Overall, I think Ham had strong foundational points, especially philosophically. Nye seemed to be stronger on the natural sciences but weak philosophically with no grounding for his would view.
Ham talked about the fact that Nye, a materialist, has no grounding for things like reason, science and morality. If the universe, including ourselves, are just banging molecules that stick together at times, then why do we have laws like math or how can we all reason and have a fairly accurate way of understating each other? What about aesthetics? What about the laws of uniformity which science is built upon? Nye can’t give good responses for these origins because first there is no grounding in his world view, second a materialistic world view tries to ignore non tangible things that “science” can’t explain. In fact this concept is strange on its own because the concept of science is itself non-tangible.
On the other end, Ham could have built a stronger design argument. I saw a slide in passing that talk about it, but this topic needed more focus. Another powerfully area that I feel that he should have focused upon was the origin of information such as contained in DNA and RNA. It is not explained by materialists except via “just-so” stories. Lastly, he should have pounded away at the foundation of the materialistic view of first life. I have not been impressed with the different theories nor do they satisfy traditional scientific rigor.
Also, when asked if any piece of evidence could cause him to question his view, I think he missed a great opportunity to say what Paul said, in that if Christ did not die and was raised from the dead, his faith would be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:12-30). By saying this it would have given him more credibly. Second, it would have been a great opener for a quick discussion of the unsuccessful attack upon the Christian foundation since the time of Christ. He also could have given the evidence that we do have reliable evidence for Christ’s death and resurrection from our four primary sources: the Gospels.
Concerning Nye’s arguments I was impressed that he used observations of the natural world to draw his conclusions. While Ham did do some of this, (such as no new information needed for bacteria to digest citric acid, rather it is done by just a “flipped” switch on a gene in that species of bacteria) he did not seem to do as well as Nye.
While I had many concerns with Nye’s views, one was that he took out of context a line from the constitution. The constitution says the following concerning congress: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” However, on stage he made it sound as if the writers of the constitution were referring to educating our youth, not authors and inventors.
Second, for him to use the word “science” from this document is a misrepresentation of it without proper definition in that day and time. In the old 1828 Websters dictionary, published 41 years after the constitution basically defines science in the broad sense of knowledge (this book was based upon his earlier dictionary from 1806 “A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language”). This is in opposition to some contemporary definitions which only try to limit it to understanding the natural, material world through the lens of natural causes.
I feel that his view was weak when he argued that to be a good scientist and engineer one must have a foundation in materialistic understanding of “science.” This makes no sense, many if not most of the fields of science and math were started and continue to be propagated by thinking Christians and other religious people. Second, the university system was started in the middles ages with many Christians leading the way. Many of the these early Christian scholars had a great tolerance for diversity of thought and arguments from different points of view. Third, without the grounding of the Christian world view, there would not even be science, math, reason, etc.
If you can remember only two things here, first Nye’s case is foundationless because of his materialistic world view. Second his case is groundless because this world view does not make senses logically when one looks at the origin of life issue. Both issues demonstrate lack of grounding which makes his case illogical.