Friday, March 28, 2008

Myth Buster

Last night I got to hear and shake the hand of a man I have admired for many years. Phillip Johnson visited a local university and spoke on the status of the Intelligent Design movement and where he thinks it is headed in the future.

What a treat.

Though Dr. Johnson has suffered a series of strokes since 2001 and has some physical difficulties on his left side as a result, his mind is as clear and analytical as it has ever been. The format of his presentation was an interview (that allowed him to be seated throughout) but his answers to the questions posed were long and lecture-like. He also had no trouble injecting some humor into his assessment of the Darwinist "priesthood" and the reasons for its virulently nasty response to ID. One need only compare the venom of the "priesthood's" response to this gentle man to consider who is more confident in the strength of their case.

For those who may not know him, Johnson graduated from Harvard in 1961, received his law degree from the University of Chicago, was a law clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren, and taught law for 33 years at the University of California, Berkeley. During his time there, Johnson started reading various critics of Darwinism -- many of whom were evolutionists themselves -- and realized that there were giant holes in the theory that was being touted as "fact." So, in good lawyer form, Johnson set out to put Darwin on Trial in 1991. His book (by that title) was so devastating to the Evolutionary paradigm, and so well written, that several closet critics of Darwin took note and contacted him about it. It was from those original meetings that the Intelligent Design movement was born.

If you are interested in reading more about Phil Johnson I would recommend Darwin's Nemesis, a book that looks at his contributions to the Darwinist-Intelligent Design debate by several of those who have joined him in the cause.

In that first book Johnson proclaimed that:
My purpose is to examine the scientific evidence on its own terms, being careful to distinguish the evidence itself from any religious or philosophical bias that might distort our interpretation of that evidence ... The question I want to investigate is whether Darwinism is based upon a fair assessment of the scientific evidence, or whether it is another kind of fundamentalism.
That is all he has ever done since.

I approached Dr. Johnson after the event to thank him for all he has done in his pursuit of truth and open scientific inquiry. It truly was an honor to meet him. He is a meek and humble gentleman whose age is wearing on him. But as I stood waiting to introduce myself to him I couldn't help contemplating how many of us, who try to add our own trivial input to this debate, may not realize what a giant of a man it takes to have each of us stand on his shoulders.

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