Nye – Ham Debate

by | Mar 11, 2004

What did you think about the Bill Nye-Ken Ham origins debate?


Dear Sam,

Three thoughts. First, as I watched the debate I was pleased with the civility on both sides and, particularly, at the quality and clarity of Ken Ham’s presentation. Ham forthrightly addressed the debate question, “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?”  He did a God-honoring job of arguing for the position from the authority of Scripture. I commend him, and I recommend the debate to those who haven’t seen it (debatelive.org).

Second, Bill Nye’s mantra that, without a belief in evolution, technological innovation cannot be sustained is patently absurd. In addition to the excellent refutations Ken Ham offered, allow me to offer another. Dr. Nadine M. Brown (my mother & GBSC adjunct professor) earned a PhD in Zoology and Biochemistry from Clemson University and has published post-doctoral research in

  • Carcinogenesis (1995, 1996, 1998, 2010),
  • Cell Growth & Differentiation: The Molecular Biology Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (2000),
  • Environmental Health Perspectives (1995),
  • Food and Chemical Toxicology (2010),
  • Food and Function (2014),
  • Laboratory Investigation (2001),
  • Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry (2005),
  • Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (2013),
  • Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (1998),
  • Reproductive Toxicology (2011),
  • The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011), and
  • The Journal of Nutrition (2001, 2002, 2013).

She is a creationist and has done all of her research in collaboration with scientists who espouse an evolutionary view of origins. Yet, she has observed not one instance where the belief in evolution played any role, let alone a determinative one in the discoveries and technological innovations they have made. Belief in an evolutionary model of origins is, at best, irrelevant to technological innovation.

Third, Ken Ham made a crucial distinction Bill Nye didn’t understand, but which all believers should understand: operational science differs from historical science. Operational science, e.g., biology, chemistry, or physics, investigates present events that are observable, repeatable, and testable. On the other hand, historical science, e.g., forensics or paleontology, investigates past events that are not observable, repeatable, and testable. It does so by examining eye-witness testimony, historical records, and remaining physical evidence of the past event. As a last resort, historical science uses presently observable processes to hypothetically reconstruct the past and then only when current processes are sufficient to account for the evidence we have.

For example, if there is eyewitness testimony that accounts for the known facts, no judge will reject it in preference for a forensic reconstruction of how a crime may have been committed, however plausible the reconstruction may be. Credible, eye-witness testimony always trumps educated guessing.

The resurrection of Jesus is, as any “reasonable man” will admit, one of the best-attested events of ancient history. Multiple, credible, eye-witness testimonies confirm it. The resurrected Son of God himself told us we should believe all that is written in the Old Testament (Luke 24:25, 44; cf. John 10:35).  On the basis of Jesus’ word, therefore, we have in Scripture a credible eye-witness testimony concerning the origin of the universe, the origin of plant, animal, and human life on earth, and the world-wide flood of Noah’s day.

It is unreasonable to reject this divine testimony in favor of human guesses. Yet, that is precisely what Bill Nye and evolutionists insist on doing. Further, these evolutionary guesses aren’t even scientific, for they are not based upon presently observable processes. No one is observing anything even remotely close to the origin of a universe or the evolution of plant, animal, and human life.

Dr. Phil