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Ken Ham Vs. Bill Nye Vs. Kab Balah – Part Three A- May 2014

This final part is rather lengthy and consists of two sub-divisions. The pace of the debate became excelerated so the review and analysis will more along more briskly to reflect such. By popular demand the scoring system has been reinstated.

Rebuttals

In this section, Ken Ham and Bill Nye each get five minutes to rebut the other's arguments. This will be followed by a counter-rebuttal section. Kab Balah will get an infinitely small amount of time to rebut in sub-division A. In sub-section B he will get a finite but rather large amount of time. In interest of expedience, this section may be enhanced with additional citations at a later date to justify the scoring after the fact.

Ken Ham

Ham addresses the “age of the earth” questions posed by Bill Nye. He states that he gets his age of the earth from the genealogies of the Bible. Specifically, he says they use the time from Adam to Christ to get a date of approximately six thousand years. If he can provide an explanation to where Cain and Seth found wives that doesn’t involve incest that would be swell.

Ken Ham mentions a case where wooden branches were found in basalt which were dated at forty-five thousand years while the basalt itself was dated at forty-five million years throwing into question radio-metric dating methods. Maybe aliens put it there just to screw with us?

Empirical Evidence: 6 Debate Strategy Demerit: -1

He then mentions that samples were taken from a lava dome which formed at Mt. Saint Helens which gave several different dates to further cast doubt on the efficacy of radio-metric dating techniques. Radio-metric dating sounds so technical though; how could it possibly be wrong? Since sarcasm doesn’t translate to text well: that was sarcasm.

Empirical Evidence: 7 Debate Strategy Demerit: -1

Rattles off a list of assumptions made when doing radio-metric dating. Says one cannot verify these assumptions are accurate unless one was there. Ham is pretty specific. Apparently radio-metric dating is not.

Empirical Evidence: 8 Debate Strategy Demerit: -1

Claims Christians believing in millions of years have a problem because their belief is inconsistent because the Bible says death was a result of sin. Ken Ham mentions that the first instance of death in the Bible is where G_d killed an animal to clothe Adam & Eve. One may not be able to verify this but one may verify that death, by whole and large, is generally unpleasant.

Ham then goes on to claim that all animals were vegetarians in the Bible until after the flood. However, we have to question this assertion that all the animals where vegetarians before getting on the Ark especially when this is not clearly and concisely stated in the Bible, rather, it is a matter of interpretation. Genesis implies that humans can start eating animals after the flood but to expand this to other species does not logically follow. No causal relationship between what humans are told they can eat and what animals can eat is established. This is a “slippery slope” fallacy captured on film in its natural habitat: a debate.

Ham also reminds us that thorns found in fossil records contradict the biblical statement that thorns only came after the curse. Ouch!

He mentions that there are hundreds of dating methods and that about ninety percent of them contradict billions of years as an age of the Earth. Tells us that there is only one infallible dating method witness who was there which is G_d who tells us in the Bible. If you don’t believe that, pray and ask for clarity; seriously.

Bill Nye

Nye proposes that the rock slid on top of the plant material. This is great speculation but does not fit the case. No points awarded. No cookie for you Bill!

Then asks why all the asteroids have about the same date. This is a very good question. Based on traditional main-stream astrophysics, these heavy elements can only come from super-novas. Astronomy seems to show stars being born and dying as a continuing event. This could actually throw additional doubt on such dating methods and/or main-stream astrophysics so it cannot actually disprove Ham's case.

Mentions that the Bible, translated into English, has been copied and translated thousands of times throughout its history. It certainly has. This may indicate some distortion may have occurred, unless one attempts to make the case that everyone who has had a hand in it were guided by the “hand of G_d.” What that might mean, however, may also be open to interpretation. Empirical point awarded.

Empirical Points: 10 Debate Demerits: -2

Nye asks if fish are sinners to get diseases. Just what did those dirty, dirty fishies do to deserve such a fate?

Calls out Ken Ham about his insistence that we cannot observe the past. Says that is all we can do in astronomy. States that audience is looking at past right now because of the time it takes light to travel from him to their eyes. Makes a joke about people in the back of the room appearing “that much younger” than those in the front. This also, inadvertently, points out the problem of ever being able to observe anything directly but he will get a point because this is usually all the evidence we can go on when studying the external world.

