I’ll admit, I thought Bill Nye was making a huge mistake when he agreed to debate Ken Ham. I thought this would be a fiasco when I found out he’d agreed to debate Ken at Ken’s own Creation Museum, with only Answers in Genesis putting out DVDs, and when it seemed like only creationists were getting in the doors. And I’m still not happy this stunt will pull in some dollars for that epic fail of an organization. But to go on the creationists’ own turf, and still hand Ken Ham his ass in a sling, that’s some serious good-for-science there.
No, Bill probably didn’t convince anyone who isn’t already convinced. But we don’t aim this stuff at the people who have their minds set in stone (although even those minds may form a tiny stress fracture that will, with further weathering from gentle rains of science freezing and thawing in that tiny crack, break the whole thing open). When we take on creationists, whether it’s through a debate like this, or by fisking Christianist textbooks, or ripping their supposed science to shreds in blog posts, we’re aiming at the people on the fence – and some of them will get knocked right off that comfy perch. We’re handing information over to people who know creationism is wrong, but not why that’s important, or how to present the truth to others who don’t know it. And we’re doing it in an entertaining fashion that will get people who maybe aren’t passionate about science completely hooked. Watching scientists take on creationists was one of my gateway drugs, you know – I probably wouldn’t be a science blogger today if it hadn’t been for Barbara Forrest and PZ Myers and others showing me why it’s important to know this stuff, then showing me how amazing science actually is.
I’m slowly getting through this debate thingy. I’d be further along, but Saturday afternoon’s plans turned into Saturday evening and then up all night watching Doctor Who and smashing religious and corporate bullshit to bits, so…. here we are. I’m blogging it on G+ as I go: that’s the rough-and-ready, get-their-words-down version with the bare minimum of research. I’ll then go back through, pull out the stuff that needs some loving attention from the Smack-o-Matic, and give it what it deserves.
So far, I’ve determined that Bill Nye doesn’t tell tie jokes all that well, but at least doesn’t sound like a sleazy used-car salesman, and Ken Ham is either the most ignorant fucker on earth, or a huge-ass con man, or both. He sure as shit doesn’t know how actual science works. Do try to contain your shock.
However, one thing about idiots like this: you can learn a lot of great and entertaining science by refuting them. That’s one of the reasons I’m actually going to enjoy this. After I take an icepick to both ears to get the drone of Ken Ham’s voice out of them, that is…
Tonight, after some nice Indian food and some chill time with a friend or two, I’m going to install myself in my workspace, clamp headphones over my ears, and attempt to get through as much of the Nye-Ham debate as I can. Most reports I’ve read say Nye did very well. But the bits I managed to catch on breaks at work were all Ham, and less than half an hour of him had me wanting to extract my brain with an icepick in order to make the pain stop. I’m not sure Nye wasn’t feeling much the same.
I only got to watch bits of the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, and caught the gist of it from the Pharyngula live blog and comments there. It was enough to realize that I’m going to be able to debate that little shit just as soon as I finish with these Christianist textbooks, because he’s regurgitating most of the same bullshit I’m finding there. I’ll be watching the debate later and going over the geology bits in some detail. Well, as much as I can stand – I don’t think I’ll be able to take much of that pompous windbag at a time. Which means, actually, I won’t be able to debate him, ever – I’d end up pouncing on him, slapping duct tape over his cake socket whilst screaming “The Bible is not science you dipshit!”
Y’all would pay to see that, and then pay to get me out of jail, right?
While you wait for me to get crack-a-lackin’, feel free to suggest captions for this excellent image Hemant caught:
Oh, and Bill?
Learn some bloody geology. Sheesh. From what I understand, that’s the topic he flubbed the worst, and it’s ridiculous – doesn’t everyone realize geology is the creationists’ favorite target just after evolution? I know folks kinda disregard the earth sciences whilst lusting after physics and biology, but for fuck’s sake…