“How am I going to face my wife?”

One night last month, Jerry Falwell matched the best defender of creationism he could find against the best defender of evolution he could find. By all accounts, the creationist won hands down.

But you can judge for yourself: Falwell will spend up to a half-million dollars to broadcast the debate on television.

The evolutionist was Russell Doolittle, a protein chemist from the University of California. The creationist was Duane Gish, a biochemist from the Institute for Creation Research. The debate took place at Falwell’s Liberty Baptist College in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Admittedly, Doolittle did not have the home field advantage, as he tried to argue for evolutionism in Lynchburg. Still, by his own admission, he lost badly. “I’m devastated,” he said after the debate. “This was so important. How am I going to face my wife after making such a fool of myself?” His comments were carried in a Washington Post account of the event.

Doolittle, who has debated on behalf of evolution previously, tripped himself up by not paying attention to the clock. He, like Gish, had 18 minutes to make an opening statement, but spent so much time reading from a creationist text about dinosaurs, and criticizing it, that he failed to get through a slide presentation that offered evidence for evolution.

Instead of a well-fashioned argument for his view, the conclusion of Doolittle’s statement, according to a transcript, went this way: “I’m running out of time. It’s incredible. Well, I have to go very quickly here. May I, in fact, quickly now just go through my slides? I just saw what I think is a 30-second flash here. These have been the fastest 18 minutes of my life. And as I’m now on my last slide—Oop! I’ve been squeezed ...

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