The Wedge of Truth

by Phillip E. Johnson, InterVarsityPress,
PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 69515, 2000, 192 pages

One of the key figures in the evolution/creation debate in recent years has been Phillip Johnson--a graduate of Harvard and a law professor from the University of California at Berkeley for 30 years. Johnson is not a biologist nor is he an expert on evolution. His argument has been that rules of logic and reason are violated in much of what is propagated as evolution, and that naturalism has become a religion.

This book is the fifth in a series along the lines of his arguments. Darwin on Trial was his first book and we reviewed it in this journal (November/December, 1991). This book begins by telling the story of Philip Wentworth's essay "What College Did to My Religion" which showed how going to Harvard destroyed Wentworth's faith. Scientific naturalism is exposed as a philosophical system that dominates much of the academic scene today. After discussing the difference between rationalization and reason, Johnson brings us into the current situation in the evolution/ creation controversy. Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould are quoted and shown to be making arguments that are not valid logically. The Kansas ruling on evolution is used as an example of how the same thing is applied in public issues, with an interesting listing of the history of who got involved in the controversy and what their positions were. Later chapters continue to show the positions of visible scientists in the evolution question and show religious and logical problems with their positions.

This is a book with a lot of interesting history in it. The workings of the scientific establishment are shown to be less than honorable and creationists arguments are extolled. This reviewer found the book disturbing in that it seems to tend to portray science as an enemy of religion because of its focus. If the reader understands that Johnson's fight is with people like Dawkins, then the book is a useful tool in understanding the issues of today in the evolution area. It is not a book that would be useful for young people unless they are in a college class that deals with these areas. It is not a book on apologetics. It is strictly a book on the thinking involved in the modern evolution/creation controversy. It is excellent for that, and that is obviously what the author intended as far as its use is concerned.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec01.