ESPN at center court in science versus biblical creation debate

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

BRISTOL, Conn. (Christian Examiner) – During a televised broadcast of Colorado at tenth-ranked Arizona, ESPN basketball commentators Bill Walton and Dave Pasch had a friendly exchange about science and creationism.

The light-hearted moment showed the two likely discussed it previously and their comments probably referenced a recent incident in which ESPN suspended baseball writer Keith Law from Twitter after a testy exchange about evolution with ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, a devout Christian.

Pasch has been forward about his Christian faith and even opened up about his 11-year process to salvation in a 2012 interview for a blog called Jesus N Sports. Walton, on the other hand, is known as a "free thinker" whom Pasch describes as "an urban philosopher."

Pasch had just been named Arizona's sportscaster of the year, and his colleagues took time during a break in the action to honor him with a cake, and Walton took the opportunity to gift Pasch with a copy of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species."

"We want to make sure you believe in evolution," Walton said grinning. Pasch, who does play by play, just brushed off the comment with a smile and a simple, "I don't."

But he also showed he could give as well as take good-natured ribbing, telling Walton, "By the way I have a book, Bill, that counters the 'Origin of Species' if you'd like me to bring it to you next game."

After an awkward pause Pasch described as "crickets," Walton said, a little less light-heartedly, "I believe in science and evolution. I've been to the Grand Canyon."

But Pasch managed to get in one more gig in the two's friendly sparring.

"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," Pasch added before moving on to a commercial break. "Irreducible complexity" is a concept proposed by Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe to explain human beings and other living creatures as too intricate—showing intelligent design—to have evolved simply through random mutation and natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin in "On the Origin of Species."