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Upcoming debate…Nye vs Ham on creationism
Posted: 02 February 2014 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Here’s a post about it and there’s an official promo site out there too.  My church and many others are showing it @ 7pm Tuesday live.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/25340136-452/bill-nye-wastes-his-time-debating-creationists.html

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Posted: 02 February 2014 11:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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rodin46 - 02 February 2014 09:48 PM

Here’s a post about it and there’s an official promo site out there too.  My church and many others are showing it @ 7pm Tuesday live.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/25340136-452/bill-nye-wastes-his-time-debating-creationists.html

It is an interesting article, it shows the anti-intellectual root of Christian fundamentalism. Are you a Trojan who brings in the Athens’ horse?

Because the “fundamentalist problem” is not rooted in religion, the answer can’t be found in anti-theism, the preferred response of commentators like Bill Maher, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. Rather, American Protestants must learn to read the Bible as a religious text rather than a series of logical premises to be proven. The irony of debates like the one between Bill Nye and Ken Ham is that they pit two fundamentalist readers against each other. The fundamentalist Christian and the atheist both read the Bible as a series of falsifiable propositions — what Terry Eagleton calls the “Yeti” theory of belief. Disproving the creation narrative should strike any theologian as absurd — the way a literature professor would react if a student claimed to have “disproven” “Sons and Lovers.”
<snip>
The best way to address the problem is to confront the underlying political and economic concerns that are obscured by religious dogma, rather than attacking the religion directly. Our problems require an entirely new political and economic paradigm, one that rests on understanding and empathetic action between people of all faiths. Religious reformers, concerned environmentalists, scientists and economists must work together toward a more sustainable future. Bill Nye is intensely concerned about climate change and evolution, as are we. He should therefore ally himself with sane religious leaders, rather than debate fundamentalists.

I am not sure if I agree with everything they write, but it is definitely worth thinking about.

What do you think about the article?

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Posted: 03 February 2014 01:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Very accurate to say Nye is wasting his time. These sort of debates have basically turned into intellectual muzak.

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Posted: 03 February 2014 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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mid atlantic - 03 February 2014 01:44 AM

Very accurate to say Nye is wasting his time. These sort of debates have basically turned into intellectual muzak.

what I can’t figure out is, why is this one getting the attention it is? Nye is going on to Ham’s turf, but that’s not unusual. These debates usually end up as obscure YouTubes, not events sponsored by churches.

as an aside, I think it’s great if more people publicly state, “that’s not my Christianity” with reference to Ham. The less support he gets, the better.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 06:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ll watch it, but I’m not too sanguine.  From what I’ve seen, while I agree with the logic of atheism, none of these guys: Hutchins, Dawkins, Boghosian, etc. is a decent debator.  They get shredded by someone who has far less data but far more oratory skill. 

A local NPR station will be carrying it in So.Cal. so I would guess that it will be widely carried.

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[ Edited: 04 February 2014 06:56 PM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 04 February 2014 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Nye is killing Ham. Flat-crushing him. He’s comfortable in his skin and doesn’t allow himself to be drawn onto the other guy’s turf. I hope every humanist will watch this. THIS is how to do it!

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Posted: 04 February 2014 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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It’s on in So. Cal. Wednesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00.  I’ll reserve further comment until after I watch it.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Supposedly, it was seen by between 6,000 and 4.5 billion.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I had to go participate in democracy, but the live bloggers are sounding fairly positive. Nye stayed on message and Ham, well, he did what you would expect. I think Nye had the advantage of his lack of reputation. It had me worried that he was untested, but it seems to have worked in his favor. And, points for correct choice of bowtie.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 08:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Lausten - 04 February 2014 08:19 PM

I had to go participate in democracy, but the live bloggers are sounding fairly positive. Nye stayed on message and Ham, well, he did what you would expect. I think Nye had the advantage of his lack of reputation. It had me worried that he was untested, but it seems to have worked in his favor. And, points for correct choice of bowtie.

I don’t get where people are coming from with this idea that Nye’s “untested.”  The man did stand up comedy for years, so he’s no doubt had to defend himself against hecklers, and unlike Ham, they’re not going to be limited in the kinds of nasty things that they can say.

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Posted: 04 February 2014 09:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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As much as I respect Bill Nye and all of his accomplishments in science education I hate to admit that his message was somewhat disjointed compared to Hams. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that you can have all the right answers and still lose the debate.

A good debater has to know his audience. Nye is giving his talk to simple people who believe in creation but the larger audience is made up of non-scientists who may be on the fence. Those are the people he needs to convince. To convince them you need a simple narrative with a few convincing examples.

Ham had a simple narrative with a common thread that he kept repeating like a drumbeat. Scientists are monopolizing the discussion and being hypocritical. The creationists have valid competing theories and in his view the evidence supports their explanation better than it does the standard scientific theories. He supported his ideas with flawed examples but in the mind of the average listener that wont matter. They will come away with the idea that science is being closed minded and there is good reason to look at both sides of the debate.

