- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

More than 200 scientists "named Steve" yesterday issued a statement backing evolution instruction in public schools, the latest response to state science standards that allow criticism of Darwinism.
The statement, issued in Denver at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), lists people named Steve to illustrate the large number of evolution backers and to honor Harvard evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould, who died last year of cancer.
"Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences," the statement says.
The statement aims to discredit the Intelligent Design movement, which is critical of Darwinism.
"It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to 'intelligent design,' to be introduced into the science curricula," the statement says.
It was organized by the anti-creationist National Center for Science Education (NSCE).
The debate has been heightened by the December vote of Ohio's State Board of Education to allow criticism of orthodox Darwinism in its 10th-grade natural-science classes.
Also last year, the Cobb County School Board in George adopted a resolution saying teachers may criticize Darwinian claims that random process in nature gave rise to all living things.
In both Ohio and Georgia, critics of Darwinism circulated statements signed by scientists with doctorates calling for more critical approaches to evolution in biology classes.
Last fall, 28 members of a group called Georgia Scientists for Academic Freedom joined a list of 132 other scientists who urged "careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory."
They said, "It is important that students and teachers be permitted, even encouraged, to discuss differing views of origins."
The Ohio debate featured a call from state activists to allow teachers to present the alternative called Intelligent Design, the idea that apparent design in nature arose from a Designer, not random evolution.
Though the Ohio school board rejected the Intelligent Design proposal, it required that 10th graders learn how "scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory."
Yesterday's statement aimed to make fun of the anti-Darwin manifestos that were signed and circulated in the past few years, its organizers said.
"Of course science isn't decided by manifesto; this statement pokes fun at such efforts," said Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg.
He said the validity of evolution is seen in scientific papers.
The statement, signed by 220 Steves, includes two Nobel prize winners and eight members of the National Academy of Sciences.
Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of NCSE, said that signers named Steve represent just 1 percent of U.S. scientists, and she challenged anti-Darwinists to muster such a large sample.
"Creationists are fond of amassing lists of Ph.D.s who deny evolution to try to give the false impression that evolution is somehow on the verge of being rejected by the scientific community," she said.
Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at MIT, said he and other signers "aren't trying to stifle dissent" but "to demonstrate how misleading it is to claim, on the basis of a handful of dissenters, that evolution is a 'theory in crisis.'"

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