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Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Big Debate Over Man's Origins - Who won ?

Now the controversy between evolution and creation has been going on since forever. For most of the time it's been like any other argument of followers. Religion vs science had always seemed to me like a battle between Xbox and PlayStation, or Manchester and Chelsea - the fans are one sided, only acknowledging their respective side and completely diminishing the authority of the other (eg. PlayStation sucks because Xbox is bla bla...)

For those who have never been interested, the debate is over which is more probable as a model of origins - the creation by God and intelligent design as spoken of in the Bible and Christianity or the theory of evolution established by Charles Darwin and supported by modern science.

Naturally, as with any other controversy, the Xbox guys and the PlayStation guys are fully present in this one as well. Actually, this argument is probably the best example of one-sided talk, you can ever be a witness to. Science guys go science, religious guys go religion.

Well, few days ago, a large debate was held at the Creation Museum, Petersburg, Kentucky, between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. The theme of the debate was whether or not creation was a viable model of origins within the modern, scientific era. Nye supported the evolution theory, while Ham orated for creation.

It was a two and a half hour long debate and I must congratulate both participants, as they presented their cases with the needed depth and excellent sportsmanship.  The main points covered by both of them were the age of the universe as seen through both models and the legitimacy of Noah's Arc and the aftermath of the flood and the authoritative power of the Bible as a scripture re-written and re-translated numerous of times.

Ham opted to differentiate between observational and historical science, claiming the past past was not observable and therefore modern science cannot be taken as authoritative source for past events. He also used the support of multiple exceptional scientists with world-wide contributions as a lever to the scientific orientated audience. He also tried to discredit the scientific approach by pointing out to discrepancies in methods and phenomenons for which science doesn't have an accurate answers. Ken Ham also used a philosophical view on the question. He utilized conscious, laws of logic and morality to suggest as being given by a Creator.  While he clearly stated his model is based on God and the Bible, Ham dodge the responsibility to provide absolute proof to back the claims. Ken Ham also suggested the word "science" was hijacked and incorrectly turned into a synonym to "evolution", which led to the indoctrination of the newer generations.

Bill Nye was very thorough with providing scientific data and measurements to disprove the idea of young earth as stated in the creation model. He opted to prove the universe much older than what the Bible suggests. Some examples Nye gave were the amount of fossils found in lime stone layers, living vegetation, and the seasonal ice layers, all of which are proven to be older than the Earth in the Creation model. One of his stronger arguments was the credibility of Noah's Arc on multiple points. First was the ability of a limited number of humans, with presumably no ship building experience, to create such a large wooden ship, which would hold against the global flood. Second - the size of the Arc as opposed to it's payload and the ability of the crew to maintain the whole structure and the inhabitants. And third was the discrepancies between the contents of the Arc, the time frame of the Creation model and the currently discovered numbers of species, suggesting extraordinarily and quite frankly impossibly rapid growth and reproduction after the flood.

Overall, Nye and Ham made strong points and logical arguments to defend the respective case. A winner would be both or neither, as the debaters did not succeeded, in my own opinion, to persuade the their respective opposing  side of the audience. Ham solidified the Creators model in the eyes of the creationists, while Nye gave sure footing the to scientifically orientated audience.

As for my view on the debate, I'm a scientific follower. I generally don't trust a statement that's not backed by any or not credible scientific data. While I have no interest in religion or preaching, I was thrilled to listen to the debate as finally I was able to hear solid arguments to both sides. I'm extremely fascinated by Ken Ham, for even though I don't find his model plausible, his thoughts were backed with correct, logical and well structured statements. The point of the matter is, while this argument is unlikely to ever be settled, the debate was very intelligent and worth the time to watch.

The reason I'm writing about this in the first place is the load of *beep* I get from various sources of the Internet. While everyone should strive to be as intelligent, disciplined and well mannered like these two gentlemen, the Internet is acting up like a huge kinder garden. Half of the responses and coverage of the debate were insults towards the opposing debater, mostly Ham. While he delivers well structured and logical arguments to defend his case, the Internet is basically saying: "You're an idiot, because you suck and your model is garbage.", which is half as intelligent as the average IQ of a garden stone.

Anyway, I urge you to watch the full debate as it's really worth the time.

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