From The Stream:
I first encountered Johnson at a worldview conference held at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs. The conference was sponsored by the Wilberforce Forum, an arm of Prison Fellowship Ministries led by the late Chuck Colson. I was on staff with Prison Fellowship at the time, so I was working at the conference. I was able, however, to attend Johnson’s presentation on what he called “The Wedge.” This was his analogy for truth, logic, and reason being like the narrow end of a wedge that could split apart the log of philosophical naturalism (a strong form of atheism) so pervasive in our culture, especially in science.
I remember how impressed I was with Johnson’s ability to present deep philosophical ideas in simple laymen’s terms. I noted how cordially he interacted with everyone who spoke with him afterwards. Later I came to find out that was typical of Johnson. We talked briefly. It was both inspiring and challenging.
Not long after, I was with Chuck Colson for some events in Michigan. I’d just finished reading the book he had co-authored with Nancy Pearcey, How Now Shall We Live? There, I told Chuck how fascinated I was with the chapter on intelligent design versus evolution. I asked him what further reading he’d recommend. Without hesitation he said, “You need to read Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial. I grabbed a copy as soon as I could, and read through in a day. I was hooked. And that was the start of a journey I could never have anticipated.Donald McLaughlin, “Tribute to Phillip Johnson” at The Stream
By challenging the Darwinian orthodoxy, Johnson had painted a target on his back and experienced what many proponents of intelligent design have: personal attacks, blacklisting, and accusations of being anti-science. But he took it all with cheerful patience, and in doing so not only launched the ID movement, he set its tone, one still heard in his successors like Stephen Meyer, Douglas Axe, Jonathan Wells, Ann Gauger, and others.
Johnson’s articulation that naturalism had not only poisoned science but also law and ethics shaped Chuck Colson’s thinking, and consequently, shaped BreakPoint.
Johnson’s 1993 First Things article entitled “Nihilism and the End of Law,” argued that if there is no transcendent origin for life, then neither is there any transcendent basis for right and wrong. To outlaw theft, racial discrimination, or murder is to appeal not to any higher authority but merely to a majority vote, something that has a funny way of evolving.
A quick search for Phillip Johnson in our BreakPoint archives reveals the debt we owe to this first-class worldview thinker, who understood the power of ideas to shape all of life.John Stonestreet & G. Shane Morris, “Remembering Phillip Johnson: The Man Who Put Darwin on Trial” at Breakpoint
Podcast: The Legacy of Phillip Johnson: An Interview with Dr. Jay Richards:
Today on the BreakPoint Podcast, Colson Center President John Stonestreet welcomes a man who knew Johnson well: Dr. Jay Richards, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. Together they discuss Johnson’s important legacy, not only in unmasking neo-Darwinism as more of an intellectual “sleight of hand” than a truly scientific endeavor, but also Johnson’s dismantling of philosophical materialism.John Stonestreet, “Podcast” at Breakpoint
See also: Phillip Johnson: Jun 18, 1940–Nov 2, 2019 (aged 79) The father of intelligent design theory. Peacefully in his sleep.
Remembering the impact of Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial (1991) “Biochemist Michael Behe explains how a biased critique of Darwin on Trial in the journal Science led Behe to join the ID movement.” – Casey Luskin And, as a tenured professor, Behe went on to be a thorn in the Darwinians’ side insofar as their strategy had, for so long, been to prevent critics from acquiring accepted credentials.
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