Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

B. F. McClerren


During the course of human history, many social issues have come and gone. One argument that caught the writer's eye is the argument about how man came to exist.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to analyze an evolution/creation debate that took place at Columbus College, Georgia, on May 6, 1981. Evolutionary theory was supported by Dr. Schwinner, a paleontologist from Columbus College. His partner was Dr. Frazier, a professor of geology at Columbus College. Creation theory was supported by Dr. Henry Morris, President of the Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, and Dr. Slusher, an astronomer and geophysicist from the University of Texas, El Paso.


The working hypothesis is that an analysis of the language, arguments, and philosophical frameworks employed during a debate between scientists would yield a responsible perspective on theories of origin.


A transcript was made from a cassette tape of the evolution/creation debate that took place at Columbus College. This debate was chosen because of its comprehensive coverage of arguments supporting evolution and creation. The debate was complete and uncut without editing.


This paper applies a methodology created by B. F. McClerren and demonstrated in his rhetorical analysis: "The Rhetoric of Abortion: An Analysis," (unpublished paper, Eastern Illinois University, 1989).

This methodology provides for three basic identifications: emotive language, modes of argument, and philosophical frameworks. Each is described in the paper.

This methodology is applied to each debater.


The hypothesis was supported. The analysis revealed that the debaters marshaled their language and arguments to responsibly and clearly defend their respective philosophical frameworks.

Because the writer cannot claim that all possible arguments about the evolution/creation issue were employed in the one debate studied, the following suggestions for further study using the same methodology are offered:

1. A study of the same debaters in different settings.

2. A study of other evolution/creation debates by other responsible debaters.