Discovery Institute Press publishes books exploring the intersection of science, education, technology, culture, and public policy.
Science After BabelPurchase
Polymath and raconteur David Berlinski is at it again, challenging the shibboleths of contemporary science with his inimitable blend of deep learning, close reasoning, and rapier wit. In Science After Babel he reflects on everything from Newton, Einstein, and Gödel to catastrophe theory, information theory, and the morass that is modern Darwinism. The scientific enterprise is unarguably impressive, but it shows no sign of reaching the empyrean heights it seemed to promise a century ago. “It resembles Bruegel’s Tower of Babel,” Berlinski says, “and if it suggests anything at all, it suggests that its original plans have somehow been lost.” Science endures. Scientism, it would seem, is guttering out.(more…)
Darwin Comes to AfricaSocial Darwinism and British Imperialism in Northern NigeriaPurchase
Charles Darwin fathered not just a scientific theory, but a toxic social ideology that fueled racist colonial policies in Africa. In this sobering book, African scholar Olufemi Oluniyi traces the insidious impact of Darwinian ideas on British imperial policies in Northern Nigeria. Drawing on official documents, public statements, and well-attested historical events, Oluniyi documents how concepts such as evolutionary racism and survival of the fittest were systematically used to demean black Africans, consigning some people to a status of permanent inferiority. Rejecting Social Darwinism, Oluniyi makes a compelling argument for the equality of all human beings, and for recognizing Africa’s many seminal contributions to the history of human civilization.(more…)
Your Designed BodyPurchase
Consider your body. Every day it must solve hundreds of hard engineering problems simultaneously, or else you’ll die. While you’re going about your daily business, your body stores, retrieves, translates, and manages software for thousands of proteins, switches, setpoints, thresholds, feedback loops, coordinate systems, counters, and timers. It disassembles thousands of different complex molecules, converts them into their building blocks, absorbs the building blocks, then reassembles them into the legions of chemicals and proteins that keep you going.
Your body also safely transports hazardous chemicals to where they’re needed, without spilling them in places where they’d do harm, and employs them as it orchestrates thousands of complex processes and movements, some nearly instantaneous. At the same time it defends itself against threats large and small, and reproduces its own parts to replace those that are wearing out. And this is only a tiny portion of what your body must do to remain alive—all without conscious input from you.
In Your Designed Body, systems engineer Steve Laufmann and physician Howard Glicksman explore this extraordinary system of systems encompassing thousands of ingenious and interdependent engineering solutions. They present a compelling case that no gradual evolutionary pathway could have achieved this, and that instead it must be the handiwork of a masterful designer-engineer.(more…)
Non-Computable YouWhat You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never WillPurchase
Will machines someday replace attorneys, physicians, computer programmers, and world leaders? What about composers, painters, and novelists? Will tomorrow’s supercomputers duplicate and exceed humans? Are we just wetware, natural computers doomed to obsolescence by tomorrow’s ultra-powerful artificial intelligence? In Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will, Robert J. Marks II answers these and other fascinating questions with his trademark blend of whimsy and expertise. Catch a glimpse of the geniuses behind today’s AI—their foibles, follies, and friendships—as told by someone on the inside. Under the author’s steady and winsome guidance, learn about the exciting possibilities for artificial intelligence, but also hear how many of the heady claims for AI are provably overblown. Marks shows why there are some powers AI will never possess, no matter what. These powers belong to another—to non-computable you.(more…)
The Miracle of ManThe Fine Tuning of Nature for Human ExistencePurchase
About the Book
For years, leading scientists and science popularizers have insisted humans are nothing special in the cosmic scheme of things. In this important and provocative new book, renowned biologist Michael Denton argues otherwise. According to Denton, the cosmos is stunningly fit not just for cellular life, not just for carbon-based animal life, and not even just for air-breathing animals, but especially for bipedal, land-roving, technology-pursuing creatures of our general physiological design. In short, the cosmos is specifically fit for creatures like us. Drawing on discoveries from a myriad of scientific fields, Denton masterfully documents how contemporary science has revived humanity’s special place in nature. “The human person as revealed by modern science is no contingent assemblage of elements, an irrelevant afterthought of cosmic evolution,” Denton writes. “Rather, our destiny was inscribed in the light of stars and the properties of atoms since the beginning. Now we know that all nature sings the song of man. Our seeming exile from nature is over. We now know what the medieval scholars only believed, that the underlying rationality of nature is indeed ‘manifest in human flesh.’ And with this revelation the… delusion of humankind’s irrelevance on the cosmic stage has been revoked.”(more…)