Say it ain’t so Bill Nye! Bill Nye debates Ken Ham.

So Ken Ham won’t debate Aron Ra and PZ Myers because… reasons!

He complained that the debate invitation was rude, but look how rude he was to Bill Nye…

“Bill Nye still doesn’t understand the difference between historical science and observational science — so he may be known as ‘Bill Nye the science guy’ — but he doesn’t understand science correctly,” Ken Ham wrote on Facebook. “[Bill Maher and Nye] don’t want the truth — they continue to ‘suppress the truth’ as the Bible states in Romans 1 about such people in rebellion against God.”

And incidentally he was rude to me too. But he will debate Bill Nye on his own turf the Creation Museum. What is Bill Nye thinking? Ham will have his own built in cheering section gasping at totally plausible stuff that Nye says about evolution and applauding dubious crap like this…

Ham added, “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.”

How does he still say this stuff with a straight face given the amount of evidence for evolution people keep showing him? For the people, who already want to believe in the Genesis account, his pseudoscience will sound totally plausible given that they can’t discern pseudoscience from real science.

So that is Ham’s game plan.

Give Nye some credit though, at least he agreed to a debate topic that is narrow and focused enough, so that Ham doesn’t spend the whole time riffing on how nasty atheists like Hitler are, or other emotional appeals that aren’t evidenced. That is a common creationist debate diversionary tactic if you watched the Dembski/Hitchens debate, Dembski dropped the whole Intelligent Design facade and basically talked about evangelizing Jesus and how good it made him feel. The debate question is focused on science so it should be child’s play for Nye…

“Is creation a viable model of origins?”

I know a lot of people are thinking that why should Nye give Ham this honor? Especially because of galling stuff that Ham will do with the publicity like this

… Dr. [Georgia] Purdom stated to the Christian Post, [an evolution-creation debate] “could be held at a public university, using an impartial moderator. I would think that someone as polished and charismatic as Mr. Nye would relish the opportunity to debate a creationist. In addition, since Nye will soon be hosting a new science program, I would think he would like to see the publicity generated by his participation in a major public debate.”

So he projects his reasoning for seeking publicity for his new “science” program. Reprehensible! You know already he will be lying to children and adults, and undermining science education based on what he does at the Creation Museum.

creation-museum

You know little Johnny those razor sharp teeth were just used for cracking open coconuts! If man hadn’t sinned God wouldn’t have punished the dinosaurs and all the other animals with suffering and death too.

[notice]And Ham is already dragging on Nye’s lab coat-tails. This is a quote from a site aimed at young Christians called “Relevant”(I know) titled “Bill Nye VS. Ken Ham: Welcome to the Thunderdome”…

“It’ll be a battle for the ages, as the two noted brainiacs take on the question: “Is Creation a viable model of origins?”.

Do they have a snort out loud emoticon? [/notice]

Personally, I gotta see if me and Aron can make this debate out of mostly morbid curiosity. Also, someone has to cheer for Nye, right?

Apparently, I cheesed off Ken Ham

 

I’ve even gotten comments to the effect of why can I not leave poor Ken Ham alone. All for criticizing his visit to a Texas home school conference to sell people on his supposed advantages of teaching their children Young Earth Creationism over actual science. He responded on his facebook with this challenge…

 This should make for good publicity for the Texas Homeschool conference I am speaking at August 1-3 this year.

It’s a good example of how atheists interpret ‘Freedom of Religion!’. A good illustration of their utter intolerance of those who hold views different to their anti-God religion of atheism.

I encourage as many Homeschoolers and other Christians to attend this conference and bring as many children as you can so we can teach them the truth of God’s Word beginning in Genesis. Let’s pack this out!

So I got together with Shayrah Akers on The Nones, and we invited Neeley Fluke of Secular View, who is also a secular homeschooler, and also Vic Wang a Houstonian atheist organizer for Houston Atheists, the largest atheist offline community on the planet. We brainstormed in a podcast what could be done about Ham’s spreading scientific illiteracy.  Ham responded by calling us hateful and intolerant, on his blog at Answers in Genesis. I suppose trying to drop our docs is a somehow benign act.

