proves many things in life and Bill Nye is correct that we should keep exploring, creation scientisit also believe this. Sometimes, things in life defy logic but in the end, we all need to respect and get along with each other. Good, healthy debate is awesome!

          February 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • Jake

          Ok, sorry for the name calling.

          I know it sounds harsh, but if you are intelligent and believe that the bible is true, I would say you're dilusional. There is endless scientific evidence that contradicts just about everything the bible claims. We know the earth is exponentially oder than claimed in the bible, we know men can't walk on water, etc etc etc. Therefore, it becomes obvious that the bible is a work of fiction. The only way an intelligent person could think otherwise is if they've been through something along the lines of brain-washing. You have to suspend intelligent thought to ignore the obvious.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • DaddyMac

          Jake, I can make the same arguement against evolution. If I am dilluisional, then we both are. I think we both are free thinking intelligent people who disagree about this subject.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • Jake

          DaddyMac, you made a critical mistake in your definition of "faith". Faith is not believing in things we can't see. Believing in air, for example, does not require faith. Faith is believing in things for which there is no evidence. There is no evidence of a god, which is why believing in that requires faith. There IS evidence of evolution, which is why believing in evolution does not require faith. I consider faith a very bad thing and don't believe anything based on faith.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • Jake

          You can't make the same argument against evolution. The vast majority of scientists believe in evolution. There is evidence to support the theory of evolution. Believing something for which there is scientific evidence is not delusional. Believing something for which there is no evidence, especially something as extremely far-fetched as the bible, is delusional. Again, not trying to be harsh, but that's what the word "delusion" means.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • A1

          Endosymbiant Theory and Ambiogenesis aren't observable in nature. Yet scientists have faith that these two theories are responsible for forming all life as we know it. Faith in a supernatural process that we cannot directly observe occurs on both sides of the isle.

          February 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      I'm going to tell my bank that I am redefining years and that my 30 year mortgage is now going to be paid back over several millennia. They'll say that a day is a fixed unit of one rotation of the earth and that it is clearly defined in the contract. I'll say that if the bible can clearly use the word "day" but then lose all credibility by redefining it later, then I can too. It's god's word after all.

      what a crock ...

      February 5, 2014 at 11:30 am |
      • DaddyMac

        Please elaborate on the specific point where the Bible redefines what a day is.......must have missed that one.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:34 am |
      • Paul

        Did you go to the original text for the interpretation of the word 'day'? Regardless, we either believe all that is on this planet, all that exists that we know of, just happened- the result of NO thought process or we believe that there was some force that caused it, some intelligence and then we should begin a search for what that was. That's what scares guys like Bill Nye- to admit that there is a higher being than man can't be accepted.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • G to the T

          " higher being than man" – and I would counter that many believers can't accept that man isn't a "higher being" than any other here on earth. And most of your argument would be in favor of deism, but it starts to fall apart if you apply Abrahamic god.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jahtez

      "His conclusion? “I can see no cosmic or ultimate meaning in human life.”

      Except is is up to the individual to give his life meaning, and not to the cosmos.

      Really, this is basic.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:38 am |
    • Tim

      why can't people that believe this represent christianity? why does it have to be ken.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  8. Mike

    I am glad that there was a well-thought out debate between two very intelligent people who happen to adhere to different viewpoints. Unlike some of the comments left on this subject, I would hope that intelligent, rational people would listen and make their own decision as to what they believe, that is the freedom we have. people who knock others down and make comments about their intelligence, etc are just out of arguements! Much like political debates, each side has their own belief and followers and others are undecided, which the debates can help them make a choice. I will not comment on which side I was so there is no ammunition for attacks from either side. Great debate and it would be a welcome sight to have our political debates as coridal and organized.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • magicpanties

      I am very intelligent and still believe in Santa Claus, so please accord me the respect I so richly deserve.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:43 am |
      • DaddyMac

        I do respect your opinion and I also believe in Santa! I just do not like the trolls who seem to just throw out abusive comments without regard for others opinions. This forum could be an extension of the healthy debate that took place and not a place for people to ridicule others, regardless of their beliefs.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
  9. nate

    If we all evolved from nothing by accident, we might expect to find:

    1. Many half humans/half apes and no clear distinction between a human and an animal.

    2. Pretty well no symmetry. The idea of two eyeballs and two ears on the same creature by random chance is impossible. (check out what Darwin said about the eyeball)
    3. .0000001 of organisms survive because the rest die off because of starvation and harmful mutations. Under this scenario, the creatures would all become extinct only a few minutes into the grand evolutionary accidental experiment.
    4. We wouldn't see distinct "Kinds" of animals, it'd be so much more random.
    5. We would certainly not expect to have a conscience.
    6. We would expect zero order in anything, whether that be the distance between the earth and the sun, or the language codes on our DNA. Much less trillions of cells that are each more complex than anything man has created working in harmony in our bodies to keep us alive!

