I watched the Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate with great interest last week, and by the responses of many people, I was reminded of the quotation typically accredited to Joseph Goebbels which says, “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.” When it comes to Creationism and Evolutionism, only one of the two teachings can be correct. The other must be a lie. But we see people on both sides who adamantly believe the truth of their point of view. On one side or the other, someone has believed a lie. What interested me almost as much as the debate itself was people’s reactions to the debate afterward. In reading the comments on several news articles afterward, it was easy to see many who were already convinced of their position before the debate, and nothing that was said during the debate would change their minds. For this reason, many declared a winner in the debate without actually evaluated what was said by both sides. They simply chose the winner based on whom they agreed with when the debate started.
But I want to consider the actual subject of the debate, and see how each side presented their arguments. The question of the debate wasn’t about whether Creationism or Evolutionism is actually true. The question of the debate was whether Biblical Creationism is viable in today’s modern, technologically-advanced time period. In other words, can someone succeed, and even flourish, in the scientific community today while still holding to the Biblical account of a six-day Creation? The question stems from comments that Bill Nye has made in the last few years claiming that parents should not teach Creationism to their children because it will inhibit their children’s understanding of science and will cause the United States to fall behind the rest of the world in scientific achievement and innovation. When considering this question and evaluating the arguments in the debate, Ken Ham clearly and easily won the debate.
Whether one actually believes in Creationism or not, it is irrefutable that Creationists can make scientific advancements in the world. Ken Ham cited several such Creationists, including Dr. Raymond Damadian, who invented the MRI machine, Dr. Danny Faulkner, who is an expert astronomer, and Dr. Stuart Burgess, who developed a double-action worm gear required for the Envisat satellite. These men believe the Biblical account of Creation, and they have succeeded in helping make scientific advancements that have helped revolutionize their respective scientific fields. This evidence alone proves Bill Nye’s assertion wrong that Creationism restricts and holds back scientific advancement.
A second point that Ken Ham made was the direct question to Bill Nye to name one scientific advancement that could only have been developed by starting with an evolutionary viewpoint. If Creationism truly does inhibit scientific advancement and innovation, then this should be an easy way for Bill Nye to prove his claim. But he didn’t even attempt to answer the question throughout the entire debate.
A final point on the main question of the debate stems from a statement that Bill Nye made regarding nuclear medicine. After stating that Rubidium (Rb) changes to Strontium (Sr), Bill Nye made the observation that this knowledge has led to medical advancements in such areas as dealing with heart problems. He then made the statement that Kentucky should be concerned because no college in their state offers a major in nuclear medicine technology. The implication, without being directly stated, is that they are being held back by allowing or believing Creationism. But his basic assertion is completely false, because a major in nuclear medicine technology is offered in Kentucky. A radiologist who graduated from MIT and New York University wrote to Bill Nye, citing the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board website, which shows two colleges in Kentucky that offer this degree (the board’s website had not been updated recently, and only one school actually still has the program active, although two offered it in the past). Both the school’s offering of the program and this radiologist himself again prove wrong Bill Nye’s assertion that Creationism inhibits scientific advancement and innovation. Throughout the debate, the main thesis of Bill Nye’s argument was proven wrong, making Ken Ham the clear winner of the debate.
But the debate naturally brought up questions of Creationism and Evolutionism itself, and evidence was cited by each side to support his position. One point that Bill Nye repeatedly made is that evolutionists make predictions about things that they will find, and that Creationism cannot make these predictions. He repeatedly came back to this point as if it solidified his position, but in so doing, he disproved his own claim that his mind could be changed by “evidence.” Before Bill Nye ever made the claim, Ken Ham had already proven the claim wrong by showing that Creationism can in fact make predictions during his 30 minute presentation. He cited several predictions Creationism makes that can be observed in the world, and went into detail on a few of them. One that stands out in particular is the Bible’s prediction of one race, the human race. Public school textbooks in the early part of the 20th century asserted that there are five human races. This is a logical conclusion from evolution: if people evolved from lower forms of creatures, then it makes sense different groups evolved in different parts of the world, and that some groups evolved further and faster than other groups. Although racism existed in the world before then, this gave a “scientific” ground to much of the racism seen in the 20th century. So Creationism predicted one human race, and Evolutionism predicted five (or at least multiple) human races. In 2000, Dr. Craig Ventor (an evolutionist) published that the human genome had been sequenced, and that there is one human race. This is a clear example of Creationists not only making a prediction, but making a prediction that opposes Evolution, and the Creationists were proven correct. Although Bill Nye repeatedly made the claim that Creationism cannot make predictions of this type, his thesis has been proven wrong.
As Biblical Creationists, we believe in Creation because it is what the Bible teaches. We do have a presupposition when we approach the study of the origins of the earth (incidentally, evolutionists have a presupposition as well, whether they admit it or not). But a Creationist’s presuppositions do not make him anti-scientific, nor do they negate his desire to learn and make scientific advancements. Secularists and evolutionists often accuse Creationists of rejecting scientific evidence in favor of believing what the Bible teaches. Creationists start with a Biblical presupposition, but they do practice science, and to their credit, many of the scientists at Answers in Genesis have found multitudes of scientific evidence that supports the teaching of Biblical Creationism (which is why we cite their website under Additional Resources). The question is not a question of faith versus evidence, as if one needs to believe the Bible or believe the facts of science. Bill Nye himself claimed evidence would change his mind, and that if one fossil could be found “out of place” in a different layer then it could change the world. But when Ken Ham presented fossilized plants that are supposedly 45,000 years old in rocks that are supposedly 45 million years old, Bill Nye ignored the evidence. This evidence is a “game-changer,” but the one claiming to be scientific and guided by evidence rejected the evidence in favor of retaining his naturalistic worldview. As the debate made very clear, the question is not about evidence and science; both sides try to use science and evidence. The debate is about the ultimate source of authority: God’s authority or man’s authority.
Creationism does not make a person anti-scientific. If anything, Biblical Creationists should have the greatest desire to learn more about the universe that God has made, since it reveals the God that made that universe. According to their view, the best motivation a secularist can have for scientific learning is to grow his body of knowledge before he dies and passes into oblivion. As Biblical Creationists, our motivation for scientific learning is to learn more about the eternal God with whom we have the opportunity to spend eternity. That is a worthwhile goal to strive for, and that is why Creationists should be leading the scientific community into further advancements. But ultimately, our authority rests in God’s unchanging Word that has endured through the centuries.