Darwin On Trial

Phillip E. Johnson

Darwin on Trial was responsible for alerting many among the public and in the scientific community to the deficiencies of Darwinism. UC Berkeley Law Professor and Program Advisor for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, Phillip E. Johnson applies his skills as an analyzer of evidence to ask if Darwin’s theory holds up to scrutiny.

Johnson begins by recognizing a stark contradiction in the law: creationism has been banned by the courts because it is “religion,” yet evolution is permitted despite the fact that evolutionary literature is full of anti-religious arguments. Johnson might be willing to tolerate this hypocrisy if evolution proves correct. But he argues that when natural selection proves to be a tautology, whose empirical power has proven to cause little more than oscillations in the sizes of finch beaks, he has just cause to be skeptical.

When looking at the fossil record, Johnson finds a landscape starkly lacking in evidence of evolutionary transitions but rich in stasis (i.e. no significant change in a given biological form). The few which are allegedly called “transitional” do little to tip the scales in favor of evolution. Molecular evidence for evolution turns out to be based upon assumptions, and molecular evolutionary intermediates are beyond the reach of scientific investigation. Finally, Johnson reveals that the evidence for prebiological evolution is contradicted by geochemistry.

Evolution clearly loses a trial based upon the evidence. Why then does the jury of the scientific community overwhelmingly vote in favor of Darwin’s theory? Johnson argues that Darwinism is propped up by a question-begging definition of science, one that requires naturalistic causes in keeping with the philosophy of naturalism.

Though many volumes by design proponents have covered similar topics, none summarizes the range of evidence against evolution and its philosophical underpinnings more lucidly or succinctly than Darwin on Trial.


Darwin on Trial shows just how Darwinian evolution has become an idol of the contemporary tribe, and how deeply philosophical and religious ideas enter into its status as part of the intellecutal orthodoxy of our day.

Alvin Plantinga, Notre Dame University

Praise for the first edition: “Darwin on Trial is unquestionably the best critique of Darwinism I have ever read. Professor Johnson combines a broad knowledge of biology with the incisive logic of a leading legal scholar to deliver a brilliant and devastating attack on the whole edifice of Darwinian belief.

Michael Denton, molecular biologist and author of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis