Friday, February 21, 2014

Disability Spending---US vs. Europe

Data note: Preparation for my Sociology of Disabilities Lecture

Using OECD data, I looked up country-level spending on "Disabilities Pension" from combined public and mandatory private sources. Using two measures--% of GDP, and per capita spending (PPP)--the US is near the bottom of industrialized country spending on people with disabilities.

Unemployment in Marion County (Indianapolis) by Census Tract, 2012

Data note: The map below represents a picture of unemployment in Indiana using the American Community Survey data (5-yr estimate, 2012)

While the label shows the representations of gradations of census tracts with lower to higher rates of unemployment, what one can see from the labels is that many areas have unemployment rates above 30%, and several have rates above 35%.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

To Mike Delph: Unsolicited Advice--on Making Lemonade from Lemons

I've been posting on Facebook about the Mike Delph meltdown on twitter, cataloging then for posterity, along with the more humorous responses to them (I have avoided the nasty ones that wish bodily harm on Delph--those are inappropriate). Suddenly, the day after the tirade began,the news somehow found his brother and somehow convinced him to do his first ever interview. Cynics propose it is a form of damage control. The brother insists Mike isn't "homophobic," which I've read from other people who personally know Delph, who also claim he isn't "anti-gay." Rather, they claim his vigorous anti-gay position isn't based on personal vitriol, but is a combination of "traditional values" and his political position, elected by a base whom he believes expects a total and complete opposition to all things gay (Delph won his 2008 election with 59.2%, and is up for re-election this yeaer).

Let me adopt the role of unsolicited political consultant for Delph. Here is the question: what do you do once your highly publicized political agenda has been derailed (the failure of HJR-3), and you follow that with a 24-hour twitter rampage that has received national attention, with an impending "big Monday announcement" amidst speculation that you will leave the GOP caucus? This is what you do...

Allow these public disasters to define your public transformation. This is political jiu jitsu. Do not double-down on your past political position, but rather, double-down on the disaster itself. Think of a recent example--Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, also vigorously anti-gay, only to discover his own son is gay, and subsequently made a very public conversion in support of his son, and in support of gay rights. Yes, there were doubting nay-sayers on the Left, as well as some on the Right who called him a traitor. But like a phoenix, a new Portman has arisen that can appeal to moderates in both parties. THAT is what US politics is about--the center, which usually holds.

Sen Delph--if you want to survive this catastrophe, then make it clear that your "twitter meltdown" was symptomatic of your mental anguish over being torn by your traditional beliefs on the one hand, but your personal knowledge of your brother on the other hand. Any "re-birth" is accompanied by trauma, and that was yours. Be humble, admit you were wrong, use your love for your brother as the foil to disperse the past sin (as opposed to using your brother himself as a publicity stunt). Now is the moment to lead, Sen Delph--if you are courageous, then you will find your way to the other side, and perhaps, even to another term.

(And yes, I know I mention neither lemons nor lemonade in this essay. I'm too busy watching Voyager reruns on Netflix to ensure consistent use of metaphor.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"The Regnerus Study"--Continuing Fallout

