The Steve-o-sphere


Everyone has heard of the Blogosphere. It appears that a new -sphere, the Steve-o-sphere, is being born.

The Improbable Blog, the blog of the journal Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), has blogged the recent AIR paper “The Morphology of Steve.” Here is a link to the online PDF with lower-res graphics; go buy the issue for the full resolution version, plus other ground-breaking research, such as “The Importance of the Hyphen to Naked Astronomers”. The Steves post has gotten a half-dozen trackbacks already, and this post adds another one for good measure. See also the previous PT post on the paper, and the post previous to that on Project Steve. More evidence of the beginnings of a Steve-o-sphere is found in the fact that “The Morphology of Steve” has been added with pride to the online CVs and blogs of Steves such as Stephen J. Taylor (CV, full ref), Stephen Thorsett (blog), and Steve Renals (homepage).

Figure 1: Morphological novelty in the form of Steves

Speaking of Project Steve, the Steve-o-meter now stands at #457. To celebrate the AIR paper, a new Steves T-shirt was made at the otherwise arbitrary number of 440 Steves (“Over 440 Steves agree…”), which is now for sale at NCSE although I hear there has been a bit of a run on them. Perhaps people hope that if they buy T-shirts, they will get to participate in the next major Steve study, tentatively titled “On the Origin of Steves.” One non-Project-Steve Steve, Stephen C. Meyer, Program Director at the Discovery Institute, has claimed that evolution cannot produce morphological novelty. However, early results from the new Steve study indicate that, at least when it comes to morphological novelty in the form of Steves (see Figure 1), it is intelligent design, not evolution, that has a problem. The Discovery Institute recently put up a “Key resources for parents and school board members” webpage, which touts “Over 300 Scientists Skeptical of Neo-Darwinism” (further touted in many articles linked therein). However, an analysis of the DI 300 list reveals a mere 5 Steves, and that’s counting one guy who only has the last name “Stephan,” which is really being generous in my view. Either way, it appears that evolution is about 100 times better at producing Steves than ID.

P.S.: Does anyone know the Serbian equivalent of “Steve”? Apparently they’ve just banned evolution from the schools over there…


Good news… Over at , which does return one result if you google them for the name “steve”, they are now allowing longer posts in their guestbook. (It used to be limited to approximately 80 words.)

Kyle, of Wrote:

If self-formation by non-teleological forces is statistically improbable to the point of accounting it as an absurdity, then the only option left is Creation. Interesting how some will proclaim the alleged evidence for any little facet of macro evolutionary hypothesis is enough to topple the Genesis account, yet they will turn around and claim that the destruction of the foundations of materialistic cosmology is not enough to do away with the particularly infeasible possibility of macro evolution. Are we leaving any avenue of escape open here, or just refusing to accept the inevitable?

They use a lot of big fancy words over there, but I’m not sure they really know what they’re talking about…

I imagine this has been mentioned before, but over at the Landover Baptist Church site, they have had the following post for awhile:

NCSE’s “Project Steve” Is a Mockery of Science (2/24/2003) The Orwellianly named National Center for Science Education (whose unscientific goal is to “defend the teaching of Evolution in the public schools”) has a new project called “Project Steve,” which aims to get as many Evolutionists named Steve as they can muster to sign an affirmation of belief in Evolutionism so that their names can then be put on a t-shirt and sold to bitter Atheists.

The stated goal of this project is to mock Creation Science. Now when confronted with a list of scientists who doubt Evolutionism (scientists who, in years past, the Evolutionists have denied even existed,) the Darwinian faithful are supposed to ask the trite question “How many Steves do you have?” Unable to actually address the fact and theology of Creation, this Evolutionist propaganda organization has devolved into puerile attempts at cleverness in order to convince public school students that there is anything to this whole Evolutionism thing (I suppose next they will want a “Project Adam and Steve” for the public schools.)

But how did they get so many people named Steve to sign? In the Secularly Correct atmosphere of modern Academia, it is very easy to cajole and intimidate people into signing things like this. Refusal could be viewed as heresy and cause the refusenik to be denied letters of recommendation, tenure, or publication in the Evolutionist-reviewed journals (the academic equivalent of a death sentence.)

We also have to wonder how many of these “Steves” are really named Steve. Evolutionists are not above fraud, as evidenced by Nebraska Man, Archaeoraptor, and Lucy’s knee. Are there any “Piltdown Steves” on that list? And how many are young scientists named by their Atheistic parents in “honor” of Stephen J. Gould (in much the same way as Mohammedans name their children Mohammed,) making the whole thing a circular argument?

