Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Evolution: the debate that will not die

Albert Mohler, "Bill Nye's Reasonable Man -- The Central Worldview Clash of the Ham-Nye Debate" (February 5, 2014):
Last night’s debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham attracted a huge international audience and no shortage of controversy—even before it began. Bill Nye, whose main media presence is as “The Science Guy,” and Ken Ham, co-founder of Answers in Genesis and founder of the Creation Museum, squared off in a true debate over one of the most important questions that the human mind can contemplate. That is no small achievement....

The initial controversy about the debate centered in criticism of Bill Nye for even accepting the invitation. Many evolutionary scientists, such as Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne, refuse to debate the issue, believing that any public debate offers legitimacy to those who deny evolution. Nye was criticized by many leading evolutionists, who argued publicly that nothing good could come of the debate....

... A protege of the late Carl Sagan and the current CEO of the Planetary Society, Nye was in full form last night, wearing his customary bow-tie, and immaculately dressed in a very expensive suit....

Ken Ham is a veteran debater on the issue of origins, and he was clearly prepared for the debate. Ham’s arguments were tight and focused, and his demeanor was uniformly calm and professional....

... The clash of ultimate worldview questions was vividly displayed for all to see. Read more >>
Then there are the following comments from Frank Sheed's Genesis Regained from more than four decades ago, which seemed so tame back then but now ly in the face of the far more urgent rumblings of the Zeitgeist:
Those scientists who work on human origins, most of them at least, find it difficult to see the human race as all descended from one couple. Men trained in palaeontology, anthropology, genetics, are practically unanimous in feeling that the frontier between animal and man could not have been crossed by one single individual or pair from whom all the existent races of men have descended.... For those not trained in any of these fields such unanimity must carry great weight.

But can we simply accept it? We lend them our ears, we cannot give them our minds – if for no other reason than they cannot give us theirs. They cannot give us the years of experience.... which have strengthened and enriched their minds, the habits grown instinctive, the reactions grown spontaneous. We can but weigh as much as they can convey to us… We can no more simply swallow scientists than we can swallow historians or theologians.

What we are hearing is the scientific orthodoxy of today, but scientific orthodoxies, like religious, have been known to change....

About the cradle of every religion, said Thomas Huxley, lie extinguished theologians like “the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules.” Surely extinguished scientists are as frequent....

[They tell us] to allow the descent of all men from one pair would go against all [proper scientific] mental habits. But belief in God, in immortality, in God-made-man are not among those habits; we cannot be certain of the judgments, even the unanimous judgments, of minds which omit such habits ....

A geneticist tells us that the emergence of a single pair is “infinitely improbable”; if we have followed his arguments we may agree, but with a proviso “unless God intervenes.” Is God’s intervention improbable? Our geneticist may ... well be irritated, even if he happens to be a Christian: God is not part of his scientific habit. To his scientific formation, so much has been contributed by the insights of men who regard God as irrelevant.... (p. viii).
[Hat tip to JM]


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