Hey, Bill Nye, Why the Hell Would You Agree to Debate a Creationist?

For reasons that I can’t understand right now, Bill Nye the Science Guy has agreed to debate Creationist Ken Ham at the Creation Museum on February 4. The topic: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”

There’s no debate to be had here. The answer is already an unqualified “Not a snowball’s chance in hell.”

So why bother with the charade? No matter what Nye says, this will only end in victory for Answers in Genesis. Here’s why:

  1. Ken Ham will get to tell his acolytes that there’s a genuine debate in the scientific community about the viability of Creationism.
  2. Look at that promotional image. Ham puts himself on a level playing field with Bill Nye, as if their ideas also carry equal weight.

Richard Dawkins has explained all of this when talking about why he refuses to participate in such fake debates:

“When the debate is with someone like a Young Earth creationist, as the late Stephen Gould pointed out — they’ve won the moment you agree to have a debate at all. Because what they want is the oxygen of respectability… They want to be seen on a platform with a real scientist, because that conveys the idea that here is a genuine argument between scientists… They may not win the argument — in fact, they will not win the argument, but it makes it look like there really is an argument to be had.”

The only reason I could even think of that could justify this debate is if the money was going to a mutually-agreed-upon charity. But there’s no sign of that happening. It’s $25 per ticket and, as far as I know, that money goes right back into the coffers of AiG. Nye is likely getting paid very well to take part in this “debate” and it’s possible he’ll donate his share of the money to The Planetary Society (of which he’s CEO) or a legitimate science organization, but I don’t know that for sure yet.

(Bill, do you just need some money? I’ll loan you some.)

You may recall that in 2012, Nye made a video saying that Creationism was “not appropriate for children“:

Answers in Genesis responded to that video with one of their own:

Ham responded, too, with the laughable line, “Bill Nye really doesn’t understand science,” which one Reddit commenter joked was like a blind person telling other people they’re ugly:

And days after that, still capitalizing on the popularity of Nye’s video, Ham challenged Nye to a formal debate.

Of course, there’s no reason someone who knows the world is round would debate someone who believes the world is flat.

There’s no reason for a mathematician to debate someone who believes 2 + 2 = 5.

And there’s no good reason for a proponent of science education to lower himself to debate someone who is actively working to destroy it.

Tickets for the end of Bill Nye’s career will go on sale Monday.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X