Five Years Since the Hambo-Bill Nye Debate

You remember the big debate. A month before the event we warned that it was a bad idea — see Ken Ham to Debate Bill Nye — Big Mistake!

As we feared, the event was a big publicity win for Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He’s still posting about it, and the latest is at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: Fifth Anniversary of the Debate Watched by Millions. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

This day five years ago, on February 4, 2014, I was finishing up the preparations for the presentation I would make that evening during my debate with iconic TV personality and ardent atheist and evolutionist Bill Nye, “the Science Guy.” It’s hard to believe it’s already been five years since that momentous occasion!

Yeah, momentous. Then he says:

The tickets to come and watch the debate live in our 900-seat auditorium, Legacy Hall at the Creation Museum, sold out in two minutes, so we knew people were certainly interested! And they definitely were — it’s estimated 3-4 million people tuned in to watch the debate live! And an estimated 20-plus million have watched it altogether.

The outpouring of drool was enough to cause another polar vortex. After that he tells us:

No matter where I go, I hear feedback from people telling me that they watched the debate and it challenged or equipped them, that they enjoyed it, or that they were able to use it to witness to others. I hear from many young people who say they appreciated it and it helped embolden them to share the gospel with others

Those conversations go like this: [*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh, Hambo, you’re so wonderful! [*End Drool Mode*] He continues:

I’m amazed at how, even five years later, I am still hearing from so many people who just can’t stop talking about the debate. It’s humbling to hear how God used this event to impact so many people across the US and around the world.

Yes, we’re all creationists now. Let’s read on:

In honor of the fifth anniversary, we’re offering a debate resource pack [link omitted] at a discounted price through the end of the month. …

The rest of it is a sales pitch, so we’ll leave Hambo’s post here and end with our specially designed logo for the debate, which we described in Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham — Live Debate Thread. It represents our fear that Bill Nye would be bringing a slide rule to what could turn out to be a knife fight with ol’ Hambo:

Slide rule-knife fight-2

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19 responses to “Five Years Since the Hambo-Bill Nye Debate

  1. Dave Luckett

    I am similarly nonplussed by brain-dead morons, people stupid or deluded enough to believe that Ham “won” that “debate” in any sense that does not make nonsense of the notion of rational discourse. But a portion of the population is actually so deaf and blind to evidence as to believe it. Ham doesn’t need more than that, of course. His very pleasant lifestyle is funded by that demographic, however small.

    I recently watched a YT video that disquieted me: Knowing Our Host’s attitude to the Enlightenment, which strongly resembles my own, it might be of interest here. Basically, Dr Hicks (another Steve!) argues that in the sense of current philosophy, we are living in Postmodernist, which he equates with post-Enlightenment, times; that now accessing evidence, data, fact or reasoned argument is nugatory. Rather, nothing can be known; all thought is purely subjective; all attitudes are equally valid; there is no such thing as objectivity. I knew that those were the views of a small and curious group of detached – in fact, alienated – thinkers. I had dismissed them as being evidence that some academics have too much time on their hands. Alas, it seems not so. They have infected the university humanities departments wholesale, and the mischief is still spreading.

    It is curious how extremes on what should be opposite sides of the spectrum join hands and close the circle, both with the same purpose. Radical Islam with misandric feminism to destroy the west; extreme socialists with jackboot nationalists to establish totalitarianism; black activists with downright white supremacists to reintroduce separatism; postmodern intellectual nihilists with religious fanatics to overthrow data-based science. Ham has allies he would despise, and yet they are no less his allies for that.

    I swear, it gives me the creeps sometimes. And then I come here.

  2. Ross Cameron

    Disturbing to realise that these people detached from reality are not only voting, but breeding (stealing Curmy`s ‘Gasp’)

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    Only thing I remember is Hambo admitting that nothing, no facts, would change his mind. Looked at once sincere and a charletin.

  4. Ticket sales were fixed – the audience was stacked to oooh and aaah Hamster. Even the security assigned to Bill Nye by AIG were visibly & majorly bummed after – Kenny Boy had clearly lost big time.

  5. I’m not at all amazed Ken and the Hamites are still talking about a debate five years ago they imagine notched up some sort of victory for AiG. These are the sort of people who still talk about the Crucial Fiction 2000 years later, and the time before that when God went all medieval on our a***s and dumped the contents of his bathtub over everybody on the planet.

    Ah, yes, the Pied Piper of Hamming does lead the faithful a merry dance.

  6. “As we feared, the event was a big publicity win …..”
    What’s presented without evidence can be rejected without evidence and our dear SC presents exactly zero. In fact I’ve seen evidence (ao a total lack of triumphalism among YECers) that points to the opposite. YEC hasn’t gained any credibility and acceptance of creacrap in general has declined in those five years. I won’t go so far to say that the debate was a publicity win or a win in any other respect. Still, what I remember best is this cartoon:

  7. “Yeah, momentous.”
    Indeed, momentous if it was the big publicity win for Ol’Hambo as our dear SC claims. If.

