I have been reading articles and posts lately about the recent ‘debate’ between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Young Earth Creationist Ken Ham. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, just google “Bill Nye Ken Ham” and you’ll get a long list of articles and posts to choose from, all with a slightly different spin on the event. (The full debate video is available here.) Yes, I sat through all two-and-a-half-hours of it.
Many in the science crowd question whether giving open air space to the absurd and ignorant assumption that the earth is only 6000 years old could be counterproductive, meaning should science even give any credence to it whatsoever, especially via a public forum debate?
The young earth creationist argument presented by Ham is of course absolutely annihilated by Nye’s organized reserves of evidence-based facts. Long story short, Ham’s only evidence for his young earth is, “because the bible says so” and specifically, its first book, Genesis. The origin of the universe is all explained there and that’s all one needs, apparently. Fun little facts like, oh, I don’t know, dinosaur bones, layers upon layers of sedimentary rock, radiocarbon dating, the ineptitude of the builders of Noah’s Ark who still somehow constructed a ship that could withstand a horrendous flood with so many animals on board, the fact that there are trees alive today older than Ham’s earth, to name a mere few – are put before Ham but he is not having any of it. 
In a post I read at the Richard Dawkins Foundation blog, authors Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay claim that regardless of who won the debate, and of course Nye did by a landslide of evidence, but regardless of that, the most telling statements came from the duo when asked what it would take for either of them to change his mind. Nye said that any piece of evidence could get him to change his mind. Ham said that nothing would ever make him change his mind. Nothing.
Boghossian and Lindsay write:
Beyond creationism or evolution, a vital lesson from this debate should be understanding the consequences of not being able, or not being willing, to change one’s mind in the face of evidence. Ham and others, whether creationists or global warming deniers, hold the beliefs they do precisely because they refuse to revise their beliefs when presented with new data. What was on stage that night was a tragic display of willful ignorance. […] The way forward is to help people recognize the virtue of being willing to change their beliefs when presented with new evidence. Without that willingness, discussion is impossible, and all we have are “debates” that entrench the beliefs of those already committed to one side of the issue. The critical component, then, to taking someone’s view seriously is their sincere articulation of what it would take to change their belief.
At Sleuth4Health, my takeaway is that there are many parallels between this debate and the one concerning what the public believes about GMOs. Beliefs are tough nuts to crack, and even if crushed by evidence, they still persist. It seems to be the rare person who can consider evidence and change views accordingly.
Truth be known, I changed my own beliefs about God many years prior and it was only recently I finally admitted, out loud, to no one but myself, that I am an atheist. This took 25 years from the time I first questioned my beliefs! And by no means is it easy to maintain this evidence-based knowledge without constant reinforcement. The whole God thing gets caught in my cross hairs often and doesn’t shake off easily.
So changing my beliefs about GMOs was a cakewalk by comparison, but I am convinced that had the monumental shift in my spiritual beliefs not preceded my examination of evidence regarding GMOs, the conversion to pro-science would never have happened. Now, taking a step back and looking at all of it, I realize that the two go hand in hand. If you’re really pro-science, you have to entertain thoughts of atheism just as you have to accept that GMOs have their purpose. You can’t not. The evidence says so.
I was recently involved in a comment thread regarding regulation in the organic food industry. Because I underscored a few comments made by someone else about the gray area in organic regulation, a commenter flung a “god damn you” at me personally because I dared say something in opposition to the organic food industry. He went on to tell me that I don’t care about health at all and that all I do care about is getting paid by biotech. So funny, as I have never been paid even one dime from biotech but this shill accusation, which I’ve encountered numerous times elsewhere, persists because, oh I don’t know, there is no better argument maybe? They’ve taken their best shot and it missed and sputtered into the bushes. Yet it’s what they believe, that the only type of people who would speak in favor of the use of GMOs are people getting paid to do it.
Try to change the anti-GMO crowd’s beliefs. Show them reams of evidence. Usher them to the information that will teach them.
Show creationists the radiocarbon dating of a dinosaur fossil or a tree that has more than 6000 rings.
For most ‘believers’, it still won’t work.
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 It should be noted that long time television evangelical host of the 700 Club, Pat Robertson, spoke out strongly against the ‘young earth’ position of creation science. So, now there is infighting amongst the Christian ranks over this. Ken Ham then made this statement on his facebook page:
This is really sad. I wonder why Pat Robertson spoke about evolution and the age of the earth on the 700 club yesterday? I wonder if the debate on Tuesday had anything to do with this!
Pat Robertson is so misinformed and deceived. Sad that so many will believe him (who is neither a scientist, nor a Bible scholar rather than open their Bibles and see that evolution and millions of years are totally incompatible with the first 11 chapters of Genesis and rather than think for themselves and check out creationist web sites like Answers in Genesis.