What is The Center for the
Renewal of Science & Culture All About?
Mission of the Center
that human beings are created in the image of God
is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.
Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West's greatest
achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise,
and progress in the arts and sciences.
Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came
under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern
science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers
such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed human beings
not as eternal and accountable beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited
a universe ruled by chance and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated
by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic
conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture,
from politics and economics to literature and music.
The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating.
Materialists denied the existence of objective standards binding on all
cultures, claiming that environment dictates our moral beliefs. Such moral
relativism was uncritically adopted by much of the social sciences, and
it still undergirds much of modern economics, political science, psychology
Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting that human
thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and environment. The
results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal justice, product liability,
and welfare. In the materialist scheme of things, everyone is a victim and
no one can be held accountable for his or her actions.
Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they
could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific
knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs
that falsely promised to create heaven on earth.
Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science
and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and
its damning cultural legacies. Bringing together leading
scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and
social sciences, the Center explores how new developments
in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about
scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for the supernatural.
The Center awards fellowships for original research, holds conferences,
and briefs policymakers about the opportunities for life after materialism.
The Center is directed by Discovery Senior Fellow Dr. Stephen
Meyer. An Associate Professor of Philosophy at Whitworth College, Dr.
Meyer holds a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge
University. He formerly worked as a geophysicist for the Atlantic Richfield