Re: Phil Johnson's Approach

Glenn Morton (
Sun, 23 Feb 1997 16:37:06 -0600

At 10:00 AM 2/23/97, Donald E Degraaf asked about Phillip Johnson's approach.

There are two things which make me uncomfortable with Johnson's approach.
First,He thinks he is the only one who is unbiased but he does not get his
facts correct, Secondly,he views the world conspiratorially. He believes
that there is a conspiracy for science to advocate both evolution and for
science to advocate the HIV causation of AIDS. By viewing the world this
way, he can discount the views of anyone who disagrees with him because they
are part of the establishment. I will demonstrate these points by
quotations from Johnson below. The parallels between what he says about
AIDS are eerily close to what he says about evolution.


He writes:

"The points in dispute can only be settled by an unbiased
examination of the evidence. Those who have confidence in their
evidence and their logic do not appeal to prejudice, nor do they
insist upon imposing rules of discourse that allow only one
position to receive serious consideration, nor do they use vague
and shifting terminology to distract attention from genuine points
of difficulty. Still less do they heap abuse and ridicule upon
persons who want to raise questions about the evidence and the
philosophical assumptions that underly a theory. When an
educational establishment has to resort to tactics like that, you
can be sure that some people are getting desperate."~Phillip E.
Johnson, "Darwinism's Rules of Reasoning," Rivista di Biologia-
Biology Forum, 87(2/3), 1994, pp. 297-319, p. 308

So if he is going to be that unbiased examiner, wouldn't one expect that he
would get his facts straight? He doesn't.

"By what Darwinian process did useful hind limbs wither away to vestigial
proportions, and at what stage in the transformation from rodent to sea
monster did this occur? Did rodent forelimbs transform themselves by
gradual adaptive stages into whale flippers? We hear nothing of the
difficulties because to Darwinists unsolvable problems are not
important."~Darwin on Trial, 2nd ed. 1993,p. 87

Whales are believed to have come from Mesonyx, a Creodont mammal in the
order Carnivora. Rodents have their own order, Rodentia. No scientist
believes that a rodent gave rise to a whale. Johnson's lawyer training is

see Thewisson, J.G.M.; Hussain, S.T. & Arif, M. (1994) Fossil
evidence for the origin of aquatic locomotion in archaeocete whales.
Science, 263:210-212.

He also says that rodents gave rise to birds.

"A Darwinist can imagine that a mutant rodent might appear with a
web between its toes, and thereby gain some advantage in the
struggle for survival, with the result that the new characteristic
could spread through the population to await the arrival of further
mutations leading eventually to winged flight."~Phillip E. Johnson,
Darwin on Trial, 2nd ed. (Downer's Grove: Intervarsity Press,
1993), p. 104

I know of no evolutionist that believes that rodents gave rise to birds.

One would think that an unbiased examination would use modern material.
Johnson doesn't.It seems as his primary source of paleontological
information, he used an old textbook on vertebrate paleo which was written
17 years prior to his first edition of Darwin on Trial and 19 years before
the second. This means he was not up to date in his "unbiased" assessment.
He says,

"No specific fossil fish species has been identified as an amphibian
ancestor, but there is an extinct order of fish known as rhipidistians
which Darwinists frequently describe as an 'ancestral group'. The
rhipidistians have skeletal features resembling those of early amphibians,
including bones that look like they could have evolved into legs. But
according to Barbara J. Stahl's comprehensive textbook, Vertebrate History,
'none of the known fishes is thought to be directly ancestral to the
earliest land vertebrates. Most of them lived after the first amphibians
appeared, and those that came before show no evidence of developing the
stout limbs and ribs that characterized the primitive tetrapods.'" DOT p. 76

Stahl's text was published in 1974 and reprinted by Dover in 1985. The only
change was some notes at the back of the book. This means that Stahl's
conclusion, of which PJ is so proud, was based upon evidence from 1973 and
back. Since that time much has changed.I would refer any interested part to
the fish amphibian transitional forms article on my web page at the bottom
of this post.

One final example of him not getting his facts straight.He wrote:

"There is no hard evidence that any observable extinctions were
caused by competition from closely related species. Raup notes that
evolutionary biologists long emphasized competition as a cause of
extinction because the explanation 'seemed self-evident', but when
they actually tried to test the effect of competition, the results
were negative. The only reason for attributing extinctions to
Darwinian competition remains the theory itself."~Phillip E.
Johnson, "The Extinction of Darwinism," The Atlantic 269:2, p.106

What about the extinction of European bees by African bees (the famous
"killer bees") in South America?


Three years ago, Johnson wrote me an e-mail in which he said that he takes
with a grain of salt anything the "scientific establishment" says in the two
areas that he has studied: AIDS/HIV and evolution. (personal communication
Fri, 02 Dec 1994 at 11:13:37) Of course from above where he didn't get his
facts straight, maybe he should have studied more.

His conpiratorial view of the world can be documented by a comparison of his
statements concerning evolution and that of AIDS. Johnson is a "member of
the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis." (See
Phillip E. Johnson. "Aids and the Dog that didn't Bark," Insight, Feb. 14,
1994, p. 24-26)

Remember Johnson's claim to be unbiased above? He claims the same
"unbiased" position on AIDS. He wants:

"An audit of the CDC statistics to remove HIV bias and thereby
allow unprejudiced testing of the critical epidemiological evidence
for the theory."~Charles A. Thomas, Jr., Kary B. Mullis, and
Phillip E. Johnson, "What Causes Aids? Reason, June 1994, p. 23

It is a good thing we have unbiased lawyers to keep the scientific
establishment straight. But by claiming your opponent is biased, you don't
have to deal with your opponents data.

