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Ken Saladin Saladin Gish2 Question

Question-Answer Period

Moderator: We’ll now have a 30-minute question and answer session, with audience members asking the questions. We’ll probably need some lights out in the audience, and we’ll recognize you, raise your hand, and address your question to one speaker or the other. And the next questioner should ask a question of the other person. Okay?

Questioner 1 (Dr. Fred Parrish, Georgia State University biologist): Reverend Gish, you’ve been answered in scientific debates, that have been widely publicized, repeatedly, by Thwaite [Thwaites] and Awbrey’s class at San Diego State University, and in dozens of recent books, and journals, which you are familiar with. This argument is religion, not scientific–

Gish: Do you have a question sir?

Questioner: Yes sir—-

Gish: Alright then—-

Questioner: What I want to know is, as a Christian gentleman, with all the ethics and morals that that implies, how you can continue to make statements that you know are so demonstrably, scientifically, untrue. [Applause]

Gish: I’m not Reverend Gish. I’ve never had a course in theology. I’ve never been in any theological school. That was obviously an attempt to prejudice this audience against me. I have absolutely nothing against ministers of the Gospel. I have the greatest respect for them. I’ve never been a minister of the Gospel, I’ve never had a single course in theology. I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry and 18 years in biochemical research before I went to the Institute. I make statements, as far as I am able to discern, that are honest and of truth. I am a Christian, I make no bones about it. Before I come to a debate like this, one of my prayers is that God will enable me to speak truthfully, and that’s what I do. And these false charges that have been made against me have not been more than that. I’ve published this material in books and one can examine those books. Every statement I make is fully documented and fully referenced, so anybody can check the original references, whether I have quoted the statements correctly. You, sir, have absolutely no evidence to back up what you have just said. You’ve just made an empty charge, that is totally false, and that’s all I have to say about it. [Applause]

Saladin: Well I think Dr. Gish underestimates himself. I think he does have a very fine ministerial style and talent and, in fact there are a couple of openings in T.V. evangelism right now that, uh…. [audience laughter] Dr. Gish might consider applying for. If, uh, Dr. Gish’s God supposedly allows him to speak truthfully, I wonder why he doesn’t allow him to write truthfully. As I say I’ve got it in black and white right here on the table.

Questioner 2: Mr. Saladin, though I had intended to possibly address [2-3 words inaudible] solutions than this man to my left [Gish?] has, I wondered if you could comment possibly on the plausibility that God might have kicked the evolutionary wheel and it’s been spinning ever since. In other words that these two concepts are not contradictory, yet they may complement each other.

Saladin: I think you’re exactly right. Uh, in fact after the audience question and answer period we do have another five-minute closing statement and I had planned to address exactly that subject. Uh, I don’t, uh, criticize Dr. Gish because he’s a Christian by any means. I would never dream of criticizing somebody for holding to Christian viewpoints. What I criticize him for is because, as both a Christian and a scientist, he should show higher standards of basic honesty. Science is a field that insists on honesty; science cannot survive without honesty; and anybody who has a pattern of dishonesty has to be criticized and exposed. But I certainly do think that, ah, Christianity and evolution can be perfectly harmonious, as did Charles Darwin. As I pointed out, in his last paragraph of his book, he said he thought God had created life and he himself had simply found evidence showing the mechanisms and patterns of how life changed since then. So I think you’re perfectly correct, but the ICR creationists are much more dogmatic than that. They refuse to accept any compromise. They will generally tend to castigate this as "theistic evolution," which they don’t consider acceptable. But remember I quoted something from the American Scientific Affiliation, and I referred you to a paper on fossil transitions, which is a, ah, as I said, calls itself an organization of Christian men and women of science, concerned with this whole issue of creationism and evolution.

Gish: If I understand the question, I’m not sure I did, is whether you can, whether you can reconcile creation and evolution. Is that the question? Yes. Well, you can be a Christian and be an evolutionist {1}. Most of the scientists on our staff were evolutionists at one time, until they were challenged to re-examine the scientific evidence on this question, and became very convinced creationists. The problem I have with that notion is this, one of the major problems, is the theory of evolution is totally incompatible with the attributes of God. Evolution proceeds on the basis of two processes: genetic mistakes, almost all of which are bad, and death. Death eliminating the less fit. I couldn’t think of a more wasteful, inefficient method that anyone would conceive to create. It would be inconceivable that God would use such a process, such a wastefully inefficient and cruel process, to create in billions of years, when he could have made man instantaneously. Just totally incompatible with the Bible; that is totally incompatible with the attributes of God {2}.

