[Fill in the Blank] Won the Great Debate. Discuss.

My take (not original) is the Bill Nye framed the debate as between evolution and young earth creationism.

As long as he wasn’t trounced, evolution wins.

Because ID is a big tent and allows YECs a free pass, it is associated with this debate. Unless it publicly distances itself from Ken ham, it has allowed the evolution debate to be framed as between science and biblical literalism.

17 thoughts on “[Fill in the Blank] Won the Great Debate. Discuss.

  1. Ham won the debate if a YEC is judging it. Nye won it if someone who credits evolutionary biology is judging it.

    The more interesting question is what a fence sitter would say, or whether it would drag a partially-committed person from either side onto the fence.

    There I think Nye not only survived, he did well. He may have missed some opportunities, he may have misstated some evidence (no, lungfish are not walking from lake to lake in Florida — because they do not occur there though other “walking” fish do). He may have rushed through some points too fast for anyone to follow. But he did come up with lots of evidence against a 6000-year-old creation.

    More importantly, Ham actively lost the fence-sitters. He kept dragging the discussion away from science and back to religion, and made it crystal clear how unimportant scientific evidence was to him.

    Ham was the gift that kept on giving. I suppose he was under pressure to do that to firm up his base and get them to contribute to his Ark Project. He did get hundreds of thousands of email addresses out of this, and lots of attention.

  2. I think Ham lost all the moderates and fencesitters when he came out and stated that nothing could ever change his mind and that he “starts with god and the bible”.

    In response to the same question, Bill Nye effortlessly listed all the different kinds of evidence that would change his mind.

    The contrast couldn’t be starker. Closed-minded, presuppositionalist, blind faith in magic, vs the reasonable science guy.

  3. Over at Pharyngula, the commenter Sastra pretty much pegged it a couple days before the debate actually occurred. She noted (I’m paraphrasing here) that Ham was delivering his audience into the hands of a knowledgeable, science-friendly person—and he wasn’t going to get them back in the same condition of ignorance they started out in.

    There was never any real chance that Nye would convert Creationists to rational people on the spot. But I’ll betcha Nye planted more than a few seeds of doubt in more than a few of Ham’s followers…

  4. Well, I’ve only read snippets of the debate, but my sense is that both Nye and Ham won, because they both wanted to shift toward it being a fight between religion and science. Well, for Ham it’s more a matter of a fight between religion and secularism, but real science is pretty much that to him anyhow, so it comes out about the same.

    Ham would like to convince fence-sitters, but most of all he’d like to consolidate support within creationism itself. So I think Nye won, Ham won, and the DI lost. But mostly nothing’s likely to change much because of the debate, just another small loss for the DI, a bit of a boost for Ham, and science looks like it has triumphed yet again.

    Glen Davidson

  5. I understand 3 million people watched. tHis makes it the most watched YEC creationist thing EVER. Its a fantastic success.
    both men were decent to each other. the crowd was decent though could of laughed more at Nye’s stories and jokes. A little chilly.
    Ham won this debate completely. He showed creationists as science loving achievers.
    That to frustrate a crazy criticism that creationists and bible believers are OPPOSED TO SCIENCE. In fact its a conflict over a few conclusions in a few subjects touching on origin matters. Thats why the MRI guy was brought in.
    Nye did try , DUMBLY, to say belief in the bible is disbelief in science and makes one anti science and anti science education.
    HE looked bad on this. Victory for HAM on that. Good strategy.
    So many points were brough up but Ham showed YEC can take them on even if a person still disagrees with us.
    Anyone already confident in the bible was greatly assured by Hams presentation.
    Nye brought up reading points about dry criticisms for the age of the earth and the ark and so on.
    In fact he made no case of substance for evolutionary biology.
    He is a mechanical engineer , and like his teacher(he said) Carl Sagan, knows nothing about biology. Just memorized details.
    I thought he did a poor job. In fact I think evolutionists should be saying a paid evolutionists could of done so much better. Nye dipped into absurd theology about First nations. And so on.
    Ham got minor things wrongs but rightly defended the witness of scripture.
    normal people care nothing for predictive concepts. They understand weighing the facts only.
    HAM and YEC clobbered and smushed the negative images and criticisms of yEC. its already understood we are saying Genesis is true. The point here was to show its well defended. nOt about persuasion. its too entry level. i bet in however in the future thousands will say their entry to YEC belief came from this debate. nOt the other way around.
    If it was good for evolutionists etc then lets have a rematch and more matches with more coverage.!!! We’re ready.
    YEC is high as a a kite after this great event.
    Score another point for the good guys.

  6. Joe Felsenstein: The more interesting question is what a fence sitter would say, or whether it would drag a partially-committed person from either side onto the fence.

