Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Creation vs Evolution: Ken Ham of "Answers in Genesis" Goes Head To Head with Bill Nye "The Science Guy" #CreationDebate

Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era? On Tuesday, February 4th 2014, this question was addressed during a live debate between Bill Nye (The Science Guy) and Ken Ham (Answers In Genesis). It was hosted at The Creation Museum and moderated by Tom Foreman of CNN. In their own words, here's why they decided to engage in this debate.

"For students, the evolution-creation discussion can be a useful exercise, for it can help develop their critical thinking skills.
Most students are presented only with the evolutionary belief system in their schools, and they are censored from hearing challenges to it. Let our young people understand science correctly and hear both sides of the origins issue and then evaluate them.
Our public schools arbitrarily define science as explaining the world by natural processes alone. In essence, a religion of naturalism is being imposed on millions of students. They need to be taught the real nature of science, including its limitations. 
Nye, the host of a popular TV program for children, should welcome a scrutiny of evolution in the classrooms.
As evolution-creation issues continue to be in the news – whether it relates to textbook controversies or our debate – there is an increasingly bright spotlight on the research activities of thousands of scientists and engineers worldwide who have earned doctorates and are creationists.
On our full-time staff at Answers in Genesis, we have Ph.D.s in astronomy, geology, biology, molecular genetics, the history of science, and medicine. Yes, creationists are still a small minority in the scientific community, but they hold impressive credentials and have made valuable contributions in science and engineering.
I remember the time I spoke at a lunchtime Bible study at the Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington. I was thrilled to meet several scientists and engineers who accept the book of Genesis as historical and reject Darwinian evolution. They shared with me that a belief in evolution had nothing to do with their work on the Hubble Space Telescope. Why should our perspective about origins be censored?
Our young people — and adults — should be aware that considerable dissent exists in the scientific world regarding the validity of molecules-to-man evolution."

"What keeps this country in the game economically is our ability to innovate. New ideas lead to new technologies, which drive new businesses and new opportunities. Technological innovations absolutely cannot be created without fundamental understanding of science, the means by which we know nature.
How many young adults and taxpayers use mobile phones? How many of us rely on global navigation systems that use satellites high above the Earth’s surface to find our way around?
Even if you eschew smartphones, you rely on the system to keep airplanes in the sky and ships at sea on their routes. Modern farmers plant seeds in fields with extraordinary precision using information beamed from satellites in space.
For the United States to maintain its leadership in technology, we need well-educated science students. To allow our students to come of age without the knowledge gained through the extraordinary scientific insights and diligence of our ancestors would deprive them of understanding of nature and our place in the cosmos.
It would also rob our students of their future. Without scientists and engineers to create new technologies and ways of doing society’s business, other economies in other countries will out-compete the United States and leave our citizens behind."

Here was the format of the debate:

Debate Format

7:00  Welcome by moderator, Tom Foreman, CNN
7:05  Opening statements by debater #1
7:10  Opening statements by debater #2
7:15  Moderator comments
7:16  Presentation by debater #1
7:45  Moderator comments
7:50  Presentation by debater #2
8:20  Moderator gives rebuttal instructions
8:25  Rebuttal for debater #1
8:30  Rebuttal for debater #2
8:35  Counter-rebuttal for debater #1
8:40  Counter-rebuttal for debater #2
8:45  Q&A instructions by moderator
8:48  Moderator reads pre-submitted questions alternating between debaters
9:28  Moderator concludes debate

It began with their five minute opening statements. Ken Ham went first followed by Bill Nye. This was followed by their 1/2 hour creative presentations where once again, Ken Ham went first.

In his introduction, Ken Ham debunked the misconception that Creationists cannot be scientists. He included a short video testimonial from accomplished scientist Stuart Burgess who is also an Engineering professor from Bristol University in the UK. Burgess believes in the Creative process. He then went into the definition of Science during which he drew a hard line between observational or experimental and historical science. He asserted that the word "science" was hijacked by secularists to only support a secular worldview.

