AIG Says: Ham-Nye Debate Tickets All Sold Out

This is hot news, dear reader. You know all about the event we posted a few days ago: Ken Ham to Debate Bill Nye — Big Mistake!

Now, at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the online ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), we just found: It’s Nye Time to Order Debate Tickets. It starts with this, in their bold font:

Update: All tickets sold out within minutes. Information will soon be available regarding a live streaming option as well as DVDs to preorder. Watch the debate event page for details.

Wowie! It’s all sold out. But you can order DVDs. Okay, that was their update. Now we’ll dig into the original article. AIG says, with bold font added by us:

This morning at 10 AM ET, tickets went on sale for an already well-publicized debate between TV’s personality Bill Nye “the Science Guy” and Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham, to be held at the Creation Museum. It was only announced last Thursday that on February 4 at 7 PM Nye will present his case against creation and for evolution, while Ham, founder of AiG’s Creation Museum, will defend his contention that creation is a scientific model of origins.

This will be an event of Earth-shaking importance. If Hambo wins the crowd, Darwin is doomed! Now pay attention to this:

A huge national interest in the debate over the past few days has been witnessed in extensive media coverage, countless blogs, enormous web traffic to the AiG website, and hundreds of phone calls and emails to the museum offices. It all indicates that with the upcoming debate, the creation/evolution issue is being brought to the attention of millions of people.

That’s one of the big reasons we advise against such debates. Hambo’s roadside creationist attraction, stuck in the rural wasteland of Northern Kentucky, suddenly becomes headline news. Let’s read on:

Ham declares that he will show the debate audience that observational science confirms what the Bible teaches in Genesis about origins, not evolution. Ham points out that creation/evolution debates are uncommon today because most evolutionists don’t want to debate creationists, as they once did in the 1970s and 1980s with great frequency. In fact, since the debate was announced on Thursday, several leading evolutionists have urged Nye to drop out.

We already know ol’ Hambo’s arguments. He’s got the bible — nothing else — and that’s enough for him. Why Nye decided to get tangled up in such an event is inexplicable. AIG continues:

Due to the enormous interest in the Nye vs. Ham debate, the museum will soon announce the option of watching a live stream of the event via the Internet.

That should be interesting — if it’s free. Hey, look at this:

As guests arrive for the debate, the purchaser of the tickets will need to present a photo ID so that the name on the ticket and the photo ID can be validated against our registration list.

What’s that all about? Oh — we assume Hambo wants to keep science people and other trouble-makers out, so that the audience will be all drooling creationists — to whom the tickets have already been sold. That will assure a more beneficial debate atmosphere.

By the way, AIG has a separate page for information about the debate. It gives the event’s date (04 Feb), location (at the Creation Museum), and info about buying tickets (none available).

So that’s the news. It’s a mystery to all of us why Nye agreed to participate in this event, but it appears that the die is cast. Hambo will get his publicity, and Nye will get — what? We think he’ll get a harsh lesson in what today’s creationism is all about, and how its promoters behave.

Addendum: We’re closing comments here, in order to funnel your comments into our open thread for the actual debate: Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham — Live Debate Thread.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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43 responses to “AIG Says: Ham-Nye Debate Tickets All Sold Out

  1. Timothy Horton

    There are several stories floating around the net about folks who tried to buy tickets from the first minute they went on sale but were linked to a message saying the AIG ticket sales were offline. The service never came back online before this ‘sold out’ announcement.

    The surest bet in the world is that Hambone held all the tickets for AIG’s personal distribution to known YECs. No pro-science folks at all are going to be allowed in the audience.

  2. +timothy

    If I was Bill, I would have made it part of the agreement that the audience be split 50/50 pro and against, or no deal.

    A 100% creationist audience is going to sound like the stadium is about to fall, even when presented with evidence against their beliefs.

    This is crazy!

