Thursday, September 29, 2005


Paul Johnson on 'The Ayatollah of Atheism and Darwin’s Altars'

British historian Paul Johnson recently published a very interesting piece on Darwinism in general and Richard Dawkins in particular in The Spectator (August 31, 2005). You can read his essay @

Many of the things Johnson says are reminiscent of the sort of critiques made by ID theorists. For example: 'Few people doubt the principle of evolution. The question at issue is: are all evolutionary advances achieved exclusively by the process of natural selection? That is the position of the Darwinian fundamentalists, and they cling to their absolutist position with all the unyielding certitude with which Southern Baptists assert the literal truth of the Book of Genesis...' Then again:

'The likelihood that Darwin’s eventual debacle will be sensational and brutal is increased by the arrogance of his acolytes, by their insistence on the unchallengeable truth or the theory of natural selection – which to them is not a hypothesis but a demonstrated fact, and its critics mere flat-earthers – and by their success in occupying the commanding heights in the university science departments and the scientific journals, denying a hearing to anyone who disagrees with them. I detect a groundswell of discontent at this intellectual totalitarianism, so unscientific by its very nature. It is wrong that any debate, especially one on so momentous a subject as the origin of species, and the human race above all, should be arbitrarily declared to be closed, and the current orthodoxy set in granite for all time. Such a position is not tenable, and the evidence that it is crumbling is growing.'

Johnson rightly extols the recent critique of Darwinism by Antony Latham, The Naked Emperor (Janus, 2005):

'opponents of the dogma that natural selection is the sole force in evolution, who cannot get a hearing within that establishment, are not remaining silent. It is characteristic of the new debate that heterodoxy is finding other outlets. I recommend, for instance, a book by the learned anatomist Dr. Antony Latham, The Naked Emperor: Darwinism Exposed, just out from Janus Publishing (105-107 Gloucester Place, London W1U 6BY). Much of the book is devoted to a chapter-by-chapter exposure of the errors and illogicalities of Dawkins’s best-known book, The Blind Watchmaker, and its highly emotional presentation of the case against design (and God). The indictment of Dawkins’s scientific scholarship is powerful, masterly and (I would say) unanswerable.'

You can obtain Latham's book from @

Johnson also references a recent critique of evolutionary-psychology by philosopher Jerry Fodor in the Times Literary Supliment @

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