Nearly 30 years ago, Johnson, a law professor, wrote a book called Darwin on Trial that rekindled Creationism in a way we hadn’t seen since the Scopes Trial. He later became something of a patron saint for Intelligent Design activists.
His whole premise was that evolution was a hoax and that it couldn’t possibly explain how complex molecules evolved. His ignorance was proof of his thesis. His lack of specialized knowledge of biology didn’t stop him from proclaiming that evolution experts had it all wrong. By 1999, he was one of the principal architects of the Wedge Strategy, which attempted to generate unearned credibility for Intelligent Design by getting it taught in public schools.
He failed miserably. ID never caught on, especially after a judge ruled in 2005 that teaching it violated the Establishment Clause. And, of course, there was never any scientific merit to the beliefs. It was always religion wrapped in an invisible cloak of biology.
That said, 40% of Americans still say they accept a version of Creationism. How much of that ignorance can be attributed to Johnson, I don’t know, but the damage he inflicted upon young minds everywhere will be felt for years to come.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Brian for the link)