Since its founding in 1981, the Foundation for Thought and Ethics has fostered dialogue between leading scientists, scholars and educators on the subject of intelligent design. Intelligent design (ID) is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the products of intelligence.
Beginning its publication program in the early 1980s, FTE hired, retained and partnered with scores of heavily-credentialed scientists and educators. Three of FTE's landmark publications instrumental in helping to launch the ID movement were The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories; Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins; and Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?, the proceedings of an unprecedented scholarly debate in 1992 between prominent Darwinists and leading ID theorists. Click here to read endorsements. These events and publications helped bring intelligent design to the forefront of scientific debate on theories of life's origins.
Charles Thaxton, FTE's first academic editor, spearheaded the production of The Mystery of Life’s Origin, writing with Walter Bradley and Roger Olsen. It is no exaggeration to say that Mystery re-energized a scientific debate thought by many to have been settled with finality in favor of Naturalism. It was published to wide acclaim in 1984, winning praise in The Journal of College Science Teaching, The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, and numerous other scholarly journals. Mystery soon became the best-selling advanced college level textbook on the origin of life. Professor Harold Morowitz, leading authority on the thermodynamics of living systems and head of an origin-of-life research group at George Mason University, commended the text, remarking that it "has a considerable scientific thrust." Click here to see more acclaim for Mystery.
Following the publication of Mystery, FTE produced the supplemental high school biology textbook, Of Pandas and People, which presented the scientific rationale for ID. Although critics alleged that ID was a cover for religion, the New York Times Magazine noted, "Of Pandas and People describes the origins of life as 'an intelligent plan by an intelligent agent,' but scrupulously avoids speculation about who or what that agent might be." Indeed, Pandas repeatedly explains why science, while able to detect the presence of design, cannot tell us who or what the designer is.
In 1995, mathematician and philosopher William A. Dembski was hired by FTE and, assuming the role of Academic Editor for FTE’s continuing publication program, coordinated among authors and provided editorial oversight. Soon, he had prepared two additional textbooks for publication, Sex and Character, and Never Before in History: America’s Inspired Birth.
Next, building on the most current research, Dembski began work on a more comprehensive ID textbook, writing with developmental biologist Jonathan Wells. In 2008, FTE released its most ambitious ID book yet, The Design of Life: Discovering Signs of Intelligence in Biological Systems. Both Dembski and Wells are leading ID theorists and Senior Fellows of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. Compelling and clearly written, the book is ordered frequently and multiple orders are shipped to Amazon and Barnes & Noble each month. It promises to have a deep and lasting impact on students and lay readers alike.
A nonprofit organization, the Foundation for Thought and Ethics is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.