Stephen C. Meyer is the current director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. A former geophysicist and college professor, he is an advocate of intelligent design, a pseudoscientific creationist argument for the existence of God. Meyer has authored the New York Times bestseller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, as well as Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, which was named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement (of London) in 2009.
Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries that Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe, is Meyer’s latest offering, released March 30, 2021. In the book, he builds on the case for the intelligent design of life that he developed in Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt, demonstrates how discoveries in cosmology and physics coupled with those in biology help to establish the identity of the designing intelligence behind life and the universe and argues that theism best explains the evidence we have concerning biological and cosmological origins.
“In every case where we have a finely tuned system, whether it’s a French recipe or a mechanical internal combustion engine, we have traced back to its source, and we always come to a mind.”
Smashing Interviews Magazine: Steve, please tell us a little about your educational and professional background.
Stephen C. Meyer: Sure. Absolutely. I grew up in the Seattle area. I went to a liberal arts college in Washington called Whitworth College, now Whitworth University. I double majored in physics and geology and took a minor in philosophy. I was a bit of a late bloomer in high school. I was not as focused on study but was kind of ignited in college. It was a good experience.
Then after I graduated, I worked for four years as a geophysicist for an oil company which was then called digital signal processing. It was kind of a seismology digital processing that was being used at the time. During my last year in Dallas, I received a Rotary international fellowship to study in Cambridge. I went over to do a one-year masters in history and philosophy of science and ended up staying on for three more years beyond that to do a PhD in philosophy of science. I worked specifically on the question of the origin of life.
When I finished in 1990, I returned to my alma mater, Whitworth University, and taught philosophy of science there for 12 years until becoming fulltime at the Discovery Institute to head up the program that we had started in 1996. By 2002, it had grown to the point it needed a fulltime director, and I came over in 2002 to head that up in Seattle. That brought me back to the city where I grew up. So I made a big circle from Seattle to Dallas to Cambridge to Spokane and back home.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: Were you raised in a religious home?
Stephen C. Meyer: I was raised in a nominally religious family but didn’t really find faith in a personal way until my college years.
Smashing Interviews Magazine: On its Wiki page, the Discovery Institute is described as a politically conservative non-profit think tank. Is that accurate?
Stephen C. Meyer: The Wiki description is not quite accurate for Discovery. We are center right, but we’re bipartisan. We have both Democrat and Republican policy strategists working on various issues. We have multiple programs, so we have a technology program that’s pioneering driverless vehicles, which is neither a conservative nor a liberal idea. It’s just a tech idea.
So we’re really more of a science and technology think tank. We’re generally center right, but we have people across the spectrum politically, and there are programs really apolitical, and we have both Jews and Christians and non-religious scientists and philosophers who are theistic leaning or at least open to theism, or more probably, they’re skeptical of scientific materialism. So the Wiki definition is a bit of a pejorative, I think, to kind of stigmatize us a little bit or marginalize us. I think we’re a lot broader than we’re characterized there. There are conservative people who are also Christians in the Institute, but there are also Jewish and non-religious people who are not necessarily conservatives or Republicans.