It was a debate for the ages -- although in this case, the ages in question are either 6,000 or several billion.
For more than two hours, the pair argued over tree rings, ice core samples, the distance of the stars, vegetarian lions and the technology used to date wood and rock.
Not surprisingly, neither made any revelations that converted the other. And judging by the responses on Twitter, it's unlikely they changed any minds in the audience.
With apologies to Nye, an unscientific survey of the responses shows a bias in favor of the Science Guy.
Ham doesn't believe in non-recorded history because it can't be observed, which is weird coming from a religious guy. #creationdebate
— Mallory Huntington (@mallegory) February 5, 2014
Ham had a few tweets in his corner.
I am loving the #CreationDebate. It's such a wake up call for us (Christians) to know our stuff. Dig deep. Know what you believe.
— Ryan Wesley Smith (@RyanWesleySmith) February 5, 2014
YouTube reported that more than half a million people watching towards the end, although some say that number is up for debate.
A lot of people are watching the #creationdebate tonight - somewhere between 6000 and 4.5 billion.
— Carolyn McDowell (@Arumi_kai) February 5, 2014
The debate comes as some U.S. school districts attempt to teach creationism alongside evolution, which a third of Americans reject outright, according to a recent Pew survey. And while 60 percent of Americans believe in evolution, a quarter believe that it happened under the guiding hand of a supreme being.
Nye has been passionate about keeping biblical ideas of creation out of public education. In 2012, Nye famously posted a video on YouTube begging parents who believe in creationism not to teach it to their kids.
Ham is head of both Answers In Genesis and the "state of the art" Creation Museum, which opened in 2007.
— Carolyn McDowell (@Arumi_kai) February 5, 2014
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said the Creation Museum opened in 2012. It debuted in 2007.
BEFORE YOU GO
02/04/2014 9:57 PM EST
"The 'debate' largely focused on science vs creationism rather than evolution vs creationism. There was a lot about estimates of the age of the earth and geology. Not enough about the molecular, fossil, ecological, behavioral and experimental evidence for evolution. Many people might argue that it's pointless to debate someone like Ham. That's true, in that his beliefs are entrenched and he will not accept evidence that contradict them. However this is not for him. If others (especially children) who have never heard any counter-arguments to new-Earth creationist theology were exposed to something new today that made them re-think what they've been taught, then it's worth it." -- Dr. James Higham of New York University's Department of Anthropology
"I was very surprised by how Biblical/religious Ham went - usually the creationists/ID people try to hide behind the veneer of fairness, inquiry, etc." -- Dr. Todd Disotell
"Everything in the Bible that fits Ken Ham's current viewpoints is fact. Bill Nye confirms that the Earth is in fact ancient. I'm still stuck on Ham's acceptance of his 'kinds.' This 1) represents an emphasis on types, not variation, and therefore is the wrong way to think about things, including human variation and the exact thing that Ham attempted to pin on evolutionists-- race-- and 2) suggests to me that Ham is only a small step away from abandoning creationism and accepting evolution (although I'm sure he would never admit that)-- his giant leap was accepting that similar species can be descended from a common ancestor-- it's only one small step to the acceptance of humans as part of the animal kingdom." -- Dr. Scott Williams, assistant professor at New York University's Center for the Study of Human Origins
02/04/2014 9:46 PM EST
Why Some Say Nye Won
Nye defeats Ham by: posing better questions, emotional appeals, confidence, staying on debate topic #creationdebate— justin barnard (@justinbarnard) February 5, 2014
02/04/2014 9:39 PM EST
Bill Nye is a wonderful communicator of science, a fairly good debater, and a terrible judge of whether a joke will land. #creationdebate— Matt Kirshen (@mattkirshen) February 5, 2014
02/04/2014 9:37 PM EST
'Twitter Was Fun!'
02/04/2014 9:35 PM EST
Ham's Favorite Quote
02/04/2014 9:30 PM EST
'Keep Science Education In Science Classes'
Bill Nye: "We have to keep science education in science classes."
/> TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during the debate on evolution
with Creation Museum head Ken Ham, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, at the
Petersburg, Ky. museum. Ham believes the Earth was created 6,000 years
ago by God and is told strictly through the Bible. Nye says he is
worried the U.S. will not move forward if creationism is taught to
children. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan)
02/04/2014 9:28 PM EST
In Response To Ham
"Ham: 'I don't know of any other religion where the religious text starts like this one.' Ummm, I'm pretty sure the Old Testament is not restricted to Christianity..." -- -- Dr. James Higham of New York University's Department of Anthropology
02/04/2014 9:27 PM EST
In Response To Nye
"'Survival of the fittest'-- that's almost as bad as the phrase 'missing link.' Let's not resurrect these misnomers and misapplied phrases." -- Dr. Scott Williams, assistant professor at New York University's Center for the Study of Human Origins