Feb 25, 2014 | By George Gantz
Ken Ham v. Bill Nye – A Non-Creative Debate
On February 4, 2014, there was a televised debate between Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Ken Ham, President of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. While some interesting information was provided by the presenters, the quality of the debate was disappointing due to its focus on one of the weakest of tenets of Christian religious beliefs – that the world was literally created in seven days some few thousand years ago. On this point, creationism offers a very inadequate explanation – there is no confirmatory physical evidence and many contrary findings in natural science in fields as diverse as geology, biology, hydrology, genetics, anthropology and genetics.
Ken Ham’s response on these points is evasive and defensive – for example, nitpicking on the difference between “species” and “kinds” or on the variety of methods for dating geological materials that show different results. The only affirmative argument he is able to offer is the infallibility of the book of Genesis. This, unfortunately, provides Bill Nye with a perfect Straw Man, which he employs to good effect, while avoiding more challenging questions about the limits of scientific knowledge and the ideological nature of secularism.
Completely absent from the discussion is the perspective that I would call the religious center – the perspective that there is no conflict between science and religious belief (see the Recent Post). The teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg sit squarely in this center. According to Swedenborg, the first twelve chapters of Genesis are not a literal description of creation, but a spiritual one, and that description addresses both the creation of the universe and the journey each human makes from a merely natural to a spiritual life. Its importance, therefore, is not as a story about the natural world but as a story about the spiritual world and the spiritual life of each human; it offers knowledge about the universe and life which secular science simply cannot reach.
For some wonderful materials presenting Swedenborg’s teachings on the story of creation, you might be interests in:
Video from The Left Eye – “What Was Created in Seven Days?”
Book: Sermon from the Compost Pile, by Ed Sylvia
Educational program: Seven Practices of Peace, from the New Church.
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