For those paying attention to issues of same-sex marriage cultural wars, one might recall a 2012 study published in the respected journal, Social Science Research, by Mark Regnerus, "How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships?" Despite its credible origins, the study has been widely criticized, and the journal even took the largely unprecedented step of subsequently publishing a series of scathing reactions to the article, in addition to an internal self-audit of the review process of that article--those can be found in the November 2012 issue of SSR.
Drama around the paper has continued. Not only have numerous anti-gay groups cited the study in support of their causes, but Regnerus himself has been advocating for anti-gay legislation using the findings from his study, including a proposed Russian law that would remove children from the homes of same-sex couples. This, despite the fact that Regnerus himself later admitted flaws in his study. The American Sociological Association, the primary national organization for sociologists, have themselves filed a formal critique of the study, and submitted Amicus briefs to that effect.
Part of the controversy is that there may have been a conflict of interest in the reviewers chosen by the editor of SSR. John Becker, editor-in-chief of the Bilerico Project, filed suit November 2013 to obtain documents related to the process SSR used to vet the Regnerus study. Becker's likely goal is to determine if evidence suggests improper conduct on the part of the editorial or research staff--claims that have been lodged against the journal and researchers. Becker has already posted many documents to which he had previously gained access. As is explained in another section of this same site, the study appears to have been specifically funded by an issue-driven anti-gay group, with close to a million dollars invested by the Witherspoon Institute, and similar groups.
As documented above, the suit is against the University of Central Florida, where the editor of SSR is faculty, sociologist James Wright. The university has hired a legal team, headed by a former Florida Supreme Court justice, to prevent the documents from being released, and have thrown up numerous stalling barriers to the process. As of today, the case is still pending--just yesterday (2/10/2014) the court issued an "order to show cause." You can find an updated docket for this case at Florida's 5th Circuit Court.
Update, 3/10/14
Last week (3/3/14) the court updated the docket to the status of "jurisdiction relinquished." A call to the court clarified that it was sent back to the lower court for them to clarify their ruling. They have 45 days, or until approximately April 17th, to comply with the request. The court filing can be found here: CASE NO.: 2013-CA-5265-O.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Indiana Rep Turner Mischaracterizes Economic Data in Support of Legislation

In Indiana there is a current political battle over whether the legislature, which currently has a GOP supermajority in both houses, and a GOP governor, will pass a Constitutional amendment defining "marriage" as solely between a man and a woman, and includes a ban on any legal protections that are similar to marriage (such as civil unions). While this would seem to be a moral/religious issue, advocates for the ban are trying to make an economic case for why the ban would be beneficial. Large Indiana businesses, like Eli Lilly, and Cummins, along with various Chambers of Commerce, have argued in hearings that such legislation makes it difficult for them to recruit qualified candidates to Indiana. In response to these business claims, advocates of the amendment produced testimony such as the following:
Eric Turner, R-Cicero, an author of the amendment, cited statistics he said showed business officials were wrong in their analyses. “Eight of the top nine states with the highest rate of job growth in the private sector have an amendment to define marriage,” Turner said. According to Turner, the four states with the highest gross domestic product per capita – as well as four of the top five fasting-growing per capita income states – all have an amendment to protect their states’ definitions of marriage as one man and one woman. Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, echoed Turner’s sentiments and called the claims of economic harm a make-believe “boogeyman.” He said North Carolina – the most recent state to pass a marriage amendment in 2012 – has experienced economic gains in the calendar year since the 2012 passage of its amendment. Clark cited the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce saying, “business investment increased more than 4 percent, unemployment dropped, and the state added more than 42,000 new jobs after voting to protect marriage.” Franklin College Journalism
As a sociologist, I tend not to accept "anecdotal" evidence, such as the unsystematic, poorly documented narratives from Lilly and Cummins about their experiences, since the experiences of a handful of businesses may not represent the majority of experiences, and without systematic documentation, their perceptions may not even match reality. Further, I also tend not to accept decontextualized "snapshot" data, such as the statistics quoted by Turner and Clark. While they may be accurately reporting statistics, they neither demonstrate that a) these statistics accurately characterize the broader patterns of these states, nor b) do they provide any kind of causal mechanism for the relationship between them. As Nuvo news editor, Rebecca Townsend states, "Correlation does not causation make."

After hearing the testimony of the corporations, as well as the claims by Turner and Clark, I perused the publicly available data from the Census, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics--a fuller look at the exact same variables that Turner and Clark use, tell a completely different story than the narrative they attempt to generate. In an unsolicited e-mail correspondence with Ms. Townsend, specifically in response to the statistics presented by the pro-amendment advocates, I presented an alternative reading of the data, one which takes the view of a social scientist. In our case, our job is not to find any data that supports our political or business position, the presumed approach of a campaign manager or marketer. The scientific process is based on an objective rendering of data, with a goal of creating the most accurate picture of the data that is possible, not just to support one's particular cause. Below is an abbreviated copy of the e-mail I sent to Ms. Townsend, which represents my look at the variables that Turner and Clark cited--but placed into the broader context of what the economic data is actually conveying about these states. Full disclosure, Ms. Townsend subsequently highlighted, in a Nuvo article, a recent analysis I produced of the economic impact of same-sex marriage legislation on Great Lakes states, which I also posted on my blog, where I will post updated pdf's of my research on this topic.