    “Looked at once sincere and a charletin.”
    In Oogity Boogiy Land, eternally flooded with drool, that’s no contradiction. There is a bit omitted by our dear SC that’s somewhat interesting:

    “my book, coauthored with Bodie Hodge, Inside the Nye/Ham Debate that provides answers to every one of Bill’s skeptical questions and assertions”
    Ol’Hambo probably is sincere as far as the “provides answers” goes. All those variations of “goddiddid” kept the cash flowing towards his wallet. That “skeptical questions and assertions” bit however shows that Ol’Hambo is a charlatan indeed, if I may believe the accounts I’ve read (which were skeptical themselves!). Nye mainly explained how the scientific method workds and how scientists arrive at the conclusion that evolution theory etc. (because we always should remember that YECers reject many branches of science) is likely correct.

  8. One thing which irritated was when Ham claimed the Bible had the answer. Bye never challenged that. I don’t recall specific instances, YEC makes many claims which have no Biblical basis. It has nothing about fossils, micro- vs. macro-evolution, the Grand Canyon, etc.
    Creationists are apt to love that cartoon, for their Book can beat all those other books. I don’t know what their reaction would be when they are challenged “no, the Bible doesn’t say anything like that,” but I’d like to find out.

  9. I have to thank the Curmudgeon for reminding myself that the present spate of science denial and ignorance didn’t begin with the election of Trump. Frankly, he just tapped into a rich vein of ignorance that seems deeply entrenched in American society throughout our history.

    When asked why God wasn’t mentioned in the US Constitution Alexander Hamilton supposedly said, “We forgot.” As a country we need to be more forgetful.

  10. Bill Nye understands the difference between religion and the scientific method and its application. Hambo doesn’t. That does not make Nye an atheist contrary to Ham mans latest screed. Ol Hambo says Bill Nye is an “ardent atheist and evolutionist”. All scientists are atheists according to Hambones’ claim that one must be ultra fundamentalist to be a true believer. Rubbish.

  11. You can’t debate a Biblical creationist unless you’re willing to go full-on Hitchens. Your only choice is to discredit the Bible and, therefore, the foundation of their entire religion. As Hambo argues, if Genesis is wrong then there is no purpose to any of Christianity. We agree on that point!

    The Tooters, on the other hand, present a different problem since they are not (overtly) Biblical. The difficulty there is to force them to stick to the subject and the facts. Genie Scott’s utter demolition of Berlinski is a good example of how that’s done, whereas the Prothero-Meyer debate was a complete fiasco.

  12. @doc “Full on Hitchens”…I like that.

    While Hambo got a lot out of the debate, as it raised his profile, (Did it possibly save the Ark Encounter?) it is widely accepted he LOST the debate. I thought it was telling that Pat Robertson had to bolster a defense by throwing Bishop Usher under the bus. It looked so bad for creationism that old Pat had to alienate some of his young earth creationist viewers. That’s about as close to a victory as possible without going “Full on Hitchens”

  13. @docbill1351
    I disagree.
    Don’t let the creationists set the terms of the debate.
    The creationists make things easy by being inconsistent. I admit, though, that they make tings difficult by being incoerent (that is their strength). What we must do is to take away their advntage of incoherence, by making things clear to the audience. For example, show how the creatoiists are making stuff up and then claiming that it is in the BIble. Or how the creationists are ignoring the Bible when it comes to science that the creationists don’t deny.
    If, on the other hand, we let the creationists set the debate as science versus Christianity, we aren’t going to win.

  14. “Don’t let the creationists set the terms of the debate.”
    Exactly – when you do the creacrapper always wins. From the reports I’ve read I got the impression that Nye didn’t.

    “What we must do is to take away their advantage of incoherence, by making things clear to the audience.”
    Again totally agreed. However we must also keep in mind that creacrappers always will simply ignore your success; if they do react they become even more extreme. Then a carefully weighed dose of irony comes in handy. I’ll immediately admit that my merciless mockery on this nice blog won’t win over any creationist. Mildly pointing out to the audience how ridiculous creacrap can be may be useful.

    “For example, show how the creatoiists are making stuff up and then claiming that it is in the BIble.”
    Also agreed. Sola Scriptura is a simple theological principle that creacrappers invariably violate, beginning with the value of pi.

    “Or how the creationists are ignoring the Bible when it comes to science that the creationists don’t deny.”
    This is harder, eg regarding the Flat Earth and geocentrism. While historians largely agree that the authors of several Bible books were FETers the language is somewhat ambiguous. Given creationist incoherence the guys don’t have any problem to suddenly start interpreting, ie not reading the quotes literally.

    But yeah, overall I’m with you.

  15. Wait… his post ended with a sales pitch?

    What a surprise…..

  16. Did I say let the creationists set the terms of the debate? I hope not! No, you have to smash creationists. However, going full-on Hitchens means destroying their basis of religion which is a doubtful, though correct, strategy for debating an insane person. Basically, you can’t win against a fundi because they’re already deluded.

    I usually bring up Episcopal bishop John Spong and his arguments for a “new Christianity.” That also scares the Bejeebus out of the fundies!

  17. @docbill1351
    “…you can’t win against a fundi…”

    True, but you can remind them of how ridiculous their beliefs appear to anyone outside of fundamentalism, and make fun of them accordingly. There are those who think it rude to point and mock and laugh — and claim it changes nothing, short of giving offense — but life is short, and stupidity plentiful. Laughter is its own reward.

  18. Christianity vs. Evolution is the debate that the creationists want.
    Evolution vs. incoherent inconsistent Emptiness is the choice that I pose.