Where the Bill Nye v. Ken Ham Debate Went off Track

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Where the Bill Nye v. Ken Ham Debate Went off Track

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The age of the earth and the global v. local flood question are part of an intramural debate among Christians. These topics don’t need to be part of a creation/evolution debate

"Evolutionists have to explain, using science, how we got people, animals, and flora and fauna. They can’t do this."

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Here is the complication in this debate

Take the Big Bang Theory (BBT). It is NOT a scientific explanation of where the universe came from. Instead the BBT assumes the universe exists, then takes the observation that it used to be much smaller and hotter and rolls that back using the natural laws that we observe in the modern universe today. It has tremendous predictive power, it really does. BUT the one thing it does not do, nor can do, is explain where the universe came from. This is what Bill Nye meant when he said he had no idea how "all of this started". There is no scientific theory that explains HOW the universe came to be...merely what happened to it once it did exist. Why not? Science is the study of nature in the universe. It is therefore INCAPABLE of explaining what happened BEFORE there was a universe.

Similar things happen in evolution. The Theory of Evolution DOES NOT EXPLAIN how life started...merely the observation of what they think happened to it after it came into existence.

Arguments against evolution and BBT need to take this fact into account.

 

The complication is also that many opposed to evolution and the BBT keep expecting these theories to account for the origin of life and the universe, when they are not designed to do that. Also, all too many scientists speak as thought the BBT explains where the universe came from, or where life came from, when they do not. Why do they do this? It is a combination of ignorance for some, the "religion of science" for others, and pure cash from book sales and speaking fees for others!

Mark Smith, PhD in Physics

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Bill Nye's "Ark Challenge"

Bill Nye the Science Guy has issued another challenge to Ken Ham...

From Bill Nye The Science Guy via his Facebook page 02-11-2014:

"I would challenge him to build a real ark. Instead of trying to fund an ark park, Ken, why not build a real one and take it to sea for a full year?  And Ken, if you're too busy with your flock there in Petersburg, KY, have your most competent parishioners take a shot. Send 8 of your toughest, smartest people to, say, Norfolk, have them design and build a 500 foot wooden boat, load it up with 17,000 pretty good-sized animals, and show us how straightforward it would be to have it remain seaworthy for a year. They have to gather all the food needed locally before they set sail, of course. It's one more thought experiment that would illustrate how unbelievable the literal story of Noah is..."

 

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Link to "Ark Challenge" & response

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=702975706399455&set=a.1657577734...

 

From Bill Nye The Science Guy: "I would challenge him to build a real ark. Instead of trying to fund an ark park, Ken, why not build a real one and take it to sea for a full year? And Ken, if you're too busy with your flock there in Petersburg, KY, have your most competent parishioners take a shot. Send 8 of your toughest, smartest people to, say, Norfolk, have them design and build a 500 foot wooden boat, load it up with 17,000 pretty good-sized animals, and show us how straightforward it would be to have it remain seaworthy for a year. They have to gather all the food needed locally before they set sail, of course. It's one more thought experiment that would illustrate how unbelievable the literal story of Noah is, as translated into modern English. Also, we'd have to stipulate that all humans and animals come ashore alive …"

So I would like to publicly respond to Mr. Nye in the following way.

Bill, during the debate last Tuesday, I asked you this question:

“How do you account for the laws of logic and laws of nature from a naturalistic worldview that excludes the existence of God?”

I challenge you, once again, to provide a rational basis for your worldview. You dodged the question in the debate, and you continue to do so. Until you answer that question, you have no reason to trust your inductions or the uniformity of nature and have no basis to tell us what is right and wrong. I trust those things because I know the God of the universe who created those laws and has promised to uphold them in a uniform way--which is consistent with His perfect character. Indeed, I have a reason for my reasoning.

The battle, as I said more than once in our debate, is not about the evidence. (And it seems even a number of Christian naysayers about the debate still don’t get this vital point, either!)

And besides, Bill, you know this, as I even showed you a “single piece of evidence” of an out of place fossil (using the secularists’ own dating methods)—45,000-year-old wood in 45-million-year-old rock! You said one piece of evidence like this would change your mind—but you willingly ignored it.

