Ken Ham and Bill Nye Debate at the Creation Museum

First of all, I want to applaud Bill Nye the Science Guy for agreeing to debate Ken Ham on the issue of the biblical account of creation. Nye, an ardent evolutionist, did what most of his colleagues will not: debate someone who actually believes in the biblical record of history. The reason that most evolutionists will not debate people like Kan Ham is that evolutionists claim that creationists (like Ham) do not believe in real science. However, for those who watched the debate, Ken Ham does indeed believe in “real science”—as do many scientists who believe in the biblical record of creation. If you have not seen the debate, you can watch it here. Given the nature of debates, there was so much that was not addressed during last night’s historic meeting. I would like to provide some further commentary here and point you to some additional resources.

Ken Ham’s main point was that we all have our starting points, our presuppositions. Ham made no apologies about the fact that his starting point (and mine, as a Christian) is the Word of God. In an age when many self-confessed “Christians” are abandoning the Word of God as their starting point, I praise God for Ham’s indefatigable faithfulness to God and His Word. Ham made it clear that he simply believes what God’s Word says. This is a faithful representation of a true, Bible-believing Christian. But Ham did more as well. Not only did Ham acknowledge his starting point, he challenged Bill Nye to acknowledge his. You see, Bill Nye starts with man’s autonomous reasoning as his foundation. Because of this, Nye would not answer Ham’s question of, “How do you account for the laws of logic in a naturalistic system without God?” Ham asked this question on multiple occasions, however since there was not a cross-examination time, Nye simply avoided the question. This is really the heart of the argument. Nye is attempting to use reasoning and logic to deny the only basis for reasoning and logic. (I cannot go into the details of this issue here—for more information visit Sye Ten Bruggencate’s website and learn about why God is the only basis for logic.)

However, Kan Ham did more than affirm that he believes the Bible. After presenting to us the fact that our starting point will undoubtedly affect how we look at the evidence (fossils, stars, animals, etc.), Ham made the important distinction between historical science and observational science. Bill Nye dismissed this as false, citing the example of crime scene investigators on shows such as CSI. Nye stated that what they do is observational science when they try to reconstruct past crimes scenes and figure out “who done it.” However, Nye missed an important aspect of that analogy. Here is what Nye missed: an eyewitness can completely change how we view the circumstantial evidence. Let me explain. There have been many occasions when crime scene investigators have done all of their observational science (by observing the crime scene and observing their models of reconstruction) and had their evidence used by a court to convict someone based only on the circumstantial evidence, only to later find out that they had misinterpreted the facts when an eyewitness comes forward and tells them what really happened. And then, when they go back and look at the same evidence from a different perspective, they see how it all fits together. (This point was made during the post-debate commentary, click here to watch it.)

Not only did Ken Ham affirm the Bible as his starting point, and clarify the distinction between historical science and observational science, he also showed how the evidence does indeed support the biblical creation account. The evolutionists seem to always say that if you can simply give us evidence that the earth is 6,000 years old, then we will believe it. However, this is a misunderstanding that Ken Ham tried to clarify. We all have the same evidence. However, how we interpret that evidence is based on our starting point. And our starting points are not neutral. If you read through honest evolutionists’ statements regarding their own biases, you will see that they come to the evidence with a preconceived rejection of any non-naturalistic possibility concerning origins. (For an outstanding presentation of this fact, watch this episode from Creation Magazine Live.) This point was clearly seen when Ken Ham would show how the evidence we have supports the biblical account of creation and Bill Nye would simply dismiss Ham’s explanation. Let me give an example from the debate.

Bill Nye repeatedly made the claim that if someone could just find one fossil that was out-of-place, one fossil that goes against the evolutionary model, he would reject his view. However, when Ham pointed out to Nye the evidence of wood (dated to about 45,000 years by evolutionary models) found inside basalt (dated to about 45 million years by evolutionary models), Nye simply dismissed it, saying that the layer of wood must have slid under the rock layer. However, as Ham pointed out, the wood was found inside the rock. This is just one example of how evolutionists are disingenuous when they say that they will accept evidence that disproves their theory. When it is presented to them, they simply reinterpret the evidence to fit their starting point. This is why Ken Ham spent so much time reminding Bill Nye that his starting point (a naturalistic explanation for origins) dictates how he interprets the evidence. (This is why, as I mentioned, the debate is really about presuppositions. Ken Ham did a good job of trying to show that, but he also wisely knew that Nye would not admit it. Because the issue is really presuppositions, Ham’s question of, “How do you account for the laws of logic without God?” is the heart of it all. Again, refer to Sye Ten Bruggencate’s website for more information.) To see more information on the fossilized wood within the basalt, click here.

The fact that evolutionists, contrary to what they claim, will not accept evidence that confirms the biblical creation account is also demonstrated in their response to the recent findings of red blood cells in dinosaur bones. Instead of abandoning their model because of this evidence, they simply say, “Well, maybe red blood cells can last millions of years!” This is an incredible demonstration of what Ken Ham was saying: they are unwilling to abandon their starting point (naturalism), no matter what evidence is presented.

I was most pleased with Ken Ham’s performance during the debate. He is not a technical guy (although Answers in Genesis has many such scientists on staff), but he adequately explained the real issues. Christians start with the Bible. God is the God of our reasoning and He has changed our hearts. The Christian is one who was once lost and in rebellion against God, but has been changed by Jesus Christ. The Christian has repented of his sins and is trusting in Christ alone for salvation. The Christian believes God’s Word. We make no apologies for starting there. However, we point out, as Ken Ham did, that the evolutionist who rejects God’s Word has no basis for using logic and reasoning to interpret the evidence. Furthermore, when we look at the evidence in our world, it lines up perfectly (inasmuch as we can properly interpret it) with the biblical account of creation.

