Ten Commandments for debates with creationists

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Bill-Nye-vs.-Ken-Ham-Debate_f_improf_645x254.pngEveryone seems to be talking about the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate which is occurring in a few hours. I’m not going to watch it, at least not immediately. I’m not 100% against debating creationists, but I do think science-defenders should try to not give the contest away before it even starts.

For a long time I’ve been developing a list in my head of what scientists and science educators should think about even before they even agree to appear in a debate. Bill Nye made all of these mistakes at once, and therefore, even if he and his bow-tie have the best day of their lives, he’s lost on a lot of fronts already. All Ken Ham has to do to win is not break down in tears and admit he’s based his life on a horrible mistake.

Therefore, here are my…

TEN (well, 7 & counting) COMMANDMENTS THOU SHALT THINK ABOUT, AND RESOLVE, BEFORE YOU EVEN AGREE TO DEBATE A CREATIONIST

(Actually, I only had time at the moment for Seven Commandments. I will take suggestions and improvements. If you write a sufficiently good one, I will include it and list you as an author; if the Commandments come together well, perhaps we can submit it to NCSE Reports or some such.)

(also, all I know about this debate is based on news reports, and the assumption that if something has not been mentioned, it was not thought about by Bill Nye; please correct me if I get something wrong)

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I. THOU SHALT THINK ABOUT THE MOOLAH. Is there going to be an admission fee charged to this event? Where will this money go? In today’s debate, something like 800 attendees are paying $30/each to attend (I forget the exact details). That’s $24,000 on the table right there. Right now, Answers in Genesis (AiG) pockets the whole thing. Not bad for 2 hours of work! It will probably be their single biggest fundraising day of the year, barring one-off contributions from rich donors and the like.

What does Bill Nye get? Perhaps travel expenses. At the very least, the pot should have been split. Speakers should get what they are worth, and Bill Nye is worth a lot. So are you, if you are a Ph.D. scientist and/or noted science educator. If you are feeling altruistic, take your half of the money and donate it to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). $12,000 would go a loooong way at NCSE – they don’t have nearly as many animatronic dinosaurs to run as the Creation Museum.

If you do donate the money to a worthy cause, announce that you are doing so, so that everyone knows who is benefitting. This will encourage people on your side to do the same, and it will let the creationists know that these debating events, which they eagerly seek out, will no longer be one-sided fundraising events where the naive scientist features as Demon of the Week to be paraded out and rebutted.

As the situation currently stands, Bill Nye has effectively given AiG a $24,000 donation, minimum, just by agreeing to show up! Why didn’t he think about this?

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II. THOU SHALT THINK ABOUT THE DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS. All too often, professors get goaded into debates or “discussions” (or sometimes “interviews”), show up like they would to a normal low-publicity academic event, and then discover that the creationists have a full film crew ready to professionally tape the whole thing. Some nice person sticks a consent form in front of them, they sign it, and then the professor is surprised to find themselves featured in creationist videos and documentaries for the next several decades.

These videos often quote the scientists out of context, or wrap whatever the scientist says in a hail of obfuscatory rebuttal material. And they are often for sale at fundamentalist churches across the country, in addition to conferences, in home-schooling catalogs, etc. You don’t see a cent, but by virtue of your signature you’ve signed up to be a fundraising prop permanently, or for at least as long as anyone remembers who you are. Heck, interviews with Jim Valentine from the early 1990s are still circulating in Intelligent Design circles.

Again, if you were thinking about it ahead of time, you would say, at a minimum, that you get half of all sales from subsequent videos etc. Alternatively, you could require that the complete, unedited event, sans additional propaganda, be made freely available on YouTube, and that no subsequent reproduction is authorized without the written consent of all parties.

Certainly, whatever the other details, you need some sort of clause requiring your approval for modified and edited portrayals of the original event.

For smaller scale events, at the very least, you should demand that you get your own unedited copy of the event, to do with as you wish (e.g. to put on the web, or to allow you to check what you said when you later get quote-mined or misleadingly edited).

