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Phillip Johnson

The Evidence Against the New Creationism: Phillip Johnson

Robert Pennock's book is an all-out attack on the "new creationists," a.k.a. the Intelligent Design Movement (hereafter IDM), an informal group of which I am currently the most prominent representative. It is an honor to be the main subject of a book-length attempted demolition by a professor of philosophy, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

Here is where the debate stands, as I see it. The IDM aims to transform the evolution/creation debate by focusing on the main issue and pushing the details to the background. The main issue is the scientific naturalist claim that the origin and development of life can be explained employing only unintelligent natural causes like chance, chemical laws, and natural selection. This claim is as important for philosophy and theology as it is for science. The neo-Darwinian theory was discovered by a science that was committed a priori to methodological naturalism, the principle that research should always be guided by a commitment to discover strictly natural causes for all phenomena. Most educated people today have been taught to regard the theory as unassailably confirmed by objective scientific testing. Many think that it follows that the success of the theory provides a powerful justification for basing research in all fields, including even biblical studies, on methodological naturalism. Darwinism (i.e., naturalistic evolution) is thus not just a scientific theory but a creation story so culturally dominant that it is even protected by judge-made law from criticism in the public schools.

We in the IDM argue that the supposed confirmation of the neo-Darwinism as a general theory is the product of philosophical bias in the selection and interpretation of evidence. When the evidence is interpreted without a bias in favor of naturalism, it does not support the claim that evolutionary biologists have discovered a mechanism that can create life in the first place, or cause simple life forms (like bacteria) to develop into complex ...

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