The Ken Ham — Bill Nye debate, media feedback

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2014-02-12: Ken Ham on Facebook: Ken Ham / Bill Nye Word Clouds.

2014-02-09: Debapriya Chatterjee: Despite Creationism Claiming Votes, Evolution Emerges as Winner.

    By the end of the Nye-Ham Debate, creationism may have won more votes in the audience, but scientific evolution clearly emerged as the winner. One of the prime reasons that skeptics passed this verdict was Bill Nye “The Science Guy” insisting that people must inculcate an interest in scientific investigation – not as an end in itself but as a means to improve lives ecologically, economically and technologically.

2014-02-09: Karl Giberson: Ken Ham: The Making of An American Religious Huckster.

    The Ken Ham phenomenon is uniquely American. Creationism exists largely as an American export in other countries, and I am bombarded with inquiries when I speak on this topic in Europe. European scholars find American creationism incomprehensible. How in the world can an Australian schoolteacher with a modest education create an organization like Answers in Genesis, with a $20 million annual budget? And raise $27 million to build a creation museum? And become one of the most influential educators in the country? The answer lies in the unique and remarkable influences of two of the major shapers of American culture: Martin Luther and King George III.

2014-02-8: :// David A. DeWitt, Ph.D., Director, Center for Creation Studies, Liberty University: Does the Creation Model Make Predictions? Absolutely!

    As Christians, we should have the courage and conviction to believe that what the Bible says about creation is true. Then, when we encounter evidence that at first appears to support evolution, we will not doubt the Scripture. Instead, we will press on to figure out the flaws in the evolutionary argument. There have been numerous times in my life when I have been confronted with evidence for evolution that seemed really compelling, but if I struggled with it and waited, eventually I (or someone else) found the flaw. This reinforces my faith in the God who made the universe.

2014-02-07: Institute for Creation Research: Brian Thomas: Nye vs. Ham Debate: No True Scotsman

    The fact that Ham presented specific examples of fully credentialed scientists who adopted the Bible’s creation account of history had no effect on Nye, who continued to insist that scientists are evolutionists—by definition. The “Science Guy” insulated his assertion from scrutiny by defining “scientific” to suit his needs.

2014-02-06 Dan Harris, Bill Nye Goes Head to Head With Ken Ham Over Creation Debate. Nightline anchor Dan Harris visits the creation museum to cover this heated debate.

    Reporter: When it was over, no minds were changed. We are more alike than we are different. […] Science may have spoken. But the debate rages on.

2014-02-06 Olaf Simons, The historian’s outcry over the Ken Ham – Bill Nye debate on creationism.

    Ham might be the jovial man who loves the sciences as much as his opponent – the sciences have no reason to love him for that because he remains a person who is telling the world that they are part of huge conspiracy. This is not a debate about individuals who believe in God the good and olden way. This is if anything a debate about a massive movement of unpleasant social and political implications. We can handle this movement with astonishment and utter disbelief, as Nye did yesterday, but this will indeed only strengthen this movement with its peculiar confrontational power.

2014-02-05 Jerry A. Coyne (a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago): Who won the big evolution/creation debate?

    I hope that, in the future, Nye is not so emboldened by his success in this debate that he starts constantly debating creationists. Eventually he will run into one that is not as Ham-handed as Ham, and he’ll lose badly. Moreover, as I’ve said repeatedly, debates are not the place to resolve scientific issues, and only give credibility to creationists. Would it be useful for a famous geologist to debate a flat-earther on the topic “Is the earth round?”

2014-02-05 Mark Joseph Stern, Science vs. Fiction, Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate evolution at the Creation Museum.

    When you make up your own rules, you can always win the game—and no one is better at making up rules than Ken Ham. In the course of constructing his now-crumbling creationist empire, Ham has created an alternate reality in which humans hunted dinosaurs to extinction a few thousand years ago after peacefully using them for transport and companionship. Anyone who says otherwise—that is, anyone who accepts basic science—is just spreading the devil’s lies. (That includes me.)

2014-02-05 Michael Schulson, The Bill Nye-Ken Ham Debate Was a Nightmare for Science

    Ham won this debate months ago, when Nye agreed to participate […]. Sure, if you listened closely, what Ham was saying made absolutely no scientific sense. But debate is a format of impressions, not facts. Ham sounded like a reasonable human being, loosely speaking, and that’s what mattered. […] when it comes to guys like Ken Ham, you can’t really win. If you refuse to debate them, they claim to be censored. If you agree to debate them, you give them a public platform on which to argue that, yep, they’re being censored. Better not to engage at all, at least directly.

2014-02-05 Stephanie Pappas, Bill Nye’s Creationism Debate Not a Total Disaster, Scientists Say

    “Success, as much as there could be in this situation, came when the scripted part was over and Nye put his heart, soul and guts into his direct reactions to Ham’s,” said Holly Dunsworth, an anthropologist at the University of Rhode Island. “Before that, it just looked like two men throwing as much stuff at the audience as they could.”

2014-02-05 The Morning Heresy at Paul Fidalgo, The End is Nye

    Overall, I think the event was a net win for us, but I’ll expound upon that in some other forum.

2014-02-05 Hemant Mehta, Was the Creationism Debate Worth It?

