I side with Dawkins who takes the position that a respected man of science debating a religionist on creationism vs. evolution is an exercise in the absurd, unworthy of such a man’s position and credibility. In suckering Bill Nye into this sham of a debate Ken Ham wasn’t after promoting reason or winning a debate, he was after publicity - the marketing of his nutty Creation Museum in KY which is in desperate financial straights; drawing in more mindless fundamentalists to support him and contribute money; and using the fame and name recognition of a renowned proponent of science for that very purpose.
- Were any minds of the faithful changed? Who knows? At best it’s doubtful.
- Did any of the Texas School Board Creationists toss in the towel, or did any parentteacher groups whose kids already have Creationism taught in their public schools say ”Jeepers, maybe we’re wrong?” Unlikely.
- Have you ever met a single fundamentalist whose journey to reason was founded on, or even pushed over the edge, by listening to a debate between one of his respected Christian defenders of the faith / standard bearer and a Godless purveyor of science "seeking to undermine the faith and destroy God"? I’ve never met one.
In that respect I say Ken Ham won … he got exactly what he wanted.
Does that mean the debate shouldn’t have happened? Not necessarily. But like Dawkins says, any 2nd yr. biology grad student with the ability to speak effectively could have handled the challenge with aplomb. In fact, I’d proffer he’d have made even a greater impact, if any impact on the debate viewers could be said to have been made.
If one is being intellectually honest, there is really only one answer as to which would be the most satisfying pairing with the best possible results.
But, if one is committed to entrusting only highly visible scientists to invest their name and credibility in a squabble of reason over long dismissed bronze age ignorance holdouts, then anything Dawkins or I have to say about the matter is of no import. To such people, only Einstein would do in debating Billy Sunday on how many demons occupy hell. As though Einstein would soil his hands.