Re: Phillip Johnson at Northshore Church

From: Jonathan Clarke (
Date: Sun Apr 22 2001 - 18:50:16 EDT

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    PJ doesn't know much about science or medicine either, but that does not stop him commenting on
    them (what is happening to these days to his anti HIV agenda these days?). After all you don't
    need to know the subject, only the logic. Nor would personal ignorance stop him from recruiting
    theologians to his cause. Indeed there are theologically competent people as part of the DI.
    Therefore I suspect (in the absence of evidence to the contrary) that PJ's silence is a deliberate
    strategic decision to avoid discussion of the topic.

    We must always remember that PJ is approaching the issue as a lawyer and the jury is not the
    scientific or theological community, but the American social scene as a whole (not even the
    specifically Christian part of it). Hence the benchmarks for success are recognition by major
    newspapers, not scientific or theological journals. Experts, scientific and theological, are
    called on if they help his case, and ignored if the do not (unless of course they are the
    defendants in the box). The fact that theologians are not called would suggest that he believes
    they would not help his case. Interestingly, theologians who disagree with him are not (as far as
    I know) subjected to the same cross examination as those Christians in science disagree are.
    Perhaps he is concerned that this would give too much of the game away about his only theological
    stance or alienate and divide his Christian constituency. But I speculate.

    One last question. If we must "think lawyer" when responding to PJ, how do we avoid sinking to
    the level of lawyers?


    george murphy wrote:

    > The possible reasons you note for Johnson's ignoring of theology probably are
    > significant contributors to his silence about this dimension of the discussion. But there may
    > be a simpler exaplanation - he simply doesn't know anything about theology & doesn't think
    > that it's worthwhile to learn anything about it. At least I have never heard anything of his
    > that shows that he (unlike, e.g., Dembski) has done any serious study in the area, and his
    > notorious statement about God leaving his fingerprints all over the evidence suggests less
    > than mature theological reflection.
    > & before anyone criticizes me for being judgmental, note that I am saying nothing here
    > about the quality of his Christian faith. He may well have a profound personal trust in
    > Christ. But faith and thinking about the object and implications of faith aren't the same
    > thing.
    > Shalom,
    > George
    > George L. Murphy
    > "The Science-Theology Interface"

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