    My sense is that any “fence-sitter” simply doesn’t know enough science to get what Nye was saying. The science obviously overwhelmingly supports Nye, so any fence-sitter is necessarily ignorant of that evidence, and tempted by the YEC account.

    And if tempted by the YEC account, probably responded to Ham’s altar call, because that’s all it was.

    He had nothing, apart from “we have this book”. His predictions were no such thing (post hoc narratives), his Historical vs Observational science was, as always, bullshit (I wish Nye had exposed this even more than he did) and his PRATTs were PRATTs.

    Only if you didn’t know this could you sit on the fence at all.

  7. What I did like about Nye, and why I think he was right to do it, is that he wasn’t addressing (as we so often do) the general public and explaining why YECs are wrong, but he was addressing YECs directly and telling them why YEC is wrong. He wasn’t talking to experts who know that YEC is phoney (experts on both sides, I might add – Austin and Baumgartner appear to be knowing Liars for Jesus), but to people who have believed Ham et al, and don’t know enough to know that it’s wrong.

    He was doing the job he does – communicating science to people who don’t know much about it.

    He may not have done it as well as he does in his TV show, but he did it pretty well all the same – and conveyed the Pleasure of Finding Things Out, and the sheer excitement of having questions you don’t know the answer to, but a way of answering.

    And all Ham had to offer was an often tedious, contradictory and partisan book, which he himself arbitrarily parcellated into “poetry” and “history”.

  8. petrushka:
    Pat Robertson wasn’t pleased.

    I love it! It’s like watching Bud and Miller have a fight about taste. Guys, the village is big enough for two idiots!

  9. People. THis was a crushing defeat for evolutionism in America.
    It was a biggest audience EVER for a YEC presentation since Dr Henry Morris started the invasion decades ago.
    FRom iD one way and YEC the other evolutionary biology and perhaps geology stuff is getting busted.
    The year has just started after a year of ID authors making best sellers and SURELY its obvious creationism is viable, popular, confident, and presumes to conquer.
    Nye is a mechanical engineer. He barely understands what evolution is mUCH less understand why its a flop.
    If evolutionists are confident then bring out better people for more cage matches.
    This forum exists because of confidence so why not seek great audiences and fight for survival.
    Ham did a great job and is probably a celebrity now. The first YEC one for YEC reasons.
    In fact YEC must ask what to do now!?
    I say concentrate on public institutions , more books, more audiences, and finish them off before the ID people do.
    I smell a fight over the carcass coming.

  10. Robert Byers:
    People. THis was a crushing defeat for evolutionism in America.

    Any ‘evidences’ to back that up, Robert? If you’re too crazy for Pat Robertson, you’ve got serious problems.

  11. socle: Any ‘evidences’ to back that up, Robert?If you’re too crazy for Pat Robertson, you’ve got serious problems.

    its a enormous defeat for evolutionism.
    The list is great.
    YEC creationism proved its credentials to any average person watching.
    it made its case about doing a better investigation of the evidence.
    In no way did nYE show knockout good points for what should be a knockout.
    It was like ROCKY , which I just saw on PBS here,.
    Creationists are rocky doing fantastic against Apollo Creed , evolutionists, despite being a unknown.
    Creed should of clobbered YEC. yet it went not just the distance but Ham clobbered Creed.
    yEC is high as a kite after this.
    its truly almost embarrassing how successful this was for YEC.
    I understand 5 million watched by now and heading for 10 or 20 or 500 million.
    This has changed the intellectual landscape due to the power of modern technology.
    it was computers and not TV that allowed such attention.
    YEC doesn’t know how to mop up. The success was too much too quick.

  12. Robert Byers,

    In fact YEC must ask what to do now!?

    I’d say keep making stuff up. That’s the way to do science. Make stuff up and have one-on-one debates. You can be the judge in every contest if you like. Better yet, a participant. Tell ’em about the marsupials.

  13. Allan Miller:
    Robert Byers,

    I’d say keep making stuff up. That’s the way to do science. Make stuff up and have one-on-one debates. You can be the judge in every contest if you like. Better yet, a participant. Tell ‘em about the marsupials.

    MAKE STUFF UP! Thats what we say about you guys. Somebody’s wrong here.
    I do get resistance about the marsupial thing but they are not right about everything. I’ll work on it.
    The bigger attack should be to demand that evolutionism provide biological scientific evidence to justify as a theory what is really a unsupported hypothesis.
    Ham and nye just weighed evidence.
    Yet creationists should hit at scientific methodology in these matters.
    Something thats not true but claims to have the evidence in nature means either ITS TRUE or its not been scientifically done or challenged.
    This is the way to speed up the demise.

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