Humanize From Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism



Rod Dreher on the Crisis of Western Civilization

Western Civilization is in crisis. It is becoming unmoored from its Judeo-Christian roots and the belief in the unique dignity of every human life, leading to destructive progressive social policies that some believe threaten us with a form of therapeutic authoritarianism. One such commentator is my guest today on Humanize. Rod Dreher is an American journalist and best-selling author. He has authored several books, including The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, How Dante Can Save Your Life, The Benedict Option, and Live Not by Lies. In his journalistic career, he has written about religion, politics, film, and culture in National Review, National Review Online, the Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal, Touchstone, Men’s Health, and the Los Angeles Times, and until recently, hosted a popular blog at The American Conservative.  His commentaries have been broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Court TV, and other television networks. Dreher is a noted Christian apologist and writes a daily Substack newsletter. His next book will explore the importance of Enchantment to human society.


Alex Schadenberg on the Canadian Euthanasia Epidemic

No modern society has embraced lethal injection euthanasia with the enthusiasm of Canada, where not only the terminally ill can be killed by doctors but also people with chronic conditions and disabilities. Soon, people with mental illnesses will qualify for a doctor-hastened death. In 2021, more than 10,000 Canadians were euthanized by doctors or nurse practitioners. As recently as 2014, euthanasia was outlawed in the country. But then, the Supreme Court declared that such laws were unconstitutional. Since that event, Canada has created one of the world’s most radical lethal injection euthanasia regimes. Why has Canada, of all countries, embraced doctor-administered death? Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize has the answers. Alex Schadenberg is one of the world’s premier opponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide. He is the co-founder and executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, founded in 1998 and based in the Canadian Province of Ontario. He produced The Euthanasia Deception documentary that explores 15 years of euthanasia legalization in Belgium. Schadenberg has traveled the world speaking about the issue, authored countless opinion columns, and moderates the world’s most widely-read blog devoted to the issue, the link to which can be found in the program notes. He is also the author of Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.


Tim Goeglein on the Case for Teaching the Great American Story

Abraham Lincoln famously called the United States of America, “the last best Hope on earth.”  Throughout our history, most Americans believed that. So did countless people from other countries who left their homes behind to come here in pursuit of the American dream — including my grandmother who immigrated from Italy in 1910 as a 16 year-old to help free her family from bone crunching poverty. But now, things have changed. My guest today is Tim Goeglein, who has written a new book warning about how our educational system has corroded the belief of the young in the exceptional nature of the American Republican and our capacity to continually improve society — as we aim, in the title of his book, Toward a More Perfect Union. Goeglein was special assistant to U.S. President George W. Bush and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 2001 to 2008. In January 2009, Goeglein became the Vice President of External and Government Relations for Focus on the Family. Goeglein is a prolific public a speaker and the author of many commentaries as well as 3 books. His first book was Man in the Middle: An Inside Account of Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era, published in 2011. His second co-authored book was American Restoration: How Faith, Family, and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation. And now, he has just published Toward a More Perfect Union: The Moral and Cultural Case for Teaching the Great American Story.

Peggy Hartshorn

Dr. Peggy Hartshorn on Heartbeat International, Pregnancy Resource Centers, and Abortion Pill Reversal

A continual criticism of the pro-life movement is that adherents only care about children before they are born. But is that true? The proliferation of Pregnancy Help Centers throughout the country and the many outreach efforts of the pro-life movement to help women and babies after birth testifies to the lie of the accusation. Wesley’s guest today has been immersed in these efforts for decades. Peggy Hartshorn Ph.D. and her husband first volunteered to house pregnant girls in their home in 1975. She is now the Chair of Heartbeat International, an international nonprofit Christian organization with a worldwide network of more than 3,000 pro-life pregnancy help centers that provide comprehensive help to women throughout their pregnancies and after the child is born. The goal of Heartbeat International is to offer compassionate support so that no woman ever feels that abortion is her only option.  Dr. Hartshorn has traveled to 52 countries in support of pregnancy help organizations in Eastern and Western Europe, Australia, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. She is the recipient of many awards for pro-life work, including: the President’s Volunteer Service Award under President George H.W. Bush, the J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award, the Defender of Life Award from Students for Life, the Cardinal John J. O’Connor pro-life award from Legatus International, Dr. Hartshorn co-founded Heartbeat International’s Option Line in 2002.  It is the only 24/7, bilingual, internet-based, pro-life call center in the world. Option Line handles about a quarter of a million calls for help each year, connecting callers to their community-based pregnancy help center. Dr. Hartshorn is also the co-author of The Power of Pregnancy Help: The First Fifty Years. Program Notes: Home ( What is a Pregnancy Center? ( Abortion Pill Reversal – Home Mothers share how crisis pregnancy centers helped them walk away from abortion: ‘huge enlightenment’ | Fox News More than 100 pro-life orgs, churches attacked since Dobbs leak | Fox News

Howard Glicksman and Steve Laufmann at Discovery Institute's 2022 Insiders Briefing

Steve Laufmann and Howard Glicksman on the Design of the Human Body

In this episode of the Humanize podcast we will explore the human body. Is your body “engineered” or did it evolve through impersonal and random processes over countless millions of years of natural selection? And what difference does the answer to that question make? Wesley’s guests are the authors of Your Designed Body, a new book that explores the complexity of the human physical form, not just from a biological, but also, intriguingly, an engineering perspective. As the famous atheist proselytizer and biologist Richard Dawkins has written, “However many ways there may be to be alive, it is certain that there are vastly more ways of being dead…” In other words, as the authors note, “Life’s margin of error is small,” and requires an intricate, complex and integrated systems to maintain life. These could not have arisen by mere chance, no matter the time must have been engineered to accomplish such myriad and sophisticated tasks. Whatever your views on how life came to be—whether by creation, intelligent design, or via random evolutionary forces—this is a fascinating and provocative conversation you will not want to miss. Steve Laufmann is a public speaker, author, computer scientist, and engineering consultant in the design of enterprise-class systems, with expertise in the difficulties of changing complex systems to perform new tasks. He was a founding member of the International Foundation for Cooperative Information Systems (IFCIS), and has published many juried papers and book chapters on information commerce and related topics. Several years ago, he began to apply his expertise to the study of living systems. He leads the Engineering Research Group at the Discovery Institute. Dr. Howard Glicksman is a primary care and hospice physician with more than forty years of practice in clinical and hospital settings. He is the author of The Designed Body series for Evolution News and Science Today. Return of the God Hypothesis | Stephen C. Meyer (


Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on COVID-19 as One of the Most Divisive Events in American History

The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most politically and culturally divisive events in American history. Which seems odd. Usually, a universal external threat unites societies and rallies populations to focus on the common foe. Instead, American society fractured into different tribes, which often coincided with our preexisting political factionalism. Adding to our woes, the proper approach to scientific inquiry and policy makers’ relationship with the expert class became badly skewed. Once an orthodoxy was declared by the World Health Organization or the Center for Disease Control, government leaders, the mainstream media, and Big Tech circled the wagons to prevent dissenting views from being aired—and even seeking to punish those with differing opinions. And we now know that action was taken to suppress heterodox voices. Wesley’s guest is one of those caught in this cultural oppression. Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya, making his second Humanize appearance, is a Professor of Health Policy at Stanford University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. He directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging. Dr. Bhattacharya’s research focuses on the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, with a particular emphasis on the role of government programs, biomedical innovation, and economics. Dr. Bhattacharya’s recent research focuses on the epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as an evaluation of policy responses to the epidemic. He has published more than 100 articles in top peer-reviewed scientific journals in medicine, economics, health policy, epidemiology, statistics, law, and public health among other fields. He holds an MD and PhD in economics, both earned at Stanford University. Bhattacharya is also a co-author The Great Barrington Declaration, published in the fall of 2020 to great controversy, which dissented against the reigning public health “lock down” policies being brought to bear against the virus, and offered a different approach that would reopen society as we continued to protect our most vulnerable members from illness. As a consequence of his heterodox advocacy, Bhattacharya was censored on social media and suffered professional ostracism at Stanford University. Link:


