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Remembering Law Professor Phillip E. Johnson (1940-2019): The Man Who “Lit the Match” for Intelligent Design
Law Professor Phillip Johnson passed away on November 2, 2019 at the age of 79. I became aware of Professor Johnson in 1991 with the publication of his book, Darwin on Trial. Johnson's book was highly controversial, and changed American culture. In the early 1990s when he wrote this book, it was career suicide for anyone in academia to take a position against Darwinian evolution, and most of the criticisms of Darwin were found in religious circles under the teaching of "Creationism." It took a law professor like Phillip Johnson, who was not part of the field of biology or other natural sciences, to write a scholarly critique of Darwin's theories without the threat of censorship, loss of funding, or losing tenure at a major U.S. University. As a law professor at the prestigious University of California Berkeley, his voice demanded to be heard, as he took a legal approach to examine the evidence of Darwin's theories. Many believe that his foundational book, Darwin on Trial, was the beginning of the modern day "Intelligent Design" movement. Intelligent Design separates itself from "Creationism" as it looks at the scientific evidence in the field of origins, and draws conclusions based on the scientific evidence, without relying on any religious teachings. It concludes that the science points to an intelligent design in nature, and leaves the question of "who" the designer is to religion.
In my new book, Foresight: How the Chemistry of Life Reveals Planning and Purpose, I argue that the synergistic action of diarrhea and the appendix provides a strong case for foresight and thus for intelligent design. Jerry Coyne, writing at Why Evolution Is True, has responded. For that I am grateful. See, “ID craziness: Diarrhea and the appendix are signs of intelligent design.” I wish, enthusiastically, to reply. The subject under discussion is so-called vestigial organs, specifically the appendix. For decades we were told that — due to evolution — our body includes organs that have lost their functions and are therefore in the process of being eliminated. Dr. Coyne adds that some of those condemned organs, by accidently finding other functions, may get lucky enough to escape extinction. This is possible, I agree. The “vestigial organs” are taken as strong evidence for evolution and against ID. After all, an intelligent designer would have no use for useless organs. With that I also agree. However, we must let the data speak. When we do, learning more about the physiology of our body, we find that “vestigial organs” have amazing functions after all.
A doctor in the UK is being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) because a complaint was made against him for praying with his patients. Dr. Richard Scott is a General Practitioner at Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent. Dr. Scott states that he only prays with about one out of every 40 patients, and that he always asks for their permission first. Of those he asks, about 90% accept, and the ones who do not, he respects their right to refuse. The complaint to the General Medical Council was allegedly not made by any of his patients, but by an "acquaintance" of one of his patients, who then worked with The National Secular Society (NSS) to lodge the complaint. The NSS allegedly wrote that a "highly vulnerable patient" was uneasy with the use of prayer during a consultation. NSS chief executive Stephen Evans reportedly confirmed that the complaint came from someone known to the patient rather than the patient themselves.
Here’s the story: The Canadian Charter (Constitution) guarantees “freedom of conscience and religion” — a stronger and more explicit protection of religious liberty than our First Amendment. After the Supreme Court created a right to euthanasia, Ontario passed a law requiring doctors to kill legally eligible patients who want to die or provide an “effective referral” if they have moral objections — i.e., procure a doctor known by the dissenter to be willing to euthanize patients. Catholic and other religious doctors sued to enforce their Charter liberties. Referring equals complicity, the doctors argued, and thus the law forces them to violate their religious beliefs and consciences. In one of the world’s most important “medical conscience” rulings, a trial judge admitted the doctors’ Charter rights were indeed infringed. But he ruled that a right (nowhere mentioned in the Charter) to “equal and equitable access” to legal and government-funded medical interventions trumped doctors’ freedom of religion. Now a Court of Appeals has affirmed, ruling that doctors must not only euthanize or refer, but also abort or refer, and provide any other controversial legal service that a patient might want or refer — their religious freedoms or moral consciences be damned.
Canadian doctors committed thousands of homicides in 2018. According to an interim report published by the government, in the first ten months of last year, doctors lethally injected 2,613 patients (with one assisted suicide) — and that doesn’t include the homicides committed by doctors in Quebec, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut. The report says that about 1.12 percent of all Canadian deaths were caused by euthanasia, a number that is increasing every year. No wonder. Efforts are increasing to normalize lethal injection as a way of death — and soon we are likely to see the killable caste expanded in Canada to include children, people whose deaths are not “foreseeable,” those with dementia who asked to be killed in an advance directive, and perhaps, the mentally ill (as happens regularly in the Netherlands and Belgium). If 1.12 percent of our deaths in the U.S. were doctor-homicides, it would amount to nearly 30,000. These statistics are stark, but they don’t tell the whole story. Because these radical policies have only been in effect for a relatively short time, we don’t yet know the moral costs of allowing doctors to kill sick patients or assist their suicides.
