Phillip E. Johnson
|Phillip E. Johnson|
June 18, 1940 |
|Occupation||Law professor (retired), author|
|Known for||Intelligent design|
Phillip E. Johnson (born June 18, 1940) is a retired UC Berkeley law professor and author who is considered the father of the intelligent design movement. He became a Christian while a tenured professor. He is a critic of what he calls "Darwinism". By "Darwinism", he means "fully naturalistic evolution, involving chance mechanisms and natural selection". As a Christian, Johnson believes "that a God exists who could create out of nothing if He wanted to do so, but who also might have chosen to work through a natural evolutionary process instead". Johnson rejects that evolution is a fact and favors neo-creationary views known as intelligent design (ID). He was a co-founder of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (CSC) and is credited with establishing the wedge strategy, which aims to change public opinion and scientific consensus, and seeks to convince the scientific community to allow a role for God in scientific theory. In the early 1990s, while the link between HIV and AIDS was disputed in some circles, as a member of The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, a prominent AIDS denialist group, Johnson questioned if HIV caused AIDS. Johnson eventually abandoned that position in 1996. The consensus of the scientific community considers Johnson's opinions on evolution to be pseudoscience. In Chapter 12 of "Darwin on Trial" entitled "Science and Pseudoscience", Johnson argues that scientists accepted the theory of evolution "before it was rigorously tested, and thereafter used all their authority to convince the public that naturalistic processes are sufficient to produce a human from a bacterium, and a bacterium from a mix of chemicals."
Johnson was born in Aurora, Illinois, in 1940. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature, from Harvard University in 1961. He studied law at the University of Chicago, graduating top of his class, and received a Juris Doctor in law in 1965. He served as a law clerk for the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Earl Warren and Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court Roger J. Traynor. Johnson became a member of the California Bar in January 1966. He is an emeritus professor of law at Boalt School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served on the active faculty from 1967 to 2000. Johnson has served as deputy district attorney and has held visiting professorships at Emory University and at University College London.
Johnson became a Christian following a divorce, and later became an elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Johnson recounts that on sabbatical in England he sought, through prayer, inspiration for what he should do with the rest of his life, and then received an epiphany after he read Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker (1986) and Michael Denton's Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985). Johnson later said, "Something about the Darwinists' rhetorical style made me think they had something to hide." Despite having no formal background in biology, he felt that could add insight into the premises and arguments. Johnson stated that he approaches the creation evolution dispute not as a scientist but as an academic lawyer by profession, with a specialty in analyzing the logic of arguments and identifying the assumptions that lie behind those arguments. He noted that what people think about evolutionism depends very heavily on the kind of logic they employ and the kind of assumptions they make. Further, he pointed out that four of the eleven members of the special committee appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to prepare its official booklet titled Science and Creationism were lawyers. Since the publication of the first edition of Darwin on Trial in 1991, he has become a prominent critic of evolutionary theory.
Johnson popularized the term "intelligent design" in his book, Darwin on Trial. He remains one of the best known advocates for intelligent design, and is considered the founder of the intelligent design movement. He is a critic of methodological naturalism, the basic principle of science that restricts it to the investigation of natural causes for observable phenomena, and espouses a philosophy he has coined "theistic realism." He is the author of several books on intelligent design, science, philosophy, and religion, as well as textbooks on criminal law. He has appeared on various programs such as PBS's Firing Line and a Nova episode, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial."
Since 2001, Johnson has suffered a series of minor right brain strokes. His rehabilitations have limited his public activities and participation in the debate on intelligent design, because of both their physical effects and Johnson's belief that they were signs from God urging him to spend more time with his faith and family and less in prideful debate. In 2004, he was awarded the inaugural "Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth" by Biola University, a private evangelical Christian college noted for its promotion of intelligent design. Johnson has two children and lives with his wife in Berkeley, California.
Johnson has stated in an interview that he believed "the strength of America is not in its towers or in its battleships, it's in its faith. Of course, I said that, but I wasn't sure it was really true anymore. This isn't the same country we were in the previous decades." Johnson said the U.S. was "cringing in fear" of Muslim terrorists after September 11 attacks and that professors were afraid to discuss it "because they're afraid of what the Muslim students will do. They're afraid it won't keep the peace on campus. I never thought our country would descend to this level. We are afraid to search the truth and to proclaim it. We once knew who the true God was and were able to proclaim it frankly. But since about 1960 we've been hiding from that. We've been trying to pretend that all religions are the same."
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Johnson is best known as one of the founders of the intelligent design movement, principal architect of the wedge strategy, author of the Santorum Amendment, and one of the ID movement's most prolific authors. Johnson is co-founder and program advisor of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Johnson has advocated strongly in the public and political spheres for the teaching of intelligent design as preferable to the teaching of evolution, which Johnson characterizes as "atheistic" and "falsified by all of the evidence" and whose "logic is terrible." In portraying the philosophy of science, and by extension its theories such as evolution as atheistic, Johnson argues that a more valid alternative is "theistic realism." Theistic realism asserts that science, by relying upon methodological naturalism, demands an a priori adoption of a naturalistic philosophy that wrongly dismisses out of hand any explanation that contains a supernatural cause.
