Phillip Johnson is NOT a Dangerous Man

From: Susan Brassfield (
Date: Fri Jan 14 2000 - 11:29:29 EST

  • Next message: Wesley R. Elsberry: "Information theory?"

    >CC>Everyone on this list should read the above
    >>interview, to see the demagogue at work. His lies begin in his first answer,
    >Chris is like Dawkins, who is so convinced that his own metaphysical
    >starting point of atheism is right, that he assumes that anyone who doesn't
    >believe in its corollary, evolution, simply *must* be guilty of telling
    >(or worse):

    This is his answer to the first question:
    "My starting point is there is no scientific factual evidentiary basis to
    believe that the Darwinian mechanism-mutation and selection-has any
    creative power. It doesn't have the power to create genetic information. "

    It's virtually impossible to believe that after all these years Johnson
    hasn't seen the research where
    mutation has been observed to increase information. Therefore this is a
    lie. Either that or he is entirely ignorant of his subject, a charge which
    has offended you frequently. Johnson is either not in command of his
    subject, and unaware of the current state of research or he is lying. You
    can't have it both ways.

    The second paragraph of his next answer:
    "Neither random mutation nor natural selection is an information-creating
    mechanism at all. You get a certain amount of change out of random
    mutation, but it doesn't grow anything more complicated."

    The bare fact of the existence of siamese twins refutes this--which he very
    well knows.

    >From my perspective Chris' (and Dawkins') violent overreaction to anyone
    >who seriously challenges his basic atheistic metaphysical assumption, seems
    >to be a case of a deep-seated insecurity that he might be betting his life on
    >the wrong horse!

    Johnson is a propagandist. He dosn't mind discarding the truth on God's
    behalf--as if any god needed help like that. The "violent overreaction" has
    a lot more to do with Johnson's repeated mischaracterization of his subject
    and his blatantly false statements. It leads me back to one of my recurring
    questions. Why lie? Why say something like "Neither random mutation nor
    natural selection is an information-creating mechanism at all" when he
    knows for a fact this statement is false? Does he really think he's going
    to heaven for that? that he's going to stand at the pearly gates and say "I
    lied on your behalf, aren't I a good boy?" and God will smile at him?

    >CC>when he claims the physically demonstrable falsehood that mutation and
    >>selection cannot create genetic information.
    >Chris needs to read *carefully* what Johnson said again. First he said it
    >was his "starting point". That is, it is his opening claim, which he is
    >prepared to discuss and modify based on the evidence presented.

    >Second, Johnson did not say that "mutation and selection cannot create
    >genetic information", but that "there is no scientific factual evidentiary
    >to believe that ... mutation and selection-has ... the power to create
    >Johnson is summarising a complex issue for a *newspaper* interview. I
    >cannot speak for Johnson but I believe, from discussions in another forum,
    >that he would probably concede that mutation and selection might be able
    >to create small amounts of information in a specialised, technical,
    >Information Theory sense.

    so you have personal information that his statement is false. Whey didn't
    he say "it *usually* doesn't"
    or qualify the statement in some way? "Usually" or "in a small way" are not
    such huge statements that a newspaper can't carry them. But he didn't do
    that. He didn't have his statements edited down. He deliberately said
    something false in pubic that he has actually contradicted in private.

    >For example, when a gene is duplicated,
    >according to Information Theory, there is no new information *content*.
    >But then if one of the pair of genes subsequently mutates, that is
    >the production, of one new bit of information content, in an Information
    >Theory sense.

    prey tell, what's the damn difference?

    >But such a process is equivalent to our local Sunday Times newspaper
    >printing one million copies of its front page as normal and then misprinting
    >one "Sundry" for "Sunday". The one million identical copies contain zero
    >new information content. But the one misprinted copy is, in a technical
    >Information Theory sense, one new bit of information content. But such a
    >process would never accumulate enough meaningful information to write
    >sentence, let alone a new newspaper!

    in 4.5 billion years it can!!! You know it and Johnson knows it. And even
    if it's "just one new bit of information content" it directly contradicts
    "Neither random mutation nor natural selection is an information-creating
    mechanism at all" Note Johnson said: "AT ALL" That, Stephen is a LIE. You
    have pointed that out yourself in the paragraph above.

    >Similarly, Johnson would probably say (as I do say) that there is no
    >evidence that such a process can produce new genetic information content
    >of: 1) the quantity; 2) the quality; and 3) in the time-frame available;
    >to turn
    >"a bacterium into a butterfly", any more than misprints in a newspaper's
    >can write a new newspaper.

    in 4 billion years--with editing--it certainly could.



    For if there is a sin against life, it consists not so much in despairing
    of life as in hoping for another and in eluding the implacable grandeur of
    this one.
    --Albert Camus

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Jan 14 2000 - 11:30:27 EST