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Michael Medved Becomes Discovery Fellow

Discovery Press Release:

Discovery Institute Names National Talk Show Host Michael Medved as Senior Fellow

SEATTLE — Michael Medved, nationally syndicated talk radio host and bestselling author, has joined the Discovery Institute in the role of senior fellow. The position cements a longstanding friendship and recognizes a commonality of values and projects across a spectrum of issues.

“Michael Medved is an intellectual entrepreneur, a political and cultural polymath with great insights, judgment and wit. We are delighted to have this new relationship with him,” said Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman.

The sixth largest talk radio audience in the country, 3.7 million listeners, hears Medved’s daily three-hour radio program, The Michael Medved Show. Michael’s show is carried on more than 200 stations across America. The author of several books, including Hollywood vs. America and a recent autobiography, Right Turns, the one-time “punk liberal activist” turned “lovable conservative curmudgeon” is currently at work on a book on The Ten Big Lies About America.

Chapman saluted Medved “as the national radio host—make that ‘media host’—who is best able to understand science issues, including the current conflict over Darwinism and intelligent design. He’s very smart, quick and resourceful. Yet he also is respectful of those he disagrees with.”

“Over the years, I’ve greatly appreciated Discovery’s scholarship and advocacy in many areas,” Medved commented. “We may not agree on every issue, but I often have been struck by how much our worldviews overlap. It has been my pleasure to have Discovery fellows on my show as guests, including Stephen Meyer, Jonathan Wells, and David Klinghoffer. Formalizing the relationship will, I’m sure, only deepen the feeling of collegiality I already have with my friends at Discovery. I look forward to working with Discovery on future projects.”

Medved’s first book, What Really Happened to the Class of ’65?, provided one of the first skeptical reconsiderations of the 1960s counterculture. His tenth book, Right Turns, drew national attention in 2005, offering 35 “unconventional lessons” from Michael’s dramatic political and religious evolution. The New York Times called Right Turns “A provocative memoir… Even many of his readers who hold to very different political and social views will concede, grudgingly, the quality of Medved’s intellect.”

Crown Forum will publish The Ten Big Lies About America, certain to be hugely controversial, in June 2008.

Long active in the Jewish community, Medved has served as president of an Orthodox congregation and co-founder of a Jewish Day School. Since 1996, Michael and his wife, Dr. Diane Medved, a psychologist, have lived in the Seattle area with their three children.

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52 Responses to Michael Medved Becomes Discovery Fellow

  1. I must admit, I find this news scary. This website already seems to have married itself to the global warming issue. If the discovery institute marries itself to Americanism, and to American conservativism, all reasonable issues, it will dilute the primary message of the institute. I ask that you please avoid having the Discovery Institute become the American Conservative Institute. If it does, I fear that the cause of Intelligent Design will suffer.

  2. bFast, this is good news. Michael’s radio show, coupled with the Expelled movie, and Denyse O’Leary’s print journalism will break the liberal stranglehold on science media. The Darwinists are losing the PR battle and their so-called science will crumble right behind it.

  3. This is good news. I am a fan of Medved AND Discovery Institute. When Ben Stein was on O’Reilley, it highlighted the fact that even sympathetic commentators can harm the cause because they do not understand the issues. (Even Panda’s Thumb was gloating about it the next day.) The top conservative commentators need to go to school about ID. (Expect nothing from liberals.) Maybe Michael Medved will help. He gets it.

  4. Nothing I have heard from Medved on his radio show when he talks about creationism leads me to believe that this is a good move.

  5. I wonder who the first person will be to ignore his Orthodox Judaism and say he is a Fundamentalist Christian.

  6. I am a conservative, but I would like the DI to reach out to liberal (or other) groups so that ID is not seen (to the extent that it isn’t already) as a conservative American idea.

  7. 7

    Collin,

    Which liberal groups so you suppose would think that ID is a good idea??

    The Scubaredneck

  8. I think ID needs more Christians, like BA77 and Denyse O’Leary, not Sasquatch believers.

    I’m not sure even the Big Tent is big enough for this – What are the DI braintrust thinking?

