Warm-up for Nye-Ham debate in Kemtucky

| 142 Comments

Dan Phelps, president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society, will participate in an “extended interview” with Terry Mortenson of Answers in Genesis. The participants will discuss the question, “Is teaching creationism harmful to children, society?” at 11:00 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, Thursday, January 30, on WEKU of Richmond, Kentucky. It looks like you can get it streaming. I will refrain from noting that modern journalism thinks there are two sides to every question, even when there are not.

Does any reader know of any other, similar warm-ups or “extended interviews”?

142 Comments

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Kemtucky, eh?

Some section of the South filled with chemical plants and toxic waste?

Glen Davidson

“Stupid issues of child abuse?” Like letting kids die painfully of preventable diseases by refusing them vaccination? Or refusing them medical care, on account of God guarantees a miracle?

Oh. No. Byers means giving them a basic education in science. Or does he? Maybe he means respecting their Constitutional right not to have religion established in the public schools? That would be “child abuse” in they Byers book.

Distorting mirrors are kinda interesting, until you realise that the Hall of Mirrors Byers is displaying is actually a human mind. A mind on fundamentalism.

Dave Luckett said: the Hall of Mirrors Byers is displaying is actually a human mind. A mind on fundamentalism.

Bob’s has been on a roll today. Over at Sandwalk he was commenting on a memorial post about Pete Seeger and randomly adds

tHis is why evolution fails in intelligent and free nations. Like Canada and America.”

as the last two lines in an otherwise unrelated comment. Love it, especially the loose capitalization. He and his fellow nutters must idolize places like Iran - the opposite of intelligent and free nations - where evolution “fails” and creationism prevails. Clearly that is the kind of theocracy they want

Robert Byers said:

Did you refrain? Seems like you noted it so much that to add more would add nothing! Anyways There is truth and error indeed. However who decides what is true is not up to the media. They just accurately reflect there is a great contention on these matters. Its a new year and already theres action and more reaction. A good debate may breed a zillion more and demonstrate evolutions losing grip on all classes and identities in North America. I do hope the stupid issues of child abuse is not addressed by Ham/Nye. Its irrelevant. get to the evidence folks.

This dipshit never answered my demands, in the previous thread, to present photos of his claimed marsupial horse and marsupial tapir.

You said there was a marsupial horse that looked exactly like a real horse, Byers. Then you lied about it and said you never said marsupial horse. Present the photo or sod off.

Present the pictures of a marsupial tapir. You said it looked exactly like a real tapir. Prove it.

And next explain why Australia’s “marsupial rays” or “built in triggers” or whatever it is you believe in, don’t zap pouches and palatal holes and 4:3:4 dental formulas onto Australian people and dingoes and rabbits?

And how, when placental kangaroos and monotremes were hopping from Mt. Ararat across the Himalayas, did they know they had to hop to a distant continent already full of marsupial and monotreme fossils buried there during Noah’s Flood? Could they, from a great distance, smell Oz’s buried marsupial and monotreme fossils as they swam across the Timor Trough, still 10,800 feet deep, carrying on their backs a saltwater crocodile, a goanna and a wombat the size of a rhinoceros?

Robert Byers said:

I do hope the stupid issues of child abuse is not addressed by Ham/Nye. Its irrelevant. get to the evidence folks.

Hey Byers, a lot of creationists are vaccine deniers who help to kill kids. Kent Hovind, John Oller, William Dembski, Vox Day/Ted Beale. Texas’ largest charter school network, Responsive Ed Solutions, teaches creationism and vax denial, and that’s funded by $86 million in taxpayer dollars. And you shits claim persecution! Give me your persecution and your $86 million too.

In Texas there’s a cluster of chicken pox cases because a creatin sect was teaching vax denial. Thanks, creationists!

beatgroover said: He [Byers] and his fellow nutters must idolize places like Iran - the opposite of intelligent and free nations - where evolution “fails” and creationism prevails. Clearly that is the kind of theocracy they want

I’m not going to comment on Byers (not worth it). But this is actually a bit off. I’m sure that most people in Iran do reject evolution. And the country is dominated by a Shiite version of Islamic fundamentalism.

But actually the formal position of the Iranian ayatollahs is they do not insist that evolution did not occur. Their official position is rather like the Catholic position or the Mormon position – they allow teaching of evolution and declare it not to be contradictory to their religion. So Iran is way ahead of Byers. They teach evolution in the schools.

Here is a good discussion of this from a 2010 issue of Reports of the National Center for Science Education.

I think it is right to teach children their present identity of being human first before you start telling them they came from monkeys and that we were not developed uniquely by God’s own pottery. The line we came from could be a different gnome anyway however similar we are to chimps they are not the same as human. Humans decided a long time ago they didn’t want to live as the monkeys the chimps and gorillas by destroying the habitat and developing manmade structures both building and culture. That in my mind was not what he wanted to happen, we were supposed to nurture the environment not destroy it. That would be left to the sun to do, millions of years from now if that ever happens.

Marilyn tells us:

The line we came from could be a different gnome anyway however similar we are to chimps they are not the same as human.

I think by “gnome”, Marilyn means “genome”. Only she doesn’t really mean “genome” either, because “genome” means “all the genetic material in a particular set of chromosomes”, and that means that of course the human genome is a different genome from that of any other species.

Marilyn appears to have got this confused with “common descent”. That is, the present-day apes and we have ancestors in common. But we are different from both the present day apes and our common ancestors, because we have evolved, and our genome has changed.

Maybe God caused it to happen that way. Maybe he did mean us to develop “building and culture”. Perhaps it would have been better if our human genome did not include the genes that cause large brains and clever hands. But it did, and we have to deal with it.

I think it is right to teach children their present identity of being human first before you start telling them they came from monkeys and that we were not developed uniquely by God’s own pottery.

I have always found this line of thought to be incredibly hypocritical or ironic (or possibly both). Fundies think that if you teach people they evolved from less intelligent apes, then people will choose to act like less intelligent apes. So, instead, fundies tell their kids that they are all sinners…

Back on the original topic; I don’t know of any other warm-ups but this subject could be interesting if they treat it in a mature and nuanced manner. We certainly allow people to do things that are harmful to them and yes even their kids. And AFAIK nobody is insisting that private education or home schooling creationism be made illegal. So in some sense the “its bad for you” isn’t the main issue, because even a positive answer doesn’t lead to a clear cut social policy decision. The main social policy issues are: “should we be committing shared social resources to teach it (creationism),” and (analagous to ‘your freedom to swing your arm stops at my face’) “at what point does your miseducation or noneducation start to significantly impact everyone else’s safety and prosperity?” [For the record, my answer to the first is a resounding no, but I think the second is actually quite a difficult question to answer. IMO a good case can be made for mainstream medical effectiveness, vaccination info, and skills such as basic literacy and numeracy. But science education…that case is less strong or direct.]

I think it is right to teach children their present identity of being human first before you start telling them they came from monkeys

Marilyn, if your mother held hands with her mother and she with her mother and so on, NONE of the people holding hands would be monkeys. Not one. Not ever.

How about a few other important questions:

1) Is lying about the age of the earth harmful to children?

2) Is denying the conclusions of science harmful to children?

3) Is teaching children that science should not be trusted harmful to them?

4) Is lying to children about common descent and hiding the evidence from them harmful to them?

5) Is teaching children to blindly accept myths and fairy tales without question and never trying to investigate to find the real answers to their questions harmful to them?

6) Is teaching children that lying and quote mining and misrepresentation are OK as long as you have a “good” reason harmful to them?

7) Is showing students that you can ignore the Constitution of the United States and break the law without fear of being punished harmful to them?

8( Is showing students that you can substitute your particular religious beliefs for science and ignore all other religious beliefs harmful to them?

air said:

I think it is right to teach children their present identity of being human first before you start telling them they came from monkeys

Marilyn, if your mother held hands with her mother and she with her mother and so on, NONE of the people holding hands would be monkeys. Not one. Not ever.

They wouldn’t? I’d say they would all be monkeys, right up until the point where they’d be prosimians.

John

I very much appreciate your expertise in taxonomy and have learned a great deal from your posts in the past. I hope you understand that my statement is not to be read as an effort to distort the scientific definition of ‘monkey’ but rather to speak to an individual with evidently very little understanding of biology.

To many of such individuals, I believe, a ‘monkey’ means only those creatures that are presently alive on the earth (and,of course, they frequently mix apes in with tail-bearing hairy little banana eaters as elements of this stereotype). My point is that those creatures which are presently alive today and are the foundation of this stereotype are not our direct ancestors, and that is all.

Just thinking what an incredible visual that would be, it has just become an impossible but fervent wish of mine to see an actual slideshow of a “mother holding the hand of her mother holding the hand of her mother etc” going back a million years (or 2 or 3 etc) to actually see every specific step in recent human evolution in an individual living line through eons. Wow, just the thought. How many generations of mothers would that be for, let’s say just 100,000 years?

I’m just daydreaming…

I advise reading The Ancestor’s Tale if you haven’t already. Dawkins’ best book by far.

air said: Marilyn, if your mother held hands with her mother and she with her mother and so on, NONE of the people holding hands would be monkeys. Not one. Not ever.

Of course not…Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones were all men.

John Harshman said:

I advise reading The Ancestor’s Tale if you haven’t already. Dawkins’ best book by far.

I have, it’s my favourite Dawkins.

air said:

My point is that those creatures which are presently alive today and are the foundation of this stereotype are not our direct ancestors, and that is all.

Which could be established by simply noting that, um, the individual monkeys don’t live long enough for any present-day monkey to be my grandfather.

air said:

John

I very much appreciate your expertise in taxonomy and have learned a great deal from your posts in the past. I hope you understand that my statement is not to be read as an effort to distort the scientific definition of ‘monkey’ but rather to speak to an individual with evidently very little understanding of biology.

To many of such individuals, I believe, a ‘monkey’ means only those creatures that are presently alive on the earth (and,of course, they frequently mix apes in with tail-bearing hairy little banana eaters as elements of this stereotype). My point is that those creatures which are presently alive today and are the foundation of this stereotype are not our direct ancestors, and that is all.

This is true.

If one defines “monkey” as specifically being a tailed simian primate of either Infraorder Platyrrhini, or Superfamily Cercopithicoidea, then yes, technically, our mother from 450,000 generations about would not, technically be a monkey. On the other hand, if we go back to our mother from 900,000 generations, we would be hard pressed to tell her a part from modern-day monkeys.

apokryltaros said:

If one defines “monkey” as specifically being a tailed simian primate of either Infraorder Platyrrhini, or Superfamily Cercopithicoidea, then yes, technically, our mother from 450,000 generations about would not, technically be a monkey. On the other hand, if we go back to our mother from 900,000 generations, we would be hard pressed to tell her a part from modern-day monkeys.

Also, if we go back to the common ancestor of the Platyrrhines and the Cercopithecoids, many would argue that that species should be called a “monkey” too. And she was also one of our ancestors.

Once you make a monophyletic classification, you find that

  1. the common ancestor of us and monkeys is a monkey, and
  2. we (and all the other apes) are monkeys

Marilynn

I think it is right to teach children their present identity of being human first before you start telling them they came from monkeys

We share relatively recent common ancestry with monkeys - which is the reason why they are much more similar to us than, say, ants, oak trees, or even mice.

We don’t “come from” modern monkeys, they are simply closer relatives than most other members of the biosphere.

and that we were not developed uniquely by God’s own pottery.

This issue cannot be addressed by science. If you want to see what religious biologists believe, see works by Ken Miller, Francis Collins, or the Biologos web site. If you want to explore the works of atheist biomedical scientists, Jeremy Coyne is very verbal, and Richard Dawkins has written a lot.

The line we came from could be a different gnome anyway however similar we are to chimps they are not the same as human.

And no-one ever said they were. I suspect you meant to type “genome” instead of “gnome”. If you’re trying to say that there is a composite model of “the human genome” representing what the genome of an imaginary “prototypical” human would be, and that it is different from “the chimpanzee genome”, that is correct. They are, however, much more closely related to us than say, brewer’s yeast, or even elephants.

Humans decided a long time ago they didn’t want to live as the monkeys the chimps and gorillas by destroying the habitat and developing manmade structures both building and culture.

A basically reasonable statement. Technically we were human for a while before we started really impacting the environment.

That in my mind was not what he wanted to happen, we were supposed to nurture the environment not destroy it. That would be left to the sun to do, millions of years from now if that ever happens.

I completely agree that this is what we should do.

DS said:

How about a few other important questions:

1) Is lying about the age of the earth harmful to children?

2) Is denying the conclusions of science harmful to children?

3) Is teaching children that science should not be trusted harmful to them?

4) Is lying to children about common descent and hiding the evidence from them harmful to them?

