Duane Gish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Duane Gish
Duane Tolbert Gish

(1921-02-17)February 17, 1921
Died5 March 2013(2013-03-05) (aged 92)
EducationUniversity of California, Los Angeles (BS)
University of California, Berkeley (MA, PhD)
Employer(s)University of California, Berkeley
Cornell University
Institute for Creation Research
Known forProminent public speaker on creationism
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1941–1945
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsBronze Star Medal

Duane Tolbert Gish (February 17, 1921 – March 5, 2013[1]) was an American biochemist and a prominent member of the creationist movement.[2] A young Earth creationist, Gish was a former vice-president of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and the author of numerous publications about creation science.

Gish was called "creationism's T. H. Huxley" for the way he "relished the confrontations" of formal debates with prominent evolutionary biologists, usually held on university campuses,[3] while abandoning formal debating principles. A creationist publication noted in his obituary that "it was perhaps his personal presentation that carried the day. In short, the audiences liked him."[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Gish, a twin, was born in White City, Kansas, the youngest of nine children. He served in World War II, attaining the rank of captain, and was awarded the Bronze Star.[5] He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of California, Los Angeles in 1949, and he obtained his biochemistry Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1953. He worked as an assistant research associate at Berkeley, and as an assistant professor at Cornell University Medical College for eighteen years, joining the Upjohn Company as a research associate in 1960.[6]


A Methodist from age ten, and later a fundamentalist Baptist, Gish believed that the Genesis creation narrative was historical fact.[7] After reading the booklet Evolution, "Science Falsely So-called" in the late 1950s, Gish became persuaded that science had produced falsifiable evidence against evolutionary theory, particularly the origin of life, and that various fields of science offered corroborating evidence in support of the Genesis creation narrative.[8] He joined the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), an association of Christian scientists, mistakenly assuming the group supported creationism. Through his affiliation at the ASA, Gish met geneticist and creationist William J. Tinkle, who in 1961 invited Gish to join a newly formed anti-evolution caucus within the ASA.[7]

In 1971, Gish became a member of the faculty at San Diego Christian College, working in its research division before accepting a position at the Institute for Creation Research (independent since 1981). He was the author of several books and articles espousing creationism. His best-known work, Evolution: The Fossils Say No!, published in 1972, has been widely accepted by creationists as an authoritative reference.[6] Gish initially "assigned low priority to the question of [the] age [of the Earth]".[9]

At his death on March 5, 2013, Gish held the position of Senior Vice-President Emeritus at the ICR.[10]


Gish's debating opponents said that he used a rapid-fire approach during a debate, presenting arguments and changing topics quickly. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, dubbed this approach the "Gish gallop", describing it as "where the creationist is allowed to run on for 45 minutes or an hour, spewing forth torrents of error that the evolutionist hasn't a prayer of refuting in the format of a debate".[11] She also criticized Gish for failing to answer objections raised by his opponents.[12] The phrase has also come to be used as a pejorative to describe similar debate styles employed by proponents of other, usually fringe beliefs, such as homeopathy or the Moon landing hoax.[13][14]

However, Gish said a similar thing about his debate opponents, especially Kenneth Miller. Gish accused Miller of using spread debating, i.e. speaking very fast and bringing up so many points that there was no chance to answer them all.[15]

Gish was also criticized for using a standardized presentation during debates. While undertaking research for a debate with Gish, Michael Shermer noted that Gish re-used similar openings, assumptions about his opponent, slides, and even jokes. For example, during the debate, Gish attempted to prove that Shermer was indeed an atheist and therefore immoral, even though Shermer said he was not an atheist and was willing to accept the existence of a divine creator.[16] Massimo Pigliucci, who debated Gish five times, said that Gish ignored evidence contrary to his religious beliefs.[17] Robert Schadewald accused Gish of stonewalling arguments with fabricated data.[18]