Chen Guangcheng on the Current Tyranny in the People’s Republic of China

In the current episode of Humanize, Wesley interviews Chen Guangcheng, an authentic human rights hero and adamant opponent of Chinese Communist Party tyranny that rules the People’s Republic of China. Known internationally as “the barefoot lawyer,” Chen is a renowned human rights activist who fearlessly advocated for the welfare and rights of women, the disabled, and the poor while in China, and whom today, continues to carry the banner of human freedom in opposition to Chinese totalitarianism from the United States. Chen’s ardent and courageous human rights advocacy has received extensive international acclaim and has drawn heightened international attention to the maltreatment of women and abuses of China’s domestic policies, including forced abortions and sterilizations. Blind from an early age and self-taught in the law, in 2005, Chen gained international recognition for organizing a landmark class-action lawsuit against authorities in Shandong province, for the excessive enforcement of the one-child policy. As a result of this lawsuit challenging the authorities, Chen was sentenced to four years and three months in prison. He was released from prison in 2010, but remained under house arrest or “soft detention” at his home in Dongshigu Village. In April 2012, Chen escaped his house arrest and fled to the US Embassy. In May 2012, Chen, his wife, and his two children were granted U.S. visas and departed Beijing for New York City.  He has lived in the United States ever since and became an American citizen last summer. Among many other international acclaims, in 2006 Chen was named to the Time 100, which lists the most influential people in the world. He is a 2007 laureate of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is often called the Nobel Peace Prize of Asia. Currently, he is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Center for Human Rights at the Catholic University of America, where he is also on the faculty. He is the author of The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China. Special thanks to William Saunders, Director of the Center for Human Rights, for helping with language issues during this interview. -my-village-corruption-meng-river-dam-shandong-province-dissent-dongshigu-11657743678


Dr. Jay Wesley Richards on What Every Parent Should Know About Gender Ideology and Gender-Affirming Care

In a previous episode of Humanize, Wesley interviewed Jennifer Lahl, director of The Detransition Diaries, which documents the stories of three young women who received what is called “gender-affirming care”—including a mastectomy in one case—and later realized that they were indeed the female sex they were born. That discussion focused mostly on the radical body-altering interventions that children who question their sex too often receive. In this follow-up interview, we take a broader look at “Gender ideology” generally, and how the West got caught up in a moral panic that has seen an explosion of both adult and child cases of gender dysphoria. The discussion ranges from describing the supposed “Seven Sexes” that gender ideologues argue exist, to the role of social media in this social contagion, to how the ideology represents the hegemony of feelings over facts, and the reasons children are the prime targets of gender warriors. It is a conversation you won’t want to miss. Jay Wesley Richards, Ph.D., is an analytic philosopher who focuses on the intersection of politics, philosophy, and religion. He is director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family and the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in Religious Liberty and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. He is also a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and Executive Editor of The Stream.   Jay is author or editor of more than a dozen books, including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated (2013) and Indivisible (2012); The Human Advantage; Money, Greed, and God, winner of a 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award; The Hobbit Party with Jonathan Witt; and Eat, Fast, Feast.  He is also creator and executive producer of several documentaries, including three that have appeared widely on PBS.  Jay’s articles and essays have been published in The Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Washington Post, The New York Post, Newsweek, Forbes, Fox News, National Review Online, The Hill, Investor’s Business Daily, Washington Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Huffington Post, The Federalist, The Daily Caller, and many other publications. Jay has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs, including CBS Evening News, MSNBC,  Fox and Friends, PBS, CBN, TBN, and is a regular guest onEWTN. An experienced public speaker, he has spoken at academic conferences; college and university campuses in the United States, Europe, and Asia; many think tanks in the U.S. and Europe; public policy meetings; and on several occasions to members of the U.S. Congress and U.S. congressional staff.


