Because NPR is radio, right? I didn't know they had a television.
Then everyone started tweeting and texting and Facebooking about it, which was the signal to me that THIS MATTERS, WE ALL HAVE TO TALK AND CARE ABOUT THIS.
Which is why I'm now posting something on my blog, because if I don't, I'll miss a cultural moment.
Here are some things I don't think. First, I don't think Ken Ham ruined Christianity for the rest of us. "The rest of us" are fully capable of ruining Christianity on our own... we do it all the time.
I also don't think the "science guy" saved science. He won by 92%, which is kind of like a recap of last Sunday's Superbowl win. A football game where only one team took the field. A debate, and only one person showed up.
Finally, I don't think any of us really know. In terms of the origins of everything we can touch and taste and smell, we have invested quite a bit of philosophical and religious and scientific inquiry into offering a report on how it all came to be. We all make our truth-claims based on those resources that convince us. Ken Ham clearly thinks the Bible (as he understands it) is the most accurate tool for understanding the world and how it came to be. In fact, the Bible (as he understands it) is the only tool he finally relies on.
Bill Nye on the other hand is a fan of science. Here comes science, y'all. It's cool and reliable and has the double advantage of producing string theory AND the iPhone 5s.
But a debate on NPR with Bill Nye and Ken Ham (and as an aside, do any of us want to talk about the Ham of the Bible, brother of Shem and Japheth, because I for one would love to hear a debate between Ham and his brothers on the nakedness of Noah! Genesis 9:18)?
The whole thing is a set-up. Ken Ham is the straw man to knock down, and he let himself be stuffed willingly, apparently, for his cause.
This is why, as a Christian who honestly believes that evolutionary theory and Christian faith don't need to debate because they are on the same team in the search for truth, I declare:
I am Ken Ham.
It would be far too easy for me to identify with Bill Nye the science guy. I'm an NPR listener, after all. I like science. I like rhymes. Siding with Bill Nye, well, that's easy for me.
And heck, all of us who are "liberal" or "progressive" or "Catholic" or "Eastern Orthodox" Christians already identify with the pro-science side of the line, and have this almost irrational fear of being identified with "fundamentalists" or "evangelicals" or "conservatives" or "Christians."
So, if I am going to be a Christian. If I am going to love my neighbor, be a fool for the sake of Jesus, portray my neighbor's actions in the best possible light, be merciful, be just, be kind... I have to say.
I am Ken Ham.
Ken is attempting, to the best of his ability, to reconcile his commitment to the way he understands truth (and truth proceeding from divine Scripture), with the world as he experiences it. This is not something to ridicule. This is something to love. In the end, he might be wrong. In the end, we can still be kind.
We can admit that we chase conjecture, and foolishness, and odd foundational notions, all the way to their very end in all kinds of ways. We are all Ken Ham.
We do not need to take sides. And if we do take sides, I'm clearly going to side with the guy who has a pet dinosaur. Because dinosaurs are awesome.
Addendum: A friend wrote, "Hey Clint, Good article, but there is a minor point that might need some fixing. The debate wasn't on NPR or sponsored by NPR. It was sponsored and set up by The Creation Museum and broadcast from there. Ken Ham set it up himself. He wasn't goaded into it, but was the initiator. He has done this type of debate at least a dozen times. This time it was with someone famous. Nye entered into hostile ground, so to speak, not Ham. The audience was loaded. The Creation Museum is in a serious cash flow problem, so this was part publicity."
Fair enough. So I add:
I am Bill Nye.