Bill Nye’s upcoming debate earns $$ for creationist organizations

Here’s yet another reason why Bill Nye shouldn’t be debating creationism with Ken Ham.

Reader Chris called my attention to the fact that the upcoming debate at Kentucky’s Creation Museum is being touted not only by Answers in Genesis, Ham’s organization, but by Kent Hovind’s separate creationist organization Creation Today.  Here’s a screenshot of the email that Chris just got from Hovind’s group (he subscribes for fun):

Bill Nye

And over at the Creation Store at Creation Today, you can preorder the DVD for only $20:

Picture 1

Note: As it says above, “The proceeds for these preorders of DVD’s [sic] and Digital Downloads will go to support Answers in Genesis. . . ” In other words, Nye’s appearance will be giving money to organizations who try to subvert the mission Nye has had all his life: science education, particularly of kids.  And you know what? I don’t even care if Nye mops the floor with Ham. Though that would be great (especially because the DVD promises to be “uncensored”), it doesn’t justify Nye making money to further Ham’s program of lying about science.  That would be, to paraphrase a sign we always see in construction zones: “A temporary victory, a permanent defeat.”

Nye may be great at what he does, but in this case he made a severe misstep, and, at least in this case, he’s not very media-savvy.

Put it this way: would you debate a creationist if the profits from sale of debate-related media all went to further creationism?

As a friend once told me who was about to debate a feminist about gender differences: “You show up, you lose.”

45 Comments

  1. Posted January 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    But you also get a goody bag with a ticket to heaven… I wonder what their overheads were for that?!?

  2. gbjames
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    sub

  3. Sastra
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Although I’ve argued that there are some possible pro-evolution benefits for Nye being allowed a platform to present evolution to Christian audiences, this financial crap is not one of them and yes, it pretty much screws the whole project. Nye was either naive (he didn’t think of or prepare for this) or foolish (he didn’t think it mattered who got the profit.)

  4. Faustus
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    The very framing of the debate is against Nye. It reminds me of questions like “have you stopped beating your wife?” -there is no response that makes you look good that doesn’t require expending many words re-phrasing. This “Uncensored Science” framing is the same type of situation. The debate starts Ham 0, Nye -10.

  5. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    They are promising that the DVD will be uncut and uncensored. That’s a good thing, if they can deliver.

    • Posted January 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Ha! If there is one thing creationists are known for, it is honesty!

      “Uncut and uncensored” my $#%^

      • Kevin Alexander
        Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        I think it means uncensored by Bill Nye.

    • Gnome
      Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      ‘uncensored’ doesn’t mean ‘unedited’. Look out. Expect it to be cut to make Nye look bad no matter how well he does.

    • Jimbo
      Posted January 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      I was hoping it would be uncut, uncensored, unedited, and uncircumcised.

    • Moarscienceplz
      Posted January 18, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      If Ken Ham puts out a DVD that appears to have him losing the debate, I’ll eat my Prius.

  6. Mal
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Sub

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      sub

  7. NewEnglandBob
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    If it is free real time on line, why would anyone buy a ticket or a DVD?

    I’ve been to NFL games live and I prefer watching at home on TV where I see it better and the food and weather is superior.

    • Posted January 20, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      My guess there’s some sort of “raise money for your church” going to be going on.

  8. penguin0302
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Hypothetical:

    With M. Nye’s recent deliberate efforts to reach/appeal to a wider audience (ie.: his open letter to the president and his appearance on Dancing With The Stars), I wonder if his strategy might be to spark the creationist debate on a national scale.

    To a certain extent, advertised “uncensored” pre-order dvd sales are basically preaching to the choir anyway. What I’m assuming is that segments (if not all) of the debate are nonetheless going to get posted on youtube and score the media’s attention with the creationists’ irrational argument exposed in all its glory. Despite the many debates already on youtube, Nye’s gamble may be to bring the discussion to the front.

    Just a thought.

  9. Posted January 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Can we be biologically honest? The creationist camp is trying to survive. We all want to survive. But, nature dictates who survives, we do not.

    We created gods, we try to control nature, and it won’t work. We are not as smart as we think we are.

    Let Bill have his talk with the crazy guy, let rhetoric tell all of us the way things are, and let us continue to be ignorant.

    Obviously atheism will win out, it just will not happen in our time. In the short time that I live, atheism is still not popular. After I die, truth will prevail. We are just bickering. We are not in control of nature.

    Truth is that which is real, and that which is real will show itself. Nothing we do or say will change that. We are just stuff in a universe of stuff.

    conflict is man-made, just like religion.

    • pacopicopiedra
      Posted January 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Biologically honest?

  10. Jesper Both Pedersen
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I agree that this takes a lot away from the reasonable aspect in debating Ham, but I’m still hoping, maybe naively, that some good will come of this debate.

    The decision is made and time will tell wheteher or not Nye has done his homework sufficiently.

  11. Bruce S. Springsteen
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Who is going to buy all this swag who isn’t *already* throwing money at Ham? Certainly not science-savvy people. As long as Ham’s fans will be blowing money on his stuff anyway, may as well have a guy talking real science in there. I still say this is a no-lose deal. Nye is no fool in public relations. We have a lot of folks inside the skeptic/atheist/science community who have no traction with the general public telling a guy with a proven record of success how to engage the people. I trust Bill.

    • me
      Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Bruce!

      Agree. Not much good has come from not engaging these people.

      They argue for a God of the Gaps at their own peril.

  12. Prof.Pedant
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    “As a friend once told me who was about to debate a feminist about gender differences: “You show up, you lose.””

    I’m not sure what to make of this remark. The analogy would seem to be that feminism is as irrational as creationism….. I hope that comparison was not intended.

    • Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      No, that’s not what I meant, nor what my friend meant. It was that the other side in this particular debate was so entrenched that you stood very little chance of “winning” if you appeared. (My friend did appear.) And actually, I mis-related the anecdote: the advice was given to my friend by someone else, telling him not to debate since there was little to gain.

    • Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      I took it to mean that if you showed up to debate a feminist, you automatically represented the other side of this debate. That would make you a jerk.

  13. Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    sub

  14. Linda Grilli Calhoun
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    “Facts don’t count.” Can you get much more irrational than that? I’d love to put that on the cover of my book, but will refrain.

    Why? I think that would make a super book cover.

    Nothing makes cockroaches run faster than daylight. L

    • Linda Grilli Calhoun
      Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Oops, sorry, wrong thread. L

  15. Posted January 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Rationality Unleashed! and commented:
    This is pretty much what I saw happening.

  16. Kevin
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Just conversing with most religious people feels like a loss, but at least there is more times now that I get the feeling that they are becoming more insecure. I like doubt. I like when people doubt.

  17. Posted January 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I don’t want to knock the discussion off topic, so feel free to nix this comment, but I had a comment on styles and pluralizing acronyms. Using an apostrophe isn’t as cut and dried as it seems. While saying “DVD’s[sic]” is perfectly fine, the mistake is actually somewhat more understandable than it may at first seem.

    Currently, even the NYT allows apostrophes for pluralizing abbreviations, as long as the abbreviations retain their periods or mix case (which DVD has NOT done): http://afterdeadline.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/13/faqs-on-style/

    It is my understanding that this exception for abbreviations and acronyms was more expansive in the past, and applied also to abbreviations without mixed case or internal periods, though style guides these days seem to have abandoned that class of exception. Indeed, I remember being instructed to use the apostrophe in all abbreviations, though it was likely advice given by a teacher who hadn’t reviewed style manuals since the 60s.

  18. Posted January 17, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    At least they can’t change the topic of the debate at the last second. When I “debated” Eric Hovind, the topic was supposed to be “How old is the earth?” They changed it on me at the very last second to, “Does God Exist?” and I should have simply refused to go through with it at that point. Months and months of preparation down the drain. At least I didn’t capitulate to his nonsensical presuppositional apologetics – but that’s about all I can say for me. I probably should have just walked out as soon as he said that I had to admit I was borrowing the Christian worldview to even talk to him. Bill Nye will be worth listening to – but I’m convinced it’s pointless to debate these people. They are dishonest to the core.

  19. Grania Spingies
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I assume that Bill Nye hopes that he might at least get through to a few people who might be open to evidence in the audience but have never heard it before.

    I just can’t imagine anyone in America doesn’t have access to Google though in this day and age. Anyone who genuinely hasn’t come across any evidence for evolution but is a fan of Answers in Genesis is ignorant by choice.

  20. Posted January 17, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Nye may have decided that this could be the only way to get the other viewpoint into the hermetically sealed education of creationists’ children.

  21. Posted January 17, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    I certainly hope that Bill Nye brings his own camera crew, because I would not trust the creationists to release an uncut video. I guess negates that my previous point.

  22. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Here is advice from Richard Dawkins to someone like Bill Nye.

    Bill Nye has to be able to score major points with a thorough discussion of radiometric dating. He should start with the concept of nuclear decay, radiation, and nuclear weapons, because even Creationists cannot doubt what occurred at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    • Posted January 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      even Creationists cannot doubt what occurred at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

      You sure about that? They manage to doubt all sorts of stuff that’s put in front of them.

      • abrotherhoodofman
        Posted January 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Christians love the H-bomb! And I’m certain they believe it works.

        I used to work at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, which has stewardship responsibilities for the nuclear stockpile of the United States, in addition to nuclear weapons research.

        The place is infested with evangelical, proselytizing Christians. My boss was one of them!

        (I do get your point, though.)

    • Jimbo
      Posted January 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Nope, here is the young-Earth creationist misinformation/propaganda machine laboring to discredit radiometric dating:

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n4/assumptions

  23. Posted January 18, 2014 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    Ask Ham if he uses the Bible to cure his illnesses? Or really believes its history lessons? A bronze age 2,000 year book for m oral teachings? Best of all Bible science?
    All lies.
    All tickets sold out in 2 minutes to ham supporters. So a balanced debate then!

  24. Posted January 18, 2014 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    Where is Ham’s peer reviewed science?

    • Moarscienceplz
      Posted January 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Ham’s “science” is from the Bible, which is the word of an infallible god, whom we know is infallible because the Bible, which is the word of an infallible god, says that the god is infallible. QED

      • Posted January 18, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Utter bollocks! 2,000 year old book is your guide. Bad history, bad morals, bad medicine etc. Used to keep people in fear, before we knew what caused lightning, tsunamis, earthquakes, illness etc. Science requires peer review after proper experiment. Bible pronounces without any of that.
        Infallible god? God is remarkably silent, and his mouthpieces can’t agree. Which god. Which religion. Which denomination?

  25. Posted January 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I assume that Ken Ham has complete control over the editing of the DVD material to, allowing him to be at his duplicitous best.

  26. David
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Bill realized that the vast majority of people will just watch the debate online for free whenever they choose. And if they want it on DVD, just burn it to DVD themselves. What profits?

    In fact I Ham will probably end up at a loss due to the money he put into his presentation.


5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  3. […] debating Ham a good idea? Biologist Jerry Coyne says no, echoing a sentiment shared by Richard Dawkins, and science writer Tyler Francke (who believes […]

  4. […] debating Ham a good idea? Biologist Jerry Coyne says no, echoing a sentiment shared by Richard Dawkins, and science writer Tyler Francke (who believes […]

  5. […] Coyne, Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago wrote, via his blog “Why Evolution is true” […]

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