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An Outstanding Year for Intelligent Design 

Photo: Lee Cronin, via YouTube (screenshot).

Many events this past year demonstrated how the intelligent design research program continues to expand in influence and depth. I hope you will consider advancing this important work in 2024 with a gift to the Center for Science and Culture.

In 2023, design proponents published more peer-reviewed journal articles, and more universities initiated or expanded design-based training and research programs. Our scholars also received additional praise from leading experts. William Dembski’s second edition of The Design inference, co-authored with Winston Ewert, was praised by esteemed Princeton University mathematician Sergiu Klainerman who stated that he did not “see how any open-minded scientist can ignore this important book.” Here, in a quick review of the year, I will focus on some of my favorite highlights.

James Tour 

Distinguished Rice University chemist James Tour challenged leading origin-of-life researchers to demonstrate that real progress had been made in understanding how life could have emerged through an undirected process. None initially responded, but chemist Lee Cronin (pictured above) eventually agreed to debate Tour at Harvard. Cronin is a leading researcher in the field, and he had direct access to any assistance he needed to prepare the most thorough, well researched, and compelling response possible to Tour’s critique of the field. 

During the debate, Professor Tour detailed how the fundamental problems facing all materialist theories of life’s origin have not been solved. Professor Cronin responded by completely avoiding the chemistry and instead describing his Assembly Theory, which functions as a crude form of William Dembski’s design detection apparatus. The inability of Cronin or anyone else to present a meaningful defense of a materialist origin of life reflects the intellectual bankruptcy of the field. Equally striking, the evidence has pushed even Cronin in the direction of design, but he, like many, is still confusing natural selection with the actual designer. 


This past June, Discovery Institute hosted the second biannual Conference on Engineering in Living Systems where biologists and engineers convened to discuss how engineering represents the best framework to advance biological research. Speakers presented on systems engineering modeling tools that aid in visualizing and comprehending the higher-level organization of living systems. A leading biomimetics expert demonstrated how engineering analyses of animal limbs reveal how they are perfectly designed for maximum performance for strength, flexibility, and agility. 

Other speakers explained how the same engineering designs used by humans, such as elegant switching mechanisms, are implemented throughout life. Other presentations illustrated how engineering principles, such as signal processing, lie at the heart of ecological interactions. Each topic contributed to a developing comprehensive theory of biological design that will serve as a guide for future biological research. 

What was particularly encouraging was the young biologists in attendance who recognized how engineering principles provide the key to best frame and advance their research. They hope to use this knowledge to help drive the next great scientific revolution in biology that is in its earliest stages.


On the international front, geologist Casey Luskin and I presented the evidence for design in nature to several universities in Africa (herehere). I was initially shocked by how many university heads and chairs of science departments not only celebrated our talks, but wished to initiate or expand upon intelligent design training and research programs. Much of this success was due to the amazing work of BioCosmos Africa, who organized intelligent design training in key academic centers across the continent. 

The response of African, Asian, and Latin American scientists starkly contrasts with those from Western nations who have been trained to see the world through the lens of materialist philosophies. Unfortunately, many in the West suffer from Eurocentrism where they assume everyone in the world shares their philosophical assumptions. They have no comprehension of the extent to which non-Western scientists, who are not hindered by these mental blinders, have no trouble understanding and embracing the evidence for design throughout nature. 

Personal Impact

This past year, I saw firsthand on multiple occasions the impact the truth about design can make in individual lives. Recently, at an event at U.C. Berkeley, I spoke with Dr. Rice Broocks about the evidence for a Creator as seen from science and other disciplines. Several students who attended were not initially sure if they were an accident or created by a loving God. During the presentation, one student wept when she saw the truth that she was not an accident but designed for a purpose. For similar reasons, a few dozen others saw that night as a turning point in their lives. 

In South Africa, after a presentation I gave, a biology student came to me in tears. She was planning on quitting biology since she could not manage the cognitive dissonance of seeing the clear evidence for design in biology, yet constantly being told that life was the product of undirected processes with no goal in mind. She saw how engineering provides a guiding framework that allows biological systems to be understood at a deep level. She now wishes to earn a PhD in biology and help advance the field.  

I could write far more about other victories such as Stephen Meyer spending more than three hours talking about ID on The Joe Rogan Experience, important papers being published in journals, and presentations at educational conferences that will help bring the truth to numerous students. What should be clear is that the intelligent design research program is not only flourishing, but our reach is expanding both at home and internationally. With your help, as this outstanding year comes to a close, I have no doubt that this trend will continue in 2024