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Essential Readings

Intelligent Design, Darwinian Evolution, and the Impact of Science on Culture

10 Essential Books (Science)

The Design Inference

A landmark of the intelligent design movement, The Design Inference revolutionized our understanding of how we detect intelligent causation. Originally published twenty-five years ago, it has now been revised and expanded into a second edition that greatly sharpens its exploration of design inferences.

Darwin’s Doubt

When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue, but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the “Cambrian explosion,” many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock. In Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen C. Meyer tells the story of the mystery surrounding this explosion of animal life — a mystery that has intensified, not only because the expected ancestors of these animals have not been found, but because scientists have learned more about what it takes to construct an animal. During the last half century, biologists have come to appreciate

The Myth of Junk DNA

Is most of our genome garbage? A number of leading proponents of Darwinian evolution claim that “junk DNA”—the non-protein-coding DNA that makes up more than 95% of our genome—provides decisive evidence for Darwin’s theory and against intelligent design, since an intelligent designer would not have littered our genome with so much garbage. In The Myth of Junk DNA, biologist Jonathan Wells exposes their claim as an anti-scientific myth that ignores the evidence, relies on illegitimate theological speculations, and impedes biomedical research. Far from consisting mainly of junk, the genome is increasingly revealing itself to be a multidimensional, integrated system in which non-protein-coding DNA performs a wide variety of essential biological functions. If anything, the

Signature in the Cell

One hundred fifty years ago, Charles Darwin revolutionized biology, but did he refute intelligent design (ID)? In Signature in the Cell, Stephen Meyer argues that he did not. Much confusion surrounds the theory of intelligent design. Frequently misrepresented by the media, politicians, and local school boards, intelligent design can be defended on purely scientific grounds in accordance with the same rigorous methods that apply to every proposed origin-of-life theory. Signature in the Cell is the first book to make a comprehensive case for intelligent design based upon DNA. Meyer embarks on an odyssey of discovery as he investigates current evolutionary theories and the evidence that ultimately led him to affirm intelligent design. Clearly defining what ID is and is not,

The Edge of Evolution

When Michael J. Behe’s first book, Darwin’s Black Box, was published in 1996, it launched the intelligent design movement. Critics howled, yet hundreds of thousands of readers and a growing number of scientists were intrigued by Behe’s claim that Darwinism could not explain the complex machinery of the cell. Now, in his long-awaited follow-up, Behe presents far more than a challenge to Darwinism: He presents the evidence of the genetics revolution, the first direct evidence of nature’s mutational pathways to radically redefine the debate about Darwinism. How much of life does Darwin’s theory explain? Most scientists believe it accounts for everything from the machinery of the cell to the history of life on earth. Darwin’s ideas have been applied to law, culture, and

Darwin’s Black Box

In Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe argues that evidence of evolution’s limits has been right under our noses, but its undoing is evident at such a small scale that we have only recently been able to see it. The field of biochemistry, begun when Watson and Crick discovered the double-helical shape of DNA, has unlocked the secrets of the cell. There, biochemists have unexpectedly discovered a world of Lilliputian complexity. As Behe engagingly demonstrates, using the examples of vision, bloodclotting, cellular transport, and more, the biochemical world comprises an arsenal of chemical machines, made up of finely calibrated, interdependent parts. For Darwinian evolution to be true, there must have been a series of mutations, each of which produced its own working machine, that

Icons of Evolution

Authored by developmental biologist and Senior Discovery Fellow Jonathan Wells, this book takes aim at 10 common “icons” used to bolster Darwin’s theory in widely used biology textbooks. The “icons” commonly cited to support evolution in textbooks turn out to be scientific urban legends, long-refuted fakes, or misrepresentations of the scientific data. One of the most famous “icons” discussed is the famous drawings of vertebrate embryos, used in many textbooks to claim that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” (that is, the development of an embryo replays its evolutionary history). There’s only one problem with these popular drawings: they were based upon faked data by the 19th century embryologist Ernst Haeckel. The drawings have

Nature’s Destiny

While others search the skies for extraterrestrial life, Michael Denton has examined the recent discoveries in all the sciences to ask — Could life elsewhere be substantially different from life on Earth? Drawing on a staggering knowledge of physics, biochemistry, geology, and evolution, Denton builds a step-by-step argument for human inevitability. Life requires water, DNA, and protein; it can only flourish in an Earth-like environment. Building on these claims — which, until recently, were impossible to defend — Denton dares to address the boldest question of all: Is a homo sapien-like creature the only possible highly intelligent being in the

5 Essential Books (Science and Culture)

God and Evolution

Can you believe in God and Darwin at the same time? What is “theistic” evolution, and how consistent is it with traditional theism? What challenges does Darwin’s theory pose for Protestants, Catholics, and Jews? Is it “anti-science” to question Darwinian Theory? Explore these questions and more in the book God and Evolution edited by Jay Richards. God and Evolution is ideal for use in small groups and adult Sunday School classes, and each chapter comes with discussion questions and downloadable video clips to facilitate educational use. A free discussion/study guide is also available for download. Accompanying Video More Information God and Evolution official

The Devil’s Delusion

Militant atheism is on the rise. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have dominated bestseller lists with books denigrating religious belief as dangerous foolishness. And these authors are merely the leading edge of a far larger movement–one that now includes much of the scientific community. “The attack on traditional religious thought,” writes David Berlinski in The Devil’s Delusion, “marks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion.” A secular Jew, Berlinski nonetheless delivers a biting defense of religious thought. An acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics

Darwin Day in America

The disturbing story of scientific expertise run amuck, exposing how an ideological interpretation of Darwinian biology and reductionist science have been used to degrade American culture and fuel a relentless march from democracy to technocracy in criminal justice, welfare, business, education, and bioethics.

A Meaningful World

Meaningful or meaningless? Purposeful or pointless? When we look at nature, whether at our living earth or into deepest space, what do we find? In stark contrast to contemporary claims that the world is meaningless, Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt reveal a cosmos charged with both meaning and purpose. Their journey begins with Shakespeare and ranges through Euclid’s geometry, the fine-tuning of the laws of physics, the periodic table of the elements, the artistry of ordinary substances like carbon and water, the intricacy of biological organisms, and the irreducible drama of scientific exploration itself. Along the way, Wiker and Witt fashion a robust argument from evidence in nature, one that rests neither on religious presuppositions nor on a simplistic view of nature as the

10 Essential Articles

“A Scientific History and Philosophical Defense of Intelligent Design”
Stephen C. Meyer

“Are We Alone?”
Jay W. Richards & Guillermo Gonzalez
The American Spectator

“Science & Design”
William Dembski
First Things

“DNA and Other Designs”
Stephen C. Meyer
First Things

“Molecular Machines: Experimental Support for the Design Inference”
Michael J. Behe
Cosmic Pursuit

“Intelligent Design is not Creationism”
Stephen C Meyer

The Daily Telegraph (London)

“Evolution: Debate it”
John Angus Campbell & Stephen C. Meyer
USA Today

“Survival of the Fakest” 
Jonathan Wells
American Spectator

“Broadening the Faith and Evolution Debate”
John G. West
Washington Post “On Faith”

“Dissent of Man”
John G. West
Claremont Review of Books

The Center for Science and Culture

Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture advances the understanding that human beings and nature are the result of intelligent design rather than a blind and undirected process. We seek long-term scientific and cultural change through cutting-edge scientific research and scholarship; education and training of young leaders; communication to the general public; and advocacy of academic freedom and free speech for scientists, teachers, and students.