User:Reckless Noise Symphony/Ham vs. Nye commentary

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Here are RationalWiki's comments on the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, 2014 February 4, on the question, "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era?"

Bill Nye v Ken Ham debate TONIGHT[edit]

see it online HERE Hamster (talk) 22:12, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

I can't watch *covers eyes*--"Shut up, Brx." 22:36, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Nye reminds me of me in that he doesn't seem to hold debate tactics in any sort of regard, but rather just wants to speak his mind and hopes to win people over with honesty. And that's probably going to be a problem in a real debate like this. Nullahnung (talk) 23:32, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
You can also watch it, I believe, on youtube here. We should open up a forum topic where we can all discuss it live, though. Shadow of Lords talk 23:39, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
maybe Bill will do an interpretive dance number ? Hamster (talk) 00:33, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
He didn't dance, but he made plenty of jokes. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 04:19, 5 February 2014 (UTC) NetharianCubicles are prisons! 00:59, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

THis debate is boring - Ham is evangelising, Nye studiously avoiding anything that could be percieved as an attack on the bible or religion. Tielec01 (talk) 01:53, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
For what it counts, Nye certainly attacked biblical literalism. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 04:19, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Broken streams[edit]

The one at Xtianity rules keeps getting interrupted by a hamburger commercial, the live Utube one keeps crashing. Hoping to watch it all once it's over on utube. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:52, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Article Suggestion[edit]

Since quite a bit of data is here, perhaps an article to help address the blow by blow points would be on topic? Zero (talk) 03:12, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Opening statements[edit]

Ham's opening statement claims secularists are trying to hijack science and suppress creationism, and points to various scientists (none of them biologists) that are also creationists to try to bolster his position that "creationism is totally science". He also says that since science is about observation and experimentation, and since you can't directly observe the past, then the Bible is just as good as any scientifically constructed historical record.

Nye's opening statement reminds the audience to compare both views and see which properly reflects the evidence presented, and criticizes flood geology by stating that the fossil record would be a lot more erratic if there really was a global flood of such magnitude. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 00:38, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

The idea that there are YECs who also work as scientists is a common creationist talking point intended, as you say, to justify the claim that YEC is scientific, that I find particularly dishonest. Ham shouldn't have come out of the gate attempting to flim flam the audience and then repeating the falsehood throughout his presentation. It's akin to claiming that there are white supremacists or flat-earthers working as scientists. Well there very well might be. Ham came up with a few examples of YECs, but the glaring omission is that they're not doing creation science. Unfortaunately In fact, I'm not aware of a single example aside from perhaps Moishe Carmelli (if I'm even correct that he published in a legitimate science journal and explicitly referred to YEC - I'm not so sure) of a single legitimate science journal publishing YEC material. Ham's deceitfulness is shown by his own YEC pal, Tas Walker, making YEC claims in bogus YEC journals "peer reviewed" solely by YECs and then making completely contradictor scientific claims in actual scientific journals. YECs know perfectly well that "creation science" isn't science at all. What's more, its status as actual science is not established simply by making the additional deceitful claim that legitimate science journals "discriminate" against YECs in a grand conspiracy comprised of every single editorial board, reviewer, and publishing scientist, and apparently even the likes of Tas Walker. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:23, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

First question to Nye: Where does logic come from?[edit]

