Bill Nye the ‘Science Guy’ to Debate Creationists
Bill Nye the ‘Science Guy’ to Debate Creationists

On Feb 4, Bill Nye—bow-tie bedecked host of the popular children’s show Bill Nye the Science Guy—will debate the origins of man with Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

Seeds for the debate began in a 2012 YouTube video, where Nye said that it was inappropriate to teach creationism to children.

“I say to the grown-ups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world—in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe—that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them,” said Nye.

“We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems,” Nye added.

In a Creation Museum-produced video responding to Nye’s comments, Dr. Georgia Purdom, Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics at Ohio State University, said that Nye confuses observational science with historical science. 

“Observational science is what I call here-and-now science. It gives us inventions and technology like computers and vaccines. We can observe it, test it, and repeat it. Historical science deals with the past, and evolution and creation fall into that category,” she said.

Ham addressed the wave of ugly criticism Purdom’s response drew. “When you see the name calling, the profanity, you realize what they’re doing is trying to suppress the truth and unrighteousness. In a way they’re closing their ears, covering their eyes and they’re saying, ‘We refuse to believe there’s a god who created. We reject the Bible. We reject God’s work,’” said Ham in a video responding to criticism.

“Really it’s a clash of two world views. A clash of the absolutes of Christianity based on God’s Word, and moral relativism based on man’s words,” said Ham.

Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society and awarded 2010 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association, agreed to debate publicly in December 2013. The event was announced Jan. 2.

Tickets for the debate—“Is Creation a Viable Model for Origins?”—are $25 and go on sale Jan. 6. Ham’s Facebook page promises to post information about whether the event will be televised in the near future.

  • rg9rts

    Oh boy! this ought to be a real circus, bring on the clowns.

    • Granite Skyline

      Pass the popcorn.

      • rg9rts

        The only thing I would enjoy more would be a Christie Clinton debate. HooooH

  • Jasmine

    “I say to the grown-ups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world—in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe—that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them,” said Nye.

    Like this guy! The hard right will destroy the potential of all. They go on about the bible, like God came and delivered it to them personally.
    All the hard work of these scientist and pioneers…who have changed our life for the better. Didn’t the church try to kill scientist back then, yes they did….

  • Araxiel

    Bill Nye “debating” creationists would be about the equivalent of Hillary Clinton debating Honey Boo Boo on US foreign policy. There is nothing to debate, as creationists have no facts, only religio based suppositions. But the “debate” could be entertaining, and let’s not forget that a thick percent of Americans, especially evangelical types firmly believe in the literal version of creation as described in Genesis.

    • Denni A

      it’s all part of a broader narrative to dumb-down the populace starting with attacks on public education, ban science books, deny evolution, deny climate change deny everything that elevates knowledge and intellectualism.

      if there’s anything that will forever standout from the 2012 election (as far as I’m concerned) is when Rick Santorum said “smart people will never vote for us” and the audience clapped at being called ‘dumb’ .

    • missjulz

      Maybe he can at least school them on the scientific method and how faith belongs to a different realm, outside of science. But I’ve never thought faith and science are necessarily exclusionary. I can’t wait for it myself. but you’re right – he is not likely to change minds, maybe he can open one or two.

  • Granite Skyline

    While I admire him for doing this, I doubt he’s going to change any minds–he’s just going to make himself a pinata for the creationists will further their stupid agenda.

    He’d be better off befriending and converting a couple prominent creationists and letting them carry the message to the dimwitted.

    If only creationists studied science as much as they studied the Bible….

    • HeyJude

      It’s a tough debate absolutely. Bill Nye can bring all kinds of undisputed scientific research to the conversation, and the only thing Ken Ham will say is “that’s not what the Bible says, discussion over.” Gotta love the Creation Museum….so much comic material to work with. I want to go just to have my picture taken on a dinosaur. :-)

  • Sargonarhes

    The only problem I have with this is that it is none of Nye’s business what or how parents raise their kids to believe what. He’s doing it all wrong. Why not try the approach like Carl Sagan has? Or now like Neil deGrasse Tyson. Nye is just coming across as a mean grumpy old man.

