Creation versus evolution. That was the topic that occupied Bill Nye, the Science Guy and Creation Museum founder Ken Ham for two and a half hours Tuesday night. The central question was whether creation is a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era.
On the ‘no’ side, Nye pointed to various things science has shown to be more than 6,000 years old as creationists suggest.
“Is it reasonable,” asked Nye, “that we have ice older by a factor of a hundred than you claim the earth is? We have trees that have more tree rings than the earth is old? That we have rocks with Rubidium and Strontium and uranium uranium and potassium argon dating that are far, far, far older than you claim the earth is?”
Ham countered saying creation is the only viable model of historical science confirmed by observational science.
“There’s hundreds of dating methods out there,” said Ham “Actually 90 percent of them contradict billions of years. The point is, all such dating methods are fallible and I claim there’s only one infallible dating method: it’s a witness who was there, who knows everything, who told us and that’s from the word of God.”
Ham added that Nye can't be certain about historical events because he wasn't there to observe them.
Large portions of the debate focused on the biblical story of Noah’s Ark and the great flood.
Ham argues for the “creation orchard” theory that animals, which were included on the ark in pairs, later repopulated the earth. Many species of dogs, for example, are of the same kind and thus came from a common ancestor.
Nye, on the other hand, says there’s no geologic evidence of a great flood just 4,000 years ago. He also asserts that if the “creation orchard” theory were true and the rate of variation continues, we’d be discovering 11 new species each day.
Can science and God co-exists? Are they compatible?
Nye said the two aren't connected. "Science for me is two things: it's the body of knowledge - the atomic number of Rubidium - and it's the process - the mean's by which we make these discoveries. For me, that's not really that connected with your belief in a spiritual being or a higher power. If you reconcile those two... there are billions of people in the world who are devoutly religious - they have to be compatible because those same people embrace science."
Ham replied God and science can co-exist. "God is necessary for science... God is necessary because you have to assume the laws of logic; you have to assume the laws of nature; you have to assume the uniformity of nature. Where does that come from if the universe is here by natural processes? The Bible and science go hand-in-hand. We love science but inventing things is very different than talking about our origins."
Ultimately the debate can be boiled down to these two paraphrased remarks:
Nye: You’ve explained the past but what can you prove?
Ham: The Bible is the only book out there that explains the origins of everything.
Here's a running account of Tuesday night's debate: