Darwin On Trial, by Phillip E. Johnson
This book makes it pretty clear why Phillip Johnson is a sound strategist when it comes to intelligent design in the larger cultural perspective, and why it is that this book and others by him are not well-liked by evolutionists. It is one thing to have evolution sliced and diced and turned into julienne fries by scientists who are looking at the impossibility of evolutionary mechanisms to bridge the gulf between phyla or to show how the flagellum could be made through incremental mutations that were all beneficial, but it is enough to be schooled on science and logic by a lawyer. This is still a fantastic book in its genre , but it is clear that the author’s lack of scientific expertise but his ability to teach himself the relevant material and school those who fancied themselves as scientific experts had to hurt more than little. This is a book that reminds its readers about the way that pride does not make a good suit when humble pie is being served, and this book served plenty of humble pie to those who were promoting an intellectually bankrupt materialistic worldview.
This book is an example where the research notes are well worth reading, which is not something I can say often, which brings this book up to nearly 200 pages, about 150 or so of which are taken up in twelve excellent chapters. The book begins with a discussion of the legal setting and then a step-by-step account of how the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection and mutations great and small. After this the author examines the fossil problem and the surprisingly tautological “fact” of evolution. After this comes a look at the vertebrae sequence and the molecular evidence and the shambles that is prebiological evolution. The author then looks at arguments about the rules of science that protect evolution from falsification, some saucy looks at evolutionist religion, and how Darwinism fails to handle education as well as Popper’s challenge about pseudoscience. The author shows himself to be impressively aware of the science behind the struggle over evolution and intelligent design, and throughout he shows a great deal of humor as well as an understanding about the terrible logic and dishonest rhetoric involved in many evolutionary just so stories. All of this is done with a minimum of technical jargon and a rhetorical style that definitely goes down easily.
This book is a deserved masterpiece that demonstrates how evolution can be understood as well as cut to ribbons by an intelligent writer whose expertise is outside of the realm of science. This is a book whose argumentation is accessible and powerful to a wide variety of readers and who shows himself as a thoughtful student of the history and philosophy of science and well aware of what happens when writers on evolution adopt different hats without being aware that they are crossing from science into metaphysics or theology, which most evolutionists do not do with any degree of skill. This book’s argument demonstrates that evolution is such a poor theory in terms of its fit with the facts on (and under) the ground that it can only survive by defining itself as the only viable alternative. The author also looks at how evolutionary scientists behave like cockroaches in only showing themselves under the cover of darkness and hiding the problems of evolution from the harsh light of scrutiny that would expose the lack of fitness that their pet worldview has, to the point where deliberate seeding of life on earth by aliens is one of the most plausible naturalistic theories that can be found. If you want an accessible introduction to the debate over intelligent design, this book does a great job at laying out the issues and the rhetoric of the debate.
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