Thwaites is an outspoken defender of evolution and a staunch advocate for maintaining high scientific standards in science education. He has been at the forefront of the creation/evolution controversy for nearly 20 years and has studied both the arguments of creationists and the creationists themselves. He helped found the journal Creation/Evolution, published by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) to assist debaters, teachers, and others who must confront creationists’ claims; and is a regular contributor to this and other NCSE publications. He has been a frequent and successful debater for NCSE, becoming one of “the world’s foremost experts on Southern California creationists.” As a professor of biology at San Diego State University (SDSU), Thwaites co-taught a popular creation/evolution “two model” class with “creation scientist” and debater Duane Gish and other creationist celebrities from the nearby Institute for Creation Research. “If there is ever going to be a solution to creationism’s silliness, the rest of us must learn about creationists and why they behave the way they do,” writes Thwaites.
Thwaites received his B.S. in zoology from the University of Wisconsin and his M.S. and Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Michigan. He has recently retired from 30 years of teaching and research at SDSU’s Department of Biology and is now building a house at Cape Mears near Tillamook, Oregon. He continues to write and review biology textbooks for junior high and senior high school levels.