In Just Ten Short Years Discovery Institute has Made The Debate Over Intelligent Design and Evolution Into a National Issue

“Discovery Institute seems to have done an absolutely brilliant job of taking a difficult position and, in effect, infusing the mass culture with it about as effectively as anything I’ve seen in recent years” said longtime news anchor Ted Koppel, opening an ABC News Nightline program on intelligent design last year.

Over the past decade, Discovery Institute made intelligent design a national issue by educating the public about the exciting science being done by its researchers and explaining how their scientific research relates to the national debate over Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Click here to register for the
CSC 10th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, October 21st

Discovery Institute launched the Center for Science and Culture in 1996, recognizing the need for an institutional home for the emerging scientific theory of intelligent design. Even though the nascent theory of intelligent design was already being discussed by individual scientists around the world, it was not until the Center for Science and Culture was established that scientists were given the resources to research what has become the most exciting scientific story since the Big Bang.

“In 1996, it was almost impossible to receive funding to do scientific research related to intelligent design,” says Bruce Chapman, President of Discovery Institute. “And, in addition to a lack of funding and resources, it was clear that scientists working on intelligent design were facing more and more persecution and harassment, making it difficult for them to conduct research.”

“So we started the Center, and now, just ten years later, we’ve put over $4 million into scientific and scholarly research on intelligent design and evolution.”

In the last ten years the CSC has:

  • Supported research and writing by more than 50 scientists and scholars in the sciences, social sciences and humanities.
  • Supported scientists and philosophers of science working on specific journal articles, monographs, and books in such areas as biology, biochemistry, cosmology, physics, probability theory, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science.
  • Financially supported a number of scientific and academic conferences, including the International Symposium on the Origins of Animal Body Plans in Chengjiang, China, the Nature of Nature conference at Baylor University, and intelligent design conference at Yale University.

In addition to securing funding for these scientists and scholars, the Center brought their struggle for academic freedom into a national spotlight, defending the right of scientists, teachers, and students to question Darwin.

The New York Times wrote in a front page story, “Discovery Institute has . . . transformed the debate into an issue of academic freedom rather than a confrontation between biology and religion.” 

This legacy is part of the proud history of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, and has been recognized by The New York Times, who wrote in a front page story, “Discovery Institute has . . . transformed the debate into an issue of academic freedom rather than a confrontation between biology and religion.”

By bringing attention to the struggles of individual scientists such as Richard von Sternberg of the Smithsonian Institute, the Center for Science and Culture has made it possible for scientists to challenge the dogma of Darwinian evolution, including the more than 600 signatories of an official statement dissenting from Darwin.

Never shying from controversy, the Center for Science and Culture has advocated for the rights of teachers like high school biology teacher Roger DeHart, who was forced to leave his school because he wanted students to learn about both sides of the scientific debate over Darwinian evolution, or professors like Nancy Bryson, who lost her job at a state university after she gave a lecture on scientific criticisms of Darwin’s theory to a group of honors students.

On Saturday, October 21st, Discovery Institute will host a ten year anniversary dinner to honor these achievements of the Center for Science & Culture, along with its Fellows and staff. Senior Fellow Michael Behe, whose seminal book, Darwin’s Black Box, is also turning ten years old, will be the honored guest. Dr. Behe’s book has profoundly influenced the intelligent design movement, and his arguments still echo throughout the scientific community.

(Click here to register.)

“In the ten years since Michael J. Behe published Darwin’s Black Box, Darwinists have boasted many times that they have refuted his arguments and laid his challenge to rest,” notes molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. “Like rumors of Mark Twain’s death, however, their boasts have been greatly exaggerated. Behe’s challenge to Darwinism is as valid and as powerful today as when his book first came out.”

“Michael Behe presented a carefully reasoned and timely exposé of biology’s complexities,” says biophysicist Cornelius G. Hunter. “It is unfortunate, but for many readers Darwin’s Black Box was a much-needed revelation. And for the more knowledgeable readers, Behe presented a monumental challenge for all to consider. What exactly is nature telling us? What do we really know, and how should science proceed? Darwin’s Black Box remains today every bit as cogent as the day it was published. Behe’s marvelous book has not become dated because biology has not become dated.”

  • What: CSC 10th Anniversary Dinner
  • Who: Dinner speaker: Dr. Michael Behe
  • Special guest speaker: Michael Medved
  • When: 7pm Saturday, October 21st
  • Where: Crystal Ballroom, Washington Athletic Club, downtown Seattle

The dinner is open to the public, and the cost to attend is $100 per person. Anyone interested in attending can register online at the Discovery Institute website. For more information, contact event coordinator Annelise Davis at (206) 292-0401 x153, or

Wesley J. Smith

Chair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human Exceptionalism
Wesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.