Duane Gish

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Duane Gish
Born Duane Tolbert Gish
(1921-02-17)February 17, 1921
White City, Kansas
Died 5 March 2013(2013-03-05) (aged 92)
Residence San Diego, California
Nationality American
Education B.S. Chemistry, UCLA - 1949; Ph.D. Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley - 1953
Employer Institute for Creation Research
Known for Prominent public speaker on Creationism
Religion Baptist

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] 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 B.S. degree from UCLA in 1949 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1953. He worked as an Assistant Research Associate at Berkeley, and Assistant Professor at Cornell University Medical College performing biomedical and biochemical research 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 Biblical creation story was historical fact.[7] After reading the booklet Evolution, "Science Falsely So-called" in the late 1950s, Gish became persuaded that science had produced falsifying evidence against biological evolutionary theory and that various fields of science offered corroborating evidence in support of the Biblical creation story.[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 1978, has been widely accepted by antievolutionists 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]


Debating opponents said that Gish 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]

Gish was also criticised for using a standardized presentation during debates. While undertaking research for a debate with Gish, Michael Shermer noted that Gish used similar openings, assumptions about his opponent, slides, and even jokes. Although Shermer said he was not an atheist and was willing to accept the existence of a divine creator, Gish attempted to prove that Shermer was indeed an atheist and therefore immoral.[15] Massimo Pigliucci, who debated Gish five times, said that he ignored evidence contrary to his religious beliefs.[16] One opponent accused Gish of stonewalling arguments with fabricated data.[17]

Some creationists view Gish's performances differently. In the early days of his debates, one creationist wrote, "evolutionists were caught somewhat by surprise when a qualified speaker—complete with a working knowledge of the relevant literature and research—challenged their worldview.... Soon spokespersons for evolution publicly recommended that evolutionists not debate Duane Gish because they would surely lose."[4]


  • Bonnie Snellenberger; Gish, Duane T.; D Dish; Earl Snellenberger (1990). The Amazing Story of Creation: From Science and the Bible. Green forest, AR: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-120-9. 
  • Hillestad, George M.; Morris, Henry; Gish, Duane T. (1974). Creation: acts, facts, impacts. San Diego, Calif: ICR Pub. Co. ISBN 0-89051-020-2. 
  • D. Gish (1993). Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics. El Cajon, Calif: Institute for Creation Research. ISBN 0-932766-28-5. 
  • Gish, Duane T. (1988). Creationist Research 1964-1988. Creation Research Society. ISBN 0-940384-06-X. 
  • Gish, Duane T. (1977). Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards. Green forest, AR: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-039-3. 
  • Gloria Clanin; Gish, Duane T.; Earl Snellenberger; Bonita Snellenberger (1992). Dinosaurs by Design. Green forest, AR: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-165-9. 
  • Gish, Duane T. (1972). Evidence against evolution. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers. ISBN 0-8423-0790-7. 
  • Gish, Duane T.; (1974). Have You Been... Brainwashed?. Seattle, WA: Life Messengers. p. 48. 
  • Gish, Duane T. (1986) [1979]. Evolution, the fossils say no!. San Diego, Calif: Creation-Life Publishers. ISBN 0-89051-057-1. 
  • 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. (1981). Manipulating life, where does it stop?: Genetic engineering. Green forest, AR: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-071-7. 
  • Gish, Duane T. Speculations and Experiments on the Origins of Life. New Leaf Pr. ISBN 0-89051-010-5. 
  • Gish, Duane T. (1995). Teaching Creation Science in Public Schools. El Cajon, Calif: Institute for Creation Research. ISBN 0-932766-36-6. 
  • Rohrer, Donald H.; Gish, Duane T. (1978). Up with creation!: ICR acts/facts/impacts, 1976-1977. San Diego, Calif: Creation-Life Publishers. ISBN 0-89051-048-2. 
  • 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. ^ a b Henry Morris III (2013). "Duane Gish: Celebrating a Creation Champion". Acts & Facts. 42 (5): 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 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. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  14. ^ St. Whitehall, Nigel (18 Aug 2009). "Skeptoid #167". The Skeptical Review. Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Pigliucci, Massimo (2002). Denying evolution: creationism, scientism, and the nature of science. Sunderland, Mass: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 0-87893-659-9. [page needed]
  17. ^ Schadewald, Robert J. "Six Flood Arguments Creationists Can't Answer". Lhup.edu. Retrieved 2015-07-31. 


Further reading[edit]

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