• Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham

    You can watch the debate here.

    Overall, I think Nye did a pretty good job, but there are a couple of places where he could have tweaked his performance for an even more massive win than he already had, and this will be the subject of my comments on the debate.

    Ken Ham trotted out a sprinkling of long-refuted creationist claims (Airplanes were found buried under layers of ice, thus proving that ice core dating doesn’t work, radiometric datings from Mt. St. Helens prove radiometric dating is unreliable, radiometric dating is based on a ton of assumptions, and on and on). He asked Bill Nye where the laws of logic came from if not God, but that question has an easy answer: the laws of logic must exist. B cannot equal non-B, and this is a necessary statement; it cannot be changed, introduced or deleted by the will of God. Besides, if the existence of God doesn’t require an explanation why can’t the laws of logic also exist without further explanation? Ham asked why the laws of nature exist. There’s a book on that subject, and suffice it to say that there are a number of believable explanations besides “God did it.” A couple of those explanations were briefly discussed in Bertrand Russell’s famous essay “Why I am Not a Christian,” under the heading “The Natural Law Argument.”

    Ham asked Nye: Is there any technology that would require belief in ‘molecules-to-man’ evolution to invent? Nye had the opportunity to hammer Ham like a jackass and missed it. In Evolving out of Eden, the Electrical Engineer Edwin Suominen tells us his perspective:

    “Imagine the irony of a scene that has probably played out all too many times in recent years: some creationist lecturer asking for directions to the church where he is planning to spew his nonsense, calling the pastor with a cell phone whose antenna was designed by an evolutionary algorithm.” (pg. 18).

    The footnote to this sentence reads: “Mobile phone antenna design is one of the major engineering success stories for genetic algorithms. Google scholar (scholar.google.com) reports over 5000 hits for the search query ‘genetic algorithm cellular antenna.’ Despite a hundred years of engineering work on radio antennas, it turns out that unguided evolution does a better job of meeting the challenges of hiding them inside the tiny, sleek cases of mobile phones than ‘intelligent designers’ do.” (Also see Wikipedia’s page on what a genetic algorithm is).

    No creationist would have ever predicted that a simulation of evolution by natural selection would produce this. After all, creationists only believe that evolution inevitably leads to “losses of genetic information” and minor tinkering with the genetic code, not major functional changes like we have here.

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    Article by: Nicholas Covington

    I am an armchair philosopher with interests in Ethics, Epistemology (that's philosophy of knowledge), Philosophy of Religion, Politics and what I call "Optimal Lifestyle Habits."