  3. SC: “…but it appears that the dye is cast.”

    Unless the intent was a play on words (Nye – dye) or coloring fabric, the word you need is “die”, as in one of a pair of dice.

  4. I haven’t been able to find any statements from Nye about this debate. All we’ve been able to read about comes from the professional liars at AiG.

    Either Nye is a crafty poker player playing it very close to the vest, keeping his powder dry, (or whatever your favorite trite saying is about these situations); or he’s a naive fool. Absent any evidence from Mr. Nye or his handlers, I at least provisionally choose the former.

  5. You’re right, retiredsciguy. It’s fixed. I’ve been walking around with a faulty translation ever since my high school days. I thought it was a reference to coloring cloth, rather than rolling the dice.

  6. I wrote this on Curmy’s first post on the debate:

    “Whaddiya bet Ham hands out a whole bunch of freebies to the local creationist churches to pack his audience?”

    I hope Bill shows up with a whole bunch of his great visuals/special effects. Alas, I fear Bill is walking into a snake-handling revival meeting.

  7. Wonder what the charge will be for the ‘streaming’ option, and for the Ham-edited DVD.

    And I’m still wondering if our friends the Discoveroids are going to comment on this circus. I mean, you would expect a report on a blog that styles itself Evolution News and Views, wouldn’t you?

    Are they just too embarrassed by Hambo’s YEC schtick, but don’t want to alienate him by saying so?

  8. Al dente RetiredSciGuy admits his prescience:

    I wrote this on Curmy’s first post on the debate: “Whaddiya bet Ham hands out a whole bunch of freebies to the local creationist churches to pack his audience?”

    This is precisely the sort of talent that led the assembled Cardinals of Curmudgeonia to elevate you to the Papal See in the first place!

    I’ll use your new title, on the grounds you changed it by Papal Bull, but you’ll always be the One True Pope in our hearts 🙂

  9. Our Curmudgeon proclaims

    You’re right, retiredsciguy.

    Of course he is! See my previous post: he’s infallible!

  10. Megalonyx says of RetiredSciGuy: “he’s infallible!

    No one who calls himself “Al dente” could be infallible. Thus sayeth your carnivorous Curmudgeon.

  11. Seems Hambo is trying to maximize his home field advantage. Even cheering is restricted (unless you’re cheering for Hambo that is!)

  12. “No one who calls himself “Al dente” could be infallible. Thus sayeth your carnivorous Curmudgeon.”

    Megalonyx meant to say “inflatable”. At any rate, you may have your pasta served with meat sauce and meatballs, Curmy.

  13. Why the enormous interest among creationists? Bill. Nye. Ken. Ham. Monosyllables compute in rural Kentucky.

  14. Hmm. Bill Nye, Science Guy. Ken Ham, Bible Scam. Nice ring to it, don’t you think?

  15. Stephen Kennedy

    I still do not understand why Bill Nye agreed to be the featured attraction for an AiG fundraiser at a time when AiG is in desperate need of cash to save their absurd ark project.

  16. Al dente RetiredSciGuy suggests

    Megalonyx meant to say “inflatable”.

    Not on this occasion. When I do use the term “inflatable” on this site, it is generally in reference to Curmy’s vinyl ‘Olivia’.

    Though I understand he’s changed her wig and outfit and now calls her his “Spokeswoman, Felicity Bliss.” To each his own, I suppose…

  17. Megalonyx says: “To each his own, I suppose…”

    Please, we don’t need a description of your romantic proclivities.

  18. AronRa tells it like it is!

    Bye-bye Nye-Nye!

  19. I’ve spent some time today viewing videos of ol’ Hambo preaching and lying, and Bill Nye explaining science. I’m sorry to say that my initial optimistic view of this debate has evaporated. Sad to say, but with an audience packed with bible thumping creationists, control of the recording and editing of the debate video, ol’ Hambo will very likely eat poor Nye alive. Hambo has already won; he got an infusion of much needed cash, and a lot of free publicity. Nye will metaphorically just bring a knife to a gunfight.

  20. waldteufel says: “Nye will metaphorically just bring a knife to a gunfight.”

    Or as I like to say, he’ll be bringing a slide rule to a knife fight.

  21. In this instance, aren’t both sides simply preaching to the choir? (Please forgive the cliche.) Neither is going to convince supporters of the other side. Nye isn’t going to convince me to be even more accepting of evolution. Hambo’s supporters aren’t going to get any more Bible-ier, they’re already the Bibley-est. I may be channeling my inner Frank J., but I can’t imagine the fence sitters will be paying much attention.

    Unless AIG physically harms Bill, the needle isn’t going to move in either direction.

  22. Retired Prof

    About the security measures to keep out unbelievers: If creationists can install hidden cameras in toilets, surely some enterprising reality-based person can surreptitiously record this debate. Comparison of the raw to the edited version could prove instructive.

  23. So exactly how many tickets are we talking about, and where is the venue to hold them all? And as suggested before, does the ticket revenue all go to Ham and the AIG? What does Nye get out of it?

  24. I believe it’s a 900 seat auditorium.

  25. The main problem here is that a debate between Ham and Nye implies that one must be either religious or accepting of science, but not both. With 90+% of US children raised with a religious belief, there are so many people that are led to believe they are going astray if they allow themselves to think that science is right.

    I’d expand on this, but don’t have the time now.

  26. Well, at 25 bucks a ticket that isn’t going to help Ol’ Hambo out of the financial woods. What worries me most is that Nye is going to rely on scientific integrity and thus won’t have an answer to Ol’ Hambo’s rhetorical cheapo’s. These can be countered, but you must be prepared for them and be willing to sink to Ol’ Hambo’s poor level.

  27. Charles Deetz ;)

    @mnbo, if I were Nye, I’d just incredulously question everything Hammy says. Let him sound foolish.

    So the Bible explains that all that poop on the ark would be easy to get rid of? What verse was that? Oh, I forgot you have science on this? Where was this published? Oh I see. How many animals again was it? How much manure did you calculate? So where did it all go again? So this is science, not the Bible, right? But I thought you got all your facts from the Bible, now I confused.

    Anyway, that’s what I would do. Let the smug aussie talk himself in a circle.

  28. Charles, I love your idea! The problem here is Nye. In watching his videos today, and a short CNN interview video I watched this afternoon, I think he is just too nice, and not aggressive at all. I have the impression that Nye thinks that all he has to do is reasonably explain the science. Instead of putting Hambo on the defensive, I’m very afraid that The Science Guy will look like a deer caught in the headlights. I really hope that I’m wrong.

  29. Ceteris Paribus

    I won’t give up on Bill Nye unless the terms of the debate require him to disgrace himself by wearing the customary bad toupe of a televangelist, and sporting their mandatory transparent ear-microphone-thingy.

    On the other hand, showing up in such garb might just confuse the audience sufficiently to throw them out of rhythm and applaud some of Bill’s points.

  30. Unfortunately, the faithful are predisposed to fall back on religion and their own naturally faulty intuition. The former is always present even in non-religious circles. I know non-religious conspiracy theorists who often fall in to that trap. I guess that is the root of argument from incredulity or ignorance.

  31. Waldteufel says of Bill Nye, “… I think he is just too nice, and not aggressive at all.”

    Actually, this might be the best tactic for Bill to win over some of the audience — if not the stacked audience in the auditorium, then at least some of those watching online or DVD. If you figure that most of the audience will be fairly religious, if Nye gets too aggressive he’ll be seen as attacking God — which is not a good way to win friends there.

    He should simply state the science behind evolution, radiometric dating, plate tectonics, stratigraphy, astronomy — in other words, state simply and clearly why we know what we know. He shouldn’t even think of arguing with Ham. It’s an unwinnable argument — religion, in a sense, is just a matter of opinion, and you really can’t argue opinion. Although we regular commenters on the SC’s blog are of the opinion that Ham’s religious “convictions” are ersatz, Ham’s audience thinks he’s sincere, and nothing Bill Nye can say is going to make them think otherwise.

    On the other hand, Nye is very good at explaining science — he’s been doing it for decades. If the seventh graders in my classroom just across the river could easily grasp the concepts in his videotapes, I think his Northern Kentucky audience will understand the science, too. Whether they can bring themselves to accept it, well, that’s another matter.

  32. I think you’re on to something… now how do we give Bill some pointers?

  33. @Dorian Mattar: Pointers? He’s been teaching science for a long time now. In other words, he’s a big boy. He’ll do just fine. The only concern is how stacked the deck is against him — Ham’s hand-picked audience, Ham’s home court, Ham’s “debate” rules, Ham’s DVD editing, Ham’s et ceteras, et ceteras.

  34. Yes, that’s what I’m talking about, how to play the game against them.

    From the posts here, many don’t even think he should be in this thing, therefore, it’s not a given that he will do well. He can then use all the help he can get.

    The link I posted previously had many excellent pointers and so did you, but does Bill?

  35. I guess Ham needs to cover his butt with lawyerese at the bottom of this streaming/DVD purchase page. I trust this guy even less since he bought out all the tickets and wonder if he might not stream the video at all and then edit the DVD. Another issue is look carefully at the debate topic it has nothing to do with evolution, instead it is about origins for which the exact scientific model is still not known.

  36. @Retiredsciguy: I’m sorry, but I think you’re describing a recipe for disaster. Ol’ Hambo will ask all kind of dumb questions. If Nye neglects them he will look like an asshole and if he tries to answer them he needs to get complicated.

    “at least some of those watching online or DVD.”
    And you trust Ol’ Hambo to make a honest summary? Without quote mining etc.? Once again I’m sorry, but I think you’re naive. I have debated several Dutch creationists on internet. I am not that ad rem and I was glad I had the time to sort their lies out. You underestimate the creativity of creationists in this respect. Remember: one fool can ask more question than ten wise people can answer. And Nye will be alone.

    Charles Deetz pretty accurately described the strategy I advocate. The audience will be hostile anyway. This

    “if Nye gets too aggressive he’ll be seen as attacking God”
    is what bigots expect and therefor will see anyway.

  37. Dorian Mattar: “If I was Bill, I would have made it part of the agreement that the audience be split 50/50 pro and against, or no deal.”

    If you mean let Ham pick his 50%, and Nye pick the other, no minds would change even if one of the debaters outright concedes defeat.

    Why not a random sampling of the public? Only 10-20% (depending how one phrases the question) are staunch YEC, and another 10-20% committed evolution-deniers who’ll sympathize with Ham even if they disagree with his particular origins account.

    Per a recent poll ~25% (and apparently growing) are “unsure” of evolution, so in a random audience that segment could “expel” their uncertainty, and many others leaning towards evolution could strengthen their conviction. But that can only happen if Nye refuses to let Ham set the terms of the debate, namely, whether there’s a Creator/designer, keeping the focus only on the bogus “weaknesses” of evolution instead of the fatal weaknesses and contradictions within creationism, confusing evolution with abiogenesis, and relying on other staples of pseudoscience.

    Ham will of course do everything in his power to keep the debate on those terms, and run away from anything remotely resembling supporting his YEC “theory” on its own independently verifiable evidence. So merely showing that he, like a spoiled child, demands a non-level playing field, will have some positive effect.

  38. Sure that can work but you are talking Kentuky here.

  39. “Let the smug aussie talk himself in a circle”

    Please be careful.
    By thoughtlessly adding in the “aussie” bit, you are simply alienating people unnecessarily and not adding anything to your argument.

  40. @Douglas E: Very interesting tid-bit, indeed!

  41. RSG – I also liked what Daniel had to say about the whole Ham on Rye, er Nye ‘event’.