Intelligent Design 'Founder' Speaks at Campbell University

A Christian law professor who helped start the intelligent design movement spoke at a North Carolina-based Baptist University on his question and investigation of Darwin’s theory of evolution and the intelligent design movement that resulted.

Phillip E. Johnson – currently Professor Emeritus of law at the University of California at Berkeley and someone who had recently had a conversion experience – spoke this month at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.

“I discovered a lot of loose ends in Darwin’s theory,” Johnson said according to a news release by Campbell University. “And I’m the kind of person who, when I see a loose end, I have this irresistible desire to pull on it.”

Johnson’s investigation led to a paper that eventually became the draft of his first book “Darwin on Trial,” and the “movement known as intelligent design was begun” wrote the Christian University affiliated with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Intelligent design holds that the biological aspects of life are too complex to have evolved randomly, but must have been produced by an unidentified intelligence. The movement differs than the theory of creationism because it does not claim that there is anything supernatural about this creative intelligence.

“We know today that cells are much more complex than Darwin thought,” Johnson said. “They have their own chemical factories, sophisticated transport systems and cell repair facilities, so the position that this level of complexity could come together just by chance seems remote. We concluded that life springs from some unidentified intelligence.”

The opponent theory of Darwin also challenges scientists who claim that the evidence of evolution is everywhere – from fruit flies branching into new species to bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics – by insisting that scientists use only small scale variations within a species to explain evolution, the report explained. There are no fossil records for the big transformation.

However, intelligent design differs than creationism because it does not assert that the world was created in six days, Johnson noted.

“The creationists are up against all of the scientists. I tried to narrow the debate and bring the movement into the realm of science,” he said. “Scientists couldn’t dismiss the theory of an intelligence because they investigate types of intelligence all of the time.”

Intelligent design has caused controversy throughout the world. A U.S. federal judge ruled last December it was unconstitutional for a Pennsylvania school district to require teachers to read a statement to students before the beginning of a ninth grade biology class, indicating that evolution theory “was not a fact,” that it contained “gaps,” and that there were competing scientific theories including intelligent design.

Johnson, however, is not concerned about the theory being taught in public schools.

“We want to discredit Darwinism,” Johnson said. “This theory has had an enormous impact on secularization because it eliminates the Creator. We thought that if the theory of evolution was cast into doubt, it would have a big cultural impact, just as it did when it was discovered.”