Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Debate Prep.

Those of us eagerly awaiting the Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debate on Creationism need to manage our expectations.

First off, it's a debate, not a dry reading of facts.  Ken Ham is much more studied expert of Creationism than Nye is an expert on Evolution.

Ham doesn't have to be right to win a debate.  I see this all the time getting into online flame wars with food hysterics. They concentrate much more on small or even anecdotal evidence rather than the big picture or scientific consensus.  This works in the activists favor in a debate because they will continually ask for immediate evidence that contradicts the study/anecdote they just cited.  The actual expert didn't prepare to rebut specific examples other than the most obvious, so to the audience, it would appear that the expert was stumped by the activist.  This is what is so hard about debating on social media.

Activism and debates are more about emotional appeals than they are about what is actually true.

All of this puts Bill Nye at a disadvantage.

For Bill Nye to win, he must have already anticipated every bit of evidence and anecdote brought forth by Ham, and be able to cite a source refuting it from memory.  If they have the benefit of visual aids, then Bill Nye would count on an assistant bringing these sources to the screen as he mentions them.

But in the end, Bill Nye is unlikely to convince anyone that believes in Creationism that they are wrong, just as Ken Ham is as unlikely to convince anyone who believes Evolution is true, that they are wrong.

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