Debate postmortem I: Christian Science Monitor discusses creationist reaction

Today I’ll post four short postmortem analyses of the Nye/Ham debate on evolution vs. creationism, all from different venues.

I talked several times to Sudeshna Chowdhury, a science writer at the Christian Science Monitor who produced a postmortem analysis of the Big Debate in her paper: “Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham: Who won?” While it quotes Professor Ceiling Cat, you already know that stuff, and most of the article’s contents also summarize what you already know if you watched or followed the debate. What interested me, however, was Ms. Chowdhury’s interviews with creationists, which reveal a schism in that movement as well as a nonconvincing rationalization by the faithful of Ham’s performance.

One scientific correction first: Chowdhury quotes me about the ways to check the accuracy of radiometric dating:

“The debate was Ham’s to win and he lost. And the debate was Nye’s to lose and he won,” Dr. Coyne told the Monitor. Nye missed some great opportunities and if he was on top of his game, he could have really called Mr. Ham out, he says.

For example – Ham is simply wrong in saying that there’s no way to test whether radiometric dating is accurate. “We have ways to cross check radiometric dating,” he says.

Independent checks on radiometric dating include studies of coral deposits, plate tectonics, the periodic reversal of the Earth’s magnetic fields, and the slowing of the Earth’s rotation.

This is all true, and there are many other ways as well (for a cogent summary of the various methods, go here).  But I was referring specifically to the isochron method, whereby different minerals in the same igneous rock serve not only as a cross-check on each other’s dates (and invariably agree), but also take into account the possibility that different minerals were formed with different amount of parent isotopes (these “criticisms” were mentioned by Ham in the debate). For a description of the isochron analysis, go here.  It’s actually quite a clever method, and not hard to understand. Remember that radiometric dating for old samples is done almost entirely using igneous rocks, while fossils form in sedimentary rocks, so fossils are usually dated using adjacent igneous material.

But that aside, here are a few statement from Chowdhury’s piece. First, Michael Behe is predictably butthurt that Ham ignored Intelligent Design, many of whose advocates don’t agree with Ham’s Biblical literalism or belief in a young earth:

“I was upset that both the parties kept talking on about the age of the Earth than on the elegance and complexities of life,” says Michael J. Behe, a biology professor at Lehigh University and an advocate of Intelligent Design, a form of creationism that rejects a literal biblical view of origins, but asserts that there exist ‘irreducibly complex’ biological structures, such as protein transport mechanisms, that point to their creation by an intelligent entity. Dr. Behe is one of the few proponents of this view to hold a position in the biology department of an accredited university in the United States.

“I think neither of them did too well,” he said.

Poor Behe! He and his views were not publicized. I would love to see someone like Behe debate someone like Ham. Now wouldn’t it be fascinating to see two forms of creationists fighting about whose interpretation of the Bible was correct (Behe, of course, would try to leave the Bible out of it, for IDer pretend to be agnostic about the identity of the Great Designer)? But I doubt we’ll ever see such a debate, for the old- and young-earth creationists have a greater interest in promoting their common belief in God and Jesus than in squabbling about who created what and when.

One preacher even suggests that Ham threw the debate out of a Jesus-inspired love of his opponent. Now how many of you believe that?:

Ezra Byer, blogging for the website Powerline Kingdom Ministries, a site that seeks to [Use] the Power of Media to Display Jesus, Develop Disciples, and Deepen Lives” argued that Ham lost the debate in the narrow sense, by failing to provide compelling factual reasons for why he held is views, but won it in a larger sense by raising awareness of biblical creationism, emphasizing the importance of a 6,000-year-old Earth, and preaching the Gospel to a large audience.

Byer suspects that Ham may have even thrown the game on purpose. He writes: ” As I watched Mr. Ham’s mannerisms, you could sense a tremendous Spirit about him. He was gracious and the power of God showed through his life. There were multiple times I believed he could have hammered Nye on some of his inconsistencies but in my opinion chose not to.”

God softened Pharaoh’s heart!!