Questioner 3: Dr. Gish, um, first of all, ah, when you seem to blatantly ignore that although the probability of an event could be zero, the event can still occur. Second of all, you have not yet seemed to have given an outline of your—-

Gish [approaching front of stage]: Let me come up here so I can hear you directly, I can’t—- [Due to echo in the auditorium it was often difficult to understand audience members speaking from the floor microphone.]

Questioner: Okay, uh, second of all you—- First of all, the probability of an event can be zero, and still occur. You seem to have ignored that. But second of all, you still haven’t seemed to have given an outline of your proof. You keep criticizing evolution, but I don’t think you’ve given a very good outline of your major points of proving creation science. [Applause and whistling from audience]

Gish: In the first place the probability of an event is not zero before it occurs. You flip a coin. There’s 50 percent probability it will come up heads, 50 percent it will come up tails before the event. Of course you can calculate the probability long before the event occurs {3}.

Now, you’ve said I’ve not presented any positive evidence for creation ladies and gentlemen I have. Forget evolution, nobody’s an evolutionist, we’re all creationists. What would you expect to find in the fossil record? Precisely what we do find. Isn’t the sudden appearance of a tremendous variety of complex invertebrates, with no ancestors, isn’t that positive evidence for creation? {4} The fact that every kind of fish that we know anything about appears fully formed, without a trace of an ancestor, isn’t that powerful, positive evidence for creation? What greater evidence could you have for creation? And thermodynamics where the whole universe is running down, naturally it’s going downward, it’s gonna die. How could it create itself? Isn’t that powerful positive evidence that creation had to be through the intervention of someone outside of the universe, the natural universe? {5} The universe couldn’t create itself, therefore it had to be created. And isn’t, isn’t, didn’t Wickramasinghe and Hoyle, didn’t hey have positive evidence? What convinced them of the truth of creation, if there wasn’t powerful positive evidence, you see? And any—, anyhow one of the leading evolutionists said this: that there’s only two possibilities, creation or evolution. Therefore, evidence against one is evidence for the other, and vice versa. So you not only have powerful positive evidence for creation you have powerful, negative evidence against evolution. That to me ought to be sufficient.

Saladin: Well I think Dr. Gish again insists on this fallacious dichotomy. If for example if he were to uh, disprove this uh, well the materialistic sort of evolution, let’s say, he still wouldn’t have disproven theistic evolution, which is an alternative to that. Ah, if I were to disprove, ah, his idea that every [form of?] life was created by God at one time [3-4 words inaudible], I still wouldn’t have disproven other notions that God created and destroyed alternatingly throughout the history of the earth. So you do not support one case simply by discrediting the other. I think the questioner is exactly right, that Dr. Gish fails to provide any positive evidence and still insists that, uh, he can prove his case just by discrediting evolution. I’d like to hear some evidence for that simultaneous creation of all those life forms that you insist on in your book. I’d like to hear some evidence that the earth is only ten or twenty thousand years old, as you say.

Questioner 4: Ah, Dr. Saladin, um, in high school we studied the Miller-Urey experiment, and uh, but, it was said that the products, the amino acids that were produced by that are both L- and M- [sic] type of amino acids, and they occurred at 50 percent of the ratio, each 50-50. Uh, my question to you is why do we find in living matter that over a hundred percent [sic] of the amino acids are of the L-type, when these L/M type of amino acids can only be separated by extremely complex processes?

Saladin: Uh, I’ll have to admit I have not read into that particular question in the literature well enough to give you a definitive answer tonight. I will try to find the answer if I can. My conjecture would be that whereas probably a mixture of the L- and D-isomers did form originally, uh, and we have an abundance of literature to show that they do polymerize themselves into proteins, proteins are stabilized by a pattern of hydrogen bonds into something like an alpha helix or a beta pleated sheet or other forms, my guess would be that one isomer or the other might have resulted in a more stable secondary or tertiary, uh, configuration of protein. That stability is more or less the essence of natural selection. You could have a certain prebiological natural selection which would favor the survival of one isomer of proteins, made of one isomer, over proteins made of the other {6}.

Gish: Well, you see this is right in my field, as a biochemist. I worked with amino acids, years and years of my research experience in synthesizing proteins. Now on the hypothetical primordial earth if amino acids formed by chemistry is able to, you get 50 percent left-handed and 50-percent right-handed. They combine equally well, there’s no selection. First place there’s no selection whatsoever until you have life, because natural selection is supposed to be based on differential reproduction. There is nothing that reproduces itself except for a living cell. There is no self-replicating molecule. You have fifty percent of each, and they combine equally well. If that happened chemically, you’d have molecules today with 50 percent left-handed and 50 percent right-handed. They are one hundred percent left-handed. Change just one of these left-handed amino acids to a right-handed amino acid, you destroy all biological activity. That could not happen naturally, no evolutionist has ever been able to explain how that happened. It could not happen by chance. Absolutely not, chance would give rise to equal quantities. That had to be the result of deliberate intelligent choice, just like I did it in the laboratory, with deliberate intelligent choice {7}.

Questioner 5: I just wondered Dr. Gish, you’ve mentioned thermodynamic equilibrium and the second law, are you aware that, um, things do tend towards a disorder? However, gravitational systems such as planets and stars tend to, uh, coagulate in mass, and that being their disorder rather than, uh, being separated, such as, um, oh, the example of the water molecule.

Gish: Are you asking about star formation, that happens [inaudible word] spontaneously?

Questioner: I’m just wondering how you can use the second law of thermodynamics to prove your point when, in an open system, it doesn’t have to hold true {8}.

Gish: Just as I told the audience, this matter of open or closed systems is gonna come up. Ladies and gentlemen as I explained the evolutionary view the universe is a closed system. It’s an isolated system. The, the second law of thermodynamics then would apply to the origin of the universe, absolutely would apply. And yet they believe the universe started in a state of chaos and disorder, and converted itself into this incredibly complex universe we have today. That’s clearly a violation of the second law of thermodynamics. Now, as far as the open system, the universe is not an open systems it’s an isolated system. So we’ve taken care of that, the universe could not create itself. But take an open system. You know, you’ve got to have much more than an open system, and energy, to go from disorder to order. You’ve got to have much more than that. You’ve go to have the machinery to do it with. Sure a green plant can absorb radiant energy from the sun, and take that chemi— that radiant tree. Why does it do it? Because it already has the machinery. It has photosynthesis, which is incredibly complex. It has all kinds of metabolic machines within the living cell. That’s the only reason it can do it. But you’ve got to have that machine. You can’t do it without that. You can get a car to go uphill without violating the s—-, laws of thermodynamics, of course you can. But you just don’t pour gasoline on a car and light a match to get it to go uphill, it just goes up in smoke. If you want to get that car to go uphill you have to put the gasoline into a motor , and the motor will convert that chemical energy into mechanical energy and drive that car uphill. And the car must have proper control. You’ve got to have all of that even if you have an open system. And if there’s some way to beat the open, beat the second law of thermodynamics I have a challenge for you: live forever. If anybody believes he can beat the second law of thermodynamics, there’s some way to beat the second law of thermodynamics, take in all the energy you want to, and your incredibly complex machine, live forever. You can’t beat the second law of thermodynamics. There’s no way to do it.

Saladin: Once again Dr. Gish is going around punching himself in the nose refuting Gish’s Law of Thermodynamics but not the second law as it is known in the physics books. This, uh, evening I had dinner with, uh, someone, very wise man who is surely one of the great intellectual pinnacles of the Auburn University faculty {9}, who ah, pointed out a very nice analogy, or example, of a violation of Gish’s Law of Thermodynamics, not the real second law. Just take vinegar and oil, salad dressing, shake it up, disperse the oil through the vinegar and let it sit there. It starts out in a very disordered state. Let it sit there. The oil will separate from the vinegar. It will go to a very ordered state, spontaneously. Uh, the universe may be a closed system, but the earth is not, and this whole debate is relevant to issues on the earth, to biological evolution here on earth.

We must also point out that where that cosmic egg is concerned, at the beginning of the universe for that first bit of time after that explosion, that’s when all these physical laws were established. That’s when the speed of light was established, the gravitational constant was established. These laws do not apply to anything prior to that time, or even for the first few, uh, uh, little bit of earth’s, the universe’s history.

Questioner 6: Dr. Saladin, I, listening to you speak [here tonight?] I heard you talk about Noah’s Ark. I was just wondering, what would be the scientific ramifications if Noah’s Ark, ’cause I know there are some exhibitions, I’ve been to one in particular that I’ve known personally that’s going around, going around this summer. What would be the scientific ramifications if the Ark was found, proving even more so the preferability of the biblical standpoint, which you’ve also seemed to, uh, come down on some tonight. What would the scientific ramification be of Noah’s Ark being found? [Saladin and Gish approached the apron of stage to hear better and the questioner continued.] What would be scientific ramifications if Noah’s Ark was found? Uh, how would that affect the evolution side, as well as the creation side?

Saladin: Well, first of all, uh, the creationists would have the burden of proof, and even if they did find pieces of wood on Mount Ararat they’d have the burden of proving that was part of Noah’s Ark, which I think would be almost inconceivably difficult to do. Uh, but let’s just give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they did prove that it was the Ark somehow. It would be just as stupefying to science just as if they discovered Jason’s golden fleece or the lost city of Atlantis.

Gish: Of course I’d [two or three words inaudible]. Very difficult question for Dr. Saladin to answer because he certainly is convinced it never will be found. I’m sorry in certain ways it’s an unfair question, but let me say this—- In some ways it isn’t. If it were found, Dr. Saladin [phrase inaudible, more or less: "it wouldn’t make him believe"], I’m almost certain it wouldn’t. I heard this question asked of Dr. John Patterson at Iowa State University, and he said absolutely it wouldn’t make a believer out of him. You see, you can’t falsify a belief in evolution; it’d be, to me, absolute proof that there really was this great world-wide flood described in the Bible. No doubt about it! There’d be absolutely no doubt about it {10}.

Questioner 7 (Dr. John V. Aliff, biologist at Emory University at Oxford): Dr. Gish I would you to comment on what Dr. Karl Popper, the foremost philosopher of science, said about evolution as a science.

Gish: Dr. Karl Popper is recognized as one of the leading philosophers of science, and this is what he said. That evolution is not a testable scientific theory, it is a metaphysical research program. He maintains that it’s not falsifiable. The theory of evolution is not falsifiable, therefore it is not a scientific theory it is a metaphysical research program. I agree 100 percent. I will agree furthermore that creation is a metaphysical research program.

Now if somebody were to try to claim that Dr., that Karl Popper has revoked that statement. He has not! In a letter he wrote to New Scientist, he said that evolution has scientific characteristics. I believe that. It does have scientific characteristics. But everything that has scientific characteristics is not a testable, falsifiable scientific theory. And then he refers to natural selection. Natural selection is not evolution. As he said evolution, the theory of evolution is not falsifiable, there’s no way to falsify it, because no matter what we say, there’s always some way to get around it. You just, you just change the theory, and that’s what happened with evolutionary theory. And some, many evolutionists have said that, many philosophers of science have said that neither natural selection nor the theory of evolution are testable. They are not falsifiable, therefore they are not scientific theories. That doesn’t mean that evolution does not have scientific characteristics. So does creation have scientific characteristics. We talk about thermodynamics, probability, the fossil record, and all of that. But it is not a testable scientific theory.

Saladin: Well let me point out that it was in 1976 that Karl Popper said that evolution was not a testable scientific theory {11}. Two years later in 1978 in the journal Dialectica , volume 32, page 339 {12}. Karl Popper said, as follows, this is a direct quote:

I too belonged among the culprits (I am inserting a few words to explain) —- I too belong among the culprits (insert) who claimed that natural selection is a tautology. (Now back to his words.) Influenced by what these authorities have said I have in the past described the theory as almost tautological, and I have tried to explain how the theory of natural selection could be untestable, as is a tautology, and yet of great scientific interest. I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection, and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation.

