Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Real Problem With Ken Ham vs Bill Nye

Recently I got the chance to watch the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye on whether creationism is a valid form of science to teach students in public schools.  Ken Ham believes that creationism is valid, whereas Bill Nye thinks it will be harmful to future generations of children.  Watching the debate was incredibly painful however, mainly due to Ken Ham.  It was not, however, due to his beliefs.  I respect everyone's views, even when I don't agree with them.  I don't agree with parts of Bill's views either, but I also respect them, and will not be rude to him about them.

I'm sure that this is the case for many people.  We all have friends whose beliefs in religions and sciences all differ from us; it is part of what makes everyone different.  While parts of my family are Christian and highly devoted, I am not.  I know many people who are set in their ways of atheism, but I am not.  That's my take on things; you are fine to partake in any religion you'd like near me, just don't try to make it affect me.  That's a huge part of what this debate has been: should you be able to force your views upon others, what is an acceptable "view" to force upon others, and what is not.  Ultimately though, that is not what bothered me about last night's debate.  What bothered me was how incredibly rude Ken Ham was towards Bill Nye about his views.

Take a minute and watch this video to the side (If the embedded time doesn't work, skip to 1:51:25 for a perfect example of all this).  Do you see what Bill is doing? He is listening to Ken and actually taking in what he says.  Bill does occasionally look away, but only to write down notes about what Ken says.  When the first rebuttals start, Bill talks about what Ken had said, rather than trying to bring up new points, thus ignoring what Ken said previously.  He's actually debating, and constantly states that he has an open mind.

That is where Ken ultimately came to bother me.  Every time Bill Nye starts talking, Ken looks away and even walks away (See 1:59:40).  He is very obviously not even listening to a thing that is said.  When asked directly if something could change his views, he bluntly states that there is nothing that could.  That to me is a huge problem.  Ken is not listening to facts, he is not listening to others, and he is not trying to be a scientist.  He is simply trying to shove his views to others, regardless of what others say.

This is where the danger is.  This is exactly why I do not like a single thing that Ken said.  He's not trying to help the children of our future, he's trying to make his museum (where the debate took place) get more visitors.  It's not about what's actually good for anyone, he's not interested in listening how his views could help people or hurt people.  He is solely interested in getting more visitors to his "Amusement Park" and making more money.  It has nothing to do with what is actually best.

Bill however, with all of the odds against him, with absolutely no hope of winning this debate, went out  and tried to address the issue based on what he believes will help, and was willing to listen.  That is something that I think is much more important.  If you choose to stand by Ken, like I have seen many people do, I will not stop you.  In fact, I will respect you still.  I might not like that you do so, but I will still listen to you, I will still help you when I can, and I will do my best not to let you down later, just as Bill Nye did during this entire debate.