Comments

  1. Matt says

    The fact that Mr. Ham says that he would never be persuaded to believe otherwise even if presented with irrefutable new evidence that would say otherwise, it says to me that he is not a good scientist.

  2. ratbastard says

    Of course the Earth being 6000 years old, Adam and Eve,etc. is childish nonsense. The bible, both testaments, are parables designed to try to explain to profoundly ignorant people 2000 years ago nature and the human condition. I’m not trash on the bible by saying this, not deliberately being disrespectful.

    That said, science doesn’t adequately explain why we exist, where our origins originate, how everything (existence?) began, minus some sort of divine (?) influence. The Big bang doesn’t fully cover it, an doesn’t adequately explain how something came from nothing.

  3. olympiasepiriot says

    I really like the fact this was a proper debate and the parties remained courteous. I rarely see this in public fora anymore. Too many from whatever position either irate at each other, sounding off in an echo chamber, or just trying to play to the lowest common denominator.

    On the “You can be a great scientist” front, I do have to relate my moment of witnessing amazing cognitive dissonance: I am a geotechnical engineer. We deal in soils, water and rock and the structure that intersects with these bits of Mother Nature. (tangent: We often say She bats last.) We perform analysis on samples, but then understand the potential behaviour based on how the unit was deposited and what has happened to it over the life of the planet. So…..I met a geologist who was also a creationist. Think about that.

  4. MikeKV says

    @RATBASTARD

    I’ll tell you what I wanted to shout at Ham last night : Just because we currently can’t explain something (like how we got here) doesn’t automatically mean the words, written by man into a book, hundreds of years after the alleged events in said book took place, a couple thousand years ago, and then translated (multiple times) are the only possible answer. It just means we haven’t advanced scientifically (and possibly as a race) enough to be able to provide a testable answer.

  5. Mike says

    Ham kept trying to draw the distinction between observational and historical science, and I wanted Nye to crush him:

    If I plant ten trees now, and after a year I cut one down, I will find it has one ring. If I cut another one down a year later, it will have two rings. A year later, another tree will have three rings, and so forth. I can then conclude that trees have a growth cycle that varies with the seasons and that produces a ring in the trunk for every year the tree is alive. I can then repeat this experiment with any species of tree over any number of years and my prediction that number of years alive = number of rings in the trunk will hold true.

    Ham has no problem with this – this is observational science. His problem is when I cut down a tree that I didn’t plant and count the rings, saying that isn’t viable science because it’s historical, not observational. Therefore, trees with more than 6,000 rings can’t be said to be more than 6,000 years old because we didn’t observe their entire 6,000 year history (and because that would violate his presupposed notion that the Earth is only 6,000 years old).

    This is deliberately obtuse: to refuse to translate the knowledge of observational science to “historical” science because the results don’t match up with the conclusions he wants to draw.

    Is it really the easier explanation to say “God created a tree that already had 1000’s of rings in it to make us think it was older than the Earth”?

  6. Klkruger says

    I’ll trash the bible and will definitely be deliberately disrespectful. We need lots more disrespect of religion. The notion that religion or religious ideas or dogma needs to be respected simply because it’s religion needs to be jettisoned.

    Science continually explains more and more as we learn more and more. That it doesn’t have every single answer doesn’t speak Ill of science. It’s ongoing. Whether the notion the “something from nothing” is even correct and whether or if the answers to other “big” questions will be answered does not in the least diminish science. The injection if god or gods actually complicates and obfuscates – contrary to what the religionists say it does not make the answer easier, better or even slightly more likely.

  7. D.R.H. says

    Just because we have not yet discovered our origins, does not mean that we can believe in complete rubbish made up by goat herding nomads thousands of years ago. It’s okay to say simply that we do not know. Why must we cling to such relics of our past and perpetuate the nonsense of religion?

    Religion is the greatest of evils. To take one life, or cause harm or injustice to another, based upon the lies that religion perpetuates is justification enough to jettison such hogwash and refuse to even acknowledge that we, as a species, were ever so stupid and unenlightened.

    My lack of belief lies in the fact that we still largely believe this crap, make laws and mores based upon, that we stone, kill and mutilate each other in its name. God is dead. Deal with it.

  8. woody says

    old tjikko is a really little tree, just 16-feet tall. it has an ancient root system which has sent up sprouts, called clonal trees, throughout history. the current tree is one of those sprouts.

  9. anon says

    The kangaroo thing was deadly. You could hear audible gasps from the audience when Nye laid that out. Nye stuck to a script though and repeated himself a lot, and also missed several opportunities, such as the bit about continental drift. For the continents to have split and reached their present position in 6000 years would have boiled the oceans. With all the recorded volcanic eruptions the midwest of the US would still be covered in meters of ash from the Yellowstone caldera. Where did the water from the Noachian flood come from and go to? How did the ruins of ancient civilizations survive The Flood? Was there an Ice Age or not? Etc…

  10. james st. james says

    If anyone is interested in the latest views from scientists they should look up Neal SHUBIN and Craig VENTER. Both have written books in the last few years about this topic.

    The single most important concept in the history of science is EVOLUTION. Anyone who doesn’t get this might as well think the Earth is flat. My advice to them is, be careful not to fall off the edge.

  11. crazycorgi says

    Ken Ham and his ilk are nothing but dangerous to our society as a whole. They want nothing more than to destroy our country from within. They want to keep the population of our country stupid, superstitious, and xenophobic. They want to regress our society back to the Dark Ages by turning our country into a theocracy where anything other than the Bible being taught in schools is against the law. It’s bad enough that our country’s scores in science and math are well below those of other countries around the world, and they want to run us further into the ground by pushing “Creationism” in our schools as proven science! The people in this country need to wake up and see the agenda that these people are pushing.

  12. says

    Creationism 5000 years ago … ancients grappling to explain conscientiousness/self with limited science.
    Creationism today … willful ignorance.

    Calling creationism science is what’s galling. Zealots trying to insit it be taught as science in schools is beyond the pale.

    Before the Abrahamic based sects there were hundreds of others that had equally believable stories of how we got here. And today we have Scientology & Pastafarians. If you’re going to teach one you have to teach them all.

    A reputable scientist shouldn’t debate junk.

  13. Simon says

    I was curious and checked on a site about the Creation museum. It looks more like a typical science museum. They even have a dinosaur model. Not sure how they explain why dinosaurs were not mentioned in the Bible. Was it due to ignorance or negligence of the Bible authors?

  14. Simon says

    In other religious news, an UN report condemned the Vatican for protecting abusive priests. It became gay news when in an interview with Vatican Radio, Father Tomasi of the Vatican suggested that nongovernmental organizations that oppose the Vatican’s positions on homosexuality and gay marriage had influenced the U.N. report, giving it an “ideological” slant.

    http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-un-catholic-church-abusive-priests-20140205,0,3036334.story#ixzz2sSeeQMHy

  15. JJ says

    I can’t add anything that hasn’t been said before in these comments. I’ll just add that these comments are truly the best I’ve ever read on Towleroad. Simply superb.

  16. Charlie says

    Keep in mind that people believe whatever they want to believe

    Ken Ham probably believes that his diety created the universe 6,000 years ago with trees that had a 3,000 rings in them. And Satan put the dinosaur bones there to tempt humankind into sin.

    And after the flood his diety could have picked up some kangaroos and set them in Australia. Where’s your scientific evidence proving that didn’t happen?

    I think states like Texas won’t stop teaching creationism until colleges won’t accept their students because they are ignoramuses with an inferior education.

  17. john patrick says

    “science doesn’t adequately explain why we exist, where our origins originate, how everything (existence?) began..”

    Quite true, Ratbastard. Bill Nye admitted that. And some scientists over the centuries, when they have come to a point where they could go no further back, have attributed the causes to a god. But then further scientists have been able to push things back further.

    Perhaps there is a god who created matter and started everything off. But how did that god come to always be? Perhaps matter always was. We may never know as a human species. When there is mystery, some see a god. When there is mystery, some see a mystery to be investigated.

  18. tinkerbelle says

    Here’s just a little, tiny piece of what scientists have established in the past 50 years, through carbon dating and all that other stuff they know how to do:

    The Pleistocene /ˈplaɪstəsiːn/ (symbol PS[1]) is the geological epoch which lasted from about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the world’s recent period of repeated glaciations

    Where’s the problem?

