Re: Johnson's assumptions
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 07:25:32 -0500 (EST)


I appreciate your conciliatory comments on Phil Johnson.

I do not think, however, that you have caught the depth of the concern of
Johnson and others like him. You wrote, "it is clear to me that Johnson in
effect presupposes that Darwinism and theism are contradictory. This is one
of Johnson's starting-point assumptions, apparently, and the rest of the
argumentation follows from that, leading inexorably to a view that supports
some kind of special creation."

Johnson's deepest argument is with *philosophical naturalism* which is now
the reigning orthodoxy of the Western intellectual world. Alvin Plantinga
describes philosophical naturalism as follows: "Perhaps the easiest way to
understand naturalism is to see it as the view that there is no such a
person as God (no all powerful, all knowing and wholly good person who has
created the world and has created human beings in his image), nor any thing
at all *like* God. The naturalist--the contemporary naturalist, at any
rate--typically adds a high view of science, seeing it as the only possible
source of our salvation." This is clearly in opposition to the Christian
World View.

Since Darwinism is imbedded in philosophical naturalism, Johnson also attacks
its philosphical base. He maintains that many conclusions of evolutionary
authors are based on their allegiance to the philosophical base rather than
to objective, empirical data. An unacceptable implication of Darwinism,
according to Plantinga, is "The idea that human beings are the outcome of a
mindless process; they are not designed or planned by God or anyone else."

It seems to me we can join with Johnson and Plantinga in rejecting
philopshical naturalism, and the that which is unacceptable in Darwinian
theory based on that philosophy.

Alvin Plantinga wrote a review of Daniel Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous
Idea." In it he also presents his own ideas that are very close to
Johnson's. Plantinga's essay is now available on-line at:

Bob DeHaan