Double doctor doubts Darwinian dogma
Dr Don Johnson talks to Don Batten and Jonathan Sarfati
Dr Don Johnson is a retired research scientist and professor. He has two Ph.D.s—in Analytical Chemistry and Computer Science.
Don came to faith in Christ when he was 12 years old at a Summer Camp: ‘I was raised in a Christian home, but I realized that I was going in the wrong direction, and God spoke to my heart and I accepted the Lord.’
Then he got hit with evolutionary teaching in high school: ‘I always had been very interested in science, and so I would devour science books and things, and of course they always speak of evolution as fact. I thought maybe that was the way that God did it, so I basically became a theistic evolutionist—evolution appeared to be a proven fact, so that must have been the way He did it. I believed that for many years.’
We asked him how that changed: ‘After my first Ph.D. in chemistry, back in 1970, I encountered a creationist scientist who challenged me to look at the facts differently. At that time I believed that people who believed in 6-day creation and the strict biblical account had their heads in the sand and didn’t really have much intelligence, because obviously they were ignoring all this “body of facts”. When I actually looked at the evidence properly, my first thought was “this can’t be”, and then I was angry that I was deceived in so many ways for so long.’
For Dr Johnson, the lack of transitional forms expected by evolutionists was a big factor in his change of mind. And, as he said, ‘they totally ignore the statistical improbabilities involved with the non-directed formation of life’s components.’
We asked how this impacted his view of the Bible. ‘My ultimate conclusion has been that since the Bible has been shown to be accurate in so many different areas, then I can trust it in other things that I don’t totally understand yet. This includes things like Heaven, Hell—things that I have not experienced. Yet I can take on faith that those things are also going to be accurate because they are in the same book.’
Openness in China
Dr Johnson has spoken to academics in China: ‘I did a talk at the Graduate School of Agriculture in Beijing on the difference in the worldviews, and how that affects things. It was very enlightening because the teacher was concerned that I might mention Christianity. But I was pointing out that if you believe, for example, in the evolutionary worldview, then it leads to all sorts of things that you probably would find very objectionable. Survival of the fittest, for example, suggests that there should be no laws against rape1 or murder, or anything else, because obviously the people who can do those things are fit, and those who are their victims are not fit. There should be no preservation of endangered species if you believe in survival of the fittest, because obviously if they are in danger they are not fit to survive and besides, there will be other things that will take their place that are more fit. And so I followed through with some of the logical consequences of the worldview. But in that kind of a situation I couldn’t, in the public university in Beijing, China, talk directly about God. Interestingly, there seems to be more openness in Chinese universities to this input than in many in America.
‘Information cannot arise by chance’
As a specialist in information science, Dr Johnson points out that evolutionists have an impossible problem explaining the origin of the information in living things: ‘Information cannot arise by chance, no matter how long you have. It just can’t. For example, take a die and you roll it 100 times—you are going to get a very complex sequence of numbers, and each one has a probability of one out of six. “Well”, some say, “see this complex sequence happened totally by chance. We are very complex and we happened totally by chance also.” But I point out, “Yes, but what is the probability of that number pattern happening, because if you accept any result from the roll of the die, every time you roll it the probability is one that you are going to get any result.” And therefore one to the one-hundredth power is one. You have a certainty, and a certainty contains zero information. Therefore it doesn’t matter how complex the pattern is, you have no information.
‘And I point out the difference between data [or complexity] and information. Information is something that is useful that you can use to make predictions that have meaning, and the only way to get that is by intelligence. There is absolutely no way that ever has been shown to produce information other than by intelligence. And therefore, you have life, you have the complexity of the DNA structure and the amount of information that it contains, which is something that boggles very intelligent people. It makes absolutely zero sense to say it happened by chance. Things had to have been intelligently designed, they could not have happened by chance.’
Complex patterns that could not arise by chance
Dr Johnson: ‘We have spent billions on the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). Now how would we ever recognize that there is such a thing? We are looking for complex patterns on radio signals that could not have happened by chance. But when we see such patterns right before our very eyes, in the DNA, we are told, “Oh, that happened by chance.” In the movie Contact, for example, they were interpreting the patterns and separating the data from the noise and getting the prime numbers and they said, “Well that proves that there was extra-terrestrial intelligence.” You know that is trivial compared to the very clear information that is evident in the DNA.’
We asked if evolution is relevant to real science. Dr Johnson:
‘In my estimation, evolution is counter-productive to the scientific endeavour. Because we have confined science to that which is “natural” with no direction, no purpose, then we are limiting ourselves. And if we can’t consider that there is an intelligence out there who created these things and they have purpose, then we limit science. The early scientists saw purpose in God’s creation and they sought to follow that—Newton spent more time studying the Bible than he did his scientific endeavours. If you imply that there might be a purpose or some supreme being or even some [unidentified] intelligence, they won’t publish your papers because they are not “scientific”. But on the other hand, people like Francis Crick can publish in scientific journals on panspermia2 [life was seeded here from outer space, perhaps by aliens] and it gets published because he doesn’t involve God.’
Thank you, Dr Johnson.
References and notes
- See: Rape and evolution: Evolution shows its true colours, Creation 23(4):50–53, 2001. Return to text.
- See Bates, G., Designed by aliens? Discoverers of DNA’s structure attack Christianity, Creation 25(4):54–55, 2003. Return to text.