The great debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye attracted huge attention. It also presented a false dichotomy.
The goal is not to defend the absurd idea of young-earth creationism, but rather biblical literalism, the ideology from which fundamentalists draw their strength.
To be honest, I think that we need to have a very different kind of a conversation about "origins" than what was had Tuesday night. I think that the entire conversation needs to be focused on what the Bible is and is not.
Faith is a personal matter, and should never be a cudgel to stifle inquiry. We tried that approach about 1,200 years ago. The experiment was called the Dark Ages.
So the aftermath, was this debate a mistake? Yes. Regardless of how well Nye did, and he did better than many predicted he would, Ham still got airtime.
Whenever I hear about someone else making a case for New Earth Creationism in the name of Christianity, I'm embarrassed, once again, to associate myself with them. The media is responsible for its share of fanning these flames in the public forum, though.
Many atheists, myself included, have been overly optimistic that a rational argument will be sufficient to change minds. I now think the best we can do is make good points in a reasonable and pleasant manner.
Every time we appreciate science, whether it's being debated or moved forward with research, we should remember that we owe a great deal to this ancient philosopher, who opened up a new way in which to see the world.
I know which of these two men I want my daughter to emulate -- if not with regard to faith, then with regard to intellectual inquiry. One of these two men was there to nurture curiosity. The other was there to stifle it.
Bill Nye and Ken Ham will be debating creationism on Feb. 4, and it's a bad idea for both scientists and Christians.
No matter what side of the creation-evolution debate you are on, your partisanship costs you dearly. Why? Because it costs you the ability to read the Bible on its own terms. What do we lose by straightjacketing the Bible with the creation-evolution debate?
People who hold marginal positions love debates because it makes their position seem credible -- after all we wouldn't be debating this question if it wasn't a real question would we? We wouldn't "defend" evolution unless it needed defending would we?
I hope Bill Nye doesn't underestimate creationists. Between their strident religious confidence and the way they painstakingly dumb-down and oversimplify evidence to fit into 6,000 years, people like Ken Ham can be tough nuts to crack.
Carl Sagan's Cosmos series is legendary for its ability to bring science to a wide audience and was far more than mere entertainment. We look forward to the March 2014 rebirth of Cosmos, which will be hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Tuesday, when I opened my laptop I began to see the same link pop up on my Facebook feed repeatedly. It was for the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate coming up ...
Those of you looking for some entertainment next month might do well to know that Bill Nye (The Science Guy) has agreed to a debate at Kentucky's controversial Creation Museum. Better bring some popcorn.