"AS I SEE IT" 

Volume 6, Number 12, December 2003

 

“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.

For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;

Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.

I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.

I will show partiality to no one.  Nor will I flatter any man.”

Job 32:17-21

 

["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek.  Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God.  The editor's perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.

 

AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com.  You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.  Back issues sent on request.  All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org

 

All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only.  Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand.  Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]

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Linacre’s Startling Discovery and Amazing Confession

 

Few indeed are those today who are familiar with the name Thomas Linacre.  Yet in his own day and time (he was born around 1460 and died in 1524), Linacre was a well-known and highly respected figure in his native England.   At Oxford, he studied Greek when that subject was almost brand new to the University, and he went on to be an accomplished Greek scholar.  After college, Linacre spent 6 years in Italy at Florence, Rome, Venice and Padua where his interest in ancient Greek medical writers Dioscorides and Galen led him to acquire a medical degree, becoming in the process thoroughly acquainted with the best in Italian medical knowledge.  He returned to Oxford to teach and had among his students both Thomas More and Erasmus.

 

Linacre was for a time a tutor to the royal family of England, and after 1509, one of King Henry VIII’s personal physicians.  He had, besides, among his patients many of the intelligentsia of his day, and founded the Royal College of Surgeons (the British equivalent of our American Medical Association).

 

Were these achievements not enough, after 1509 Linacre began to receive a regular salary from the Roman Catholic Church, and in 1520, he was ordained a priest.

 

Here then is a highly educated man--he speaks English his native tongue, and undoubtedly Latin, too, that being the language of scholars and scholarship.  He is pre-eminent among his contemporaries for his knowledge of Greek, and surely learned Italian well in his residence there.  He is a university professor, a trained physician, tutor to the king’s children and person physician to the British monarch, and an ordained priest of the Church.  Yet, of one crucial matter, he is breath-takingly ignorant.  “Sir John Cheke relates that Linacre when advanced in years, taking in hand the New Testament for the first time (though he was a priest) and reading in Matthew 7, the Sermon on the Mount, threw away the volume exclaiming, ‘Either this is not the Gospel or we are not Christians.’” (Compact Edition of the Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 1975.  Vol. 1, p. 1218. [emphasis added]).

 

All his adult life, Linacre could have read the Scriptures for himself, but he did not.  He could have read them in English, for Wycliffe’s version from the 1380s was still widely available in manuscript.  Or he could have read the Latin Vulgate; it was the very first book ever printed (the famous Gutenberg Bible), and had been in print before Linacre was born, with repeated reprints thereafter.  Or, in his travels and teaching, he must have encountered Greek manuscripts of the New Testament more than once and was fully capable of reading them; further, the Greek text of Erasmus had been printed in 1516, making the NT yet more accessible (maybe it was in fact this milestone event that motivated Linacre to read the New Testament).  Or, even an Italian translation would have been within Linacre’s reach (such had been in print for some while when he traveled to Italy).  Yet, in his many and varied studies during a life centered in academic pursuits, this one book passed unread.  All he knew--or thought he knew--about the Bible and about the Gospel was what others had told him.

 

How many professing Christians, evangelical Christians, fundamentalist Christians, are like Linacre--supposing they are real Christians, yet never reading the Scriptures for themselves, and accepting only at second- or third-hand their knowledge of the Bible!  How many would be equally astonished at what they would find if they just once took up the New Testament and read it through personally!  Yet they will risk their eternal souls simply on what they have heard about Jesus from priests or preachers, from movies or the popular culture, without troubling themselves to study the Scriptures personally to find out exactly where the truth lies. 

 

It is not as though the Bible is a rare or expensive book in our present day.  It is available in millions of copies, including very inexpensive ones.  Why even Wal-Mart has Bibles for sale.  Anyone who wants to read the Bible can get one for a small price; indeed, for those who cannot afford a Bible, free Bibles are readily available.  The problem is not with the supply of Bibles; it is with the supply of readers.

