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A Summer Seminar Grad Tells How Her Life Was Changed

Summer Seminar

We’re now less than a month out from the deadline for U.S. applications for the Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design. The Seminars, intended for current undergraduates and graduate students, run from July 10 to 18, 2020, here in Seattle. I just received this from a graduate, Beth. She reports that her life was changed — and not just in one way! 

As Beth mentions, both Seminar tracks (Natural Sciences and C.S. Lewis Fellows) are subsidized by the friends of Discovery Institute, including housing, meals, materials, and even travel as needed. Describing her own experience, she writes:

I was 19 and a junior at my university when I received the letter of acceptance for Discovery Institute’s Summer Seminar on Intelligent Design.

“Congratulations, you have been accepted as a participant…”

I paused before continuing… What would it be like to meet some of the scientists who had caused such a ruckus? 

If I had to boil down my 10 days at the Seminar to one word, it would be: exposure. Leading up to this, I had not encountered such a diversity of ideas regarding the questions we all ask about life and its origins. Depending on which table I picked for lunch I heard a completely different perspective from the previous day. It was refreshing to be involved in organic dialogue with peers and scientists who could disagree and still be friends. Several of my own untouchable dogmas were challenged during the Seminar, ushering in an open-mindedness to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

The Summer Seminar was a great place to network, and I formed several lifelong friendships with other attendees. One lunch hour I sat across from a young man studying frogs in Hawaii. Years later we would reconnect and end up getting engaged. So… you really never know who you will meet!

My desire to pursue a graduate degree in science gained momentum at the Seminar. I remember looking out over Puget Sound as the conference came to a close and realizing I had so much to learn, but I was ready to sign up. I did end up in graduate school years later, where I was commended for taking out-of-the-box approaches to scientific questions. I credit Discovery Institute’s Summer Seminar for developing that skill in me.

I want to note one more anomaly accomplished by the Summer Seminar, with its gathering of philosophers, paleontologists, biologists, and astronomers all in the same room. If you want to experience a safe space to discuss the great questions of biology, I strongly encourage you to apply for this all-expense-paid Seminar in Seattle. I haven’t met one alum who wasn’t grateful to come. Set aside a couple hours for the application. You won’t regret it.

Congratulations to Beth and the gentleman batrachologist!

And yes, as she says, the freedom to learn about the design evidence without fear is, unfortunately, a real anomaly in today’s academic setting. If your own university permitted the study of intelligent design, and hired all the best scientists to teach about it, it might be something like this. Since ID remains forbidden knowledge on most campuses, this is your unique chance to find out what the “ruckus” is all about.

Learn with the star scientists and scholars of the intelligent design community, including Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, William Dembksi, Paul Nelson, Richard Sternberg, John West, Ann Gauger, Brian Miller, Guillermo Gonzalez, and more. Look here for further information and online applications for the Seminar on Intelligent Design in the Natural Sciences and the C.S. Lewis Fellows Program on Science and Society, which will run on parallel tracks. This is a remarkable opportunity and applying is not burdensome.

If you’re not a student yourself, tell a student you know about the Summer Seminars today! But do it quickly because the deadline, March 4, is fast approaching.

Photo credit: Scenes from the Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design, by Daniel Reeves.