Alternatively, you get equal rights to make your own recording, do with as you wish – but realistically, the creationists’ recording will be better than yours. They are nothing if not media-savvy. Most professors wouldn’t have the presence of mind to get together a video camera with sufficient battery power and memory, a tripod, a good filming location and/or a person to do the filming.

Either way, NCSE should get a copy of the recording, to serve as a permanent historical record. There’s nothing quite like going back and seeing/hearing Duane Gish “Gish-galloping” in the early 1980s to educate oneself, or future historians, or future lawyers, about the true nature of the pathological bizzarity of what is going on in such events.

Why didn’t Bill Nye think about this ahead of time?

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III. THOU SHALT THINK ABOUT THE TICKET SALES. If the tickets will be on sale, who is going to have access? According to reports, the tickets for the Nye/Ham debate sold out in 2 minutes once ticket sales opened up. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that the creationists had many of the tickets, or perhaps virtually all of the tickets, reserved ahead of time, for donors, supporters, and the like. We’ve seen deliberate, and sophisticated, engineering of “media buzz” before with creationists, for example with the various ploys the Discovery Institute used to get an initial pulse of sales of the book Darwin’s Doubt, thus placing it on (one of the) New York Times‘s bestseller lists (for a week). They’re still talking about how Darwin’s Doubt was a New York Times bestseller!

(And hey – do you think there is any chance that Answers in Genesis, if they reserved some tickets for special donors and sponsors, would sell those now-scarce tickets for more moolah? Do I have an evil mind, or am I just being realistic? You decide.)

This sort of thing ensures that the audience is packed with hard-core creationism supporters – and even if no skullduggery with reserve tickets happened, the creationists’ enthusiasm, and the fact that AiG’s announcements go straight to the fundamentalist churches and schools and supporters’ email lists ensure that they will grab most of the tickets right away. Perhaps this is inevitable, and perhaps it even matches your goals – perhaps you think that with brilliant science communication, you will sway a few of those creationists to learn more about the science and change their minds.

Maybe. But at the very least, don’t you want a few pro-science people in the audience? For example, at least a few bloggers, and some local long-term science defenders like Dan Phelps? Perhaps even a few journalists you know who aren’t crazy? What happens before and after the debate is just as important as what happens during it (see below), and the only way to find out what actually happened on the ground is to have some objective people at the event on the ground.

So: get some tickets alotted to yourself, that you may distribute as you wish.

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IV. THOU SHALT THINK ABOUT DONATION APPEALS. You can bet that AiG will be hitting up the audience for donations in some fashion. At the actual event, it could just be donation cards handed out at the entrance, or it could be explicit appeals and passing the hat before and after the event. You can be sure that the video versions distributed to the fundamentalist churches and schools contain donation appeals in some form too. Did you sign up to this debate to help the creationists fundraise? No? Then why didn’t you stipulate that you would refuse to participate unless such donation appeals were excluded?

Alternatively, you could demand that at the event, and in any subsequent videos, NCSE (for example) gets a plug for donations. Obviously, this wouldn’t get many donations from the creationists, but other viewers, especially video viewers who are pro-science, will probably be especially motivated to donate after watching whatever travesty of science that Ken Ham comes up with.

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V. THOU SHALT THINK ABOUT PRE- AND POST-DEBATE EVENTS. This never occurs to scientists until after the fact, but on the occasions when evolutionists (or mainstream Bible scholars, or whatever) do get invited to speak before fundamentalist audiences, it is entirely standard for the fundamentalists to have organized ahead of time for the audience to be subjected to post-debate rebuttals from other speakers. This ensures the creationists get the last word and gives them a chance to paper-over any cracks you might have opened up in the mind of creationists in the audience. Sometimes there are pre-debate events also – prayers, preliminary sermons, etc. Did you sign up for the debate to provide a church event and/or bonus brainwashing session for the audience? No? Then why allow it? These events would typically be left off of whatever video is produced for public consumption also. Why allow a mis-portrayal of what actually happened?

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VI. THOU SHALT THINK ABOUT EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS. I strongly suspect that for their $30, the audience at the debate will get a bonus armful of AiG propaganda, ads for AiG materials, etc. Why aren’t there any pro-science materials being handed out as well? For a big event, you could require that the creationists buy and distribute such materials, along with the creationist materials. For smaller event, you could require that pro-science groups get equal access to have a table, hand out materials as people stand in line, etc.

Any speaker with only an hour or two to communicate to the audience (and realistically, in a 2-hour event, between the opponent, the moderator, the introduction, the questions, etc., a scientist might only realistically get perhaps 30 minutes of actual talking in) can really only communicate a very few things, most of which will roll by most of the audience, most of whom will get confused or dazed as soon as you use a phrase like “radiometric dating.” But materials in writing leave much more of an impact on the mind, and they provide the starting point for audience members who are curious, or worried if their creationists views aren’t quite as solid as they thought, to go look for more information. The only real route by which creationists change their views is when they get curious enough of worried enough about geology and evolution to get themselves to a library and start reading. Once they do, more often than not they are evolutionists within a few years, whether or not they stay religious. If you are just a talking head, most of your effort is wasted. If you are talking head with the cliff notes written down, with references, you might actually change some minds.

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VII. THOU SHALT GET ALL OF THE ABOVE AGREED UPON IN WRITING, AND PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED, BEFORE PROCEEDING FURTHER. None of the above has any point unless it is in writing, legally binding, and agreed to by all parties. Announcing it publicly helps create a tradition of less-than-total-naiveté amongst science defenders, and also lets audience members, etc., know what they are signing up for and what they are supporting with their time and perhaps money.

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CONCLUSION

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For all of these questions, it’s worth asking: Did Bill Nye think of these considerations? If not, why not? Of course, if someone has information that he did, and he has some reasoning behind decisions on these matters, then I stand corrected. But it is par for the course for your typical academic/educator type to not think about these things at all, and then get taken advantage of, perhaps for decades, by the creationists, who definitely do think about these things.

34 Comments

Some good points, Nick.

Does anyone know if the live stream is available anywhere else except on youtube? It gets blocked here because it “may” contain copyrighted soundtrack material.

…and the scarey part is: you didn’t even get to “What to do in the actual debate” bit yet.

A bunch of local CFI people are gathering at my house tonight to watch the live stream. I believe someone is devising rules for the drinking game. I’m afraid being sloshed is the only way this thing will be bearable.

Unlike the Disco Tute that does its very best to hide its true agenda, avoids the limelight and skirts fair public confrontation and will even sic a lawyer on you if you dare to use an out-of-focus 180x180 pixel photo (Luskin!), old Hambo’s agenda is right out there in the open and in 3-D at his “museum:” Young Earth Creationism. Praise the Lord and be sure to donate.

Hambo sells creationism as his “ministry” to earn money for the Hambo family and any publicity is good publicity. Poor old Hambo has been relying on sarcastic blog postings and cheesy roadside billboards to get his message out and now he’s going to be covered by 70 news organizations and interviewed by Piers Morgan! Can you say BONANZA!!!! It’s an Arkpocalyptic fundraising opportunity of Biblical proportions!

What I want to know is when did Bill Nye start working for the Creation Museum? He’s the best spokesman for them they’ve had in years, not that Nye could sell wood shavings to a gerbil on a good day.

Why just the other day Ray Comfort was reported to have seen Hambo and asked, “Hey, Kenny, is that my banana in your pants or are you so looking forward to this debate?”

