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Ken Saladin Saladin Gish2 Gish1

Opening Statement for the Negative

(Gish, 45 minutes)

Certainly, I consider it a privilege to be here at Auburn University, this great campus, and to have this opportunity to present the scientific evidence for creation. I would say that the size of this crowd, you people here at Auburn are interested in something besides football. But I do have to say that when it comes to football you do excel. But we’re not here tonight to talk about football, but where did we come from? How did we get here? How can we account for our origins?


I want to make it clear, first of all, what we are not debating about here this evening. We are not debating about the age of the earth. It’s not an issue of creation versus evolution, because there are creationists who hold both views. Some creationists insist that the evidence would support the idea that the earth is very old, and the geological ages are real, and that God created, but that there were long periods of time between these various acts of creation. There are others who take the view that creation occurred within a short period of time, and rather recently, and that things therefore are relatively young, compared to the billions of years that have been suggested. So creationists take both views {1}, so obviously it’s not an issue in creation and evolution.

We are not discussing the Biblical record of creation. Some aspects of that Biblical record, there’s no way scientifically to test it, you would not know whether God had created in six days, instantaneously, six thousand years, or what, you see. We would not know whether God had created a single family, or thousands of families, there would be no way of knowing that, so we’re not here to discuss that this evening. Although, it’s quite evident Dr. Saladin knows practically nothing about the Bible, from these suggestions that he’s made here tonight supposedly what the Bible teaches is absolutely ridiculous. And that simply is a demonstration of his ignorance about what the Bible really does say {2}. We’re not here to talk about that tonight.

We’re not here to talk about anybody’s theology, what Dr. Morris may believe, as a Christian, as a Bible-believing Christian. That’s not what we’re here to discuss tonight. What we are here to discuss is how did this universe and its living organisms come into being. Were they created naturalistically, by a process of self-transformation, or are they results of the deliberate creative acts of an intelligent Creator?


Now first of all let’s get a clear idea of what the theory of evolution is all about. May we have the first slide please? [SLIDE 1: Quote from Huxley] We see the definition of evolution according to Julian Huxley. This is what he says: "Evolution in the extended sense can be defined as a directional and essentially irreversible process, occurring in time, which in its course gives rise to an increase of variety, and an increasingly high level of organization in its progress. Our present knowledge indeed forces us to the view that the whole of reality is evolution, a single process of self-transformation." Now, first of all, ladies and gentleman, please note, according to evolutionary theory, everything has come into being by a process of self -transformation. Now certainly, not all evolutionists are atheists; as a matter of fact most are not. But the theory of evolution is a non -theistic theory {3}. By definition, God is excluded from this process. He had nothing to do with it. It was a process of self-transformation.

Notice furthermore, it is a directional process. It goes from disorder to order. Disorder created order. We went from simplicity to complexity, to ever and ever higher levels of organization. As a matter of fact one of the more popular theories on the universe is called the Big Bang Theory. According to that theory all the energy and matter in the universe, everything in your body, everything in the entire universe, was crammed together in a huge cosmic egg or subatomic particles and radiation. Now of course, nobody knows where the cosmic egg came from, or how it got there. Somebody suggested perhaps the cosmic chicken laid the cosmic egg. Of course then you have to ask the question of where’d the cosmic chicken come from? But anyhow, it exploded, and out of this huge explosion, hydrogen gas was generated. And some helium. And these gases expanded out in the vast stretches of the universe. Now at that time, that’s all there was. Hydrogen gas was the universe. And somehow from this hydrogen gas stars created themselves, galaxies created themselves, our solar system created itself, life evolved into everything living today, and that has ever lived, including people. We have 30 trillion cells in our bodies, of more than 200 varieties, including 12 billion brain cells, and more than 120 trillion connections in the human brain. And that has all been produced by hydrogen gas. According to this theory. Someone has said that if that’s true then we could say that hydrogen is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas, which if given sufficient time, becomes people {4}. And of course this is precisely what evolutionists believe, because there was nothing but hydrogen then, now we have people, obviously the only place we could have come from is from this hydrogen gas. I, as a scientist I find that notion to be absolutely incredible, I don’t know how anybody could even believe such a thing, but they do believe it.

Now notice furthermore, according to this theory, everything is a product of evolution, not only the galaxies and stars and our solar system and all living organisms, but our consciousness, our ability to remember the past and plan for the future, as a matter of fact our very faith in God is nothing more than a product of evolution, beginning with this hydrogen gas {5}.


Now, we contrast that to creation, basic creation. Basic creation is theistic and deliberate acts of an intelligent Creator {6}. Natural laws now existing were not responsible for the origin of the universe and its living organisms. They are the products of the Creator. We must step beyond these natural laws and processes to explain the origin of the universe and the origin of living things. Now I would agree with Dr. Saladin that a scientist must use only natural laws and natural processes to explain the operation of the natural universe and the operation of living organisms. That’s the only way a scientist can operate. Certainly as a biochemist I assume what I saw happening today had happened in the past and would happen in the future. That’s the only way a scientist can operate. But that is when we’re trying to understand and explain the operation of the universe, and the operation of living organisms. The evolutionist goes beyond that. He steps outside the limits of empirical science. He says, we must also use those very same natural laws to explain the origin of the universe, and the origin of life, and the origin of man and all other living organisms. Now he’s beyond empirical science. He’s not dealing with the here and now, he’s not dealing with the empirically observable, testable theories {7}. But he’s trying to infer what may have happened in the unobservable past, and that’s what the creation-scientist is doing. And they have equal scientific validity and certainly evolution is just as religious as creation {8}.


But I want to point out that there’s tremendous, tremendous turmoil in this field of evolution today. I’m not saying that thousands and millions of evolutionists are losing faith in evolution. But I do want to say this: that they’re becoming very troubled about many aspects of the theory. They’re beginning to see problems, they’re beginning to see that there’s something drastically wrong with Darwinism. Here’s an article published in Newsweek , April 8, 1985, the author Sharon Baigley [spelling?]. She says and I quote, "The great body of work, deriving from Charles Darwin’s revolutionary 1859 book, On the Origin of Species, is under increasing attack, and not just from creationists." Then discussing some of the events that have taken place she goes on to say this: "So heated is the debate that one Darwinian says that there are times when he thinks about going into a field with more intellectual honesty, the used car business." Now ladies and gentlemen that’s not a creationist who said that, that was an evolutionist who said that.

By the way can you hear me? You understand what I’m saying? Can you hear me all right? [Audience assent.] Okay, all right. Now, I want to quote from this book here. You know, Dr. Saladin, and evolutionists they make all kind of charges against creationists, how we may distort scientists or we quote of context or we do this or we do that. That cannot be said about the author of this book. He is not a creationist and he is not a professing Christian. He’s Dr. Michael Denton, who has earned two doctorates from British universities. He’s now in genetic engineering research in Australia. He’s written this book called Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. Now this is the description of the book, written by this scientist, who certainly has no prejudice toward the creation point of view. If anything he’d have an inclination toward the evolutionist point of view. This is what we read on the flap of the book: "The theory of evolution, as propounded by Darwin and elaborated into ‘accepted fact’ (quote, unquote) by biologists, is in serious trouble. This sober, authoritative, and responsible book by a practicing scientist presents an accurate account of the rapidly accumulating evidence, which threatens to destroy almost every cherished tenet of Darwinian evolution." Later it says, "Not only has paleontology failed spectacularly to come up with the fossil missing links which Darwin anticipated, but hypothetical reconstructions of major evolutionary developments, such as that linking birds to reptiles, are beginning to look more and more like science fiction, rather than serious, uh, are beginning to look more and more like science fiction fantasies than serious conjectures." Later on it says, "Most important of all, the discoveries of molecular biologists, of whom Michael Denton is one, far from strengthening Darwinian claims, are throwing more and more doubt upon the correctness of the whole theory." That’s the opinion of Dr. Michael Denton, neither a professing Christian nor a cre—-, a creationist. But that’s his analysis of the evolution theory of every count. According to Dr. Denton, evolution strikes out {9}.


