In not so many hours a debate that has been dubbed “Scopes 2” will begin at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It airs at 7pm EST and will be broadcast via live feed at www.debatelive.org .
The Social Blogisphere and the Twitterverse are a buzz with many conflicting views and the usual outspoken fundamentalist atheist hoards that dominate the internetz seem in general a little ticked that Bill Nye would even do this debate. This was perhaps voiced best by a staunch evolutionary scientist Dr. Jerry Coyne who stated in an article on his blog, Why Evolution is True, “If Nye wants to further acceptance of evolution, he should just continue to write and talk about the issue on his own, and not debate creationists. By so doing, he gives them credibility simply by appearing beside them on the platform.”
The statements are of course meant as a backhanded ad hominem attack against those scientists who happen to concluded that our studies in every area of science more consistently align with an intelligent designer than with anything else. This combined with the whole philosophy behind the New Atheism* that Bill Nye appears to subscribe to, which has publicly stated that parents or teachers that teach creationism are abusing their kids has essentially stirred this debate in the first place.
Infact this debate likely came to fruition because of Bill Nye’s contribution to the New Atheisms recent YouTube atheistic evolutionary evangelism series big think. Nye’s video was simply titled, “Bill Nye: Creationism is Not Appropriate For Children”
This video led to a response by Ken Ham personally in a video filmed in the same style as Nye’s, released on YouTube and Titled, “Ken Ham Responds to Bill Nye ‘The Humanist Guy'”
So the debate should be an interesting one and perhaps the most viewed in history or in a long time on the subject.
My question is this…. what has happened to science that has caused this to be such a controversy? Science is meant to examine and follow the evidence wherever it may lead and thus good debate is extremely healthy for science. It seems that the opposing view to this type of discussion or debate simply do not want the controversial evolutionary science put to scrutiny. This is because it goes way beyond science to ideology and what has been labelled scientism.
Scientism in its simplest definition is the belief that only methods of naturalistic science are the most authoritative worldview to the exclusion of all others. And when dogmatically applied it seeks to destroy potential threats to its existence. This has led to an elitist attitude in mainstream science that serves as a type of inquisition to extinguish the reputation of scientists who have a more “open” view. Thus denial of tenure, lawsuits, public maligning, blocking of papers in peer reviewed journals become the battle of vocal scientist that lean towards creation or intelligent design. Ben Steins docudrama “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” started a growing list of examples of this that has been ramping up in publications and videos since. The New Atheism movement led by the Four Horsemen as they have called themselves (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Dennett) has unfortunately helped to push scientism into the rediculous and thus weaken actual science with an anti-God prime directive.
To conclude then, this debate could be a very good thing for science, atleast that is my hope. But it could also turn into a dig-up-the-crap fest that plays out online with endless video rebuttles and snappy Twitter posts….. let me revise that … I believe it will turn into a mess like this without a doubt in the blogosphere where us armchair scientists come out to play and the more vehement opposers try to slaughter.
Let the games begin!
*New Atheism as per Wikipedia: New Atheism is a social and political movement in favour of atheism and secularism promoted by a collection of modern atheist writers who have advocated the view that “religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises.”