 

I was one such person--a member in good standing of a Baptist church, immersed, attending regularly, occasionally giving money, but wholly devoid of direct personal knowledge of the Gospel.  At 17--and God be praised it wasn’t until my 50s, as with Linacre--I took in hand a New Testament and began to read it for myself.  Like Linacre, I was amazed at the Sermon on the Mount, especially its clear presentation of my own personal depravity and the great offense I was to God.  And I was further amazed at the invitation that Jesus gave to me in chapter 11: “Come to me, all you who are laboring and burdened down, and I will give you rest.”  He meant it.  I came.  I received rest.  By my direct personal investigation, I learned for myself that this indeed was the Gospel, and I in fact was not a Christian.

 

Would you, like Linacre, sit in amazement at the Gospels if you read them for yourself this week?  And would you discover that your “Christianity” was a cheap human imitation, or the genuine article?  Only by reading for yourself can you answer that question.

---Doug Kutilek

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 “In Non-Essentials, Charity”

As Practiced by Edward J. Young (1907-1968)

 

“One of the greatest experiences of my life has been my association with the faculty of my seminary [i.e., Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia].  We do not always see eye to eye on everything on matters of detail, but we have been able to discuss matters, each one presenting what he thinks to be right, and then to go out to lunch together as though there had never been any difference of opinion.  I think the reason for that is that everyone is sincerely trying to say the thing he believes to be right, and so we can go on in a friendly spirit.  We have the same thing in our presbytery, and I am grateful for it.  We do have differences of opinion, but they have not broken personal friendships, because each man is trying to say the thing he believes is right.  We must have honest discussions in the church.  Failing that, the church is going to die.  We have to be constantly considering the things of God, and we must expect differences of opinion.  When you have that kind of controversy it can be carried on in love.  We can respect one another, even though at times we may disagree with one another.  We find that out as we go on.  The same holds true of denominations.  They do not agree on everything, but the remarkable thing to me has been that we can respect one another’s differences.  We can differ in love, and we can realize that other people are good Christian people, even though we may not quite see everything as they do.  We need to have respect for one another which is based upon genuine Christian love, and which allows other people to have honest differences of opinion from yourself.  When Christians can get along in that way, we have real Christian unity.  I think that Christian unity is a fact.  We see it wherever Christian people get together.  When there are differences they are discussed in love, and we realize that each one is in earnest in trying to understand the Scriptures.  There is real Christian unity because it is based on Christian love.”

Edward J. Young

In the Beginning, pp. 99-100

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Neander, the King of Prussia, Christianity and the Jews

 

As one who has long had an interest in Christian apologetics, as well as being both a student and teacher of history, combined with a strong preference for documented facts, I was delighted to discover the precise source of a quotation, along with the attending circumstances of its first utterance, which I first heard in Bible college three decades ago.

 

The circumstance as told to me in school was that some European(?) monarch asked a preacher what was the greatest proof of the Divine origin of the Bible.  This preacher supposedly replied, “The Jews, who in accord with God’s promise continue to survive in spite of millennia of persecution.”  An interesting quote, sure enough, but who said it, to whom, where and when?

 

A reliable written source relating this incident is Philip Schaff (1819-1893), the famous church historian.  In his little book, Saint Augustin, Melancthon, Neander: Three Biographies (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1886), he tells the following regarding fellow church historian, Augustin Neander: “When the King of Prussia once asked him [i.e., Augustin Neander], ‘What is the best evidence of Christianity?’ he is said to have replied, ‘The Jews, your majesty.’ “ (p. 133)

 

Who was Augustin Neander and why should we accept Schaff’s account of his remarks?  Neander was born David Mendel, related on his mother’s side, to the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786).  His father was a ne’er-do-well trader (which led to the dissolution of his marriage), and David grew up, one of five children, in a single parent home.  David, along with all his siblings and his mother, converted to Christianity (he at age 17).   Thereupon, he took the new name Augustin Neander, “Neander” being Greek for “new man,” which he now was in Christ.  Neander became the pre-eminent church historian in the first half of the 19th century, and an opponent of the radical doubt that plagued German universities then and since.  His remark to the King of Prussia (though whether Frederick William III or Frederick William IV is not stated) would have arisen out of wide and accurate scholarship, and the personal perspective of a son of Abraham after the flesh who became a son of Abraham after the spirit. 

 

Philip Schaff, himself the pre-eminent church historian in the latter half of the 19th century, indeed a more accomplished scholar and better historian than even Neander, had been Neander’s student in the 1840s, and had first-hand knowledge of many incidents in Neander’s life and was exposed to much of the student lore that had gathered about Neander’s name (the account of Neander in the book noted above is full of such, often entertaining and some absolutely ludicrous).

 

The implication in Neander’s remark seems to be that the history of the Jews is exactly as it was foretold to be in the Scriptures--they would reject their Messiah and endure overwhelming suffering as a consequence, persisting nationally in unbelief until the time of the Messiah’s second coming (which implies a continued existence with a separate and distinct identity as a people).

 

Schaff’s reference to the story is almost incidental, and I suspect that somewhere in print there is a fuller account, giving more details.  But at least we can pinpoint the questioner as the King of Prussia, and the respondent as the church historian Augustin Neander.

---Doug Kutilek

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What B. F. Westcott Really Believed:

Some “Must” Reading on the Bible Version Controversy

 

One of my first published articles addressing the KJVO error (“Erasmus and His Theology,” The Biblical Evangelist, October 16, 1985; now posted at www.kjvonly.org) exposed the gross distortion of Brooke Foss Westcott’s words by founder of the modern KJVO movement, Adventist Benjamin G. Wilkinson.  I addressed a small sampling of these distortions as found in Wilkinson’s book Our Authorized Bible Vindicated (largely reprinted in Which Bible?, edited by D. O. Fuller).

 

As the informed reader knows, Westcott (1825-1901), Anglican Bishop, scholar and Greek New Testament editor (along with co-editor F. J. A. Hort) published a Greek New Testament in 1881 which presents a text often at odds with the various forms of the “textus receptus.”  This text of Westcott and Hort was the first to supercede the textus receptus in common use (though it was by no means the first ‘critical’ Greek text published), and was, generally speaking, the Greek text followed in the English Revised Version New Testament (1881).  The vehemence and contempt displayed by J. W. Burgon toward the Greek text of Westcott (and Hort), has been transferred by present-day KJVOers to the person of Westcott, and he is mercilessly attacked by any means that will serve.  In the literature espousing KJVOism, Westcott is treated as though he were just short of the devil incarnate.

 

Various “quotations” from Westcott’s voluminous literary output are brought forward to “prove” him guilty of almost every heresy imaginable.  I say “quotations,” because what are passed off as the words of Westcott are regularly, almost uniformly, distorted in editing or ripped from clarifying context in what often seems to be little short of deliberate misrepresentation. The modern spiritual heirs of Benjamin Wilkinson have followed in his errant footsteps and done him one better by multiplying the number of falsifications, misrepresentations and distortions of Westcott’s views which they have published.  Chief among these is D. A. Waite, who has been aped--and not infrequently blindly followed--by James Sightler, G. A. Riplinger, David Sorenson and others of similar stripe.

 

We are happy to direct the reader’s attention to a recent contribution to the growing body of accurate, thorough and reliable literature correcting the various errors of the King James Only movement.  Mr. Jim May of Indianapolis has completed and published two studies on aspects of the theology of Westcott.  In preparation for the writing of these articles, May did what no KJVOer had done--he read first hand a majority of the whole of Westcott’s writings, something over 4,000 pages (remarkable persistence in what must have proved at times pure tedium), carefully compiling typical quotations accurately representing Westcott’s view on major issues--the inspiration of Scripture, the nature of God and the person of Christ, among others.  These findings have been published in two studies, “B. F. Westcott and the Inspiration of the Bible: A Study in King James Onlyism” and “B. F. Westcott and the Deity of Jesus Christ: A Study in King James Onlyism.”  With Westcott’s own words in hand, May compares what Westcott actually wrote to the supposed quotations from Westcott presented in the writings of D. A. Waite et al.  May shows beyond quibble with example after example that Westcott’s views have been massively distorted, perverted, corrupted, and blatantly twisted by Waite and company, often making Westcott seem to teach exactly the opposite of what he actually believed.  This fact of this pervasive misrepresentation compels the inevitable conclusion that Waite et al. are either remarkably sloppy, careless, and negligent in their research, or have knowingly, willfully, deliberately and repeatedly lied about the views of Westcott to enhance their own position.  Whichever is true, Waite and friends are absolutely discredited as reliable sources of information about Westcott (and by logical extension, about any other subject on which they write).  They are unreliable, either by virtue of poor research habits, or by willful dishonesty, both rather distasteful conclusions, but at least one of which is certainly the case.

 

May’s work is of high quality--accurate, thorough, clearly presented and authoritative.  These studies are available in printed form for purchase by writing to WestcottVerified@juno.com or they may be down-loaded from the internet at www.kjvonly.org  These valuable studies should be read by those interested in discovering the real truth about Westcott, and, indirectly, KJVO advocates Waite et al.

---Doug Kutilek

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BOOK REVIEWS

 

USEFUL IDIOTS: How Liberals Got it Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First, by Mona Charen.  Washington: Regnery Press, 2003.  308 pp., hardback.  $27.95

 

Mona Charen is a nationally-syndicated conservative newspaper columnist.  The title of her book is taken from a remark attributed to Vladimir Lenin, communist revolutionary and first dictator of Soviet Russia, namely, that the liberal intelligentsia of western nations could be counted on to be willing albeit unwitting partners (“useful idiots”) in the communist overthrow and domination of the West.  Charen demonstrates that in this Lenin was exactly right.

 

Since the first days of a communist state in Russia in the 1910s, and continuing to the present day, a veritable dog’s breakfast of leftist politicians, academicians, news media types (in absolute control of the major TV networks and the “leading” newspapers), entertainers, writers and others in the West, and especially in the U.S., have served as the chief apologists and propagandists and defenders of Soviet and other communist tyrannies, while in turn finding unlimited fault and heaping unlimited blame on the U.S. for virtually all the troubles in the world.

 

From the famous remark by American leftist Lincoln Steffens  (1866-1936) about the newly-erected communist state in Russia (1918)--“I have seen the future, and it works.”--to the talking heads at the TV networks who gushed about the “workers’ paradise” that Elian Gonzales, the little Cuban boy who was kidnapped at gun-point by federal storm-troopers, would be returning to, with its “free health care and free education for all,” there has never been a communist the American left didn’t like.  A combination of naiveté, wishful thinking, willful ignorance, guilt over their own riches, and lack of direct personal exposure to reality, have characterized the left.  No crime of communism and totalitarian states went undefended or excused, and no action by the U.S. went un-attacked.  Even the slaughter of millions of Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge communists in the mid-1970s after the American military withdrawal from the region, was blamed by the left on the U.S.

 

During the Cold War, the left viewed the U.S. as the real threat and danger in the world, not the Soviets, though when the Soviet empire--what Reagan accurately called “the evil empire”--collapsed under the weight of its own inefficiency and corruption, the left either claimed that they, too, had supported the cold war stand-off with the Russians, or, more often, blamed the post-Soviet problems of hunger, unemployment, social unrest and the like in former communist countries on the capitalist system that was trying to rise out of the wreckage of totalitarian states.  It never once occurred to the American left that these crushing social and economic problems which plagued Eastern Europe were the aftermath and direct consequence of decades of communist oppression and mismanagement.  In truth, nobody longs for “the good old days” of the Soviet Gulags like the American news media and numerous tenured university professors. 

 

The worst kind of human being (serial killers, child molesters and drug dealers not excluded), in the eyes of the American left, was a committed anti-communist such as Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan.  Yet it was precisely these anti-communists who stood their ground and faced down Soviet aggression by being prepared to defend our freedoms fully by adequate military preparation.  In sharp contrast was the gullibility of a Jimmy Carter who in essence believed that Soviet expansionism was only a natural and understandable reaction to a largely justifiable sense of being “threatened” and “surrounded” by the U.S. and its allies.  It was this same Jimmy Carter who reacted with absolute surprise when the Russians, acting entirely in character, invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

 

Charen quotes the leftists, and documents their quotations.  You will find yourself saying again, and again, and again--“How could these people be so willfully blind, so stupid, so naive, so maliciously anti-American?”  But they were, and are.

 

While the greatest enemies of American freedoms in the last 100 years have been communist and other totalitarian foreign governments, a not-too-distant second is the American left that secretly or openly wanted the Soviets to win, or at least wanted America to lose.  To them, a strong America is a dangerous America.  The Soviet empire and its threat is gone, but unfortunately, the left is still with us. 

 

Expect your blood to boil again and again as you read this book.

---Doug Kutilek

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THE CHISHOLM TRAIL by Wayne Gard.  Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1954.  296 pp., hardback.

 

The quintessential image of the American West is the cowboy, driving great herds of cattle across the plains to railheads for shipment “back east.”   The great Texas long-horn cattle drives of the 1860s to 1880s are the paradigm for this western legend.

 

Domestic beef cattle were introduced to the plains of what would later become Texas by Spanish explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries.  From a few hundred escapees or abandoned animals, the herds of long-horned Spanish cattle (with a sprinkling of British blood in the mix) grew by the mid-19th century to number in the millions--as many as 5 million or even more (such growth gives some idea of the population explosions of the various hoofed species in the centuries that followed the great Noahic flood).

 

In the pre-Civil War era, some herding of cattle out of Texas occurred: northeast to Missouri and beyond--with some herds walking as far as New York State!--while others were driven as far west as California (try figuring out how they got over the mountains and through the deserts!).  However, it was only in the period after the American Civil War that trailing cattle north began in earnest.  The chief years of the cattle drives were 1867-1884, though some occurred both before and after these dates, but on a decidedly smaller scale.

 

Before the drives, the abundant cattle of Texas were utilized for meat for local consumption and leather, but the supply was very much larger than the local demand.  What to do with the huge surplus?  Trailing cattle north, an idea with real possibilities, was facilitated by the extension of the railroads west from Missouri into Kansas.  From various railroad towns in Kansas, the cattle could be trans-shipped east to Illinois for fattening or sold directly for consumption in the rapidly growing mid-western cities of Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago.  A substantial percentage of the animals were sold to stock new farms established by Civil War veterans settling “out west.”  Not a few of the herds trailed north into Kansas were taken well beyond the railroads to stock the newly-created ranches and farms of Nebraska, the Dakotas, and points west.

 

Hundreds of thousands cattle were driven annually from Texas up a variety of trails (the peak year, 1871, saw at least 600,000 cattle driven into Kansas from Texas), the most famous being the Chisholm Trail which was named for Jesse Chisholm, the half-Scots, half-Cherokee frontiersman who laid out part of the trail as a trading route.  The cattle drives spurred the growth of railroad towns--Abilene, Wichita, Newton, Ellsworth, Caldwell and Dodge City, all in Kansas.  The great trail drives brought these towns cowboys, money, vice and violence in abundance.

 

The hazards of the drives of hundreds of miles up through part of Texas across Indian Territory (later Oklahoma) and into Kansas included wild animals (rattlesnakes, panthers, bears, wolves and buffaloes among them), wilder men (white outlaws and red Indian raiders and extortionists), and extremes of weather (cyclones, downpours, lightning, floods, hail, blizzards, brutal heat and bitter cold), and frequent stampedes.

 

The rapid settlement of the open prairies and plains of Kansas and Texas, the barbed-wire fencing of grasslands, the extension of railroads into Texas, and the invention of refrigerated railcars combined to bring the cattle drives to an end less than 20 years after they began, but they had transformed the previously sparsely-settled plains and had funded a financial recovery for Texas from the poverty of the post-Civil War Reconstruction era.  And left the legacy of the cowboy of the old West.

 

Gard’s book is an easy, interesting and entertaining read, and is considered the classic treatment of its subject.

---Doug Kutilek

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DOUBTS ABOUT DARWIN: A HISTORY OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN, by Thomas Woodward.  Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003.  303 pp., hardback.  $19.98.

 

The high water mark for Darwinism was the 1959 conference in Chicago, celebrating the centennial of the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species.  Evolutionism had virtually driven Biblical creationism from the public arena, substituting for it a wholly materialistic explanation for the universe and all its complexity, rendering God at least highly remote, or at most entirely unnecessary, a childish fantasy abandoned by intelligent people.  Darwinism had vanquished its foes and held absolute sway in academia at all levels, in government, and in the media in America, and was on a seemingly irresistible march to drive out the last vestiges of creationism remaining in public opinion (the then recently-released Hollywood caricature of the famous 1925 Scopes Trial, viz., “Inherit the Wind,” had gone far to accomplish that aim).

 

But the 1960s saw the beginning of two concerted challenges to the Darwinian consensus.  The first of these was “scientific creationism,” based on a literal reading of Genesis, and which began with the 1962 publication of The Genesis Flood, co-authored by hydraulic engineer Dr. Henry M. Morris and theologian Dr. John C. Whitcomb.  The movement, though it has grown exponentially in the four decades since, has been treated with disdain and contempt by the evolutionary establishment since such ‘Bible thumpers’ can be safely dismissed off hand (so they think), as prejudice-blinded bigots and buffoons.  This branch of the assault on Darwinism is not the focus in Woodward’s book.

 

The other assault on Darwinism began, surprisingly, within the ranks of academia, and not because of a prior religious commitment to creationism, but out of dissatisfaction with the supposed evidences proving Darwinism true.

 

Though there were occasional conferences and publications within academia challenging the evolutionary paradigm in the 1960s and 1970s, the first major attack arose with the publication in 1986 of Michael Denton’s Darwinism: A Theory in Crisis.  Denton, an Australian biochemist and self-styled agnostic with earned doctorate degrees in biochemistry and medicine, asserted the complete inadequacy of Darwinism’s alleged mechanisms (variation, natural selection and the neo-Darwinism mutation) to account for the microscopic detail and complexity Denton’s own first-hand knowledge of cellular biology revealed.  Denton, rejecting the Darwinian explanation for the origin of such features, nevertheless did not adopt a super-naturalistic view; rather, he concluded that there must be another, currently unknown naturalistic explanation.  But his criticisms of Darwin were numerous, detailed, factual and highly destructive.

 

Those in academia--a scattered, courageous few--who likewise doubted Darwinism as scientifically sound--hailed Denton’s book as a landmark (which it was) and shockwaves began to circulate through the evolutionary establishment.

 

Denton, in essence, seeded the “Intelligent Design” (ID) movement that came to full flower in the 1990s.  Denton was read by University of California, Berkley law professor Phillip Johnson on sabbatical in England (Johnson had been converted to conservative Christianity from virtual atheism some 10 years earlier).  This motivated him to do wide reading in the topic of origins, and to subject the classic evidences supporting evolution to legal rules of evidence (objectivity, presuppositions, alternative explanations, etc.), and found evolution to be, rather than a fully or even moderately supported theory, a pre-suppositional dogma unsupported by any valid evidence.  Johnson became a very prolific writer against the philosophical dogma of Darwinism (among the books he has authored on evolution are: Darwin on Trial [Regnery Gateway, 1991]; Reason in the Balance [Inter-Varsity Press, 1995] and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds [Inter-Varsity Press, 1997], the last of which was reviewed in AISI, 1:3).  All of Johnson’s books are excellent reading.  Johnson, because of his position in academia, but especially through his research and excellent writing style, really stirred the pot regarding evolution.

 

In 1996, Michael Behe, a tenured university professor of biology at Lehigh University, published his monumental Darwin’s Black Box, in which he presents evidence of “irreducible complexity” in numerous biological systems at the cellular level, systems which could not possibly have arisen by Darwinian gradualism or neo-Darwinian mutations.  In short, having scientifically ruled out the possibility of blind naturalism as the fabricator of such structures, the only alternative is a prior existing intelligent designer, call him God if you please.  (As Sherlock Holmes said to Dr. Watson--“When you have eliminated the impossible, what ever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” ["The Sign of Four," by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, ch. 6])  The earth did quake in academia with the publication of Behe’s book.

 

In the late 1990s, a rising star in ID, William Dembski, a scholar with two earned doctorates (Ph.D. in mathematics, Cambridge, and Ph.D. in philosophy of science, University of Illinois), besides a master’s in theology (Princeton Seminary), published Intelligent Design (1999), a work establishing mathematically a means to distinguish natural phenomena from products of intelligent design.

 

Around these four authors--Denton, Behe, Johnson and Dembski--and their books has grown a sizeable core of academically-accomplished professors and writers supporting ID as a viable, indeed, necessary, alternative to Darwinism.  The movement insists that the current ruling paradigm of purely naturalistic evolution as the sufficient and only cause of all reality is both unsupported by objective evidence and directly contradicted by indisputable facts.  The root cause of evolution’s ruling paradigm, in the face of abundant facts which contradict it, is a pervasive a priori anti-supernatural prejudice that controls all thought and theory in the life sciences (and well beyond).  This a priori exclusion of allowing even the possibility of an intelligent Designer is rejected as unnecessary and an actual hindrance to free inquiry and investigation.

 

Thomas Woodward, a professor at Trinity College in Florida, wrote this study of the ID movement as his doctoral dissertation (revised somewhat for publication).  Since his specialization is communication, the work is built around a framework of examining the argumentation and evidential methodology of the ID movement, rather than a merely straightforward history (which would have made for easier reading).  This accounts for the peculiar emphasis on communication paradigms, theories and such, but is not terribly distracting from tracing the rise and development of the ID movement.  The work is thorough, informative and interesting, and is “must” reading for those who wish to be informed about recent trends in the creation/evolution debate.  Thus far Woodward.

 

The ID movement is composed of those who find Darwinism unsatisfying and unconvincing logically and scientifically.  Some adherents of ID are agnostic (Denton), some are willing to accept common ancestry for all organisms (Behe), and some are evangelical Christians (Johnson, Dembski, Woodward, and others).  Many, even most, seem to be old-age theistic evolutionists (so-called “progress” evolutionists).  They all but uniformly distance themselves from young-earth, 6-literal-day, Noahic Flood creationists, believing that position untenable or fearing that entertaining such a view would open them up to scientific ridicule.

 

While we welcome the devastating attack of ID on entrenched Darwinism, we must declare that the same presuppositions (and lack of evidence) that drive Darwinian evolutionary thinking are the same ones that support an old earth view and evolution of a theistic sort.  To be consistent with following the evidence wherever it leads, the ID advocates will be compelled, ultimately, to move to a young-earth, no macro-evolution position, because that is where the facts and evidence lead.

---Doug Kutilek

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