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Project Steve in Ottawa


Shortly after its second anniversary, Project Steve -- NCSE's exercise in poking fun at the lists of "scientists who doubt evolution" promulgated by antievolutionist groups -- was featured on the first page of the Sunday edition of one of Canada's leading newspapers. Dan Gardner's article "'Project Steve' takes aim at the creationist agenda" [Link broken] (available only to subscribers, unfortunately), which appeared in the February 20, 2005, issue of The Ottawa Citizen, begins, "With evolution under renewed attack across North America, an unlikely group has rallied to defend Charles Darwin. They are guys named Steve. Or Stephen. Also Steven and Stefan. And there are Stephanies standing up for evolution, too." The article discusses the history of Project Steve, commenting that "it may have been born in a spirit of whimsy, but its purpose couldn't be more serious" before reviewing recent antievolution incidents in Pennsylvania and Georgia. Brian Alters, Professor of Education and director of the Evolution Education Research Centre at McGill University in Montreal, was extensively quoted on the extent of antievolutionism in Canada, commenting, "We get reports all the time, all throughout Canada. It's not just as vocal and combative as it is in the United States." Alters, who coauthored Defending Evolution in the Classroom (Jones and Bartlett, 2001), emphasized the misleading nature of descriptions of evolution as "just a theory" or as "controversial," and NCSE's Nick Matzke added that "The idea that all species share a common ancestor, that's as well agreed upon as anything in science." Ending the article, Gardner quipped, "More than 500 scientists named Steve agree." Indeed: as of February 24, the Steveometer is at 543.