Cover Story

Courtly Combatant

"Courtly Combatant" Continued...

Issue: "Daniel of the Year 2003," Dec. 13, 2003

Mr. Johnson answers the door in a long-sleeved blue-checked sport shirt open at the collar, khakis, and comfortable shoes. He doesn't look like an iconic figure in the battle to challenge the international Darwinist juggernaut; he looks like a college professor with 36 years of teaching under his belt. Two characteristics set him apart from the average 60-something California bungalow dweller. First, his eyes, which fairly burn with the fire of new ideas and the passion to discuss them. Second, his wonderful and rich baritone voice, strong and articulate even at low volume, masterfully modulated and never raised above the level of normal conversation.

There's no obvious evidence of the devastating right-brain stroke he suffered in the summer of 2001, just after his 61st birthday, but he begins a conversation with mention of it. "A right-brain stroke does not affect speech or language capacity, but it does affect the organization of things," he explains, "even like telling you how to get to the house. That's why Kathie [his wife of 22 years] gave you directions."

And so, at an age and with medical experience that would lead many to retire, Mr. Johnson patiently explains for the nth time the central issue: "The assumed creative power of the Darwinian mechanism, natural selection, was never proved. In fact, the scientific evidence viewed without bias not only fails to support the claim that random mutation and natural selection can create marvels of intricate, organized complexity, the evidence actually tends to show that the mechanism has no such power. I say we must evaluate the evidence independently of any commitment to naturalism. This horrifies the mandarins of science" because they share a dark secret: "Evolutionary science has attempted to provide an alternative to the creation and has failed."

The tiny changes evolutionists point to as proof of their theory, Mr. Johnson insists, are inconsequential. Natural selection may cause a population of moths to change color as their environment changes. But that in no way proves the same process could eventually turn a fish into a human being: "Natural selection has no creative power. It only produces trivial and temporary population shifts. Anyone who says natural selection can produce a plant or animal is making that statement on naked faith, regardless of what one thinks about the Bible."

But once someone accepts the fact that random evolution couldn't produce life on Earth, it has to have developed some other way. "I looked for the best place to start the search," Mr. Johnson says, "and I found it in the prologue to the Gospel of John: 'In the beginning was the Word.' And I asked this question: Does scientific evidence tend to support this conclusion, or the contrary conclusion of the materialists that 'in the beginning were the particles'?"

Mr. Johnson notes that "if we start with the Gospel's basic explanation of the meaning of creation, we see that it is far better supported by scientific investigation than the contrary. At this point we haven't proved the Bible's claims about creation, but we've removed a powerful obstacle in the way of such belief. And all I really want to do with the scientific evidence is to clear away the obstacle that it presents to a belief that the creator is the God of the Bible.

"In my own development I first addressed the issue without reference to the Bible at all. I came to the conclusion that the scientific evidence just doesn't support the central claims of the Darwinian theory. It tends to refute them. But then I thought if Darwinism is not true, what is? If you can't do the creating without an Intelligent Designer, a creator, then there must be a creator." In subsequent books including Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, Reason in the Balance, The Wedge of Truth, and The Right Questions, Mr. Johnson argued persuasively that a supernatural power or Intelligent Designer had to have guided the creation and development of life.

That, of course, is anathema to many scientists-and of all the questions scientists argue about, the issue of evolution versus creationism has also captured the public's interest like none other. Darwin's Origin of Species was the talk of Victorian drawing rooms in 1859. The Scopes "monkey" trial of 1925 brought the biggest crowd of telegraph operators in all of history to tiny Dayton, Tenn., to send daily dispatches of Bible-against-science testimony to newspapers around the globe. Today the question of how life began and progressed is still hotly debated in scientific circles, school textbook committees, and thousands of places in between.

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