Both men will come armed with philosophical and scientific propositions. It is very likely that they will use much of the same data—yet come to two very different conclusions. It will be tempting to judge the merit of the debate as we do a presidential debate—the demeanor of the speakers, their comfort level, their wit, and the reaction of the audience. For some the win or loss in a debate comes down to the “gotcha” moments where one professor is able to turn the tables on the other. Yet, none of these pieces of the debate really matter.
What does matter? What should I be looking for in the debate?
There are dozens of answers that could be given, but let’s simplify the entire debate before it even takes place. Watch and listen for one thing—and one thing alone—assumptions.
An assumption is something a person believes is true without the ability to prove it. Typically, creationists are painted as working merely in the realm of faith, while evolutionists declare that they work in the concrete world of facts. The impression is given (and it is intentional) that creationists have assumed much, and evolutionists assume virtually nothing. This is not the case.
Actually, both sides of this debate depend on major assumptions to support their view. Tonight you will see charts, diagrams, and plenty of statistics. Each side will interpret that data in a
predetermined manner. What decides how either man will interpret the same data? His major assumptions will.
Ken Ham will take the position that the universe reflects order and will give statistical information that helps him reach the conclusion that it is absurd to believe such complexity can come in to
being through randomness. Bill Nye will take the position that evolution is an observable phenomenon in the layers of the earth showing an upward progression of life from single-celled organism to the complexity of modern humans. This is the part of the debate that will be entertaining—yet distracting.
Unbelievably, these two men will agree on one thing—the universe had a beginning. This really is where the debate should focus. Human logic informs us that it is absurd to believe in an “infinite number of regresses.” In other words, it is nonsense to believe a process has no beginning. How will each side resolve this issue—that is, the beginning of the universe?
Ken Ham will take the position that there must be an uncaused cause. His cause will be God.
If Bill Nye holds to popular evolutionary theory, he will state that the universe spontaneously created itself.
Since neither can prove their point, each has made an assumption. An assumption is a belief in something you cannot prove—otherwise known as faith.
Ham does not have to prove the existence of God to “win” the debate. He only has to “level the playing field” by exposing the faith inherent in science. It will be interesting to see if Nye is honest in conceding this point.
Here’s the link for the debate: http://debatelive.org/
I loved watching Bill Nye as a kid, and I have enjoyed reading Ken Ham. It should be a stimulating time!
© Charles D. T. Miller, 2014