    From his website: Dan Sytman, Michael’s long-time producer and now highly successful co-host of his own morning show, once saw Bigfoot at the edge of a summer camp in the woods. Even before meeting Dan, Michael was a passionate believer in Sasquatch.

    http://www.michaelmedved.com/p.....graphy.jsp

  9. Michael Medved? Who’s next? Ann Coulter?

  10. 10

    It smacks of tokenism to me. Perhaps they thought they needed a Jewish guy to offset all of the talk about the DI being a Christian dominionist organization. Makes as much sense as David Berlinski or Wells the moonie, I guess.

  11. Glarson24: I don’t get Medved’s Sasquatch thing, but he’s done way too much in his life to be dismissed for this one unconventional view.

  12. It smacks of tokenism to me.

    Medved lives in Seattle, has very good rapport with American Christians, and has had DI people on his show. If you want to take a cynical position, it would make more sense to say they’re using him for his radio microphone. But there’s no reason to be cynical. Jews and Chrisitians both have an interest in prying science and materialism apart.

  13. Most media people are liberals. And just as materialism is the organized religion of the school system (and Darwinism its creation story), liberalism – in its modern form – is the social policy arm of materialism.

    http://post-darwinist.blogspot.....rm-of.html

  14. Is there a link to listen to this guys show online? For once, I can say that all the reviewers above me gave good RELATED reviews :)

    I think geoffrobinson stated exactly what was on my m ind when he said “I wonder who the first person will be to ignore his Orthodox Judaism and say he is a Fundamentalist Christian.”

  15. It’s about time that te DI recognized Medved as an excellent voice for ID. He can communicate effectivly with teh target audience.

  16. Let me just make sure I understand how this whole thing is being played out:

    liberalism/materialism/theism/Darwinism vs. conservativism/monotheism/design theory

    Doesn’t this polarization of culture, politics, and science worry anyone? I know it’s got me worried. Am I the only one here who thinks that this polarization and divisiveness is a symptom of some bigger problem?

  17. It smacks of tokenism to me. Perhaps they thought they needed a Jewish guy to offset all of the talk about the DI being a Christian dominionist organization.

    Actually, there’s no need. Medved sounds *exactly* like a Christian fundamentalist on his show. I don’t think there is an iota of difference between them (except for Jesus thing, which means many people around here think he’s going to Hell with the rest of us non-Christians).

  18. Carl Sachs, “Doesn’t this polarization of culture, politics, and science worry anyone?”

    It worries me, see post #1 above. I fear that the twinning of the scientific question of biological origins and these other social equations is going to be the death nell to the Discovery Institute, and potentially to the public discourse on Intelligent Design.

  19. Interestingly, two religious Jews, Michael Medved and Dennis Prager, played a role in my abandonment of atheism in favor of Christianity. Medved and Prager are two of the most brilliant and effective defenders of Christianity I have ever encountered. Of course, there were other significant factors, like the realization that the universe and living systems are the product of foresight and design. This is an empirical no-brainer based on modern science. I’m sure that both Medved and Prager would be pleased with the influence they have had upon me.

    The interesting thing about Prager and Medved is that they recognize a very simple fact: Judaism and Christianity have been the most powerful civilizing influences in the history of the world. If one judges worldviews on their fruits, there is no comparison. A significant case can also be made that the Judeo-Christian tradition and worldview were responsible for the instigation of scientific inquiry and the scientific method.

  20. Carl Sachs:

    “Doesn’t this polarization of culture, politics, and science worry anyone?”

    Count me too in the worried club. For me, the only issue is: fanatic scientism (including darwinism, AI theories, materialist neurology, and deformations of the philosophy of science) which seems to dominate in scientific clture today, against open scientific inquiry and theorization (including ID and many other things), which tries, from a minority situation, to correctly infer from the available data and to change the intolerant dogmatism of the existing scientific ideology.

    All that has nothing to do, for me, with politics and religion and general philosophies of the world (although, obviously, it has consequences in all those fields). The privilege of science (I mean true, healthy science) is to pursue the truth as much as possible, notwithstanding all the heavy influences which politics, religion and ideology constantly exert on that pursuit.

    ID is true science. It has nothing to do with religion or politics. Moreover, ID is much more important than any of its supporters. ID supporters have, obviously, their politic and religious views, and it is perfectly natural that they express them even in the context of ID discussion. I have no objections to that. But the true ID debate has nothing to do with all that, and it is really the true ID debate which has the power to revolution the present cultural trend, and not its apparent political and religious connotations.

    So, we can well tolerate the political and religious discussions in the ID community, but believe me, those are not the real ID thing. The real ID thing is a scientific revolution, and it can (and should) be embraced by all, liberal and conservative, religious and atheists, provided they are sincerely in search of an objective scientific truth.

