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Phillip E. Johnson on the Scientific Community

The Wedge of Truth (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), pp. 139-40.

Darwinists can take in stride any debates over the particulars of their theory, however strident, so long as the underlying principle of naturalistic explanation is not threatened. That is why the blatant heresies of Stephen Jay Gould, to take one example, were cheerfully tolerated until very recently. As John Maynard Smith, the British dean of Darwinists, famously summed up the professional judgment after Gould finally pushed the envelope too far, “The evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed [Gould’s] work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with, but as one who should not be publicly criticized because he is at least on our side against the creationists.” Gould’s anguished response went to exactly the same point: “We will not win this most important of all battles [against the creationists] if we descend to the same tactics of backbiting and anathematization that characterize our true opponents.” Everything is negotiable except the vital objective of keeping God out of objective reality. As Gould’s ally Richard Lewontin put it, “we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door…. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.” In the materialist mentality, the appearance of the Lawgiver is equated with the disappearance of the laws.