Editor’s note: We are now accepting applications for the 2022 Summer Seminars. There is no tuition for the program, to be held at Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs, and travel scholarships are available. Look here for information about the two parallel tracks, both intended for undergraduate and graduate students: the CSC Seminar on Intelligent Design in the Natural Sciences, and the C. S. Lewis Fellows Program on Science and Society.
In 2016, I attended the Center for Science & Culture’s annual Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design, and that fateful week pulled me into the epicenter of the design debate. For years, I had studied and lectured on the evidence for design in nature. But after the seminars, I knew I needed to serve on the front lines of advocacy and scientific investigation. I started working for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture soon afterwards. Every summer since joining, I have assisted in equipping participants in the seminars to become the next generation of scientists, scholars, and professionals who would help spread the truth about the evidence for design in nature and about the ramifications for society.
Hope and Meaning
The training has changed the course of many participants’ lives. Alumni have become philosophers, teachers, engineers, and other advocates who have presented the truth of design to countless individuals. Explaining why we are not an accident of nature but were created for a purpose has given countless individuals hope and meaning.
Many have also become professors and researchers in biology and other science departments throughout the world. Their training has helped guide their research and provide greater understanding of their observations. Some are studying topics that lie at the cutting edge of investigations into the design logic underlying biological systems. They are discovering evidence for design so conclusive that even collaborators who philosophically reject design still recognize the necessity of design-based assumptions, logic, and tools to advance their work.
Just this week, I spoke with an alumnus who is starting his research career. He recently identified a gene that lies at the heart of a complex control system in advanced organisms that enables them to detect and defend against predators. He hopes the insights he is gaining from our engineering research group will assist him in achieving breakthroughs in the field. Another alumnus is studying the extraordinary design principles behind the materials used in anatomical structures. Others are studying the optimality and genius behind the information encoding and decoding systems pervasive in life. I could list numerous other examples.
A Need for Discretion
Unfortunately, we have had to urge participants and other academics who have expressed their support for us not to share their views openly, to avoid the persecution they could face. But the need for such discretion may come to an end in the coming decades. One of our alumni conducted research at Harvard after his PhD in a biological subdiscipline. He told me that about a quarter of the postdoctoral fellows he encountered expressed sympathy or outright support for the intelligent design framework. Understandably, none wished to share their views publicly at the time out of concern for their careers. Many other scholars in our network have shared similar stories. Yet as the number of sympathetic scientists grows, I believe that a groundswell will eventually emerge, and scientists will then feel free to tell the truth about the evidence for design.
This transition is already occurring in Brazil. Leading spectroscopy expert Marcos Eberlin has lectured in universities throughout Brazil about the evidence for design in physics, chemistry, and biology. His bold stance has attracted hundreds of biologists and large numbers of other scientists into his network. Some of our alumni in that network are preparing to become the next Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, or Ann Gauger — just three of the ID superstars who have taught in past seminars — to help lead this growing movement throughout South America.
As tipping points occur in other nations, our alumni are perfectly positioned to help lead the transition away from the philosophical confines of scientific materialism into an understanding of science driven by evidence and reason. If you know other future scientists, scholars, and advocates for truth and intellectual freedom, please encourage them to apply to the Summer Seminars.