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How Intelligent Design Creationism Is Wedging Its Way into the Cultural and Academic Mainstream

Just published and co-authored by Barbara Forrest: Creationism’s Trojan Horse The Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press, 2003)

Barbara Forrest, Ph.D.

[Electronically reprinted from Chapter 1 of the book Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics (MIT Press, 2001). Reprinted with the kind permission of MIT Press.]


If we understand our own times, we will know that we should affirm the reality of God by challenging the domination of materialism and naturalism in the world of the mind. With the assistance of many friends I have developed a strategy for doing this,…We call our strategy the “wedge.” –Phillip E. Johnson [1]

With the simplest of metaphors, Phillip Johnson describes the “wedge” strategy adopted in order to advance “intelligent design” theory, the most recent–and most dangerous–manifestation of creationism. Yet the simplicity of the metaphor is deceptive. In reality, the wedge strategy is being aggressively and systematically executed by the Discovery Institute’s (DI) Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC) through an extensive, constant, and sometimes dizzying range of activities which, as Johnson says, are intended ultimately to “affirm the reality of God.” This religious goal, advanced chiefly by means of CRSC’s anti-evolution agenda–and by politics–is the heart of the wedge movement.

This essay does not analyze the philosophical and scientific arguments (such as they are) of DI’s intelligent design proponents. Others are doing that quite capably; rather, the present study analyzes the nature of the wedge strategy, providing a framework from which to move at any point into the philosophical and scientific analyses.

This study of the CRSC’s wedge strategy consists of three parts:

Part I. A chronological history of the wedge strategy and the authentication of the “Wedge Document.”

The development of the wedge movement and its strategy can be chronicled by consulting the Discovery Institute’s own publications, as well as through articles in friendly sources. The Wedge’s chronological development includes the production of a strategy outline known informally outside DI as “the Wedge Document,” which is authenticated here. An important point, however, is that DI’s activities would speak for themselves even if the document were not genuine. These activities betray an aggressive, systematic agenda for promoting not only intelligent design creationism, but the religious worldview that undergirds it.

Part II. A survey of wedge activities.

A survey of the activities which DI’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture has undertaken to advance the wedge strategy shows that the systematic program has been very successfully carried out except for its most important component: the production of scientific data to support intelligent design. Yet despite the scientific failure of the wedge, the CRSC is tireless in advancing the rest of its strategy–(1) establishing a beachhead in higher education, (2) influencing public opinion by a steady stream of popular publications, and, most insidiously, (3) insinuating “intelligent design theory” into the public education curriculum.

Part III. An analysis of the nature of the wedge strategy and its advance into the mainstream.

The Wedge consists of a tightly knit core of people at DI’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture who have worked together for almost a decade to advance the wedge strategy; the same people are always active in the CRSC’s major events. The movement is fueled by a religious vision which, although it varies among the members in its particulars, is predicated on the shared conviction that America is in need of “renewal” which can be accomplished only by instituting religion as its cultural foundation.

Part I

Chronological History of the Wedge

“Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies . . . .” –Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture [2]

The “Wedge,” a movement–aimed at the court of public opinion–which seeks to undermine public support for teaching evolution while cultivating support for “intelligent design theory,” was not born in the mind of a scientist, or in a science class, or in a laboratory, or from any kind of scientific research, but out of personal difficulties after a divorce which led to Phillip Johnson’s conversion to born-again Christianity. The wedge movement thus began, in a very real sense, as a religious epiphany in the life of Phillip Johnson. In accounts given by Johnson himself, he says that “The experience of having marriage and family life crash under me, and of achieving a certain amount of academic success and seeing the meaninglessness of it, made me . . . give myself to Christ at the advanced age of 38. And that aroused a particular level of intellectual interest in the question of why the intellectual world is so dominated by naturalistic and agnostic thinking.”[3] Nancy Pearcey, a CRSC fellow and Johnson associate, sees enough of a connection between Johnson’s leadership of the intelligent design movement and his religious conversion to link both events in two of her most recent publications. In a recent interview with Johnson for World magazine, Pearcey says, “It is not only in politics that leaders forge movements. Phillip Johnson has developed what is called the ‘Intelligent Design’ movement . . . Mr. Johnson is a Berkeley law professor who, spurred by the crisis of a failed marriage, converted to Christianity in midlife.”[4] In Christianity Today, she made an even sharper connection which reveals the connection between Johnson’s religious beliefs and his animosity toward evolution: “The unofficial spokesman for ID is Phillip E. Johnson, a Berkeley law professor who converted to Christianity in his late 30s, then turned his sharp lawyer’s eyes on the theory of evolution.”[5]

Having begun with his religious conversion, Johnson’s quest for personal meaning culminated in another epiphany during a sabbatical in England: “In 1987, when UC Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson asked God what he should do with the rest of his life, he didn’t know he’d wind up playing Toto to the ersatz winds of Darwinism. But a fateful trip by a London bookstore hooked Mr. Johnson on a comparative study of evolutionary theory.”[6] Johnson purchased Richard Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker and “devoured it and then another book, Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.” Such was Johnson’s second epiphany: “I read these books, and I guess almost immediately I thought, This is it. This is where it all comes down to, the understanding of creation.”[7] The wedge’s gestation period had begun.

According to Johnson, the wedge movement, if not the term, began in 1992: “The movement we now call the wedge made its public debut at a conference of scientists and philosophers held at Southern Methodist University in March 1992, following the publication of my book Darwin on Trial [1991]. The conference brought together as speakers some key wedge figures, particularly Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and myself.”[8] Johnson had initiated contact with a “cadre of intelligent design (ID) proponents for whom Mr. Johnson acted as an early fulcrum. . . . Mr. Johnson made contact, exchanged flurries of e-mail, and arranged personal meetings. He frames these alliances as a ‘wedge strategy,’ with himself as lead blocker and ID scientists carrying the ball behind him.”[9] In 1993, a year after the SMU conference, “the Johnson-Behe cadre of scholars met at Pajaro Dunes. . . . Here, Behe presented for the first time the seed thoughts that had been brewing in his mind for a year–the idea of ‘irreducibly complex’ molecular machinery.”[10]

When the July 1992 Scientific American published Stephen Jay Gould’s review of Darwin on Trial, in which Gould called the book “full of errors, badly argued, based on false criteria, and abysmally written,” Johnson’s supporters formed the “Ad Hoc Origins Committee” and wrote a letter (probably in 1992 or 1993) on Johnson’s behalf: “This letter was mailed to thousands of university professors shortly after Stephen Jay Gould wrote his vitriolic bashing of . . . Darwin on Trial. Included with it was Johnson’s essay ‘The Religion of the Blind Watchmaker,’ replying to Gould, which Scientific American refused to publish.”[11] Among the thirty-nine signatories were nine (listed below with their then-current affiliations) who a few years later became fellows of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture:

Henry F. Schaefer III, Ph.D.

Quantum Computational Chemistry

University of Georgia


Robert Koons, Ph.D.


UT, Austin


Stephen Meyer, Ph.D.

Philosophy of Science

Whitworth College


Walter Bradley, Ph.D.

Chairman, Mechanical Engineering

Texas A & M University


Michael Behe, Ph.D.


Lehigh University


Paul Chien, Ph.D.


University of San Francisco


William Dembski, Ph.D.


Northwestern University


John Angus Campbell, Ph.D.

Speech Communication

University of Washington


Robert Kaita, Ph.D.

Plasma Physics

Princeton University



The signatories describe themselves in the letter as “a group of fellow professors or academic scientists who are generally sympathetic to Johnson and believe that he warrants a hearing. . . . Most of us are also Christian Theists who like Johnson are unhappy with the polarized debate between biblical literalism and scientific materialism. We think a critical re-evaluation of Darwinism is both necessary and possible without embracing young-earth creationism.”[12] A critical mass of supporters had begun to coalesce around Johnson.

By 1995, Johnson’s mission had crystallized, and he had a loyal contingent of like-minded people to help carry it out. That summer they held another conference, “The Death of Materialism and the Renewal of Culture,” which served as the matrix of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, organized the following year.[13] Johnson produced another book, Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education (InterVarsity Press, 1995), in which he positioned himself as a “theistic realist” against “methodological naturalism”:

First, here is a definition of MN [methodological naturalism], followed by a contrasting definition of my own position, which I label “theistic realism” (TR). . . .

1. A methodological naturalist defines science as the search for the best naturalistic theories. A theory would not be naturalistic if it left something (such as the existence of genetic information or consciousness) to be explained by a supernatural cause. Hence all events in evolution (before the evolution of intelligence) are assumed to be attributable to unintelligent causes. The question is not whether life (genetic information) arose by some combination of chance and chemical laws . . . but merely how it did so. . . . The Creator belongs to the realm of religion, not scientific investigation.

2. A theistic realist assumes that the universe and all its creatures were brought into existence for a purpose by God. Theistic realists expect this “fact” of creation to have empirical, observable consequences that are different from the consequences one would observe if the universe were the product of nonrational causes . . . . God always has the option of working through regular secondary mechanisms, and we observe such mechanisms frequently. On the other hand, many important questions–including the origin of genetic information and human consciousness–may not be explicable in terms of unintelligent causes, just as a computer or a book cannot be explained that way.[14]

The opposition between naturalism and theistic realism has become a hallmark of Johnson’s thinking.

Now that ID’s metaphysical terrain was clearly mapped, Johnson and his allies needed a formal strategy for executing their mission. By 1996, the most crucial development in the wedge strategy had occurred: the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture was established under the auspices of the conservative Seattle think tank, the Discovery Institute.[15] In its Summer 1996 Journal, “a periodic publication that keeps Discovery members and friends up to date on Discovery’s programs and events,” the Discovery Institute announced the CRSC’s formation, which “grew out of last summer’s [1995] ‘Death of Materialism’ conference.”[16] According to DI president Bruce Chapman, “The conference pointed the way and helped us mobilize support to attack the scientific argument for the 20th century’s ideology of materialism and the host of social ‘isms’ that attend it.” Larry Witham’s December 1999 Washington Times column reveals the CRSC’s topmost position on its parent organization’s roster of priorities:

The eight-year-old Discovery Institute is a Seattle think tank where research in transportation, military reform, economics and the environment often takes on the easygoing tenor of its Northwest hometown. But it also sponsors a group of academics in science affectionately called ‘the wedge’ . . . The wedge is part of the institute’s four-year-old Center for Renewal of Science and Culture (CRSC), a research, publishing and conference program that challenges what it calls an anti-religious bias in science and science education. “I would say its our No. 1 project,” said Bruce Chapman, Discovery’s president and founder.[17]

With the formation of the CRSC, the wedge’s core working group was in place: Stephen Meyer and John G. West, Jr., as co-directors; William Dembski, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, and Paul Nelson as 1996-97 full-time research fellows; and Phillip Johnson as advisor.[18] Once the movement was securely housed with the Discovery Institute, the execution of the wedge strategy began to pick up speed.

