Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds

by Phillip Johnson, Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1997

Phillip Johnson has become one of the most influential personalities in the creation/evolution controversy in recent years. A graduate of Harvard and the University of Chicago, Johnson has taught law at the University of California at Berkeley for thirty years. His first book, Darwin on Trial, and his second book, Reason in the Balance, created a great deal of interest from all sides of the creation/evolution controversy. The first book took a critical look at the evidence for evolution and how badly much of the evidence was interpreted. Johnson is not a scientist and does not argue from a scientific perspective. His discussions come from logic and the way in which arguments are made--a perspective that is well suited to his talents as an attorney. His second book dealt with the philosophical, moral, and educational consequences of Darwinism.

Our book of the month, unlike the others that Johnson has written, is primarily aimed at high school and college students and their parents. The other two books were more academically oriented and dealt in a more abstract way with Darwinistic assumptions. This book is simpler and more easily understood and while it contains a great deal of good material for the scientist, it will probably have a greater use by the general public.

The book begins by presenting an e-mail letter from a European university student embracing theistic evolution. Johnson goes through the letter and points out three major errors inherent to theistic evolution. He then takes the play, Inherit the Wind, and shows how the play and media in general twist and promote in a very biased way the Darwinian side of the evolution/creation question. This is followed by showing how evolutionist and atheists attack those who oppose them. Thirteen different people including Carl Sagan are used to show the spurious arguments that are used to promote evolutionary venues. What education should do with evolution is discussed next, followed by a chapter arguing for intelligent design in the creation.

The remaining three chapters offer suggestions as to how to deal with the problems and issues raised in the first six chapters. The only weakness in this section is that Johnson deals with everything from school prayer to bad science, and the generalizations lack practicality in many cases because of the width of the material covered. This is an excellent book none-the-less, and one that will offer good material to those interested in a logical approach to the controversy. We recommend this book highly to all readers. It will be useful for high school students, their parents, educators, and the scientific community. Evolutionists will be offended by Johnson's assertions that integrity is lacking in their approaches, but evaluating his performance as a lawyer we believe he makes a good case.

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