    I thought Nye’s science was valid but probably over a lot of viewers’ heads. The overload of information was probably not the sort of thing that would convince many Creationists to change their minds — but Ham did nothing to convince anyone to accept Creationism. If anything, he gave away the game. He admitted what those of us who follow this stuff already knew: Creationism is purely faith-based, not at all based on scientific evidence

2014-02-05 Sarah Jones in Wall, The Great Debate: Ham And Nye Square Off Over Evolution
    Children deserve access to a sound scientific education. Nye offers that. Ham, as I can testify, does not. It’s time those children in the audience had their questions answered with facts, not ideology, but that won’t happen if Ham and his allies succeed in their fight for mainstream acceptance.

2014-02-05 Jason Rosenhaus, Debating Creationists

    Against [Nye’s] litany of facts, Ham had little to offer. His own presentation mentioned a few scientific points at the beginning, and trotted out a handful of bona fide scientists who share his strange views, but mostly it was all religion and the Bible. […] But I do think there was a clear loser in the debate: the intelligent design crowd. This was the biggest event in the evolution vs. creationism battle in quite some time, and it was good ol’ young-Earth creationism that was on display. Once you factor in the extensive online audience and the other media coverage, the message everyone will have received is that anti-evolutionism is just equivalent to Bible-thumping obscurantism.

2014-02-05 Ken Ham to Dr. Georgia Purdom with his look back at the debate.

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2014-02-05 proflikesubstance, Engaging in creationism vs. evolution debates is anti-science

    The problem is that it is not a debate. A debate is an argument of two valid sides. It’s the use of facts to make your option sound more appealing than the other person’s. But the entire exercise is futile when one side has facts and the other side has only unsubstantiated belief. It’s not even that creationists are bringing a knife to a gun fight, it’s that they’re showing up empty handed imagining they have a nuclear bomb.

2014-02-05 Tom Foreman, CNN, What I learned moderating the creation/evolution debate. CNN’s Tom Foreman moderated the “creation debate” Tuesday night in Petersburg, Kentucky, between Bill “the Science Guy” Nye and creationist Ken Ham.

    It was impressive to see how much interest the event generated. A riser with a phalanx of production cameras sat in the middle of the room, 70 or so journalists were clustered to one side of the stage, and security officers seemed to be all over the place. I was told that metal detectors were being used to screen the audience, and I saw what I presume were explosive-sniffing dogs quietly working the hallways. […] By the time the debate was done, a fierce winter storm had settled in. I waded through the Creation Museum parking lot ankle deep in snow, with sleet pelting down. And I think it was a worthwhile evening – a debate humankind was created to have, or to which we evolved.

2014-02-04 Chris Taylor, Yes, the Creation Debate Was Worthwhile

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant, Justice Brandeis famously said. That’s what we saw on stage Tuesday: the sunlight of science. Not science as some fundamentalists have portrayed it, a shadowy secular conspiracy to deny the supernatural and shut God out of the universe, but science as it really is: repeatable, verifiable, predictable and backed by peer-reviewed experiments. […] Nye’s performance was far from perfect (personally, I would much rather have seen Neil deGrasse Tyson take Nye’s role). His jokes fell flat. He got a few details wrong, such as the date when astronomers discovered that the universe’s expansion is irreversible. He got drawn into debates over Noah’s Ark and how many kinds of creatures might have been aboard. But at the same time, he presented the best possible image of a scientist: joyful, thoughtful and packed with facts. He urged the audience to explore the world, to keep an open mind and to find explanations for themselves.

2014-02-04 Josh Rosenau, How Bill Nye Won the Debate

    It was a strong presentation, and one that Ken Ham had a hard time addressing. Ham’s responses were scattershot, too fast, and often confused. He obsessed over technical details of his model, denied that it was indeed his model, and fell back on his standard presentation spiel, whether or not the spiel related to anything Nye had said. How did Nye manage to do so well? A lifetime of experience and a passionate love of science surely played important parts, but I like to think this group helped a lot, too.

2014-02-04 Rebecca Savastio Bill Nye Ken Ham Debate In Depth Recap Synopsis and Who Won

    In the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate, the answer to those asking who won is: it’s clear Nye emerged the winner because he relied on a large amount of fossil and scientific evidence. Ham relied almost exclusively on the Bible and provided no fossil or scientific evidence whatsoever. As predicted, the debate was friendly and completely civil. In addition to this in depth synopsis and recap, the debate will be available at for a few days, and on YouTube.

2014-02-04 Nye’s Debate Victory Lap on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell – TV interview with Nye after the debate. Lord Rothschild: The victory was that Nye kept his composure.

2014-02-04 PZ Myers, Live-blogging the Nye-Ham spectacle

    Nye’s opening statement: he’s got five minutes. Why is he going on and on about bow ties? […] Bow ties were worrisome, but he’s off to a good start.

2014-02-04 CNN: Piers Morgan interviews Ham and Nye after the debate

    Morgan links the climate change denial movement to the evolution denial movement, Ham offers interesting subtexts where he affirms that we have observation “going a long way back”.

2014-02-04 Sean McElwee with Abigail Salvatore, Bill Nye and Ken Ham Should Not Debate Tonight

    Bill Nye and Ken Ham will be debating creationism on Feb. 4, and it’s a bad idea for both scientists and Christians. Ham’s young-earth creationism represents the distinct tendency of American Christian fundamentalists to reject science and use their religion to defend economic ideas, environmental degradation and anti-science extremism. But these views aren’t actually inherent in Christianity — they’ve been imposed on the biblical text by politically motivated and theologically inept readers. The solution is not anti-theism but better theological and scientific awareness.

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