The Greatest Event in Hambo’s Life

Slide rule-knife fight-2

All our readers remember what Wikipedia calls the Bill Nye–Ken Ham debate. It was six years ago, in February of 2014. We wrote about it several times, including this on the day of the event: Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham — Live Debate Thread — which had almost 100 comments.

The image which adorns this post was used for that debate post. As we explained it then:

Displayed above is our specially-designed logo for the event, which represents our fear that Bill Nye will be bringing a slide rule to what may turn out to be a knife fight with Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, who runs the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum, which will be the site of the debate.

You may recall that we opposed the debate, and hoped that Nye would be persuaded to forego the event — see Ken Ham to Debate Bill Nye — Big Mistake! But he ignored us and several others who gave similar advice. We later learned that Bill Nye will appear anywhere, with anyone — see Bill Nye & Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — Aaaargh!

Although Hambo certainly lost the debate, he has never stopped promoting the thing and bragging that he won it. He was in full ballyhoo mode last year — see Five Years Since the Hambo-Bill Nye Debate. Now he’s doing it again, in this new post at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: Six Years Since the Ken Ham/Bill Nye Debate at the Creation Museum. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

It’s hard to believe it was already six years ago today that I stood on the stage in Legacy Hall at the Creation Museum, in front of an absolutely packed audience (tickets to the event sold out in minutes) made up of both creationists and evolutionists, to debate Bill Nye, TV’s “The Science Guy.” And, even though 2014 was a while ago now, I’m still hearing many testimonies [Testimonies!] of people who were impacted by that well-known debate, watched worldwide.

Were you “impacted” by the debate, dear reader? Neither were we. Anyway, Hambo then says:

When I’m out speaking or meeting guests at the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, I frequently hear from people who first heard of Answers in Genesis because of the 2014 debate. In the days leading up to the debate, it received wide media coverage and was a trending topic.

That’s what bothered us. Bill Nye, merely by his participation, generated enormous publicity for ol’ Hambo and his creationist tourist attractions, and Hambo continues to reminisce about his moment of glory:

Millions heard it was happening, and millions watched it live — or have watched the full YouTube video or the unedited DVD we made available. It’s truly had a massive impact! Millions of people have watched it over the years.

What was the impact? Creationists were drooling before, and they continue to drool afterwards. The rest of us haven’t had our minds changed. But Hambo remembers it as a magical evening. He tells us:

For me, the debate was so much more than an opportunity to talk about the book of Genesis or creation (as important as those topics are!). It was an opportunity, before millions of people, to share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Was that part of the debate? We don’t remember it. Doesn’t matter. Hambo continues:

Ultimately, that’s what we’re on about here at Answers in Genesis. Our ultimate hope and prayer is that those who view our resources and visit our attractions are impacted for eternity with the only message that saves: the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to show that the history in God’s Word can be trusted, that the Bible is the ultimate authority and therefore the message of the gospel can also be trusted.

We doubt that the debate actually changed anyone’s mind. Let’s read on:

If you haven’t seen the debate yet, you can find the full version on YouTube [link omitted] or purchase the 4-DVD set [link omitted], including bonus features and a post-debate discussion I had withDr. Georgia Purdom.

He finishes with this:

And once you’ve watched it, you will want to watch the second debate [link omitted] — an informal but powerful exchange as I walked Bill Nye through the Ark Encounter right after the Ark opened in 2016.

We wrote about that event — see Bill Nye & Ken Ham — Together Again. Nye said Hambo’s ark was nonsensical, and Hambo claimed another victory, merely because Nye was there. The “science guy” still doesn’t realize that you can’t win when you associate with a creationist.

Anyway, Hambo is still claiming that the debate was a moment of creationist triumph and glory. We expect a similar post from him a year from now. It’ll never end.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “The Greatest Event in Hambo’s Life

  1. “That’s what bothered us.”
    Dear SC, this only makes sense if you believe Ol’Hambo at face value when he says

    “I frequently hear from people who first heard of AIG”.
    But why would you?

    “What was the impact?”
    If there wasn’t any, why bother?

    “The “science guy” still doesn’t realize that you can’t win when you associate with a creationist.”
    Did he go there to win? Is winning the only possible goal when associating with a creacrapper?
    Ol’Hambo will always find ways to brag, just like Donald the Clown, whenever we neglect him or not. Such are their schticks.
    So shrug.

    Sometimes creacrappers do come to their senses; it’s never the other way round (claims never can be backed up). I wouldn’t dare to say that Nye played a positive role in this respect, but certainly no negative one. There is no justification for your objections, though there is not much reason to back Nye’s initiative either.

