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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student

student life

Student groups attend virtual debate

The old debate of evolution versus creationism aired live Tuesday night in Woodburn Hall with about 130 people in attendance.

Bill Nye, best known for his ’90s show “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” and Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis, debated for more than two hours in the creation museum in Petersburg, Ky.

The live video feed started off shakily, beginning with an error in the audio, but it was remedied after several minutes.

The Secular Alliance at IU, Biology Club at IU and the Biotech Club at IU organized the event.

Following a short presentation from the clubs at 6:50 p.m., the debate began
at 7 p.m.

Orion Day, president of the Secular Alliance at IU, said the goal of the three IU organizations is to promote the understanding of science and not to ridicule other viewpoints, because that is not constructive.

“I’m very much emphasizing listening closely and trying to understand their position and respectfully disagreeing,” he said. “Focusing on their arguments and not the person.”

While the debaters made 30-minute arguments followed by shorter rebuttals and even shorter counter-rebuttals, the audience in Woodburn guffawed at several different moments at both speakers.

Nye seemed intent on peppering his speech with anecdotal comedy, whereas Ham caused laughter simply by the claims he made from the Bible.

“I was hoping that there might be some legitimate claims from both sides, but it seems like Mr. Ham’s whole argument is kind of hampered by the fact that his knowledge of the Bible doesn’t seem to be very credible,” sophomore Emma Johnson said. “I think he kind of shot himself in the foot there, and I just love Bill Nye. In my book, he definitely won this debate.”

Other students said they had a problem with the way the debate was set up.

“I don’t like the format because I feel like they kept saying the same thing over and over to address each other and neither of them is able to properly respond, so they just restate the process,” sophomore James Duncan said. “I do think the Ken guy, the Australian, he does give a lot of objective proof. He has some good points like the
nuisances between the observational and the past sciences.”

Following the debate, Nye and Ham answered questions from the audience in Kentucky while student opinions varied in Woodburn.

“This is kind of a touchy subject,” Day said. “It’s religion versus science.”

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