Again, why is your assumption that science is possible apart from God reasonable?

Frankly, you are not a “reasonable man” because no reasonable man who claims to be consistent with reality rejects the truth of God’s Word. In fact, the Bible makes it clear in Romans chapter 1 that you know God exists, but you are suppressing that truth in what the Bible calls unrighteousness.

No “reasonable man” believes that reason, emotion, or morality evolved from the random interaction of chemicals over billions of years. Therefore, you have no foundation. You have a blind faith, one which causes you to borrow from the Christian worldview to even make sense of the world around you.

Bill, I urge you to use your God-given reason to respond to God’s Word, such as:

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)

Bill, Noah’s Ark was a real ship—and it is a picture of a real message of salvation from God’s judgment on man’s sin, including yours. (And the answers to your questions about the seaworthiness of the Ark and how it could have been built are on our website; also AiG is not a church and so we don’t have parishioners.) Just as Noah and his family went through the door of the Ark to be saved, we need to go through the door of our Ark of Salvation.

Jesus Christ said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

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Death Before the Fall

I have some acquaintances who are atheists and they jumped on the "no death before the fall" argument by brining up the death of the plants that Adam ate for food. (You have to admit that the idea of an apple being eaten, staying alive through the digestive tract, and then reconstituting itself is kind of humorous.) The fall brought death to mankind is probably more accurate.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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Death Before the Fall

Ron, Romans 5 makes clear that human death began at the Fall, but Romans 8:19–22 seems to go further in inculpating Adam with all of the "pain," "frustration," and "corruption" of the created realm generally. That's why Ham, Mortenson, and others at AiG are hesitant to accept the solution you offered.

The alternative solution that AiG offers to the problem you raised is that plants are never described in Scripture either as "living" or as "dying." While the scientific community speaks commonly of the 'death' of 'living' plants, the Scriptures seem to define 'living things' a bit more narrowly, restricting the terms to animal life. Since the consumption an apple does not involve "pain," "frustration," "corruption," or "death," they would argue, it is not the result of the Fall; however, the death of an animal would involve all of those things, and thus must derive from the Fall.

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It is not just plants that

It is not just plants that create a problem for YEC. There are at least some and probably numerous living organisms from insects on down that are designed to live less than a day.

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Well Greg, we know that the

Well Greg, we know that the nature of animals was different before the fall and will be different in the eternal state, so perhaps death passed upon this part of creation in the same way it passed upon mankind.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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That may be the answer Chip

That may be the answer Chip but it is a very sticky problem. Our sophisticated ecosystem requires death or it gets out of balance quickly. I read once but forget where about what would happen within a day or two if there was not constant death especially at the micro-organism level. It is of course possible that an entirely different ecosystem existed before the fall and God completely reengineered it. I suppose Ham would have to believe that. 

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Death Before the Fall

Greg, 

I think Chip's answer may account for some of the tension here. Still, your point is valid that some zoological micro-organisms seem designed to live and to die in very short cycles. Assuming for sake of argument that this was true prior to the fall, I think the young earth creationist can still make valid appeal to the definition of life. The lowest "order" of "living thing" described in Scripture is "creeping things." Extending that definition to amoebas and bacteria (etc.) remains, for me at least, an open question--they represent a category that was largely unknown by the early Scripture writers. The line of demarcation between zoological micro-organisms and botanical micro-organisms is very elusive, even among secular scientists. I think that it's at least reasonable to suggest that some of the micro-'animals' accepted in the scientific community are not in the biblical category of 'living things.'

Unfortunately, the Bible doesn't give us as clean a definition as we'd like to have. At the very minimum, though, I would say that there was no 'death' occurring that fits Paul's definition of "pain," "frustration," and "corruption." We have to account for Romans 8:19-22 at some level, certainly. 

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There are at least some and

There are at least some and probably numerous living organisms from insects on down that are designed to live less than a day.

How did you discover this information?

