March 28, 2014

My Thoughts on The Ken Ham versus Bill Nye Debate

I'm sure most of you probably heard about the debate between Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham and Bill Nye, "The Science Guy", which took place on February 4th. A lot of you have probably even watched it online. If you haven’t (shame on you), you can do so Here - and I strongly recommend that you do. As in, go there right now and don't finish reading this post until you have.

Are we good? Good.

My work schedule prevented me watching the debate live, but I was able to see it the next day. Since then, quite a few people have asked me for my thoughts about it, so I decided I might as well write up a post on my opinions and put it up here. Enjoy! : )

In talking to people about the debate, one of the most common things I've heard is disappointment that Ken Ham wasn't bold enough or aggressive enough in his presentation. Honestly, I was floored the first time I heard this. Set aside the fact that, in general, accusing Ken Ham of not being bold is roughly equal to calling Ronald Reagan a liberal; looking specifically at the scenario of the debate, I saw no difference. Ken Ham was assertive in his presentation and gave no ground to Bill Nye's arguments, but he did so while remaining completely respectful and professional about it.
The trouble is, there is a very fine line between "Bold" and "In-your-face," and all too often people with good intentions and a lot of passion inadvertently cross that line, making themselves seem extremely obnoxious. When that happens, people stop listening. Proverbs 16 tells us that pleasant words are persuasive, and 1 Peter tells us to defend our faith with gentleness and respect. Ken Ham's presentation and conduct were pleasant, polite, gentle, respectful, and considerate... and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Even atheists who watched the debate have posted comments on Facebook and Twitter commending Mr. Ham for his professional and polite behavior.

I found this to be especially refreshing when put in contrast to Mr. Nye's attitude of mockery and condescension. I must admit that I was a bit bewildered by his multiple insinuations directed not just towards creationists specifically, but towards Kentuckians in general, telling them in one case that they should be very concerned that no university in their state offered such-and-such a degree. As if just having the Creation Museum and (in the near future) the Ark Encounter in their state has somehow already set them on a path of scientific decline. Mr. Nye is not the first to suggest that the mere presence of AiG's facilities on Kentucky soil is having detrimental effects on the state, and I am certain he will not be the last, but honestly it's a very shoddy argument--if it can even be considered an argument at all.

I was also very annoyed by Mr. Nye's incessant referrals to "Ken Ham's creation model," "Ken Ham's flood," etc, as if Mr. Ham is the first person in history to believe these things, or just makes them up while the rest of us fall blindly into line as his little cult followers. In the first place, Mr. Nye should review his history books: mankind believed in a divine creation first, long before anyone ever thought of evolution, and that belief has never disappeared despite any and all efforts to extinguish it. And while naturalist theories of origins are not as new as many people believe, they’re still the new kids on the block by comparison.

Furthermore, although Ken Ham has definitely become a figurehead of the creation science and apologetics movement, it’s not because it’s all his idea. With all due respect and admiration for Mr. Ham, I would believe in biblical creation with or without him. My belief is dependent on the word of God, not on anything Ken Ham or anyone else says or does. Yes, Ken Ham has been an immense encouragement to me in my beliefs and ministry; I have learned more from him about science, theology, witnessing, and apologetics than I can say, and I know many others can say the same thing. But Ken Ham is not the reason I believe in a literal six days, a roughly-6,000-year-old earth, or a global flood. I believe it because the God Who cannot lie said it, clearly and explicitly.

It was obvious from statements made throughout the debate that Mr. Nye enjoys thinking of himself as “a reasonable man” whose beliefs are based entirely on logic and facts rather than faith. This became very ironic when, in response to one of Mr. Nye’s repeated assertions that creationism is detrimental to scientific progress and discovery, Ken Ham pointed out various scientists responsible for wonderful inventions and discoveries—such as the MRI machine—who were also devout young-earth creationists. Now, a man who was truly reasonable would look at this evidence and rightly deduce that creationism doesn’t actually impede progress and discovery after all. But that was not Mr. Nye’s response. He completely ignored this devastating rebuttal of his assertion and kept right on repeating it, going so far as to say that if creationism is allowed to propagate, science in the United States will deteriorate to the point that we lose our position as a world power and a leader in technology.

His patriotism is commendable, but once again, he needs to check his history books. America rose from being a collection of half-starved colonies to being a major world power long before the ideas of evolution were generally accepted. Granted, not all of those who helped found and build this country were creationists or even Christians, but those people were the minority. The United States was founded on Christian principles by a majority of people who believed the Bible to be the inerrant word of God. So how is it that those same beliefs are, according to Mr. Nye, going to be America’s downfall? It would seem he is not quite as reasonable as he likes to believe.

When you watch the debate, make sure you stick around for the Q&A at the end. In my opinion, it does more to reveal the true nature of the overall creation/evolution debate than any other part of the production. I won’t discuss the whole thing here—this post is way too long already—but I will point out a couple of things that really jumped out at me.

