ecently there was a televised debate between Bill Nye, The Science Guy and Creationist Museum founder Ken Ham over, what else, evolution. Watch it at the bottom if you dare. Ham The Man makes me want to throw things at the TV so I haven’t bothered. I know the schtick of his con. There are varying reviews out there, such as an evolutionary biologist or from someone tone trolling both sides or here in comic form.
The other day, a Sophisticated Theologian, soon to be adorned with a PhD, wrote into the Toronto Star taking both debaters to task for “ignoring all the more nuanced positions between these two polar opposites”. Here’s the nascent Doctor of Tall Tales explaining that the guys just weren’t doing proper theology (my comments in bold):
It’s Science Guy vs. creationist, Feb. 4
“Despite the debate’s hype, it failed to deliver. Although Bill Nye is a gifted science educator for children and Ken Ham a well-meaning Christian, the debate seemed to be more counter-productive than anything.
Let’s be clear, the debate failed to deliver the answer Ventureyra wanted – doG did it on the sly.The media thrives on pinning polar opposites against one another, as is seen between the views of Nye and Ham. They pit Christian fundamentalism on one side and atheistic materialism on the other, while ignoring all the more nuanced positions that exist in between these two polar opposites.
The media was not involved in setting up this event, they merely report on it. It was arranged by Ham at his Ark Park because Nye said teaching children Creationism is harmful to them and society as a whole.
It should be pointed out that, in order to be a Christian, one need not accept a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis nor a young earth. However, the debate was fixated on the age of the earth and universe.
This fella doesn’t seem to realize Ham just knows in his heart that the earth is aboot 6000 years old – a YEC who most certainly does take the BuyBull literally as do 42% of Americans as of 2005. Add another 18% with a more nuanced view that involves life evolving “over time through a process guided by a Supreme Being” and, of course, the timeline becomes a major sticking point.
Nye provided some good arguments for accepting a universe and earth of billions of years, whereas Ham missed his opportunity to discuss and provide evidence for the various signposts to the design of the universe itself, the laws of physics and chemistry, the first self-replicating system, consciousness and other such indicators.
Ventureyra glosses over anything Nye may have said and shows, again, his ignorance of what Ham is about. It isn’t the laws of physics and chemistry or any scientific indicators of any kind – these are anathema. Ham is all Biblical authority, nothing else. Authority which our Catholic scribe is here attempting to describe as scientific signposts.
Ironically, it was Nye defending big bang cosmology, one of the most compelling arguments for design and creation. Mr. Ham did make a couple of valid points though, namely that one need not necessarily be an evolutionist to be a good scientist and that the term evolution (there are at least six viable different meaning to the term) is often conflated.
Ah yes, the God of the Final Gap anally coughing up creation, re branded all science-like as
let there be lightThe Big Bang. With this argument, Ventureyra reveals himself to be an Old Earth Creationist, like very many liberal Christian cultists who bleat a very similar non-literal reading of the BuyBull. Unlike most Christians Ventureyra has probably read the whole Bibble. Since he is a Sophisticated Theologian, he likely applies the Augustinian “get outta jail free card” – all nice things in the Buybull are true, while all the hatred, violence & genocide are metaphorical.
Ham’s “valid points”, neither of which offer any evidence for Creationism, are almost nonsense. Being a good scientist depends on being able to say “I don’t know” and, when evidence mounts, “Hmmm, seems my idea is wrong”. Good scientists don’t assign supernatural agency to things they don’t understand, regardless of their field of study. While the various meanings of evolution may be conflated, I’ll bet quatloos to doughnuts it isn’t good scientists doing the conflating.
In my humble opinion, these two represent extremely narrow views in terms of the science-religion debates. According to their presentations neither of them seem to have been keeping up with advancements in science, philosophy, nor developments in the science-theology dialogue.” – Scott Ventureyra, PhD Theology (candidate), Dominican University College, Ottawa
What we have here is someone playing bagpipes while attempting to appear wise and open minded by adopting a middle position regardless of the evidence either speaker may have supporting their argument. Truth be told, the good Doctoral Candidate has no more sophisticated evidence than the Creationist. It is quite possible Ham wouldn’t even consider the fledgling Papist a Christian.