Project Steve

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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.

Project Steve is a "tongue-in-cheek parody" created by the National Center for Science Education, intended to place the "scientific debate" over evolution into proportion. It is in response to various lists, put out by the likes of the Discovery Institute, of scientists who supposedly reject evolution. Usually such lists number anywhere between a dozen and a hundred. Creationists love to mention that famous scientists like Isaac Newton "didn't believe" in evolution, and more importantly, he was a Christian! Of course, it's incorrect to say that Newton didn't "believe" in evolution; he had probably no knowledge about it, as he died 82 years before Charles Darwin was even born. Project Steve, on the other hand, is an attempt to show that these creation scientists are outnumbered by pro-evolution scientists — named Stephen and alive.

Stephen was chosen in honour of Stephen Jay Gould, who died about a year before the list began. Some slight variations of that name are also included, such as Steven, Steve, Stefan, or Stephanie, or the same name in languages other than English, including three Etiennes, three Estebans, one Istvan, and one Tapani, which is the Finnish equivalent.

The list was invented entirely for the lulz and was not intended to be an argumentum ad populum, or any other argumentum. As of June 26, 2015, The Steve-o-meter numbers 1370 scientists on its list. (The NCSE notes that "'Steves' are only about 1% of scientists", making the point that "tens of thousands of scientists support evolution".) It has been noted that the Steve list has proportionately more biologists (about two thirds are qualified biologists) than the creationists' list. So there.

The Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism had, by comparison, 12 signatories whose names would have qualified them for the Steve list per 2012. The twelve constitute a motley crew that contains at least some non-scientists (Meyer, Cheesman), certified crackpots (Gift), and one single biologist, C. Steven Murphree, who has — to really add insult to injury — later repudiated his involvement with the creationist movement and signed Project Steve instead.[1]

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