Ham's first question asks Nye where logic comes from without a God to create it, but after asking the question he then goes into another tirade about historical vs. observational science. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 00:40, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I don't have audio so can't check that it's definitely the one I'm thinking of, but this video should answer that question, but I'll drop the executive summary here anyway. The short answer is "not applicable". Logic is not some prescriptive thing that requires a creator - it's descriptive of the universe. Such a thing requires no creator. E.g., the law of non-contradiction isn't an invention, it's merely an observation about how this universe works, i.e., a thing cannot be both itself and not itself. As far as it is prescriptive (of how we should behave and think given certain prior knowledge) it is a human invention, not a divine one. And again, it's an invention based upon observation of how the universe just is. There is no requirement for a creator in logic, and the only people complaining about this are apologists and creationists, not scientists, atheists, materialists or logicians or professional philosophers. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 10:48, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I think this is a weak response, as it doesn't actually address the YEC claim. It simply denies it without getting into the myriad problems with making truth claims about the universe that go farrr beyond what's explicitly stated in the bible (and which are flatly contradicted by these people's own capricious god suspending the rules at his whim). Even were this brand of YEC honestly confining themselves to the bible, they're relying on a viciously circular argument that makes truth claims about characteristics of their god (far from free of controversy) that purport to justify the inerrancy of their bible and that conclude with the inference that their god has such and such characteristics. I recently learned that Creation Research Society lineage YECs claim their argument has "a degree of circularity." There's no such thing as a degree of circularity, and all we're finding when we argue about it with Philip Rayment is that he vigorously refuses to accept that there [sic] inerrancy claims fail as deductive or inductive arguments. He's recently come up with the justification that they employ "abductive reasoning", which, to his credit for being creative in spinning lies, doesn't get then beyond the problem of begging the question. So, anyway, I think there are sound responses to this claim, as well as the basic underpinnings of claims that their god is also the author of science and morality, but they're difficult to formulate concisely and are bound to go over the heads of YECs in the audience employing highly motivated reasoning. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:33, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Second question to Nye: Can you name one piece of technology that could only have been developed with a belief in molecules-to-man evolution?[edit]

Ham's second question confuses engineering with science, and seems to state that science is only real or useful when you gain material benefits from it. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 00:45, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

All Nye needs to do right now is to convincingly show that "observational science" goes hand in hand with "historical science" (instead of historical science being all about belief) and reinforce his own argument that this is a false distinction. Ham keeps going on about this as a central argument. Nullahnung (talk) 00:46, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

After asking the question, Ham continues talking about "same evidence, different interpretations", and claims the evidence supports Biblical scientific foreknowledge. He also gives a primer on baraminology. He claims that "kinds" can change and evolve, but they can't evolve into other "kinds", and that secularists have hijacked the term "evolution" in order to suppress creationist views. He claims Lenski's experiment does not contradict creationist views on evolution. He introduces his first biologist/creationist, Andrew Fabich, to support his view. He claims evolution was originally racist, since a 19th century textbook uses evolution to support white supremacy, and that since the Bible and modern science support racial equality, that science is therefore confirming the Bible. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 00:49, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I dunno about "molecules to man," but there's no shortage of nuclear-related technology that would be quite a lot more dangerous if the YECs were right about how unpredictable decay rates are. Peter mqzp 01:00, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Ham challenges evolutionists to admit that the scientific view of history is just as much of a "belief" as the creationist view of history. He also sneaks in a bit about marriage being between "a man and a woman", and that only Jesus can save your soul. He then claims naturalism and atheism are religions and therefore secularists are also trying to inject religion into schools. He states teaching children naturalistic science could "totally change the way they think". Frederick♠♣♥♦ 01:02, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Nye's response[edit]

Nye responds by claiming that 4,000 years and a global flood inadequately explains the things we observe, citing ice layers at the poles, the existence of trees that are over 4,000 years old, and the evenness of geologic layers. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 01:17, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Nye frequently addresses '6000', not '4000'. Nullahnung (talk) 01:18, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
He was using 4,000 at the beginning. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 01:23, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
4000 years is the flood, 6000 is creation. There may be some confuddlement between the two, but either way both are so way short of the values given by evidence as to be interchangeable. The flood was effectively a reset-button on creation, it could be taken as a complete second genesis given that it is supposedly the second time in the Biblical account that humanity was entirely re-populated by incest. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 10:52, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Aside from the alleged continuity of a tiny cohort of inbred savages being responsible for the entirety of earth's population from the nadir of a genetic bottleneck, the flood may as well be a second creation event. YECs only claim that certain animals were on the ark, yet completely ignore that their god left all plants and many species of animals under however many fathoms of water. So 4,000 years is probably a better starting point than 6,000 years. It implicitly focuses the discussion on how much more absolutely ridiculous YEC arguments are about the diversity of life on earth. Nye did a good job with this - it really does only take a few specific examples of things YECs can only respond to by denying uniformitarian principles (while adopting uniformitarian principles where it suits them). Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:45, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Nye also criticizes the magnitude of Noah's Ark, asking how it could be so stable when built by so few, so unskilled people. He asks how they could take care of 14,000 animals when zoos today have trouble caring for less than 1,000. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 01:27, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

