Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center

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The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center is a Christian[1] nonprofit organization formed as a student club to promote the pseudoscientific principle of intelligent design at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). There are about 25 active chapters of this organization in the United States, Kenya, Canada, Ukraine, and The Philippines. There have been a total of 35 active chapters formed and several others are currently pending. Six out of the listed 32 chapters in the USA are located at high schools.[2] In December 2008, biologist Allen MacNeill stated, on the basis of analysis of the webpages of the national organization and local chapters, that it appeared that the organization is moribund.[3]


IDEA was first formed in May 1999 by Steve Renner, Eddie Colanter, and Casey Luskin after the "father" of the intelligent design movement Phillip E. Johnson lectured at UCSD.[4] It described its goal as:

"the leadership of IDEA desires to educate people about "Intelligent Design Theory."[4]

IDEA Center[edit]

The IDEA Center was an outgrowth of the UCSD IDEA club formed by UCSD IDEA Club members and co-founders Steve Renner, Eddie Colanter, and Casey Luskin in the summer of 2001, as part of an effort to start IDEA Clubs on other campuses, including high schools.[4]

It describes its goal as:

our primary focus of outreach is to help students found chapters of "IDEA Clubs" at high schools and universities where they can promote intelligent design theory to their fellow students.

The IDEA Center is run by a board of directors and an advisory board. The advisory board consists of the leaders of the intelligent design movement, William A. Dembski, Michael Behe, Phillip E. Johnson, Jay Richards and Mark Hartwig, and provides guidance and support to the board of directors. The IDEA Center board of directors has an unusual concentration of members from the same families serving; of the three founders, two have family members serving as directors, Eddie Colanter and Brit Colanter, and Steve Renner and Lynette Renner. In addition, Ryan Huxley and Stephen Huxley are board members as well. The majority of the advisory board are Fellows of the Discovery Institute, the driving force behind the intelligent design movement, or affiliated with the institute in some way. The Institute has been the primary source of support to the IDEA Center for its entire history. IDEA Center co-founder Casey Luskin after graduating from law school went on to a staff position at the Discovery Institute contributing to its blog,[5]


In 2004, in response to the rejections of the scientific community and educators to the inclusion of disclaimers discounting evolution in Selman v. Cobb County School District, the IDEA Center published a "Darwinist Disclaimer" on its website in several file formats suitable for printing.[6]

The center through most of its existence maintained a requirement that those founding new IDEA Clubs or running existing clubs, so-called "club leaders", be Christian. The reasoning was given as "the IDEA Center Leadership believes, for religious reasons unrelated to intelligent design theory, that the identity of the designer is the God of the Bible." By January 2006 the requirement had been dropped and replaced by a requirement that club leaders accept the IDEA Center's mission statement which stated "we consider it reasonable to conclude that the designer may be identified as the God of the Bible."[7] That mission statement had been removed in June 2007, replaced by a message stating "The IDEA Center Mission Statement is Currently Under Construction pending Board Approval after some recent changes to IDEA Center policies. The mission statement will be re-posted when finalized."[8] As of March 2008, the statement includes both the statements "we consider it reasonable to conclude that the designer may be identified as the God of the Bible"[9] and "IDEA Center Leadership believes that the identity of the designer is the God of the Bible"[10]

As of 2015, the press/media contact lists a San Diego State University email address as its sole contact. The email address denotes assignation to an employee of SDSU, a publicly funded university, which does not have a chapter at its school. [11]

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