Bill Nye Debate Live Stream: Watch 'The Science Guy' And Creationist Ken Ham Argue Evolution At 7 PM Tonight

By Josh Lieberman on February 4, 2014 4:09 PM EST

bill nye ken ham debate
Bill Nye "the Science Guy" will debate creationist Ken Ham tonight at 7:00 PM at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which Ham founded. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Bill Nye will debate evolution and creationism tonight with Ken Ham, the founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky. The debate, which will be held at the museum at 7:00 PM, has created a good deal of controversy before it's even begun. (You can watch the Nye-Ham live stream below.)

"I don't think Nye should be getting into this," Jerry Coyne, a biologist at the University of Chicago, told NBC. Coyne also maintains the blog "Why Evolution Is True," where he wrote that Nye's decision to debate Ham is "a terrible mistake," calling it "pointless and counterproductive" to debate in front of an audience of "mostly fundamentalist adults."

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But the debate, which will take place in front of an audience who scooped up all 800 $25 tickets in just two minutes flat, will also be live streamed and available for free on YouTube in the days after the event. Accordingly, the debate will reach much more than just 800 audience members.

Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist author of "The God Delusion," wrote in 2009 about his decision to avoid the type of activity Nye will engage in tonight. In the aptly titled column "Why I Won't Debate Creationists," Dawkins paraphrased an anti-debate argument made by scientist Stephen Jay Gould, who also refused to debate creationists.

"The point is not, [Gould] said, whether or not you would 'win' the debate," Dawkins related. "Winning is not what the creationists realistically aspire to. For them, it is sufficient that the debate happens at all. They need the publicity. We don't. To the gullible public which is their natural constituency, it is enough that their man is seen sharing a platform with a real scientist."

Nye wrote an opinion piece today on CNN defending his decision to participate in the event. "In short, I decided to participate in the debate because I felt it would draw attention to the importance of science education here in the United States," Nye wrote in the column "Why I'm debating creationist Ken Ham." "Fundamentally, Ham's creation model is not part of modern science. His idea has no predictive quality or ability. It provides no means to learn more about the world around us. It does not enable students to make consistent sense of nature."

David DeWitt, director of Liberty University's Center for Creations Studies, which will be live streaming the event for a student audience, took a more favorable view of the debate. "I am thrilled that people will clearly see the contrast between a Biblical creation view and an atheistic evolutionary one," DeWitt said. "This will be a very well watched debate and I think there will be people surprised at how much evidence there really is that supports creation."

Ham, a young-earth creationist, believes that God created the universe in six days about 6,000 years ago, that humans and dinosaurs coexisted and that radiometric dating of fossils and artifacts is unreliable. Nye, of course, doesn't agree with any of that.

In 2009, AFP reported on a group of paleontologists who took a trip to the Creation Museum while in town for a conference. The paleontologists' reactions ran the gamut from sadness to snickering.

"I think it's very bad science and even worse theology--and the theology is far more offensive to me," said paleontology professor Lisa Park of the University of Akron, in Ohio, who cried after viewing an exhibit blaming war and natural disasters on a belief in evolution.

"It's sort of a monument to scientific illiteracy, isn't it?" said geology, paleontology and evolution professor Jerry Lipps of the University of California, Berkeley. "Like Sunday school with statues...this is a special brand of religion here. I don't think even most mainstream Christians would believe in this interpretation of Earth's history."

Tonight's event is titled "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era?" Watch the Bill Nye debate live stream below and make up your own mind.

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