In November 1996, Johnson and his associates convened the “Mere Creation” conference at Biola University in California.[19] The importance of this conference cannot be underestimated; indeed, in the Foreword to the book which issued from it, its importance was explicitly spelled out by Henry Schaefer, the University of Georgia chemist who had supported Phillip Johnson as a signatory to the Ad Hoc Origins Letter: “An unprecedented intellectual event occurred in Los Angeles on November 14-17, 1996. Under the sponsorship of Christian Leadership Ministries, Biola University hosted a major research conference bringing together scientists and scholars who reject naturalism as an adequate framework for doing science and who seek a common vision of creation united under the rubric of intelligent design.”[20] (Christian Leadership Ministries has continued to actively assist the wedge both logistically and in its provision of “virtual” office space to wedge members on its “Leadership University” web site.[21])

Contrary to Schaefer’s labeling the Mere Creation conference a research conference, it did not actually produce any scientific research.[22] It did, however, produce the needed strategy. The movement’s goal at this conference was already clear to third-party observers, such as Scott Swanson, who wrote about the conference for Christianity Today:

The fledgling “intelligent-design” movement, which says Darwinian explanation of human origins are inadequate, is aiming to shift from the margins to the mainstream. . . . The first major gathering of intelligent-design proponents took place in November at Biola University in La Mirada, California. . . . If the turnout at the conference is any indication, intelligent design is gaining a following. More than 160 academics, double what organizers had envisioned, attended from 98 universities, colleges, and organizations. The majority represented secular universities.[23]

Although, according to Swanson, the organizers “chose not to use the conference as a forum to develop a statement of belief for the movement,” he learned that “leaders are planning a spring conference at the University of Texas and have begun publishing a journal, Origins and Design, edited by Paul Nelson. . . .” This is a reference to the “Naturalism, Theism, and the Scientific Enterprise” conference, held at UT in February 1997 and organized by CRSC fellow Robert Koons, a philosopher and UT faculty member.[24] With a core of supporters who had now been able to convene and strategize, the wedge’s gestation period was over: “Prior to the conference, the intelligent-design movement comprised a loose coalition of scholars from a wide variety of disciplines. The conference brought together like-minded scholars ‘to get them thinking in the same range of questions,’ says . . . Phillip Johnson. . . .”[25]

William Dembski edited a book of conference presentations entitled Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design (such books, like the conferences themselves, being an important component in the wedge strategy). Henry Schaefer wrote the Foreword, in which he reveals unmistakably that the wedge strategy had now solidified in important ways:

Wonderful ideas left under a bushel do no good. The conference should produce tangible results that will accelerate the growth of scientific research programs unencumbered by naturalism, encouraging and disseminating scholarship both at the highest level and at the popular level via such activities as preparing a book for publication, with chapters drawn from the conference papers (this goal has been met with the publication of the present volume); planning a major origins conference at a large university to engage scientific naturalists (this goal remains in the offing); outlining a research program to encourage the next generation of scholars to work on theories beyond the confines of naturalism; exploring the need for establishing fellowship programs, and encouraging joint research (Seattle’s Discovery Institute is the key player here–see www.discovery.org); providing resources for the new journal Origins & Design as an ongoing forum and a first-rate interdisciplinary journal with contributions by conference participants (see www.arn.org/arn); preparing information usable in the campus environment of a modern university, such as expanding a World Wide Web origins site (see www.leaderu.com, Archive.org:origins.org, www.iclnet.org) and exploring video and other means of communication (see www.daystar.org).

Schaefer also lists the members of the steering committee for the conference:

  • Michael Behe
  • Walter Bradley
  • William Dembski
  • Phillip Johnson
  • Sherwood Lingenfelter
  • Stephen Meyer
  • J.P. Moreland
  • Paul Nelson
  • Pattle Pun
  • John Mark Reynolds
  • Henry F. Schaefer III
  • Jeffrey Schloss [26]

The activities Schaefer lists in his Foreword prefigure most of the activities which are now actually being executed, and the steering committee metamorphosed into some of the wedge’s most active members. All steering committee members except Johnson, who is the CRSC’s advisor, and Sherwood Lingenfelter, Biola University provost who hosted the conference, have become CRSC fellows.

By 1997, Johnson was talking openly about the wedge strategy in his book, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (dedicated “To Roberta and Howard, who understood ‘the Wedge’ because they love the Truth”).[27] Johnson devotes Chapter 6 to “The Wedge: A Strategy for Truth,” calling upon a familiar metaphor of using a wedge to make a small opening which then splits a huge log: “We call our strategy ‘the wedge.’ A log is a seeming solid object, but a wedge can eventually split it by penetrating a crack and gradually widening the split. In this case the ideology of scientific materialism is the apparently solid log.”[28] Johnson’s 1998 book, Objections Sustained: Subversive Essays on Evolution, Law and Culture is dedicated “To the members of the wedge, present and future.”[29] His most recent book is The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism (InterVarsity Press, 2000).

Although Johnson had begun thinking and speaking of the wedge strategy in 1997, there had been no detailed elaboration of the form its execution would take. Such elaborations were stated in a CRSC strategy document which has come to be known informally as the “Wedge Document.”[30] It surfaced anonymously and was posted on the Internet in March 1999; various aspects of the document indicate that it was written in 1998. This document is the “Five Year Plan” of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, although it includes goals which stretch into the next twenty years, indicating the CRSC’s view of the strategy as a long-term commitment. Although Johnson has talked openly about the existence of the strategy, he has not publicly elaborated upon its logistics, and the logistics are ambitious. The document, entitled “The wedge Strategy,” with the name of the organization, “Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture” beneath the title, explains what the CRSC is doing now as well as where they want to go; therefore, it is crucially important.

The authenticity of the Wedge Document has been neither affirmed nor denied by the CRSC; however, a strong case can be made for its authenticity. [Editor’s Note: Since publication of this study, Stephen Meyer has admitted that the document is genuine.] The Introduction reads as follows:




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 sciences.

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.[31]

The most compelling evidence for the Wedge Document’s authenticity was located on the DI’s own web site, on pages which contained exactly the same wording as this Introduction. These pages appeared to date from the establishment of the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture and are no longer accessible.[32] Yet even if the document were not authentic, the ambitious spate of activities being carried out by the CRSC proves the existence of a well orchestrated strategy. The document simply provides a specific sketch of the strategy and can be used as a reference point to examine the CRSC’s progress in executing its phases.

An ambitious strategy like the wedge would have been useless, however, without money. The CRSC has been generously funded by a number of benefactors, the most forthcoming of whom is Howard Ahmanson through his organization Fieldstead and Company. A rather ominous aspect of Ahmanson’s identity is his long-time membership (until 1995) on the board of the Christian reconstructionist Chalcedon Foundation, one of the most extreme right-wing fundamentalist organizations in the country.[33] Ahmanson’s contribution of crucial start-up funding is acknowledged in the Discovery Institute’s announcement of the CRSC’s establishment in its Summer 1996 Journal.[34] In the 1999 Journal, the CRSC announces major funding increases:

. . . three enlarged grants to the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture have enabled it to expand the number of fellowships it is supporting for scholarly work on the theory of ‘intelligent design’ . . . Crucial decisions in the fall of 1998 at the Fieldstead & Co. . . . increased its grant to Discovery to $300,000 per year for the next five years. The Maclellan Foundation . . . also increased its grant to $400,000 for 1999, while the . . . Stewardship Foundation . . . voted to increase its CRSC grant to $200,000 per year for the next five years. Special grants are likely to bring the overall CRSC budget to over $1 million for 1999.[35]

According to Larry Witham in the Washington Times, all three of the above funding sources have “Christian roots.”[36] Their contribution of so much money indicates that they recognize and support the CRSC’s mission. DI president Bruce Chapman affirms such support: “We are not going through this exercise just for the fun of it. We think some of these ideas are destined to change the intellectual–and in time the political–world. Fieldstead & Company and the Stewardship Foundation agree, or they would not have given us such substantial funding.”[37]

Now, in the year 2000, with its program of action spelled out in the Wedge Document and ample funding secured, the strategy is at work and gaining steam. Having begun with only four research fellows, the CRSC presently consists of forty-one fellows, thirteen of whom have senior status. Phillip Johnson is still the advisor, along with George Gilder.[38] Their pursuit of the wedge’s goals continues unabated. The split in the log widened, and the wedge lodged more firmly in place, with the establishment in October 1999 of the Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor University, run by CRSC fellows William Dembski and Bruce Gordon. As will be seen in the subsequent parts of this study, the Discovery Institute having provided a secure home, the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture has grown from infancy to robust adolescence, and it is impatiently racing toward adulthood.

Part II

A Survey of Wedge Activities

“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. . . . Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist world view, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.” –“The Wedge Strategy”

In the July/August 1999 Touchstone Magazine, Phillip Johnson declares that “it is time to review how the wedge has grown and progressed, to evaluate how far we have come, and to forecast what we expect to accomplish in the next decade.”[39] The Wedge Document lists specific goals by means of which DI’s progress in pursuing its wedge strategy can be calculated. Wedge members maintain a dizzying schedule of activities–new ones show up on the Internet constantly, making it difficult to keep track of all of them. Not all of them are of equal significance; some are relatively minor, while others, such as conferences, are more ambitious and wider in their impact. Neither has DI itself organized all of these activities. Some were organized by others–both their allies and their opponents. However, when wedge members participate in events organized by others–whether allies or opponents–the wedge’s goals are advanced even more pronouncedly: Johnson’s goal of getting a place at the table is met, and the wedge registers as a force which must be taken into account.

At least one activity for virtually every major goal in the Wedge Document is identified below. A notable exception, however, is their very first phase–the goal of scientific research. Yet when added together, the other activities demonstrate that the strategy–consisting of a great deal of political and public relations work, if not scientific research–is a well funded, aggressive, systematic program which has considerably advanced the goals in the Wedge Document:


Phase I. Scientific Research, Writing and Publication

  • Individual Research Fellowship Program
  • Paleontology Research Program . . .
  • Molecular Biology Research Program . . .

Phase II. Publicity and Opinion-making

  • Book Publicity
  • Opinion-Maker Conferences
  • Apologetics Seminars
  • Teacher Training Programs
  • Op-ed Fellow
  • PBS (or other TV) Co-production
  • Publicity Materials/Publications

Phase III. Culture Confrontation and Renewal

  • Academic and Scientific Challenge Conferences
  • Potential Legal Action for Teacher Training
  • Research Fellowship Program: shift to social sciences and humanities[40]

The Wedge Document also states that DI does not consider the chronological order of these phases to be unchangeable, and they are optimistic about the Wedge’s success: “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 . . .”

Phase I of the Wedge Strategy: “Scientific Research, Writing and Publication”

By the Discovery Institute’s own description above, Phase I–the production of scientific research, along with writing and publicity–is the foundation of the wedge strategy. In support of “significant and original research in the natural sciences, the history and philosophy of science, cognitive science and related fields,” the CRSC has a generous fellowship program, providing “Full-year research fellowships between $40,000 and $50,000” and “Short-term research fellowships between $2,500 and $15,000 for either summer research, release time from teaching or book promotion activities, or other research-related activities.”[41] During CRSC’s first year of operation alone, they awarded more than $270,000 in research grants.[42] Such lucrative support should enable industrious young scientists to develop scientific research programs and compile data to support intelligent design.

Yet, in this most important of all the Wedge’s goals–the only one that can truly win them the credibility they crave–their record is conspicuously unsuccessful. Ironically, the CRSC boasts of its scientific research program, while Phillip Johnson has admitted the lack of scientific data which would substantiate their boasting. The CRSC’s web site declares, “The Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks, therefore, to challenge materialism on specifically scientific grounds. Yet Center Fellows do more than critique theories that have materialistic implications. They have also pioneered alternative scientific theories and research methods that recognize the reality of design . . . This new research program–called ‘design theory’–is based upon recent developments in the information sciences and many new evidences of design.”[43] But in 1996, when the wedge strategy was being formalized at the Mere Creation conference at Biola University, Johnson acknowledged that design proponents did not yet have the science to accomplish their goals:

What we need for now is people who want to get thinking going in the right direction, not people who have all the answers in advance. In good time new theories will emerge, and science will change. We shouldn’t try to shortcut the process by establishing some new theory of origins until we know more about exactly what needs to be explained. Maybe there will be a new theory of evolution, but it is also possible that the basic concept will collapse and science will acknowledge that those elusive common ancestors of the major biological groups never existed. If we get an unbiased scientific process started, we can have confidence that it will bring us closer to the truth.

For the present I recommend that we also put the Biblical issues to one side. The last thing we should want to do, or seem to want to do, is to threaten the freedom of scientific inquiry. Bringing the Bible anywhere near this issue just raises the “Inherit the Wind” stereotype, and closes minds instead of opening them.

We can wait until we have a better scientific theory, one genuinely based on unbiased empirical evidence and not on materialist philosophy, before we need to worry about whether and to what extent that theory is consistent with the Bible. Until we reach that better science, it’s just best to live with some uncertainties and incongruities, which is our lot as human beings–in this life, anyway.[44] [Emphasis added.]

