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What do you get when you have a Science Guy meet with a Young Earth Creationist to decide “is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”
You can get a debate held at the seat of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum in Petersburg in Boone County in front of 900 audience members and upwards of 70 media members.
Last month at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, the “Great Debate” was held. Principals were Bill Nye of the Bill Nye the Science Guy® fame; and Ken Ham, owner and founder of Answers in Genesis, an organization based on the Young Earth Creationist view. The Museum is owned by Answers in Genesis.
With Nye taking the evolutionary view of the history of the earth being millions of years old; Ham maintains the earth is approximately 6,000 years old. Nye uses carbon dating, fossils and scientific theory. Ham uses the Bible.
The crux of the debate came in the form of a question read by debate moderator Tom Foreman, CNN Broadcast Journalist: “what, if anything, would change your mind.” Nye repeatedly said the thing that would sway him, as well as most evolutionary scientists, would be if someone would “show predictability” ...using creation theory. Ham, on the other hand responded simply “there’s a book...” meaning the Bible.
Both men are scientists. Nye has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University. Ham has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science from Queensland Institute of Technology in Australia and a diploma of education at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. Both also have honorary doctorate degrees; Ham with four and Nye with three.
The two scientists are almost an inaudible debate before they speak. Ham is gaunt with few smiles, a soft Australian accented voice and seems to take the world very seriously. Nye is lanky with a ready smile, an orators voice along with a propensity for wearing bow ties. Ham comes with a plethora of power point slides and presentations. Nye has amusing anecdotes, an eager sense of wonder at the world for his facts and figures.
While the snow, sleet and rain began to fall outside, Legacy Hall of the Museum quickly filled with an eager audience of nearly 1000. From young Mennonites with long dresses and prim hair covers to families in their Sunday best; modern day hippies to a group of twenty-somethings with T-shirts emblazoned with bow ties and announcing “Bill Nye is My Homeboy,” filed into the auditorium. News media from Louisville, KY; New York, New York to Belize; paper, TV and blogesphere; they all came to see the Great Debate. Running like a well-oiled machine, the security and staff of the Museum got everyone into their seats and the Debate began.
It was two and a half structured hours: five minutes each to lay out their position.
Then, 30 minutes each to expand and define their stance. Five minutes each to rebut and counter rebut and finally, 45 minutes for 16 random questions from the audience in which a question would be directed to either Ham or Nye; he would take two minutes to answer and then the other would have one minute to rebut.
WHAT THE PEOPLE SAID:
Before the debate, an excited Juanita Leach of Dayton, Ohio said, “I’m glad for the Truth--with a capital “T”--to be seen in a public forum! I’m glad to see (the Truth) put out there for all to see.”
This was Leach’s fourth visit to the Creation Museum and she had come today specifically for the debate. Her companion said he had signed onto the website for tickets the day they went on sale.
“I was disappointed when I only got five tickets at first. But, I tried to log back in 15 minutes later and it was sold out!”
Over 800 tickets for the debate reportedly sold out within two minutes of being offered for sale on Jan. 6 on the Creation Museum website by both Creationists and Evolutionists.
Marc Poland of Columbus, Ohio came mainly to see a favorite celebrity.
“(I’m a) fan of Bill Nye from when he did his child’s show. (With his) involvement in NASA, (he is a) scientist. He is entertaining and well respected,” Poland said.
Though tickets were sold out, many more people were able to watch the debate online from their own computers or through media outlet websites such as Channel 12 in Cincinnati. Some watched the live streaming at their churches and civic groups.
Afterward viewing the debate, feelings were variable. Did the debate hold up to expectations? Were expectations met or no? Was there a winner or loser?
Tommy Hughes of Dry Ridge said, “I thought the debate ran rather smoothly for the heated topic that was discussed.”
Buddy Laurent of Williamstown had expected “the debate to be well presented by both parties.
“Me, being a Christian, I knew that God’s truths would be heard by some unbelievers, possibly, for the first time and that seeds would be planted!” Laurent said.
“I enjoyed watching the debate. I believe the format hindered the debate somewhat because neither man was forced to answer questions from the other,” said Josh Landrum of Dry Ridge.
A debate is intended to present two sides of an argument and, hopefully, come to a consensus or decision.
“This debate did not change my views, I only watched in hopes of seeing somewhat of an intellectual debate...” Hughes said.