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Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live 593

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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  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:50PM (#46151577) Homepage Journal

    Will be a divine creation.

    • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:26PM (#46152215) Homepage Journal

      an engineer should never get into a mud wrestling match with a pig. everybody is going to get dirty, but only the pig enjoys it.

      • by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @03:12PM (#46152979)

        Ken Ham is well spoken and should provide a reasonable point-counterpoint.

        I don't think that the idea that we should not wrestle with pigs is the attitude of a responsible scientist. Eventually, all conventional wisdom needs to be challenged. At one time, you'd have been laughed out of a room of distinguished scientists for rejecting geocentricity. An idea has nothing to fear from examination if it is sound.

        • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @03:20PM (#46153083)

          Ken Ham is well spoken and should provide a reasonable point-counterpoint.

          I don't think that the idea that we should not wrestle with pigs is the attitude of a responsible scientist. Eventually, all conventional wisdom needs to be challenged. At one time, you'd have been laughed out of a room of distinguished scientists for rejecting geocentricity. An idea has nothing to fear from examination if it is sound.

          The problem with your point is you expect both sides to act like responsible scientists and approach the debate with an open mind. However, the creationists are not interested in being proved wrong as much as punching holes in the other side's arguments so they can say they "won" and gain legitimacy for their point of view. They are not interested in the scientific method, as far as they are concerned the Bible says it so it must be true. That is not a debate. Scientists test theories and see if they continue to explain what they observe, creationists have a belief and anything contrary to that is incorrect. Scientists, by nature, are open to new ideas and generally don't speak in absolutes, which put stem at a disadvantage to those who believe in absolutes. Even scientific language, such as theory, is used to argue that the creationists viewpoint is equally valid since sit is a theory as well; although the creationists generally leave out the crackpot in from of their theory.

        • by martinux ( 1742570 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @04:17PM (#46153887)

          While I agree with the general concept that everything should be examined and not taken at face value I would stress that this is not equivalent to "my non-fact based theory deserves as much time and attention as your evidence-based theory."

          Ken Ham cannot provide a reasonable point-counterpoint because all he can do is make assertions that sound like science but are in fact not. It doesn't matter how polite and well spoken he is.

          As Issac Asimov stated:
          “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

          The only value that this 'debate' will have is it will further reinforce exactly how delusional creationism is.

  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:50PM (#46151585)

    It's not a debate, it's an episode of American Gladiators without the pugli sticks.

    • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:56PM (#46151667) Homepage Journal

      we don't have debates in the US these days. Debates imply that the discussion is fact based.

    • by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:09PM (#46151903) Homepage
      They usually boil down to who's the better public speaker. A written debate where there's time to think and avoid misstatements and marshal the best evidence and arguments might be useful, but a verbal debate's just a stunt.
      • by cusco ( 717999 )

        Bill Nye is an experienced public speaker, with the unusual ability to condense difficult and/or complex ideas into bite-size pieces. I've never seen Ham speak, but as Nye has facts, logic and authority on his side I can't help but think this should be entertaining at the least.

        • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @03:03PM (#46152849)

          I've heard Ham speak, he's not inexperienced. He is also in command of his facts and excels in making is point in easy to understand. I suspect that Nye will be at a disadvantage, unless he has studied the creationist positions and arguments well. I can assure you that Ham has studied evolution and is ready to debate the ideas and can articulate his position well. He's written a couple of books on this subject. Nye had better be prepared.

          I expect that, as in politics, what observers will take away from this debate will be largely defined by what opinion and world view they bring in. Few will be swayed, although I expect many will be forced to think deeper about what they choose to believe on both sides. Which in my book, is generally a good thing.

          • by geekoid ( 135745 )

            facts? haha. no.

            Here is a break down of Hams techniques.

            Ham and AIG (pretty much synonymous) present everything in dogmatic absolutes. This over-states their case. It sounds first. But when Proverbs 18:17 comes into play, the case becomes weaker because of it.
            Ham and AIG have a history of distorting things like sanatizing/editing quotes from people to make them appear to say something they are not. Their recent Spurgeon sermon was a great and predicted example of this. They removed his mention

    • by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:33PM (#46152361) Journal

      It's not a debate, it's...

      pep rally. A high school pep rally mixed with a never ending argument.

      each side cheers for themselves & at the end everyone debates the other side as to who won the debate.

  • Debate? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fishybell ( 516991 ) <fishybell&hotmail,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, Insightful)

      by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:55PM (#46151653) Homepage

      You're expecting something worthwhile from this?

      It will be a complete waste of time. Mr. Ham isn't there to change his opinion of anything.

      Mr. Nye should know better than to participate, let's hope he learns that today.

      • Re:Debate? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:02PM (#46151779) Journal

        It will be a complete waste of time. Mr. Ham isn't there to change his opinion of anything.