  21. Carl Sachs,

    When an aggressive irrational force starts to create some resistance in the people they are attacking is this polarization? And if it is, who is creating the polarization? Who is trying to force their will on others? Look to the campuses for the mind set that is creating the polarization. And is it the same people or mind set that is throttling debate on campuses that is creating the polarization in society at large.

  22. Amen Jerry 22!!

    Who would want to live in a nation of sheep that mindlessly march to the latest fad, that jump when the elitist says jump, that gullibly swallow the swill of the demagogue?

    Who would have us go from “the greatest generation” to such self-loathing, from liberty to socialism, from celebrating family to sanctifying sodomy … all with no backlash?

    Long live the polarization!

    Besides maybe it’s an antidote to global warming.

  23. I don’t know how to feel about this. I’m a big fan of Medved, but I don’t think we should stoop to the Darwinist’s level. We don’t politicize science. We don’t politicize religion. Let’s keep politics out of our movement. This just gives the other side ammo against us.

    But on the other hand… Maybe we need to get our hands a little dirty so that we can win. I don’t know. Should we be politicizing ID?

  24. This is a matter of separating science and religion. I stand with everyone who believes science and religion are different spheres and who recognize ideology is the brother of theology.

    True believers, such as PZM and Dawkins, will fight like cornered weasels when confronted with their own metaphysic! I’ve met precious few materialists who recognize their philosophy precludes the empirical evidence which they say supports their materialist philosophy! This is the central circularity of most materialists I’ve engaged over the years and intellectual honesty on this point is rare.

    The reason this issue splits along partisan lines is because of the divisive tactics of leftists – because ultimately, left wing politics is anti-theism and seeks utopia via collective action – which must be organized and controlled by a central state. The so-called Religious Right was a reaction to the Secular Left, which had been using the US Courts to impose dogmatic secularism on the rest of the country. Read “ Our Secularist Democratic Party” from The Public Interest, Fall 2002.

    Global Warming ties into this issue and is a great example of the revolt against reason which pervades the secular academy. I’ve got right wing co-workers who take a page from the PZM book of sneering arrogance over ID, but decry AlGore’s psuedo-science on Global Warming. The only difference is there is more open dissent from the global warming crowd than from the Darwinist crowd. I chalk that up to darwinism’s head start in the trenches.

  25. Exposure is always good.

  26. to Todd:
    “I’ve met precious few materialists who recognize their philosophy >precludes the empirical evidence which they say supports their materialist philosophy!” -

    Did you mean to say precludes (prevents from happening or arising) the empirical evidence which does NOT support their materialist philosophy?

  27. Long time lurker who just registered today.

    I don’t see what the big deal is about Mr Medved believing in bigfoot. Although I don’t believe there is any bigfoot or related creature running around Canada I know a lot of other smart people do. Who’s to say they’re wrong? I don’t want to sound sarcastic but I don’t think anyone can claim to have personally inspected every square yard of Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

    If they ever find a skeleton/fossile of a bigfoot type of creature a lot of people are going to look bad. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but it could. I’m always open to new discoveries.

    Like Mr Medved, I’m sure Dr Dembski or Dr Behe and other ID leaders have some personal beliefs that have nothing to do with Intelligent Design. That doesn’t make ID any less of a scientific theory.

    I’m probably not as well read as many of you but I think Mr Medved will be an asset to the ID movement. Time will tell.

    Tim

  28. 28

    Regardless of Medved’s politics or religious views, I have to believe the Sasquatch thing is going to hurt. Perhaps some observation of his was taken out of context. I hope so, because Medved is a pretty level-headed guy and has a knack for articulating the important stuff.

  29. Alan,

    No, I used preclude incorrectly.

  30. Do we have a “Bigfoot of the gaps” issue here? No matter what is shown about the unlikelihood that Sasquatch exists, no matter how infinitesimal the probabilities, there will always be the possibility that Bigfoot will show up some day with a naturalistic explanation, just as black swans did.

  31. Bugsy – Not if you’re Larry Craig

  32. I would actually like to see another think tank that supports a rival ID theory. Competition might be good for ID. If the two think tanks keep each other in check, then it steals the darwinists’ thunder when they want to criticize.

