However, I was looking forward to the debate because it gave the opportunity for amateur apologists like me (do I even qualify as that?) to further learn the nuances of apologetics from the arguments Mr. Ham presented. As far as this was concerned, I was disappointed, as most of his arguments I personally knew and have previously used in this blog.
With this said, you would assume that Mr. Nye won the debate by a huge margin, but this was not the case. Apparently, the truth doesn't need highly advanced arguments to stand. Let us begin a more organized and exhaustive look at the debate.
In the fray of arguments, I believe the original topic was lost. This was specifically,
"Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?"
Note that this topic is not at all about whether Creation or evolution is more viable as a model. The discussion is only about whether Creation should be considered in this debate in the first place, and by practical application, whether it should be allowed to taught in schools.
Nye addresses this question by expressing evidence upon evidence about why evolution is a viable theory. However, just because evolution is a viable theory, doesn't mean Creation can't be.
Even still, his evidence was a bit weak. He pointed to several ancient items, like a 9500 year old tree. However, he danced around the issue of how he was able to determine this age. I got the feeling that we were supposed to accept this as true simply because he was a scientist.
The rest of his time, Nye spent asking questions of Ham (which the format would not allow him to answer anyway) and trying to separate the ideas of Creationism from the Lord and make it "Ken Ham's model" of origins.
To say that Nye was not as good as I expected would be a rather fair assessment. But I had a similar reaction to Ken Ham's arguments.
I do have to give Ham credit. His points did half-relate to the topic as presented.
He focused his time on discussing the difference between historical and observational science. Observational science is what we normally think of when we think of science. Historical science on the other hand deals with subjects (like origins) where we cannot observe, nor prove, what happened in the past. Thus, what we think about origins is more a question of worldview and how we interpret the facts than the facts themselves.
Ham is taking us down a road that shows that as a scientific theory, both Creationism and evolution are equally valid because they utilize the same types of assumptions. However, he never actually takes us to this destination. Personally, I wasn't that impressed with this connection as I briefly mentioned it here (I suppose it's possible that the argument was that impressive and I'm just smarter than I think, but I don't think so).
This was the main theme Ham wanted us to leave with from what he said, and it is enough to "win" him this round.
But then winning wasn't exactly the point. What impact this debate will have on eternity will probably not be known until we reach it. But I would say that Ham's heart and conviction were evident. His clear presentation of the gospel has likely softened a few hearts throughout the world. This of course was the most beneficial result that could have come from this debate, but it didn't have to come at the expense of presenting strong support for the Christian faith. As a whole, the event seems successful, but it could have been much better.
"The Doctrines of the Christian Faith" series will resume next Wednesday.