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.


Ronald Reagan’s Deeply Personal Argument for Intelligent Design

On this ID The Future marking the anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's death, we're delighted to share Discovery Institute Vice President Dr. John West's recent conversation with radio host Michael Medved discussing Reagan’s deeply personal argument for intelligent design. During remarks given at a National Prayer Breakfast event in 1988, Reagan shared his argument for intelligent design in unscripted, humorous fashion. But as Dr. West explains, Reagan’s commitment to intelligent design went much deeper than a few off-the-cuff laugh lines. Reagan fought against atheism and materialism in his diplomacy as president and even in his role as a father.

Eric Metaxas, Francis Schaeffer, and The Great Evangelical Disaster

Two prophets and their critiques of compromised Christianity.
Forty years ago on May 15, evangelical Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer died after a long battle against cancer.   He went out with a bang, not a whimper. A few months before his passing, Schaeffer published his final book, The Great Evangelical Disaster. Many of his last weeks were spent promoting its message. Schaeffer’s book indicted the evangelical leadership class for abandoning historic Christianity in a quest for cultural acceptance—especially in the areas of biblical authority, the value of human life, sex and gender, and politics. “he problem of evangelical accommodation,” Schaeffer observed, “is that … has constantly been in one direction—that is, to accommodate with whatever is in vogue with the form of the world spirit which is dominant

C.S. Lewis on Evolution and Intelligent Design with John West (2024 Dallas Conf. on Science & Faith)

What were C.S. Lewis’s real views on evolution and intelligent design? Dr. John West, Vice President of Discovery Institute, explores this topic in this lecture from the 2024 Dallas Conference on Science & Faith sponsored by Discovery Institute. Dr. West is editor of The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society and co-editor of The C.S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia. Find out more at Dr. West’s website,

Roundtable on Human Uniqueness

A roundtable discussion exploring what makes humans unique featuring Dr. John West, Vice President, Discovery Institute; Dr. Casey Luskin, Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture, Discovery Institute; Dr. Robert J. Marks, Director, Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, Discovery Institute; and Dr. Mark Garcia, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary. This roundtable was part of the 2023 Westminster Conference on Science and Faith co-sponsored by Discovery Institute and Westminster Theological Seminary. The event took place in September

Darwinists Devolve

One sign of a robust scientific theory is the quality of its most prominent proponents. But serious advocates of Darwinism have become an endangered species.

Ten Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Christian College

As a former professor at an evangelical Christian university, I am sometimes asked by concerned parents to recommend a good Christian college for them to consider for their children. Because the spiritual health of specific colleges and universities can change radically over time, and because there can be a wide diversity of views even among different academic departments on the same campus, it is not always possible to provide specific recommendations. What I can provide are questions you can ask if you or your teens are seeking to find a biblically-faithful college or university. Don’t just rely on marketing materials produced by the college or university! Those materials will invariably stress how the institution integrates the Christian faith with learning in everything it does.

Thus Saith the Science: C.S. Lewis on the Dangers of Scientism

Progress is an appealing idea, but what happens when we do not all desire the same things? On this ID The Future, we mark the 60th anniversary of the death of British writer C. S. Lewis as host Andrew McDiarmid concludes a conversation with Dr. John West about Lewis's prophetic warnings to us about science and scientism. Dr. West explains how scientism harms real scientific progress and leads to moral relativism. And he discusses how we can bring science back into alignment with older, deeper human truths. This is Part 2 of a two-part conversation.

C. S. Lewis’s Prophetic Legacy on Scientism

What happens when science leaves human values behind? Or when governments become governed by scientists? On this ID The Future, we mark the 60th anniversary of the death of British writer C. S. Lewis as host Andrew McDiarmid begins a conversation with Dr. John West about Lewis's prophetic warnings to us about science and scientism. Dr. West discusses what scientism is, what happens when science neglects deeper human truths, and how Lewis warned against the rise of technocracies. This is Part 1 of a two-part conversation.

The Washington Post Exposes the Smithsonian’s Racist Brain Collection

On today’s ID the Future, host Michael Medved talks with Human Zoos film director John West about a recent Washington Post series exposing how the Smithsonian Institution collected hundreds of brains from indigenous peoples as part of an early-20th century effort to promote Darwinian racism. The motivation for the brain collection was to document how some people were supposedly lower on the evolutionary ladder than others. As West notes, many of these brains are still stored in steel vats at a non-public Smithsonian facility in Maryland. Tune in as West and Medved explore this disturbing topic and how it all ties into Darwin’s theory of evolution. And to watch the segment from the Human Zoos documentary detailing this gruesome

When Darwinian Racism Came to Africa, and the West

Today’s ID the Future features another reading from scholar Olufemi Oluniyi’s new book, Darwin Comes to Africa. In this excerpt we learn how Darwin himself laid much of the groundwork for social Darwinist ideas, primarily in his book The Descent of Man, and how those ideas were energetically developed in the ensuing decades by various mainstream scientists. Oluniyi further details how their work fueled pseudo-scientific racism against black Africans and other indigenous peoples outside the West. To learn more about this neglected corner of modern Western history, and for the good news that the flow of evidence has turned against Darwinism and, with it, social Darwinist principles, pick up Oluniyi’s book

When Darwinism Came to Africa, Horrors Ensued

On today’s ID the Future, hear a Nigerian voice-actor reading from the opening pages of Nigerian scholar Olufemi Oluniyi’s new book, Darwin Comes to Africa. In this section from the preface, Oluniyi explores the relationship of Darwinism to Social Darwinism, and some of the ways Social Darwinism fueled and justified horrific ideas and actions among European thinkers and colonizers. Oluniyi tells the story of Russian scientist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, who, guided by Social Darwinist thinking, “sought to produce a race of super-soldiers for Stalin’s army by impregnating French Guinea women with the sperm of a dead chimpanzee—black African women, mind you, who were presumed to be less highly evolved and thus closer to chimpanzees than were white European women.” As Oluniyi

Olufemi Oluniyi’s New Book, Darwin Comes to Africa

On today’s ID the Future, scholar John West introduces Darwin Comes to Africa, the new book by Nigerian pastor, theologian, journalist, scholar, and human rights activist Olufemi Oluniyi. The work explores the poisonous influence of social Darwinism on British rule in northern Nigeria in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a poisonous influence felt in Oluniyi’s home country down to the present, he argues. The book project grew out of Oluniyi’s intimate knowledge of Nigerian culture as well as his attendance at the 2017 Center for Science & Culture Summer Seminar program in Seattle, Washington. By the end of that nine-day gathering, he had resolved to write a book about the impact of Social Darwinism on his home country and announced that intention to his