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By Ric Machuga


Clockwork Origins? Part 2

(continued from Part 1)

Whatever one thinks about the purely scientific case for evolution, few Christians would disagree with Johnson that evolution has become the idol of many moderns. As we noted earlier, when it comes to biogenesis, even Dawkins becomes openly philosophical: "The present lack of a definitely accepted account of the origin of life should certainly not be taken as a stumbling block for the whole Darwinian world view."

As Dawkins here admits, and as Johnson will not allow us to ignore, evolution is more than a purely scientific theory; it has become part and parcel of what might be called the "naturalistic popular culture." In "Scientific American," "The Sciences", and other leading magazines, in the steadily increasing output of science books for the general reader (by Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, and a host of other scientists who are also skillful writers), in television documentaries such as the Pbs-aired "The Human Quest"--in these and many other forums (including countless classrooms), the compelling evidence for evolution and the dubious dogmas of naturalism are presented as a seamless whole, under the unchallengeable authority of Science.

In his new book, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education," Johnson clearly demonstrates this cultural connection between evolution and naturalism. He also addresses the difficult legal and political issues that such a connection raises. If evolution is more than a scientific explanation of the observed data, then how should evolution be taught in the public schools? And how should Christian scientists respond to dominance of their disciplines by naturalistic philosophy? Johnson's advice to Christians seems to be this: fight in the courts and actively resist in the academy.

While the general thrust of Johnson's position is clear, several of the particulars need further clarification. In the opening chapter of Reason in the Balance, Johnson reviews the 1987 Supreme Court ...

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