Science Futures by Phillip E. Johnson

Science Futures

“Predicting is very difficult, especially when it is about the future.” I probably don’t need to tell readers of Touchstone that this weird sentence, paradoxically both wise and absurd, bears the trademark of New York Yankee sage Yogi Berra, the Buddha of baseball.

I think of the great Yogi’s maxim whenever I hear theistic evolutionists warn intelligent design theorists against committing what they call the “God of the gaps” fallacy. Their point is that it is futile to rely on “gaps” that the theory of evolution has not yet explained as places where divine acts might be necessary, because those gaps will inevitably be filled as science progresses. Eventually, God will be squeezed out of these spaces, with consequent embarrassment to the cause of religion.

To avoid committing this fallacy, they claim, we must concede that evolutionary naturalism in biology has been proved beyond doubt, since whatever proof is missing today will surely be supplied tomorrow. I see the point, but I wonder how these folks can be so sure that the future discoveries will always support naturalism. Don’t they know that predicting is difficult, especially when it is about the future?

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Phillip E. Johnson is Professor of Law (emeritus) at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of Darwin on Trial, The Wedge of Truth, The Right Questions (InterVarsity Press), and other books challenging the naturalistic assumptions that dominate modern culture. He is a contributing editor of Touchstone.

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