I wanted to specifically address Turner’s peculiar statements regarding job growth and income. There are 3 approaches I would take when trying to understand whether Turner's narrative is accurate, in terms of the story he wants to generate by quoting these statistics. The first is whether his statistics are cherry-picked. For example, why "8 of 9" states for job growth, and why "4 of 5" for per capita income? Those seem like odd numbers. I played around with the data (which I downloaded from the BLS and BEA web sites after reading his statistics), and I can use the exact same data to tell the opposite story. For example, regarding the real GPD/capital growth, I can say that "6 of the bottom 7 growth state have constitutional amendments or legislative bans on same-sex relationships." Regarding the jobs growth numbers, I can say, "13 of the bottom 15 states have constitutional amendments or legislative band on same sex relationships." I'm using the same data, but just using the bottom instead of the top numbers.

From a more scientifically accurate perspective, if you create 3 groups of all 50 states--those that have constitutional amendment bans (CB), those that have legislative bans (LB), and those with no bans (NB), then you can average the jobs and real GDP/capita growth for each of those groups. In that case, for jobs growth, you get 1.8% (CB), 1.4% (LB), and 1.7% (NB)--states with constitutional bans and without any bans have statistically equivalent jobs growth. Similarly, when you look at real GDP/cap growth, the numbers you get are: 1.2% (CB), 1.1% (LB), and 1.4 (NB)%-- the states that have no bans at all, actually have the highest rate of GDP/capita growth!. A very different picture from the narrative Turner is trying to generate.

However, even this analysis is a relatively poor way to really understand these relationships, because it’s a 1-year static approach, and it’s a look at all 50 states, when CA, HI, NY and FL will clearly have very different socio-economic dynamics than Indiana. So the second approach I would take is to recognize that the data he's using to support his case, are literally economic snapshots of one point in time over too broad an area. The study I attached looks at a 10-year period over just the Midwestern/Great Lakes states. A great example of why Turner’s approach is not very useful, is North Dakota--economically, it is in a unique position, because it is in the middle of an oil boom. Looking at the data that Turner chose to use, ND has GDP/cap growth rates of 13.2%, and a jobs growth of 10.4%. Contextualize that in the broader US perspective: the average US GDP/Cap growth rate was 1.2%, with the 2nd highest rate at 3.3%; the average jobs growth rate of 1.7%, and the 2nd highest growth rate of 3.9% --both the ND GDP/cap and jobs growth are about 3x as high as the next highest state, and about 10x the national average!!! That has nothing to do with their constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage--they are literally in the middle of an oil boom. But it gets "counted" in the statistics that support the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment folks.

So focusing just on Great Lakes states, in my opinion, is a far more reasonable approach. If you limit the question to "what is the likely economic impact of a same-sex ban on Indiana?" comparing us just to other Great Lakes/Midwestern states, you come up with a very different narrative from what Turner describes. Using the same measures that Turner chose, and doing the same calculation as above, but just from 12 Midwestern states, I got the following, both of which show that states with no bans perform economically superior to states with no bans or limited bans:
Real GDP/Capita growth: complete ban=1.0% growth; limited ban=2.1% growth; no ban=2.2% growth.
Jobs growth: complete ban=1.4% growth; limited ban=1.2% growth; no ban=1.5% growth.

The third approach, is that I would question what definitions he is using when he talks about states that have “amendments defining marriage”. Some states have constitutional bans "only" on same-sex marriage, but their bans don't mention other types of legal protections, like domestic partnerships and civil unions. Some of those states, like Wisconsin, have legislatively allowed civil unions, even though their constitution bans same sex marriage. Other states with constitutional bans allow for local protections, like Ohio, where their domestic partner registry has been upheld by the courts, and many cities have adopted these kinds of protections. Finally, other states ban everything and no exceptions are allowed. Which of these definitions is Turner using? If you create 3 new groups, going back to using all 50 states since that was Turner’s original method—1) states with the compete bans (CB), 2) states with "limited bans" (LB), 3) and states with no bans (NB) --the real GDP/cap numbers are 1.0% (CB), 1.3% (LB), and 1.6% (NB)! The jobs growth numbers are statistically similar for each group, but the states with no marriage restrictions are still slightly ahead--1.7% (NB), 1.6% (LB & CB). Again, a very different picture than what Turner is telling, since there is a clear linear progression, with the most restrictive states doing the poorest, and states with no bans doing the best, even using Turner’s own measure.

So no matter how you analyze these numbers, as long as you put them back into a broader context, whether using all 50 states, or focusing just on Midwestern states, it all points to the fact that same-sex marriage bans seem to be economically bad for states. Turner is either listening to people who are intentionally manipulating facts, or who simply don't know how to do such analyses, and should be banned from using Excel.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nye-Ham Creation Origins Debate, 2/4/14, Creation Museum, KY

Nye-Ham Debate
Is creation a viable model of origins today?  2/4/14
Ham (5 min)-There are scientists who support creationism.  Lots of rapid-fire slides of sciency images, often just a couple of seconds each.
“Molecules-to-man evolution.”  Asserts that HS textbooks definitions of science presumes atheism by equating it with ‘naturalism.’  “Historical science” vs. “observational/experimental science”
Nye (5 min)-bow ties and tuxedo rentals.  Two “stories” presented tonight.  Critique’s Ham’s faulty distinction between historical and observational science.  Is the literal narrative of the Genesis flood reasonable?  Grand Canyon—no evidence of different types of fossils in the layers.  If the flood were accurate, they should be spread throughout the canyon.
What keeps the US ahead, globally, is our technological capacity.  If we continue to eschew science, we will fall behind. 
Ham (30 min)--Introduced several more scientists who are creationists.  Stellar astronomer from IU.  Biomimmetics engineer—says his colleagues are amenable to creationism but are afraid to speak out. 
A geology textbook—distinguishes “physical geology” vs. “historical geology”.  Scientists can agree on many things despite being creationist vs evolutionist.  Question for Nye—is there any piece of technology that could only have been invented based on ‘molecules to man’ model?  All scientists have the same evidence, but this is a battle over interpretation, and thus a worldview.
Predictions based on Bible—species reproduce by “kinds” they don’t change kinds.  Humans derive from single origin. 
Darwin’s diary, drew a phylogenetic tree for finches, with a side note “I think.”  The creationist “kinds” is scientific “family.”  On the ark there only needed to be 2 dogs, and all subsequent species of dogs come from this one pair.  Cited a paper which claims all dogs came from one origin. 
The words “science” and “evolution” have been hijacked by secularists.  Creationists don’t deny species changes.  They don’t agree that one species can change into another species.  Refers to Lenski’s experiment, growing E Coli on citrate, which is claimed to disprove creationism.  Video from microbiologist who says the study doesn’t disprove creationism.  Old science textbook that used Darwin to teach there were 5 different races.  But since modern science proves there is “one human race” it disproves Darwin.
Showed clip of Nye questioning how creationists can accept modern technology and medicine, but not science supporting evolution.  Ham emphasizes the distinction between observational/experimental and historical science.  Argues that creationists are using critical thinking, and admits there is a ‘belief’ aspect, but evolutionists lack critical thinking and are refusing to admit a ‘belief’ component.
Quotes Matthew, and other bible verses about sin and salvation, connecting creationism with the Biblical story.  He admits that many recognize that creationists make this connection, and therefore want creationism out of schools because it’s teaching religion.  Went on a long monologue about how naturalism is destroying the moral fabric of society because it leads to moral relativism, abortion, etc.  Believes that if you teach students evolution, then you aren’t really teaching “science”, since it’s wrong, so you need to teach them that Jesus died on the cross, so that they will understand how things work.
Nye (30 min)---In KY there is a lot of limestone.  This is millions of layers of animal life.  There wasn’t enough time since the flood for this layer to form.  Ice cores from Greenland reveal 680,000 layers of ice, each of which is a winter/summer cycle.  That’s 170 per year if the earth is 4000 years old.  Rings form annually on trees, many of which are far older than 4,000 years, which could not have survived a year under water.  If the flood created the grand canyon, wouldn’t there be grand canyons everywhere?  There are discrete layers visible in the GC-there aren’t mixing of animal types embedded in the other layers.  There is not one example anywhere.  The flood should have created mixing. 
If the flood happened 4,000 years ago, and the ark landed in Turkey, somehow humans got to Australia—an alleged land bridge existed to Australia.  There is no evidence of such a bridge, nor any animal evidence from 4,000 years.  There are perhaps 16,000,000 species, that allegedly originated from Ham’s claim of 7,000 kinds.  That’s 11 new species per day if this happened in 4,000 years.  Boulders on top of mountains in Oregon—how would they have got there in 4,000 years.
Early 1900s a large wooden ship was built by some of the best in the world at ship-building, but it twisted in the sea and sunk—it was not as large as the ark, which was built by people with no skills in ship-building.  Picture of a zoo with 400 species and a huge staff—is it reasonable that Noah’s family could have crammed 7,000 species on a boat for a year and take care of them? 
Based on a gap in the fossil record, scientists predicted what should fill in the gap—they found it in an ancient lake that was calculated to be the right age.  Evolution can make predictions that are fulfilled, Ham’s model cannot.
Sexual reproduction-topminnows.  Useful to develop immune systems to resist germs and parasites.  Scientists made a prediction about this process, and it worked.
The big bang.  Hubble noticed that the stars were moving apart.  Astronomers predicted background noise, which was discovered.  Periodic table—rubidium and strontium—this is locked into place from volcanic eruptions, and you can tell how old it is.  You can go to national parks where there are fossils around these ancient eruptions—millions of years old.  RB also used in a heart attack detection technology, where there is no degree for in KY, highlighting the need for science literacy.  There are billions of stars, far more than 6,000 years old which couldn’t exist by the creationist model.  There are ice, trees, rocks, starlight, etc, far far far older than 6,000 years, so the creation model is not viable.
US Constitution 1.8—“to promote science and the useful arts”

Ham (5 min)—can’t ‘observe’ the age of the earth.  Bible translation says God made the universe in 6-days, and following the genealogy, that makes 6,000 years.  Radioactive decay-one geological dig, basalt was several million years, a wood sample was tens of thousands.  A volcanic eruptions gave lots of different dates.  Lots of assumptions built into radioactive dating—that’s ‘historical’ science, since there’s no way to absolutely historically date things. 
There is a problem for Christians who believe in long-earth.  The bible shows that death happened after Adam sinned, so if death happened millions of years ago, that was before Adam sinned.  The Bible says ‘thorns’ happened after Adam sinned, so that must be less than 6,000 years old.  There was only one person there, that was God, so we have to believe him.  We have hundreds of kinds of ‘dating’ methods, 90% of which prove young earth.
Nye (5 min)—Rocks of different age in the same place are from rocks sliding on top of each other, not bad dating methods.  Are fish sinners?  If death happened after Adam, why did the whole earth start dying?  All astronomy is, is looking at the past, because current starlight is from light originating in the past.  Light from the people in the back of the audience getting to Nye is older than the light from the people in the front of the room—either way, both are from the past.  Ham asserts you can’t know the past.  Ham argued that everybody were vegetarians before the flood—but lions have teeth made for killing, not for surviving on plants.  Ham wants us to believe that his interpretation of the Bible is more accurate than our observations about the world around us.
Ham (5 min)—We can only do good experimental science because we can trust the laws of the universe, which was created by god—that’s why we can trust those laws.  Ham doesn’t claim that ‘species’ got onto the ark, but ‘kinds.’  There was plenty of room on the ark.  We didn’t see tree rings forming, or ice cores being formed.  Ice can build up catastrophically—it’s inappropriate to presume things happen in steady way.  Pandas and other bears have teeth similar to lions, but they eat plants.  Creationists believe that post-flood catastrophes that create the appearance of long ages.  Why would Nye presume that Noah was unskilled and unable to build a big boat, we haven’t met him.  Chinese made large boats.  Astronomers are having problems fitting their predictions into the observable data.
Nye (5 min)—Ham seems to believe that Noah had superpowers with him and  his 7 family members able to make a viable ark.  Ham claims that when people make assumptions about dating, about astronomy, about genetic mutations, he presumes they don’t know what they are talking about, and that catastrophes created many of these appearances.  Why should we accept Ham’s interpretation rather than all of these scientists, when Ham claims that everything in our world changed 4,000 years ago, which shifted how we can interpret science.  Ham claims Christians with old-earth views have a fundamental problem, but is that fair to these Christians?  There is science—not observational and historical science.  Scientists throw away ideas that don’t work, and is built on testing predictions.  Ham’s view based on a translation of an ancient text that seems to deny the world we see around us, seems like an untenable approach.  We need science and innovation in education today.
Q&A Period—with addressee for 2 min to answer, and 1 min for opponent to respond.
How does creationism explain the vast number of planets and the expanding universe, and what is God’s plan for that? 
Ham-Bible says God ‘stretches out’ the heavans for his glory.  It’s to tell us how amazing, big and infinite God is.
Nye—Does Ham have a prediction that can be tested?
What was before the big bang?
Nye—That’s a great question.  Let’s keep looking and find out.  A science student from KY may discover that.
Ham—There is a book that exists that tells us where matter came from, the Bible, and it’s the only answer that makes sense.  Matter can never produce information, language.  Only intelligence can create information.
What science beside the bible supports creationism?
Ham—“Majority” isn’t a judge of truth, so just because the majority of scientists believe something doesn’t make it true.  Ham made predictions—if the bible is right, there should be one race. That’s true.  There should be kinds.  That’s true.  Ham showed videos of scientists who believe in creationists.
Nye-If a scientist changes the way we view science, then we embrace it.  Pasteur and pathogen theory was embraced and radically changed our view of science. 
How did consciousness come from matter?
Nye-That’s a great mystery.  The joy of discovery drives us.  We don’t know, but the mystery drives us.  Nye challenges the KY future scientists in the audience to find out.  If we abandon good science education, we will fall behind.
Ham—The bible documents where consciousness came from.  If you are gone when you die, as Nye claims, then what is the point of anything?
What would change Ham’s mind, if anything?
Ham-As a Christian, he can’t ‘prove’ religion, that’s a starting belief.  You can check prophecies in the bible, and verify the science described in the bible.  Nobody can convince Ham that the bible is wrong.  The creation scientists make models based on creation science.  What would change Nye’s mind?
Nye—Just one piece of evidence—that a fossil swam from one layer to another.  Or that you can reset atomic clocks.  Or that layers that appear millions of years old can form in a few thousand years.  What can Ham ‘actually’ ‘predict’?
What supports Nye’s view of the age of the earth.
