Australian creationist, Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum in the US, has debated American Bill Nye, “the Science Guy”, on creationism and science today, as millions around the world live streamed it to their living rooms, classrooms and work computers.
The debate, streamed from the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky trended globally on Facebook and Twitter today. In an update just before the debate, Ham wrote on his blog that over 10,000 churches, schools, colleges and other groups were planning to stream the debate, while over 70 media outlets were in attendance, including The New Yorker, Al Jazeera, US TV stations ABC and NBC, and Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald.
USA Today predicted that more than one million people were live streaming the debate.
The debate, moderated by CNN correspondent Tom Foreman, is centred on the question: ‘Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?’
Bill Nye, widely known in America as a scientist, educator, author, and host of long-running educational TV show Bill Nye the Science Guy, was questioned by many of his supporters as to why he agreed to the debate, and accepted the invitation to the Creation Museum, a place dedicated to promoting a Young Earth creationist explanation of the origins of the universe.
“In short, I decided to participate in the debate because I felt it would draw attention to the importance of science education here in the United States,” he writes on the CNN Religion blog.
“It seems to me that Ham is a fundamentalist. Around the world there are billions of people, who embrace the facts and process of modern science, and they enjoy their faith. By all accounts, their faith enriches their lives. These people have no conflict with their faith and science. Ham is unique in this regard.”
For Ham, the debate presented an opportunity to “help counter the general censorship against creationists’ view of origins.”
In his opening remarks during the debate, Ham said, “I believe there’s a gross misrepresentation in our culture. We are seeing people being indoctrinated to believe that creationists can’t be scientists. I believe it’s all about secularists hijacking the word ‘scientist’.”
“Our public schools arbitrarily define science as explaining the world by natural processes alone. In essence, a religion of naturalism is being imposed on millions of students. They need to be taught the real nature of science, including its limitations,” he wrote prior to the debate, also on the CNN Belief blog.
While Ham’s views in no way represent the views of all Christians (for example, John Dickson, from the Centre For Public Christianity has written previously that the theory is on the margins of biological science, just as the ‘Jesus-never-lived hypothesis is in historical scholarship), the Answers To Genesis organisation and materials are extremely popular.
The Creation Museum has seen millions of visitors since its opening two years ago, and there are future plans to spend $60 million building a theme park based on Noah’s Ark, which will include an ark built to biblical dimensions.More