The highly anticipated debate between Ken Ham, founder and president of Answers in Genesis, and Bill Nye, the “Science Guy,” took place Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., with an audience of 900 and hundreds of thousands more watching worldwide. The debate was broadcast live on campus in a filled-to-capacity Stratton Hall with a Twitter feed shown on an accompanying screen. Faculty members Dr. Dan Olinger, Dr. Ted Miller, Dr. Bill Lovegrove and Dr. David Boyd, as well as many students, participated in the Twitter discussion.
The Twitter feed allowed both students and faculty to comment on the debate in real time by using the hashtag #BJUCreation.
“Evolution takes faith just as much as believing in creation takes faith,” tweeted Hannah Rogers, a senior communication major.
Many students commended Ken Ham’s singular focus on the Gospel throughout the debate, such as Kristie Skaggs, a senior biblical counseling major, who praised Ham’s “unashamed testimony in front of hundreds of thousands of unbelievers.”
Dr. Dan Olinger noted the unique nature of the debate, tweeting that “there may be more people hearing the gospel right now than at any other moment in history.” A full list of the #BJUCreation tweets can be found online via BJU’s Twitter account: @bjuedu.
Anticipation for the event had been steadily building ever since the debate was first announced in January, and the thought-provoking debate didn’t disappoint. Ham focused on the Gospel as he defended creationism, not only explaining the creationist worldview but also tying it to the truths of man’s sin condition and need for salvation. “Creation is the only viable model of historical science confirmed by observational science in today’s modern scientific era,” Ham said.
In contrast to Ham’s unquestioning defense of creation, Nye deferred to science, which he defined as knowledge that is subject to testing. He based most of his arguments on the fossil record, ice cores taken from Greenland and tree rings. He argued that a belief in creationism was antithetical to science and would result in a lack of innovation in the future. “If we continue to eschew science, we are not going to move forward. We will not invent and innovate and stay ahead,” Nye said.
University students’ reaction to the debate was overwhelmingly positive. “Watching the debate definitely strengthened my own belief in my Creator God and His grace shown toward me,” sophomore biology major Ajay Solomon said.
“I didn’t realize how much the Bible connects with science,” said Bernard Fowlkes, a junior business administration major. “Ken Ham really showed that we have to depend on God in order to use science correctly.”