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Aggies think evolution debate is unnecessary, respectful

On February 18, 2014

A week before Charles Darwin’s birthday, Bill Nye and Ken Ham met in a highly publicized debate about evolution.

 

On Feb. 4, the Creationist Museum in Petersburg, Ky. streamed the debate online to approximately 3 million viewers.

 

The debate was a result of an exchange of online videos between the two arguing whether creationism should be taught in school. It was met with both optimism and skepticism from both science enthusiasts and supporters of Ken Ham.

 

The event brought mixed feelings among professors and students at USU.

 

USU biology professor Frank Messina said he felt the debate could make it appear as a true controversy.

 

“Evolution has been one of the most well established facts in biology for now well over 100 years,” Messina said. “We don’t want to leave the false impression that there’s something worth debating from a scientific point of view, because there certainly isn’t.”

 

Messina said the U.S. has a low level of scientific literacy and is one of the few countries that debate the evidence for evolution.

 

Nick Lilly, a sophomore studying veterinary science, also had mixed feelings.

 

“I didn’t want to take it seriously because of some of the points Ken Ham made, and as someone who is going into a medical or scientific type field, I don’t really want to give any credit to a creationist point of view with a debate,” he said.

 

The debate lasted three hours, beginning with short opening statements, followed by 30 minutes of uninterrupted time for both participants to speak. They were both given time for rebuttals and then answered questions from the audience.

 

Ham argued both creationists and evolutionists have the same evidence, but it really is a battle over worldviews, and that he starts from the view that God is the ultimate authority. He claimed scientists confuse what he called “observational science” with “historical science” and that evolution is no more viable than creationism because no evolutionist was alive when the earth was formed.

 

Ham showed videos of scientists who hold his view that the world is about 7,000 years old and God created it.

 

Nye countered by comparing scientists to detectives in the popular television show CSI.

 

“On CSI, there is no distinction made between historical science and observational science,” Nye said. “Now CSI is a fictional show, but it’s based on absolutely real people doing absolutely real work. When you go to a crime scene and find evidence, you have clues about the past, and you trust those clues and you move forward to convict somebody.” 12

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