Tonight at 7 pm EST, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham, leader of the Creation Museum, face-off in a much-anticipated debate at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, USA. The debate can be watched live below and discussed live in TA's main chatroom.

If you start watching after 7:00 PM EST but while the debate is still live, you can drag the progress bar to the beginning and watch from there. If you start after 9:30 PM EST, the live debate is over, and you will be watching the recorded version of the program. 

Debate Format

7:00 Welcome by moderator, Tom Foreman, CNN
7:05 Opening statements by debater #1
7:10 Opening statements by debater #2
7:15 Moderator comments
7:16 Presentation by debater #1
7:45 Moderator comments
7:50 Presentation by debater #2
8:20 Moderator gives rebuttal instructions
8:25 Rebuttal for debater #1
8:30 Rebuttal for debater #2
8:35 Counter-rebuttal for debater #1
8:40 Counter-rebuttal for debater #2
8:45 Q&A instructions by moderator
8:48 Moderator reads pre-submitted questions alternating between debaters
9:28 Moderator concludes debate

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Hopefully a few of the on-the-fence people will notice that and start to wonder.

Is the audience Bill should have been talking to, it is the audience we should all be talking to, it is the only audience worth speaking to.

Too often debaters loose site of this and spend too much time trying to counter the other sides arguments.  Bill Nye for example wasted time talking about wooden ships to counter the Noah story, that time could have been spent better if he had keep the on-the-fence people in mind as the focus of his presentation.

I agree. And time spent singing the praises of the natural universe would have swayed no one who believes that God MADE it.

Unfortunately another obstacle Nye placed in his own way was his care taken to not offend religion or religious people. If one believes in a magic, invisible Daddy in the Sky, why wouldn't one believe in the rest of that nonsense (although some people do somehow seem to manage it).

Lot's a people here are celebrating Nye's truth and logic, but Ham's beliefs are about as wacky as they come (without delving into Mormonism or Scientology. Yet I don't think Nye would have gotten his current believers to even think twice.

I think that's why he did right in the first place. Ignore Kam's regards about morality and emotion from a non-christian view, like any of us here would have done, and focusing on the topic: science. By only mentioning Noah's ark as a introduction to Reasonable man and extraordinary claims arc work he created a familiarity to those words so he could use it to mean a lot in few words.

In the end, when Bill does discuss religion, Ham is clearly exhausted and fighting to defend his views because Bill is doing the attacking this time around.

That's one of the reasons i was amazed by this debate, he came knowing what to do, what to avoid, he came up with new arguments to old ones (11 species a day? Brilliant!) and finally took the offensive position once his argument was already known.

Dang, I'd consider it a draw.

Nye was prepared for a debate and was strictly adherent to the rules of debate. Ham was prepared to proselytize. All he had to do was recite a small handful of axioms. In general it must be said that, in the final analysis, Nye might as well been speaking Norwegian with Ham speaking Chinese - neither with any knowledge of the other's language. Neither speaker bettered the other's points - neither even addressed the other's points while standing upon common ground.

One opportunity Nye missed, I believe, was to take advantage of the bandwagon fallacy which he allowed to Ham. He allowed Ham to Win the assumption of popular support, to enumerate and refer to creationist "authorities" and numbers without even once mentioning the vast majority of opinion against the idea of creationism. Nye felt that adhering strictly to the rules of debate his case would be irrefutable and he would prevail. He did not. 

A small change to the format might have helped. There should have been a "conversation" section where one speaker could ask the other a direct question and have it answered (with all the necessary follow-ups). This might have facilitated their speaking the same language - at least for short periods.

I think Bill won when he forced Ham to admit that he decides what parts of the Bible are literal, in effect making Ham some kind of second Pope. That probably did not sit well with Christians. Poetry, how convenient, LOL.

I actually think the non-conversational nature of the debate was a benefit. I wouldn't want to see Nye and Ham get into some kind of nit-picky argument, where Ham could ridicule real science beliefs with impressive-sounding BS. I wouldn't want Bill to get backed into a corner of having to directly attack the Bible or appear to be attacking Christians. You notice Bill was extremely respectful the whole time. He didn't even attack "creationism" most of the time, he attacked "Mr. Ham's version of creation".

As far as the appeal to authority, I'm reminded of the "List of Steves." The National Center for Science Education has a list of 1,320 scientists who believe in evolution. Only scientists named "steve" are eligible to sign the statement.

NCSE's "Project Steve" is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of "scientists who doubt evolution" or "scientists who dissent from Darwinism." ... Project Steve pokes fun at this practice and, because "Steves" are only about 1% of scientists, it also makes the point that tens of thousands of scientists support evolution.

I'm with Emperor Milos's daughter - it's not fair. I recognize that adherence to a scientific principle is not a popularity contest. My point is that Ham is using that fallacy - not Nye. Nye should at least be able to respond with some actual numbers and some actual authorities. The way it turned out gave the impression (to those who don't recognize the bandwagon fallacy nor the appeal to authority) that this matter is genuinely still up for debate.

Having now watched the debate, I'd prefer it hadn't taken place. It served to certify creationism as a valid alternative.

The polls posted by Gallup show, to me, that far TOO MANY are willing to accept Ham's views.

Not my daughter, by the way. Just a funny/accurate tweet I saw.

>"Mr. Ham's version of creation".

This reminded me the movie "Inherit the wind" so much that i'm willing to bet he take it from it.


Glad to hear some of the better parts of the debate on here.  I, unfortunately, have not had the chance to watch it myself - but even my liberal debate team friends who root for evolution were handing the night to Ham in their posts on Facebook.  Some of them were even saying that they have lost all respect for Nye.  I just can't believe it.  These sorts of debates are doomed from the start.  I love Nye for how unassuming and accessible he makes science sound.  We need more of him.  More people willing and able to talk about science in a way that sparks interest and curiosity in those who are new to it.  More people willing to walk into a debate with the intent to spark discussion, and talk about prediction and usefulness rather than truth.


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