Sunday, March 9, 2014

My Thoughts On The Ham / Nye Debate

Last month, Bill Nye and Ken Ham had a debate. I must say that is was quite a civilized debate. Unlike politicians, they did not resemble children fighting over a sand box.

They both had strengths and weaknesses in their arguments. Bill Nye seemed to be hung up on describing the Bible as a book written three thousand years ago. Ken Ham kept referring back to the earlier part of the debate where he explained Historical Science versus Observational Science. In certain instances Nye brought up some scientific arguments which Ham later had a chance to refute some of them.

It appeared as though Nye knew that he couldn't convince Ham so he focused on why he decided to debate in the first place as a plea to encourage more children to venture into scientific fields. He focused on the school children of Kentucky, where the debate was. It appeared insulting to the residents of Kentucky in him talking as though they didn't produce enough scientists.

While Ken Ham argued using scientific arguments he focused mainly on Biblical arguments. I remember how 25 years ago Ham would focus on scientific refutations against evolution and uniformitarianism. The past decade however, he has shifted to focusing on how evolution and an old earth view degrades society. He has also written books on the importance of Christians teaching children a strong foundation in creation before they head off to college and get corrupted by atheist professors. This focus is fine when teaching to church groups as he does quite often. However, when arguing against someone who doesn't believe in a Biblical world view it is vital to focus on the scientific refutations and then show how they support what the Bible says.

At one point in the debate, Ken Ham tried to explain the concept of catastrophic plate tectonics and mentioned how he is not well versed in that area. Naturally, John Bumgarner who has modeled the theory is.

One interesting observation I made from the debate was that at one point Nye listed a few arguments and later when Ham explained them it was as though Nye didn't hear them. For example, one of the arguments he mentioned was ice core samples going back to supposed hundreds of millennia. Naturally, Ken Ham later in the debate mentioned the Lost Squadron. While he said that they were found 250 feet below the ice after a few decades, some sources claim as deep as 268 feet. Both of these figures however can be correct if one measures to the top of the planes and the other to the bottom.

Nevertheless, towards the end of the debate Nye exclaimed that in order to convince him of a young earth Ham would have to explain and he lists his few points again. Didn't he hear anything about what Ham said concerning the Lost Squadron? It clearly indicates that the layers found in glaciers cannot be interpreted as individual years. It appears as though scientists are applying dendrochronology to glaciers. Of course it is also known that based on the climate and weather patterns of any given year, there are cases where one ring per year will not apply and it is possible for two rings to form in one year.

Overall, they both got some of their points across and not others-which is typical with all debates. Unlike politicians who are lawyers, they were discussing rather than arguing tooth and nail to get their way. If only politicians can learn from this debate.
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