5) Is teaching children to blindly accept myths and fairy tales without question and never trying to investigate to find the real answers to their questions harmful to them?

6) Is teaching children that lying and quote mining and misrepresentation are OK as long as you have a “good” reason harmful to them?

7) Is showing students that you can ignore the Constitution of the United States and break the law without fear of being punished harmful to them?

8( Is showing students that you can substitute your particular religious beliefs for science and ignore all other religious beliefs harmful to them?

I think all of this is harmful.

I also think Richard Dawkins was making a characteristically attention-seeking and deliberately shocking statement when he first claimed that raising children in a religion is “child abuse”. (Obviously, you haven’t done this, buy you’re replying to Robert Byers, and he was referencing that Dawkins comment.)

It’s like a libertarian billionaire claiming that giving poor children a lunch at school is “theft” from him.

“Child abuse” and “theft” are words with meanings in the legal system.

When you accuse someone of “theft” you’re strongly implying that they should be prosecuted for larceny.

And when you accuse someone of child abuse, you’re not just saying that they are imperfect parents. You’re saying that the children should be taken from them and placed in foster care, and that they should be prosecuted for a felony.

That term refers to extreme physical and psychological abuse of children. I was taken to a Baptist church as a child, and that wasn’t child abuse. Dawkins was wrong to use that term.

Robert Byers is somewhat wrong to bring this up too, because Bill Nye isn’t Dawkins and has never made this argument.

Of course science denial is harmful to children (and adults), but Byers is sort of half right here - direct accusations of “child abuse” are not called for. Since Bill Nye made no such accusation, though, I’m not sure what Robert Byers is bringing it up for. I noticed in some other comments that he may sometimes get Nye and Dawkins confused. They are not the same person.

harold said:

That term refers to extreme physical and psychological abuse of children. I was taken to a Baptist church as a child, and that wasn’t child abuse. Dawkins was wrong to use that term.

Robert Byers is somewhat wrong to bring this up too, because Bill Nye isn’t Dawkins and has never made this argument.

Uh, did you read that chapter in “The God Delusion”? Dawkins never made the argument that taking kids to church or teaching them religion was child abuse.

He recounted first-person testimonies of people who’d been taught as kids that they were going to hell, and how it had long-lasting negative effects on them. As it had on me, although not so long-lasting.

Let’s criticize Dawkins for what he actually said, not for words put in his mouth.

Yes I did mean genome :)

John Harshman said:

air said:

I think it is right to teach children their present identity of being human first before you start telling them they came from monkeys

Marilyn, if your mother held hands with her mother and she with her mother and so on, NONE of the people holding hands would be monkeys. Not one. Not ever.

They wouldn’t? I’d say they would all be monkeys, right up until the point where they’d be prosimians.

I thought the rule was “turtles all the way down”.

Incidentally, I read that there’s a petition to get Justin Bieber deported back to Canada. Would there be any mileage in getting up a similar petition for Ken Ham?

eric said:

air said: Marilyn, if your mother held hands with her mother and she with her mother and so on, NONE of the people holding hands would be monkeys. Not one. Not ever.

Of course not…Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones were all men.

This would have been clever if the band had not actually been called The Monkees.

Kevin B said:

John Harshman said:

air said:

I think it is right to teach children their present identity of being human first before you start telling them they came from monkeys

Marilyn, if your mother held hands with her mother and she with her mother and so on, NONE of the people holding hands would be monkeys. Not one. Not ever.

They wouldn’t? I’d say they would all be monkeys, right up until the point where they’d be prosimians.

I thought the rule was “turtles all the way down”.

Incidentally, I read that there’s a petition to get Justin Bieber deported back to Canada. Would there be any mileage in getting up a similar petition for Ken Ham?

Well I doubt that Canada would take Ken.

Oh, I suppose you meant that other place…

Glen Davidson

diogeneslamp0 said:

harold said:

That term refers to extreme physical and psychological abuse of children. I was taken to a Baptist church as a child, and that wasn’t child abuse. Dawkins was wrong to use that term.

Robert Byers is somewhat wrong to bring this up too, because Bill Nye isn’t Dawkins and has never made this argument.

Uh, did you read that chapter in “The God Delusion”? Dawkins never made the argument that taking kids to church or teaching them religion was child abuse.

He recounted first-person testimonies of people who’d been taught as kids that they were going to hell, and how it had long-lasting negative effects on them. As it had on me, although not so long-lasting.

