Re: Johnson's concluding remarks (fwd)

Murphy (
Sat, 25 Jan 1997 17:14:22 -0500

Allen Roy wrote:
> I believe that at some time well before the bicentennial year
> 2059, perhaps as early as 2009 or 2019, there will be another
> celebration that will mark the demise of the Darwinist ideology
> that was so triumphant in 1959. The theme of this anti-centennial
> will be "What Went Wrong?" or perhaps, "How could we ever have
> let it happen?"

> What went wrong is that scientists committed original sin, which
> in science means believing what you want to believe instead of
> what your experiments and observations actually show you. In
> small matters, as a scientist you cannot afford to indulge in
> original sin because your colleagues will show you up and make a
> fool out of you.

There is some truth in what Johnson says about the interaction
of science, religion, & society. But his analysis of "what went wrong"
is superficial. First there is far more reason to accept evolution than
he is willing to admit. But there is another thing that "went wrong"
which he misses entirely.
If the Christian church in general, and teaching theologians in
particular, had been open as they should have been before 1859 to at
least the _possibility_ that some evolutionary scenario was quite
compatible with Christian teaching, then the idea that Darwinian theory
must be regarded as an enemy of Christianity would not have arisen.
Atheists would not have been able to think that arguments for Darwin
were automatically arguments against divine creation. In an atmosphere
of serious theological reflection on the issues, many of the excesses of
evolutionism could have been avoided.
Part of Johnson's problem is that he doesn't seem to know much
about theology. As a lawyer, he may excuse me for jumping on a small
lapse in his rhetoric as an indication of this. The second paragraph
cited above raises serious doubts about whether or not he knows what
"original sin" means.
George Murphy