Every time we mention the National Center for Science Education’s “Project Steve,” their list of scientists with PhDs who support evolution, we always contrast it with the woeful list run by the Discovery Institute — A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.
The last time we reported on both of them was NCSE’s “Project Steve” Keeps Growing. That was a couple of weeks ago when there were 1,239 Steves. Because only about 1% of the population has that name (or its variants), NCSE’s list represents approximately 123,900 scientists, mostly in biological fields, who all agree with NCSE’s strong statement supporting the theory of evolution. Hey, we just checked. There are now 1,245 Steves, so the total continues to grow.
In that earlier post we gave the best estimate we could for the Discoveroids’ list. We guessed that they had, maybe, slightly over 800 names. We had to guess because they never publish the total. Unlike NCSE’s list which is limited to Steves, the Discoveroids’ list includes everyone they could get to sign. The Discoveroids’ “all names” list is roughly 3/4 of the number of Steves, so that means they’ve got only 3/4 of 1% of the scientists represented by the Steve list. Also, the Discoveroids’ list isn’t primarily biology types. It’s a shabby show, and demonstrating that is Project Steve’s purpose.
But now, after a very long period of understandable silence, the Discoveroids have posted a new blog article about their list. See Our “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” List: A Reader Inquires. It’s by Joshua Youngkin, a Discoveroid lobbyist — or as they describe it: “program officer in public policy and legal affairs.” He says, with bold font added by us:
Discovery Institute maintains a list of PhD scientists who are willing, and think themselves safe enough, to publicly express skepticism toward the orthodox Darwinian view of how life has developed over time. That list, “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism,” is a thorn in the side of those who say there’s no scientific debate over whether evolution works in a completely naturalistic fashion
A thorn in the side? It’s more like a flea trying to rape an elephant. Then Youngkin tells us:
Irked, some write emails. Here’s a recent example:
You can read the alleged email at the Discoveroids’ blog. Basically, their “irked” correspondent asks why their list has so many people outside the biological fields, and why the Discoveroids don’t publish the total of their signatories. He also criticizes their use of the term “Darwinism.” Amusingly, at the end of the letter, where the sender’s name would normally be, the Discoveroids have replaced it with this: “[Name redacted to avoid embarrassing the writer].”
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’re certain the writer of that letter is quite proud of it, and wouldn’t mind his name being shown. Anyway, after that the Discoveroid author gives us what would be his condescending reply, were he to send one. Pay careful attention, dear reader, and see if you think something’s missing from the reply:
Thanks for writing.
The Dissent from Darwinism statement counters and preempts any claim that (1) there is no scientific dissent over how evolution happens, by what means, that is, or that (2) it is unscientific to be skeptical of the proposition that natural selection and random mutation together satisfactorily explain the development of life over time. A scientist and signatory of the Dissent list need not specifically work in evo-devo, say, in order to serve as a counterexample to (1) and (2).
That was Youngkin’s first paragraph. So far we’re told that the Discoveroids don’t need mostly biology types on their list. It’s quite sufficient for them to have (we took these from their list) civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, computer engineers, meteorologists, industrial hygiene specialists, nutritionists, and philosophers (like David Berlinski).
There’s only one more paragraph to Youngkin’s reply. It’s about something that wasn’t mentioned in the “irked” letter to which Youngkin is responding — the different statements that the signers of each list support. We quoted those statements in our earlier post so we won’t repeat them here. It’s sufficient to remind you that the Project Steve statement is strong and straightforward, while the Discoveroid statement is, shall we say, a bit squishy. Anyway, this is the remainder of Youngkin’s reply:
As to your other important question, the Project Steve statement does not address the same claims as the Dissent from Darwinism statement. Project Steve says, for example, that “there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence.” But that is not the same as affirming either (1) or (2), not even close. So there is no conflict between the two, at least as Project Steve is currently worded. That means Project Steve is not really a “counter,” as you say, to the Dissent from Darwinism list or statement. I could recommend some edits to the Project Steve statement to remedy the situation, if you like.
So there you are. Oh, we see a few hands going up. Okay, you in the front — what’s your question? You say the Discoveroids didn’t answer the question about how many people signed their list? Hey, that’s right! They didn’t answer that question. Well, there were so many other points to be made that they probably overlooked it. No doubt they’ll provide that information in an update.
Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.