This has always been a very convincing argument to me. Even were Woodmorrape correct in his strident screed against "evolutionist" biblioskeptics that there were actually a much smaller number of animals on the ark, YECs can only hand wave away the technical challenges of building such a large ocean-going vessel by referring to smaller vessels and the supposed availability in the ancient world of technologies sufficient to construct such a vessel. I think I've even seen their defense of the size of the ark ground out in something like the claim that their god gave Noah the plans and means of building such a vessel and that the animals came to him". Nye's reference to zoos is also a dig at YECs inability to convincingly address the diversity of life by inventing some kind of accelerated evolution to the point that we'd literally be able to watch new species arise within years or lifetimes. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:45, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Nye introduces his idea of the nature of science and how it values the ability to predict, as the theory of evolution has done. He further denies that ability to Ham's Creationist model. Nye also links to the Big Bang theory, which he explains as another one with shown predictive power, and it goes against creationism's stated 6000 years. Nullahnung (talk) 01:20, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Questions to Ham: How does creationism explain the many observations that are consistent with the scientific view of history? How could the Ark have supported itself and the animals within it?[edit]

Nye asks Ham these questions and asks the audience if Ham's view is scientifically viable. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 01:40, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Ham's response[edit]

Ham states that the 6,000 year date comes from adding up the dates of the Bible, and asks the audience to remember the difference between historical and observational science. He states that scientific dating methods contradict each other, and criticizes science for assuming that the laws of physics were the same in the past. He states fossils containing thorns, tumors, and predatory animals cannot be millions of years old since the Bible says such things did not exist before the "curse". Frederick♠♣♥♦ 01:45, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

This is my favorite part of Ham's bit. Ham shoots himself in the foot, here! He provides a list of fossil evidence that blatantly contradicts Biblical Literalism, and then provides no explanation for it beyond "these fossils must be wrong because Bible." It says quite a bit about Ham's methodology---start with the Bible, and either use Mjolnir to force the evidence to fit, or ignore it.Onychoprion (talk) 04:26, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

Nye's rebuttal[edit]

Nye states scientific dating methods are very accurate, and that it's "troubling" that Ham trusts his own interpretation of the Bible over scientific observations. He asks if the fish and diseased dinosaurs are "sinners". He criticizes separating the physical laws of the past and the physical laws of the present. He asks how such animals as lions could be vegetarians when they appear to be suited to a carnivorous diet. He asks why Ham's interpretation of the English Bible is to be more respected than scientific observations. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 01:51, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Ham's rebuttal[edit]

Ham states that science could not be performed without the laws created by God. He states that it's not just Ham's view, but the view of many creationists working together. He states that Nye confused "species" with "kinds", and claims the Ark could have had less than 2,000 "kinds" aboard. He promotes catastrophism as a viable explanation for the ice layers. He states that since pandas and fruit bats are herbivores, then lions could have been herbivores as well. He criticizes Nye for calling Noah and his family "unskilled". He states modern science has not satisfactorily solved the horizon problem. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 01:56, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Nye's rebuttal[edit]

Nye states that Ham did not explain how catastrophism could explain the presence of seasonal differences in the ice layers. He states that the "assumptions" made by scientists are based on observation, and asks why they should be rejected. He states that there are millions of Christians who accept evolution, and asks "what is to become" of them under Ham's worldview. He states that scientists would readily consider the creationist worldview if they provided evidence that supports their predictions. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:03, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm not watching the debate, but from your summary (thanks for that, btw), it seems like two ships sailing past each other in the night. Not exactly a stimulating discussion.--"Shut up, Brx." 02:16, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
They're not sailing past each other as much as you think. There's some amount of replying to each other and asking each other questions and answering these questions between the two, but we're not really going into detail about that here. Nullahnung (talk) 02:28, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Questions from the audience[edit]

To Ham: How does creationism account for the celestial bodies, planets, stars, moons moving further apart, and what does that mean for the grand design?

