Re: [NEWS] Press Release: Dembski attacks Pennock and MIT Press

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 18:48:12 EST

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    Glenn, in his earlier reply to me, cited several additional writings of
    the ID community. I thought I'd comment (briefly) on each of these.

    "If theistic evolutionists broadcast the message that evolution as they
    understand it is harmless to theistic religion, they are misleading their
    constituents unless they add a clear warning that the version of
    advocated by the entire body of mainstream science is something else
    altogether. That warning is never clearly delivered, however, because the
    main point of theistic evolution is to preserve peace with the mainstream
    scientific community. The theistic evolutionists therefore unwitting
    the purposes of the scientific naturalists, by helping persuade the
    religious community to lower its guard against the incursion of
    Phillip E. Johnson"What is Darwinism?" accessed 8.31.96
    Here Johnson seems to imply that our only purpose in life is to salve the
    mainstream scientific community, and he claims in this that we are
    to know that we are being used. Good grief, we do have a bit of smarts,
    that one would ever guess from this bit of polemical rhetoric."

    Glenn -- I agree with your assessment here. It comes about, I think,
    because Johnson has set his face against "methodological naturalism" as a
    proper foundation for science. In this, I assert that he errs. He also
    says "...the entire body of mainstream science ..." which is clearly
    nonfactual. Had he said "a substantial part of mainstream scientists" I'd
    still argue that the ID movement has not shown this to be so, and both
    you and I, as well as most people on this list, disbelieve it. How large
    this body is yet to be measured.
    "To know that Darwinism is true (as a general explanation of the history
    life), one has to know that no alternative to naturalistic evolution is
    possible. To know that is to assume that God does not or cannot create.
    infer that mutation and selection did the creating because nothing else
    available, and then to bring God back into the picture as the omnipotent
    being who chose to create by mutation and selection, is to indulge in
    self-contradiction. That is why Darwin and his successors have always
    that theistic evolutionists were missing the point, although they have
    tolerated them as useful allies." ~ Phillip Johnson, "Creator or Blind
    Watchmaker?" First Things, Jan. 1993, pp 8-14, p. 14
    Yep, here Johnson treats us as the lap dogs of the evolutionists
    up the picture of us panting our tongues as our masters pat us on the

    I think the larger point here is that Johnson, apparently, sees science
    as a "search or ultimate truths," rather than a search for natural
    causation models that work.
    "There are liberal theologians who embrace scientific naturalism but
    think of themselves as Christians: in fact, they dominate mainline
    seminaries. Bryan recognizes that these accomodationists have discarded
    only metaphysical basis that can support a mystery of God incarnate
    determined to save his children from themselves, and so their
    survives only as a metaphor. That is why the Christians he respects are
    genuine, unapologetic supernaturalists, but he thinks that opinion is
    foreclosed to one who has drunk deeply of the waters of naturalism,
    death-giving though he may know that to be." ~ Phillip Johnson, "The
    Reluctant Skeptic", First Things, Dec. 1991, p. 53
    Accomodationist is one of those terms which pollsters know cause people
    move to the other side of the room if one is spotted in a crowd.
    Accommodationist has the implication of a compromiser (which many YECs
    called me)."

    And neither you nor I are accommodationalists, I would say. But we both
    understand the scientific enterprise quite differently than Johnson.
     "The specific answers they derive may or may not be reconcilable with
    theism, but the manner of thinking is profoundly atheistic. To accept the
    answers as indubitably true is inevitably to accept the thinking that
    generated those answers. That is why I think the appropriate term for
    accomodationist position is not 'theistic evolution,' but rather theistic
    naturalism. Under either name, it is a disastrous error." ~ Phillip E.
    Johnson, "Shouting 'Heresy' in the Temple of Darwin,"Christianity Today
    24, 1994, p. 26"

    Once again, Johnson uses the word "true" where it does not belong.

    Good to have you back on the list!

    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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