Re: re-whales from rodents

Allan Harvey (
Tue, 10 Aug 1999 12:11:11 -0600

At 09:40 AM 8/10/99 -0600, Burgy wrote:

>[Glenn M.] wrote:
>However, here is what I found in my copy of Darwin on Trial:
>"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
>~ Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, 2nd ed. (Downer's Grove:
>Intervarsity Press, 1993), p. 87
[Burgy's comment follows]
>There is no way under God's blue skies that I can read into that piece
>(of somewhat lawyerly prose) that Johnson "believes whales came from
>Now maybe I, not being the literalist that you, and some others, are,
>can't see this being a logical (and intended) consequence of the writing.
>Obviously you, and I respect your scholarship, see such a claim as
>flowing logically from it. I just happen to think you are dead dead wrong
>in this instance.
>If anyone else on this list wants to comment here, it would be
>appropriate. Do you see Johnson as saying he believes whale came from
>rodents as a result of the extract from his writing above? Or not?

OK, as someone unlikely to be called a "literalist", I'll take a shot.
Though I don't have all the context, based on this paragraph it certainly
looks to me like Johnson is saying that rodents evolving into whales is
part of the normal Darwinian story, and that how this happens is one of
the "unsolvable problems" that Darwinists ignore. The same applies to
the other quoted paragraph. Phil Johnson chooses his words carefully,
and it seems pretty clear (especially since he wrote it at least twice)
that he wanted his readers to think that rodents-to-whales is part of
standard Darwinism. This is similar enough to real examples of
postulated Darwinian transitions that the idea that this is an
intentionally wild exaggeration (as Burgy seems to be suggesting) does
not make sense; if that's what Johnson wanted to do it was a clumsy
misfire and Johnson is not a clumsy rhetorician.

So I'm with Glenn on this one. Though as we've discussed before, I
personally am more concerned about the theological problems in Phil
Johnson's writings than I am about the scientific problems.

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
| Physical and Chemical Properties Division | "Don't blame the |
| National Institute of Standards & Technology | government for what I |
| 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303 | say, or vice versa." |