Ham says that the Bible supports this by saying that God "stretched out the heavens", and that the expanding universe is a sign of the greatness of God. Nye responds by saying he isn't satisfied by the answers the Bible provides, and that he'd rather use scientific observation to find the answers. Nye asks Ham whether his creationism provides a model that can provide predictions and be experimentally tested. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:15, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Nye: How did the atoms that created the Big Bang get there?

Nye does not address the format of the answer, and states that it's a mystery, but he wants to find the answer. He tells the audience about how it was once thought the expansion of the universe was slowing down, but that it's actually expanding, and that nobody knows why. Ham responds by saying that there is an answer as to where matter came from, and that it's found in the Bible. Ham states that "God created everything" is the only explanation that makes sense. He states "matter can never produce information", and that since there's information in DNA, then God must have created it. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:22, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Douglas Hofstadter is turning in his grave and he isn't even dead yet... Scarlet A.pngmoral 10:54, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Ham: The overwhelming majority of people in the scientific community have produced valid, physical evidence to support evolutionary theory. What evidence, besides the literal word of the Bible, supports creationism?

Ham criticizes the question as an appeal to majority, and states that there's plenty of people who believe in creationism. The moderator reminds Ham to address the claim about evidence for creationism. Ham does not, instead choosing to bring back the "historical vs observational science" dichotomy. Nye states that scientists also want majority ideas to be challenged. Nye also states that information can be created without an intelligent agent to provide it. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:30, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Nye: How does consciousness arise from matter?

Nye states that this is also a mystery, and that he wants to find out. Nye asks the audience to think about and investigate the question. Ham again states that the Bible has the answer, and that it comes from God. Ham claims Nye believes there's nothing after life, and asks what's the point of the joy of discovery if there's no life after death. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:35, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

20/20 hindsight, but this question, as well as the big bang atom question, were perfect places to bring up how intellectually stifling "God did it" is. Anytime a YEC looks at an unusual phenomenon that can't be explained by our current understanding of natural law, their obvious go to is "it's a miracle of God!" So what's the follow up? There is none, idiot, I said God.
To take the consciousness example, if God gives us consciousness, is this then impossible for humans to recreate? What hypothesis or prediction do you derive from "God did it?". Shakedangle (talk) 17:06, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I can't wait to see how Ham (or his successor) reacts if/when we make a sentient machine, or definitively prove that other animals (crows, dolphins, elephants, gorillas, to name a few candidates) have consciousness.Onychoprion (talk) 04:16, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

To Ham: What, if anything, would change your mind?

Ham states he's a Christian, and that God has spoken to him through His word and proven to him the veracity of the Bible. Ham states that as Christians, they know the word of God is true, and that no one will convince him otherwise. Ham also states that creationism is subject to change since they can change their interpretation of how the evidence fits the Bible. Ham asks Nye what would convince him that YEC was true. Nye responds by saying he would need evidence to support YEC. Nye asks Ham how he can prove creationism, and asks whether he can provide scientific evidence and not just provide explanations for how the observations fit a Biblical worldview. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:39, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

