Item description for Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education by Phillip E. Johnson...
Overview Now available in softcover! In this hard-hitting best-seller, Johnson dares to challenge naturalistic thought---today's prevailing philosphy that the material world is all there was, is, or will be. His penetrating assessment of naturalism's pervasive influence on science, law, and education helps you form a clear, biblical response to this intellectual and moral threat.
Publishers Description Voted one of Christianity Today's 1996 Books of the Year In his first book, Darwin on Trial, Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson took on the heavyweights of science. And he got their attention, even provoking a response from neo-Darwinist Stephen Jay Gould in the pages of Scientific American. Now Johnson's back with a book that expands his critique from science to law, education and today's culture wars. Is God unconstitutional? Why is morality forced out of public school curriculum? Can Christians believe in God and evolution? Why aren't we getting anywhere in the debate over abortion? Will the Grand Unified Theory solve the riddle of the universe? Johnson dares to answer these and other tough, touchy questions. He reveals why naturalism (the philosophy that the material world is all there was, is and will be) has become "the established religious philosophy of America," supplanting Judeo-Christian belief. He shows how naturalism undergirds science, law, education and popular culture. And he argues that naturalism has even infiltrated the church--marginalizing opposition as irrational, and encouraging Christians to adopt a more "reasonable" stance. InReason in the Balance, Johnson writes energetically and persuasively--chapter by chapter zeroing in on the chinks in the argument for naturalism. He explores nearly every acre of today's cultural battlefield: God, sex education, evolution, abortion, cosmology and particle physics, what our public schools should teach, the basis of law, the meaning of reason and a few other things that matter. Armed with biblical truth, common sense and a clear understanding of his foe, he steps out like David to fell the intellectual Goliath of our day.
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More About Phillip E. Johnson
Phillip E. Johnson taught law for more than thirty years at the University of California--Berkeley where he is professor emeritus. He is recognized as a leading spokesman for the intelligent design movement, and is the author of many books, including Darwin on Trial, Reason in the Balance and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds.
Phillip E. Johnson currently resides in the state of California. Phillip E. Johnson was born in 1940.
Reviews - What do customers think about Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law & Education?
Brilliant, insightful analysis Feb 6, 2007
One of the most important books I have read. A masterful discussion of the merits of Theism and Naturalism for the claim to truth and reason. Dr Johnson gives a stunningly compelling defense of the rational merits of Theism, carefully exposing the false claims and destructive effects of Atheistic Naturalism in science, education and law. If you want to be equipped to know and win battles against the rising tide of secularism, "Reason in the Balance" is essential reading. You can make a secularists head spin exposing their absurdity, and get them thinking critically about the bankruptcy of dominant secularist presumptions in the culture today.
Excellent assesment of the perennial struggle between faith and naturalism in society Jan 24, 2007
After reading Desmond Curran's ill-informed review, all I'm left to wonder is whether or not he even bothered to read the book. If he had, he might have actually addressed the purpose of the book, which was to show that basing law, education and science purely on naturalism produces very questionable results. Johnson notes that it produces societies of people who lose all notion of acting in the common good and instead turn inward and focus on creating their own personal space and prosperity to the detriment of society as a whole. Naturalism rejects the notion of any concrete moral guideposts, and therefore people who subscribe to it feel no obligation to act on anything except their own subjective and ever-changing beliefs. It's a good and fair point he makes, and even a number of athiests over the centuries have noted that mankind would probably lose all moral sense of direction without some sort of faith in their lives.
This isn't to assume that the faith community is without flaw...it certainly has its share of skeletons in the closet. But overall, naturalism and its focus on subjective laws has brought us such horrors as Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao Tse Tung (all fervent believers in "natural" law). These men were responsible for nearly 100 million deaths in the 20th century alone, and to a large degree acted that way because they had no moral absolutes to follow, only their own subjective guidelines.
Mr. Curran's comments about religion may contain a hint of truth in them, but rather than offer any evidence to support his attack, he just levels a rant at Johnson while ignoring the horrific track record of his own worldview, apparently that of naturalism. I would suggest he reread the book with an open mind, since his comments show he didn't bother to read very far. Mr. Johnson wasn't "preaching" to scientists as Mr. Curran alleges ... he simply showed that the worldview that's largely accepted by scientists (naturalism) is incapable of providing us with a solid foundation for building a healthy society.
More Christian insecurities and ignorance Oct 21, 2006
Sadly, 1 star is the lowest rating allowed. A shining example of the utter ignorance of the scientific method exhibited by the majority of the US population. Science is based on OBSERVABLE phenomona. Religion is based upon dogma. Period. Anyone with ANY knowledge of human history would know that religion only tries to limit the expansion of human understanding. Remember Copernicus? Books of this ilk generally center their argument around the mistaking of a scientific theory with the more general use of the word, this one is no exception. Besides,to accept the HYPOTHESIS of intelligent design leaves the question of who designed the designer? It is a circular argument. Bottom line: Do scientists demand to preach at churches? No. Likewise, religion (and all you armchair Ayatollas out there) should keep its nose out of science.