As a result, they blur the lines between physical evidence provided by observational science and theoretical conclusions that result for a secular worldview. We all have access to the same physical evidence but the difference between Creationists and Evolutionists are the conclusions drawn. Since nobody was alive during the time the earth was created, we cannot prove either position with scientific evidence. That, in a nutshell was Mr Ham's position.

In response, Bill Nye explained that there is no distinction between observational and historical science. Current scientific evidence is used to derive conclusions of the past. Then he placed his focus squarely on two weak areas in what he called Ken Ham's Creation Model. One was the age of the earth being 6000 years old and the other was the Flood of Noah resulting in a restart of the creative process 4000 years ago. He gave some very simple examples like the fossil record in the Grand Canyon.

If the flood of Noah did take place why aren't the fossils of certain animals in higher rock levels since animals in a flood would swim to higher levels before they die? He didn't seem to have any issue with religion or even belief in God. His issue was with the "Young Earth" viewpoint. It just seemed to be unsustainable in the face of overwhelming evidence. They continued along the same lines with their creative presentations.

Ken Ham continued to emphasize the viability of the "Young Earth" Creation model with video testimonials from Raymond Damadian, the creator of the MRI Scanner, Danny Faulkner, an accomplished stellar astronomer and again, Stuart Burgess. He explained that the laws of nature and logic upon which so many scientific arguments are built cannot exist without God. He outlined the capability of the Biblical model of Creation to explain these laws as well as the scientific evidence used in Evolutionary theory.

In response, Bill Nye presented evidence of millions of layers of fossils in limestone which could not have formed in 4000 years. He also presented evidence of snow ice rods which are 680 layers deep of snowflakes which could only form in 4000 years if there were 170 winter/ summer cycles per year. He then talked about pine trees in California that are over 6000 years old as well as  a 9550 year old tree called Old Tjikko in Sweden. He outlined rock layers in the Grand Canyon which could not have formed so quickly without turbulence as the water settled at the end of Noah's flood. He then presented humanoid skulls from all over the earth. Last, but not least, he doubted the possibility of every specie of animal on the earth coming from a boat in the Middle East without any evidence of a land bridge to other continents.

They went back and forth for over two hours and in the end it was an overall enjoyable debate. Neither man presented himself as a scientific scholar but mere science enthusiasts whose experience as science teachers prepared them for their lifetime pursuit of scientific knowledge. The highlights of the rest of the debate included Ken Ham's demonstration that the Biblical worldview provides answers for so many difficult questions that science can never answer. Not just that, but it was proven when Bill Nye could not give answers for what existed before The Big Bang, how consciousness come from matter as well as some other similar questions. Bill Nye did ask a great question, if scientific models have the ability to make predictions based on current evidence why can't Ken Ham's Creation model?

Here's my take. If Ken Ham presented an Old Earth approach to Biblical Creation, Bill Nye's arguments would have been greatly limited. Bill Nye spent so much time arguing against "Young Earth" Creationism that it was easy to miss the fact that he presented no compelling arguments against Creation itself. He did have compelling arguments against the flood of Noah. However, He didn't present any strong arguments against the existence of God or Creation itself.

There are other Creation models, some of which I ascribe to that agree with the scientific evidence of an ancient earth. Also, there are Creation models which support the idea of The Big Bang and even directed Evolution. As a result, science and scripture are not mutually exclusive. We just have a limited understanding of both. Ken Ham did get one thing right consistently, dating methods used in science are not foolproof and are not 100% accurate because there are many assumptions made in radiometric dating.

Here's my position as outlined in a short sample from my book, Faith Science.