It is really not necessary to be a biochemist or a paleontologist to understand the main issue in the debate between Darwinism and intelligent design. That is because it is a very simple principle, as I keep emphasizing: natural (unintelligent) causes do not create order (or information). They destroy it. While every other natural process tends to turn order into disorder, Darwinists have always believed that natural selection is the one unintelligent process in the universe that can create spectacular order out of disorder. So I feel vindicated by Michael Behe’s new book, Darwin Devolves, which disputes this belief, and argues that despite all the claims about the creative powers of natural selection, it has never actually been observed to produce anything new and complex, only “devolution.”
Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant Christian denomination in the U.S., numbering more than 47,000 churches with over 15 million church members. Only the Catholic Church has more members in the U.S. As with the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is an integral part of the American foster care and adoption system. Due to its size, one could say the American foster care system would be severely crippled without the involvement of the SBC, which partners with many local organizations across the U.S. to provide foster care and adoption services, primarily through its North American Mission Board, and its "Send Relief" program. We have documented very clearly here at Health Impact News that the foster care system in the U.S. is a billion dollar child trafficking system, and over 85% of child sex trafficking victims are under the control of Child "Protective" Services who take children out of their homes and place them into foster care or with adoptive parents. When Lisa Wheeler wrote an article for the National Review last year titled “Pro-Life Should Include Foster Care, Too,” criticizing American churches for not participating more in state-sponsored foster care programs, we wrote our rebuttal asking why the church would participate in such an evil program? Sadly, as we have previously reported about the Catholic Church and Independent Baptist Churches, child sex abuse by pastors and youth leaders is widespread among Southern Baptists also. A six month investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News has found widespread child sex abuse by over 220 Southern Baptist leaders against more than 700 victims since 1998. And these are just the cases that have reached the courts and are a matter of public record. How many others have been covered up and never been reported?
While Stephen Colbert has called Michael J. Behe the “Father of Intelligent Design,” Behe’s arguments have been called, “close to heretical” by the New York Times Book Review, and Richard Dawkins has publicly taken him to task for his “maverick” views. Wherever he goes, Behe makes waves, but has remained singularly focused on doing rigorous scientific analysis that points to controversial but incredible results that other scientists won’t touch. Twenty years after publishing his seminal work, Darwin’s Black Box (over 250,000 copies sold), Behe shows that new scientific discoveries point to a stunning fact: Darwin’s mechanism works by a process of devolution, not evolution. On the surface, evolution can help make something look and act different, but it doesn’t have the ability to build or create anything at the genetic level. Critically analyzing the latest research, Behe gives a sweeping tour of how modern theories of evolution fall short and how the devolving nature of Darwin’s mechanism limits them even further. If we are to get a satisfactory answer to how the most complex, stunning life-forms arose, it’s time to acknowledge the conclusion that only an intelligent mind could have designed life.
Christmas is an especially hard day for families who have been separated by Child Protective Services and family courts. How can Christmas possibly be "merry" when that which means the most - the children, or in some cases the elderly parents - are not there? The laughter and wonder of Christmas is missing, and their hearts have been shattered. My heart has been very heavy this Christmas as I carry so many hurting families in my heart. It is hard to see hope and remember joy when there is so much evil in the world, but as I woke up this morning, I was reminded that Hope didn't come two thousand years ago as a blazing warrior on a white horse bringing victory. He came as a tiny baby. Yet He represented in human form all the love and promises and hope of God. I am reminded that, even in the midst of deep sorrow and desperation, the true message of Christmas is that "Hope" has been born. This season is a timeless marker that, no matter how dark and hopeless it may seem, there is still a light that shines in the darkness.
Pedophilia Crimes Against Children Inside and Outside the Church – Time to Acknowledge the Child Sex Trafficking Problem
Earlier this year Health Impact News investigative reporter John P. Thomas began a series of articles on child sex trafficking within the Roman Catholic Church. Other Christians who are not part of the Catholic Church might be tempted to believe that such horrible crimes could never happen in their particular church or denomination. However, the Star Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas has recently published a series of articles covering an 8-month investigation in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches across the U.S. showing that sexual abuse against children has been rampant and covered up for years. Churches, both Catholic and non-Catholic Christian churches, are a huge part of the child sex trafficking problem in the U.S. These religious institutions receive significant government funding for foster care and adoption services, which we have reported for years now is a Child Trafficking multi-billion dollar business employing hundreds of thousands of people. Church-sponsored organizations, most also receiving significant government funds, are necessary for the State to continue taking children away from parents and putting them into the lucrative foster care and adoption system. As we have investigated the problem of child sex trafficking, we have discovered that the problem reaches to the most elite members of society, and that they depend upon the public not understanding what is happening, or minimizing it and excusing most reports as "Conspiracy theories." In response to this problem, we recently covered the meeting earlier this year in Westminster, London by The International Tribunal for Natural Justice (ITNJ), as the court convened over a 3-day period to launch their Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Human Trafficking and Child Sex Abuse. Therefore, in the third installment of John P. Thomas' investigative reports into child sex trafficking, we seek to help the public understand the full scope of this horrific problem. This problem will continue to exist until enough people in the public wake up and decide something needs to be done to stop these horrible crimes against our most vulnerable citizens: children.