Johnson rejects common descent and does not take a position on the age of the Earth. These concepts are a common theme in his books, including Darwin on Trial, Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education (1995), Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (1997), and The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism (2000). Eugenie Scott wrote that Darwin on Trial "teaches little that is accurate about either the nature of science, or the topic of evolution. It is recommended neither by scientists nor educators." Working through the Center for Science and Culture Johnson wrote the early draft language of the Santorum Amendment, which encouraged a "Teach the Controversy" approach to evolution in public school education.
Nancy Pearcey, a Center for Science and Culture fellow and Johnson associate, credits Johnson's leadership of the intelligent design movement in two of her most recent publications. In an interview with Johnson for World magazine, Pearcey says, "It is not only in politics that leaders forge movements. Phillip Johnson has developed what is called the 'Intelligent Design' movement..." In Christianity Today, she reveals Johnson's religious beliefs and his criticism of evolution and affirms Johnson as "The unofficial spokesman for ID" The scientific community views intelligent design as unscientific, pseudoscience and junk science.
In its earliest days the intelligent design movement was called the 'wedge movement'. The wedge metaphor, attributed to Johnson, is that of a metal wedge splitting a log and represents using an aggressive public relations programme to create an opening for the supernatural in the public's understanding of science. Johnson acknowledges that the goal of the intelligent design movement is to promote a theistic agenda as a scientific concept.
According to Johnson, the wedge movement, if not the term, began in 1992:
The movement we now call the wedge made its public debut at a conference of scientists and philosophers held at Southern Methodist University in March 1992, following the publication of my book Darwin on Trial. The conference brought together as speakers some key Wedge figures, particularly Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and myself.
Johnson describes the wedge movement as devoted to a "program of questioning the materialistic basis of science" and reclaiming the "intellectual world" from the "atheists and agnostics" that Johnson believes are synonymous with this "scientific materialist culture." He describes the "logic of our movement" as:
- "The first thing you understand is that the Darwinian theory isn't true. It's falsified by all of the evidence, and the logic is terrible."
- "...the next question that occurs to you is, 'Well, where might you get truth?' ...I start with John 1:1, 'In the beginning was the Word.' In the beginning was intelligence, purpose, and wisdom. The Bible had that right and the materialist scientists are deluding themselves."
- "The next question is: Why do so many brilliant, well-informed, intelligent people fool themselves for so long with such bad thinking and bad evidence?" Johnson sees this as an issue of "turning away from" self-evident truth, the "sin question" and the need to prepare the way for acceptance of a Creator.
Johnson has been explicit about the Christian principles underlying his philosophy and agenda and that of the intelligent design movement. In speaking at the 1999 "Reclaiming America for Christ Conference," Johnson has described the movement thus:
I have built an intellectual movement in the universities and churches that we call "The Wedge," which is devoted to scholarship and writing that furthers this program of questioning the materialistic basis of science.
Now, the way that I see the logic of our movement going is like this. The first thing you understand is that the Darwinian theory isn't true. It's falsified by all of the evidence, and the logic is terrible. When you realize that, the next question that occurs to you is, "Well, where might you get truth?" ...I start with John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word." In the beginning was intelligence, purpose, and wisdom. The Bible had that right and the materialist scientists are deluding themselves.
[...]In summary, we have to educate our young people; we have to give them the armor they need. We have to think about how we're going on the offensive rather than staying on the defensive. And above all, we have to come out to the culture with the view that we are the ones who really stand for freedom of thought. You see, we don't have to fear freedom of thought because good thinking done in the right way will eventually lead back to the Church, to the truth-the truth that sets people free, even if it goes through a couple of detours on the way. And so we're the ones that stand for good science, objective reasoning, assumptions on the table, a high level of education, and freedom of conscience to think as we are capable of thinking. That's what America stands for, and that's something we stand for, and that's something the Christian Church and the Christian Gospel stand for-the truth that makes you free. Let's recapture that, while we're recapturing America.— Johnson, How The Evolution Debate Can Be Won
Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State described this vision as:
The objective [of the wedge strategy] is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to 'the truth' of the Bible and then 'the question of sin' and finally 'introduced to Jesus.'
Johnson is one of the authors of the Discovery Institute's Wedge Document and its "Teach the Controversy" campaign, which attempts to cast doubt on the validity of the theory of evolution, its acceptance within the scientific community, and reduce its role in public school science curricula while promoting intelligent design. The "Teach the Controversy" campaign portrays evolution as "a theory in crisis."
In his 1997 book Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds Johnson summed up the underlying philosophy of his advocacy for intelligent design and against methodological and philosophical naturalism:
If we understand our own times, we will know that we should affirm the reality of God by challenging the domination of materialism and naturalism in the world of the mind. With the assistance of many friends I have developed a strategy for doing this,...We call our strategy the "wedge".
Johnson has described the wedge strategy as:
- "We are taking an intuition most people have [the belief in God] and making it a scientific and academic enterprise. We are removing the most important cultural roadblock to accepting the role of God as creator."
