Debates and Doubt

Reflections On the Debate

Last night we watched the highly-anticipated debate between Bill Nye (The Science Guy) and Ken Ham (Answers In Genesis / Creation Museum). But I must admit, one of the funniest things about it was watching the people in the audience, both on video and where we were. Some were getting it, while others had a strange, confused, glassed-over look.

promo-slideOthers have already posted reviews of the debate, so I’m sure you will be able to find a host of opinions supporting your own conclusions (Here’s a good one).  The evolutionists will probably claim a victory, as well with most creationist. However, my opinion is that there were no clear winners at all. As a matter of fact, what is most disturbing is that the debate may have done more harm than good for many young Christians. Last night one of my daughters left the debate much more solemn than she arrived. To state it simply, her faith was challenged. She said, “The only thing I got out of that debate was doubt.”

Why did my daughter leave with feelings of doubt? Well, one reason, I believe, was the evidence Bill Nye presented for the age of the earth, such as star light, ice samples, the ages of trees, etc. Ham stuck to a “young earth” creation model that, at least in the debate, never adequately addressed, from a “reasonable” perspective, these evidences. So, when the evolutionist threw out all of these seemingly undeniable proofs, and since the debate format really didn’t allow for any back-and-forth questioning, the proofs were allowed to stand unchallenged. As Ken Ham dutifully stuck to the main point of the debate, Nye flanked Ham and fired rounds which could not be deflected.

On a positive note, I was able to reassure my daughter as we drove home. I reminded her of two things, one of which was brought up in the debate, and another which was not. First, there was the ultimate issue of where did everything come from. Even though the age of the earth could be debated based on how one interpreted the evidence, when Bill Nye was asked the ultimate question of where did matter come from in the first place, he didn’t have the faintest idea. All he could say was, “I don’t know.” But as Ken Ham said, “There’s a Book out there” with the answer.  No matter what the evolutionist claim, they have no clue how to account for something coming from nothing, unless they creatively attempt to redefine “nothing” as “something” – which then means something came from something, not nothing.

The second thing I reminded her of was the hinge on what the whole Christian world view rests: Jesus. Nye and Ham completely disagreed on the definition of “science.” Ham argued that there is “observational science” and “historical science,” while Nye maintained that there is no difference. At times, Nye even questioned Christian dogma as a way to belittle the viability of Ham’s worldview. According to the evolutionist, there is nothing “testable and verifiable” about faith. But that’s where we disagree, at least on one critical point: Jesus.

In my opinion, although I believe in a “young-earth” creation model, I believe there is room for a larger span of time than 6,000 years for age of the earth. I certainly don’t accept the billions of years idea, but I am perfectly open to 10’s of thousands. Most importantly, I am open to the miraculous, where Bill Nye is not. But had Nye been debating an “old-earth” creationist, I definitely believe Nye would have lost 90% of his wind.

But whether or not creation is young or old, the history of Jesus Christ IS testable and verifiable. Was Jesus who He said He was? Did Jesus come to earth, go to the cross, and rise again from the dead? If Jesus was who He said He was (not a liar or a lunatic), then He is Lord (C.S. Lewis). If Jesus is who He said He is, then we can trust the Bible, despite all of the “evidences” and statistics Bill Nye offers. If Jesus is the Christ, then our worldview begins with the opening statement of Genesis, thereby proving this world, and we, have meaning and purpose, as opposed to being the product of random chance.

I believe Jesus was and is who He said He was. I believe He came into the world that He, the Word of God, first spoke into existence and became flesh. I believe Jesus walked the paths of this world as man, showing that a transcendent God could know our pain, and then went to the cross in order to reconcile fallen man to God. I believe, too, that Jesus, as He promised, rose again, thereby becoming the “firstfruits” of those who put their trust in Him. And I believe that the observable world testifies to the account of Genesis, that it is a fallen world, a broken version of the original, waiting for the day it, too, will be made new. Jesus, not “discovery,” brings me hope…brings me joy…and gives meaning to what otherwise would be meaningless, or as the writer of Ecclesiastes would say, “vanity.”

So, my dear daughter, be strong in your faith! “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” – 1 Corinthians 15:19-22 KJV


Filed under Apologetics, Culture Wars, Faith

8 responses to “Debates and Doubt

  1. Austin Harrison

    What a great post. Well done with presenting the important perspective meant to be taken away from a debate like this!

  2. hey Anthony! I watched this debate last night and thought about your blog for the first time in a long time. I was not disappointed, then, when I visited today and found a couple posts on the subject.

    It really should surprise you that your daughter experienced doubt at so little evidence presented by Nye. He didn’t present anything that isn’t available in a cursory, half-hour-long reading on the subject.

    In fact, if by “…what is most disturbing is that the debate may have done more harm than good for many young Christians” you mean “suddenly a couple hundred thousands kids in youth groups watching last night were exposed to real, testable science about the age of the Earth and the origins of species and this may be the very nudge they needed to grow up and have brilliant careers in science and engineering” then I would agree with you completely!

    Also you should know this is just the beginning when it comes to you and your family being exposed to real evidence. As Nye pointed out, there’s millions (maybe billions) of Christians who believe in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ who DON’T accept the nonsensical idea that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. As your daughter showed last night, it doesn’t take too much to realize the idea is preposterous.

    I think you’re right to be disturbed. If you insist that you, your family, and your church accept a young earth as fact tantamount to the sacrifice of Jesus, I think you’re going to create more doubt than believers.

    The choice is up to you. This isn’t going to cut it, no matter how badly you wish it did –>

  3. Doesn’t make a whit of difference to me how erudite debaters are purported to be. My faith in God and Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior will not be affected to a greater or lesser extent no matter who debates or what they say.

  4. They (debaters) were also pedantic.

    • Actually, no, they weren’t at all. Congratulations on using a three syllable word but asserting it doesn’t make it true.

      I will say both men were very respectful to one another in tone and content.

      So, no, pedantic is not even close. Nice try though.

      • Andrew!…long time no read! After refreshing my understanding of the word (I don’t use it very often – hardly ever – actually, I can’t remember when I last used it), you are correct! I actually agree with you! I did not think they were “pedantic” at all. Sure, there were some glassy-eyed folk who nodded off, but for most the presentations were engaging, regardless of one’s viewpoint.

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