As Bill Nye "The Science Guy" of TV renown and Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum, prepare their cases in what has been dubbed "Scopes 2," Tuesday's debate is drawing major international attention.
In addition to CNN correspondent Tom Foreman, who will moderate the debate, more than 70 credentialed media will be in attendance, such as ABC, NBC, Scientific American magazine, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Al-Jazeera America, The New Yorker and more. C-SPAN will air the debate on radio and TV on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. EST.
More than 10,000 churches, schools, colleges and other groups have informed the museum through debatelive.org that they will be carrying the free live stream of the debate. Liberty University in Virginia, which conferred an honorary doctorate on Ham, will show a live stream of the debate at seven campus locations, including a 1,500-seat auditorium.
In addition to group leaders, the museum has heard from tens of thousands of individuals who have shared via debatelive.org that they will be watching. All told, more than 1 million people as a part of groups or as individuals have already informed the museum they will be viewing the debate. With the addition of people who have not contacted the museum about their intent to watch (it is not necessary to register to view the live stream), it is clear that many more than 1 million people will be watching.
People who purchased debate tickets when they went on sale Jan. 2 (tickets sold out in two minutes online) represent 29 states and one country (Belize).
Immediately at the conclusion of the debate, Bill Nye and Ken Ham will walk inside the Creation Museum next door to be interviewed for the Piers Morgan Live program on CNN for a 9:45 p.m. post-debate analysis. During the 10 p.m. hour and inside the museum, MSNBC TV will interview Nye by himself.
On a special website, a live stream of the debate will have nationally certified American Sign Language interpreters signing (also at no charge) at debateliveASL.org.
The museum website as well as the website of the parent ministry that runs the museum, Answers in Genesis, have seen an 80 percent increase in traffic, totaling about 2 million visits in January alone. Most of this jump is due to interest in the debate.
The agreed-upon topic for the debate at the Creation Museum's 900-seat Legacy Hall auditorium in Petersburg, Ky., near Cincinnati, is: "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era?"
Nye was the Emmy-winning host and producer of the popular Bill Nye the Science Guy PBS-TV program for children. Currently he is the executive director of the Planetary Society and is a frequent guest on TV and radio interview programs. Last year, Nye was interviewed on countless programs to comment on science issues like climate change and creation vs. evolution. Ham is a best-selling author, much-in-demand speaker and president of Answers in Genesis.
Museum officials have told reporters that they are willing to hold public debates with serious evolutionists holding credentials. Even though some mocking evolutionists have challenged Answers in Genesis to debate, their requests are not considered. As a serious, nationally known advocate for his beliefs on science, Nye's opinions carry weight in society.