Give it time, and science will catch up
Certain things that seem to have become the norm in our society continue to astound me. For instance, how is it possible that those who speak the loudest about the importance of tolerance are intolerant of those they say aren’t tolerant? Doesn’t logic say that if your message is tolerance, then tolerance should extend to the “intolerant” in the same way that it extends to the tolerant? And if tolerance only extends to those who hold the same views as you, then aren’t you actually practicing intolerance while preaching to the “intolerant” the importance of practicing tolerance?
Another thing equally as astounding to me also is illogical in my mind: How is it that scientists accept and teach seemingly irrational ideas while mocking creation as irrational?
I had the privilege of watching via simulcast the much-anticipated debate between Ken Ham, co-founder and president/CEO of Answers in Genesis, and Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” which took place on Feb. 4 in Petersburg, Ky., in front of an audience of approximately 900 attendees and millions of online viewers.
The topic of the debate was: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” The debate arose from a video post Nye made last year in which he claimed that parents who teach creation to their children were doing a disservice to them and to the world. Ham responded with a video post of his own, and the two eventually agreed to a debate.
During Nye’s 30-minute visual presentation, he called “extraordinary” (in a manner in which Nye made clear he viewed as implausible) the claim made by creationists that kangaroos traveled from Asia (where the ark rested safely after the flood) to Australia in 4,000 years without leaving fossil evidence between locations. Yet when Nye was asked where the atoms came from that purportedly caused the big bang, he responded that it was “a great mystery” and “this is what drives us, let’s keep looking.” When asked how matter created consciousness, he responded with “Don’t know.”
So I beckon back to what has astounded me: How is it that scientists accept and teach seemingly irrational ideas in the name of science while mocking creation as irrational? As a Christian, I readily acknowledge that I don’t have all the answers for my own life, let alone science; there are some things I can’t explain that require faith for me to believe. In response to those same two questions, Ham reminded everyone that there is a book which tells us where atoms come from and how humans received their consciousness … the Bible.
Secular scientists seem unwilling to acknowledge that they are making an endless number of assumptions and drawing conclusions that just cannot be proven. Many reviews of the debate gave Nye the win because he relied on what they viewed as science and Ham simply relied on the Bible.
Ham, toward the beginning of the debate, said this, “The word ‘science’ has been hijacked by secularists.” I believe what he meant is that anything said by a secular scientist to be science is science, and anything they say isn’t science isn’t science. So it begs the questions: What is science? Who gets to decide? And was Nye using science?
I was shocked to hear Nye say multiple times throughout the debate something similar to this line, which is a direct quote from the one hour, 48 minute mark: “For us in the scientific community, when we find an idea that’s not tenable, doesn’t work, doesn’t fly, doesn’t hold water, whatever idiom you’d like to embrace, we throw it away; we’re delighted.” In reality, there’s not much truth to that statement; the scientific community is typically very reluctant to accept change. Yet, science has changed abundantly over the years.
There are many aspects that were once taught as science that we now know to be false, and as Nye seemingly unknowingly indicated, there will come a time when secular scientists once again will acknowledge that what is currently taught as science will no longer be accurate. Why? To hearken back to Ham’s early statement, it’s because, “The word science has been hijacked by secular scientists.”
True science shouldn’t be constantly changing! While I understand that science isn’t typically equated with truth, it certainly seems to be promoted as such within our culture and educational system. This explains why Nye was deemed reliable because he used science … he was perceived to be speaking the truth.
As you watched Nye during the debate, did you get the sense that he was defending science or truth? It certainly seemed as if he was defending them as one and the same. I think everyone in the Christian community can accept that as new things are discovered, science can be further developed. But if science is progress, then scientific claims should not perpetually contradict themselves. Many times throughout the debate, Nye referred to assumptions as science. He said he didn’t know how matter created consciousness, but the big bang is taught as science. According to that model, matter did indeed create consciousness.
Nye also said to Ham, “If you could show that microwave background radiation is not the result of the big bang, come on; write your paper, tear it up!” What he subtly acknowledged is a poorly kept secret in the science world – that much of what is taught as science is simply their best guess until another best guess shows that their previous best guess wasn’t all that good of a guess to start with.
A few things became evident during the debate. Ham sees a difference between observational science (what can be seen) and historical science (what has taken place in the past), but Nye rejects any differentiation between the two. Ham comes to the table with a preconceived idea of how the universe and everything in it came to be as a result of his reliance upon the Bible. Nye comes to the table with preconceived ideas of how the universe and everything in it came to be as a result of using what he sees in front of him to make his best guess about what happened in the past. They both look at the same evidence, but draw different conclusions. No amount of apparently contradictory evidence will seemingly change either of their minds. And neither debater adequately addressed the actual topic: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”
A larger issue was presented by Ham early in the debate: If a naturalistic world view based on man’s views is used as our foundation for life, then that will naturally lead to moral relativism. Once moral relativism is adopted, there is no definition for marriage, there is no sanctity of human life because who is to decide which life has value and which life lacks it? It is no wonder that our society has begun to devalue the elderly and has legalized the killing of an untold number of babies in the womb. However, when one uses the Bible as the foundation, he recognizes moral absolutes rather than moral relativism, sees a definition for marriage and values all human life.
The debate was compelling, and on the surface it may have appeared as if Nye won in a landslide. Following presidential debates, there are typically an abundance of fact check websites. I don’t expect that you’ll find many of those popping up, but if you get a chance, check out www.debatelive.org/answers for articles which rebut many of the “facts” presented as “science” during the debate. And I know it’s not popular, but it’s my firm belief that when the Bible and science disagree, give it time and science will catch up.
Dave Purdy is the lead pastor at Evangel Baptist Church in Lewistown.