For those who don’t know, science advocate and educator Bill Nye recently debated young earth creationist Ken Ham in a highly publicized internet-broadcast event.
There have been many mixed feelings from the scientific community on the event. Many of which, I would tend to agree with. Debating a creationist really won’t do much of anything. Believers will continue to believe in what they want, regardless of the arguments or evidence. Those who look at things objectively will have no choice but accept evolution as a well tested and established scientific fact.
Some might say that the debate raises creationism to a level it does not deserve. It is not a matter of debate for the scientific community; it was closed long ago. If we were to assume the earth were thousands of years old, biology were the result of a being simply willing it to be so and the bible could guide all scientific thought, we would have to throw away most of the advancements of science. Evolution is key to our understanding of biology. We have seen it happen and have fossil evidence of how it has shaped life over the long term.
Some warned that Bill Nye could end up losing the debate, or just come off looking bad, if Ham backed him into a corner using contentions that were too illogical to easily and directly refute or by forcing Nye to waste his time providing a class in biology 101 in order to simply explain where he is coming from. Given that creationism has no scientific evidence, only religious faith, it seems likely that a creationist would fall back on appealing logical fallacies. It should be noted that one can be factually correct and still lose a debate if faced with a skilled opponent.
Thankfully, Bill Nye seems to have held his own. Still, I tend to side with those who think it was unnecessary and generally unproductive to even bother engaging in the debate. It didn’t change anyone’s mind.
Here’s the video for those interested (Starts at roughly 13:00)