The Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye has defended his 2014 debate with The Creation Museum's Ken Ham, by stating that it allowed him the platform to tell millions of viewers why the idea that creationism is a possible theory for life on Earth is a "disastrous" thing to teach the young generation.
"In lots of states, kids are taught that evolution is just one possible theory that explains how life came about, and that creationism is another," Nye told VOX in an interview published on Tuesday.
"We need these kids to be part of the future. We need them to innovate and change the world. But if you raise a generation of students who don't believe in the most fundamental idea in biology, it's a formula for disaster. This is against our national interest, and if you raise a generation like this, they're victims," he added.
"A lot of people were concerned that the debate would just draw attention to those people, and energize their base, and I understand that. But what I believed going in is that my audience wasn't in the room there. They were online. And I think that has been validated: the video of the debate has had 4.5 million views in a year."
The Feb. 4, 2014, debate focused on the question: "Is creation a viable model of origins in the modern scientific era?"
While Nye argued that evolution is the only way to explain life on Earth, Ham defended the creationist view, which takes a literal interpretation of the Genesis book of the Bible.
A number of secular critics, such as Jerry Coyne, a professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, criticized Nye for even taking part in the debate.
"If Nye wants to further acceptance of evolution, he should just continue to write and talk about the issue on his own, and not debate creationists," Coyne wrote. "By so doing, he gives them credibility simply by appearing beside them on the platform."
In April, Ham revealed that close to 15 million people in total have seen the debate since it was aired in February 2014, but said that secularists do not want to see another such debate occur.
"Many of the secularists were really upset with Bill Nye for debating me," Ham pointed out in an interview with WND in March.
"The secularists do not want to hear the information that we have," he added, accusing them of seeking to censor information about creationism in schools and other areas of society.
Ham reflected that the debate was beneficial, because it helped open up conversations.
"There were many people who said that their atheist friends wouldn't even talk about issues on the Bible, or creation-evolution, but because of the Bill Nye debate, it opened up a conversation for them to be able to do that,' he said.
A 2014 Gallup survey found that 42 percent of American adults who responded to the poll believe that God created humans in their present form around 10,000 years ago, while 31 percent said that humans underwent evolution, but with God guiding the process. A rising trend, at 19 percent, said that humans evolved, without God playing any part in the process.
In his VOX interview, Nye talked about a number of other issues, including climate change. The Planetary Society CEO said that at the moment, humans are "extinction-proof" and will live through the dangers, but soon rising sea levels will force people living in places like Holland or New Orleans to move.
"And all this is in the developed world. There are way more places where people can't afford to move — they don't have the resources to move — and that's going to be real trouble. That keeps me up at night," Nye said.