Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham, and Christianity's misunderstood relationship with science

Thanks to so-called literalists like Ham, much of the secular world thinks there are irreconcilable differences between Christianity and science. There aren't.

Nye, Ham
(Image credit: ( Ham))

Tonight, Bill Nye of PBS' Bill Nye the Science Guy fame will debate arch-creationist Ken Ham as to whether creationism is a viable model for understanding the origins of life on earth. Nye will argue for evolution and a secular scientific understanding of the origins of life, while Ham will undoubtedly promote marginal and cagey scientific 'data' in order to further his Young Earth creationist theory.

The debate is a powerful representation of what many seem to perceive to be true about Christianity and science: That the two appear at odds in culture, with opposing goals and mutually exclusive interests. It is not only that they seem to have nothing to inform each other of, but that they're presented as opponents vying for a place in the lives of the public that can only be occupied by one or the other. This is perhaps the reason that some secular publications have bemoaned the fact that the debate is even taking place; as Hermant Mehta points out with reference to notorious atheist Richard Dawkins, debates like these seem a poor choice for the secular community as they suggest that there is even a debate on the truthfulness of evolution.

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Elizabeth Stoker writes about Christianity, ethics, and policy for Salon, The Atlantic, and The Week. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, a Marshall Scholar, and a current Cambridge University divinity student. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys working in the garden and catching up on news of the temporal world.