        It's not about convincing Ham. It's about exposing Ham's congregation to actual arguments. If fundie parents sit down and watch this with their kids, the kids might come away with a few new ideas. That's a good thing.

        • Re:Debate? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:09PM (#46151889) Journal

          Anyone with a web browser can see the falsity (indeed the sheer inanity) of Ham's claims. Debating people like Ham only gives them a platform, and in a peculiar way gives them legitimacy. It would be rather like a historian debating a Holocaust denier. Sure, the historian will probably be able to trounce such a person, but at the expense of giving the denier a platform and the inherent legitimacy that goes along with "I want you to be an interlocutor."

          Ham's nonsense was debunked long ago (in many cases long before Ham was even born). At this point I doubt even Ham believes it any more, but it's a way to make some cash.

          • Re:Debate? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by xevioso ( 598654 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:12PM (#46151955)

            The idea that the best way to deal with Creationists is to ignore them is a ridiculous one. These people don't go away if you ignore them. On the contrary, you have to engage them. You have to deal with their claptrap whenever and wherever you find it, because these people have political power in this country.

            • Re:Debate? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:18PM (#46152061) Journal

              I never said ignore them. I'm just saying debating them is the wrong way to go about it. On the first score, Duane Gish's infamous approach to debating; the Gish Gallop, is used by a lot of Creationists. A large number of claims are thrown out, almost all spurious, but so thoroughly overwhelm the other debater that the Creationist seems to have won. On the other score, it gives them the venue and legitimacy they crave.

            • True, but setting up farcical debates isn't the way to do it. The Christians have had months to prepare their children for what they're about to see.

              We need more surprise attacks which can catch the children away from their brainwashing parents (like Richard Dawkins with his buses)

              We need more legal challenges to government abuses (eg. getting Ten Commandments out of courtrooms, state funding of nativity scenes).

              We need more people like these guys who connect directly with people: []

          • by Hatta ( 162192 )

            Anyone with a web browser can see the falsity (indeed the sheer inanity) of Ham's claims

            They can, but probably won't. How many of Ham's congregation do you think have read talk origins? Why would they, when Ham has all the answers?

            So how do you get them to even listen to opposing arguments? This debate is a good way. Even if these people are coming just to see Ham speak, they have to listen to Nye in order to evaluate Ham's performance. In the process, some of them might realize that evolution isn't as

            • Re:Debate? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:40PM (#46152503) Homepage

              There is no downside to this debate.

              Apart from all those parents telling their kids "Look, there's still a debate! They've been debating for years and they've never won, not once!"

              • Re:Debate? (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:52PM (#46152703) Journal

                And how is that worse than never exposing these people to any contradictory information at all?

                • 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, 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.

                  • by geekoid ( 135745 )

                    In my experience, it's the quite bystander who you are really talking to. The loud ones should just be a platform yuo use to reach the silent majority.

                    But it's a hard question becasue it will allow some people to try and claim debates = controversy. even when their side was destroyed...again.

        • 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.

        • It will be a complete waste of time. Mr. Ham isn't there to change his opinion of anything.

          It's not about convincing Ham. It's about exposing Ham's congregation to actual arguments. If fundie parents sit down and watch this with their kids, the kids might come away with a few new ideas. That's a good thing.

          In America, at least, it has long seemed that watching a debate is more about choosing one's side and cheerleading on its behalf than about analyzing facts.

          Facts can backfire and increase certainty in falsehoods --

          “The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as

        • Re:Debate? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:26PM (#46152193)

          It's about exposing Ham's congregation to actual arguments. If fundie parents sit down and watch this with their kids, the kids might come away with a few new ideas.

          So right. There is no easy solution to the problem of excessive religiosity. No matter what you do you will have a very high failure rate. But if you don't try you will have a 100% failure rate.

    • 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.

    • Creationism does not belong in schools AT ALL, except in very specific contexts. In a religion or theology class, sure. In a science class? Hell no.
  • I would rather watch paint dry. That would be more informative, too.

    You can already make an outline for the transcript.

    Ham: You're wrong!

    Sorry.. there isn't going to be anything accomplished. You can't have a debate when there is no acknowledgment about facts.

    • damn it! bracket kill

      Nye: (scientific facts)
      Ham: You're wrong (bible verse without context)
      Nye: (scientific facts)
      Ham: (something about the devil)

      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Funny)

        by jockm ( 233372 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:03PM (#46151783) Homepage

        Oh I don't know, it kind of worked the first way...

      • I'm guessing there will be a Gish Gallop somewhere: Ham will throw a ton of arguments at once, each taking only a few sentences to make and many minutes to counter. It's a sneaky debate tactic, but effective.

