Expectations: exceeded.

Since I previously expressed reservations about Bill Nye’s wisdom in agreeing to debate Ken Ham at the Creation Spewseum, I think I owe him a follow-up: he blew me away. My pessimistic assessment was wrong, and he totally pwned the opposition. Nor am I alone in this assessment. Dana Hunter has this to say:

I thought this would be a fiasco when I found out he’d agreed to debate Ken at Ken’s own Creation Museum, with only Answers in Genesis putting out DVDs, and when it seemed like only creationists were getting in the doors. And I’m still not happy this stunt will pull in some dollars for that epic fail of an organization. But to go on the creationists’ own turf, and still hand Ken Ham his ass in a sling, that’s some serious good-for-science there.


Check out the full article for a bunch of good links and good reading.

Go Science!


  1. rapiddominance says

    I think even the Discovery Institute might agree. I read an article on their homepage (discovery.org) yesterday criticizing his tactical approach to the debate and mentioning 5 areas that Hamm should have touched on but failed to do so.

    From what I’ve heard, the ID crowd was already at odds with Answers in Genesis beforehand–but I’m not sure about the details. Pharyngula wrote something about the conflict between the 2 sides, and that’s the only source I have on this matter.

  2. ericcollier says

    I must be living in an alternate universe. I thought Nye was appalling. Example: Ham rattled off a couple of creationist chestnuts about how samples of rocks were sent–by AIG operatives–to a lab for radiometric dating, which yielded ridiculously inaccurate ages. Everyone knows this is a common creationist ploy, where the lab is duped into applying the wrong radiometiric, yielding an age that is off by millions/billions of years. Nye seemed unaware of this, offering some lame excuse (“Well, what could have happened was…”) instead.
    Ham, of course, made the bigger ass of himself, but the millions of cereationists who watched seemed to have failed to notice this.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      There’s always room for improvement, I guess. But on the other hand, I have a bunch of conservative Christian friends (creationists) who were totally pumped before the debate, and they’ve all been strikingly quiet in its aftermath. I was expecting a lot more blinders-on, we’re-number-one cheerleading, and instead I’m only hearing a few limited attempts at damage control. To me, that seems pretty telling.

      • rapiddominance says

        Sorry about coming in late AGAIN on this one, but I didn’t realize there had been further conversation. So, I’ll understand if I get no response.

        About the debate: I didn’t watch it. However, my question to you guys is, “Did Ham’s body language, at any time, indicate that he was rattled during the debate.”

        I ask because, in the documentary “Religulous”, Bill Maher seemed to get Ham visibly upset (especially at the end of the interview). Granted, that film was probably highly edited (as “No Intelligence Allowed” likely was also), but I also understand that Ham KNEW he lost that confrontation and went into damage control mode. Not knowing Ham very well, he does strike me as a little “gittery”. Then again, I get gittery at times, too, so who am I to talk?

        Just to be clear, I’m asking from the perspective of a christian.

      • rapiddominance says

        In agreement with you, Deacon, having read conversation from both sides on the debate, it seems like the confrontation was a DEBACLE for creationism. Anyhow, a proposition that I would like to see is a written debate from the more intelligent “leaders” of both sides in which ample time for analysis is offered for a thoughtful response. As far as you know, are there any examples I might find on the net where this has been done?

        (By the way, I have examined SOME of the content you provided on the Cambrian Explosion. I also checked the ID perspective. To be honest, it would probably take me 6 months to 2 years to be able to provide thoughtful, educated dialogue on the subject rather than “toss-ups”.)

  3. zenbo says

    I have to agree with the Deacon, Bill may have flubbed some of the questions that a PZ would have hit out of the park but his approach hit exactly the right notes for that particular crowd. Christians tend to see scientists as arrogant whereas Bill’s “gee whiz” approach seemed to create interest. ( What happened to the audience-packing we all feared? The only applause I noticed was for Bill, with even a few “Bill! Bill!” chants at the end.)
    Apparently Mr. Nye had the good sense to go to the NCSE for a coaching session before the debate- a wise move and one that gives me hope if he continues to accept these kinds of challenges. As much as I love watching
    Pz Meyers or Aron Ra eviscerate their opponents, I think Bill Nye, with further NCSE assistance perhaps, may be as effective a weapon when directed at the right audience.

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