Despite this notable lack of “some new theory of origins,” CRSC fellow Nancy Pearcey wrote in 1997 that “The design movement offers more than new and improved critiques of evolutionary theory. . . . Its goal is to show that intelligent design also functions as a positive research program.” The Discovery Institute boasts of CRSC’s scientific achievements in its 1999 Journal:

Today . . . Darwinist dogma is being challenged by new science. It isn’t easy getting a hearing, but it is happening more and more. Science’s grand tradition of self-examination is leading to new theories based on better evidence, and pointing away from materialism.

Defenders of Darwinian orthodoxy are quarreling among themselves as never before as disturbing evidence against Darwinism appears in such fields as Big Bang cosmology, paleontology (especially in Cambrian era fossils) and molecular biology. Moreover, an alternative to Darwinism–within science–is emerging in the theory of “Intelligent Design.” The Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture at Discovery Institute is a major factor in the new scientific debate and the examination of its implications for culture and public policy.[45]

The wedge movement’s desired entrè into secular academia is impossible without a scientific research program, buttressed by the production of peer-reviewed scientific data. Yet fellows of the CRSC have been successful only in the Phase I goals of writing and publication.[46] They have produced no original scientific data, nor even a genuine scientific research plan, which would mark the successful accomplishment of this most crucial phase.

The CRSC’s 1997 “Year End Update” chronicled its activities for that year. Its “Consultation on Intelligent Design” brought together “CRSC fellows and friends from around the world.” Featured as “highlights of the weekend” were wedge scientists whose work purportedly holds promise for confirmation of design’s scientific viability: Paul Chien, a University of San Francisco biology professor, and Michael Behe, a biochemistry professor at Lehigh University.[47] Research on the scientific output of these wedge members reveals the lack of success in the goal with which they have been entrusted.

Paul K. Chien

Paul K. Chien is charged in the Wedge Document with conducting the CRSC’s paleontology research. He has cultivated connections with Chinese scientists in Kunming, China, where the famous Chengjiang fossils, dating back to the Cambrian period, have aroused intense international interest. Chien and the Discovery Institute helped organize the June 1999 “International Symposium on the Origins of Animal Body Plans and Their Fossil Records,” a conference on the Chengjiang fossils which scientists from around the world attended in Kunming.[48]

The Discovery Institute is exploiting Chien’s connection with the Chengjiang discovery in several ways; an example is their argument for teaching intelligent design in the nation’s public schools in an article entitled “Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook”:

In recent years the fossil record has also provided new support for design. Fossil studies reveal a “biological big bang” near the beginning of the Cambrian period 530 million years ago. At that time roughly fifty separate major groups of organisms or “phyla” (including most all the basic body plans of modern animals) emerged suddenly without evident precursors. Although neo-Darwinian theory requires vast periods of time for the step-by-step development of new biological organs and body plans, fossil finds have repeatedly confirmed a pattern of explosive appearance followed by prolonged stability of living forms. Moreover, the fossil record shows a “top-down” hierarchical pattern of appearance in which major structural themes or body plans emerge before minor variations on those themes. . . . Not only does this pattern directly contradict the “bottom-up” pattern predicted by neo-Darwinism, but as University of San Francisco marine paleobiologist Paul Chien and several colleagues have argued, . . . it also strongly resembles the pattern evident in the history of human technological design, again suggesting actual (i.e., intelligent) design as the best explanation for the data.[49]

The Wedge is clearly using Chien’s expertise as a “paleobiologist” to shore up its pro-intelligent design stance. However, although Chien does have distinguished credentials, paleontological expertise–a necessary credential for studying the Chinese Cambrian fossils–is not among them. On the University of San Franciso’s Department of Biology home page, Dr. Chien’s degrees are listed: B.S., Chung Chi College, N.T., Hong Kong, Chemistry, 1962; B.S., Chung Chi College, N.T., Hong Kong, Biology, 1964; Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 1971. His Ph.D. field is not listed, but according to his bio on the CRSC web site, it is biology. Chien’s research interests are also listed on the USF page: “Prof. Chien is interested in the physiology and ecology of inter-tidal organisms. His research has involved the transport of amino acids and metal ions across cell membranes and the detoxification mechanisms of metal ions.”[50] Clearly, Chien has no formal credentials in paleontology; moreover, he is not really interested in acquiring them, as he revealed in a 1997 Real Issue interview:

RI: Do you intend to go back to Chengjiang, the Chinese Cambrian site?

Chien: I would very much like to do that. Somehow I would like to get more involved in fossil work. Although I have lectured so many years in my own area of marine biology and pollution, I think I would like to concentrate on this aspect. This was an opportunity presented to me which nobody else has.

RI: Perhaps you could add “paleontologist” to your credentials.

Chien: Not really; that’s not my purpose. I am more interested in working on the popular level. . . . [51]

A survey of the scientific literature reveals that Chien’s study of the Chengjiang fossils has progressed no farther than a hobby.[52] A survey in May 2000 on SciSearch (the electronic version of the Science Citation Index), which contains citations dating to 1988, using the name “P. K. Chien,” with no date restrictions, yielded only six articles, none of which were about either the Chengjiang fossils or intelligent design. A Medline search on June 26, 2000, for “P. K. Chien” yielded the same results. A combined search of Biological and Agricultural Index, Medline, and Zoological Record on June 26, 2000, for “P. Chien” (which also picked up anything by “P. K. Chien”) yielded a total of forty-five articles, but none about either the Chengjiang fossils or intelligent design.

Chien has expended considerable effort to advance the cause of intelligent design in China:

More important for me is to tell the Chinese people about [the Cambrian Explosion]. The Chengjiang Biota is a “Treasure” discovered by our own scientists on our own land! In Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, very few people know about it. Many Chinese have been taught the wrong theory, namely Darwinism. When I told them about this new scientific finding, some were very angry because they had been told the wrong story all their lives. Of course some thought I was telling a lie. But after I showed them the evidence, the real fossils from Chengjiang, they turned around and blamed the education they had received.[53]

This kind of work serves the Discovery Institute’s agenda of undermining evolution and advancing the cause of intelligent design beyond the U.S. The Wedge Document predicts, as one of the CRSC’s Five Year Objectives, “An active design movement in Israel, the UK and other influential countries outside the US.” However, Chien’s work does nothing anywhere in the world to provide genuine scientific support for intelligent design.

Michael Behe

Michael Behe is the wedge member whom the Discovery Institute presents as its most formidable scientist. His book Darwin’s Black Box, which the Wedge Document lauds for being published in paperback after “nine print runs in hard cover,” is credited in the document with helping to increase the momentum of the wedge strategy that began with Johnson’s book Darwinism on Trial. Yet Behe’s failure to produce original intelligent design research and to publish on intelligent design in scientific journals proves that publicity, not real scientific accomplishment, is DI’s primary goal–Behe serves a vital function for the organization, but not a scientific one.

An inspection of professional information about Behe on his departmental web site at Lehigh University yielded nothing which could be taken as scientific research supporting intelligent design.[54] Behe’s own faculty page is about his professional research; interestingly, he has nothing at all to say there about his avocation of promoting intelligent design. He has posted a picture of himself at what appears to be a bookstore, holding a copy of Darwin’s Black Box. He lists four representative publications, none of which are about intelligent design. He lists his favorite links, one of which is the creationist web site, Access Research Network, where he maintains an outdated schedule of his engagements.[55] However, other than these two rather subtle references, there is nothing related to intelligent design in his professional postings.

A survey of the scientific literature shows that Behe, like Chien, has to date published no peer-reviewed research on intelligent design in any scientific journal. Darwin’s Black Box, published by a respectable publishing company, The Free Press, and aimed at a popular audience, has been thoroughly critiqued by scientists, but the ideas in the book have not been published in a scientific journal. A May 2000 SciSearch survey using “Behe, M.” yielded ten articles in scientific journals, none of which are about intelligent design. The only listed titles attributed to Behe referring to either evolution or intelligent design were five letters: “Embryology and Evolution,” Science, 1998, V. 281, N. 5375; “Defining Evolution,” Scientist, 1997, V. 11, N. 22; “Defining Evolution,” Scientist, V. 11, N. 12; “Darwinism and Design,” Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 1997, V. 12, N. 6; and “Understanding Evolution,” Science, 1991, V. 253, N. 5023. None is more than one page long.

Behe responded to an article in the July 1999 issue of Philosophy of Science, “Redundant Complexity: A Critical Analysis of Intelligent Design in Biochemistry,” by Niall Shanks and Karl H. Joplin.[56] His response, “Self-Organization and Irreducibly Complex Systems: A Reply to Shanks and Joplin,” appears in the March 2000 issue of Philosophy of Science. However, the only work of his own that he cites in this response is Darwin’s Black Box, published in 1996. He cites CRSC fellow William Dembski’s The Design Inference (Cambridge University Press, 1998). He also cites scientific articles and books written by others, but he cites no articles bearing his own name in scientific journals.[57]

Behe has produced several articles in response to his critics. One of them, “Correspondence with Science Journals: Response to Critics Concerning Peer-Review,” purports to provide evidence of his attempt to publish “a full-length reply-to-critics paper” in “a journal in the field of evolution.”[58] However, responses to one’s critics published on the web site of a political think tank do not qualify as scientific publications. In light of Behe’s failure to publish anything about intelligent design in scientific journals–which would gain him some measure of respect, if not agreement–it is ironic that he issues a warning to proponents of “the theory of Darwinian molecular evolution”: “‘Publish or perish’ is a proverb that academicians take seriously. If you do not publish your work for the rest of the community to evaluate, then you have no business in academia and, if you don’t already have tenure, you will be banished.”[59]

General Survey of Intelligent Design Publications  

The utter absence of any scientific publications supporting intelligent design by Chien and Behe is characteristic of intelligent design as a whole. The dearth of scientific data supporting intelligent design was confirmed in 1997 by George W. Gilchrist in a survey of the scientific literature: “This search of several hundred thousand scientific reports published over several years failed to discover a single instance of biological research using intelligent design theory to explain life’s diversity.”[60] In the May/June 1997 Reports of the National Center for Science Education, Gilchrist reports his survey up to 1997 in five computerized databases–BIOSIS, the Expanded Academic Index, the Life Sciences Collection, Medline, and the Science Citation Index–for any scientific publications on intelligent design as a biological theory. His search yielded a total of only thirty-seven references, of which “none report scientific research using intelligent design as a biological theory.”[61] The situation has not improved since 1997.

A similar search conducted for the present study, supplementing Gilchrist’s survey by looking for intelligent design articles published since 1997, had the same results: no scientific research supporting intelligent design as a biological theory has been published. In order to survey other databases for anything the earlier described SciSearch survey might have missed, surveys were conducted, with no date restrictions, of the BIOSIS and Medline databases, using both “intelligent design” and “design theory” as keywords. The “intelligent design” search in BIOSIS yielded four articles, only one of which was about intelligent design (the July 1999 Shanks-Joplin article). Using “design theory” as the keyword, a BIOSIS survey yielded sixteen articles, but none about design theory as it relates to intelligent design creationism. The Medline search using both “intelligent design” and “design theory” yielded fourteen articles, none of which were about intelligent design creationism. A SciSearch survey using “intelligent design” yielded sixty-one titles. All except four were related to industrial technology, engineering, computers, shipbuilding, etc. Of the remaining four, only two were on intelligent design as a biological theory: Shanks-Joplin’s and Behe’s Philosophy of Science articles cited above. The other two were letters entitled “Intelligent Design” in Geotimes and “Intelligent Design Reconsidered” in Technology Review–ambiguous titles given the fact that articles with intelligent design in their titles were also listed, but were clearly not about intelligent design as a biological theory (e.g., “HyperQ Plastics: An Intelligent Design Aid for Plastic Material Selection”).

The surveys reveal that the wedge strategy is failing miserably in its most important goal: the production of scientific research data to support intelligent design creationism and the publication of such data in scientific journals. Not only have Chien and Behe failed to produce such work, but so has every other CRSC fellow–if other wedge members’ work were being presented at scientific meetings and published in scientific journals, it should have been found in the survey of the databases. In the only part of its strategy that could genuinely win the wedge acceptance into the academic and cultural mainstream, the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture is so far an utter failure.

