Letter to the Editor




On Murphy's Critique of Darwin on Trial


From: PSCF 45 (September 1993): 218. 

In the March 1993 issue of Perspectives, a lengthy critique of Darwin on Trial appeared, written by Dr. Nancey Murphy of the faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary (p. 26-35). It appears that a number of things could be said in response to this critique. Dr. Murphy's credentials are impressive.

Personally, I had found the book interesting and helpful. On the dust cover of the book there are a number of evaluations by several writers with earned doctorates in fields of expertise. I have read Dr. Michael Denton's book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. I would just quote his comments from the dust cover:

Darwin on Trial is unquestionably the best critique of Darwinianism I have ever read. Prof. 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. There is no doubt that this book will prove a severe embarrassment to the Darwinian establishment.

I was impressed with Dr. Denton's thoroughness and integrity.

Above the Introduction, Dr. Murphy states: "Such a book, being one of many, would excite little attention were it no fore the fact that the author is an expert in legal reasoning...." Actually, I would disagree that this is "one of many." From my observation, I believe there are not many books which show that the reasoning presented in favor of evolutionary biology is defective.

Murphy describes Johnson's arguments as dogmatic and unconvincing, but I would describe them as realistic and honest. Murphy also criticizes Johnson by saying that he does not adequately understand scientific reasoning. Maybe I don't either. But even back in my high school biology class we were taught, "You accept as truth what you observe."

The Mystery of Origins: Reassessing Current Theories (Thaxton, Bradley, Olsen: 1984) says this: "For some, this lack of observation entirely removes the question of life's origins from the domain of legitimate science" (p. 6). In another context, George G. Simpson has observed that, "It is inherent in any acceptable definition of science that statements that cannot be checked by observation are not really about anything<|> <|>or at the very least they are not science."

Arnold Claassen
603 S.E. 2nd Street
Newton, KS 67114