  2. Whenever Ol’Hambo brags about the debate we should rebut it with the well known

  3. I’m with SC on this. By debating, you are legitimising the claim that there are two sides on the issue, whose relative merits are worth discussing. You are also asking to be sound bitten and quote mined. For this reason, I have refused such invitations.

    Like FrankB, I think it is well worth working at changing the minds of people such as those in the audience, but this requires a process of reaching out and looking for common ground, and I do not think that a staged debate with the issues framed by a professional liar provides the best arena for doing that

  4. What I was disappointed with was that Ham got away with saying that such-and-such was in the Bible, when the Bible doesn’t say such-and-such.
    Ham and his audience would like that cartoon. Ham et al. think that the Bible deeats all of those studies of the last 150 years. Unfortunately, Ham et al. do not always stick to what is actually in the Bible. Whyat would thet have to say if Nye had challenged him on some of the Biblical basis on what was being claimed?

  5. @Curmie,

    Typo in the first sentence!

  6. Aaaargh!! All fixed. Thanks.

  7. chris schilling

    Debating a creationist over biblical interpretation is a losing game; almost as foolish as staged debates with evangelicals.

    ‘Vangies will simply claim to hold THE correct interpretation. Anything else is “compromising God’s Word” — whether it has scriptural basis, or not — or some other lapse from anything-less-than-total-orthodoxy. It’s just another test of who’s more holy-than-thou.

    It’s better to simply not buy into their terms from the get-go, and refuse to accept the Bible as authoritative in anything. The question of how to “interpret” it — or who gets to “own” it — becomes secondary, if not outright immaterial.

  8. chris schilling: I would agree with you, if the debate were only with creationists and evangelicals. But it’s not. The majority of Christians may be convinced, religious, and not learned in the sciences, but they are not in-principle fundamentalists, Biblical literalists. Most Christian denominations have always taught that the Bible is not necessarily to be read literally and that the interpretation of scripture is properly the function of scholars, deeply learned in the language and culture of the people who wrote it. Godly, certainly, but humble in the knowledge that they are not infallible. The idea that any person who could read a translation could interpret the Word of God is a recent outgrowth of Anabaptism and similar cults. Hamite literalism is even more recent.

    And most of the people who are to be convinced of the truth of evolution, of the fact of deep time and of slow change, are Christians of that type. And they can be so convinced. For the Hams of this world are just as wrong about scripture as they are about science and the past, and their errors can be demonstrated from scripture itself and from Christian doctrine.

    This is, of course, a second prong. The real point is the physical evidence of physical reality. Sure. But there is no harm, and some good, in demonstrating that a Christian faith, a reliance on the Grace of Christ, an acceptance of His redemption, and all the other tenets of Christianity itself, does not require a belief that Genesis is to be read literally, and that any assertion by Ham or others that it must be is false to scripture itself.

  9. @PaulB: “you are legitimising the claim that there are two sides on the issue,”
    Last few years I haven’t noticed that this happened due to the Nye-Ham debate, not figuratively, let alone literally. So shrug again.
    I feel more sympathy for the argument scientists like you should avoid public debates, but Nye isn’t a scientist.

    “I do not think”
    I prefer evidence ot personal preferences. AfaIk there is none, because the impact of such debates never has been researched, let alone compared with other means of outreach.

    @TomS: “What I was disappointed with …..”
    You should not; Nye trying to do theology and especially exegesis has quite a chance to fail.

    @ChrisS: “Debating a creationist over biblical interpretation is a losing game.”
    The scarce evidence (because anecdotal) suggests otherwise. There are testimonies of christians who quit creacrap, with theology playing an important role.

    “It’s better to simply not buy into their terms from the get-go”
    Agreed, but I don’t see why theologians can’t do that. Also you should realize that unbelievers making the (lack of) authority of the Bible so important totally does buy into Ol’Hambo’s terms. His false “evolution theory is atheist” is one of his strongest trumps. When fighting creacrap we should welcome christians and other believers who reject it too, no matter their acceptance of Biblical authority. They are our allies and need them.
    In the end there is no miracle cure for creacrap. That means we need to try multifold strategies and not waste time on questions like “should Nye have debated Ol’Hambo or not?” or “what about the authority of the Bible?” Instead we should focus on promoting science and its method and the enormous, unprecedented impact it had on our lives last 200+ years.

  10. BTW, and this is not about Nye’s visit to the Ark thingie, but about the Ark thingie. Insofar as it relates to the plausibility of the Biblical Ark, in the first place, what is the point of attempting to demonstrate that the Biblical Ark confirms to our notions of secular, natural possibilities? God does what he wants, and is not constrained by our notions of secular, natural possibilities. And if anything, the failures of the Ark thingie to conform to the description in the Bible, only shows that the Biblical Ark was not a secular possibility. It calls into question the YEC program of secular interpretation of the Bible.

  11. “what is the point of attempting to …..”
    Riding the scientific bandwagon, ie the same reason the IDiots from Seattle maintain that they are not doing religion.
    The other point is harking back to the good old time theology was the queen of science and hence the task of science was to confirm the Holy Book.

    Herman Philipse wrote about it in his God in the Age of Science and calls it The Tension. I quote:

    “….. the rationality of ….. natural theology should resemble scientific and scholarly rationality in order to be respectable in the age of science.” At the other hand “….. it cannot resemble scientific and scholarly rationality too much, because in that case the natural theology will be doomed to failure.”

    On natural theology, “….. because the premises of its arguments do not rely on supernatural sources such as revelations.”

    This is the key to understanding the IDiot attitude. As for Ol’Hambo, he’s OK with mixing natural theology with revelation etc. as he sees fit (which is another reason I support theologians etc. refuting him), but still has the desire to be respectable and hence must pretend to obey scientific and scholarly rationality, at least in the eyes of his flock, his main source of income. Apply some pscyhology (especially cognitive dissonance) and you get the point of “of attempting to demonstrate …..”.
    Philipse shows that the Tension cannot be solved. The pathetic and ridiculous perseverance of all creacrap attempts to do the impossible is the main source of our entertainment, all the more because Kierkegaard already pointed out what to do: take the Leap of Faith.
    The other side of this medal is the New Atheist claim that science refutes christianity, which is about as stupid as creacrap and also annoying iso entertaining. I’ve never thought much of the Four Horsemen, though Dennett has written some interesting stuff.

  12. @FrankB

  13. Michael Fugate

    I have asked how one knows a revelation is actually from a god or a god’s messenger and not just a thought that pops up in one’s brain. I haven’t ever gotten a very good answer. One guy claimed that one knew if it was compatible with scripture – I then asked what happened when there was no existing scripture – like Genesis? Dumb looks are priceless. Another guy claim that he knew when it seemed like something a god would transmit – really, he said that.

  14. Douglas Swartzendruber

    Nice summary Dave. As you likely know, because the early Anabaptists believed that everyone has the right to read and interpret scripture, they were considered heretics and were hunted down and executed – see The Martyrs Mirror with my wife’s relative Dirk Willems on the cover. I chuckled when you referred to them as a ‘cult’ – and realized that all religious denominations are cults 🙂

  15. @MichaelF: “I haven’t ever gotten a very good answer.”
    Of course not. In your dictionary a good answer means rationality. Revelations do not rely on or need rationality.
    The problem is your question – if “know” implies rationality it’s a category error. Revelations by definition are not rational. If it doesn’t your second option is meaningless regarding revelations, because the thought pops up exactly due to a god. Accepting that requires Kierkegaard’s Leap of Faith again.
    Those dumb looks are the product of a believer who makes the same mistake as you and tries to explain revelations in terms of rationality. While I never have made the Leap of Faith either and hence reject all revelations I think your question a cheap trick that only should be reserved for creacrappers and other silly apologists, just like “Hey Ol’Hambo, were you there” and “bats are birds”.

  16. Karl Goldsmith

    Six years ago when the Creation Museum wasn’t shut on Sunday and Monday for the winter months.

  17. Michael Fugate

    A cheap trick like the “leap of faith”? How do you know revelations aren’t rational?

  18. The problem is these debates have no mechanism for weighing the arguments based on logic and reasoning. The fluffy, ignorant, feel-good crap that Hambone spewed during the debate resonated with his ignorant flock, and Nye’s evidence and reasoning resonated with the rest of us. I doubt minds were changed. You can’t change minds if you keep letting people off the hook for ignoring premises, logic, and evidence.

  19. @thespartanatheist, ” You can’t change minds if you keep letting people off the hook for ignoring premises, logic, and evidence”. Exactly. And in the cut and thrust of debate, there is no real chance to do this, and indeed detailed questioning may even come over to ill-informed members of the audience as nitpicking.

    By the way, what was so good about Sparta? A narrowly tribal authoritarian military dictatorship

  20. Lol! My moniker has multiple meanings, so don’t read too much into it without a bit of background.

    I discussed Trump’s impeachment with a friend recently. Took a whiteboard and asked him to tell me all the issues. Then we discussed and erased the issues one at a time as they became illogical. If he tried to go back to them, I reminded him that was already gone. Went pretty well.