- "Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit, so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools."
- "This isn't really, and never has been, a debate about science. It's about religion and philosophy."
- "So the question is: 'How to win?' That's when I began to develop what you now see full-fledged in the 'wedge' strategy: 'Stick with the most important thing' —the mechanism and the building up of information. Get the Bible and the Book of Genesis out of the debate because you do not want to raise the so-called Bible-science dichotomy. Phrase the argument in such a way that you can get it heard in the secular academy and in a way that tends to unify the religious dissenters. That means concentrating on, 'Do you need a Creator to do the creating, or can nature do it on its own?' and refusing to get sidetracked onto other issues, which people are always trying to do."
When asked how best to raise doubts and question evolution with non-believers, Johnson responded:
What I am not doing is bringing the Bible into the university and saying, "We should believe this." Bringing the Bible into question works very well when you are talking to a Bible-believing audience. But it is a disastrous thing to do when you are talking, as I am constantly, to a world of people for whom the fact that something is in the Bible is a reason for not believing it.
You see, if they thought they had good evidence for something, and then they saw it in the Bible, they would begin to doubt. That is what has to be kept out of the argument if you are going to do what I to do, which is to focus on the defects in their [the evolutionist's] case—the bad logic, the bad science, the bad reasoning, and the bad evidence.
Book 'The Wedge of Truth'
|According to Johnson, there is a ruling philosophy in contemporary culture called naturalism or materialism or physicalism or simply modernism. He states that it postulates that at first there were indispensable particles that encompass matter, energy and the faceless laws of physics. He argues that present-day scientists, building upon that metaphysical position, infer that all plants and animals are the results of an aimless and pointless evolutionary method. It leads academic work not only in science but in all fields and it is disseminated all through the education organization and the established mass media and government buttresses it.
Johnston states that modernist's delineate Science in two differing ways. First, science is impartial fact-finding, the unbiased and neutral evaluating of evidence, depending on scrupulous observations, calculations and above all, repeatable experimentations. This is what makes technology possible. Second, science is joined up with naturalistic philosophy such that science is duty-bound to determining and confirming naturalistic reasons for every event. He believes that that kind of science is encumbered and defined by preconceived notions.
Johnson believes that it is vital to get the community to ask the right inquiries, rather than narrate the right answers. He states that dogmatism succeeds through confusion by blocking important questions from being presented. He is certain that when questions are unmistakably put in public examination, the truth has the ability to articulate itself.
He defines the Wedge as an academic society, not a confessional circle. To Johnson, the first correct question is if science and naturalism are truly indistinguishable, or whether scientific evidence may be moving away from the materialist solutions? Johnson says that, "If the Wedge has an enemy, it is not those in open and honest opposition to our proposals but rather the obfuscates—those who resist any clear definition of terms or issues, who insist that the ruling scientific organizations be obeyed without question and who are content to paper over logical contradictions with superficial compromises." He believes in the importance of discovering the best questions.
|1 – Philip Wentworth Goes To Harvard — How Can We Tell Reason from Rationalization?|
|Johnson analyses Philip Wentworth's essay, "What College did to my Religion" (1932, Atlantic Monthly), with a running commentary to discover if Wentworth had his strong Christian faith undermined by his education at Harvard or if it was possible he was already converted to the faith of Harvard while still at home.
Johnson tells Wentworth's story because it is exemplary of a lot of modernists who thought they were dedicating themselves to a life of reason when, in reality according to Johnson, they were mostly learning to rationalize, to justify what they felt like doing. Johnson states that we are all naturally inclined to believe what we want to believe, and we may adopt some intellectual scheme because it allow us to feel superior to other people, especially the unenlightened masses who need the crutch or discipline of religion. He also notes that some may adopt a religious creed for the same reason. Johnson states that unless we take the greatest precautions, we will use our reasoning powers to convince ourselves to believe reassuring lies rather than uncomfortable truth that reality may be trying to tell us. He asks, how do we tell reason from rationalization, the truth that keeps us free from any philosophical system that keeps us self-satisfied?
Johnson states that we may suppose that the best solution is to rely on scientific reasoning, but Wentworth's account shows two shortcomings of that tactic. First, science gives us factual or instrumental knowledge, but not knowledge of ultimate purposes. Second, the fact that science speaks so authoritatively tempts ideologues to claim the authority of science as validating claims that simply are not testable by experiment, actually going beyond the evidence. I.e., the scientific method can be counterfeited. Johnson states that Wentworth's professors taught that everything, including God, is subject to natural laws and therefore God is either nonexistent or unimportant.
|2 – The Information Quandary — Can Natural Law & Chance Create Genetic Information|
|Johnson begins by referring to the film – From a Frog to a Prince – where Richard Dawkins paused for nearly 11 seconds in reply to the inquiry: "Could he point to any example of a mutation or other evolutionary process that was information-enhancing?" Creationists were delighted. But Johnson notes that Dawkins suspected he'd been misled and blindsided. After all, Dawkins said, "Only Creationists would ask such a question." Dawkins has said that a bacterial cell holds more information than the entire Encyclopædia Britannica, so Johnson deduces that evolutionism must be exceedingly productive at generating information. He asks, why is it irrational to ask for an unequivocal case of an evolutionary technique that generates information?