  33. I, too, would like to see ID and Darwinistic evolution isolated from other issues, but each side often pursues cultural interests that makes the divide even wider. Darwinists, for example, typically promote a radical separation of church and state, while ID advocates usually advocate a more moderate position. Typically, Darwinists are closer to secular humanism, while ID supporters, with some exceptions, incline more toward a Judeo/Christian world view. Indeed, they even read and argue for decidedly different versions of American history. Ask a Darwinist to characterize Thomas Jefferson, and you will think old TJ was a raging atheist; ask a typical IDer, and you will think the guy was ready for an altar call. How do you extricate the sciences from their cultural and sub-cultural contexts. If you know a way, count me in.

  34. Oh yes, I forgot, Darwinists seem to have jumped on the the global warming bandwagon, while intelligent design advocates typically think it is junk science. By the way, don’t get too excited about my reference to Jefferson, it was only hyperbole.

  35. I look forward to Michael Medved expanding the body of scientific knowledge and research regarding the theory of Intelligent Design.

    I’m just not holding my breath.

    As a propagandist, no doubt Medved is highly qualified, but I don’t believe that’s what’s required.

    Do the research.

  36. “I look forward to Michael Medved expanding the body of scientific knowledge and research regarding the theory of Intelligent Design.”

    Michael Medved is not a scientist. He’s yet another sharp point in the wedge strategy, just like Phillip E Johnson explained in the Nova special. I see Medved like Phillip E Johnson described himself – the sharp point of a wedge.

    Dr Dembski and Dr Behe are the wide portion (heavier too) of the wedge (as described by Mr Johnson). Guys like Johnson and Medved crack the door(s) open and guys like Dr Dembski and Dr Behe blow the doors wide open with their scientific knowledge.

    Ben Stein is the sharp side of the wedge too, he’s no scientist but he plays an important role in overthrowing science soaked in naturalism.

    Does that make sense?

    Tim

  37. As a propagandist, no doubt Medved is highly qualified, but I don’t believe that’s what’s required.

    I don’t think this is fair. I don’t buy most of what Al Franken says, but I wouldn’t call him a “propagandist”. They’re both commentators expressing their opinions. Calling either of them “propagandists” does indeed polarize and short-circuit debate.

  38. Tim,

    I think tykes point is that the sharp edge seems to be getting bigger than the broad edge. That is the DI is adding more talking heads but they don’t seem to be investing as much in research. but maybe I’m wrong about what tyke is saying.

  39. jdd, pretty much.

    Medved is an able communicator, there is no doubt, but he’s squarely in the market of “moral outrage” and will not taken seriously by wonks and scientists outside the ID true believers (if that).

    And it’s not as though he had much credibility in the first place when it come to political matters. Sure, conservatives love him, but his arguments are usually thin and unimpressive.

    I caught him on the radio just the other day for a few minutes. Just enough time to hear him say that there was no difference between the policies of Ron Paul and John Edwards–and no, it wasn’t in the context of the Iraq War, which is the *only* thing those two have in common.

    This is a big mistake by the DI. I guess if they are trying to raise money from right-wing Christian fundamentalists he can probably help, but otherwise his appointment sends all the wrong signals regarding the nature and intent of the DI think tank.

  40. This sends a very clear “if you’re not into wars, we’re not into you” message, which I’m sure all the other Catholics will love as much as I do.

    This isn’t just a statement marrying intelligent design to conservatism, but to a very specific strain of conservatism.

  41. In re: (41)

    This isn’t just a statement marrying intelligent design to conservatism, but to a very specific strain of conservatism.

    Very likely. And it will also provide further ammunition for people who will say that this marriage between ID and “a very specific strain of conservatism” was the point the whole time — that ID was never about science, but about politics and “culture wars,” etc.

  42. There is a type of conservatism that has nothing to do with the trivial forms seen in modern political discourse—Aristotelian conservatism.

    This type of conservatism is rooted in a deep and abiding love of nature. It s based on the premise that nature is good—indeed, “very good”—and that any theory of value must be rooted in the goodness of nature in order to overcome the nothingness and potential for error produced by the love of pure intellect.

    From this love of nature comes the notion of natural law. Aristotle’s golden mean may have lost some of its gravity, since nature is no longer seen as a middle term of intellect and matter, but natural law, properly explicated, provides a useful antidote to the various speculative theories of value that characterized the Modern age, including natural selection, the superman, and dialectical materialism.