Phases II and III of the Wedge Strategy

Despite the total absence of scientific productivity on which Phase I depends, the wedge is tirelessly engaged in the Phase II and III activities. Even a brief list of these activities for each major category paints a convincing picture of the organized, systematic nature of the wedge’s advance.

Phase II. Publicity and Opinion-making

  • Book Publicity

Wedge members are advancing quickly toward the Wedge Document’s stated goal of “Thirty published books on design and its cultural implications . . .” Phillip Johnson alone has now written five books. Their books are available at major online retail outlets such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.[62] Books, videotapes, audiotapes, and their journal, Origins and Design, are aggressively marketed on the creationist web site, Access Research Network, which is largely operated by wedge members.[63] They use their science education web site’s “Science Education Bookstore” to sell their books via a direct link to the “Bookstore” on the Discovery Institute web site.[64] Book publicity is therefore a constant activity, exemplified by Phillip Johnson’s promoting his books at the February 2000 National Religious Broadcasters convention in Anaheim, California.[65]

  • Opinion-Maker Conferences

The CRSC has attended at least one conference which it explicitly labeled an “Opinion-Maker Conference,” recounted in its November/December 1997 Year End Update. This event was clearly a networking opportunity for wedge members:

Opinion-Maker Conference: At the invitation of Ed Atsinger, President of Salem Communications, Inc., Steve Meyer and Phillip Johnson recently addressed a national conference of radio talk-show hosts. The talk-show hosts were extremely enthusiastic in response to Steve and Phil, and their presentation of the case for Intelligent Design. Afterward, Howard Freedman, National Program Director of Salem Communications Inc., and many of the talk-show hosts invited Steve, Phil, and other scientists to appear on their programs to discuss the evidence for design, . . . [66]

  • Apologetics Seminars

The Wedge Document states that the CRSC seeks “to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars.” William Dembski’s Fieldstead & Company-supported seminar, “Design, Self-Organization, and the Integrity of Creation,” would fit into this category. The course description shows that the June 19-July 28, 2000, “Summer Seminar” at Calvin College was designed to attract Christian, pro-intelligent design participants: “The aim of this seminar is to see whether a rapprochement between design and self-organization is possible that pays proper due both to the divine wisdom in creation and to the integrity of the world as an act of creation. . . . [S]cholars with expertise in the following disciplines are especially encouraged to apply: complex systems theory, information/design theory, history and philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and any special sciences dealing with complex systems.” Each applicant was required to submit “a one-page description of his/her vocation as Christian scholar and teacher.”[67]

  • Teacher Training Programs

Of all the Discovery Institute’s goals designed to advance the Wedge, this is the most insidious, since it is aimed at getting intelligent design into the public school classroom. The wedge’s most prominent tactic toward this end is a CRSC web site offering “Science Education Resources.”[68] When the site first went up early in 2000, DI allowed public access to a set of learning (i.e., teaching) objectives and a lesson plan on the “Cambrian Explosion.”[69] After only a brief period of accessibility, DI restricted access by requiring a user name and a password to obtain this “pilot curriculum”–no doubt because of its dubious constitutionality (the rest of the site is accessible). The now-restricted “Cambrian Explosion Objectives” include learning “Current evidence for the Cambrian explosion” based on “Recent Chinese fossils,” with a reference to “P. Chen” (apparently a misspelling of “Chien”) so as to present him as an authority; as has been shown, Paul Chien’s scientific work on the Cambrian fossils is nonexistent.[70] Listed in “Current competing explanations of the Cambrian explosion” is “Design theory (P. Chen [Chien] and S. [Stephen] Meyer)”–along with “Punctuated equilibrium (N. Eldredge and S.J. Gould),” implying the scientific legitimacy of design theory. The also-restricted “Cambrian Explosion Lesson Plans” actually call for students to “Role Play the Lives of Scientists, Science Educators, and Philosophers of Science,” with students pairing off as opposing characters: “[Phillip] Johnson/[William] Provine,” “[Stephen] Meyer/[Eugenie] Scott,” and “[Michael] Behe/[Michael] Ruse.” On a page entitled “Related Websites,” listed under “Other Progressive Supplementary Science Curricula,” is a link to the creationist Access Research Network. Recognizing the power of the World Wide Web in promoting their teaching resources, the CRSC’s web site development schedule includes the plan to “Present [the web curriculum] to NABT, NSTA, and other science education professional groups, (1999-2001).”[71] On a page entitled “Web Curriculum Lowers Political Hurdles,” CRSC asserts that its “Web curriculum can be appropriated without textbook adoption wars”–meaning, of course, that teachers who want to use it are encouraged to do an end run around textbook adoption procedures.[72]

  • Op-ed Fellow

Many wedge members have published editorials in major newspapers. Phillip Johnson has published op-ed pieces in The Wall Street Journal (August 16, 1999) and The Chronicle of Higher Education (November 12, 1999). Michael Behe has had pieces in The New York Times (October 29, 1996, and August 13, 1999), and Stephen Meyer has written for The Wall Street Journal (December 6, 1993) and The Washington Times (July 4, 1996). Jay Richards wrote a column for The Washington Post (August 21, 1999). CRSC fellow Nancy Pearcey produces a steady stream of op-eds for journals and magazines, most prominently the religious World Magazine and Christianity Today.[73] The list here is by no means exhaustive.

  • PBS (or other TV) Co-production

The Discovery Institute has not yet achieved its goal of a PBS production on intelligent design, but it has logged quite a bit of television time. Michael Behe and Phillip Johnson were featured on two segments of PBS’s Technopolitics series, for which DI provided funding.[74] Phillip Johnson was invited by PBS’s NOVA Online, as one of the “leading spokesmen in the evolution/creation debate,” to share an online discussion with biologist Kenneth Miller in 1996.[75] Stephen Meyer appeared on the PBS program Freedom Speaks in March 1997.[76] Johnson, Behe, and CRSC fellow David Berlinski formed the pro-intelligent design side of a debate on PBS’s Firing Line in December 1997.[77] Johnson was featured as an authority on the Scopes trial on the History Channel’s In Search of History.[78] Whether they arrange these TV appearances themselves or receive invitations, the air time raises the profile of wedge members.

  • Publicity Materials/Publications

Some of the above information is relevant to this category. Discovery Institute also cultivates publicity by announcing CRSC fellows’ availability and including contact information for interviews in its U.S. Newswire press releases.[79] In addition, the wedge has taken masterful advantage of the Internet for publicity. One example is a banner running in June 2000 on the conservative WorldNetDaily.com, advertising the videotape “The Triumph of Design and the Demise of Darwin,” featuring Phillip Johnson. According to PCDataOnline, WorldNetDaily received 4.235 million page views in one week.[80] The videotape was produced by conservative writer and producer Jack Cashill (see www.cashill.com) and is advertised by Video Post Productions on a web site, www.triumphofdesign.com, devoted exclusively to its promotion.

Phase III. Cultural Confrontation and Renewal

  • Academic and Scientific Challenge Conferences

Conferences are supremely important to the wedge strategy: “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 . . . .The attention, publicity, and influence of design theory should draw scientific materialists into open debate with design theorists, and we will be ready” (Wedge Document, Phase III). CRSC has obviously not waited for their research to mature before holding conferences. As stated by Phillip Johnson, the wedge movement actually started in 1992 with a conference at Southern Methodist University. Instead of waiting for their research to mature, the wedge has used conferences since its inception in its attempt to become a “player” in American academia. The wedge strategy crystallized at the “Mere Creation” conference at Biola University in 1996, a conference which, according to CRSC fellow Ray Bohlin, constituted “the backbone of the future direction of the fledgling intelligent design movement.”[81] CRSC fellows also attend many conferences held by others–in short, conferencing is a full-time concern for the wedge. Taken together, just the wedge’s own major conferences–six in only eight years, four of them in very “significant academic settings”–can be clearly identified as a primary component of the wedge strategy:

(1) Darwinism: Scientific Inference or Philosophical Preference?

Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, March 26-28, 1992


(2) Mere Creation: Reclaiming the Book of Nature

Conference on Design and Origins

Biola University, La Mirada, California, November 14-17, 1996


(3) Naturalism, Theism and the Scientific Enterprise

University of Texas-Austin, February 20-23, 1997


(4) The Nature of Nature: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Role of Naturalism in Science

Michael Polanyi Center, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, April 12-15, 2000


(5) Design and Its Critics: Conference on Intelligent Design–A Critical Appraisal

Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin, June 22-24, 2000


(6) Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, November 2-4, 2000

(www.idurc.org/yale.html and www.rivendellinstitute.org/business/featurea.htm)

Although these conferences may be officially sponsored or co-sponsored by non-wedge entities, their identity as major wedge events can be discerned by the constant presence of a core of wedge members who, given their relationship as a tightly knit group with carefully orchestrated activities, stand out as the dominant presence at these events.

  • Potential Legal Action for Teacher Training

Given the certainty of constitutional challenges should a teacher introduce intelligent design into a public school classroom, the CRSC has taken measures to meet this challenge. Senior fellows David K. DeWolf , a law professor at Gonzaga University, and Stephen Meyer, a philosophy professor at Whitworth College, along with Mark E. DeForrest (not a CRSC fellow), have written Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook (Foundation for Thought and Ethics, 1999).[82] On its science education web site, CRSC assures those who register for access to their restricted curriculum that “Email listserv for registered web curriculum users can include legal advice.” With the assurance that “Our Curriculum is Legally Permissible in Public Schools,” the CRSC urges, “Don’t let legal intimidation squash classroom innovation.”[83]

  • Research Fellowship Program: Shift to Social Sciences and Humanities

The re-emphasis on fellowships in Phase III appears to have figured in the wedge’s plan for the controversial Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor University, given the MPC’s plan, stated on its “Events and Programs” web page, for “A research fellowship program so that the MPC can sponsor a steady stream of top scientists and scholars . . . at Baylor.”[84] Run by CRSC fellows William Dembski (Director) and Bruce Gordon (Associate Director), the MPC was clearly established to advance the study of intelligent design theory: “Design . . . may serve to elucidate various phenomena that prove intractable from the standpoint of neo-Darwinian and self-organizational approaches. Present design-theoretic research holds much promise, but the ultimate significance of design theory remains to be seen. Nonetheless, the MPC sees design-theoretic ideas as a promising resource for understanding the complexity we observe in nature, and is committed to pursuing this avenue of research to see what fruit it will bear.”[85] More importantly with respect to Phase III would be the MPC’s explicit reflection of the wedge’s goal of extending design theory to the social sciences and humanities: “The first [goal of the Polanyi Center] is to promote and pursue research in the historical development and conceptual foundations of the natural and social sciences. . . . The impact of science on the humanities and the arts is the second focus of research at Michael Polanyi Center.” One of the Wedge Document’s Twenty Year Goals is “To see design theory application in specific fields, including . . . psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its [influence] in the fine arts.” Yet the most telling connection between the Polanyi Center and the wedge would be this statement of the Polanyi Center’s purpose: “The successful achievement of these goals, therefore, is a task that the Michael Polanyi Center shares with a network of individual scholars and other established Centers around the world that have similar research projects.” The most prominent center with a similar research project is the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.

Part III: Analysis of the Nature of the Wedge Strategy and Its Advance into the Mainstream

Christians in the 20th century have been playing defense. . . . They’ve been fighting a defensive war to defend what they have, to defend as much of it as they can. . . . It never turns the tide. What were trying to do is something entirely different. We’re trying to go into enemy territory, their very center, and blow up the ammunition dump. What is their ammunition dump in this metaphor? It is their version of creation. [86]

–Phillip E. Johnson, February 6, 2000, at a meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters in Anaheim, California

Since Darwin, we can no longer believe that a benevolent God created us in His image, . . . Intelligent Design opens the whole possibility of us being created in the image of a benevolent God. . . . The job of apologetics is to clear the ground, to clear obstacles that prevent people from coming to the knowledge of Christ. . . . And if there’s anything that I think has blocked the growth of Christ as the free reign of the Spirit and people accepting the Scripture and Jesus Christ, it is the Darwinian naturalistic view. . . . It’s important that we understand the world. God has created it; Jesus is incarnate in the world. [87]

–William Dembski, February 6, 2000, at a meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters in Anaheim, California

The key to understanding the CRSC’s activities is to understand fully the true nature of the wedge movement. The important point is that the wedge strategy–the intelligent design movement as a whole–really has nothing to do with science, despite its proponents’ affirmations to the contrary. Johnson actually admitted this in 1996: “This isn’t really, and never has been, a debate about science . . . It’s about religion and philosophy.”[88] Not a single area of science has been affected in any way by intelligent design theory. In actuality, this “scientific” movement which seeks to permeate the American academic and cultural mainstream is religious to its core.

