Sowing Seeds: An Ex-Christian’s Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate

“When you’re in love, you want to tell the world.”

So said Bill Nye in Tuesday night’s debate, quoting his famous mentor Carl Sagan to explain his own personal commitment to science education.

The aspect of Nye’s performance in the Creation Debate that most impressed me had nothing to do with his scientific arguments, his command of logic, his skilled rebuttals, or even his patience. What has stayed with me is the enthusiasm and passion with which he communicated. It’s the same passion — that unabashed sense of “Wow, isn’t this stuff neat!” — that made me a fan of his television show all those years ago. Put simply, I love that Bill Nye is in love.

That passion matters. The debate we saw may have been about facts and logic, but the real fight (which Nye referenced more than once and has spoken about in the past) is for the future of society. Will we continue to learn about the world around us in ways that let us explain, predict, and problem-solve? Or will we cling to superstitions that stunt the growth of our knowledge, preferring to find our answers in literalized ancient mythology?

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South Dakota Bill That Would Have Allowed Teachers to Promote Intelligent Design in School is Killed by Its Sponsor

Last week, South Dakota legislators proposed Senate Bill 112, a bill that would allow teachers to preach Intelligent Design despite the fact that it’s essentially synonymous with pushing religion in the classroom:

In short, the law — sponsored by over a dozen Republicans — would make it legal for teachers to push ID without punishment.

However, today, the bill’s main sponsor, Jeff Monroe, said he was scrapping the legislation because, as one reporter put it, “it was badly written”:

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Ken Ham: The Debate Audience Wasn’t All White! There Were At Least Two Dark-Skinned People There!

Creationist Ken Ham is not happy with Time magazine (so, hey, we have that in common) because of how one of their bloggers characterized the audience for Tuesday night’s debate against Bill Nye:

2 minutes [into the debate]. Nye, in his signature bowtie, and Ham, with his Aussie accent, hop on stage, shake hands, and ready themselves behind their respective Apple laptops (only Nye’s has stickers). Nye stands on the left. Ham is on the right. The cameras pan to an all-white audience.

Ham is upset because the audience was totally not just white people and he quotes one of the commenters on Time‘s website to prove it:

All-white audience? In the second row there was a distinguished-looking man with very dark skin, and in the third row was another African-American man. I didn’t have to look any further than the first three rows to know that the Time reporter was dead wrong. See for yourself at a recording of the debate, found at . Makes me wonder if I can really trust this writer and her observational skills. I wonder, too, if will now place a “sic” next to the obviously wrong claim. So, editor, will you please?

A few thoughts about this:

Elizabeth Dias, the Time writer, was live-blogging the debate using the livestream. I was doing the same thing, and when I saw the camera pan across the audience, I noticed the lack of diversity, too:

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I Wouldn’t Trust That Other Christian

(In response to this post)

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Even Pat Robertson Thinks Ken Ham Is an Idiot

You know who else doesn’t think too highly of Young-Earth Creationist Ken Ham? This guy:

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