    • HeyJude

      I think he softened that a little by saying “we need them”. Agreed, maybe not as velvet gloved as Sagan and Tyson, but somewhat. I thought that was a nice touch, bringing out the broader implications that if so many of our kids are left behind in understanding and studying science, it affects everyone. The world does need more people in every area of science, our futures will depend on it.

    • Gin1234

      How society turns out is everyone’s business. By being concerned about what future society will look like is being a mean grumpy old man? Back through history, people have always been involved in how parents raise their children, every aspect of it.

      • Sargonarhes

        How society turns out might be every one’s business, but it is not society’s business to tell people what to not teach their children. Science has made many benefits to mankind, and brought a lot of curses with it as well. The problem is it doesn’t instil any virtues into people. And yes, many religions have failed to do this as well. But is that the fault of the belief or that of the individuals? I say the individuals.

        Personally I have no care for society, I’d let it all burn.

  • Denni A

    I recall some years ago a program on NOVA about a trial on Intelligent Design and I recall the final decision was all these claims had no scientific basis.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/intelligent-design-trial.html

  • mistlesuede

    Let’s hope it does get televised. It would be must see TV. I don’t use FB, so hopefully the information would become available on a site like this also to give us the heads up.

  • An Anarchist’s Voice

    Anyone who can’t see that all the missing links are still missing should get their brains checked.

    Origin of the Species first published in 1859.
    Communist Manifesto was first published (in German) in London by a group of German political refugees in 1848.
    In 1869 German became the first language in the world to have a word for the concept, “homosexuality”

    ALL THIS HAPPENED OVER A 20-YEAR PERIOD IN HISTORY!

    • OneOtherPerson

      Greeks had a dozen words for those who didn’t practice the M/F missionary position, including homosexuality.

      • An Anarchist’s Voice

        The practise was widely accepted in ancient Sumeria and Atlantis as well.
        BTW, Atlantis is said to have been blonde hair-blue eyes, and Greece used to kick out anyone without blonde hair-blue eyes.

      • An Anarchist’s Voice

        Those are words for actions, not natures. “Homosexuality” is a term calling such actions as a human nature.
        There have been words for male prostitution, or sodomy in the Bible too, but those are actions, not “a nature.”

        • OneOtherPerson

          they had words for the person that preferred certain acts, not just the act. But I really don’t see your point anyways. Sexual repression is a somewhat modern concept.

          • An Anarchist’s Voice

            “Sex” is technically for procreation. Sex organs are technically for procreation. Just ask the plants and animals. So you are right “sexual repression” is a modern concept.

  • missjulz

    I heart Bill Nye. and I await news on where this will be televised. Hope I can stream it live! You know, thanks to science.

    • AskandTell

      It’s being simulcast from inside Ken Ham’s Creation Museum. Ham requires people buy a ticket to watch the simulcast.

      • missjulz

        I hope it’s on youtube somehow later… I don’t want to pay those folks.

  • konspikuous

    Don’t do it Bill…they’ll just drag you down! They can not comprehend a random cosmos governed on spontaneous physics!

  • OneOtherPerson

    The last science vs creationist debate I saw involved a smug minister that didn’t do anything but quote the bible and considered it undeniable/indisputable proof. And it was on a college campus, so it really didn’t fit in.

    Hope Bill has a better rule book set up beforehand.

  • Electriq

    I don’t know if this is debate is a very good idea. Seems like it will allow creationism another opportunity to masquerade as science.

