Thomas Woodward - Putting Darwin on Trial
A group of Berkeley professors gathered in September 1988 to discuss the original paper on ID framed by Phil Johnson. This remarkable encounter-retold in detail in chapter four of Doubts About Darwin-served as a public debut of his major theses, which would prove to remain substantially constant during the book's evolution. During the early state of circulating copies of his paper to wider circles of scientific critics, there looms one other huge milestone: the private 1989 meeting of a dozen scholars at the Campion Center in Boston. Emerging from this was an unexpected defender of Johnson, David Raup, a will-known evolutionary paleontologist with a reputation of brutal honesty about empirical gaps in the neo-Darwinian scenario. Raup had already read Johnson's original Berkeley paper and had used it in a graduate seminar at the University of Chicago. He and his students had found no factual errors as they reviewed the paper.
As an open-minded scientist, he came to respect Johnson's scholarship, although he was not persuaded to abandon hope that evolutionary explanations would ultimately be found for the nagging anomalies. In a phone call to Thomas Woodward, Raup stated "Johnson's work is very good scholarship, and of course, this is widely denied. He cannot be faulted; he did his homework, and he understands 99 percent of evolutionary biology." (Darwin’s Nemesis p. 63-64)
Johnson on occasion exposes his bias as a philosophical theist and a Christian. He says; "I believe that a God exists who could create out of nothing if He wanted to do so, but who might have chosen to work through a natural evolutionary process instead." Also, "Why not consider the possibility that life is what it so evidently seems to be, the product of creative intelligence? Science would not come to an end, because the task would remain of deciphering the languages in which genetic information is communicated, and in general finding out how the whole system works.
What scientists would lose is not an inspiring research program, but the illusion of total mastery of nature. They would have to face the possibility that beyond the natural world there is further reality which transcends science." (Darwin’s Nemesis p. 75)
(Excerpted from Thomas Woodward’s Doubts About Darwin)
Thomas Woodward has a Ph.D. from the University of Florida with a concentration in the Rhetoric of Science.
Phillip Johnson received his B.A. from Harvard and his J.D. from the University of Chicago. Johnson is the author of Darwin on Trial and more recently Reason in the Balance. Darwin on Trial contends theories of evolution are based on philosophical naturalism. Reason in the Balance explores the post-modern philosophy and its impact on society. Since the writing of his books, Johnson has spoken and debated extensively with experts on these issues.