Benjamin Wiker

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture

Benjamin Wiker holds a PhD in Theological Ethics from Vanderbilt University. A Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, he has taught at Marquette University, St. Mary's University (MN), and Thomas Aquinas College (CA), and Franciscan University of Steubenville.

He is the author of 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help (2008) and co-author of Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins' Case Against God (2008).

Dr. Wiker writes regularly for a variety of journals.

He is the co-author with Jonathan Witt of A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature (2006). He has also published Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists (InterVarsity Press, 2002), The Mystery of the Periodic Table (Bethlehem Books, 2003), and Architects of the Culture of Death (Ignatius, 2004).

He lives with his wife and seven children in Ohio.


10 Books Every Conservative Must Read

On this episode of ID the Future, Jay Richards interviews Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Wiker on his latest book, 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Impostor. Listen in as they examine the role of materialism in politics, particularly in C. S. Lewis’s prophetic book, The Abolition of Man, and Wiker explains how moral argument has been replaced by technological manipulation of human

Legislating a Second Bill of Rights

If you think the worry about too much power in the federal government is new, then you need to take a quick trip back in history to the original debates surrounding the ratification of the Constitution between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

Evolution is Not the Problem. Darwinism is the Problem.

As I have argued at length in my Darwin Myth, evolution and Darwinism are not the same thing. Darwin’s version of evolution is properly called “Darwinism.” Darwinism was largely defined by the skeptical Enlightenment secularism of the 18th and 19th centuries. Evolution is the thing that happened, the marvelous and still largely mysterious complex of evidence that gives every indication that nature is a spectacular work in progress. Do you see the distinction? Darwinism is a particular theory about evolution.Evolution is a fact that Darwin tried to explain in a particular way, an entirely reductionist, materialist way so that he could avoid at all costs letting a divine foot in nature’s door. This distinction allows me to say a most

Set My People Free

In The Origins of Totalitarianism Hannah Arendt attempted to analyze how totalitarian regimes gain such pervasive power over every aspect of the lives of individuals. The creation of omnipresent fear, the use of terror, and the ascription of quasi-divine salvific powers to the leaders all play a part. But in a way, all of these depend on one strategic goal: the destruction of all intermediate institutions in the society—clubs, local civic organizations, independent local governing bodies, churches, and the family itself—that stand between the all-powerful government and the naked individual. In Arendt’s words, “Totalitarian movements are mass organizations of atomized, isolated individuals.” The strange loyalty of the masses to the totalitarian government

Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Darwin’s Origin of Species

November 24, 2009, marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. What should we say about this most influential of books? First of all, that it should be read, and not just celebrated. Wherever one stands in regard to Darwin or Darwinism, the Origin of Species is a classic text in the history of science, elegantly written and tightly argued. But that doesn’t mean that we should read it uncritically, and that brings me to emphasize several points that will no doubt be overlooked in the general jubilation on the Origin’s sesquicentennial. To say that the Origin is a classic does not mean that it is original. Evolution is old hat. If you doubt that, read the Roman Epicurean philosopher Lucretius’ On the Nature of

Benjamin Wiker on Darwin, the Man and the Myth

On this episode of ID the Future, Logan Gage interviews Dr. Benjamin Wiker, author of The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin. What were Darwin’s actual religious and philosophical views? Are atheists abusing Darwin’s theory when they say Darwinism supports their atheist belief? Listen in as Dr. Wiker answers and explains the natural outgrowth of Social Darwinism from Darwin’s theory. Listen to previous IDTF episodes featuring Dr. Wiker here and

What Were Darwin’s Religious Views?

Figuring out what Charles Darwin’s religious views actually were is immensely difficult, and this for several reasons. First, they appear to have changed; second, he was loathe to offend religious people; third, he was not above appearing to be religious so that he could advance his theory of evolution; and fourth, he was disingenuous. The best place to begin is not with Charles himself, but his family. Going back two generations, we find the famous physician-poet-philosopher Erasmus Darwin, Charles’ very famous grandfather. Erasmus was the consummate Enlightenment skeptic. As far as belief in God goes, he went far beyond the fashionable Deism or Unitarianism of the intelligentsia, and bordered on atheism. He did add a whiff of theism to his evolutionary treatise, the

Darwin’s Views on Morality

There is no reason for guesswork on Darwin’s views of morality. He set them out all too clearly in his Descent of Man, the book in which he applied his theory of evolution to human beings.

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin

Darwin the Abolitionist and Author of the Descent of Man
On February 12, 1809, both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born, a rather interesting coincidence. Even more interesting, both were adamant abolitionists, Charles perhaps more so than Abe.