According to Johnson, when Darwinists say that all living things share a mutual progenitor they denote that evolutionary succession is nothing more than an broadening over geological time of the same procedure of propagation that we perceive in our own lives. To evolutionists, he states, the mere presence of common characteristics is indisputable confirmation that all life forms sprang from a single universal mutual ancestor. Johnson says that because supernatural creation is ineligible since its "religious," then Darwinian evolutionism is the only plausible scheme. Scientific verification, he says, is not actually required to prove the concept correct. Johnson quotes Paul Ewald saying, "That's the beauty of it. It has to be true—it's like arithmetic." He says further, Darwinists simply look for validation of what they already know to be true and so Dawkins knew that only a creationist would ask for proof, because any Darwinist would be content to assume that some unknown evolutionary mechanism provided whatever genetic information was needed. After all, what else could have provided it?
Johnson writes that the jump from chemistry to biology entails something more other than chance and law because of the informational makeup of life. Law yields the same simple arrangement over and over again, such as highly ordered, recurring sequences like crystals or snowflakes. Chance creates chaotic, indefinite sequences that show no dependable arrangements. Since genetic information is equally highly ordered and non-repetitive, Johnson concludes that no permutation of chance and law can do the job. Profound information-bearing progressions, says Johnson, entail some third force that acts against both repetitive order and chaotic chance. Johnson says that the significant point about DNA is not the chemicals but the information in the software; just as the important thing about a computer program is the information content and not the medium in which it is documented.
The adaptive transmutations cited by Darwinists, says Johnson, do not generate information. When a mutation causes a bacterium to be resistant to antibiotics, for example, it does so by disabling its ability to metabolize a specific chemical. While there is an increase in fitness in a certain toxin-filled situation, there is a net deficiency of information and of fitness in an overall meaning.
According to Johnson the entire evolutionary scenario as currently grasped hinges on the assumption that the DNA comprises a program for guiding the maturity of an organism in the embryonic procedure, so that DNA mutations can reprogram the path of the procedure and thus fabricate macro-evolutionary modification. He says, however, that experimental evidence with fruit flies and other creatures has not corroborated this supposition.
Johnson concludes that the scientific society declines to appreciate this information quandary. He says that in the opinion of evolutionists, all that the people need to know is principally that "evolution has occurred" and that evolutionism is a merely ordinary procedure directed by natural selection but not by God.
|3 – The Kansas Controversy — Can Science Be Defended by Authoritarian Methods?|
|Johnson said that the Kansas debate began when science educators began advocating for alteration to state policy on the basis of a coordinated nationwide crusade. The draft was almost ten times larger than the present standards and upgraded evolution to the list of essential "unifying concepts and processes" which lie behind all areas of science. Johnson states that evolutionism was moved from the status of a biological theory to that of a fundamental idea of science (placing it with such other concepts as measurement and evidence). He reported that science was redefined as "the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us," thus linking scientific study overtly with philosophical naturalism.
According to Johnson it looked to critics like a campaign to expand scientific authority to issues of religion and worldview about which the public schools are meant to be impartial. He said that to many residents, unpersuaded by official reassurances that "science and religion are separate realms," deduce that a religious or antireligious dogma lies behind the enormous worth science educators ascribe to convincing young people that evolutionism is their maker. The board believed that the opinions of parents should be given some esteem and that as elected representatives they should not confine themselves to rubber-stamping the directives of the career educators. The board's view was not that religious beliefs should be protected in spite of the evidence but rather that macro-evolutionary assertions go far beyond the scientific evidence.
Therefore, says Johnson, the board rewrote the criteria to urge teachers to raise three important factors that they want the students to think about: (l) the means of microevolution do not inevitably explain how macroevolution can happen, (2) natural selection adds no new genetic information to the creature; and (3) a vast historical scenario like "evolutionism" unavoidably includes a level of conjecture that is absent from, say, the typical chemistry experiment. Although the board's action did not prohibit local school districts and teachers from teaching anything, it upset the Darwinists by drawing awareness to both the information creation problem and the extrapolation problem.
Johnson said that everyone acquainted with the literature realizes that there has long been skepticism within the scientific community about the vast extrapolation from in-species variation to creative macro-evolutionism. As an example, Johnson pointed to Stephen Jay Gould who published an article which took task the standard textbook claim that "all evolution is due to the accumulation of small genetic changes, guided by natural selection, and that trans-specific evolution is nothing but an extrapolation and magnification of the events that take place within populations and species." Gould commented that this theory had "beguiled me with its unifying power when I was a graduate student in the mid-1960's, [but] since then I have been watching it slowly unravel as a universal description of evolution." Gould concluded because of his knowledge of fossils that if the neo-Darwinian theory means what the textbooks say, "then that theory, as a general proposition, is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy." Johnson then quotes from British developmental biologist Brian Goodwin who came to a similar conclusion based on his knowledge of embryology. He wrote that "Darwin's assumption that the tree of life is a consequence of the gradual accumulation of small hereditary differences appears to be without significant support. Some other process is responsible for the emergent properties of life, those distinctive features that separate one group of organisms from another-fishes and amphibians, worms and insects, horsetails and grasses." Lynn Margulis, famed for her theory that mitochondria were once independent bacterial cells, acidly remarked that science will one day judge neo-Darwinism as "a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology."
