In this week’s edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debate, getting tired of politics and why we should care about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.
1. I watched the Bill Nye/Ken Ham evolution vs. creation debate and here’s the problem: I feel like Ham won. Not that he presented any facts at all (he couldn’t) but that he stepped offstage gaining more of the crowd than Nye did. Am I crazy?
Ben: It all depends on what you are looking for. The only reason why anyone listens to Ham is because he’s fairly charismatic, and that means he’ll always do ‘well’ in debates. It’s television, remember, and theatrics makes a difference. So it doesn’t really matter what the actual facts are as long as Ham sounds like he knows what he is talking about. It’s for that reason the debate should never have happened. I mean, Hitler would have ‘won’ in a debate against most other politicians throughout history because he was such a powerful orator (and no, I’m not comparing Ham to Hitler).
Chez: You’re not at all crazy. Nye lost the second he agreed to step on that stage. The second he chose to allow the rank stupidity that is creationism equal footing with science. There was never a debate to be had and to let Ham claim that there was did a disservice to intellectualism and the truth. Of course Ham “won” in the sense that he loved the attention and carried the smug self-importance of someone who knew what Nye didn’t: that for his audience it’s never about the head and always about the heart. Facts and figures and all that scientific mumbo-jumbo just confuses them and doesn’t have a gut impact — that’s why they believe in dumb-ass bronze age fairy tales in the first place.
Bob: I totally agree with Chez. Bill Nye should never have debated Ham in the first place. I don’t know who “won,” but if empiricism is the winning factor, I can’t imagine how Ham could’ve won. But the fact is, Nye allowed creationism onto equal footing as science — in his classroom. Furthermore, there was never any chance Ham or his followers would change their minds. It’s faith.
2. Do you ever get tired of having to pay attention to politics. It seems like it would be exhausting after awhile even for a political junkie?
Chez: My position on this is well documented. I fucking hate politics these days. I write about them often under silent personal protest and when I do for an extended period of time I have to eventually walk away and go do something else because it hurts my brain and probably my soul.
Bob: Nope. Never. I get frustrated with stupidity or bad journalism, and I don’t mind taking a break from covering it constantly, but I don’t get sick of it in and of itself.
Ben: I’m probably somewhere in between Bob and Chez on this. I definitely sometimes get fatigued, particularly by today’s toxic political environment, but there’s always something interesting to talk about, and it’s usually enough to get me typing. In a completely morbid way, it’s a lot more fun than covering politics in a place like say, Switzerland. America has old grannies threatening to execute the President and politicians who believe the world is 6000 years old. A politician not showing up to a wine tasting event constitutes a crisis in Switzerland, so I always think about what it would be like writing about current events somewhere like that.
3. I get that he was a talented actor but explain to me why I should care about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Bob: You sound like you’re a contrarian, so whatever I say won’t make any difference, but watch this scene.
That actor also played this character:
Name another actor of our generation with that depth and that range. That’s why we should care.
Chez: Nobody said you have to. Just don’t be an asshole about it.
Ben: I was genuinely saddened by Hoffman’s death, and I really couldn’t give a damn about 99% of actors/celebrities. I’m not going to demand everyone else cares as I don’t usually get down about people I don’t know dying either (there’s obviously quite a lot of them). I guess he seemed like such a likable, gentle and extraordinarily talented guy that I couldn’t help it. I’m not going to explain why you should give a shit. That’s your business.