10 Books That Screwed Up the World: Part 2

On this episode of ID the Future, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Wiker continues the discussion begun in the last podcast. Continuing through his survey of his new book, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn’t Help, Dr. Wiker sets his sights on Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man and its clear connections to the ideologies of Friedrich Nietzsche, Adolf Hitler, and Margaret Sanger. Spotlighting Darwin’s own words in context, Wiker demonstrates how the reprehensible philosophies of these three figures were the direct descendants of Darwin’s own

Answering the New Atheism

The essential book for dismantling Richard Dawkins’ atheistic agenda. Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker collaborate to debunk Dawkins’ theories and show how inconsistent and illogical his conclusions truly are. This is the definitive book for college students or faithful Christians hoping to answer Dawkins’ claims and assert the logic and beauty of their

10 Books That Screwed up the World: Part 1 

On this episode of ID the Future, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Benjamin Wiker discusses his new book, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn’t Help. In this first of a two-part series, Wiker starts his skim through the book’s list of the ten philosophical works most responsible for cultural decay. Those on the docket today are Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the two philosophers, according to Wiker, whose irresponsible inversions of morality have served as the foundation for our culture’s increasingly animalistic notions of human identity, purpose, and

Darwin and Hitler: In Their Own Words

The connection is too obvious to deny.
As David Berlinski recently noted, “the thesis that there is a connection between Darwin and Hitler is widely considered a profanation.” But striking an indignant pose — feathers in full ruffle — is not an answer to such a serious charge, especially when the words of both Darwin and Hitler speak otherwise. Those defending Darwin cannot have read his Descent of Man, wherein he applies the principles of natural selection to human beings — a thing he prudently avoided in his earlier Origin of Species. In the Descent, the eugenic and racial inferences are clearly and startlingly drawn by Darwin himself. Darwin understood the eugenic implications of his own theory, and warned his readers against imminent evolutionary backsliding. “It is surprising how soon a

Pope Benedict and Nature’s Genius

Part 1: The Limits of Scientism The public conversation about the evidence for design in nature has grown more heated of late even as it has grown more complicated. While newspaper reporters continue to serve up easily digestible sound bites, the controversy has developed into one far more variegated than any simple clash between evolution and creationism, let alone science and religion. A recent flashpoint in the debate serves well to illustrate. Iowa State University Astronomy Professor Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure last spring despite what was arguably the single most distinguished record of publication and citation in his department. ISU physics professor John Hauptman, who supported the decision to terminate Gonzalez’s employment after the spring 2008 semester,

The Peacock Principle: Beauty, God, and Darwinism

While affirming some aspects of evolutionary theory as having been verified, John Paul II did not issue evolutionary theorists a blank check from the Vatican. In particular, he made clear that a purely materialistic account, especially in regard to human beings, must be regarded as woefully insufficient.

A Meaningful World

How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature
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

Don’t Let Dogma Censor Teaching

On Tuesday, the Ohio Board of Education will vote on final adoption of a model science curriculum that includes a lesson plan on the “critical analysis of evolution.” The lesson plan is intended to implement Benchmark H of Ohio’s science standards, which requires students to know “how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” But now shrill voices claiming to speak for science are trying to pressure the board to drop the lesson plan, which was developed with input from citizens, science educators and scientists from around Ohio. Rather than honestly debate the merits of the new model curriculum, opponents are trying to prevail through use of a classic red herring. They allege that the proposed lesson on

The Problem of Evil

As an advocate of the Intelligent Design movement, I’m very often confronted with the following rather pointed criticism: “Well, if the world is designed, then we’ve got to blame the designer for all of the evil in it, don’t we? Backaches and headaches, cancer, cats playing with mice, parasites, floods, Nazis, slavery, starving children—the whole mess would have to be laid at the designer’s door.” Indeed, the presence of evil has been used, time and again, as a kind of trump card thrown down in debate against theists in general and design proponents in particular as the unanswerable objection, a lock-tight logical proof of atheism. In slightly expanded form, the logic runs as follows: If God exists, He is all-powerful and benevolent. If He is all

Mennonite Midwife Behind Bars

A Case of Overreach
Diminutive, soft-spoken, gray-haired inmate 17204 at Holmes County Jail has been behind bars for over a month. She wears an orange jumpsuit rather than her usual modest blue Mennonite dress. She stays in a cellblock on the second floor. Heavy iron beds, vinyl mattresses, metal sink, and toilet combination. No privacy. Most annoying of all, for this quiet, prayerful 47-year-old are “the blaring TV and the foul language from the girls. I’d appreciate specific prayer concerning that.” Who is this criminal? Freida M. Miller is a lay midwife. She’s been at it for 17 years, and delivered close to 2,000 babies. She was named Midwife of the Year in 1998 by the Ohio Midwives Alliance. And she has never lost a mother. For Miss Miller, being a midwife is a vocation.

Moral Darwinism

How We Became Hedonists
In this book, Senior Discovery Institute Fellow Benjamin Wiker does a brilliant job of tracing the roots of hedonism. Insofar as traditional theists sense an underlying cause for the moral decline of Western culture, all roads lead to Epicurus and the train of thought he set in motion. For Epicurus, pleasure consisted in freedom from disturbance. For Epicurus, to allow that God might intervene in the natural world and to take seriously the possibility of an afterlife, (with the moral accountability and judgment it implies) were incompatible with the good life. To short circuit belief in such a God, Epicurus proposed a mechanistic understanding of nature. Accordingly, Epicurus conceived of nature as an aggregate of material entities operating by blind, unbroken, natural laws. God or