Finally, there’s some undiluted criticism of Ham from his fellow religionists (Don Boys, described as a “strong, fundamental Baptist preacher who believes that the Word of God will produce character in people who hear and obey its teachings,” is probably a Biblical literalist):

Even those who thought Ham won the debate say the Creation Museum founder could have done much better. Don Boys, the author of “The God Haters: Shallow Scholars, Silly Scientists, Pagan Preachers, and Embattled Evolutionists Declare War on Christians!” [exclamation point in original] said Ham won but didn’t hit a “grand slam.” He criticized Ham for getting drawn into a discussion about the precise age of the Earth and the construction of Noah’s Ark. Still, writes Dr. Boys, “this was not a Scopes Trial, 2014. Ken Ham was far more informed than William Jennings Bryan.”

The problem is that Ham could hardly have avoided being drawn into such a discussion, given that he was supposed to be defending his model of origins, which is literalist. How do you do that without mentioning a young eEarth and Noah’s ark as the mechanism for species preservation and a source of ancestors for post-Ark “microevolution”?

As for Ken Ham being far more informed than William Jennings Bryan, that’s only the case because science has raised more facts that Ham has to sidestep.  Bryan, in fact, wasn’t a young-earth creationist (he waffled on the issue at Dayton), making him less extreme in that respect than is Ham.

79 Comments

  1. Kevin
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Poor, butthurt Behe. Poor, proofless, belief-sodden man who wishes for a romantic dream that has no implications to our universe.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Behe had a chance to air his views in Harrisburg, PA in 2005. Didn’t go so well for him. He coulda been a contender.

      • eric
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Ironically, that chance puts him one up on numerous other famous creationists, such as Stephen Meyer and William Dembski, because Behe actually showed up.

        I suspect that, among IDers whining “why oh why won’t they debate ID,” there are very few of them who would actually participate in a fair debate. Most would bow out. But maybe Behe would.

        • Sastra
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          I suspect that the IDiot’s Delight would be a panel debate similar to what happens in political forums. That way the Darwinists could be on one side … the Young Earth Creationists on the other — and in the center, the middle position between the extremes: Intelligent Design!

          Not too much God; not no God at all; just enough God!!!

          ID really, really wants to replace theistic evolution as the Golden Middle of Reasonable Moderation among the intellectuals.

          • eric
            Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

            Actually I think they’d look on that with horror, because they might be forced to argue against YECists. Please Sastra, oh please, won’t you think of the big tent!

          • Tulse
            Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

            just enough God

            Psst! Don’t use the “G” word in public! Say something like “it could be aliens”!

            • Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

              Or GOB! (Or was it ground-up beans?)

              /@

              • Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

                That’s it!

                Jesus is a falafel!

                By the gods, man, you’ve finally solved the mystery of the ages!

                b&

              • Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

                Well, it’s obvious: Jesus is a Middle-Eastern dish . . . um . . .

                /@

              • Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

                …best served with a nice chianti?

                b&

              • Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

                It’d make communion more interesting.

                /@

              • Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think Christians are constitutionally capable of breaking out the good wine for their teatime with Jesus fantasies. All I’ve ever seen backstage at gigs where communion was served was dreck that I wouldn’t use to clean battery terminals.

                “More interesting” is a very low bar, indeed.

                b&

            • Sastra
              Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

              Good point. But make sure that the word “Designer” (with a capital-D) is used more often than “it could be aliens” or you’ll be appealing to the mainstream of the UFO community.

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

            So god isn’t white haired after all; he has goldilocks.

            • Sastra
              Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

              Ha!

        • colnago80
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          Behe has refused to debate Abbie Smith on the evolution of HIV on the grounds that she was a mere graduate student. Well she’s now Dr. Abbie Smith and no longer a graduate student so how about it Mike?

      • Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Yes, “breathtaking inanity” is his legacy from that.

  2. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I would love to see someone like Behe debate someone like Ham. Now wouldn’t it be fascinating to see two forms of creationists fighting about whose interpretation of the Bible was correct (Behe, of course, would try to leave the Bible out of it, for IDer pretend to be abnostic about the identity of the Great Designer)? But I doubt we’ll ever see such a debate, for the old- and young-earth creationists have a greater interest in promoting their common belief in God and Jesus than in squabbling about who created what and when.

    I recently read The Creationists by Ronald L. Numbers. The Creationist movement of the 20th century was indeed divided by YEC vs. OEC and also doctrinally; Seventh Day Adventists like George McCready Price vs. Evangelicals like Henry Morris. Morris ‘borrowed’ many of McCready Price’s arguments without ginving credit.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      I would like to see debates between Christian sects as well. I think if this were to happen, you’d see further alignment between liberal Christians and atheists? Liberal Christians and atheists tend to agree on the majority of issues (gay rights, abortion, euthanasia) but there are still some that just can’t get past the god stuff.

