Last night we witnessed the Rumble in the Primordial Jungle. Or maybe it was the 6000 year old Jungle.
Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis and the founder of the Creation Museum went tete a tete with Bill Nye, who will forever be known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, over the topic of “Is creation a viable model of origin?”
Great question. Only problem is, I don’t think we ever got to that issue. But before we get to that, let’s recap:
Each presenter was given a 5 minute introduction then a 30 minute slot to present their case. This is where Ham had his best moments.
He said that the word “science” has been hijacked. It is now used synonymously with naturalism. Naturalism is a world view and definitely not science.
Ham also kept his 30 minute portion mostly in the world of the philosophical which seemed to be a good strategy since all of creation science cannot be boiled into such a tiny presentation window.
Ham also included that the word “evolution” has been hijacked to mean “molecules to man” evolution. He discussed evolution on smaller, more easily observable levels.
He also added that since we were not present at the beginning then both positions require faith in evidence.
For Nye’s initial 30 minutes he spent a lot of the time disputing the Flood. Rock formations and animals buried within the formations suggest they were not covered in a flood of any kind.
He also said that the account of Noah would be difficult because it was 8 unskilled workers building a wooden ship and maintaining 14,000 animals. He compared it to a ship called the Wyoming that was built by experts, manned by 14 trained crew members, and who all drowned because the ship itself twisted every which way in the open sea that let water in and caused the boat to sink.
One point Nye repeatedly made was that science is about predicting things with accuracy. Natural laws that allow you to predict. Ham’s model doesn’t.
Perhaps one of the best points Nye made was to ask Ham why there are old earth creationists and not every Christian is a young earth creationist.
That was the issue I was hoping wouldn’t come up. I feared it would move the debate away from creationism as a larger topic.
I wanted to see the debate be about creation as a viable model. Ham’s initial statement was brilliant for that. But when it came to the open forum and more give and take debating it became more about attacking/defending “Ham’s Creation Model” as Nye called it.
This kept it from the point of the debate – is creation viable?
As I mentioned in a post from August, there are lots of God fearing, Christ following Christians who are young earth creationists. There are also lots of God fearing, Christ following old earth creationists.
I wished at this point an Old Testament scholar could have been a part of the debate. Especially after Ham admitted some parts of the Bible are poetry and Nye rebutted “So you take some literally and some poetically? That is unsettling.” An Old Testament scholar could have really contributed here.
Nye, though he didn’t personally believe in Intelligent Design (which is often used when someone will admit a creator but stop short of admitting it is God) he did mention it was possible.
Ham did a good job of presenting science and God as working together and the case for Creation…until he became overly defensive of young earth creationism.
Nye made a compelling case to debunk young earth creationism, didn’t deny creationism as a possibility and that was supposed to be the point of the debate. Nye made a few bold theological claims (after mentioning he wasn’t a theologian) that would have been refuted had he been debating a theologian and not a scientist.
So who won?
Conversations about creation.
If you’d like to read some more on Ham’s belief as well as alternative theories to young earth creationism and some theology on how to interpret Genesis, here are a few resources.
The Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor Michigan has a series on science and faith. Transcripts and audio podcasts are available for the series here.
Answers in Genesis (Ham’s website on Young Earth Creationism)
Another alternative is called theistic evolution (God used evolution) and you can read about it here.
Genesis Unbound by Dr. John Sailhamer
The Lost World of Genesis One by Dr. John Walton
Creation and Time by Dr. Hugh Ross (an older book, but it came highly recommended)
Redeeming Science by Vern S. Poythress
Dr. John Walton on Genesis through ancient eyes
Dr. William Lane Craig “Young Earth Creationism is an Embarrassment”
Finally, the debate will remain live for several days and you can check it out below.