Project Steve: n > 1400

10.31.2016

With the addition of Steven G. Allen on October 18, 2016, NCSE's Project Steve attained its 1400th signatory. A tongue-in-cheek parody of the long-standing creationist tradition of amassing lists of "scientists who doubt evolution" or "scientists who dissent from Darwinism," Project Steve mocks such lists by restricting its signatories to scientists with PhDs whose first name is Steve. (Cognates are also accepted, such as Stephanie, Esteban, Istvan, Stefano, or even Tapani — the Finnish equivalent.) About 1% of the United States population possesses such a first name, so each signatory represents about 100 potential signatories. ("Steve" was selected in honor of the late Stephen Jay Gould, a Supporter of NCSE and a dauntless defender of evolution education.)

Although the idea of Project Steve is frivolous, the statement is serious. It reads, "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."

Among the 1401 current signatories to Project Steve are 100% of eligible Nobel laureates (Steven Weinberg and Steven Chu), at least ten members of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors of popular science books such as A Brief History of Time, How the Mind Works, and Darwin's Archipelago, a brother-and-sister pair (Steve G. Belovich and Stephanie J. Belovich), and a father-and-son pair (Steven Piantadosi and Steven T. Piantadosi). When last counted, by David H. Bailey in April 2012, almost 60% of the signatories were found to have a Ph.D. degree and/or professional position in a core field closely related to evolution.