quote:Bill Nye "The Science Guy" is set to visit Kentucky next month for a debate on science and creation with the man who founded the Creation Museum.
Founder Ken Ham wrote on his Facebook page that the museum will host Nye, the former host of a popular youth science show, on Feb. 4.
Nye has been critical of creationists for their opposition to evolution and asserting that the Old Testament is a literal account of the earth's beginnings. Last year in an online video that drew nearly 6 million views, Nye said teaching creationism was bad for children.
The video prompted a response video from the Creation Museum, and Ham later challenged him to a debate.
The event will be titled "Is Creation A Viable Model of Origins?" The museum is planning to charge admission.
Doesn't give any details on the format. But the topic title “Is creation a viable model of origins?” is a probable indication that Ham will try to call\conflate abiogenesis evolution and say that evolution can't explain origins. Expect the airplane in the junkyard PRATT.
He's going into the lion's den. The best argument against the "Creation model" is likely DNA evidence and bottlenecks, but he will need to make the idea simple for the simple people there.
Also expect claims about macroevolution being impossible ... I expect Ham will play to the crowd rather than honestly debate.
This is what I cannot comprehend. Nye is not a stu*id (god damned censorship crap) person. Why is he giving these fools an opportunity in his spotlight? It doesn't matter what either side says (and in this community we already know what each side will say and use to counter), just lending his name to this farce gives a level of credibility to Ham and company that is not anywhere close to being deserved.
If Nye has objections to Ham's response to his initial video then Nye, IMHO, should respond with another video where he can take Ham apart point by point without the constant distractions of that showy master charlatan.
Isn't the winner determined by the audience? In a debate before an audience of evangelicals at the Creation Science Museum won't the creationist always be deemed the winner? And in the same debate played out before an audience of NAS members won't the scientist always be deemed the winner?
At the superficial level of detail of an oral debate, evangelicals will know that the creationist won, and NAS members will know that the scientist won. The only truly significant difference between the two audiences is that one is unable to assess the issues and the other is. One must trust his side speaks truth, while the other knows his side speaks truth.
Because Nye is, at heart, an educator. He actually does want to help people understand the science. I'm sure he knows that the deck is stacked here, but he also knows that this debate will be posted on youtube and that there will be people who see it that honestly just don't understand the issues. That's his target audience.
Will it lend a bit of credibility and publicity to Ham? Sure. But if you want to actually change the public perception on this issue you gotta go where the public is. Maybe Nye will do better than expected - after all, he made his career on explaining complicated scientific ideas in simple ways that people could understand.
The "public" is not at the Creation Museum. It is, however, audience to YouTube. That is where the larger younger audience for Nye's teachings can be most effective, not giving aid and comfort to Ham in Ham's own home.
As Percy has already pointed out each side will claim victory. The videos will be put up on YouTube for all to judge.
Then, and you all know this is going to happen, Ham and company will put up edited videos showing Nye/science at his worse and Ham/creation as the shining star.
If you are correct and he is trying to teach, Nye needs to improve his delivery and the class of his videos, which he very well knows how to do, and teach through that medium. That is the biggest and most important audience Nye can get. Going to Kentucky, IMHO, is a trap and nothing good can come from it.
I started studying "creation science" around 1981, when the ICR's travelling snake-oil show rolled into town, but I missed it because I was on duty that evening. I was honestly surprised that they were still in business, having last encountered them in 1970 with the living-fresh-water-mollusc-C14 claim (reservoir effect, I learned later by tracking down the actual source) and the NASA-computer-finding-Joshua's-Lost-Day claim (which even in that time when computers were magical, I recognized to be complete and utter bullshit; most of those now rebutting that claim are Christians).
From a chance encounter with a radio rebroadcast of a speech by Fred Edwords in 1983/4, I learned of the various Committees of Correspondence and their national clearing-house, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). Along with immediately joining and subscribing to the Creation/Evolution Journal and the Creation/Evolution Newsletter (later combined into NCSE Reports), I also ordered all the back issues available.
Creation/Evolution Newsletter commonly ran reports from debates and other related events -- that was how I first learned about Dr. Duane Gish's "Bullfrog Protein" debacle (http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/bullfrog.html). Of possibly pertinent interest here is the report from a debate circa mid-1980's.
Reporting from memory here. I think it was somewhere like Redlands, or somewhere that sounded similar. Before the debate, the good guys did a quick survey of the cars in the parking lot there. Several school buses from private Christian schools. Lots of cars with bumper stickers that loudly proclaimed the occupants' opinions and allegiances. From that survey, it was estimated that at least 90% of the audience would be creationist.
At the end of the debate, each member of the audience filled out a form indicating who they thought had won. That vote was tallied and it came back with 2/3 for the creationist and 1/3 for the "evolutionist". Of course, the creationist side declared a victory, but in reality they had lost nearly a quarter of their audience.
In similar news, circa 1980 the Tampa Bay school district had a already approved a creationist curriculum when creationist Kenneth Miller (also a most effective opponent of "creation science") debated either Dr. Henry Morris (PhD Hydraulic Engineering) or Dr. Duane Gish (PhD Biochemistry). Actually, he debated both on two separate occasions. The ICR newsletter, Acts and Facts, reported that the creationist (ie, the "creation science" one) had substantially strengthened the creationist position in Tampa Bay, when in reality the school district decided to shelf that creationist curriculum indefinitely.
Spin doctors are eternally at work. And an actual victory may not appear as such.
I've heard aye's and nay's on both sides. Sometimes you need to weigh both sides and decide upon the one that would do the less harm.
Eg, if nobody steps forward to speak against them, then they will be free to speak unopposed. Though that may work better for when they roll into town with their standard snake-oil pitch.
Because Nye is, at heart, an educator. He actually does want to help people understand the science.
I remember the comments of a well-known "creation science" opponent, but since I do not remember his name I will not try to think of it.
That person mentioned that, as a college professor, his constant experience is with a lecture hall filled with uninterested students who are fighting to stay awake during his lectures -- as a CPO who has given some presentations, I know that feeling all too well. But when he is at a creation/evolution debate and he presents the exact-same information, everybody there is sitting on the edge of their seats and listening to every single word he is saying. That is every educator's wet dream!
And I think it was Fred Edwords who said that the moment he hears his first boo, he then relaxes, knowing that they're not going to like him anyway, and he is now free to tell them the truth.
BTW, through FaceBook I tried to advise Bill Nye to contact and work with NCSE.