Review: Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham DVD Set

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I know I am a bit late to the party on this one. In 2014, Ken Ham and Bill Nye debated about Creationism and Evolution, the age of the Earth, and so on. This was a highly anticipated debate for both Christians and non-Christians. When it happened I could not care less. I had not done any research on the subjects and did not find the debate topic appealing. Heck, I did not even know the purpose of the debate.
A year later I have been doing a lot of Apologetics research and now this subject does indeed interest me. I finally decided to watch the debate. I ordered the Debate The Critics set on the Answers In Genesis website which included a four DVD set of the debate along with two books. I have yet to read the books (one of which is a 400 page one that is a follow up to the debate) so I will review these later. For now, just the debate.
I am going to remain as neutral as possible on this. I have my own personal thoughts based off of the Bible and such. Reading the stuff I have written will show what I think. Maybe you don’t know about this debate so let me summarize it. It is a two and a half hour debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. Bill Nye is a self-professed atheist who believes in evolution and the world being billions of years old. Ken Ham is the CEO of Answers In Genesis, a Christian Apologetics ministry, and founder of the Creation Museum in Kentucky. They agreed to a debate, located at the Creation Museum, to occur on February 4th 2014.
 
The format for the debate is actually pretty unique in my opinion. Tom Foreman of CNN mediated the debate and did a solid job. Both Nye and Ham were allowed a five minute opening statement each. This was followed by a thirty minute presentation by each debater. They each showed why they believe what they believe.
Nye is clearly a public speaker and presented his case concisely and clearly. Ken Ham did equally as well, though he seemed a bit nervous at first, but he got past it pretty quickly. After this they each were allowed a five minute rebuttal and then another five minute counter rebuttal. Once again, both did a solid job. They presented their cases based on their beliefs despite all of their points coming from the same place, Earth.

1

 
All of the debate up to this point was standard and respectful. Nye explained why he thought evolution was correct along with why he thought the age of the Earth was billions of years old. Nye threw a few stories in which tied into what he was talking about and this is where he had the edge over Ham in my opinion.
I will point out that Nye kept saying how the young earth idea is Ken Ham’s and not shared by everyone let alone all Christians. I did find it a bit amusing that Nye attempted to tell a few jokes and no one laughed. That made me chuckle.
One glaring omission by Bill Nye was when he said there is a tree that is 9,500+ years old. He presented this and failed to mention how it was a Clonal tree. This is unlike a normal tree where you can count the rings and have its age. The oldest individual tree is 5,064 years old. Ages for clonal colonies, often based on current growth rates, are simply estimates.

2

Ken Ham explained his thoughts on why the Earth is young and why God created us. His presentation was more information packed over Nye’s. However, Ham did veer off course a few times by talking about the Gospel. I am glad he did present the Gospel, but it could have been integrated better.
I was waiting for Ham to use a Bible verse out of context and he never did. This is a good thing as I have seen a previous presentation on his part where he used a Bible verse out of context and it bugged me. Nevertheless, I was impressed by Ham and also by Nye up until this point.
I say up until this point because next up was both debaters taking questions from the audience. Each debater was given a question and two minutes to answer. Then the other debater could counter point for a minute. At this point was where the gloves came off a bit and you could see who was prepared and who was not. Bill Nye had a lot of “I don’t know” answers. I was thrilled when he was explaining how he loves discovery. I could tell that Nye really does enjoy learning new things. That was the Bill Nye I enjoyed watching as a kid.

3

 
Up until this point of the debate, I had found both sides to be equally matched. They both had done a good job and presented their points to the best of their abilities. However, Ken Ham easily won the final set of questions from the audience. He had an answer for everything and never came out with “I don’t know.” With each question he had a Biblical answer and actually presented the Gospel in a better manner this time as it felt more appropriate.
Overall the debate was solid. Not amazing and not bad at all. I know some expected more and maybe the pre-debate hype was to blame for that. I did not have expectations besides hearing how Bill Nye won. Honestly I could have counterpointed a lot of things Bill Nye said with the Bible myself. He never threw a curve ball that Ken Ham did not have an answer for.
If I had to pick a winner then it would be Ken Ham. Simply based off the final set of questions from the audience. I am glad to see this debate happen as I believe it will have Christians reevaluate what was taught to us in school.

4

Now for the DVD set. It is four DVDs, yet that makes it sound longer than it really is. The first three DVDs are just the debate but split up. DVD one and two was everything up until the audience questions. DVD three consist of the audience questions for the debaters and also bonus features. The bonus features are just a bunch of advertisements for Answers In Genesis, so nothing special there.
The fourth DVD is awesome and necessary. It is a follow up with Ken Ham and another scientist to the debate. They cover a lot of the stuff that Ken could not in the time he had and looked at some of what people said about the debate. It is a must watch.
My main gripe with the DVD set is that it is not good video quality. To me it seems like something in between VHS and DVD. This was disappointing as you can see all of these things on YouTube in 1080p.

 
Would I recommend the DVD set? Depends on whether you prefer physical media or not. I do prefer physical media over streaming or downloading. I of course encourage you to watch the debate before buying the set.

What do you think of the debate? Was there a clear winner?

Positives

+ Good format for the debate. + Both Bill Nye and Ken Ham did a good job. + Tom Foreman did a solid job mediating the debate.

Negatives

- DVD set video quality was lackluster.

The Bottom Line

A DVD set to own if you enjoyed the evolution vs. creation debate itself.

 

8

Wesley Wood

Wesley Wood is an aspiring film director. He would love to make GOOD films to help spread God's word and help Christians grow.

3 Comments

  1. Eddie on February 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I watched the live stream of the debate when it originally aired and enjoyed it a lot overall. I’m glad you mentioned Mr. Nye’s appeal to emotion when he talked about the joy of discovery. I just thought it was so interesting because he needed that to distract from his lack of a logical response to Ken Ham’s point about everything being pointless if the universe is truly meaningless and there’s no life after death.

    • Wesley Wood on February 16, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      I think a 3 part debate would of cleared up who really knew what they were talking about. From reading Ken Ham’s books and articles, I know he could go on forever.

      • Eddie on February 17, 2015 at 2:27 pm

        Yeah! Something to think about.

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