Thursday, August 25, 2005

Take one down ...

Red State Rabble notes "And then it was 399 on Discovery Institute "Scientists Who Doubt Darwin" List":
Yes, the list is only 399, not the 400 so recently touted by the brotherhood of bible college biologists at the Discovery Institute.

That's because Bob Davidson, an M.D., scientist, and professor for 28 years at the University of Washington medical school -- an ardent Christian whose name appears on the list -- says he believes "the scientific evidence for evolution is overwhelming."

"When I joined [the Discovery Institute] I didn't think they were about bashing evolution, says Davidson. "It's pseudo-science, at best ... What they're doing is instigating a conflict between science and religion."

"I'm kind of embarrassed that I ever got involved with this," Davidson now says.
The statement these 400 signed is incredibly vague. It's touted as proof that evolution is controversial, but here's what it says:

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.
Skepticism is what scientists do. In fact, mutation and natural selection are not the only forces at work. We know that chloroplasts (where photosynthesis takes place in plants) and mitochondria (where energy is processed in all eukaryotes) are bacteria that were engulfed by early cells. No mutation or selection there. Genetic drift is a vital part of many processes, especially in the theory of speciation.

Compare that with this statement:

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.
This statement has 577 signers, and one cannot sign unless he is named Steve (or something like it: Stephen, Steven, Stefan, etc.) or she is named Stephanie (or something like it). As the NCSE points out:

According to data from the U.S. Census, approximately 1.6% of males and approximately 0.4% of females -- so approximately 1% of U.S. residents -- have first names that would qualify them to sign the statement. …As of July 8, 2005, there were 577 signatories, corresponding to 57,700 scientists.
So, more and more Steves are signing up to support evolution, and more and more are dropping out of the Discovery Institute's mealy-mouthed attacks. Always watch where the momentum is going.