The Wedge of Truth (by Phillip Johnson)
The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism
by Phillip Johnson
For insight into Phillip Johnson see Touchstone interview
InterVarsity Press, 2000
The "Wedge of Truth" is rational antiscience and interesting sociology.
Review by Les Lane
Phillip Johnson is the conservative prosecuting attorney. The liberal defendant, Darwinism, is condemned to death for leading society astray. The role of evolution as an organizing principle in biology is scarcely mentioned.
Johnson begins by describing how attending Harvard against the better judgement of religious peers causes Phillip Wentworth to lose religion. Ironically these belief changes are described as "rationalizing". It's not clear why rationalizing rather than bad religion led Wentworth "astray".
Johnson sees the basic evil of evolution as arising from naturalistic assumptions. Supernaturalism, where justifiable by reason, is the solution. I presume he agrees with scientists that this will ultimately cause the downfall of science.
Johnson has been heavily influenced by evolution articles written for the general public which often contain oversimplifications that offend his rational sensibilities. He appears less familiar with primary scientific literature and quite unfamiliar with experimental science. In fact he makes clear that his view will eventually triumph by debate. In science triumph arises from experiment. "Triumph by debate" has generally led to suppression of science.
Most puzzling is Johnson's statement that evolution cannot create information. Every competent biology undergraduate understands the workings of the immune system which creates and selects useful information, albeit of a limited type, in a short time span. Molecular studies of organismal change so far suggest mutation and selection, not design. Perhaps some biological change arises by other means, but only experimental evidence would make these mechanisms scientific.
Johnson's reaction to evolution resembles 1960s left wing reaction to capitalism. Vices are seized upon and (subtle) virtues ignored. Monologue is preferred to dialogue.