LeTourneau panelists discuss evolution debate

Published on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 10:54 - Written by By Reese Gordon, Longview News-Journal

(AP) -- Area professors said Monday night that there is clear evidence of the existence of God in nature.

“When I see nature, I see evidence of someone having a blast,” said Karen Rispin, a biology professor at LeTourneau University. “All of these things happening by chance doesn’t seem to be the most reasonable answer, but you shouldn’t feel threatened when people say we are descendants of the great apes.

“We don’t always have all of the information we need to make an accurate model and we aren’t as smart as God. He didn’t tell us how he did it,” she said.

Rispin was one of three East Texas professors to take part in a panel discussion Monday night held in response to the Feb. 4 debate between Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and Answers in Genesis CEO Ken Ham over the merits of evolution versus creative design.

More than 175 LeTourneau students attended the discussion held in the education building on campus.

The panelists also included J. Warren Johnson, a professor of theology at East Texas Baptist University, and Wilson Cunha, from LeTourneau’s theology department.

“I watched the debate the night it occurred and have watched it again since,” Johnson said. “I felt Nye was disinterested in his own hypothesis. He may be a good scientist, but I’m not sure he’s much of a philosopher.”

Nye has been outspoken about his disdain over the widely held belief the universe and everything in it originated with a creator or God.

“Nye’s take was flawed because he used the existence of natural laws for his argument several times, but never addressed where those laws came from,” Johnson said. “He said he doesn’t understand where our sense of consciousness comes from. The answer is we were created by a being greater than ourselves.”

Junior civil engineering major Caleb Jones, who attended the discussion, said he now understands how philosophy and science work in forming both theories.

“The best thing I got out of it was how to think about the issue between creation and evolution,” he said.

You can watch the debate by clicking through the slideshow accompanying this story until you find the YouTube video.