Evolving Banners at the Discovery Institute

The original banner of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture — the institutional home of "intelligent design" creationism — featured the familiar picture from the Sistine Chapel of God touching Adam:


(Banner in place approximately November 1996 – April 1999.)


The image was entirely appropriate, since the Discovery Institute's president, Bruce Chapman, explained that the Center seeks "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God." Adam was subsequently replaced with the double helix of DNA:


(Banner in place approximately October 1999 – August 2001.)


But the explicit religiosity of Michelangelo's image belied the Center's disavowal of any religious motivation, and the banner was eventually replaced. The replacement features a planetary nebula (the MyCn 18 Hourglass Nebula, photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope), which presumably was selected because it happens to resemble a human eye:


(Banner in place approximately October 2001 – August 2002.)


Still present in the name of the Center, however, was the word "Renewal" — a peculiarly inspirational word for the name of a center that seeks (in its own words) to "challenge materialism on specifically scientific grounds." The Center recently removed the word "Renewal" from its name and revised the banner accordingly:


(Banner in place approximately August 2002 - June 2004.)


Most recently, the banner was replaced again – this time with an overlay of a cartoon DNA molecule, a fragment of the United States Constitution and Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. Appropriately, like intelligent design itself, the new banner shows us nothing of the natural world.
(Banner in place approximately July 2004 - Present.)


So far so good. But because the proponents of "intelligent design" have still not published anything in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that supports their claims, there is still a superfluous word in the Center's name: "Science." We look forward to the next step in its evolution.