Father of Intelligent Design visits Washburn

Brenda Snyder

Phillip Johnson, national lecturer, author and co-founder of the Intelligent Design movement, spoke to more than 300 people Saturday evening at Washburn.

Tom Morgan, associate professor of music at Washburn and faculty advisor for Christian Challenge, opened the meeting with a brief statement before introducing Johnson.

“We want to contribute to the diversity on campus by providing a Christian view,” said Morgan.

The evening’s event allowed audience members to ask questions about the theory of Intelligent Design.

One audience member asked Johnson if scientists see evolution occurring.

“There is a certain amount of minor change, which is referred to as microevolution,” said Johnson, a 30-year law professor from the University of California.

Microevolution is a variation within different kinds of animals. Johnson gave an example using finches. In one year the beaks of the finches might be smaller or larger, this Johnson said could be possible with changes in the temperature and/or climate.

“One year you may find birds with larger beaks, the next year smaller ones. There are, however, no permanent changes of any kind. There is no evidence they change from one species to another. They were finches at the beginning and finches at the end, not eagles or camels,” said Johnson.

He said the Darwinism theory misrepresents the information to keep people from knowing the truth.

“When students are educated by Darwinism, they are learning the wrong view of what science should be,” said Johnson.

Johnson, sometimes referred to as the ‘father’ of Intelligent Design, said Intelligent Design sees its theory as directed by an intelligent agent or designer, rather than by a random process such as natural selection.

Johnson also said he was not going to bring the Bible or the Genesis account of Creation into the issue of debate.

“I just want to discuss the Darwinism theory,” said Johnson.

Several local organizations helped to bring Johnson to Topeka. Craig Freerkson, director of Christian Challenge, invested his time and organized the event, and WSGA also sponsored the event.

Johnson’s four-day visit included five various speaking engagements throughout Topeka. Freerkson said he was very much encouraged by the outcome.

“The event was successful. It was tremendous to have him [Johnson] here. The turn out was good, very good from the community to the students,” said Freerkson. “We want to bring in more individuals like Phillip Johnson who will challenge the students to think critically, clear and ask the right questions.”