      Further, it would be a nice divide & conquer and could really be our own “Wedge” as they would expand a lot of energy fighting amongst themselves instead of bothering secular folk.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Ugh. Ignore the question mark & replace “expand” with “expend”. Must’ve been a Freudian Slip since I’m eating lunch.

      • stuartcoyle
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        I’d rather not see debates between Christian sects. They tend to end up as long nasty wars.

        • microraptor
          Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:13 am | Permalink

          I’d rather see the “liberal” Christians take on the batshit insane extremists once in a while than keep spouting the same touchy-feely enabler garbage about how they’re entitled to their beliefs whenever the extremists try to put yet another religious display up in a public school or pass a law outlawing gay marriage or abortions.

          • microraptor
            Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:15 am | Permalink

            Okay, I’m not sure where I was headed with that post as a reply to stuarcoyle, which is a definite indication that I’m posting past my bed time.

            Professor Ceiling Cat, would you mind taking down both of my posts on account of my having no idea what I’m talking about?

  3. Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Still can’t believe The Other Guy has some scientists on his side, why would a scientist believe in creationism? anyway, their necessity of showing their degrees is lame.

    • Greg Esres
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Don’t know whom he had, but typically creationist scientists are people who got their science degrees only to provide credibility for their creationist views.

    • Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      But note that most of them were *technologists*. Engineers, for example: and the MRI guy is a *technologist*. A scientist discovered nuclear magnetic resonance; a technologist designed a machine to use it; there’s a big difference.

      • Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        And Bill Nye the Science Guy is an aeronautical engineer I don’t think he’d want to raise that issue . . .

        /@

        • Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          True, but he didn’t claim to be a scientist exactly, where as Ham claimed his technologists colleagues as scientists.

      • eric
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        I think thats a bit unfair to the experimentalists. EO Lawrence invented the cyclotron, but the operating principles (charged partcles turn in magnetic fields, you can accelerate them, etc.) were known well beforhand. Was he a scientist or a mere technologist? I’d be proud to call him a scientist, and I’d think it a bit elitist to say he wasn’t. IMO converting ideas into working hardware can be tough, intellectual, scientific work.

        • Kevin
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          Similarly, but different, Michelson-Morley had spectra in 1895 that no one could account for until 1947, when Lamb measured a shift that was predicted by Schwinger, Tomonaga, Feynman (and a tiny bit Dyson) only a few years earlier (ca 1945).

          Science and technology and engineering are much more closely related than people know (even a lot of scientists). How experiments really being or end is a very interesting story. And who are the main players: scientist, engineers, technicians, money-movers, politicians, etc….not all are inconsequential.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:55 am | Permalink

            I’d say that leading-edge engineering blends into science. For example James Watt, who we would regard as clearly an engineer, but in his time was sufficiently regarded as a scientist to have the unit of power named after him. Or Henri Giffard, inventor of the exhaust steam injector which was fitted to half the steam locomotives in the world, and which used exhaust steam at maybe 15 psi to pump water into a boiler at 200 – 300 psi with no moving parts – a dazzling and counter-intuitive example of sophisticated thermodynamics in practical use.
            Or in the opposite direction, take the scientists at Los Alamos who – other than the leaders – were mostly (I would claim) doing advanced engineering.

            Of course the term ‘engineer’ (like ‘scientist’) has become so misused we can all think of ‘engineers’ and ‘scientists’ who are just going-by-the-numbers hacks. Quite aside from those who aren’t engineers or scientists at all but are just the janitor with a fancy title…

        • Posted February 7, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          I’ve written a paper defending the idea that there’s three categories, partially for this reason: basic science, which tries to find truth regardless of application or usefulness, applied science, which tries to find or winnow to get *significant* truths for use and application, and technology, which builds or creates systems (including in the broad sense social, etc.) for use. The same person can wear the three hats at different times. And this does not suggest that technology is harder or easier than either science branch.

  4. francis
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    //

    • gbjames
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      sub

  5. TJR
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    The idea that Ham “threw” the debate is very funny. Was he under orders from a shady asian betting syndicate?

    Is he the Hansie Cronje of creationism?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      He appeared to be very out of sorts from what I could read from his body language and way of speech too. I think he underestimated Nye. Maybe we’re to thank for that — good on us. :)

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that is pretty funny, if only unintentionally.

