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.