    If the Bible is true we would expect to find:

    1. We would expect that since Humans are created in the image of God, they would be unique and clearly distinguishable from other animals. And would be completely different then the rest of the animal kingdom.

    2. We would expect to see very intelligently designed organisms.

    3. Cleverly designed reproductive systems, that works to repopulate the earth.

    4. We would expect distinct "kinds" but a lot of variety within the kinds. Animals could only reproduce after their own kinds.
    5. We would expect to have a conscience.
    6. We would expect order, and incredible complexity and design in how we were made, as humanly speaking we are miracles!

    February 5, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • Smeagel4T

      Sorry, but you're only demonstrating your ignorance of how evolution works. Christians likewise face the problem of being unable to say where their God came from. A non-religious person can say "the universe always existed" every bit as easily as a religious person can say "God always existed".

      February 5, 2014 at 11:24 am |
      • nate

        Could you point out where I went wrong in my logic/reasoning on the accidental evolutionary half please?

        February 5, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • Smeagel4T

          Since you have already proven your lack of understanding of how the evolutionary model functions, I'll not waste my time with you. Come back when you understand the basic scientific principles.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • snowmom7

          Humans are not genetically "completely different" from the rest of the animal kingdom. We share 96% of our genetic code with the chimpanzees

          February 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • DJ

          OK, Nate, where should I begin?

          1) Evolution specifically prefers species that are well adapted to their environment, and typically over long periods of time the more well-adapted species will eradicate the others, as they can more easily eat/reproduce/survive (and there are ALWAYS finite resources). Also, species can only mate with one-another, I am not sure what a half human/ape is in your head, but a 'combined' species doesn't work (see: genetics). Intelligent life can force a Liger into existence, but it can't reproduce, and disappears in one generation

          2) I don't know where you got this idea of life not being capable of symmetry, I've never heard such an argument, what is this based on? To answer your rhetorical question, it is not random that symmetry emerges triumphant in many species, it's because it's a well-adapted trait. Given 3 1/2 billion years to adapt, it is not random that beneficial traits emerge. That is like saying flipping a coin 5,000 times and getting at least one tails is random, well, technically it is, but it is expected, probable, and almost impossible not to happen, just as it's nearly impossible for beneficial traits not to win out in the long run.

          3) You made up this statistic, I don't know what to do with it. But in a related note, you are correct that many many species have not made it to the present-day, only those well-suited to the current environment, and all those between their initiation and now (not easy); also all those lucky enough to avoid catastrophic events such as large collisions.

          4) Again, I point you to my point 2, it is TECHNICALLY random (read: genetic mutations), but, it is NOT random that prolific species survive, and consume the bulk of resources in a given environment, the coin example is also good here. And, considering that there are billions of species on this planet (most of them microbial), I don't know how many exactly you were expecting.

          5) (first off, I do not know if you mean consciousness, or conscience, so I will respond to both.) I don't know who doesn't expect a consciousness, you again, are not basing this on anything. But I will concede that modern science is very nascent to understand how consciousness occurs, its bounds, or (I believe) whether it is a distinguishable state from other forms of intelligence. As for a conscience, again, who doesn't expect this? you? I think given our mutual-dependence (see: mammals' dependence on their mothers/families) on one-another a conscience is an extremely likely result.

          6) No order? You're kidding right? Look up in the sky lately? Or at a topographical map? A neutron? A quark? There is order ALL around, and it is a corollary of the matter and natural forces which shape the world. A spiral galaxy (same goes for a spherical planet, a galaxy cluster, a comet) is shaped by forces big and small that rely on the physical properties of matter, energy, dark energy, and dark matter.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
      • nate

        Neither stance says that the universe always existed. You'd be in your own camp if you were to argue that one. What we can 99% all agree on, is that there was a starting point. What we don't agree on, is whether the power that made this universe to come into being was a Higher power or nothing.... I'm just exploring the options of what we might expect if a miraculous type of "nothing" did it.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • Smeagel4T