      Especially in light of responses like the one here, in which a modern, oh-so-easygoing christian moans that “Ken Ham Just Carried The Entire Jesus Movement Backwards.”

      To which, of course, I and another poster, an Irish atheist, both commented, “Thank you, Mr. Ham.”

  6. eric
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Ezra Byer…argued that Ham lost the debate in he narrow sense…but won it in a larger sense by raising awareness of biblical creationism, emphasizing the importance of a 6,000-year-old Earth, and preaching the Gospel to a large audience.

    In this case, I don’t think the “any publicity is good publicity” adage applies. I think Byer is right that Ham raised awareness of biblical young earth creationism. I do not think this will benefit either Ham, or political anti-evolution movements, or Christianity in general in the long run.

    • Sastra
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      True. Plus, Ham and his allies probably don’t realize that an audience prepared to hear ‘science’ debated is not a good field in which to find converts who are ripe and ready for hearing the gospel message (as if we don’t all already know about Christianity.) The very young, the very old, and the emotionally vulnerable is a better audience for that.

      • Graham
        Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        Don’t under-estimate the ‘very old’. My mother’s 94 and is just as adept at seeing the falseness of religious cr*p as she was when she was 44.

        • Sastra
          Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          She’s clearly not old enough. Just as a skeptical 4 year old apparently isn’t young enough. Every situation is different. In your mom’s case, she might have to be heavily medicated before Christianity suddenly seems true and genuine — or at least not obvious cr*p.

          I love the way theists will try to turn this into a selling point (‘no atheists in foxholes and/or death beds.’) As Christopher Hitchens pointed out, it seems to be a tacit admission that nobody in their right mind would buy it.

          • darrelle
            Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            This is very true. Many theist’s standard arguments and talking points rely on the premise that some aspect of their very own religious belief is bad, or ridiculous, in order to convey the meaning they obviously are trying to convey. In short, they are very good at sticking their feet in their mouths.

            • Mark Joseph
              Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

              The archetype of their idiocy in this manner is when they say something like “it takes as much faith to believe in the big bang/evolution as it does to believe in god,” thereby showing that faith as a means of knowing is inferior to science.

          • Kevin Alexander
            Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            My sister asked me if there was any way that I would return to Jesus.
            I said that I can’t rule it out. Senile dementia runs strongly in my family.

            • Sastra
              Posted February 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

              Yes. If I express a wish to convert to Catholicism on my deathbed, my Living Will states that under those sad circumstances they must pull the plug.

  7. LW
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Ooh, I’d love to see Ham debate Behe, or WLC, or D’Souza. Pass the popcorn!

    • Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Whirley-Pop at the ready!

      b&

    • darrelle
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to see Reza Aslan debate Fred Phelps. While Aslan seems like a fairly decent human being and Phelps is about as nasty as they come, watching, listening or reading Aslan expound on religion makes my teeth ache. A little contact with reality might do him good.

  8. Sastra
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    (Behe, of course, would try to leave the Bible out of it, for IDer pretend to be abnostic about the identity of the Great Designer)

    “Abnostic?” Neither believing in God nor not believing in God … NOR holding a position somewhere in the middle.

    No, the abnostic ABstains from the question and God is ABsent from the argument. Thus “the IDer pretends to be abnostic.”

    I’m not correcting your typo. I am hailing your creation of a new term.

  9. Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    On @midnight, a late night standup comic quiz show on Comedy Central last night, the host, Chris Hardwick, endorsed Bill Nye, and asked the comedians for a better name for the video than “Bill Nye debates Ken Ham”. Two of the suggestions were

    “Are you smarter than a creationist?”, and

    “Thunderdumb: Two men enter, one man’s an idiot.”

    There is, of course, a TV show entitled “Are you smarter than a fifth grader”, and “Thunderdumb” alludes to one of the Mad Max trilogy of films, “Thunderdome”.

    Hardwick described Ken Ham as a “creationist and all-around fact denier”.

    • Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Nice.

    • eric
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      “The taming of the rube.”

      This could be fun. :)

    • Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      “creationist and all-around fact denier”

      Isn’t that a pleonastically redundant tautology?

      /@

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      “Sleepy Hallow: Headless Hamsterman vs CSI science guy”.

  10. Larry Gay
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    “old- and young-earth creationists have a greater interest in promoting their common belief in God and Jesus than in squabbling about who created what and when.”

