Bill Nye "The Science Guy" identified himself as an agnostic and revealed his expectations for the upcoming debate with Creation Museum CEO and President Ken Ham on the topic of creationism, saying that he doesn't expect they will be able to win each other over.
"Well I don't think I'm gonna win Mr. Ham over, anymore than Mr. Ham is going to win me over," Nye said in a video interview with Huff Post Live posted on Wednesday. Nye is scheduled to debate Ham on Feb. 4 at The Creation Museum's 900-seat Legacy Hall in Petersburg, Ky.
"Instead, I want to show people that this belief (creationism) is still among us. It finds its way into school boards in the United States," Nye stated. He reminded viewers that he is a mechanical engineer and not really a scientist, but is going in as a 'reasonable man' in the debate that is set to focus on the question "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific world?"
When asked to answer whether he believes in God or not, Nye said that he could be labeled as an agnostic.
"If you have to reckon and if you have to put Bill in a category, I am an agnostic," the '90s TV show presenter said.
"You can't know. But the idea that there is a plan for everybody, that this deity has it all worked out, and is really directing things is an extraordinary claim that I find troublesome."
Nye, who is also the CEO of science-advocacy group The Planetary Society and set to argue in favor of evolution, has often criticized teaching creationism to children in school, saying it can get in the way of scientific understanding.
"Yeah, it's a deep concern. If the United State produces a generation of science students who don't believe in science, that's troublesome," Nye said in the recent video.
Further reflecting on his beliefs, Nye said that outside of teaching certain ideas in the classroom, he doesn't have a problem with religious believers. "There are billions of religious believers around the world, billions of Christians – that's fine, people get a great deal out of it, they have a community."
Ham, whose museum supports a literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis, has spoken out against Nye's criticism of creationism, and said that although he is not big on debates, he hopes this one will serve as an opportunity to reach young people.
"This debate will help highlight the fact that so many young people are dismissing the Bible because of evolution, and even many young people who had grown up in the church decided to leave the church because they saw evolution as showing the Bible could not be trusted," Ham said.
Although tickets for the Feb. 4 debate sold out within minutes when they were released earlier in January, people around the world will be able to follow the event via live stream.
According to the structure of the debate, both Ham and Nye will have the opportunity to deliver "the best information currently available" for their respective cases, and then be given the chance for rebuttal and to answer audience questions.