And I would furthermore point out that as far back as 1957, Popper called evolution "a brilliant scientific hypothesis concerning the history of the various species of animals and plants on earth" {13}. There’s more but I’m out of time, and I’ll respect the moderator.

Questioner 8: Dr. Saladin, um, the academic community has no problem. It often congratulates itself on its ability to teach various views. [Gish and Saladin approach stage apron.] Okay. What I said was, um, the academic community has no, has no problems. [Debaters still indicate difficulty with echo.] Sorry. It often congratulates itself on its ability to teach different views. Now, though most of the accusations of dogma has come from evolutionists, why are evolutionists so hysterically offensive [defensive?] to prevent creationists from teaching their views if evolution is so watertight, and plus the fact that, according to a 1983 Newsweek poll, that’s what the majority of the American people want?

Saladin: Well, uh—- [Applause] This is the old majority view, democratic sort of argument. It’s a very appealing one. But to base science education on, on a public opinion poll, would be about like taking a public opinion poll to decide whether there is a unified field theory of physics. [Some audience laughter] Um, the reason that I don’t believe that creationism belongs in the science curriculum is for one thing the fact that creationists repeatedly assert that it is not a science, as Dr. Gish does. I don’t see why he wants it in the science curriculum if it isn’t a science. I don’t like people that postulate fire-breathing dinosaurs and non-living plants, and stuff like that, having much of a voice in my children’s science education. I don’t think that astrology belongs in the curriculum either, but astrology has been along f—-, been around far longer than scientific creationism. It has built a technically plausible-sounding case for itself, a pseudoscientific case for itself, much as the creationists have done for their view, but I don’t think astrology ought to be taught in the medical schools, or demonology as a theory to teach what is definitely established, it is also to teach provocative ideas, and new ideas, but it’s to teach things that have some intellectual merit and creationism simply lacks that.

Now I might point out that I am not "hysterically defensive" about evolution. It might surprise you that once every year at Georgia College I teach a course on creationism, called BIO 490, it’s Biology Seminar. I have my students read their book Scientific Creationism, I have them read Dr. Gish’s publications, I have them read the many, uh, some of the books that have been published in rebuttal, I have them hold debates very much like this one at the end of the quarter. Every student is required to debate defending evolution on one day and debate defending creationism on another day. So I think there is some value in this but I don’t think it has any justifiable place as a regular part of the public school curriculum. [Applause]

Gish: You see ladies and gentlemen what Dr. Saladin is saying? You students, you’re too ignorant, you’re too scientifically illiterate to hear what you heard tonight and make a decision. The intellectual elite, they are going to decide what is the sole truth, they are going to indoctrinate you in what they believe to be the sole truth. They’re not going to let you hear what I’ve presented here tonight, or what Sir Fred Hoyle believes about creation. They’re not going to let you hear that, you see. They want to indoctrinate you in evolution theory, in spite of the fact that 86 percent of the American people want creation taught in the schools. Eighty percent of the students at Ohio State University, from undergraduate students to graduate students in science, 80 percent said both should be taught in the schools. You should have the right to hear all the data. You should have the right to consider alternatives. You should have the right to decide what you believe to be more credible, more reasonable, instead of these, these book-burners and these censors censoring out the scientific evidence for creation. [Applause and some cheers] {14}

Questioner 9 (Ron Beshears of the Auburn University physics department): Dr. Gish, I am a Ph.D. student in physics and [inaudible word] in natural science from training, so uh, my question is about your approach tonight. The references I heard you identify by the name of publication were commercial references, usually magazines, British newspapers, books that are published for the mass markets. Publications that are not open to peer review before publication. There are publications that appear on the market and [a few words inaudible]. Uh, you have stated that the evidence for your case is incontrovertible, so I’m asking you, uh, how, as a fellow scientist you ask me as a practicing scientist to believe what you’ve referenced tonight, rather than [?] positive evidence from refereed scientific journals.

Gish: I have published many articles in refereed scientific journals {15}. Let me give you the answer to that from Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith. He has three earned doctorate degrees, and he is one of our fine creation-scientists. He had a debate on television in Australia, with one of these Australian evolutionists. I saw the videotape. That scientist made the same statement you made: "You creationists, you don’t publish in the refereed scientific journals." Dr. Wilder-Smith said, "Let me tell you why." He gave a lecture at Oxford university on this subject. He submitted a manuscript to four leading scientific journals and not one of them would publish it. You see what they do? Their referees or editors censor, refuse to publish our papers, that would even suggest, even hint that creation is true, that evolution is false, and then they stand back as this gentleman has done and say, "See, they don’t publish in our journals."

