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Duane Gish Has Died

Duane Gish, one of the most infamous young earth creationists in the world, passed away a few days ago at the age of 92. Gish was known for inventing the classic creationist debating strategy known as the “Gish Gallop” (or as I prefer, the Hovind Hustle). Answers in Genesis, unsurprisingly, greatly inflates his personal attributes:

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.

Oh, of course. Because facing an audience of people, some of whom disagree with him (in fact, the audiences usually were stacked with bused-in churchgoers), is just like facing Japanese troops that want to kill him. Going to war takes courage; spouting nonsense does not.

I see no reason to piss on anyone’s grave, but I likewise see no reason to play pretend. Duane Gish was, first and foremost, a liar. Time and time again he was caught reusing an argument that he knew was false because he had admitted it in a previous debate. He may not have been consciously lying. He may have been so fanatical that he buried the cognitive dissonance behind religious fervor. But the claims he made were still distortions and falsehoods.

Comments

  1. says

    He may not have been consciously lying. He may have been so fanatical that he buried the cognitive dissonance behind religious fervor.

    I never made excuses for my slave-owning ancestors, so there’s no reason to make excuses for Gish. As an adult, he was responsible for his words and actions.

    I can see the headline now: “Gish gallops his last gallop.”

  2. says

    “Answers in Genesis, unsurprisingly, greatly inflates his personal attributes”

    Not as much as the various aerobic and anaerobic bacteria* will inflate his meatsack if they don’t embalm him in a hurry.

    I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on his grave but I might send my roommate, BuddytheWonderdog to do it for me.

    I am a bit surprised that nobody ever came up with a neologism like “Galloping Gishorreah” to describe the condition of verbal incontinence that seems to afflict anti-evolutionists.

    * I’m not sure if they actually exist as they aren’t mentioned in Genesis.

  3. says

    I can see the headline now: “Gish gallops his last gallop.”

    My blog post about this was entitled “Gish Gallops Off This Mortal Coil.”

  4. whheydt says

    The thread on The Panda’s Thumb has some good quips. I’ll just steal this one…

    Ding! Dong! The Gish is dead!

  5. maddog1129 says

    Slightly off topic, but I’m glad to see you not shy away from the simple declarative word that the person is “dead.” Not “passed away,” or some other silly euphemism.

  6. says

    I never really understood the whole ‘we must be nice to someone now that they are dead’ line. His life’s work was to spread lies, enabling ignorance, stymieing the growth of knowledge and greatly decreasing the sum total of human wellbeing, and the fact that he’s dead doesn’t change any of that. Fuck him–fuck him in life, fuck him in death.

  7. stubby says

    What a shame. I enjoyed her work on Brotherhood. Hmm? Oh, Duane Gish. Yeah that guy was a douche.

  8. says

    I understand that the eulogy at his funeral consisted of a rapid fire listing of various claims regarding his life, nearly all of which were either irrelevant or of dubious veracity, but there were so many of them, it was hard to keep track.

  9. dingojack says

    The same courage that marked his service during WWII in the Pacific Theater of the war…”
    Hmm, I wonder why I find this claim extremely dubious….
    Oh that’s right! Gish.
    Dingo
    ——-
    PS: Good, he did nothing good in life and will do even less in death. Nothing but an oxygen thief.

  10. dingojack says

    Surely the headline should read:

    Claims that Gish is dead, aged 92
    (Awaiting autopsy results to confirm).

    Dingo

  11. Ichthyic says

    Slightly off topic, but I’m glad to see you not shy away from the simple declarative word that the person is “dead.” Not “passed away,” or some other silly euphemism.

    like “lost”?

    “We use a lot of euphemisms when we talk about death, you know. People say things like, “You know, I lost my father.”

    … Ah, he’ll turn up.

    (You’ve got to stay optimistic with people like that).

    -G. Carlin

  12. mikeyb says

    Do we know if Gish recanted creationism on his deathbed. Maybe there was a reverse devlish deconversion. Are there any tapes or witness.

  13. Robert B. says

    Actually it does take courage to stand up and talk in front of a potentially/partially hostile audience – as every educator knows. But it doesn’t really count if you bring in ringers to tilt the house in your favor, and it’s certainly not “the same kind of courage” as fighting in a war. (The Pacific theater of WW2 was really brutal, too, at least for land forces.) And anyway, courage and integrity are multiplicative – if you’re completely lacking in one, the other isn’t going to do any good.

  14. Ichthyic says

    the good is oft interred with their bones.

    again, Hitch’s matchbox quip comes to mind.

  15. says

    I never really understood the whole ‘we must be nice to someone now that they are dead’ line…

    Being nice to the dead for a certain period of time does have a place, whether or not you believe in any afterlife. That place is in private funeral/memorial rituals attended by family and friends, who have both a right and a need to mourn the loss of those they love.

    HOWEVER, if you abuse the sanctity of a memorial ritual or mourning period by using it as an opportunity to spread lies or hurtful rhetoric in public forums when it’s not considered polite to counter it (i.e., making bigoted speeches at his funeral and publishing said speeches far and wide), then you give up any expectation of respectful treatment by others. For a public figure like Gish, “respect for the dead” means not desecrating his grave or bothering his close friends or family in their time of mourning. It does NOT mean letting any of the deceased’s malicious actions go unchallenged, even for a minute.

  16. lldayo says

    @dingojack

    Preferably of the curisium vulgara type. The second part almost seems appropriate in itself.

  17. Sastra says

    Raging Bee #24 wrote:

    For a public figure like Gish, “respect for the dead” means not desecrating his grave or bothering his close friends or family in their time of mourning. It does NOT mean letting any of the deceased’s malicious actions go unchallenged, even for a minute.

    Well, my version of “respect for the dead” does involve letting all the malicious actions of the deceased go unchallenged. Now that he is dead, Gish may do or say any damn stupid thing he wants and I won’t say a word.

    But if he was still living when he did them — game on.

  18. left0ver1under says

    Cal-Berkley should have revoked Gish’s title of doctor decades ago on the grounds of academic fraud. He wasn’t qualified to hold it.

  19. Ichthyic says

    Cal-Berkley should have revoked Gish’s title of doctor decades ago on the grounds of academic fraud

    no can do. There have been many times when a graduate has committed acts of fraud, but the problem with revoking their degrees is one of process at the level of the university. It would be too open to manipulation and internal politics. If ONE degree was removed, and then the university sued and shown to have done so via manipulation, then that would be an indelible mark against that university. Best to let the guilty go free than execute an innocent man because of some personal internal vendetta. This is why it so rarely happens, and I’ve never heard of that ever happening within the UC system.

    Even Carlos Castenada, who committed fraud to obtain his PhD to begin with, did not have his PhD removed. Instead, they decided to close the loophole that allowed him to get it to begin with.

    I’ve personally experienced the internal politics that can destroy entire careers that exists within the UC system already, extending that to allowing them to post-hoc remove degrees? Very VERY bad idea.

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