Ignorance, proud and happy »« Live-blogging the Nye-Ham spectacle

Shall we decide who won the #creationdebate with a poll?

Sure, why not. Especially since it’s a landslide even before I start pharyngulating it.

Who won the debate tonight?

Ken Ham 9%

Bill Nye 91%

That’s a poll on Christian Today — so even the faithful saw Ham’s undeniable defeat.

This result makes it even more interesting that Answers in Genesis has committed to selling boxloads of DVDs. What are they going to do if this effort is ultimately anti-evangelical?

Comments

  1. says

    Nye might’ve missed a few chances and might’ve been talking to a hostile, stacked audience, but I think his passion, knowledge and humble excitement in the absence of knowledge (i.e. “Nobody knows – so let’s find out!”) showed through. I think he won a few hearts and minds, while Ken’s constant blathering about the Bible (“There’s a book out that explains that …” [I do not think that means what you think it means!]) and refusal (or inability) to answer some simple questions or respond to a couple of hypotheticals might’ve worked against him somewhat. I mean, seriously, when you won’t even entertain a hypothetical and dismiss it with a “there could never be anything that could make me think I was wrong,” people notice the evasion. And then they ask questions!

    And Ham redefining “literally” for his own purpose? Literally the stupidest dodge ever.

  2. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    I think you’ll be glad to say you were wrong about Nye’s decision to debate the Ham.

  3. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    Please take a screen capture: Creationists or right-wing news sites have been known to swap the questions around to change the results.

  4. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    Sorry to keep popping in like this, but the debate: all 2 hours and 45 minutes of it, is on YouTube at the moment. Perhaps someone could download it for historical purposes.

  5. sapperdon says

    Wasn’t much on tonight’s news about this. I wonder if it will get more publicity tomorrow. On one page I was reading, there were reportedly some 500,000 viewers tonight.

  6. unclefrogy says

    Bill did what he has been doing for 20 years he was talking on stage but he was talking on TV he was introducing science and the love of science simply. The thing people forget is he is comfortable up there, he is comfortable in his skin is not hostel nor threatening in any way and he is so fucking nice he can’t be made to be a demon from hell sent to cause our damnation.
    He has been talking to people who do not know much about any this for years.
    He was talking to the camera and for the camera. to the people at home they were asked again and again to think just like they were smart people.
    there are smart just ignorant.
    yea Bill Nye! The Science Guy!!!

    uncle frogy

  7. Dan Simon says

    The rather more scientific poll (Gallup 2012) found that 46% of Americans believe that “God created humans in present form,” 32% believe that “Humans evolved with God guiding,” and 15% believe that “Humans evolved and God had no part.”

    Harris poll numbers (Dec 2013) were somewhat more encouraging.

    While a strong majority (74%) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years as just over four in five (82%) expressed a belief in God in 2005, 2007 and 2009…Belief in Darwin’s theory of evolution, however, while well below levels recorded for belief in God, miracles and heaven, is up in comparison to 2005 findings (47%, up from 42%).

    I wonder if this debate changed any of these numbers one iota.

  8. johnlee says

    Phrase least likely to be heard from Ken Ham:
    “Bill Nye won the debate and I now realize I was wrong.”

  9. strangerinastrangeland says

    Our “friends” at Conservapedia (I go there so that you don´t have to) Andy Schlafy & Conservative have decided that Ham won the debate because he was “clear and informative” and Bill Nye did not claim to know all the answers to the big questions. What I find incredibly funny is the calm and restrained tone of their posts, which is so different from their normal rambling if they think they are in the lead in an argument. Also, they criticise the form of the debate (not enough interaction with the audience) and think that this was probably the last big debate of this topic in their lifetime. No other commenter has yet bothered/dared/or was allowed to comment on this topic on the talk page of Conservapedia.