Let’s criticize Dawkins for what he actually said, not for words put in his mouth.

For what it’s worth, the passage below is a quote from his website

“I am persuaded that the phrase ‘child abuse’ is no exaggeration when used to describe what teachers and priests are doing to children whom they encourage to believe in something like the punishment of unshriven mortal sins in an eternal hell.”

He refers to such teachings as child abuse several times in the same essay before this passage.

I don’t believe that Harold claimed he had made the remark in the God Delusion specifically, and I think Harold’s post could be read variously. I didn’t take it as imputing to. Dawkins a claim that all religious teachings were abuse, a position Dawkins seems not to hold. But dawkins does see some religious teachings as child abuse. I took Harold to be saying that we should not take a mere teaching as abuse, given the legal definitions.

harold said:

I’ll quantify that second prediction. I predict that the debate will be watched by less than 5% of the US population (approximately 15 to 20 million viewers or fewer).

I think your predictions will likely be born out, but just thought I should mention that 5% of the US population viewing something live is MASSIVE. If 1% of the US population viewed this debate live, that would be a vast victory for Ham and/or Nye and would certainly launch their celebrity to new heights.

Well the Super Bowl typically gets over one hundred million viewers, just about one third of the US population. So yea, I guess 5% would be a moral victory, or rather an immoral victory in this case. I’m hoping for less than 1%. But football is still more popular than jesus (or the Beatles).

Scott F said:

Marilyn said:

If we came from Neandertal why aren’t there any now..

I am not a biologist (or anthropologist), but if you think of “monkeys” and “humans” as umpteenth cousins many times removed (all descended from a common umpteenth-great grand parent, I imagine Neandertals as our great, great, umpty-great uncle’s family, the ones who died in the great famine of ‘06 a long long time ago. Our family and their family are very distantly related, but their simple wooden spear couldn’t feed their family, while our family survived because we had a better plow and a better bow-and-arrow. It’s a vague and hand-wavy analogy, but it feels reasonable.

Hopefully now I understand better. From your explanation Humans didn’t come from Neandertal, but due to a split millenia previous they were different, they lived at the same time side by side with human, though they kept to their own kind on occasions they happened to have relationships, possibly not even knowing they were different, but possibly did.

But that’s not evolution, that is an explanation of how their genes came to be found in human. For whatever reason their species wasn’t to prevail over human.

Marilyn said:

Scott F said:

Marilyn said:

If we came from Neandertal why aren’t there any now..

I am not a biologist (or anthropologist), but if you think of “monkeys” and “humans” as umpteenth cousins many times removed (all descended from a common umpteenth-great grand parent, I imagine Neandertals as our great, great, umpty-great uncle’s family, the ones who died in the great famine of ‘06 a long long time ago. Our family and their family are very distantly related, but their simple wooden spear couldn’t feed their family, while our family survived because we had a better plow and a better bow-and-arrow. It’s a vague and hand-wavy analogy, but it feels reasonable.

Hopefully now I understand better. From your explanation Humans didn’t come from Neandertal, but due to a split millenia previous they were different, they lived at the same time side by side with human, though they kept to their own kind on occasions they happened to have relationships, possibly not even knowing they were different, but possibly did.

But that’s not evolution, that is an explanation of how their genes came to be found in human. For whatever reason their species wasn’t to prevail over human.

That’s closer, bust still not quite there.

Consider horses and donkeys. They share a–comparatively–recent common ancestor, but they are separate species. However, they can inter-breed. A male donkey and a female horse produce a mule. (And, unfamiliar to most people and generally pretty useless, a male horse and a female donkey produce a hinny.) Mules are almost always sterile.

H. sapiens and H. neanderthaensis were similarly related through a common ancestor, but were much more closely related that horses and donkeys. So much so that, the evidence shows that the species interbred “in the wild”. It is unclear at this time just how much interbreeding there was. There may have been quite a bit. Clearly, since modern humans from Europe and Asia have 1% to 4% Neanderthal genes, the amount in interbreeding was likely to be non-trivial.

At the risk of stepping on some toes, perhaps a closer analogy would be the Antebellum South. *Officially* the “races” were strictly separate. As my father (he knew his grandfather who grew up in the South and fought in the Confederate army) used to note, if the races were kept apart so stricly…where did all those relatively light-skinned blacks come from? The true answer to that is quite ugly, but very human. Needless to say, there was interbreeding.

