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Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education Paperback – June 29, 1998


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Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education + Darwin on Trial + An Easy-to-Understand Guide for Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 245 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (June 29, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830819290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830819294
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #703,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Johnson (Darwin on Trial) fires a major salvo in the culture wars with this sweeping critique of the reigning materialist philosophy. According to this UC Berkeley law professor, "naturalism"?the belief that all of reality can ultimately be explained in purely physical terms and that God is merely a projection of human desires?dominates our universities, public schools, sciences and professions. Yet most Americans, he maintains, are?like him?theists, Christian or otherwise, and believe in a supernatural God who created humanity for a purpose. Not always convincingly, he links naturalist assumptions to the pro-choice position on abortion, to Marxism, to popular culture's self-indulgent hedonism, to the ethical relativism of philosopher Richard Rorty and to judicial decisions to ban from schools the teaching of religious viewpoints. Doing battle with evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and other scientists, Johnson calls for a scientifically informed theology to study the interaction of God and the supernatural with the whole of creation. $30,000 ad/promo; Conservative Book Club main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Johnson (Darwin on Trial, LJ 4/1/91) takes on naturalism, the belief that the material universe is "all there is." Since this is the basic position of all sciences, it has largely become the accepted philosophy of our whole culture. Johnson asserts that naturalism is an unproved metaphysical assumption, presupposed rather than proved by science. As such, it is essentially a religious position. He feels, therefore, that theism should be allowed a respected place in the debate about the nature of reality, since the conclusion will have far-reaching social consequences. A meaningless naturalistic universe differs profoundly from a purposeful, created universe in its implications for law, education, and almost everything else. Johnson does not preach; he reasons effectively and writes clearly. His argument is well worth taking seriously. A well-written book on a difficult subject; recommended for academic and public libraries.?C. Robert Nixon, MLS, Lafayette, Ind.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

147 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kirkpatrick on January 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
My doctoral dissertation is an investgation into the beliefs of scientists. Briefly I found that most scientists hold very metaphysical beliefs . When it comes to evolution most of them accept the current materialistic worldview but few of them defend it strongly. It is rather held because nothing else is around.
I started my investigation into Darwinism expecting to gradually understand it better and deepen my confidence in it. Naturally I began with the experts- Dawkins, Gould, Mayr, simpson . To date I have read over 50 books - some very detailed indeed. I have also taught biology at undergraduate level. The opposite has happened , it seems the more I study the more it appears that much of Darwinism, especially the overall materialistic , chance driven worldview seems to be held on faith rather than convincing evidence. Certainly it is a valid viewpoint but I was given to believe that there was little doubt in the matter.
Johnson's book is an enormous pleasure to read. His writing is beautifully lucid. He is honest about his Christian bias and , I feel, he gets right to the heart of the matter. Really this book deserves to be read by everyone. I personally find belief in God eeven less likely than Neo-Darwinism but I admire the way Johnson reveals his faith. I would love to correspond with a man like this - after reading his book I feel he is wise friend indeed.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is by no means casual bedside reading, but Phillip Johnson is brilliant in bringing to light the basis of naturalistic philosophy and the logical assumptions made by those who practice it. Johnson gives illustrations of how this brand of thought has played itself out in science, law and education.
With a master's background in the hard sciences, I've found a steady mentality through school that evolution is fact and God has no place in science. Phillip Johnson helped me to understand how the logic of evolutionists works and how hollow and circular their reasoning often is. Understanding naturalists' logical assumptions has dispelled my fear of making a sound arguement in favor of intelligent design and seeing through those arguements made by those advancing a naturalistic worldview.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I found this book a joy to read. Johnson leads the reader carefully and clearly through his well-reasoned arguments. I now have a heightened awareness of the very real danger of naturalism to science and many areas of Western culture. Rather than succumb to the naturalist mind-set as so many theists have regrettably done, Johnson demonstrates how to stand firm and fight back! If science is defined to exclude God (as it is) then science is limiting itself and may no longer be searching for truth (as it does not).
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67 of 82 people found the following review helpful By "tombombadil" on December 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I wonder whether the negative reviewers have actually read Johnson's book. This scientist (B.S. Chemistry, Caltech, M.A.Physics, Harvard, Ph.D., Chemical Physics, Harvard; 30 years of research in biophysical nmr and MRI) believes Johnson has made a strong case against the Darwinian model for evolution and ethics. As he points out, people are wedded to the philosophical assumptions, not the science.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the face of it, evolution appears as a 19th century, white, Victorian imperialist creation myth that reflects their views of "progress", making man in the image of a biological industrial revolution. So how has the hypothosis, imminently unprovable either way by traditional scientific method, become the foremore cultural weltanschauung preached by all media? Johnson tackles evolution head-on in other books, but here he deconstructs the modernistic worldview that have become dogma in some scientific circles. That Johnson is a long-time Berkeley law professor is not a drawback. Coming to the problems without the baggage of losing his credibility or being ostracized by his peers, he looks at his subject rationally and makes decisions by the weight of evidence rather than "Because that's what we were taught." (Certainly I've read enough books on astronomy, a favorite field of mine, where the otherwise learned professors misconstrue and woefully misunderstand medieval science and scholastics, and maliciously misrepresent some of the manifestations of Renaissance humanism, esp. its firm genesis in medieval scholasticism, and particularly the cases of Galileo and Bruno, where their own scholarship broke down entirely). It's hard to be open-minded (open-minded meaning capable of weighing valid options to be persuaded of one or the other) in either theistic or scientific circles, especially with the "circle the wagons" mindset of the latter. Certainly all disciplines, whether scientific, historical, theological, philosopical, literary, etc. have the jargon they use to keep outsiders from entering their inner sancta, and Johnson has the stigma in biological cliques of not being among the annointed.Read more ›
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
REASON IN THE BALANCE is one of Phillip Johnson's follow up works to his book DARWIN ON TRIAL. REASON originated in the discussions and debates that Johnson partook while promoting DARWIN ON TRIAL and some of his experiences in the evolution versus creative design debate.
The book illustrates the far reaching affects of naturalism in everything from education to the law. Naturalists place their trust in reason, yet, as Johnson also points out they often arrive at conclusions and take place in discussions in a very unreasonable manner. The book examines how naturalism has eroded away the ethical and moral foundation on which much of our society was based and how decisions based upon a naturalistic world view are often far from reasonable and very unlogical.
The book is not light reading and mixes terms from law, philosophy, and science. A person who hasn't had much reading experience may find the book difficult to get through. However, if one reads the book with and open mind and heart, it is worth the while.
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