When pro athletes start to fight, the officials intervene. What happens when pro sportscasters start to fight about creation and evolution? ESPN has had to silence at least one commentator for defending evolution. We got another taste of that sideline action when star-turned-commentator Bill Walton poked fun at award-winning announcer Dave Pasch.
Pasch has made no secret of his faith, including his Christian beliefs. He sees broadcasting as a perfect opportunity to spread the Word. As part of their jokey relationship, Bill Walton surprised Pasch at a recent game with some presents: a cake and a copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species. Here’s how the dialogue went:
Walton: We wanna make sure that you believe in evolution.
Pasch: I don’t. But I’ll set this over here…. By the way, Bill, I have a book that counters the Origin of Species if you’d like me to bring that to you next game.
Other guy [?]: Crickets…
Walton: I believe in science. And evolution. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon.
Other guy [?]: Alright, let’s…let’s move on here.
Pasch: We’ll take a break. Eat some cake. Talk about the book Bill gave me, and maybe a little irreducible complexity to straighten Bill out.
Sports fans may remember an angrier sideline fight a few months back between pitcher Curt Schilling and commentator Keith Law. The two got into a Twitter shouting match over the fossil record. In the end, ESPN suspended Law from Twitter, not officially for his pro-evolution stance.
We could ask if the interchange between Pasch and Walton gives us evidence that intelligent design really is just a stalking horse for conservative evangelical religion. The theorists of the “irreducible complexity” Pasch refers to insist that their ideas are not religious, just scientific. But we clearly see in this interchange that at least one ardent evangelical creationist considers intelligent design to be on His side.
We don’t want to get into all that, though. Instead, let’s focus this morning on some simpler questions:
What’s with all these sports creationists? We know that star athletes from Russell Wilson to Tim Tebow to Jeremy Lin have used their fame to spread the Gospel. Is there something about sports that is friendly to conservative evangelicals?