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Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds Kindle Edition

3.1 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Length: 140 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Johnson feels his successful antievolution books, Darwin on Trial (1991) and Reason in the Balance (1995), are more complicated than parents and teachers need to prepare students to take on the evolutionists. Hence, this shorter version of his overall thesis that also advises how to debate evolution. Johnson first makes clear what he perceives the real adversary to be: a dogma that insists life arose solely by chance and that denies contrary evidence a hearing. He then counsels believers to avoid such common mistakes as retreating from theism to deism (and so transforming a continuously creative God into an uninvolved First Cause), to learn to spot faulty analogies and other forms of poor logic, to know the soundest scientific data casting doubt on classical evolution, and to persist--for, he says, the days of Darwinian hegemony are numbered. He firmly believes and seeks to persuade readers that his ultimate causes, aside from religious faith, are freedom of inquiry and the opening of now closed minds. Ray Olson

Review

"By profaning the scientific establishment's most sacred cows, U.C.-Berkeley law professor Johnson has earned critical acclaim and brisk sales. Now, the witty iconoclast who questioned the scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution in his Darwin on Trial (1991) provides a short, simple manual to help students, parents, teachers and pastors debate evolution, 'a subject,' Johnson says, 'that has for too long been protected from critical thinking by law and academic custom.' Included in the book are tips for using what Carl Sagan once called a 'baloney detector kit' to verify the evidence used by opponents in an argument, as well as tips for detecting ad hominem and straw man arguments. Johnson's greatest contribution, however, is that he helps non-scientists distinguish between scientific fact, like microevolution within species, and unproved scientific theories, like macroevolution, which claims that molecules became men. He is also adept at exposing philosophical bias behind ostensibly 'objective' scientific arguments. With measured prose and systematic thinking, Johnson uses his legal expertise to demonstrate the ways in which arguments about evolutionary theory may be conducted." (Publishers Weekly)

"Johnson feels his successful antievolution books, Darwin on Trial (1991) and Reason in the Balance (1995), are more complicated than parents and teachers need to prepare students to take on the evolutionists. Hence, this shorter version of his overall thesis that also advises how to debate evolution. Johnson first makes clear what he perceives the real adversary to be: a dogma that insists life arose solely by chance and that denies contrary evidence a hearing. He then counsels believers to avoid such common mistakes as retreating from theism to deism (and so transforming a continuously creative God into an uninvolved First Cause), to learn to spot faulty analogies and other forms of poor logic, to know the soundest scientific data casting doubt on classical evolution, and to persist--for, he says, the days of Darwinian hegemony are numbered. He firmly believes and seeks to persuade readers that his ultimate causes, aside from religious faith, are freedom of inquiry and the opening of now closed minds." (Booklist)

Product Details

  • File Size: 426 KB
  • Print Length: 140 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (August 20, 2009)
  • Publication Date: August 20, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00436EZV2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,564 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a defender of creation science, Phillip Johnson is a breath of fresh air. Nowhere are there indefensible scientific arguments for a young earth, or a worldwide flood that accounts for the fossil record, or any of the other endlessly recycled Henry Morris/Duane Gish nonsense that makes up so much of the creationist "young earth" camp. Johnson frames the question more on a philosophical level, pitting the presuppositions of both camps against one another (materialistic naturalism vs. theistic supernaturalism), and attempting to show that adherents of the first camp make just as many untestable and unsupportable assumptions as the adherents of the second. Johnson is a talented writer, and presents a positive argument for "opening" the debate by forcing the evolutionists to relax their dogmatic hold on the thinking in academia, and allow for a more open and free discussion of the actual issues, including evidence for supernatural intervention in the creation and evolution of life.
Unfortunately, the only positive evidence Johnson suggests is Michael Behe's irreducible complexity argument, which is just a repackaged intelligent design model, and the conventional attack on biology's admitted problem with the incompleteness of the fossil record. Throughout the book, Johnson emphasizes the dominance of the materialistic philosophy that pervades every aspect of modern public education and academia. This predisposition, he argues, hopelessly biases any approach to scientific facts and prevents scientists from appreciating the fuller truth that's out there if only they would open their eyes (minds). Johnson repeatedly mischaracterizes the practice of science and the state of affairs in biological circles.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Don't be put off by the cover or the title, which are both a little cheesy. This book is one of the best introductions to the questions of creation, evolution, and design for junior high and high school students. Rather than picking one viewpoint and showing why it is true, Defeating Darwinism operates by exposing kids to what the whole question is about, why it is important, and how to think more clearly about issues. It includes an exposition of Carl Sagan's "baloney detector" and how to use it, and a lot of the fallacies that people on all sides of the issue use. It also delves into the *core* issue - materialism, and shows why this is such an important and misunderstood aspect of the debate. Since it is for a general high-school audience, it does a good job of showing why these issues are relevant to them, and how to approach similar issues that they face in the future.
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By Karl on January 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
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 - inflamatory 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).
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11 Comments 85 of 132 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on July 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you've been a fan of Stephen Gould's, as I was for many years, you've noticed from time to time little -- ahem -- difficulties in his easy, engaging arguments and analogies. Gosh, you said to yourself, I didn't quite see the transition there but that's just me, surely. After all, it *had* to be this way, didn't it? I mean, everything came out of somewhere to here, right? Like, Darwinism's not brain surgery.
Well, Phillip Johnson argues that it is. Darwinism is a device for grounding materialism in the culture such that any objection to it can be reflexively dismissed as "fundamentalist" or an "attack on science" conducted by "lawyers" or "Christians". And, he further argues, the trick is done with smoke and mirrors, the sort of dazzle that professors of law like Johnson are skilled in detecting and tracking. Oddly enough, scientists are not very good at this sort of thing (few of us are these days), and only a couple seem worried over all these rhetorical leaps across chasms of missing data to dogma. Darwinism, like Marxism and Freudian psychology, is arguably a failed attempt to account for ourselves *in spite* of what we know. This book is an eye-opener: if it hadn't been written especially for Christians, I'd like to see it everywhere a high school kid might pick it up. It's almost as important to keep children from worshipping false gods as it is to set them looking for the true.
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