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. Sid

    if you REALLY want to seize up the gears in a creationist's brain just point out that there's an incredibly simple way to reconcile Genesis with currently accepted scientific theory:

    all you need is for God to have been moving at the right speed relative to light & due to relativistic time dilation (which is observed FACT! it's as real as gravity!) 6 days from His inertial reference is 4 billion years from the Earth's! not saying that's what DID happen but the equations certainly allow for it...

    problem solved! now can we PLEASE move on to something relevant & actionable?

    February 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
    • W.C. Fields

      According to our own Live4Him, light moves at different speeds. Ex: does a car in the city move at the same speed as one in the country?

      February 5, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        Technically, L4H is correct. Light does move at different speeds through different mediums, this is what causes refraction.

        February 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • G to the T

      For that to work, god would have to be traveling AWAY from earth the whole time. That's the "relative" part of "relativity". It's relative to the perspective of the observer.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • ME II

      That doesn't really work though for many reasons, a few of which are:
      -Heaven and earth were not created at the same time, Earth was 9+ billion years later.
      -The order of appearance of difference organisms in Genesis is significantly different than what the geologic records shows.
      -There is no evidence of a global flood within Human experience, especially within the last 4000 years, and such evidence should be obvious if it happened.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
  2. Smeagel4T

    Ken really exposed the arbitrariness of his arguments when he admitted that he cherry-picks which portions of the Bible he accepts as literal and which he accepts as figurative. Taking that position makes a person completely free to manipulate the meaning of their source material in any fashion they wish. It means I can prove that wizards and witches exist because the Harry Potter books say so. When people point out that we can observe other things in the real world that do no agree with the Harry Potter books, then that's clearly because those passages in the Harry Potter books were just figurative. However that doesn't prove that the passages talking about wizards and witches are not literal.

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

      I'm a christian and you make a very good point in your comment. There are alot of christians these days "cherry-picking" the bible and so on. So are alot of other people in other religions. It is happening everywhere. The earth's population as a whole is failing on just simple "Humanist" principles. Fundamentalist and Literalists also do damage to the bible especially when they are only see it their way. I say this, you cannot debate someone's religion.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        I think the worlds population is actually benefiting from humanism – slavery is a crime in nearly every corner of the world. There are more democracies and fewer despots than ever before, and people on the whole are getting healthier, wealthier, and better educated.

        What in this wicked, wicked world is worse now than it was 50 years ago, 100 years ago, ...? And how is it possibly the fault of people not believing in your version of god? Are you blaming the handful of atheists in the USA or are you blaming the 3 billion non-believers born in other parts of the world in the last 50 years?

        February 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      There's nothing wrong with taking the Bible as a source of spiritual inspiration, but it is neither an accurate historical or scientific account.

      It is full of contradictions and All of it needs to be interpreted.

      Saying that part of it is literally true and part of it is figurative is nonsense.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • Ralph Hough

      The Bible is a book by which God speaks to us in various ways, historical narrative, poetry, instruction, prophecy, figurative language... etc. It is perhaps the best of all types of literature of which many, if not most learned and literate people, have come to learn how to read and understand language in its finest points. There is indeed no other book like it or one that has influence the world like the Bible (whether one agrees with it or not). A true Biblicist reads the Bible to understand the message God desires all to have, namely that He loves people, whom He has created, and how we can have a relationship to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. The other thing about the Bible is that it is an honest assessment of mans deepest needs and does not skirt the issues that destroy mankind. It also describes how bad we really are to one another, especially when we, who have the means, do not help those who are in need. God's Word will be when we no longer are!

      February 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
  3. William

    I appreciate Foreman's comments, but the headline is misleading.