          You misunderstand my meaning of "the universe". My meaning was no so time limited. My meaning includes whatever state our current universe was in before it became the universe as we see it today.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
    • nate

      ‘If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents-the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts-i.e. of materialism and astronomy-are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.’ – CS Lewis

      February 5, 2014 at 11:24 am |
      • Smeagel4T

        But then again, Lewis wasn't a scientist, was he. And frankly, while Lewis was fine, Tolkien was a more evolved writer. Although, Screwtape Letters is pretty amusing. I'll give Lewis that.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • nate

          Lewis wasn't a scientist therefore his argument doesn't deserve an answer. I wasn't aware that's how it works.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • ??

          I think you are correct Tolkien was a brilliant writer...and the person who Lewis credits for his belief in God.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Smeagel4T

          Lewis' comment does not deserve an answer from within the scientific sphere because Lewis was not presenting a scientific argument based in scientific principles. Lewis' comment bears no scientific weight.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog


        " It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.’ – CS Lewis"

        Except that he was wrong, and the law of conservation of information says that you CAN recover a correct account of the jug.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • nate

          Read the first part of the quote... you're trying to argue that your brains (As well as everything else) is a random accident while using your brain. Anyway, the first part of this quote responds to your response.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog


          ‘If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then..."

          The intial premise is false – the solar system did not form by accidental collision. This is nothing but the opinion of someone that is working from false premises. Therefore, I give it no credence at all and neither should you.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • ME II

          "...random accident "

          The problem is that our brains are *not* a random accident. They are the product of millions and millions of years of differential selection, i.e. evolution, not random.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • ME II

        The difference is that a milk jug is not aware and not able to use reason.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • ME II

          ... or the splash of milk, in this case.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:52 am |
      • Flappy

        My parents said I was an accident and I'm quite capable of explaining how I was conceived.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Flappy

        You like to throw the word "accident" around rather casually as if it means something in this context. The word accident implies a mistake which doesn't quite fit here.

        If you bother to learn about the mechanics of evolution you would know that random mutations and natural selection are a more appropriate way to explain how it works.

        A lesser animal isn't going to accidentally evolve into a man. That's just silly. However a lesser animal species over a few millions of years can thru a process of random genetic mutations and natural selection evolve into man. That is a more accurate way to describe it.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Your ignorance is truly astounding. You really should read a book from somewhere other than the Christian book store. It would serve you well and save you further embarrassment.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:36 am |
    • Riley

      An American Bison is also pretty easily distinguished from other animals.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:37 am |
    • redzoa

      With all due respect nate, this betrays a pretty superficial understanding of the biology:

      1) Evolution does not predict true chimeras; in fact, a true chimera would be evidence against evolution. Nonetheless, take a look at the fossil record of pre-hominid up through modern H. sapiens. Humans are animals and our genetics and morphology show the link, e.g. the recurrent laryngeal nerve and our defunct gene for egg yolk protein.

      2) There are various patterns of symmetry throughout the animal kingdom. Your probability argument is based on a flawed understanding of statistics. Since Darwin, we have observed forms displaying a nice progression from light sensitive patches of nerves up through our own (rather poorly) designed eyes.

      3) Please show your work underlying this math. We have had mass extinction events, but not necessarily for the reasons you suggest. You possess ~ 120 mutations not found in either of your parents. Mutations aren't invariably lethal and a mutation that is modestly detrimental in a given situation may prove beneficial as the situation changes (e.g. antibiotic resistant germs do grow modestly slower than non-resistant parental strains; however, this deficiency in growth is advantageous compared to death from the antibiotic).

      4) Take a look at the diversity of life. Note that there has never been a reliable definition offered for "kinds." Note that for the founding "kind" pairs departing the Ark to yield presently observable biodiversity ironically requires "hyper-evolution."

      5) Other social species have a "conscience" in that they appreciate reciprocity or "fairness." We're not particularly unique in this capacity.

      6) Selection is a filter for functionality, demonstrated both in the lab (RNA aptamers, Lenski's E.coli) and in the wild (speciation events, the Pod Mrcaru lizards, predator-prey relationships, etc, etc.)

      "If the Bible is true . . ."

      1) Humans are distinguishable, but not improbably so. If we're created in God's image, God is primarily comprised of viral genetic sequences and repet-itive elements.

      2) Evolution is a "designer," but it's not intelligent. This is why we see things like male nip-ples and that defunct gene for egg yolk protein in our placental mammal genomes.

