Re: Phil Johnson's Approach

Peter Vibert (
Sun, 23 Feb 1997 21:02:35 -0500

Believing that Phil Johnson has done much good in raising the issue of
metaphysical naturalism and carrying the debate, I have for a long time
refrained from bringing up the issue that Glenn Morton has now done -
namely Johnson's handling of AIDS.

I was deeply immersed in Johnson's writings a couple of years back when I
stumbled upon a letter he wrote to The Scientist (I don't have the citation
at hand but will track it down) regarding the "establishment view" of HIV
as the cause of AIDS. I was dismayed at his conspiratorial views and at his
championing of Duesberg's views. The latter have been SO thoroughly
reviewed and found wanting that no fair-minded and educated observer could
have any doubt about their inadequacy in explaining AIDS. The events of the
past couple of years have only made plainer that the "establishment view"
that HIV causes AIDS is the right one and that Duesberg is just plain

Phil Johnson's credibility as a judge of scientific evidence was, I
believe, seriously damaged by his views on AIDS. This might matter less had
he stuck to critiquing the philosophical foundations of the modern
neo-Darwinian synthesis. But Johnson has all along insisted that "the
evidence" in support of Darwinism was also faulty. Sadly his ability to
weigh that evidence is probably inadequate.

Thus - in part - the unhappiness some of us feel with Phil Johnson's "approach".

Peter Vibert

Senior Scientist
Rosenstiel Basic Medical
Sciences Research Center
Brandeis University

Wading River Congregational Church
Wading River, NY

Guest Senior Scientist
Biology Department
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Upton, LI, NY