My Account of KGNW AM 820's 'Street Talk' On Saturday, January 15, 1994 Jason Robar and my
My Account of KGNW AM 820's "Street Talk"
On Saturday, January 15, 1994 Jason Robar and myself appeared on
creationist radio station KGNW AM 820's "Street Talk" for two
hours. We defended evolution against host Leif Moi and Dr. Doug Jue,
president of the Seattle Bible Science Association. Before the show, we
had made a number of requests concerning groung rules. One of the ground
rules was that we would debate the SCIENTIFIC evidence concerning
creationism and evolution. Unfortunately, we did not spend more than 20
minutes out of the two hours on evolution.
What did happen is that we were forced to spend over an hour on the Big
Bang Theory, and a lot of time on why we PERSONALLY do not happen to
believe in God. When I walked into the studio, I unloaded two binders,
three absolutely stuffed hanging-file folders, and 12 books (one was 900
pages) from my backpack. The first two questions we were asked were
designed to test our knowledge of evolution. So from the onset of the
show our host knew we were prepared to debate any of the standard
creationist arguments against evolution.
He therefore virtually abandoned evolution and creationism. Most of the
show was spent discussing everything but "the SCIENTIFIC evidence
concerning evolution and creationism." Instead we talked about the Big
Bang Theory, why Jason and I are not Christians, logical syllogisms,
etc. The only person who brought up the flood was me. They didn't even
attempt to mention the fossil evidence or try to abuse punctuated
equilibrium. We never heard a scientific theory of creationism stated
and we were never given the oppurtunity to present our evidence for
In short, our host was a master at sensing our weakness (the Big Bang)
and shifting the focus of the show to that. We were not prepared to
debate the Big Bang and so the host used that issue very effectively to
turn the show into a debate on the existence of God. I was impressed
because both Jason and I were championship debaters in high school and he
managed to completely choose what we would and would not discuss.
We did, however, manage to make a few key points:
The speed of light proves that the universe is billions of years
old. Dr. Jue tried to suggest that the speed of light has decayed. We
gave scientific evidence demonstrating that this is not the case.
Evolution does not mean that humans have evolved from modern apes.
We never cease to be amazed by how many creationists have this misconception.
Jason and I repeatedly mentioned that the Big Bang has absolutely
nothing to do with evolution. We could grant for the sake of argument
that the Big Bang is false and that would not disprove evolution.
The creationists' commitment to a certain interpretation of scripture
forces them _a priori_ to reject certain scientific evidence, including
evidence for an old universe and biological evolution. The church's
rejection of Galileo is a good example of how a prior commitment to a
certain interpretation of scripture can force people to reject a complete
body of evidence.
Creationists are closet evolutionists because they believe that
250,000 species of beetles evolved from a single beetle "kind".
They say that beetles are still beetles, but the point is that evolution
from one species to another even occurs in creationist scenarios.
The "fact" of evolution and the "theory" of
evolution are two different things. The fact of evolution is that
evolution occurs. The theory of evolution is the exact mechanism. We
quoted Stephen Jay Gould's essay, "Evolution as Fact and Theory."
The origin of life is a completely different debate from the
evolution of life. A caller tried to suggest that we could not believe
in a divine origin of life because we were both agnostics. I replied
that we had no problem accpeting a divine origin of life, because we
could just switch to deism, which isn't that different from agnosticism.
I also pointed out, to the contrary, that the caller and our opponents
could not accept a natural origin of life because of their prior
commitment to a certain interpretation of scripture.
If I ever get the chance to do something like this again, I am going to
absoltely insist that the creationists give a scientific theory of
creationism and positive evidence for that theory. Leif Moi and Dr. Jue
completely abandoned a defense of anything that even remotely resembled a
so-called "model" of creationism.
There is no way to know exactly how many people listened to the show, but
I would say that a lot more people than usual listened in. In my
hometown newspaper, _The Bremerton Sun_, there have been to date 23
letters to the editor about evolution. I suggested to Leif that he
contact the Sun about the show, which he did, and they mentioned the show
in their paper. Appropriately, the first two callers were from Bremerton.
After the show, we were invited back for a future show on evolution. Dr.
Jue also thanked me for not mentioning the Paluxy River creationist
hoax. I replied that my policy is not to mention creationist hoaxes
unless creationists mention alleged evolutionist hoaxes. (He did not
thank me for discussing the speed of light.)
We were not allowed to mention Arthur Srahler's book _Science and Earth
History_, which makes the most systematic defense of evolution we have
ever seen. Nor were we allowed to give the toll free number for the
National Center for Science Education (1-800-290-6006), because Leif
considered that proselytizing.
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