On January 2nd, Answers in Genesis announced they will be hosting a debate on February 4th, 2014 at 7PM between Bill Nye "The Science Guy," the former host of a popular children's science program on PBS and Ken Ham, founder of answersingenesis.org and the Creation Museum located in Petersburg, KY. The agreed topic of the debate will be:
"Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”
Bill will be advocating the position of evolution as a scientific and authoritative explanation of human origins, while Ken will be defending the Biblical creation account of origins found in the book of Genesis. Quoting Ken, "I hope to show Mr. Nye and our debate audience that observational science confirms the scientific accuracy of the Genesis account of origins, not evolution." To be clear, Ken is not referring to micro evolution and variation within species, which is observable science, but the theory of macro evolution as the only explanation of human origins.
Here at Reason for the Faith, we believe it is highly disingenuous to call this a debate between science and religion: this is clearly a debate between two differing worldviews on the topic of origins. One claims that "In the beginning God..." while the other claims in the beginning matter + chance + time. There are only three basic options when it comes to origins: either everything came from nothing, an Intelligent Designer created, or physical matter is eternal. The first defies logic and is not scientific -- even if there was an "energy" that is not nothing, the second is logical but is not scientific, the last also defies logic and is philosophically self-defeating (infinite regress lacking a "first cause"). So, you tell us which makes the most logical sense.
The bottom line is both views make claims which cannot be scientifically tested or verified. In short, both views require significant elements of faith. Pseudo-scientists are those who attempt to call theories and consensus of the alleged majority evidence and fact, but in elementary school, we learn that theories which cannot be verified by observable scientific evidence cannot be categorized as a scientific fact. So why is macro-evolution exempted? Not all of reality is scientifically verifiable, so when that is the case, don't call it science. If everyone were being honest, they would acknowledge that much of how a person chooses to interpret observational, verifiable scientific data (that which can be tested, verified, and repeated in a predictable way) is shaped by that person's worldview. If you don't want to believe in God, you're unlikely to see any evidence for Him.
It is highly improbable that this debate will move the position of either debater, but it may challenge those who view the debate, to reconsider the reliability, evidence, and legitimacy of both worldviews. Tickets to the live debate hosted at the Creation Museum went on sale on January 6th and sold out within ~2 minutes for the 900 seat lecture hall. Based on recent social media posts, AiG is apparently looking into other venue options based on the overwhelming interest in attendance; a live streaming option looks like it will also be available. Reason for the Faith will watch the debate with interest and post our opinion of the dialog, which we hope proves to be highly respectful and well represented by both the debaters.
Are you planning to watch the debate? Is this type of event helpful? We hope to hear your thoughts as this event unfolds in the upcoming weeks.