This killed it for me. I wish Bill had called him out on this immediately. The ultimate evidence that he isn't interested in the evidence. Whatever the evidence says, he just has to find the best way to fit it into the story he believes. Shadow of Lords talk 02:53, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
So, what Nye should have said: "Since you're clearly not interested in even the remote possibility of changing your mind, there was no point in this debate except for you to publicise yourself and your floundering Ark project." Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:56, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Surprisingly most of the publicising was done by Nye (advocating that American parents encourage their kids to become scientists, because patriotism and American superiority or whatever). Ham mentioned his own modeling of the Ark only in response to Nye's incredulity, and then only briefly.
I also have to note that in his statements before the debate Nye explicitly said he didn't want to change Ham's mind, just find out if Ham really believed in the Bible like that, which he found out very clearly. Nye primarily came to the debate to advocate science careers for American children, which he did a lot of at the ends of his turns. Nullahnung (talk) 11:26, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I sort of think it's pointless to debate most YECs except to make a clear record of how absurd YEC is and how YECs behave when confronted with reality. The prominent ones are liars who know better. The indoctrinated masses are unlikely to be receptive to or even understand arguments that conflict with what they learned from parents and teachers. I don't even think many non-YECs could appreciate many of these arguments without having followed YEC for some time. However, Nye's effort was noble - it's worth it to make a record of the weaknesses of YEC that will influence the decision making of reasonable people interested in of rationally considering these alternatives. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 16:56, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

To Nye: Outside of radiometric methods, what scientific evidence supports your view of the age of the Earth.

Nye states radiometric evidence is "pretty compelling". Nye states Ham never explained the evidence for evolution in the form of differences between fossils. Ham states that scientists determined the age of the Earth by dating meteorites, not by dating rocks on Earth. Ham states that there are hundreds of dating methods that give contradictory dates for the age of the Earth, and that they all are based on "assumptions". Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:47, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Ham: Can you reconcile the change in the rate continents are now drifting, versus how quickly they must have traveled at creation 6,000 years ago?

Ham brings back "historical science vs. observational science", and states that you can find research into that question on the AiG website. Ham states that you can't "assume" that the rate was the same in the past, and that catastrophism can explain why continents are moving as they are today and how they got to their positions. He states that the Bible supports the idea of an ancient supercontinent. Nye states that there is plenty of evidence to support the scientific view of continental drift and the timescale at which it occurs. Nye asks Ham that if he went into a clock store and saw that all the clocks gave different times, whether he would think that all the clocks were wrong. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:54, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Nye & Ham: Favorite color?

The moderator asks for one word only. Nye states his favorite color is green, and then starts talking about plants, going over the one-word limit. Ham asks for three words, and his answer consists of "Observational science. Blue.". Frederick♠♣♥♦ 02:56, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Nye: How do you balance the theory of evolution with the second law of thermodynamics, and what is the second law of thermodynamics?

Nye states that the second law of thermodynamics is highly ingrained into the current scientific view of how the world works. He states that if a theory broke that law, then he "would give you no hope". Nye explains the second law of thermodynamics. Nye states that the questioner has missed that the Earth is not a closed system, and that it receives energy from the Sun, which powers life on Earth. Ham states that energy and matter cannot produce life, only God can create life. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 03:01, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Ham: Hypothetically, if evidence existed that caused you to have to admit that the Earth was older than 10,000 years and creation did not occur over 6 days, would you still believe that God exists, that there is a historical Jesus of Nazareth, and that Jesus was the son of God?

Ham states that "you cannot ever prove using the scientific method in the present" what the age of the Earth is. Ham states that there are dating methods that do not contradict YEC. Ham states that Christians who believe in the scientific view of evolution are contradicting the Bible. Nye reaffirms the utility of scientific dating methods in determing the age of the Earth. Nye asks again why the Bible is more compelling to Ham than scientific observations. Nye asks again whether Ham can provide a model that creates testable predictions. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 03:07, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Nye: Is there room for God in science?

