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Jonathan Wells remembers Phillip Johnson as a breath of fresh air

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At Berkeley:

In 1991 I was a graduate student in molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley when I heard that a Berkeley law professor had just published a book critical of Darwinism. Although I was quietly a critic of Darwinism, I resisted reading the book because most of the critiques of Darwinian evolution I had already seen were either focused on the age of the Earth or they were embarrassingly shoddy. It seemed unlikely that a law professor could do any better.

Then a friend of mine, a biochemist living in Berkeley, told me the book was better than most, so I picked up a copy of Phillip E. Johnson’s Darwin on Trial. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. The book was so good that when I finished I wanted to stand up and cheer. The next day I telephoned the author (whose office was just across the campus), introduced myself, and I suggested we meet for lunch. I had been an anti-Vietnam War activist at Berkeley as an undergraduate back in the 1960s, and I heard that Professor Johnson was politically conservative, so I wasn’t sure how he might react to my anti-war past. So I invited my biochemist friend (who knew Johnson personally) to come along and act as a go-between. The three of us had a delightful time over lunch at the Berkeley Faculty Club. Phil was undeterred by what he came to call my “colorful” past, and we soon became good friends.

Jonathan Wells, “Meeting Phil Johnson at Berkeley” at Evolution News and Science Today

Jonathan Wells is the author of Zombie Science, about out-of-date Darwinian rubbish whacked from one edition of a given publicly funded textbook to another, often claiming the protection of law as if it were some kind of Holy Writ that founds a religious republic.

See also: Bill Dembski remembers Phil Johnson (1940–2019). Dembski begins by reminding us of the book, Darwin’s Nemesis (2006), which introduced Johnson as “the leading figure” in the intelligent design movement—which he was. Johnson was perhaps the first person after David Berlinski to just ask, point blank, never mind religion or whatever, why does all this tabloid-level nonsense rule biology?


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