Recently, a social intervention took place between two great schools of thought: the creationists and the scientists. Through a couple of messages that went viral on the Internet, and an invitation on Twitter, Ken Ham, head of the Creation museum, challenged Bill Nye the Science Guy to a debate. A debate that would (somehow) solve the great question of where we came from in 150 minutes. The stage was Ham’s Creation museum, ironically in the backyard of my hometown, Cincinnati. Few were fortunate enough to get a ticket for the debate, (which sold out in minutes) but many more watched the debate on their computer, as it was streamed for free by NPR. Twitter was abuzz before the event, with quite a few hashtags trending surrounding the debate. (My favorite was #OMGWeAreDebatingCreationIn2014) The primary topic of the debate was whether we should be teaching creationism to our children in school. Something that happens in Cincinnati more than anywhere else in the country, by the way. 150 minutes later, nothing has changed. Life isn’t any more logical than it was before this debate. By this point it is safe to say that absolutely nothing came of this debate. However, it is still a fantastic intervention to talk about.
First of all, both sides have a very strict ideology they follow. Well, creationism is very strict at least. Because they are the smaller faction, creationists wanted this debate to happen so they could advocate their beliefs. They were unsuccessful. However, the science ideology was also unsuccessful in advocating their beliefs, so this is (unfortunately) a two-way street. Both sides tried to bring to the foreground each other’s anomalies while simultaneously ignoring their own. Honestly the worst part of this debate was how poor each side was at advocating their own points. Instead, they focused primarily on going after each other’s weaknesses. Essentially, the debate reaffirmed pre-existing beliefs. Creations now believe in creationism more and scientists believe in science more.
A good attention intervention occurred in this instance as well. This attention intervention was Ham’s invitation to Nye in the first place to have this debate. Ham and the rests of the creationists felt threatened by science and how it was slowly but surely taking over the schools. This act was creating deviancy among creationists. After all, if they lose the children, how are they going to continue to advocate for their beliefs? To throw in an incredibly biased comment: creationists can’t just let children chose what to believe because most of them will pick logic over creation. So, following a video Bill Nye created bashing creationists going viral, they felt even more threatened. This video also created more deviancies for our beloved creationists. In response, Ken Ham stepped up to the plate, and created a video that bashed science. Of course, it too went viral, in an attempt to create deviancy amongst scientists. It was in the height of this video’s success that Ham made his move. By offering to debate against Nye, Ham was creating an attention intervention, and he and creationists everywhere hoped that this would result in their problems being solved. While it did no such thing for the creationists, and ultimately resulted in a failed intervention, it was still a great way to spend 150 minutes for everyone else.