There’s great news to report which we just spotted at the website of our friends, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). You already know about their “Project Steve,” which has its own page. All the Steves are listed here. The last time we posted about their list was Project Steve: Total Reaches 1,000.
NCSE’s new article is titled Project Steve: n > 1200. It says:
With the addition of Steven Piantadosi on April 6, 2012, NCSE’s Project Steve attained its 1200th signatory. A tongue-in-cheek parody of the long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of “scientists who doubt evolution” or “scientists who dissent from Darwinism,” Project Steve mocks such lists by restricting its signatories to scientists with PhDs whose first name is Steve [or Stephanie, Esteban, etc.]. About 1% of the United States population possesses such a first name, so each signatory represents about 100 potential signatories.
Therefore, the 1,200 names on the list represent roughly 120,000 scientists. The Steves sign on to a statement, which is this:
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.
Besides restricting their list of Steves to scientists with PhDs, NCSE says:
When last surveyed in February 2006, 54% of the signatories worked in the biological sciences proper; 61% worked in related fields in the life sciences.
In contrast — because creationists claim that evolution is a “theory in crisis” — the Discoveroids have their own list. Here’s a Wikipedia article on it: A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. Their signatories also approve of a statement, but it seems to be — shall we say — a wee bit weaker than the statement signed by NCSE’s Steves. This is what the dissenters sign:
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.
That statement is notable mostly for what it doesn’t say. For example, although it’s probably the case with some of the signers, it doesn’t say that they literally reject evolution, and it certainly doesn’t say that they’re creationists or that they accept Intelligent Design. It doesn’t really say much of anything, except that they’re “skeptical” — a term presumably chosen to permit as many as possible to sign.
How many signatories do the Discoveroids have? They don’t give the number at their special website for their little list: A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism, but the grand total appears to be “over 800,” according to this year-old Discoveroid post. They’ve probably added a few more since then. They might be close to 900.
But bear in mind that the Discoveroids’ list is everyone they could convince to sign, including a significant number of MDs (presumably proctologists), dentists, philosophers, political “scientists,” sociologists, and such. On the other hand, the NCSE list is Steves only, over 60% of whom are in a biological field, and who statistically represent 120,000 scientists.
But we want to be fair, so — for what it’s worth — here’s an article Casey wrote a couple of years ago defending the Discoveroids’ list: Responding to Fallacious Criticisms of the Dissent from Darwinism List. Nevertheless, the numbers speak for themselves. Ignoring the quality of the two lists, if the Discoveroids had 1,200 names, that would be only 1% of the scientists represented by the Steves. But they don’t have 1,200. Assuming they have 900 (which they don’t), that’s three-fourths of 1% (0.0075) of what NCSE’s list indicates. So there you are.
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 far more Steves than they have people.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.