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Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live 593

Posted by timothy
from the oh-you're-still-making-up-your-mind-I-see dept.
New submitter Max McDaniel writes to point out this live stream of the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham concerning the viability of creationism in a scientific age taking place at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky (of which Ham is the founder). Note: the presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern; the live feed is likely to remain less interesting until then.
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Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

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  • Debate? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fishybell (516991) <fishybell AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:51PM (#46151597) Homepage Journal
    You keep using that word. I do no think it means what you think it means.

    Seriously though, I'm not sure Mr. Ham is going to actually respond to Bill Nye. If Mr. Nye responds, and Mr. Ham doesn't, it only puts the "science" of creationism in a valid light, as if it were worth debating.

    Here's hoping they stay mostly on whether it should or should not be taught in schools, not whether either is true or not. Science isn't so much about "truth" but about the best understanding based on available evidence. That is what should be taught, right from the get go.

  • Re:Debate? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:57PM (#46151687) Homepage Journal

    This debate will not convince anyone, even if Ham doesn't successfully pull rhetorical tricks to make it appear to dumbasses that he's being intellectually honest(and he does, Gish Gallop is the word of the day). The only real result is that his failing museum will get enough publicity among culture warriors to pull it out of bankruptcy.

    That's it. It's free financial support for a de-educator and nothing else.

  • Re:Who Cares??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:05PM (#46151821) Homepage

    ...except that religion isn't just a harmless social thing that people do on Sundays.

    They're in government, deciding how to run the country (eg. Bush deciding to go to war [theguardian.com]).
    They're trying to remove evolution from the education system [wikipedia.org].
    They get tax breaks [freethoughtblogs.com].
    etc.

  • rationality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:16PM (#46152035) Journal

    You can't rationally argue somebody out of a position they didn't rationally get into.

  • by radarskiy (2874255) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:42PM (#46152535)

    Dawkins shouldn't debate because he comes across as a smug asshole and an opponent can use that to their advantage.

  • by Speare (84249) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:50PM (#46152647) Homepage Journal

    Emotion is a fact.

    I take from this short statement the same sentiment that Bruce Schneier was speaking about, when he stopped whining about how everything "security theater" was completely irrelevant, and started exploring the real and tangible impact and importance of the feeling of safety IN ADDITION TO actual safety controls. You cannot just dismiss grandma's warm and fuzzy acceptance of strict authoritarian searches, you have to actually include it in the calculus, the whole of which can inform the security methodology.

    Security is both a feeling and a reality. [schneier.com] The propensity for security theater comes from the interplay between the public and its leaders. When people are scared, they need something done that will make them feel safe, even if it doesn't truly make them safer. Politicians naturally want to do something in response to crisis, even if that something doesn't make any sense.

    Religion is the same: you can't just dismiss religion, it's a palpable phenomenon for a large number of stakeholders. Often, you can coexist with their philosophy while still doing real science. Galileo wasn't locked up in house arrest for his science, he was locked up for being an ass to the church. The church actually had little problem with the already-common views on the shape of the solar system, and would have "come around" on the matter much faster without his goading.

  • by robinsoz2 (3525737) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:51PM (#46152689)
    I am a creationist myself (in the minority here on Slashdot) and frequently listen to Christian radio. I often find myself cringing when Ken Ham's little segments come on. He usually uses circular reasoning to prove his point - the following is an exact paraphrase of something I heard him say recently: "The Bible states that the world is less than 6000 years old and therefore evolution is wrong. Because evolution is wrong because the Bible says it is wrong, we have proved the evolutionists to be an unreliable source and therefore we can not trust the evolutionists criticism of the Bible." I personally know a number of scientists who believe in creation/intelligent design (plus one atheist leaning agnostic with doubts about the probability of life arising by chance) who would represent the creation side of the argument better than Ken Ham.
  • Re:Debate? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:56PM (#46152763) Journal

    How many Creatonists do you suppose even pay attention to such debates. Believe me, I spent a fifteen years debating Creationists on talk.origins, and I saw maybe one Creationist in all that time start to question their world view. The rest were proof against any evidence, and even after a claim was debunked, the very same person would, a few weeks or months later, trot it out again.

    Debating Creationists does no good, and in some ways probably does harm.

  • Re:Not worthless (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @03:02PM (#46152833)

    I like the phrase 'accident of birth'.

    why do you follow religion A? accident of birth: you were born in a country where most people follow A. and so, you are taught and are 'sure' that A is true.

    if you were born in country B, you'd be 'sure' that B's religion is true and factual.

    this is the most powerful argument I've ever heard for why one religion is no better (or accurate) than another. yes, you are 'sure' about yours just like they are 'sure' about theirs. what makes yours uniquely true and theirs wrong?

    it may take years for that to sink in, but eventually, a thinking person has to understand the global implications of localized religions and how they can't all be right (and actually, they are all dead-wrong!)

  • by operagost (62405) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @04:31PM (#46154089) Homepage Journal

    Bill Nye has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell.

    Ken Ham has a B.A.S. in Environmental Biology from QUT.

    If anything, Ham has the superior credentials because this is related to his field of study. Of course, paper is just paper, so that's why we have these debates. I appreciate the play on his last name, but whoever rolls out the ad hominems just because he disagrees with creationism is doing himself a disservice.

