It’s been recently announced that Bill Nye and Ken Ham will have a debate titled “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific world?“. Now, I’m usually all for debates where both sides present their views and evidence, but I’m not exactly thrilled about this one. Partly because I’m a little confused as to what this debate is; a scientific one or a theological one, but also because it’s putting forward a false choice.
If this is going to be a theological one, why put Bill Nye up against him? He’s not a theologian but then, neither is Ken Ham really. If it’s a scientific one, and the title of the debate suggests it’s supposed to be, then it could well be the most one sided and pointless debate in history. As one website succinctly puts it;
any modern-day public debate over the fundamental tenets of creationism is a sham, a mockery of real discourse. That’s because there is no scientific debate to be had over whether the earth is billions of years old, or whether life shows strong evidence of common descent, or whether a global flood occurred within the memory of modern man. These questions (particularly the first and third) were settled by the experts who are paid to study such matters long before any of the would-be “debaters” were even born. 
I suspect it will become a theological discussion at some point since Ken Ham takes his science from his interpretation of the Bible, and as neither of them are theologians, I don’t expect the level of that portion to be particularly high. I think this debate would be better served by Ken Ham debating someone like Denis Alexander, Francis Collins or Denis Lamoureux; Christians with a solid grounding in both the science and theology. Actually, it’ll be better served if Bill Nye debated any of the above.
My other issue is the way the title is phrased and who they’ve got debating it. The question “is creation a viable option in modern science?” coupled with a Christian young earth creationist and and atheist evolutionist debating very much suggests you have to choose between God and evolution. This is very much a false dichotomy as evolution is a mechanism and God is an agent, they are not competing explanations . Young earth creationism (YEC) and evolution are not compatible, but YEC is not the only view on what creation is and involves. A more accurate title would be “Is young earth creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific world?” but I doubt that would sell many tickets.
I may well be pre-judging Bill Nye here, I’m not overly familiar with this religious views and his views on the evolution/creation discussion. I am hoping for more Stephen Myer than Richard Dawkins but I do fear that this debate will result in a train wreck that ultimately helps no one but Ken Ham, and maybe some who think YEC is scientific. I guess some good can come of this after all.