Here’s another one: think about media. Look what Ken Ham gets away with here! Promoted on CNN without rebuttal, and 90%+ sounds like an IDist wrote it, young earth not mentioned! http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/[…]ent-page-10/

Nick Matzke said:

Here’s another one: think about media. Look what Ken Ham gets away with here! Promoted on CNN without rebuttal, and 90%+ sounds like an IDist wrote it, young earth not mentioned! http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/[…]ent-page-10/

Ken Ham: “Even though the two of us are not Ph.D. scientists, Mr. Nye and I clearly love science”

gag

Nick Matzke said:

Here’s another one: think about media. Look what Ken Ham gets away with here! Promoted on CNN without rebuttal, and 90%+ sounds like an IDist wrote it, young earth not mentioned! http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/[…]ent-page-10/

Note they also posted the equivalent from Bill Nye: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/[…]ist-ken-ham/

Why look whose materials are being promoted at the debate website: http://debatelive.org/

daoudmbo said:

Nick Matzke said:

Here’s another one: think about media. Look what Ken Ham gets away with here! Promoted on CNN without rebuttal, and 90%+ sounds like an IDist wrote it, young earth not mentioned! http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/[…]ent-page-10/

Note they also posted the equivalent from Bill Nye: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/[…]ist-ken-ham/

Ah good point, all I saw before was some Bill Nye thing from last year.

Ken Ham: “Even though the two of us are not Ph.D. scientists, Mr. Nye and I clearly love science”

gag

Yep, “both of us have the same evidence, just different interpretations.”

I’m not sure how bill Nye will respond to that one but his answer had better be good.

Thou Shalt Specify the Debate Question with the Creationist Taking the Affirmative, and the Topic Being Public Policy

Bill Nye’s video says that teaching creationism to kids is bad for society. He should have stuck AiG with trying to make a case for the positive, rather than the flabby “is creation a viable model?”. Yes, that is at least a positive statement, but it isn’t about public policy any more, and let’s AiG play their favorite game, “Sow Confusion, Declare Victory”.

I’ll note that I did exactly as stated above for the debate I had with the DI’s Ray Bohlin at SMU in 2006. I think that ended up as a question of, “Is ID ready to teach in public school science classrooms?”, and Bohlin ended up conceding it wasn’t in his first few sentences, and spent the rest of his time with “but maybe it will be one day”.

That all sounds good, and much of it wouldn’t have occurred to me immediately.

There should be some rules about the debate itself, though, to prevent the Gish Gallop, or at least to curtail it, and to try to get opportunity to counter flim-flam with substance. I would not know what these rules should be, never having much to do with any formal debates.

I would say that it’s nearly certain that a pro-science person should treat any such debate like the Presidential candidates treat their “debates,” as opportunities to make mini-speeches and to tell people what they should hear (well, politicians tell people what they want them to hear, I presume a pro-science person would be inclined to tell them what they should know). Answering a bunch of obfuscatory nonsense should never be the point. Setting out the actual evidence for evolution, evidence that by no means fits any sort of intelligent design strategy (sticking with inherited materials, for organisms that don’t incorporate foreign DNA, especially), should be the first and greatest goal of anyone debating the fraud of creationism.

Glen Davidson

8) Thou shalt think about the format. Is the moderator impartial? What questions get to be asked and by whom? How much time does each participant have to respond? What AV will be allowed? Who gets the last word?

9) Thou shalt think about how low thou art willing to stoop. If your opponent lies do you call him a liar, or you you politely point out that what he is saying isn’t true? If your opponent insults you personally, do you reciprocate or do you take the high road and ignore it? Do you want to come off as a weeny or a meany?

It is a tough one, but people considering mixing it up with creationists really need to think long and hard about whether they are the right person to be on stage with Creationist X. Having a general disdain for creationism and no familiarity with the background and publications of Creationist X or even Creationism Flavor Y that Creationist X promotes is a recipe for disaster.

I like that you said “when you later get quote-mined or misleadingly edited”, rather than “if …”.

You didn’t even touch on my two biggest reservations:

1: Do you have all the favorite creationist arguments (and hopefully lots of other ones too), and their rebuttals, down stone cold?