Nye should have done a better job explaining the flaws in Hams arguments ( and there were many - like the whole historical science dichotomy stupidity) and then given a few simple examples that even an 8 year old could understand. He rambled and gave far too many examples. Some of them were excellent, but others were ambiguous and for many in his audience the connection to the overall argument was probably difficult to make.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I watched the debate last night at CFI WNY.  My viewpoint is that debating creationism is not the best way to deal with these fundamentalists.  I think it would be more productive to debate the historical origins of the Bible and the influence it had on the development of Western Society.  The Bible is a library of many different books by many different human authors, writing in the context of their own times and societies, attempting to influence particular groups.  It is one of the most important collections in our civilization.  These books were not written as a scientific document nor an objective history.  In mind mid we should be pointing out constantly that it was and still is a political (in the broad sense) document that created a common heritage for many of us.  We should be attacking these fundamentalists for their continued attempts at corrupting of this great library for their own “narrow minded” anti-human purposes.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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garythehuman - 05 February 2014 03:00 PM

I watched the debate last night at CFI WNY.  My viewpoint is that debating creationism is not the best way to deal with these fundamentalists.  I think it would be more productive to debate the historical origins of the Bible and the influence it had on the development of Western Society.  The Bible is a library of many different books by many different human authors, writing in the context of their own times and societies, attempting to influence particular groups.  It is one of the most important collections in our civilization.  These books were not written as a scientific document nor an objective history.  In mind mid we should be pointing out constantly that it was and still is a political (in the broad sense) document that created a common heritage for many of us.  We should be attacking these fundamentalists for their continued attempts at corrupting of this great library for their own “narrow minded” anti-human purposes.

I disagree, respectfully, but emphatically. The least effective thing to do is try to meet these characters on their turf. The reason Nye was so effective is that he didn’t get baited into a debate about creationism, even though that’s what the topic was, formally. He stayed on the science, which is his turf. The science refutes creationism but the debate was on Nye’s turf. Nye stayed on the only useful subject matter in the debate. So when Ham put in his pitch for the Bible, he was only talking to the people who already agree with him. Nye educated people. I thought he was brilliant.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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garythehuman - 05 February 2014 03:00 PM

I watched the debate last night at CFI WNY.  My viewpoint is that debating creationism is not the best way to deal with these fundamentalists.  I think it would be more productive to debate the historical origins of the Bible and the influence it had on the development of Western Society.  The Bible is a library of many different books by many different human authors, writing in the context of their own times and societies, attempting to influence particular groups.  It is one of the most important collections in our civilization.  These books were not written as a scientific document nor an objective history.  In mind mid we should be pointing out constantly that it was and still is a political (in the broad sense) document that created a common heritage for many of us.  We should be attacking these fundamentalists for their continued attempts at corrupting of this great library for their own “narrow minded” anti-human purposes.

I should get a chance to listen to it soon. I agree with what you’re saying, but I don’t hear too many debates between fundamentalists and Methodists who just read the latest by Marcus Borg. In fact I’ve never heard of one.

The closest thing would be internal conflicts in denominations over specific doctrines, like the homosexuality debates. This usually gets ugly. In that case, each side has something to gain, keeping congregants. The choice on creationism vs Bible as library was made for most churches many decades ago and congregants now have clear choices. So, no point in dredging that up again! Having these choices actually improves the group cohesion landscape, giving each something to define themselves.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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garythehuman - 05 February 2014 03:00 PM

I watched the debate last night at CFI WNY.  My viewpoint is that debating creationism is not the best way to deal with these fundamentalists.  I think it would be more productive to debate the historical origins of the Bible and the influence it had on the development of Western Society.  The Bible is a library of many different books by many different human authors, writing in the context of their own times and societies, attempting to influence particular groups.  It is one of the most important collections in our civilization.  These books were not written as a scientific document nor an objective history.  In mind mid we should be pointing out constantly that it was and still is a political (in the broad sense) document that created a common heritage for many of us.  We should be attacking these fundamentalists for their continued attempts at corrupting of this great library for their own “narrow minded” anti-human purposes.

I also think this is the best approach.

Christianity is a faith based belief system, as my ministers liked to tell me when I had questions they didn’t have answers to. That means you can adapt the metaphors in the Bible to meet your spiritual needs, the Bible was never intended to be used as a historical or literal document. It’s there as a guide to ongoing faith based religion.

Science is about an ever evolving body of knowledge that needs to be verifiable or the interpretation of the observed phenomena gets turfed.

Priests don’t design modern electronics, aircraft, medical procedures, etc… because their knowledge isn’t applicable in the physical world.

Creationism answers a need for spiritual fulfilment for some people, when applied to modern evidence regarding the origins of life and the universe it makes no sense at all, unless you assume God is being intentionally deceptive by placing all the evidence for evolution that we find constantly, from the fossil record to molecular biology.

Nye may as well been debating how many fairies you can comfortably fit into your mouth without gagging.

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Posted: 05 February 2014 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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garythehuman - 05 February 2014 03:00 PM

I watched the debate last night at CFI WNY.  My viewpoint is that debating creationism is not the best way to deal with these fundamentalists.  I think it would be more productive to debate the historical origins of the Bible and the influence it had on the development of Western Society.  The Bible is a library of many different books by many different human authors, writing in the context of their own times and societies, attempting to influence particular groups.  It is one of the most important collections in our civilization.  These books were not written as a scientific document nor an objective history.  In mind mid we should be pointing out constantly that it was and still is a political (in the broad sense) document that created a common heritage for many of us.  We should be attacking these fundamentalists for their continued attempts at corrupting of this great library for their own “narrow minded” anti-human purposes.

I don’t think that there’s a “one size fits all” method of getting a person to realize that religion is foolishness.  As a military minded man once said, “A frontal attack isn’t always the best.  They’re expecting you to come at them from that direction.  If you can sweep in from the sides or the rear, the enemy is more likely to surrender without much of a fight.”  (Paraphrased from memory, so I’m sure its not exactly right.)

If someone is willing to believe that God allowed Satan to bury fossils in the ground to encourage people to believe in evolution (and thus turn away from God), then getting them to believe that certain books (or versions of certain books) were created by Satan is no trouble at all.

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