Nye—Starlight.  Radiometric dating methods are compelling.  Deposition rates.  There is no evidence that there was a global flood 4,000 years ago.  The fossil record of skulls takes time to go from one species to another.
Ham-4.5B date isn’t from dating earth rocks, but meteorites.  Hundreds of dating methods exist, and they are all different, and they all make assumptions.  90% contradict the billions of years theory.
Continental drift occurs at a certain speed.  Can Ham account for how fast they must have gone 6,000 years ago to get to where we are today?
Ham-Assumptions are made based on current rates, that they were similar in the past.  But we didn’t observe those past movements, we just assume them.  Creationists believe in catastrophic plate tectonics that created the current appearance.  That’s the difference between historical and observational science.  Creationists believe there was originally one continent, but the flood caused a break-up of the continents.
Nye—That must have been a lot easier to demonstrate 100  years ago before tectonic plate theory was proved.  Scientists can measure how quickly plates were moving in the past.
How to balance evolution with 2nd law of thermodynamics.
Nye-2nd law is that you lose energy to heat.  Entropy, disorder of molecules.  However, this questioner ignores that the earth is not a closed system.  The sun is constantly providing energy to the earth. 
Ham-Energy and matter cannot produce information.  God imposed information and language.  Decay is what happens to matter, things go towards disorder.  Only God could have imposed order onto disorder.
If it could be proved hypothetically that the earth was older than 10,000 years old, would Ham still believe in God?
Ham-You can’t ‘prove’ the age of the universe, so there is no hypothetical, so it doesn’t matter.  There is nothing in observational science that contradicts the young universe.  If Christians believe in old earth, they have a problem with the bible, because it contradicts that death only occurred after Adam.
Nye—Ham wants us to believe that his interpretation of a book translated into English from 1,000s of years ago, is more credible than everything that we can see around us.  What is it that Ham’s theory can predict, not just about his theory of the past.
Is there room for God in science?
Nye—There are billions of people in the world who believes in both God and embrace science and technology.  Science is the body of knowledge and the process by which we understand the natural world.  That doesn’t seem to be related to one’s spiritual belief.  There are important scientists who are Christians, so it seems there is no incompatibility.  Ham hasn’t addressed any of these problems with the ark, the ice layers, etc. 
Ham-God is necessary for science. 
Should the entire bible be interpreted literally?  Can people touch pig skins, and marry multiple people?
Ham—We have to define terms.  Some parts of the Bible are poetry, some are history, some is prophecy, some are cosmological accounts.  You have to read it as the types were intended.  Some people misinterpret the Bible and try to impose it on other people.  When men were married to multiple women that caused a lot of problems, and the Bible condemned that. 
Nye-It sounds like there are certain parts of the Bible that should be interpreted literally, and other parts should be interpreted poetically.  Scientifically, it doesn’t seem reasonable that all of the things that contradict Ham’s interpretation of the first section of Genesis, doesn’t lead us to believe that those sections should be interpreted literally.
Did Nye ever believe that evolution could have occurred by design?
Nye—You cannot prove or disprove the existence of a God that created the universe and causes things to happen.  Intelligent Design has a fundamental misunderstanding of nature.  Evolution is a process that adds complexity through natural selection.  The perception that there is a designer isn’t true because there are other explanations that make stronger predictions.  Nature is bottom up, not top down as the creationists propose.  Science is inconsistent with a top-down model
Ham-Nye needs to prove that a ‘new’ thing has come into existence, but those examples don’t exist.  The E Coli that developed an ability to live on citrate isn’t a new thing that developed, but a gene that was turned on that was already there.
Other than the Creation Museum, what is producing products and ideas from creationism?
Ham-Anybody who is a creationist who is doing research.  Nye should explain why we can trust the laws of nature and logic unless God created them. If we don’t trust children where these things really came from, then they won’t know science.  Scientists are borrowing from the Christian worldview when they talk about the constancy of natural law.
Nye-The reason Nye doesn’t accept the Ken Ham model is that it has no predictive capacity.  If the Bible is the only literal word of God, what happened to all of the people who never heard about the Bible?  Are they all inherently lost and misguided?
What is the one thing on all else on which you base your belief?
Ham-The bible is the most unique book, and no other religion talks about the origin of everything.  It offers redemption from sin.  The Bible offers predictions, and if it’s true, it should be able to be tested and found true.  Other religions have flood and creation narratives.  If you want to find God, He will reveal himself.
Nye-Science is true and is constantly helping us discover the universe.  We are a product of the universe, and have come to be because of the universe’s existence.  These amazing questions drive us.  If we abandon the process that we know works, we in the US will be outcompeted by other countries.  We have to embrace science education. 
The debate will be archived for several days at