      3) Same as above. ~ 25% of pregnancies end in spontaneous miscarriage, birth defects, maternal/infant mortality due to birth complications, etc.

      4) Again, "kinds" has never been adequately defined. The fossil record shows a progressive order, and when considering the major vertebrate classes, we see fish with tetrapod features, reptiles with mammalian features, reptiles with avian features. Even if one accepts "kinds" at the taxonomic level of families, too many forms to fit on the Ark and again, requires hyper-evolution to account for presently observable biodiversity (i.e. the genera, species derived from the highly limited genetic diversity of the founding "kinds" pairs).

      5) See 5 above

      6) Again, evolution is itself a demonstrable "designer" of functional novelty. Humans have a tendency to see "purpose" and "pattern" in otherwise random data (apophenia). There is no physical evidence indicating the god of the bible or any other deity.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • nate

        Thank you for your response. Like Lewis, I do not call myself a scientist. And while I feel I have somewhat of a grasp of a good chunk of what you wrote, I am not an expert nor will I pretend to be an expert in any of those fields. I will comment on a few of your points though.

        If we're talking about accidents, to say that the human eye wasn't particularly well designed amazes me. In my personal life, I have what's called extra boney growths on my legs (multiple exostosis) which can often be somewhat painful, definitely a harmful mutation. Now, there was no new information added in my DNA, it simply got mutated... according to observational science, we do not get NEW dna... what's happening is simply a shuffling of the genes that are already there. When an animal reproduces a batch of offspring, the ones with the better genetics will survive. You are probably are aware of with the chromosones, You can pass a gene on to your kids, that you do not exemplify. It was still in your DNA though. I guess what I'm getting at, is that there is a real shortage of evidence that statistically mutations are beneficial enough to account to where we are in history.

        With the antibiotic experiment, what happened was that the ones that were originally resistant to the chemicals (say 5%), are the ones that reproduced until all of them were resistant (the offspring of the 5%), because those that were originally not resistant (95%) died off.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • ladyatheist

          Nate, new information CAN be added to DNA - a sequence can be added (or lost) during transmission.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • ladyatheist

          Nate, if you are not an expert, then you are not in a position to state that there is not enough evidence to deduce that subtle changes in DNA (what you call "mutations") could have cause the diversification of life on the planet. Start from the position that you have 3.5 billion years for this to happen in and then read a book.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • redzoa

          @nate – Compare the human eye to the eye of an octopus or even a raptor.

          "according to observational science, we do not get NEW dna"

          Yes, organisms can get new DNA, via duplication, lateral transfer, etc. In plants, we see evidence of whole genome duplications producing polyploidy. With respect, and based on your statements, I would offer that you really don't have an understanding of the basic science and statistics.

          I appreciate it may be difficult to reconcile your religious faith with the available evidence, but despite the claims of fundamentalists, one doesn't need to abandon their religious faith in accepting what the physical evidence indicates. Francis Collins, Ken Miller, and numerous other evolution proponents are devout Christians. The core tenets of Christianity (man is sinful, man cannot redeem himself, salvation via Jesus, etc) are not contingent on a literal Genesis.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
    • toodark

      Evolution is the exact opposite of random. Educate yourself on what evolution by natural selection actually says before you attempt to comment on it.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:54 am |
    • WASP

      @nate: what do you have when something CAN NOT be created NOR destroyed?
      1) if you can not create it, it will always be the same amount.
      2) if you can not destroy it, it will be here forever.

      question what is it?
      1) a god.
      2) energy.

      answer would be energy. as proven by the 1st law of thermal dynamics "energy can not be created nor destroyed" thus it remains at the same percentage as pre-big bang as well as post big bang. this logically leads to that if energy is truly eternal, can't destroy it and can't create anymore of it; thus 100% can be given to energy while inside a closed system.

      the 2nd law of thermal dynamics; which christians love jumping to; covers the tranference of energy from the state of potential to the state of kinetic and back again. energy isn't lost in that situation either due to energy simply changing forms.

      einstien's famous equation (E=MC2) shows how energy converts from one form to the next. i.e. energy to matter and matter back to energy. this equation proved the exsistance of blackholes, which even then has been proven not to destroy what it consumes but simply rips matter apart and throws the converted energy back out into the universe.

      evolution: it's the simple trial and error of nature, brought on predominately due to predation. the slow and weak get eaten, the faster and smarter live long enough to pass on their genetic traits.

