John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute

Dr. John West is Vice President and a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, where he also serves as Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, which he co-founded with philosopher of science Stephen Meyer in 1996. His current research examines the impact of science and “scientism” on public policy and culture. His other areas of expertise include constitutional law, American government and institutions, and religion and politics.

Dr. West was previously an Associate Professor of Political Science at Seattle Pacific University where he chaired the Department of Political Science and Geography, and he has taught political science and history courses at California State University, San Bernardino and Azusa Pacific University. From 1986-1989, Dr. West served as Managing Editor of Public Research, Syndicated, which distributed essays on public affairs to more than 700 daily and weekly newspapers.

Dr. West has written or edited twelve books, including most recently the expanded edition of Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician's Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action. Other books include:

Additionally, Dr. West has directed and written several documentaries, including Revolutionary, Privileged Species, the award-winning Biology of the Second Reich and Human Zoos, Darwin’s Heretic, The War on Humans, The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism, and The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis and Intelligent Design. He also helped produce the popular YouTube series, Science Uprising. Listed in Who’s Who in America, he has been interviewed by Time, Newsweek, USA Today, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, and he has appeared on CNN, FoxNews, and C-SPAN.

Dr. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University and a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington. He is a recipient of several academic fellowships, including a Haynes Foundation Dissertation Grant, an Earhart Foundation Fellowship, a Richard Weaver Fellowship, and a Chevron Journalism/Economics Scholarship. Dr. West is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha (the national political science honor society) and Phi Beta Kappa.

Archives

A Portentous Collapse

For generations, “Darwin’s Arch” in the Galápagos Islands stood as an unmovable monument to the life and work of Charles Darwin. A few weeks ago, on May 17, the arch collapsed. While the loss of this landmark is sad, it’s also fitting — for Darwinism as a scientific and social theory is collapsing as well.

Michael Behe: A Mousetrap for Darwin

Biochemist Michael Behe, author of Darwin’s Black Box, Darwin Devolves, and other books, discusses his new book A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics with John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture, and fields questions from an international audience.

That Hideous Strength

C.S. Lewis's Prophetic Warning against the Abuse of Science
Famed Anglo-Irish writer C.S. Lewis issued a prophetic warning against the dangers of the abuse of science in his novel That Hideous Strength. Learn about the relevance of Lewis's novel for today in this video commemorating its 75th anniversary (the novel was published originally on August 16, 1945).

Science and Scientism in the Age of COVID-19

Seventy-five years ago, C.S. Lewis published his novel That Hideous Strength, which explored the dangers of government in the name of science. What relevance does Lewis’s advice on the promise and perils of science-based public policy have in the age of COVID-19 and beyond? Political scientist John West, editor of the book The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Read More ›

C. S. Lewis and Intelligent Design

On the episode of ID the Future we bring you a production by Discovery Institute about C.S. Lewis and Intelligent Design. With contributions by Discovery Institute’s John West and philosophers Victor Reppert and Angus Menuge, we hear about Lewis’s early doubts about God based in part on an argument from undesign or “bad design” in nature, and how he moved from this position to developing multiple arguments for intelligent design. Another contribution he made to the intelligent design project wasn’t a specific argument but the example he set. As John West explains near the end of the episode, one of his greatest contributions was a commitment to free inquiry and open debate, one he modeled while a professor at Oxford Read More ›

John West on Darwin’s Culturally Corrosive Idea, Pt. 2

On this episode of ID the Future, hear the second half of Discovery Institute’s John West’s talk given at the 2020 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith, on how Darwinism has corroded Western culture. In this portion he examines the morally poisoning effects of Darwinism on marriage, sexual ethics, and religion, such that virtually anything can be defended as OK, and no particular culture’s ethic is to be preferred over another. Humankind’s spiritual purpose has likewise been eroded. Yet West closes with hope: science in our generation is discovering more and more signs of intelligent design and purpose in nature, and young researchers are learning that materialism shouldn’t be the foregone conclusion of contemporary science.

