A general rule among scientists and critical thinkers is that debates about the Big Subjects are essentially pointless. Sure, you can sway someone to take a different route to work to save time, or to eat a different way to live healthier, but it’s almost impossible to turn someone against their religious beliefs. But science hero Bill Nye is stepping into the public forum to debate Australian young-Earther Ken Ham, who founded the Creation Museum and the apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis. This is the Ali/Frazier fight of science and pseudo-science, and it will no doubt be one of the most amazing, and downright frustrating, science events of the year.
The event will take place on February 4 in Ham’s home turf, Kentucky’s Creationist Museum, but I imagine Nye’s fans will turn out in droves. Sorry for those with hopes of attending, as all tickets have already been sold. (This prompted a few theories that the ticket sales were skewed to pack the crowd with creationists, but there’s no way Ham and his team are that dumb, no matter what they believe.) There are plans to turn the debate into a DVD after the fact, but I’m really hoping they figure out a way to stream the event live on the Internet. I’ve been looking to watch a good mental ass-whipping, and this should indeed be just that.
As someone who was raised Catholic and currently lives in the Creationism-teaching state of Louisiana, it’s not my intention to see people with religious beliefs “put in their place.” Religion seems to be necessary for some people to cope with the world around them, and I’m not trying to take that away from anyone. But reading the Bible’s outlandish stories literally and believing that the Earth is only 6,000 – 7,000 years old is downright ludicrous. Countless examples of current proof will forever outweigh texts that are so many centuries old. It’s strange to me that ancient Greek and Roman beliefs are called “mythology,” while concepts just as ridiculous form the “proof” of Creationism. It’s not education, so why is it being taught in schools?
Hopefully Nye will turn that question into a fruitful chunk of insight when the debate takes place. I know damned well that I’ll be tuned in for the “results,” and I hope all of you are just as interested. For a primer course on both men’s opinions, check out the videos below. Nye professed his belief that Creationism is damaging when taught to children, and Ham presented his rebuttal. Show your kids. Ask them what they think about it all before you try and tell them what to think about it all.