My kids watched Bill Nye the Science Guy when they were little. As many of you know, he’ll be debating creationist Ken Ham tonight. I’m going to make sure my 15-yo watches, so he can decide for himself what he thinks about the argument. Here’s the link if you and your kiddos would like to see it live tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET.

I’m hoping that Texas’ candidates for Lt. Governor will be watching the debate, too, since they all want creationism in the schools (or so they say). I’m a little suspicious that perhaps they’re just pandering to the Tea Party. I mean, what are the odds that four….errrr…intelligently designed men would be in favor of teaching myth in science class?

One last thing, while I have your attention. I was truly saddened for this mother of two boys who lost them both to gun violence within a week.  I know that Oakland is known as America’s worst city for crime, but there must be something we can do to help that city and our fellow citizens.  I don’t care if it’s the churches that reach out and mentor these kids involved in gangs. They obviously need attention and intervention when they’re young.  If anyone has and ideas, I’d love to hear them.


22 responses to “Debate

  1. Thanks for the heads up. Promises to be an interesting show, although Bill Nye is kind of a lightweight for the job, I’m afraid. Send in Neil deGrasse Tyson!

    I just saw that poor mother on CNN a few hours ago. Heartbreaking. While the churches could help, maybe, I think the problem starts with poor women having too many unwanted kids. They need more access to proper sex education, contraception, and reproductive health care. I’m afraid it may be too late for the kids who are already living there, immersed in poverty and gang culture, dropping out of school, etc.

  2. @PiedType I should have included this link that Theresa sent to me about the debate. Ham pretty much attacks Nye the entire time (scroll down to the bottom to hear Nye’s/Ham’s responses).

    As for Oakland….Yes, I think you’re right that they need more access to services. Maybe they also need some sort of job training program that will get the youth into skilled work.

  3. I’m a bit disturbed by all the secularists who say that debating Creationists give them undue credibility and that there is a danger of getting bested in a debate format when what is being discussed is science.

    I have complete confidence in Bill Nye and feel that we should always be willing to do battle in the arena of ideas regardless of the lopsidedness of the positions (or even the irrationality of the other side).

    If science has a hard time countering emotional arguments with facts, it needs to create a more compelling framework to allow those facts to be scrutinized in a manner that the layman can comprehend.

    Creationism has always appealed to an argument from ignorance (i.e. “I don’t see how it is possible for…”) and Nye will probably school Ham and the audience on scientific method and falsifiability.

    Ham’s really got nothing but I’m sure surveys of who won will largely break down along party lines.

    Bring out your champions!!

    • I thought Nye did a great job with Marc Morano with climate change:


    • What I am always most concerned is the fact that on the opposite corners are rationality and delusion. The delusional side has easy rhetorics and sly questions that take longish time to repudiate.
      Ken Ham is not a weak orator – that is why I am a bit concerned. He can (and has) claim victory convincingly even though he´s been beaten to pulp.
      @LT: The claim about credibility ai valid IMHO. If I were to be selected to play tennis against Rafael Nadal, it would bolster me though I were no match at all.

      • @saab93f Good point. Ham does come across as being very rational. I see what you are saying–merely by debating him, the science community is giving him credibility (as well as exposure).

        • I enjoyed the “debate”. I am actually taking a Coursera class in evolution. I am stunned to realize how little I and my pals who accept evolution know about its actual scientce. To this day not a one of my college educated buddies has been able to articulate WHY they believe the earth to be 4 billion years old. Georgia Prudom is the Creation Museum’s science rock star. She has a Ph.d in molecular genetics from Ohio State (which diminishes the school’s status only slightly). She makes SUPER sciencey arguments in support of biblical creation that I are think very hard for someone outside the field to refute. Nonetheless they are unadulterated poppycock. The creationists have forced me to brush up on my bioscience and for that I am immensity grateful to them. I’m sure they’d agree that da lawd works on mysterious ways!

          • @Aaron Freeman, Very cool. I love Coursera!

            Both scientists and theologians have a sort of arrogance in their beliefs that they are right. The arguing and debating stuff is a big distraction.
            But science is much more compelling. Obviously, most of us cannot go out and use radiometric dating and fossils to determine the age of the earth on our own. We rely on the accumulation of knowledge over two centuries. That is where my faith comes in–that scientists have done their work accurately and correctly.

            I have not heard of Georgia Prudom, although maybe I’ve read her somewhere. I would love to hear your thoughts after you complete the course.

  4. Thanks for posting this. I applaud you for raising your children as independent, logical thinkers. I’m trying to raise mine the same.

  5. That charming debate is happening in my fair state of Kentucky, home of the Creation Museum. Ugg. I must say that while I like Nye, I feel like this debate will be fruitless, just two men entrenched in their philosophies, no one changing anyone else’s mind. In fact, I worry that the debate will spur more ugliness between believers and nonbelievers. So, I’m going to pass on this viewing. I look forward to hearing what you think, however, Debbie.

