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Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes


Serious Notions with a Smile


Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site


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Title Author Date
minor quibbles in "Why Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial and ..." Kettenring, Thomas May 25, 2005

I just read "Why Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial and the "Intelligent Design" movement
are neither science--nor Christian."

I think it's really excellent but found some small mistakes.

1. "The best modern example of this is the fact that the entire edifice of Newtonian physics was found by Einstein to be wrong--"untrue"--even after engineers used it successfully to land manned spacecraft on the moon."

This sounds as if Einstein worked after 1969 (when manned spacecraft landed on the moon). Of course the Theory of Special Relativity was finished in 1905, the Theory of General Relativity in 1915, and as far as I know both
theories may well have been used by NASA in 1969, 14 years after Einstein's death.

2. "rhiphistidian" should be "rhipidistian".

3. 8a. Selective use of evidence
Johnson claims that evolutionists select evidence. All you do as a response to this is demonstrating that Johnson does it himself. Showing that Johnson does it himself is fine but has the drawback of not refuting his claim.
That's an instance of the fallacy "ad hominem tu quoque" (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/tuquoque.html). Does he quote any evolutionists selecting evidence? If no, you should mention that his claim is empty and not testable. If yes...well, that would be more work. Someone would have to find out if the claim is true. If there is no time for that, I think the whole "selective use of evidence" part should be dropped.

4. The same fallacy appears for "vague and untestable statements". But under 11c, there are examples of Johnson wrongly ascribing vague and untestable statements to evolutionists, so all that is needed here is a cross-reference.

5. Under 9. you say that Johnson refused to provide you with any information. But under 6a, you say that "Johnson reluctantly supplied me
with a transcript of this speech". Sounds like a contradiction to me.

6. "Second, since any group sharing a single common ancestor is by definition a monophyletic group" should be "Second, since any group sharing a single common ancestor exclusive to them is by definition a monophyletic group"

But, as I said, these are minor quibbles. Great work! The best is the paragraph under 10 starting with "It is useless to try to explain science to someone who isn't interested in what the facts have to say." Would you please allow me to quote that paragraph in EvoWiki, on the page about Johnson (http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Phillip_E._Johnson, which is still pretty empty)?

Related Articles: The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth?

Title Author Date
minor quibbles in 'Why Phillip Johnson's Darwin on Trial and ...' TalkReason , May 25, 2005
Dear Thomas:

Thank you for your letter. You seem to refer to Brian Spitzer's essay titled The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth? (http://www.talkreason.org/articles/honesty.cfm). Unfortunately, we have lost contact with Brian Spitzer, so we can't forward your comments to him for a reply. We hope that posting your letter here and in the discussion section of Spitzer's essay will provide useful input for our readers.

Regarding your request (to quote certain portions of Spitzer's essay on EvoWiki) we see no reasons which could prohibit such quoting, so please feel free to quote.

Talk Reason Administration
Related Articles: The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth?