John G. West Political Scientist and Cultural Critic

John G. West

Author, Filmmaker, and Cultural Commentator


Darwinists Devolve

One sign of a robust scientific theory is the quality of its most prominent proponents.  During its long history, Darwinian theory has had no shortage of gifted champions, starting with Charles Darwin himself.  Whatever else he was, Darwin was a masterful scientific communicator who collected and interpreted a vast array of observations from the natural world. One can’t read his writings without being duly impressed. Darwin’s civil and measured tone was calculated to persuade. Darwin was especially impressive in taking objections to his theory seriously and seeking to answer them.  Throughout the decades, Darwinism has had many other able scientific advocates. In our own lifetimes, there were Harvard biologists such as Ernst Mayr and Stephen Jay

Ronald Reagan’s Deeply Personal Argument for Intelligent Design

We are approaching President Ronald Reagan’s 113th birthday, falling next week on February 6. Two days before his birthday in 1988, Reagan delivered remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC.  He told attendees that he had “long been unable to understand the atheist in this world of so much beauty.” With a touch of mischief in his voice, he added: “I’ve had an unholy desire to invite some atheists to a dinner and then serve the most fabulous gourmet dinner that has ever been concocted, and — after dinner — ask them if they believe there was a cook.”  The audience responded with extended laughter and applause. It was Reagan’s riff on the age-old argument for intelligent design, the idea that the order and purposefulness of nature point

Ten Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Christian College

As a former professor at an evangelical Christian university, I am sometimes asked by concerned parents to recommend a good Christian college for them to consider for their children. Because the spiritual health of specific colleges and universities can change radically over time, and because there can be a wide diversity of views even among different academic departments on the same campus, it is not always possible to provide specific recommendations. What I can provide are questions you can ask if you or your teens are seeking to find a biblically-faithful college or university. Don’t just rely on marketing materials produced by the college or university! Those materials will invariably stress how the institution integrates the Christian faith with learning in everything it does.

Thus Saith the Science: C.S. Lewis on the Dangers of Scientism

Progress is an appealing idea, but what happens when we do not all desire the same things? On this ID The Future, we mark the 60th anniversary of the death of British writer C.S. Lewis as host Andrew McDiarmid concludes a conversation with Dr. John West about Lewis’s prophetic warnings to us about science and scientism. In Part 2, Dr. West explains how scientism — the idea that science alone dictates truth — harms scientific progress and leads to moral relativism. “Lewis’s point was this,” says West. “When you fuse some claim for superior absolute knowledge with power, that’s an unholy combination. And you’re actually encouraging corruption.” He also explains what scientific materialism is and how Lewis refutes the idea in his work.

Maura: The Woman Whose Brain Was Stolen and Stored by the Smithsonian

As part of its series exposing how the Smithsonian Institution collected hundreds of brains from indigenous peoples, the Washington Post has highlighted the sad experience of a Filipino woman named Maura. Maura was brought from the Philippines to the United States in 1904 to take part in one of the public displays of indigenous people at the St. Louis World’s Fair. These public displays (now called “human zoos” by scholars) were designed to highlight non-white races thought to be lower on the evolutionary ladder. They were embodiments of Darwinian racism. I exposed what happened at the St. Louis World’s Fair in my award-winning documentary Human Zoos. As I explain in Human Zoos, the Smithsonian sent its Darwinist curator Aleš

Smithsonian’s Racist Brain Collection Exposed by Washington Post

The Washington Post has been running a series of articles exposing how the Smithsonian Institution collected hundreds of brains from indigenous peoples as part of an early-20th century effort to promote Darwinian racism. The motivation for the brain collection was to document how some people were supposedly lower on the evolutionary ladder than others.  Many of these brains are still stored in steel vats at a non-public Smithsonian facility in Maryland. The Smithsonian’s brain collection is finally getting more widespread attention due to the series in the Washington Post series. But the collection — and the man behind it, Aleš Hrdlička — were previously exposed in the 2004 book Ishi’s Brain and by my 2018 award-winning documentary Human

My Friend Olufemi Oluniyi and Darwin’s Legacy in Nigeria

Like most white Americans, I have not spent much of my life thinking about or studying Africa and its rich history. I say this with regret. My insularity was challenged when I met the Rev. Dr. Olufemi Oluniyi, author of the new book Darwin Comes to Africa.  Olufemi came to Seattle in the summer of 2017 to participate in Discovery Institute’s C. S. Lewis Fellows Program on Science and Society, which I direct. The trip ended up being Olufemi’s first and only visit to America. Although offered a visiting research professorship at the Catholic University of America years earlier, Olufemi had not been able to accept it at the time. Eyes and Heart Olufemi opened my eyes and heart to the importance of Nigeria to Africa, the dynamic role of Christians there, and the importance of Africa to

When Darwin Came to Africa

Except for a short visit to Cape Town on his way home back to England on the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin did not spend time in Africa. But his poisonous ideas certainly did, spread by aggressive Social Darwinists who left a bitter legacy that impacts Africans even today. My dear friend Olufemi Oluniyi spent the last years of his life documenting what happened so the world could finally know the truth.  Olufemi was a Nigerian pastor, theologian, journalist, scholar, and human rights activist. I met him in 2017 when he participated in the Center for Science & Culture’s Summer Seminar program here in Seattle.  A Resolution to Write By the end of the program, Olufemi had resolved to write a book about the impact of Social Darwinism on his home country, and at the final

New Exhibition on the Bible and Science Opens in Nation’s Capital

WASHINGTON, DC — A sweeping new exhibition on “Scripture and Science” opened last week in the nation’s capital at the Museum of the Bible. Hundreds of people attended the gala opening, which featured astronaut Jeffrey Williams, among others.  The exhibition showcases a number of intriguing artifacts, including Galileo’s personal copy of Nicholas Copernicus’ book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres and even a chalice used by astronaut Buzz Aldrin to celebrate the Christian sacrament of communion on the moon in 1969. Tracing the development of science over two millennia, the exhibition challenges the popular misconception that the relationship between the Bible and science has been dominated by conflict rather than cooperation. “While there is this persistent

#5 Story of 2022: The Rise of Totalitarian Science

Editor’s note: Welcome to an Evolution News tradition: a countdown of our Top 10 favorite stories of the past year, concluding on New Year’s Day. Our staff are enjoying the holidays, as we hope that you are, too! Help keep the daily voice of intelligent design going strong. Please give whatever you can to support the Center for Science & Culture before the end of the year! The following was originally published on January 31, 2022. In 2007, I published Darwin Day in America, a critical history of social Darwinism in the United States and, more broadly, an exploration of the abuse of science in American public policy in the last century-and-a-half. In 2015, I wrote a new chapter for the paperback edition, highlighting a worrisome trend. I
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