February 9, 2014

Transcript Of The Bill Nye Vs. Ken Ham Debate: Question And Answer Portion (Part IV)

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

Do you believe the entire bible is to be taken literally? For example, should people who touch pig's skin will be stoned? Can men marry multiple women?
Ken Ham: Do I believe the entire should be taken literally? Well, remember in my opening address, I said we have to define our terms. So when people are asked that question say literally, I have to know what that person meant by literally. Now, I would say this, if you say naturally and that's what you mean by literally, I would say yes I take the bible naturally. What do I mean by that? Well, if it's history as Genesis is, it's written in typical historical narrative, you take it as history. If it's a poetry as we find in the Psalms then you take it as poetry. It doesn't mean it doesn't teach truth but it's not a cosmological account in the sense that Genesis is. There's prophecy in the bible and there's literature in the bible you know concerning future events and so on so if you take it as written naturally according to literature and you let it speak to you in that way, that's how I take the bible. It's God's revelation to man. He used different people. The bible says that all scriptures are inspired by God so God moved by his spirit to write his words. And also there's a lot of misunderstanding in regard to scriptures, in regard to the Israelites, I mean we have laws in our civil government here in America that the government sets. There were certain laws for Israel. Some people take that out of context and then they try to impose them on us today Christians and say you should be obeying these laws. It's a misunderstanding of the old testament. It's a misunderstanding of the new testament and you know again it's important to take the bible as a whole in interpreting scriptures. If scriptures really is the word of God then there's not gonna be any contradiction which says not and by the way when men were married to multiple women there's lots of problems and the bible condemns that for what it is. And the bible is very clear. You know the bible is a real book, there are people who did things that were not in accordance with the scriptures and they were recorded to help us understand it's a real book. But marriage was one man and one woman. Jesus reiterated that in Matthew 19 as I had in my talk and so those that did marry multiple women were wrong.

Bill Nye: So it sounds to me just listening to you during the last two minutes that there's certain parts of this document of the bible that you embrace literally and other parts you consider poetry. So it sounds to me in those last two minutes like you're gonna take what you like, interpret literally and other passages you're gonna interpret as poetic descriptions of human events. All that aside, I would say scientifically or as a reasonable man that it doesn't seem possible that all these things that contradict your literal interpretation of those first few passages. All those things that contradict that, I find unsettling when you want me to embrace the rest of it as literal. Now as I say I'm not a theologian, but we started this debate is the Ken Ham creation model viable? Does it hold water? Can it fly? Does it describe anything? And I'm still looking for an answer.

Have you ever believed that evolution was accomplished through way of a higher power? I think that's what they're trying to ask here. The intelligent design question, I think. If so, why or why not? Why could not the evolutionary process be accomplished in this way? (Have you ever believed that evolution partook by way of evolution? )
Bill Nye: Let me introduce these ideas for Mr. Ham to comment. The idea that there's a higher power that has driven the course of the advance of the universe and our own existence is one that you cannot prove or disapprove. And this gets us to this expression, agnostic. You can't know. I grant you that. When it comes to intelligent design, which is if I understand your interpretation of the question, intelligent design has a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of nature. This is to say the old expression is if you were to find a watch in the field and you pick it up, you would realize that it was created by a somebody who was thinking ahead. Somebody with an organizational chart with somebody at the top and screws from screw manufacturers and springs from spring manufacturers and glass crystals from crystal manufacturers. But that's not how nature works. This is the fundamental insight in the explanation for living things that's provided by evolution. Evolution is a process that adds complexity through natural selection. This is to say nature has its mediocre designs eaten by its good designs. And so the perception that there is a designer that created all this is not necessarily true because we have an explanation that is far more compelling and provides predictions and things that are repeatable. I'm sure Mr. Ham here, the facility, you have an organization chart, I imagine you're at the top and it's a top-down structure. Nature is not that way. Nature is bottom-up. This is the discovery. Things merge up, whatever makes it keep going, whatever doesn't makes it falls away. And this is compelling and wonderful and fills me with joy and it's inconsistent with a top-down view.