Personally, coming from a lot of Northern European–especially Scandinavian–ancestors, I’m proud to have Neanderthals lurking back there. Those guys were real bad weather survivors. It may even be that the combination of milder weather and interbeeding aided the modern humans in displacing the Neanderthals.

Oh, and by the way, that *is* evolution. It’s just not a simple straight line or tree type description of how species evolve. Life is always more complicated than our models, especially when the models are set up to present fundamental ideas, leaving the complex nuances for later.

Splendid editorial cartoon by Joel Pett here, courtesy of Dan Phelps. I have no doubt that Mr. Nye will feel a bit like the guy on the left. I cannot speculate what Mr. Ham will feel like, but if he rides away on a (nonavian) dinosaur we should concede the debate.

Here is a brand-new overview of what will be happening re the debate. As of Saturday, 750K people had registered for stream at debatelive, according to an acquaintance who did so (he was immediately pummeled with spam emails from AiG). I also estimate less than 1% of US, which will make it an exceedingly tiny percentage of the world population, will watch.

http://www.charismanews.com/us/4264[…]ation-debate

In case anyone balks at giving hits to a place called ‘charismnews’ (sorry, I didn’t notice that), more info is available here: http://www.wcpo.com/news/region-nor[…]-in-kentucky

Many thanks for the link! The WCPO website notes that you may watch the debate at WCPO.com and adds,

Museum officials believe the actual number will be much higher than the projected total, especially after Wednesday, Feb. 19 when C-Span re-broadcasts the event on radio and TV at 8 p.m. ET.

Immediately following the conclusion of the live debate, Nye and Ham will walk inside the Creation Museum next door to be interviewed for the “Piers Morgan Live” program on CNN for a 9:45 p.m. post-debate analysis. During the 10 p.m. hour and inside the museum, MSNBC TV will conduct a one-on-one interview Nye.

For the debate, more than 70 credentialed members of the media will converge upon Northern Kentucky. Journalists from news outlets such ABC, NBC, CNN, NPR, Scientific American magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, Al Jazeera America, The New Yorker, WCPO will be in attendance.

This affair may turn out to be a bigger deal than some are predicting.

usenettroll215 said:

HEY, YOUNG, JOHN THE ANTI-THRINAXODON DICK HARSHMAN AND SCOTT F, HUMANS HAVE ORIGINS IN THE DEVONIAN! BTW, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN how I FOUND 3,000 HUMAN FOSSILS FROM DEVONIAN STRATA, AND THEY WERE TESTED AT HARVARD TO BE 100% HUMAN, AND 395 Ma!

Would whoever is running this mind banning thrinaxodon?

Personally, coming from a lot of Northern European–especially Scandinavian–ancestors, I’m proud to have Neanderthals lurking back there. Those guys were real bad weather survivors. It may even be that the combination of milder weather and interbeeding aided the modern humans in displacing the Neanderthals.

Isn’t a significant portion of our immune inherited from the Neandertals?

Matt Young said:

Many thanks for the link! The WCPO website notes that you may watch the debate at WCPO.com

Looking at debatelive.org, the statements there seem to be by AiG. They ask for a registration “for live stream info and updates”. There is no clear statement there that you need to register to watch. My guess is that you can watch there without registration. If not, WCPO.com might be a good alternative.

I would say the only purpose of registration is so you can be bombarded by demands that you contribute to the Ark Project, whose turn-back-into-a-pumpkin date is rapidly approaching.

I really think the National Ice Core Lab would be the perfect venue to hold any debate with Ham. He could be shown a core sample with many thousands of annual rings, and asked to explain why there are more than six thousand. The tap-dancing alone would be worth it.

Karen S. said:

I really think the National Ice Core Lab would be the perfect venue to hold any debate with Ham. He could be shown a core sample with many thousands of annual rings, and asked to explain why there are more than six thousand. The tap-dancing alone would be worth it.

Agreed it may be worth watching (for the laughs, at least), but it would be a useless exercise. You simply can’t teach an old Ham new tricks, especially when the old Ham is impervious to learning and utterly resistant to anything that contradicts an already engrained and accepted dogma.

Matt Young said:

Many thanks for the link! The WCPO website notes that you may watch the debate at WCPO.com and adds,

Museum officials believe the actual number will be much higher than the projected total, especially after Wednesday, Feb. 19 when C-Span re-broadcasts the event on radio and TV at 8 p.m. ET.