When Johnson reported that when speaking to scientific groups and describe macro-evolutionism as the accumulation of small random variations by natural selection, he was frequently charged with inventing a straw man, because "nobody believes that anymore," in favor of mechanisms like "autocatalytic sets" and "self-organizing systems" that will replace natural selection—if they can ever find experimental confirmation.
But says Johnson, when the same scientists suspect that creationists are causing turmoil they regress to the official story and maintain that all reputable scientists agree that evolution is a sole process in which fundamentally new things appear by an extension of the same method seen in finch beak variation. Darwinists tend to be indignant when creationists quote established evolutionary experts as if it were somehow dishonest to quote committed supporters of "evolution" for an opposing perception. Hanna Rosin, notes Johnson, wrote that creationists make a habit of "seizing on routine disagreements among scientists to disparage it [evolution] as nothing more than a theory."
Johnson says that persons who suspect that the deductions and zealous enthusiasm of Darwinists reflect creed rather than scientific data have every right to cite incongruities among the Darwinists over rudimentary matters as reason for taking the entire business with a grain of salt. Darwinists respond that there is no disagreement over the "fact of evolution" within the scientific community, but, says Johnson, that may be due to the philosophical preference that is prescribed within that community rather than to the condition of the evidence.
Johnson reports of an educational movement to boost scientific mastery not only among students but also the general public. Science education should be widened to prepare future scientists and teachers to battle in public debates. He says that it seems that their task is to develop a plan for relegating opposition to Darwinism and materialism by making it seem that there are no real issues in dispute, just people who are so deluded that they don't appreciate that the ruling establishment has all the right answers.
Johnson approves the idea of educating scientists and citizens to take part in public discourse about evolutionism, but he warns that "educators should aim to educate, and not to indoctrinate or wage a propaganda campaign." Students should be exposed not only to conventional views on the topic but also to opposing views that are broadly held among the public, including the college-educated public. He asks how can students become capable in public discourse about evolution if they learn only a caricature of the dissenting position and never find out about the evidentiary difficulties? The "teach the controversy" formula perhaps has the backing of about two-thirds of the American public.
Johnson says you can't defend science by declaring prominent matters off the table, by deriding dissenters, or by keeping people from hearing the evidence for and against the presently predominant theories. The kind of science, says Johnson, that is worthy to be defended isn't afraid to meet criticism with its own means: reasoned argument, precise definitions, repeatable experiments, and an open mind about all questions that cannot be settled by unbiased scientific testing.
Johnson has been accused of being intellectually dishonest in his arguments advancing intelligent design and attacking the scientific community. Johnson has employed numerous equivocations regarding the term "naturalism," failing to distinguish between methodological naturalism (in which science is used to study the natural world and says nothing about the supernatural) versus philosophical naturalism (the philosophical belief that nothing exists but the natural world, and adopts as a premise the idea that there is no supernatural world or deities). In fact-checking Johnson's books Darwin on Trial and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, Brian Spitzer, an associate professor of biology at the University of Redlands, argued that almost every scientific source Johnson cited had been misused or distorted, from simple misinterpretations and innuendos to outright fabrications. Spitzer described Darwin on Trial as the most deceptive book he had ever read.
In 2006, Nancey Murphy, a religious scholar at Fuller Theological Seminary, stated she faced a campaign to get her fired after she expressed her view that intelligent design was not only poor theology, but "so stupid, I don't want to give them my time." Murphy, who accepts the validity of evolution, said that Johnson called a trustee in an attempt to get her fired and stated "His tactic has always been to fight dirty when anyone attacks his ideas." Johnson admits calling the trustee, but denies any responsibility for action taken against her. He said: "It's the Darwinists who hold the power in academia and who threaten the professional status and livelihoods of anyone who disagrees... They feel to teach anything but their orthodoxy is an act of professional treason." Murphy had previously criticized Johnson's book Darwin on Trial for being "dogmatic and unconvincing," primarily because "he does not adequately understand scientific reasoning."
Since Johnson is considered by those both inside and outside the movement to be the father and architect of the intelligent design movement and its strategies, his statements are often used to validate the criticisms leveled by those who allege that the Discovery Institute and its allied organizations are merely stripping the obvious religious content from their anti-evolution assertions as a means of avoiding the legal restrictions of the Establishment Clause, a view reinforced by the December 2005 ruling in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial which found that intelligent design is not science and is essentially religious in nature. They argue that ID is an attempt to put a patina of secularity on top of what is a fundamentally religious belief and thus that the "Teach the Controversy" exhortation is disingenuous, particularly when contrasted to his statements in The Wall Street Journal and other secular media. Critics point out that contrary to the Discovery Institute's and Johnson's claims, the theory of evolution is well-supported and accepted within the scientific community, with debates regarding how evolution occurred, not if it occurred. Popular disagreement with evolutionary theory should not be considered as a reason for challenging it as a scientifically valid subject to be taught, they contend.
