phil johnson and charles hodge
Tue, 28 Jan 97 10:23:00 -0500

I think I may have said this before, in which
case I apologize for repeating myself, but I am
convinced that Phillip Johnson is essentially
Charles Hodge in the 1990s. Hodge's classic work,
What is Darwinism? answered the question by stating,
it is "virtual atheism," because it dismisses design.
I think Hodge understood Darwin's own metaphysical
interpretation of his theory quite well, just as
Phil understands folks like Will Provine quite well.

Where I get off the ship is with Phil's apparent
(stated somewhere?) views on the role of chance as
a creative process under divine sovereignty. Forget
biology, let's talk about physics. It certainly looks
like quantum theory is true and, if it is, then God
really does appear to play dice with the universe.
Granted, one could interpret this in more than one way,
but it seems difficult to me that one could interpret
this in a way that denies entirely the role of
stochastic processes in the creation. Quantum events
have "real world" consequences -- i.e, we can observe
things that have no "causes" in the mechanistic
sense (recall "formal" causes, as Aristotle would have
put it, meaning that the quantum equations function
as formal causes but not as efficient ones).

So, it seems to me that the issue of "design" and
"chance" is raised right away, at the heart of all
physical processes, entirely apart from Darwinism. One
might believe in special creation (say) and still have
to admit that God doesn't "control" nature in the
classical sense. In my opinion, this undercuts the
issue Phil is worried about. What we need to do,
as Christians, is to take the offensive with creative
theologies that recognize the fundamental role of
uncertainty, within boundaries, and ask the right
questions about sovereignty and design, rather than
continuing to parade the old answers in clever new


Ted Davis
Professor of the History of Science
Messiah College
Grantham, PA 17027
717-766-2511, ext 6840