    My take on this response from the reality-challenged: They saw that their guy lost the argument by a landslide and were not happy. Now they try to persuade themselves and their ilk that things were not that bad while trying to prevent this to happen again by saying that another debate in the future is not necessary.

  10. Moggie says

    ChasCPeterson:

    92%-8% with over 10000 votes. On a site called Christian Today.

    Christian today, but what tomorrow?
    I think it’s worth remembering, though, that there are substantial differences in creationist belief between different Christian sects. In the US, an evangelical protestant is much more likely than a catholic to be an evolution-denier.

  11. cubist says

    Sastra was right: Ham did hand his carefully-selected audience into the care of a science-friendly person, and he won’t get them back in the same condition of ignorance that they were in before the ‘debate’.

  12. Matt G says

    I’m glad Nye did well, but as the saying goes, creationism wins the moment you agree to a debate. They haven’t earned the right to a booth in the marketplace of ideas.

  13. ludicrous says

    Ham doesn’t understand the effectiveness of ‘good cop/bad cop’. Unfortunately for him he debated good cop.

    He sees science as an enemy and didn’t anticipate Nye’s nice guy appeal.

  14. fulcrumx says

    That debate was one of the most disgusting displays of Apple product placement. Another putrid example of how the devil is still using the apple to spread the truth.

  15. says

    Ham stuck to his usual shtick and didn’t (couldn’t?) answer any of Nye’s questions. Nye was beautifully condescending and insistent on those answers. Nye’s a damn good debater.

  16. peterhuestis says

    So Nye got his speaker’s fee, and Hamm got his free publicity and DVD sales. Everybody wins! Well, other than the viewers and the entire concept of logical debate. FROWNY FACE.

  17. says

    Ham certainly did a lot of damage to “creation science” thin veneer of scientific credibility with his bible-waving! Deep rifts! Deeeeeeeeeeep rifts among the derpheads!

  18. Punky Pine says

    I was about to watch it but then read this: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/05/the-bill-nye-ken-ham-debate-was-a-nightmare-for-science.html

    I have never read anything on the daily beast before so I’ve no clue how seriously I should take their writers but I couldn’t bring myself to watch the “debate” knowing the clown Ken Ham may have crushed Bill Nye. I just couldn’t bear it.

    But I’m hearing from you folks that that Bill did just fine. Maybe I’ll watch it after all.

  19. tfkreference says

    I was shocked by Ham’s one-dimensional responses to the Q&A. At least Catholics appeal to both the bible and tradition when they argue (authority and antiquity/popularity) – which gives them more room to move the goalposts. Nye was smart to stick to an indisputably true one-dimensional cririique (3,000 years of material, translated into American English), before moving on to his points about the wonder and value of science.

  20. says

    @25: I (and the multitude assembled in my living room) thought Nye did very well, and the Daily Beast guy is being overly negative. While not without a few stumbles and wrong turns of his own, Nye called out Ham’s bullshit at a number of key points.

    However, I have a hell of a lot of background on the evo/cre dispute, so when Nye starts talking about sex and parasites and prediction and so on, it’s all familiar territory to me, and I understand how it all fits together. I really can’t judge how it would appear to a naive observer. So I have to grant the DB article a possible point there.

  21. Wylann says

    I may have to listen to this at some point, but I’ll probably skip over the large blocks of Ham’s schtick for the sake of my blood pressure.

    For those of you who watched it, do you think the audio only will give the general feel of it, or was there a lot of visual cues and mannerisms from one or the other (or both) that make it worth watching with video?

  22. Sastra says

    Just read the Daily Beast article in which the author admits that he ‘knew’ what was going to happen and by golly it did. Not impressive.

    But his main point disturbs me:

    creationism is a political issue, not a scientific one, and throwing around scientific facts won’t dissuade those who don’t accept scientific authority in the first place.

