I’m aware that the topic brought up in this debate is a sensitive issue for many people. The debate was between Bill Nye, the former television personality who became famous as “The Science Guy,” with founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, Ken Ham. The topic of debate February 4, 2014 (Tuesday) evening, was one of evolution as understood by science and creationism as understood through the Bible. I believe the succinct summary Bill Nye suggests on the importance of scientific understanding in order for the United States to achieve progress or maintain itself as a nation of significance lies upon its understanding of natural and provable laws.
Whatever your thoughts are on the topic, you must realize, though humans are immensely ignorant on a vast scale, we have come to understand some things are factual and can be proven. Even if you don’t understand science, you must admit we’ve come a long way since we’ve discovered fire and the wheel. To suggest evolution as a form of belief or another religious theory isn’t an accurate description of how science accumulates knowledge, rejects its mistakes and forms new understanding through constant and rigorous self checks. By now, even the most die-hard fundamentalists have come to accept we live on a globe not on a flat plain. Even though there was considerable push back from religious hierarchy hundreds of years ago, the earth revolves around the sun and not vice-versa.
In the age-old struggle of mankind to understand its origin, there have been repeated attempts to understand that which we know so little about. It’s often cause for people to become passionate on a topic encompassing so many known and unknown ideas. People of science aren’t trying to purposely mislead people into some hellish oblivion, rather they are trying to overcome ignorance and misunderstanding. Of course people have their own belief systems and many of us try to work within acceptable principles of societal norms, but there’s no reason to remain blind to new discovery.
I think Bill Nye did an excellent job explaining how physical, mathematical and theoretical ideas all converge on these facts; the earth is far older than 6000 years, fossil evidence shows the myriad steps in the progression of living organisms and if you attempt to use a single book to explain the origin of everything, it leaves you woefully blind to modern discovery. In fact, if we were to believe the stories of the Bible are literally true, it can stop our advancement in our society and cooperation. Here are examples…
According to this text, it’s OK to believe some groups of people are inferior. Those that are heathen (non-believers) should be eradicated. Women are slightly above cattle and should be treated as possessions. As a matter of fact, men should own several women (polygamy), because that shows your importance, just like having a lot of sheep or cattle. Beating children when they get out of line is good for them so they turn out as productive members of society. Owning slaves is OK, because some people are just born inferior. Here’s a couple of items accepted as absolute fact by strict interpreters of the Bible, all humans came from two people. That is to say, once children were born, they had to copulate with each other; brothers and sisters would mate in order to produce more children. That may sound repugnant, but there’s no other explanation if you believe everyone came from Adam and Eve.
Another story that is literal to some is the flood and Noah’s Ark. Here we have a boat that must float to a level where humans and many animals would die of respiratory failure. Hypoxia is a condition where the arterial content of oxygen is insufficient for cells to remain alive. Although humans can adapt above 8000 feet, it does take time and above 16,000 to 18,000 feet, it can be fatal for extended periods. Above 26,000 ft is referred to as the death zone. So if the whole earth was flooded, then mountains would have been under water. The Himalayas include over a hundred mountains exceeding 7,200 meters (23,600 ft) in elevation. The highest peak outside Asia, in the Andes, is 6,961 meters (22,838 ft). After all the water drained away, the earth saw a rainbow for the first time (rain prismatically separates the colors of the sun). All humans come from only 8 people. Incest restored to the earth after the great flood was somehow OK. Of course we’ve witnessed throughout history the mental and physical defects which emanate from incest.
Somehow the Bible is supposed to deny what we’ve learned about our planet and our solar system. I don’t think so if we take what’s written as a collection of stories handed down through the ages whereby people gave their explanation as to their place in history and connection to their beliefs. Clearly there can be room for debate on whether a higher intelligence exists than ourselves, but to use a several thousand-year old text as our sole source of all human knowledge defies all logic and reason.
I reference the included links for you to either gain insight or ignore, but I hope above all you are rational enough to not think the Bible is the sole source of human understanding and knowledge. When it comes to religion, science or understanding, it’s not an all or nothing world in which we live. Learning requires opening our minds to new ideas and realize things we hold as absolutes may be wrong. This works for both sides of this debate as well. Surely science has some things right or you wouldn’t be reading this now on your phone or personal computer.
- The Full Debate (start watching at 13:15)
- Why Does Life’s Origin Matter? Ken Ham summarizes
- Bill Nye vs. Creationsim – The Young Turks opinion
- Evolution Is A Lie From Hell! – Republican Rep. Paul Broun – The Young Turks opinion
- Slavery ‘A Blessing In Disguise’- Jon Hubbard – State Representative Arkansas
- David and Goliath – Malcom Gladwell Blog
- What Does it Mean to Be Human – Smithsonian Institute
- The Definitive Book That Changed My Life – How Malcom Gladwell Changed my Life (Huffington Post)
- Relevant Magazine – How I Rediscovered Faith