      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:26PM (#46152199) Homepage

        Even if Ham leaves out the Bible verses/devil talk and goes straight "Intelligent Design" (aka Creationism Where God Is Hinted At Instead Of Explicitly Mentioned), Ham can toss "talking points" out faster than Bill can refute because it takes less time to say "X is a reason Evolution is false" than it takes to give the proof why that isn't the case.

        Ham: {Creationist talking points #1-10}
        Nye: {Refutes 1, 2, 3.... runs out of time}
        Ham: {Creationist talking points #11-20}
        Nye: {Refutes 11, 12, 13, 14.... runs out of time.}

        End of the debate. Ham declares himself the winner because Nye "couldn't" counter points #4-10 or #15-20 so "obviously" that means Evolution is wrong.

    • Yep.

      What's the point of a 'debate' where one side is held to rigorous standards of proof (including the proving of negatives!) and the other side is allowed to just make up whatever they want to support their argument?

  • bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @01:53PM (#46151633)

    This is a bad idea because it gives an air of credibility where it doesn't belong. What's next, debating 9/11 truthers? I respect Bill Nye and his decision, however i feel he degrades himself doing this.

    • It gives them a bit of credibility that Nye is doing this in the first place, yes. But creationism already has credibility among many in the American public. Ham has to keep that going through the debate. If he comes off as ranting or raving, then he will lose much of that credibility.

      Many creationists (not all, of course) that I've met have been, in most other respects, smart and rational people. They were simply taught from a young age that their worldview was right, and that any evidence to the contr

  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameMaster ( 148118 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:01PM (#46151753)

    I love Bill Nye's work, but personally I think he made a mistake in getting involved in this. He's not going to convince the die-hard creationists of anything. The only thing that can be accomplished here is to provide the nutter museum high-profile publicity (which is, almost certainly, the reason Ham was interested in doing this in the first place).

    Creationism is, even still, a fringe group of nutters that seem to psychologically thrive off of single-minded obstinance and a belief of personal exceptionalism in their willingness to throw away actual logic and facts. The fact that their beliefs are so fringe is the reason why, almost anywhere else in society outside their individual congregations or this crazy freak show^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HMuseum they have to try and water it down by calling it "Intelligent Design" in an attempt to get somewhat more rational people to go along with it.

  • by protest_boy ( 305632 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:02PM (#46151775)

    Why I won't debate creationists: []

    I couldn't agree more.

  • One more reason for them to make jokes about Americans. KY, for cryin' out loud ! Seriously: this confirms so many biases that I can't even begin to count.
  • by synaptik ( 125 ) * on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:10PM (#46151927) Homepage
    Ham on Nye.
  • by csnydermvpsoft ( 596111 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:17PM (#46152039)

    This isn't going to be pretty. Just as the oil industry uses FUD to create false "uncertainties" about climate science, Ken Ham misrepresents evolutionary science to make it appear that there is a debate. There is no way for a logical person like Nye (who is a mechanical engineer by training, BTW) to effectively counteract Ham's bullshit.

    The very fact that this debate is happening is already a win for Ham (and not just because of the millions of dollars that AIG is raking in): The amount of media coverage that this "debate" has received creates the impression that there is a debate to be had - when the basic science is very well-understood and unambiguous. Ham's work is FUD at its finest.

    • by Kagato ( 116051 )

      Sadly I agree. Nye does a lot of guest spot on pseudo news shows. He's very good at writing and a master at presenting scripted material, but he's not a great off the cuff debater. Nye tends to get side tracks and has trouble packaging the argument into a limited time slot when he doesn't have the time to refine a script. Neil deGrasse Tyson is far better at this sort of thing but I he would never do a debate like this.

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:21PM (#46152127) Homepage

    Why do I think Ken Ham will "win" this debate? Well, not because I think Ken will prove conclusively that Evolution is wrong and Creationism is right. I don't believe that at all. Evolution has a ton of evidence supporting it and Ken would have to pull out an Everest-sized mountain of hard evidence (*not* coming from "the Bible says...") to even come close to proving Creationism.

    The reason Ken will "win" is because when Creationists "debunking" Evolution, they don't require proof. They spew a talking point or three and then declare victory. Those supporting Evolution, however, are careful to lay out all of the facts and supporting evidence. This takes more time than spewing talking points. Ken will rattle off a dozen talking points and Bill will only have time to tackle one or two. Of course, given enough time, he could refute every talking point Ken Ham spews, but I'm sure Ken can toss out the talking points faster than Bill Nye can refute them merely because refuting with evidence takes more time than making a baseless accusation.

    So unless Ken speaks in slow-motion and Bill Nye channels an auctioneer, Ken Ham will "win" the debate.

