There’s very little going on that’s worth blogging about, so we’ll talk about the upcoming debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham.
On the day of the event, 04 February, we intend to have a post devoted to it, where those of you who are watching the live feed can make your comments. Your Curmudgeon will not watch the thing. The debate starts at 7:00 in the evening, presumably in the Eastern time zone, so we’ll start the thread in plenty of time before the debate begins.
In preparation for the occasion, the elves in our graphics department have been very busy, and we now have a special logo ready to go, which you can see above this post. It symbolizes our advice that one should never bring a slide rule to a knife fight. Alas, Bill Nye is ignoring our advice.
There are loads of press stories about the debate, but we did find a little bit of news in one of them. The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky (not far from ol’ Hambo’s Creation Museum, the site of the debate), has this story: Bill Nye The Science guy takes on Creation Museum founder. We’ll skip most of it, because by now you know what’s going on, but we’ll give you a few excerpts that seem newsworthy. The bold font was added by us:
“The topic of origins has always been (a part of) the culture wars,” said Mark Looy, vice president for Answers in Genesis, a ministry that operates the Petersburg, Ky. museum, which has credentialed 50 reporters and photographers, from CNN to Scientific American, for the event.
Aaaargh!! Here’s more:
But some scientists and secularists have criticized Nye’s participation, saying it only lends an air of legitimacy to creationism pseudo-science that distorts accepted scientific findings, including a fossil record that shows life growing progressively complex over billions of years. “Framing it as a formal debate, you’re saying there’s controversy to begin with. And there’s really no controversy in the scientific community,” said Dan Phelps, a Lexington geologist who is the head of the Kentucky Paleontological Society. “You really shouldn’t debate a creationist.”
Yes, that’s what almost all of us say, but Nye is determined to proceed. Now here’s something we didn’t know before:
Looy said the debate will begin with both men giving a five-minute opening statement, followed by 30 minutes each for argument, several five-minute rebuttal periods and then a 45-minute question-and-answer period from the audience.
That sounds like a fair, even-handed arrangement, but it’s not. Because of a creationist tactic known as the Gish Gallop, equal time is woefully insufficient to rebut the gusher of misinformation a professional creationist is almost certain to spew.
Referring to a video Nye made around a year and a half ago, which you can see here, ol’ Hambo recently said:
“He doesn’t understand science,” Ham said of Nye in his own video. “You take generations of children and teach them they’re just animals” who “came from some slime. … It’s really people like Bill Nye that are damaging kids.”’
Why — why! — would anyone debate a guy like that? One last excerpt:
Officials at the museum would not discuss Answers in Genesis’ efforts to raise money for a planned new theme park featuring a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark in Williamstown, Ky. Critics have suggested the debate’s publicity may help its efforts to raise municipal bonds.
Yes, that’s another unfortunate consequence of this debate. Ah well, it’s gonna happen. Tuesday is the big day — that’s three days from now. Our logo is ready. We hope Nye is too.
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.
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