Wednesday, 05 February 2014 17:28

Science Debate on Evolution vs. Creation Draws Huge Audience

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A science debate on the origins of life between Bill Nye “The Science Guy” (shown) defending the theory of evolution and Biblical creationist leader Ken Ham, who supports the literal Genesis account in the Bible, drew a massive online audience estimated between 800,000 to as high as three million. All of the 800 or so tickets for the live event were gone within minutes of going on sale. The huge viewership highlighted the deep and ongoing interest in the subject among Americans, who according to polls still remain sharply divided on the origins of life.

Of course, virtually nobody expected anyone to change their mind on evolution or creation after the debate. Still, supporters of both theories declared “victory” in the aftermath of the event, again illustrating the polarization among Americans when it comes to the issue. “I think it shows you that the majority of people out there, they’re interested in this topic, they want to know about this, they don’t want debate shut down,” said Ham, a former science instructor and founder of the Creation Museum where the debate was held.

Ham and others who support his views believe in what is known as the “young Earth,” essentially that the planet and life were formed about 6,000 years ago by God as described in the Bible’s Book of Genesis. Not all Christians, particularly Catholics, support a literal interpretation of Genesis, although polls suggest that the numbers are growing despite government schools teaching only the evolution theory. Former TV host Nye, on the other hand, refers to himself as an agnostic who supports the theory of evolution. 

Throughout the debate, Nye consistently tried to portray the issue as a supposed battle between “science” and the Bible. He also repeatedly referred to himself as “reasonable” — implying that those who disagree with the evolution theory are unreasonable. However, as Ham pointed out multiple times during the debate, the alleged conflict between science and religion is largely manufactured by secular forces trying to claim the mantle of science.

Ham, for example, cited a vast amount of scientific evidence that he said supports his views: that the Earth and life were created just as the Bible says in its opening chapters. He also argued that the term “science” has been hijacked by secularists, and that it is deeply misleading to suggest that “science” somehow contradicts the Bible. No such evidence exists, Ham explained, arguing — as even many evolutionists have — that accepting the evolution theory requires belief in processes that are not observable.  

At one point at least, however, Nye seemingly contradicted the “science vs. religion” narrative by claiming that there are “billions” of religious people in the world who “do not embrace” a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis. He also pointed to a senior self-described Christian U.S. government official who apparently supports the evolution theory.  

Nye acknowledged not having answers to a broad range of major questions, which he said scientists were still working to understand. What started the alleged “Big Bang,” for example, is a “great mystery,” Nye said. He also admitted to not having answers about how “consciousness” emerged. If the United States is to succeed, however, Americans must start rejecting the creationist worldview, he told the audience.

Ham, meanwhile, pointed out that many of the greatest scientists in history — Sir Isaac Newton, for example — were actually Biblical creationists. Today, many respected scientists around the world continue to adhere to that view, he said, noting that they publish their work in secular journals just like secular scientists. Ham also strongly emphasized the division between observational science, which can be observed, and historic science dealing with the past. On the evidence, the two agree, said Ham, who also founded Answers in Genesis. Where they differ is on how to interpret it.      

“Secular evolutionists teach that all life developed by natural processes from some primordial form, that man is just an evolved animal, which has great bearing on how we view life and death,” Ham explained during the nearly three-hour event, pointing out that Darwin’s theory taught that the white race was higher than other supposedly inferior races. “For instance, as Bill [Nye] states: 'It's very hard to accept for many of us that when you die, it's over.' But you see, the Bible gives a totally different account of origins, of who we are, where we came from, the meaning of life, and our future.”

The debate in Petersburg, Kentucky, was sparked after a 2012 video in which Nye said parents should teach their children the evolution theory instead of the creationist worldview. Ham responded with an online video segment of his own rebutting Nye’s claims, eventually culminating in the February 4 debate. Moderated by CNN correspondent Tom Foreman, the only element that viewers seemed to agree on was that the event was respectful.

After decades of failing to eradicate Biblical creation theories by exclusively teaching the evolution theory in taxpayer-funded government schools, even the staunchest evolutionists knew the latest debate would be unlikely to change any hearts or minds. According to a 2012 Gallup survey, about 46 percent of Americans believe that God created man in the present form within the last 10,000 years — more than the 44 percent who answered that way two decades ago. About one-third of Americans believed God guided evolution, and just 15 percent thought man evolved from other life forms without divine intervention.

