Tuesday, February 4, 2012, Ken Ham, the founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis and founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, met Bill Nye “the Science Guy” of television fame for a lively debate about the origins of the universe.
The debate took place at the Creation Museum and the 800 tickets sold out in minutes. Ken Ham attributes this to the fact that “…the majority of people out there, they’re interested in this topic, they want to know about this, they don’t want debate shut down.”
Why did the debate take place? Ken Ham wrote in an opinion piece for CNN that one of the reasons he was looking forward to the debate was that debates on this topic have become increasingly rare. Four decades ago debates on creationism vs. evolution were more common, but in recent years, they have dried up.
He also wanted this debate to take place because he is concerned about what children are being taught in school. “While we are not in favor of mandating that creation be taught in public school science classes, we believe that, at the very least, instructors should have the academic freedom to bring up the problems with evolution,” wrote Ken Ham.
“Our public schools arbitrarily define science as explaining the world by natural process 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.”
“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.”
Throughout the the debate, Ken Ham was adement that people’s beliefs about origins matter greatly. “It an important debate,” he said, “for what you think about your origins will largely form your worldview. If you believe in a universe that was created by accident, then there is ultimately no meaning and purpose in life, and you can establish any belief system you want with no regard to an absolute authority.”
But not everyone agrees with Ham about the importance of such a debate. Michael Schulson, a writer for The Daily Beast, a publication of US. News, argues that such debates with creationists should not take place. “Better not to engage at all, at least directly.”
We at the Keating Center, disagree. We believe that is important to enter the marketplace of ideas, to discuss opinions, and to be sharpened.