Will Bill Nye Debate the Discoveroids?

Your Curmudgeon is getting worried about Bill Nye. Ever since he was foolish enough to engage in a debate with Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the creationists have him pegged as a soft target. That debate is mentioned in Nye’s Wikipedia write-up, which says:

In February 2014, Nye debated creationist Ken Ham at the Creation Museum on the topic of whether creation is a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era. In reaction to the debate, Nye published Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation in 2014.

Most of the reasons why we advise against such debates are found in one of our old posts, Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism. As we predicted, Nye’s appearance with Hambo boosted Hambo’s status. Ever since the event, Hambo has ceaselessly mentioned it, and he even claims that his arguments prevailed. Two years later, having learned nothing from the experience, Nye actually showed up a day after the opening of Hambo’s Ark Encounter and engaged in a second debate — see Bill Nye & Ken Ham — Together Again.

Because debating Nye is such an easy way for creationists to achieve publicity and credibility, it’s not surprising that the Discovery Institute wants some of the action. At their creationist blog we find: Doug Axe Challenges Bill Nye — Come Visit Us in Seattle, Why Don’t You? It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger.

You know who Doug Axe is. The Discoveroids’ website has literally dozens of posts promoting his new book — see, for example, Klinghoffer: Scientists Praise Axe’s New Book.

Klinghoffer’s new post rambles all over the place, but it’s essentially an attempt to goad Nye into giving the Discoveroids some of the same attention that he gave to ol’ Hambo. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Douglas Axe issues a challenge to “Science Guy” Bill Nye. Axe invites Nye to visit his team of scientists in Seattle and confront the genuine science that is rocking orthodox evolutionary theory, while also considering the evidence for intelligent design. Mischievously, Dr. Axe gave the same title — Undeniable — to his new book as Nye gave to his own recent work. So in that respect, the two are well matched as conversation partners.

Teasing Nye about the title of Axe’s book is only one of the psychological tricks being used to get Nye to take the bait. Klinghoffer then says:

Beyond that, I think Nye would be at a disadvantage, which may be why he has up till now seemed to prefer hanging around with creationists.

Following his experience with ol’ Hambo, is Nye naïve enough to accept the Discoveroid challenge? Klinghoffer is doing everything he can to get Nye to fall for it again, by claiming that debating about intelligent design will be a genuine challenge, unlike debating a biblical creationist like ol’ Hambo. After quoting from Axe, he says:

And isn’t it curious how creationists and evolutionists enjoy this symbiotic relationship? Ken Ham, no doubt with the single pure intention of defending his way of reading the Bible, effectively acts as Nye’s enabler. He provides Mr. Nye with a convenient way of evading hard questions about the adequacy of Darwinian mechanisms in explaining life’s history.

[…]

Nye hides behind Ham’s Ark, as if the only alternatives were design-denying materialism or Scriptural literalism. The binary choice is simply false, but it evidently serves Nye’s purposes.

The tactic is simple. The Discoveroids are telling Nye that his debate with Hambo was easy, because Hambo has nothing going for him except the bible. But if Nye were really any good, he’d accept a man-sized challenge and debate a Discoveroid.

Will Nye fall for it? We certainly hope not, but his record so far doesn’t offer much encouragement. We’ll have to wait until we see how Nye reacts.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Will Bill Nye Debate the Discoveroids?

  1. michaelfugate

    Since intelligent design is empty, what would there be to debate?

  2. That’s a trap for the “evolutionist”. By entering into a debate, one makes it seem as there is something substantial to argue against.

  3. Gee, why doesn’t Axe publish in the actual literature if he wants people to confront his ideas?

  4. The Discoveriods have never come up with an argument that wasn’t a version of the watchmaker analogy or god of the gaps, and with equally convincing logic, all of it could be an argument for Zeus.

  5. I just realized Wikipedia has an article on the Bill Nye–Ken Ham debate, which says:

    “On February 27, 2014, Ham announced that the publicity the debate generated for AiG had spurred fundraising for its stalled Ark Encounter project, allowing the first phase of construction – a 510-foot (160 m) reconstruction of Noah’s Ark estimated to cost $73 million – to begin.”

  6. “Ham announced …”
    And you believe him on his word, dear SC?
    I agree that debating Axe would be a huge mistake. While the Nye-Ham debate gave the former the opportunity to explain how science works to an ignorant audience that won’t happen this time.
    Axe is not going to talk much about Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy. He’s not going to talk much about the God of the Gaps either. He’s going to do what all IDiots do: talk about stuff Nye knows close to zilch about and lie that that stuff refutes Evolution Theory.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2016/03/20/a-suggestion-for-debaters/

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2016/03/you-need-to-understand-biology-if-you.html

  7. Also read the comments on Moran’s blog:

    “you are being dangerously naive if you think you can simply dismiss the ID movement because it’s not science (according to your definition). The general public doesn’t care. All they see is serious attacks on evolution that look a lot like science.”
    Ol’ Hambo couldn’t perform that trick, ‘cuz the Bible. But Axe certainly will.

  8. I bet Casey Luskin wants to be recalled to his post at the DI and is just licking his chops to get at Nye. Then maybe West as well.

  9. Klinghoffer says,

    Axe invites Nye to visit his team of scientists in Seattle and confront the genuine science that is rocking orthodox evolutionary theory, while also considering the evidence for intelligent design. Mischievously, Dr. Axe gave the same title — Undeniable — to his new book as Nye gave to his own recent work. So in that respect, the two are well matched as conversation partners.

    What genuine science? What evidence for intelligent design?

    And can he possibly be serious that two men who’ve given the same title to one of their books are “well matched as conversation partners”?

    K. natters on:

    Beyond that, I think Nye would be at a disadvantage, which may be why he has up till now seemed to prefer hanging around with creationists.

    Cough, cough, hack–! (Applies mental Heimlich maneuver

    Never mind the ad hominem nature of that remark; what really gets me is that Klinghoffer is still able to say, presumably with a straight face, that “intelligent design” proponents aren’t creationists. What, after all, is an omnipotent Intelligent Designer but a Creator? And if ID’ers insist on a Creator (whether they call Him that or not), does anyone believe they don’t have a specific One in mind?

  10. Perhaps the Discoveroids are under the impression Nye would debate for free. Hambo is believed to have spent $50,000 for Nye’s standard appearance fee (which went to scientific causes).
    While Hambo got a good return on investment, and Nye can use the Ark footage as compelling and interesting fodder for his new movie, the Discoveroids offer nothing.

  11. God I hope not! Little kennie ham has gotten serious mileage from his two visits from Bill Nye. Imagine what the DI, and their marketing group, would do with it. Like ham, the actual outcome wouldn’t matter, what would be important is what they could claim about the debate itself.