Critics of Johnson point to his central role in the Discovery Institute's carefully orchestrated campaign known as the wedge strategy. The wedge strategy, as envisioned by the Discovery Institute, is designed to leave the science establishment looking close-minded in the short term with a long-term goal being a redefinition of science that centers on the removal of methodological naturalism from the philosophy of science and the scientific method, thereby allowing for supernatural explanations to be introduced as science. Critics note that Johnson, as a principal officer of the Discovery Institute, often cites an overall plan to put the United States on a course toward the theocracy envisioned in the wedge strategy, and that the Discovery Institute as a matter of policy intentionally obfuscates its agenda. According to Johnson, "The movement we now call the wedge made its public debut at a conference of scientists and philosophers held at Southern Methodist University in March 1992."
During the 1990s, Johnson and several others challenged the scientific consensus by claiming that HIV tests do not detect HIV, AIDS statistics are grossly exaggerated and that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. He wrote several articles about the subject, including a piece in Reason magazine. He was one of the 12 founding members of The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis and signatory to the group's letter to the editor of Science asserting that HIV is only tautologically associated with AIDS and that HIV tests are inaccurate.
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- ——— (1990). Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism. Dallas, TX: Haughton Pub. Co. LCCN 00268240. OCLC 27190651.
- ——— (1991). Darwin on Trial. Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway. ISBN 0-89526-535-4. LCCN 90026218. OCLC 22906277.
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- ——— (1995). Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-1610-0. LCCN 95012620. OCLC 32384818.
- ——— (1997). Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-1360-8. LCCN 97012916. OCLC 36621960.
- ——— (1998). Objections Sustained: Subversive Essays on Evolution, Law & Culture. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-1941-X. LCCN 98006866. OCLC 38898010.
- —— (2000). The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-2267-4. LCCN 00039586. OCLC 43903750.
- ——— (2002). The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning & Public Debate. Foreword by Nancy Pearcey. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-2294-1. LCCN 2002006756. OCLC 49773676.
- ———; Reynolds, John Mark (2010). Against All Gods: What's Right and Wrong About the New Atheism. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-3738-0. LCCN 2010000182. OCLC 460060927.
- ——— (2010) [1991; Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway]. Darwin on Trial. New introduction by Michael Behe (20th anniversary, 3rd ed.). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books. ISBN 978-0-8308-3831-8. LCCN 2010019862. OCLC 615339705.
- Kushiner, James. "Berkeley's Radical: An Interview with Phillip E. Johnson". Arn. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- Johnson 1991, chapter 1.
- Johnson 1997, pp. 91–92.
- Baumann, E; Bethell, T; Bialy, H; Duesberg, P. H; Farber, C; Geshekter, C. L; Johnson, P. E; Maver, R. W; Schoch, R; Stewart, G. T (1995). "AIDS proposal. Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis". Science. 267 (5200): 945–46. Bibcode:1995Sci...267..945B. doi:10.1126/science.267.5200.945. PMID 7863335.
- Thomas, Charles; Mullis, Karen; Johnson, Phillip (June 1994). "What causes AIDS?". Reason. Los Angeles, CA: Reason Foundation. ISSN 0048-6906. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Young, Craig (July 1, 2009). "AIDS Denialism: A South African Tragedy". GayNZ. Auckland, NZ: J&N Infolink. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Shallit, Jeffrey (August 9, 2000). "AIDS conference proves pseudoscience can kill you". Waterloo Region Record. Ontario, CA: Metroland Media Group. ISSN 0824-5150.
- "The Group". VirusMyth: A Rethinking AID$ Website. Hilversum, NL: Robert Laarhoven. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Mu, David (Fall 2005). "Trojan Horse or Legitimate Science: Deconstructing the Debate over Intelligent Design" (PDF). Harvard Science Review. Cambridge, MA. 19 (1): 22–25. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
...for most members of the mainstream scientific community, ID is not a scientific theory, but a creationist pseudoscience.
- Workosky, Cindy (August 3, 2005). "National Science Teachers Association Disappointed About Intelligent Design Comments Made by President Bush" (Press release). Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
'We stand with the nation's leading scientific organizations and scientists, including Dr. John Marburger, the president's top science advisor, in stating that intelligent design is not science.' ... 'It is simply not fair to present pseudoscience to students in the science classroom.'
- Attie, Alan D.; Sober, Elliott; Numbers, Ronald L.; Amasino, Richard M.; Cox, Beth; Berceau, Terese; Powell, Thomas; Cox, Michael M. (May 1, 2006). "Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action". Journal of Clinical Investigation. Ann Arbor, MI: American Society for Clinical Investigation. 116 (5): 1134–38. doi:10.1172/JCI28449. ISSN 0021-9738. PMC . PMID 16670753. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Johnson 1991, chapter 12.
