In the Beginning

An Evening with Duane T. Gish n the the evening of March 10, 1995,1 entered a 400-seat lecture hall at the University of California, Los Angeles, five minutes before the debate was to begin. There wasn't an empty seat in the house, and the aisles were beginning to fill. Fortunately, I had a seat on the dais, as I was the latest in a long line of challengers to Duane T. Gish, creationist laureate and one of the directors of the Institute for Creation Research, the "research" arm of Christian Heritage College in San Diego. This was my first debate with a creationist. It was Gish's 300th-plus debate against an evolutionist. Las Vegas was not even giving odds. What could I say that hundreds of others had not already said?

In preparation, I read much of the creationist literature and reread the Bible. Twenty years ago, I had read the Bible very carefully as a theology student at Pepperdine University (before I switched to psychology), and, like many in the early 1970s, I had been a born-again Christian, taking up the cause with considerable enthusiasm, including "witnessing" to non-believers. Then, during my graduate training in experimental psychology and ethology (the study of animal behavior) at California State University, Fullerton, I ran into the brilliant but eccentric Bayard Brattstrom and the insightful and wise Meg White. Brattstrom was far more than one of the world's leading experts in behavioral herpetology (the study of reptilian behavior). He was well versed in the philosophical debates of modern biology and science, and regularly regaled us for hours with philosophical

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