Many bloggers rushed to post their thoughts right after the debate. I couldn’t do this because I drove through a blinding snowstorm, and gave up to find a hotel. As I drove home this morning, I sorted through what I wanted to say. The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth and I needed time to process. So, after lunch and reading the latest issue of Green Lantern, I’m ready to give my thoughts.
This debate personified everything wrong in America.
I know this sounds like an extreme statement, so bear with me.
Too many people commented on the circus like atmosphere of this event and how no one would probably change their minds. That’s been done to death and I won’t add to it here. Instead, I’m going to point out things that bothered me the most, and why this event demonstrates why we are in deep trouble.
The HamonNye event showed that people don’t understand, logic, reason, and the need to carefully consider complex issues. We rely on smart sounding sound bytes that, upon further reflection, contain no real substance. During the debate, both Nye and Ham gave us a bunch of illustrations but never really went into depth about their possible meaning. My friend (and camera man) and I spent the whole time saying under our breaths, “We need to hear more about that. Hmm, excellent point, expound on that.”
Both debaters stumbled around like punch drunk fighters throwing random punches. I’ve read in numerous places how Nye “was focused and logical and Ham “Really brought depth and prepared”. My first thought was, “Did they watch the same damn debate I did? Are we that impressed with people only sound “kinda smart”? This debate had all the depth of the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens and their so called “experts”.
Ham came off like my eight year old son. He focused on one point and didn’t address any of Nye’s legitimate objections to a six thousand year old earth. I’ve also seen people praise Ham for tying everything to the Gospel, but that wasn’t the point of the debate. Ham failed to see any nuance, or any possibility that he might be wrong. In doing so, he represented the worst of Evangelical Christianity.
One commentator called him a very “smart and put together” debater.This leaves me scratching my head because the comment came from a fairly smart person who should know better. If Ken Ham is a savvy, fantstic debator, then we’ve lost our understanding of what those words mean. Again, the image didn’t match with the reality.
Third, Bill Nye’s latent smugness during the debate made me want to be a YEC (Young Earth Creationist) just out of sheer annoyance. Time after time, Nye choose to insult his perceived audience by constantly referring to “Kentucky” with a sneer and then the “rest of the world” (read: you know, all the people who are smarter than you) as a way to belittle his opponents. Many commentators failed to notice this attitude and praised Nye for his “humor”.
This sort of smug arrogance runs through the pseudo intellectuals in our country who want everyone to believe they are the smartest people God (oops, sorry.) put on this earth. You can find this attitude in those who believe that people from San Francisco are more tolerant than people who live in Ohio. When I ask them if they’ve ever been to the Buckeye state, I get a blank stare. This means they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about nor do they care to have their own worldviews challenged. Such arrogant smugness is, inherently, no different than the Hamites who cling to their limited interpretation of the Bible.
When added together, the sum depresses me. Hamite Christianity buries its head in the sand of their own bad theology and psuedo intellectuals like Nye bury their heads in blind smugness. True intellectual debate infused with logic, reason and respect dies a horrible death.
As thrilled as I’m that I started a hash tag that went viral, Ham and Nye’s attitudes played out in social media. One Twitter post said, “Religion isn’t science. Science in science. “truthfromaninyearold”. Sadly, this post DOES demonstrate the intellectual grasp of a nine year old, yet somehow, this was impressive to the entire atheist community. Instead of seeing the overly simplistic logic of it, the tweet flew across Twitter. On the other side, we find a Tweet that states “Who cares who won the debate? Ken Ham preached the gospel and that’s what it’s all about.”
In the end, no one won this debate and reasonable discussion was flushed down the toilet. The positions in this debate pass for smart dialogue in our country.