Friday, January 04, 2008

Project Steve and Evolution

This post assumes that the reader believes in evolution. It's not funny otherwise and is likely insulting. There. You've been warned so I cannot be held responsible for the indignation you may experience.

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has embarked on Project Steve to convince evolution deniers that their list of scientists endorsing such beliefs is shall we say...deficient. To counter their list, the NCSE has attempted to compile a similar list of evolution adherents.

To be a signatory, one must have a doctorate (can be an M.D.) and be willing to sign the following statement endorsing evolution:
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.
Oh, and you have to be named Steve or some variant thereof (Stephen, Stephanie, Esteban, etc.)

So far, Project Steve has 860 signatories the most recent of whom is Steve Vance. Within the U.S., this would correspond to almost 54,000 scientists (1.6% Steve variants according to census figures). Two thirds of them are biologists. This is a far higher proportion than is on any list of deniers. It is also a far more prestigious group. The majority are working scientists. Many on the denier lists are not.

The NCSE hopes that when anyone shows you a list of evolution deniers, your response should be
"but how many Steves are on your list!?"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, supposedly wonderfully knowledgeable scientists want only their beliefs taught in public schools, so they serve up some stupid joke - which they seem to be taking rather seriously - in order to one up the other side? How trite. Such intelligent minds spending their time on garbage such as this. How is this going to help their cause at all? Are they saying that because they have more people on their team than the other side, they win? I didn't think you could vote on facts - - or is truth relative and up for vote in science now as well? Maybe we should take a vote on the Flat Earth theory? Or maybe we should vote on the germ theory?

IMO, evolution is just as much a religion as intelligent design or creationism. Two scientists with the same qualifications can look at the same evidence and draw different conclusions about the evidence because of their deeply-held personal beliefs. There is no such thing as objectivity with humans, no matter how hard one tries or what anyone says.

Yet, supposedly knowledgeable minds such as these feel the need to spend their time on unnecessary digs at those who hold opposite viewpoints while our public schools are drowning in a sea of violence, mismanaged funds, poorly compensated teachers, fatcat beaurocrats, and the social engineering nonsense being peddled to our children by special interest groups who care more about their cause-du-jour than true education. And the science and math scores of American children continue to plummet.

It seems to me that if we want to raise a generation that will produce more scientists, we would welcome opposing viewpoints and promote genuine scientific investigation and discovery rather than squelching it.

Given the big picture, is it going to matter if evolution, creationism and intelligent design are presented. Not in the slightest - - and I believe most parents would agree with me. These petty little squabbles do nothing to further education, no matter how much these people say they care. Nothing at all.

M. Mitchell

January 07, 2008 10:28 AM  
Blogger The Medicine Man said...

Dear M. Mitchell,

I felt your comment warranted a complete response which you can find here.


January 07, 2008 2:14 PM  

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