Steven Pinker on Prof. Steve Steve


Steven Pinker, The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, New York: Viking, 2007, p. 280.

The abundance of Steves in turn-of-the-century science has led to the most formidable weapon in the fight against neo-creationism today: Project Steve. A brainchild of the National Center for Science Education, the initiative is a parody of the creationist tradition of publishing lists of several dozen “scientists who dissent from Darwinism.” The NCSE replies: “Oh, yeah? Well, we have a list of several hundred scientists who affirm evolution—just named Steve!” (And Stephanie, Steffi, Stefan, and Esteban.) Part satire, part memorial to Stephen Jay Gould, the project maintains a Steve-O-Meter (now pointing past 800) and has spun off a T-shirt, a song, a mascot (Professor Steve Steve, a panda puppet), and a paper in the respected scientific journal Annals of Improbable Research called “The Morphology of Steve” (based on the T-shirt sizes ordered by the signatories).

Hat tip Glenn Branch.


Who’s pulling Prof Steve a puppet? Is he only a front for some secret operation? And what’s its real purpose?

The public needs to know!


How do we know whether or not all the signatories have changed their name to some derivation of the name Steve just for the project? I’m thinking of changing my name just so that I can get one of those t-shirts!!


What intelligent designer would design a panda with a hollow torso and no hind legs?

Darwinists must have a lot of time to spare in their hands, since the Steve list is useless straw man. Darwin-skeptics never said that the majority of scientists doesn’t believe in Darwinism. What Darwin-skeptics say, contrary to Darwinian myths, is that there are scientists who dissent from Darwinism for scientific reasons.

Secondly, if I am not mistaken, that was in deed the reason behind the dissent list started by the Discovery Institute. Darwinists claimed that no scientist doubts evolution, and so a proper response was given with the Dissent List.

Now, since there are at least 700 scientists who are skeptical of Darwinian claims, perhaps it’s about time Darwinists accepted that fact, and stopped waisting people’s time with straw man “projects”.

Mats, perhaps you could supply us with some references where the claim is made that no scientists doubt evolution? Or better yet, you could show us where any scientist is actually doing any scientific work that explicitly supports ID creationism? For bonus points you could point us to where the scientific theory of ID is spelled out.

Ben, Have you heard of Cornelia’s Creed?

“Come all ye who doubt Darwin: recite Cornelia’s Creed every time such evil thoughts arise.”

Ben, by the way, what would, constitute a “scientist” and “scientific work” in your worldview?

Would you consider someone like Dr Jonathan Safarti, PhD as a “scientist”, even thought he holds the Biblical worldview?

Or perhaps Dr A.E. Wilder-Smith is not a “real scientist” because he was a YEC, even though “he was one of few scientists in the world to have three earned doctorates”?

Right, so you quote Cornelia as saying

There is no credible scientific challenge to the idea that all living things evolved from common ancestors, that evolution on earth has been going on for billions of years and that evolution can be and has been tested and confirmed by the methods of science.

Which isn’t a “creed,” and doesn’t say that no scientist “doubts” evolution. Cornelia says that there is no credible scientific challenge to the ideas behind evolution. I will take the fact that you cannot point to any scientific work that does credibly challenge it, or to any legitimate model upon which such scientific work could in principle be based, as evidence that there is in fact no credible scientific challenge to evolution.

What any given scientist “doubts” is irrelevant if these doubts are not backed up by theory, evidence, and research, all of which are not only utterly lacking in ID creationism but overtly and strenuously avoided in favor of politicking, press releases, and the occastional flatulent flash animation. With all the time, energy and resources inveseted thus far in trying to convince non-scientitsts of the value of IDC, certainly some legitimate research could have been done if anyone had the inclination to do so–and if the idea merited further scientific exploration. It doesn’t; the scientific claims of IDC, endlessly recycled, rephrased and regurgitated, have long since been scientifically explored and found lacking.

Matt chastises: Now, since there are at least 700 scientists who are skeptical of Darwinian claims, perhaps it about time Darwinists accepted that fact, and stopped waisting people time with straw man projects.

One silly project deserves another.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)


There are a growing number of scientists who have signed the Steve list. It’s a scientific fact!

Mats, IIRC, the “dissent from Darwin” statement (to which 700+ scientists have appended their signatures) is very carefully worded so that it makes a modest claim: that the signatories doubt Darwin’s theory of evolution, and that other theories should be considered.

However, many scientists doubt Darwin’s theory of evolution, because there is so much that has been learned since the 19th century. The original theory has been expanded and modified to incorporate, inter alia: genetics, knowledge of the structure and function of DNA, punctuated equilibrium, genetic drift and recombination.

Thus, the theory expounded by Darwin himself is out of date and parts of it have been superseded by more recent discoveries. Therefore, any modern scientist would “doubt” the applicability of Darwin’s evolutionary theory as a part of modern science.

This does not change the fact that Darwin laid the foundation for our present understanding of biology, for which modern evolutionary theory provides the framework.

Additionally, many of the scientists and engineers whose signatures appear on the dissent-from-Darwin list don’t actually have much education in the biological sciences, however many doctorates they have (and where I come from, a productive scientist doesn’t have the time to try and earn more than one doctorate. Some have two, because they may be awarded a second doctorate to honour their other work).

So, Project Steve is no more a straw man than the original list assembled by the DI. In fact, it is less so, because it is signed only by actual scientists.

Finally, 700 signatures, drawn from the entirety of modern science and engineering, is a trivial number. So the list does not even indicate that there exists any significant dissent.

I beg you all to stop wasting time on this “Mats” troll and get back to serious business: description of Prof. Steve Steve as a “puppet”. Someone with his many PhDs certainly does not deserve such a demeaning description of character. Prof. Steve Steve is not merely a mascot. He is the quarterback, or at least a running back.

YECists can be scientists, the proof is all in the pudding. The reason why many YEC so called ‘scientists’ fail is because they have abandoned a search for the truth in favour of their interpretation of the Truth,

California Literary Review interviews Michael Behe. And the site allows comments.

I have met Prof. Steve Steve and alas he is of hollow body lacking any hind legs but he is anything but a puppet.

That makes me wonder what happens when he drinks one of those bamboo beers… Or is that something one shouldn’t ask about? :D

When Prof. Steve Steve drinks, it goes right through him. That is how he was able to drink Chris Mooney under the table.

Mats - Have you ever read the so-called dissent from Darwin statement? There is absolutely nothing in it that would cause problems for any biologist. Signatories claim to be skeptical of the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Quite right, too. The founder effect and genetic drift also need to be considered. They also consider that careful examination of the evidence should be considered. Also spot on. All evidence for all theories should be carefully examined.

The only thing that stops honest biologists from signing it is the dishonest use that is made of it.

Why do you think the statement was worded in such an ambiguous way? What does it tell you about the people who circulate it?

Mats said:

Now, since there are at least 700 scientists

We’re very impressed. Big number. Fulla zeroes.

who are skeptical of Darwinian claims, perhaps it’s about time Darwinists accepted that fact, and stopped waisting people’s time with straw man ‘projects’.

Okey doke. Stop “waisting” science’s time with creationist nonsense, and it’s a deal.

Modesto board candidates discuss intelligent design

Maria Alvarez, an instructional services coordinator with the Merced County Office of Education, agreed that the theory of intelligent design could be included in a science class, as long as the line between educating children and indoctrinating them is clear.

Cluelessness abounds.

Yeah, time is a terrible thing to waist! Or waist is a terrible thing to mind. Or something.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on September 23, 2007 10:49 PM.

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