Faith Science

The Gap Theory

On Monday, July 20, 2009, Yahoo News published an article written by Jeanna Bryner entitled, “Comets Killed Ice Age Beasts.” According to the article, the discovery of lonsdaleite nanodiamonds just off the coast of southern California closed the deal. It provided the strongest evidence to date of the catastrophic event long suspected as the cause of extinction of large ice-age animals and the Stone Age group known as Clovis people. Until then, those hexagonal diamonds had only been found in meteorites and impact craters. This was due to the high temperatures and pressures necessary for their formation.

Evidence of arctic life discovered in temperate or tropical areas has caused scientists to point to Ice Ages. Large surfaces of the earth were covered with ice sheets (large continental glaciers) during those time periods. An exhibit on the Ice Ages from the Illinois State Museum shows some interesting facts. On their Web site is the quote, “If a type of animal lives in a certain type of climate now, we may infer that its ancestors lived in that type of climate, too.” 

Ice Ages occurred due to changing continental positions, uplift of continental blocks, reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere, and changes in the earth’s orbit during four approximate time intervals:

• Late Proterozoic (800 to 600 million years ago),
• Ordovician and Silurian (460 to 430 million years ago)
• Pennsylvanian and Permian (350 to 250 million years ago)
• Neogene to Quaternary (4 million years ago to present)

As evidenced by the Ice Ages, the general consensus in the international scientific community is that the earth is billions of years old. Theoretically, it makes sense due to the clearly defined strata of the earth and the presence of fossils at varying depths. Experimentally, it makes sense based on carbon dating methods. Fossils used to reconstruct prehistoric animals like mammoths and dinosaurs support this theory. The discovery of human-like bones in the earth’s strata is evidence of the existence of prehistoric man. In addition, the scientific evidence used to support the past occurrence of the Ice Ages is relatively strong.

There is also evidence of a sudden destructive event that caused the end of civilization. Dinosaurs and mammoths did not gradually become extinct but died suddenly. The earth’s strata tell the story of a thriving planet that underwent a catastrophic change. Occasionally, more information like what I just mentioned becomes available concerning what happened. Without getting into specific data, it’s popularly understood that the earth is much older than what we assume from our common understanding of the Bible. Scientists and Christians clash bitterly over this issue without any acceptable resolution.

As a student of geography and physics in high school growing up in a Christian home, I didn’t care to understand why things didn’t match up. When I was in school I agreed with the scientific evidence,
and at home I agreed with the biblical evidence. As long as both spheres of my life remained separate, it didn’t matter to me. However, my first degree in applied physics opened the door for me to question my beliefs. Everything changed when I was invited to participate in the 2000 Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. The big bang theory formed the foundation of my project, Cosmic Microwave Background Rotating Polarimeter Experiment

During one presentation to my peers I was asked to justify my participation in the project even though it contradicted with my Christian beliefs. I told them that I always separated my Christian beliefs from all academic pursuits. That answer satisfied my peers but did not satisfy me. Hence, after almost a decade of searching for answers, this book came to life. The gap theory might be controversial, but at least it’s a valiant attempt to connect science and faith.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.Genesis 1:1–2 kjv

Have you ever considered the feasibility of the gap theory? It proposes that there was a major time lapse between the first two verses of the Bible. In Genesis 1:1 the Scriptures posit that the creation of the heavens (direct translation from the Hebrew language) and the earth took place at the beginning of time. However, there is good reason to question that God created the earth the way it was
described in the next verse.

In Genesis 1:2 the Hebrew word hayah was translated into the English word was, which also means “became” or “came to pass.” In other words, God started time with the creation of the heavens and the earth, but something happened. The earth became without form, empty and dark. What happened? Since our basic assumptions concerning this issue come from the Bible, then let’s stick with it to find our answers.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Unusual Intelligence

Intelligence is defined as:

  • The Ability To Learn Or Understand (Intellect)
  • The Ability To Cope With A New Situation (Adaptability)
  • Understanding, Discernment, Judgment

  • Some people are born smarter than others! Some have more experience! Some work much harder! However, did you know that faith and science can be combined to increase intelligence?