    It bothers me because it’s partly right — but therefore completely wrong. It’s an absolute and a demand that we stop trying to reason with the Other Side. They can’t be reasoned with. They can’t be persuaded. They can’t change their minds. Nothing we do which addresses them as intelligent, thoughtful people capable of adapting will work because for all intents and purposes they AREN’T. They’re all alike and a monolithic block of Stupid.

    Our only weapon is “politics.” And politics will only work if we are in the majority and can use force on the intractable. Demonize the enemy, abandon reason, and use strongarm tactics: this is just being practical. It’s the wise, pragmatic position as seen by the wise and pragmatic. How foolish of Nye, to think he had a chance. And how perceptive to know that he lost before he began.

    Bullshit. I’m tired of this trope. It’s a fiercely anti-humanist position which purports that the only way to defend science and reason is to stop trying to promote either and engage instead in a power struggle with an amorphous blob of The Other. And I don’t like it, I don’t buy it, and I damn well don’t think it’s the “only” thing that could work.

    I bet the author of that piece also thinks that ‘New Atheism” is doomed because hey, religion is here to stay. Shallow, smug, and sinister.

  23. jesus says

    I suspect that this whole thing was put on because AiG is hurting for cash from sinking so much into that go-nowhere Ark Park.

  24. bortedwards says

    RE: the Christianity Today poll, I imagine that the more ‘normal’ christian majority are as embarrassed by Ham as us atheists are (if not more so for misrepresenting their religion), so the only thing that surprises me is that the vocal minority haven’t banded together to scream it down.

    I was thoroughly impressed with Nye, he could have been more aggressive in trying to keep Ham to account when he evaded questions and maybe illustrated some of his points with more relatable analogies for the lay, but his turns of phrase, ability to divorce creationists from the rest of the world and obvious deep love for science have made me a new fan. Congratulations to him.

  25. says

    I’m a bit skeptical about the poll results since I’ve got a brother who once enjoyed breaking poorly secured internet polls for teh lulz.

    But if these results are accurate for the target audience of Christian Today, I’d take the safe bet that they’re evaluating rhetorical performance, rather than who was right. It’s indicting Ham for doing a bad job of presenting himself. I suppose the tricky part is having good pro-science performances often enough for people to realize there’s no good way to present Creationism. That’s part of how I got into being a skeptic: I’d read forum threads and saw enough “spiritual” people floundering that I eventually realized there weren’t any good examples.

  26. sanityinspector says

    Many if not most Christians are embarrassed by young earth creationism, and would happily agree that Nye won the debate. I know I do.

  27. Rich Woods says

    @Bronze Dog #34:

    I’m a bit skeptical about the poll results since I’ve got a brother who once enjoyed breaking poorly secured internet polls for teh lulz.

    We’re all a bit sceptical about polls around here…

  28. Rich Woods says

    @Sastra #30:

    Our only weapon is “politics.” And politics will only work if we are in the majority and can use force on the intractable. Demonize the enemy, abandon reason, and use strongarm tactics: this is just being practical. It’s the wise, pragmatic position as seen by the wise and pragmatic. How foolish of Nye, to think he had a chance. And how perceptive to know that he lost before he began.

    Bullshit. I’m tired of this trope.

    Well, quite. I think the politics angle is the short-term approach, the one which attempts a quick (but necessarily incomplete) win, and I don’t think it holds any real or long-lasting value. I think we have time to let the facts speak for themselves. I think we have time before — to borrow an image — the jackboot can grind down on our faces forever.

    Leave the short-termist tactic to the politicians. Encourage the Fabian strategy.

  29. anuran says

    Friendly bit of advice to the Hamster:

    When Pat Robertson says you’re making a joke of yourself and

    “We’ve got to be realistic,” he concluded, and admit “that the dating of Bishop Ussher just doesn’t comport with anything that is found in science and you can’t just totally deny the geological formations that are out there.”

    you know you have a First Class ticket to Crazytown.

  30. Rich Woods says

    @sanityinspector:

    Are you Alan Coren? My au pair wants to know.