As I mentioned earlier, I do commend Bill Nye for his willingness to participate in the debate. He also did a good job of presenting his views. However, I wish Nye would have responded to more of Ken Ham’s points. After dismissing the distinction between historical and observational science, and refusing to answers Ham’s question about logic, Nye would not comment on Ham’s answers to Nye’s reasons for believing evolution. For example, as I mentioned earlier, after asking for one piece of fossil evidence to confirm the biblical account, Nye simply dismissed the evidence of the fossilized wood in “ancient” basalt. For every one of Nye’s evidences for evolution, there is a satisfactory explanation that confirms the biblical account. We will look briefly at some examples in a moment. This goes to show us that it is really a debate on the level of presuppositions and starting points. Bill Nye rejects the God who made him and starts with a naturalistic worldview—he will not allow an explanation that points to the God he rejects. If only he would at least acknowledge that fact (as many evolutionists have)  people would understand why all the evidence presented to Bill Nye will not change his mind.

Very briefly, I want to comment on some of the “evidences” or objections that Bill Nye gave in favor of evolution and/or against biblical creationism. I will simply refer you to resources on each piece of “evidence.” If you are really interested in the evidence (as evolutionists claim to be), then I encourage you to check them out for yourself.

1. Tiktaalik

Bill Nye referred to Tiktaalik, a supposed “transitional fossil” that puts the nail in the coffin of biblical creationism. However, there are major problems with this theory. Discovery of fossilized footprints in nearby rock has caused paleontologists to change their view on Tiktaalik and say things such as, “These results force us to reconsider our whole picture of the transition from fish to land animals.” For more, check out Is the famous fish-fossil finished? and Tiktaalik—Walking off the Stage.

2. Ice Cores

During his presentation, Bill Nye referred to the fact that since ice accumulates at about one foot per year, the biblical account of creation cannot account for all the snow-ice in certain places on the globe. According to Nye, this snow-ice has been accumulating at the exact same rate (or nearly the exact same rate) for hundreds of thousands of years. (This is an example of an assumption about the past which impacts how you interpret the observational science). However, Ken Ham pointed out in the debate that planes that landed in Greenland during World War II were found less than fifty years later under 280 feet of snow. For more, check out Do Ice Cores Show Many Tens of Thousands of Years?

3. Eleven New Species a Day?

Bill Nye expressed concern with the idea that all of today’s species could have fit aboard Noah’s Ark. Nye made the comment that to get to where we are today based on taking a small number of animals aboard the Ark, we should see about eleven new species a day. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the distinction between species and kind (a distinction that Ken Ham made during his presentation.) For more see How Did All the Animals Fit on Noah’s Ark and How Could Noah Fit the Animals on the Ark and Care for Them?

4. The Ark Would Have Sunk

Bill Nye also expressed doubt that Noah’s Ark could actually stay afloat. In his argument against this idea, he assumed that ancient man was less developed than modern man. (Check out The Mystery of Ancient Man for some interesting thoughts on that.) Later Nye backtracked a bit on that assertion, but still doubted the ability of the Ark to stay afloat. The truth is, there is no reason to doubt the Ark could have stayed afloat during the flood. Check out Was Noah’s Ark Seaworthy, or is that Impossible?

5. Biblical Creationism Stifles Scientists from Developing

In addition to the aforementioned objections, Bill Nye repeatedly made the assertion that teaching biblical creationism would prevent scientists from developing in our country. Besides being based on faulty premises (and a misunderstanding of “science”), this is simply observably false. Ken Ham even showed via video during his presentation that many renowned scientists are, in fact, young earth creationists. For a list of modern scientists who accept the biblical account of creation check out Creation Scientists and Other Biographies of Interest.

This was only a brief sampling of some of the objections Bill Nye the Science Guy brought up during the debate. Given the nature of the debate, Ken Ham could not respond to everything, although I think he did an excellent job of answering, at least in kernel form, most of Nye’s objections. The majority of the research must be done after the debate. I have included many links for those who are actually serious about this issue. For more technical articles in support of the biblical account of creation, visit the Answers Research Journal. There you will find more articles on various topics, including the supposed problem with light years and biblical creationism.

Bill Nye did a great job of sharing his view, however he seemed to have failed to interact with Ken Ham’s points, either dismissing them or refusing to answer. Additionally, Bill Nye liked to refer to the science being done “out there,” in reference to beyond the walls of the Creation Museum and biblical creationists. However, as Ken Ham already showed, there are many biblical creationists “out there” doing what evolutionists call “real” science.

Towards the end of the debate, Ken Ham was asked a question about how biblical creation is relevant to inventions and new discoveries. Ham wisely pointed out that any true science being done today, whether by a Christian or an atheist is based upon the God of the Bible. All science uses logic and morality to work. If there is no God, if the biblical account of creation is false, there is no logic—and no science could ever be done. I applaud Ken Ham for staying on track and trying to remind people that this debate is really about presuppositions and starting points. The evolutionist, in his ardent denial of God, must borrow from God to use logic to argue against God. He rejects God not because of the evidence (as we saw in the debate), but because of his prior commitment to reject God.

Once again, I am so glad that Mr. Nye was willing to speak at the Creation Museum about his views. Despite what most evolutionists want you to think, we should think about these issues. We should not simply accept what we hear others say. I hope you will do your research. But don’t be naïve about your starting point. No one is neutral when it comes to looking at evidence.

To watch post-debate commentary featuring insights from Dr. Terry Mortenson (PhD in the history of geology) and Dr. Danny Faulker (PhD in astronomy) click here.


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