- "Meet Phillip Johnson". Christian book. Peabody, MA. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- "Faculty Profiles". Berkeley, CA: UC Berkeley School of Law. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- "Phillip E Johnson". The State Bar of California. San Francisco, CA. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- 2001 2001
- Johnson, Phillip E. (June 2002). "Berkeley's Radical". Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity (Interview). 15 (5). Interview with James M. Kushiner. Chicago, IL: Fellowship of St. James. ISSN 0897-327X. Retrieved December 26, 2013. Johnson interviewed in November 2000.
- Dembski 2006
- Johnson 2010, pp. 25–26
- Johnson, Phillip E. (May–June 1996). "Third-Party Science". Books & Culture (Book review). 2 (3). Retrieved December 26, 2013. Article reprinted in full by Access Research Network here.
- "A Firing Line Debate: Resolved: That the Evolutionists Should Acknowledge Creation". Firing Line (Debate special). Episode 203. December 19, 1997. PBS. Retrieved December 26, 2013. on YouTube.
- Condon, Kevin (September 1, 2004). "The Right Questions". Denver Journal: An Online Review of Current Biblical and Theological Studies (Book review). Littleton, CO: Denver Seminary. 7. OCLC 54379462. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- "Antony Flew Receives Award From Intelligent Design Community". Biola University. La Mirada, CA. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Staub, Dick (December 1, 2002). "The Dick Staub Interview: Phillip Johnson". Christianity Today. Carol Stream, IL. ISSN 0009-5753. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- Powell, Michael (May 15, 2005). "Doubting Rationalist". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Olasky (January 27, 2004). "Creationists and Intelligent Design". World Magazine Blog. Asheville, NC: God's World Publications. ISSN 0888-157X. Archived from the original on November 14, 2004.
- Scott, Eugenie C.; Sager, Thomas C. (Winter 1992). "Review Article: Darwin on Trial, by Phillip Johnson". Creation/Evolution. Berkeley, CA: National Center for Science Education. 12 (31): 47–56. Retrieved July 27, 2008.[Quote not in source: verification needed]
- Larson, Edward J. (March 29, 2006). "Biology Wars: The Religion, Science and Education Controversy" (PDF). Religion & Public Life Project. Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
That language, which was penned by Phil Johnson for Rick Santorum, passed the Senate as an amendment to the No Child Left Behind education bill, and eventually became part of the conference report for that legislation.
- Pearcey, Nancy R. (July 29, 2000). "Wedge Issues". World. Asheville, NC: God's World Publications. 15 (29). ISSN 0888-157X. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Pearcey, Nancy R. (May 22, 2000). "We're Not in Kansas Anymore". Christianity Today (Reprint). Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today International. ISSN 0009-5753. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- See: 1) List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design 2) Kitzmiller v. Dover page 83. 3) The Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism petition begun in 2001 has been signed by "over 600 scientists" as of August 20, 2006. 4) A four-day A Scientific Support for Darwinism petition gained 7,733 signatories from scientists opposing ID. 5) The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest association of scientists in the U.S., has 120,000 members, and firmly rejects ID. 6) More than 70,000 Australian scientists and educators condemn teaching of intelligent design in school science classes. 7) List of statements from scientific professional organizations on the status intelligent design and other forms of creationism.
- Orr, H. Allen (May 30, 2005). "Devolution". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
Biologists aren't alarmed by intelligent design's arrival in Dover and elsewhere because they have all sworn allegiance to atheistic materialism; they're alarmed because intelligent design is junk science.
- Pennock 1999
- Bergin, Mark (February 25, 2006). "Junk science". World. Asheville, NC: God's World Publications. 21 (8). ISSN 0888-157X. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Forrest, Barbara (May 2007). "Understanding The Intelligent Design Creationist Movement: Its True Nature and Goals" (PDF). Center for Inquiry. Washington, D.C.: Center for Inquiry. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Nickson, Elizabeth (February 6, 2004). "Let's Be Intelligent about Darwin". National Post (Reprint). Toronto, Ontario: Postmedia Network. ISSN 1486-8008. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Grelen, Jay (November 30, 1996). "Witnesses for the prosecution". World. Asheville, NC: God's World Publications. 11 (28): 18. ISSN 0888-157X. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
- Buell & Hearn 1994
- Johnson, Phillip E. (July–August 1999). "The Wedge: Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science". Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. Chicago, IL: Fellowship of St. James. 12 (4). ISSN 0897-327X. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Johnson, Phillip E. "How The Evolution Debate Can Be Won". Coral Ridge Ministries. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Coral Ridge Ministries. Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Boston, Rob (April 1999). "Missionary Man". Church & State. Washington, D.C.: Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State. ISSN 2163-3746. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Johnson 1997, pp. 91–92
- Watanabe, Teresa (March 25, 2001). "Enlisting Science to Find the Fingerprints of a Creator". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Johnson, Phillip E. "How to Debate the Issue". The Kennedy Commentary. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Coral Ridge Ministries. Archived from the original on March 13, 2007. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Johnson 2000, pp. 13–18.
