Discovery Institute Press Release August 10, 1996



Major grants help establish Center for Renewal of Science and Culture

For over a century, Western science has been influenced by the idea that God is either dead or irrelevant. Two foundations recently awarded Discovery Institute nearly a million dollars in grants to examine and confront this materialistic bias in science, law, and the humanities. The grants will be used to establish the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture at Discovery, which will award research fellowships to scholars, hold conferences, and disseminate research findings among opinionmakers and the general public.

Heading the Center will be Discovery Senior Fellow Stephen Meyer. An associate professor of philosophy at Whitworth College, Meyer did his doctoral studies in origin-of-life biology at Cambridge University and is an associate editor of the scientific journal Origins and Design . The Center's co-director will be Discovery Senior Fellow John West, asst. professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University. West oversees Discovery's Religion, Liberty & Civic Life program.

Working with Meyer and West will be an array of scholars and advisors from around the world, including Phillip Johnson, professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of Darwin on Trial (1992) and Reason in the Balance (1995), and chemistry professor Michael Behe, author of the much-anticipated Darwin's Black Box, on sale now at major bookstores.

Ina addition, the Center will award several full-time research fellowships each year. For 1996-97, the full-time Discovery research fellows will be William Dembski, Paul Nelson and Jonathan Wells. Dr. Dembski has a long history of mathematical study at University of Chicago, Cornell and MIT and is a fundamental contributor in the fields of chance, chaos, probability and randomness theory. Currently, Dembski is completing a second doctorate in philosophy. Nelson is in the final weeks of his Ph.D. program in philosophy of science, also at the University of Chicago, and is the editor of the scientific journal Origins and Design. Dr. Wells holds doctorates in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley and religious studies from Yale University. He is the author of the book Charles Hodge's Critique of Darwinism.

The new Center grew out of last summer's "Death of Materialism" conference that Discovery organized and which has gathered increased attention since the four keynote addresses were published by the Intercollegiate Review earlier this year.

"The conference pointed the way," Discovery President Bruce Chapman says, "and helped us mobilize support to attack the scientific argument for the 20th century's ideology of materialism and the host of social 'isms' that attend it."

Crucial, start-up funding has come from Fieldstead & Company, and the Stewardship Foundation which also awarded a grant.

The Center for Renewal of Science and Culture fits well with Discovery's existing programs in high technology and religion. George Gilder, who heads Discovery's technology program, has a long-standing interest in the interaction of science and culture. The end of his book Microcosm explores the social and spiritual implications of contemporary physics, another one of his works-in-process deals with the cultural necessity of faith.