Well no wonder they don’t publish in their journals! They won’t publish it. If you submit an article to one of these leading journals, if you suggest that evolution is false, that creation is a more reasonable and credible explanation, I will guarantee you, you won’t get it published. In almost all of these journals. They won’t do it. That’s why we don’t publish—- They asked Fred Hoyle, "Why didn’t you publish this material in one of the standard journals?" He said, "Because they wouldn’t publish it. That’s why I had to put it in a book. That’s the only way I could get it published, is put it in a book." That’s why. And that’s censorship, young people. That’s book-burning. We want all the evidence on both sides to be freely and objectively evaluated on the basis of its merits, not on the basis of censorship. And it’s dogma that dominates our educational-scientific establishment today {16}.

Saladin: First of all it’s not true that none of the creation-scientists have ever published in the established journals regarding the issue of creationism and the earth’s origin. There are a few exceptions that tend to prove the rule here, such as Hubert Yockey, Robert Gentry, and others who’ve published in well-reputable journals on issues that seem to debunk evolution. If you submit a paper that has some scientific merit, it’s likely to get published if it’s worth, uh, being seen and debated. My suspicion from reading the tracts that Dr. Gish and Henry Morris and people like that write is that they simply can’t produce anything that has enough intellectual merit to deserve consideration!

Now when Charles Darwin came out with the theory of evolution the journals were all dominated by creationists for the first 20 or 25 years. Darwin didn’t cry "Censorship!" and go running to the government for help getting published. Darwin won over the situation by virtue of the logical and evidentiary force of his arguments and that’s something the creationists are unable to do. [Applause]

Questioner 10: Dr. Saladin I have a fairly basic and hopefully non-[inaudible word] statement, uh, question. [Gish and Saladin approach stage apron.] I’m sorry. Uh, Stephen Jay Gould and his dialectic materialist friends have adopted the hopeful monster, or punctuated equilibrium theory, um, basically on the basis of the lack of fossil evidence for gradualistic change whether you look at it from [inaudible word] a lower order or a higher order it doesn’t really matter. And the neo-Darwinists reject Gould because his punctuated equilibrium doesn’t have a mechanism. Now, if there’s no mechanism, and there’s no evidence, where does that leave the [inaudible word or two] on theories of evolution?

Saladin: First of all the fossil evidence has occurred is indisputable because we do see, as Gould himself has pointed out, many transitions between higher taxa, and we see an orderly succession of fossils, the appearance of various kinds of plants and animals in the record throughout earth history, unlike the situation that Dr. Gish claims. So the evidence, both fossil and especially from the non-fossil evidence is compelling. And the question then remains, while we never have denied that these gaps exist — we know of many transitions, we also know of many gaps — the question remains why do some groups lack a transition? Why do gastropod molluscs and bivalve molluscs lack any fossil connection between them. And the challenge is to come up with an evolutionary mechanism, so there’s now a considerable debate over mechanism, which I think will be resolved as we arrive at more sophisticated understandings of genetics. Molecular genetics is one of, undoubtedly one of the most rapidly growing fields of biological science today. The, the pace of new discovery and increased sophisticated of understanding of genetic mechanisms is virtually breathtaking. It’s hard to keep up with the field. As we learn more and more about regulatory genes, pleiotropism, and so forth, I think this problem is going to be solved {17}.

Gish: The notion of punctuated equilibrium, just as Goldschmidt’s hopeful monster mechanism, was invented to explain why there are no transitional forms. Now this punctuated equilibrium is supposed to explain why there’s no transitional forms between species. The only evidence for it is no transitional forms! That’s the evidence for creation. You see they’ve been predicting transitional forms ever since Darwin, they haven’t found them, so they’re going to change the theory, and instead of predicting transitional forms they’re going to predict the gaps! And furthermore that’s not the big problem, the big problem is why, not why we don’t find transitional forms between species. There are no transitional forms between phyla, and classes, and orders. Even Gould, he said, "At the higher level of evolutionary transitions between basic morphological designs, gradualism has always been in trouble, though it remains the official position of most western evolutionists. Smooth intermediates between Bauplane (that is these higher levels) are almost impossible to construct even in thought experiments. There is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record. And [1-2 words inaudible] curious mosaics, like Archaeopteryx, do not count."