Photo of Bill Nye at the February 4 debate: AP Images

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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"The Mysterious Islands" Challenges Darwin

Demythologizing Darwin—A Review of Wiker's "The Darwin Myth"

Intelligent Design and Evolution

Teacher Fired for Critical View of Evolution

Texas School Board Debates Adding Books With Alternatives to Evolution

8 comments

  • Comment Link Zach Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:09 posted by Zach

    This debate had nothing to do with evolution vs. creationism. Bill Nye did not even attempt to denounce creationism, and Ken Ham did not disprove evolution. This was simply a debate on whether or not the earth is precisely 6,000 years old.

  • Comment Link Michael Dalene Monday, 10 February 2014 12:20 posted by Michael Dalene

    First off, I don't think I'd automatically denounce the possibility of anything that I cannot understand simply because it violates all that I've been taught or can conceive. The very Concept of a God-being renders our science logic, and comprehension primitive... CONTRAY TO POPULAR MISCONCEPTION--- see most on both sides cannot even read... The Biblical versions I've read never say "God created the Earth" or Man. Those I've read refer to the "Universe" (and the Earth) as "being without form," and that the GOD's MADE MAN it THEIR image (inferring more than one God-being exist).

    Before the concept of Evolution can begin to be proven, one must first 'prove' that Man is even indigenous to this Planet. The fact that our "evolution" contradicts many expected 'norms' implies that Man originated elsewhere... IF the assumption that humans are indigenous is wrong, then all the science of evolution s also wrong!

    So-called science has been embarrassed before when It cited 'science' as proving the Bible wrong. The most obvious embarrassment was denouncing the concept of a Virgin Birth. Modern 'science' has proven that NOT ONLY is Virgin conception possible but is common-place, and that NOT EVEN is the act of sex required; just ask any of thousands that have been artificially inseminated? Very simply stated: The Virgin Mary could have been artificially inseminated by something as simple as having semen introduced from a common vial, the donor of which may never be known.

    Then there is recent experiments that suggests that the Red Sea could have been "Parted" by relatively mild wind conditions, and this why verified using computer models- which is acceptable when applied to other s-called science but "not so acceptable" in others...

    The only LOGICAL AND SCIENTIFIC CONCLUSION to this "debate" is: WE DO NOT KNOW! Anything else is without proof and makes the utterer a BS con-artist.

    Only an idiot could deny the existence of God, only the circumstances can be debated...

  • Comment Link rprew Thursday, 06 February 2014 18:58 posted by rprew

    "The Urantia Book, which has impeccable, unimpeachable credentials."

    From Wikipedia" "...book that originated in Chicago sometime between 1924 and 1955. The authorship remains a matter of speculation."
    "The exact circumstances of the origin of The Urantia Book are unknown. The book and its publishers do not name a human author. Instead, it is written as if directly presented by numerous celestial beings appointed to the task of providing an "epochal" religious revelation."

    It was published by the Urantia Foundation, and the Urantia Foundation is pretty much its only promoter. Can't get more more impeccable and unimpeachable than that! It ranks right up there with "Fire From the Sky: Battle of the Harvest Moon and The True Story of the Space Shuttle" by One Who Knows (Jack?). LOL!

    "The Age of Reason?" The book is filled with illogical logic. Paine states in his notes that SOMEONE made some changes since publication that weren't his. Using his own logic, if SOME of the book (paper) was not written by him, then we can doubt that ANY of it was written by him. It is therefore a forgery and a fraud. The poor guy is so sure that he fully understands the mind of God, that if anything in scripture runs counter to what he (Paine) thinks God would do, then it must be false because he (thinks he) KNOWS God wouldn't do that. Paine obviously spent way too much time in France during the revolution (French) and the Reign of Terror, although one can see his decline in skills of reason as you progress through his major works. "Common Sense" was great, "The American Crisis" and you can see him starting to struggle, then came "The Rights of Man" and, while still having some good material, one can see a significant decline. By the time "Age of Reason", parts 1 and 2, came along, he'd lost it. He died penniless in New York in 1809, at which time his obituary read: "He had lived long, did some good and much harm."

    As to the debate: A stand up comedian versus a real scientist. Sounds like we have the makings of a hit reality show, "Evolution", starring Bill Nye.

