Why Ken Ham should Not Debate Bill Nye
|January 25, 2014||Posted by Anthony under apologetics, atheism, Blog, Christianity and Culture, evolution, intelligent design, philosophy, science, scientism, Secular Humanism|
Knowing the Internet the way I do, if you find any of the below offensive, please skip to the last paragraph of the post.
An interesting thing has happened, so rare it might even be deemed a singularity on par with the Big Bang: There will be a debate between a young earth creationist* and an avowed evolutionist. The debate, to be held on Feb. 4th, 2013, is between Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and Bill Nye… the Science Guy. I attempted to get tickets; they were sold out within just a few minutes. This is indicative of the kind of interest there is in such an event. It is no doubt good publicity for the Creation Museum, but sitting here as a young earth creationist myself, I wish to lodge my (obviously belated) advice to Mr. Ham: cancel the debate.
Let me try to sum up my reasoning.
In the first place, sharing a stage with an evolutionist will lend credence to the idea that evolutionary theory is actually a viable account of biological origins on this planet. No reasonable person believes that; to have a conversation with someone who does gives the false impression that there is something to the theory, when of course, there is not.
To this you might counter, “Surely, merely having a conversation with someone isn’t enough, by itself, to persuade knowledgeable witnesses, that evolution is true?!?!” But there is the rub. The one thing that we cannot do is assume that there are more than a handful of actually ‘knowledgeable’ witnesses. In fact, most people are idiots. Even being seen to shake hands with Bill Nye will cause a huge influx of people to the evolutionary cause. That may seem silly, but it isn’t as silly as you might think, since evolutionary theory is built on evidences that are even flimsier than the evidence of a young earth creationist engaging in a debate with an evolutionist.
You might counter further, “So, wouldn’t this make the bulwark of your defense of young earth creationism amount to nothing more than an argument from authority? Are you not implicitly saying that people are expected to believe only because people deemed as experts categorically accept one position? By refusing to openly debate those who dissent, labeling them as ‘non-experts’ (which they must be by definition, because if they were experts, they’d accept the one position) and relying only on The One Authoritative Unified Voice, isn’t that the epitome of that fallacy?”
To that, of course, we must say, “You, sir, are an idiot. It is because of people just like you that it is important that we do not allow even the hint of dissent. I would kindly direct you to the nearest expert adherent to young earth creationism (pardon the redundancy) for re-conditioning. Idiot.”
In the face of this “calling it as I see it” assessment, you might say, “Are you really saying that I ought to accept your position simply because if I don’t, I’m an idiot?”
Or ignorant, stupid or insane. Or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that.
To that, your only reply must be, “Ah, very well. I accept that you are correct: young earth creationism is the correct account of origins.” If that isn’t your reply, then there is a good chance that you are actually a child abuser, teaching people something differently. And society does not look the other way when there is child abuse involved. I don’t see why we shouldn’t take your children away and pack them into monasteries if you are going to continue teaching them such abusive beliefs.
Now, thus bludgeoned into acquiescence by my above retort, and the veiled threat implied by the charge of child abuse, but still uncomfortable to accept my position simply based on my blunt assertions, you might appeal to something more basic in our human nature, bravery and cowardice.
You say, “But wouldn’t it possibly have the opposite effect, if you canceled the debate, or refused the debate? Might it actually tell the whole world that in fact you are a coward? Might it actually suggest that there really isn’t any evidence for the young earth creationist position, except for the assertions made by those lucky enough to be called ‘experts’? Might people suspect that in point of fact, the primary arguments for young earth creationism are philosophical in nature, not scientific. After all, has not it been said that thanks to Paley’s advancement of intelligent design, it is now possible to be an intellectually satisfied theist? Might not people wonder if the truth, rather, is that the emperor has no clothes? ”
Idiot. Although, at this point, I really am beginning to wonder if you are evil. And not fit to be a parent, I reckon. Not that I’m suggesting your children be taken from you, of course. Just that it logically follows. Not that you understand even that, since you are an idiot.
Yes, it is true. People might think that Mr. Ham is a coward for taking this view. Recall, for example, that for many, many months, the famed evolutionist Richard Dawkins has been harping at William Lane Craig, trying to get any kind of hearing whatsoever on his atheistic version of evolutionary theory, but Craig has rebuffed him at every turn. To deepen the irony, Dawkins has shown that his atheistic outlook is not actually entrenched in his acceptance and description of evolution, by heaping nothing but praise and respect for the theistic evolutionist, Francis Collins. Collins accepts every ounce of evolutionary theory in exactly the same way that Dawkins himself believes it, and also views young earth creationism–and intelligent design–as nothing more than pseudo-science. Collins essentially embraces nearly every component of Dawkins outlook on the world, and Dawkins has shown his good faith by acknowledging this, and allowing that Collins might know what he’s talking about. Collins was willing to debate Dawkins, so why shouldn’t a young earth creationist? (And for that matter, Craig isn’t a young earth creationist, either, so Craig really should have no objections to debating Dawkins. I mean, really.)
It pains me to say it, though: once you buy into the evolutionary theory, “then suddenly you find yourself losing all of your natural skepticism and your scientific–really scientific–credibility. I’m sorry to be so blunt.” Collins is a scientific lightweight. It isn’t like he was a head of the human genome project or perhaps the director of the NIH or something. If only he were that, we could believe he may have some scientific–really scientific–credibility.
The question of credibility brings us back to the fact that we must presume that people are idiots (because they are), and while there will be some that conclude a refusal to debate basically means you are a chicken wearing no clothes, most people are persuaded of a position only because of the aura of credibility that is given to it. Let a few voices decide that it is cowardice, but the great mass of unwashed clowns will never hear of those charges. What they will hear about is this grand debate between Mr. Ham and Mr. Nye.
And that could finally be the undoing of young earth creationism and generate a large mass of people whose interest will be piqued, who will suddenly wonder, “What? There are actually other positions to consider? I thought there was only one!” and then begin to study and research the issues for themselves. And if there is anything we cannot have, its people thinking for themselves.
For these reasons, I implore Mr. Ham to cancel the debate as soon as possible. The whole case for young earth creationism stands in the balance. If the debate proceeds, young earth creationism might cease to be considered a viable account of origins, and since we know it is the only viable account of origins, people must not hear that there are other perspectives.
It’s for their own good: those idiots.
* the modifier, ‘young earth’ in front of ‘creationist’ is important. Strictly speaking, there are many people who are creationists who are not young earth creationists, who believe that God made the universe and all that is in it, but accept varying degrees of evolutionary theory. Young earth creationism is not synonymous with these other creationist viewpoints. What is view in this article is only the young earth creationist view point, and not any of the others… which of course, are dead wrong, and you are not allowed to consider. Idiots.
** Knowing the Internet the way I do, there will be people who do not know that the above was actually a bit of satire, and the most of the really incendiary remarks are actually derived from remarks by evolutionists, and some are virtually direct quotes from Richard Dawkins himself. So, spare me, and try to see your way to identifying the irony that positively drips from the blog post. Please try. I beg you.