2: Are you a really, really good debater - able to instantly analyze arguments for their logical flaws and put together cogent responses, not get fazed by torrents of outrageous bullshit, while coming across as an entertaining speaker, rather than pedantic and boring and professorial?

Zim said:

Some good points, Nick.

Does anyone know if the live stream is available anywhere else except on youtube? It gets blocked here because it “may” contain copyrighted soundtrack material.

Per CNN.com :

Editors note: Ken Ham will debate Bill Nye on February 4 at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, with CNN’s Tom Foreman moderating. The debate will be livestreamed at CNN.com at 7 pm ET, and Piers Morgan Live will interview Ham and Nye on Tuesday at 9 ET.

As long as the debate is going to happen under these ludicrous circumstances, the scientific community and educators are going to have to make it an object lesson for future reference. For the reasons that Nick has given, Ham has already won this debate; that has how it has almost always been in the past.

Back in the 1980s and into the early 1990s, when I was giving talks about “scientific” creationism, I made it a point to never get into a position to be challenged to a debate. It was already obvious back then what Morris and Gish had spawned and how they were taunting for free rides on the backs of any academic or scientist they could con into a debate. Those debates were always stacked with hooting sectarians who were primed to see an execution.

Instead, I took the path of studying and analyzing the fundamental misconceptions and misrepresentations by ID/creationists and used them as input for improving pedagogical techniques and educating audiences. One can learn to recognize the sources of some of the misconceptions and concepts on which students “choke” from studying how ID/creationists manipulate the thinking of young people.

As unfortunate as it is, this debate between Nye and Ham should provide some good material for scientists and educators to use in demonstrating just what the ID/creationist shtick really is. Strip away the carnival antics by the ID/creationists and look at how they argue. Analyze their conceptual thinking: their misconceptions and misrepresentations. Much of what Ham teaches children out of his business organization is symptomatic of many of the problems confronting public education.

Many kids are terribly misinformed by uneducated and miseducated parents and other adults. It’s not just a matter of poverty and hunger; it’s the entire milieu of their subculture. Many of those subcultures include churches that preach like Ken Ham; and one finds this even in supposedly progressive communities.

There are a number of such churches in my own community that have invited Ham for a week of “science education.” These are the churches that once supported Duane Gish when he harassed the biology teachers in the area. These churches still have their political agenda and their candidates still running – and sometimes being elected - for public office.

As long as it is going to happen, we should learn as much as possible from it. It’s a bit like getting a second chance after being hit with cancer or a heart operation; you change your outlook and life style and move on with more intelligence than you thought you had before.

I view people like Ham as a societal mental disease from which we can learn to recover.

Surely, commandment #1 ought to be: “Don’t even bother!”

Nye did well, in spite of my misgivings.

Nye should paid my fellow creationists. He was clobbered tonight. Ham did a greattttttt job. for entry level to new audiences. He was cool collective, and hit great points. Nye was a decent person in a well run debate. A commandment should be DON’t debate if your on the wrong side!! YEC did so well tonight that one wishes there was a well attended debate every week.! I thought Nye failed to discredit YEC . I bet most people NEW to this discussion who watched would lean toward Ham as having made a good case for his side. Even if agreeing with him is still difficult for new people. I suspect there will be very positive results in interest and maybe trips to the museum. Evolutionists failed again BUT they must decide to either give up addressing the public or make a better thought out organized defence for evolution or geology stuff contradicting scripture. If YEC is so crazy then Ham drawing even is itself a defeat for evolutionists. Ham hammered Nye. Everyone knows that who watched. Ham is enjoying right now his success. From Canada the new year has already seen a important gain for YEC public relations. When your right your right.

Robert Byers said:

When your right your right.

You mean, When you’re right, you’re right.

And you’re wrong.

Thou shalt stipulate that there shall be an online follow-up. This way you can link to actual research, easily expose your opponent’s quotemines, and debunk their examples. (You can also point out that the live debate is just showmanship, and the real discussion will happen online.) I did this with Ken Ham’s estranged partner from back in Aus, John MacKay. (“Estranged partner” in the business sense, of course, ha ha.) Results here: http://blogs.ubc.ca/markbergen/ . We went for 2 weeks, and his showing was pretty pathetic.

