Darwin on Trial Paperback – 3 Dec 1993
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Michael Denton, Molecular Biologist and author of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis
"Darwin on Trial shows just how Darwinian evolution has become an idol of the contemporary tribe, and how deeply philosophical and religious ideas enter into its status as part of the intellectual orthodoxy of our day."
Alvin Plantinga, Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame University
"Darwin on Trial is both an excellent and highly readable presentation of some of the difficulties that Darwinians have yet to provide a convincing answer to, and an eye-opening history of some of the recent attempts by Darwinians to control the terms of the debate. I recommend it very highly."
Peter van Inwagen, Professor of Philosophy at Syracuse University
"Phillip Johnson has done extremely well in making himself familiar with evolutionary theory and biological ways of reasoning... This book is highly recommended as an introduction to the current controversy on evolution."
Siegfried Scherer, Faculty of Biology at the University of Konstanz, Germany
"Darwin on Trial is more than just a brilliant critique of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. It is also an insightful analysis of the strong philosophical bias for faith in evolution held by many of the theory's leading advocates."
Walter Bradley, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University
"In all the vast literature on Darwinism, evolution, creation, and theism, one will likely not find a treatment so calm, comprehensive, and compellingly persuasive as Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial. I recommend it with enthusiasm."
Richard John Neuhaus, Editor, First Things
"Darwin's theory of evolution is one of the greatest intellectual superstition of modern times. It does the soul good to see a Berkeley professor attack it."
Tom Bethell, The Hoover Institution
About the Author
Top customer reviews
1. Darwin/evolutionists say X
2. X is the same as Y
3. Proof that Y is false
4. Therefore Darwin/evolutionists are wrong
Usually, the error is in the second step: X and Y are not the same thing. Sometimes this is obvious, sometimes it's quite subtle, but either way the logic is flawed.
None - and I mean none - of the arguments successfully prove anything. As the book's title suggests, the author wishes the reader to be in the position of a jury member being persuaded by a clever lawyer to convict an innocent man.
I was hoping to learn something from this book. Sadly, all I learned was that some bright people who write well are capable of deceiving their readers, and perhaps themselves, with some clever logical sleight of hand. Disappointing.
Raup is a committed evolutionist, yet is fair-minded enough to give full credit to an opponent, a rare quality in committed evolutionists. Far more common is the attitude of those who charge the author with ignorance while ignoring his arguments. Such critics are more interested in reinforcing their prejudices than in truth.
Reinforcing prejudices was exemplified by the editors of Scientific American. They published a scathing review by Stephen Gould of the book's first edition, that occupied four pages in their July 1992 issue, yet "refused to print my response or any letters from readers, although I know they received many." They obviously thought it was their business to shield their readers from the author's heresies. Such censorship was an insult to the intelligence of their readers, who should have been allowed to hear both sides of the argument and decide for themselves.
The book deals not only with the scientific aspect of evolution, but also the equally important philosophical and social aspects. The chapters entitled "Darwinist Education" and "Science and Pseudoscience" are especially informative.
The author carefully documents his sources in the Research Notes at the back of his book, so readers can check them out. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so read the book, chew over its arguments, and make up your own mind.
In twelve relatively short chapters Johnson valiantly tries to make the case that there isn't any evidence for Darwinian evolution, that evolutionary biologists are guilty of committing the crime of tautology for using circular reasoning in citing evidence which supports evolution, and that Darwinisim - and by extension, science, itself - has become a religion since it cloaks itself in a "naturalistic" philosophy which rejects any notion of a Creator intervening in natural processes. Oddly enough, Johnson has the temerity to cite philosopher Karl Popper's falsifiability criterion for good science in explaining why evolution isn't science, but instead, a religion. However, Johnson fails to mention how a "theistic science" - one which acknowledges the possiblity of supernatural intervention - would be consistent with Popper's reasoning.
Like classic Young Earth Creationists such as Henry Morris and Duane Gish, Johnson dismisses much of the scientific evidence for evolution. For example, he distorts the important work done by distinguished ecologists Peter and Rosemary Grant on the Galapagos finches; undoubtedly one of our finest ongoing field studies of microevolution and Natural Selection. He also trivializes the important work of Brown University biologist Hermon Carey Bumpus which demonstrated how natural selection works, sarcastically noting that Bumpus killed dying sparrows so he could do his scientific research (Actually these birds were dying, and Bumpus did try saving them, but Johnson ignores this point to make the case that Bumpus was insensitive towards his subjects.).
Instead of reading DARWIN ON TRIAL, I would strongly recommend reading Robert Pennock's TOWER OF BABEL, Kenneth Miller's FINDING DARWIN'S GOD and ONLY A THEORY: EVOLUTION AND THE BATTLE FOR AMERICA'S SOUL, and Philip Kitcher's ABUSING SCIENCE - all of which have devestatingly effective critiques of creationism and its advocates, including Johnson. Of these four books, Pennock's tome does an excellent job pointing out the close intellectual kinship between traditional young earth creationism and Intelligent Design.
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