About Center on Human Exceptionalism

Our Mission

The mission of Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism is to affirm and uphold the intrinsic nature of human dignity, liberty, and equality.  In resistance to a growing movement against unique human personhood, we aim to revitalize a commitment to the traditional Western view of human rights and concomitant duties—both of which are summed up by the term “human exceptionalism.”

What We Do

We examine a constellation of related issues–including assisted suicide and euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human genetic manipulation, human cloning, radical environmentalism, the evil of human trafficking, and the animal rights movement, —in order to educate policy and thought with an intellectual defense of the importance of being human as the predicate to universal human rights.

We aim to serve as a valuable resource to the media, opinion-leaders, the intellectual community, decision-makers, and the general public on the many challenges and opportunities in the bioethics debate. We reach a broad audience through the publication of books, articles, and op-eds, in addition to frequent public lectures, debates, and interviews.

As part of a targeted outreach to policymakers, we inform state and national lawmakers on related issues, draft sample legislation, and provide testimony before elected bodies in order to inspire policies that reflect the unique and intrinsic moral worth of human life.

Our Team

Wesley J. Smith

Wesley SmithLawyer and award winning author, is Co-Chairman and Senior Fellow of the Center. He is also a consultant to the Patients Rights Council and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture. Smith left the full time practice of law in 1985 to pursue a career in writing and public advocacy. Read more.


Bruce Chapman

Bruce ChapmanCo-Founder of Discovery Institute, is a specialist in public policy development with a long career in government service at all levels, as well as a private career as an editorial writer, publisher and public policy fellow. Read more.

Michael Denton

Michael DentonM.D., Senior Fellow of the Center, is an author and respected genetic researcher. A Senior Fellow of the Center, he also holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Denton has had a critical impact on the debate over Darwinian evolution. Read more.

John G. West

John WestVice President and Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. His current research examines the impact of science and “scientism” on public policy and culture. Read more.

About Us

The Center on Human Exceptionalism is a program of Discovery Institute, a 501(c) 3 non-profit and non-partisan educational and research organization based in Seattle. We are supported entirely by the generosity of private foundations and individual donors who seek to nurture a democratic culture with the Judeo-Christian philosophy of intrinsic and unique human value.