    @everyone else:

    Apologies for the highly obscure derail.

  31. Rich Woods says

    @anuran #38:

    Following your link, we get this from Pat Robertson to Ken Ham:

    “Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

    Phew! Where do you start…?

    But at least good ol’ Pat has trans-Pond moral support from the Infallible wing of the Twat Party:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ukip-chairman-advocated-termination-of-downs-syndrome-foetuses-and-breaking-from-the-uk-by-force-claims-tory-mp-9110147.html

    (I’m afraid you’ll have to read almost to the end to get the specific Pat connection. Well, one of them at least.)

  32. says

    The most revolting example of how creationists can twist the results of this: I give you Kevin Swanson, homeschooling ‘quiverful’ father of 5 kids and batshit insane pastor, exalting over Ken Ham’s “clear win” in the debate: Generations with Vision Ham on Nye.

    Beware: it’s an audio link to 36 minutes of punchable stupidity, but it’s the best example of willful misreading I can think of.

  33. Christoph Burschka says

    Well, there’s an objective metric of sorts. Out of the debaters who actually entered the debate ready to be convinced by evidence (by their own admission), how many did Ken convince? Zero out of one. Bill? All of them (still zero).

  34. grumpyoldfart says

    I think there is something shonky about that poll. The percentages have remained steady at 8% and 92% since the number of votes hit 8,000 – and the count is now at 41,000.

  35. sapperdon says

    @ Grumpyoldfart #44

    At around 35,000 it changed for a short period to 93%/7% for a short period.

  36. anuran says

    Last desperate defense of the Gospel-Grinder stuck in a hole:

    “He’s the Devil! The Devil I tell you!”

    Yep, the Hamster went there. He compared Bill Nye to the Serpent in Gan Eden dispensing fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.

  37. David Marjanović says

    Everybody wins! Well, other than the viewers and the entire concept of logical debate.

    Debate is whatcha put on de hook to catch de fish.

    Seriously, what concept of logical debate?

    And what is it with all these people who whine about “undeserved credibility”? Shove it up your honorable asses, you Klingons! Pointing out that ridiculous nonsense is ridiculous nonsense may be a waste of time in some or many cases, but I can’t see how it could ever be outright counterproductive as long as it – like in this case – actually works.

    Yep, the Hamster went there. He compared Bill Nye to the Serpent in Gan Eden dispensing fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.

    Sort of intriguing. I wonder if Satanism will get a sudden boost in membership.

  38. simonstephenson says

    I agree with Neil Rickert; what matters here is the effect this will have on young people. They are the ones who will carry this debate forward and I cannot imagine that many of them thought creationism was a winner on the night.
    And of course it is nice to know that someone out there knows all about The Sanity Inspector. Alan Coren died a few years ago but his son Giles continues the good work.

  39. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    The Ham is such a goof. The serpent was telling the truth, and the god was trying to prevent knowledge.

  40. Firstname Lastname says

    Wow, this is ridiculous. The fact that it is on a Christian website does not mean that only Christians voted. What do you think, Christian Today has each user take a long, timed quiz about scripture and Christianity before they get on the website and vote, just to be sure they really are a Christian? No. That would be ridiculous. Anyone can get on Christian Today and vote in the poll, Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic- anyone. This isn’t a poll limited to Christians, it’s just a poll being held on a Christian website. That means that anyone can get on this website and vote however many times they want to for their preferred debater.

  41. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That means that anyone can get on this website and vote however many times they want to for their preferred debater.

    If you are trying to say internet polls are meaningless, that has been the conclusion here for years. As we so amply demonstrate.

  42. Firstname Lastname says

    If you are trying to say internet polls are meaningless, that has been the conclusion here for years. As we so amply demonstrate.

    That’s exactly what I’m trying to say. Which is why it’s rather foolish that a website (such as this) would use “evidence” to support their claim (such as an internet poll) that anyone can see is unreliable.