Now, let’s take a look at some of the evidence. What would be expected if evolution is true? Right now in the real world. Now I think you would agree, that if everything started with the Big Bang, which generated hydrogen gas, and everything in existence today had come from hydrogen gas, over several billion years, matter must have that natural tendency. Matter must have this intrinsic ability to transform itself from disorder to order, and from simple to complex. Obviously that must be true, if evolution is true, we ought to have a natural law today which describes that intrinsic ability of matter. On the other hand if creation is true we would not expect that to be the case. If, we, we would not expect matter to have a natural tendency to go to higher and higher levels of organization. But, if anything has happened, since creation, a change in the original created state, since it could not promote matter upward, it might cause matter to go downward. In other words, based upon creation, we might expect that matter would have a natural tendency to go from order to disorder, from complex to simple {10}. So evolutionists say that everything should be going this way, creationists say probably they should be going that way.

Now let’s go out there in the real world and take a look. Let’s see what’s going on out there. Now I don’t care whether you call it a law or not, that’s immaterial. What is going on out there? Now I’m going to let Isaac Asimov answer that question. Isaac Asimov is a very strong anticreationist. He is of course a world, very well-known scientist. And he has made some interesting statements concerning this tendency of matter to deteriorate, to run down, is so universal it’s been formalized as a law of science, the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Let’s see what Dr. Asimov has to say about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, next slide please. [Wrong slide projected] Well that’s just the human brain to illustrate the vast complexity of life. The next slide please. [SLIDE 2: Quote from Asimov]

Here’s what Dr. Asimov has to say about the second law of thermodynamics. He says and I quote, "Another way of stating the Second Law, then, is, the universe is constantly getting more disorderly. Viewed that way we can see the Second Law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room. If left to itself it becomes a mess again, very quickly and very easily. Even if we don’t enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order. How easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing , and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself. And that is what the Second Law of Thermodynamics is all about, it seems to me evolution is in trouble. Notice everything, from the state of the galaxies down to the molecular level, everything tends to deteriorate, and run down and decay, to become disorganized, to lose its structure, to lose its organization. Ladies and gentleman the universe is going in the wrong direction for evolution. Fact this entire universe is running down and deteriorating. Other words, if there is no God, or if God would not intervene, if this universe is left to itself to take its natural course, it is going to die, because the day will come, when every star in the universe will have exhausted all of its fuel, and when that day comes, the lights are going to go out. There’ll be no more activity, there’ll be no more life anywhere in the universe. Now the universe will still be here but it’ll be a dead universe.

I hope Dr. Saladin doesn’t say anything about open and closed systems. The Second Law applies to all systems, open or closed, the natural tendency of all systems to deteriorate, and it always, without exception, applies to an isolated system. Now in Dr. Saladin’s view and the view of the evolutionists, the universe is an isolated system. Nobody did any work on it, nobody brought anything in from the outside, everything that took place during the origin of universe, was a process of self-transformation, just as Huxley has said. The Second Law of Thermodynamics always, without exception, applies to isolated systems, and in their view the universe is an isolated system. There’s no doubt the Second Law applies to the origin of the universe. The Second Law says that such a system can never, ever become more complex, more highly structured, more highly organized, but it will inevitably run down and deteriorate to become less organized and more random. And yet the evolutionists insist on believing that the universe started with some explosive Big Bang, with all that chaos and disorder and the simplicity of hydrogen gas, and all we had was hydrogen gas, and it was hydrogen gas than transformed itself into the universe today including you. Clear violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Now this is, ladies and gentlemen, if we’re gonna be scientists, if we’re gonna say we go by natural laws and processes, let’s hold to that. Creation-scientist says the universe is not an isolated system. There must be something external to it, therefore what we characterize as supernatural, and it had to be this supernatural Creator that, who introduced the order and complexity into the universe. It could not have created itself.


Now let’s leave this for a little bit and take a look at the very, the vast complexity of life. We can just flippantly declare as Dr. Saladin has said that this happened, that happened, and so forth and so on, we got this and we got that. Well you can subject that to scientific scrutiny. May I have the next slide? [SLIDE 3: artist’s conception of a cell interior] Here’s a, here’s a cell, living cell. Now, a cell, a living cell, whether it’s a bacterium or an ameba, a human cell, it’s not just a bag of chemicals. Oh, you do have thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of incredibly complex molecules in each cell, different kinds of molecules, hundreds and hundreds of different kinds of protein molecules, hundreds and hundreds of different kinds of DNA, and RNA molecules, with thousands of subunits arranged in precise order. And it’s true of proteins. The average protein has four hundred amino acids in it. Some have more than two thousand, arranged in precise order.

Now these molecules aren’t just gonna spontaneously get together and start organizing themselves into a living cell. Remember the Second Law of Thermodynamics? There’s no natural tendency to do that. To suggest that is pseudoscience. Molecules don’t do that {13}. Molecules spontaneously deteriorate and break down, any system does that. How could this incredibly complex system organize itself even if you had proteins and DNA, and RNA, when the natural tendency is precisely to go in the other direction. Here we have a living cell with an incredibly complex membrane. It has energy factories, protein factories, it’s got all that genetic material, and put together in just a particular way, just like your watch. You can’t get a watch by taking it all apart, putting it in a bag, and shaking up that bag. You’ll never get a watch that way, it never happens. It takes a watchmaker to do that. And all these parts in that cell are precisely put together in just a unique fashion for life to exist. And evolutionists want us to believe that that just happened naturally and spontaneously on this earth. Ladies and gentlemen that’s not science, that’s pseudoscience. That’s a nature myth that man has invented to explain this origin without God {14}.

Next slides please. [SLIDE 4: Cover of London Daily Express] Here’s a newspaper article that appeared in the Daily Express, London, August 14th, 1981. Two skeptical scientists put their heads together and reach an amazing conclusion: there must be a God. Who are these two scientists? One of them is Sir Fred Hoyle, famous British astronomer, one of the world’s foremost astronomers. The other one his friend, Dr. Chandra Wickramasinghe, professor and chairman of the department of applied mathematics and astronomy, University College, Cardiff, Wales. Also a very well-known British astronomer. These two scientists became interested in the problem of the origin of life. At that time they were both atheists. So naturally their total inclination was to accept the evolutionist point of view. They started, then they calculated the probability of that happening on this earth in five billion years. The probability? One chance out of the number one followed by 40,000 zeroes. That’s just flatly zero of course. But they said that the universe has a hundred billion galaxies, there’s a hundred billion stars in each galaxy, we will assume that every star in the universe has a planet like the earth, we will assume that the universe is 20 billion years old.

Now let us calculate the probability that life has evolved somewhere in the universe in that 20 billion years. The probability? Forget about it. The probability was so low that it was essentially nil. Sir Fred declared that the probability of evolution is equal to the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard would assemble a Boeing 747 {16}. [Audience laughter] I tell people, if you want to believe that, that’s okay, but let’s just don’t call it science. Now these two scientists, today, they don’t believe the Bible, the don’t believe the Book of Genesis, but they do believe that wherever life exists it had to be created. Did they become creationists in spite of their religion. Because when they began this study, they were both atheists. Wickramasinghe says he doesn’t feel very comfortable with this idea, but he said he could find no logical way out of it. Now if that evidence is enough to convince these two atheists, or ex-atheists, on the basis of hard scientific facts, it ought to be sufficient to convince anybody, who has an open mind who is willing to accept the evidence as it comes.


Now, let us leave this world of the present. Let us go and see this world of the past, the fossil record. Let’s take a look now, of course on the basis of evolution we would expect the fossil record to produce a tremendous number of transitional forms. After all we have a quarter of a million different fossil species in our museums today, a quarter of a million different fossil species. If evolution is true, tens of thousands of those things should be of undoubted transitional forms, I mean beyond dispute, there’d be no quarrel {17}. I could not be here tonight, there’d be no debate about the subject. If evolution is true, the evidence would be so overwhelming in our museums there’d be absolutely no question about it. If the fish evolved to an amphibian, fins have to change into feet and legs {18}. If a reptile evolved into birds, scales have to change into feathers, forelegs into wings {19}. If apes evolved into people there’d be a whole series of transitional forms {20}. Why, most everything you’d find in the fossil record would be a transitional form. Hundreds and hundreds of millions of years of evolution producing millions of these things. We ought to have a vast storehouse of those transitional forms today.