    I’m not so sure. A major characteristic of religion is its tendency to subdivide and subdivide because there is no way to decide between theology 1 and theology 2. Why should that change now?

  11. Marta
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    And of course, in the immortal words of Pat Robertson (a religious knucklehead if there ever is one–and with his own TV show!, the 700 Club):

    ‘Let’s Not Make A Joke Of Ourselves’ (in reference to Ham).

    (source: Huffington Post)

    • eric
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      He left out the word “Bigger”

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      You gotta love how the Uber-d*g loves fools!

  12. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    the isochron method, whereby different minerals in the same igneous rock serve not only as a cross-check on each other’s dates (and invariably agree)

    Hmmm, a hostage to fortune there, I think.
    If you’ve got several atomic clocks going in a rock, then it’s perfectly possible to get different ages out of the same rock. Most radiometric clocks have different “closure temperatures”, below which the mineral that hosts the clock is impervious to the migration of the radiogenic atoms out of the mineral. As a rock (or metamorphic region) is cooling, the closure of different clocks will occur at different temperatures and so at different times.
    Consider a rock like a nephelinitic basalt (off the top of my head ; I’ve been reading about the environs of Vesuvius, which has produced some really well-formed nepheline crystals), with both plagioclase feldspars (which contain both strontium and rubidium, components of the strontium-rubidium clock system) and amphibole minerals (which contain potassium as the progenitor of the potassium-argon clock.
    After the emplacement of the rock, the rubidium and strontium ions will get locked into their lattices at in excess of 700degC, and the clock will be closed : different samples of the plagioclaise will give different concentrations of the various parts of the clock, but they’ll evolve (in the mathematical sense) to give solutions to the age of cooling through (about) 700degC. However, the potassium argon clock will be prone to argon loss (it being a chemically inert gas, after all) down to temperatures in the order of 250degC. For a moderate size intrusion – a large sill or small plug – those two ages can differ by a million years without difficulty.
    This technique is actually routinely used to map the pressure-temperature-uplift history of metamorphic belts.
    Theoretically, radiometric dating is nice and clean and simple. In practice, it’s not.

    • Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for yet another demonstration of why I subscribe to the comments….

      b&

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, very clear (and nice and clean and simple)!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 8, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        very clear (and nice and clean and simple)

        Well, that’s my application to join the Honourable Brethren of Isotope Geochemistry Obfuscation scuppered now. Cheers!

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Good stuff. Thanks!

      I just read Dalrymple’s book The Age of the Earth, which was excellent, but the different “closure temperatures” were not mentioned.

      Tough reading, but not too bad, since I have some background in both chemistry and math. I understand that his book Ancient Skies and Ancient Earth is both more recent and easier to read.

  13. Scientifik
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    “Poor Behe! He and his views were not publicized. I would love to see someone like Behe debate someone like Ham. Now wouldn’t it be fascinating to see two forms of creationists fighting about whose interpretation of the Bible was correct (Behe, of course, would try to leave the Bible out of it, for IDer pretend to be agnostic about the identity of the Great Designer)? But I doubt we’ll ever see such a debate, for the old- and young-earth creationists have a greater interest in promoting their common belief in God and Jesus than in squabbling about who created what and when.”

    Interestingly enough, the god hypothesis of Old Earth Creationists is equally untenable as that of YECs, maybe even more so. If god created the universe 13.7 billion years ago, why did he wait for billions of years to create the Earth? If he created the Earth 4.5 billon years ago, why did he wait for another billions of years to create humans? And why did he wait for 200,000 years to reveal himself to modern humans? The whole god story just doesn’t add up.

    • derekw
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Was God in a rush?

  14. kelskye
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    “Poor Behe! He and his views were not publicized. I would love to see someone like Behe debate someone like Ham.”
    Kook-fight!

    Yes, that would be one debate I would definitely watch, with whiskey.

  15. Richard Olson
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    … a tremendous Spirit about him. He was gracious and the power of God showed through his life. There were multiple times I believed he could have hammered Nye on some of his inconsistencies but in my opinion chose not to.” … – Ezra Byer

    I don’t come across many people named Ezra nowadays. Actually, Byer is the first one I’ve heard of since the late E. Taft Benson. I’d wager Byer’s parents were influenced by the Tall Tale of the Levant. This is only a guess.

