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Emily Popek

February 15, 2014

Creation debate brought back memories

If I were still 16 years old, you better believe I would have tuned in to the recent debate between Bill “The Science Guy” Nye and creationist Ken Ham.

As a high school student, I remember being positively astounded to learn that, not only did my biology teacher not believe in evolution, most of my classmates shared his view.

It was a wake-up call for me, revealing my own naivete; up until that moment, I had never considered that evolution was up for debate. To me, it was as if a room full of people had said they weren’t so sure they believed in gravity.

To assuage his discomfort with teaching evolution, my teacher proposed that, rather than studying the section in our textbook devoted to the subject, we would instead stage an in-class debate, so that both sides of the argument could be heard.

I was the lone volunteer for the “evolution” team. And I was certain, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I would win the debate.

But what I learned in that classroom is the same lesson that’s been repeated after Nye and Ham took the stage at Kentucky’s Creation Museum last week. It was a painful lesson for me, but one I’m sure both Nye and Ham already realized.

The fact is, any debate on this issue is inherently nonsensical, because it boils down to one person saying, “I believe what the Bible says” and the other person saying “I don’t.” You can dress the debate up all you want, but at the end of the day, that fundamental inability to establish a common frame of reference means that true debate is actually meaningless.

Ham and Nye were considerably more eloquent in their presentations than my sophomore classmates and I were. (And there was a lot less shouting.)

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