Ham on Nye

On February 4th, Ken Ham, the president of the Creation Museum, and Bill Nye, famously known as “the science guy” from his popular PBS show, faced off in a debate about creation, evolution, and human origins. The debate, which has since been coined the “Ham on Nye” debate, has generated a lot of hype and has been the focus of countless message boards and comment chains.

While Ham and Nye are by no means the most qualified representatives of their respective viewpoints, the two’s duel of intellect seems warranted given their recent push-and-shove. The conflict started with the release of this video where Bill Nye claimed that teaching creationism is bad for children. In response to Nye’s statements, Ken Ham released this video where he argues that Nye’s claims are unfounded. Not surprisingly these two videos went viral, and the two men eventually agreed to a formal debate on the matter.

The two-and-a-half-hour long debate, which can be found here, has only agitated the festering controversy surrounding the issue of origins. Unfortunately, it has done little but foster strife between existing ideological parties and reinforce the illusion that Americans are completely polarized on the issue. Ham is a young earth creationist, Nye (as far as I know) is a naturalist, but just because these two men were on stage last Tuesday does not mean that their viewpoints are the only ones on the table. There are plenty of views that exist between the ideological extremes of Ham and Nye.

We here at NCU, for example, do not reject evolutionary theory. The description of our university’s Biology 111 course in the Academic Catalogue states that it is “An introduction to the fundamental principles of life, including the similarity and diversity of living things; the structure and function of cells; the chemical and genetic basis of life; and evolution.”

This does not mean that NCU expects its students to accept evolutionary theory, but it does mean that those studying biology at our university are expected to understand it as the leading scientific theory accepted in the field. In addition to Biology 111, NCU also offers Biology 325, which studies “competing views of origins from a Christian perspective…”

Artificial controversy, cheap slogans, and angry debate may get good ratings and increase book sales, but it doesn’t really get us anywhere. Here at NCU we have an opportunity to do for ourselves what the “Ham on Nye” should have done: represent competing views on origins for the purpose of understanding ourselves and our neighbors better.

I am a Christian who completely accepts the theory of evolution, but I have many friends who, like Ham, are young earth creationists, but that does not mean that they are unintelligent or that we cannot get along. On the contrary, they are some of my best friends and by communing together we challenge one another in a Christ-honoring way, and we are made better Christians by it. NCU is a community where evolutionists and creationists can learn and live together in the unity and love of Christ and, just like the relationship my friends and I have, that is something very special for which we should be immensely thankful.