It’s been almost a year since we posted news about Project Steve, launched by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). Our last post was NCSE’s “Project Steve” Now Has 1,200 Steves. NCSE describes it like this:
NCSE’s “Project Steve” is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of “scientists who doubt evolution” or “scientists who dissent from Darwinism.” Creationists draw up these lists to try to convince the public that evolution is somehow being rejected by scientists, that it is a “theory in crisis.”
Project Steve pokes fun at this practice and, because “Steves” are only about 1% of scientists, it also makes the point that tens of thousands of scientists support evolution. And it honors the late Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionary biologist, NCSE supporter, and friend.
NCSE has a new post up today about the project: Ten years of Project Steve. It reminds us:
[O]nly scientists with PhDs (or the equivalent) who share his first name — Steve, Steven, or Stephen, or cognates such as Stephanie, Stefan, Esteban, and so on — are allowed to endorse the Project Steve statement.
But the big news is this:
After ten years, the official Steveometer reads 1239, and because only about 1% of the population possesses a qualifying first name, that implies that at least 123,900 scientists would agree with the statement, dwarfing any creationist list.
Contrast that with the pathetic list of the Discoveroids — who are described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. How many signatories does the Discoveroid list have? They don’t give the number at the website for their little list, A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism, but the total appears to be “over 800,” according to this old Discoveroid post, which is the last time they embarrassed themselves by giving an estimate. They may have picked up a few more since then.
Bear in mind that the Discoveroids’ list isn’t limited to Steves. If it were, and because Steves are only about 1% of the population, they’d have only around 8 people on their list, maybe — gasp! — as many as 9. Compare that to NCSE’s 1,239. There’s more than a slight difference. The Discoveroids’s Steve list, if they had one, would be only about 3/4 of 1% of NCSE’s Steves. But the Discoveroids’ list includes everyone they could convince to sign, including a significant number of MDs (presumably proctologists), dentists, philosophers, political “scientists,” sociologists, and such. And the statement they sign is strikingly weak:
We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.
On the other hand, everyone on NCSE’s list of Steves has a PhD, and a majority of them are in a biological field. The statement they sign is considerably stronger than the Discoveroid statement — it has none of that wishy-washy “we are skeptical” language:
Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to “intelligent design,” to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation’s public schools.
So the Discoveroids have a grand total of 800 — perhaps a few more by now — willing to sign their watered-down statement, while Project Steve represents 123,900 scientists. And the NCSE list is growing. It would be interesting if the Discoveroids were to post an update on their silly effort, but we suspect they won’t. It’s not difficult to figure out why.
Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.