I generally agree with Rev Travis’s comments about the debate, below. Some thoughts after having just returned from the debate in person … I found striking the complete difference between the men – not just content, but also in character and style. In person, I found Nye routinely condescending and arrogant to Mr. Ham, while Ken seemed continually meek and humble in response. I wonder if this viewed the same on the live streaming.
Nye refused to concede that there was any difference between historical and observational science. He seemed to argue that we presently observe the age of the earth, apparently through radioisotope dating, but he had no response to the wildly inconsistent age readings from such methods. He offered no explanation regarding the problems with the assumptions upon which these methods rely. He looked surprised when Ken showed the nearly hundred different type isotope dating methods and the fact each on produces quite different results.
From the audience, it seemed that Nye repeatedly and directly assaulted on reliability of scripture in the second half of the debate. In criticizing Ken’s positions, Nye criticized Ken’s reliance upon the Bible by implying the Bible is unreliable based on the “Chinese whispers” logic of passing along information over long period of time and made numerous critical remarks about relying upon “an ancient document that’s been translated into English.” Nye scoffed at the idea that sin affected all of creation and was all but contemptuous of the global flood.
Favorite part of the debate was when Nye could not answer where the matter that led to the Big Bang came from. In response, Ken responded “Bill, there is this book that has the answer …” Ken then quoted Genesis 1:1 and explained the Biblical account on the origins of matter. The next question to Nye was what was the materialist explanation for consciousness. Again, Nye could not answer. Again, Ken responded, “Bill, there is this book that has the answer …” and he quoted and explained Genesis 2.
Nye’s explanation of consciousness was bizarre, something about our conscious being “the universe looking at itself.” Weird. In the last quarter of the debate it became increasing apparent that Nye all but worships materialism.
I wish Ken had more time to explicate the “scientific” evidence of a young Earth. See Ten Best Evidences from Science of a Young Earth. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to respond to many of Nye’s points. I believe Answers in Genesis is doing a follow-up streaming broadcast to go over many of these points.
As expected, I don’t think either side “won.” Each side presented their position with clarity. For those already familiar with the arguments and issues, there was not anything new. For those new to the debate or previously apathetic, it should have provided plenty of food for thought from both sides. It was a general civil and engaging evening. As stated, Ken explained the creationist perspective with humility and grace. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I’m particularly interested to see whether or to what extent notice is given to Nye’s assault on the Bible and on basic biblical doctrines beyond creation.
UPDATE: see Debunking Bill Nye’s Arguments