On the other hand if creation is true, we’d expect each one of the creation kinds, what we might call basic morphological designs, or basic types, we’d expect each one to appear abruptly, fully formed, with no indication that they had evolved from a common ancestor {21}. Now look, the contrast between creation and evolution, the prediction based upon creation and evolution as far as the fossil record is so immense, it should be a rather simple thing and there’s just simply no contest. When this is done creation wins hands down. Now Darwin realized the fossil record was an embarrassment to his theory, but the expected the missing links to be discovered. Well we’re a hundred and twenty-five, a hundred and thirty years after Darwin, and the missing links are still missing {22}.

Let’s take a look at the fossil record now or some aspects of it. Next slide please. [SLIDE 5: artist’s conception of Cambrian seascape] Here’s a reconstruction of animals whose fossils are found in Cambrian rocks. Evolutionists believe the Cambrian rocks began to form 600 million years ago, as sediments slowly settled out of the water. I don’t have the foggiest notion how you’d ever get a single fossil under conditions like that, because when animals die and float around in the water, or lie around on the ground, you never get a fossil that way. Oxidation, bacterial decomposition, chemical decomposition, all kinds of processes, scavenging and so forth, destroys everything. To get a fossil they have to be buried and buried quickly {23}. Now we have billions times billions of fossils like this. We have tens, even tens of millions of fossil fishes in our museums. Billions of fossil fishes can be found in rather small areas. I don’t see how in the world you’d ever get all of that by so-called process, but, let’s just look at their model shall we? Let’s assume that that all happened. In the sedimentary material which formed rocks, and rocks will form rapidly with cementing agents, we find this tremendous array of very complicated creatures. We find for example the jellyfish, branching sponges, sea urchins, trilobites, the swimming [1-2 words inaudible], sea lilies, clams, snails, brachiopods, worms, a great variety of very highly complex invertebrates. Now, evolutionists believe that these things evolved beginning with a little single-called microscopic organism, and there’s supposed to be hundreds of hundreds of millions of years, even three billion years from the appearance of that first microscopic organism and this explosion of these very, very complicated invertebrates. Now, in the rocks that are supposedly older than the Cambrian rocks, Precambrian rocks, many of which are undisturbed, perfectly suitable for the preservation of fossils, in those rocks, there are many reports of microscopic, single-celled, bacteria and algae. Ladies and gentleman if we can find fossils of little microscopic bacteria, we could certainly find fossils of everything between those creatures and these creatures. Our museums should have millions and millions of fossils of the evolutionary predecessors of these creatures. Ladies and gentleman they don’t have one. Not even one! Not a single evolutionary ancestor of these creatures have ever been found {24}.

Now, in the Ediacaran fauna, first discovered in Australia, now known to be worldwide, there are many fossils of very complex creatures that are soft-bodied, believed to be, originally to be jellyfish and things like that. It has been shown by the German paleontologist Seilacher, as confirmed by Stephen Jay Gould, that those creatures are very, very different from these Cambrian animals, they cannot possibly have been the ancestors of these creatures. Stephen Jay Gould said that still leaves us with no ancestors for these creatures. Ladies and gentleman, every one of these very complex creatures are very different forms, they are highly diversified. Not a single ancestor has ever been found. Now look, evolution can not be true. You j—-, look, you just simply have this sudden appearance of this great array of invertebrates with absolutely no ancestors. That settles the matter. We don’t even have to talk any further about the fossil record. Evolution has not taken place. That is if we want to believe empirical, scientific evidence.

But more than that ladies and gentlemen, supposedly one of these creatures evolved into a fish. They would have us believe it took a hundred million years. Can you imagine how many billions times billions times billions of those creatures would have lived and died during those hundred million years? Our museums would have millions and millions of fossils of the various intermediate stages, showing some invertebrate, maybe a worm, maybe a sea urchin — who knows? — evolving into a fish. A vertebrate, with an internal skeleton, tremendous difference, than an invertebrate. Ladies and gentlemen, nobody has ever found one, single fossil of an intermediate, not one! {25} Now there’s no quarrel about this ladies and gentlemen, there’s no dispute, no paleontologist who knows anything about it would ever quarrel with that statement. Every major kind of fish that we know anything about has had its origin firmly based in nothing. They just popped into the fossil record fully formed. Vertebrates, you see, fish are supposed to be the first vertebrate, vertebrates have no ancestors. We are vertebrates, therefore, we have no ancestors, and evolution simply is impossible {26}. It has not taken place, ladies and gentlemen. The fossil record is very clear about that. One can believe, if you want to, that fishes evolved from an invertebrate. Believe it! But that’s all it is, a belief, and it’s an irrational belief, it’s unscientific, it’s pseudoscience to believe something like that. The fossil record is very clear that evolution has not taken place {27}.

And there’s much more, next slide please. [SLIDE 6: fossil dragonfly] Flight occurs in four different classes of animals, flying insects, birds, bats which are flying mammals, and flying reptiles. Now there’s [?] opportunities and [?] transitional forms. Millions and millions of years involved in each case. Well there’s a fossil dragonfly, supposedly 380 million years old. What is it? Just a dragonfly. There are absolutely no intermediate forms, not even one, between a non-flying insects and a flying insect. Ladies and gentlemen we have many fossils of non-flying insects, some supposedly between 300 and 400 million years old. We have many fossils of flying insects, but not one single transitional form. Tremendous, powerful, positive evidence for creation {28}.

Next slide. [SLIDE 7: Fossil bat] There’s the bat Dr. Saladin showed you. According to Dr. Glenn Jepsen, who published this article, found in December 9, 1966, in Science magazine, he declared that was the oldest fossil bat that had ever been discovered. Dr. Saladin has tried to pretend that this was not [1-2 words inaudible]. According to Dr. Jepsen, it was, and certainly it was more recent than anything Romer published, and Jepsen is an expert in this area. He said this was the oldest fossil bat that has ever been discovered. Nothing related to a bat has ever been found that was older than that. We see the actual fossil bones and by the way from the structure of the skull we could tell that that bat had the incredibly complex sonar system found in many modern bats. You see the reconstruction of what the bat must have looked like. All right now according to Dr. Jepsen there’s the world’s oldest known bat and it is 100 percent bat. Ladies and gentlemen there’s absolutely not doubt about it. Bats have never found a single ancestor for a bat [sic] or a trace of a transitional form. They appear fully formed, and essentially no change, in assumed 50 million years since they appeared on this earth {29}.

Next slide please. [SLIDE 8: Flying reptile] Here’s the flying reptile, the pteranodon. These [?] reptiles had enormously long forefingers, supposedly a genetic accident, a genetic mistake or mutation, made the forefingers of the ancestral reptile slightly longer. For some strange reason it conferred survival value, [?] struggle for existence, and the reptile with slightly longer fingers replaced the original one, and a thousand years later it had another happy accident, fingers got just a wee bit longer and longer and longer, and we end up with this flying reptile. I can’t imagine how this reptile, with his forelimbs changed into wings, 25 percent wings, it couldn’t fly, and it couldn’t get around on the ground anymore, either. How could it catch its prey? How could it escape predators? Ridiculous! And furthermore, ladies and gentlemen, there’s not a trace of a transitional form, not even a trace! {30}

And the Archaeopteryx that Dr. Saladin talked about. Archaeopteryx had feathers identical to the feathers of modern birds. It had the basic avian wing. It had perching feet, a birdlike skull. The skull of the London specimen was dug out of the limestone recently and shown to be birdlike, not reptile-like {31}. It had a furcular wishbone, it had many features. As, as a matter of fact, as research has progressed, more and more of these so-called reptilian features have shown to be birdlike, not reptile-like. Now furthermore, ladies and gentlemen, just recently some fossils of a bird from Texas were discovered, which are supposed to be 75 million years older than Archaeopteryx . Seventy-five million years older than Archaeopteryx . Seventy-five million years older. And they’re even more birdlike than Archaeopteryx {32}. Absolutely contradictory to what an evolutionist would expect. Now, on a scale of one to ten, then, ladies and gentlemen, as far as flight is concerned we have to give it to the creationist about 9.9, or maybe 9.99. The evidence is powerful positive evidence for creation.


The next slide please. [SLIDE 9: artist’s conception of human evolutionary series. Now, here’s the idea suggested by evolutionists. We went from some ape, or apelike creature, to the human. These hundreds and hundreds of intermediate stages, they’ve been trying to find these intermediates. From time to time they suggest an intermediate and the next slide. [SLIDE 10: Australopithecus skull] This is a skull [5-6 words inaudible] of Australopithecus, found by Dr. Louis Leakey and his wife Mary. And more recently Dr. Donald Johansen has found a series of fossils in Ethiopia, of the australopithecines. One was a female, 40 percent complete, he called her Lucy. He claimed Lucy had the jaws, teeth, face, and brain of an ape {33}, but she walked upright, like a human mammal. Therefore he said it must be on its way to becoming man. And this is the general idea, it’s widely accepted, that these australopithecines were apelike, but they walked erect. But that has been contradicted by the very very careful research of Lord Zuckerman, very famous British anatomist, Dr. Charles Oxnard, University of Southern California medical school {34}. Neither is a creationist. According to their research on fossils that were one to two million years younger than these creatures, and therefore they should be more manlike, more advanced {35}. According to their researches, these creatures did not walk upright, they are not intermediate between ape and man, and they are certainly not our ancestors.

Now, if you throw this out there’s just not much left on that family tree of man. The next slide please. [SLIDE 11: Piltdown] Here’s the famous Piltdown man, reconstructed from a few fragments of a jaw and fragments of a skull, discovered in 1912. And for 50 years, evolutionists said that this creature was our evolutionary ancestor, combining apelike features with human-like features, until it was shown to be a hoax by a chemist in 1950. It was a deliberate fraud. Somebody took the jawbone of an ape and a human skull, just treated them with chemicals to make them look old, filed the teeth to make them look manlike, put ’em in a gravel pit and fooled the world’s greatest authorities {36}.

And then a single tooth was discovered in western Nebraska in 1922. Evolutionists were very excited by the discovery of this tooth because they thought it had some characteristics intermediate between ape and man. They couldn’t decide whether it was an apelike man or a manlike ape. In 1922, based upon the descriptions of these scientists, the Illustrated London News published a picture of this famous Nebraska man, shown in the next slide. [SLIDE 12: Forestier’s drawing of "Nebraska Man"] There we see the picture of the man, a picture of his wife, the picture of the tools they were using, all based upon that one single tooth. [Audience laughter] Science is a fascinating subject isn’t it? Well a few years later they discovered some additional remains of that creature and it turned out to be neither an apelike man nor a manlike ape, it turned out to be a pig. [Laughter] That’s right it was nothing more than a pig’s tooth but that is what is presented to us in 1922 as evidence for human evolution, no more than a pig’s tooth {37}.

Next slide. [SLIDE 13: Neanderthal] And then we have the famous Neanderthal man. There’s an early pictorial of Neanderthal man, as this long-armed, knuckle dragging, beetle-browed, stoop-shouldered, bow-legged sub-human. Until, after nearly a hundred years, it was discovered that Neanderthal people suffered from arthritis, rickets and vitamin D deficiency and other conditions which made these things look primitive, but they were human Homo sapiens, next slide [SLIDE 14: Neanderthal] we see the modern version of Neanderthal man from the American Museum of Natural History, fully human. You see he wasn’t our ancestor, he was man. Nebraska man was not our ancestor but a pig’s tooth. Piltdown man was not our ancestor, just an ape jaw and a human skull. Ramapithecus turned out not to be our ancestor, but an orangutan. And so it goes, and so it goes. Ladies and gentlemen, australopithe—-, well Lord Zuckerman said, that if man has evolved from an apelike creature, there’s certainly no evidence for it in the fossil record. I agree with that scientist, who is an evolutionist, his analysis I believe is the best analysis available.


Now finally, ladies and gentlemen, I want to pose this challenge to Dr. Saladin to explain the evolution of metamorphosis. Darwin said that if we could describe one single structure, one single organism, that could not be explained by evolution it would disprove his theory. Literally, there are thousands. Here’s one, next slide please. [SLIDE 14: Monarch] Here’s a monarch butterfly, next slide. [SLIDE 15: Eggs] It lays eggs, if it’s female, on the left is a newly laid egg, on the right’s a developing egg. Next slide. [SLIDE 16: Caterpillar] Out of this egg a caterpillar hatches. We see the caterpillar, notice that it’s eaten a hole in the leaf, it had mouthparts for chewing leaves, and it crawls. Next slide. [SLIDE 17] Then it goes through a number of molts as it, as it matures, and, and, it becomes larger, and uh, then, I guess it got an urge to hang-glide up in the air and fly. It had a wonderful idea you see, nothing about a caterpillar that would recommend it to be a butterfly, so it had to go right back to ground zero, next slide please. [SLIDE 18: Pre-pupa] And go right back to ground zero, next slide please. [SLIDE 19] It’s shed it’s outer covering, its final molt, next slide [SLIDE 20]. And now there it is, the chrysalis. It has converted itself into a mass of jelly in this cocoon. There it is, just a mass of jelly.

Now, one big problem. It’s got to learn how to program a mass of jelly to become a butterfly! {38} How would a caterpillar, step by step by step, through a series of genetic mistakes, change itself from a caterpillar into a butterfly? No, it doesn’t do that, at all. It reduces itself to a mass of jelly, which is then programmed to become a butterfly. Next slide please. [SLIDE 21: Butterfly visible within chrysalis] Now we see the developing butterfly in the cocoon, the next slide. [SLIDE 22: Eclosion] And the adult butterfly emerges. Now ladies and gentlemen please, think about this a moment. How would this take place by Darwinian evolution, step by step? Now remember, all the changes were just mistakes, they were genetic errors, mutations, almost everything which is bad, and I believe they’re all bad I’ve seen no convincing evidence for a good mutation {39}, but assume that one very very rarely just happened to be good. How would a caterpillar, going through these small changes, due to genetic errors, change from a caterpillar into a butterfly? Would it first begin to shed a couple of those feet, and start getting little wings budding out or something like that? How would that take place? {40}

I challenge Dr. Saladin to explain the metamorphosis of a butterfly, or the metamorphosis of a frog, as it goes from a larva to an adult {41}. You see, ladies and gentlemen, in that fertilized egg, the program is already there. The entire program for converting that egg into a caterpillar, and then into a mass of jelly, and then into a butterfly, is programmed in that genetic material. Do you really believe that a caterpillar could somehow learn to program a mass of jelly to become a butterfly, a butterfly that has wings and had mouthparts for sucking nectar, totally different, you see, than what we would expect for the caterpillar.

Ladies and gentlemen, I maintain, that the evidence that we have, the laws of science, the laws of thermodynamics, the laws of probability, the fossil record, tremendous evidence for creation. I maintain that as a scientist, the best statement we can make scientifically that we can make concerning our origins is still, that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth {42}. Thank you very much. [Applause]

Moderator: We’re going to have a ten-minute break so we’ll probably want some lights, and then we’ll come back to hear the rebuttals, and for your questions.

Annotations to Gish’s opening statement are meant to comment on some of his statements which could not be discussed within the time constraints of the debate.

1. Gish says in debates "we are not debating about the age of the earth," but in print he claims there is credible evidence the earth is only 10,000 to 20,000 years old (see my Opening Statement, note 14). Many who have debated Gish have tried to get him to defend this and have proposed that the debate be held, at least in part, on this issue. Gish has always refused. One can only conclude that he is so evasive about this point out of fear that he cannot publicly defend it.

2. In this and the 1984 debate, Gish speaks of the Bible like one whose knowledge and insights are limited to Sunday School lessons. My comments are based on my own reading of it, discussions with members of the clergy, and reading a body of Christian scholarship on the Bible. All one has to do to see which of us more correctly represents the "scientific" assertions of the Bible is to read the citations in "Opening Statement for the Affirmative," note 11. For further discussions of the Biblical creation accounts see: (1) James W. Skehan, 1986. The age of the earth, of life, and of mankind: Geology and biblical theology versus creationism. Pp. 10-32 in Science and Creation: Geological, Theological, and Educational Perspectives (R.W. Hanson, ed.) New York: Macmillan. (2) James W. Skehan. 1986. Modern Science and the Book of Genesis. Washington: National Science Teachers Association. See also "First Rebuttal for the Negative," note 3.

