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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. The Running Twit

    Good day everyone!
    I found this debate last night as a way for Ken Ham to get more publicity for his Creation Museum, more than to really promote learning and scientific pursuit.
    The origins of life are found all over the Universe: in some asteroids, planets or comets, you have molecules who amalgamate to amino-acids, which after time develop to organized cells, with DNA and different components. These cells merged and became so numerous that some specialization occurred in order to have each cell properly fed. This on Earth has taken not a couple of years but millions of years. Creationists say that this cannot be replaced in lab. Actually some are done but to get all the different stages that took place, it would take all the resources for numerous years.
    Science should and must remain science, not become a mean by which this or that religion proves its basis for faith.
    Do I have faith? I do. But in men of good conscience and accomplishment. Not in god. And all I see from religious folks is how they can have more power over their "fellow man", how they can extricate more money from them, keep them in darkness from the Universe around them.

    February 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      yep.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
  2. Angry Inch

    Creationist arguments on this blog are predictably as weak and insane as Ken Ham's.

    February 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
    • Strype

      I haven't read a creationist's answer on here yet. I'll repeat my question to you... And if you want to get into IQ, we can do that too.

      Indeed we did evolve on Earth. Likely from a monkey. But where does matter randomly bumping into itself equate to self awareness?

      February 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        A Candid Conversation between Two Species

        The Man: I am the predilect object of Creation, the centre of all that exists…
        The Tapeworm: You are exalting yourself a little. If you consider yourself the lord of Creation, what can I be, who feed upon you and am ruler in your entrails?
        The Man: You lack reason and an immortal soul.
        The Tapeworm: And since it is an established fact that the concentration and complexity of the nervous system appear in the animal scale as an uninterrupted series of graduations, where are we cut off? How many neurons must be possessed in order to have a soul and a little rationality?
        – Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Recollections of My Life

        February 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
      • bostontola

        Strype,
        Other apes have self awareness, there have been validated experiments showing that.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
      • foolishmortal

        Start with Juiian Jaynes "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind". Then read J.Z. Young "Programs of the Brain". That should get you started. You won't find any answers in the Christian Bible.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • Eric

      Yo Angry boy. You need to stop being Angry and start using your head. I'll help you (and your other like minded thinkers out here)....Can you describe the concept of infinity to me?? What comes after the end... oh there is no end.. but there must be... oh what after the end... something... oh well lets study that.. good luck!

      Maybe if you can start to try to wrap your head around that concept... then you have just started to understand that science will NEVER figure that out and there is no evolutionary process that will ever make us understand... so you are left with only one inference (as you guys like to say) ....it is GOD

      February 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        A pantheistic God is very different from an anthropocentric creator God.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • Boltsfan

      This is not fact vs faith but rather it's philosophy vs philosophy but neither is completely provable. I tend to believe that not all 11 million species came from one source. The British museum has 7 million fossils and yet there isn't one transitional form proving macroevolution (Darwin showed us microevolution – transition within a species). If we all came from one source, you would think we would have discovered it or we would see it today. Science has been unable to cross this boundary between species...if we cross a horse and a donkey we get a mule but the mule can't reproduce. Same thing with a lion and a tiger = liger but it can't reproduce. All this means is that we can shuffle the genes but nothing new can be produced to reproduce. Another science point...many would argue that random chance produced who we are. From a scientific standpoint lets look at our DNA (building block of life). We have to get 100 amino acids in teh right order just to create one protein molecule. If we use random chance, scientist have said it would take 10 to the 171 power years to make that happen (keep in mind there have only been 10 to the 18 power seconds of recorded history). So now we have one protein molecule but it takes 200 protein molecules to line up just right to create a single living cell. Scientists have calculated this to take 10 to the 120,000 power years to make happen. Now factor in we have 30 trillion cells in our body and we're not even to DNA yet. Folks, can it happen? Sure. Is it likely? My belief tells me that random chance is terribly inefficient and yes, unlikely, and we are a product of intelligent design and not by some accident that started in a puddle of goop.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • Religulous

        FAIL. Trying reading about evolution from an unbiased source before spewing a wall of text that essentially proves you don't know what you are talking about. 😆

        February 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
  3. Oh Brother ^

    There would be no debate at all if people would

    A: Stop using evolutionary ideas as a basis to attempt to "prove" that God doesn't exist (atheists I'm looking at you)

    B: Stop equating provable and observable adaptation with speciation and abiogenesis. (not repeatable and has not been observed)

    C: Stop trying to teach religion in the science classroom (Creationists I'm talking to you)

    I remain unconcerned with the step by step process in which life arose. Changing your theology to keep up with science is called using the "God of the Gaps" theory. All this does is make you look stupid and makes for weak faith. In the end you either believe that God created us and used whatever mechanism he chose to use to do so or you believe that we are a cosmic acccident. Just realize that BOTH are beliefs and both are the basis for a worldview and lifestyle.

    In other words: Stop trying to make others believe what you do and stop trying to insult the intelligence of people who don't agree with you.

    February 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Angry Inch

      "I remain unconcerned with the step by step process in which life arose."

      Which is why you are posting your opinions on this article.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
      • Oh Brother ^

        Ahh yes semantics..... I remain unconcerned. As in it doesn't shake my world. I remain fascinated yet unconcerned.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Angry Inch

          In my world, if I am fascinated with something I am showing concern.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • foolishmortal

      Evolutionary ideas (as science) are not used to "try to prove that God exists". They are used to generate testable ideas is pretty much every aspect of the biological sciences. This process has been so fruitful that the "Theory of Evolution" has become the cornerstone of modern biological science. Without it, most of what we know about anatomy, physiology, pathology, ontogeny, botany, epidemiology, ethnology, immunology, etc, etc, would be wrong.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
      • Oh Brother ^

        Many Christians believe in evolution to varying degrees. I've never met a single atheist who believes that we were created for a purpose. The basis for this belief is the underlying belief that God does not exist. What is continually used as a means to disucss that belief with others ? The naturalistic beleif of origins.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • Religulous

          You've never spoken to a Buddhist?

          February 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      it is proven that our planet is a sphere and is not flat. By your logic, that which is proven is simply just what I believe and has no place being taught to children.

