Stephens and Stephanies support teaching of science
Feb. 18, 2003
KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Stephen B. Malcolm, an associate professor of biological sciences at Western Michigan University, is one of more than 200 scientists named Steve to sign a national resolution supporting the theory of evolution as a "vital, well-supported, unifying principal of the biological sciences."
Malcolm joined 224 other Steves and Stephanies to sign the statement issued Feb. 16 in Denver at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Signatories backed evolution instruction in public schools. The tongue-in-cheek initiative was designed both as a tribute to the late Harvard evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould and a spoof of anti-evolution manifestos that incorporate lists of names of scientists as evidence that evolution is falling into disfavor in the scientific community.
Among those signing the statement were two Nobel Prize winners, eight members of the National Academy of Sciences and one other scientist with WMU connections, alumnus Stephen J. Brewer of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. All told, science's "Steve" population is thought to represent about 1 percent of those in the scientific professions.
Malcolm says the list of those who support the veracity of evolution would have been huge, so organizers decided to inject a little humor and signal the importance of Gould as a scientific figure.
"I think it is very important to speak out on this issue," Malcolm says. "None of us want to restrict the freedom of people to believe. Instead, we want to focus on the process and nature of science--not as an alternative to faith, but simply as an entity in itself because of its value to our species and our own intellectual curiosity."
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