I actually stipulated this because I didn’t want to welch, but I didn’t really want to do a debate either (for the standard reasons that Nick outlines here and elsewhere). I figured he’d decline the online option, since it would be too easy to expose his nonsense. Through a communication error of the local creation club, he agreed without knowing what he was agreeing to! I’m not sure how likely it is that creationists in general would agree to extended online exchanges like this. But if they refuse, it could be publicized…

Robert Byers said:

Nye should paid my fellow creationists. He was clobbered tonight. Ham did a greattttttt job. for entry level to new audiences. He was cool collective, and hit great points. Nye was a decent person in a well run debate. A commandment should be DON’t debate if your on the wrong side!! YEC did so well tonight that one wishes there was a well attended debate every week.! I thought Nye failed to discredit YEC . I bet most people NEW to this discussion who watched would lean toward Ham as having made a good case for his side. Even if agreeing with him is still difficult for new people. I suspect there will be very positive results in interest and maybe trips to the museum. Evolutionists failed again BUT they must decide to either give up addressing the public or make a better thought out organized defence for evolution or geology stuff contradicting scripture. If YEC is so crazy then Ham drawing even is itself a defeat for evolutionists. Ham hammered Nye. Everyone knows that who watched. Ham is enjoying right now his success. From Canada the new year has already seen a important gain for YEC public relations. When your right your right.

But 92% at Christian Today say Bill Nye won.

Zim said:

Some good points, Nick.

Does anyone know if the live stream is available anywhere else except on youtube? It gets blocked here because it “may” contain copyrighted soundtrack material.

The you tube works for me. You can get there from NPR.org http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way[…]-and-ken-ham

Robert Byers said:

Nye should paid my fellow creationists. He was clobbered tonight. Ham did a greattttttt job. for entry level to new audiences. He was cool collective, and hit great points. Nye was a decent person in a well run debate. A commandment should be DON’t debate if your on the wrong side!! YEC did so well tonight that one wishes there was a well attended debate every week.! I thought Nye failed to discredit YEC . I bet most people NEW to this discussion who watched would lean toward Ham as having made a good case for his side. Even if agreeing with him is still difficult for new people. I suspect there will be very positive results in interest and maybe trips to the museum. Evolutionists failed again BUT they must decide to either give up addressing the public or make a better thought out organized defence for evolution or geology stuff contradicting scripture. If YEC is so crazy then Ham drawing even is itself a defeat for evolutionists. Ham hammered Nye. Everyone knows that who watched. Ham is enjoying right now his success. From Canada the new year has already seen a important gain for YEC public relations. When your right your right.

You are doing what Ken did the whole debate. Make statements that are totally untrue as fact.

Ken asked for new information. Flavobacterium as many people here know evolved to be able to use nylon as a food source. The genetic information wasn’t there in the past. It didn’t just switch on. Mutations altered in the bacteria that gave it a new ability. Ken said cave fish going blind isn’t evolution but a loss of information. Well Flavobacterium ability to metabolize a compound that didn’t even exists in before 1935.

Ken also in one breath says that you can’t trust the past but in the other tries to say that creation science depends on “natural laws” not changing. He, like most creationist wants it both ways. Bill pointed out multiple times that nothing in Ken’s creation science make future predictions. They say things like “creation science predicts this thing that we already observe” which is very different from saying “Because of x we should find y in location z and it should have traits A,B and C” Then people go out and actually find it.

The whole “were you there” argument of a creationist is targeted at 6 year old or those that have an understanding of science and the scientific method understand.

Fact we observe stars and galaxies that are are further away from us then 6 thousand light years by factors of over 20,000,000 That means light from them, according to Ken, would have not only had to be over 20,000,000 times faster at some time in the past but over 20,000,000 faster for the last 6,000 years and leave no evidence that it was. For that matter light would have had to be totally different just 4,000 years because, according to the bible, there were no rainbows before the flood. Again we see no evidence of this.