      Oh brother where art thou ... logic?

      February 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
      • Oh Brother ^

        I could use satelitte imagining to determine that yes in fact the earth is round. Can you create for me a life from a random collection of elements ?

        Repeatable and observable.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Religulous

          Science has proven that amino acids (basic building blocks of life) can be created through comet impacts. Science has also proven that amino acids can form parts of RNA under certain conditions. This isn't speculation. It doesn't conclusively prove it, but it is evidence and you can become a scientist and run these tests for yourself.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
    • bostontola

      I have never heard an atheist use evolution as proof God doesn't exist.

      Evolution may be incompatible with some Christians' notions of their religion, but that is their problem.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
    • Saraswati

      You appear to be one of the lucky people whose life has never been torn apart by people who believed differently. It is a fantasy that all beliefs can just get along and just do what they want, because many beliefs inherently preach that the members should do exactly those things that you are telling them not to do. When you ask certain Christians not to teach their religion as science you are asking them to give up an important part of their religion. You fantasize that we can all just get along because it is an easy answer, but the world isn't put together that way.

      As for people changing their religion to suit the facts, why ever not? If it's all just alternate explanations that work with the evidence, I would much prefer people change their theory to meet the facts (as the Dalai Lama, for instance, recommends) than keep going with some simplistic idea of "faith".

      February 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Oh Brother ^

        The Dalai Lama suggests allowing differing viewpoints to be integrated into your faith. Do you think there would be something that would make the Dalai Lama no longer a Buddhist ?

        I understand that it is all about principle. I am not under the delusion that all viewpoints are equally valid or that we will ever to be able to just get along as a species and live in peace. There are far too many people, both religious and secular, who aren't content to live and let live. There are far too many people that take advantage of their fellow man and require that someone from the outside intervene to protect the innocent. My comment above was simply stating that in our secular public schools we should not teach religion as faith. We should also not be teaching naturalistic ideas along side provable and observable theories just because they are derive from a naturalistic viewpoint.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Religulous

          You realize that Buddhism is an atheist religion, right? They don't just believe in completely naturalistic explanations for everything, but they do not believe in a god or creator.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • G to the T

          "We should also not be teaching naturalistic ideas along side provable and observable theories just because they are derive from a naturalistic viewpoint."

          Why not? The naturalistic viewpoint is integral to the scientific method and it's worked so far on everything else we've applied it to. If you want to say "god" did something, that's fine, but that event can most likley also be explained without saying god did it. If there is something we don't know yet and you apply god to it, that doesn't answer the question of "how"? It's the "how" that science searches for and so far, it's always found a naturalistic cause when they've asked it.

          February 5, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
    • Immortal Technique

      There would be no debate at all if people would

      "A: Stop using evolutionary ideas as a basis to attempt to "prove" that God doesn't exist (atheists I'm looking at you)"

      But nobody does that. Evolution vs creation is a farce. They are really debating abiogenesis. Evolution only disproves literal translations of creation myths. It doesn't disprove god by a long shot.

      "B: Stop equating provable and observable adaptation with speciation and abiogenesis. (not repeatable and has not been observed)"
      Parts of abiogenesis have been duplicated in a lab, but alas its still a work in progress. Speciation has been duplicated in a lab as well and there is no disputing this.

      "C: Stop trying to teach religion in the science classroom (Creationists I'm talking to you)"

      Agreed, although I'm all for a comparative religions class.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
  4. Angry Inch

    If I find a dead bug on my windshield, I won't assume a god did it because I did not witness the animal being killed.

    February 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
  5. Kandace

    CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY "THE SINGULARITY" CAN'T BE GOD???

    February 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
    • Strype

      For God to be the singularity, he'd have had to blow up.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
      • Kandace

        Okay, that was just plain dumb. Thanks for playing...

        February 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • Strype

          Umm... No. I was serious. I am also a Methodist, mam. I love reading about physics in my spare time. The singularity may very well be a puncture (4th dimensional) in another universe that exploded into ours, giving us what we have. Physics. So indeed, for God to physically be the singularity, he'd have blown apart.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
    • Angry Inch

      Rather than guess and make up a god, why don't we study it and find out the truth?

      February 5, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
      • Strype

        So who invented everything that you are studying? Chicken vs. Egg. Why are scientists so sure that they aren't uncovering a higher being's blueprints? Most scientists don't even think in 4 dimensional terms and we have at least 4 dimensions.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          That presumes that there was an inventor or creator; no evidence so far.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Angry Inch

          Science seeks only to find the truth. If the truth is a god or gods so be it. Science will believe in 13 dimensions if the evidence is found.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Strype

          Our existence is proof. Matter is neither created nor destroyed. So it either magically bumped into each other and made us, or something designed it.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • Angry Inch

          WE evolved on Earth. Soon we will be gone. End of story.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Strype

          Indeed we did evolve on Earth. Likely from a monkey. But where does matter randomly bumping into itself equate to self awareness?

          February 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Angry Inch

          We did not evolve from monkeys.

          To the best of my knowledge, matter randomly bumping into itself does not equate to self awareness. so you can stop losing sleep over that one.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Strype

          😀

          February 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Dane

          You've made the assumption that things like gravity had to be created by "someone" how about casting an opinion either way out of your mind and look at what the facts say. As it is at the moment, the facts seem to say that the forces of the universe are a naturally occurring thing, but who knows, in a few hundred years our technology my be advanced enough to know for sure either way.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • Religulous

          Yeah, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you haven't studied much science at all.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
      • Kandace

        Rather than guess and deny God, why don't we study and find out the truth? See – it can go either way. What I'm saying is there is room for BOTH/AND here. We have set up a false dichotomy where one side HAS to be right and one side HAS to be wrong when we don't know 100% either way for sure. At least, not from a purely scientific perspective.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Madtown

          why don't we study and find out the truth?
          ----
          Study what?

