After releasing a video criticizing the Biblical teaching of creation, Bill Nye has accepted the invitation to debate Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham on February 4. Tickets for the event to be held at the Creation Museum were sold out within the first two minutes of sale, and the Christian organization is looking into ways for the debate to be viewed live, in light of the surge of interest in the debate from secularists and Christians alike.
Bill Nye, known by many as "The Science Guy" for his educational series of videos, recently produced a video entitled "Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children." His comments implied that those who believe in the Biblical account of creation are scientifically illiterate and will not become innovative members of society. "We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future ... we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems," he said, warning parents to shield their children from creationism.
Ken Ham is the President of the Creation Museum and of Answers in Genesis, a "catalyst to bring reformation by reclaiming the foundations of our faith which are found in the Bible, from the very first verse." Like many Christians, Ham believes in a literal interpretation of the creation account found in Genesis. He responded to Nye's comments with a video of his own, and later extended an invitation to Nye for a debate.
"When you have a portion of the population who doesn't believe in [the theory of evolution], it holds everybody back, really," says Nye in his video. He called the theory of evolution the "fundamental idea in all of life-science and all of biology," and believes that those who don't agree will suffer from a lack of excitement and will lose their desire to partake in scientific discovery in a world full of "mystery." "Your worldview just becomes crazy ... untenable," he says. Nye warns parents not to teach their children about creationism because they will not grow up to be problem solvers. "In another couple of centuries, that [Christian] worldview, I'm sure ... it just won't exist. There's no evidence for it," he concludes.
Ham's video notes that Nye is confusing historical science (beliefs about the past) with observational science (which produces technology) when constructing his belief that technological advances will be hindered by creationists. Ham laments the fact that many people discredit the Bible because Genesis does not align with the theory of evolution, and points out that Nye has an "agenda to teach children not to believe in God, to teach them they're a result of evolutionary processes ... [that] they came from slime over millions of years."
Ham says Nye's video implies that teaching children about creation is like a "form of abuse;" it is a greater travesty, however, to teach children that there is no God, that they are an animal, and that they are the result of an accident, Ham argues. He finds it interesting that Nye wants parents to protect their children from learning about creationism when Christian parents are happy to teach their children how to think critically about evolutionary theory. "Isn't it interesting how Christians are not frightened to teach their children about evolution?" he asks.
Ham, along with many other Christians, believes that evolutionary theory encourages people to believe that they are their own gods. "Who determines what is right and wrong? You do. Who determines what is good and bad? You do. What is marriage? Whatever you want to make it to be," he says.
Ray Comfort of Living Waters Publications also criticized Nye's lack of evidentiary support for the theory of evolution in his attack on creationism. While Comfort believes that micro-evolution (observable changes within species over time) exists, he maintains that there is no observable evidence for macro-evolution (the theory that one species will evolve into a new species over time).
If asked, Comfort says, evolutionary scientists will admit that they do not know how the evolutionary process initially began, and that they will even agree that something cannot come from nothing - yet put their faith in the theory that life had no Creator. Comfort argues that it is utterly foolish to believe that "nothing could create everything, which is a scientific impossibility." He maintains that evolutionary theory is "a belief, it's a blind faith ... it cannot be backed up by science." He released "Evolution vs. God: Shaking the Foundations of Faith" in 2013, a film in which he interviews prominent evolutionary scientists about the lack of evidence for evolutionary theory.
Nye told ABC News that he isn't attacking anyone's religion, and that he wants people to believe in science. During the interview, he further criticized creationists who believe that the world around 6,000 years old; however, not all creationists believe that the earth is that young. Historical creationists make a compelling case for God's creation of the universe at an unspecified time (denoted by the phrase "In the beginning,") and subsequent six-day preparation of the Promised Land for mankind thereafter. John Piper's ministry wrote an article entitled "Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land" explaining this viewpoint extensively.
The topic of February's debate will be whether creationism is a viable model of origins in the modern scientific era. The debaters will state their case, undergo a period of rebuttal, and answer questions from the audience.