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Bill Nye: Bible doesn't tell Earth's true history

PETERSBURG, Ky. (AP) - True to his passionate and animated TV persona, "Science Guy" Bill Nye tapped on the podium, threw up his hands and noted that science shows the Earth is "billions and billions" of years old in a debate at a Kentucky museum known for teaching that the planet's age is only 6,000.

Nye was debating Creation Museum founder Ken Ham and promoting science in the snappy way that made him a pop culture staple as host of "Bill Nye The Science Guy" in the 1990s.

The event was meant to explore the age old question, "How did we get here?" from the perspectives of faith and science.

Ham, an Australian native who has built a thriving ministry in Kentucky, said he trusts the story of creation presented by the Bible.

"The Bible is the word of God," Ham said. "I admit that's where I start from."

Nye delivered a passionate speech on science and challenged the museum's teachings on the age of the earth and the Bible's flood story. Like most scientists, Nye believes there is no credible evidence that the world is only 6,000 years old.

"If we accept Mr. Ham's point of view ... that the Bible serves as a science text and he and his followers will interpret that for you, I want you to consider what that means," Nye said. "It means that Mr. Ham's word is to be more respected than what you can observe in nature, what you can find in your backyard in Kentucky."

The event drew dozens of national media outlets and about 800 tickets sold out in minutes. Ham said ahead of the debate that the Creation Museum was having a peak day on its social media sites.

"I think it shows you that the majority of people out there, they're interested in this topic, they want to know about this, they don't want debate shut down," Ham said before the debate.

At times, the debate had the feel of a university lecture, with slides and long-form presentations.

Responding to an audience question about where atoms and matter come from, Nye said scientists are continuing to find out.

Ham said he already knows the answer.

"Bill, I want to tell you, there is a book that tells where atoms come from, and its starts out, 'In the beginning ...,'" Ham said.

Nye said there are plenty of religious people around the world who don't question evolution science.

"I just want to remind us all there are billions of people in the world who are deeply religious, who get enriched by the wonderful sense of community by their religion," said Nye, who wore his trademark bow tie. "But these same people do not embrace the extraordinary view that the Earth is somehow only 6,000 years old."

The debate drew a few Nye disciples in the audience, including Aaron Swomley, who wore a red bowtie and white lab coat. Swomley said he was impressed by Ham's presentation and the debate's respectful tone.

"I think they did a good job outlining their own arguments without getting too heated, as these debates tend to get," he said.

Some scientists had been critical of Nye for agreeing to debate the head of a Christian ministry that is dismissive of evolution.

Jerry Coyne, an evolution professor at the University of Chicago, wrote on his blog that "Nye's appearance will be giving money to organizations who try to subvert the mission Nye has had all his life: science education, particularly of kids." Coyne pointed out that the Creation Museum will be selling DVDs of the event.

The debate was hatched after Nye appeared in an online video in 2012 that urged parents not to pass their religious-based doubts about evolution on to their children. Ham rebutted Nye's statements with his own online video and the two later agreed to share a stage.


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lou2school February 08 2014 at 1:06 PM

We should put our faith in science? Scientists can put a man on the moon but they still can't even cure common cold. They can tell us how an animal, or a flower, or a human functions, but they are clueless as to the actual creation of living things. They offer nothing more than a gazillion conflicting theories. The Bible at least offers some good story telling for a rainy day.

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Shawn Bushway February 08 2014 at 10:22 PM

Why cure the common cold? Sanitizing life such as curing the common cold only makes things worse because it lowers our immunity. It's not that it can't be done it's that it shouldn't be done and there are many cases in our human history of people dying not from war but from exposure to things they had never experienced before. If you think that scientists are clueless to the actual creation of living things - you haven't read a science book - I feel if you have an open mind (not to the point where your brain falls out) that science has filled in the pieces quite well. There will be some who dispute that but funny enough they almost never ask a scientist - instead they post here using big words so they can massage their ego but for the life of them they won't ask people who have the answers. Finally, you're right - the bible has good stories for a rainy day and that's all that you'll find in the bible - stories.

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Joy February 13 2014 at 12:24 PM

So does Grimm's Fairy Tales.

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icemikazab February 07 2014 at 10:07 AM

Belive. blind faith, faith, faith, belive, belive. do not question gods existence. one cannot see god. If one sees god he will surely die. these are some of the things I heard growing up. ??????????
Too many secrets

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ell5456 February 06 2014 at 3:47 PM

The Bible is GOD's word. Man could not, in his best day, write anything close to the Bible. Not liking what it says, will not make it false. I am not sure why everyone argues against it. Even if everyone on earth said it was false...GOD would not go away. You cannot talk him away. He was, He is, and He will always be.