In March 1994, Johnson attended a conference on “Regaining a Christian Voice in the University.” He delivered a lecture entitled “The Real Issue: Is God Unconstitutional?” in which he lamented the increasing prevalence in American universities of “scientific naturalism,” which, according to Johnson, is “the established religious philosophy of America.”[89] This lament is a constant theme in Johnson’s campaign to promote “intelligent design”; it fuels the mission by Johnson and his CRSC associates to get “intelligent design theory” into the academic world and into public life as the chief competitor of the theory of evolution. Johnson’s words at this conference reveal just how important this mission is to them: “The bitter debate over whether ‘creation’ or ‘intelligent design’ may be considered as a possibility in scientific discourse is no minor matter. Behind it lies one of the most important questions of human existence: Did God create Man, or did Man create God?”[90]

In 2000, Johnson is still lamenting what he sees as the departure of God from both secular and religious universities. In The Wedge of Truth, he recounts the story of Philip Wentworth, who, according to Wentworth’s essay “What College Did to My Religion,” entered Harvard in 1924 as a faithful Presbyterian youth and emerged several years later as a disillusioned convert to “scientific naturalism,” having been taught, as Johnson puts it, by “infidels.”[91] Johnson sees parallels between Wentworth’s and his own experience at Harvard more than thirty years later. They were both victims of an “elite” who “are particularly skilled at inventing ways to tame God because they desire either to ignore God or to use him for their own purposes.” They were defenseless young people in a university which “offered no instructions in how to recognize idolatry.”[92]

According to Johnson, Wentworth’s–and Johnson’s own–experience of “apostasy” at Harvard are “representative of the experience of an entire culture of educated people over more than a century” because of scientific naturalism ( Wedge of Truth, 20). Hence, in Johnson’s mind, the only remedy for such apostasy is to institute a completely new scientific paradigm and methodology: “Phillip Johnson’s idea of revolution is not . . . a struggle to control one corner of the ivory tower. He is playing for all the marbles for the governing paradigm of the entire thinking world. He believes evolution’s barren rule can be overturned, that it is rip[e] for revolution. . . . “[93] Yet Johnson and his wedge associates are only using science as the facade behind which to stage their revolution, which, according to their plan, will establish their religious worldview as the foundation of American cultural and academic life. Paradoxically, they are pursuing their remedy for “scientific naturalism” from outside science. They are not attempting to change the way science is currently done by introducing a better methodology or more viable hypotheses; if they were, they would actually be doing scientific research and presenting it at scientific conferences to be vetted by scientific peers. Rather, they are trying to change the way the public and influential policy-makers perceive science through their aggressive program of public relations activities. This is crucial to their strategy.[94]

In May 2000, the wedge strategy took another crucial turn–toward implementing their overtly political goal to “cultivate and convince . . . congressional staff . . .” (Wedge Document). In a May 8 press release, DI announced that “Discovery Institute will bring top scientists and scholars to Washington D.C. to brief Congressional Representatives and Senators and their staffs on the scientific evidence of intelligent design and its implications for public policy and education, Wednesday, May 10, in the U.S. Capitol Building and Rayburn Office Building.”[95] Seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives, both Republicans and Democrats, co-hosted the briefing, which was attended by about fifty people. One congressman, Rep. Thomas Petri of Wisconsin, was at one time a Discovery Institute Adjunct Fellow, according to the Summer 1996 Discovery Institute Journal.[96] Another, Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana, published a defense of intelligent design after the briefing in the June 14, 2000, Congressional Record (H4480). David Applegate, director of the American Geological Institute’s Government Affairs Program, in an AGI “Special Update” sent to AGI member societies to alert them about the briefing, noted Rep. Souder’s membership on the House Education Committee and Rep. Petri’s upcoming chairmanship of the House Education and Workforce Committee.[97] This is the most convincing evidence to date of the political ambitions of the wedge, and this ambition is aimed primarily at an important target: American public schools. The possibility also exists that CRSC will attempt to secure government funding for intelligent design research. The briefing was a small but significant advance for the wedge into the political arena.

In the Discovery Institute’s August 1996 Journal, DI president Bruce Chapman explicitly connects the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture with not only a religious mission but also a political one as well:

The new Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture is an exciting and ambitious exemplar of Discovery Institute’s role as a futurist think tank with prudential principles.

. . . [It] challenges policy makers–and even our members and sponsors–to stretch their own thinking, . . . It calls upon their imagination to see the world not just as we received it, but as it is becoming and can become. . . .

. . . We think some of these ideas are destined to change the intellectual–and in time the political–world. . . .

. . . The more you read about this program . . . the more you will realize the radical assault it makes on the tired and depressing materialist culture and politics of our times, as well as the science behind them. Then, when you start to ponder what society and politics might become under a sounder scientific dispensation, you will become truly inspired.

. . . There is great comfort, courage and resolve in the moral and political legacy of our civilization as formulated in the Bible, history and the writing of the American Founders. So it is fitting that our news of the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture this month is accompanied by publication of Discovery Senior Fellow John West’s superb book, The Politics of Revelation and Reason. Before you opine about the place of religion in politics, (or why there shouldn’t be any), use this scholarly, but very readable, account of religion in early American politics. It will surprise you–and perhaps, it will inspire, too.[98]

The Center for Renewal of Science and Culture fits well with Discovery’s existing programs in high technology and religion.[99]

With the political wheels of the wedge having been set in motion, Johnson, as is obvious in his most recent book, The Wedge of Truth, is no longer trying to disguise the religious nature of the wedge strategy. He reveals this with a biblical reference in a recent interview about the book:

[Interviewer]: How would you describe the main purpose of The Wedge of Truth in comparison to your other books?

[Johnson]: Each of my books builds upon the logic that was erected in my previous ones. My prior books argued that the real discoveries of science–as opposed to the materialist philosophy that has been imposed upon science–point straight towards the reality of intelligent causes in biology. . . . [T]here are two definitions of “science” in our culture. One definition says that scientists follow the evidence regardless of the philosophy; the other says that scientists must follow the (materialist) philosophy regardless of the evidence. The “Wedge of Truth” is driven between those two definitions, and enables people to recognize that “In the beginning was the Word” is as true scientifically as it is in every other respect.[100]

Moreover, not only is the wedge strategy founded on and fueled by religious zeal, but it is merely the newest “evolution” of good old-fashioned American creationism. According to Johnson, the scientific “creation myth” must be replaced by the true account of human existence:

That God created us is part of God’s general revelation to humanity, built into the fabric of creation. This foundational truth is something which, in the words of the political philosopher [and wedge member] J. Budziszewski, we can’t not know. . . .

. . . The proper metaphysical basis for science is not naturalism or materialism but the fact that the creator of the cosmos not only created an intelligible universe but also created the powers of reasoning which enable us to conduct scientific investigations. . . . True science will also remember that only some aspects of reality can be understood through observation and experiments, . . .

. . . [T]he materialist story thrives only as long as it does not confront the biblical story directly. In a direct conflict, where the public perceives the issues clearly, the biblical story will eventually prevail over the materialist story. . . .

. . . What we need is for God himself to speak, to give us a secure foundation on which we can build. . . . So it is of the greatest importance that we ask the question: Has God done something to give us a start in the right direction, or has he left us alone and on our own?

When we have reached that point in our questioning, we will inevitably encounter the person of Jesus Christ, the one who has been declared the incarnate Word of God, and through whom all things came into existence. This time he will be asking the question that is recorded in the Gospels: Who do men say that I am? . . .

. . . When the naturalistic understanding of reality finally crashes and burns . . . the great question Jesus posed will come again to the forefront of consciousness. Who should we say that he is? Is he the one who was to come, or should we look for another?

As a Christian I have answers to those questions, and of course other people will have different answers. The wedge philosophy is that the important thing is to get the right questions on the table, and that task requires that we invite any and all answers for a fair hearing. For now my point is merely that a question which was long assumed to be off the table will become important again if the cultural debate over Darwinism and naturalism goes in the direction I am predicting. We are not talking about some mere revision of a particular scientific theory. We are talking about a fatal flaw in our culture’s creation myth, and therefore in the standard of reasoning that culture has applied to all questions of importance. . . .

. . . The basic story of the Incarnation–that God has taken human form . . . is more equivalent to the scientific truth that apples fall down rather than up. . . . [101]

There is no doubt that the message Johnson wants his readers to hear is that science, properly built only upon a metaphysics of supernatural creation, is marching toward Jesus–and straight into the academic and cultural mainstream.

Establishing a presence in American higher education is one of the wedge’s most ambitious goals. CRSC fellow Nancy Pearcey is optimistic about its success: “The new strategy centers on a concept labeled intelligent design. The design movement shows promise of winning a place at the table in secular academia, while uniting Christians concerned about the role science plays in the current culture wars.”[102] Wedge strategists do not expect to establish a large presence–indeed, as stated in the Wedge Document, they do not even believe it is necessary: “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.”[103] What is most important is that they establish a presence inside the academic establishment and the cultural mainstream. This is slowly but surely taking place.

Nothing is more important to the wedge than the academic respectability that comes from earning degrees and securing teaching positions at well known, respectable universities. One of the goals of the wedge strategy is to have ten CRSC fellows teaching at major universities by 2003. They have already more than realized that goal in the following CRSC members:

  • Michael Behe–Lehigh University
  • Walter Bradley–Texas A & M (until his retirement)
  • J. Budziszewski–University of Texas-Austin
  • John Angus Campbell–University of Memphis
  • Robert Koons–University of Texas-Austin
  • Paul Chien–University of San Francisco
  • David K. DeWolf–Gonzaga University
  • Guillermo Gonzales–University of Washington-Seattle
  • Bruce Gordon–Baylor University (part-time instructor and Associate Director of the Michael Polanyi Center)[104]
  • Phillip E. Johnson–University of California-Berkeley (until retirement)
  • Robert Kaita–Princeton University
  • Dean H. Kenyon–San Francisco State University (California State University system)
  • Scott Minnich–University of Idaho
  • Henry F. Schaefer–University of Georgia
  • Richard Weikart–California State University-Stanislaus

Mary Beth Marklein’s comment in USA Today, “From the intelligent-design movement, advanced by scholars at respected universities, is emerging what could become a battle in science research,” creates in the minds of its readers exactly the impression that the Discovery Institute wants the American public to have.[105]

By carving a niche for themselves in university life, both secular and religious, DI’s intelligent design creationists are in a position to accomplish several things:

(1) To cultivate a facade of academic legitimacy.

Johnson realizes that academic legitimacy is the first hurdle the wedge must overcome:

The conference [Southern Methodist University in March 1992] brought together as speakers some key wedge figures, particularly Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and myself. It also brought a team of influential Darwinists, headed by Michael Ruse, to the table to discuss this proposition: “Darwinism and neo-Darwinism as generally held in our society carry with them an a priori commitment to metaphysical naturalism, which is essential to making a case on their behalf.” . . .  the amazing thing was that a respectable academic gathering was convened to discuss so inherently subversive a proposition.[106]

In an interview with Communiquè: A Quarterly Journal, Johnson also acknowledges the difficulty of acquiring this legitimacy, but is resolutely committed to achieving it:

CJ: That seems to be behind the idea of driving ‘the wedge’ into the scientific community–that you’d just encourage them [students and faculty] to get behind guys like Behe and join that momentum.