  19. AriesMatt says

    I thoroughly enjoyed this debate last night and watched it live. The main takeaway for me is that I’m even more of an agnostic than I was before. Creationists, while presenting a lot of technical information, simply do not want to be proven otherwise. It was very hard to listen to Ken Ham’s rationale over and over. Nye was a joy and inspiration.

  20. Joseph Singer says

    “Ham said nothing could persuade him “the word of God is not true.”

    This alone tells me that he’d rather believe in something abstract rather than deal with any sort of realities.

  21. Randy says

    Nye lost, simply by accepting.

    Ham, who by comparison is a virtual unknown, got a huge audience exposed to his ideas, in a format where he couldn’t be directly challenged. He was allowed to frame whole of the past as uncertain, rendering all the evidence doubtful, and he wasn’t challenged on that.

    This was clearly, and intentionally, not a debate. It was a series of statement, talking past each other. No creationist would ever accept a real debate.

    Nye had an impossible task. The thing is, because stellar and biological evolution are so well documented, mastering all the evidence in a live environment is not possible. Bill flubbed a question on radiometric dating, even though he knew the answer. It’s just too much for one person. We need to be honest about that.

  22. rebarb says

    I think it was mistake to debate. It gives recognition to Ham & his willfully ignorant followers. A form of recognition they neither deserve or have earned through deliberate and informed scholarship.

  23. Amonite says

    For those thinking tree rings is a die hard proof – it’s not. There is a whole field (dendrochronology) dedicated to studying tree rings, and it is NOT as simple as counting them. (My sister, who is a horticulturist, laughs when people think it is). Trees can grow more than one ring a year, or none at all – outside environment (especially stress) affects it a lot just as the width of the rings is affected by outward conditions in moisture and soil. Depending on how long a core is when the tree is bored into (the longer the core the more harm to the tree), one could be extrapolating from a small sample to the whole tree, which is bad when the outside generally has more layers if the tree has reached maturity.

    (Furthermore, as most of these rings are produced whenever there is a wet/dry cell, having a lot of rings would fit with predictions of the flood model that post-flood there would be a lot of rain and varying weather as the world adjusted from mostly tropical to one with many different climates)

    http://www.conifers.org/topics/oldest.htm

    Blll Nye continued his misunderstanding of plants with his comment that plants could not have survived the flood. Many land plants have seeds that can survive long periods in salt water (Howe, 1968, CRSQ:105-112 – Darwin also conducted experiments on this and found some seeds could survive long periods of submersion and be transported long distance over water), the floodwater did not have to be as salty as current sea water, seeds and plant matter can float especially bunched together, not every plant was covered at the same time (mountains, hills, etc), the max time any plant was submerged would have been ten months or less, some trees thrive in flood conditions (and Howe found that seeds of wildflowers could still germinate after 140 days of soaking), some plants can reproduce from cuttings, not just seeds, etc.

    ““Again, I can show that the carcasses of birds, when floating on the sea, sometimes escape being immediately devoured: and many kinds of seeds in the crops of floating birds long retain their vitality. . . but some taken out of the crop of a pigeon, which had floated on artificial sea-water for 30 days, to my surprise nearly all germinated.”7″ (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, Chapter XII, “Geographical Distribution,” subsection “Means of Dispersal” for Darwin’s salt-water studies. (New York: Signet Mass Market Paperback, original published 1859), p. 349. Back)

    I don’t think Ken Ham wanted to waste time in the debate on things already covered. People do not realize that he -was- answering questions (usually the red herrings and strawmen) by pointing Nye to his website where such topics as the ark and flood are covered.
    ***

    Tinkerbelle, the problem is that carbon dating shows a young earth. Even fossils (thanks to advances in quipment, namely mass spectrometers back in the 70s) can now be carbon dated. Some fossils, even dinosaur bones, even retain organic material. As Ham mentioned, the dating methods do not agree with each other, and the same dating method often disagrees with itself inside of the same rock. Elaborate (and often contradictory) explanations, untestable, have to be made up to explain these discrepancies.