      i could go into to explaining how each creature including humans could evolve from "inadaminte" matter, however that would require me writing a whole thesis on this blog site and that is time consuming.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
  10. Wayne

    Thanks, Tom, for the way you ran the debate and your column here. I wish all those responding could have the same decorum. There are intelligent people on all sides of this discussion. To deny that is prejudice. I have my views, not fully represented by either man. I, of course, would have liked to press certain points with both of them. However, I think they were treated fairly and had their opportunity to respond and clarify. That is what an academic debate is designed to do and we have few of them in this society.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:12 am |
  11. ScientificBeliever

    Evolution and creationism really deal with two completely issues - science and faith - and they are not mutually exclusive. I'm a Christian, but I believe the scientific evidence supports evolution. The difference is that I believe evolution was directed by a Higher Being, whereas someone who does not believe in a Higher Being believes evolution just happened all by itself. One way to think of it is that science deals with the What, Where, When and How of creation, whereas faith deals with Who (if anyone) and Why.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:09 am |
    • Smeagel4T

      From an evolutionist, I'll say that's a fair enough comment. At this point in scientific research, there is no evidence that a god was or was not behind the Big Bang.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:18 am |
    • toodark

      The fundamental misunderstanding here is the belief that evolution has a goal in mind and therefore requires outside direction. We acknowledge the benefit of having two eyes for purposes of depth of field, for example. The advantage that presents aided in survival and became a desireable trait to be passed on and further refined. There is no foresight involved.

      But even if we were to accept the proposition of 'guided' evolution, we're left with the question of who designed the designer which only leads to arguments of special pleading...I.e. a dead end.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
  12. BiggerPicture

    One could argue that these two theories are not mutually exclusive. Creationism may have merely preceded evolution.

    February 5, 2014 at 10:55 am |
    • Arcturus

      You cannot argue that if you adhere to logic and reason.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • BiggerPicture

        The Big Bang Theory represents the creation event in scientific terms, and everything since has been evolution.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Creationism typically means a literal (or near literal) interpretation of Genesis.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You don't seem to realize that Ham's Creationism involves a Universe that is less than 10,000 years ago and a human race that is entirely descended from 3 breeding pairs of humans 4,000 years ago wherein all the males were 1st order relatives.
      Evolution – including what Mr Ham would call "micro-evolution" resulting in variations within a species (like the degrees of melanin concentration in the human species) takes longer than a couple of thousand years in a complex organism.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:03 am |
      • BiggerPicture

        I never said I prescribed to Ham's small view on creationism.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • Justin Singleton

        I disagree. Since the dawn of writing (the "historical" period if you will—Early Bronze Age), we have had only around 150 generations, yet we have advanced from stone tools to nuclear energy. We have also seen dramatic changes in the human body, including differences between the different "so-called" races of humanity. Change occurs a lot faster than we think. It is merely a bias that forces us to assume these changes are slow.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • toodark

          Technological advances are irrelevant.

          The bronze age goes back to about 3300 BCE which is where the xtian myths originate...over 100K years after the last "so-called" races of humanity died out. So exactly what physiological changes have taken place in humans since then?

          Bias in no way 'forces' us to assum that these changes are slow. Evidence demonstrates it.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • heehee

      Look up "god of the gaps".

      February 5, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • Smeagel4T

      I'm a non-religious evolutionist, and I'll point out that BiggerPicture's comments are perfectly legitimate. People who believe that a god was behind the Big Bang should not be attacked because there is no proof that a god wasn't.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:21 am |
      • BiggerPicture

        Thanks Smeagel4T. One thing to note though is what happens when we can explain how the Big Bang happened and we run in to the next chapter in this mystery. How deep does the rabbit hole go? How far back does it go? Where did it all start? The true creation event may be buried under layers of scientific discovery yet to be uncovered! I for one will sit back on my deck and enjoy a tasty beverage glad to have made the journey.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        A god pre-Big Bang is one of many possibilities; presuming a god it is not the god described by any religion and should not be used to support the current religious positions.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • BiggerPicture

          Here you are arguing to put a box around it, to categorize, to explain it. I don't really care about either of the positions on either side because both are small and lack full understanding. Science needs to discover more and these hard core creationist that think it's all in the bible need to understand that life existed before, in between, and after the pages of the bible were written. Outside of that it's faith vs. science arguing against the unknown which will result in a stalemate every time.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • toodark

