We seem to post one of these news stories every year. The last time was NCSE’s “Project Steve” Now Has 1,300 Steves. Before that we wrote “Project Steve” Keeps Growing, and before that we wrote “Project Steve” Now Has 1,200 Steves. Way back in 2009 we wrote Project Steve: Total Reaches 1,000. What’s it all about?
On the surface, it’s about “Project Steve,” a splendid enterprise of our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), which has its own page at their website. It’s their response to the Discoveroids’ “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” — the Discovery Institute’s stagnant list of “scientists” who have some doubts about evolution.
In our last post on the topic, NCSE’s “Project Steve” Now Has 1,300 Steves, we described the characteristics of both lists, and said: “when the subject comes up in the future, as it surely will, we’ll be able to link to just one post — this one.”
Okay, all the background information is in our earlier post, and now the subject has come up again. NCSE just posted this at their website: Project Steve: n > 1400. They say, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
With the addition of Steven G. Allen on October 18, 2016, NCSE’s Project Steve attained its 1400th 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. (Cognates are also accepted, such as Stephanie, Esteban, Istvan, Stefano, or even Tapani — the Finnish equivalent.) About 1% of the United States population possesses such a first name, so each signatory represents about 100 potential signatories. (“Steve” was selected in honor of the late Stephen Jay Gould, a Supporter of NCSE and a dauntless defender of evolution education.)
The Discoveroids never give us a count of those who have signed their woeful list, but it’s believed to be over 800, perhaps as many as 900. That’s all they’ve got. If they limited their list to only “Steves,” they’d have only about 8 or 9 names. And they’re far less selective than NCSE in choosing their signatories. The Discoveroids’ list includes a significant number of MDs (presumably proctologists), dentists, engineers, meteorologists, industrial hygiene specialists, nutritionists, philosophers, political “scientists,” sociologists, and such. 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 lists, the statements the signatories sign, the qualifications of the signatories, and the overwhelming numbers represented by the signatories, all speak for themselves. The Discoveroids have a grand total of maybe 900 scientific nobodies who signed a mushy statement saying they “are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life,” while NCSE’s list is comprised of genuine scientists who signed a statement saying: “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.” And because NCSE’s list is limited only to “Steves,” their signatories represent approximately 140,000 of their colleagues — a wee bit more than the Discoveroids’ 900.
There’s not much else to be said. Nevertheless we will continue to see the Discoveroids and other creationists claiming that a “growing number” of “scientists” are abandoning “Darwinism,” and there would be more, but they’re hiding in the closet because of “Darwinist bullying and censorship.” It’s probably the same mentality that sustains the flat-Earth people.
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