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Larry, it is not hard at all

Larry, it is not hard at all to research life spans of animals. I must be missing what you are getting at.

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Larry, it is not hard at all

Larry, it is not hard at all to research life spans of animals. I must be missing what you are getting at.

You said it was "designed" that way, and I was wondering how you know it was designed that way vs. being that way because of the fall.

I think Mark has well addressed the issue here, and he includes the word "seems" before design, which I think is a much better way to put it. I would simply suggest that we cannot necessarily tell how something was "designed" per se. If we doubt that, consider man. He was designed to be perfect. Yet we can research that and find out he isn't. If we base our conclusion only on what we can see, we miss the design.

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short lifespans

first example of a common organism with a short lifespan would be the mayfly. one species lives as a mature adult for only 5 minutes.

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/walker/ufbir/chapters/chapter_37.shtml

Larry wrote:

There are at least some and probably numerous living organisms from insects on down that are designed to live less than a day.

How did you discover this information?

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first example of a common

first example of a common organism with a short lifespan would be the mayfly. one species lives as a mature adult for only 5 minutes.

Thanks for that Chris, but it doesn't answer the question I was asking, which is about design. Seeing that something dies in five minutes now says nothing about what it was designed to do.

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Re: short lifespan in Eden

Larry, I agree that it's impossible to answer that theoretical question. All I can say is that the mayfly seems well-suited to its short lifespan as there is no shortage of this insect. And I don't think anyone can imagine how the mayfly would have worked with a lifespan that would surely have had to be many times longer if there truly was no death in Eden.

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Well Larry, I used the word

Well Larry, I used the word intentionally because I wanted to respect the fact that these things are designed rather than evolved. If some animals did not die quickly in our current ecosystem, the whole system would collapse. I think it would be naive to think that changing a mayfly's lifespan from 5 days to 5 hours does not have big consequences somewhere. If God incorporated death after the fall, that is no small thing. There are big design issues involved. 

So yes, I think it safe to say that God designed animals to live the life spans they do rather than that being a consequence of the fall.

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Never really thought about it

Never really thought about it before, but, if (and that's a big if) there were significant design changes as a result of the fall, I wonder how this might have immediately affected the extinction of certain species.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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What is wrong with a simple answer?

It seems to be that the simplest answer would be that the first man's sin brought death to mankind alone. It would require those who have espoused  "no death before fall" to admit that their statement may be a little broader than it should be.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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I tend to agree Ron. I

I tend to agree Ron. I personally would lean toward a no-death-for-humans-only before the fall position which means I do not have to deal with a lot of the problems someone like Ham does.

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What's wrong with the simple answer:

My reluctance to accept the simple answer, Ron, is the content of Romans 8:19-22. These verses connect the pain, frustration, and corruption experienced by the "whole creation" to the fallen human condition. 

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None of these are death

Romans 8:19-22 says nothing about death though. Not to be facetious, but it could apply to weeds, thorns on roses, and animals that bite.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

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If some animals did not die

If some animals did not die quickly in our current ecosystem, the whole system would collapse.

Sure, as it exists now. But what about then? Again, we simply cannot know.

Several issues:

1) Was the mayfly as we know it even a creation? Or was it the result of the genetic dilution and mutation of the fly "kind" after the fall? We can't answer that. Remember, God didn't create each animal we see now. God created kinds and those kinds have reproduced according to their kind. They did not cross kinds; they have apparently mutated within a kind, as humans have (e.g., original of skin color, eye color, physical stature, etc.).

2) Does the mayfly have a nephesh, a living soul? If not, then it probably wasn't part of the death from the curse.

3) What was the original ecosystem like (for the day or so that it existed before the fall)?

So yes, I think it safe to say that God designed animals to live the life spans they do rather than that being a consequence of the fall.

I think it not safe to say that, at least with any dogmatism.

 

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Somehow this answer is becoming a lot less simple.

Ron, I'll grant that death is not specifically mentioned in Romans 8, but unless we have every instance of animal death prior to Adam occurring without any pain, frustration, or decay (or to use your suggestion, without one animal ever biting another), we've still got a problem. In reality, death represents the very apex of creaturely pain and frustration--that's why the solution offered in Romans 8 is fundamentally contained in resurrection.

