Center for Science and Culture
The Discover Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (CSC), formerly the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, is a leading proponent of the modern intelligent design movement and a vocal critic of modern evolutionary theory, or neo-Darwinism. Founded in 1996 with financial support from Seattle-based Discovery Institute, the CSC describes itself as a secular think tank and provides support for both challenging the theory of neo-Darwinism and research in support of intelligent design. Along with director Stephen Meyer and associate director John G. West, the center actively supports more than 40 fellows.
The Center for Science and Culture does not dismiss all forms of evolution; for example, it accepts the ideas of change over time and common ancestry. However, it maintains that the reigning theory of neo-Darwinism, which accepts natural selection and random mutations, can be shown to have scientific flaws that are so fundamental that the theory of evolution as most biologists perceive it needs to be rebuilt in a way that incorporates the design element. The center believes the mainstream scientific viewpoint gives undue credence to the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution and tries to silence criticisms against it through open hostility. It cites numerous problems for which they claim current evolutionary theory cannot offer valid answers. Rather than support the inclusion of intelligent design in public schools, recent movements, such as the center’s own “Teach the Controversy” campaign, have pushed for required teaching that challenges evolutionary theory. It maintains, however, that intelligent design offers solutions to the problems they highlight in evolutionary theory.
The center also posits that evolutionary theory has led to moral problems. From Darwin to Hitler, a book written by center fellow Richard Weikart and promoted by the CSC, claims that neo-Darwinism is responsible for the rise of eugenics, euthanasia, infanticide, abortion and racial extermination. In 2001, the Center published its A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, a statement expressing skepticism about the ability of evolutionary theory to account for the complexity of life and which has since been signed by more than 600 individuals with scientific training.
Much of the CSC’s research and writing is done by its network of fellows, who receive up to $60,000 a year for their support. Between 1996 –2005, the center gave $3.6 million in fellowships to its supported researchers. Fellows of the CSC include director Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and Michael Behe, a key witness in the famous intelligent design trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover. The center also spends approximately $1 million a year on research, polls and other resources that support intelligent design. Their media resources include numerous Web sites and online blogs, such as Faith + Evolution.org and the BeliefNet blog, “Kingdom of Priests,” written by senior fellow David Klinghoffer. CSC fellows have also written numerous books challenging evolutionary theory and offering arguments for intelligent design.