  • Comment Link Warren Mass Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:34 posted by Warren Mass

    There is a big debate today between creationists and evolutionists, the majority of the former being fundamentalist Bible Christians, the majority of the latter being secular or nonreligious. But I adhere to the only logical position for a believing Christian who also accepts irrefutable scientific evidence: I am an Theistic evolutionist or an evolutionary creationist:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theistic_evolution

    "Theistic evolution, theistic evolutionism or evolutionary creationism are the views that hold that religious teachings about God are compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not a scientific theory, but a range of views about how the science of evolution relates to religious beliefs.

    "Supporters of theistic evolution generally try to harmonize evolutionary thought with the belief in God, rejecting the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – that is, they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict each other."

  • Comment Link editor-b Thursday, 06 February 2014 04:35 posted by editor-b

    Some fossilized questions for a transitional and healhty debate, for instance: is there evolution if there is no time? How will evolutionary biology meet new physical paradigms about time, space and so on? Will new conceptual changes deny evolution? Or on the contrary, will it become a more extraordinary process, full of astonishing implications? If so, will past human beings and the rest of living beings become something different as science progresses? After all, is life something fix-finite-defined? That is, can one understand it by means of using a flesh brain and its limited words, axioms and dogmas? Does the whole of life fit inside a bone box? Indeed, will science add indefinitely without understanding completely, is there an infinite pool of knowledge and ignorance waiting for us? Otherwise, will religions use the word God forever and ever, as if it were a death thing, a repetitive thing that is part of human discussions? And, in order to speak about God, are they using his limited brain or do they use unknown instruments? Along these lines, there is a different book, a preview in http://goo.gl/rfVqw6 Just another suggestion in order to freethink for a while

  • Comment Link Heidi Preston Thursday, 06 February 2014 02:28 posted by Heidi Preston

    "If the United States is to succeed, however, Americans must start rejecting the creationist worldview, he told the audience."

    Well, the United States has rejected creationist ideas for a long time and I don't really see us succeeding in anything except getting closer to becoming a capitalist/communistic (ungodly ) socialized society. Newsflash....we aren't doing so well.

    When we did embrace the ideology of family, God and Country we were a prospering, growing nation.....you decide which is the growth hormone and evolved concept.

    Personally, I like science to prove hypothesis through the scientific method, but all you are verifying are certain perimeters within certain conditions. As for the evolution of humans....the best why is to see how we are made now. It certainly isn't through homosexuality (which science now says...we do have a variety of humans hermaphrodites ect. but those aren't the norms ) and it also is a process that if left to it's own devices will grow into a human being (under any other name such as fetus, tissue, embryo ect.) we don't even need science to tell us of DNA to know this. We can witness it with our own eyes, we don't turn into frogs, trees ect.
    Did we evolve from chimps? I don't think so chimps are chimps and humans are humans. We share some of the same DNA just like we share the same DNA of a rock , to a lesser degree even (carbon, metals). That we "evolved" in the same environment has a lot to do with how we all relate to the same chemical make up.
    I don't however believe that the Bible is literal, it's a guide on how to live and if you research it back enough you can see it stems from an oral tradition to a written one. Remember the game of whisper something to one person and let it go around and finally they repeat it and it's a whole different story. The Rabbi's wrote down the oral tradition and then combed over it to "interpret" it (some of the stuff which came out of the Babylonian Talmud is pretty rank...Tractate Kethuboth 11a (Mishnah). The Crusades not awe inspiring stuff either. Joshua I "assistant, whose name was Joshusa (the son of Nun). They came out of Egypt and in Egypt they had a God named NUN Nun’s name means “primeval waters,” and he represented the waters of chaos out of which Re-Atum began creation.

    The bible has a lot to teach and science has a lot to explore and together we may one day figure out the whole "process" is to live in harmony and quit treating each other like poop....oh, wait, Jesus said something like that didn't he? But he's fiction right? The message is always the same though.

  • Comment Link Bob Hurt Wednesday, 05 February 2014 23:31 posted by Bob Hurt

    You wrote "virtually nobody expected anyone to change their mind"

    I ALWAYS expect my presentment of new facts and raw logic to cause others to make new decisions and come to new conclusions about reality. Otherwise, what merit does a debate have? Debate and other forms of conversation have one prime motive: to inform and educate - to change minds.

