Finding the middle ground in the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye debate
On Tuesday, Feb. 4, thousands of viewers tuned in to the live-streamed (and highly anticipated in some circles) debate between leading creation apologist and bestselling Christian author Ken Ham, versus Emmy Award-winning science educator and CEO of the Planetary Society, Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”).
[You can watch the full debate here: Bill Nye VS Ken Ham.]
Patrons on both sides of the issue criticized the opponents for participating in this debate, but despite the chagrin of many, it was not as sterile as some had feared it would be. It was fruitless in the sense that this debate did not yield a clear “winner,” but some good can always come from free, public exchange of knowledge.
Evidence was presented to support both positions, both parties were civil with each other and well prepared, and the question and answer portion really heated things up to a point where both debaters were forced to admit they didn’t have all the answers.
After watching this debate, the public will most likely remain as divided as ever. Those who did watch it were hopefully enriched in some way by learning a new bit of information or perhaps by this debate sparking their curiosity.
The most disturbing thing about this debate is that the main question, “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” was skirted around as each debater pushed forward his own agenda. Both participants are a little extreme in their views, and this debate only deepened the line in the sand drawn between the two camps. Nye was speaking from a purely naturalistic perspective that wouldn’t even concede to the possibility that there may be something beyond the observable, natural world. Meanwhile, Ham took an extreme Creationist standpoint that calls us to reject anything that may challenge a purely literal, supposedly “scientific” interpretation of Genesis.
Many can agree that it was anything but enriching to pit these two polar ideas against each other when the truth is, there are many Christians and non-Christians who believe something that lands somewhere along the middle of this spectrum. There are some scientists without a naturalist agenda who do concede that there could be a higher power and that there are many things scientists don’t understand and cannot naturally observe. There are also plenty of scholarly Christians who do not believe that Earth is less than 6,000 years old and who interpret Genesis differently than Mr. Ham does (N. T. Wright is one of them, here’s a short clip to pique your interest: Science & Genesis).
If nothing else was clarified, these two things are crystal: there are other points of view besides these ones and, ultimately, neither side has all the answers.
The #HamonNye debate in a nutshell: