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    Nye Tries to Burn Ham

    Neil Gussman

    At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 4, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Ken Ham, CEO of the Creation Museum debate at the Creation Museum. The debate can be watched at debatelive.org

    Our magazine reviewed the museum a while back. Kelly Tuttle, the reviewer, found the place dull, for reasons you can explore here.

    If you decide to watch, you will, in effect, be participating in the meta-debate about whether Bill Nye should participate. The conventional wisdom among the scientific community is not to participate in debates with Creationists. The scientist is at a disadvantage because the creationist is reasoning back from a conclusion, so is less constrained by facts than the scientist. Furthermore, the debate format itself promotes a false equivalency between the two positions, similar to a doctor of immunology debating Jenny McCarthy on vaccination. 

    The physics that demonstrate the age of the universe stem from Einstein’s work on relativity and have been verified by a century of experimental physics. The Creationist position sets the age of the earth and the universe by adding dates in the Old Testament and then revising science to fit. 

    The debate will be a chance to observe the tension between science and a subculture hostile to science—while using satellite technology, solid state electronics, and many other products of the very science that subculture denies.  It should be fascinating.

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