          February 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Damocles

          Yes, but you want this studying to go only so far. You want the studying to lead only to a deity that you happen to worship. If you are a cancer researcher, has your research led you to believe that a deity is responsible? If not, I suggest you study as hard as it takes to reach that conclusion.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Religulous

          Um, this might be news to you, but scientists have been searching for that answer for centuries, and thus far nothing that we have found points to god. Sorry.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
    • JAlexander

      No one is saying it can't. In fact that is a place where creationists and evolutionists can come together. However, this does not imply some of the more ridiculous tenets of creationism (such as man walking with dinosaurs or the world being 6000 years old) should be objectively viewed as truth when all evidence points to evolution as fact. God may (or may not) be the WHY, but science is definitely the HOW.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
      • G to the T

        Well said. "God did it" doesn't actually answer anything.

        February 5, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
  6. Holistic

    The best explanation I've heard about fossils (to reconcile with a creator)is that they are data fragments from the previous program. God isn't a deity, he's a computer programmer. The original program was all giant dinosaurs fighting it out, but this was formatted fresh 65 million years ago and the programmer became more fancy and diverse. Unfortunately he didn't use a secure erasing program, so fragments from the old program can still be found. Evolution is an algorithm.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
    • ME II

      "Evolution is an algorithm."

      In a way, yes. Survive, reproduce, repeat.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
  7. Angry Inch

    It would be quite impossible to lose a debate to a creationist. I fail to see the point of any of this. I watched almost the whole debate. What debate? One person speaking from knowledge and common sense. The other a delusional snake oil salesman. Pointless.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
  8. Strype

    IGNORANCE. The way I think about it, God did it and through science we are learning how he did it. It's two sides of the same coin. Did all of this just magically happen? No. Are we alone in the universe? Likely not. Is there a 4th dimension? Yes. So why is it so hard to believe that a higher being lives in a higher dimension? In my mind there are 2 types of idiots on the same coin. Creationists and Atheists.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      If there were a god, it is not the god described by any religion. Why do you feel that atheism is ignorance? It is simply not believing that there is convincing evidence for any deity; whereas believers do not believe in deities other than their own.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
    • igaftr

      is it so hard to believe...yes, when there is no evidence at all to support it, and there is an infinite number of other possibilities.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
    • sybaris

      which god?

      February 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
  9. Bob Penn

    The creation science model and the evolution model use the same data and discuss the same topics, but reach different conclusions.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bob Penn,
      How can they use the same data when Creationists reject anything older than 6000-10000 years?

      February 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
    • sybaris

      Uh, no bob, they don't use the same data. Creationists create god(s), movve the goal posts, fabricate evidence to fit the answer. Scientists uncover evidence to answer the question.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
    • Sister

      That's a good one. The famous, "We don't deny science, we just interpret the evidence differently". Just curious, what is an alternative way to interpret the fact of genetic mutations occurring during every creature's reproduction and directly changing the gene pool of the creature? Why are the mutations random every time? How else do you explain genetic changes that can help make a creature better suited for its environment? There is no other way to interpret the evidence. That excuse is absurd. Sedimentary layers, stalact.ites, water erosion over time, ice core data, tree rings, isotope decay rates. For young earth creationism to be true it requires all of that phenomena to have changed its rate of formation at the same exact time, for no explainable reason at all. It's not an interpretation of evidence. It's ignorance of evidence.

      February 6, 2014 at 3:01 am |
  10. Jon

    I listened as the very intelligent Ham presented his case. His main point being that "historical" science – explanations for what happened thousands of years ago - is no better than faith because you can't see it, nobody was around to observe what was happening.

    What's so sad is his willingness to completely ignore the reams of scientific evidence, data,knowledge, inference, etc. that very much describes what was going on thousands or millions of years ago. Nye's first two examples basically blew apart the whole creationist argument – we have ice cores that demonstrate a history of over 680,000 years. We have trees that are older than Noah and the flood. We have layers of rock with fossils that take eons to form, not hundreds or thousands of years. And on and on. The scientific evidence describing the history of the earth fills whole books.

    Very sad that such a smart man could be so delusional. Sadder still that people actually believe he's right, or that religion can somehow be construed as science.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      We must have been watching different debates. I was watching one where Ken Ham debated Bill Nye. In THIS debate Ken Ham was a completely ignorant fool.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Jon : reams of scientific evidence, data,knowledge, inference, etc. that very much describes what was going on thousands or millions of years ago.

      The scientific method is premised upon repeatability and reproducibility. However, a historical event CANNOT be repeated. And if they cannot be repeated, then one cannot reproduce the same results. So, apriori beliefs will influence the interpretation of any evidence.

         <><

      February 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Even when an experiment is repeatable, beliefs influence interpretation.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Saraswati : Even when an experiment is repeatable, beliefs influence interpretation.

          How would beliefs influence interpretation of an experiment of dropping an apple from 5 feet off the ground? Will that apple EVER fall upward? No. Sideways? Not without some other external influence. And by repeating the experiment again and again (for as many times as needed), one can account for those external influences, allowing one to get at the truth. The same cannot be said of historical events.

             <>&lt

          February 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • Saraswati

          If an apple drops the same way 100 times I could say:

          a) coincidence. It may or may not happen again.
          b) "gravity" did it
          c) the mysterious apple demons pull apples towards the ground

          Interpretation plays an enormous role. And without a biased belief in induction and that you have some control on your variables your observations would not be predictive. We have seen, for instance, that cognitive behavioral therapy and certain medications repeatedly improve depression, but there is still much controversy as to why. And much controversy on the nature of gravity for that matter.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Saraswati : If an apple drops the same way 100 times I could say: coincidence ... gravity ... mysterious apple demons

          Sure, but you also have to convince other scientists of your conclusion. And they need to replicate your experiment to ensure your biases are eliminated.

          But historical events don't allow for this.

             <><

          February 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Very little of science is conducted in the way you describe. Most research in longitudinal and never the same exact conditions twice. athe fact that we cannot test a cancer medication on the exact same sample doesn't stop us fro calling it good enough. And most research on diet and health or PTSD comes from correlational studies, as no ethics committee will let you induce obesity or traumetize someone for an experiment. Yet we don't call these useless data or a waste of time. Most research is far from the ideal experimental model, yet we have good evidence on the influence of traumatic abuse on children and the life of George Washington. If you reject any science that doesn't take place in a petri dish you don't have much left.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
      • ME II

        "However, a historical event CANNOT be repeated."

