According to Phillip Johnson: “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’. The conference brought together as speakers some key Wedge figures, particularly Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and myself.”
This copy of “The Wedge Strategy” was obtained from a reliable source, and is consistent with other published documents about the plans that the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture has for science in America.
Download a copy of this document here.
CENTER FOR THE RENEWAL OF SCIENCE AND CULTURE (CSRC)
[Ed. A branch of the Discovery Institute]
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.
THE WEDGE STRATEGY
? Scientific Research, Writing & Publicity
? Publicity & Opinion-making
? Cultural Confrontation & Renewal
THE WEDGE PROJECTS
PHASE I. Scientific Research, Writing & Publication
? Individual Research Fellowship Program
? Paleontology Research program (Dr. Paul Chien et al.)
? Molecular Biology Research Program (Dr. Douglas Axe et al.)
PHASE II. Publicity & Opinion-making
? Book Publicity
? Opinion-Maker Conferences
? Apologetics Seminars
? Teacher Training Program
? Op-ed Fellow
? PBS (or other TV) Co-production
? Publicity Materials / Publications
PHASE III. Cultural Confrontation & Renewal
? Academic and Scientific Challenge Conferences
? Potential Legal Action for Teacher Training
? Research Fellowship Program: shift to social sciences and humanities
FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN SUMMARY
The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a “wedge” that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the “thin edge of the wedge” was Phillip Johnson’s critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe’s highly successful Darwin’s Black Box followed Johnson’s work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID).
Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.
The Wedge strategy can be divided into three distinct but interdependent phases, which are roughly but not strictly chronological. We believe that, with adequate support, we can accomplish many of the objectives of Phases I and II in the next five years (1999-2003), and begin Phase III (See Goals / Five Year Objectives / Activities).
PHASE I: Research, Writing and Publication
PHASE II: Publicity and Opinion-making
PHASE III: Cultural Confrontation and Renewal
PHASE I is the essential component of everything that comes afterward. Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade. A lesson we have learned from the history of science is that it is unnecessary to outnumber the opposing establishment. Scientific revolutions are usually staged by an initially small and relatively young group of scientists who are not blinded by the prevailing prejudices and who are able to do creative work at the pressure points, that is, on those critical issues upon which whole systems of thought hinge. So, in Phase I we are supporting vital witting and research at the sites most likely to crack the materialist edifice.
PHASE II. The primary purpose of Phase II is to prepare the popular reception of our ideas. The best and truest research can languish unread and unused unless it is properly publicized. For this reason we seek to cultivate and convince influential individuals in print and broadcast media, as well as think tank leaders, scientists and academics, congressional staff, talk show hosts, college and seminary presidents and faculty, future talent and potential academic allies. Because of his long tenure in politics, journalism and public policy, Discovery President Bruce Chapman brings to the project rare knowledge and acquaintance of key op-ed writers, journalists, and political leaders. This combination of scientific and scholarly expertise and media and political connections makes the Wedge unique, and also prevents it from being “merely academic”. Other activities include production of a PBS documentary on intelligent design and its implications, and popular op-ed publishing. Alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidence that support the faith, as well as to “popularize” our ideas in the broader culture.
PHASE III. Once our research and writing have had time to mature, and the public prepared for the reception of design theory, we will move toward direct confrontation with the advocates of materialist science through challenge conferences in significant academic settings. We will also pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula. The attention, publicity, and influence of design theory should draw scientific materialists into open debate with design theorists, and we will be ready. With an added emphasis to the social sciences and humanities, we will begin to address the specific social consequences of materialism and the Darwinist theory that supports it in the sciences.
? To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
? To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.
Five Year Goals
? To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
? To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
? To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.
Twenty Year Goals
? To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
? To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
? To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.
FIVE YEAR OBJECTIVES
1. A major public debate between design theorists and Darwinists (by 2003)
2. Thirty published books on design and its cultural implications (sex, gender
issues, medicine, law, and religion)
3. One hundred scientific, academic and technical articles by our fellows
4. Significant coverage in national media:
? Cover story on major news magazine such as Time or Newsweek
? PBS show such as Nova treating design theory fairly
? Regular press coverage on developments in design theory
? Favorable op-ed pieces and columns on the design movement by 3rd party media
5. Spiritual & cultural renewal:
? Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by materialism
? Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation & repudiate(s)
? Darwinism Seminaries increasingly recognize & repudiate naturalistic presuppositions
? Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as sexuality, abortion and belief in God
6. Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include design theory
7. Scientific achievements:
? An active design movement in Israel, the UK and other influential countries outside the US
? Ten CRSC Fellows teaching at major universities
? Two universities where design theory has become the dominant view
? Design becomes a key concept in the social sciences Legal reform movements base legislative proposals on design theory