Shepherding their argumentsScientist Duane Gish helps fellow creationists hone debate skills in order to best evolutionistsThursday, February 24, 2005NANCY HAUGHT
The real battle would pit a creationist against an evolutionist on Saturday night, but the strategy unfolded in a workshop the day before. "How to Debate an Evolutionist" drew 100 men and women looking for confidence to a hotel ballroom to hear a decorated hero tell war stories and offer tips.
The hero was Duane Gish, a biochemist with a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, vice president of the Institute for Creation Research in El Cajon, Calif., and, he proudly insists, victor in all 300 debates he's had with evolutionists.
Gish was a featured speaker at the 18th annual Northwest Creation Conference, sponsored by Creation Science Ministries of Oregon. The group's founder, Dennis Swift, billed in the group's brochure as the "Indiana Jones of creationism," said that about 1,800 people attended workshops at the Holiday Inn Portland Airport last Friday and Saturday. About 450 stayed for the big debate on Saturday night.
Creationists are Christians who believe in a literal reading of the biblical account that God created Earth and the life on it in six days and then rested on the seventh. Their issue, which many Americans thought was decided during the Scopes trial in 1925, has recently resurfaced in school board debates around the country. Creationists want creation science to be taught in public schools, alongside evolution, which they argue is only a competing theory about life on Earth.
There is some disagreement about what constitutes creation science. Gish and other creationists argue that there is scientific evidence to support the role of a divine creation that took place in less than a week. Most scientists disagree, accusing creationists of pseudoscience, the practice of bolstering an argument with scientific-sounding language that can persuade a lay audience but won't stand up to scientific inquiry.
The bottom line, creationists say, is that few evolutionists are willing to debate creationists. Swift said he's tried for years to set up such contests and almost always the evolutionist declined or canceled at the last minute....
"We have kids killing kids because they think they're just a bunch of people descended from monkeys, with no one to answer to," he said. "If I took a bunch of guns to the zoo and handed them out to the monkeys, we'd have a bunch of dead monkeys. My problem is not with guns. My problem is with calling my kids monkeys."
Gish of course, is a joke in the scientific community, and a man who's not exactly demonstrated the kind of ethics that scientists that I know would respect.
Of course, to the Oregonian, creationism and evolutionary biology... must be the same thing, because, well people believe one or the other, right?
Well, regardless of what Gish says,there's stars way,way out there, so far away that they came into being before creationists got their creation narratives...