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Bill Nye and Most Christians vs. Ken Ham and Creationism – Part I


Image credit.
 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014, Bill Nye, the Science Guy, debates a Ken Ham, a multimillionaire Creationist who makes his money selling Creationism as an alternative to science. This will be at the Creation Museum, which is a religious museum, not a science museum.
 

Should we teach only science in science classrooms?
 

Below is an example of Ken Ham using the appearance of science, but no real science, to push his products.

The link leads to a store to sell Ken Ham’ God products.
 


Image credit.
 

There is no scientific controversy about whether evolution is true. Scientists understand science and evolution is science. Evolution is not controversial among scientists. Evolution is not even controversial among scientists who are religious.

The controversy only exists among the various religious interpretations of Creation.

Each Biblical literalist (Creationist) seems to claim that his particular interpretations of the Bible is exactly the one God intended, no matter how many other interpretations of the Bible it contradicts. This includes the interpretations of Biblical scholars familiar with the origins of the Bible and interpretation of other literalists. There are about half a dozen different factions of Creationism.

The different flavors of Creationism may depend on what parts of the Bible the Creationists attempt to account for.

Some Creationists accept what they call microevolution, but claim that there is some magical barrier that prevents an accumulation of their microevolutionary changes from producing a change in species, while it accepts an evolutionary change of a smaller degree.

Other Creationists accept a change in species, but reject the possibility of a change in genus.

Some Creationists accept a change in genus and species, but reject a change in family.
 

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the ground after its kind: and God saw that it was good.[1]

 

There is no scientific controversy about whether evolution is true, only about the fine points of how evolution works, but that is true of any scientific theory.

Should we reject germ theory because Jesus told his followers not to wash their hands?
 

1 About this time some Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses came from Jerusalem. They asked Jesus, 2 “Why don’t your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? They don’t even wash their hands[a] before they eat.”

. . . .

10 Jesus called the crowd together and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 11 The food that you put into your mouth doesn’t make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”[2]

 

Germ theory makes it clear that some of the things that we put into our mouths (germs) can make us sick.

Should we demand that some religious alternative to germ theory be taught in science classrooms, because the Bible contradicts germ theory?

I don’t expect many Christians to advocate for that. I think the reason is that it is easier to demonstrate that germ theory is real than it is to demonstrate that evolution is real.
 


Pew Researh Center poll.[3]
 

Does science depend on worship of a God, or on worship of a literal Bible?

Which religious Creationism would be acceptable?
 

Thoughts about whether evolution is the best explanation for life on earth are also closely tied to individual religious beliefs and practices. Across many religious traditions, the more highly committed tend to be less likely to believe in evolution.[4]

 

What about scientists?

What is the percentage of scientists who reject evolution?
 


Pew Researh Center poll.[5]
 

2%.
 

Where is the claimed science behind Creation science?

I will look at Creation science in Part II.

Footnotes:

[1] Genesis 1:24-25
Bible – Old Testament
American Standard Version (ASV)
Bible verse from BibleGateway

[2] Matthew 15:1-2 and 10-11
Bible – New Testament
(Contemporary English Version)
Bible verse from BibleGateway

[3] Public’s Views on Human Evolution
Pew Research Center
December 30, 2013
Article.

Free Full Text in PDF format from Pew Research Center.

[4] U.S.Religious Landscape Survey. Religious Beliefs and Practices: Diverse and Politically Relevant.
Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life / U.S. Religious Landscape Survey
June 2008
Sec1:96
Free Full Text in PDF format from Pew Research Center.

[5] Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media – Scientific Achievements Less Prominent Than a Decade Ago
Pew Research Center
July 9, 2009
Article.

Free Full Text in PDF format from Pew Research Center.

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Comments

  1. Teach the Controversy (even the really, really dumb ones)!
    http://controversy.wearscience.com

  2. You missed some creationists. I’m not sure what to call them (old Earth creationists?, Catholics?, something else?). The ones who say they believe in evolution, believe that a supreme being guided the process but only prove that they don’t understand definitions or science.

  3. Part of the issue is that we are making science square off against religion. Science provides evidence for the natural world, and faith/religion explains the supernatural/spiritual world. Simply because we know why a rainbow looks the way it does does not negate a creator.

    If Genesis said, “And God caused there to be something from nothing, and this something went “kaplowie”, and God caused the things from the kaplowie to start swirling and condensing into globs of matter, and those globs of matter hardened, and on one of those globs came forth water and land, and a microbe developed into an animal and a plant, and reproduced, and evolved into myriad forms” would that be acceptable to those that hold fast to evolution?

    The definitions matter as well. Is there evolution? If you call the progressive increases in human height over time “evolution”, then, certainly, one cannot deny it. But, if you mean growing a third eye and having that trait passed along to another generation, then I don’t think the evidence supports that.

    Part of my concern is that it seems like much of the science is based upon previous evidence, rather than new, unbiased evidence; if that previous evidence is flawed, would that not be akin to a house of cards? I don’t mean for the snarky connotation, I simply cannot come up with a better analogy.

    Finally, let’s say that those that understand Scripture’s “six days of creation” are mistaken, that it was more “six occasions of creation”, and that it took six million years. It doesn’t really matter which way it goes–either you believe in a creator or you don’t–the age of the earth/galaxy is simply a stumbling block for the more important question.

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