Phil: Yes, the idea is that you get a few people out promoting a new way of thinking and new ideas, it’s very shocking, and they take a lot of abuse. . . . [Y]ou have to have people that talk a lot about the issue and get it up front and take the punishment and take all the abuse, and then you get people used to talking about it. It becomes an issue they are used to hearing about, and you get a few more people and a few more, and then eventually you’ve legitimated it as a regular part of the academic discussion. And that’s my goal: to legitimate the argument over evolution . . . as a mainstream scientific and academic issue. . . . We’re bound to win . . . We just have to normalize it, and that takes patience and persistence, and that’s what we are applying.[107]

(2) To influence college students, too many of whom are ignorant of genuine science, thus recruiting them into the wedge movement.

In Touchstone Magazine (July/August 1999), Johnson updates the progress of the wedge. His remarks indicate that universities are fertile recruiting ground for the wedge:

“[M]any . . . college students are reading our literature, and are responding very favorably. . . . The most talented of these will be the wedge members of the future.”[108]

Colleges and universities are the logical source of the “future talent” which, according to the Wedge Document, the CRSC seeks “to cultivate and convince.”

(3) To cultivate the support of university administrators and financial donors.

“We believe that, with adequate support, we can accomplish many of the objectives . . . in the next five years (1999-2003) . . . For this reason we seek to cultivate and convince influential individuals, . . . college and seminary presidents and faculty, . . . and potential academic allies.” (wedge document)

As shown earlier, the Wedge has secured the financial support of benefactors such as Howard Ahmanson. The wedge’s stability may depend upon the continuation of this lucrative support, as indicated by Steven Meyer after they received increased funding in 1999: “We not only have a larger program than before, the existence of ‘outyear’ funding means greater long term stability.”[109] William Dembski and Bruce Gordon were successful in securing Baylor University president Robert Sloan’s support for the establishment, if not necessarily the indefinite continuation, of the Michael Polanyi Center. This support manifested itself in Sloan’s strenuous defense of their presence at Baylor during a controversy over its establishment, recounted in the Houston Chronicle: “[Sloan] said alumni, students and parents have ‘overwhelmingly’ supported the goals of the Polanyi Center, but he would still back the center even without such support.”[110] Sloan at the time buttressed his moral support of the Polanyi Center with financial backing for Dembski and Gordon: “Baylor spokesman Larry Brumley said the university will pay for Dembski’s salary after the [John Templeton Fund] grant expires next year, and that it is paying Gordon’s salary.” As the Chronicle also reveals, the John Templeton Fund has proven to be a source of support for these activities: “[Dembski’s] salary at the Polanyi Center is paid by a $75,000 grant from the John Templeton Fund, distributed through the Discovery Institute.”[111]

(4) To acquire physical bases of operation, with access to all the advantages this brings.

The Polanyi Center was established at Baylor in October 1999, giving the CRSC its first physical base outside the Discovery Institute in Seattle. As of this writing, the wedge has not established anything like the Polanyi Center in any secular university. However, both at the Polanyi Center and other universities where they have held conferences, wedge members have accomplished the next best thing: they are, in effect, bringing the secular universities to them by inviting mainstream scholars and scientists to participate in their conferences. “The Nature of Nature” conference featured major academic figures in April 2000, and Discovery Institute publicized this fact in an April 7, 2000, news release, pointing out that “Among the participants are two Nobel prize [sic] winners, Steven Weinberg and Christian de Duve, as well as noted scientists Alan Guth, Simon Conway Morris and others. . . . ‘This is going to be the greatest collection of minds on the subject of directionality versus contingency in the natural sciences,’ said [William] Dembski.”[112] After the conference, DI celebrated the achievement of the goal of making “the role of naturalism in science an acceptable topic of academic discussion, and to create a non-confrontational forum for rival scholars to interact on the issue.”[113] Phillip Johnson explicitly linked himself to the Baylor conference when he boasted that “we had a conference at Baylor University in April 2000 to discuss whether the evidence of nature points towards or away from the need for a supernatural creator. It was probably the most distinguished conference in Baylor history, with two Nobel Prize winners and many of the country’s most distinguished professors in science, philosophy, and history.”[114]

(5) They can exploit their presence in higher education, using their credentials to “snow” the public.

Academic credentials are the ticket to success for the Wedge, and members take every opportunity to publicize their own. An example is a short article by CRSC fellow Ray Bohlin, executive director of Probe Ministries, entitled “Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design.” In no more than roughly five pages, he never mentions a fellow CRSC member ( and he refers to six of them) without also stating the fellows academic credentials and accomplishments, as in the case of Henry Schaefer: “So said Dr. Henry F. Schaefer III, professor of chemistry at the University of Georgia, author of over 750 scientific publications, director of over fifty successful doctoral students, and five-time Nobel nominee. . . .”[115]

The accomplishment of these goals is especially important to the CRSC’s strategy to advance their brand of creationism; indeed, it is critical because they are the only creationists who stand a chance of pulling it off. The old-style creationism represented by Henry Morris, Duane Gish, and others is unlikely to be tolerated on mainstream campuses, even religious ones like Baylor. The CRSC creationists have taken the time and trouble to acquire legitimate degrees, providing them a degree of cover both while they are students and after they join university faculties. Johnson alludes to this in the interview with Communiquè:

CJ: Along those lines, what encouragement would you offer to a young student of science–let’s say a young lady beginning a Ph.D. program in microbiology at a major university?

Phil: We have a wonderful example here in Michael Behe . . . in what he is able to do while retaining a well funded lab and standing in the scientific world. . . . The fact is that there are a lot of people in science who just don’t want to be bothered with the whole Darwinian ideological agenda. It doesn’t have anything to do with the scientific work that they do, so they are patient with it. I think if we’re clever enough in quoting the arguments and keeping people in the conversation and so on, and reassuring them that they can doubt Darwinism and still practice science just as well as ever–that it doesn’t mean they are going to give up science and, you know, start thumping bibles instead or whatever–I think there’ll just be a growing number of people who will get used to that conversation in that element. Behe has so far been able to maintain his standing, and he’s getting invitations everywhere. Once you get someone like that breaks the ice, then there are opportunities for more people. So, I don’t think you need to be in despair, but you need to use a lot of tact and judgment and keep your head down while you’re getting your Ph.D. in a lot of places–because there is dogmatism, but there are ways to overcome that.[116] [Emphasis added.]

By keeping their “head down” at the universities where they teach and study, intelligent design creationists blend more smoothly into the academic population. They can do this either by compartmentalizing their creationism–separating their involvement from what they do professionally on their respective campuses–or by cloaking it in technical, esoteric, and therefore more palatable, language. They thereby present less risk of embarrassment to their universities and increase their chances of being tolerated, at least by administrators who are either sympathetic to them, unaware of their agendas, or scientifically unsophisticated. An example of this is Robert Koons’ hosting of the “Naturalism, Theism and the Scientific Enterprise” conference in 1997 at the University of Texas. Koons acknowledges the advantage of a sympathetic department head: “I . . . spoke to my department head [Daniel Bonevac] about making the department the official host. My chairman is a good friend of mine (who also happens to be a Christian and is very sympathetic to this sort of thing) and he agreed to attach the department’s name to the conference. We didn’t get any money from the university, but we did get clerical and administrative support.”[117]

William Dembski plays an essential role in the advancement of the wedge strategy in academia; the proof of this is his directorship of the Michael Polanyi Center. An essential point to understand, moreover, is that Dembski and Phillip Johnson are inseparable. Each cites the other as a key figure in the intelligent design movement. Johnson refers to Dembski as one of the “key wedge figures.”[118] Dembski cites Johnson as one of the people with whom the movement begins and whose book Darwin on Trial was a “key text” in the movement.[119] Moreover, Johnson has acknowledged as recently as August 1999 his own role as a representative of the movement and its role in carrying the intelligent design debate into higher education, as well as public discussion: “[Evidence for intelligent design] is given in books published by the academic publishers, like Cambridge University Press, and by other scholars, scientists, philosophers in the intelligent design movement, which I represent, and which is carrying this issue into the universities and into the mainstream public discussion.”[120]

Targeting academia and public opinion is intended to advance the wedge strategy of undermining evolutionary theory, thus creating an opening for CRSC’s new paradigm of “theistic science.” The fact that “theistic science” will never overthrow mainstream science is irrelevant to the strategy. At present, just getting the subject into the academic and cultural mainstream–even when it is attacked–is an advancement. As early as 1996, in a review of Del Ratzsch’s book, The Battle of the Beginnings: Why Neither Side Is Wining the Creation/Evolution Debate, Johnson acknowledged that even carrying the discussion into the Christian academic world is a “scandal” but “exciting”:

Our movement is something of a scandal in some sections of the Christian academic world for the same reason that it is exciting: we propose actually to engage in a serious conversation with the mainstream scientific culture on fundamental principles, rather than to submit to the demand that naturalism be conceded as the basis for all scientific discussions. That raises the alarming possibility, as one of Ratzsch’s colleagues put it in criticizing me, that “the gulf between the academy and the sanctuary will only grow wider.” The bitter feeling that has been spawned in some quarters by that possibility may explain why Ratzsch discusses our group so tentatively, but no matter. What matters for the present is to open up discussion. . . .121

He acknowledged it again in 1997 in a quote by the New York Times: “Mr. [Kenneth] Miller also skewered Mr. Behe’s book in a recent review. But that the book was even reviewed is progress in Mr. Johnson’s view: ‘This issue is getting into the mainstream. People realize they can deal with it the way they deal with other intellectual issues. . . . My goal is not so much to win the argument as to legitimate it as part of the dialogue.'”[122] Two years later, in Spring 1999, Johnson was still describing the intelligent design movement as primarily “destructive” in its function–admitting that the intelligent design movement so far has produced no answers of its own, despite its hope to have some in the future:

CJ: So, would it be fair to say that the goal is to undermine or call into question what has generally been accepted in the scientific community rather than purporting your own answers to all of the questions?

Phil: Yes, the starting point is to understand what in the official answers is just dead wrong, because you can’t get anywhere until you’ve made that step. Now, obviously at some time in the future you hope to get to better answers which are actually true, and that’s a positive program, but you can’t begin to work in that direction until you have an acknowledgement that the existing answers are false. You have to get the questions right before you can even determine the falsity of the answers. So, for the time being, it’s primarily a destructive work that’s aimed at opening up a closed dogmatic field to new insights.[123]

Despite the difficulties, however, the movement continues unabated, and getting a foothold in the academic world is crucial to the strategy, as Johnson stressed in February 1999 at D. James Kennedy’s “Reclaiming America for Christ” conference: “Johnson added that he is happy to be working with university professors, such as Michael Behe of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, . . . This strategy, he said, ‘enables us to get a foothold in the academic world and the academic journals. . . .'” [124]

Clearly, Johnson does not see this effort as having short-term results; rather, he sees the promotion of intelligent design as a long-term project which will bear fruit after present wedge members are gone: “. . . I hope we’ll be remembered as the pioneers who opened up the criticism and made it possible for the change to occur. It’ll take decades . . . and we won’t be around to see the final days, but maybe we’ll be remembered as among those who started the ball rolling, and that’ll be a great satisfaction.”[125] In the meantime, the goal is to stay on the offensive and wear down the opposition: “Johnson speaks of a wedge strategy, with himself the leading edge. ‘I’m like an offensive lineman in pro football,’ he says. . . . ‘My idea is to clear a space by legitimating the issue, by exhausting the other side, by using up all their ridicule.'”[126]

In Johnson’s mid-1999 assessment of the success of the wedge strategy (Touchstone Magazine, July/August 1999), he remains convinced that all the wedge strategists have to do is to be patient and eventually the academic world will come around: “As the discussion proceeds, the intellectual world will become gradually accustomed to treating materialism and naturalism as subjects to be analyzed and debated, rather than as tacit foundational assumptions that can never be criticized. Eventually the answer to our prime question will become too obvious to be in doubt.”[127] Asserting his confidence that this strategy will work, he uses Dembski as an example: “I attended a seminar on Dembski’s ideas recently at a major university philosophy department where I saw from the reactions how common it is for clever people to deploy their mental agility in the service of obscurity. But Dembski put the concept of intelligent design on their mental maps, and eventually they will get used to it.”[128] Clearly, the resistance to Dembski’s ideas does not deter Johnson, and just as clearly, he thinks the key is to just dig in and ride out the controversy. Notably, he does not say wedge strategists must improve their arguments or present hard scientific data to bolster their arguments.