He writes of evolution that there is some conspiratorial, powerful elite, or
evolutionary establishment,

"But the rulers of this impregnable citadel are worried because not
everybody believes that their citadel is impregnable"~Phillip E.
Johnson, "Daniel Dennet's Dangerous Idea," Origins & Design 17:1,
Winter 1996, p. 28

He says the same thing about AIDS:

"Most Americans don't know--because there has been a virtual media
blackout on the subject-- about a longstanding scientific
controversy over the cause of AIDS, a controversy that has become
increasingly heated as the official theory's predictions have
turned out to be wrong."~Charles A. Thomas, Jr., Kary B. Mullis,
and Phillip E. Johnson, "What Causes Aids? Reason, June 1994, p. 18

There is an official AIDS position and an official evolution position. This
"establishment" like some conspiratorial group in a Robert Ludlum novel or
like the illuminati, makes strategic decisions.

"In 1990, for example, Nature published a rare response from the
HIV establishment, as represented by Robin A. Weiss of the
Institute of Cancer Research in London and Harold Jaffe of the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control."~Charles A. Thomas, Jr., Kary B.
Mullis, and Phillip E. Johnson, "What Causes Aids? Reason, June
1994, p.

Did the "establishment" choose Weiss to respond? One would think so if this
is the establishments response.

Both of these conspiracies must be able to to answer every question Johnson
can pose or they are wrong.

"If laboratory science cannot establish a mechanism, and if
fossil studies cannot find the common ancestors and transitional
links then Darwinism fails as an empirical theory. But Darwinists
suppress consideration of that possibility by invoking a
distinction between the 'fact' of evolution and Darwin's particular
theory."~Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, (Downers Grove:
Intervarsity Press, 1993), p. 66

"First, after spending billions of Dollars, HIV researchers
are still unable to explain how HIV, a conventional retrovirus with
a very simple genetic organization, damages the immune system, much
less how to stop it."~Charles A. Thomas, Jr., Kary B. Mullis, and
Phillip E. Johnson, "What Causes Aids? Reason, June 1994, p. 19


"For example, instead of acknowledging that science cannot demonstrate how
complex adaptive structures can arise by random mutation and selection, the
Framework provides a pointless distinction between 'natural selection ' and
'adaptation'" Darwin on Trial, 2nd ed. p. 144

Any thing that is unknown has now become evidence against the theory. This
of course is ridiculous.

"The argument of Darwin on Trial is that we know a great deal less than has
ben claimed. In particular, we do not know how the immensly complex organ
systems of plants and animals could have been created by mindless and
purposeless natural processes, as Darwinists say they must have been."
Darwin on Trial, 2nd ed. p. 158

AIDS like evolution, does not exist.

They have learned that what they had thought were 'AIDS orphans"
were merely children left with relatives by parents who had moved
away and that HIV-positive and HIV-negative villagers suffer from
the same diseases and respond equally well to treatment. Phillipe
Krynen's verdict: 'There is no AIDS. It is something that has been
invented. There are no epidemiological grounds for it; it doesn't
exist for us.'"~Charles A. Thomas, Jr., Kary B. Mullis, and Phillip
E. Johnson, "What Causes Aids? Reason, June 1994, p. 22

Of evolution:

"The theory is plausible, expecially to a phislosophical materialist, but it
may nonetheless be false. The true explanation for natural relationships
may be something much more mysterious." Darwin On Trial, 2nd. ed. p. 67


"If the naturalistic understanding of reality is truly correct and
complete, then God will have to retreat out of the cosmos
altogether. I do not think the risk is very great, but in any case
I do not think theist should meet it with a preemptive
surrender."~`Phillip E. Johnson, _Darwin on Trial, 2nd Ed. (Downers
Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1993), p. 169

The HIV cause of AIDS theory has failed every test

"The HIV paradigm is failing every scientific test. Research
based upon it has failed to provide not only a cure or vaccine but
even a theoretical explanation for the disease-causing mechanism.
Such success as medical science has had with AIDS has come not from
the futile attempts to attack HIV with toxic antiviral drugs like
AZT but from treating the various AIDS-associated diseases
separately. Predictions based on the HIV theory have been
falsified or are supported only by dubious statistics based mainly
on the theory itself"~Charles A. Thomas, Jr., Kary B. Mullis, and
Phillip E. Johnson, "What Causes Aids? Reason, June 1994, p. 22

We can't cure cystic fibrosis either. Does this mean that the genetic
theory of its origin is also wrong?

Similarly of evolution he says,

"On the contrary, the evidence that the mutation/selection mechanism can
create new complex organs or new types of organisms is somewhere between
very weak and nonexistent." ~Phillip E. Johnson, "Shouting Heresy in the
Temple of Darwin," Christianity Today, Oc. 24, 1994, p. 25

People are too stupid to understand the "tricks' evolutionists are doing
unless Johnson tells them.

"Because the claims of Darwinism are presented to the public
as 'science,' most people are under the impression that they are
supported by direct evidence such as experiments and fossil record
studies."~Phillip Johnson, "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment
of Naturalism," First Things, Oct. 1990, p.18

Same with AIDS

"Most Americans don't know--because there has been a virtual media
blackout on the subject-- about a longstanding scientific
controversy over the cause of AIDS, a controversy that has become
increasingly heated as the official theory's predictions have
turned out to be wrong."~Charles A. Thomas, Jr., Kary B. Mullis,
and Phillip E. Johnson, "What Causes Aids? Reason, June 1994, p. 18

I would conclude that Johnson apparently sees himself as the only person
capable of judging what others do in academic areas far removed from his
training. As such, I find his views on evolution as well as AIDS to be
highly suspect. In areas where I have some expertise, I find numerous
errors on Johnson's part.


Foundation, Fall and Flood