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Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center

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The IDEA center was originally founded at UCSD (University of California San Diego) by students who wanted the opportunity to come together and discuss their opinions on intelligent design. The inspiration came after a lecture given by Phillip Johnson, a law professor at Berkeley, on intelligent design. Students were fervently engaged in debate over the subject. Steve Renner and Eddie Colanter, the co-founders of the IDEA Center, wanted to recreate this environment for the students to express their beliefs freely. The created the IDEA club at the University. The club was directly supportive of intelligent design, but it remained mainly unbiased toward all points of view. The leaders of the club educated its members with purely factual information on both evolution and intelligent design; attendees could decide for themselves which view they would accept. The IDEA Club encouraged open discussion and debate between all members so that UCSD students could defend their beliefs and expand their knowledge, but still retain a spirit of friendship.

The IDEA Club at UCSD had grown to over 75 members, but the lectures they held brought in hundreds of people. The club had expanded and gotten support outside the university. In 2001, when the organizers were getting ready to graduate, members spoke to Casey Luskin, suggesting that the IDEA Club be recreated as a non-profit organization which could bring the mission of the club beyond the campus. Thus, the IDEA Club birthed the IDEA Center. The center run by the Administration Staff, the Board of Directors, and the Advisory board, which is made up of prominent members within the center. The main goal of the IDEA center: To help students to start IDEA clubs on their own campuses, and to help them recreate the environment of the original IDEA club.

The first "IDEA Conference" was held at the University of San Fransisco, in the fall of 2002. Much publicity ensued, some of it positive and some of it very critical, on the side of Darwinist parties. Some such criticism took the form of articles in the newsletter from the National Center for Science Education. Of course, the center also received very good publicity on a San Diego radio show, where they were interviewed by host Michael Law and discussed another conference that had occurred in Michigan. The president of the IDEA center also spoke at conference in Kansas City, titled "Darwin, Design, and Democracy II". By the end of 2003, there were nine established and operating IDEA clubs across the U.S. [1]

Mission Statement

The mission of the IDEA Center is:
  • To promote, as a scientific theory, the idea that life was designed by an intelligence;
  • To educate people about scientific problems with purely natural explanations for the origins and evolution of life;
  • To challenge the philosophical assumptions of Darwinism, naturalism, and materialism;
  • To facilitate discussion, debate, and dialogue concerning these issues in a warm, friendly, and open atmosphere where individuals feel free to speak their personal views.
  • To help students on university and high school campuses, and others, to start IDEA Clubs to fulfill this mission

Center Activities

The IDEA center offers many 5 to 15 week classes or IDEA courses (which covers a wide variety of aspects of the argument for intelligent design) as well as one-day seminars (which cover only a couple topics relating to evolution vs. intelligent design). Classes and seminars are available for Jr/Sr High students, college level students, church groups, and and other community groups. [2] IDEA Conferences are held about once a year, last 1 to 2 days, and cost around $25. [3] The center has a number of scientific experts on creationism and intelligent design who would be glad to come and speak before any school, church, or community group. They have plenty of prepared presentations to choose from, teaching from either a religious, scientific, or even political standpoint. [4]

Starting an IDEA Club

Creating an IDEA club requires no scientific expertise. It is helpful if the founder is informed on the theory of intelligent design. If not, the IDEA center is prepared to educate you on that subject, and also will train on how to run, organize, or teach your club. The leader of an IDEA club should be supportive of the theory of intelligent design in order to correctly present the information provided by the IDEA center, though there are no requirements on religious beliefs. [5] The center suggests seven simple steps to follow help you in establishing your own club:

  • Step 1: Take a look at our mission statement.
  • Step 2: Contact us! (E-mail Casey Luskin at Once you contact them about wanting to start a club, they will send you an IDEA Club Leadership Manual.
  • Step 3: Fill out an IDEA Club Founder Application / Information Form.
  • Step 4: Talk to your school about how to start club on your campus.
  • Step 5: Find some friends to help.
  • Step 6: Receive the Startup Packet and Sign the Chapter Charter.
  • Step 7: Start the Club, Prepare and Publicize!

You should review the Club Startup Packet available at their website [6]. There is also a list of resources [7] including Benefits Provided to IDEA Clubs from the IDEA Center or Primer on How to Run a Meeting. The IDEA center holds training conferences to help provide club leaders with the skills that they need to run a great club.

Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center
P.O. Box 17424
San Diego, California 92177-7424

See Also