Students filled the bottom of the Jeremiah Chapel in the Dixon Ministry Center as the time on the projected countdown clock slipped away. Students yelled to their friends, motioning them over to saved seats. Others literally skipped in. 5…4…3…2…1… The chapel erupted into applause as Ken Ham and Bill Nye appeared on the screens.
All over the nation, thousands of people watched via live stream and in person at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., to hear Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate whether creationism is a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era. Cedarville hosted a live stream viewing of the debate.
After the duo’s opening statements, it was clear whom the Cedarville audience was cheering for. Students cheered and clapped loudly for Ham, while Nye received a much more subdued, polite clapping. The reactions to the opening statements clearly indicated that the majority at Cedarville was rooting for Ham, who pointed to the Bible to answer questions.
Nye was asked where the atom that created the Big Bang came into existence. He said he didn’t know and that is what people are trying to figure out. Ham said he knew where matter came from.
“Bill, I just wanted to let you know that there actually is a book out there that actually tells us where matter came from,” Ham said. “And the very first sentence in that book says, ‘In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.’ And really, that’s the only thing that makes sense.”
Nye repeatedly said he did not feel that Ham’s Biblical responses were a viable option. He brought up the flood several times throughout the debate as an illogical belief held by Creationists.
“Mr. Ham and his followers have this remarkable view of a worldwide flood that somehow influenced everything that we observed in nature,” Nye said. “It’s very reasonable, perhaps to you, that Noah had superpowers and was able to build this extraordinary craft with seven family members, but to me it’s just not reasonable.”
“He had God!” yelled a male in the Cedarville audience.
The chapel erupted into applause in response to the interjection.
Although most of the Cedarville audience was rooting for Ham, Tom Rice, assistant professor of geology at Cedarville, said he doesn’t think that there was a clear winner or loser because, although the presentation was good, it really wasn’t a debate.
“Did anything happen tonight that I didn’t expect?” Rice said. “No, it went exactly according to what I thought would occur. They both made their points according to their own worldview.”
John Whitmore, professor of geology at Cedarville, said that he thought it seemed like Ham and Nye were talking past each other rather than answering each other’s questions. However, he said the debate succeeded in different ways.
“The debate was valuable because it gave us a window into seeing how these guys think,” he said. “And what they think about us.”
Crystal Goodremote is a senior journalism major and reporter for Cedars. She would rather be right in the middle of the action, creating news, than stuck at home reading about it.
Watch the video to hear the rest of the remarks from Ken Ham and Bill Nye: