Showcasing the importance of debate

On February 10, 2014

What social media named “The Debate of the Decade,” the Feb. 4 meeting between science educator Bill Nye and creationist Ken Ham was among the top trending topics on Facebook for days.

It is estimated 3.5 million people watched the debate live in addition to those who have watched it since.

Despite the insane amount of publicity the debate received, many thought the event shouldn’t have taken place.

The Huffington Post ran an article the morning before the debate stating it was a bad idea for both sides of the argument.

Many atheistic organizations pleaded with Nye, stating if he followed through with the debate it would credit the idea of creationism as a legitimate argument.

While many assert the debate only further divided subscribers to both mindsets, the overall effects of it are ultimately beneficial to both science and education.

While the topic of debate was “Is creation a viable model of origins,” much more could be learned from the meeting of the two men.

Both Ham and Nye are educators who enjoy simplifying complex topics so even children can understand.

After the lectures and questions from the audience it is very unlikely anyone watching had a change in opinion on the subject.

The debate did, however, allow the views of both sides to be presented without the veil of exasperation that usually accompanies such debates among private individuals.

Neither man expected to change the view of the other.

In earlier interviews, Nye stated his goal was to show the scientific community that people who challenge widely accepted views of science still exist on school boards around the country.

Ham wanted to show the world that creationism is still a valid theory and it does not interfere with the progress of science.

Both men arguably succeeded.

While there is very little chance that someone who holds an extreme view on either side of the topic had a change of heart, the debate educated everyone in some way.

Ken Ham showed creationism is a valid explanation to many people and showed the scientific reasoning behind the argument.

Bill Nye showed the challenges creationism faces when incorporated with scientific knowledge of the modern era.

While the debate had no clear winner it hosted a future advantageous to all that watched it.
The best feature of the debate was the civility between the two opponents.

Most public debates with such a large viewing base are very political.

For example, take the 2012 presidential debates. Obama and Romney interrupted each other throughout, usually with a scowl of animosity to match the mood.

This debate was very different.

Each man showed a deep respect for the other, even before and after the debate.

On the pre-debate interview conducted by ABC, both men were laughing and joking around.

The debate taught us not of creationism or evolution, but that two people can get along even when arguing opposite viewpoints.

 

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