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15.10 The Discovery Institute

In response to Edwards v. Aguillard, the “Neo-Creationist Intelligent Design movement” was formed around the “Discovery Institute’s Centre for Science and Culture”. Its goal is to restate creationism in terms more likely to be well received by the public, policy makers, educators, and the scientific community. I claim that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” It is self-viewed as a “scientific” approach to creationism by creationists, but is widely rejected as unscientific by the science community.

According to critics of the Discovery Institute’s efforts through the “Teach the Controversy” campaign and the Intelligent Design movement, the “Wedge strategy” betrays the Institute’s political rather than scientific and educational purpose. The Discovery Institute and its Centre for Science and Culture (CSC) has an overarching conservative Christian social and political agenda that seeks to redefine both law and science and how they are conducted, with the stated goal of a religious “renewal” of American culture.

Given the history of the Discovery Institute as an organization committed to opposing any scientific theory inconsistent with “the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God”, many scientists regard the movement purely as a ploy to insert creationism into the science curriculum rather than as a serious attempt to discuss scientific evidence.

The “Teach the Controversy” proponents cite the current public policy statements of the Discovery Institute as belying the criticisms that their strategy is a creationist ploy. They describe critics as biased in failing to recognize that the Intelligent Design movement’s “Teach the Controversy” strategy is based on science with no religion involved. However former published policy statements, like the “Wedge Document” and statements made by its leadership show belie these assertions.

Amid this political and religious controversy the clear, categorical and oft-repeated view of established national and international scientific organizations remains that there is no scientific controversy over teaching evolution in public schools.