In faith, I kept the middle week of my trip empty for God to fill in with a supprise – and wow, He sure didn’t disappoint!
During our late night discussions in LA after the Veritas conference, Dr Steve Meyer invited me up to Seattle where the Discovery Institute kindly hosted me for three days. Another divine appointment without doubt!
Fellows of this institute include all the big names such as Steve Meyer (Signature in the Cell), Michael Behe (Darwin’s Black Box) , William Demski (Design inference), Jay Richards (God & Evolution), Jonathan Wells (Icons of Evolution) and many other significant contributors to the Intelligent Design community.
They are responsible for great documentaries such as Unlocking the Mystery of Life, The Privileged Planet, and their latest Darwin’s Dilemma (which I’ll be showing at Thinking Matters Tauranga early next year). There is another project in the pipeline along the same lines that sounds very exciting as it takes a new approach with some of the more recent discoveries.
They have some of the best minds in the field, and are making solid in-roads into the philosophical naturalism held so dearly by the scientific community. Evidence of this can be seen by the number of scientists who are beginning to voice public decent against neo-Darwinian evolution, which is very encouraging to see.
They have offices in Seattle and Washington DC, and two research labs also in the Seattle area.
They are not a Christian organisation (they have Jewish fellows such as David Klinghoffer and secular Jew and agnostic David Berlinski). However they are friendly to the Thinking Matters vision as we share the view that Intelligent Design is a vital component in the battle to undermine the scientific naturalism that so grips the western mindset.
My time consisted of meetings at their downtown office with a handful of their key researchers, writers, public policy specialists, and legal and media relations people who were very helpful with their insights and stories about what to expect when we start to become more effective in our public facing efforts. We then spent lunch brainstorming ideas for future events which was very helpful. I also got to hear about some of their upcoming projects – and while I can’t give any details, I can say there are some very exciting projects and activities in the pipeline! I’ll certainly be watching developments with interest!
This photo was taken at lunch. From left to right around the table is Dr Jay W. Richards (Senior Fellow), Me, Dr John West (Senior Fellow and Director of the Centre for Science and Culture), Robert Crowther (Director of Communications), and Casey Luskin (Public Policy and Legal Affairs):
I enjoyed hearing about the underhanded tactics to undermine the activities of their scientists, including denial-of-service attacks on their servers during events, nasty ad-hominem attacks on their people, and repetitive and blindingly predictable straw-men arguments. We all had a good laugh, as such attacks are really an encouragement to the team as they show the scientific community cannot respond to their position and are instead running scared… “Why don’t they just engage the science?”
A day later I joined Steve again for breakfast before he took me down to their Centre for Science and Culture research office in Redmond where his own office is based. This was especially kind of him to arrange, as it was his day off!
I meet some more staff there and we discussed some more of the current and future projects they’re undertaking.
They were interested in the Thinking Matters vision and they loaded me up with (yet more!) DVD’s and books to ship back to NZ for the Thinking Matters Library.
I also got a much needed break, heading 2 hours north up Puget Sound for a beautiful day of hiking through this beautiful state forest park:
I got in some sightseeing including a tour of the Boeing assembly plant (really fascinating!), and of course a visit to the Seattle Space Needle:
Overall – my time in Seattle was very valuable. I’m sure the connections and friendships made will be fruitful for years to come.