An Easy-To-Understand Guide For Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. By Phillip E. Johnson. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1997. 131 pp. Paper, $15.99.
Phillip Johnson is the author of Darwin on Trial and Reason in The Balance. He wrote this book for high school juniors, seniors, and beginning college undergraduates. In it he discusses common mistakes made by people who try to resolve the conflict between creation and evolution through theistic evolution. Johnson points out that the official statement of the 1995 American National Association of Biology Teachers expressly states that evolution was unsupervised, impersonal, and unpredictable. This represents the general understanding of major science organizations and educators. Evolution according to the scientific community does not mean a God-guided gradual creation but an unguided purposeless change.
An evolution that was unsupervised and mindless is in direct conflict with the God of the Bible who, as the ultimate Creator of everything, takes an active supervisory role in the world. To consider that the God who made the laws of nature would then leave it to its own devices is problematic to say the least. God cannot be changed in order to reconcile evolution and creation.
Johnson says much about the “Inherit the Wind” stereotype. This refers back to the 1960 movie which portrayed the famous Scopes Trial of 1925. The film depicted the Evolutionists as the good people who desired to know truth, whereas the Creationists were labeled as dishonest bigots who had no desire to know truth. This basic stereotype is still seen whenever the creation/evolution controversy comes up. The Creationists are characterized as trying to force their religious views on others and their position is perceived as being anti-science.
One of his objectives in speaking out on this issue is to show that the theory of evolution does have problems as far as the evidence itself is concerned, such as, selective use of evidence, ad hominem arguments, and straw man arguments. He also warns students about the selective use of transitional forms in the fossil record. The fossil record does not contain any clear examples of transitional forms.
Johnson’s strategy is to drive a wedge between scientific investigation and the materialist/naturalist philosophy that their view is based on. The problem is a failure on the part of many Evolutionists to recognize that their interpretation of the data is based on a philosophical presupposition and not on an objective interpretation of the facts.
Johnson’s book is worth reading for anyone who has an interest in this subject but who is not particularly well read on the issue. It is simple to read and is an excellent gift for high school and college students.
R. Michael Duffy