3. Gish distorts the meaning of evolution as a ploy to make it more assailable (the straw man tactic). First, he cites a popularized definition rather than a scientific one. Julian Huxley drew a number of philosophical extrapolations from evolution, and the definition Gish cites is philosophical rather than scientific. Probably I should have given a definition and synopsis of evolution in this debate, as I did in 1984. Correctly stated, evolution simply says this: Populations of organisms exhibit genetic change over a period of time, and this enables them to adapt to changes in their environment. If Gish had defined evolution correctly, he would have found it difficult or impossible to refute in this debate. It is clear from Evolution? The Fossils Say No! That even he accepts evolution on these terms.

Second, he invidiously defines evolution as self-transformation. It would be more accurate to say that populations undergo transformation in response to external factors (mutagens, selection pressures, etc.) than to describe it as directional self-transformation.

Third, he describes it as a non-theistic theory "by definition." This is utter nonsense. Neither theism nor atheism is inherent in any scientific definition of evolution. To say evolution is a non-theistic theory is no more relevant than to attack organic chemistry or trigonometry because they are taught without reference to divine intervention. Why doesn’t Gish attack the educational establishment for teaching "atheistic, materialistic trigonometry"? Did his chemistry professors explain reaction kinetics theistically?

4. It is a facile ploy to ridicule evolution as a theory that "hydrogen is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas, which if given sufficient time, becomes people." Anything can be made to look ridiculous expressed in the right terms. But the burden on Gish would be to prove what step or steps in this process are impossible. Is it unbelievable or impossible that, as they cooled, subatomic particles would assemble into the simplest of atoms, hydrogen (a negative electron attracted to a positive proton)? Is it impossible that hydrogen nuclei would combine to yield helium? Just what step in the evolution of the elements does he believe to be impossible, and why, exactly? Given the existence of the elements, is it impossible they would form compounds? Is there some reason hydrogen and nitrogen could not possibly form ammonia? That carbon and oxygen could not form carbon monoxide? Gish may scoff all he wishes, but I doubt that he is capable of constructing a logically and scientifically sound argument to show at what step evolution becomes impossible.

5. To point out that "our very faith in God is nothing more than a product of evolution" is another specious ploy to make evolution appear antireligious. Gish uses this ploy regardless of whether his debate opponent ever mentions anything concerning religion. He seems incapable of arguing his point without introducing religious ideas into it; creation "science" is inescapably a religious doctrine.

6. Gish attempts to erect a dichotomy in which one must choose either "godless evolution" or "theistic creation." The fallacy of this dichotomy is evident in his earlier statement that "certainly, not all evolutionists are atheists; as a matter of fact most are not" ("Opening Statement for the Negative"). It would be more to the point to say that creation is inescapably theistic, whereas evolution is noncommittal on this point.

7. The historical sciences are not outside the realm of empiricism, as Gish would have us believe. For example if we find a layer of volcanic ash in a sedimentary facies, we can infer that a volcano erupted thereabouts and we can get an approximation of the date of that eruption. We do not need a written eyewitness account of the eruption to make sound inferences from empirical data.

8. The statement that evolution is just as religious as creation leaves one wondering what Gish’s idea of "religion" is! My concept is that religion entails a belief in the supernatural, a system of worship, and a body of dogma. There are others who define religion so loosely as to include Confucianism, Marxism, and football — seeming to require scarcely any more qualification to be "religious" than zealous or dogmatic commitment. I would submit that if religion is defined so loosely, it becomes an empty, meaningless statement to call something a religion or for someone to claim to be religious, Gish may accept such a meaningless idea of what religion is about, but I doubt that most religious people do.

9. I remember in the 5th grade we had to submit a certain quota of book reports each school term. Many children tried to get around this by reading nothing more than just the dust jacket and submitting a written summary of that. Gish has given us nothing more than a brief summary of the dust jacket, leaving us to wonder if he has ever read the book itself. He tells us nothing about what Denton himself has written or why Denton makes the claims Gish says he does. All he has told us is what someone else (unnamed) thinks about Denton’s book.

10. Gish commits a nonsequitur here. He never explains why, "based upon creation, we might expect that matter would have a natural tendency to go from order to disorder, from complex to simple." Why is it not equally plausible that God created a simple world and endowed it with the capacity to become more complex (e.g., from the simple agrarian skills of Cain to the complex industrialized society of today)? The only basis I can think of for Gish’s statement is that creationists tend to believe the world has gotten worse ever since. Again, there is a hidden theological foundation behind Gish’s so-called science.

11. As he did in defining evolution, Gish again relies on a popularized, layman’s source for his concept of thermodynamics. If he had defined thermodynamics from a physics textbook or the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, he would be unable to argue for any conflict between thermodynamics and evolution. Once again, Gish has relied on a straw man tactic. See my comments in the first rebuttal under the heading, "The Second Law of Thermodynamics."

12. The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not have to account for, or be consistent with, the ultimate origin of the universe. As I point out in my answer to Questioner 5 in the "Question-Answer Period," like other laws of physics the Second Law only describes the behavior of the universe since the Big Bang. Before this Big Bang there was no such thing as time (so actually "before the Big Bang" becomes an internally contradictory phrase!), and the speed of light, the gravitational constant, the Second Law, and so forth did not exist. Gish does not seem to understand this and thinks that wherever or however the "cosmic egg" came into being, that coming into being could not violate the Second Law. For further discussion of creationists’ misunderstanding of the Second Law, see: (1) William Thwaites and Frank Awbrey, 1981. Biological evolution and the second law. Creation/Evolution IV:5-7. (2) Stanley Freske. 1981. Creationist misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and misuse of the second law of thermodynamics. Creation/Evolution IV:8-16. See also discussions of thermodynamics and cosmic origins later in the debate ("First Rebuttal for the Affirmative").

13. Gish claims there is no way molecules could organize themselves into anything like a living cell. He cites the cell membrane as an example. The most striking aspect of a cell membrane structure is the precise way in which phospholipid molecules arrange themselves (see any college biology textbook for a description). Yet if phospholipid is dropped into water, it spontaneously organizes itself in the same way. No divine help or intelligent design appears to be necessary. At a more complex level of organization, Sidney Fox has shown that abiotically formed organic molecules arrange themselves into cell-like spheroids ("protenoid microspheres" or "protocells") with many of the physiological characteristics of cells (see the references in note 16, "Opening Statement for the Affirmative.").

14. Gish makes it sound as if evolution were "invented to explain this origin [of life] without God." Nonsense! In the first place the theory of evolution was not invented to explain the origin of life at all, but the history of life after its origin. In the second place the theory has its historical origins in three people: Charles Darwin, whose college training was in divinity, who had planned to enter the clergy, and whose Origin of Species concluded with the belief that life had originated with an act of divine creation; Alfred Wallace, who to his death believed evolution to be impossible without divine guidance and who was a devotee of spiritualism and supernaturalism; and Gregor Mendel, who was an Austrian monk and latter the abbot of his monastery. (I say Mendel inasmuch as evolutionary theory is a theory of population genetics; Mendel was the founder of genetics; and Mendel realized the possible significance of his theory to the theory of evolution and sent his manuscript to Darwin for his consideration, though there is no indicated Darwin got around to reading it.) I would dearly love to see some historical foundation behind Gish’s ridiculous claim that evolutionary theory was invented to explain the origin of life without having to admit a belief in God!

15. Ah, there’s the rub — the assumptions that Hoyle and Wickramasinghe made in order to arrive at their statistical conclusion. As my rebuttal shows, their demonstrably false conclusion is attributable to their fallacious assumptions.

16. The tornado-in-a junkyard analogy is the logical equivalent of the older watchmaker analogy. The latter dates from William Paley’s Natural Theology (1802). Neither of these is a valid analogy to the self-organizing abilities of organic molecules. No one has ever been able to show any inherent ability of watch pieces or scraps of junk to assemble themselves into an aircraft. Therefore if we sent an astronaut to Mars and she found a pocket watch there, the inescapable conclusion would be that someone had already been there. But if we went to Mars and found amino acids, no such conclusion would be necessary because we now know amino acids can form in the absence of living cells. (Indeed they do form in outer space, as we have found them in meteorites.) Unlike watch parts, molecules do have known, inherent abilities to organize into more complex organic molecules, including proteins. A protracted debate on this subject between Norman Geisler and several evolutionists appears in Creation/Evolution (issues XIII, XIV, XVI, XVII, and XVIII, dated Summer 1983 to Winter 1987-88).