Here is a sample of some of his misrepresentations to his followers…

The atheist video is one of the best I’ve seen to illustrate atheists exhibiting the following traits:

  • Intolerance and arrogance

  • Hatred of biblical Christians

  • Hatred of the Bible

  • Ignorance

  • Wanting to control education and capture your kids’ hearts and minds

  • Extremism

  • Fighting against freedom of religion

  • Wanting to close down or limit biblical, Christian homeschooling

  • Seeking to control what private organizations teach

  • Desiring to control what you teach at home

  • Claim Christians are scientifically ignorant but are themselves scientifically inept

  • Sanctimoniously determining morality for themselves

  • Attempting to shape the culture according to their anti-God beliefs

He also called us “little gods”.

You have to let Ham's god do the thinking.

You have to let Ham’s god do the thinking.

Aron is going to address and rebut Ham’s accusations with me, including that he is right because he and his followers think the Bible make them right despite any and all scientific evidence. We will make a video together that will also update people on Vic’s and Houston Atheist’s efforts to organize a demonstration of just how wrong it is to teach YEC as science to children.

If you are up for a protest of Ken Ham; he will be in Texas promoting Creationism to homeschoolers

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character.  In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned.   My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. In her spare time she is also a None. Read the comment policy before posting.

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character. In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned. My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. In her spare time she is also a None. Read the comment policy before posting.

Ken Ham was asked by the Texas Home School Coalition, the most prominent home school lobby in Texas, to speak at their convention on Aug 1 through 3. While I agree with the right to home school, if it is done by parents, who are educated in the subject they are teaching, or if they aren’t, have access to certified teachers through online public schools or home school co-ops. I don’t agree with homeschooling being abused to mislead children about the science behind evolution.

I am not exactly sure why the THSC, whose stated mission is to support parental home-schooling rights, would want to invite Ham to speak at their convention.  The thought of children at the mercy of outdated pseudoscience makes me ill.  This organization must know AIG’s mission…

“to train others to develop a biblical worldview” and “to expose the bankruptcy of evolutionary ideas, and its bedfellow, a ‘millions of years old earth’ (and even older universe).”

My more cynical side thinks they do know AIG’s mission and agree with it, or he wouldn’t have been invited. My personal experience growing up as an old earth creationist in the city where this convention is being held tells me that many of THSC members most likely support him speaking there. This part of Texas once had the Revisionist Terri Leo at the helm of the State School Board.

The Texas GOP has such contorted districts that they are being disputed in the Supreme Court. It is part of a Republican effort here to gerrymander conservative districts around Houston in a desperate attempt to keep the state Red. The growing minority population is predicted to shift the state at least to purple in as little as 6 years.

More urban parts of Houston are diluted with suburban areas.

More urban parts of Houston are diluted with suburban areas.

*Edit for comparison look at this map…

 

Texas's major populated areas Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas/Fort Worth are Blue.

Texas’s major populated areas Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth are Blue.

In fact Obama carried those cities in 2012.

Politics may seem mostly unrelated to Ken Ham’s appearance to speak to avid, creationist home-schoolers in one of the most religious parts of the state. However, it does gives you a snapshot of why there is a demand for young earth creationism.

In any case, I think this is a good opportunity to protest children being indoctrinated with young earth creationism.  The family is seriously considering making a trip down there to say no to ignorance. The date is really close to Camp Quest Texas sleepover camp starting on August 4th.

*PS If you aren’t already aware Aron is trying to raise 5,000 dollars for Camp Quest Texas before two other certain known atheists. He has 24 days left, and at this time he has 1270.00 raised. His most dastardly rival is at 2810.10 raised as of now. If he defeats this guy, he will dress up like a nun and recite the Lord’s Prayer. He won’t even need to shave off his beard for realism.  Everybody wins no matter, who you donate to, because Camp Quest Texas educates children in science and critical thinking.

Morton’s Dementia

Back in the days of Usenet, one of the posters to Talk.Origins was a former creationist named Glenn Morton.  He is the author of a meme, Morton’s Demon which explained the sort of confirmation bias at work in the religious mindset.  This he had witnessed from within and without, and his story is an interesting one.  His career as a petroleum geologist forced him to an epiphany -wherein undeniable facts persistently refuted erroneous beliefs required by his prior association with dogmatic propaganda groups like the Institute for Creation Research.  During his slow transition from Young Earth Creationism to theistic evolution, there was a period where he was somehow able to understand how the earth was billions of years old Monday thru Friday, but he was still able to pretend it was only thousands of years old on weekends.  Eventually his mutually-exclusive dichotomy came into focus as an inevitable consequence of overwhelming evidence.