    February 5, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
  4. another issue missed

    No mutation that increases genetic information has ever been discovered. Mutations which increase genetic information would be the raw material necessary for evolution. To get from "amoeba" to "man" would require a massive net increase in information. There are many examples of supposed evolution given by proponents. Variation within a species (finch beak, for example), bacteria which acquire antibiotic resistance, people born with an extra chromosome, etc. However, none of the examples demonstrate the development of new information. Instead, they demonstrate either preprogrammed variation, multiple copies of existing information, or even loss of information (natural selection and adaptation involve loss of information). The total lack of any such evidence refutes evolutionary theory

    February 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
    • bostontola

      1. False statement, there are many examples of repeated genes that increase information.
      2. Mutation isn't the only mechanism for genetic change. Organism merge (that's how we have mitochondria with it's own DNA), viruses and bacteria exchange DNA with other organisms increasing information.

      Why make baseless assertions when you are clearly uneducated in the topic?

      February 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      One possible mutation is a duplication of chromosome – proven. This is an increase in genetic information and your argument fails by a false initial premise.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • Smeagel4T

      So you admit that evolution based on genetic mutation does exist, but you arbitrarily reject that increases in DNA are possible in the natural world.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
    • awesome-o

      The point that was not brought up during the debate really was that evolution is something that takes a very long time. It is a theory that expands millions, if not billions of years and takes more than one generation of a species to noticeably take place. Ham is convinced that if he does not see it within his lifetime, it cannot be true because 'historical science' is only assumption.
      It was fun to watch him dodge all of Nye's facts and cling to defending a wooden ship and sizes of animals.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
      • Ralph Hough

        Why not defend a 'wooden' ship that took 125 years to build and that the animals that were on it were all that was need for the animal life we see today? Seems reasonable and logical and scientifically explanable as the explanation for what occurred as the Bible shows forth the works of a Mighty God whose power to create all that there is – is all that is needed to hold it all together until such time as He determines to change things up! Time to get on board now before it is too late!

        February 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • ME II

      @another issue missed,
      "No mutation that increases genetic information has ever been discovered. Mutations which increase genetic information would be the raw material necessary for evolution."

      I'm not certain what you mean by "genetic information", because additional genes and new gene sequences are generated all the time.
      For example: "nylon-eating" bacteria evolved to consume man-made substances that didn't exist in nature before.

      February 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
  5. Evolution issues

    There is a total lack of undisputed examples (fossilized or living) of the millions of transitional forms ("missing links") required for evolution to be true. Evolution does not require a single missing link, but innumerable ones. We should be surrounded by a zoo of transitional forms that cannot be categorized as one particular life form. But we don't see this—there are different kinds of dogs, but all are clearly dogs. The fossils show different sizes of horses, but all are clearly horses. None is on the verge of being some other life form. The fossil record shows complex fossilized life suddenly appearing, and there are major gaps between the fossilized "kinds." Darwin acknowledged that if his theory were true, it would require millions of transitional forms. He believed they would be found in fossil records. They haven't been.

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

      Another lie! Wow. Do you do anything besides post blatantly false info?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils – Yeah there's no transitional fossils. EXCEPT ALL THESE!!!

      You have no idea what a transitional form is, do you? That doesn't mean that you will have a hybrid of 2 creatures just because they share a common ancestor. Dogs evolved from wolves. There are thousands of species of shrimp alone, plus fossilization is an incredibly rare process, you aren't going to just magically find every species to ever exist. Nothing suddenly appeared. The cambrian explosion was a 70+ million year long process. To put that in perspective, ancient ape to modern human took 7 million. OOPS. You lied again.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
      • broggin1968

        Slight issue. Humans did not evolve from apes.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • Barcs

          Oh yeah, I forgot. My bad.

          They only found 20 missing links between modern human and ancient ape, but heck, you said it, so it must be right. Hail Zeus!!

          February 5, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • redzoa

      Fish with tetrapod features, reptiles with mammalian features, reptiles with avian feature all exist in the correct temporal/morphological order. That they exist at all confounds the claim of "immutable" kinds. Question: How did the founding "kinds" pairs produce observable biodiversity in only a few thousand years?

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

      Evolution is a continuum. Every fossil, every species currently living, is a transitional form. In that sense, there are no specific transitional forms, only perhaps some places in the continuum for which fossils have not been found. There are many examples, though, of fossil forms showing the continuum of evolution.