I particularly like the last line. If we all start naming our children Steve and Stephanie (and making them get Ph.D.’s in biology), in 25 years or so we can have thousands of Steve’s! ; )

If we all start naming our children Steve and Stephanie (and making them get Ph.D.’s in biology), in 25 years or so we can have thousands of Steve’s! ; )

We really need to stop disclosing all of our master plans in this public forum. If the creationists ever find out about our “Submit 1000 Fraudulent Papers for Darwinism” strategy (circa 1992 – a very successful program), we’ll all be in hot water.

Oh crap, there I go again!!

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Re comment 7487: You wrote that the quoted piece was on Landover Baptist Church’s site “for awhile.” I take it as a statement that it is not any longer there. If this is so, good that the quote appears on this blog. It is such a fine example of the impotent fury of those mad anti-evolution fanatics who have learned such words as Orwellian but in fact just display their blinding hatred of reason, for all to see.

I was told that Landover Baptist site is a parody. If so, it is a very realistic parody - I have heard similar diatribes delivered in earnest.

At the atheist march on washington last year (or was it two years ago), the pastor of Landover Baptist was given “equal-oppurtunity” time to speak. He gave an amazing fire and brimstone sermon, which for whatever reason caused the christian protestors to get angry. He then chewed them out for being sign holding wusses.

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“The Morphology of Steve” is reviewed in The New Scientist: Strange but true tales from the world of science

Strange but true tales from the world of science The Morphology of Steves

A COLLEAGUE of Feedback named Stephen is delighted to learn that he has now published a paper with Stephen Hawking, as well as Nobel laureates Steven Weinberg and Stephen Chu. “The Morphology of Steve” by Eugenie Scott, Nicholas Matzke, Glenn Branch and several hundred assorted Steve-oids was published in the August issue of the Annals of Improbable Research, and reports the first results of an “experimental steveometry apparatus” - namely the Project Steve T-shirt.

This is serendipitous science, as these shirts were designed for another purpose. Project Steve aims to parody lists of scientists who support creationism, instead listing Steves with science PhDs who support the teaching of evolution ( Sign up if you qualify and they’ll send you a T-shirt. For the Steves mentioned above, this has also meant being granted co-authorship of the paper to which they have contributed.

How have they contributed? The T-shirts come in four sizes, from M to XXL. Along with the names and addresses of the Steves, this fact gave the authors a unique data set, allowing them to make a cutting-edge geographical analysis of Steve characteristics. They break the population down into domestic Steves and “foreign, wild Steves”, who are subclassified as Brits, Aussies, “Canadians, eh?”, Random little countries, and Germans. Contrary to popular belief, the domestic US Steve is not a particularly large subspecies, coming somewhere in the middle of the size distribution.

Startlingly, the authors find no evidence that female Steves (the five Stephanies) are smaller than males - one of them even ordered an XXL - or that Steves are larger in colder climates, contrary to a previously accepted biological rule. They do however show that insular Steves are smaller than the continental breed, consistent with both island biogeography and the lead authors’ culinary prejudices. They suggest that malnutrition may have produced relatively skinny Brits and Aussies.

“The Morphology of Steve” is reviewed in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The original CHE article requires access by subscription, so I haven’t seen it yet, but Steve Sailer of gives us a quote:

More scientists named Steve live on the East and West Coasts than anywhere else in the United States, according to a groundbreaking research paper. Among the study’s authors were Stephen W. Hawking, two Nobel Prize-winning physicists named Steve, and 437 other scientists named Steve, Steven, Stephen, Stephane, or Stephanie. The paper emerged from the National Center for Science Education’s Project Steve, an effort to compile a list of scientists who both support the theory of evolution and happen to be named Steve. “The original idea was to mock these lists you see from creationists, of scientists doubting Darwinism,” says Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of the center and one of the few authors of the paper not named Steve. A footnote to the study explains that the name Steve was chosen to honor the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.

When participants started ordering Project Steve T-shirts, Ms. Scott and her colleagues realized they were sitting on a mountain of data. The shirt, which was retrospectively designated the “experimental Steveometry apparatus,” provided the researchers with the opportunity to collect sizes and shipping addresses for 284 scientists named Steve. They analyzed the data and wrote up the results for the July/August issue of Annals of Improbable Research, a science-humor magazine. In addition to discovering the “Mid-Continental Steve Deficit,” the authors found evidence of sexual dimorphism (it turns out that Stephanies have larger body sizes on average than Steves [?]) as well as insular dwarfism (the “island Steves” of Australia and Britain tend to be smaller than their mainland counterparts).

According to Steve Sailer, when he asked Stephen Pinker why half of the people who write about genetics seem to be named Steve, Pinker sent him this cartoon:

Steve Lacey also has blogged the Morphology of Steve.

New denizens of the Steve-o-sphere include Stephen Mackessy (home page) and Stephen Abedon (CV in PDF form; see p. 3).

I will have access to CHE in the comming weeks.

The Morphology of Steve makes another blog.


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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on September 8, 2004 1:54 AM.

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