Since its establishment, the Discovery Institute has worked on the intelligent design theory, which states that the foundations of life are too complex to have been created by chance or evolution as theorized by Charles Darwin.
The movement of the intelligent design consists of three major aspects:
scientific research, exploring the effects of intelligent causes;
an intellectual movement that disputes naturalistic evolutionary theories;
and a way of understanding a divine action.
Although the fast-growing movement of the intelligent design and its leading scientists, mathematicians and other proponents have gained much support, many scientists and theologians remain skeptical or even critical about the intelligent design as well as about activities of the Discovery Institute.
For instance, some theologians protest the correspondence of the intelligent design to the thesis that the earth is billions of years old, not thousands of years as suggested by a literal reading of the Bible. Some object to the fact that while supporters and scholars of the intelligent design movement insist on the work of an intelligent designer, they do not require that to be the biblical God.
Regardless the strong opposition and continuous criticism, the Discovery Institute has launched the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, which is the largest and the newest of six program areas for the Discovery Institute. The other areas of investigation include technology and public policy, environment and economy, national security and defense, religion, liberty and civic life.
The achievements of the Discovery Institute are numerous. The Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture has produced twenty five books, hosted numerous conferences and provided more than one hundred doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships over the last five years.
In fact, the objective of the Discovery Institute is to maintain and imply the idea of human beings, created by God into social views, sciences, cultural life and other areas of human activity. However, the scholars do not intend to impose orthodoxies on scientific practice and research. They present new hypothesis and theories, supported and proved by the scientific evidence. This is different from the theological approach as well as from materialistic ideas; hence, the Discovery Institute is criticized by both sides.
Much criticism deals with the Discovery Institute's transparency. Some critics say that the leaders maintain hidden practices, promote concealed activities as to impose their opinion on unaware public. Nevertheless, the Discovery Institute suggests interesting ideas and theories and use legal methods in challenging materialistic views.