Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Wedge Strategy. An archive of a outline from the crsc




The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God
is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was
built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the
West's greatest achievements, including representative democracy,
human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and

Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under
wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of
modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and
man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud
portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or
machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces
and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending
forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic
conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our
culture, from politics and economics to literature and art

The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were
devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral
standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and
beliefs. Such moral relativism was uncritically adopted by much of
the social sciences, and it still undergirds much of modern
economics, political science, psychology and sociology.

Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting
that human thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and
environment. The results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal
justice, product liability, and welfare. In the materialist scheme of
things, everyone is a victim and no one can be held accountable for
his or her actions.

Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism.
Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the
application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated
coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven
on earth.

Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and
Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its
cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the
natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences,
the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and
cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism
and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of
nature. The Center awards fellowships for original research, holds
conferences, and briefs policymakers about the opportunities for life
after materialism.

The Center is directed by Discovery Senior Fellow Dr. Stephen
Meyer. An Associate Professor of Philosophy at Whitworth College, Dr.
Meyer holds a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from
Cambridge University. He formerly worked as a geophysicist for the
Atlantic Richfield Company.


Phase I.

  • Scientific Research, Writing & Publicity

Phase II.

  • Publicity & Opinion-making

Phase III.

  • Cultural Confrontation & Renewal


Phase I. Scientific Research, Writing & Publication

  • Individual Research Fellowship Program

  • Paleontology Research program (Dr. Paul Chien et al.)

  • Molecular Biology Research Program (Dr. Douglas Axe et

Phase II. Publicity & Opinion-making

  • Book Publicity

  • Opinion-Maker Conferences

  • Apologetics Seminars

  • Teacher Training Program

  • Op-ed Fellow

  • PBS (or other TV) Co-production

  • Publicity Materials / Publications

Phase III. Cultural Confrontation & Renewal

  • Academic and Scientific Challenge Conferences

  • Potential Legal Action for Teacher Training

  • Research Fellowship Program: shift to social sciences and


The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As
symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However,
we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it
off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is
precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic
science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a
"wedge" that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when
applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy,
the "thin edge of the wedge," was Phillip ]ohnson's critique of
Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in
Reason in the Balance and Defeatng Darwinism by Opening Minds.
Michael Behe's highly successful Darwin's Black Box followed
Johnson's work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the
wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic
scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of
intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the
stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it
with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

The Wedge strategy can be divided into three distinct but
interdependent phases, which are roughly but not strictly
chronological. We believe that, with adequate support, we can
accomplish many of the objectives of Phases I and II in the next five
years (1999-2003), and begin Phase III (See "Goals/ Five Year

Phase I: Research, Writing and Publication

Phase II: Publicity and Opinion-making

Phase III: Cultural Confrontation and Renewal

Phase I is the essential component of everything that comes
afterward. Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the
project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of
persuade. A lesson we have learned from the history of science is
that it is unnecessary to outnumber the opposing establishment.
Scientific revolutions are usually staged by an initially small and
relatively young group of scientists who are not blinded by the
prevailing prejudices and who are able to do creative work at the
pressure points, that is, on those critical issues upon which whole
systems of thought hinge. So, in Phase I we are supporting vital
witting and research at the sites most likely to crack the
materialist edifice.

Phase II. The pnmary purpose of Phase II is to prepare the
popular reception of our ideas. The best and truest research can
languish unread and unused unless it is properly publicized. For this
reason we seek to cultivate and convince influential individuals in
pnnt and broadcast media, as well as think tank leaders, scientists
and academics, congressional staff, talk show hosts, college and
seminary presidents and faculty, future talent and potential academic
allies. Because of his long tenure in politics, journalism and public
policy, Discovery President Bruce Chapman brings to the project rare
knowledge and acquaintance of key op-ed writers, journalists, and
political leaders. This combination of scientific and scholarly
expertise and media and political connections makes the Wedge unique,
and also prevents it from being "merely academic." Other activities
include production of a PBS documentary on intelligent design and its
implications, and popular op-ed publishing. Alongside a focus on
influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base
of support among our natural constituency, namely, Chnstians. We will
do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to
encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence's that
support the faith, as well as to "popularize" our ideas in the
broader culture.

Phase III. Once our research and writing have had time to
mature, and the public prepared for the reception of design theory,
we will move toward direct confrontation with the advocates of
materialist science through challenge conferences in significant
academic settings. We will also pursue possible legal assistance in
response to resistance to the integration of design theory into
public school science curricula. The attention, publicity, and
influence of design theory should draw scientific materialists into
open debate with design theorists, and we will be ready. With an
added emphasis to the social sciences and humanities, we will begin
to address the specific social consequences of materialism and the
Darwinist theory that supports it in the sciences.


Governing Goals

  • To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral,
    cultural and political legacies.

  • To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic
    understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by

Five Year Goals

  • To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in
    the sciences and scientific research being done from the
    perspective of design theory.

  • To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in
    spheres other than natural science.

  • To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and
    personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national

Twenty Year Goals

  • To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective
    in science.

  • To see design theory application in specific fields, including
    molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and
    cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics,
    theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in
    the fine arts.

  • To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral
    and political life.


1. A major public debate between design theorists and Darwinists
(by 2003)

2. Thirty published books on design and its cultural implications
(sex, gender issues, medicine, law, and religion)

3. One hundred scientific, academic and technical articles by our

4. Significant coverage in national media:

  • Cover story on major news magazine such as Time or

  • PBS show such as Nova treating design theory fairly

  • Regular press coverage on developments in design theory

  • Favorable op-ed pieces and columns on the design movement by
    3rd party media

5. Spiritual & cultural renewal:

  • Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from
    design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by

  • Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine
    of creation & repudiate(s)

  • Darwinism Seminaries increasingly recognize & repudiate
    naturalistic presuppositions

  • Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as
    sexuality, abortion and belief in God

6. Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their
science curricula & include design theory

7. Scientific achievements:

  • An active design movement in Israel, the UK and other
    influential countries outside the US

  • Ten CRSC Fellows teaching at major universities

  • Two universities where design theory has become the dominant

  • Design becomes a key concept in the social sciences Legal
    reform movements base legislative proposals on design theory


(1) Research Fellowship Program (for writing and publishing)

(2) Front line research funding at the "pressure points" (e.g.,
Daul Chien's Chengjiang Cambrian Fossil Find in paleontology, and
Doug Axe's research laboratory in molecular biology)

(3) Teacher training

(4) Academic Conferences

(5) Opinion-maker Events & Conferences

(6) Alliance-building, recruitment of future scientists and
leaders, and strategic partnerships with think tanks, social advocacy
groups, educational organizations and institutions, churches,
religious groups, foundations and media outlets

(7) Apologetics seminars and public speaking

(8) Op-ed and popular writing

(9) Documentaries and other media productions

(10) Academic debates

(11) Fund Raising and Development

(12) General Administrative support



William Dembski and Paul Nelson, two CRSC Fellows, will very soon
have books published by major secular university publishers,
Cambridge University Press and The University of Chicago Press,
respectively. (One critiques Darwinian materialism; the other offers
a powerful altenative.)

Nelson's book, On Common Descent, is the seventeenth book in the
prestigious University of Chicago "Evolutionary Monographs" series
and the first to critique neo-Dacwinism. Dembski's book, The Design
Inference, was back-ordered in June, two months prior to its release

These books follow hard on the heals of Michael Behe's Darwin's
Black Box (The Free Press) which is now in paperback after nine print
runs in hard cover. So far it has been translated into six foreign
languages. The success of his book has led to other secular
publishers such as McGraw Hill requesting future titles from us. This
is a breakthrough.

InterVarsity will publish our large anthology, Mere Creation
(based upon the Mere Creation conference) this fall, and Zondervan is
publishing Maker of Heaven and Earth: Three Views of the
Creation-Evolution Contoversy, edited by fellows John Mark Reynolds
and J.P. Moreland.

McGraw Hill solicited an expedited proposal from Meyer, Dembski
and Nelson on their book Uncommmon Descent. Finally, Discovery Fellow
Ed Larson has won the Pulitzer Prize for Summer for the Gods, his
retelling of the Scopes Trial, and InterVarsity has just published
his co-authored attack on assisted suicide, A Different Death.

Academic Articles

Our fellows recently have been featured or published articles in
major sciendfic and academic journals in The Proceedings to the
National Academy of Sciences, Nature, The Scientist, The American
Biology Teacher, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications,
Biochemirtry, Philosophy and Biology, Faith & Philosophy,
American Philosophical Quarterly, Rhetoric & Public Affairs,
Analysis, Book & Culture, Ethics & Medicine, Zygon,
Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith, Relgious Studies,
Christian Scholars' Review, The Southern Journal ofPhilosophy, and
the Journal of Psychalogy and Theology. Many more such articles are
now in press or awaiting review at major secular journals as a result
of our first round of research fellowships. Our own journal, Origins
& Design, continues to feature scholarly contribudons from CRSC
Fellows and other scientists.

Television and Radio Appearances

During 1997 our fellows appeared on numerous radio programs (both
Christian and secular) and five nationally televised programs,
TechnoPolitics, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Inside the Law, Freedom
Speaks, and Firing Line. The special edition of TechnoPolitics that
we produced with PBS in November elicited such an unprecedented
audience response that the producer Neil Freeman decided to air a
second episode from the "out takes." His enthusiasm for our
intellectual agenda helped stimulate a special edition of William F.
Buckley's Firing Line, featuring Phillip Johnson and two of our
fellows, Michael Behe and David Berlinski. At Ed Atsinger's
invitation, Phil Johnson and Steve Meyer addressed Salem
Communications' Talk Show Host conference in Dallas last November. As
a result, Phil and Steve have been interviewed several times on Salem
talk shows across the country. For example, in ]uly Steve Meyer
and Mike Behe were interviewed for two hours on the nationally
broadcast radio show ]anet Parshall's America. Canadian Public
Radio (CBC) recently featured Steve Meyer on their Tapestry program.
The episode, "God & the Scientists," has aired all across Canada.
And in April, William Craig debated Oxford atheist Peter Atkins in
Atlanta before a large audience (moderated by William F. Buckley),
which was broadcast live via satellite link, local radio, and intenet

Newspaper and Magazine Articles

The Firing Line debate generated positive press coverage for our
movement in, of all places, The New York Times, as well as a column
by Bill Buckley. In addition, our fellows have published recent
articles & op-eds in both the secular and Christian press,
including, for example, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times,
The Washington Times, National Review, Commentary, Touchstone, The
Detroit News, The Boston Review, The Seattle Post-lntelligenter,
Christianity Toady, Cosmic Pursuits and World. An op-ed piece by
Jonathan Wells and Steve Meyer is awaiting publication in the
Washington Post. Their article criticizes the National Academy of
Science book Teaching about Evolution for its selective and
ideological presentation of scientific evidence. Similar articles are
in the works.


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