To further analyze the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe tornado analogy, consider: Suppose a tornado has swept through a junkyard. Now we go in and we calculate the probability that this particular refrigerator door would have landed right here. Imagine all the possible places it could have landed! The odds of it landing right here are very small indeed. Now, what is the probability that the old sofa cushion also landed right over there? Again, very low. If we do this for 100 pieces of junk, we can statistically prove that particular array of junk was "impossible."

Furthermore, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe believe life on earth evolved from space microbes. Why didn’t they extend their statistical argument and calculate the probability that modern civilization evolved from these microbes? After all, they believe everything on earth originated with them. Based on their kind of reasoning, the evolution of modern culture from these microbes seems much less likely than the evolution of those microbes from nonliving molecules.

17. This prediction of innumerable transitional fossils is not necessarily what evolution predicts. At best it is what one might predict from phyletic gradualism (and even that is debatable), but phyletic gradualism isn’t the only theory of evolution around.

18. Evolutionary links from fins to feet are well documented. In our 1984 debate, where Gish and I directly questioned each other, I showed the skeletal anatomy of the forelimbs of a ray-finned fish, a lobe-finned fish, and a primitive amphibian. I challenged Gish to point out which of the three was at least similar to the other two, and he chose the ray-finned fish. That is, even to his eye the lobe-finned fish (of which the coelacanth is the most famous example) had forelimbs that looked more leglike than finlike.

19. The transition from forelegs to wings is also well-documented. The forelimb of Archaeopteryx has a skeletal structure not at all like that of modern birds Neornithes. Indeed it is so unlike a bird wing that until a specimen was found with feather impressions, Archaeopteryx was misclassified as a reptile. Its wing is essentially a reptilian leg with feathers on it. See note 31.

20. It is a misrepresentation of evolutionary theory to say it supposes humans evolved from apes. Apes are not much more similar to our last common ancestors than modern humans are. Apes and humans descended from a shared ancestor dissimilar to both. But aside from that, numerous transitional forms between those ancestors and modern humans have been found. Gish implies all these ancestors — fins to feet, legs to wings, "apes" to humans — are still undiscovered, when they are not.

One of the most amusing indications of the transitional nature of the hominid fossils is from the creationists’ own literature. If there is an ancestor with both human- and ape-like traits, we would expect to have difficulty deciding whether it should be considered a human or an ape. If there is no such link, the classification of any "hominid" fossil should be unmistakably either "human" or "ape." As C. Loring Brace points out (Creationists and pithecanthropines, Creation/Evolution XIX:16) Henry Morris writes that "Homo erectus was a true man, but somewhat degenerate in size and culture" (Scientific Creationism, p. 174), while Duane Gish says of the same creature, "We believe that the claim for a man-like series for Pithecanthropus [= H. Erectus] should be laid to rest" (Evolution? The Fossils Say No!, p. 127). Homo erectus is of such transitional character Gish interprets it as an ape and Morris interprets it as a human!

21. Gish says creationism merely predicts the abrupt appearance of "created kinds" with no trace of ancestors. He is being a bit disingenuous here by neglecting to inform this audience of the entirety of his creation model. His belief is that all basic kinds were created at the same time, in the literal 24-hour days of the Genesis creation week (Evolution? The Fossils Say No!, p. 42). Thus it is not enough for him to show that groups of organisms appear abruptly in the fossil record without ancestry (and he fails to show even this); he must show that they all appear at the same time. Why then, if his model is true, do we not find fish, reptiles, mammals, and so forth in Cambrian rock? It is harmonious then (and not even all invertebrate groups), with vertebrate classes and other groups making their appearance in the fossil record at intervals of many millions of years from each other. (See my opening statement.)

22. Gish says the missing links are still missing. Some are, some aren’t. He simply ignores the many fossil links that have been found. This represents his selective attention only to the data that he thinks supports his viewpoint.

23. Fossils are sometimes formed pursuant to quick, catastrophic, mass burials. No doubt the eruption of Mt. St. Helens will result in production of many fossils. In other cases large numbers of fossils become buried at one location over a longer time period, as when animal carcasses are carried downriver and deposited at a bend. But Gish is being either naive or dishonest to deny that they could ever be formed by slow burial, that decomposition and scavenging would invariably prevent such a thing. They can be formed, for example, in the hypolimnion of a lake where conditions are anaerobic, stagnant, and sterile, and the rate of burial by sedimentation is greater than the rate at which animal or plant remains are scattered or destroyed. There is nothing there to destroy them. This is how the fossil bat we both refer to in this debate was preserved. Archaeopteryx was preserved in a shallow, stagnant, tropical lagoon enclosed by a reef of lime-forming algae. The lagoon was poor in oxygen and harbored few animals. Things that died and fell into it were gradually covered with lime silt produced by erosion of the reef. Preservation in the resulting Solnhofen limestone of Bavaria is therefore excellent. For a self-proclaimed expert on fossils, Gish shows little awareness of the science of taphonomy.

24. Several things should be said about this "Cambrian explosion." It is true that many invertebrate groups appear then; no paleontologist denies the reality of the Cambrian explosion. But we must not let this terminology warp our view of the event. It’s not as if this "explosion" happened overnight, or even over the course of 96 hrs (Genesis 1:11-31). The Cambrian was over 100 million years long. By comparison to the total age of the earth this was an abrupt appearance, but by comparison to the demands of the creationist model the appearance of the taxa of animals was painfully prolonged, embarrassingly gradual. Furthermore many, many animal and plant taxa did not appear until millions or hundreds of millions of years later. The "Cambrian explosion" is no comfort to ICR-style of creationism. (For related discussion see: Sharon Kaveski and Lynn Margulis. 1983. The ‘sudden explosion’ of animal fossils about 600 million years ago: why? American Biology Teacher, February.)

25. Gish pretends there are no connecting links between fish and invertebrate. A look at almost any college general zoology textbook will reveal the weakness of his point.

As we see from the Burgess shale, 550 million years ago there lived an animal virtually indistinguishable from the amphioxus (genus Branchiostoma) surviving today. While the amphioxus lacks the spinal column to qualify as a vertebrate, it is fishlike in most other respects. It has a musculature divided into a linear series of V-shaped myotomes, as one sees in filleting fish; it swims by lateral undulations, as do the primitive fish; and it lives buried in sediments, filtering food from the water much like the hagfish. It is so similar to an animal called the ammocete that the two were classified together until it was discovered that the ammocete is the larva of the lamprey eel, a cyclostome fish. The lamprey, like the amphioxus, never develops a spinal column but has a persistent notochord as an adult. Thus we have two living animals, the amphioxus and the lamprey, with many characteristics in common, one classified as an invertebrate and the other as a fish.

In the fossil record, too, there are fish-like animals that are difficult to classify. Among the earliest vertebrates were the ostracoderms of the Ordovician Period. These were small, marine, jawless animals, probably filter feeders with clumsy swimming ability. They were eclipsed in the Devonian by the cephalaspids had a bony armor and fins, but no vertebral column, jaws, or teeth. The first jawed vertebrates were the placoderms. Some authorities call the ostracoderms, cephalaspids, and placoderm fishes, and others say they should not be considered fishes (reminiscent of Gish and Morris disagreeing over whether Homo erectus is a human or ape). In Vertebrate Paleontology (p. 15), Romer refers to them in a rather noncommittal way as "fishlike vertebrates." He distinguishes this "’underworld’ of grotesque ostracoderms and placoderms" from the earliest "’orthodox’ fish types," the sharks and other cartilogenous fish (p. 37). Such disagreement and uncertainty is to be expected when dealing with primitive transitional forms of life.

Gish’s argument that there are no connections between fishes and invertebrates is therefore belied by both the fossil record and extant species.

26. There is an interesting nonsequitur here. Gish says, "Vertebrates have no ancestors. We are vertebrates, therefore we have no ancestors." Even if the vertebrate as a subphylum did have not ancestors (the falsity of which is demonstrated above), it would not follow that humans are without fossil ancestors among the vertebrates.

