It’s been a few years since we wrote about the Discovery Institute’s Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. Wikipedia’s article about it is a bit outdated. They say: “as of the August 2008 update, it contains 761 names.”
The Discoveroids have a new post about it at their creationist blog: Skepticism About Darwinian Evolution Grows as 1,000+ Scientists Share Their Doubts. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Over 1,000 doctoral scientists from around the world have signed a statement publicly expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution. [Gasp!] The statement, located online at dissentfromdarwin.org, reads: “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.”
We always contrast that with “Project Steve,” a splendid enterprise of our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). It has its own page at their website, and it’s their response to the Discoveroids’ list. The last time we wrote about it was over two years ago: ‘Project Steve’ Now Has 1,400 Steves. They say: “About 1% of the United States population possesses such a first name, so each signatory represents about 100 potential signatories.”
We don’t know how many Steves are on NCSE’s list now, but only ten Steves are statistically equal to all the 1,000 signatures on the Discoveroids’ list. If the Discoveroids limited their list to only “Steves,” they’d have about 10 names. Also, The Discoveroids are far less selective than NCSE in choosing their signatories. The Discoveroids’ list includes a significant number of MDs, 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 statements the signatories of each list sign are also quite different. The Discoveroids’ people sign on to this:
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’s thin gruel indeed. NCSE’s statement says:
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.
The Discoveroids’ new post tells us:
Bruce Chapman, Discovery Institute’s Chairman of the Board, found 100 PhD scientists to sign the initial dissent statement. Realizing that there were likely more scientists worldwide who shared some skepticism of Darwinian evolution and were willing to go on record, the Institute has maintained the list and added to it continually since its inception.
A thrilling tale. They continue:
The list of signatories now includes 16 scientists from the National Academies of Science in countries including Russia, Czech Republic, Brazil, and the United States, as well as from the Royal Society. Many of the signers are professors or researchers [like Michael Behe] at major universities [like BIOLA] and international research institutions such as the University of Cambridge, London’s Natural History Museum, Moscow State University, Hong Kong University, University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, Institut de Paléontologie Humaine in France, Ben-Gurion University in Israel, MIT, the Smithsonian, Yale, and Princeton.
The Discoveroids’ post ends with a quote from one of their signers, which you can read for yourself if you care to click over there.
So where are we? Well, the Discoveroids finally got their list up to 1,000 names, so that’s something. It’s difficult to come up with a figure for the actual number of scientists in the world, because that term (like the Discoveroids’ list) can include social scientists, political scientists, etc. For the US alone, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has over 120,000 members, so the Discoveroids still have a lot of work to do.
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