Empirical Points: 11 Debate Demerits: -2

Bill Nye does not like the idea that natural law changed sometime in the past. Calls this “magical.” Says he appreciates magic but claims it is, “not what we want in conventional main-stream science.” It might be more entertaining if it did though!

Talks about how lions teeth are evidence that lions could never have been vegetarians. Jokes that their teeth are not really set up to eat broccoli. This is not as good of a point as he would like to think. If Ham does not point out why then Kab Balah doubtless will.

Bill Nye discusses the “telephone game,” or as some may know it, the “rumor game” which is an experiment that shows how information can be distorted as it moves from one person to the next. He makes the case that physical evidence may have more merit than information translated from a book whose information has passed through many hands. This could be disputed with a “divine inspiration” argument or the like but it will merit a point because it is a well-known and often demonstrated phenomenon.

Empirical Points: 12 Debate Demerits: -2

Then Bill Nye gets to what seems to be the “meat” of his concerns about Ham's creation theory. He asks the audience to consider the implications of accepting that the Bible is a Science text which must be translated by Ken Ham or those who share his views. He questions whether it is reasonable to accept that rather than looking at evidence anyone can see in the world around them.

Nye wraps up his five minutes by saying that the example given by Ham of the text book which discussed five races is “much the same thing.” Meaning, one must assume, that if one looks at the evidence anyone can see: that people are all people, one wouldn’t write silly things like that in text books. He seems to be trying to subtly twist this around; likening Ken ham and those who agree with him to the people who wrote that text in that he isn’t looking at the evidence anyone can see.

Still: Bill Nye agrees with Ken Ham that the text is wrong because that, as anyone who has traveled around should know, people are much more alike than they are different. One may speculate that this debate might get more interesting if either party says something conspicuously racist or otherwise shockingly offensive but, alas, this has yet to happen.

Counter Rebuttals

Next, both gentleman will get a chance to counter each other rebuttals as the audiences gets progressively more tired and hungry. One can only wish a fight would break-out Jerry Springer style but the combat will probably continue to be one of words. Hopefully at least one cuss word will slip out.

Ham

Ham clarifies that the example he gave about the wood in the Basalt was a scenario where the wood was actually encased inside the basalt. One might wonder if Bill Nye will be interested enough in the anomaly to do further research. Since it does not fit with Nye’s world-view this is doubtful.

Claims that natural law has not changed. Did he not insinuate that this is one of the assumptions that cannot be observed? Makes the case that such predictable laws only make sense in the context of a universe set up by a creator god. Tells us that immutable laws, established by the creator, which do not change from one day to the next are why we are able to do good science.

Wait. What? Do the laws change or don’t they? Did they before? Will they again?

Ken Ham claims his model is not just his model. He is essentially correct. It's not just his model. There are others who share his views which is empirically verifiable. He names names. This could just be a pity-point but it will be counted.

Empirical Evidence: 9 Debate Strategy Demerit: -1

Makes case that Nye could be confusing terms between species and kinds. Says that some creationists who have published papers on his website predicted between one or two thousand kinds. Proposes this means there would have been plenty of room on the Ark.

Ham then claims Nye sometimes helps make his case for him. Brings up tree rings, ice layers, and kangaroos getting to Australia. Points out that he did not actually see the ice layers or tree rings form. Presents an example where a plane landed on ice in Greenland. He tells us that forty-six years later, three miles away from the original location, the plane was found under two-hundred and fifty feet of ice. Uses this to illustrate the folly of assuming one layer of ice would form in a year. Seems like a dubious dismissal of empirical evidence but still gets a point as a specific example was given which does create some doubt.

Empirical Evidence: 10 Debate Strategy Demerit: -1

Ken Ham points out that bears, which are primarily vegetarian, particularly the panda, have very sharp teeth like a lion. He also points out that the fruit bat has extremely sharp teeth but uses them to tear into fruit. He uses these examples to show the problems of interpretation. This seems ironic considering how certain he is about his interpretation of the Bible but he still gets a point.

