External observers of the Discovery Institute should realize that what they see at ENV, or in Discovery Institute public activities more generally, does NOT reflect what is going on (ID research-wise) behind the scenes. I made the mistake many years ago of floating a design-motivated research idea (ontogenetic depth), in public, in a poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology, long before that idea was actually ready to make a respectable debut. I did so partly in response to external pressure that ID was all, and only, “Boo Darwin, boo evolution!” with nothing of its own to show. An eager ID-friendly student wrote about the idea, PZ Myers saw the student’s comments, launched a blistering critique, and the rest is history. Moral of the story: be patient and do the work first. Submit to mainstream journals, if possible. But don’t talk about ideas still in embryonic form. That’s a surefire path to miscarriage.
In other words, a lot of ID-motivated primary research is being conducted at Discovery, but you won’t hear about it until we get it published. Once burned, twice shy.
A note of realism. I can understand that defenders of undirected or naturalistic evolution don’t like to have their theories criticized or analyzed. No one wants to be poked at under a skeptical lens. But evolutionary theory has grown very fat and lazy over many decades of having a philosophical monopoly on origins (since the alternative to evolution appears to be religious magic). There are plenty of real problems with current accounts of evolution that deserve legitimate critique.
And, Gott sei dank, some of that criticism is now being provided by evolutionary biologists themselves, albeit still within the strictures of methodological naturalism (MN). But MN places artificial limits on what can be said, so the rebels at Discovery use the intellectual freedom they still have to go further.
I know many evolutionary biologists personally. Some are theists, most are not. ALL are limited in what they can say about the ruling theory in their profession.
“Any profession that does not supply its own criticism and iconoclasm will discover that someone else will do the job, and usually in a way it does not like.”
Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason (NY: Delta Books, 1971), pp. 149-150.