Nye states that there are billions of people around the world who are religious and yet still accept the scientific view of the world. Nye states that the scientific process has brought countless benefits to the world. Nye states that Ham is the exception in the religious world. Nye states that religious and science are separate matters, and that he sees no incompatibility with the two. Ham states that God is necessary for science, since you need logic to perform science. Ham asks Nye where logic comes from without God. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 03:11, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I understand why Nye said this. It's conciliatory and meant to both embrace the reality that a good number of Americans are religious people and that few of them have thought through the consequences of methodological naturalism merely putting the burden to YECs to make testable truth claims.YEC actually does to some degree, but there are few examples, they're uniformly shown to be frivolous, and it's too much to go into them in such a short time. At the end of the day, however, the answer is "probably not, but it's only a convention that we don't bother anymore simply because the broader god claims are untestable. If YECs could come up with claims that would establish the existence of their god, rather than merely arguing the hypothetical plausibility of events that we know likely didn't occur, they'd be winning Nobel prizes. Were they correct in some of these truth claims about the flood, the petroleum industry alone would give them enough money to propagandize every child on earth." Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:04, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

To Ham: Do you believe the entire Bible is to be taken literally; should people who touch pigskin be stoned, can men marry multiple women?

Ham states different parts of the Bible need to be treated differently, and that while Genesis is to be treated as history, other parts can be treated as other forms of literature. Ham states that the laws in the Bible are meant for the Israelites, and not modern Americans. Ham states the Bible condemns polygamy, and that the New Testament states that marriage must be between one man and one woman. Nye criticizes Ham's interpretation of the Bible. Nye states that scientific observation contradicts a literal interpretation of Genesis. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 03:17, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Nye: Have you ever believed that evolution was accomplished through way of a higher power? If so, why or why not?

Nye states that guided evolution is something that cannot be proven true or false. Nye states that living things do not appear designed, but appear evolved, due to the evidence. Nye states that the observations do not support the idea that the world was designed "top-down", like a manufactured item. Ham challenges Nye to provide evidence of new information creating a new function in an organism, and states that Lenski's experiment does not serve as such evidence. Ham states that there is no such evidence. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 03:23, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Ham: Name one institution, business, or organization other than a church, amusement park, or the Creation Museum that is using any aspect of creationism to produce its product.

Ham states that any scientist uses logic to create, and that logic is provided by God. Ham states modern science comes from God giving man reason to trust in the laws of nature. Ham states that modern progress is the result of a Christian worldview. Ham states that creationist scientists have been published in major scientific journals. Nye states the reason that he does not accept the Ken Ham view of creationism is because it "has no predictive quality". Nye asks why Ham's interpretation of the Bible is correct, and whether all the people who have never heard of Ham's interpretation of Christianity are "condemned". Frederick♠♣♥♦ 03:30, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

To Nye: Since evolution teaches that man is evolving and growing smarter over time, how do you explain the numerous evidences of man's high intelligence in the past?

Nye states that there is no evidence to suggest humans are growing smarter over time, and that evolution doesn't work that way. Nye explains "survival of the fittest". Ham states "it's not survival of the fittest, it's survival of those who survive". Ham reaffirms that new information cannot be produced by evolution. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 03:36, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

More specifically, Nye explains survival of the fittest as survival of those who fit in to their environment the best. Ham states an example of an animal that fits into its environment the best and somehow intends to imply that this contradicts Nye's explanation (when it in fact reinforces Nye's point), because it is not "the most evolved", but the best adapted who survive. The only explanation of this is that Ham failed to pay attention to what Nye's points were when Nye was saying them. Nullahnung (talk) 04:19, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
No. The best explanation is that Ham is lying - he knows full well that evolution is unguided given the randomness of mutations (YECs accept random mutation) and the highly determinative natural of natural selection (they accept this too, as they must when attempting to justify the absurdly accelerated rate of animal evolution after the flood - their "orchard of life" makes no sense otherwise. At least Todd Wood is honest about this, although I'm waiting for him to be disavowed as a "compromiser".) Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:26, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

To Nye & Ham: What is the one thing, more than anything else, upon which you base your belief?

Ham states that the Bible is the source of his beliefs, and he doesn't know of any other holy book that starts off by explaining the origin of everything. Ham claims the Bible is a very specific account of history, and that since the Biblical account of history is reliable, then the rest of the Bible is reliable. Ham claims that scientific and historical observations support YEC, and that those observations support the truth of the Bible.

