The much anticipated creation vs. evolution debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye finally took place and it did what I expected it to do: it gave internet trolls on both sides the chance to yell at each other about how right their particular view is. The hashtag, #creationdebate was even trending on Twitter last night, and I made the mistake of looking at it. Of course you had both sides claiming absolute victory. On top of that you had some calling Mr. Ham, “Sham”, and the memes were flying left and right. In other words, nobody had their mind changed or their beliefs challenged. Like a spoiled 6-year-old brat, the internet populace stuck their collective fingers in their ears and screamed at each other.
I love knowledge. I love science. Science enables me to enter information via the keys of my trusty laptop, and ‘click’ my opinions, musings, and observations are shared for millions of world-wide-webbers to see (or the couple of dozen that will actually read this). Science allows me to watch live sports from halfway around the globe. Science gets my car from point A to point B every day. But this debate was not about science. Oh sure, it talked like science and walked like science and even dressed up like science, but it definitely was not science. In fact, creation vs. evolution debates are seldom about science and almost always about worldview.
Where we come from matters. If I am a cosmic accident formed by chance and subject to the unfeeling, unyielding laws of nature, then you can expect me to act accordingly. My impulses and felt needs become my driving force, because to deny them would be to deny who I am. Morality becomes a human byproduct that is just as capricious as the weather, in fact, it can’t be trusted beyond human experience at all. In other words, what’s right for me, may not be right for you.
But, if I am created by a higher power with purpose and dignity in mind, and if that power made me in His image so that I may reflect that image into all of creation, then I will, again, live my life accordingly. My life has a purpose (to reflect God’s glory), my life, and every other human life as well, has dignity and value. Natural impulse is no longer the singular driving force in my life, but a God-given sense of right and wrong helps to govern my actions. There are certain moral absolutes that apply to every person, everywhere, every time.
So the debate last night was an important one. But both sides swung, and missed. To be fair, the topic was far too broad and far too vast for any two mortals to cover it adequately. When discussing origins and evolutionary theory there are more models than two men can represent. There are theories like Young-Earth Creationism, Gap-theory, Day-Age Theory, Theistic Evolution, Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism, and a plethora of other theories that abandon much of Darwin’s original thoughts but still embrace natural selection and evolution over the eons. Add to this the fact that all sides of the discussion use the same evidence but interpret it according to their worldview, and you end up with a worldview debate disguised as science. So we can’t blame these two gentlemen for being lackluster.
But there is something that we can do. We can stop shouting down those who disagree with us. Why we are here is tied to how we got here, and that’s a discussion worth having. Not every Christian wants to live in the dark ages and not every evolutionist is a Bible-burning communist. I believe it’s possible to have a civilized discussion, and I was hoping last night’s debate would be a step in that direction. So, step away from the discussion boards where the trolls live and thrive, and sit down across from a person and talk about the really important things, like God, creation, and purpose. You may just find that missing something in your life.