Thursday, February 6, 2014

All Around the Web - Ken Ham/Bill Nye Debate

First up is the debate itself.

Albert Mohler - Bill Nye’s Reasonable Man—The Central Worldview Clash of the Ham-Nye Debate
Last night’s debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham attracted a huge international audience and no shortage of controversy—even before it began. Bill Nye, whose main media presence is as “The Science Guy,” and Ken Ham, co-founder of Answers in Genesis and founder of the Creation Museum, squared off in a true debate over one of the most important questions that the human mind can contemplate. That is no small achievement.

I enjoyed a front row seat at the debate, which took place even as a major winter storm raged outside, dumping considerable amounts of snow and ice and causing what the local police announced as a “Class Two” weather emergency. Inside the Creation Museum there was quite enough heat, and the debate took place without a hitch. Thankfully, it also took place without acrimony.

The initial controversy about the debate centered in criticism of Bill Nye for even accepting the invitation. Many evolutionary scientists, such as Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne, refuse to debate the issue, believing that any public debate offers legitimacy to those who deny evolution. Nye was criticized by many leading evolutionists, who argued publicly that nothing good could come of the debate.

Albert Mohler - The Briefing 02-05-14 | For a full treatment
of the debate that goes beyond his commentary, this is the place to go. Mohler talks about the debate for about 20 minutes and raises a lot of important points.

Denny Burk - Brief reflections on the creation debate
1. Ken Ham has an unwavering commitment to biblical authority and to the gospel. I admire that about him and do believe him to represent the most compelling position. I am grateful that he is out there fighting the good fight. He’s one of the good guys.

2. Bill Nye believes that scientific innovation will die unless creationists abandon their beliefs and embrace Bill Nye’s view of science. That is why he treats creationists as a hindrance to the public good who must be stopped. The only problem with this belief is that it is empirically and verifiably false. As Ken Ham demonstrated, there have been and are many great scientists who have innovated from within a theistic/Christian worldview. Nye’s public service announcements warning Americans about creationists were therefore more condescending than helpful. Regardless of your view of creationism, Ken Ham showed that there is no opposition between Christianity and scientific innovation.

3. Bill Nye came across as a more impressive speaker than Ken Ham. Nye has a delivery and presentation style that many will find very compelling. I’d be interested to see if anyone actually scored the debate on points. It seemed like Nye probably won on that measurement.

4. Ken Ham was cordial and winsome throughout. Bill Nye was combative and condescending throughout. I doubt that Ham won many converts through his cordiality, and I’m certain that Nye didn’t win any with his condescension.

5. I doubt that either of these men persuaded anyone to switch their view one way or the other. If you watched this debate as a naturalist, you probably weren’t challenged to change that worldview. Likewise, if you watched the debate as a theist, there was nothing here to undermine your worldview either.

6. Bill Nye does not appear to have even a rudimentary understanding of the Bible or theology. When he ventured into questions of hermeneutics or biblical interpretation, he was way out of his depth.

The Blaze - Ken Ham Reflects on His Debate With Bill Nye and Explains Why ‘Every Christian Should Teach Their Kid About Evolution’
Creationist Ken Ham is feeling “drained” after his nearly three-hour debate with “Science Guy” Bill Nye Tuesday night, though he said he’s encouraged that the high-profile face-off sparked worldwide interest in further exploring and contesting evolutionary theory.

“I think what goes over in your mind is, ‘Should I have said that, should I have said this? I wish I wouldn’t have said that,’” Ham reflected to TheBlaze after the debate.

But aside from normal self-assessments about his performance, Ham said he’s encouraged overall by the widespread attention the subject is getting.

“You know what, you just type in ‘Ken Ham, ‘Bill Nye’ on the Internet — people all over the world just blogged and eyeballs and chat rooms all talking about this issue,” he said. “I think the one great thing that can come out of this is it causes people to discuss these issues.”

Ham, the head of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., cited a husband and wife who were followed by a local news outlet as they went to the debate. The two, who embrace evolution, said afterward that while their views hadn’t changed on the matter, hearing Ham made them want to further explore the issue.

“That to me — if that happened — I say the debate is worth it,” he said.

Tom Foreman - What I learned moderating the 'creation debate'
It says something when a person shows up at the Creation Museum wearing a top that says, "This is my atheist T-shirt."

At least that's what I think it said. I saw it in a blur as she passed in the parking lot; a thirtysomething with a young boy in tow, striding through the bitter winds of Kentucky to visit a place that proclaims those who deny the existence of God are dead wrong.

I thought about chasing her down to ask her what had compelled her to come, but it would have been a foolish question.

She was here to see a fight. And I was here to play the referee, to moderate a debate on a question that has raged for well over a century: Was humankind created by God in a rush of divine power, or did we evolve over time with only nature to take the credit?

Or as the organizers put it: "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era?"

Marvin Olasky - ‘Most evangelical colleges teach evolution’
With a big conference of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities coming up next week one situation discussed in the hallways may be what Karl Giberson revealed last month at The Daily Beast: “Most evangelical colleges teach evolution, albeit quietly, carefully, and often tentatively, although there are exceptions.” 

Giberson, for many years a science professor at CCCU-member Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass., described how he insinuated evolution in his classroom, with one clear result: “[M]ost of the 50 percent of my students who rejected evolution at the beginning of my course accepted it by the end. My colleagues at other evangelical colleges report similar experiences.” 

Giberson didn’t like it that his evolution advocacy couldn’t be open: “Those of us teaching evolution at evangelical colleges are made to feel as if we have this subversive secret we must whisper quietly in our students’ ears: ‘Hey, did you know that Adam and Eve were not the first humans and never even existed?’”

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