Moderator: If some of the rest of you have questions, you might want to come up after the closing statements. We’re going to give each person a five-minute summation statement at this point, and we’ll start with Dr. Saladin.


1. The ICR is very intolerant of Christian evolutionists. In Up With Creation!, Henry Morris has put it as follows: "But can’t we be Christian evolutionists, they say? [Sic] Yes, no doubt it is possible to be a Christian evolutionist. Likewise, one can be a Christian thief, or a Christian adulterer, or a Christian liar! Christians can be inconsistent and illogical about many things, but that doesn’t make them right." (As quoted by Robert J. Schadewald, 1983, Creation/Evolution XIII.48-49.)

Yet Gish himself is essentially a Christian evolutionist. Fossils Say No defines a created "kind" (p. 34) as "all animals or plants which … have shared a common gene pool." If they shared a common gene pool, that means by definition they came from a single ancestral species. Then as examples of created kinds he includes bats (p. 37), which means he believes 850 species, 180 genera, and 18 families, plus extinct species, all coming from the same ancestor. Even worms are treated by him as a single created kind (p. 37), which implies evolution of 28,000 species in 18 phyla (the majority of all animal phyla) from the same ancestor! There seems to be good reason for both the scientific and the fundamentalist communities to excommunicate Gish; he’s neither fish nor fowl, so to speak.

2. Gish appears to have a rather two-dimensional, Sunday school image of the attributes of God, or else he reads from a different Bible than I do. A recurring theme of the Old Testament is the incredible callousness of God toward human life in the Old Testament, the murder of innocent people and even children still in the womb for the sins of a few others. Does the flood of Noah give evidence of a divine benevolence inconsistent with the process of evolution?

3. This answer made no sense to me and I’m sure was not very satisfactory tot he questioner. Gish does not appear to have understood what the question was at all. Or perhaps he chooses to ignore the issue, because it is a fatal blow to his probability argument.

4. No it isn’t. Gish’s creation model, as stated earlier in the debate, would require the simultaneous appearance of all basic life forms at the same time in the stratigraphic record. The "sudden" appearance of certain invertebrates at one time, the sudden appearance of flowering plants at another time 400 million years later, and so forth, does not even remotely approach the requirements of Gish’s creation model. If anything, it comes closer to Cuvier’s hypothesis that God repeatedly created life, destroyed it, and created again (even though that, too, cannot really be squared with the fossil record.)

5. No, it isn’t. This is a classical example of negative evidence: the assumption that his theistic model is correct because there is something in the naturalistic model he can’t explain. Besides that, it is based on his misconception of thermodynamics.

6. This was an accidental misstatement. I had meant to say the survival of proteins made of one isomer of amino acids over proteins made of the other.

7. This again illustrates the fallacy of bifurcation, the notion that one must choose between intelligent (human-like) design or mere chance. No biologist could seriously maintain that chemical reactions occur at random or by mere chance. Otherwise there would be no science of chemistry at all, chemistry being a study of the regularities or "laws" followed by interacting compounds and elements.

8. The questioner misstates the case somewhat. The Second Law does hold true, even in an open system. See "First Rebuttal for the Affirmative," esp. note 3.

9. I somewhat misidentified the source, who was Ron Beshears, a physics doctoral student I had just met that evening. He was also Questioner 9 in the question-answer period.

10. The contrast between my response to this question and Gish’s is, I feel, a good illustration of the contrast between the skepticism necessary to science and the credulity characteristic of religion. It would seem that even a faintly boat-shaped, wooden structure on Ararat would serve Gish as "absolute proof" that Noah’s flood had occurred. I would demand a more rigorous investigation of all the competing hypotheses and a disproof of those before jumping to such a conclusion. This sort of skepticism and effort to falsify the competing hypotheses is the reason Darwin delayed publication of The Origin of Species for more than 20 years after the concept of natural selection occurred to him.