Ken Ham: What Bill Nye needs to do for me is to show me an example of something, some new function that arose that was not previously possible from the genetic information that was there and I would claim and challenge you that there is no such example that you can give. That's why I brought up the example in my presentation of Lenski's experiments in regard to e-coli and there was some that seem to develop the ability to exist on citrate but as Dr. _____ (?) said from looking at his research, he has found that that information was already there. It's just a gene that switched on and off and so there is no example because you know information that's there and the genetic information of different animals, plants, and so on is no new function that can be added. Certainly great variation within a kind and that's what we look at. But you'd have to show an example of a brand new function that never previously possible. There is no such example that you can give anywhere in the world.

Name one institution, business or organization other than a church, amusement park or the Creation Museum that is using any aspect of creationism to produce its product?
Ken Ham: Any scientist out there, Christian or non-Christian, that is involved in inventing things involved in scientific method is using creation. They are because they are borrowing from a Christian world view. They use the laws of logic. I keep emphasizing that. I want Bill to tell me and a view of the universe as a result of natural processes, explain then where the laws of logic came from. Why should we trust the laws of nature? I mean are they gonna be the same tomorrow as they were yesterday? In fact, some of the greatest scientists that ever lived, Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, were creationists. And as one of them said, you know thinking gods thought after him and that's really modern science really came out of. That thinking, that we can do experiments today and we can do the same tomorrow. We can trust the laws of logic. We can trust the laws of nature. And if we don't teach our children correctly about this, they're not gonna be innovative. And they're not gonna be able to come up with inventions to advance in our culture. And so I think that the person was trying to get out that see you know there are lots of secularists out there doing work and they don't believe in creation and they came up with great inventions. Yeah but my point is they are borrowing from the Christian world view to do so and as you saw from the video clips I gave, people like Andrew ______ and Dr. ____ has published in the secular journals. There's lots of creationists out there who publish. People might know that they're creationists because the topics do not specifically pertain to creation versus evolution but there's lots of them out there. If you go to our website, there's a whole list there of scientists who are creationists, who are out there doing great work in this world. And helping to advance technology.

Bill Nye: There's a reason that I don't accept your Ken Ham model of creation. Because it has no predictive quality as you touched on. And something that I've always found troubling, it sounds as though you believe your worldview which is literal interpretation of most parts of the bible is correct. What became of all those people who never heard of it? Never heard of you. What became of all those people in Asia? What became of all those first nations people in north America? Were they condemned and doomed? I mean I don't know how much time you spend talking to strangers but they're not sanguine about that. To have you tell them that they are inherently lost or misguided. It's very troubling. And you say there are no examples in nature, there are countless examples of how the process of science makes predictions.

Since evolution teaches that man is evolving and growing smarter over time, how can you explain the numerous evidence of man's high intelligence in the past?
Bill Nye: Hang on. There's no evidence that men, humans are getting smarter. No, especially if you ever met my old boss, no, it's that what happens in evolution, it's a British word that was used in the middle 1800s. It's survival of the fittest and this usage, it doesn't mean the most push-ups or the highest scores on a standardized test, it means that those fit in the best. Our intellect such as it is has enabled us to dominate the world I mean the evidence of humans is everywhere. James Cameron just made another trip to the bottom of the ocean, the deepest part of the ocean, the first time since 1960 and when they made the first trip they found a beer can. Humans are everywhere and so it is our capacity to reason that has taken us to where we are now. If a germ shows up as it did for example in World War I where more people were killed by the flu than were killed by the combatants in World War I. That is a troubling and remarkable fact. If the right germs show up, we'll be taken out. We'll be eliminated. Being smarter is not a necessary consequence of evolution. So far it seems to be the way things are going because of the remarkable advantage it gives to us. We can control our environment and even change it as we are doing today apparently by accident. So everybody just take a little while and grasp this fundamental idea. It's how you fit in with nature around you so as the world changes, as it did for example for the ancient dinosaurs, they were taken out by a worldwide fireball apparently caused by an impactor. That's the best theory we have and we are the result of organisms that lived through that catastrophe. It's not necessarily smarter, it's how you fit in with your environment.

