‘Clash of the Worldviews’: An Estimated Three Million People Watch Historic Ken Ham/Bill Nye Debate

Debate stageCINCINNATI – During Tuesday night’s highly-publicized debate in the Creation Museum, evolutionist Bill Nye and creationist Ken Ham presented very different answers to the question of, ‘Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?’

As previously reported, the debate between Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham and Bill Nye “the Science Guy” captured nationwide media attention, with tickets selling out in approximately two minutes. In total, over 70 media representatives were present at the event.

The debate garnered a huge online audience as well. According to Answers in Genesis, over 10,000 churches, schools, colleges, and other groups streamed the debate live, and the total online viewing audience was estimated to be three million people. It was also a top trending topic on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

The debate, which was moderated by CNN correspondent Tom Foreman, began with five minute opening statements from Ham and Nye. Both Ham and Nye were then given 30 minutes to present their respective cases, followed by rebuttals and counter-rebuttals. Finally, a 45-minute question-and-answer period allowed both debaters to respond to inquiries from the audience.

Over the course of the debate, Ham consistently referred to the Bible as his ultimate standard, saying the creation/evolution debate is a battle over philosophical starting points. He also argued that evolutionists skew the definitions of “science” and “evolution” in order to “impose an anti-God religion on generations of unsuspecting students.”

“Our research has found that public school textbooks are using the same word ‘science’ for observational science and historical science—they arbitrarily define ‘science’ as naturalism and outlaw the supernatural,” Ham said.

“They are imposing—I believe—the religion of naturalism or atheism on generations of students,” Ham continued. “You see, I assert that the word ‘science’ has been hijacked by secularists in teaching evolution to force the religion of naturalism on generations of kids.”

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Ham focused very little on targeting Nye’s personal beliefs, but instead concentrated primarily on the biblical model for earth’s history. Several times, he directly presented the Gospel to Nye and the debate audience, stating that salvation in Jesus Christ is more important than scientific beliefs.

“We make no apology about the fact that what we’re all about is this: ‘If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you’ll be saved,’” Ham declared.

During his portions of the debate, Nye attempted to discredit the biblical record by drawing a distinction between “science” and creationist beliefs, which he described as “extraordinary and unsettling.” He suggested that many biblical accounts, including the Great Flood, are unrealistic.

“It’s just not reasonable to me that everything changed 4,000 years ago,” Nye said. “By ‘everything,’ I mean species, the surface of the earth, the stars in the sky, and the relationship of all the other living things on earth to humans. It’s just not reasonable to me that everything changed like that.”

Nye also criticized the reliability of the Bible, saying a text that has been passed down from generation to generation must be distorted and untrustworthy.

“If you’ve ever played ‘telephone,’” Nye remarked, “… where you have a secret and you whisper it to the next person to the next person to the next person, things often go wrong.”

Nye, describing himself as a “reasonable man,” said the creation model is “a troubling and unsettling point of view” and argued that Ham’s beliefs are irrational.

“Your view,” Nye said, “that we’re supposed to take your word for this book written centuries ago—translated into American English—as somehow more important than what I can see with my own eyes, is an extraordinary claim.”

Topics covered over the course of the debate included dating methods, human races, continental drift, rock layers, human consciousness, science education, and the expansion of the universe.

Toward the end of the debate, Ham asserted that life only has meaning if God is real—otherwise, scientific discoveries are meaningless.

“You talk about the joy of discovery,” Ham told Nye, “but you also say that when you die, it’s over and that’s the end of you. If, when you die, it’s over and you don’t even remember you were here, what’s the point of the joy of discovery anyway? I mean, in an ultimate sense, you won’t ever know you were ever here, and no one who knew you will know they were ever here, ultimately. So what’s the point anyway?”

Following the creation/evolution debate, hundreds gave their opinions on the event via blogs and social media sites.

“I am a 15-year-old Christian who watched your debate tonight,” one commenter told Ham via Google+. “I just wanted to congratulate you on your fantastic debate. … God clearly spoke through you tonight. I will pray that you can continue to spread God’s word through science. You are truly talented!”

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and an attendee at the debate, wrote on his blog that Ham’s and Nye’s differing perspectives were evident for all to see.

“They shared the stage, but they do not live in the same intellectual world,” he wrote. “Nye is truly committed to a materialistic and naturalistic worldview. Ham is an evangelical Christian committed to the authority of the Bible. The clash of ultimate worldview questions was vividly displayed for all to see.”

“The central issue last night was really not the age of the earth or the claims of modern science,” Mohler concluded. “The question was not really about the ark or sediment layers or fossils. It was about the central worldview clash of our times, and of any time: the clash between the worldview of the self-declared ‘reasonable man’ and the worldview of the sinner saved by grace.”

Photo: Answers in Genesis

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