John West on Darwin’s Culturally Corrosive Idea, Pt. 1

On this episode of ID the Future, catch the first half of talk political scientist John West recently gave on how Darwinism has poisoned Western culture. In the lecture, delivered at the 2020 Dallas Conference on Science & Faith, West explores how Darwin’s purely materialistic theory of evolution drained meaning from nature, undercut the idea of inherent human dignity, and fueled the rise of scientific racism in the twentieth century. 

Darwin’s Corrosive Idea

Are Humans “A Plague on the Earth”?
In the case of Darwin’s idea of unguided evolution and of a planet of life formed from blind, merciless material processes alone, West notes a range of consequences and impacts, on how we see the sanctity of human, how we understand morality and spirituality, and much more. In an interview with Sir David Attenborough, in 2013, the famed evolutionist called Read More ›

Living Amid a Pandemic

Wisdom from C.S. Lewis
“Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice.” C.S. Lewis It’s been a blissfully sunny week in Seattle — the kind of week Seattleites pine for after their gray and soggy winters. The official start of spring isn’t until today, but the cherry blossoms have already been out for a long time. Of course, it doesn’t Read More ›

John West and Michael Medved Talk Human Zoos and Racism

This episode of ID the Future features an interview with filmmaker John West on the Michael Medved show, about West’s recent documentary Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism, now streaming on YouTube. Medved and West explore the tragic story of Ota Benga, and the prominent role that the Bronx Zoo, the pro-Darwinian scientific establishment, and the New York Times, played in that tragedy. As West explains, there are lessons here about the danger of letting the voices of “science” confuse our grasp of moral truth. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.

C.S. Lewis & Science: An Interview With Dr. John West, Part 1

On this episode of ID the Future from the vault, David Boze talks about the book The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society with the editor of the book, Dr. John West. Boze and Dr. West discuss how some have tried to construe C.S. Lewis’ views in order to make them benefit their own, as well as Lewis’ views on Darwinism and intelligent design.

The Dangers of Totalitarian Science: Pt. 2

On this episode of ID the Future we hear part two of a panel discussion on “The Danger of Totalitarian Science,” held at the July 2018 FreedomFest in Las Vegas. This discussion followed a screening there of the film Human Zoos, written and directed by Dr. John West. In this second episode, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow George Gilder raises concerns about artificial intelligence — but not the usual economic ones. He’s more concerned about the thinking underlying some of the more ambitious attempts at AI — and how it would tend to turn the whole world into one very large yet confining human zoo.

The Dangers of Totalitarian Science: Pt. 1

On this episode of ID the Future we hear the first part of a panel discussion from FreedomFest 2018, where John West and Richard Weikart speak on “The Danger of Totalitarian Science.” Science is a great blessing, but like all exercises of human reason and creativity, it can be abused. When science is considered the only route to knowledge, scientific experts are given the right to rule, and science becomes totalitarian. It happened decades ago, as documented in the Discovery Institute film Human Zoos. But don’t think it’s all in the past. As the panelists explain, totalitarian science remains with us today.

When the American Museum of Natural History Promoted Eugenics

This episode of ID the Future could have been titled Nightmare at the Museum. In this episode, Discovery Institute’s John West introduces listeners to a shocking chapter of American history, drawing from his new documentary, Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism. Learn of a time when this cherished American museum promoted Darwinian-inspired efforts to breed a master race. To learn more visit the film website, HumanZoos.org.

Empowerment or Exploitation? P.T. Barnum and the “Man Monkey”

On this episode of ID the Future, CSC Associate Director John West exposes the darker side of P.T. Barnum. Maybe you’ve watched The Greatest Showman – but have you heard of Barnum’s “What Is It?” exhibit? Listen in for more about racist displays of human “freaks” and how the science of the day endorsed Social Darwinism. For more, watch the newly released documentary, Human Zoos, and visit HumanZoos.org. Please consider donating to support the IDTF Podcast.