For a much fuller analysis of the debate, I recommend Albert Mohler's article here.
My Snarky Recap
Resolution: Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins in Today's Modern Scientific Era?
Ken Ham: Yes. When you take what the Bible says as your starting point, what you see in nature lines up with the creation model.
Bill Nye: No. Because if you accept creation as a viable model, then America (and American voters and American taxpayers) will fall behind the world in the advancement of technology.
[despite the evidence Ken offered to the contrary showing that there are modern creationist scientists along with their non-creationist counterparts who have both been at the forefront of advancing technology]
Ken Ham: As stated before, when you take what the Bible says as your starting point it lines up completely with what you see in observational science.
Bill Nye: I don't know...that's a mystery to me. But I get a lot of [unexplained] joy in trying to discover it...and American taxpayers and voters should too.
My non-snarky response...
I did enjoy the debate. And not just because I think Ken Ham "won."(1) In actuality, there were a lot of questions left unanswered - on both sides.
What I enjoyed about it was that many people were exposed to the truth that the issue is not really science (what we observe in nature in order to make predictable outcomes) but interpretation of science. It's about starting points, assumptions, or presuppositions that we already have and that we take with us in interpreting what we observe in nature. And both sides do this.
While the evolutionist takes for granted that the earth is billions of years old originating from a cosmic big bang and interprets what he observes in that light, the young-earth creationist takes for granted the historic reliability of the book of Genesis, that God created the world in six normal days and that he at one point judged the world with a global flood, and interprets what he observers in that light.
If that's all that was established last night - that both parties are taking into the observational realm of science their preconceived ideas of how to interpret the evidence - then I'm satisfied(2); because that really is the main issue.
Do both "models" have some dilemmas? Yes; but to paraphrase what Bill Nye said, that's part of what makes science so much fun - the joy of discovery.(3)
Now there were some troubling moments of the debate for me:
I had difficulty with Ken having pre-made slides to use during his rebuttal. I realize if you study your debate opponent well enough you can predict in general what he'll say; but it seemed that at that part of the debate Ken was more engaged with what he thought Bill was going to say rather than what he actually did say. The two were probably close - but I still think a rebuttal of what Bill actually said would have been more helpful and more effective.
What I had a lot of trouble with though was Bill's constant "argument" that to accept creation is simply "unsettling," or that it would cause the U.S. to fall behind in developing technology. This is not an argument. It is simply an opinion and assertion.
All in all, though, I think it was an interesting night of dialogue. If nothing else, we absolutely want to thank God for the opportunity last night - that Bill Nye had the courage and grace to at least engage the creationist view in public rather than censor it out. It is my hope that this will foster many more debates to occur between creationist and evolutionist - because up until last night, as exposed by Ben Stein's film Expelled, the creation camp has been basically censored from all public dialogue - not because the position is unscientific, but because mainstream secular scientists simply do not want to hear it.
From a Christian perspective, the reason they do not want to hear it is simple - they are in rebellion against God the Creator (Rom. 1:18ff). However, also from a Christian perspective, all Christians were at some point rebellious toward God - until He Himself showed mercy toward us, changed our minds, opened our hearts, and granted us repentance unto life (1 Cor. 1:26-31; Eph. 2:1-10; Tit. 3:3-7).
We of course then need to continue to pray He will do the same for our neighbors and the opponents of the gospel (1 Tim. 2:1-6) and in the meantime do our part in engaging them with His truth (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
(1) Speaking specifically in regard to the resolution and which side made the most plausible case for or against it, I would have to say Ken won. He showed that with the Bible as your starting point, observational science lines up with what we would expect to observe in nature. Therefore we can proceed in observations, rely on the uniformity of nature, make hypotheses, do experiments, and come to rational conclusions.
Bill tried to disprove the model of creation mainly by saying how unpopular it is and asserting that if we accepted the creation model we (the United States) would fall behind the rest of the world in regard to developing new technology. He didn't really offer any support of that latter statement. It's really a strange line of argumentation....
(2) It's assumed that I'm satisfied with this debate first and foremost in that it was honoring to God and exposed many to the gospel message. I'm speaking here specifically about the academic aspect of the resolution being established.
(3) Of course, on an atheistic worldview, where all is matter in motion, you can't account for things like joy - or love, or beauty, or other abstracts such as laws of nature or laws of logic. And I do think Ken did a good job of stating this at one point in the debate. If anything I think it would have been advantageous for Ken to have pushed that more.
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