"Named in honor of Stephen Jay Gould, NCSE's Project Steve began as a tongue-in-cheek response to creationist lists of alleged Darwin-doubting scientists. Project Steve encourages scientists named Steve (or Steven, Stephen, Stephanie, Stefan, Stefano, Etienne, Esteban, Tapani ...) to sign up and publicly support evolution. Because 1% of Americans are named Steve or Stephanie, the 1000 Steves represent the thousands of scientists who affirm and support the study and teaching of evolution.
"It's particularly appropriate that Steve #1000 is from Louisiana," says NCSE's Scott. "There have been many attempts to undermine the teaching of evolution in the state, including a law that required the teaching of creationism alongside evolution, which the Supreme Court struck down in 1987."
"Antievolution attitudes in Louisiana are prevalent," says Darwin, who has taught a popular class on evolution vs. creationism at Tulane for several years. Which is why it wasn't a big surprise to him when Governor Bobby Jindal signed a new antievolution bill into law in 2008. The law allows creationist-minded teachers to discredit evolution using bogus arguments and phony weaknesses -- claims that have long since been debunked by scientists, says Scott.
"Project Steve is a lighthearted stunt -- but it is in reaction to the very serious threat to scientific literacy posed by the relentless efforts of creationists," says Scott. "We urge everybody, whether named Steve or not, to join in defending the teaching of evolution.""