A few days ago there was the Creation Debate where Bill Nye stepped up and accepted a debate with Ken Ham, who runs the Creation Museum in Kentucky. As an Atheist who grew up Catholic, I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to Bill Nye.
Many people in the scientific community have had a policy of not engaging people in debates about various religious topics because this somehow ‘elevates’ these topics and gives them validity. I couldn’t be more opposed to this line of thinking. To me, what gives something validity is when people believe in it. Now, that doesn’t mean if you think something it makes it true. However, if someone believes creationism is how the Earth and Universe came to be in their mind, to them, it is valid.
It would be nice if more people used the scientific method before believing in something. I think the world would, if nothing else, be a more open place if people strived to gain knowledge on subjects instead of just being told what they should think and parrot those responses back. For example, if you were taught creationism and then looked at the world and all the facts available, but they resulted in you thinking that the Earth was created a few thousand years ago and believing evolution isn’t real – at least you did some due diligence to flesh out what you believe, even if I don’t agree with you.
Those type of things aren’t going to happen if the people who oppose you will never even talk to you about what both you and they believe in. If scientists won’t even allow someone’s idea to be ‘elevated’ by an open discussion, then why would anyone who believes in creationism ever want to learn more? Science is about thinking, about experimentation, about debate, and failure and finding answers. I certainly don’t think science should be exclusionary. If you want to do a study to prove creationism and you follow proper procedure, good for you. If nothing else, the scientific community should look over what you present and have an open mind.
And that’s exactly what Bill Nye did the other night. He had an open mind. Now we all know his stance on creationism, it’s well publicized but at least he showed up and said if their was evidence to contradict his beliefs, then he would change his beliefs. That’s how science is supposed to work. If you can create a repeatable experiment that proves something, people should take notice. No matter what that something is, you shouldn’t be shunned just because right now we think that particular theory is wrong.
Now, I’m pretty sure that you can’t come up with an experiment to prove creationism but maybe someday it will happen. If it happens in my lifetime, I’m willing to change what I believe in because I have already taken the information available to me and changed my beliefs once before. I changed because I had questions, so I went out and looked for the information. It would have happened sooner in my life if someone presented me with the information in the first place.
That’s what Bill Nye did; he said he would talk about what he believed and present it to the masses and allow the opposing viewpoint to have their turn to speak. Sure, some people won’t believe him, some will laugh at him, some may even think he will rot in hell for all eternity, but I would bet that at least a few people will be curious enough to do a little research on their own after this debate. That’s how life should work. Somebody presents an interesting argument and you do your own investigation, you think for yourself and you decide who and what to believe. Even if it’s not what I believe, at least you kept an open mind.
So thank you, Bill Nye. You eloquently explained what I believed and respected someone else’s viewpoint enough to allow them their time to speak on the matter as well. That’s how people learn to live together, even if they don’t have the same beliefs. People will always differ on things. With billions of human beings on this planet, it’s impossible for everyone to agree, but if you never allow people a chance to explain what they think and why they think it, it will only lead to resentment and hatred.
My mind didn’t change because of the event, but I bet there were many who will dig a little deeper now and that is going to make the world a better place. Again, thank you Bill Nye, for just allowing people to think differently than you or I do. There is no greater feeling in the world than to be given the respect of being heard.