It may not sound so surprising that Coyne gave the nod to Nye over his debate opponent, creationist Ken Ham. But just last week, Coyne told NBC News that he feared Nye would be walking into a rhetorical "buzzsaw" at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky.

"One of the reasons Nye won is that Ham did such a crappy job," Coyne said. He said that Ham, the head of the museum as well as a Christian outreach organization called Answers in Genesis, hobbled his case by repeatedly referring to the Bible as the ultimate authority on natural history.

Dan Arel, a writer for the Richard Dawkins Foundation who insisted last month that Nye should not give Ham a forum for his views, gave the win to the Science Guy.