    Denver’s team spirit spiraled steadily downward following the first snap on offense at the Super Bowl. I saw no visible evidence of Spirit surrounding any Bronco player or coach. Is that where you look to see a Spirit? If only I’d watched the Ham-Nye debate I’d know the answer to that question, dammit. But then I expect Spirit is invisible to a heathen like myself. Byer might insist Spirit’s absence explains why Denver lost to Seattle.

    Lately I loathe the use of “grace” (or any derivation thereof) from some Christians. Like blessed pronounced bless-ed (Have a Blessed day!), it is relatively recently elevated to something like sacred terminology, and abused to unctuousness.

  16. Posted February 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    The tw**t linking to this article says: “Wall Street Journal discusses creationist reaction”. Did I miss something? If the Christian Science Journal has taken over the WSJ, we may have bigger problems than the Ham-Nye debate.

  17. John Taylor
    Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me, that the young earth creationists, with their limited number of kinds, undergoing “micro” evolution in the last 4000 years, in order to populate the planet with its current biodiversity, are actually more radical evolutionists than the real evolutionists. Did all the world’s beetles come from a single pair 4000 years ago??? That would be some rapid evolution.

    • Posted February 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      As I’ve previously mentioned, it’s worse than that. Using Ham’s chronology, all this super-evolution would have had to have started after 2000 BCE, the date of the Flood. But it would also have had to have come to a screeching halt long enough before Plato such that the idea of unchanging Platonic ideals of perfect animals wouldn’t have been laughable on the face of it. But that leaves us with, at most, a thousand years of evolution so rapid that you’d see new species emerge regularly. And yet, even in the Bible, there’s not a single mention of anything so remarkable.

      Really, the instant they admit to any type of evolution, the game’s over.

      Not that logic and evidence mean anything to this crowd, even if the evidence is their own holy book….

      Cheers,

      b&

  18. Posted February 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    The reaction I’m really enjoying is that of far-right faux-Christian One News Now (It has Michelle Malkin as a regular columnist, so you’ll understand there’s not a whole lot of suffering the little children going on). The first headline I noticed was

    Two lovers of science – Ken Ham and Bill Nye – debate origins

    I’d no sooner dried my eyes after reading that one that I came across

    And the debate winner is … God’s Word, says Ken Ham
    Literally millions of people around the world were exposed to the biblical story of creation this week – and that, says Christian apologist Ken Ham, is a lot more important than who walked away a winner from his debate with Bill Nye.

    It sounds as if Ham and his pals have accepted that indeed he got well and truly whopped, and are now desperate to try to put the best face on it.

    • Doug
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes, because no-one ever heard the biblical story of creation before this debate.

  19. Posted February 7, 2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    I would love to see someone like Behe debate someone like Ham. Now wouldn’t it be fascinating to see two forms of creationists fighting about whose interpretation of the Bible was correct (Behe, of course, would try to leave the Bible out of it, for IDer pretend to be abnostic about the identity of the Great Designer)? But I doubt we’ll ever see such a debate, for the old- and young-earth creationists have a greater interest in promoting their common belief in God and Jesus than in squabbling about who created what and when.

    I’ll just leave this here.

    Granted, it’s Kent Hovind vs Hugh Ross, so YEC vs OEC, but still… it happens…

    • truthspeaker
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Nice.

  20. truthspeaker
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    This debate was discussed pretty heavily on reddit, and a disconcerting number of Christian readers seemed to be treating it as a debate between atheism and Christianity, rather than between evolution and young earth creationism. They seemed to think Ham was arguing for their side but doing a bad job of it, rather than realizing that Ham thinks they’re heretics and Nye was actually arguing their side.

    • Sastra
      Posted February 7, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Agree.

      And this seems to nicely illustrate Jerry’s point that the problem really IS religion. They accept evolution and the debate was about evolution. But push comes to shove, Ham being a Christian means that he is on their side.

  21. derekw
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Plenty of debates out there on old-earth vs. young earth creationists:

    Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe (reasons.org) vs. AIG Danny Faulkner

    (Five hours of fun!)

    Dr. Hugh Ross/Walt Kaiser vs. Ken Ham/Jason Lisle of AIG

    Dr. Hugh Ross vs Kent Hovind

    Dr. Ross vs Ken Ham on TBN

    Lots more on youtube…RTB has made it a mission for the past two decades to ‘educate’ the faithful on certain science matters


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