Creationist Ham makes Christians look a ‘joke’
MUCH hype preceded a debate that many rationalists insisted never should have taken place – Ken Ham, swivel-eyed creationist loon in the one corner, Bill Nye, the Science Guy in the other.
Predictably, it did not go well for Ham. In fact, it went so badly that even America’s maddest televangelist, Pat Robertson, weighed in, begging Ham:
Not make a joke of ourselves, Let’s face it, there was a bishop [Ussher] who added up the dates listed in Genesis and he came up with the world had been around for 6,000 years. There ain’t no way that’s possible. To say that it all came about in 6,000 years is just nonsense and I think it’s time we come off of that stuff and say this isn’t possible.
Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.
According to this report by Andy Towle, Nye won the debate “by a landslide”.
Why? He presented evidence that’s hard to refute, something we can all relate to, he counted the rings on trees.
It seems abundantly plausible to anyone who has ever chopped fire wood that the single ring of a tree stump represents one year in that tree’s life. So as Ham based his entire argument on the assumption earth is only 6,000 years old, Nye showed pictures of a tree called Old Tjikko. One of the world’s largest trees – a Norway spruce located in, oddly enough, Sweden – if you count the rings you’ll find 9,550 of them.
To that, Nye asked:
How could these trees be there if there was an enormous flood 4,000 years ago?
CNN reporter Tom Foreman, who mediated, told the sold-out auditorium of about 900 people that “hundreds of thousands” were watching online. He said representatives from 70 media organisations attended the event.
Nye reminded his audience that he’s not against spirituality. He said millions of scientists find comfort in religion, but many of them can’t accept Ham’s assertions.
You don’t want to raise a generation of science students who don’t understand how we know our place in the cosmos.
During a Q&A after the formal debate, they were asked what would sway them to the other side.
Nye said “we would just need one piece of evidence” from his opponent, while Ham said nothing could persuade him that:
The word of God is not true.
Yesterday, the Huff Post’s Sean McElwee became the latest commentator to attack the debate, concluding:
Bill Nye is intensely concerned about climate change and evolution, as are we. He should therefore ally himself with sane religious leaders, rather than debate fundamentalists.