Thursday, 21 June 2012

No Answers In Genesis - Project Steve

Ken Ham
Attempting to compensate for the fact that few serious scientists agree with a literal interpretation of Genesis, including creation of the universe and all species, extinct or living in a single act of creation 6000 years ago, creationist organisation such as Ken Ham's and the Institute for Creation Research have put together a list of nearly 200 scientists whom they claim support a literal interpretation Genesis.

The list includes Dr Paul D. Ackerman, the psychologist responsible for the appallingly bad creationist 'science' book,"It's A Young World After All" which I have comprehensively demolished in a series of blogs listed in "It's An Old World After All"

A quick Google search on a random selection of these scientists shows that Ackerman is not the only one who has no higher academic qualifications in the subject on which he writes, and who has never published a paper on any of those subjects in a peer-reviewed journal nor presented a paper on any of them to an audience of specialists in these subjects.

Patriot Bible 'University' - Kent Hovind's Alma Mater.
Some of them appear to have obtained 'degrees' from various creationist and Bible 'colleges' similar to the shed from which Kent Hovind obtained his 'doctorate'. Google any name on the list and you will discover that many of them are famous merely for appearing on the list and appear to have done very little else of note.

This list, which was drawn up by the Discovery Institute, is of course, intended to convey the idea that the Theory of Evolution is a science in crises and is being rejected by mainstream scientists rather than being accepted by all serious biologists as the best available explanation for the observable fact of evolution. It is clearly aimed at people who are impressed by letters after a name and who imagine one degree is much like another and a science degree indicates expertise in all sciences, or that a psychology degree or doctorate in Bible Studies bought from a diploma mill, for example, qualifies someone to write knowledgeably on biology, physics or cosmology.

By way of contrast, Project Steve, run by the US National Center for Science Education aims to compile a list of scientists called Steve (or it's various forms like Stephen, Stephanie, etc) who subscribe to the statement:

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.

Stephen Jay Gould. An evolutionist called Steve
The name 'Steve' was chosen as a tribute to the late palaeontologist, evolutionist and author, Stephen J. Gould. As such is restricts the number of scientists eligible to sign up to about 1% of all scientists.

To date, the number of scientists called 'Steve' who have signed up to this statements is about 1230, two of whom are the only Nobel Prize winning Steves. Scaled up this represents about 99.85% of all scientists who have expressed an opinion. Noticeably, the proportion of biologists on this list exceeds 51% of the total compared to the few biologists on the Creationist list.

Infuriated by this, the Creationist mathematician, William Dembski, Fellow of the Discovery Institute, attempting to widen the net, set up a rival list of scientists who 'reject a naturalistic conception of evolution' rather than just supporting a literal interpretation of Genesis. In two years he signed up just 0.023% of the world's scientists, eight of whom were called Steve. Remember: as a professional propagandist for the Discovery Institute, Dembski is forbidden from claiming 'God did it!' because that would give the game away that the Discovery Institute is not a science body but a front organisation for fundamentalist Christianity which needs to keep its religious and subversive political agenda well hidden.

Inspired by Project Steve, and motivated by media coverage of the Discovery Institute's "Dissent From Darwinism" list, during the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, R. Joe Brandon initiated a four-day, word-of-mouth petition of scientists in support of evolution in October 2005. During the four-day drive A Scientific Support For Darwinism And For Public Schools Not To Teach Intelligent Design As Science gathered 7733 signatures of verifiable scientists. During the four days of the petition, A Scientific Support for Darwinism received signatures at a rate 697,000 percent higher than the Discovery Institute's petition, A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, according to archaeologist R. Joe Brandon.

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  1. I sent an email to the NCSE to be included. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Ken Ham. What a fool. How to bury your head in the sands of ignorance, looking desperately for anything that resembles confirmation bias, and ignoring anything that resembles truth.


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