    Now that some of the glow from those theories has worn off, the tide is turning away from pure theory to concepts of value that are reliably grounded in sense. Aristotelian conservatism insists on rooting all theories of value in observation. If Neo-Darwinism cannot be proven by empirical means, then it should be rejected.

    Finally, this form of conservatism is rooted in the value of life, which is relevant today because of the growing realization that life is not the simple bauble described by Darwin and Nietzsche. The more closely we examine life, the more we become aware of its astonishing goodness, which far surpasses the thinking of men.

    This change does not mean the death of science, as our theorists claim, but the beginning of a new form of science that is not infatuated with men and their ideas and not ashamed to celebrate the handiwork of God.

  43. This change does not mean the death of science, as our theorists claim, but the beginning of a new form of science that is not infatuated with men and their ideas and not ashamed to celebrate the handiwork of God.

    Sounds like religion to me, and we’ve already got plenty of that.

  44. One way I contrast liberals from conservatives is this: Liberals conform reality to their way of thinking; conservatives conform their way of thinking to reality.

    Guess which part of this dichotomy the Darwinists belong to?

    As to examples of liberals conforming reality to their way of thinking: (1) men and women are the same [one presumes that those who proclaim this “truth” have never seen naked photos of men and women; (2) infanticide is really a “late-term abortion”; (3) “divorce is better for the children”, etc. etc.

  45. One way I contrast liberals from conservatives is this: Liberals conform reality to their way of thinking; conservatives conform their way of thinking to reality.

    Which means that the present administration, especially in the Departments of State and Defense, is comprised almost exclusively of liberals. And if one thinks about the situation in terms of how much government spending has expanded over the past seven years, it seems even more plausible to think of them as basically liberal.

    Just remember: I’ve been urging you to keep the door firmly shut against politicizing the evolution/design debate. If you want to frame it as a scientific debate over competing theories, that’s fine. If you want to frame it as a cultural-political debate over competing world-views, that’s fine too.

    But you can’t have it both ways.

  46. As to examples of liberals conforming reality to their way of thinking: (1) men and women are the same [one presumes that those who proclaim this “truth” have never seen naked photos of men and women;

    PaV, I don’t think this is a very good argurment, given the liberals fondness for thinking porn is free speech.

  47. —-Carl “Which means that the present administration, especially in the Departments of State and Defense, is comprised almost exclusively of liberals. And if one thinks about the situation in terms of how much government spending has expanded over the past seven years, it seems even more plausible to think of them as basically liberal.”

    Yes, they are liberal in many ways—one worldism, open borders, big government, nation building, —absolutely right. No argument here.

    —PaV

    That is an excellent definition of conservative/ liberal by the way. Conservatives do conform their way of thinking to reality and liberals do try to conform reality to their way of thinking. Marx, Freud, Mead, and Kinsey all tried to remake the world in their own image and likeness. They wanted the world to be just like they were. Its a lot easier to create a phony morality than conform to the real one.

    Pav:

    To that I would add–Conservatives think that we make the world the way it is, liberals think the way the world is makes us.

  48. After reading most of the comments on this thread, I’m pretty sure that most people who view this as a negative don’t listen to Michael Medved. He is a articulate, considerate thinker. He “gets” ID and understands the nuances of the debate.

    He entertains opposing points of view on his show constantly and has very good and meaningful interactions with them. He routinely debunks conspiracy theories, so the Bigfoot thing is no big deal to me. He is not given over to those types of things.

    Comments regarding research, etc. Does anyone seriously believe that ID research and thinking will come to a hault because there is a formalized relationship between DI and Medved? What is even the point of the comment?

  49. Exactly, Geoff. I think the addition of a public intellectual, like Medved, to the stable of resources at the Discovery Institute can only serve to kick the scientific program into high gear.

  50. So saying that John Edwards and Ron Paul have essentially the same policies is an example of “considerate thinking”?

    I have listened to plenty of Medved over the past few years, and none of it leads me to believe that Medved will add any credibility to the DI’s efforts outside those who are already true believers in ID.

    Regarding research. What research?

  51. tyke,

    Why don’t you ask Professor Marks at Baylor what type of research is being done and being prevented from being done? Stop speaking out of ignorance.

  52. [...] no scientific training whatsoever. I guess the Discovery Institute just wants his name. In their announcement of Medved’s appointment as a Senior Fellow, the Discovery Institute said [...]

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