Phillip Johnson Honored, Still Wedging
Phillip E. Johnson, the Berkeley law professor who spearheaded the Intelligent Design movement, has been named “Daniel of the Year” by World Magazine (cover story, Dec. 13, 2003, also reproduced on Access Research Network). Johnson has often used the metaphor of a wedge splitting a log. Intelligent design, he believes, is the Wedge of Truth that can split the seemingly impregnable log of scientific naturalism and help society again begin to ask The Right Questions about meaning, origins and destiny.
Johnson has had skill not only in writing books and debating evolutionists, but in motivating other scientists to pursue intelligent design in their work. Last night at Biola University, Johnson announced “Wedge Two,” his latest initiative to fight the idols of our day. Naturalism is not a strictly scientific problem, he said; the real issue is cultural. There is a power structure determining who is allowed to determine what is true or false. Like the ancient Mandarins, these elitists put the culture into a form of cognitive slavery. The “eminent materialists” are clinging desperately to their power, but like Napoleon marching against Moscow, may find themselves defeated not by the Russians, but by the weather. By implication, the evidence, not creationism, is causing the downfall of naturalistic science. All he is doing is pointing that out.
If Darwinism becomes sufficiently doubted, Johnson believes the cultural implications could be enormous. Marriage, for instance, is no longer considered divinely sanctioned, and art is filled with nihilism. Knowing that Darwinism goes far beyond biology, Johnson called together some cultural leaders at Biola to consider ways to reinvigorate the arts and humanities with design and meaning again, as it once was before 200 years of Enlightenment thinking gradually imposed strict naturalism on culture. “The first step in a seemingly impossible task,” he said, “is to know you can do it.”
See also Mark Looy’s editorial about Phillip Johnson at Answers in Genesis.
In this life, there are few honors higher than being compared to Daniel, the faithful prophet who withstood the idols – and the lions – of his day without compromise. Establishment scientists have been ruthless in their attacks on Johnson, but as John Perry cleverly writes, Johnson “continues to befriend the lions even as he declaws them intellectually.” The Darwinists try to dismiss him as a non-scientist, but they cannot withstand the blows of his logic. A law expert can be better qualified than a scientist to expose flawed arguments and focus on the basic questions of a case. Perry’s excellent profile in World is highly recommended reading. Congratulations to the “courtly combatant,” as Perry calls him, whose steadfast opposition to idolatry, never vituperative but eminently convincing – along with his influential leadership – makes him truly the leading edge of the wedge.
Will we see Babylon fall in our lifetime? If so, be prepared for Persia, too.