This paper is an excellent response written by a member of our church, Timothy Eshelman, in response to the creation/evolution debate last month between Ken Ham and Bill Nye.
I want to spend a few minutes with you to go over some points with regards to the debate Ken Ham had with Bill Nye. Some of this should be a review for those of you who attended my creation class. I do want to say that it is much easier to be a Monday morning quarterback than to be the one put on the spot in front of thousands. I thought Ken Ham did an outstanding job in his presentation where he laid out the difference between origins science and operational science. I can only wish I could do as well. Ken did accomplish his main goal of clearly presenting the Gospel.
That said, I thought the questions and rebuttals were inadequately presented on the creation side and many opportunities were missed. I want to present some of what I felt Ken missed because I want everyone to know that we do have adequate scientific answers as well as biblical answers. I also felt that Bill Nye had Ken Ham on the defensive for most of the debate when we should have been playing offence. Let me give some examples from my research.
Bill Nye said, “When you say, ‘He invented the stars also’, you find that satisfying… The big thing I want from you is can you come up with a model that can predict something?” This question was asked several times and Ken largely ignored the question. He could have immediately come back with Russ Humphrey’s 1984 prediction of the planet’s decaying magnetic fields which was validated with the Voyager missions in the 1990s; a true prediction. The evolutionist’s predictions were orders of magnitudes off. He could have presented the prediction that we are near the center of the universe; a prediction now being validated by the discovery of concentric quantized red shifts. Concentric quantized red shift shells can only be observed if you are located near the center of an expanding universe. Speaking of predictions, Bill Nye said “The big bang predicted cosmic background radiation (CMB)…if something other than the Big Bang caused CMB, write up your papers and give an explanation”. First, CMB was predicted before the big bang model was proposed so the big bang really did not predict it; the big bang was created to explain it. Second, both Russ Humphries and John Hartnett have proposed models that better explain CMB but the secular astronomical journals refuse to publish these papers. I could go on.
Bill Nye also remarks that he “finds it unsatisfying and troubling” that we base our model on a book written in English that was translated several times over the centuries rather than on science and what we observe. However, when Bill was asked to explain the origin of consciousness, he had no idea. Here, Ken should have jumped all over him with Bill’s own words, “Well, I find that explanation very unsatisfying and troubling”. Ken should have explained that science cannot observe a one-time event or an event that occurs in the past; these things are outside the realm of the observable scientific method. Ken should have pointed out that it is “unsatisfying and troubling” to have scientists invent concepts for which there is no observable evidence such as the Oort cloud , dark matter, and rapid inflation to prop up theories that lack predictive explanation. Ken did point out that the big bang has the “horizon problem”; the same time problem that challenges the creation position. I could go on.
Several times, Bill Nye intimated that Creation hinders discovery. Ken could have given multiple examples of evolution hindering discovery such as failure to research certain organs because of a belief that they are vestigial leftovers , or failure to look for carbon 14 in diamonds because of a belief that they are millions of years old or investigation of the function of “evolutionary leftover junk” DNA . I could go on.
Bill Nye kept mentioning the fossil record and how it fails to support the creation model because as he says, “we see no fossils swimming up to a higher layer.” Ken should have immediately presented evidence for polystrate fossils which are fossils that cross multiple layers. We find abundant examples of fossilized polystrate tree trunks that protrude through multiple layers that supposedly took millions of years to form. He could have mentioned stratographic leaks; a fancy term for index fossils that appear out of place in layers in which they are not supposed to be. He could have mentioned the lack of transitional forms and the stasis of the Cambrian explosion. The flood explains the fossil record as we see it. By the way, models do not predict things in the past but they can explain them. I could go on.
Bill Nye asserts that radioisotope dating is reliable and Ken correctly points out that the process involves several historical assumptions. Ken did introduce the evidence of the wood encased in basalt, but he could have reinforced this with the presence of C14 in diamonds and remaining helium concentration in zircons both of which point to a young age. Finally, Ken should have noted that it is impossible to trust the assumptions behind a dating mechanism that gives incorrect results for rocks of known age. If we cannot date rocks of a known age correctly, it would be “unsatisfying and troubling” to trust this method on rocks of unknown age. I could go on.