27. It is typical of Gish to harp on forms that allegedly have no fossil ancestors, as if by doing this and ignoring the rest, he can prove fiat creation. When the error of his example is exposed, he simply changes examples and beats the same drum. One must view such a tactic with suspicion. One of Gish’s favorite examples used to be to argue that Triceratops appears suddenly in the fossil record with no trace of ancestral dinosaurs having no horns and progressively larger horns. Frederick Edwords amply exposed Gish’s deception here, since there are many transitional forms between the hornless dinosaurs and the tricornate state of Triceratops (1982. The dilemma of the horned dinosaurs. Creation/Evolution IX: 1-11). All Gish does, then, is change his example to fish, hoping no one in the audience will be the wiser. Note 25 shows how wrong he is in that case as well.

Gish’s ploy is a classical one sometimes called "the God of the gaps." This is the habit of basing one’s faith in God on the gaps in our naturalistic knowledge. When people did not understand the mechanisms of nature disease, they simply attributed it to God. It was a reflection of his displeasure with us, and the only reasonable solution was prayer and ever greater piety. Gish’s belief in God is based on a supposed inability to find transitional fossils. This puts him a theologically precarious position, because when we identify one such fossil (let us say, the ant-wasp transition) it diminishes such a God. If we find another (Archaeopteryx), is his God diminished twice as much as before? Three times as much if we throw in the bear-dogs? Such a religion rests on precarious ground indeed, and is forced to retreat with every little advancement in human knowledge.

28. Gish is mistaken here. There is a fossil record of connections between flying and nonflying insects and increasing refinement of flight capability. (Fossil insects with the most rudimentary flight capability are called the Paleoptera.) See: Herbert H. Ross. 1955. The evolution of the insect orders. Entomological News 66:197-208.

But aside from his being simply mistaken about the facts, we can look at Gish’s argument from another perspective. If transitional fossils between flying and flightless insects were absent, would this be powerful evidence for creation? No. His creationist model would require a lack of transitions between any major group of insects and would be falsified by the existence of any transitions, among insects or any other group of organisms. Kritsky has surveyed the literature and pointed out transitions between the Mecoptera (scorpionflies, which are four-winged) and Diptera (flies, which are two-winged); between Diptera and Trichoptera (caddisflies); and several others. I have already cited the transition in New Jersey amber between ants and wasps. "Powerful, positive evidence" of evolution, wouldn’t you say? (SEE: Kritskey reference at note 31, "Opening Statement for the Affirmative.")

Gish’s creationist model demands an utter lack of transitions in any group of organisms if all were separately created. The evolution model is supported by the presence of any transitions, and does not demand that transitions have been discovered bridging all known taxa. Gish himself said, "The discovery of only five or six of the transitional forms scattered through time would be sufficient to document evolution" (Evolution? The Fossils Say No!). We’ve furnished scores of examples, but he still isn’t satisfied: prima facie evidence of his dogmatism.

29. Gish says Jepsen’s report of this Eocene bat is "more recent than anything Romer has published." Both Jepsen’s paper and Romer’s Vertebrate Paleontology (3rd edition) were published in 1966. Furthermore, the bat described by Jepsen was discovered in 1933 and was so well known and publicized it was illustrated in Time magazine on 6 January 1941. Jepsen’s 1966 paper was merely the first thorough description of it, pursuant to having dissected it free of the matrix. Gish is on shaky ground to assume Romer was oblivious to this when writing his section on bat evolution.

This bat, which Jepsen dubbed Icaronycteris index, is the oldest fossil form classified in the Order Chiroptera (bats), but this cannot be taken to mean that Jepsen has argued for a lack of fossil ancestry antedating it. He himself attested to the difficulty of distinguishing early Chiroptera form other orders when he described several primitive forms originally classified as Chiroptera but then reclassified on closer examination. In my opening statement, I have pointed out that Romer attests to the difficulty of distinguishing early Chirpotera from the order insectivora, from which the bats arose.

Furthermore, Jepsen describes certain morphological characters with point to the primitive (transitional?) status of I. Index. Bats are classified as either Megachiroptera (Old World fruit bats, or "megabats") and Microchiropotera ("microbats") according to dentition and other characters. Icaornycteris has characteristics of both and cannot be classified with certainty as either a megabat or microbat; Jepsen hesitantly put it among the Microchiroptera. Such uncertainties are to be expected when dealing with early, transitional forms of the sort Gish says are nonexistent.

Jepsen also clearly point out the various skeletal characters in which Icaronycteris differs from more advanced bats, and this belies Gish’s assertion that Jepsen says bats have shown "essentially no change" since their origin.

30. A mutation is simply a change in the sequence of nucleotides in DNA. To call it a "mistake" or "accident" is to use loaded terminology. If a mutation improves the survivability of a population, should we call that a "mistake"? "Mistake" is a human interpretation placed on a value-free natural event. It implies that there was some original intent, and that event departed from that intent. Gish’s use of loaded terms is meant to sway the audience toward a pejorative attitude toward mutations and make evolutionary scenarios seem less plausible. If we substitute less value-laden terms into the same argument, the argument sounds quite innocuous: "These reptiles had enormously long fingers; supposedly a genetic change or mutation made the forefingers of their ancestors slightly longer…." Now how implausible does the evolution of flying reptiles sound?

Incidentally, it only requires a single mutation at one gene locus to make a substantial difference in limb length. Single point mutations have been known in the last 200 years to give rise to dwarf sheep by a disruption of osteogenesis known as achondroplasia. The abruptness with which these dwarf sheep arose is very similar to the abruptness with which the fossil rhinoceros genus Teleoceras appears in the fossil record (Steven M. Stanley. 1979. Macroevolution: Pattern and Process. San Fransisco: W. H. Freeman, p. 162-163). This is one example of what I mean elsewhere when I say that advances in our knowledge of genetics are likely to clarify the mechanisms of punctuated equilibrium.

31. Gish is utterly wrong to say Archaeopteryx "had the basic avian wing." It had a reptilian forearm with feathers. The feathers were very similar to those of modern birds, but the skeletal anatomy of the arm/wing was not. It lacked the skeletal fusion and modification found in all other birds. Romer (Vertebrate Paleontology, p. 166-167) says, "The skull … was already rather birdlike, with an expanded braincase; and, as in modern birds, the sutures were mostly closed. However, well-developed teeth … were present in the jaws. … The tall still had the long structure of the typical dinosaur … The front limb was still a hand rather than a wing, for the three fingers which it possessed were very similar to those of the carnivorous dinosaurs…. It would hardly be suspected that this appendage was used for flight, had not the impression of wing feathers been found…. These [and other features] place Archaeopteryx in such sharp contrast to all later forms that it is regarded as [the sole member of] a distinct subclass, Archaeornithes. … All other birds may be included in the subclass Neornithes…."

What Gish tried to use to undue advantage is that Whetstone recently dissected the braincase of the London specimen free of the limestone matrix and found it to be "much broader and more bird-like than had been thought" (Michael J. Benton. 1983. No consensus on Archaeopteryx. Nature 305:99-100). But this detail scarcely diminishes the fact that the skull is predominantly reptilian in other conspicuous aspects. Only the most primitive birds, (Archaeopteryx, Ichthyornis, Hesperornis, and a few others) had teeth, for example. Birds have their nostrils at the base of the bill; Archaeopteryx had its at the tip of the snout, like a reptile. Given these and other characters, the Archaeopteryx skull cannot be described as very similar to that of a modern bird. It still has more in common with the Reptilia than the Aves. Gish crows that the Benton article says the width of the skull has been described as "more bird-like than had been thought." He neglects to mention that Benton also pointed out that other features, such as the quadrate and squamosal bones joining the jaw to the braincase, have now been deemed more primitive (reptilian) than previously thought. One character is moved a little more in the avian direction and another is moved a little more in the reptilian direction in these recent interpretations, but the overall status of Archaeopteryx as a uniquely dinosaur-like, very primitive bird is unchanged. Paleontologists are in some disagreement over which group of reptiles is most closely allied to Archaeopteryx, but not over the major point that Archaeopteryx is a reptile-bird transition.

32. Gish repeatedly says Johansen described "Lucy" as having had "the jaws, teeth, face, and brain of an ape." He oversimplifies and falsifies the record. In Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind, Johansen goes to considerable length pointing out his background on primate morphology, especially dentition, and shows in his discussions and illustrations that the jaws and teeth of Australopithecus afarensis were not simian. Gish may have misinterpreted page 258 of Lucy: "She was so odd that there was no question about her not being a human. She simply wasn’t. She was too little. Her brain was too small. Her jaw was in the wrong shape. With those seemingly ‘primitive’ traits staring me in the face, I interpreted other things in her dentition as primitive also, as pointing away from the human condition and back in the direction of apes."