  • by Alsee (515537) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @06:05AM (#46160525) Homepage

    When people think "fossils" they generally think dinosaurs or other large animals. (Note that when I say "large animals" I am including the smallest mouse.) It is extraordinarily rare for a large animal to leave a fossil record, and the fossil record of large animals is extremely random and extremely spotty.

    Large animal fossils are extremely glamorous, but often overlooked the largest proportion of fossils we have. The small animal fossils. Animals roughly the size of a grain of sand, such as Forams (phylum foraminifera). Forams are tiny animals that live in the ocean.... trillions of them. Every day vast numbers of forams die and settle down to the deep dark cold sea floor, in the slowly accumulating sediment. Forams have often elaborate mineral "skeletons" called tests. Every day vast numbers of these tests become ideal fossils in the undisturbed see floor sediment. Sediment that very slowly builds up in virtually perfect layers.

    Back in the 1970's oil companies developed technology for deep sea oil exploration and started bringing up long exploratory drill cores from the deep seabed. Each drill core was filled with tens of thousands tests. An effectively limitless supply of ideal perfectly layered fossils.

    We have a continuous and complete fossil record spanning tens of millions of years for a large chunk of phylum foraminifera. Not merely a continuous and complete record of each transitional species, but a continuous and complete record of all the transitional forms along each species-to-species transition. A continuous and complete record tracing diverse foram species back to a common ancestor.

    (Note: The group "forams" is roughly equivalent to the group "mammals". There are herbivores and carnivores and even forams that grow internal algae farms. So when I say "diverse species of forams" traced back to a common ancestor, it's roughly comparable to tracing cows and lions back to a common ancestor.)

    But animals the size of a grain of sand aren't glamorous. The fossils look like tiny specks unless you look at them through a low-power microscope. Almost no one has ever heard of "forams". Forams are a type of plankton, and while many people have heard of plankton almost no one knows or cares about it.

    So the elephant in the room is that we *do* have a continuous and complete fossil record for a significant chunk of the tree of life. The best possible record a scientist would wish for documenting the fact of evolution in extraordinary detail. And virtually no one has heard of it because it's an incredibly obscure and otherwise unremarkable branch of almost microscopic animals.

    The glorious fossil record 19 November 1998: [nature.com]
    The fossil record may not be complete for all groups at all times and in all places. But, argues Dr Paul Pearson, when we have reason to believe that it is, the dates that can be assigned to fossils are invaluable for unravelling the paths of evolution.

    PAUL PEARSON
    In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin lamented that the imperfection of the fossil record detracts from the glory of geology. Fossilization is such a rare and capricious event, our collections are so poor, and sedimentary formations are so full of gaps, that Darwin could not point to a single example where fossils in successive geological strata showed evolution from one species to another.

    Unknown to Darwin, uninterrupted sedimentation does occur in the open ocean, especially on aseismic ridges and plateaux. These areas experience a continuous rain of particles to the sea bed, and are among the most geologically quiescent places on Earth. A steady build-up of sediment is the result.

    Now, after thirty years of systematic ocean drilling, many of these sites can be studied. Piston coring generally allows hundreds of meters of sediment to be fully recovered, spanning millions of years of deposition. Where gaps occur, they can easily be identified.

    A co

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @09:11AM (#46161331)

    There is no need to discredit

    Let me restate my concluding point in light of that statement: use valid reasoning, whatever your purpose may be.

    Whether you're seeking to discredit them or not, you were providing invalid reasoning. Few things annoy me more than people I agree with giving the other side valid ammunition to make an invalid point. :P

    So here is my reasoning:

    Evolution is a theory that uses the scientific method to test it. Creationism as a belief that can neither be proved or disproved.

    If you want to debate X vs Y you need a common reference to use for comparison so you can reach some conclusion on which side has better made their argument. If it is the scientific method, then both sides must be able to use it to test their theory.

    Since that is not possible in this case because each side bases their conclusions on a different frame of reference, a debate accomplishes nothing in terms of which theory (in scientific terms - which I use here since Creationists argue their theory is equally valid as evolution since both are "theories" and neither can be conclusively proven correct) is a better model of observed phenomena and more predictive. Therefore, why debate?

    Since one side's POV is predicated on a belief that can be neither proven nor disproven, there isn't a question of validity of the belief because, well, they believe it is true. Since you cannot prove it isn't true, there is nothing to discredit since it is simply what they believe. When any points can be explained away by "It's God's will" or "God did that to test us and our faith" there really isn't room for a reasoned discussion. Again, why debate?

    Finally, the existence of a creator in no way means evolution cannot be the mechanism which resulted in life as we know it today. If you did debate, you could end it at the start by saying"Sure, God could have created man; he simply used evolution to do so. After all, who are we to question how God does what God does; we must just seek to understand how God does it. Now, let's discuss why God created the earth more than 6000 years ago and dinosaurs didn't coexist with "modern" mankind."

    In the end, faith and science can, and do, coexist quite nicely. So, to answer "why debate?," ask "Who gains from it?" Creationists want to make their position appear to be worthy of the same consideration as the scientific theory of evolution. Not just to believe in one and not the other, but to give their POV equal time in scientific debate. Debating recognizable figures form science helps accomplish that and I think it is wrong for scientists to do so. That's my belief

    So, to close, I am genuinely curious what you find invalid in my reasoning.

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