  24. Bill says

    @ ratbastard : the big bang model started as prediction of general relativity under the assumption that mass density of the universe was uniform, averaged over galaxies. The result was so surprising that Einstein thought something was missing and introduced a “cosmological constant” – a term that would result in a repulsive force to keep things in equilibrium. This didn’t really work as (a) it required that everything be perfectly balanced and (b) subsequent data obtained by Hubble showed that the universe was expanding.

    Right now, we know that general relativity is not consistent with quantum mechanics under extreme conditions, but how to resolve the conflict is not clear – there are several promising theories but no definitive experimental test so far. We also don’t know what so-called dark matter and dark energy are, just that they appear to exist based on astronomical measurements. So there are some missing pieces.

    The data we have, however, indicates that the universe was originally much, much smaller than today and very hot. It will take a while, but we are starting to get data on how matter behaves under those conditions via experiments at CERN where heavy nuclei are accelerated, kept in a storage ring, and the allowed to collide with heavy nuclei moving in the opposite direction. The result of these collisions is to create a quark-gluon plasma – a state of matter too hot for protons and neutrons to exist as independent particles and one that existed at a very early time in our universe.

  25. al verum says

    God spoke into existence a universe with the appearance of age. It has to be this way. Everything created by man has an appearance of age especially when taking into account the sum and history of a product and its parts.
    To me the most amazing thing is that around the globe “Recorded History” is recognized at about 4-6000 years BC. Isn’t it fascinating that with the millions upon millions of years we have with humans evolving in complexity we only have recorded events and dialogue for the last 6-8000 years.
    Shouldn’t we have evidence of recorded history long before this or did humans not attain the necessary skill set until 6000 years ago? This would be millions of years after much of our cognitive and social skills were developed and reinforced throughout human culture and subcultures.
    It does not make sense – at all. We should have a much longer documented and recorded history if evolution is true.
    Do not rely upon “cave paintings and drawings” as examples – these cannot be dated. They will use material found in the vicinity of a “cave painting” date that material and then extrapolate the results to the painting or drawings. Hardly scientific.
    If any recorded information could be found that was 20 – 100 thousand years ago then evolutionists would have a case, but they can’t make a case without evidence. They have to admit that the oldest recorded history we have is under 10,000 years old. That admission up against millions of years of complex human evolution doesn’t look good – at all.
    Doesn’t it seem peculiar that humans have only recently figured out the intricacies of written/visual communication and the means to accomplish this “higher level of communication”. These facts, against the backdrop of millions and millions of years of evolution seem to make the evolutionary model implausible. Evolutionists are not fighting creationists at this point they are trying to fight historical facts. We should be discussing existing documentation that goes back hundreds of thousands if not millions of years…but there is none.
    It is too much to swallow that it took millions of years to get to an era when knowledge and the means to gaining knowledge just happened to explode over a 6000 year period. Pure fantasy.
    Frankly if what evolutionary scientists say is true it would make sense that the evolution / creation debate should have been settled a million years ago.

  26. Simon says

    This Ham guy basically denies that the Earth is 4.5 billions years old. Some radioactive isotopes have a few hours or even a few minutes half-life. It can easily be proved in a high-school lab experimentally that they all have uniform or constant half-life. With more sophisticated experiments, the same can be proved for longer life isotopes. It is just absurd to say that most scientists have disagreement on the age of the Earth. May be just a few wacky pseudo-scientists he is associated with.

  27. emjayay says

    When people believed the stories in the Bible literally, their culture was not only pre-science but pre-Greek logic. “Literally” wasn’t the same thing. Religion and culture and government and reality were all the same deal. And they knew nothing whatsoever to provide alternative explanations. They didn’t have the scientific understanding of an eight year old today. It didn’t exist.

    Some important ancestor lived to be 900 years old and had 500 children (or whatever)? Awesome!

    Oh, and why people didn’t write down history more than 6000 years ago? No writing. The oldest petroglyphs are around 10,000 years old. The oldest pictograms which chronologically tell a story are around 9,000 years old. The oldest known ideograms (containing symbols for concepts, not just for things) are about 5-6,000 years old.

