Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds

darwin

This isn’t a refutation manual of Darwinism.  In fact, there is very little “technical work” on whether Darwinism is true or not.  Rather, it guides the reader in how to ask the right questions and in not letting the opponent establish the terms for the debate.

False Moves

Johnson illustrates a number of “false moves” in the “creation vs. evolution” debate.  

(1) Always force a precise definition of “evolution.” Do not let people say, “Well, God could have guided evolution.”  That’s technically true, but it is completely irrelevant to the scientific discussion. Evolution as it is used in the public square means “an unguided and mindless process” (Johnson 14; the distinction between macro and micro, which will come up later, is beside the point).

Do not get sidetracked on discussions about how long the length of time in the creation account is.  

(2) Force a clarification and distinction between empirical science and scientific naturalism.  The first is common sense, the latter is a specifically philosophical statement about science, and hence not science (20-21).

Logical Fallacies

(3) Selective use of evidence: don’t get intimated by claims that birds and reptiles today have a lot in common.  Rather, force the discussion to hinge a better point: “all such fossils are at most possible ancestors of living groups….and a lot of interpretation is involved in classifying them” (39).

(4) Don’t let the Scientific-Media Complex get away with begging the question.  “What evidence proves that life evolved from nonliving molecule” (42)? If you need breathing room, get them to deal with Darwin’s original model that evolution is such that fossil hunters “would eventually find a great many transitional intermediaries (they didn’t) and that animal breeders would succeed in creating distinct species (they didn’t)” (43).

Critical Thinking in Evolutionary Biology

(5) Keep your eye on the “mechanism of evolution.” This is key.  What is the cause of the pattern that there are similarities between species (58)?  Even more, this “mechanism” must be scientifically testable. Darwin’s mechanism was natural selection.  Few hold this today since it doesn’t square with molecular biology (e.g., the fine-tuning of the eye requires everything to be fully formed and working, not evolving).

Mind, Information, and Word

Johnson briefly delves into philosophy of mind studies. Material objects have mass or charge or length.  Information does not. Further, propositions are true or false; chunks of matter are not.

The Black Box

Behe: any single part of the eye has no useful function unless all the other parts are also present.  This rules out any intermediary steps a Darwinist could take (77).

Conclusion

Johnson ends with his famous “Wedge” strategy: find the weak point in naturalism and widen the crack.  Some weak points are the problem of mind in naturalism, Behe’s Black Box, etc.

About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
This entry was posted in Book Review, Philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds

  1. Pingback: Darwin on the Trial (Phillip Johnson) | Blog of the Wars of the Lord

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