Phillip Johnson wrote this in 1997 to equip students for the intellectual battle over evolution in philosophy and science. While it discusses a few scientific points, the primary focus is on the philosophical naturalism that often undergirds evolution-affirming science (and which often remains unacknowledged), and how to challenge it.
That question–is philosophical naturalism necessarily and inextricably tied in with the real scientific elements of evolution?–is the primary idea I’ve pondered about this issue for a number of years now. The answer to that sets the stage and defines the parameters for what I am willing to accept and consider in this realm. Johnson makes a compelling case that the two are indeed inextricably linked, and thus must be challenged and fought.
For having been written almost 20 years ago, it’s surprisingly relevant: scientific research–particularly in the field of genetics–has continued to undermine the credibility of blind natural selection as an explanatory theory. And many of his tips about how to engage/challenge both lay persons and scientists are still helpful.
I’ll end with one prediction of the author’s, from the final chapter:
Every history of the twentieth century lists three thinkers as preeminent in influence: Darwin, Marx and Freud. All three were regarded as “scientific” (and hence far more reliable than anything “religious”) in their heyday. Yet Marx and Freud have fallen, and even their dwindling bands of followers no longer claim that their insights were based on any methodology remotely comparable to that of experimental science. I am convinced that Darwin is next on the block. His fall will be by far the mightiest of the three. (113)