    • @AmyAmy – I would say the audience is quite broader than just trying to win converts. I remember going to Planetary Society events (of which Nye is now CEO) where there were Cal Tech scientists and others who indicated that it was Carl Sagan’s popularizing of cosmology that got them into that or a related field.

      I think Bill Nye’s performance will have similar results. Religionists assert that science has no answer for the things that they claim they “know” from ‘revealed knowledge’ but the scientific process has the greatest potential for self-correction whereas as religion clings to its fantasies as long as possible.

      I enjoyed the exchange very much and like to hear intelligent rebuttals to their supposed ‘Gotcha!’ questions.

      “[H]e who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~ Thomas Jefferson

  6. Thank you for the link to the debate. About 5 minutes away . . . got here just in time.

    My only thoughts (other than extremely sad) around the link to the mom that lost both her boys would have to do with the formation ( or implemented program in an exiting nonprofit) of a nonprofit focusing on “guns for food/education/safe housing concept” guns can be turned in for credit toward the person turning in the gun or a family member of theirs. I haven’t really thought it through. Just thought of it.

    Okay starting . . . later,

  7. Thanks for that link! I’d love to watch it, and I think my husband and two oldest boys would, too!

  8. Just because Nye said “I don’t know” a few times —

    Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold. What does the scientist have to offer in exchange? Uncertainty! Insecurity!

    ~ Isaac Asimov

  9. Ms. Garrison explains it all for you —

    “South Park: Go God Go (#10.12)” (2006)

    [the kids in class, including a new girl, see Ms. Garrison arriving, not too happy to teach them evolution]

    Ms. Garrison: All right, kids, it is now my job to teach you the theory of evolution.

    Butters: Oh boy!

    Ms. Garrison: Now I, for one, think evolution is a bunch of *bullcrap*! But I’ve been told I have to teach it to you anyway. It was thought up by Charles Darwin and it goes something like this…
    [she goes up to a large poster of evolution and begins pointing things out with her pointer]

    Ms. Garrison: In the beginning, we were all fish. Okay? Swimming around in the water. And then one day a couple of fish had a retard baby, and the retard baby was different, so it got to live. So Retard Fish goes on to make more retard babies, and then one day, a retard baby fish crawled out of the ocean with its…
    [she waves her left hand limply]

    Ms. Garrison: …mutant fish hands… and it had butt sex with a squirrel or something and made this.
    [she points to a prehistoric mammal rodent]

    Ms. Garrison: Retard frog-sqirrel, and then *that* had a retard baby which was a… monkey-fish-frog… And then this monkey-fish-frog had butt sex with that monkey, and that monkey had a mutant retard baby that screwed another monkey… and that made you!
    [she faces the class, with the new girl among them looking around]

    Ms. Garrison: So there you go! You’re the retarded offspring of five monkeys having butt sex with a fish-squirrel! Congratulations!

  10. You can’t stop gang violence without removing the inspiration for it in the first place – ignorance. Education is the answer: more of it, more kinds of it: more of Hollywood emphasizing the rock stars of science and engineering the way the do to people that do nothing more than what kids are doing on playgrounds anyway.

  11. In some of the debate threads, people thought Nye should have known more of the bible to rebut Ham, but that is not what Nye was there for. But…since Ham kept bringing up the Great Flood and how God was all about virtues and morality, Nye could have touched on the horror of drowning countless numbers of innocent babies, puppies, and kittens. Shown slides of tsunami ravaged locales with close ups of the death toll of once living creatures and point out that though many might look peacefully asleep, Ken Ham’s God filled their lungs with water as they struggled in panic and terror before drowning.

    As Ken says, “There’s a book” filled with obscenities such as this.


    Jesus Christ @Jesusontwittorr 3h

    Dad’s plan:
    1) Make humans
    2) Drown most
    3) Kill myself (as my son)
    4) Hide


    Some great photoshops here, btw —

  12. “Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder ‘why, why, why?’
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand.”

    ― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

  13. @Amy Sorry, I just finished watching the interview late last night. The kid had too much homework to watch it all the night before.

    @LanceT Thanks for the link (I “up-voted” your comment!). And the JC on Twitter is too funny.

    I agree that Nye did a good job. He stuck with the science, and I was impressed by how gently he called BS on Ham (saying instead, that Ham’s claims were “remarkable”).

    Ham made a lot of assumptions that drove me nutso that Nye could have called him on. For example, Ham said:
    “THERE IS NOTHING IN OBSERVATIONAL SCIENCE THAT CONTRADICTS A YOUNG UNIVERSE.” Right! And there is nothing in “observational science” that contradicts my theory that little green men constructed the universe. Hello? And this stuff about “observational science”?? As Nye said, it’s basically just a way of saying “the world functioned under different scientific laws back then.” I was thinking Nye might ask him for the evidence that his bible is factual vs. fabricated.

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