Immediately following the conclusion of the live debate, Nye and Ham will walk inside the Creation Museum next door to be interviewed for the “Piers Morgan Live” program on CNN for a 9:45 p.m. post-debate analysis. During the 10 p.m. hour and inside the museum, MSNBC TV will conduct a one-on-one interview Nye.

For the debate, more than 70 credentialed members of the media will converge upon Northern Kentucky. Journalists from news outlets such ABC, NBC, CNN, NPR, Scientific American magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, Al Jazeera America, The New Yorker, WCPO will be in attendance.

This affair may turn out to be a bigger deal than some are predicting.

Standing by my basic prediction. My prediction is not that there will be “zero” discussion of the event. Just that what coverage there is will not have terribly many viewers or readers.

Essentially, there are three possible outcomes of this event, in terms of net cultural impact.

1) The prevailing prediction here seems to be that it will be a terrible disaster. Nye will be bamboozled by the dastardly tactics of Ham. The American public will be watching and will conclude that Creation Museum, Jesus-Riding-A-Dinosaur style YEC is superior to mainstream science. A substantial and sustained swing in support for using tax dollars to teach post-modern sectarian Protestant fundamentalism as “science” in public schools will occur, perhaps leading to something like a constitutional amendment to nullify the first amendment so that this can take place. I strongly predict that in fact, none of this will happen.

2) A more plausible prediction is that, even with the advantages he has tried to build in for himself, Ham’s scheming will backfire. Americans will tune in, but Americans, especially younger Americans simply won’t accept the level of unsophisticated nonsense that Ham peddles. Ham is like Jack Chick, except that Ham can’t draw. If Jack Chick didn’t convert America, Ham can’t, either. By drawing media attention to his hilarious museum, Ham may inadvertently increase support for sound science education. I with this would happen, but sadly, I can’t predict this either.

Or it could be…

3) The usual suspects tune in. Heated discussion of it on the creationist blogs, this blog, and, mainly because Ham emailed everybody in the known universe, a perfunctory short column on it, mocking creationism in such venues as the New Yorker and Scientific American. Also, of course, a perfunctory “Major Questions Remain - the Jury is Still Out on Evolution!!!!” bit somewhere in mainstream TV and print media. (That’s because creationism is perceived as being something Republicans favor.) But those perfunctory columns and bits will be seen only by a small audience, all of whom have already made up their mind. This is what I predict. The other two outcomes aren’t impossible but are less likely.

Bullfrog DNA!

Nye needs a cheat sheet of Ham stupidisms. Wasn’t Ham the Bullfrog guy? Ham will surely try to change the subject immediately, then go to the Gish Gallop. Instead of playing his game, Nye should counterattack!

The real question is whether or not Ham will get the money he needs to save his latest fiasco. If he generates enough publicity and gets enough believers to donate in time, he might still pull it off. If not, he should accept the message from god that he shouldn’t be pulling stunts like this. Now what are the odds of that happening?

I believe I heard Lawrence O’Donnell say that Bill Nye will be interviewed on his program on MSNBC at 10pm after the debate.

I believe he also said that the debate would be streamed on msnbc.com, but I could be mistaken about that.

KlausH said:

Nye needs a cheat sheet of Ham stupidisms. Wasn’t Ham the Bullfrog guy? Ham will surely try to change the subject immediately, then go to the Gish Gallop. Instead of playing his game, Nye should counterattack!

Not Ham—Duane Gish was the bullfrog guy. Of course, Ham and Gish are hardly distinguishable when it comes to the vacuity and bogosity of their YEC spiels…

Woe is me, the end is Nye!

You may watch the debate here on NBC or here on WCPO, Cincinnati.

Then, Piers Morgan at 9:45 EST, and MSNBC during the 10:00 hour, EST.

I will run a new post in a little while so that people can comment in real time if they are so moved.

Matt Young said:

You may watch the debate here on NBC or here on WCPO, Cincinnati.

Then, Piers Morgan at 9:45 EST, and MSNBC during the 10:00 hour, EST.

I will run a new post in a little while so that people can comment in real time if they are so moved.

Re debatelive.org I just checked Whois and domain name was registered to AiG 14 Jan 2014. Happy I waited and didn’t register with them for the debate.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on January 28, 2014 5:34 PM.

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