How the Establishment Adopted Naturalistic Assumptions to Exclude mention of an Intelligent Designer Jun 21, 2006
In his earlier book, Darwin on Trial, UC Berkeley law professor and former U.S. Supreme Court clerk Phillip Johnson took on the scientific establishment. In Reason in the Balance, Johnson spars with those of his own kind, and exposes how the legal establishment has adopted naturalistic assumptions in its thinking to exclude any mention of a creative intelligence.
Johnson begins by asking the question, "Is God Unconstitutional?" By this question, Johnson really means that our culture behaves as if beliefs about God, religion, or morality belong in the subjective realm of fairy tales and Greek myths, whereas "science," particularly evolutionary science, is objective fact. This assumption has played out in various legal cases where lawyers have argued that while all viewpoints surely are equal, some religiously based viewpoints are less equal than others. Johnson attributes this attitude to "modernism."
Johnson explains that modernism is undergirded by Darwinian evolution, which in turn is propped up by little more than naturalistic philosophy. Modernists must fight non-evolutionary scientific viewpoints at all costs because they strike at the very heart of both their philosophical legitimacy and cultural power. Johnson documents how the academic freedom of Darwin-dissenters has not been tolerated by the "tolerant" modernist regime. Moreover, Darwinists have defined the rules of science and intellectual engagement such that any idea which threatens their orthodoxy is ruled out a priori.
But Johnson has hope that there may be opportunities for real dialogue between modernists and the dissenters. This will require bold scholars on both sides to challenge the status quo: dissenters must speak their unthinkable thoughts, and modernists must have the courage to listen and respond, even when this dialogue challenges worldviews and threatens career security.
The hypocrisy of naturalistic science Apr 7, 2006
Isn't it amazing how many people have written one-star reviews about this book and have not even read it.
Mr. Johnson has done a brilliant job in showing that what many people call science is ruled and controlled by an a priori metaphysical presupposition. Modern day scientists who prescribe to the tenants of naturalism, which is the vast majority of them, are under philosophical and ideological assumptions as to the nature of the world.
The truth is that a scientist who is a naturalist has far more presuppositions at play than a scientist who is a theist. The bad part is that almost all scientists who proclaim an adherence to naturalism and its belief systems will also say that they have NO biases. The conventional wisdom will tell you that the theistic scientist has a bias toward his belief and that his research may be swayed towards proving that outcome and this is could be a legitimate argument. However, these biases are obviously well known and can easily be countered against.
But what MR. Johnson clearly talks about in this book is what about the scientist and his beliefs in naturalism. Obviously this will sway his research towards proving his outcomes. The scary part is that most of the scientific community is self-deluding itself by proclaiming that they have NO biases. It is more frightfully more dangerous to be UNAWARE of your biases than it is to know them and acknowledge them.
When one stands back and looks at the true difference between a theistic scientist's worldview and that of a Naturalistic scientist, it is quite alarming to realize that both scientists have a metaphysical belief structure which helps them develop their ontological outlook. Through this structure or lens as the book calls it their world and their work is viewed. It is then that there pervasive biases are added so that when we read the many of the writings from naturalistic scientist today what we find are theories replete with arguments of metaphysical nature. The disturbing aspect of this is for years THESE naturalistic scientists have been arguing that Intelligent Design is not true science because it MIGHT lead to metaphysical theories. And this cannot be because that is not true science but super-naturalism.
(NOTE: Super-naturalism is a code word used by scientists to put down and de-legitimize metaphysical theories postulated by anybody but a bonafide naturalist. When a naturalist is involved in metaphysics it is considered true science and above reproach and long as that metaphysical theory coincides with the naturalistic world view.)
It is this blatant double standard and extreme hypocrisy that has caused people such as Mr. Johnson to eloquently speak out. Presuppositions put forward by any person should be exposed for what they are, but in this case naturalism gets a pass and what people are reading as supposedly unbiased research is actually very biased in favor of their philosophical presuppositions.
Metaphysics preformed by naturalists is still metaphysics. What we have here is a ruling cabal that thinks they are above reproach. Therefore proclamations put forth by them should be taken by you, the underlings without thought or reservation. Mr. Johnson has gotten in trouble because he declared that the emperors of science have no clothes and have challenged their cherished belief structure. Interesting to note just how hysterical and dogmatic these naturalists become. Their responses are deceitful and unscientific and show the true nature of the philosophies.
This book is a great read for anyone interested in the truth.