If you’ve read this site for any length of time, you likely know how I feel about Ken Ham, the Australian ex-patriot (and accomplished charlatan) behind the evangelical anti-science group, Answers in Genesis, and Kentucky’s monument to stupidity, which he and his disciples refer to as the Creationism Museum. Well, I know that I’ve said before that I’d never willingly give Ham a dollar of my money so long as he’s actively engaged in intellectual child abuse (children are free at the museum in 2014, by they way, as part of Ham’s “Rescuing our Kids” campaign), but I’m tempted to drive down, buy a ticket and visit the his anti-intellectual evangelical Christian entertainment complex on February 4, when Ham will be debating evolution with Bill Nye. According to Ham, his 900 seat lecture hall sold out within two minutes of the event’s announcement a few days ago, but I have to think that I’d have a pretty good chance of sneaking past ushers who believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old, and our ancestors used to ride on the backs of friendly dinosaurs.
Personally, I’m not expecting the debate to be all that fruitful. I imagine that it’ll play out a lot like the debate I saw in the late ’80s between Larry Flynt and a televangelist on the subject of pornography. Both sides will say what you expect them to say. Both sides will get a few good, witty jabs in. Both sides will claim victory. And, in the end, no one in the audience will change their mind on the subject. Still, though, I think it would be something cool to experience, especially if Nye channels his anger and really comes out swinging. He’s not an evolutionary biologist, but, from what I’ve read, he knows a thing or two about the subject, and, like me, he seems to get genuinely pissed when people try to pass pseudo-science off as the real thing, especially to impressionable kids.
This whole thing was apparently set in motion a few years ago, when Nye took to the internet to express his view that “creationism is not appropriate for children.” Here’s the video.
“I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution, and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything that 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 engineers that can build stuff and solve problems.” -Bill Nye
Specifically, it would seem that Bill “The Science Guy” Nye, the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, an advocacy group promoting space exploration, is concerned about global warming, and our ability to meet the challenges which lay ahead of us as polar ice caps melt, ocean levels rise, and crops wither.
“If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science, who think everything that we’ve come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text,” Nye warned in a 2012 interview with the Associated Press, “(we’re) not going to continue to innovate.”
And he’s absolutely right. Those who want to keep fighting a battle that was already won about 90 years ago by Clarence Darrow, are doing nothing but holding our nation back and putting the future of the earth at risk. I would have thought that all of this nonsense would be behind us by now, but I guess it took a few hundred years for people to accept that the Earth orbits around the Sun, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that folks might take a while to accept the fact that human beings evolved. It’s only, after all, been about 185 years since Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle. In the meantime, I guess we have no choice by to engage with the likes of Ham, and beg him to stop assaulting our children with his ludicrous notion that humans lived like the Flintstones a few thousand years ago.
Speaking of the Flintstones, I mentioned them in the title of this post as I didn’t know how else to frame the debate. I was looking for something with a nice ring to it, like “Rumble in the Jungle,” or “Thrilla in Manila,” but I just wasn’t having any luck. After considering both the “Evolution Resolution” and the “Creation Annihilation,” I settled on the “Flintstone Face-off,” as it made me the happiest.
It should be noted that a significant number of Christians believe in evolution… And, for what it’s worth, it should also be noted that Ken Ham hates them.
The following is from the Christian Post.
…Progressive Christians, or those who believe in evolution, are “more dangerous to Christianity than the atheists” are, says Creation Museum CEO and President Ken Ham. He made the argument in response to criticism that his insistence on Young Earth Creationism is driving believers away.
“Apparently they call this sort of thing ‘Progressive Christianity.’ I guess that means ‘evolving Christianity’ – whatever the secular world believes about where they came from, you accept that as infallible and then change their assumed fallible Word of God to fit! So sad,” Ham wrote on Facebook Friday, as he was responding to a critical post written about him in the “Unfundamentalist Christians” blog about his upcoming debate with “The Science Guy” Bill Nye in February…
And that, I think, is the best possible thing that could come of this debate. If nothing else, it might give the science-loving Christians of the world a little encouragement to stand up against this nonsense, and say with conviction that their faith is strong enough to coexist with reality. Evolution doesn’t mean there isn’t a god. It just means that the world is a lot more beautiful and intricate than we could have imagined.
[According to Ham, the event will be streamed live, and, after the fact, DVDs will be available for sale “to help offset significant costs in organizing and sponsoring the debate.”]