Heather Zeiger at Trinity International University reflects on the 20th anniversary of Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial:
In 1991, UC Berkley Law professor, Phillip Johnson, wrote a little piece entitled Darwin on Trial. In this book, he brings Darwinian evolution to task as being a theory motivated more so by a commitment to methodological naturalism than to scientific evidence. Not all aspects of evolutionary theory were wrong. We see small-scale changes that involve adaptation to environmental pressures all of the time. We see changes in populations due to fitness in a particular environment. However, this is not what Darwin proposed. Darwin provided a naturalistic origins story that takes the observations of microevolutionary events and extrapolates them out to large-scale events that explain the origins of all of the organisms that we see today. Darwin was operating on a worldview that removes any supernatural or non-natural events from the picture.
These distinctions were not always so clear. It was Johnson’s book that first put teeth on the rhetoric. Yes, there was something different between the microevolutionary events that were observed and the extrapolations to account for origins and creativity, but it was difficult to untangle the knot of science, philosophy, worldviews, and religion. Johnson did that. He wasn’t the first to address these issues, but he certainly got the ball rolling. Using his adept skills as a lawyer, he carefully untangles the knot through discourse, examples, and analysis. He framed the debate.
Note: Numerous Darwin trolls have contacted us re the anniversary. After their missives had done several trips through the Language Washer, we pieced together the information that either they invented Phillip Johnson or else he invented them. Not clear which. Not credible either way. But not as incredible as Darwinism. So this is a step up for them.