      The bird in your backyard could well be regarded as a "transitional" from a million years from now, but does it appear that way to you? No, it appears as a fully fledged species like the other animals you see. Calling something transitional only has meaning when looking back over the eons of evolution. Even then, it's meaning is more relevant when there are places in the continuum where fossils have not yet been found.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
  6. My Dog is a jealous Dog

    I really wish that the evolution deniers would just understand that evolution neither proves nor disproves the existence of god(s), nor does it address the origin of life or the universe. Evolution is just as real as gravity, and as others have pointed out, we do not have a "complete" understanding of either of these, but that does not mean that either gravity or evolution are "false". The only valid debates about either evolution or gravity are about the details, not if it is "real" or not.

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

      They need to be right, they don't know what to do if they are wrong...

      February 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
  7. Evolution issues

    Pause debate video at Hamm's slide that shows that 100s of aging methods contradict each other..... should have hammered this point more.

    The dating methods that evolutionists rely upon to assign millions and billions of years to rocks are very inconsistent and based on unproven (and questionable) assumptions. Dating methods that use radioactive decay to determine age assume that radioactive decay rates have always been constant. Yet, research has shown that decay rates can change according to the chemical environment of the material being tested. In fact, decay rates have been increased in the laboratory by a factor of a billion. All such dating methods also assume a closed system—that no isotopes were gained or lost by the rock since it formed. It's common knowledge that hydrothermal waters, at temperatures of only a few hundred degrees Centigrade, can create an open system where chemicals move easily from one rock system to another. In fact, this process is one of the excuses used by evolutionists to reject dates that don't fit their expectations. What's not commonly known is that the majority of dates are not even consistent for the same rock. Furthermore, 20th century lava flows often register dates in the millions to billions of years. There are many different ways of dating the earth, and many of them point to an earth much too young for evolution to have had a chance. All age-dating methods rely on unprovable assumptions.

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

      That's actually a lie. Various dating methods can cover different periods of time, some longer than others. They all verify one another they don't conflict.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
      • Really Kool-Aid?

        actually that is a lie! Nice try though........... so you pick and choose a method to get what you want? Nice

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

          They are all accurate within something like 1% margin of error. That means if you go back 1 billion years, it will be accurate within a million years. One million years on a scale of billions is not a large margin of error. We have other methods that are more accurate but can't go back as far.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • Lou

          pick and choose? isn't that the premise of religious belief today?

          February 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • Tina Odumai

          So explain the salinity changes in the ocean and apply them to Billion years ago within 1% margin of error..............

          We'll be waiting patiently.........................

          February 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • Tina Odumai

          That's the point LOU, they both require faith or belief and aren't undeniable fact that you can show someone and wallah they understand.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • YeahItsMe72

      All the dating methods can approximate age to within some degree of error. You pick a dating method that has a range of error that is not significant relative to the age you are looking it. For example, if an aging method is accurate to within 20,000 years, it's fine to use that when looking at something tens of millions of years old. It's useless to use it dating something 10,000 years old. This is well understood in science and they always use dating methods appropriate for the aged item they are dating.

      You're pretending that scientists don't know this and use invalid dating methods. Their conclusions are heavily scrutinized in the scientific community and an error like you suggest would be easily pointed out and embarrassing for the writer of the paper.

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

      Please explain how a rock gains isotopes after it has formed. GO.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
    • Randy

      It's not an "ist." There are no "Evolutionists" because it's not a faith based belief system. There are people who understand certain facts and those who don't. But the proof of the facts are all over the planet. And no, you don't have to be an atheist to understand evolution. Do you really think your God would want you to ignore the reality in front of you, going out of your way to stay in ignorance? Why? Because God is so fragile that he'd vanish in the face of understanding how biology works? Not much of a God.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
  8. AC

    INDOCTRINATION of children when they are small is the perfect way for Religion to brainwash.
    Left alone to think on their own as they grow up, most adults will find any organized religion just a bogus scheme.

    February 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
    • Evolution issues

      Do some research...........each 'newly discovered' people group believed in a creator even though they had no communication to other countries (they knew that what was around them was special) so your theory doesn't match the evidence. Science would throw what you said out the door and so do I. Thanks anyway!

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

        Another lie. Gees man. Not all people discovered believe in a creator, nor does that prove ANYTHING other than primitive minded people believe because it's an easy explanation.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • Sally Jansen

          You use that word LIE kinda freely there don't you? Look at the Mayans and so many other people.... I think their point was valid. The 1st person said if left alone people wouldn't believe in a creator and the 2nd person said BANG here are some facts for ya!!! Don't hate.....Appreciate!

          February 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • BRC

          Sally Jansen,
          Actually not ALL people inherently believe in a creator, though t is a common human belief that the world around them came from something outside of its own understanding. Moreover, the 1st person didn't say anything about belief in creators, the 1st comment was that left to their own devices people will determine that organized religions are scams. You can believe in a creator and not support organized religions. Facts don't mean much if they're not accurate and don't apply to the statements being made.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • Barcs

          Sally, he didn't post facts. He made a blanket statement that all discovered tribes and groups of people believed in a creator. That's blatantly false and he did not back that statement up. I have to call it like I see it. The dude has posted like 5 separate lies in his posts thus far. Academic dishonesty should be exposed and ridiculed.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
      • OTOH


        People are sometimes sort of insulted by the fact that humans are social mammals. They seek a leader (of the pack, if you will), who has qualities of wisdom, benevolence, and the power to protect them from harm. They range from leader of the tribe, to leader of the nation, or some other group unit. Sometimes these human leaders were considered gods.

        Since humans are aware that their lives will end, and they are not at all thrilled by this fact, they then seek an imaginary leader who will provide the same wisdom, benevolence and protection in a much hoped-for afterlife. It is not surprising that they envision this leader with human-like characteristics of love, anger, wisdom, benevolence, etc. Also, much of nature was a mystery to them and this fantasy filled the huge gaps in their knowledge.

        The supersti'tions dreamed up over the eons regarding what these gods liked, hated, rewarded, punished, etc. fill many books. The shamans, whether they believed the supersti'tions or not, found a great mechanism for power and control of the populace.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • Sally Jansen

          So left alone people don't forget there is a 'creator', exactly! Not trying to prove anyone wrong other that his statement that left alone 'religion' would die................simply not true!

          February 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
      • saysame

        Creator or creators plural. The number and gender varies. That people want answers and are willing to make them up if they don't have them isn't surprising. They certainly have very different views of the nature of these spirits and what is expected of them.

        February 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • Kelly Gomez

          Good comparison...............when others do this we call it science...lol

          they want answers and they are willing to make them up or 'assume' and 'I think', etc etc etc

          February 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
  9. Barcs

    You can't separate historical science from empirical science. Science is science. It either proves something or it does not. You can't have a half-ass version of science that can't be verified, yet still call it science. Otherwise you have to call greek mythology historical science and teach that in a science class as well. I have to admit, that's a new argument, I expected him to rattle off all the stupidity that's easily debunked from his website. Ham is still wrong, however, and creationism still has no testable mechanisms or way to verify the bible. It's not science. End of story. Ham tried, but like usual he failed.

    February 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
  10. Evolution issues

    The scientific method can only test existing data—it cannot draw conclusions about origins.
    There are two types of science. Operational science deals with the present, and arrives at conclusions based on repeated observations of existing phenomena. Historical science deals with the past, which is not repeatable. Investigations of origins clearly fall within the scope of historical science, and therefore cannot draw definitive conclusions. Since no man was there to record or even witness the beginning, conclusions must be made only on the basis of interpreting presently available information. This interpretation is greatly influenced by one’s prior beliefs. If I put on rose-colored glasses, I will always see red. I accept the Bible’s teaching on creation, and see the evidence as being consistently supportive of that belief. When dealing with origins, everyone who believes anything does so by faith, whether faith in God, the Bible, themselves, modern science, or the dependability of his own subjective interpretations of existing data. I would rather put my faith in God’s revealed Word.

