Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ham Wins

Ken Ham
Jerry Coyne, a professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, argues at The New Republic that popular scientist Bill Nye's decision to debate creationist Ken Ham has brought in so much money for the creationist that a once dormant project to build a life-sized replica of Noah's Ark has been revived.  Here is a taste:

The Ark Park had been in financial trouble because people weren’t buying its bonds, but if Ham isn’t lying—and one has to worry about that given his creationist mission—the debate got the needed interest to revive the park. As the Guardian reports:

Creation Museum founder Ken Ham announced Thursday that a municipal bond offering has raised enough money to begin construction on the Ark Encounter project, estimated to cost about $73m. Groundbreaking is planned for May and the ark is expected to be finished by the summer of 2016.
Ham said a high-profile evolution debate he had with “Science Guy” Bill Nye on 4 February helped boost support for the project.
And Nye’s reponse:
Nye said he was “heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky” after learning that the project would move forward. He said the ark would eventually draw more attention to the beliefs of Ham’s ministry, which preaches that the Bible’s creation story is a true account, and as a result, “voters and taxpayers in Kentucky will eventually see that this is not in their best interest.”
Well, he’s heartbroken and sickened because of his own actions. By agreeing to show up and debate Ham—something I suspect Nye did (at least in part) to keep himself in the media spotlight—he’s allowed Ham to further his project. The result, even if you think Nye gained a transitory victory in the debate, is that Ham will build yet another popular tourist attraction, one designed to promulgate lies to kids. Nye, of course, devoted his career as The Science Guy to precisely the opposite: teaching and exciting kids about science. In other words, Nye scuppered himself.
This is why evolutionists should not debate creationists. It looks good on Ham’s c.v.; not so good on Nye’s.  And now it looks great on Ham’s balance sheet as well. 
Nye lost—big time.