My Thoughts on the Ken Ham Bill Nye Debate
Many have been asking for my thoughts on the big debate, but I’ve been a little hesitant to speak my mind on this. Part of that is because I feel like before I could give my opinion I needed to actually watch the entire debate. The other reason for my hesitance is the fact that I’m still thinking through just where I stand in this debate. But, now that I have seen the debate in its entirety I have just a few thoughts to share.
1. Its seems to me that most creationists believe Bill Nye won this debate and most creationists believe Ken Ham won the debate. There was nothing said in the debate that I found particularly convincing, either way. In that sense, it seems to be draw. It terms of style and clarity, I would say Bill Nye walks away as the winner. While that may seem quite superficial – this is a debate. The purpose of a debate is to clearly articulate your view, defend it against another’s view in a way that is persuasive. Style matters. However, it must be noted that it seems to me that Ken Ham knows more about evolution than Bill Nye knows about the Bible or creationism. Bill Nye didn’t seem to know much about Scripture or what Evangelicals actually teach about the Bible. A smart debater does his homework. Opposition research and the ability to present the other side of the argument in a fair and accurate way is crucially important. In that sense, Ken Ham came out on top. Like I said, it’s a draw.
2. As I have grown in my faith, I see presentations like that of Ken Ham to be a bit annoying. Ham and others seem to reduce my faith to literal 6-day creationism. Everything goes back to Genesis. It’s too reductionist. It’s not Christ-centered and is in danger of taking focus off of the gospel and our ministry toward others. I understand Ham would teach that Genesis is a foundation for everything else, but the “everything else” is certainly not what his ministry if known for. It also marginalizes believers who do not accept young earth, 6-day creationism. Presentations such as the type promoted by Ham in this debate do not take into account great men of the faith such as Augustine, Spurgeon and, in our own times, Tim Keller – none of whom would fit into a young earth perspective. My fear is that too many people walk away from such events equating Christianity with 6-day, young earth creationism as if you can’t have one without the other.*
3. Unlike many others, I do not see this debate as a waste of time. I believe it is always valuable when two men of opposite views are able to come together and talk about their differences in an intelligent and civil way. In this age we ought to rejoice whenever this happens!
*This paragraph has been changed and updated. See comments for further details.