Project Steve goes over 1200 signatories this week. Wait, you might enquire, what is Project Steve? No, not Steve Jobs. It is a tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, humorous parody of the various “lists” that evolution deniers use to “prove” there is a controversy about evolution. One of the most famous is the Scientific Dissent from Darwinism (SDD), set up by the Seattle based, intelligent design think-tank (yes, you probably see all the irony). The SDD, which was started in 2001, states:
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.
Since 2001, they have gotten about 1000 signatures from Ph.D.-level scientists, of which only about 250 are biologists. The remainder of them are in disciplines from engineering (not a basic science, let alone biological science) to meteorology to medicine (again, not a basic science discipline). Now, science is not a democracy, and we don’t vote to determine what we accept as real science. But let’s assume it is subject to a vote, and let’s allow the 1000 so-called scientists on the SDD list who claim to “dissent from Darwinism” to vote, because we’re nice. Out of the 1,000,000 or so research biologists in the United States, the creationist get about 0.01% of the vote. In a Democracy, that would be considered a landslide. In fact, we’d be making jokes about the losers of such a vote.
But the creationist crowd wants the public to think there’s a big controversy about evolution, when in fact, the only dissenters are non-scientists, and a microscopic number of biologists. Every time we hear there’s a controversy, we all laugh, then realize that the creationists win the argument. See Tennessee’s Monkey Bill which buys into the manufactured controversy.
It’s a huge joke. And that’s precisely what the National Center for Science Education did with Project Steve (named for Stephen Jay Gould), treating the creationist SSD list with all the respect it deserved, which is nothing. Project Steve was simply a list of Steve’s (including Stephanie, Stephan, Steven, Estaban, and other derivations of Steve) with Ph.D.’s who supported the Fact of Evolution. The signatories agreed to the statement that:
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.
Over the past 9 years, just over 1200 Steve’s have signed the document, well ahead of the SSD’s 1000 or so. If science were a voting democracy, all we would have to do is send all of our Steve’s to the poll, and still we would still win the election.
Let us thank all the Steve’s (and Stephanie’s, Estaban’s, Stephan’s, etc.) for there participation, but don’t stop, let’s get it to a veto proof majority.