1.  Throughout the debate, but particularly towards the end, Mr. Nye begged Ken Ham for examples of the creation model of origins accurately predicting a scientific discovery. Besides ignoring the order and function in the world that could not exist were nature all that exists, Mr. Nye is exposing an enormous blind spot in his ideas. He can’t see the forest for the trees, as it were. The fact that we can predict anything, the fact that we can know anything, the fact that laws of nature and logic and physics exist, can only be explained if the Bible is, in fact, true! If nature were all there was, there would be no laws of logic. If the laws of nature were the only force governing the matter in the universe, that matter could never have randomly arranged itself via chaotic processes into orderly, functional forms. The only reason science is possible is because there is an order, a design, and unchanging laws of nature and logic, set into place by an orderly, creative, unchanging and logical Creator.

2.  In response to the question “What would make you change your mind?” Mr. Nye stated the following: “We would need one piece of evidence. We would need the fossil that swam from one layer [of sedimentary rock] to the next. We would need evidence that the universe is not expanding. We would need evidence that the stars appear to be far away but they’re not. We would need evidence that rock layers can form in 4,000 years instead of an extraordinary amount... Bring on any of those things and you would change me immediately.”

That sounds great on the surface—Mr. Nye, that “reasonable man” he loves to call himself, is just following the evidence where it leads him, open to the possibility of being wrong—but if you take his statement apart and look closely it’s a different story.

“We would need the fossil that swam from one layer to the next.” This deserves a discussion unto itself, one we don’t have time for here. For now, suffice it to say that there are fish fossilized across multiple layers of sediment, not to mention polystrate trees that, while they aren’t living creatures that would try to swim out of the layers burying them, certainly won’t last for thousands or millions of years to be fossilized gradually.

“We would need evidence that the universe is not expanding. We would need evidence that the stars appear to be far away but they’re not.” These are both very telling statements. Both the universe’s expansion and the distances of the stars are well-established, so by implying that one cannot believe in both these and in creationism, Mr. Nye is bringing back the age-old accusation, “Creationists deny the facts of science!” The truth is just the opposite. There is no reason whatsoever that a young-earth (biblical) creationist cannot believe that the universe is expanding or that the stars are very far away. The Bible itself alludes to the universe’s expansion when it describes God “stretching out the heavens” and there are solid scientific answers to the question of how starlight reaches the earth within a 6,000 year timeframe, even from such great distances.

“We would need evidence that rock layers can form in 4,000 years instead of an extraordinary amount.” The Mt. Saint Helens eruption of 1980 provided all the evidence any “reasonable man” should need to believe that. Rock layers were formed over periods of hours, days, and weeks that, according to evolutionary timescales, should have taken thousands of years or more to appear—irrefutable proof that, given the right catastrophic conditions, it only takes a little while.

So why, then, has Mr. Nye not “changed immediately” as he said he would if given this evidence? The answer is simple: his problem with creationism is not an intellectual problem, or an ignorance problem. It is a heart problem. The truth of creation necessarily means the existence of a Creator. The existence of a Creator equals moral accountability for the creation, and that is something that few people are willing to accept. Evolution is not the problem, it is a symptom, and a shelter that lost souls can run to for assurance of safety without having to acknowledge the lordship of Christ.

I would encourage all of you to pray earnestly for Mr. Nye, that his heart would be softened and that he would be willing to swallow his pride and acknowledge the Creator and Savior Who loves him very much.


So what? What did this debate (which has been referred to as everything from “The Debate of the Century” to “Scopes 2”) really accomplish?

Quite a lot, my friends, quite a lot. Of course there is the tremendous outreach value it has had and is still having. In addition to the 900 who actually attended the event live, millions have watched online and on the new DVD. Major news channels broadcasted coverage and excerpts of the debate. One way or another, untold millions have seen and heard a skillful presentation of the evidence for creation and of the gospel, the reason creation matters at all.

Additionally, a topic that has been challenging to get discussed in public forums has suddenly hit the mainstream and gone completely viral. The debate was the number one trending topic on Facebook and Twitter for several hours before and after it took place. Countless blogs and other social media pages have hosted discussions and subsequent debates. Personally, I have had total strangers hear me mention the debate and want to talk to me about it. This is a current event, a hot topic that people are interested in and want to talk about. Don’t let that go to waste! Christians, an incredible opening has been created for us. Watch the debate, then go out and start talking. Don’t waste this awesome opportunity.

Questions, thoughts, comments? I'd love to hear your take on the debate and get some discussion going. (hint-hint)

March 7, 2014

Visit my Amazon Author Page!

Hey, all! Just wanted to let you know that I now have an Author Profile on! (I feel so official.) You can check it out here:

Keep an eye out in the future for more additions to my book list--Song of the Wren-Falcon is in the works, and we're hoping for a 2014 release date! : )