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1991: Phillip Johnson’s shot heard round the world

Darwin on Trial

It’s the twentieth anniversary of Phillip Johnson’s seminal Darwin on Trial and people are starting to remember the difference Johnson made. Even by 1991, many were getting restless. It wasn’t just the solemn nonsense propounded in science journals in the name of the Beard. “Evolutionary psychology” was catching on even back then, promising to explain everything, including stuff like why black people are less moral than white people.

Not to worry, a different evolutionary psychologist, given a guarantee of publication in a respected journal – and scads of attention from the pop science press – can come up, we are sure, with reverse nonsense. (One psychologist actually made a good stab at that, but was fingered for fraud; we don’t know if that paper was directly implicated in the current accusations.)

Anyway, in the midst of it all, a Berkeley law prof published a book examining the Darwinists’ claims from a legal – not religious – perspective, and suddenly millions found the courage to say, yes, that’s sort of what we were thinking too. But could never have so clearly explained it.

Here’s the statement that may well have had the most effect:

“I do not think that the mind can serve two masters, and I am confident that whenever the attempt is made, naturalism in the end will be the true master and theism will have to abide by its dictates. If the blind watchmaker thesis is true, then naturalism deserves to rule, but I am addressing those who think the thesis is false, or at least are willing to consider the possibility that it may be false.

Such persons need to be willing to challenge false doctrines, not on the basis of prejudice or blind adherence to a tradition, but with clear-minded, reasoned arguments. They also need to be working on a positive understanding of a theistic view of reality, one that allows natural science to find its proper place as an important but not all-important part of the life of the mind.” – Johnson P.E., Darwin on Trial, Second Edition, 1993, Inter Varsity Press, Illinois, p. 169

In the age of ASA and BioLogos, Johnson’s words are almost a motto.

Let Christian Darwinists have all the religion.  And, as for the rest of us: When in doubt, doubt.

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3 Responses to 1991: Phillip Johnson’s shot heard round the world

  1. 1
    material.infantacy

    Again I’d like to call attention to this lecture given by Phillip Johnson, which I enjoyed thoroughly.

    Evolution News – Darwin on Trial 20th Anniversary

    There is some other PEJ and ID video material here: IDquest’s Youtube Channel.

  2. Amen.
    This YEC agrees that the origin world changed with the few people who suddenly had successful books affecting the right demographics who said no to evolutionism in some manner.
    It truly shows ideas on origins always moved in tiny circles of authority and so writers who persuasively, the bad guys got to admit it, challenge it trult shake the world.
    One can predict.
    Either more sharp critics of evolution will come along as they discover its error and want to demonstrate it or the modern ID movement will fizzle out from vigorous evolutionist opposition.
    The pro and opponent of these issues will not foever live together.
    The wrong one will be defeated since both sides show energy and persistance.
    No ones going to get tired and fed up.
    Its coming to a final conclusion.

  3. OT, GilDodgen, you may appreciate this:

    Fazale Rana: A (Atheistic) Scientist’s Journey to Faith – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a-hM467FbE

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