Empirical Evidence: 11 Debate Strategy Demerit: -1

Answers the Missoula Montana rock comment Nye made earlier by stating that Creationists do believe in post-flood catastrophes. This still does not explain how these stones had time to become river worn and then fall after the flood. The scenario is a bit complex so this will work as a debate strategy but no evidence is presented which would warrant a point.

Ham asks Nye why he would say Noah was unskilled siting that he has not met him. This is an extremely good point. Like he mentions, there are recent finds that the Chinese may have built enormous wooden boats composed of multiple interlocking layers so they wouldn't leak. There are many cases of extraordinary ancient technological accomplishments which have not been duplicated.

The Chinese ships Ham is referring to are discussed in this article: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/ancient-chinese-explorers.html Note that enormous rudders have been found which would be large in proportion to even the legendary sizes of the vessels.

Ham didn’t site the above example but his statement that Bill Nye hasn’t met Noah is, one must assume, an indisputable fact. If Nye has met Noah, he would have some pretty serious explaining to do regarding his perplexing lack of faith.

Empirical Evidence: 12 Debate Strategy Demerit: -1

Questions viability of Big Bang model by bringing up the “horizon problem.” Goes into a decent amount of detail given time limitations. Tells us this is why there are “inflation theories” to account for the limitations.

Empirical Evidence: 13 Debate Strategy Demerit: -1

Ken Ham offers his website as a source where these sorts of things are explained.

Nye

In his counter-rebuttal Nye immediately makes the statement that he is “not satisfied.” He does not believe that Ken Ham has adequately explained certain things like the hundreds of thousands of ice layers which, he submits, requires a yearly cycle. He already received a point for this evidence though.

Makes the point that if there were even less kinds on the Ark then the number of new species per time period would be even more extreme. Nye still does not seem to take into account how complicated the math would get as organisms branch off in multiple directions forming several populations and sub-populations which can reintegrate and experience bottlenecks but it sounds like a compelling argument. This might warrant an empirical point if evidence were provided instead of a thought experiment which happens to be easily disputable using, as it would so happen, another thought experiment.

Next, Bill Nye displays an astounding view that because his recent ancestors, the Nye family, had not been able to build an enormous boat that actually worked that it could not have been done in the ancient past. He actually states that Ham must believe that Noah had to have had super powers to build such a craft with his family. The assumption seems to be that humans have somehow gotten more proficient with woodworking over the eons despite evidence to the contrary readily available.

Then Nye expresses that he has a fundamentally different attitude about what one can prove to oneself. He explains that assumptions made in science are based on prior experiences. This is all scientists can do. He will get a point because the author feels like giving him a point… at this point.

Empirical Points: 13 Debate Demerits: -2

Bill Nye asks why “we” should take Ham's word that somehow natural law changed four thousand years ago with no record of it. He says this is not reasonable. He goes on to mention that there are cultures with traditions dating back much farther. He does not site specific examples though.

Nye asks Ham what he thinks will become of the people that do not believe in his “young earth” interpretation of the Bible. He reiterates his statement that many Bible believers do not subscribe to the same interpretation of Ken Ham. Repeating same evidence. No additional points.

Then we get a sort of semi-coherent rant about bringing the New Testament into the discussion being out of the box, science being just science and not a kind of science, and some dark fascination with murder mysteries. Obviously Bill Nye really likes CSI quite a lot. He does know that it is just a television show, right?

Bill Nye then repeats his rather amazing belief that the scientific community simply throws out outdated models when they are found to not be tenable. He actually seems to believe that most scientists are actually scientific. He seems to really think that supposed scientists, by whole and large, are somehow different than Ken Ham in that they are willing to throw out their entire world-view when contradictory information is discovered. Truly amazing.

If one does not mind a little foul language and unrefined humor this article from cracked.com reveals a few of many examples of how lovingly the scientific community embraces new information: http://www.cracked.com/article_18822_5-famous-scientists-dismissed-as-morons-in-their-time.html

Nye cauterizes his counter-rebuttal with an impassioned mini-speech questioning that Ham's interpretation of the Bible be more important evidence than what he himself can see around him and imploring the audience that society needs more scientists and especially engineers. The way he ties this up is with blatant pro-nationalistic rhetoric. One cannot help to be a little impressed by his use of emotional arguments during a science debate.

End of Sub-section A


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