It’s been a year of special anniversaries. We have marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Center for Science & Culture, and the 20th anniversary of the publication of Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box, which helped to launch the intelligent design revolution, as we document in the new hour-long video Revolutionary.
Equally significant, 2016 marks the 25th year since a pair of daring visionaries and onetime Harvard roommates, Bruce Chapman and George Gilder, founded our institutional home, Discovery Institute.
So we flew to Washington, DC, for a reception celebrating the achievements of Chapman and Gilder with friends from the world of politics. Thank you to our host committee, including Becky Norton Dunlop, Ken Blackwell, Ed Feulner, Ed Meese, Steve Forbes, and Grover Norquist.
This is obviously a busy and exciting time in the nation’s capital. We were delighted to see new and old friends and colleagues, including Discovery Institute Senior Fellows Bill Walton (currently co-heading the economics team for the Trump Administration’s transition to the White House) and Jay Richards, co-author of Privileged Planet and editor of The Stream. Our friend Tom Bethell was on hand, as well; his new book, Darwin’s House of Cards, will be out in January from Discovery Institute Press.
Naturally, Bruce Chapman and George Gilder were in the spotlight at the Ritz-Carlton in McLean, VA. Discovery Institute president Steve Buri introduced Gilder with reflections on the past and future:
Discovery Institute has had a meaningful impact nationally and internationally from our home base in Seattle, Washington. It was Bruce Chapman’s vision to build a national think tank outside the Beltway. And that’s no small feat.
We have much to celebrate tonight — 25 years of history behind us and a bright hope for the next 25 years ahead. Discovery Institute’s mission is to advance a culture of purpose, creativity, and innovation. We believe in a purposeful universe designed for scientific discovery. We believe in the power of human creativity to solve complex problems. And we believe in innovation in public policy that can only come when human potential is freed from the bonds of government. George Gilder said it again yesterday: “Policies can change as fast as minds can change.”
Discovery has been changing minds and influencing policies for a quarter century. We take on big challenges, and we think long term. One of those big challenges is represented by our work on intelligent design — led by Senior Fellows Steve Meyer and John West — and our related efforts to defend scientists, teachers, and students who question Darwinian orthodoxy.
No one should lose his job, or have his career threatened, for making scientific arguments in favor of design. But too often, that is what happens on college campuses today. Discovery provides a home to brave scholars and scientists — and we’ve assembled one of the best science faculties in the country.
We are equally known for the leadership of Bruce Chapman. Our Chapman Center for Civic Leadership instills lessons from Bruce’s career to a new generation of business and political leaders.
Discovery is recognized as the intellectual home of George Gilder and the Information Theory of Economics he developed at Discovery. The theory merges George’s deep understanding of technology with his incredible wealth of knowledge about economics — offering new ideas about how to create wealth and alleviate poverty.
George Gilder was brilliant as always in sketching the guiding philosophy of Discovery Institute as only he can. We will share his remarks in a subsequent post. Happy anniversary, to us all, and not least to our friends George and Bruce!