Sophisticated Ham on Nye

Buddy Jesus roaming The Middle East according to Ken Ham - actually from page 8 of the Beginner's Bible Coloring Book - with coloring hints for the wee bairns

Ken Ham’s history of the Middle East

15thC Recently 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.

closed minded?

Bill Nye – closed minded?

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.

open minded

Ken Ham – open minded?

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 light The 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.

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4 Responses to Sophisticated Ham on Nye

  1. Rugrat says:

    Love the title of this post and also the Family Guy clip. So much for the poetic “billion year old stardust” of Joni Mitchell, hellooooo doGfart!

  2. al kimeea says:

    Yeah, I think the original lyric was “we are starfarts, we are golden”. Upon reflection this was deemed a crude, if accurate result of too many bong hits, and replaced with the poetic stardust. I had this Family Guy sequence in mind but not to imbed. I couldn’t find a single image comparable and the gag doesn’t have reality emerging directly from doG’s bum…

    The title is slightly original as the last names of the two master debaters practically write it themselves. Lots of writers went there. The sophisticated part is a reference to the letter writer nearly having a PhD in Theology and a popular argument amongst learned theologists. To wit: Criticisms of religion rely on overly simplistic and outmoded ideas of faith that nobody really believes anymore. The more “sophisticated theologians” have better, modern arguments. IOW, you’re arguing with the little people who aren’t doing it right. Hear the bagpipes?

    Well no, they don’t. It’s the same old bald assertions, dressed up in new Emperor’s Clothing.

  3. markusd1984 says:

    Very Interesting concerns you raised al kimeea, thanks for sharing.

    Its interesting that Ken only presents one side of the christian interoperation / worldview being the Young Earth Creation. This debate may be even more interesting with a 2:2 both Ken Ham with another christian who supports Old Earth Creation and Bill Nye with another atheist who rejects materialist neo-darwinism ie Dr. Thomas Nagel . That would be a very interesting “big” debate :)

    Btw. did you see the response by Ventureyra to your post?
    http://thinkingclearlyaboutgod.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/al-kimeeas-hammed-unsophisticated-sophistry

    • al kimeea says:

      Thanks, interesting if typical reply by the author. I’ll have to put together a response.

      Go far enough into the past and anyone doing science MUST have been religious – or else. And it is quite possible for good science to be done – despite their religion, not because of it.

      I’m atheist because I read the whole BuyBull and I buy into science because it provides answers like vaccines.

      I am aware of what it is and how the Christian Holey Book was constructed.

      I also wonder why it wasn’t Odin who made it all happen. Far more interesting mythology.

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