Department: Allied Front
Discovery Institute (www.discovery.org) is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy think tank based in Seattle. The institute has a variety of programs focusing on diverse issues ranging from transportation to communications to technology to foreign affairs. However, Discovery Institute is probably best known for its Center for Science and Culture (CSC), which deals with the scientific debate over Darwinian evolution and intelligent design (ID).
As the institutional home of the ID movement, the CSC (www.discovery.org/csc) has more than 40 fellows, including biologists, biochemists, chemists, physicists, philosophers and historians of science, and public policy and legal experts, many of whom also have affiliations with colleges and universities. Among these fellows are leading ID proponents Michael Behe, William Dembski, Guillermo Gonzalez, Jay Richards, and Jonathan Wells. The CSC's director is Stephen Meyer, who holds a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University, and its associate director is John G. West, who holds a Ph.D. in government from Claremont Graduate University.
Within the debate over design, the CSC's primary focus is to fund and support research and scholarship that challenges neo-Darwinian theory and develops the scientific theory of intelligent design. This includes funding for research that has been published by pro-ID scientists in peer-reviewed journals. Discovery supports the Biologic Institute, which conducts ID-related laboratory and theoretical research into the origin and role of information in biology, the fine-tuning of the universe for life, and methods of detecting design.
Thanks to Discovery Institute's funding and support, the last seven years have been a breakthrough period of productivity for pro-ID scientific publishing, with the recent publication of the 50th peer-reviewed pro-ID technical paper. The institute also maintains a book-publishing house, Discovery Institute Press, which in the past few years has produced such books as Jonathan Wells's The Myth of Junk DNA, David Berlinski's The Deniable Darwin, and the award-winning volume God and Evolution, edited by Jay Richards.
Additionally, the CSC encourages schools to improve science education by teaching students more fully about the theory of evolution, including the theory's scientific weaknesses as well as its strengths. With Discovery Institute's support, academic freedom bills have been submitted in over a dozen states. In 2007, Discovery Institute fellows helped create Explore Evolution, the first supplemental biology textbook that teaches the scientific evidence both for and against neo-Darwinism.
Discovery Institute is also a longtime supporter of Salvo magazine, with eight of its fellows serving on Salvo's editorial advisory board. Institute staff member Casey Luskin both serves as a senior editor at Salvo and contributes the regular Operation ID column. The institute is proud to be an ally of Salvo and supports its mission to popularize the evidence for design in nature through intellectually informed and scientifically credible articles. In the words of John West:
In addition to making the case for design within the scientific community, a major part of Discovery's mission is to help educated laypeople understand the evidence for design in nature. Salvo is a prime example of how to do this in a compelling, informed, and culturally relevant manner, and we're proud to be one of their friends. •
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