I watched the Nye vs. Ham debate, which is unusual since I generally don’t watch these things. They’re too depressing and even more so, sometimes frightening; but since I happened to catch it live, I figured: Why not? The best analogy I can think of when I listen to a creationist attempt to convince someone that the world is only 4,000 years old is the example of, say, the apple in hand argument. Someone walks up to someone else and says, “Look, I’m holding an apple.” This person, however, has nothing in their hand. The natural response is, “No, you are not holding an apple.” But the person arguing that he actually has an apple will persist nevertheless, until it feels like dementia is settling in for the listening parties involved.
Of note, with regard to the debate, rests in the fact that biblical scripture was presented onscreen as Ham argued. This is bizarre because the world of persuasion and rhetoric knows that in terms of the Bible, it does not function as proof of its claims.
The other matter of note was in how Bill Nye relied on scientific examples alone; that and his ability to convey the ideas. Ken Ham perpetually had to bring in the names of other scientists, PhDs who apparently believe as he does. He threw out a plethora of dubious claims, but he kept having to invoke the appeal to authority fallacy, to alleviate his noticeable sense of discomfort. The whole — “Look! I’m not the only one who believes this!” trick — this is an indication of a weak argument. Of course, creationism is much more than a weak argument, but just saying…
Apparently, the debate was held in Kentucky. Bill Nye had his work cut out for him, though science pretty much works on its own. I actually didn’t know that Ham was from
across the Atlantic (Ken Ham is Australian I have learned), signaled by his accent, but since he’s clearly fanatical, the location for the debate, and this creationist museum that’s been built, the setting was appropriate. It was obviously designed to favor Ham. I guess that’s how it’s done when you’re trying to make truth out of myth (a.k.a. bullshit).
The real factor here, which Nye touched on, was in the danger of allowing creationism into public education. For those who don’t understand, creationism is fiction; it’s textual myth. Creationism dictates truth as imagined by the minds of men living thousands of years in the past. Hypatia of Alexandria said it best on this issue:
“Fable should be taught as fable, myth as myth, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truth is horrifying. The mind of a child accepts them and only through great pain, perhaps tragedy, can the child be relieved of them. Men will fight for superstition as quickly as for the living truth — even more so, since a superstition is intangible, you can’t get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, as so is changeable.”
Hypatia of Alexandria (370 – 415 BC)