Also clear is the fact that Johnson views this movement as religious at its core. Speaking in February 1999 at the “Reclaiming America for Christ” conference convened by D. James Kennedy, who has become one of the Religious Right’s leading figures through his Coral Ridge Ministries, Johnson again revealed the true religious nature of the movement, which is aimed at creating divisions in “the other side”:

The objective, he said, is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to the truth of the Bible and then “the question of sin” and finally “introduced to Jesus.”

“You must unify your own side and divide the other side,” Johnson said. He added that he wants to temporarily suspend the debate between the young-Earth creationists, who insist that the planet is only 6,000 years old, and old-Earth creationists, who accept that the Earth is ancient. This debate, he said, can be resumed once Darwinism is overthrown.[129]

Apparently this view is shared by Johnson’s colleagues in the movement and is considered its “defining concept”:

My colleagues and I speak of “theistic realism”–or sometimes, “mere creation”–as the defining concept of our movement. That means that we affirm that God is objectively real as Creator, and that the reality of God is tangibly recorded in evidence accessible to science, particularly in biology. We avoid the tangled arguments about how or whether to reconcile the Biblical account with the present state of scientific knowledge, because we think these issues can be much more constructively engaged when we have a scientific picture that is not distorted by naturalistic prejudice.[130]


Until the present study, there was no comprehensive survey of the activities in which the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture has engaged in order to execute the wedge strategy. Such a survey is highly instructive. The head-spinning pace of wedge activity is an indication of the urgency with which wedge strategists at the CRSC view their mission. It is unlikely that even the recent election losses of the creationist candidates in the August 2000 Kansas school board primaries will slow the wedge’s momentum. For such a movement–fueled by religious zeal, funded by sympathetic benefactors, and aided by political alliances–this defeat was only a momentary setback. The stream of public relations events, conferences, books, and “educational materials” for public schools continues energetically. The wedge continues its advance, guided by its vision of a “promised land” in which Darwin’s powerful legacy has lost its hard-won place in the scientific enterprise.

[1] Phillip E. Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 91-92.

[2] Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, “What Is the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture All About? The Mission of the Center” [online]. Accessed 18 March 2000 at . This document was found in a directory which is no longer publicly accessible.

[3] Stephen Goode, “Johnson Challenges Advocates of Evolution,” Insight on the News, October 25, 1999 [online]. Accessed at Access Research Network on 9 July 2000 at //arn.org/docs/johnson/insightprofile1099.htm.

[4] Nancy Pearcey, “Wedge Issues: An Intelligent Discussion with Intelligent Design’s Designer,” World, July 29, 2000 [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/07-29-00/closing_2.asp.

[5] Nancy Pearcey, “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Why Secular Scientists and Media Can’t Admit that Darwinism Might Be Wrong,” Christianity Today, May 22, 2000 [online]. Accessed on 3 August 2000 at http://christianityonline.com/ct/2000/006/1.42.html.

[6] Lynn Vincent, “Science vs. Science,” World, February 26, 2000 [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/02-26-00/national_1.asp.

[7] Tim Stafford, “The Making of a Revolution,” Christianity Today, December 8, 1997 [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/7te/7te016.html

[8] Phillip E. Johnson, “The Wedge: Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science,” Touchstone Magazine [online], July/August 1999. Accessed 9 March 2000 at .

[9] Vincent, “Science vs. Science,” at http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/02-26-00/national_1.asp.

[10] Tom Woodward, “Meeting Darwin’s Wager,” Part 2, Christianity Today, April 28, 1997 [online]. Accessed on 27 March 2000 at http://www.christianityonline.com/ct/7t5/7t514b.html.

[11] “Ad Hoc Origins Committee: Scientists Who Question Darwinism” [online]. Accessed on 24 May 2000 at . Johnson’s reply to Gould was printed in Origins Research 15:1 (the forerunner of the creationist journal Origins and Design) and is online at //arn.org/docs/orpages/or151/151johngould.htm.

[12] “Ad Hoc Origins Committee.” The complete list of signatories is available at . Notre Dame philosopher Alvin Plantinga was also a signatory to this letter, which is early evidence of his continuing support of the intelligent design movement. Nancy Pearcey refers to Plantinga as a “design proponent.” See Nancy Pearcey, “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Why Secular Scientists and Media Can’t Admit that Darwinism Might Be Wrong,” Christianity Today, May 22, 2000 [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at http://christianityonline.com/ct/2000/006/1.42.html.

[13] “Major Grants Help Establish Center for Renewal of Science and Culture,” Discovery Institute Journal, summer (August) 1996, [online]. Accessed on 24 July 2000 at . See published presentations from this conference in The Intercollegiate Review, spring 1996.

[14] Phillip E. Johnson, Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1995), 208-209.

[15] Even though the CRSC–the creationist arm of the larger Discovery Institute–is the subject of this study, “CRSC” and “Discovery Institute” are often used interchangeably, as will occasionally be done here.

[16] “Major Grants Help Establish Center for Renewal of Science and Culture,” Discovery Institute Journal, summer (August) 1996, [online]. Accessed on 24 July 2000 at .

[17] Larry Witham, “Contesting Science’s Anti-Religious Bias,” The Washington Times, December 29, 1999. Accessed online on 24 May 2000 on the Discovery Institute web site at .

[18] This information was on a web page at but is no longer accessible. Another page from this directory, which appears to somewhat later than 1996-97, although the year is not specified, also lists additional people as fellows: Walter Bradley, Chair, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A & M; John Angus Campbell, Professor of Speech Communications, University of Memphis; William Lane Craig, Research Professor, Talbot School of Theology; Jack Harris, Ph.D. candidate, University of Washington; Dean H. Kenyon [co-author, Of Pandas and People], San Francisco State University; Nancy Pearcey, Wilberforce Forum; and Charles Thaxton, Charles University, Prague. George Gilder is listed as an advisor along with Phillip Johnson.

[19] See the “Mere Creation” web site for this conference at http://www.origins.org/mc/menus/index.html. See also the article by Jay Grelen, “Witnesses for the Prosecution,” World, November 30, 1996 [online]. Accessed 1 March 2000 at http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/11-30-96/national_2.asp.

[20] Henry F. Schaefer III, “Foreword,” Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 9.

[21] See http://www.leaderu.com/menus/aboutus.html. Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[22] Neither this conference nor any other CRSC activities has produced any scientific research, as will be shown in Part II of this study.

[23] Scott Swanson, “Debunking Darwin?” Christianity Today, January 6, 1997 [online]. Accessed on 25 July 2000 at http://www.christianityonline.com/ct/7t1/7t1064.html.

[24] The NTSE conference is discussed in the analysis of wedge activities in Part III.

[25] Swanson, “Debunking Darwin?” Christianity Today.

[26] Schaefer, “Foreword,” in Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design,10-11.

[27] This is a reference to Roberta and Howard Ahmanson, whose financial support of the CRSC will be discussed later.

[28] Johnson, Defeating Darwinism, 92.

[29] Phillip E. Johnson, Objections Sustained: Subversive Essays on Evolution, Law and Culture (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press), 1998.

[30] Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, “The Wedge Strategy,” [online]. Available at http://www.humanist.net/skeptical/Wedge.html [accessed 17 April 2000].

[31] Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, “The Wedge Strategy,” at http://www.humanist.net/skeptical/Wedge.html.

[32] Accessed 18 March 2000 at . These documents were no longer available as of 17 May 2000, when access was attempted and an error message saying “File Not Found!” was received. The directory had been available at as of 18 March 2000, but access was denied as of 17 April 2000 (“Forbidden. You don’t have permission to access w3/discovery.org/crsc/ on this server”).

[33] See the Capitol Research Center’s “After Henry Salvatori: California’s ‘Most Generous’ Conservative Philanthropists,” October 1998 [online]. Accessed on 4 April 2000 at . See also Steve Benen, “From Genesis to Dominion,” Church & State, July/August 2000 [online]. Accessed on 21 July 2000 at .

[34] “Major Grants Help Establish Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture,” Discovery Institute Journal, summer 1996 [online]. Accessed on 3 July 2000 at .

[35] “Major Grants Increase Programs, Nearly Double Discovery Budget,” Discovery Institute Journal, 1999 [online]. Accessed on 13 June 2000 at .

[36] Larry Witham, “Contesting Science’s Anti-Religious Bias,” Washington Times, December 29, 1999. Accessed online on 22 May 2000 at .

[37] Bruce Chapman, “Ideas Whose Time Is Coming,” Discovery Institute Journal, summer 1996 [online]. Accessed on 28 August 2000 at .

[38] See the current list of CRSC fellows at http://www.discovery.org/crsc/fellows/index.html. Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[39] Johnson, “The Wedge: Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science,” at .

[40] Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, “The Wedge Strategy,” at http://www.humanist.net/skeptical/wedge.html.

[41] Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, “The Research Fellowship Program,” [online]. Accessed on 28 August 2000 at .

[42] “CRSC Innovates in Media and Academia,” Discovery Institute Journal, spring1998. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at .

[43] Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, “Design Theory: A New Science for a New Century.” Accessed on 27 April 2000 at .

[44] Phillip E. Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship: A Call to Separate Materialist Philosophy from Empirical Science,” The Real Issue, November/December 1996 [online]. Accessed on 31 August 2000 at . This article is located on the Christian Leadership Ministries’ “Leadership University” site, which CLM describes on the site as part of its “Telling the Truth project.”

[45] Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, “As the Millennium Ends: The Promise of Better Science and a Better Culture,” [online]. Accessed on 13 June 2000 at .

[46] Most of their books have been published by religious presses–Zondervan and InterVarsity Press. However, that is changing. William Dembski’s book The Design Inference was published by Cambridge University Press [1998], and Michael Behe’s book Darwin’s Black Box, was published by The Free Press [1996]. As time goes on, the CRSC’s goal of wedging into the cultural and academic mainstream is being facilitated by their entry into the publishing mainstream.

[47] Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, “Year End Update,” November/December 1997. Accessed on 18 March 2000 at . This document was in a directory which is no longer accessible. The “Consultation on Intelligent Design” is mentioned in the Discovery Institute spring 1998 Journal. Available at .

[48] Chien’s affiliation with the Discovery Institute (CRSC) was not disclosed in his organizing of the China symposium. Scientists from around the world who participated learned of Chien’s identity as a creationist only after they arrived in China and were alerted by David Bottjer, Professor of Earth Sciences (Paleobiology and Evolutionary Paleoecology) in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Southern California, who had arrived early and was assisting Chien with preparation of an abstract book for participants. (David Bottjer to Barbara Forrest, telephone interview, May 31, 2000)

[49] David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer, and Mark E. DeForrest, “Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook,” [online]. Accessed on 4 June 2000 at . Also available at . Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[50] The Department of Biology, University of San Francisco, “Faculty.” Accessed on 25 May 2000 at .

[51] “The Explosion of Life,” The Real Issue, March/April 1997 [online]. Accessed on 7 July 2000 at .

[52] Chien actually characterizes his interest in the Chengjiang fossils as just a hobby. See Cecilia Yau, “The Twilight of Darwinism at the Dawn of a New Millennium: An Interview with Dr. Paul Chien,” Challenger, February/March 2000. Accessed on 14 June 2000 at .

[53] Yau, “The Twilight of Darwinism at the Dawn of a New Millennium: An Interview with Dr. Paul Chien.”

[54] See Behe’s web site at the Department of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at .

[55] “Michael J. Behe: Spring 2001 Schedule,” Access Research Network [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at .

[56] Available online at . Accessed on 28 May 2000.

[57] The most thorough scientific criticism of Behe’s work is the book Finding Darwin’s God (Cliff Street Books, 1999), by Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller. For articles and reviews of Darwin’s Black Box, see the web site of David Ussery at . See also John Catalano’s web site, “Behe’s Empty Box,” at http://www.world-of-dawkins.com/box/behe.htm#intro and the Talk.Origins Archive at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html. All accessed on 13 April 2001.