I might add, too, that the suggestion that all animal death before Adam was peaceful and painless won't win any nods in the world of secular academia either--their models all insist on violent death perpetrated by the "fit" against the "unfit."

It seems to me that the "simple answer" for Romans 8 is that all death in the created universe, at least as defined in Scripture, commences at the fall, and ceases at the final resurrection.

MAS

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Romans 5.12

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--

This is the verse I have heard cited on death by sin. Granted, the last part of the verse refers to men, but the first part refers to the world and death in general. I suppose we have to define what we mean by death. Eating fruit certainly isn't death, the tree that produced presumably still lives to produce fruit again.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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assumption

There seems to be an assumption here that there was some time lapse between the creation of Adam & Eve and their sin in eating the fruit. What if that time was less than a day? The Bible doesn't specify the amount of time between the 2 events. 

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not an assumption

There had to be a time lapse. There is the naming of the animals (whatever that was), the creation of Eve, the message of God to Adam concerning the creation of the woman, the stating of the rules of the garden. All of that takes some time.

We have no idea how much time, but there is some time. However, I don't think the length of time really matters. The question is, does the Bible teach that the fall had an affect on the rest of creation, not just on man. I think it is quite clear that it does.

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Re: 1-day Eden

JohnBrian wrote:
What if that time was less than a day?
would you work and take care of a garden that would only exist for one day? makes gen 2:15 kind of pointless.

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Don Johnson wrote:

Don Johnson wrote:

There had to be a time lapse. There is the naming of the animals (whatever that was), the creation of Eve, the message of God to Adam concerning the creation of the woman, the stating of the rules of the garden. All of that takes some time.

We have no idea how much time, but there is some time. However, I don't think the length of time really matters. The question is, does the Bible teach that the fall had an affect on the rest of creation, not just on man. I think it is quite clear that it does.

Don,

I'm not sure there had to be a time lapse. No idea how many animals there were (were there just two canines or were all the species available), or how many were named (as Mark mentioned earlier the creation account may have been much more restrictive in its use of "animals" than modern science), or, really, how they were named - i.e. canines; or dogs, wolves, coyotes, etc; or Cocker Spaniel, Lab, Great Dane, etc; or shep, spot, etc. Were insects named, or only mammals. Land creatures? Air creatures? Sea creatures? Eve doesn't present a problem regardless being created on the 6th day with Adam - unless you are extending creation beyond the normal 7 days for some reason. It seems feasible as a possibility that the fall occurred immediately after creation.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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had to be at least two days

Creation of man, day six

God rested, day seven (all that he created was very good)

Fall... any day after day eight

But, again, I am not sure what significance the length of time makes. I don't think God created the earth to "survive" until the death cycle could commence after the fall. Whatever creation was like in the time of innocency, it was very good, it was functioning, nothing needed to be added, and something changed with the fall, see previous references in Rm 5 and 8

Maranatha! Don Johnson Jer 33.3

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Conceivability

It seems to me that a key question is simply whether death is conceivable in a perfect world. I understand death to be the great cosmic contradiction. To admit the introduction of death into the pre-Fall environment would seem to require either a change in our understanding of what "death" or "perfection" refers to; or adoption of the notion that pre-Fall creation was not perfect. Any of these three possible moves carries with it enormous theological implications.

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There's death and then there's DEATH!

Plants cease to exist (die) when they're eaten. I would suggest that the death of a plant and the death of a man are two different things. The pain, frustration, and corruption inferred from Romans 8:19-22 do not mean that plants lived forever before the fall. It seems to me that to insist that the plants Adam ate didn't die when they were digested is an essential to the doctrine of Creation and the Fall is neither Biblical nor wise. To equate the death of man as comparable to the death of animals or plants is to devalue the life that God imparted to man or to exalt the existence exhibited by flora and fauna.

The Romans passage cited earlier states that death came upon mankind as a result of Adam's sin and that that was the death that entered into the world.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan