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Father of Intelligent Design

A former UC Berkeley law professor has stirred up the academic world for 15 years with his assault on Darwin's theory of evolution, saying life on Earth is too complex to be created by random mutations Originally published at The Sacramento Bee

For his 50th birthday, Phillip Johnson's friends and family presented him with a cake topped with an icing portrait of the retired criminal law professor as Don Quixote.

A clever analogy, friend and colleague James Gordley remembers thinking, but a trifle unfair.

"Whatever Phil is tilting at, it's not windmills," Gordley, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said of his longtime friend.

Indeed, many of Johnson's supporters might say a more appropriate analogy would be that of David and Goliath: one man - 50 years old at the time - taking on the cultural titan that is Darwin's theory of evolution.Johnson, 65, is often referred to as the father of intelligent design - the concept that the world of living things is too complex to have been created through random genetic mutation, as dictated by Darwin, and that a higher power must have been involved.

Fifteen years after his book ignited debate on the subject, Johnson still accepts speaking engagements to discuss intelligent design with new audiences. Though not a trained scientist, Johnson said the issue warrants discussion beyond the scientific field.

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