I read Bill Nye’s defence of why he chose to engage in a debate with Ken Ham. While I think the biggest risk was that a Bill Nye defeat would somehow restart the old “Creationist Wars”, his arguments put him squarely in the victory camp.
But his defence also makes sense, even though Ken Ham may have profited monetarily, Bill Nye probably sowed the seeds of sufficient doubt to encourage children and indeed parents to start questioning the applied theology of creationism.
But the thing is? Ken Ham was always given legitimacy among the various right wing Christian groups, many of whom control school and education boards. Not challenging him made him the sole voice to these people. People like Zack Koplin and Bill Nye drag the conversation back to the same battles we fought in the 90s because we may have to fight them again. Ken Ham probably expected to win this debate but having been left alone for a while those skills atrophied. While we aren’t inundated with huge numbers of creationists the dialogue of creationism never stopped. In not engaging we may have given them the space to say that they won and win over more parents.
Bill Nye’s enthusiasm for science seems to have made him do this. This is not exactly the best idea but since when does a passion for science curtail itself from trying to educate others?
So I say? Good on Bill Nye. The Science Guy reaches another group of people.