QJScience: Bill Nye & Ken Ham

The concept of evolution is well established and accepted in the science world, however it’s been consistently criticized by the religious world. In 2012, Bill Nye (the Science Guy) posted a video online encouraging parents to not let their religious beliefs prevent their children from learning about evolution.

Upon seeing this video, Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, posted his own video refuting Nye’s statements about evolution. The two later agreed to have a formal debate, which took place last month.

The debate was titled ‘How did we get here?’, and over 800 tickets were sold in a matter of minutes, suggesting that many people still have a keen interest in this age old topic.

As its name suggests, the Creation Museum promotes the creationist theory, with the majority of its facts and information coming from the Bible. Not surprisingly, much of the information in this museum conflicts with scientific belief. For example, the Museum teaches that the Earth is 6,000 years old, whereas scientific evidence suggests the Earth is around 4.5 billion years old.

Ham started the debate and was given 30 minutes to present his arguments in support of the creationist theory. He expressed that the Bible clearly explains several phenomena that science has been unable to explain to date. He also mentioned the familiar argument that we’re unable to actually see new species develop; they just simply appear without evidence of the evolutionary transitions proposed by scientists.

Nye then went on to refute several of Ham’s points. He contested Ham’s claim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old by discussing species richness. With approximately 16 million species on the planet today, if the earth is really only 6,000 years old, we’d expect to discover about 11 new species per day!

All in the all, the debate was described as very respectful, with both parties outlining their arguments and rebutting without getting too heated. Nye even mentioned that he believes religion is a beautiful thing. He also pointed out that there are many religious people who don’t think the earth is only 6,000 years old, suggesting that religion and science can exist in harmony.

There were some people, however, who didn’t think Nye should have participated in this debate because it profited some creationist organizations (for example the Creation Museum is selling DVDs of the debate).

In conclusion, Nye says that if we solely follow the Bible, we’re going against what we can actually observe in nature and what has repeatedly proven to be true. It doesn’t appear as though the age old question of ‘how did we get here?’ will be settled anytime soon.

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