Anybody who has any sort of interest in sports was massively disappointed this last Sunday as the Super Bowl came to an end. Not only did the Denver Broncos lose the coveted Super Bowl Championship trophy: the lost it badly. In fact, according to ESPN.com, this was the third worst Super Bowl defeat in football history (see Note 1). One of the things that struck me about the game was the optimistic attitude displayed by Broncos fans going into the second half. “We still have the second half! We can still win this!” These were the chants given by the loyal fans. It must have made defeat all the more crushing.
As I watched the much anticipated debate over Evolution between Ken Ham (founder of Answers in Genesis) and Bill Nye (host of Bill Nye the Science Guy), I couldn’t help but feel much like Broncos fans must have felt. My hopes were high, I started out optimistic, but I was soon let down. In fact, by the time I reached the end of the debate, I had concluded that both debaters had lost. It was a let down. Originally, I had intended to post a summary of the debate including its format, high points, and ideas for consideration, but I feel like J.W Wartick has done that much more aptly on his blog. His article can be viewed at jwwartick.com. Instead, I want to offer some thoughts about what I thought was good about this debate, and what I thought went wrong.
Despite my disappointment with the debate overall, there were a couple of items that I felt went well. First, this debate has succeeded at bringing this topic (evolution) to the mind of the average American. Conservative figures estimate that about 750,000 people watched the debate online. That is a massive amount of exposure for a discussion on evolution and creation. I am glad at the news of this turn out. People need to be discussing this issue, and exploring the facts. Even if the debate didn’t, in my opinion, offer a wealth of material to convince anyone on either side, it has succeeded in getting people thinking, and for that I am thankful. Second, both sides made some good points. What I particularly liked about Ken Ham’s opening statement was the distinction he drew between observational science and historical science (forensic science), even if it is rhetorical. Ham also did a good job of defining his terminology. This was perhaps his shining moment in the debate. So it would be wrong to say that there was nothing to be gained from the debate.
Having sat through the entire discussion, it is hard for me to pick out a place where this debate went wrong. The most general thought I can provide is that this debate was a result of the apologetic method used by Ken Ham: presuppositional apologetics. His method dictates that the Bible is the starting point and sole source of his truth, and that was the statement he kept affirming over and over throughout the debate. As great as it is that he takes the Word of God seriously, presuppositional apologetics are grossly ineffective against those who reject the Bible. Second, I didn’t feel like either really addressed the scientific evidences cited by the other debater. This was a major weakness. The fact that neither dealt with the others objections left the debate in a deadlock: swinging back and forth between, “I believe the Bible,” and, “I believe in science.” This deadlock made the debate feel as though it went on and on without going anywhere.
Even with the failures of last night, I do not feel that, as a creationist, I need to run, hide, and lick my wounds. If nothing else, people are interested in this issue again. It is my hope that this debate will spark a thoughtful and informed dialogue between experts in this field that will open the eyes of the world to the truth of the Christian faith.
1. “Seahawks Dominate with All Around Effort,” ESPN, February 5, 2014, accessed February 5, 2014, http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/84027/seahawks-dominate-with-all-around-effort.