By Mason McClay – Cento Writer
After watching the highly anticipated Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate, at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky,it was clear who the victor was … at least in terms of references to tangible evidence that supports a widely accepted theory.
However, after allowing myself to process the different rhetoric used on both sides, there was a significant disparity between the focus of each debater on the actual topic of the argument – whether or not either perspective is a “Viable Model of Our Origin.”
And this is where things become contradictory. Although Nye spent roughly 92% of the debate reinforcing the evidence behind the theory of evolution throughout billions of years, he did not directly assess why evolution is a more viable model of origin than Ham’s view of creationism.
Conversely, Ham spent about half of the debate explaining why creationism does not inhibit scientific innovation and should be considered just as legitimate as evolution.
This battle was one of rhetoric and focus, not scientific evidence that supports the more apparent age of the earth. In terms of persuasiveness, the aspect that truly matters in the art of debate, Nye handed over his victory and accepted defeat – without even realizing it.
Now, it is perfectly understandable to suggest that Nye believed that the creationist portion of his audience was simply lacking scientific education, compelling him to spend the program giving a middle school science lecture.
Yet he should have been less patronizing by presuming that his audience had been exposed to a modicum of evolutionary theory and the science of radiometric dating (the latter of which half of his statements were directed towards). If he had prepared his presentation with this expectation, he could have better addressed the question at hand: Which view is a better model of understanding in this day and age?
Many of us would immediately state that the one that provides scientific support is the better model; yet Nye only had one thing to say in regards to this question. “If we teach our American children creationism, they will fall behind in their scientific education, and America will subsequently fall behind as a leader in technology and the natural sciences,” Nye said. Oddly enough, Nye provided evidence for everything, except for the central topic.
And it is on this spectrum of rhetorical focus where Nye and Ham differ.
Ham opened with testimonials from a compilation of scientists, all of whom ardently believe in creationism, and all of whom have contributed significantly to scientific advancements.
He even went as far as to admit that these creationist scientists believe in molecular adaptations; they just won’t accept that these genetic modifications have “produced all of the life that we can witness today.”
In essence, one may argue that creationists (in Ham’s mind) do believe in evolution, but that its inception was 6 millennia ago. Nye presented an ingenious but convoluted anecdote about bow ties, while Ham presented a direct and legitimate reason for why his faith doesn’t prove to be an obstacle to contemporary education and development.
Certain parts of his interpretation of the Christian doctrine may make him more virtuous, some may make him less; but his argument revolves around the idea that creationism proves to have no detriments to our scientific advancements.
Nye presented little to no direct evidence as to why his view should eliminate creationism as a method of understanding the origin of the universe.