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Monday, May 16, 2005

Insightful Washington Post profile of intelligent design founder Phillip Johnson (must-read!)

Amazingly, this Washington Post story avoids the cliches and the Darwinist super-yes-men, and talks about some of the real issues behind the intelligent design controversy, in a profile of Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson, who did more than anyone else to force the issues into the open:

“Phillip is absolutely right that the evidence for the big transformations in evolution are not there in the fossil record -- it's always good to point this out,” Provine says. “It's difficult to explore a billion-year-old fossil record. Be patient!”

Provine's faith, if one may call it that, rests on Darwinism, which he describes as the greatest engine of atheism devised by man. The English scientist's insights registered as a powerful blow -- perhaps the decisive one -- in the long run of battles, from Copernicus to Descartes, that removed God from the center of the Western world.

“Give Johnson and the intelligent-design movement their due -- they are asking terribly important questions," says Stuart A. Kauffman, director of the Institute for Biocomplexity at the University of Calgary. “ To question whether patterns and complexity, at the level of the cell or the universe, bespeak intelligent design is not stupid in the least.

“I simply believe they've come up with the wrong answers.”

Wow, an intelligent discussion in a national newspaper, of all places!

Here are some excerpts from a letter I wrote, thanking journalist Michael Powell:

As one who spent three years researching and writing a book on the intelligent design controversy (By Design or by Chance? Augsburg Fortress, 2004), I was impressed with your willingness to actually look at the issues the ID folk raise.


Michael, your signal achievement, in my view, is to get PAST the idea that the best way to understand the ID controversy is to hear what the detractors of the ID folk say and then print that as if it is some sort of satisfying truth.

Not so. The issues are much bigger than the detractors of the ID guys, or even the ID guys themselves. Those ID guys could well perpetrate a tragedy they don't even understand, by promoting a materialistic conception of God (even if they don't intend to - witness the law of unintended consequences).

But who knows? Generally, you will find, the ID guys are a much more interesting lot than their professional detractors, who - in my experience, tend to be super-yes-men, promoting establishment thinking that is actually quite unsound at many points, but the super-yes-men are the last to know. They are certainly not my favourite type, anyway, when I am looking for a really good story, which is why I find the dependence of so many journalists on the Darwinist super-yes-men so much less than praiseworthy.

Find out more about my book, go to By Design or by Chance?

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