Hughes Hall

a college in the University of Cambridge

as venue



(A collaborative conference by the Centre for Intelligent Design UK, and the Discovery Institute)



Conference Description

Since Darwin, biology has been dominated by a bottom-up, materialistic framework in which living things are ultimately derived from undirected physical processes — at the origin of life itself — and then change via random variations sifted by natural selection (or drift) throughout three billion years of organismal evolution. Within the past three decades, however, the sufficiency of this materialist framework has been strongly challenged by unexpected evidence. 

  • What if information, and not physical or material causes, provides the key to understanding biology? 
  • What are the principles governing the origin and transmission of biological information? 
  • Does materialism restrict our intellectual freedom to explore the full landscape of causal possibilities? 
  • Do recent scientific discoveries provide evidence that human beings are more than mere animals? 

Join us on Saturday, 12 November 2016 as scientists and scholars from the UK, the United States, and Europe explore these and other questions at the Beyond Materialism conference at Hughes Hall, a college in the University of Cambridge, as venue.

Confirmed Speakers

Dr Douglas Axe
Dr Geoff Barnard
Dr Günter Bechly
Rev. Dr Alistair Donald
Dr Ann Gauger
Dr Ola Hössjer
Dr Stephen Meyer
Dr Brian Miller
Dr Paul Nelson

Book now!

Detailed Conference Schedule

Speaker Bios

Dr Douglas Axe

Douglas Axe is the Director of Biologic Institute and author of the new book Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition Life is Designed. He earned his PhD at Caltech and has held postdoctoral and research scientist positions at the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge Medical Research Council Centre, and the Babraham Institute in Cambridge. His research uses both experiments and computer simulations to examine the functional and structural constraints on the evolution of proteins and protein systems.

Dr Geoff Barnard

Geoff Barnard is the author of over 100 academic papers and articles. He has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London and a MA in Theology from the University of Southampton. He has been a professional biochemist for over 40 years, a Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences at three UK Universities, and a regular visiting scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. His last academic position in the UK was as a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, a position he held for over seven years. He now lives in Israel with his wife Caryl.

Dr Günter Bechly

Günter Bechly is a German paleo-entomologist who specializes in the fossil history and systematics of insects (esp. dragonflies), the most diverse group of animals. He is currently curator for amber and fossil insects in the department of paleontology at the State Museum of Natural History (SMNS) in Stuttgart, Germany. He is also a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Dr. Bechly earned his Ph.D. in geosciences from Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen, Germany.

Rev. Dr Alistair Donald

Rev. Dr. Alistair Donald is Chaplain to Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He has a doctorate in environmental science and worked in that field for a number of years in Wales and Scotland before being ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in the Church of Scotland. He has an ongoing interest in the relationship between science and religious belief and has spoken on this in a variety of academic and church contexts.

Dr Ann Gauger

Ann Gauger is Director of Science Communication at Discovery Institute, a senior scientist at Biologic Institute, and co-author of Science and Human Origins. Her work uses molecular genetics and genomic engineering to study the origin, organization and operation of metabolic pathways. She received a BS in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a PhD in developmental biology from the University of Washington. She also was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University.

Dr Ola Hössjer
Ola Hössjer received a PhD in Mathematical Statistics from Uppsala University, Sweden, in 1991. He first became a Professor of Mathematical Statistics at Lund University in 2000, and since 2002 he holds the same position at Stockholm University. His research focuses on developing statistical theory and probability theory for various applications, in particular population genetics, epidemiology and insurance mathematics. He is the author of more than 80 peer-reviewed articles. In 2009 he was awarded the Gustafsson Prize in Mathematics.

Dr Stephen Meyer
Stephen Meyer received his PhD in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. A former geophysicist at ARCO and philosophy professor at Whitworth University, Meyer directs Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, which he co-founded in 1996. Meyer is author of the best-seller Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2013) as well as Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2009), which was named a Book of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement.

Dr Brian Miller

Brian Miller is Research Coordinator for the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Duke University. He speaks internationally on college campuses around the world on topics such as intelligent design and a Christian worldview. He also has consulted for churches and businesses on organizational and strategic development, and he is a technical consultant for the Aslan Guild, a startup inventors’ guild dedicated to bringing innovation to the marketplace.

Dr Paul Nelson

Paul Nelson is a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and an Adjunct Professor in the Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion at Biola University in Los Angeles. He is a philosopher of biology who has been involved in the intelligent design debate internationally for over two decades. He received his PhD in the philosophy of biology and evolutionary theory from the University of Chicago. He is a co-author of the biology textbook Explore Evolution and has published articles in many other books and journals.

Beyond Materialism Detailed Conference Schedule

Registration at the Conference will open at 8:30AM for a 9:00AM session start.

The ticket delivered by email includes FAQs   - where to park, travel guidance etc


9:00-9:05 am

Opening and Welcome


The Explanatory Power of Intelligent Design

9:05-9:50 am

“Intelligent Design: The Best Explanation for the Origin of Biological Information?”

Stephen Meyer

9:50-10:20 am

“The Truth about Natural Selection: Quantifying the Difficulty of Protein to Protein Evolution”

Douglas Axe

10:20-10:50 am

“Waiting Times for Coordinated Mutations vs. the Fossil Record: Testing the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm”

Günter Bechly

10:50-11:10 am

Morning Break

11:10-11:40 am

“Science & Intellectual Freedom”

Alistair Donald

The Heuristic Value of Intelligent Design

11:40 am-12:10 pm

“Vitamin C: Genes and Pseudogenes, Part 1"

Geoff Barnard

12:10-1:30 pm


1:30-3:00 pm

Breakout Sessions [See below]

3:00-3:20 pm

Afternoon Break


3:20-3:50 pm

"Orphan Genes and the Tree of Life"

Paul Nelson

3:50-4:20 pm

“On Human Uniqueness”

Ann Gauger

4:20-4:59 pm

Stephen Meyer leads a Q&A discussion with conference speakers and audience

4:59-5:00 pm

Closing Comments


Breakout Sessions (1:30 – 3:00 pm)

Breakout 1:

“Vitamin C: Genes and Pseudogenes, Part 2 ”

Geoff Barnard

“Design Triangulation as a Means of Generating Intelligent Design Hypotheses” 

Paul Nelson

Breakout 2:

“How I Came to Question the Genetic Argument for Chimp and Human Common Ancestry”

Ann Gauger

“A New Population Genetics model for the Origin of Homo Sapiens”

Ola Hössjer

Breakout 3:

“Undeniable: How Biology Confirms our intuition that Life is Designed”

Douglas Axe

“Fossil Discontinuities in the History of Life”

Günter Bechly

Breakout 4:

“Thermodynamics and the Origin of Life

Brian Miller

“Physics, Cosmology, and Intelligent Design”

Stephen Meyer

Book now!