- Johnson 2000, pp. 19–38.
- Cooper, Jill (February 1999). "A new Germ Theory". The Atlantic.
- Johnson 2000, pp. 39–62.
- Gould, Stephen Jay. "Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?". Paleobiology. 6 (1): 119–30.
- Goodwin, Brian (1996). How the Leopard Changed Its Spots: The Evolution of Complexity. New York: Scribner's. pp. viii–vix.
- Mann, C. (1991). "Lynn Margulius: Science's Unruly Earth Mother". Science: 252, 378–381.
- Johnson 2000, pp. 63–83.
- Pieret, John (February 16, 2004). "Another Dishonest Creationist Quote". TalkOrigins Archive. Houston, TX: The TalkOrigins Foundation, Inc. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Spitzer, Brian (August 4, 2002). "The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth?". Talk Reason. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Isaak, Mark (September 24, 2002). "A Philosophical Premise of 'Naturalism'?". Talkdesign.org. Concord, CA: Wesley R. Elsberry. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Scott, Eugenie C. (Winter 1993). "Darwin Prosecuted: Review of Johnson's Darwin on Trial". Creation/Evolution. Berkeley, CA: National Center for Science Education. 13 (33): 36–47. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Vedantam, Shankar (February 5, 2006). "Eden and Evolution". The Washington Post. p. W08. Retrieved May 17, 2008.
- Murphy 2001, p. 451
- Stewart 2007, p. 2
- Johnson, Phillip E. (October 2004). "Overestimating AIDS". Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. Chicago, IL: Fellowship of St. James. 17 (8). ISSN 0897-327X. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Epstein 1996
- "HIV & AIDS - Phillip Johnson". VirusMyth: A Rethinking AID$ Website (Index of articles). Hilversum, Netherlands: Robert Laarhoven. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Quittman, Beth (September 8, 2006). "Undercover at the Discovery Institute". Seattlest (Blog). New York: Gothamist LLC. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
- "Aids 'denialism' gathers strange bedfellows". The Vancouver Sun. Vancouver, BC: Postmedia Network. June 17, 2006. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
- Brauer, Matthew J.; Forrest, Barbara; Gey, Steven G. (2005). "Is It Science Yet?: Intelligent Design Creationism and the Constitution" (PDF). Washington University Law Review. St. Louis, MO: Washington University School of Law. 83 (1): 79–80. ISSN 2166-7993. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- Buell, Jon A.; Hearn, Virginia, eds. (March 26–28, 1992). "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy" (PDF). Darwinism, Science or Philosophy?: Proceedings of a Symposium Entitled 'Darwinism, Scientific Inference or Philosophical Preference?': Held on the Southern Methodist University Campus in Dallas, Texas, March 26–28, 1992. Darwinism: Scientific Inference or Philosophical Preference?. Richardson, TX: Foundation for Thought and Ethics. ISBN 0-9642104-0-1. LCCN 94094523. OCLC 31602282. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Dembski, William A., ed. (2006). Darwin's Nemesis: Phillip Johnson and the Intelligent Design Movement. Foreword by Rick Santorum. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. ISBN 978-0-8308-2836-4. LCCN 2005033144. OCLC 62330745.
- Epstein, Steven (1996). Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-20233-3. LCCN 96016805. OCLC 470187113.
- Forrest, Barbara (2001). "The Wedge at Work: How Intelligent Design Creationism Is Wedging Its Way into the Cultural and Academic Mainstream". In Pennock, Robert T. Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-66124-1. LCCN 2001031276. OCLC 46729201. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Murphy, Nancey (2001). "Phillip Johnson on Trial: A Critique of His Critique of Darwin". In Pennock, Robert T. Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-66124-1. LCCN 2001031276. OCLC 46729201. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
- Pennock, Robert T. (1999). Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-16180-X. LCCN 98027286. OCLC 39262003.
- Stewart, Robert B., ed. (2007). Intelligent Design: William A. Dembski & Michael Ruse in Dialogue. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. ISBN 978-0-8006-6218-9. LCCN 2007027505. OCLC 148895223.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Phillip E. Johnson|
- Articles by Phillip E. Johnson in Touchstone Magazine: A Journal of Mere Christianity, a bimonthly Christian publication
- The Religion of the Blind Watchmaker
- "Origin of the Specious" – an article by Ronald Bailey, published in the July 1997 issued of Reason magazine, concerns the development of intelligent design
- Johnson's writings on HIV and AIDS at the VirusMyth website
- "Phillip Johnson: From Crackpot to Dangerously Insane Crackpot" by Kevin T. Keith at the Lean Left blog
- Critiques of Phillip Johnson by Jim Lippard and Bill Hamilton at the TalkOrigins Archive
- "The Terrible Strength and Weakness of Naturalism" – an interview of Phillip E. Johnson with Tal Brooke. SCP Journal. Vol. 21:4–22:1. Spring 1998. ISSN 0883-1300