Bill Nye did trot out Tiktaalik, a fossil fish with legs, as a supposed missing link. While it is proposed that the lobe fins allowed it to walk on land, close anatomical observation shows that the skeletal structure is insufficient for bearing its own weight on land. In fish, the pelvic fins are not attached to the vertebral column and cannot bear weight on land. Furthermore, tetrapod limbs bones are endochondral whereas fish fin rays are dermal bones. This same argument was used with the coelacanth fossils until recently when living coelacanths were found in abundance happily swimming in their natural habitat, the Australian barrier reef. Tiktaalik, like coelacanth, has a skeletal arrangement of a fish with no evidence that it ever existed in any environment other than an aquatic one. Tiktaalic is an extinct fish, period.
Bill contrasted “observation” versus “faith in the Bible” and put Ken on the defensive by constantly asserting that evolution is science and creation is religion. Ken defended himself with faith-based answers that, in the mind of an agnostic, reinforced the concept that creation is religion. Ken could have turned that around by providing solid scientific evidence and then asking Bill Nye the following, “Can you provide one observable instance of life coming from non-life?” or “Can you give just one example of a mutation that produced a gain of information?” or “Can you name just one undisputed transitional form?” or “Why should mathematics precisely explain the workings of a universe brought about by chaos?” or “Explain how evolution can produce the most efficient storage mechanism known to man that packs a complex, self-replicating information sequence, that is millions of times more dense and complex than anything man can fully understand, into a single three dimensional DNA strand that fits on 1% of the volume of a pin head. No evolutionist, including Bill Nye, has answers to these questions and furthermore, their answers can easily be shown to be faith-based as well. I could go on.
Many things are outside the realm of science and can never be tested using the scientific method. There is a difference between origins and operational science. Bill Nye’s insistence that it is all science allows him to constantly invoke the bait and switch logical fallacy to put down creation and intelligent design in order to promote technological education and advancement. But Christians have additional legal-historical guidance through the Word of God to not only confirm our science but to answer questions that fall outside the realm of a materialistic scientific method.
Timothy L. Eshelman
R. Humphreys, “Can Evolutionists Now Explain the Earth’s Magnetic Field?”, CRSQ 33(3):184-185 (December 1996).
R. Humphryes, “Starlight and Time” (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc, 1994), p.128.
Jonathan Sarfati, “Refuting Compromise” (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc, 2004), pp. 153-155.
R. Humpheys, “Starlight and Time” (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc, 1994).
John Hartnett, “Starlight, Time and the New Physics”, (Creation Book Publishers, LLC); First edition September 28, 2007.
Don DeYoung, PhD. “Astronomy and he Bible” Baker Books; 2 edition (April 1, 2000), pp 49-50.
Jonathan Sarfati, “Refuting Compromise” (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc, 2004), pp.158-160.
Ibid p 157.
Dr. Jerry Bergman, “Vestigial Organs are Fully Functional” Creation Research Society Books (December 1990)
Don DeYoung, PhD. “Thousands not Billions: Challenging the Icon of Evolution, Questioning the Age of the Earth”, Master Books (September 20, 2005), pp. 45-64.
Jonathan Sarfati, “Refuting Evolution, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc, 2003), pp. 122-125.
Dr. Gary Parker, “Creation: Facts of Life, (New Leaf Press: August 15, 2006) pp. 202-204, 228
Ibid. p. 200.
Don DeYoung, PhD. “Thousands not Billions: Challenging the Icon of Evolution, Questioning the Age of the Earth”, Master Books (September 20, 2005)
A. A. Snelling, “Radiometric Dating in Conflict”, Creation 20(1): pp 24-27.
Ken Ham, editor, “The New Answers Book 3”, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc, 2010), pp 241-251.
Timothy Stout, “Testimony of the Origins Divide”, Creation Matters, VOL 17 No 5 Sept/Oct 2012 p5 who quotes
Powner, M.W., B. Gerlund, & J.D. Sunderland 2009. “Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions”, Nature. 459:239-242
Dr. Lee Spetner, “From a Frog to a Prince”, (Video: Answers in Genesis, 2002), Question to Richard Dawkins
Jonathan Sarfati, “Refuting Evolution, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, Inc, 2003), pp. 47-56.
James Nickel, “Mathematics: Is God Silent?” (Ross House Books, Vallecito, CA, 1990)
Werner Gitt, “In the Beginning was Information” (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, March 15, 2006)