        ... but phenomena that happened in the past can be repeated and studied. For example, while there not have been any witnesses to a murder, a shoe print at the scene, can be replicated in a lab to match the shoe that caused it.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : a shoe print at the scene, can be replicated in a lab to match the shoe that caused it.

          Yes, with such details, one can INFER (i.e. believe) that they have a match. However, with long-ago historical events, such details are lost into antiquity.

             <><

          February 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          "Yes, with such details, one can INFER (i.e. believe) that they have a match. However, with long-ago historical events, such details are lost into antiquity."

          Ever seen trace fossils?

          February 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Live4Him,

          All beliefs require inference.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
      • Religulous

        Sorry L4H, but with Ham's argument, you cannot prove that George Washington was president or that anything that happened before video and photograph actually happened, INCLUDING HIS CREATION HYPOTHESIS! 😆

        February 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • Religulous

      Ham is a genius. He is making big profits off this debate. Honestly never sells only controversy. He's found the perfect niche as a business man. I wonder how long before he ends up in jail with Hovind, however, as these people never seem to last when money is your primary motivator for your actions.

      February 5, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
  11. Universe

    Quran says (Islamic Scripture)

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]

    “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]

    “We have honored the children of Adam, and provided them with rides on land and in the sea. We provided for them good provisions, and we gave them greater advantages than many of our creatures.” Quran [17:70]

    “O children of Adam, when messengers come to you from among you, and recite My revelations to you, those who take heed and lead a righteous life, will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.” Quran [7:35]

    “O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise, and the removal of their garments to expose their bodies. He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them. We appoint the devils as companions of those who do not believe.” Quran [7:27]

    “Losers indeed are those who disbelieve in meeting God, until the Hour comes to them suddenly, then say, "We deeply regret wasting our lives in this world." They will carry loads of their sins on their backs; what a miserable load! [6:31]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • JDHMan

      I don't think that the quran should be used as an example when it isn't god spoken and the bible is. it is jus tgoing to cause confusion.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • Chris

        Bold statement there sir prove to us that Qu'Ran is not goods spoken word... Go ahead we are waiting.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • ddanny1

        I know what you mean. When I go buy a car for example. I don't think the salesman opinion of the value of the car I am buying or the car I'm trading should be used because it's not my opinion. Believe it or not, they disagree.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
      • Cobra

        Something tells me "Universe" thinks you've got that backwards..

        February 5, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • Whitney

      Grimm's Fairy Tales say a lot of things too. What is your point?

      February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
    • perrox

      Your an idiot, not because your muslim but because everything your including is irrelevant. The debate is about the Creation story thats in the Bible not the Quran and whether its a viable model today. Thats it, you cant bring your crap into this because they are not acknowledging the quran if they were then yes you can bring it in. Thats like debating Harry Potter and and saying everything is wrong because in Dracula it says there are no wizards.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • JDHMan

        exactly what I mean, perrox.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
  12. Randy

    When the question was asked of Nye about where did all the atoms come from for the big-bang...I thought his answer of "don't know" was good. But I thought that Nye should have asked back to Ham..."where did God come from"?

    February 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
    • Tiffany L.

      Hamm would have answered that "God has always existed". The scriptures are clear in their accounts that God has always existed. If you hold to the biblical teachings in scripture, you will indeed hold to this teaching as well.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • Ah

        Ham, using primitive man's writings to prove his case. Much like a modern day doctor performing 'blood letting' to cure.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
      • Whitney

        It's also in the scriptures that you need to sacrifice a pigeon on the first day of your period. Are you being a good god-fearing girl and sacrificing your pigeons, Tiffany? Or are you going to tell me that some parts of the Bible shouldn't be taken literally, in which case you are no longer holding to the teachings of the scripture and I guess you need to be stoned to death. Hmmmmm???

        February 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • JDHMan

          I don't think it says anything like that in the bible, whitney. I don't know where you got that but its not in the bible. it may be in the book of Mormon, but not a single book of the bible has that in it.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • perrox

        To say that about scripture is where you cross the line into Faith. Ham's argument was attempted in the language of science it wasn't a Theist vs Theist debate. Ham accepted to debate scientifically.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
    • Mc

      And what it will confirm is that both creationism and evolutionism is a belief system not science. So it is what you believe in when it is all said and done - that was exactly Ken Ham's point.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
      • Whitney

        Except that if I drop a cinder block on my foot, it will fall and hurt, every single time.
        If you drop a cinder block on your foot, it will fall and hurt, every single time.
        If Ham prays to baby Jesus to keep the cinder block from falling on his foot, and drops it, it will still fall on his foot.
        That is science: replicable, testable, fact.

        Now, Ham can make up all sorts of untestable reasons as to why Baby Jesus is letting the cinder block fall on his foot despite his fervent prayers and requests otherwise...but it is still going to fall on his foot every single time.

        That's the difference between science and faith. Evolution, the age of the earth, the nature of the universe itself, etc., has been investigated and tested and findings challenged, refined, and verified in thousands of different ways by thousands of people over centuries and across continents. Don't ask for proof if facts don't matter to you, and don't tell me that facts don't matter unless you're willing to let me come drop a cinder block on your foot.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • JDHMan

          you don't pray to baby Jesus. you pray to Jesus, but He's not a baby anymore, He grew up 2000 years ago, otherwise He wouldn't answer prayers yet. He wouldn't know how. Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man, He didn't start that way.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • redzoa

      However, basing the response to "where did God come from" to avoid the inherent premise that everything that exists must have a cause (with or without W.L. Craig's superfluous inclusion of "begins to exist") on the definitional fiat that "god always existed" is simply special pleading. "We don't know" is the proper answer to a question for which we don't actually know. It does not follow that "God" is the logical gap filler.

      Furthermore, regarding "belief" systems. Evolution is supported by positive physical evidence and is validated in applications ranging from medicine to agriculture to engineering. Creationism is a litany of negative arguments of incredulity, is incapable of generating positive physical evidence concordant with the entire body of scientific knowledge, and its only application is apologetics.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
    • Nathan

      He could have also said "What friggin atoms? There were no atoms or molecules before the big bang. Try learning some basic physics."