[58] Available online at . Accessed on 25 August 2000. See also Behe’s other responses to his critics published on the CRSC web site.

[59] Michael J. Behe, “Evidence for Intelligent Design from Biochemistry (From a Speech Delivered at Discovery Institute’s God & Culture Conference),” Discovery Institute [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at .

[60] George W. Gilchrist, “The Elusive Scientific Basis of Intelligent Design Theory,” Reports of the National Center for Science Education 17:3 (May/June 1997), 14-15. Also available online at . Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[61] Gilchrist, “The Elusive Scientific Basis of Intelligent Design Theory,” 15.

[62] They also enjoy serendipitous publicity, an example of which occurred on August 29, 2000, when Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box and Johnson’s Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds appeared as “Quick Picks” on the Amazon.com web site.

[63] See . See “About Access Research Network” at //arn.org/infopage/info.htm. Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[64] See discovery.org/store. Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[65] Joseph L. Conn, “God’s Air Force: How the National Religious Broadcasters Provide Troops and Ammo for the Religious Right’s Christian Nation Crusade,” Church & State, April 2000 [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at .

[66] Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, “Year End Update,” November-December 1997. Accessed on 18 March 2000 at . This document is no longer accessible.

[67] Seminars in Christian Scholarship, “Design, Self-Organization, and the Integrity of Creation,” William Dembski. Accessed on 10 February 2000 at . For application requirements for this “Fieldstead Seminar” see . Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[68] See . Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[69] The objectives and the lesson plan were available at that time at and , respectively.

[70] The CRSC’s science education web site contains a lengthy bibliography of sources on the Cambrian fossils. Consistent with this study’s findings regarding Chien’s lack of publication on this subject, the CRSC’s own bibliography lists not a single work by Chien. Yet the learning objectives present him as an authority.

[71] See . Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[72] See . Accessed on 13 April 2001. The Science Education site also has a page listing “Other Web Curriculum Examples” on which there is a link entitled “Infectious AIDS: Have We Been Misled?” This is a link to the site of Berkeley scientist Peter Duesberg, who has been criticized for his claim that “there is no virological, nor epidemiological, evidence to back-up the HIV-AIDS hypothesis.” See . Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[73] See . Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[74] Transcripts are available at //arn.org/technohome.htm. Accessed on 13 April 2001. For the announcement about funding, see the Discovery Institute Journal, spring 1998, p. 14, at .

[75] “How Did We Get Here? (A Cyber Debate),” NOVA [online]. Accessed on 29 August 2000 at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/odyssey/debate/index.html.

[76] This announcement was on a page in a directory which is no longer available at .

[77] See Access Research Network’s page referring to this debate at //arn.org/fline1297.htm#anchor22822. Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[78] This program aired in the author’s locality on November 10, 1998.

[79] Previous press releases are not archived online and are no longer accessible at www.usnewswire.com.

[80] Joseph Farah, “WorldNetDaily’s Explosive Growth,” WorldNetDaily, June 1, 2000 [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at .

[81] Dr. Ray Bohlin, “Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design,” Probe Ministries [online]. Accessed on 27 August 2000 at probe.org/docs/mere.

[82] See the description of the book at Access Research Network’s purchasing page at . A long article of the same title is available on David DeWolf’s Gonzaga University web site at . Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[83] See www.discovery.org/crsc/scied/present/topics/political.htm and www.discovery.org/crsc/scied/what/topics/missiontopics/legal.htm, respectively. Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[84] See Ron Nissimov, “Baylor Professors Concerned Center Is Front for Promoting Creationism,” Houston Chronicle, July 1, 2000. See also “Dembski Relieved of Duties as Polanyi Center Director,” Baylor Public Relations, October 19, 2000. Accessed on 12 April 2001 at . The research function of the Polanyi Center was absorbed into Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning. William Dembski’s current title is “Associate Research Professor in the Conceptual Foundations of Science,” while Bruce Gordon is “Interim Director, The Baylor Center for Science, Philosophy and Religion” and “Assistant Research Professor, Institute for Faith and Learning.” See and . Accessed on 12 April 2001.

[85] “Purpose of Center,” Michael Polanyi Center [online]. Accessed on 27 August 2000 at . The MPC web site has been removed.

[86] Steve Benen, “Science Test,” Church & State, July/August, 2000 [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at .

[87] Benen, “Science Test.”

[88] Jay Grelen, “Witnesses for the Prosecution,” World, November 30, 1996. Accessed on 12 April 2001 at http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/11-30-96/national_2.asp. Johnson repeated this assertion in 1999 in an interview with Insight on the News: “Naturally, I get asked all the time, How can you do this when you’re not a scientist? The answer is that it is not mainly about science. It is about a certain way of thinking.” Accessed on 9 July 2000 at //arn.org/docs/johnson/insightprofile1099.htm.

[89] Phillip Johnson, “Is God Unconstitutional?” Part I, in The Real Issue [online]. Accessed 20 February 2000 at .

[90] Johnson, “Is God Constitutional?”

[91] Phillip E. Johnson, The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2000). See Chapter 1, “Philip Wentworth Goes to Harvard.” For Phillip Wentworth’s essay, see http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/95nov/warring/whatcoll.htm. Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[92] Johnson, The Wedge of Truth, 38.

[93] Stafford, “The Making of a Revolution,” at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/7te/7te016.html.

[94] The importance to the wedge of reaching the public through publicity and publications is emphasized in the wedge document: “The primary purpose of Phase II [Publicity and Opinion-making] is to prepare the popular reception of our ideas. The best and truest research can languish unread and unused unless it is properly publicized.”

[95] This announcement was made in a May 8, 2000, U.S. Newswire press release which is not archived.

[96] See “Petri Ideas Attracting Respect and Attention,” in Discovery Institute Journal, summer 1996, at . Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[97] See David Applegate, “Special Update: Evolution Opponents Hold Congressional Briefing” at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis106/id_update.html. Accessed 13 April 2001. See also Applegate’s Geotimes article, “Creationists Open a New Front,” at http://www.geotimes.org/july00/scene.html. Accessed 13 April 2001. Petri did not assume the position of chair, although he is vice chair of the committee. See the committee member list at . Accessed on 17 March 2001.

[98] Bruce Chapman, “From the President, Bruce Chapman: Ideas Whose Time Is Coming,” Discovery Institute Journal, summer (August) 1996 [online]. Accessed on 24 July 2000 at .

[99] “Major Grants Help Establish Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture,” Discovery Institute Journal, at .

[100] “Interview with Phillip Johnson About The Wedge of Truth,” Christianbook.com, August 14, 2000 [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at . “In the beginning was the Word” is the first line in “The Gospel According to St. John” in the New Testament. Johnson cites this passage in support of supernatural “mere” creation in order to avoid the disputes which arise when young earth, biblical literalist creationists cite the book of Genesis.

[101] Johnson, The Wedge of Truth, 152-162.

[102] Nancy Pearcey, “Opening the ‘Big Tent’ in Science: The New Design Movement,” Access Research Network [online]. Accessed on 6 June 2000 at //arn.org/docs/pearcey/np_bigtent30197.htm. Originally published as “The Evolution Backlash,” World, March 1, 1997. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/03-01-97/cover_1.asp.

[103] “The Wedge Strategy: Five Year Strategy Plan Summary–Phase I.”

[104] Gordon states in his curriculum vitae (as of April 2001) that he had “adjunct faculty” status at Baylor (1999-2000). His web site lists two courses he taught in Fall 1999 and Spring 2000. Gordon had no current teaching assignments as of April 2001, although he still had assistant research professor status. This status allows him to carry on his research activities in Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning, but it includes no teaching duties. See for both his c.v. and his previous course listings. Accessed on 13 April 2001.

[105] Mary Beth Marklein, “Evolution’s Next Step in Kansas,” USA Today, July 19, 2000. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at the Discovery Institute at .

[106] Johnson, “The Wedge: Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science,” .

[107] Jeff Lawrence, “Communiquè Interview: Phillip E. Johnson,” Communiquè, Spring 1999 [online]. Accessed on 13 April 2001 at .

[108] Johnson, “The Wedge: Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science.”

[109] “Major Grants Increase Programs, Nearly Double Discovery Budget,” Discovery Institute Journal, 1999, at .

[110] Ron Nissimov, “Baylor Professors Concerned Center Is Front for Promoting Creationism,” Houston Chronicle, July 1, 2000. Regarding the controversy over the Polanyi Centers presence at Baylor, the Chronicle points out that although Sloan refused a request from the Faculty Senate to dissolve the Center, he had established a “nine-member committee of scholars primarily from outside Baylor to examine whether the Polanyi Center can contribute to constructive dialogue.” See “Baylor Releases Committee Report” at . The report is also available here. Accessed on 17 April 2001.

[111] In the same article is a denial by Jay Richards, CRSC program director, that the Discovery Institute was directing Dembski’s work at the Polanyi Center. Richards said, however, that the Discovery Institute hoped intelligent design would be taught along with evolution.

[112] “Nobel prize winners, international scientists and scholars meet to discuss the nature of the universe,” Discovery Institute News, April 7, 2000. Accessed 16 April 2000 at . News stories are not archived by DI, so this document is no longer accessible.

[113] “Baylor Naturalism Conference Focused on Scientific Differences,” Discovery Institute News, May 1, 2000. Accessed on 7 May 2000 at . This file is no longer available.

[114] “Interview with Phillip Johnson About The Wedge of Truth,” Christianbook.com [online], at .

[115] Bohlin, “Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design,” at probe.org/docs/mere.

[116] Lawrence, “Communiquè Interview: Phillip E. Johnson,” at .

[117] “Great Beginnings: UT Origins Conference Opens Doors to Dialogue,” The Real Issue, March/April 1997 [online]. Accessed on 25 March 2000 at .

[118] Johnson, “The Wedge: Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science,” at .

[119] William A. Dembski, “The Intelligent Design Movement” [online]. Reprinted from Cosmic Pursuit, spring 1998. Accessed 19 May 2000 at .

[120] “Kansas Deletes Evolution from State Science Test,” Talkback Live [online]. Aired August 16, 1999, 3:00 p.m. ET. Accessed on 19 May 2000 at http://www.arn.org/docs/kansas/talkback81699.htm.

[121] Phillip E. Johnson, “Starting a Conversation About Evolution,” review of The Battle of the Beginnings: Why Neither Side Is Winning the Creation-Evolution Debate, by Del Ratzsch. Accessed on 31 August 2000 at Access Research Network: Phillip Johnson Archives, http://www.arn.org/docs/johnson/ratzsch.htm.

[122] Laurie Goodstein, “Christians and Scientists: New Light for Creationism,” New York Times, December 21, 1997. Accessed on 25 May 2000 at Access Research Network at //arn.org/docs/fline1297/fl_goodstein.htm

[123] Lawrence, “Communiquè Interview: Phillip E. Johnson,” at .

[124] Rob Boston, “Missionary Man,” Church & State, April 1999 [online]. Accessed on 8 February 2000 at .

[125] Lawrence, “Communiquè Interview: Phillip E. Johnson.” Evidence of the long-term nature of the wedge strategy consists in the fact that, except for Johnson, the most important wedge members, such as William Dembski and Steve Meyer, are relatively young.

[126] Stafford, “The Making of a Revolution,” http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/7te/7te016.html.

[127] Johnson, “The Wedge: Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science.” Johnson’s prime question is this: “What should we do if empirical evidence and materialist philosophy are going in different directions? Suppose, for example, that the evidence suggests that intelligent causes were involved in biological creation. Should we follow the evidence or the philosophy?” For Johnson, this question is tantamount to asking the academic establishment, “If the evidence suggests intelligent design, should we be genuinely scientific and admit this, or should we be unscientific and refuse to admit it?”

[128] Johnson, “The Wedge: Breaking the Modernist Monopoly on Science,” at .

[129] Boston, “Missionary Man,” at .

[130] Johnson, “Starting a Conversation About Evolution,” at //arn.org/docs/johnson/ratzsch.htm.

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