  • Griffon 997

    The problem with this whole ID vs science debate as that the creationists always use the fairy tales that they know from religion to try and dispute the science. Here’s my problem: there are scores upon scores of ancient artifacts that have been found all over the world that undermine the evolutionary theory currently in place. The problem is, as soon as anyone brings up giants, mermaids, prehistoric civilizations, etc. they are branded a superstitious heretic. But, if you look back, there have been many, many times when giant human skeletons have been exhumed and the remains sent off the be studied, only the disappear. There were many newspaper reports in the 1800’s and early 1900’s of these type of things being discovered in the Americas as well as other parts of the world. Also too, things like the Meister print, which is the trilobite fossil with a human footprint on it; the Ica Stones, which were debunked to be man made on very shaky grounds. There are loads of different examples of this, ancients artifacts that are unexplainable, that clearly pre-date our history and thus current evolutionary theory. Granted some of these are fake, but they aren’t all fake.

    And on top of all of this – where did humans actually come from? Such a profound, amazing human body and makeup – something so enigmatic and so complex, yet it evolved out of nothing? I’ve heard scientists say that life came to earth on the ‘backs of crystals’. Really? That’s the best you’ve come up with? I think there is much more to this story that evolution is not able to explain.

    • VincentTPackhorse

      Of course all is not completely known, but I cannot see where there would be any vested interested in science dissembling.

    • Denni A

      humans came from the same ‘stuff’ every other living being comes from.
      4 billion yrs ago life originated from a cauldron of proteins and amino acids, soaked in an ocean of water, sparked by electricity(lighting).
      what do you think keeps the heart beating in every living organisim that has one..electricity…wasn’t it Carl Sagan who said “we are all made from the stuff of stars”….amen to that.

    • Gin1234

      Evolution is the present theory until it evolves. We know that there are a lot of things yet to be explained and even some recent findings create question about the exactness of the theory , but evolution is a lot closer to reality and any findings made than the idea that all of this that we see around us was zapped into existence within a week from nothing. What kind of tangible findings will support that?

  • Gin1234

    I can never understand how people think using the bible to back up their believes works in a science discussion. Ham’s statement that what those who protested the videos were doing was rejecting the bible, rejecting god’s work, rejecting a god that creates, and on and on is just more useless speech. His attempt in saying this was to shame someone into his point of view. It doesn’t work. Shame isn’t a weapon that works with people who believe in science. A person can’t be shamed out of their beliefs in science. Science doesn’t have its base in emotion whereas Creationism does. Discussions between people who hold seperate views on this are useless.

  • The OGS

    Of course (as seems to be typical in America) the discussion is ‘black and white’ with no appreciation of the grey area!
    Because the answers, if there are any we can comprehend, are somewhere in the middle between the arguments of these two gentlemen.
    I believe there is indeed a Creator and that he created the prokaryotic cell.
    Seeing that ‘it was good’ he then created the eukaryotic cell. And it evolved.
    Evolution is quite true and real – it is God’s work. A self-correcting system that ‘learns’ improvement and does not require micro-management, being well equipped to thrive and prosper in the face of changing conditions.
    Then apparently ~6000+ years ago some genetic tinkering was done (what could be referred to as the ‘missing link’).

    • madkoz

      I don’t see the grey area in your argument. Of course when you prove God exists it may become clearer.

    • Denni A

      so why isn’t ‘his’ creation everywhere across the solar system and galaxy, we could rejoice having extraterrestrial brothers and sisters, as I would think we would all originate exactly alike…the more the merrier, don’t you think…and why is God always a ‘he’.

  • madkoz

    Might as well debate a pumpkin. At least you can make a pie with it after you smash it in frustration.

  • Denni A

    here’s a good article for anyone interested in the origins of life.

    Smithsonian National Museum:
    http://www.paleobiology.si.edu/geotime/main/htmlVersion/archean3.html

  • konspikuous

    Of course there is no creator. The proof is…we have to wipe our butts. No intelligent, sentient being would inflict such a thing upon any organic, bi-pedal life form that has to feed and eliminate waste.

× close
Top