    February 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • Barcs

      Sorry, but science is science. By definition it is a method of fact gathering. If you cannot prove something about the past, it is not science, no matter what label you give it. We can prove certain things about the past, for example, old climates, fossil dating, genetic history via genomes, etc. Evolution is science (both operational and "historical"). Funny how you see Ham's argument and eat it right like its fact with no scrutiny at all. The bible is NOT any type of science. That is a fact. Evolution is backed by hundreds of verifiable facts.

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

      "Investigations of origins clearly fall within the scope of historical science, and therefore cannot draw definitive conclusions. Since no man was there to record or even witness the beginning, conclusions must be made only on the basis of interpreting presently available information. This interpretation is greatly influenced by one’s prior beliefs."

      Operational vs Historical is a made up distinction. By your logic, we cannot draw a definitive conclusion that the Roman Empire ever existed.

      Science is not influenced by belief as you suggest because many scientists with different beliefs validate the experiments, unlike religion which is pure belief with no evidence.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
      • Kelly Gomez

        That was stupid, there are all kinds of visible evidence to Roman empire................ try again

        February 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • Lou

          Who about your deity... you didn't see Zombie Jesus so how do you know Zombie Jesus existsed?

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

          You mean like fossils? You weren't there, how do you know?

          February 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • awesome-o

          I'd really like to see a debate between creationists and an expert in Greek Mythology.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
      • Ralph Hough

        Same data produced from observable science does produce for both sides the same repeatable results for modern advancements in science and produces goods suitable for the good of mankind. The argument for our origins (historical science) does depend on what people believe (faith) and the presuppositions that faith produces. This faith is either in evolution (molecules to man theory not proven, but only mans' speculation at best) or creationism (God/intelligent designer as described in Bible). That Evolutionist or Creationist can be scientist and do wonderful works of discovery for the good of all is Biblical. The Scripture says that God has given us the ability to think, work and produce for the good of all. He also says that we should acknowledge Him in all our ways and He would guide our steps. One side does not believe this... the other side does, yet still science can still be done for the good of others... either way God is glorified...

        February 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • Piccolo

      Oh god. Does this mean we have to hear THIS argument from creationists for the next 10 years now? Guys, give it up. It's not science. The only way it becomes science is by Ham twisting the meaning of science around. Sorry, that is not acceptable and is not logical in the least. 900 people? Damn, you know Ham is happy, he made a huge profit and didn't have to come up with any real arguments.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
      • Ralph Hough

        Science, observable method, is the same for both evolutionist and creationist to determine what we can do to make people's lives better. Creationist are every bit as much scientific as evolutionist.... maybe even more so since they believe in absolute truths that do not change and can be used for the good of mankind.

        February 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
    • BRC

      Evolution Issues,

      "There are two types of science. Operational science deals with the present, and arrives at conclusions based on repeated observations of existing phenomena. Historical science deals with the past, which is not repeatable. "

      That statement is patently absurd. Whoever came up with the idea was trying real hard to sequester information that they couldn't intellectually defeat, so they tried to invalidate it. There is only one kind of science, it's called science. It is the pursuit of knowledge through testing, observation and experimentation. Science applies to the quest for knowledge in ALL things past present adn future, though admittedly, scientific study of the past is incredibly difficult, because of the alrge number of unknowns. That doesn't make it impossible.

      When attmepting to replicate processes that may have been used in the past, we can refine the methods we use based on teh result we obtain. If someone wanted to make papyrus the way the ancient Egyptians did, we know what the end result has to look like, the person trying to recreate it just has to keep trying different methods, using tools and materials we know existed at the time, until they get the right result.