  28. Ken says

    Thank you Mr. Ham, for the truth. Regrettably, with the majority of the media being secular, and passionate to justify their failures you will not receive any slack. These are the world’s secular experts, serving Satan, where intelligence is very rare.
    The bible is dead on. The world truly believes they have it figured out. Man proves it over and over, yet never learns. Its arrogance is proof; all are born sinners and are dead in spirit. You could take the knowledge of every scholar ever born. It would not fill a holy hair follicle compared to God’s wisdom.
    Those who have not read the bible, or of Jesus Christ…Amen, there’s no excuse and all are liable, for all creation reveals Him.

  29. Ken says

    Thank you Mr. Ham, for the truth. Regrettably, with the majority of the media being secular, and passionate to justify their failures you will not receive any slack. These are the world’s secular experts, serving Satan, where intelligence is very rare.
    The bible is dead on. The world truly believes they have it figured out. Man proves it over and over, yet never learns. Its arrogance is proof; all are born sinners and are dead in spirit. You could take the knowledge of every scholar ever born. It would not fill a holy hair follicle compared to God’s wisdom.
    Those who have not read the bible, or of Jesus Christ…Amen, there’s no excuse and all are liable, for all creation reveals Him.

  30. says

    The one and same group that persecuted those opposed to a flat Earth. And to the Galilean scientists that proved the Earth revolves around the Sun. Science is the anti-thesis of faith. It asks for proof.

    Shall we also point out other known victims de jour in Church history? The deformed. The mentally ill. Lepers. Left handed. Witches. Jews. Muslims. Scientists.

    Davis Young. Evangelical Geologist.
    “The maintenance of modern creationism and flood geology not only is useless apologetically with unbelieving scientists, it is harmful. Although many who have no scientific training have been swayed by creationist arguments, the unbelieving scientist will reason that a Christianity that believes in such nonsense must be a religion not worthy of his interest. . . . Modern creationism in this sense is apologetically and evangelistically ineffective. It could even be a hindrance to the gospel.
    Another possible danger is that in presenting the gospel to the lost and in defending God’s truth we ourselves will seem to be false. It is time for Christian people to recognize that the defense of this modern, young-Earth, Flood-geology creationism is simply not truthful. It is simply not in accord with the facts that God has given. Creationism must be abandoned by Christians before harm is done. . . .”

    http://ncse.com/cej/3/2/answers-to-creationist-attacks-carbon-14-dating

  31. Simon says

    Ken:
    Einstein said he believes in a Spinoza God but doesn’t believe in a personal God i.e. a Biblical God. Yet you chose to believe in an ignoramus like this Ham guy.

  32. Bill says

    @emjayay : other factors include the development of materials that made writing relatively easy, and hunter-gatherer tribes do not maintain written records – they wouldn’t have been able to take any records with them due to moving around a lot. This is a testable hypothesis – there are primitive tribes today in places like the Amazon and as far as I know, nobody has found one that keeps written records of anything – at most you might have notches in sticks for short-term use.

    You needed the development of towns and cities before a written historical record in any detail became possible, or even useful, plus a division of labor – someone has to produce the scrolls to write on.

  33. Bill says

    @al verum : just for some amusement with this religious nut, one might point out the pending collision of our galaxy (The Milky Way) with a nearby galaxy (Andromeda), scheduled to occur in
    about 4 billion years. Andromeda is approaching our galaxy at a speed do about 400,000 km/hr (just over 100,000 m/sec). We can measure the speed by looking at shifts in spectral lines – basically a Doppler shift – which is what police radar uses to determine your speed and give you a ticket if you are going too fast), and that measurement is independent of distance. Our current measurements put Andromeda at a distance of about 2,5 million light years from earth. If you want to claim the universe is only 6000 years old, then we would not be able to see Andromeda unless it were about 416 times closer than we think. But if that were the case, all our astronomical distance measurements would be off, and we’ve measured some by parallax, we’ve measured the distances to nearby planets with radar, and we’ve measured the speed of light in laboratory experiments.

    BTW, we only recently discovered that our galaxy will actually collide with Andromeda – the Doppler shift data only determines the speed towards you or away from you, not laterally, and it was the lateral measurement that was recently improved.

    Citations: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/31may_andromeda/
    http://news.discovery.com/space/galaxies/milky-way-andromeda-120531.htm
    http://www.nature.com/news/andromeda-on-collision-course-with-the-milky-way-1.10765

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