7 Replies to “The Phillip Johnson DVD Collection

  1. 1
    DG says:

    It was through listening to Phillip Johnson that I understood clearly why evolution is a fact. When methodological and metaphysical naturalism (materialism) are the rules of the game, then the game’s results are determined: evolution is a fact by philosophical fiat. To paraphrase Darwin’s brother– if the facts don’t fit the theory, so much the worse for the facts.
    I recommend these materials highly.

  2. 2
    Nakashima says:

    It is true. If there is no supernal intervention, evolution will just happen!

  3. 3
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Nakashima,

    That’s the argument that IDists for the most part have been saying. If there is no intelligence behind existence, and we have evidence that nature and existence started in space and time, then everything just willed itself into existence. It all just happened. From a practical and realistic perspective, if that were reality, then we would expect a much more chaotic universe where life is not possible. But…. like the Darwinists like to say in support of Darwinism… “Here we are!.” Rendering such “happenings” highly unlikely.

    Johnson is not a scientist, but a professor of law. He is trained, and in facts trains others to spot flaws in arguments, and this is the flaw that he extrapolates regarding Darwinism in his writing. His keen observation is that Darwinists spend much time looking at the fine details in support of the whole picture of how evolution via RM + NS occurred, while completely ignoring the fact that the whole Darwinian premise is based on a(n) (illogical) metaphysical assumption regarding the non-existence of a designer. And in order to further blind themselves, the Darwinists redefine science as congruent with this metaphysical assumption.

    The reason why Antony Flew as a philosopher was able to make the cross-over into at least no longer being an atheist, but a deist, is because he is not committed to methodological naturalism; rather, he’s committed to whatever is supported by the evidence.

    For Flew and Johnson, arguments such as “evolution will just happen” are not only intellectually unsatisfying, but totally illogical from a metaphysical perspective, and contrary to the physical evidence.

    When are Darwinists going to stop dreaming and admit that they have made the fatal error of supporting a pseudo-science based on a philosophical objection to the possibility that a designer might exist?

  4. 4
    Nakashima says:

    Mr Yankee,

    I think you’ve skipped too quickly from “evolution just happens” to “why did the Big Bang happen?” My point was about what happens after the first replicator, a natural process that could have been used by a hands off Deity of nature acting on its own. The fact and power of evolution are not contingent on answers to cosmology and OOL studies.

    Any population capable of heritable variation and selection experiences evolution. There is nothing necessarily biological about that, it applies to GAs. There is also nothing naturalistic about it. You can read the story of Joseph and the goats in Genesis as an evolutionary episode. Evolution is Scriptural!!

  5. 5
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Mr Nakashima,

    “I think you’ve skipped too quickly from ‘evolution just happens’ to ‘why did the Big Bang happen?'”

    It’s a leap (er…skip) that is logical. You have just provided us with an example of what I find the majority of Darsinists tend to do. They don’t accept even the possibility of design, and they do that by creating a more and more complex explanation outside of “supernaturalism” in order to satisfy their proclivities in denial of the obvious.

    I don’t find a logically acceptable philosophical basis for naturalistic evolution, so I have to look elsewhere. It’s not really a leap I take, but a logical step from evidence for design to questions about what is an alternative to the Darwinian leap over and away from the obvious problem of infinite regresses. This is an issue I keep bringing up because it seems so clear to me (and to others here), and I’m not even a scientist.

    I think you would benefit from reading some Christian philosophers if you want to understand us better. Start with William Lane Craig and J.P. Morelands’ collaborations on the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God. Their (not theirs entirely) argument is directly related to the issues Johnson discusses in his writings concerning methodological naturalism. Johnson is excellent in his perspective on what is going on with the Darwinian philosophy, but his understanding would be incomplete without understanding the underlying philosophy of mono-theism, and where it finds its strength. It would also benefit you to understand why we don’t find Darwinian evolution compatible with faith. I don’t think Darwin supporters can argue a counter- point without some biases, but that seems to be all we get these days.

    Incidentally, I received W.L. Craig’s monthly newsletter in my email today. He and Moreland have just collaborated on yet another lengthy work, and here’s what he has to say about their new Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology:

    “Undoubtedly the most important development on this front has been the publication this month of J. P. Moreland and my Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. This tome of over 650 pages features 11 articles by first-rate philosophers each defending at length a different argument for God’s existence. Jim Sinclair and I co-authored a 100-page defense of the kalam cosmological argument. Jim really knows current physical cosmology, so it was a privilege to team up with him. To give you a feel for why I’m so excited about this volume, let me simply share with you the first on-line review of the book, written by an atheist:

    ‘As an atheist, I recognize this as the single greatest defense of theism ever assembled. Craig and Moreland basically made a list of the most compelling contemporary arguments for the existence of God, tracked down their foremost living defenders, and gave them 50-100 pages to make their case. The result is awe-inspiring, even for the atheist. . . . Even if Earth’s universities are emptied of theists by the year 2400, we may then look back and see The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology as the high-point in the philosophical defense of theism. . . . The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology is a tour-de-force of analytic philosophy.'” (I apologize, but Craig does not reference the quote above).

    It seems to be the Darwinists who are making the great leaps of logic, not the ID supporters and theists in the crowd. Of course, I haven’t read it yet, but I understand their basic arguments from other writings, and it is from these two as well as some other great analytical philosophers that I have formed my own understanding of this debate. Johnson is one of those greats.

    Read what you stated here:” a natural process that could have been used by a hands off Deity of nature acting on its own,” and ask yourself where the “nature” came from in the first place. You say “could have been,” but I’m afraid you will have to qualify that much more forcefully. How could it have been from a purely naturalistic perspective?

