Science, Scientism, and Society

March 06-07, 2020
The Discovery Institute, Seattle, WA
5:00 p.m. Friday to 3:30 p.m. Saturday

About the Conference

Genetics, artificial intelligence, climate change, flu vaccinations . . . There’s a lot of scientific debate, both for and against. 

But is science being used for the benefit of human beings, or against them? 

In The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis writes that “the serious magical endeavour and the serious scientific endeavour are twins.”

Like any other discipline of study, science is a tool of understanding. And like any tool, it can serve—or harm—human flourishing.

Join brilliant students and scholars for a weekend of conversation and lecture dedicated to exploring Lewis’s theme and understanding the role of science in human flourishing. Not only will you grasp a complex topic in one weekend—you’ll make friends and have intelligent conversation with thoughtful students and top scholars!

Talks and conversation will cover:

  • The problem with the prevailing Darwinian view of nature
  • The pros and cons of artificial intelligence (AI)
  • The dangers of radical environmentalism
  • How a proper understanding of science and nature can promote human flourishing, and save the earth 

In an era when most conversations about science and ethics are one-sided, this free conference is a rare opportunity for you to gain perspective, grasp complex topics, and have intelligent conversations with great people. 

Applications are closed for this conference. Hit the button below to see similar events! 


What students are saying

"The rich conversations at ISI conferences made me realize why I went to university."
- Emily Rose Mitchell, Rhodes College


John G. West to speak at Intercollegiate Studies Institute student conference
John G. West (Vice President, The Discovery Institute)

John West is author or editor of a dozen books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science; The Magician’s Twin: C.S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society; The C.S. Lewis Readers’ Encyclopedia; Celebrating Middle Earth: The Lord of the Rings as a Defense of Western Civilization; The Politics of Revelation and Reason; and Walt Disney and Live Action. He is also the writer/director of multiple documentaries, including Human Zoos, Revolutionary, The Biology of the Second Reich, and Privileged Species. He has been interviewed by TimeNewsweekUSA TodayThe Washington Post, and The New York Times, and he has appeared on CNN, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. The former Chair of the Department of Political Science at Seattle Pacific University, West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University.

Wesley J. Smith
Wesley J. Smith (Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute)

Attorney Wesley J. Smith is one of America’s leading experts in the area of bioethics and public policy, and he is often tapped by policymakers in government to advise on issues relating to bioethics. A regular contributor to National Review, he is the author of numerous books, including The War on Humans; Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine; Forced Exit: Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and the New Duty to Die; A Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World; and A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement. Smith’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and many other publications. He has appeared on thousands of television and radio talk shows, including Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, CNN Anderson Cooper, Fox News, and Dennis Prager.

Brian Miller
Brian Miller (Research Coordinator, Center for Science and Culture, Discovery Institute)

Brian Miller holds a PhD in Physics from Duke University. He speaks internationally on the topics of intelligent design and the impact of worldviews on society. He also has consulted on organizational development and strategic planning, and he is a technical consultant for TheStartup, a virtual incubator dedicated to bringing innovation to the marketplace.

Robert J. Marks
Robert J. Marks (Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence at Discovery Institute)

Robert J. Marks is Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. His research has been funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, Boeing, General Electric, and other organizations. He previously was a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. Marks is a Fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Optical Society of America. He was Charter President of the IEEE Neural Networks Council and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks. He is co-author of the books Neural Smithing: Supervised Learning in Feedforward Artificial Neural Networks (MIT Press) and Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics (World Scientific); and author of The Case for Killer Robots (DI Press, 2020). Marks holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech.