Evolutionists, creationists meet to argue Earth's birth
Tuesday, Feb. 4, the theories of creationism and evolution went head-to-head at the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky.
Museum founder Ken Ham is a staunch and vocal believer in the theory that God created man, and subscribes to a biblically-inspired scientific approach. Bill Nye, a name familiar to many as "The Science Guy," supports the idea that the Earth is much older than creationists postulate, and that man is the product of evolution. The two met on Ham's home turf in a wildly-publicized debate.
"Snow ice forms over the winter. We find certain of these cylinders to have 680,000 layers, 680,000 snow winter/summer cycles," Nye said. "How could it be that just 4,000 years ago, all of this ice formed?"
Nye's point focused on a fundamental difference in the two theories: creationists believe the Earth is roughly 6,000 years old, while subscribers to the theory of evolution find Earth's age to be closer to 4.5 billion.
Ham believes in a literal interpretation of the Earth's creation as given in the Book of Genesis and as mentioned in the rest of the Bible. He said he believes this idea is foundational to science and should be taught as such.
"From Adam to Abraham, you've got 2,000 years," Ham said. "From Abraham to Christ: 2,000 years. From Christ to the present: 2,000 years. That's how we reach 6,000 years."
Nye said while billions are religious, and religion enriches life on Earth, many of those believers do not literally interpret creation stories, nor do they believe the Earth is 6,000 years old or that Noah and his arc carried all life on earth throughout the great flood, as Ham believes.
"Creation is the only viable model of historical science confirmed by observational science in today's modern era," Ham said, "I want children to be taught the right foundation. That there is a God that loves them, that created them."
Miami University evolutionary biology professor Richard Moore said he uses various teaching approaches to explore the compatibility between religion and science.
According to Moore, though many scientists have personal religious beliefs and may hold stock in a sort of divine creation, they do not have an issue with the theory of evolution.
"Ham argues that one must accept every word in the Bible and if you don't accept one thing, you don't accept it at all," Moore said. "The creationist approach believes answers are already there in God's words, but the method of science seeks natural explanations."
Moore said he believes Ham's theory lacks appropriate foundation, as the Bible was conceived 2,000 years ago, before countless advances in modern science.
Father Jeff Silver of Oxford's St. Mary Catholic Church said he believes religion works to reconcile the differences presented by Ham and Nye, though he said he did not watch much of the debate.
"The Catholic biblical fundamentals of Genesis are more than scientific truth," Silver said. "Science works with facts while the church believes in faith."
"As definitions change, we continue to struggle with aspects of science and church," Silver said. "Science favors older earth than those who are fundamentalists."
Miami psychology professor Paul Flaspohler said the ideas presented by creationists and evolutionists may have appeal to their followers, but that science wills out when students are investigating concepts.
"I try not to take a stance in my class about science versus religion or faith other than to make students aware that science provides a superior method for asking and answering questions about the natural world," Flaspohler said.
Flaspohler said science, unlike religious doctrine, protects against errors in knowing though a rigorous revision process.
"I don't think religion should be taught as science, it's hard for everyone to believe in a certain faith," sophomore Allison Van Horn said.
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