What You Need to Know About the Bill Nye vs Ken Ham Creation Debate

Bill Nye vs Ken Ham Debate on Creation

This past week, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” debated with Ken Ham over the following question: Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era? In essence, the question asked if scientific evidence as a whole points to the biblical creation account of the origin of life.

If you did not get to see the debate, here is the video. It is about three hours long. (The main part of the debate is worth watching if you do not want to sit through the entire debate. I recommend to watch at least the two 30-minute presentations and the four 5-minute rebuttal sessions.)

Now that you’ve seen the debate, I want to help you think through some things.

First, some of the highlights which stood out to me:

  • Bill Nye – Says evolution and the Big Bang theory is the more probable explanation concerning the origin of life on earth.
    • Fossils and trees date past 6000 years
    • Fossils would be expected to mix in cementing layers in a struggle for life during a world wide flood
    • The ark was smaller than the Titanic and the largest wooden ship built on record sunk because of problems with the pliability of wood
    • Unsure of the origin of actual intelligence
    • Questions a literal rendering of using the English translation of an ancient text to determine the age of the earth
  • Ken Ham – Says the earth was created in exactly six days as we know them today and the earth is only near 6000 years old
    • Distinguishes between an observational science (scientific method and data collection) and a historical science (interpreting the past events through that data)
    • Wants his theory of creation taught in textbooks as it gives an explanation for the origin of intelligence among other things
    • Supports a worldwide flood
    • Biblical genealogies give an exact date of the age of the earth
    • Kinds of animals are grouped from a base species (from one original dog comes all different breeds of dogs). Same idea supports all humankind (all humans came from Adam and Eve).

Now, Ken Ham and Bill Nye stood diametrically opposed to each other. But what happens if I am a Christian and I tend to agree with Bill Nye’s evidence and logic?

You can search the net and find all kinds of commentary pointed towards the debate. Some say Ken Ham made Christians look foolish by not having enough evidence to argue his points. Some say Ken Ham crushed Bill Nye, and that everything clearly points to support Ken Ham’s creation model. All the while, here’s the kicker:

I don’t believe Ken Ham is entirely correct. Neither do I believe Bill Nye is completely correct. While I agree with some points from each of their presentations, I cannot pit myself on one side or the other.

So yes, I am a Christian and I am not knocking down Bill Nye in fanatic support of Ken Ham. Here’s why:

Within the biblical account of creation there are two classifications of theories explaining how the earth and life began. One classification is called Old Earth, while the other is aptly named New Earth.

New Earth

This classifies the theory which Ken Ham supports in his debate against Bill Nye. This theory mentions much of what has already been covered: literal 6 day creation, literal years in genealogies date the earth near 6,000 years old, flood literally covered entire world.

Old Earth

This classification of theories was left out of the debate almost entirely. One theory within this classification explains that creation could have transpired in 6 periods of time rather than 6 literal days as we know them.

Another theory explains that the writer of the account could have been writing from his vantage point which seemed to be the entire earth. Nonetheless, in reality his point of view could have been limited to the areas surrounding the middle east. (After all, we thought the earth was flat for the longest time right.) The original writer would not have had satellite images, nor an understanding of how large the earth is – let alone the slightest clue that the earth is round. This explanation from a vantage point is referred to as phenomenal (related to observation) language.

Therefore, if everything from the author’s vantage point was flooded, he could have easily said “the entire world has flooded,” and not been misrepresenting the truth. This gives room for a theory of a localized flood in the middle east (It also provides a cohesive thought to address Bill Nye’s issue with the ark). The original author’s language was not meant to be scientific, as all of this transpired before the scientific age.

What You Need to Take Away From The Bill Nye vs Ken Ham Debate on Creation

Bill Nye debated Ken Ham on one theory explaining how the earth was created. The range of theories and classifications from Christian scholars are just that: theories. They can in essence get thrown in with the evolution theory and classified as such. Therefore, instead of one theory or the other being taught in public schools, why are not all the theories being taught which attempt to explain how the earth began?

In addition, the Bible is not a science book, nor is it meant to be read as such. It is a theological book, explaining God and showing his communication with mankind throughout history into eternity.

Therefore, whether or not the earth is 6000 years old or six billion years old does not ultimately matter. While one type of creation theory may be easier to debate against evolutionist supporters than another, in the end they are both debating theories. The date of the earth or the extent of the flood does not change the common truths presented about God dealing with mankind. God still created the universe. He still gives intelligence and life to humankind. He still sent judgement in the form of a flood. He still sent a way of salvation and communication with mankind through Noah and his family. 

So if you’re a Christian and you agree with some of what Bill Nye said – no biggie. You’re not wrong nor any less of a Christian. Same goes if you disagreed with some of what Ken Ham said – you’re not any less of a Christian.

And if you’re not a Christian, what everything boils down to is this recorded piece of history: God entered the world through Jesus Christ to bring salvation to mankind by sacrificing himself on the cross. He rose from the dead to prove his claims and did not die again, but ascended into heaven. He will return to the earth to establish his eternal kingdom and rule over all.

  • Sister of a Geek

    I respectfully beg to differ.

    The reason the “Old Earth” theory
    was left entirely out of the debate was due largely in part to its
    massive flaws. Attempting to debate creation from the point of view
    of intelligent design using the “Old Earth” model would be like
    attempting to argue that the sky is really leopard print and the eye
    just sees it as blue.

    For example, if you believe the theory
    that the writer was not able to view the entire earth and therefore
    could only state that the earth as he knew it had flooded implies
    that the Bible is NOT the only infallible and authoritative written
    word of GOD (for God could see the entirety of the earth) but only a
    book of stories written from the viewpoint of the author. In that
    case the Bible is no more useful as a guide to life, the universe and
    everything any more than Essops Fables or Grimm’s Fairytales.
    Furthermore that would make the God of the Bible a liar. As stated
    in the Bible, God gave Noah a Rainbow to promise that He (God) would
    never flood the earth again. If the flood were localized there would
    be no local flooding when hurricanes, tsunamis, storms, winter thaws,
    etc. Equally as interesting there is no evidence that the humans of
    the Bible believed the world to be flat. Pythagoras (c. 570 BC –
    c. 495 BC) taught the world was sphere in shape and that the earth
    revolved around the sun. As a matter of fact the flat earth theory
    flourished between 1870 & 1920 whereas those in the middle ages
    subscribed to the theory of the Ancient Greeks that the world was in
    fact a sphere.

    There are numerous statements in the
    Bible that were years (at times more than thousands of years) before
    their time. Such as discussion of walking among the valleys of the
    sea in Job. Valleys in the sea were not discovered until
    oceanographers in the 1900′s confirmed not only canyons but mountains
    under water. Genesis mentions the springs of the deep yet ocean
    springs were not discovered until 1977. Psalms talks about ocean
    currents but they were not “discovered” until the 1800′s and
    Matthew Maury. Job discussing Orion, Arcturus and Pleiades is only
    about 3,000 before his (Job’s) time. Just think about how advanced
    science could be had people read their Bibles with a literal mind
    instead of having to prove everything all over again.

    In summery, how can you justify
    questioning the reliably of God’s word (doubting six literal days or
    creation, global flooding, etc) yet still believe that Christ
    actually rose from the dead? Wouldn’t resurrection be harder to
    reconcile to logic than God’s ability to divinely inspire the Bible?
    Or that God has divine knowledge of the cosmos that He created? If
    you are correct in there being no reason wouldn’t it be prudent to
    take the whole Bible on faith instead of applying logic to parts and
    faith to others?

    • http://www.BradAndres.com/ Brad Andres

      I am mot questioning the infallibility of the Bible as being God insired. I am questioning our interpretation of the Bible.

      At one point the Bible wad used by Christians to defend and support slavery. All from a misunderstanding of the mrssage of Scripture.

      In borrowing from Ken Ham’s historical science, we make educated assumptions on what occured in the past with supporting data that we interpret to mean one thing or another.

      And concerning Jesus, the Gospels are a historical record of his life, death, nd resurrection. Historical fact is quite logical.

      I am in no way saying Genesis is not inspired by God. However, I am saying we need to be careful on pushing ideas of science into theology. God communicated with us to show us his plan, not so we can say we know for certain the earth is 6,000 or six billion years old. He sent His word to bring us back to Him and show us His future glory.

      • Michael Redmon

        Brad,
        you are a great writer and you hit the nail on the proverbial head with this article. We don’t tell children that babies come from a womans private parts….we tell them they come from Mommys belly. 3,000 years ago I really doubt that humans could even wrap their heads around evolution and the concept of millions of years. Also, I don’t speak ancient Hebrew but I have seen a couple of different English translations of Genesis. Specifically the translation of ‘day” and of “evening” and “morning” having possibly different meanings. Anytime you go from one language to another, especially across many years, there is something lost in translation. I am learning Spanish and VAMOS and VAMANOS would both be translated literally as “We are going” but in reality they have a different meaning.
        Good up the good work!

        • http://www.BradAndres.com/ Brad Andres

          Thanks Mike.
          I agree that things aren’t always as easy or black and white as they might seem. Sometimes things are a little harder to understand and sometimes things are left tk stay unknown until the end of the age when Jesus returns to set up his kingdom for eternity.