Jennifer Lahl on ‘The Detransition Diaries: Saving our Sisters’

We are in the midst of a transgender moral panic. Where only a decade ago, very few people sought what used to be called a sex change, today the numbers of people seeking to “transition” is becoming a flood. It is one thing when adults decide to radically alter their bodies. But it is quite another to promote these radical “gender-affirming care” in children. And yet, the American medical establishment and the Biden administration state that the science in this regard is “settled” and that immediate affirmation is the only humane approach to treating children with gender dysphoria, interventions that can include puberty blocking, cross hormone therapy, and serious surgeries such as mastectomies. But is it settled science? Recently, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, and Finland have hit the brakes on immediate gender affirmation in children—to the point that the UK closed down its largest gender clinic as unsafe for patients. The NHS also concluded that instead of encouraging transition in minors, medics should take “a watchful approach” and that doctors have “to be mindful of the risks of an inappropriate gender transition and the difficulties that the child may experience in returning to the original gender role.” Such returns are known as “de-transitioning,” a phenomenon that receives far too little attention in the United States. But Wesley’s guest in this episode of Humanize is doing something about that. Jennifer Lahl directed, wrote, and co-produced an important documentary, The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters. Catherine Saxbe, who is board certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, wrote of the film: “In The Detransition Diaries, We follow several women unmasking a medical system that failed to treat the significant mental health problems which led them to seek radical gender transformation via hormones and amputations, but did not provide the happiness and self-acceptance they sought and were sold.” Lahl founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Her writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR.

Ward Connerly

Ward Connerly on Racism, Critical Race Theory, and Individual Rights

Racism is profoundly evil and a clear violation of human exceptionalism by treating inherent equals unequally. Indeed, if we are to become a truly just society, racism must be countered by people of good will whenever it is expressed.  At the same time, slavery is long gone and Jim Crow is dead, never to be mourned. So, the question must be asked: Has the United States finally attained the ideal of becoming a substantially equal society, in which people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, or do we remain—as some insist—a systemically racist culture threatened by white supremacy? To be sure, Martin Luther King’s ideal has not yet been fully achieved. But the white nationalism accusation seems calculatedly overblown and may be a cover for imposing new policies that, if implemented, would divide us more profoundly over race than we have been for decades. These are fundamental questions. Equality is such an important goal that Wesley wanted to interview someone who has spent decades focusing on how to best promote a truly equal society for everyone, regardless of race. Humanize is honored that Ward Connerly has agreed to share his views on racism, individual rights, the question of affirmative action, and how best to achieve the ideals of the American experiment. Wardell Anthony “Ward” Connerly is a nationally renowned American political activist, social commentator, and businessman. He served as a University of California Regent between 1993-2005. He is also the founder and the chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, a national non-profit organization in opposition to racial and gender preferences, and is the president of Californians for Equal Rights, a non-profit organization active in the state of California with a similar mission.  In 1995, Connerly led the drive to get Proposition 209  on the ballot prohibiting race- and gender-based preferences in state hiring, contracting and state university admission. It passed with 54.6% of the vote.In 1997, Connerly supported a similar ballot measure in Washington state, Initiative 200, which would later pass with 58.2% of the vote. For the 2020 election, Connerly organized the coalition opposing Proposition 16, which would have removed the sections added to the California constitution after Proposition 209 was approved by the voters. In the end, 57% of the votes cast in the election opposed Proposition 16. Proposition 209 remains the law of the State of California. Connerly is also the author of Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences and  Lessons from My Uncle James: Beyond Skin Color to the Content of Our Character America Isn’t a Racist Country – WSJ 1996 California Proposition 209 – Wikipedia OPRF to implement race-based grading system in 2022-23 school year | West Cook News