      It is far more challenging when trying to replicate processes of nature, because nature is wildy more complex than any human engineering, but as we get smarter and learn more we come closer adn closer to being able to simulate natural conditions and create the expected results. IF we haven't already one day we will clone a perfect sheep.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
      • Ralph Hough

        The point of non-observable past and trying to determine the age of something is that the methods once thought to be trustworthy and accurate are not as accurate as once thought. That's just honest observational science either evolutionist or creationist can determine from the same data... or lack of/inaccurate as it may be. Let's have honest, open discussions and quite allowing people to shut down the debate so that people can determine for themselves what to think/believe.

        February 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Alice

    So.... what did the author learn? We learned nothing from his article.

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

      I learned that Christian "scientists" believe that Kangaroos swam to Australia with Koalas on their backs after Noah let them off the boat.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
      • Tina Odumai

        I learned that 'scientist' saw stars moving and said "hey i bet there was a mix of different matter that exploded and formed the universe and there were cells that decided they wanted to drive a mercedes so they evolved and tadow here we are"

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

          FAIL point.

          February 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
  12. Vaughan Thomas

    The headline is so misleading. The reader learns nothing about the results of the debate. "Both sides of the debate". Who actually won on merit of argument? Did you learn anything new about the origin of life, or about science? This article epitomizes the problem when facts are treated as curiosities next to faith. Science is reality, and apparently that doesn't matter, just how enthusiastic the crowd was. Frustrating article. Useless.

    February 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • ME II

      This was the moderator talking about his experience moderating, not a play by play.

      February 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • Kelly Gomez

      Actually even Nye admitted it is based on assumptions and NOT reality as you say.. debate is still available online if you want to view it, it's free

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

    Can't fix stupid in Appalacia

    February 5, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • Doris

      I suspect the problem is money, not stupid and not Appalacia.

      Ham mentioned this Andrew Snelling a few times during the debate. An Australian geologist who got his credentials dating rocks billions of years old, still selling his services as a qualified geologist, but also employed as as a "Creationist Assistant Professor of Geology" by the Institute for Creation Research in the USA, where he supports a young earth.

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

      I'm from Appalachia and believe in Evolution. Also, where the Creation museum is located isn't in Appalachia and Ken Ham is from Australia. Can't fix geographic stupid in America.

      February 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
  14. bostontola

    Mr. Foreman,
    We need you to moderate another debate on a crucial topic:
    Is matter composed of elements from the Periodic Table, or the Greek classical elements Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Aether.

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


      February 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
  15. immortals

    God, heaven, whatever....man's attempt to live forever because we refuse to settle for the idea we are an animal species on this one planet, and when we die, it all ends. Wow, talk about ego.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:51 am |
  16. palintwit

    Countless studies have proven 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 of this deviant behavior among christians is close living quarters, such as trailer parks.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:48 am |
  17. noteasilyswayed

    As with politics, those that are entrenched in the belief in a God will not be persuaded by any scientific findings; they can always say that God was behind the creation of those physical laws or principles, chemical reactions, etc. Instead of wasting time and effort trying to figure out whether there is a God or not, why not just try to make this world better for all of us, including plants and animals? Surely, if there is truly a God, he or she would respond positively to our actions. We should stop attempting to make others believe in whatever we believe; we should just cooperate and try to make things better for all of us, regardless of philosophical or religious beliefs.

    February 5, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • Kelly Gomez

      I think we would agree on alot..............I strongly believe in my faith and think we still need a lot of research on global warming. I think it's odd to think that you know the last years (whether 1000s or millions) based on your little spec of our recorded data. BUT I believe we should NOT be throwing all of this garbage into the ground, we should NOT allow companies to not care about their impact (no matter what specific thing it causes), we should recycle, companies should focus on sustainability, etc, etc, etc. I believe God made this world so why wouldn't I want to take care of it? That is why politicians don't really care, they wouldn't make it about believing this or that ....they would simply make it about taking care of our planet -----we should all agree on that!

      February 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • Frank Drebin

      Please don't call me Shirley.

      February 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
  18. ME II

    @Tom Foreman,

    Congrats, on a job well done!

    February 5, 2014 at 11:46 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.