In a few weeks, Bill Nye the Science Guy will be debating Ken Ham the Creationist “Museum” Guy. When this was first announced, many atheists lost their shit. Richard Dawkins has long held the position that he will not debate a Creationist because he thinks it gives validity to Creationism. That’s his choice, but I disagree. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pray Creationism goes away.
For one thing, we’re atheists and we don’t do the whole praying thing. Second, Creationism won’t go away unless we educate people about the actual facts concerning evolution. We can do that in science classes, but many of the people who reject the science of evolution don’t go to science classes; they are home schooled. We need to reach those people!
Debating Creationists publicly in their homes is the only way these religious believers are going to be exposed to the scientific evidence of evolution. Debating religious believers on this topic is an opportunity. It is an opportunity we can’t afford to sit out.
Being on stage with a Creationist doesn’t give the impression that Creationism is valid; it gives the impression that a lot of people believe this crap and as a point of fact, a lot of people do believe this crap. So we have to debate it. Just like we have to debate other religious claims like God, which like Creationism is ridiculous and unscientific. Yet Dawkins doesn’t hold the line that people shouldn’t debate any religious claims – just this one religious claim.
With that said, I worry that Bill Nye may not be the best choice for this debate. He absolutely knows all about evolution, but can he explain it in a way that Creationists will find compelling? Will he avoid the traps that Ham will lay out to distract Nye for educating people about evolution? I fear that Nye will take the bait and will put evolution on the defensive. Dawkins would have been a better choice for this debate.
- Richard Dawkins’ Tips for Debating Creationists (patheos.com)
- Formal debates are a win for atheists (examiner.com)
- Bill Nye, Ken Ham creation debate live stream details (christiantoday.com)
- Why Bill Nye shouldn’t debate Ken Ham (richarddawkins.net)
- Yes, I Am Out To De-Convert Religious Believers (skepticink.com)