Ken Ham: I remember at university, one of my professors said that he was very excited to give us an evidence for evolution. He said look at this, here's an example. This fish has evolved the ability not to see and he was gonna give me an example of a blind cave fish and he said see in this cave, they are evolving because now the ones that are living in there their ancestors have eyes but these ones are blind. And I remember telling my professor wait a minute, now they can't do something that they can do before. They might have an advantage in this sense, in a situation that's dark like that. Those that had eyes got diseases and died out. Those that  had mutations and no eyes are the ones that survived. It's not survival of the fittest. It's survival of those who survive. And it's survival of those who have the information in the circumstance to survive but it's not you're not getting new information, you're not getting new function. There's no example of that at all so we need to correctly understand these things.

What is the one thing more than anything else upon which you base your beliefs?
Ken Ham: Well, again, to summarize the things that I've been saying, there is a book called the bible. It's a very unique book. It's very different from any other book out there. In fact, I don't know of any other religion that has a book that starts by telling you that there's an infinite God and it talks about the origin of the universe, the origin of matter, the origin of light, the origin of darkness and the origin of day and night and the origin of the earth, the origin of dry land, and the origin of plants, the origin of the sun, moon and stars, the origin of the sea creatures, the origin of flying creatures, the origin of land creatures, the origin of man, the origin of woman, the origin of death, the origin of sin, the origin of marriage, the origin of different languages, the origin of clothing, the origin of nations, I mean it's a very very specific book and it gives us an account of a global flood in the history and the Torah bible and if that history is true, then what about the rest of the book. Well that history says that man is a sinner, that says that man is separated from God and it gives us a message we call the gospel. A message of salvation that God's son stepped into history and died on the cross and raised from the dead and offers a free gift of salvation because the history is true that's why the message based in history is true. I actually went through some predictions and listed down some of these and there's a lot more that you can look at and you can go and test these for yourself. If this book really is true, it is so specific it should explain the world. It should make sense of what we see. The flood, yeah, we have fossils all over the world. The Torah bible, yeah, different people, different languages, flood legends very similar to the bible, creation legends similar to the bible, and prophecies and so on. And most of all, as I said, the bible says if you come to God, believe in that, he will reveal himself to you and you will know. If you search out the truth, if you really want God to show you as you search out for the silver and gold, he will show you. He will reveal himself to you.

Bill Nye: As my old professor Carl Sagan said so often, "When you are in love, you wanna tell the world." And I base my beliefs on the information and the process that we call science. It fills me with joy to make discoveries everyday, of things I've never seen before. It fills me with joy to know that we can pursue these answers. It is a wonderful and astonishing thing to me that we are, you and I, are somehow at least one of the ways that the universe knows itself. You and I are a product of the universe. It's astonishing. I see your faces and we have come to be because of the universe's existence. And we are driven to pursue that, to find out where we came from. And the second question we all wanna know, are we alone? Are we alone in the universe? And these questions are deep within us and they drive us. So the process of science, the way we know nature is the most compelling thing to me. And I just wanna close by reminding everybody what's at stake here. If we abandon all that we've learned. Our ancestors, what they've learned about nature and our place in it. If we abandon the process by which we know it, if we eschew, if we let go of everything that people have learned before us, if we stop driving forward, stop looking for the next answer to the next question, we and the United States will be out-competed by other countries, other economies. Now that would be okay I guess. But I was born here, I'm a patriot. And so we have to embrace science education. To the voters and taxpayers that are watching,  please keep that in mind. We have to keep science education in science, in science classes.

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