      February 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
  13. Terego

    No one learned anything from this article, but hopefully someone learned something from the debate. Giving Ken any sort of airtime equals a bunch of wasted hours.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
    • Barcs

      Ken learned that debate famous people brings in lots of revenue!

      February 5, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Nathan

      yep. if you aren't going to find a serious debater willing to go in and crush him, then don't give him attention and airtime. he won just from getting to put his insanity on TV and raise his national recognition.

      February 5, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
  14. Piccolo

    For the folks that still claim that genetic mutations cannot add up:

    The average in humans for genetic mutations per conception is 60. This is due to replication errors and other factors. Given 20 years per generation, and going for 7 million years (estimated time of ancient ape to modern human), you have a possible 21 million gene changes. Is that not enough to significantly change a creature? Find another individual in a different lineage and you will still see the 21 million changes, but a large part of it will differ. Then those 2 individuals mate and combine their genes. It's not really that complicated. To think genetic changes do not add up is silly, and that's only 1 part of evolution. Populations of creatures often split up into different environments, then adapt over the years and tens of thousands of years later, the 2 recombine and mate and share each one's genes with one another. This happened with Neanderthals and humans.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
    • methinks

      a "mutation" is a loss of original information... leading not to bigger and better, instead there are diminutive effects that certainly do not support us evolving and never have. the longer lifespans, and better health of humans in general, can be attributed to proper hygiene and diets. (give credit to observable science, which as Ham points out is fully embraced by the creationist community)

      February 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
      • foolishmortal

        Clearly you know nothing about mutation or natural selection. Where are you getting your information from? Frame-shift mutations exist. So do duplication mutations. Mutating the sentence: "You are an ideal person" to "You are an idiot person" does not cause a loss of information.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
      • Religulous

        Um, why lie? Mutation is not always a loss of information. It can be a gain, a loss, or even be neutral.

        February 5, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
  15. Bullwhip Griffin

    I'd like some information from creationists. I in no way shape or form want to attack anybody. I'm just trying to understand something.

    I was raised in a church going family, every Sunday with my mother a choir member and regular participant in our church. She also taught school and helped give me a love of learning. Being raised Christian I believed in God but I also knew evolution was correct. Through my love of learning and science I read many a book, articles, TV programs, and websites on science in general and evolution in particular. I learned how the scientific method worked, and read the enormous amount of data that confirmed by scientific methodology that evolution is how life came to be and changed over time on Earth. In all that I never found this in anyway conflicted with being a Christian.
    I had always read the story of Genesis as sort of a folktale by a people trying to understand the world they live in and not as exact truth, sort of like folk stories of why zebras have stripes or where does the sun go at night. Never in any way shape or form did this conflict with a belief in God. Why would it?
    As I grew up I found out that people took the story as absolute truth and I couldn't understand it. Frankly, I still don't understand it. So please I'm asking why does belief in God and having Jesus being your Savior absolutely demand that you take the story of Genesis (or the Flood) as literal truth?
    Please I do not want to attack anyone. Whatever makes your world work for you is fine with me as long as you don't impose it on anyone. So please could a good Christian who has creationism as part of their belief explain why it is absolutely positively essential for them in order to be a Christian.

    I really do want to understand and learn!

    February 5, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
    • Kandace

      You ask a very good question and there are actually two answers. 1) As Mr. Ham said last night, taking the account in Geneis literally as far as creation goes is NOT required for Christian belief BUT 2) the basis of the Christian narrative and reasons for us to put our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the covering for Man's (and Women's) sin is based on the account in Genesis regarding sin. Now, if you want to construct an explanation other than what is provided in the Bible and still refer to yourself as a Christian, remember this: science always changes, God never does. Science is a great and worthy field (I'm a cancer researcher myself) BUT we have new discoveries and we refute old "truths" all the time. If you choose to eschew Genesis 1-3, you are eliminating the foundation of Christian belief. In the Gospels, Christ refers to Adam as does Paul in his letters. There are other references as well throughout the Bible. It's not logically compatible for an individual to say they believe in Jesus as He is in the Bible but then not believe the very things He taught us. Will a belief in evolution send a person to Hell? Certainly not – BUT what is it you are really putting your faith in if that is the case? Ken Ham was right in that evolution IS a belief system just as real as any other because much of what is asserts is not provable and very likely never will be. Put your faith in the theories of fallible men or in the word of an infallible God. The choice is yours, as it is for everyone else. I think what creationists really want is NOT to be the only voice in the discussion but to at least be a voice and be heard as an alternative to a view that is not 100% proven.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
      • Damocles

        Besides it being written in a book, and I don't see how guys writting a book equals an infallible deity, but how does one go about proving a deity created everything? Since some on here hold forth on the idea that evolution can't be 'seen' or 'tested' how then does a deity go about getting a free pass on the very things they condemn evolution for?

        February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
      • Whitney

        I cannot believe how many "scientists" confuse the development and refinement of knowledge with the idea that fundamental truths are somehow changing. The facts of the universe do not change, at least not on our time scale–our *understanding* of them changes! The world was not flat just because people thought it was! The fact that scientific *understanding* changes indicates that we are *learning* more about our world–it does not indicate that the world itself is going through some slow metamorphoses to keep up with scientific theories. Ugh. As a cancer researcher, do you think the mechanisms of tumor growth are somehow changing to come into line with your perceptions, or is it possible that the process of our learning more about DNA mutations and cell architecture and nutrient exchange and epigenetic effects make it possible for us to inch ever closer to understanding that which is already going on under our noses? The problem with creationism is that it does NOT allow for new learning. It would tell you that tumors originate because of bilous humors in the blood or whatever, and absolutely nothing that has been discovered in your field in the last 300 years matters diddley-squat because it just ISN'T SO. Sorry man, I need some peer review on that.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • Bullwhip Griffin

        Many thanks for your informative reply!

        In my reading of the Bible as I said I always took Genesis as a kind of folktale. In it is a description of the very first sin by Adam and Eve. I have always taken it as saying, "We see people doing bad things around us. Why is that? It is because human beings were at first pure and sin-free but an incident happened where the first man and woman made an error in judgment and sin was introduced to people from then on." To me this was just a way to explain why humans do bad things to each other. I have never thought this incident (accepting the fruit of knowledge from the serpent) literally happened. I have always interpreted it as telling us that human beings have baser instincts that can lead them wrongly and make them do evil things. But by accepting Jesus you will be forgiven of these.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
    • Salero21

      Our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ, the Son of God taught it literally. He ought/should know because He said He was there in the beginning, actually in His prayer to the Father His Father, He notes that He was with the Father even before the world was.

