This morning, I directed my web browser to debatelive.org and watched the recording of the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. The question being posed to the two opponents was “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Ham argued in the affirmative that the creation model should have a place in scientific discussions of origins, and Nye argued in the negative that the creation model proposed by Ham is detrimental to scientific progress. I thought that Ham did an excellent job of supporting his view with credible examples, but I was awestruck by the level of ignorance that Nye displayed in regards to the creation model.
Throughout the discussion, Nye made claims about the creation model and creationists themselves that had absolutely no grounding in reality. And while Ham addressed some of these claims during the surprisingly short rebuttal period, several of them were simply left on the table. This will likely cause many of those on Nye’s side of the debate to claim that his statements were ignored because they are irrefutable from the creationist perspective. Thus, I would like to take a few moments to present scientifically documented answers to just a few of Nye’s claims.
I. Polystrate and Out-of-Sequence Fossils
Several times throughout the debate, Nye made the claim that if a creationist were ever to discover a single instance of a fossilized animal being in the wrong strata, then that individual would be hailed as a hero of the scientific community and would instantly sway the consensus in favor of the creation model. Then, he would proclaim in exasperation that such fossils have never been found. Well, I have to say that Mr. Nye is very much mistaken on both accounts. Creationists have found several out-of-sequence fossils, and the scientific community has yet to laud any of these scientists as heroes.
Nye could have discovered this for himself if he had simply searched for lists of out-of-sequence fossils in the creationist literature. Walt Brown, for example, includes a list of significant out-of-sequence fossils at this link: http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/LifeSciences29.html, and Creation.com also lists several out-of-sequence discoveries on their website: http://creation.com/fossils-wrong-place.
In addition to the out-of-sequence fossils there are also what are known as polystrate fossils. Polystrate fossils are fossils which span multiple layers of strata thus proving that those layers could not have been laid down over periods of millions of years. One of my favorite polystrate fossils is the fossilization of a single school of jellyfish which spans seven layers of strata. You can read about this fossil at Youngearth.com here: http://youngearth.com/school-jellyfish-fossilized-7-million-year-layers. Youngearth.com also has an article on polystrate whale fossils as well as one on polystrate petrified trees.
II. Rapid Sedimentation
The existence of these polystrate fossils proves that it must be possible for the sedimentary layers to be laid down rapidly instead of requiring the millions of years that Nye insisted on. Creationists have claimed that rapid sedimentation is possible ever since Henry Morris published his 1961 book The Genesis Flood, and in 1986, Guy Berthault proved that this is true in a paper published in the proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences. Berthault’s paper is now available online in English at this link: http://creation.com/experiments-on-lamination-of-sediments.
III. Predictions of the Creation Model
Berthault’s work demonstrates another flaw in Nye’s positions. Nye repeatedly claimed that the creation model makes no testable predictions about future discoveries. This has been disproven time and time again. The creation model makes just as many predictions about future discoveries as the evolution model, and many of those predictions have been proven correct. Berthault’s paper is just one example. We could also consider Dr. Humphreys’ work on the Pioneer Effect which can be read online at: http://creation.com/creationist-cosmologies-explain-the-anomalous-acceleration-of-pioneer-spacecraft, and Answers in Genesis themselves have a list of several successful predictions from the creation model on their website: http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/features/successful-predictions. Additionally, Walt Brown made 50 predictions in his book In the Beginning and several of them have now been proven true. Brown’s list of predictions can be found under the term “predictions of hydroplate theory” of the books index and can be viewed online at: http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/IntheBeginningIX18.html. The most recent of Brown’s predictions to be proven correct was featured on last Friday’s broadcast of Real Science Radio which can be found at this link: http://kgov.com/bel/20140131.
This gives us three areas of documented scientific research that are very damaging to Nye’s position. Judging purely by the manner in which Nye presented his claims, I do not believe that he was being deceptive in his presentation. Rather, I think that this simply reveals that Bill Nye the Science Guy came to this debate in complete ignorance of his opponent’s position.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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