Bill Nye debates Creation Museum founder on theory of evolution

By Brad Evans, WLWT Digital Editor, brevans@hearst.com
Published On: Feb 04 2014 07:11:54 PM HST

Ham argued the Earth is about 6,000 years old and that public schools are brainwashing kids to the contrary. Nye countered that scientist agree evolution is fact and teaching children otherwise is harmful.

PETERSBURG, Ky. -

Hundreds of people braved the cold and snow to watch two academics debate the theory of evolution.

The debate was held in front of a sold-out crowd at the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky Tuesday night.

Scientist Bill Nye and museum founder Ken Ham debated the science of evolution.

The event was also streamed live online via YouTube. It was moderated by CNN correspondent Tom Foreman.

Ham argued that the Earth is about 6,000 years old and that public schools are brainwashing the nation’s children into believing in evolution.

"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, referring to the Bible's creation story.

He also introduced scientists who he said were creationists.

"I believe the word 'science' has been hijacked by secularists," Ham said.

Nye countered that scientists agree that evolution is fact and teaching children otherwise will cause them to fall behind students in other countries.

"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 debate was so popular that the stream crashed several times throughout its 2 1/2 hours.

"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.

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

"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."

Since the debate was announced in early January, attention has been heaped on the Creation Museum and its directing ministry, Answers in Genesis, which is raising money for a theme park built around a replica of Noah's Ark. The project was announced in 2011 but fundraising has been slow and its groundbreaking date is in limbo.

The museum said visitors from 29 states bought the 800 tickets for the debate.

The $27 million Creation Museum opened in Petersburg, Ky., in 2007.

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