A further book worth reading is "Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds" by Philip E. Johnson (InterVarsity Press, 1997). This book is available for about €12 on www.amazon.co.uk. You do not have to necessarily agree with everything Johnson says to find the book revealing. His message about developing a good grasp of logical reasoning in all intellectual fields so as to fine tune your "baloney detector" is well made.

Here are three quotes from the book to give a flavour of what it contains.

"The fossil record is extremely disappointing to Darwinian expectations. One prime example is the ‘Cambrian explosion', where the basic animal groups all appear suddenly and without evidence of evolutionary ancestors. What is even more interesting is that the evidence for Darwinian macro-evolutionary transformations is most conspicuously absent just where the fossil evidence is most plentiful – among marine invertebrates".

[Quoting Niles Eldredge, one of the world's leading experts on invertebrate fossils] "Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change – over millions of years, at a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred on evolutionary history."

[Quoting famous Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin] "..we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

A reviewer on Amazon named Karl has written an entertaining introduction to Johnson's book:

At the heart of this book Johnson seems to be making one very basic point: Darwinism is a religion, NOT science. Now that's pretty strong stuff - inflammatory even. So consider this comment by Richard Dawkins made, not in the heat of a debate but in the course of an ordinary interview for one of the UK TV listings magazines:

"Thanks to science we now have such an exciting grasp of the answers to such [profound] questions, it's a kind of blasphemy not to embrace them." Radio Times, London, 7-13 January 2006. Page 27. (We aren't told what "profound questions" Dawkins has in mind.)

This is precisely the kind of materialist argument (Johnson apparently regards "materialism", "naturalism" and "Darwinism" as being more or less synonymous) that Johnson is addressing in his book rather than evolution as such. So what chance does Johnson have of making his point?

Going by the reviews on this page - not a lot. And for one very simple reason that was illustrated by an incident that happened to me whilst I was reading this book on the train coming home from work. Seeing the title of the book, an elderly gentleman in the seat opposite waited till the train was close to his station, then made a series of comments and promptly exited before I had a chance to reply (had I wanted to).

As far as I could make out, without having any more knowledge about the book than it's title the elderly gentleman was able to tell, without a shadow of a doubt, that:

- The book was ignorant rubbish
- I must be some kind of religious nut for reading it
- What I need to sort me out is a really good exposition on evolution such as the one he hopes to get published later this year (a bit like the lesbian who only needs an hour with James Bond to convert her to lifelong heterosexuality!)

1. Given that Johnson is dealing with matters philosophical rather than science itself, and that Ultra Neo-Darwinist Richard Dawkins has made it so abundantly clear that his own evangelicalism is indeed quasi-religious (Dawkins - described as "today's most influential evolutionary biologist" - makes numerous appearances throughout the book), it seems that Johnson is neither ignorant nor talking rubbish but is addressing a real situation.

2. Since when does one have to be a religious nut in order to question the status quo? And isn't it worrying that so many people nowadays have been brainwashed into believing that evolution is so sacrosanct that it can only be discussed by those who agree with the establishment view?

As Johnson points out, we have reached a point in history - in the US, at least - where the unthinkable has not only become possible but has become a fact. "Suppose Mr. Cates had enough influence and lung power to railroad through the State Legislature a law that only Darwin should be taught in the schools!" In 1955, when Henry Drummond first made that suggestion to Matthew Harrison Brady on the opening night of the play "Inherit the Wind", it probably seemed too far fetched for words. 50 years later it is a simple statement of fact! So how, as Johnson asks, do you have an intelligent debate when either side has so thoroughly stacked the deck (Johnson is equally opposed to a Christian/religious monopoly of the discussion)?

One previous reviewer asked why Christians should be opposed to evolutionism if it is so full of holes. And Johnson's answer is simple: Because dissenters are virtually barred from expressing their doubts, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the hallowed halls of academe. By a bizarre piece of logic the neo-Darwinists have closed the door on honest debate thus:

- Since evolution is a fact, no intelligent person would want to question any part of it - Therefore anyone who does want to ask questions must be a religious nut - And religious nuts can't think straight to save their souls - Therefore it is unnecessary to answer any of the questions raised about evolution - by ANYBODY!

The real point of this book is that it challenges the reader to GENUINELY ask questions about the status quo and resist the brainwashing that is as prevalent in evolutionism now as it was in the Roman Catholic Church when Galileo and Copernicus were getting it in the neck.

Whether the reader ends up agreeing with Johnson or not is almost incidental. Making sure that students are being taught to think critically - the empty claim made by far too many educators at present - is a far more important first step. Mindless faith in a god is no more commendable or worthwhile than blind faith in evolutionism.

I would also recommend Richard Milton's book "Shattering the Myths of Darwinism" (ISBN 0-89281-884-0) for an in depth review of the kind of questions that evolutionists are avoiding by cutting debate off at the knees. (Milton is NOT anti-evolution and has no religious affiliations. Nevertheless, as a living demonstration of Johnson's claims, he has been extensively misrepresented, misquoted and vilified for daring to question the orthodox line on evolution.)

Source: http://www.amazon.com/Defeating-Darwinism-Opening-Phillip-Johnson/dp/0830813608