    Frankly, I see the Bible's creation story as a myth, humbug, poppycock, etc. Intelligent, educated people know it could not possibly have happened as the Bible describes it. That makes the debate just plain laughable. People claiming God created the heavens and earth in 6 business days look like buffoons to the well-educated and intelligent. That makes the debate more like a circus performance where people watch buffoons make fools of themselves.

    The Bible's creation story has credibility with Jews and Christians because the Bible contains it, because Moses wrote it, and because gullible religionists who fear the consequences of challenging clerical authority have ignorantly, superstitiously, or stupidly believed believed or pretended to believe it. Nobody believe it because it makes sense, because... it does not make sense.

    The Urantia Book (http://urantiabook.org) presents a much more plausible story of the creation. I encourage you to read it. It begins in hypothetical past eternity at a hypothetical or figurative instant during which the Absolute made a postulate, whereupon the Qualified (Diety) Absolute, Unqualified Absolute, and Universal Absolute spontaneously self-actualized, and at the same instant the Diety Absolute expressed its nature in the spontaneous appearance of the Universal Father (the core origin of the separate Absolutes) and the coordinate Eternal Son, Infinite Spirit, and the absolute machine and energy/matter source, the Eternal Isle of Paradise. And it goes on from there with an explanation about how God and subordinates created each level of the Universe down to the planet levels. It describes a combined creation/evolution method.

    Anyway, as the brilliant Americanist Bible Scholar Thomas Paine showed in his 3-volume Age of Reason, the Bible itself trounces on its own credentials, proving that Moses did not write all of the Pentateuch. If Moses did not write it all, then possibly he wrote none of it. And without those credentials, we have no basis for believing any of it, except as corroborated by other historical writings, or... The Urantia Book, which has impeccable, unimpeachable credentials.

    You see, no matter how well any scholar knows what the Bible contains and means, those scholars cannot explain why truth seekers should give any credence to the process whereby ordinary men, mostly priests who earned a living from priesthood functions, chose and edited the array of disparate literature that now comprise The Holy Bible. Furthermore, the world harbors disputes about which Bible constitutes the authentic Bible - the Vulgate, the Eastern version, the Catholic version, the Protestant version, the Coptic version, and even the Dead Sea Scrolls. Who has the knowledge and authority from God to select some papers for inclusion, edit them, and reject all others? NOBODY.

    At best, the religious value of the Bible consists in its advocacy of monotheism and moral living, and Jesus' specific preachment about a God of Love whose spirit indwells man's mind; and a gospel inhering in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and Faith in the effectiveness of the supreme Human desire to become LIKE God. Anything in the Bible detracting from that constitutes cannon fodder in my opinion. I consider people fortunate who can come away from studying it with a certainty of having embraced their sonship with God as an immutable reality.

    I see the Bible largely as a biased recounting of the secular history of the Hebrew/Jew people, interspersed with fairly raw porn (like the Song of Solomon), myths like the creation and the flood and Paul's alarming, nonsensical concoction of the Atonement Doctrine, and moral wisdom such as in Psalms and Proverbs, much of which had origin outside Palestine.

    The Bible certainly has value. But its hard core believers could do well to broaden their grasp of religious reality by reading The Urantia Book and heeding scientific discovery. They would do best by viewing the Bible as a banquet table laid with a feast of information, with the various dishes prepared by an array of cooks, some cavemen, some enlightened french chefs, some modern nutritionists, etc. It makes no sense to eat the centerpiece, silverware, tablecloth, and plates. One should select food that has the most nutrition value while tasting good. One should reject that unsuitable for modern consumption like the creation myth.

  • Comment Link Old Mullet Wednesday, 05 February 2014 18:07 posted by Old Mullet

    I believe everyone has some right to believe the origin of man as well as everything else. However, we humans seem to have a problem whether it be ego or fear of who/what we are. Take for instance, Bill Nye. His "claim to fame" was as a stand up comedian. He was doing a skit about energy and pronounced "Giga Watt" as "Jiji watt". Another comedian standing in the wings called him "the science guy" and it stuck. He does hold a degree, but it is in mechanical engineering. With that said, He still has a right to have an opinion. The rub comes when ANY person has to belittle another person (or group) to prove some superiority. Sure, debate and share but why must we insist (to the point of war) our way is the only way for everyone? Learn the theories and the facts. Use what works for you and let the rest pass through. It is healthy for us all to grow intellectually and spiritually. The only way to be fed is to be exposed... We can only hope we are "exposed" by people who care about our rights to our opinion when all is done.

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