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Over a Thousand Attend Evolution Debate

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Category Articles
Date February 1, 2001

Friday evening, December 1, Dr. Duane Gish debated Dr. Massimo Pigliucci for the fifth time. The debate was at the Church of Christ of Winchester, Virginia, before an audience estimated at 1200. Dr. Pigliucci, a native of Italy, has a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Connecticut and is an Associate Professor of Botany, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. In past debates the format has been 60 minutes for initial arguments. For this debate, however, Dr. Pigliucci insisted on reducing the time, threatening to cancel the debate if that were not done. Dr. Gish reluctantly agreed and pointed out that students and the general public are unceasingly exposed to the arguments and claims of evolutionists, but most have never heard of the challenges to evolutionary theory or the evidence for creation. It is thus advantageous for the evolutionist to reduce the time available to present the evidence by each side.

Pigliucci began by stating that nobody would win, the purpose being only to introduce the subject. A professed atheist, he asserted that one’s personal beliefs were irrelevant, that the origin of the universe and of life were not part of evolution, and evolution is simply changes in gene frequencies. He stated that examples of this are seen in viruses, bacteria, plants, and animals. As far as the fossil record was concerned, he cited what he believed to be examples of intermediate forms in the origin of whales which had evolved from, he said, a hyena-like animal which sought food, such as fish, in the water, and remained long enough there to evolve into whales. Having previously asserted that the origin of life and the universe must be excluded from evolution, he nevertheless talked about the possible evolution of each. He described what he believed to be evidence against a worldwide flood and the insufficiency of the capacity of the Ark to accommodate all the animals that had to be carried. He quoted the statement of faith of ICR scientists and asserted if they truly were seeking truth they could not be bound by a statement of faith. He alleged intermediates between ape and man and challenged members of the audience to see for themselves the evidence for evolution.

In his initial argument Gish first pointed out that the most important principle of science education is to instruct students to identify assumptions, use critical thinking, make logical deductions, and consider alternative explanations. However, in direct contrast to this principle, evolutionists, through their control of the educational system and scientific establishment, insist on indoctrinating students in evolutionary theory and in so doing deny students the opportunity to develop as mature scientists, able to consider all alternatives. Thus students are indoctrinated in what actually constituted a nontheistic humanistic religion. Dr. Gish pointed out that there is an increasing number of evolutionists who are abandoning the Darwinian explanation, citing the Swedish evolutionist, Dr. Soren Lovtrup, who has declared that the “Darwinian myth is the greatest deceit in the history of science.”

Gish described the total absence of evolutionary ancestors and transitional forms for the complex invertebrates, such as clams, snails, trilobites, brachiopods, etc., and the total lack of transitional forms between complex invertebrates and fish, supposedly the first vertebrates. He asserted that this evidence is incompatible with evolutionary theory and demonstrates conclusively that biological evolution has not taken place on the earth. He described the flagella of the E. coli bacterium that they use to move rapidly about in response to stimuli. This apparatus employs rotors, stators, and rotary bearings, just as are employed by jet engines. A motor system similar to that utilized by electric motors is utilized to drive the system. He illustrated the multitude of interacting parts of the motor system and of the sensory system employed by the E. coli bacterium. He asserted that an individual who fails to see the absolute necessity of an intelligent Creator for the origin of such an incredibly complex system and believes that it resulted from nothing more than the random processes of evolution would be impossible to persuade, no matter what kind of evidence is available.

In his closing argument Gish described the fact that the notion that our incredibly complex universe and living organisms created themselves beginning with the chaos and disorder of a hypothetical Big Bang and the simplicity of hydrogen gas is a direct violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The universe could not have created itself naturally, therefore it had to be created supernaturally.

In his rebuttal, Pigliucci asserted that education is not democratic and since the majority of scientists are evolutionists then it is right for evolutionists to see to it that only evolution is taught to students. He accused Gish of using a “quotation game” and of quoting out of context. He attempted to exclude the opinions of Lovtrup and Ruse since, he said, neither is an evolutionary biologist. He insisted that this was not a scientific debate and people will simply be confused by such a debate.

In his rebuttal Gish re-emphasised the extreme importance of the total lack of ancestors and transitional forms for the complex invertebrates and fish, reiterating the fact that no ancestors for either had been found. While asserting that the Bible was not the subject of the debate, Gish did respond to Pigliucci’s statement about animals on the Ark by first pointing out that Pigliucci could not describe either the capacity of the Ark or the number of animals that had to go on the Ark. Dr. Gish reminded the audience that only land-dwelling, air-breathing animals were placed there and they could be accommodated by half of the space available.

The debate concluded with a lively discussion during the question/answer period. Gish made a final point that it was wrong to allow an atheist evolutionist to dictate the worldview taught to students in our pluralistic democratic society.

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