  • Gish, Duane T. 15 Scopus Publishers.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1972). Speculations and Experiments on the Origins of Life. New Leaf Pr. ISBN 0-89051-010-5.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1972). Evidence against evolution. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers. ISBN 0-8423-0790-7.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1986) [1972]. Evolution, the fossils say no!. San Diego, Calif: Institute for Creation Research Publishing. ISBN 0-89051-057-1.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1973). Have You Been... Brainwashed?. Seattle, Washington: Life Messengers. p. 32. OCLC 10930514.
  • Hillestad, George M.; Morris, Henry; Gish, Duane T. (1974). Creation: acts, facts, impacts. San Diego, Calif: ICR Pub. Co. ISBN 0-89051-020-2.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1977). Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards. Green forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-039-3.
  • Rohrer, Donald H.; Gish, Duane T. (1978). Up with creation!: ICR acts/facts/impacts, 1976-1977. San Diego, California: Creation-Life Publishers. ISBN 0-89051-048-2.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1981). Manipulating life, where does it stop?: Genetic engineering. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-071-7.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1985). Evolution: the challenge of the fossil record. San Diego, Calif: Creation-Life Publishers. ISBN 0-89051-112-8.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1988). Creationist Research 1964-1988. Creation Research Society. ISBN 0-940384-06-X.
  • Bonnie Snellenberger; Gish, Duane T.; D Dish; Earl Snellenberger (1990). The Amazing Story of Creation: From Science and the Bible. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-120-9.
  • Gloria Clanin; Gish, Duane T.; Earl Snellenberger; Bonita Snellenberger (1992). Dinosaurs by Design. Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-165-9.
  • D. Gish (1993). Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics. El Cajon, California: Institute for Creation Research. ISBN 0-932766-28-5.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1995). Teaching Creation Science in Public Schools. El Cajon, Calif: Institute for Creation Research. ISBN 0-932766-36-6.
  • Gish, Duane T. (1995). Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!. Master Books. p. 277. ISBN 0-89051-112-8.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Looy, Mark (6 March 2013). "Creation Debater Dr. Duane Gish Passes Away". answersingenesis.org. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  2. ^ Hayward, James L. (1998). The Creation/Evolution Controversy : an Annotated Bibliography. Scarecrow Press/Salem Press. p. 253. ISBN 0-8108-3386-7.
  3. ^ Numbers 2006, p. 316
  4. ^ Henry Morris III (2013). "Duane Gish: Celebrating a Creation Champion". Acts & Facts. pp. 18–19. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  5. ^ "Duane T. Gish Obituary: View Duane Gish's Obituary by San Diego Union-Tribune". Legacy.com. Retrieved 2015-07-31.
  6. ^ a b Smout, Kary D. (1998). The creation/evolution controversy: a battle for cultural power. New York: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96262-8.[page needed]
  7. ^ a b Numbers 2006, p. 251
  8. ^ "Dr. Duane Gish: Crusader", Creation Matters, Volume 1, Number 1 Archived 2012-07-23 at archive.today January/February 1996
  9. ^ Numbers 2006, p. 260.
  10. ^ "Duane T. Gish dies". The Skeptical Review. March 6, 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  11. ^ Scott, Eugenie (1994-07-07). "Debates and the Globetrotters". Talk Origins Archive. Retrieved 2007-10-30.
  12. ^ Scott, Eugenie (November–December 2004). "Confronting Creationism: When and How". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  13. ^ "Homeopathy: Recedit ad anum". Short and spiky. 15 Feb 2012. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  14. ^ St. Whitehall, Nigel (18 August 2009). "Skeptoid #167". The Skeptical Review. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  15. ^ Gish, D.T., Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics, IRC, 1993
  16. ^ Shermer, Michael (1997). Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, And Other Confusions Of Our Time. New York: A.W.H. Freeman/Owl Book. pp. 128–136. ISBN 0-7167-3387-0.
  17. ^ Pigliucci, Massimo (2002). Denying evolution: creationism, scientism, and the nature of science. Sunderland, Mass: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 0-87893-659-9.[page needed]
  18. ^ Schadewald, Robert J. "Six Flood Arguments Creationists Can't Answer". Lhup.edu. Archived from the original on 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2015-07-31.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]