The Discovery Institute (DI) likes to make its case for Intelligent Design simply by getting people to sign a petition, the “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism“, which reads thusly:
Signatories of the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism must either hold a Ph.D. in a scientific field such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computer science, or one of the other natural sciences; or they must hold an M.D. and serve as a professor of medicine. Signatories must also agree with the following statement:
“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
You can see the signatories here; according to The College Fix article below, and a blurb by the Discovery Institute, they now number 1,043. The fact that the signers exceeded 1000 is cause for great celebration in Seattle.
Although there’s not, as far as I know, a list of scientists who accept “Darwinism” (I’d call it “modern evolutionary theory”), it would of course be much longer. But scientific truth isn’t determined by lists of names, even of people who hold Ph.Ds (see below for their “qualifications”). It’s determined by the published work of scientists and whether it’s accepted by the scientific community. And using that criterion, ID has failed miserably.
It’s sad that The College Fix, a right-wing website that often has decent though slanted articles on the shenanigans of woke students at universities, has chosen the anti-evolution hill to die on. Of course the author of this article (click on screenshot) goes to Liberty University, where you have to sign on to creationism as a student and teacher.
The Right apparently hasn’t realized yet that they don’t gain intellectual credibility by espousing creationism or attacking established truths in evolutionary biology.
At any rate, The Sensuous Curmudgeon isn’t impressed. In a post about the list a week ago, they note this about “Project Steve“, which is the National Center for Science Education’s lighthearted but real list of scientists named Steve who have a Ph.D. and support evolution. The NCSE of course doesn’t use lists to support the truth of evolution; this is just a list to mock the Discovery Institute’s list. Here’s what the 1400 Steves signed:
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.
And the Sensuous Curmudgeon’s comment on the DI’s crowing about the 1000+ signers of their anti-Darwin list:
The Discoveroids have a new post about it at their creationist blog: Skepticism About Darwinian Evolution Grows as 1,000+ Scientists Share Their Doubts. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Over 1,000 doctoral scientists from around the world have signed a statement publicly expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution. [Gasp!] The statement, located online at dissentfromdarwin.org, reads: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
We always contrast that with “Project Steve,” a splendid enterprise of our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). It has its own page at their website, and it’s their response to the Discoveroids’ list. The last time we wrote about it was over two years ago: ‘Project Steve’ Now Has 1,400 Steves. They say: “About 1% of the United States population possesses such a first name, so each signatory represents about 100 potential signatories.”
. . . We don’t know how many Steves are on NCSE’s list now, but only ten Steves are statistically equal to all the 1,000 signatures on the Discoveroids’ list. If the Discoveroids limited their list to only “Steves,” they’d have about 10 names. Also, The Discoveroids are far less selective than NCSE in choosing their signatories. The Discoveroids’ list includes a significant number of MDs, dentists, engineers, meteorologists, industrial hygiene specialists, nutritionists, philosophers, political “scientists,” sociologists, and such. On the other hand, everyone on NCSE’s list of Steves has a PhD, and a majority of them are in a biological field.
The Curmudgeon concludes:
So where are we? Well, the Discoveroids finally got their list up to 1,000 names, so that’s something. It’s difficult to come up with a figure for the actual number of scientists in the world, because that term (like the Discoveroids’ list) can include social scientists, political scientists, etc. For the US alone, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has over 120,000 members, so the Discoveroids still have a lot of work to do.
But you’re probably asking yourself, “Well, who are those Ph.D.s who signed the DI’s statement?” Fortunately, DonExodus2 examined the list 11 years ago when there were about 100 signers, and you won’t be impressed by those who put their name to the document. (The videomaker contacted most of the people who signed the document.) Have a listen:
It’s pathetic that the DI spends its time getting signatures on the petition when it should be getting empirical evidence for its theory. After all, in 1998 the Wedge Document said that its 20-year goal was to see ID as the dominant paradigm in science. It’s 2019 now, and that hasn’t happened. And so the Discoveroids engage in ludicrous activities like this.