Johnson on the Wedge's progress

From: Keith B Miller (kbmill@ksu.edu)
Date: Tue Apr 17 2001 - 13:23:27 EDT

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    For comment.

    Keith

    > ›ARN Intelligent Design Discussion
    >››General Discussion
    >››ID Progress Report
    >
    >
    >The following ID progress report was just released by Phillip Johnson
    >today. The LA Times and NY Times articles he refers to can be found on
    >the ARN home page IN THE NEWS section.
    >http://www.arn.org/docs/news/evolutionistsbattle040801.htm
    >http://www.arn.org/docs/news/fingerprints032501.htm
    >
    >The Wedge: A Progress Report
    >
    >Phillip E. Johnson
    >Berkeley, California, April 16, 2001
    >
    >Approximately ten years ago, I formulated the Wedge strategy with two
    >related goals. The first was to legitimate the topic of intelligent
    >design, and hence the critique of Darwinism and its basis in naturalistic
    >philosophy, within the mainstream intellectual community. The second
    >was
    >to make the critique of naturalism the central focus of discussion in the
    >religious world, replacing the deadlocked debate over the Genesis
    >chronology which had enabled the Darwinists to employ the "Inherit the
    >Wind
    >stereotype" so effectively. The goals are intertwined because the
    >approach
    >which is capable of challenging the dominant philosophy in the secular
    >world will also tend to attract the most interest in the religious
    >world. Likewise, the secular world finds it fairly easy to ignore a view
    >which it can categorize as marginal in the religious world, but very
    >difficult to ignore a view which has widespread and growing public
    >support.
    >I believe that getting the right issues on the table for unprejudiced
    >discussion is the all-important step. Once that is accomplished, it will
    >be impossible to conceal for long that Darwinism is based on
    >naturalistic
    >philosophy rather than on scientific testing, and that unprejudiced
    >evaluation of the scientific evidence points to the existence of
    >intelligent causes in biology.
    >
    >I optimistically predicted at the beginning that both goals would be
    >achieved by the start of the new millennium. That could be dated either
    >at
    >January 1, 2000 or, to give a bit of wriggle room, a year later. I was not
    >ready to declare success on either of those dates, although I knew we
    >were
    >very close. The recent front page stories in the Sunday Los Angeles
    >Times
    >(March 25) and the Sunday New York Times (April 8), in the context of
    >other
    >developments, meet the criteria for success I have specified. One key
    >development has been the publication of so many excellent articles and
    >books written or edited by Wedge participants. The books by Michael
    >Behe,
    >William Dembski, and Jonathan Wells are already well known, and
    >others just
    >as important are on the way. Another key development has been the
    >increasingly cordial and mutually respectful relations among the
    >differing
    >factions of those who advocate creation, or who merely oppose the
    >dominant
    >naturalistic system of thought control. Indeed, my own personal
    >friendships cut right across the traditional divisions. Everyone who
    >wants
    >to encourage open-minded critical thinking about fundamental issues is
    >our
    >ally; only those who want to keep minds closed or confused are
    >adversaries.
    >
    >This is a progress report, not a victory statement. One of my agnostic
    >friends described the front page of the New York Times (especially
    >Sunday)
    >as "the most valuable intellectual property in the world." We have
    >established a beachhead in that territory, but there are many difficult
    >steps ahead. Most journalists and professors are still confused by an
    >education that has taught them that science and naturalism are virtually
    >the same thing. Theistic methodological naturalists still dominate the
    >Christian academic world and the "religion/science" dialogue. Many
    >people
    >who are potentially on our side don't yet understand the importance of
    >the
    >rules of reasoning. They ask questions like "Couldn't God have used
    >evolution?" or allow themselves to be pacified by spin doctors who
    >reassure
    >them that epistemic naturalism is merely a methodology confined to
    >science.
    >
    >There is plenty of difficult (and fascinating) work ahead, but the Wedge
    >is lodged securely in the crack. I am confident that there will be a
    >continually growing public acceptance of the principle that intelligent
    >causation is a legitimate subject for scientific investigation. Once the
    >principle is accepted that we should distinguish between the
    >philosophical
    >support for Darwinism and the claimed empirical support, the train is
    >already moving along the logical track and it will not stop until it
    >reaches its destination. The inadequacy of the Darwinian mechanism to
    >account for complex specified information and irreducible complexity is
    >only the first subject to have emerged into the mainstream, and others
    >will
    >follow. The importance of this intellectual movement is by no means
    >limited to science. Scientific naturalism has done its greatest damage
    >in
    >the arts and humanities.
    >
    >The initial goals of the Wedge strategy have been accomplished. As
    >Winston
    >Churchill said after a crucial victory, it's not the beginning of the end,
    >but it is the end of the beginning.
    >
    >Phillip E. Johnson

    Keith B. Miller
    Department of Geology
    Kansas State University
    Manhattan, KS 66506
    kbmill@ksu.edu
    http://www-personal.ksu.edu/~kbmill/



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