      Now, you may want to ask and consider; how did you come into being yourself? Because that was part of a natural process Created by God. Atheists/evolutionists may want to call it evolution, just because 2 cells in their growth and development "evolved" into you. 😉 They don't see that as a Created process/system but as some sort of self existence EX NIHILO "evolution In this atheists/evolutionists are just about the same as Idolaters, who worship Creation and the products of their imaginations, instead of the Creator God.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        You're conflating evolution and abiogenesis.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Salero21

          NO I'm not! Your ignorance of the Biblical text is not surprising.

          What God Created out of the dust of the earth was just a body Adam. It was AFTER God breathed into him [Adam] the first man, that he became a living soul. Life itself is God's Creation and thought. The body itself contains the same elements found in the earth (ground, dust).

          None of the other creatures was Created like Adam in the image and likeness of God. None of the other creatures received the breath of God in his nostrils like Adam.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
    • Pete

      The entire Jesus dying for the sins of mankind relies on a literal Adam and Eve, without that there is no original sin and thus no need for Jesus.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • doobzz

      "a good Christian"

      What do you consider a "good Christian"?

      February 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
      • Bullwhip Griffin

        I guess by saying that I was trying to keep those who were already opposed to Christianity or those who were atheists from throwing in attacking remarks. This and many comments to articles on the debate are often filled with Xtians and atheists throwing bitter and nasty attacks at each other. I wanted comments from Xtians who would not be attacking me or others but were sincerely giving an answer to my question without any attacks.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • doobzz

          Wow, there's a whole lot wrong with what you just said, but as a non believer, I know you don't want my opinion.

          February 6, 2014 at 1:24 am |
      • Bullwhip Griffin

        doobuzz

        I'm responding here to your answer to my answer to your question. I wasn't trying to offend or hurt or intimidate you or anyone. I honestly have nothing against anybody's opinions. Maybe I didn't express myself in the right way in answering your question.

        My original question was about why some Christians take the book of Genesis literally. It was something I never did and wondered why other Christians felt the need to do that. Looking back at the different comment threads on this article the usual banter has atheists and Christians exchanging angry and and mean comments at each other. I didn't want that for my question. I just wanted Christians who thought this way to give me honest and sincere answers so I could understand them. I guess I just didn't phrase it properly because you've taken offense. I don't want atheists or any other commenter of different views to get angry or feel pushed out from the thread. I just wanted to hear what they had to say without worrying about anybody being attacked for saying something.

        If I offended you or made you angry with my words I do apologize. It seems to be the nature of anonymous commenting on the web that people are often misunderstood. Ideally I would think it would be really nice for you, me and many of the other commenters of all views could just sit in a coffee shop and casually talk about our ideas on the subject. Face to face there is no need to put up a front and we can all learn alittle something about each other.

        Have a nice day!: 🙂

        February 6, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • doobzz

          I'm not "angry" or "offended". I just asked what you consider a "good Christian". It wasn't meant as a slam, a trap, or a means to engage in bashing. I'm just curious.

          Have a nice day, too! 🙂

          February 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Dan

      I believe in creation..... And I'm an Engineer with plenty of training in Science. First, believing in creation will not save anyone. Believing in Jesus, that he is who he says he is (God), repenting of your sins, and surrendering your will to live in obedience to God....is what it means to be a Christian. It's a choice. It's a calling. It is a real decision you make to get yourself right with God.... Your Creator. Accepting that God is your creator and the creator of this world go hand in hand. Believing that You can be in God's favor....yet still reject the teachings of Genesis....is a very rebellious and dangerous choice. If as a Christian, you believe that the Bible is real and true......it's hard to rationalize that some parts are "optional". If as a Christian, you do not believe the Bible to be the True Word of God.... I would recommend much studying and prayer in the matter. Good luck. I'll be praying for you.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
      • Bullwhip Griffin

        First off, thank you very much for your answer.
        But don't all Xtians in a sense "pick and choose" from parts of the Bible? All Xtians don't follow every single rule laid out in Leviticus. Also many Xtians also have been divorced and remarried when it says this should not be done. I know there are other parts that are also not followed to the exact letter as well but I can't bring them all to mind at the moment. Isn't the most essential part of the message of the Bible that you accept that Jesus is your savior?

        Thanks in advance for any sincere answers to these questions 🙂

        February 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • mdwestrngirl

        we all know that many parts of the bible are figurative and not literal. Who says that each creative day could not be millions of years?

        February 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • G to the T

          If "this generation" can equal over 2k years, why not? Just make it all allegorical with some historical fiction thrown in towards the end.

          February 5, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
    • E

      Here is the Catholic teaching on the Origin on Man: Concerning human evolution, the Church has a definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s physical body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that "the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, Catholics are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human SOUL is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our physical bodies are.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • Bullwhip Griffin

        I guess that is basically how I have put it together in my own mind. I think most non-Cathotic Christians who accept evolution think along those lines as well.

        Thanks for your answer.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
  16. Colin

    Quoting the Bible in a biology debate is about as relevant as quoting the Koran in a physics debate.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
    • St. Lawrence

      And yet biology class can teach you nothing about the origins of life. So why permit naturalistic explanations in class?

      February 5, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
      • Colin

        In that case, teach the Vedas, Bible, Koran, Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime creation myths, Norse creation myths, and Hindu Vedas as well?

        February 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • St. Lawrence

          But you concede the point... If a natural explanation is unprovable, then why teach it over any other idea that is equally unprovable? It isn't scientific, so why does the subject or origins belong in a classroom unless there are biased teachers?

          February 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Saint Lawrence
          Forgot to ask you, who do you think won the debate if there was a winner. Some web sites that did unscientific maybe biased polls that had as much as 92% agreeing with Nye, for what it is worth.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Lawrence, You started by asking a foolish question about why not teach religious origins theories in science class? Do YOU concede that that is nonsense that will put us even farther behind our international competi.tors than we already are by losing time to teach actual science while all the worlds origin myths are covered over months of "science" class?

          As to why teach the major theory...because it is the major scientific theory, and it has enormous relevance. We know a lot of what we know about gene mutation and our similarities with other animals precisely because we have been working within this paradigm for which there is a ton of evidence. Does that eman it's impossible that other explanations may be one day shown to be better? Of course not, but we don't teach theories that don't have strong scientific backing. The problem is that when a religion gets in the way people lose objectivity in weighing the value of various types of evidence.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • Cal

        That's like saying we don't know how the earth formed we should not teach any geology at all.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • St. Lawrence

          No, no, science can be taught, but origins is not scientific. That's my point. Talk about geology, but keep unscientific topics, like origins out.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Damocles

          @LoA

          You can't not talk about origins. 'Here's a piece of quartz, it was formed... well, nevermind, I can't teach you where it came from because that would be teaching the origin of this rock.'

          February 5, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • St. Lawrence

          So you want to put unscientific topics into a science classroom? Isn't that the problems that some people have with Christians wanting to teach creationism in the classroom? The point is that a natural explaination is no more scientific than a supernatural one.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Damocles

          @LoA

          Good grief.

          Then don't teach anything.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • Bob Jackson

          Lawrence, please stop typing, because you're embarrassing yourself. Science IS the study of the natural world. Therefore, explanations and descriptions of how nature was (to the extent we can determine at this stage) and how nature is IS science, and therefore belongs in a science classroom. Hoogedy boogedy hokus pokus magic, on the other hand, does NOT belong in a science classroom. Save that for theology classes and their ilk.

          The bottom line is that no one on the creationism side of the debate will ever shift to the evolution side because, somewhere along the line, a religious leader or religious parent convinced those people that their god will strike them down, send them to a nasty place, or put Kick Me signs on their backs unless they preach the gospel along side their religious brethren. Science's empirical evidence just can't compete with the emotions stirred up by a promise of eternal damnation in fire and brimstone.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Lawrence, you seem to be confused about the difference between "scientific" and "100% certain". Nothing in science, btw, is 100% certain. We teach leading scientific theories.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • G to the T

          " The point is that a natural explaination is no more scientific than a supernatural one." Of course it is!

          1) It's worked in every other field we've applied to so far in science so why not in these cases as well?
          2) If you have a problem with repeatability of evolution, you should have an equal (if not more) problem with a supernatural one not being falsifiable OR repeatable.
          3) Naturalistic explainations allow for falsibility and predictability. Based on naturalistic explanations we can predict what we will find in the fossil records or how a population of bacteria may react to low levels of anti-biotics and if we ever found anything that invalidated that, they'd probably win a Nobel.
          4) Naturalistic explanations are self-correcting. As new data is presented, we can build new models and test them against the available data.

          February 5, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
      • Barcs

        YEAH! Why permit science to be taught in class! In every class I've taken, abiogenesis is taught as a hypothesis.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • ME II

        @St. Lawrence,
        "And yet biology class can teach you nothing about the origins of life. So why permit naturalistic explanations in class?"

        Evolution is not about the origin of life. Hopefully, any information about the origin of life in public school science class is of the various hypotheses posited for it and the research that is being done, but that's not Evolution.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • St. Lawrence

          I never said anything about evolution... You did. I was speaking of origins. And origins and evolution are two different topics.

          BUT, since you mentioned it, no, evolution in the sense of molecules to monkeys to man is not scientific in the strictest sense. Molecules to monkeys to man is a conclusion brought on by paradigms, but is not observable, testable, or provable, ergo, not scientific.

          We CAN however teach that things change over time – duh, we can see that. But houseflys do not change into eagles.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • ME II

          @St. Lawrence,
          "And yet biology class can teach you nothing about the origins of life. So why permit naturalistic explanations in class?"

          "I was speaking of origins"

          So what naturalistic explanations were you talking about, if not Evolution?

          "...no, evolution in the sense of molecules to monkeys to man is not scientific in the strictest sense. "

          "...origins and evolution are two different topics."

          If they are "two different topics", why do combine them into *molecules* (non-living) to man (living)?

          "Molecules to monkeys to man is a conclusion brought on by paradigms, but is not observable, testable, or provable, ergo, not scientific."

          Again, *molecules* to man is not taught as a scientific Theory. Evolution is, but abiogenesis is still a hypothesis.
          Oh, and man did not evolve from monkeys.

          "...houseflys do not change into eagles."

          Of course, not. Individuals don't evolve population do and pretty slowly.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
      • Bob Jackson

        The science of biology provides no answers? Clearly you've never attended and passed a college level biology course. Also try molecular biology. Try organic chemistry. Try molecular genetics. Try comparative anatomy. You will soon see that there are in fact explanations for the origins of life, as well as genetic mutations that lead to the current state of our ecosystems. Those explanations provide a lot more empirical evidence than, "It just is," or "Because the book of God says so." It comes down to one source – the Bible, vs. countless sources – independent peer reviewed research and testing within the scientific community.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        You're conflating evolution and abiogenesis.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • St. Lawrence

          Once again, I said nothing about evolution, you did. Evolution and origins are two seperate topics.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Alysia

          But aren't you complaining about evolution being taught in schools, LoA? If not, okay.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • ME II

          @St. Lawrence,
          Then what "naturalistic explanations" of the "origins of life" are you talking about that are being taught in schools?

          February 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
      • Whitney

        Actually, St. Lawrence, scientific understanding about the origins of life is getting pretty detailed. based on the laws of physics, we know that atoms form molecules. Molecules form bigger molecules, which eventually form amino acids. All of this has been demonstrated and replicated in the lab. Simple amino acids are found throughout the universe and would have been forming on early Earth. Amino acids have been shown in some cases to replicate themselves–again, shown in the lab by multiple researchers. And once you have a self-replicating amino acid, it's a short hop to rNA, to proteins, and to self-replicating life. Really, it's not that complicated.

        February 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
  17. lunchbreaker

    Just an observation from my personal life. For a time I was a theistic evolutionist, specifically Christian. I was always under the impression that the only thing recquired to be a Christian was to accept Jesus as your personal savior. I didn't see the method of how God got us here as of a matter of importance in spiritual matters. It was young earth creationists who drove me away from the church. Just my opinion that the evolution debate on behalf of churches does more harm than good for the congregation. But since I'm a non-believer now, keep it up.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
    • St. Lawrence

      You say it was a young earth creationist that drove you away. But if he was telling you what was in the Bible, then it was not him, but the Bible itself that you have a problem with.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
      • lunchbreaker

        So you 100% cannot be saved and believe in evolution?

        February 5, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @lunchbreaker : So you 100% [sure you] cannot be saved and believe in evolution?

          Yes. The order of creation differs from the order of evolution.

             <><

          February 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          I appreciate your honesty, but I don't understand that at all. It must truly be a narrow path to your heaven.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • Jahtez

          So you MUST believe in the literal Genesis in order to be saved? An I understanding this correctly?

          February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • St. Lawrence

          I can't say that. Only God knows if you're truly saved or not, but a sincere belief in evolution casts doubt on the Bible, and if you doubt the Bible, then I would have a hard time understanding how someone can be a Christian.

          February 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @lunchbreaker : I appreciate your honesty, but I don't understand that at all. It must truly be a narrow path to your heaven.

          I suppose that technically, one can believe in both God and evolution. However, if one believes in evolution then one MUST conclude that God lied in the description of creation (or not know the details of creation). And believing that one's Lord is a liar makes for a very tenuous relationship.

             <><

          February 5, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Damocles

          So humans, as created beings, are liars, murderers, cheaters, lovers, good and bad... yet the creator shares none of these traits?? Oh, right, the good... only the good.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Saraswati

          L4H wrote:

          "However, if one believes in evolution then one MUST conclude that God lied in the description of creation (or not know the details of creation). And believing that one's Lord is a liar makes for a very tenuous relationship."

          Or they could believe

          a) that the bible is an imperfect human representation of gods word
          b) that the bible is a mixture of mythology and divine inspiration
          c) that the bible was created in a way that people would understand at the time and intended to be updated
          d) that a pure message was corrupted intentionally by evil humans or spirits

          There are a lot more possibilities that would still allow one to believe Jesus was either god, a relative or a prophet and provided leading insight that humans should try to follow.

          February 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • Madtown

        We should question the bible. It's a creation of man, and it's right to be skeptical of it.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          AMEN!

          February 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Madtown : We should question the bible. It's a creation of man, and it's right to be skeptical of it.

          Agreed, we should question the Bible. However, we should not condemn the Bible without proving a fault. And since any substantial faults have yet to be proven, then we have no right to be skeptical of it.

             <><

          February 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • Kandace

      It's really too bad that you let opinions of other people drive you away from a God you claim to have believed in. If you met people who spoke badly of your mother or had wrong opinions about her you did not agree with, would that cause you to stop loving her? Consider: you were likely looking for a way out of a faith you didn't really have but felt obligated to maintain.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
  18. Guy3D

    God 'poofed' everything into existence .. no, every bit of matter in the entire universe was concentrated into an infinitesimal speck that sat around for an untold amount of time, then for some reason exploded, creating light, time, gravity, etc. Take your pick of which incomprehensible account is true .. but answer this simpler head scratcher for me ...

    According to Creation, God created male and female for a purpose. According to Evolution, humans evolved from simple molecules. If Evolution is correct, the presence of a male and a female evolved, as they would not have coexisted from the beginning. I can't figure out why Nature would complicate the process of procreation, and thus survival, by requiring a male and a female .. especially in the case of Humans, where emotion, commitment, love, etc, are added to the equation!

    February 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Guy3D : God 'poofed' everything into existence

      You've got that wrong. The singularity 'poofed' everything into existence!

         <><

      February 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • Colin

        How many times do you have to be told. There is not a physicist or cosmologist alive who thinks this. The singularity is simply as far back as we can take things given our current state of knowledge. The Universe may well be infinitely old, may well undergo an infinite number of cycles of expansions from a singularity and collapse and/or may be part of a multiverse. We just don't know for sure.

        February 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Colin : The singularity is simply as far back as we can take things given our current state of knowledge.

          You use different words, but the meaning is the same. Poof!

             <><

          February 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          We do know that when matter, anti matter come in contact they annihilate each other in a burst of pure energy equal to their combined masses. Posit if you will that this could be an explanation for a big bang, it may sound silly but so does god did it. BTW where did all the anti matter in our observable universe disappear to, lurking around somewhere?

          February 5, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
    • Damocles

      Well, if you believe a deity created everything, it still begs the same question.

      And humans aren't the only animals that tend to show those traits.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      Trying to use current geological and scientific evidence to support a young earth theory is like trying to use current cancer research to prove young girls really are infected with cooties...

      February 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • Barcs

      "According to Evolution, humans evolved from simple molecules."

      Really? Could you please cite me the scientific research paper on evolution that claims this? STRAWMAN!

      The science deniers seem to never even read the basics about what they are debating against. How can you debate something when you know ZERO about it?

      Creatures were originally ase.xual but eventually se.xual reproduction took over in creatures that could do both because it's a more efficient way to create genetic diversity.

      February 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • Whitney

      There's a lot more mathematical evidence for the scientific origin of the universe than one dusty old book, let's just put it that way. I challenge you to read "A Universe from Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss and come away telling me that we have no evidence for anything.

      February 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
  19. CaptainRob

    Many faithful but non-creationist Christians will wonder why creationists don't address a fundamental issue: How can creationists be sure that God wants them to read the two creation stories in Genesis 1-2 literally and as science rather than as story or metaphor or even as a sacred but dated world view. Probably creationist don't turn to Leviticus 13 for medical advice on how to treat skin disease (leprosy); nor do they turn to Joshua 6 (Siege and fall of Jericho) for lessons in military science; nor do they turn to the staple of ancient legal science in Exodus 21:23-2 (lex talons "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth") for modern jurisprudence. Scientists, for their part, especially those in the scientific community with burdens against religion, need to understand that the nature of scientific evidence, method and hypotheses and the nature of theological evidence, method, and hypothesis have more in common than they might imagine. Both go back to common ancestors. A lot is at stake for humankind in open and intelligent conversation between science and religion.

    February 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.