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Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy?

Phillip Johnson Debates William Provine View at YouTube

One of the most popular of Phillip Johnson’s debates, held at Stanford with William Provine on April 30, 1994. The Access Research Network provides an excellent study and discussion guide.

Section l: Philosophical Naturalism/ Theistic Realism

  1. Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution as an unplanned, undirected process is inconsistent with any meaningful theism. 
  2. The Neo-Darwinian conclusion about the process of evolution is based on a premise of metaphysical naturalism: that there are no causes except matter in mindless motion. Is this premise true?

Section 2: Life Through Time Exhibit: Evidence/Inference

  1. The Hard Facts Wall” exhibit does not make the critical distinction between empirical evidence and theoretical inferences and speculations. 
  2. The theory that all life is connected by a branching tree-like pattern (the “cone of increasing diversity”) is not supported by the fossil evidence. All the major groups appear suddenly in the Cambrian explosion and no new phyla have appeared in the last 500 million years.

Section 3: Artificial Selection and Natural Selection

  1. Artifical Selection (Selective Breeding) is an imperfect analogy to Natural Selection. Selective Breeding is purposeful, directed and intelligent. Natural Selection is without purpose, undirected and without intelligence.

Section 4: Neo-Darwinism as Philosophical Naturalism

  1. The naturalistic world-view has not actually been demonstrated by the empirical evidence. It has been assumed from the beginning, as a premise, biasing the final interpretation of the evidence. There is no compelling reason to believe naturalism. It is not based on the empirical evidence. It has presumed its conclusion in its premise.