Tonight, Bill Nye is debating Ken Ham on the topic, “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?” This topic is of significant importance for humanity, so I’m really glad that these guys are bringing the topic to the national stage. Many Americans, and especially Christians, do not take the time to really think about whether their fundamental beliefs are true. Most make assumptions and try to force the evidence to fit into their box instead of honestly pursuing the evidence to see where it leads. Because of this, public debates on the existence of God, origin of the world, resurrection of Jesus, and other related topics are immensely valuable.
Unfortunately, neither Ham nor Nye appear to be qualified for the debate at hand. Nye’s formal education ended with a B. S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell while Ham earned a bachelor of applied science from the Queensland Institute of Technology before proceeding to Queensland University for a 1 year teacher education program that is equivalent to an M. A. in the United States. In other words, the debaters will be making arguments about origin of the world, pretending to be scientific experts in cosmology … without either one holding a degree in a related field!! Of course, a lack of formal education doesn’t mean that one is not intelligent or even that one is uninformed. However, when the title of the debate emphasizes “today’s modern, scientific era”, it seems reasonable to expect the debaters would at least hold a PhD in a related field (if they wanted to be taken seriously by the modern, scientific community).
Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad for the debate because it brings an important issue to the national stage. Sadly, these opportunities are not common, especially in the creation vs. evolution controversy. I honestly look forward to assessing the arguments put forth by Ham and Nye, and evaluating their merit with my friends on social media and in person. Debate the reasons for the decline in conversation between creationism and evolution on your own time, but celebrate the advance of rational discussion in a public forum tonight. This is an immense opportunity that could be a key step in opening this conversation. My gut tells me that skeptics will accuse Ham of not being a scientist and only making theological statements while claiming to be scientific – and I would agree with them. My gut also tells me that Christians will accuse Nye of being a comedian who is looking for a new way to grab some publicity without really being a credible scientist. And, I would probably agree with them. Tonight’s debate needs to be had in family rooms, classrooms, break rooms, and lecture halls. I’m excited about the publicity generated by the topic, it’s just too bad we won’t have the leading experts in the world to take advantage of such a needed stage.