  • by jpvlsmv ( 583001 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:31PM (#46152307) Homepage Journal

    I hope this does[n't] end up like the last debate between science and creationism: []


  • Not worthless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mugnyte ( 203225 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @02:38PM (#46152463) Journal

    Nye isn't stupid, he's thought about the implications of this debate. He's already talked about the promotion of the debate as a leveling effect of the two approaches, when really they are nowhere similar. (Creation Mythology and Scientific Inquiry).

    However, I think if Nye plays his cards right, he'll not fall into the trap of a tit-for-tat banter of each little Creationist pseudo-doubt. Instead, he'll address the general sociology of the subject: The Christian religion is just one of dozens of creation myths, popular in certain places of the world at this time in history. It simply cannot admit it is wrong, although it has been proven wrong many times and simply abandoned those historical issues (Copernicus onward, for just a few examples). Additionally, there are still the hangups in Christianity with gender (both women and gays) as lesser actors on the stage. Combined with the peculiar Politically-rightward stance in the US, defining their positions on the environment, poverty and interventionism - Christianity cannot explain many parts of the modern world well, let alone creation.

    Nye could also simply state that there are too many religions to include them all in an Origins class, and all of them arrive with only scriptural evidence that it's best left to a comparative-studies class on mythologies. Which is exactly where they are today.

    Also, if everyone started empirical scientific exploration over again (really, we do this all the time in teaching) - the same models would be arrived at - simply because the models fit the observations. They aren't dictated from any secret cabal, exactly opposite the Christian method. Nye can do this, as well as any of us. The evolutionary discrepancies Ham will blubber on about are not worth the time, but this entire use of one religion to define all things in the universe can easily be made to look silly.

    • 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 netsavior ( 627338 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @03:27PM (#46153169)
      Both sides will remain unchanged by the debate; but somewhere in Ken Ham's intended audience there is a child just hungry enough to latch on to a morsel of truth and doubt. This will be the child's foundation for escape from that crippling dogmatic world.

      This is those children's first and maybe only opportunity for scientific education.

      I hope every new earth denialist logs in and lets their children watch as Ken Ham "wins."

      no matter what happens, this is a victory for rationality
  • 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.
  • by codepigeon ( 1202896 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:20PM (#46158515)
    I could not find this in a search. Here is a link to the video. []
  • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @10:29PM (#46169485)

    I am very disappointed because I am an atheist and a science enthusiast, and I feel like Ken Ham actually won this debate. I don't think he is right about Christianity or the bible. I think he argued his point in a way that was better than Bill Nye. I think the points Ken Ham brought up were flawed, but I thought they at least attempted to answer the right questions. I felt Bill Nye's answers seemed to indicate that he didn't even really understand what Ken Ham was saying.

    As an example, Ken Ham was forced to repeat over and over that he did not think that the assumption that natural laws were constant was correct. Bill Nye kept pooring on more examples of how science, which inherently makes this assumption (e.g. that radioactive decay rate has remained the same) shows that Ken Ham is wrong, but it doesn't. This debate should have taken a philosophical turn towards the question of whether it's reasonable to assume natural laws are constant. If Bill had said "I just don't accept that this could be possible", I would be ok with it, but it seemed like Bill Nye was unaware that this was where the debate was going.

    I just don't think Bill Nye is a good debater, nor do I think he has the expertise to really make his points confidently. I saw Bill Nye debate Richard Lindzen in a short TV segment, and Bill Nye just seemed like a climate change believer/cheerleader rather than someone who actually knew anything about climate change.

    There is nothing more frustrating than watching someone argue a position you hold badly.

    All over the internet I see people proclaiming that Bill Nye won the debate, but that's only because he was on the side that they agree with (and presumably still agree with). He did not really present any arguments that, if I were a young earth creationist, I would find even remotely convincing or even thought provoking. He seemed just to regurgitate the same statements about how science is great without actually meeting Ken Ham's claims head on. He seemed to not even understand Ken Ham's attacks on a philosophical level.

    If you want to see an example of how I think these debates should have been conducted (from the secular point of view), I would refer you to debates between Dan Dennett and various theologians. Dan is a really great thinker and the people he debates (while wrong), are people who would probably destroy Bill Nye in a debate.

    I will say that at the end, I was satisfied with Bill Nye's answer to the question about Evolution and the 2nd law of thermodynamics. He correctly brought up the fact that earth is not a closed system. And I was happy that he ended by stressing the point that what makes "normal (i.e. secular) science" different from Ken Ham's brand of creationism in terms of "historical science", is that normal science makes predictions that turn out to be true. Ken Ham's citations of predictions made by creationism are only back formations. He can't come up with any examples of predictions that were not known to be true when they were made. It's easy to say that the Bible predicted everything we see today. The way to test a prediction is to make a new one that isn't known to be true yet.

    I think Ken Ham is an interesting debater, and I'd love to see him debate someone a little more clever than Bill Nye

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