On Tuesday, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” debated Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum…you know, the place featuring dioramas of Adam and Eve sharing the Earth with dinosaurs.
I give credit to Ham. Not only did he pay Nye’s substantial speaking fee for the event. He risked exposing his supporters to a dose of reality. Nevertheless, I doubt Nye changed any minds. That’s the problem with trying to debate the faithful…they accept things based on faith and ignore anything that would contradict their beliefs, including actual scientific evidence based on centuries of observations and objective data.
For example, Ham and his followers believe the Earth is 6,000 years old based on the book of Genesis in the Bible. Ham says that the Bible trumps scientific research. “I find there’s only one infallible dating method,” said Ham. “It’s a witness who was there, who knows everything and told us, and that’s from the word of God.”
Ham fails to consider that the Bible is a written account of Judeo-Christian traditions and that it’s not necessarily any more accurate than the creationist accounts of other tribes – accounts such as the Chinese belief that humans came from a cosmic egg; the Tibetan belief that humans are the offspring of a monkey and a great demoness; the Egyptian belief that all creatures were created on a potter’s wheel; the Mayan belief that humans were created from wood; the ancient Greek belief that humans are the progeny of the Earth and the sky; the Hopi belief that man emerged from a hole in the Earth; and the Navajo belief that the first woman was created by blue and yellow clouds and the first man was created by black and white clouds.
All of these deserve as much credibility as the Judeo-Christian account. Moreover, unlike Ham, many civilizations believe the Earth is far older than 6,000 years. Indeed, Hindus believe that the Universe is 4,320,000,000 years old, a figure that more closely aligns with the dating of modern science.
But other traditions and science don’t matter to people like Ham. Ham believes the Judeo-Christian creation story is the only one that matters. He believes that the Bible was not written by man. He believes it is the actual word of God and anyone who contradicts anything in the Bible is simply wrong. It’s a matter of faith. The only one who could possibly convince him to accept the evidence supplied by historians, geologists, anthropologists, astrophysicists and archeaologists is God.
And the Judeo-Christian God hasn’t yet authored a sequel to the Bible.