It’s been quite a while since we last wrote about The Clergy Letter Project, a strong, pro-evolution statement signed by over 12,000 Christian clergymen. There’s also a Wikipedia article on the topic: Clergy Letter Project. The Project is exceedingly troublesome for creationists, because they like to claim that one can’t be a good Christian and also accept evolution.
Except for the ever-growing number of signers, there’s rarely any news about this fine project. The last time we wrote about them they were adding a letter for rabbis. Today we have news of another expansion.
At the Clergy Letter website we read about their new initiative — American Imams. This is the text of the “Imam Letter,” with bold font added by us:
Literalists of various religious traditions who perceive the science of evolution to be in conflict with their personal religious beliefs are seeking to influence public school boards to authorize the teaching of creationism. We, the Imams of the mosques, see this as a breach in the separation of church and state. Those who believe in a literal interpretation of scriptural account of creation are free to teach their perspective in their homes, religious institutions and parochial schools. To teach it in the public schools would be indoctrinating a particular religious point of view in an environment that is supposed to be free of such indoctrination.
We, the undersigned Imams of the mosques, assert that the Qur’an is the primary source of spiritual inspiration and of values for us, though not for everyone, in our country. We believe that the timeless truths of the Qur’an may comfortably coexist with the discoveries of modern science. As Imams we urge public school boards to affirm their commitment to the teaching of the science of evolution. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth.
That letter doesn’t literally endorse evolution as being good science, as the Christian Clergy Letter does. That would probably be asking too much of the imams. But it does advocate keeping their Islamic beliefs out of public school science class. That’s sufficient.
The site indicates that they now have 12,722 signatures for the Christian Clergy Letter, 476 for the Rabbi Letter, and 236 for the Unitarian Letter. We don’t yet know how many have signed the new Imam Letter. That one will be interesting to watch.
While we’re linking to lists, we ought to mention the dark side — the woeful list of evolution skeptics who have signed on to the Discovery Institute’s Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. That’s the Wikipedia article about it. Here’s the website the Discoveroids always link to: Discoveroids’ List of Dissenters. They don’t provide a current total, but they frequently mention that it’s “more than 850.” They don’t mention that very few of them are biologists. On the other hand, they’ve got a lot of dentists, sociologists, proctologists, and maybe even chiropractors, so it’s an all-round list of people who are essentially irrelevant to the point at issue.
On the bright side, the National Center for Science Education maintains Project Steve, which now (as of 05 April 2011) lists 1,158 “Steves.” Only 1% of the population have that name (including variants like Steffen, Stefano, Esteban, Stephane, Stephanie, etc.), which indicates that over 110,000 scientists support evolution. And unlike the Discoveroid list, the “Steve” list includes a large percentage of signers who are actually involved in the biological sciences. The last time we wrote about it was a couple of years ago, when the Total Reached 1,000.
So the next time some creationist claims they’ve got a “growing” list of “hundreds” of scientists who are abandoning evolution and supporting Intelligent Design, you can inform him that the sane side has more Steves than they have people. And unlike the creationist list, our guys are mostly biologists or do work in related fields. Don’t forget to remind him of the Clergy Letter Project too.
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