Ultimately a puzzling circular argument that is largely only compelling YECs insofar as it's intended to justify their wooden literalism. I say puzzling because it seems to me that YECs are actually employing pretty pure presuppositional apologetics, as Ham repeatedly states that the evidence is irrelevant, despite also claiming that the evidence supports his beliefs. Yet presuppostional apologetics takes a very dim view of evidentialism. You either accept that your god is the author of all and that without his authorship, nothing else is coherent, or you debase your god by looking for evidence where your god's word is clear on the matter. I wish YECs could just be honest about their lack of interest in the evidence. I think their entire program bottoms out in little more than donning the cloak of science to flim flam people who are being confronted with scientific reality to feel comfortable that their faith is justifiable. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:26, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Nye expresses astonishment at the scientific view of the world, and the wonder of humanity. Nye states that the scientific method is the most compelling method of obtaining knowledge to him. Nye states that we must embrace science education for the country to progress. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 03:41, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Nye - Ham. Conclusions?[edit]

This blow by blow is very interesting - but not having watched it - who came out on top? Who did the best job? Was Nye right to do it?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 09:26, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I couldn't watch anymore than 30 mins. Ham was just so full of shit. Acei9 09:31, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
My opinion was that Nye had the upper hand slightly. It was a bloodless debate though, highly dissimilar to a Hitchens or Harris encounter. I was expecting Nye to get massacred so I thought the outcome was surprisingly positive; VERY positive. Obviously Ham had no points excepts PRATTs and In the end he looked a little too closed to new evidence to win any new converts; although I consistently fail to account for American sensibilities... Tielec01 (talk) 10:33, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I think Nye did well. Ham seemed twitchier than normal and a bit off his game. --Inquisitor (talk) 10:45, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Only thing Nye forgot to do was hammer him on how he stopped doing real science every thirty seconds and started doing science by fiat. He just needed to say something like, "Science is the method by which you adopt a hypothesis that fits your current data, make predictions and gather more data to support OR REJECT it based on how well it meets those predictions. You have abandoned this process in favor of asserting what you believe must be true no matter what the evidence says, even when the evidence constantly and clearly contradicts it. This is not science." Shadow of Lords talk 11:28, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Ham had to admit, or gladly admitted, that he was using the bible as the starting point for everything and has been trying to fit every piece of evidence into a point of view that fits in with the bible's account all along. And though Nye did try to show that that was not science, he did not hammer it home every time, you're right. Nullahnung (talk) 11:38, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
It probably won't change anyone's mind (although exposure to the alternative is important), but on the other hand, it's fairly clear that Ham is all about religion and just complains about science. Nye didn't come across as nasty but kept emphasizing the wonder/curiosity side of science, which is a positive. Sterilesig.svgtalk 11:51, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I didn't watch the thing but if that's what Nye did, it was exactly the right approach. Doctor Dark (talk) 13:22, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I am not a fan of live debate format, but I sat through the whole thing. My impression was that Ham was all about the supposed difference between observational versus historical science (were you there?) and a book that proclaims goddidit. Nye did hammer on "who are we to believe, your say-so regarding a much-translated 3000-year-old collection of stories, or the evidence?" as well as "Our kids need the best possible science education." with the strong implication that religious doctrine damages that.
I'd say there were two preachers to two different choirs here. (Not meaning to cast methodological naturalism as a religion, even though Ham did try that repeatedly.) I have a hard time seeing winners in "contests" like this; Nye didn't lose, in my view, but I doubt that many minds will be changed as a result of this dog and pony act. You think the fence-sitters even bothered to tune in? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:15, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I think Nye had a victory because of several beneficial things he did. The first one was that he clearly explained the nature of science and evolution to people who may have only had a vague idea of the concepts, he explained it in a way that only someone like him could do (The Science Guy!). The second one was that he managed to bring across passion and the importance of science and discovery. The third one was that he managed to look more grounded in the facts than did Ham.
He may not have drastically changed anybody's minds overnight, but he surely planted seeds of enlightenment in the field of general vagueness. Nullahnung (talk) 14:30, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) The best one line summary I've seen is from The Friendly Atheist: "Bill Nye may not have won this debate, but Ken Ham sure as hell lost it." Heresiarch (talk) 14:22, 5 February 2014 (UTC)


