On February 4, Billy Nye “the science guy” will visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky to debate Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis. Ham invited Nye mostly because of Nye’s controversial YouTube video in which he claimed that teaching creationism was bad for kids. In his blog, Ham said:
Because our ministry theme for 2013 and for 2014 is “Standing Our Ground, Rescuing Our Kids,” our staff thought that a debate on creation vs. evolution with a man who has influenced so many children to believe in evolution would be a good idea.
Up to this point, there hasn’t been much debate. There are question-begging epithets (“flat-earthers”) and preclusive definitions (“That’s not science…”) on one side, while creationists continue to pursue their own definitions and metaphysical underpinnings. I am actually surprised and pleased that Nye is at least willing to involve himself in a debate. He must know that debating Ken Ham will bring attention to what Ham believes, and in some senses, it gives creationism legitimacy. If creationism is worthy of response, then it must be gaining ground. Evolutionists have traditionally just ignored it or forced it into public silence.
Who knows what will go down on February 4. I don’t believe either debater will give up his foundational beliefs. I hope that Ham makes that the central point of the debate. Arguing about evidence and science is fruitless. Creationists and evolutionists are looking at the same evidence. And they are utilizing the same tools. To argue any differently is ignorant and unfair. Though there has been some tampering with the evidence on both sides, that is not the norm. And that is not the problem. The problem is not a difference of evidence or a difference of method. It’s a difference of interpretation, which means a difference of presuppositions. I look forward to the debate, and I hope, whatever the outcome, that the real issues at the heart of this conflict are addressed.