11. Karl R. Popper. 1976. Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography. La Salle, IN: Open Court Press.

12. Karl R. Popper. 1978. Natural selection and the emergence of mind. Dialectica 32:339-355.

13. Karl R. Popper. 1957. The Poverty of Historicism . Boston: Beacon Press. On this issue of Popper’s statements about natural selection see also: Frank J. Sonleitner. 1986. What did Karl Popper really say about evolution? Creation/Evolution XVIII:9-14.

14. This perennial cry of censorship on the part of creationists is one of the more ludicrous weapons in their polemical arsenal, as it is they and allied fundamentalists who constantly wage the campaigns to have books removed from school curricula and libraries and to have certain subjects censored from textbooks.

Gish’s statement is insulting to me and to my students. If Gish thinks I am so determined to prevent students from reading what he, Hoyle, and others have to say, then he would hard pressed to explain several facts: (1) that I advertised this debate on my own campus, brought several students with me to the debate, and raised funds to help defray their travel expenses to the debate; (2) that as the coordinator of library acquisitions for my department, I have purchased books from the Institute for Creation Research for the library; (3) that I routinely teach a seminar in which students are assigned readings from Scientific Creationism, Evolution? The Fossils Say No!, Impact, and other creationist publications; (4) that I keep a library of creationist literature in my office and routinely make it available to students for class and extracurricular reading; and (5) in one of my publications I advocate using creationist materials for constructive purposes in college education.

Nor am I alone in this, as several of my colleagues in this and other states also use creationist material in college teaching. See: (1) Kenneth S. Saladin. 1986. Educational approaches to creationist politics in Georgia. Chapter 8 (pp. 104-127) in Science and Creation: Geological, Theological, and Educational Perspectives (R.W. Hanson, ed.). New York: Macmillan. (2) William M. Thwaites. 1986. A two-model creation versus evolution course. Chapter 7 (pp. 92-103) in the same book. The course taught at San Diego State University by William Thwaites and Frank Awbrey is probably the most famous of these two-model courses instigated by noncreationists. Being at San Diego, they have routinely had staff members of the Institute for Creation Research come at their invitation to teach half the class periods and participate equally in composing the examinations.

By contrast to this footnote, it would take me a whole volume to itemize the instances of creationists censoring textbooks, libraries, and curricula. Gish’s charge is patently ludicrous.

15. Again Gish completely misconstrues the question. The questioner did not ask why creationists do not published in refereed journals, he asked why Gish bases his case on popularized instead of refereed, scientific literature. A statement need have no scientific merit to get into Newsweek and the other types of publications Gish relies upon. In this debate, Gish cited only five sources in sufficient detail for anyone to look them up, and only two of these from refereed scientific journals.

Be that as it may, I am not sure this is an entirely fair question. Gish and I are fairly comparable in the paucity of refereed research articles cited in debates. I think there are two reasons neither of us (nor other debaters) would use very many primary research articles: (1) we are talking to a predominantly lay audience and the points we need to make can be made more effectively by reference to lay and secondary sources; and (2) the primary research literature is such a "fine-grained" approach to the subject that relatively little of it would serve efficiently to convey the "big picture" of evolution within the time constraints of a public debate.

16. This charge of dogmatism is as preposterous as his charge of censorship. The ICR membership oath Gish to sign to belong is prima facie evidence of where the dogmatism lies. See also the statements from ICR literature I cited in my opening statement.

Furthermore, Gish bases his charge on reluctance of editors to publish creationist contributions. As I stated in the debate, I think this is more due to the lack of intellectual merit in such contributions than to discrimination against the underlying philosophy. Be that as it may, if we exercised editorial bias against creationists just to keep them from being heard, one would expect this to be most strongly reflected in our own periodical, Creation/Evolution, published by the American Humanist Association, or in Creation/Evolution Newsletter, published by the National Center for Science Education. Yet both periodicals have often published contributions from the creationists. In the former, for example, I can readily point to antievolutionary articles and letters we have published by Robert Kofahl, Hubert Yockey, and Norman Geisler. I have, however, never heard of an ICR publication giving space to an evolutionist!

17. See for example, "Opening Statement for the Negative," note 30, on achondroplasia as a "punctuational" evolutionary event.

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