Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – my thoughts on the recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham

from atheistmemebase.com

from atheistmemebase.com

Many are writing about the debate between Bill Nye and the TrueChristian Ken Ham.   Expectedly, given the result, some TrueChristians are insisting that it is only “Ham’s type of Christian” that has lost so badly.  They are smug in their superiority that *their* magic decoder ring is the only right way to interpret the bible.  Unfortunately, unless they are a very odd type of Christian (perhaps the Thomas Jefferson type) that does not believe in supernatural acts that ignore physical and chemical laws, no miracles, no resurrections, they are just as ridiculous in their beliefs.

Ham is adamant that one cannot know what happened in the past unless one was a direct observer.  Thus he claims that evolution can’t be shown to be true since no one was there to watch it start.  He of course insists that he knows that the Christian creation myth is true because God was there and God told us it was true through the medium of the bible. It’s not terribly hard to see just how hypocritical this is.

The biggest problem with this is that theists can’t show that their gods exist.  Christians can’t show one shred of evidence, so we have a “witness” that seems to be entirely imaginary. The demand, “Defense attorney, produce your first witness.”  Is met by silence.

But let’s assume that the Christian god (all-powerful and all-knowing)  exists for a moment and consider what is claimed to be his written testimony.  “I’m sorry, judge, he can’t be here but we have a book that the defendant says was written by him.” What about its supposed witnessing, the Old Testament and New Testament?  If the bible is to be considered an inerrant accurate depiction of past events, as one type of  TrueChristian claims, that is controlled by an omniscient and omnipotent being, it should have no errors in it.  So, is the bible a trustable source?  We have no evidence that it is.  Many of its claims can be shown to be wrong and that other events occupy the place that the purported events in the bible are claimed to do.  Since they can’t both have happened, the one with the evidence is the one to trust as real.  For instance, there is no evidence of a worldwide flood at any time.

Even more problematic,  believers cannot agree on what times should be looked at  for these magical events and many don’t want to even give a date since that opens them up to critique. Indeed, many of them are sure that the witnessing can’t be taken as literally what happened but only a story given to a people who did not understand scientific information as a vague description of what really happened.  What we do see is that the usual physical and chemical processes, abrupt and gradual,  happened without cessation.   The bible claims that entire cities will be lost and never found again, i.e. Tyre.  It’s still a city, hasn’t stopped being lived in and we know where its ruins are too.  As you can see, the bible does mention some real places, so it can occasionally get things accurate.  But it is unreliable, with baseless claims mixed into a real world, just like myths from many religions.  As other posts on this blog have asked: why believe one set of baseless claims over another?  Still no answers to that.

Add to this all of the other creation myths and we have:  a witness that cannot be shown to exist,  a source of claims that cannot be shown to be accurate in many instances, and competing myths that also have to be disproven to show that the Christian god is indeed the creator.  Does this absolutely prove that there are no gods and no creationism nonsense?  No, we could have a god that is nothing like any god described by humanity; we could write off all supposed holy books since they all fail; and we could still have a magic creation that the force involved intentionally hid and gave all sorts of evidence to the contrary.   We could believe that a god created the universe last Tuesday and we only think we lived before that.  It all sounds ridiculous, and that’s what you get when comparing the possible of flights of fancy with the probable when reality is involved.  I *could* be a red and purple furred six foot tall wombat who can type, but that’s not likely either.  🙂

I do find Ham to be a liar.  Some have offered the excuse that he isn’t because he “really believes” the nonsense he spreads.  However, Ham has kept himself ignorant of evidence against his position.  He says directly that nothing would change his mind.  Willful ignorance and the intention to pass on that ignorance shows intent to make sure no one knows the facts, aka lying.

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15 responses to “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – my thoughts on the recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham

  1. If his argument is we were not there to see life begin so evolution can’t be true, by the same token he wasn’t there when god was created and he can’t rightfully say it wasn’t created.

  2. Funny you mentioned the religion on trial thing. I have often wondered how well religious claims would stand up in a court of law, where some sort of actual evidence is required to make a case.

    I would love to see an educator somewhere with the balls to hold mock trials for their students. With religion being expected to actually provide evidence that would withstand scrutiny. Of course the fallout would be deliciously schadenfreude-ic.

    Great post.

  3. I do find Ham to be a liar.

    I agree. Or clinically insane. He should actually be ordered to undergo some sort of competency evaluation as he has access to children.
    Then again, maybe so should the parents of those children?

    • I agree about Ham and needing a competency test. He seems so very addled. I also often think that parents should have some test to show that they are capable, considering what I witness with working constantly with the public. There is the idea that parents don’t need to be perfect but they at least should have some base abilities.

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