Phillip E. Johnson's books

Phillip E. Johnson

I present the information below (which was received from a site visitor) for several reasons. First, everyone should look at both sides of various issues before forming conclusions. Second, in the interest of "fairness", my site would be incomplete without the "best" that the creationists have to offer. Finally, my site is lacking in humour. ;) Just kidding. Do read both sides. For "the other side", which relies on evidence rather than a defense of tradtion and religion, see this page. Watching a little PBS, Discovery channel, or just thinking won't hurt either.

I noticed on your site that you made a reference to Phillip E. Johnson. His new book, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, was released yesterday, and I thought you'd like to know a little about it:

From Booklist (published by the American Library Association)...
Johnson feels his successful antievolution books, Darwin on Trial (1991) and Reason in the Balance (1995), are more complicated than parents and teachers need to prepare students to take on the evolutionists. Hence, this shorter version of his overall thesis that also advises how to debate evolution. Johnson first makes clear what he perceives the real adversary to be: a dogma that insists life arose solely by chance and that denies contrary evidence a hearing. He then counsels believers to avoid such common mistakes as retreating from theism to deism (and so transforming a continuously creative God into an uninvolved First Cause), to learn to spot faulty analogies and other forms of poor logic, to know the soundest scientific data casting doubt on classical evolution, and to persist -- for, he says, the days of Darwinian hegemony are numbered.

He firmly believes and seeks to persuade readers that his ultimate causes, aside from religious faith, are freedom of inquiry and the opening of now closed minds.
--- Ray Olson.

Another book released this month [July 1997] is Shattering the Myths of Darwinism by Richard Milton [famous for his continuous attacks on any science that isn't "alternative"]

Johnson and other Creationists debated a group of Evolutionists on "Firing Line" (a PBS program) on December 19, 1997.

Oral debates are not nearly as effective (to me) as written ones. I was a bit disappointed with the PBS debate for this reason. Several of the debaters were little more than wind bags with nothing of real substance to present. Both sides could have presented far better cases. Most of the two hours was wasted. Wasting time appeared to be a tactic of the creation side and the Evolutionists frequently fell into meaningless dialogue (which was their own fault). The most effective presenter on either side was Dr. Kenneth R. Miller. At times he did what all the evolutionists should have done the entire time--present the hard facts. When he did this, the creation side was forced to punt or retreat to a weak apologist-type response.

Johnson and Dr. David Berlinski (both anti-evolution) came across as very angry individuals. They seemed to be upset that the facts of evolution were taking away faith in their god(s). They were unwilling to present their views of how life got here, but it seemed obvious that they believe in supernatural intervention. Johnson spent much of his time performing ad hominem attacks on Richard Dawkins who wasn't even there. At one point, Rev. Barry Lynn (evolutionist) asked Johnson what he thought of ICR's books showing humans walking around with dinosaurs just before the flood. Johnson responded with, "It is silly. Just almost as silly as the work of Richard Dawkins. And I mean that."

To summarize, both sides presented their positions poorly. The Evolutionists had all the evidence in their corner--but outside of Miller, they seldom used it. The Creationists ignored several of the key questions raised (like why an intelligent designer would allow his creation to go extinct) and they didn't present an alternative theory with any evidence for support. Based on this debate alone, it appears that some Creationists would not change their thinking regardless of the evidence. The Evolutionists are more than willing to modify their theory as new data is gathered and would change their opinion should an alternative theory be presented which had more evidential weight than evolution does.

For a look at Johnson's debating tactics, see his debate from 1996 with Kenneth R. Miller where Johnson is forced to resort to religion and his background as an attorney in a debate that is supposed to focus on science.

I'm trying to come up with a list of questions that a person should have going into creationist books which they hope the author adequately answers. Here are a few I've come up with. If you have any more, please send them to me.

  1. Why do males have nipples?
  2. Why do people have an appendix, a coccyx, a hyoid bone, and earlobes?
  3. Why are there 250,000 different species of beetles?
  4. Why are all the Marsupials found in Australia?
  5. Why aren't dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?
  6. Why aren't the fossils of more complex life forms found in older rocks?
  7. Why did God create life forms that are now extinct?
  8. Why do creationists use antibiotics? If evolution by natural selection is false, there shouldn't be a new crop of bacteria each year. And why do they receive vaccinations for new strains of viruses?

One of my favorite site visitors answers the above questions as follows:

  1. Because males are created in the image of God, just like females, and God is a woman.
  2. We needed earlobes to hang our earrings on, Goddess knows!
  3. God likes uncorrelated diversity.
  4. Wait a minute, here. Oppossums are found in the Westen hemisphere. As for the Austrailian marsupials, Noah dropped them off in a tall eucalyptus tree before landing the ark in Mt. Ararat. Okay, so it was a *really* tall eucalyptus tree.
  5. Leviathan (mentioned in Job) may have been a dinosaur. And maybe the Nephilim were related to the dinosaurs. Besides, Bible writers just didn't know that "Creationist" is a synonym for "dinosaur," or they would have mentioned them.
  6. They got washed out of the rocks during the Flood.
  7. Just for fun and practice.
  8. How else could we help microorganisms evolve?? Oops.
Another site visitor adds this:
Something that I always thought unexplainable would be the history of the Egyptians and Chinese. If the "flood" was supposed to have occurred approx. 2200BC + - then the earth would be deviod of human population except for lucky Noah and family so the obvious question seems to be "who hauled and cut all those big rocks that are in the pyramids??" And why aren't all tombs that have been found filled solid with sand as would have happened if such a flood had occurred? And Chinese history seems not to record any complete extinction of itself at the appropriate time..or any time! Can any Creationist answer those...without invoking the usual "miracle"?