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icemikazab February 06 2014 at 12:52 PM

can we trust the words written in the bible ?

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annedyth February 06 2014 at 1:30 PM

The Bible has some pretty pithy things to say about human nature that are fairly true. It also has some very fine poetry, and it is hard to understand Western culture unless you have some knowledge of what comes from the Bible.
As for the rest? I can't say.

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wilsonorion February 06 2014 at 12:08 PM

Logic is proof of the existence of a creator.
Logical absolutes exist. They are, by nature, conceptual absolutes. Conceptual absolutes exist in the mind. They do not reside in matter. These logical absolutes cannot be quantified or tested in a lab. Yet, they exist. In fact, scientists USE these logical absolutes as a basis for verifying their science. The problem for the atheist is accounting for their existence. Since the logical absolutes are conceptual, they transcend all people at all time and are absolute in all circumstances... since they are absolute. Conceptual Absolutes cannot be accounted for in an atheistic worldview. But they can be accounted for in a theistic one. The Absolute God with and absolute mind, has conceived of the logical absolutes. They are a reflection of His mind. At least this offers an explanation for their existence where the atheist cannot.
Your Say...

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4 replies to wilsonorion's comment
SusanBarb February 06 2014 at 10:54 AM

I am curious as to where Mr. Ham arrived at 6000 years old? I believe that God created the world but not in the very literal sense of time in Genesis. I believe the times in Genesis are stages not literal 24 hour days. Also did the men of the Old Testament really live as many years as is said. That also could be some other type of calendar. The point is we live by Faith and that Faith puts us that some power greater than us create the world and the universe and all that is in it.

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LavishnessOfLove February 06 2014 at 8:38 AM

Neither atoms were created. As everything is Infinity that has no beginning nor end and timelessness! ! Hence no such creation just like who created gawd???

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LavishnessOfLove February 06 2014 at 8:31 AM

All holy books were created by men!!! If all holy books had the same talk from gawd. Then all holy books would be true. But not one religion agreed among thousand different religions at all!!!! !!

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1 reply to LavishnessOfLove's comment
onionson February 06 2014 at 3:07 PM

If there is a God / Creator that entity is powerful enough to make some punk on earth write what ever it wants in his book. If the Christian Bible is true there are many Gods. That one just claims to be the creator and most powerful one. Many religions acknowledge the existence of many gods. If the Bible is true there is a spiritual war going on. Here are a few philosophical points to consider. One rule of war is to divide and conquer. Abe Lincoln I believe said " A house divided against itself cannot stand." and You can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but it is almost impossible to fool all of the people all of the time. To fool almost all of the people all of the time would be hard with one lie but would be much easier with many lies. (That's why there are more than one kind of Ponzi schemes) If the Bible is true that side on the spiritual war, if there is one, is limited to getting you to believe one story before they can claim victory. The other side has the luxury of getting you to believe any other story / religion including atheism to claim victory. If the Bible is true there is a good chance the number of other religions were created by the other side to fool as many people as possible. If the Bible is true there is a good probability that "the enemy" was able to split (divide n conquer)one powerful religion (Christianity) into several branches often fighting and arguing with each other to weaken that side during the war. If there is a spiritual war it is probably coming to an end soon. Despite the number of religions every one with a messiah - from the New Agers to the American Indians believe theirs is coming soon or already here waiting to reveal him/her self. The Christians think theirs is coming for the second time and the Jews for the first time. What are the odds that all these different religions would time their Messiah to appear at the same time? If it all true what are the odds that one is the true Messiah and the others are really agents of the other side that tricked them into thinking they are the real one? If there is a real Messiah there can after all be only one real one. At least that's what they all claim. Good luck / blessings.

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Alphonso Carioti February 06 2014 at 7:34 AM

"Bill, I want to tell you, there is a book that tells where atoms come from, and its starts out, 'In the beginning ...,'" Ham said.

There is a book that tells of the origins of Santa Clause as well. That doesn't mean it's true. True science is based on provable, testable facts, not faith.

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Alphonso Carioti February 06 2014 at 7:32 AM

"The Bible is the word of God," Ham said.

No... It is the word of man. An interpretation or fabrication of what he believed 'God' said.

If THAT'S Ham's starting point, then everything he stated afterwards is insorrect and irrelevant.

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