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Excerpts from the Ham on Nye showdown

Promotion photo for the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham.
Promotion photo for the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham.

Photo courtesy of

Promotional photo for the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham

(RNS) The two-and-a-half-hour debate Tuesday (Feb. 4) between Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and Bill Nye the Science Guy was a much-hyped showdown between the creation and evolution camps. Here are some choice morsels:

Ken Ham: I believe there is a gross misrepresentation in our culture. We are seeing people indoctrinated to believe that creationists can’t be scientists. I believe it is all a part of secularists hijacking the word “scientist.”

Bill Nye: There are billions of people in the world who are deeply enriched by their religion. Billions of people, but these same people do not embrace the extraordinary view that somehow the world is only 6,000 years old. Here’s my concern: What keeps the United States a world leader is our technology, our innovation. If we continue to eschew science we are not going to move forward, we will not innovate, we will not stay ahead. So if you ask me if Ken Ham’s creation model is viable, I say no, it is not viable.

Ken Ham: Non-Christian scientists are really borrowing from the Christian worldview to carry out their experimental observational science. When they are doing observational science using the scientific method they have to assume the laws of logic, of nature, of the uniformity of nature. If the universe came about by natural processes, where did the laws of logic come from? Did they just pop into existence? So I have a question for Bill Nye: How do you account for the laws of logic and the laws of nature from a naturalistic worldview that excludes the existence of God?

Bill Nye: My Kentucky friends, I want you to consider this: There is no place in the commonwealth of Kentucky to get a degree in nuclear medicine. I hope you find that troubling. I hope you are concerned about that. You want scientifically literate students in your commonwealth for a better tomorrow for everybody.

Ken Ham: Creationists and evolutionists all have the same evidence. Bill Nye and I have the same Grand Canyon, we have the same fish fossils, the same dinosaurs, the same humans, the same DNA, the same universe. It’s not the evidences that are different. It is a battle over the evidence in regard to how we interpret the past. It is a battle over worldviews and starting points. I admit, my starting point is that God is the ultimate authority.

Bill Nye: The idea that you can separate the natural laws of the past and the natural laws that we have now is at the heart of our disagreement and I don’t see how we are ever going to agree if you insist that the laws have changed, for lack of better word, it is magical. I loved magic as a kid, but it is not really what we want as scientists.

Ken Ham: There are hundreds of dating methods out there. … All such dating methods are fallible. I claim there is only one infallible dating method and that is a witness who was there and told us and that is the Word of God and that is why I would say the world is only 6,000 years [old].

Bill Nye: There are billions of stars more than 6,000 light-years from here — a light-year is a unit of distance, not of time. Mr. Ham, how could there be billions of stars more distant than 6,000 years if the world is only 6,000 years old? It is an extraordinary claim.

Ken Ham: Bill, if I was to answer all the points you brought up the moderator would think I was going on for millions of years.

Bill Nye: I understand that you take the Bible as written in English, translated many times over in the last three millennia as to be a more reasonable assessment of the natural laws around us than what I or anybody in here can observe. That to me is unsettling, troubling.

Moderator Tom Foreman: That’s a lot to take in. I hope everybody is holding up well.


About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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  • Ham believes that without a god that logic cannot exist? If all cats are black and I have a cat, then logically I don’t need a god for that to mean that cat is black. Logic is based on simple observations and premises and from those observations/premises the correct conclusion. A god is no more necessary then 1 plus 1 equals two.