The UNLV student was beside himself. He was stunned at what a “technical” discussion it had been up to this point.
This was during a debate held April 30 at the Living Grace Church on North Rancho. A debate between creationists and evolutionists. A debate organized by the Rebel Secular Student Society, created last August by student and former Mormon Alex Jacobsen to unite students whose world view is “free of mysticism and the supernatural”—in other words, non-religious. UNLV has numerous Christian groups that meet on campus, but, “as far as I know, this is the first [atheist, agnostic] group at UNLV,” Jacobsen says.
RSSS has organized several debates this year. The first, in February, drew about 200 and went long. Friday’s event was a follow-up to one held three days prior at UNLV, which attracted the same number and went long. This one had about 50, and guess what? It went long. Both sides want to argue, at length, why their position is correct, and acolytes want to ask questions of the other side, the answers to which are immaterial: They’re meant to make a point.
And until that one student stepped to the microphone during the Q&A period, Friday’s event had, indeed, been technical. Creationists Richard Cromwick (two math degrees) and John Pierson (an apologist defending the Bible since the early ’70s) squared off against Drew Pruitt (president of RSSS and a grad student in UNLV’s school of education) and Joe Peacock (an evolutionary biology grad student at UNLV), each speaking on micro- and macroevolution, the fossil record and the age of the earth. Peacock spoke of transitional forms, speciation and something about salamanders.
- Beyond the Weekly
- Rebel Secular Student Society
Yep, technical. But after the student’s question, the tenor changed. Passions began to show. The student noted that those promoting the “young-earth” theory are “clearly Christians,” and that they’ve had “the same theory for 2,000 years,” and that their only defense against the evolution theory is to say it’s wrong. “How can you deny [the scientific community] in every single area?”
“Prove to me where it’s wrong,” countered Pierson, referring to the Bible. “The evidence supports the Bible, not contradicts.”
A woman wearing a “Jesus” T-shirt read a Bible passage to the evolutionists, something about those leading children astray having millstones hung around their necks. Pruitt said he felt you could find merit to evolution and still retain your faith. Pierson said that was tantamount to “calling God a liar, and you’re not walking on thin ice, you’re walking on water!”
Another woman asked the evolutionists what law proves the theory of evolution. Peacock called the question flawed—theories are based on facts, not laws. “What color is the number 7?” a guy in the audience yelled out.
Cromwick was perhaps the most fascinating figure of the exchange, a fast-talking, at times almost unintelligible, man of science who finally took to reading the Bible to support his claims. “And 45 to 46 percent still think the Earth is young. You’re [evolutionists] dead wrong twice.”
Another student asked, if stars in the cosmos are billions of light years away, why can we see them? Pierson’s explanation? How do we know God didn’t just put the stars there to make an example of his vast power? Drew’s response? “I know of no method of science that could rebut that statement.”
It was informative, to be sure, but there are still so many answered questions. Like, what color is the number 7?