A Year Later, Here’s the Real Legacy of the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate
It was nearly a year ago when Ken Ham and Bill Nye had their evolution debate. Since then, Ken Ham has repeated that the debate took place in damn near every blog post he’s written and books have been written by the participants. (Nye’s is about the power of science, while Ham’s basically reminds you that the debate took place and summarizes what they both said, which is extremely telling.
In a video posted by Answers in Genesis yesterday, Ham reflected on the debate’s legacy. In truth, the event changed nothing about science. Evolution wasn’t overturned. Creationism is a still a joke. But that’s not what Ham and colleague Mark Looy say:
Ham talks about how people are now having a real conversation about evolution/Creationism, as if they never talked about it before. Look: people have talked about Creationism for decades — but the ones who know what they’re talking about don’t refer to the scientific aspects of that pseudo-debate. Rather, they talk about how Creationists like Ham are undermining the teaching of science throughout the country.
Ham also goes on about the difference between historical and observational science, a distinction that exists only in his head.
That’s a reality that goes over the head of AiG’s resident expert for all things science, Dr. Georgia Purdom:
As a scientist, I found Nye’s arguments to be very deceptive. He consistently confused the two types of science, not acknowledging that historical science deals with the past and is not observable, testable, or repeatable and very dependent on a person’s worldview. I appreciated that Ken focused on the real issue when it comes to origins — who is the ultimate authority: God or man? Ken’s main point was well encompassed by his now infamous response to Bill Nye, “There is a book.”
Of course, we can theorize about the past and find evidence to confirm or refute those ideas. That she believes “There is a book” (alluding to the Bible) is a valid response to the mountains of evidence supporting evolution shows you how little the Creationists have learned over the past year.
If you’d like to hear even more of the same talking points Ham used during the debate, watch that video.
Here’s something Ham doesn’t spend much time discussing: Since the debate, Bill Nye has been on a tear. He’s been speaking at more colleges, brought in as a science expert on issues big and small, written a book (as I mentioned earlier), and will soon appear on Neil deGrasse Tyson‘s talk show.
Ham isn’t getting courted by the media at all. ESPN isn’t asking him for his take on #Deflategate. As far as I can tell, he’s not traveling around the country speaking at any schools that aren’t explicitly Christian.
There’s the legacy of the debate for you.
Science is still under attack, no doubt. There are a lot of ignorant people in this country, many of whom doubt the scientific method because they believe (rightly so, I think) that it undermines their faith. But Ken Ham is still in his bubble, whereas Bill Nye’s message has reached a far wider group of people.
Here’s another way to look at it. Look at what Google says about searches for their names, with the major spike being the debate itself:
http://www.google.com/trends/explore?hl=en-US#q=Bill+Nye,+Ken+Ham&date=1/2014+13m&cmpt=q&tz&tzKen Ham is literally fading off the charts.
Whatever he thought the debate would accomplish, it’s safe to say the long-term effects aren’t in his favor.