60-Second Science

Count On Steves to Defend Darwin

The National Center for Science Education initiated Project Steve in 2003 to count scientists named Steve (or Stephanie) who accept evolution, in response to lists of anti-evolution PhDs. The long-running effort, also a tribute to Stephen Jay Gould, crowned its thousandth Steve, a proxy for approximately 100,000 scientists, at last week's AAAS meeting. Steve Mirsky reports

[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

Creationists often publish lists of a few dozen scientists who doubt Darwin. So in 2003 the National Center for Science Education put together a list of 200 scientists who accept evolution.

“Except that all of ours were named Steve.” That was the NCSE’s Eugenie Scott at last week’s AAAS meeting. “And now we have one thousand scientists named Steve. Project Steve has a serious message. Approximately one percent of Americans are named Steve or Stephanie, so do the math. Our one thousand Steves represents a hundred thousand scientists accepting evolution, as opposed to the rather paltry number dissing Darwin. It’s important because in states where we have major problems with anti-evolution going on, the number of scientists doubting evolution has been proclaimed to the public. I just want the press to keep asking, ‘How many Steves do you have?’”

And the thousandth Steve is: “The distinguished botanist at the University of Tulane and head of the Tulane Herbarium, Steve Darwin.”

Steve Mirsky 

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