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Bill Nye says he underestimated debate's impact

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 16, 2014 at 10:39 am •  Published: April 16, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye said he underestimated the impact of a February debate in Kentucky on evolution and creationism that drew a massive online audience.

When Nye agreed to the debate at The Creation Museum with its founder Ken Ham, he said he believed it would draw about as much attention as presentations he makes on college campuses.

But the Feb. 4 event was widely promoted by the museum, "and soon it seemed like everyone I met was talking about it," Nye wrote in a 3,000-word letter published in the May/June issue of Skeptical Inquirer.

"I slowly realized that this was a high-pressure situation," he said.

The event was streamed live on the Web and it was widely discussed on Facebook and Twitter, alongside the witty hashtag #HamonNye. The Creation Museum said its metrics showed that 750,000 computers logged into the debate, and thousands of groups gathered to watch, putting the viewer estimate into the millions. About 70 media representatives attended the debate, and Nye and Ham were interviewed on network and cable news shows.

Nye wrote that despite no score being kept during the debate with Ham, by "a strong majority of accounts, I bested him."

Nye also addressed criticism he received from fellow scientists who said the debate would only promote Ken Ham's ministry and creationism, which teaches the origin story of the Bible as natural history. Ham and his followers believe the universe was made by a creator about 6,000 years ago.

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