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Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

When frustrated by election results, it’s useful to remember why it’s hard to live with politicians but even harder to live without them. Bruce K. Chapman’s Politicians: The Worst Kind of People to Run the Government, Except for All the Others offers warm wit seasoned with some sharp-edged anecdotes. He reminds us that “a good political life, in the spirit of the Constitution, aims at a ‘more perfect union,’ not a perfect one.” Read More ›
Darwin Devolves

A Response to My Lehigh Colleagues

Recently in the journal Evolution, two of my colleagues in the Lehigh University Department of Biological Sciences published a seven-page critical review of Darwin Devolves. As I’ll show below, it pretty much completely misses the mark. Nonetheless, it is a good illustration of how sincere-yet-perplexed professional evolutionary biologists view the data, as well as how they see opposition to their Read More ›

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Beautiful butterfly in Hunei, Taiwan
Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

Here’s How to Tell if Scientists are Exaggerating

How much can the public trust confident claims by scientists? Especially about morally or politically or philosophically charged topics? Alas, not so much, as the New York Times Magazine reminds us once again in a recent article, “How Beauty Is Making Scientists Rethink Evolution.” The subtitle asks, “The extravagant splendor of the animal kingdom can’t be explained by natural selection alone — …

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Discovery Institute office interior staircase
Photo by Nathan Jacobson

More Than a Think Tank

I remember a Seattle Weekly article circa 2000 — around the time that I was hired as Executive Director — that described Discovery Institute as a think tank where people “sit around a big table and think really hard.” Needless to say, the article was neither friendly, nor indicative of the role that think tanks really play in policy development. It missed a bigger point, too. Discovery Institute is more than a think tank. While we still maintain an interest in public policy, we are increasingly a cultural institution — one that examines and challenges the worldview assumptions and cultural influences that drive public policy. If policies and the culture flow like a river, we work at the headwaters. Other think tanks do admirable work in the rivers and tributaries. This unique approach is one that has developed over our twenty-five year history. For those of you who are not familiar, here is a brief retelling of that story.

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The spark of life, abstract fractal render for topics such as biology, evolution

The Top Ten Scientific Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution

Is it true that there are "no weaknesses" in evolutionary theory? All one must do is examine the technical scientific literature and inquire whether there are legitimate scientific challenges to chemical and biological evolution. This article reviews some of this literature and the scientific challenges to Darwinian theory and chemical evolution therein. Read More ›
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Professional audio mixing console in concert.
Photo by Day Of Victory Stu. on Adobe Stock

List of Fine-Tuning Parameters

“Fine-tuning” refers to various features of the universe that are necessary conditions for the existence of complex life, including the initial conditions and “brute facts” of the universe, the laws of nature or the numerical constants present in those laws, and local features of habitable planets. Read More ›
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Make a Wish
Photo by Erik Brolin at Unsplash

Surprise and Creativity

Why in the world do we need yet another “new” economics? Jamming the libraries and the bookstores of the world are avatars of what must be every variation on the great themes of market and managerial economics. Scores of Nobel Prizes have been awarded for various nugatory refinements of the prevailing ideas. All these schemes, however, fail to answer the Read More ›

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Portrait of Darwin from 1893 Autobiography

Newly Discovered Notes Reveal C.S. Lewis’s Early Doubts about Darwin

Famed Christian writer C.S. Lewis has often been regarded as either uninterested in the modern evolution debate or generally supportive of evolutionary theory. But newly discovered notes written by Lewis challenge those views, revealing Lewis’s intense interest in the topic of evolution as well as his early skepticism of Darwin. The unpublished material is described and quoted from for the Read More ›