    This is where the Kalam Cosmological Argument comes in. There is still the need for a first cause, and the first cause must be immaterial in order for any argument concerning beginnings to avoid absurdity. And any discussion of nature needs to consider beginnings and first causes in order to form the basis for any cogent philosophy of knowledge and nature.

    Besides this, what leads you to assume that the God of the theists is not the “hands-off Deity of nature?” Have you not considered that what we call “nature” could be more than simply the sum of all physical material? Could “nature” be a combination of what we call “supernatural” as well as natural? With evidences for the immaterial found in those ever-so human experiences that cannot find explanations in science? Has God not left a mark in the human soul?

    The only objections I find to these ideas are from those who assume that all of our experiences find ties to our obvious (Darwinian-type) evolution. But evo-psych doesn’t quite answer anything for the majority of us. As a person who works in behavioral health, I can tell you that evo-psych (just to use an example) has no practical application. Why? because we’ve learned that human beings make choices, and in so doing, they’re able to transcend any notion that they are slaves to their “evolution-determined” circumnstances, if we stop lying to them and give them the opportunity to make such choices.

    I’ve stated before in other threads that this is where mental health is heading – the “Recovery Model,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovery_model which is being pushed by many county and state departments of mental/behavioral health is acutally anti evo-psych. When you tell people that they have choices and can recover from the debilitating symptoms of their illnesses, it opens up a world of solutions, which are not in most cases found in anything the Darwinists are flaunting.

    And above all that, Darwinian evolution really has no practical application to life in the broadest sense. Perhaps this is why, in this Darwin-dominated world, the churches continue to operate, and why people who “don’t know any better” still flock to them.

    Now to address your last point:

    “Any population capable of heritable variation and selection experiences evolution. There is nothing necessarily biological about that, it applies to GAs. There is also nothing naturalistic about it. You can read the story of Joseph and the goats in Genesis as an evolutionary episode. Evolution is Scriptural”

    We ID supporters are not objecting to the notion of “evolution.” I put that in quotes, because it can mean one thing to one person and something entirely different to another. Our objection is to the supposed mechanism behind strictly biological evolution as RM + NS. I think you already know that, so I’m puzzled as to why you brought it up. But if you want my take on it; there is certainly something naturalistic to RM + NS as the mechanism to evolution. If true, there doesn’t need to be a god involved. That in itself demonstrates that it is “naturalistic.” So our denial is not of evolution, but of purely naturalistic processes, which goes against our intellectual understanding of metaphysical reality. I would be more inclined to accept Darwinian evolution as a “possible” choice among others for explaining our evolution, as opposed to THE ONLY scientifically cogent explanation. If Darwinists and others could agree on this one issue, then I think they could work together towards finding answers to some basic life questions.

    Finally, I believe in the evolution of thought and of science. I think most of us do, so I think you would benefit from distiguishing what you mean by “evolution.” There’s that quote again.

    Here’s another issue. You appear to have adopted a philosophy that accepts “evolution” in the broadest sense of the term, and that’s fine with me. I have no objections. On the other hand, you seem to have included Darwinian evolution as a process of RM + NS as a “natural” inclusion into that philosophy simply on terms of it seemingly fitting into the broader philosophy. I don’t see how that follows. Perhaps I’m reading you wrong. Could you explain?

  6. 6
    CannuckianYankee says:

    I found the quote regarding the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology at Amazon.com. It came from: Luke A. Muehlhauser “Luke”.

  7. 7
    RDK says:

    So our denial is not of evolution, but of purely naturalistic processes, which goes against our intellectual understanding of metaphysical reality. I would be more inclined to accept Darwinian evolution as a “possible” choice among others for explaining our evolution, as opposed to THE ONLY scientifically cogent explanation. If Darwinists and others could agree on this one issue, then I think they could work together towards finding answers to some basic life questions.

    When you find compelling evidence for a non-naturalistic, metaphysical designer that directs (or was the catalyst for) evolutionary processes, feel free to submit your findings to a scientific journal for peer review.

    Besides this, what leads you to assume that the God of the theists is not the “hands-off Deity of nature?” Have you not considered that what we call “nature” could be more than simply the sum of all physical material? Could “nature” be a combination of what we call “supernatural” as well as natural?

    If it includes the supernatural, it is not natural. Science has no comment on the supernatural, and it doesn’t belong in scientific discussions.

    Honestly guys, this is grade-level stuff.

    With evidences for the immaterial found in those ever-so human experiences that cannot find explanations in science?

    Example?

    And once again, if it has no scientific explanation, why are you purporting that religion can answer that question any better? If you want to teach that faith is just as good as observation and testing, then stick to your parochial schools and leave everybody else alone.

    Has God not left a mark in the human soul?

    Where you see a soul, I see nothing. The term “soul” has religious implications. Would you like to define exactly what you mean by soul? Do you mean personal identity? Essence? “I”-ness?

    I’m assuming that basically what you’re asking is “What is the evolutionary advantage for the emergence of consciousness?” To ask this question is to assume that there could be organisms of any desired complexity that are not conscious. Consciousness is nothing but the upper end of a continuous spectrum of complexity that organisms possess as a result of that complexity. Fancy brains like mine or yours are capable of self-perception, while simpler organisms like mosquitoes or frogs, have very little if any, while some are in-between, like canines.

    Consciousness is not an add-on feature when one has a brain system as complex as humans; it is an inevitable emergent consequence of the fact that the system has a sufficiently sophisticated repertoire of concepts, categories, and self-perceptions.

    That being said, would you agree that animals like dogs or chimps have some sort of “soul” as well? Or are humans the only ones with this mysterious quality? If so, why? What is the objective criteria for having a “soul”?

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