Bill did a good job at pointing out that Ken wants people to believe his narrow interpretation of the bible over things we can see, touch, measure and test every day. Science didn’t loose today. Ken did.

THOU SHALT REQUIRE THAT VIDEO OR TRANSCRIPTS ONLY BE POSTED AT WEBSITES WITH OPEN COMMENT POLICIES

This is to prevent the William Lane Craig dick move where he gets beaten? by someone smarter, then posts the video online with a title and summary crowing about his “victory” and insulting his atheist opponent, and then CLOSING COMMENTS.

No way. Open comment policy on all online videos or GTFO.

wayneefrancis said:

Robert Byers said:

Nye should paid my fellow creationists. He was clobbered tonight. Ham did a greattttttt job. for entry level to new audiences. He was cool collective, and hit great points. Nye was a decent person in a well run debate. A commandment should be DON’t debate if your on the wrong side!! YEC did so well tonight that one wishes there was a well attended debate every week.! I thought Nye failed to discredit YEC . I bet most people NEW to this discussion who watched would lean toward Ham as having made a good case for his side. Even if agreeing with him is still difficult for new people. I suspect there will be very positive results in interest and maybe trips to the museum. Evolutionists failed again BUT they must decide to either give up addressing the public or make a better thought out organized defence for evolution or geology stuff contradicting scripture. If YEC is so crazy then Ham drawing even is itself a defeat for evolutionists. Ham hammered Nye. Everyone knows that who watched. Ham is enjoying right now his success. From Canada the new year has already seen a important gain for YEC public relations. When your right your right.

You are doing what Ken did the whole debate. Make statements that are totally untrue as fact.

Ken asked for new information. Flavobacterium as many people here know evolved to be able to use nylon as a food source. The genetic information wasn’t there in the past. It didn’t just switch on. Mutations altered in the bacteria that gave it a new ability. Ken said cave fish going blind isn’t evolution but a loss of information. Well Flavobacterium ability to metabolize a compound that didn’t even exists in before 1935.

Ken also in one breath says that you can’t trust the past but in the other tries to say that creation science depends on “natural laws” not changing. He, like most creationist wants it both ways. Bill pointed out multiple times that nothing in Ken’s creation science make future predictions. They say things like “creation science predicts this thing that we already observe” which is very different from saying “Because of x we should find y in location z and it should have traits A,B and C” Then people go out and actually find it.

The whole “were you there” argument of a creationist is targeted at 6 year old or those that have an understanding of science and the scientific method understand.

Fact we observe stars and galaxies that are are further away from us then 6 thousand light years by factors of over 20,000,000 That means light from them, according to Ken, would have not only had to be over 20,000,000 times faster at some time in the past but over 20,000,000 faster for the last 6,000 years and leave no evidence that it was. For that matter light would have had to be totally different just 4,000 years because, according to the bible, there were no rainbows before the flood. Again we see no evidence of this.

Bill did a good job at pointing out that Ken wants people to believe his narrow interpretation of the bible over things we can see, touch, measure and test every day. Science didn’t loose today. Ken did.

So many points were made. however Ham made the best overall defence. These minor details don’t make the case one way or the other. The fact is that if evolution was true Nye should of made a damning good case. Instead it was superficial but what can they say. there is no scientific biological evidence for evolution. So Nye presented none. This is the biggest audience ever that heard a YEC case and I think Ham has become a science celebrity no less then Nye. Time will tell.

Robert Byers said:

there is no scientific biological evidence for evolution.

That’s incorrect, Robert Byers. There is tons of evidence.

You are mistaken, deluded, ignorant, lying, or some subset of those.

Technically, there are several orders of magnitude more items of physical evidence for evolution than there are for the Earth orbiting the Sun. Obviously, by comparison heliocentrism is a really shaky guess.

phhht said:

Robert Byers said:

Nye should paid my fellow creationists. He was clobbered tonight. Ham did a greattttttt job. for entry level to new audiences. He was cool collective, and hit great points. Nye was a decent person in a well run debate. A commandment should be DON’t debate if your on the wrong side!! YEC did so well tonight that one wishes there was a well attended debate every week.! I thought Nye failed to discredit YEC . I bet most people NEW to this discussion who watched would lean toward Ham as having made a good case for his side. Even if agreeing with him is still difficult for new people. I suspect there will be very positive results in interest and maybe trips to the museum. Evolutionists failed again BUT they must decide to either give up addressing the public or make a better thought out organized defence for evolution or geology stuff contradicting scripture. If YEC is so crazy then Ham drawing even is itself a defeat for evolutionists. Ham hammered Nye. Everyone knows that who watched. Ham is enjoying right now his success. From Canada the new year has already seen a important gain for YEC public relations. When your right your right.

But 92% at Christian Today say Bill Nye won.

They aren’t True Creationists™ like Robert.

Robert Byers said:

These minor details don’t make the case one way or the other.

Hi Robert. How big is the Milky Way? How far away is the nearest galaxy outside the Milky Way? In fact, what unit of measure do we use to describe the size of the Milky Way and the distance of other galaxies? Are these the “minor details” that you refer to?

The fact is that if evolution was true Nye should of made a damning good case.

The fact is that if creationism were true, Ham should have been able to point to some evidence other than the Bible. He couldn’t, and didn’t. There is no evidence outside the Bible for YEC.

Scott F said:

Robert Byers said:

These minor details don’t make the case one way or the other.

Hi Robert. How big is the Milky Way? How far away is the nearest galaxy outside the Milky Way? In fact, what unit of measure do we use to describe the size of the Milky Way and the distance of other galaxies? Are these the “minor details” that you refer to?

The fact is that if evolution was true Nye should of made a damning good case.

The fact is that if creationism were true, Ham should have been able to point to some evidence other than the Bible. He couldn’t, and didn’t. There is no evidence outside the Bible for YEC.

I don’t know if “scientific” Biblical creationists (YECs and OECs, as opposed to IDers) are doing it more, or I’m just paying more attention, but they seem to be “slouching towards Omphalos.” But they still try to have it both ways, pretending that (carefully mined) evidence independently “supports” their predetermined conclusion, then resorting to scripture when the going gets tough.

I strongly suspect that those Biblical creationism peddlers of the 70s and 80s who “evolved” into ID peddlers began to realize that. Unlike Ham and present-day Biblicals, however, they were afraid that too many people would catch on, and also notice the radical, irreconcilable differences between various YEC and OEC accounts. They knew they had to play “don’t ask, don’t tell” with the “what happened when” before they had to play it with “whodunit.”

While I agree with those “Commandments” I would add at least one more: “Whatever ‘kind’ of creationist you debate, make sure they acknowledge that there are other ‘kinds,’ ask them specific ‘what happened when’ questions, and demand that they support them on their own evidence, not on long-refuted ‘weaknesses’ of evolution.”

Scott F Wrote:

There is no evidence outside the Bible for YEC.

OECs claim there’s not even evidence for YEC in the Bible. Even worse for Ham et al are IDers like Michael Behe who called reading the Bible as a science book “silly.”

Frank J said:

Scott F Wrote:

There is no evidence outside the Bible for YEC.

OECs claim there’s not even evidence for YEC in the Bible. Even worse for Ham et al are IDers like Michael Behe who called reading the Bible as a science book “silly.”

Forget Behe. Even flaming evangelical Christian Pat Robertson (as reported by The Christian Science Monitor) says that creationism is “nonsense”. If even Robertson (the author of “Miracles Can Be Yours Today”, filled with “real-life modern day miracle examples and biblical insight”) says that Ham’s creationism is “nonsense”, you are way, waaaay out there beyond the loony right.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on February 4, 2014 12:35 PM.

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