Nye wore a snazzy bow tie and a natty suit that looked tailored. Ham’s suit and tie appeared to be off a department store rack. Nye’s chiseled features contrasted with Ham’s rugged Aussie visage. Nye was a polished speaker with an articulate and pleasant presentation. Ham had a more serious demeanor and sometimes stumbled over words.
But despite external appearances, the more significant internal differences were obvious. Ham clearly has hope, and Nye does not.
Even before the debate, controversy erupted. Secularists criticized Nye for accepting the invitation. Many of them believed entering into a debate added legitimacy to the pseudo-science of creationism. Creationists criticized Ham for “casting pearls” in a debate with someone who would not be swayed by biblical arguments. Theistic evolutionists decried both men as radicals advocating extreme positions.
The debate focused on the question: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”
Bill Nye was invited to discuss this question with Ken Ham because on the “big think” website he urged parents not to live in their own little world and teach their children that God created the cosmos:
I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can — we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.
You can watch a video of Nye’s remarks here.
Last night’s debate showcased both men’s passion about their beliefs. Ham believes adults should teach children the truth about creation from God’s Word. Nye believes teaching creationism jeopardizes the future of the United States as a world leader in technology. The two men don’t agree on basic definitions of science because they have two radically different worldviews.
Those worldviews were so obvious during the debate that it was as if they each stood on the brink of a cliff with a gaping chasm between them. At the debate’s conclusion, it was almost a shock to see them cross to each other and shake hands instead of plunging into the separating abyss.