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The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism Paperback – September 2, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Johnson (UC-Berkeley law professor and author of Darwin on Trial) has a reputation as a relentless critic of Darwinism, armed with a shrewd and engaging rhetoric comparable to that of evolution defenders Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould. Here, he addresses evolution-creation questions but also has a broader focus, looking at the often confused and confusing relationship between science itself and the naturalistic worldview prevalent among individual scientists and scientific organizations. Johnson takes issue with the way naturalistic allegiances come into play when Darwinian interpretations of evolution are defended with orthodox zeal in the name of science. A case in point, in Johnson's view, is the 1999 controversy surrounding Kansas state edu-cation standards for teaching evolution. Johnson argues that despite the high profile given to the dispute, the media generally missed the real story by indulging in "Inherit the Wind" stereotypes of heartland funda-mentalists, rather than dealing with the considerably more nuanced facts of the debate. Readers who are interested in the nuances, especially touching on the social, political and theological implications of evolution debates, should find this to be a helpful, or challenging, resourceAdepending on their own persuasion. Johnson makes no claims to be unbiased, and does not conceal his Christian agenda. But his appeal for both sides to see the "religious" commitments involved in the debate should have credibility even for readers outside his primarily Christian audience. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A helpful, challenging resource. . . . Should have credibility even for readers outside [Johnson's] primarily Christian audience." (Publishers Weekly, July 24, 2000)

"As you read this book, look to the evidence and breathe the fresh intellectual air that nourishes genuinely opened minds." (Dallas Willard (from the foreword))

"By asking the right questions, Phil Johnson brilliantly exposes the fault lines of the reigning Darwinian orthodoxy and challenges its disciples who preach philosophical naturalism under the guise of science. The Wedge is a must-read. Witty, engaging and insightful, it cuts to the heart of the most crucial issue of our day." (Charles Colson)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; Print-On-Demand edition (September 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830823956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830823956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,270,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Jonatas Machado on May 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a law professor in Portugal, I have been deeply inspired by Phillip Johnson's life and work. He has made it clear to me that lawyers should take part in this debate and give their own contributions. Phillip Johnson's contribution has been outstanding, as even his adversaries concede. In this particular work, Phillip Johnson shows clearly that Darwinism (in a broad sense) cannot aspire to become a "total theory" or a "metanarrative" of reality. It's flaws on the methodological and scientific levels are more than enough to render it's metaphysical extrapolations as nothing less than a philosophical fraud. Richard Dawkins obsession with chance explanations for natural events, for instance, reminds me of someone who tries desperately to cause the "appearence of an accident" (planting, faking and explaining away the relevant evidence), just to collect the money from the insurance company. Men like Phillip Johnson, William Dembski and Michael Behe, among others, just won't let him get away with it. The Wedge of Truth allows us to see the "ideological design" (not a very intelligent one, by the way) that lies behind the whole naturalist project. Needless to say that this project has devastating effects on the realms of politics, law, human dignity, human rights, freedom and responsability,and so on. Everything would be about the purposeless life of amoral and selfish genes. This form of materialistic rationality, certainly a kind of absolutism or fundamentalism, would mean the end of reason as we know it. Fortunately this is too stupid to be true. The fact is that Darwinism tends to run away form competing ideias, maybe because it fears becoming a standard case of extinction as a result of competition.Read more ›
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131 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Matthew R. Holiday II on August 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Phillip Johnson's best book yet -- the one I'd been waiting for. In this book he deals more with the philosophical issues and Christianity's response to those issues.
What is science? A search for TRUTH, at all costs? Or is it instrinsically bound to naturalism, a belief system? Why do evolutionists need to defend their beliefs by resorting to obfuscation and cheap propaganda?
Answers to these questions, and more, await you. This is a must-read book for anyone concerned about a philosophical movement which has had enormous negative consequences in recent history and promises worse to come; a movement dominating our culture today with little real criticism. Johnson offers the criticism, and begs for more. He also brings up what is becoming the key scientific issue (real science!): can the mechanism Darwinism describes actually create information from raw, inanimate materials (e.g., create cells with DNA and the ability to reproduce, which are necessary for natural selection even to start)?
When I was an undergrad, folks had bumper stickers that said things like "Challenge authority." It's high time we challenged the cultural "authority" of evolutionism and its negative view of the value of human life.
This book is an extension of the lead article in Touchstone magazine's double issue last summer on evolutionism (July/Aug 1999). Most of the other authors in that issue have books (Dembski, Behe, etc.) well worth reading.
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60 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Alder on August 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Phil Johnson's newest book is witty, incredibly insightful, and to the point. In less than two hundred pages, Johnson puts forth a devestating critique of modern materialist science and knowledge while putting forth his own models of each based on empirical investigation and the acknowledgement of personality and information as more fundemental than matter. Johnson points out that as long as chance and law are the only explanations allowed by the scientific elite as answers to the problem of the origin of genetic information, science will continue to spin its wheels in the mud and spin out more hollow just-so stories of how "evolution done it". Only when scientists recognize that complex, specified information is the hallmark of intelligent activity will the life sciences make real progress toward true explanations. A great read for the open minded.
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33 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Enigma on January 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
First of all let the reader of these reviews beware. The majority of the writers have not read or simply do not have the cerebral quotient to conceive the thesis of the book. First lets delineate what this book is NOT about:
It is NOT about trying to disprove Evolution.
It is NOT about a lawyer trying to prove he knows more about science than true scientist do.
It is NOT a treatise on Intelligent Design.
But this is how the book has been characterized by many of the negative reviewers before me.
SO WHAT IS THIS BOOK ABOUT?
This book is about two different philosophical worldviews and how these two worldviews impact science and scientific theories. It delineates between the two opposing philosophies at hand. The book shows clearly how science and scientist are forced to accept dogmatically the philosophy of naturalism or be spurned from the scientific community.
The sad part of naturalistic belief system is that it precludes the scientist from using all of the available empirical and verifiable data as his or her disposal. It insists that they sit in a box and are only allowed to view the items in their naturalistic box. Anything that falls outside the box, even if they know it is true and has been proven to be true has to be at best ignored or at worst falsified into a non-eventuality. The bottom line is that the naturalistic scientist cannot use all the evidence at his disposal so his theories or constructs are at best weak due to the inability to view the panoply of events around him. The most curious item about naturalistic scientist is their insistence that their philosophical presuppositions make them unbiased. When in reality they are being controlled by materialistic ideals and not allowed to venture out of there box.
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