Bill Nye won the creation/evolution debate last night... but not for the reason you think

Sadly, says dino-science reporter Brian Switek, the reality of this church does not follow through on the potential promised by its signage. Brian took this photo in the town of Dinosaur, Colorado, near the Dinosaur National Monument.

This seems like a lovely moment to mention that the debate between Bill Nye (the science guy) and Ken Ham (the creationism guy, at least now that Kent Hovind is in jail for tax fraud) happened last night.

You can watch the debate online and also read journalist Chris Mooney's live tweets, which add a little commentary to the proceedings. Who you think won probably depends entirely on what you thought about the issue going into watching it. The big problem with a debate like this, and why I chose not to pay much attention to it myself, is that the two debaters are debating different things. Ham went in to talk about theology, the idea of man's relationship to nature and to God, and the role that belief in a deity may or may not play in ethical and moral behavior. Nye was there to talk about scientific evidence supporting evolution. It's hard to have a real debate when you're not talking about the same subjects.

It's also hard to have a real debate when one side flat-out admits that there is absolutely nothing that could or should ever change their mind — which Ham did towards the end of last night's presentation.

From what I can tell, the most valuable thing Bill Nye did also came towards the end, when he explained that Ken Ham's views don't represent all religion or even all Christianity. This isn't a debate about God or no god. There are many, many people who believe God and accept the evidence of evolution, too. As religion blogger Fred Clark pointed out, there really should have been two debates — one about evolution and a separate one about Ham's theology. Too often, scientists in this kind of situation fall into the trap of accepting that what the creationist says represents the only real, true Christian belief. Kudos to Bill Nye for figuring out that wasn't the case, and pointing it out to the audience.