Empirical rationalists like myself once turned to him as an inspiring example of intellectual honesty, illustrating the importance of evidential analysis over whatever fraudulent fantasies one might prefer to believe.  My own perspective at that time was that it didn’t matter whether one believed in gods or spirits or fate; the important question was whether one would accept or reject evident truths that might challenge those beliefs.  It seems I had underestimated the extent of cognizant detriment which religion still has even in a diminished state.

My own experience with Morton was deeply disappointing to say the least.  At first he was open to share useful and interesting data with me in a very rational and intelligent manner, and I appreciated his time and knowledge very much.  Then in 2005, I invited him and two other Christian scientists to moderate a debate between me and an ‘ex-Darwinist’ now claiming to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution.  My opponent was busily courting certain members of the State Board of Education who had already become infamous for their rejection of science.  So I invited a couple of the worst ones at that time to co-moderate our debate and see which side the science really backed.  My opponent selected a 3rd moderator from another fundamentalist creationism ministry, a man who gave a face to the phrase, “bewildering inanity”.  I balanced the equation with three professional scientists, a geneticist with the human genome project, a famous paleontologist involved with Jurassic Park, and of course Glenn Morton.  All of these respected scientists were experts in their fields.  My thought was that any false claim my opponent made would be immediately refuted by at least one of them.  They were also each devout Christians, chosen in an attempt to keep the focus on the science, and not let our discussion degrade into theism vs atheism.

Sadly that attempt failed with my own selected moderators turning against me instantly.   The geneticist dropped out at the onset when my opponent’s mod accused my chosen mods of not being ‘true’ Christians.  The paleontologist (who was also a Pentecostal preacher) told me initially that creationists were simply ‘bigots’.  Yet he ignored everything that was being said by either side, and instead used my forum -at my invitation- to soap-box his own bigotry against atheists.

Morton did the same -only worse.  Turns out he hates atheists, HATES us simply because we are atheist -even though he was once very nearly atheist himself.  That is until he found some way to rationalize his continued belief, -something I couldn’t do, and wouldn’t do as a matter of honor.  How does Morton justify his unreasonable hatred of atheists?  By accusing us of being bigoted.  Theism seems to thrive on irony and projection.

So during our debate, he openly criticized me with complete contempt.  I had the impression that he was negotiating support of my opponent behind the scenes, because Morton revealed that he didn’t care how accurate the claims of either side actually were.  To Hell with education, facts be damned; he said he just didn’t want an atheist to win a debate against a Christian.  That’s how little accuracy or honesty matter whenever they confront religious biases.

To prove my point, he has done it again.  On my 50th birthday, (coincidentally) Glenn Morton deleted all his files from his own web-page.  His explanation, ‘Why I left Young-Earth Creationism‘ is still available on other websites, but no longer on his own.  His explanation for ‘Why I took my creation web pages down‘ is a disorienting decent into madness.  In it there are many lines of cascading failure, including this gem:

“I watched the leftist party vote 3 times to drop God and Jerusalem and then watched their leaders steal that election on national TV and everyone knows that election was stolen.”

Wow.

Sorry Glenn, but there is no ‘leftist party’.  Many normally conservative registered Republicans voted Democratic this time either because they didn’t want to be associated with religious insanity, or because they didn’t want to be ruled by theocracy, or they voted for a host of other socially, environmentally, or financially conscious reasons that might have nothing to do with religion.  Nobody, NOBODY voted to “drop God’ or Jerusalem.  As for ‘stealing’ the election, according to Global Research, all the vote-stealing machines were owned by Republicans, if not by the Romneys specifically.   So maybe we don’t all really ‘know’ what Morton obviously doesn’t know either.

Worst of all, he considers it acceptable to teach children alleged facts which we can all prove -and HE can prove- are certainly wrong.  He says religion has a right to be wrong, and that means it’s OK to lie to children in the guise of ‘teaching’ them.  He says creationism is factually wrong, and a detriment to his religion, but he still prefers that to atheists NOT indoctrinating other people’s children.  He says that offering only an actual factual education instead is somehow tantamount to a totalitarian forced conformity.

(shakes head in wide-eyed bewilderment).

It occurs to me that Glenn Morton’s notoriety -and all the respect he has ever rightfully earned- was based on a single honest reflection, a period of clarity -which his religion has since found a way to retard and reverse; much the pity.