What did I do this summer? Part of the time I sat on the beach discussing Darwin vs. creationism. Those who believe in Darwin sat on one side of the sand and used suntan oil, because scientists say you don't want to burn your skin.

On the other side were the creationists, who maintained they didn't need oil because God would protect them.

One religious bather said, "Darwin didn't know what he was talking about. I didn't come from a monkey -- or even a horse."

A Darwin supporter said, "Conventional wisdom says the creationist belief is just a theory, while Darwinism is a science."

"If creationism is just a theory in the Bible," a born-again Christian said, "why does President Bush want it taught in the schools?"

"It's good for him politically, and shows he believes in God," I said. "I can believe in Darwin and God, but I don't believe creationism should be taught as science in public schools. Besides, I thought the question was resolved years and years ago."

There was stirring from the right. "Anyone who says that doesn't believe in God."

"I am not an atheist. I go to church every Sunday, but that doesn't mean I have to buy the Adam and Eve story. I still want to know who wrote it."

Things were getting more heated. The Darwin supporters started to kick sand at the creationists.

I tried to get the discussion back on track. "Intelligent Designers have no proof as to how life began, but we still have to respect their beliefs."

"I don't say there is no God," a Darwin spokesman said. "All I am saying is there is no proof there is one."

"Proof is in the eye of the beholder," an evangelical retorted. "Anyone who doesn't believe in Intelligent Design is a pagan."

"And who is the father of Intelligent Design?"

"The people who wrote the Bible. They knew God's words had to be passed on. Everything was just fine until Darwin took a trip around the world and said we descended from animals."

"Why do people hold such a grudge against Darwin? He brought order to the human race. The Intelligent Designers have been fighting with each other for thousands of years," a scientist said. "Even today they are arguing about God."

"Yes, but you need scientists to provide the weapons used against people who don't believe in your theory. You can't have strong beliefs without guns to back them up."

A creationist who was building a sand castle said, "How do we know Australopithecus wasn't a hoax?"

The Darwin man retorted, "How do we know God isn't a hoax?"

I said, "This is getting rough. It's tearing people apart. Creationists live by moral standards and unquestionable beliefs. Evolutionists believe nothing unless they see it for themselves. I believe the two shouldn't be in the same ballpark -- or on the same beach."

"What do you suggest?"

"Let's have a volleyball game. The creationists against the evolutionists."

A scientist said, "I'll play only if the playing field is level."

An Intelligent Designer replied, "God always makes the playing field level. That's why we love Him."

(c) 2005 Tribune Media Services