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.