No clear "wins" in terms of the content changing anyone's views in that room, or for much of the audience. Andy's BS spin-job and a look at the comments on Ham's Facebook page just emphasize how locked-in that group is. Nye clearly won in terms of the stated debate question, and I was disappointed that he didn't call this out after Ham's response to that last question, where he said that no evidence could possibly change his mind about the correctness of the YEC view. Once you admit that no evidence can make you re-assess or modify your theory, you've stopped practicing science, period.

That's why I think Nye's real target wasn't the YEC crowd, it was the school boards and legislatures across the country facing pressure to allow the introduction of YEC lessons, the exclusion/misrepresentation of evolution, or both. I got a sense of that in Nye's multiple appeals to American founding principles and our ability to compete and prosper as a country. Couple that with his statements in support of religion for its own sake as something you can value without compromising the integrity of science, and he made a good case for keeping a wall of separation between the two in science classrooms. If that was his objective, then I consider this a win that actually meant something. --DinsdaleP (talk) 15:30, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

An interesting observation. Having now listened to some of the debate, Nye certainly made the point that science education was necessary for a strong US. If his target audience was the one you suggest then his intervention was more subtle than it might first appear.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 16:09, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
It really becomes blatant/not-so-subtle later, when Nye keeps going on about how Murrican patriotism and how turning our backs on science in schools would lead to economic disadvantage. It becomes even more blatant when he admitted that he is primarily addressing the audience online, not the people in the hall. Nullahnung (talk) 16:31, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Nye acquitted himself pretty well all things considered, but let[']s not forget this was a publicity stunt for the creation museum. Whoever won, science education loses. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 19:02, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

I think Nye won hands down, although, as people have noted for a long time, there's a huge difference between winning on the merits and winning an audience. Ham made a huge strategic mistake by expressly agreeing to make an affirmative case for creationism, which AiG very seldom even attempts to do; Ham didn't either. How many AiG and CMI articles simply discuss some legitimate scientist's research or a popular science article, and then conclude " same evidence plus worldview equals creation better explains this"? It's all really lazy hand-waving. Maybe AiG could gain some credibility if it spent money on actual research, but then their lack of interest in doing their own research is why the Creation Research Society changed its name to Creation Ministries International prior to the split that led to Ham founding AiG. At base, AiG seems to believe that evidence against evolution is evidence for creation. It's a non sequitur even if he's right about these being the only two alternatives. Ham also made a huge strategic mistake by speaking first, and thereby giving the last word to a charming and experienced, if quirky and sometimes downright weird, science popularizer who only had to discuss the actual evidence to show how poorly Ham did at meeting his burden of persuasion if the audience wasn't capable of seeing that for itself. Whatever. I found Ham's canned joke about being a "bloke" a really weird and painful attempt to ingratiate himself with an audience probably comprised of local rednecks (whose only reference point is Crocodile Dundee), and people who probably already thought he was an embarrassing dipshit. Maybe I'm looking at this through rose-colored glasses. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 17:51, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Article should result[edit]

If nothing else copy this discussion. Article should exist. Don't make me do it, last I heard I was a troll... It might make a great side-by-side? There's a lot of great commentary here. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:07, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

I find it odd that Ham states;

"different parts of the Bible need to be treated differently, and that while Genesis is to be treated as history, other parts can be treated as other forms of literature".

And then contradicts himself by stating; "The Bible is a very specific account of history, and that since the Biblical account of history is reliable, then the rest of the Bible is reliable".--Cmbisme (talk) 08:40, 13 July 2014 (UTC)