But Johansen notes that he was at first misled by some of his own subconscious biases, and "it was only after we had started looking at the fossils carefully that we began to have second thoughts" (p. 259). He describes at length the distinctions between human and ape dentition (p. 262-267), then compares the Hadar specimens to both. "Instead of being human with apish tendencies, they seemed more apish with human tendencies. What was crystal-clear was that Laetoli and Hadar stood somewhere between apes and humans and appeared to be neither one nor the other" (p. 267 and see explanation on the pages that follow).

34. It is being over-generous to describe Zuckerman’s work on this as "very, very careful" and the best available. Zuckerman was an eminent primatologist and behaviorist, but cannot be regarded as a superior authority on hominid paleanthropology. He strayed from his training and expertise in his biometrical salvos against the australopithecines. Statisticians demonstrated that his calculations were mathematically wrong, and anatomists pointed out that Zuckerman glossed over important morphological similarities between australopithecines and humans. Although the controversy between Zuckerman and Le Gros Clark raged for a while, "Zuckerman was finally subdued by questions about the validity of his statistical approach" (Johansen and Edey, op cit., p. 77). It speaks poorly for Gish’s case that the best authority he can muster is an obsolete and discredited source.

Gish relies entirely on citation of a book by Zuckerman (Beyond the Ivory Tower, 1970) that is not only popularized but 18 years old. If Gish has ever looked into the refereed scientific literature on the Zuckerman affair, he shows no sign of it. All he does show is a credulous attitude toward a minor figure in paleoanthropology who fought a brief and losing battle.

35. Dating fossil D as two or three million years younger than fossil C does not necessarily imply that it should be more advanced except perhaps from the fallacious viewpoint of evolutionary orthogenesis. That is, if we believe all hominid fossils lie on a single, straight-line evolutionary course leading to modern Homo sapiens sapiens, Gish’s statement might have some validity. In Figure 1 below, D would normally be expected to be "more advanced" than C.

Figure 1

A------> B ------> C ------> D ------> Homo sapiens sapiens

------------- TIME ------------->

But evolution is a branching tree, and some branches show faster rates of change than others. Thus fossils B-C might be on a slowly developing clade eventually leading to extinction, and fossils D-F could be on a rapidly developing clade which did survive and is now represented by modern humans. In this case fossil C could be younger and yet more primitive than fossil F (Figure 2).

Figure 2

-> B -------------> C ---------------> extinction

-> D ---> E ---> F ----------------> Homo sapiens sapiens

------------- TIME ----------->

36. The Piltdown fraud is hardly worth bringing up except as fodder for groundless ridicule of paleoanthropology. Gish acts as if the whole theory of hominid evolution rested on three or four discoveries such as Piltdown and Nebraska Man and the arthritic Neanderthal, and collapses as these cases are discredited. He finds it convenient not to devote any attention to responsible scientific scrutiny of the hundreds of well-documented and meticulously studied fossil hominids.

37. Gish greatly overstates the significance of the "Nebraska man" incident. The peccary tooth, discovered in 1917 and submitted to the American Museum in 1922, was published in 1922 by Osborn as the first anthropoid ape from North America. Note that "anthropoid ape" does not mean human or hominid. All apes and monkeys belong to the Anthropoidea. Doubts about the anthropoid status of the specimen were expressed in print in 1922 and 1923 by other authorities. Field work at the discovery site was undertaken in 1925 and immediately revealed the tooth to be from a peccary. A retraction of the anthropoid claim was published in 1927. The incident was short-lived, it never had any significant impact on scientific opinion, and it demonstrates the self-correcting nature of science. It has no bearing on the validity of the hundreds of undoubted hominid fossils found elsewhere and meticulously studied and documented.

Gish relies heavily on Amedee Forestier’s drawing of Nebraska Man for the Illustrated London News and misrepresents this as if it were a scientist’s conclusion. Forestier was not a scientist and based his drawing on an imaginative reconstruction of Java Man (Homo erectus). Osborn and his colleagues at the American Museum sniffed at Forestier’s artwork as "only a figment of the imagination of no scientific value." Gish nevertheless misrepresents the drawing as the work of science and snidely remarks, "Science is a fascinating subject, isn’t it?" It always gets a cheap laugh because he does not inform audiences of the circumstances of the drawing. See: John Wolf and James S. Mellett. 1985. The role of "Nebraska Man" in the creation-evolution debate. Creation/Evolution XVI:31-43.

38. Again Gish uses a straw man tactic to say evolutionists must explain how the monarch has "to learn how to program a mass of jelly to become a butterfly." Learning has nothing to do with the matter and his entire description of the monarch’s metamorphosis would sure strike any zoologist as bizarre.

39. Gish is mistaken to assume that all mutations are bad. In the first place, the redundancy of the genetic code is enough to show that many point mutations will be neutral. If a codon is changed from AGG to AGA, for example, it still codes for the amino acid arginine and there will be no noticeable change in the organism. If it is changed from GAG to GAU, aspartic acid will take the place of glutamic acid in the protein, but since both are acidic, hydrophilic amino acids there is likely to be little or no functional change in the protein.

Furthermore, many beneficial mutations are known. For example, in 1916 a pair of wallabies escaped from a zoo in Oahu and have survived and bred in the wild. They have shown noticeable evolutionary change since then, among other things evolving a new liver enzyme which detoxifies the native plants on which they feed. Another example is that sometime within the past 48 years, a strain of Flavobacterium has evolved a new enzyme that enables it to degrade byproducts of nylon manufacture, thus taking advantage of an energy source and ecological niche for which it has little or not competition (William M. Thwaites, 1985. New proteins without God’s help. Creation/Evolution XVI:1-3). Both of these are mutations that conferred a survival advantage on their possessors by enabling them to utilize new food sources.

Futuyma writes, "One of the most extraordinary claims made by creationists is that adaptive mutations do not occur. … One of the many mistakes creationists make is that they seem to think that a mutation must always be a bad thing. Thus Duane Gish claims [in Fossils Say No, p. 47] that ‘the mutations we see occurring spontaneously in nature or that can be induced in the laboratory always prove to be harmful. It is doubtful that of all the mutations that have been seen to occur, a single one can be definitely said to have increased the viability of the affected plant or animal.’" The Flavobacterium and wallaby examples disprove Gish’s contention, and Futuyma gives more examples (1983. Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution. New York: Pantheon Books, p. 138-139).

40. Gish’s argument about metamorphosis reduces essentially to this: "Gee, I can’t imagine how this would happen by natural means, so it must have been done supernaturally." There is a serious problem with this antiscientific attitude. It is this very attitude that was responsible for centuries of inestimable human suffering, as people rashly jumped to a supernatural conclusion in the absence of a naturalistic explanation for disease (See: Andrew D. White. 1896 (1960 ed.). A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, 2 vols. New York: Dover.) Gish’s metamorphosis polemic is merely an example of the centuries-old Design Argument and another example of his "God of the gaps" theology. It is fallacious at its core. We cannot jump to supernatural conclusions simply because we do not presently understand something. Nevertheless, see the following note.

41. Metamorphosis is not an insurmountable problem either to genetics or evolutionary theory. For example it has been experimentally shown in amphibian remains an aquatic, neotenic larval with gills like the Mexican axolotl, or metamorphoses into a terrestrial salamander body form. I have not looked into the evolution of insect metamorphosis, but equally dramatic transformations of body form occur in the life cycles of trematodes, and can be readily understood within conventional evolutionary theory. I will attempt to locate and provide my references for both of these as a later replacement for this page or a corrigendum to the debate transcript.

42. This sentence is a marvelous illustration of the fact that he doesn’t know the difference between science and theology. One may conclude that in the beginning, God created, but one must never mistake this for a scientific statement. The statement also further illustrates his fallacy of bifurcation. "In the beginning God created" is a premise that can be entirely consistent with evolution. For all his argumentation, the best Gish can do is come up with a broad conclusion that is not at all precluded by the fact of evolution.