The Man Behind the Viral #CreationDebate Cartoon

During Tuesday night’s debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, the most popular image of the night — at least on Twitter and Reddit, where the debate was a major topic of discussion — may have been this cartoon:

I thought it perfectly encapsulated what many of us saw as the major theme of the debate: Bill Nye talking about the heaps of evidence supporting evolution and Ken Ham making constant references to what the Bible said.

The cartoonist behind that image is James MacLeod, a political cartoonist for the Evansville Courier and Press (in Indiana) since 2010. MacLeod told me he has drawn some popular cartoons, especially during election seasons, but that this image was probably his biggest hit to date.

Because he may have predicted what the debaters were going to say, I asked him if he drew it in advance. Not at all, he told me:

I was watching the debate and tweeting a little and saw that the debate was getting a lot of attention. I was really struck by the scale of the dichotomy between their approaches to knowledge, and came up with that toon.

Considering how quickly the cartoon was spread, did he have any regrets?

You always wish you had more time to make a drawing better, but I was reasonably pleased with how it looked and thought the central idea was strong. I’d never drawn either of these guys before — Nye is easy, but Ham is a little harder. No regrets at all really.

Finally, not that it mattered, but was MacLeod even an atheist?

I was raised as a preacher’s kid, and considered myself pretty religious my whole life, until I was in my early 40s. I read God is Not Great, followed a couple days letter by The God Delusion, and by chapter 3 I was an atheist. It was as simple as that!

Kudos to MacLeod, for being the Oreo Super Bowl ad of the debate!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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