Science, As a Christian – My Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate

Just watched the Bill Nye and Ken Ham Debate. It got me thinking about my belief and why some people find it hard to imagine how I can reconcile both.

I’m a Christian and a scientist. But I really have to side on Bill Nye on this one because I AM a Christian and a scientist.

I believe, as a scientist, if you go into science with unshakable, preconceived notions of what is and what should be (creationism), when you insist that only one theory, one thesis is correct, then you’re not being a good scientist.

Why? When your you hold on to dogma, inevitably, your observation and interpretation of data become skewed.  And every study or technology dependent on that becomes flawed or inaccurate.

It’s like insisting a car on square wheels to run just because you’ve seen square shaped boulders roll down a hill. Yes, square shaped boulders can roll down a hill, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best shape to use when making a wheel.

And watching Ken Ham, it felt like he was justifying putting square wheels on a car when everyone can see that round ones are a better fit.

kid wheels, sidewalk
kid wheels, sidewalk (Photo credit: dalioPhoto)

And as a Christian, it goes against one of our main virtues: humility. Even with the Bible, we cannot assume to know exactly what’s God’s plan is and how he created the universe. He leaves clues and we follow the clues. We can’t just insist that just because it’s in the Bible it’s fact.

And just because it says there that the world was created in 7 days doesn’t mean we should take it literally…that the world is created in 7 days. For all we know, it was in Mercury days (58 Earth days) or a Saturn day (10 hours, 11 minutes).

And how do we know how God defines one day? As Christians, we can’t assume to know what God knows. And that’s the reason why we can’t take everything from the Bible as fact because we can’t assume what God was thinking and what those men who wrote the Bible long ago were thinking. When we make assumptions of knowing, insisting that what we know of God to be true, then we’re committing the sin of pride.

The Bible may be the Word of God but we have to remember that it’s written by men. Flawed, imperfect men with their own beliefs, biases, prejudices and agenda. We know that and we recognize that. Isn’t that the reason why we now eat shellfish and have blood transfusions? Why we abolished slavery? These things are all in the Bible but we recognize that fact that these things are products of a different era. A time when humanity didn’t understand how sharing blood could save lives or how a person with a different skin color is just as human as everyone else. We accept these as significant parts of the Bible that gives perspective to the stories, morals and parables in it’s pages but we don’t accept them as law because we KNOW they’re wrong.

All we can do is follow the clues, follow the clues.

Blue's Clues
Blue’s Clues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what about the inconsistencies on research into evolution?

All studies have inconsistencies and outliers and that’s one of the beauties of science. If these inconsistencies and outliers didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be challenged to discover more.

For example, if it weren’t for inconsistencies or outliers in drug trials, would we have considered the possibility of how genetics and the environment affected drug metabolism? Haven’t these “inconsistencies” made drug discovery safer and faster? Didn’t these “inconsistencies” in studies allow us to make more sense of the human genome and the subtle variations that exist.

Why Ham Lost

Ultimately, what I found flawed in Ham’s logic is that he insisted on a premise that didn’t allow for any change or compromise. He lost my vote on that one.

Another flaw that I found is his insistence on having creationism taught in schools. That it encourages students to think. He defends this by pointing out that he has scientists and studies that prove creationism to be true.

Yes, he does have some scientific data to back it up but it was wrong for him to insist that creationism should be the only theory taught in schools. If he wanted to be fair, students should be allowed to see studies supporting both evolution and creationism and have them debate the merits. Encourage the students to become scientists to find out which is true or maybe find a theory that wraps everything up in a tidy little bow.

Resolving My Faith and Science

I believe in evolution because that’s where most of the evidence that exists points to. And if there is evidence to the contrary, then I will embrace it. If evolution and creationism are religions, I could be accused as a fickle believer.

But these two are NOT religions. And as a scientist, I have to be objective enough to recognize fact. And as a Christian,  I have to be humble enough to accept that God’s creation is beyond my knowledge and even if I live forever and be a genius I cannot claim to understand His plans.

Does that affect my belief that God created the universe? No.

Does this mean that I believe the Bible is wrong? No. I believe the core message of the Bible is true and perfect. I just think the human hands employed to write the Bible are flawed, misunderstood, and it may have inserted some errors.

Overall, I think God uses science as a tool for us to appreciate the glory of his creation, not to exclude or persecute. And that regardless of whether the universe is young or old, humanity hasn’t existed long enough for us to understand and appreciate it.

All the complexities and inconsistencies that we see serve a purpose we do not understand but can only attempt to comprehend. After all, life’s much more fun if we have a few surprises.

Note to Ham: Next time, if you REALLY want a honest debate, please have it in a neutral setting; like in a Buddhist temple. Having Bill Nye defend his position in a room for a hard-core creationists was a low blow.

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5 Replies to “Science, As a Christian – My Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debate”

  1. Very, very well said Juls 🙂 I really couldn’t understand why people can’t reconcile evolution and believing there’s a Divine Creator. For all we know, God is a student scientist whose project is to make a universe from scratch, using evolution as a tool to create sentient beings 🙂

  2. We may not forget that one year spoken of in Genesis is like thousand years, as indicated in later books of the Holy Scriptures. Thus certainly not a literal year of 565 days for example.

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