      And one would be wrong and have explained absolutely nothing.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • BiggerPicture

        The pursuit of my life is not to explain stuff. The universe does not explain itself. It is humans who try to explain and judge it based on limited understanding. Our own understanding of all things constantly evolves as we discover more. I can only imagine that this will continue into infinity or we become extinct.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
  13. Bobbo

    The mere fact that he claims it's about the economy is very telling and makes me question Nye even more. I am a Bible believing Christian and I can't say I agree with Ham either. There is obviously a flaw in his thinking and Bible study as well. When did all the Heavenly wars take place? How long did they last? Are the ancient skulls those of the fallen angels or a pre-Adamic race or races? Satan was thrown to earth and yet he is a serpent in Genesis.
    The Bible is more about the history of man, not the universe. Much took place that is not important for us to know prior to Eden. I don't hang my Christian hat on Ham but I do see a definite pattern to the atheist movement that is concentrated on reason. Where did your reasoning capabilities come from? Why didn't other mammals or creatures evolve into having that ability? I will believe always. The Carpenter, the Nazarene, the Messiah can fix anything, I've witnessed enough with my eyes wide open to be utterly convinced after being an atheist for most of my life.

    February 5, 2014 at 10:54 am |
    • heehee

      Here are a couple of facts and an invitation.

      the facts: Nye isn't really part of the atheist movement. He's a science educator. Neither is the theory of evolution generated by an atheist movement.

      the invitation: if you want to know what's true, read some books on evolution. Find books which discuss the evidence and criticize them as vigorously as you can. Ask yourself what is true and take the time to really understand what's being claimed and what the evidence is. It will take some time and effort, but you have nothing to lose.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • Bobbo

        Been there, done that for the 1st 48 years of my life. There are way too many assumptions and conclusions drawn by interpreting data. Evolution is no different than creationism, they are both philosophy, that is open to interpretation. Once I opened my mind to the impossible and implausible is when I truly became open minded. I would ask you to do the same with the Bible and other historians of the days of Jesus. Study the additional books not included in the canon text.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • Madtown

          ask you to do the same with the Bible
          Why christianity? It's just one of many ways humans have created to put structure around our questions regarding spirituality. It's not the only way of approaching the subject. You can choose to follow it certainly, but it doesn't represent "truth".

          February 5, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          "Been there, done that for the 1st 48 years of my life."

          then you might try mixing some comprehension with your reading.

          anyone who has read and understood the mountains of evidence for evolution and compared it to a contradictory, fanciful, error riddled story book written by bronze age desert dwelling goat herders and come up on the side of the bible, clearly hasn't understood the science.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • heehee

          Sure, I read the bible. Not the other books yet. I also spend a lot of time reading about the history of cultural beliefs.

          Which books on evolutionary biology, or palaeontology have you read? Just want to know.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • heehee

          Probably you've moved on from this post, and I will too – but I don't think by "been there, done that" you meant "read about and understood many things about evolutionary biology and paleontology".

          I would also like to invite you to learn about other religions and their history.

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

          Also, I want to call you out on the age card you were trying to play – it doesn't make you an expert on anything, and I'm no spring chicken. Most people our age hardly know anything, so who is that supposed to impress?

          February 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "In this town, Hank is the same as good luck. All good things are attributed to Hank'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    from Jhuger.com

    February 5, 2014 at 10:52 am |
    • L

      Looks like doggy needs a punishment for getting out of his cage again. Bad doggy! Bad! Stop doing that!

      February 5, 2014 at 11:23 am |
      • Dustin

        No rebuttal? Exactly.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
  15. MattMan

    The last time religion ruled the world...was called "the dark ages"

    February 5, 2014 at 10:51 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      and it's still very dark in any of the dozens of today's theocracies.

      religion is a cancer of the human race.

      February 5, 2014 at 10:59 am |
    • TiglathPileser

      Actually it was called the rise of the Roman empire...might wanna actually know what you are talking about before you start spouting silliness.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • Derek

      The very thing that lifted man out of the Dark Ages was the Protestant Reformation! Regardless of your religious or non-religious background be thankful for the reformation. Out of that arose free thinking and ultimately the freedoms we enjoy today. Great scientists came about like Newton who were able to work freely without Roman Catholicism looking over their shoulders.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:12 am |
      • Gup20

        Newton was a young earth creationist, and said that if God was true then the universe must reflect His consistent, unchanging nature and therefore be able to be studied and reliably tested. Ham touched on that in the debate. In an evolutionary worldview, we are the result of random chance processes. A random chance universe is an inconsistent, untestable universe. So the evolutionist has to borrow from the Christian perspective – logic and reason being possible only in a consistent, universal, and unchanging world – to even argue against the Christian perspective.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
    • DRJJ

      Actually it's required reading in schools now FYI and called macro evolution! Call it the macro evolution faith movement, part of secularization of church and state!

      February 5, 2014 at 11:16 am |
  16. Theology, not Science...

    Under the radar, the "establishment" in university science departments has been finding ways to get rid of professors who have any belief in the creation/Biblical viewpoint. This clearly doesn't get reported for the obvious reason that the establishment has strong ties to (like Bill Nye), and includes, much of the media.

    The vast majority of this comment post is a prime example of many angry people who clearly have decided that God should be shut out of this theology debate. Even after thousands of years, mankind still denies God's reality. Man has chosen to live only how he wishes to live, claiming he has "rights" as his thumb his nose at his Creator. Yes, we all have a choice. But we are all a slave to something...whether it's to our own ego, others in our lives, money, power, anger, bitterness, OR to a God who wants the best for us. That is why He clarifies His way to live in the Bible...it's for our own benefit...not His. We have freedom to live within His boundaries, that were created for our best. If we live outside these boundaries, then we blame Him for what we ourselves created! That makes no sense!

    What most of the evolution side is really saying (especially those who are atheists) is: "God doesn't exit, and I'm angry at Him!" This whole debate is really all about theology and one's worldview, not factual "science", as evolutionist commentaries are claiming. True science doesn't say anything, people do!

    Even without the Bible, our world and the solar system is clearly amazingly fine-tuned and massive. Last I checked, mankind couldn't even begin to put his finger on how to create all of that out of nothing! When have we ever performed a science experiment without using something that was already created?

    February 5, 2014 at 10:51 am |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      Well said!

      Believers have the faith of God. It's not just what we believe, but WHO we believe.
      Faith is attractive to Father, He esteems it! Faith is not a formula; it is a Spirit. 2Cor4:13
      God is a faith God, and we're not going by blind faith. Jesus doesn't disappear because there are unbelievers.
      The greatest blessings of Father: Salvation and the Holy Spirit are obtained through Faith. I (We) believe it, therefore I (we)speak it.

      With God there are no co.njectures, maybes or perhaps. His promises are certain, true, yes and amen!
      And therein lies our security.


      February 5, 2014 at 11:16 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        infantile slave mind

        February 5, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • Mike Wittman

      Well actually physicist Dr. Larry Kraus wrote a whole book on "A Universe Created from Nothing". I think there are several such hypothesis. You should read them, they're fascinating.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • Madtown

      He clarifies His way to live in the Bible...it's for our own benefit
      Interesting. What's your best guess then as to why he didn't provide this guide to living to each of the humans he created? They all have life, he created them. Why did he only give this guidebook to certain groups of people, if it's for everyone's benefit? Does he play favorites?

      February 5, 2014 at 11:25 am |
  17. Jeff

    Bill Nye shouldn't have given this nut job the credibility by debating him. What's next, debating if unicorns exist?

    February 5, 2014 at 10:44 am |
    • Alias

      It's just that they are invisible, pink, and avoid people.

      February 5, 2014 at 10:50 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        I knew it! I read it in an old book so it HAD to be true!

        February 5, 2014 at 10:50 am |
  18. glades2

    I'm convinced that those who are atheists are actually afraid of death (as we all) and throw science at it in order to make themselves feel better – that might work for a few minutes, but bet the ranch that it won't linger very long, because the laws of science are what God created for the earth itself and everything that lives in it, so in trying to put science in place of God actually brings them back to God...

    February 5, 2014 at 10:42 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      after I die will be the same as before I was born. I won't exist. It won't be painful. it won't be anything. before I was born, I did not exist for time immemorial. after I die, I will not exist for time immemorial.

      god for you is a soft blankie or a stuffed toy for a scared child. that's all religion is. There is no proof of a god or jesus or that any of the stories in the bible even happened, but the stories sure seem to make people feel better and a little less afraid.

      so take your solace and feel comforted by your fairy stories, but please, please, please stop trying to tell me that any of it is real.

      February 5, 2014 at 10:49 am |
      • craig

        Then why were you born. For what reason do you exist.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • xplain_plz

          Why does there have to be a reason that you were born?

          February 5, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Jahtez

          Well, Craig, my mother and father got their groove on one night and I was the result.

          That's the reason I exist.

          February 5, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • G to the T

          Youthful indiscretion, a flask of booze and the back of a 72 Chevy if what my dad says is correct.

          February 5, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • TiglathPileser

        "There is no proof of a god or jesus or that any of the stories in the bible even happened" and there lies the root of the problem on both sides, blatant ignorance. There is plenty of evidence for the existence of Jesus and MANY of the biblical stories, it is verifiable and not questioned by any real scholars today. The real bone of contention for educated folk is the 'miraculous' events, for which there obviously can be no proof other than being tehre to see them.

        February 5, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • Primewonk

      "the laws of science are what God created"

      Except that our science shows no god or gods were needed or required.

      February 5, 2014 at 10:50 am |
      • TiglathPileser

        Huh, but simply because they were not 'needed or required' does not prove they do not exists. Also, we have yet to prove how it all came from nothing (we may someday, we just havent yet)

        February 5, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • G to the T

          "Also, we have yet to prove how it all came from nothing (we may someday, we just havent yet)"

          Nothing? What an odd thing to say. As I understand it, a singularity is quite a bit more than "nothing". Indeed, it's fairly well argued that it was, in fact, "everything".

          February 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Jake

      If you're convinced of that, you are what we call, "delusional".

      February 5, 2014 at 10:50 am |
    • Ann

      Glades, I believe it's the exact opposite. Religious folks are the ones who are afraid of death. That's why they make up stories about how it isn't really the end.

      Which, of course, might be true ... but I don't know, and neither do you.

      February 5, 2014 at 10:52 am |
    • L.S.B.

      It's time for a dog to bark 'god! god!'.

      February 5, 2014 at 10:54 am |
    • Haha no.

      As an athiest, I can't begin to explain how wrong you are. I am not afraid of dying. I used to be, when I was a child and was taught all about religion. I was petrified of spending an eternity in an after-life that would never end. I am very satisfied with the idea that my life will end when it ends. That's it. I will become a part of the earth, and that in of itself is rather beautiful. I don't need a fairy tale to justify the end of my existence.

      February 5, 2014 at 10:56 am |
      • Arcturus

        Exactly right. I remember my Catholic grade school years and feeling the same way, like what if I didn't like hanging out with those people in robes and their sheep and those clouds... Fortunately I was able to see through the whole scam at about 8 years old.

        February 5, 2014 at 10:58 am |
    • Kelly G

      I fear you have things backwards... religious people are afraid of death and therefore need to cling to a book that tells them if they live a certain kind of life, after they die their soul will live on in some fairytale land (depending on the book your reading, the fairytale land is different). It can be argued that the very idea of religion came to be because people a long time ago were trying to comfort themselves about why we are here and what becomes of us after death. All because death was so feared.

      On the flip-side, as an atheist I have come to accept that the time I have on this planet is limited and precious. That when my life comes to an end I will seize to exist, and my life will only live on in the memories of the people who's lived I have touched. It makes every moment of my life that much more important. And I dont fear what is to come after death.

      I live my life as the best person I can be, helping as many as I can, because I know it's the right thing. I dont need a book to dictate to me how Im supposed to live my life.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:22 am |
  19. Lisa

    It's a pity that "Christians" spend their time and money on issues like this, rather than on the issues that Christ identified as important: feeding the poor, healing the sick, and loving one another. Instead, they sink $$ into "creation museums" and merchandise, and gripe about "freeloaders."

    February 5, 2014 at 10:40 am |
    • lloyd roberts

      Ditto that

      February 5, 2014 at 10:57 am |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    You mean to tell me,
    that a Jewish zombie can make me live forever,
    if I telepathically accept him as my master…
    all because a talking snake convinced a woman created by one rib
    to eat from a magical tree?

    February 5, 2014 at 10:39 am |
    • TiglathPileser

      No, but you mean to tell me that we simply popped into existence out of nothing, simply from an involuntary shudder that magically happened in the middle of absolutely nothing and then slowly through the sheer force of will (or accident, or telepathy, science hasn’t quiet made its mind up on that one yet) one little green gob of magic stuff morphed into humans. Sounds every bit as likely to me. Reductio ad absurdum is a child’s method of argument that I will readily admit you are better at than I, but it does a disservice to BOTH sides of any argument.

      February 5, 2014 at 11:25 am |
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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.