On this website earlier today, we shared the sad news that famed creationist debater Dr. Duane T. Gish had passed away this morning. This great defender of the Christian faith was a tireless and bold defender of the book of Genesis. The same courage that marked his service during WWII in the Pacific Theater of the war was seen in later years as he appeared about 300 times at venues around the world as he took the stage to debate prominent evolutionists, sometimes facing a hostile audience who jeered his defense of Genesis.I saw Gish in the late 1990s, when he came to the University of Tennessee. He did, indeed, have a compelling presentation, even if most of it was either wrong or based on out-dated information. The interesting thing about Gish and other traveling debaters is that, as they moved from town to town and university to university, their presentations didn't change, even in the face of devastating rebuttals. This problem seems to characterize young earth creationism in general. The same discredited arguments keep popping up, although there are exceptions to this pattern, Todd Wood, for example.
The statement that he often faced hostile audiences may only be partly true. One of the complaints that many scientists have about debating creationists is that they bus in huge crowds from local churches to bolster their cases. Additionally, whether or not Gish received hostile treatment at other universities, he certainly did not at UT. The one thing that did characterize the festivities is that the audience was very polite. So much so that some of Gish's arguments that obviously did not hold water, were not adequately challenged.
Nonetheless, he has now gone to be with the Lord. Rest in Peace, Dr. Gish.