Over on the Panda’s Thumb, there’s a thread about NCSE’s Project Steve hitting the kilosteve mark, that is, the 1000th signatory. A commenter there wished to register her annoyance with Project Steve, and to do it with numbers:
Louise Van Court said:
I realize that the whole Project Steve thing is a spoof on the Dissent From Darwin statement and that the NCSE is just having fun with it, but 1,000 signatures is not a very impressive number really. I am more impressed by the lack of signatures to either of these statements considering the bureau of labor statistics on the www.bls.gov/ocoso47.htm#outlook site of a total of 173,000 biological scientists (apparently using some rounded figures) including “biological scientists, biochemists and biophysicists, zoologists and wildlife biologists and biological scientists all others.” The number of signatures is not even 1% of the total number even with Steve and derivations of that name being fairly common in the US. Perhaps there are many scientists that prefer not to put their names on a public list and just want to stay away from the culture war. Good for them.
James F. immediately pointed out that 1,000 * 100 = 100,000, so a goodly percentage of the eligible people had in fact signed on. It’s always amusing to see antievolutionists joining innumeracy to ignorance.
But Louise Van Court is even worse off than James F. noted. If one goes to the link she provided, one gets a 404-style message. If one does some looking, one can find the actual link. There, “Biological Scientists” are said to have numbered about 87,000 in 2006. Indented entries in four categories split that out. Louise arrived at the 173,000 number by adding up the rounded-off figures for biological scientists and the categories of biological scientists. She counted everyone twice and presented that as a figure. If what she had come up with by inflating the population number to double its actual size was, as James F. put it, an “EPIC FAIL”, one wonders how to express just how badly off she was given the actual numbers from her cited source.
Project Steve has been somewhat more open to Ph.D.s from outside the stated categories, but it is primarily pitched to them. The numbers indicate that for the biological sciences, Project Steve may be close to complete saturation.
That’s what I call shooting oneself in the foot; nice job, Louise!