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Just what are they asking for? They are 500 scientists that are asking what? "Careful examination of the evidence"? Who is stopping them?

Here's what I wonder.

The statement that is signed by 700 people named "Steve" is very, very specific in nature:

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.

By contrast, the petition so regularly trumpeted by the Discovery Institute amounts to absolutely nothing at all. It isn't a call to action. It isn't a recommendation of research. It's deliberately written in such a way to be as timid and broad as possible.

We know from experience that this petition regularly gets used to make one of two points: 1. Science should take more intelligent design more seriously, and 2. Kids should be learning "alternatives" to evolution in school.

So why doesn't the petition actually SAY either of those things? Why this namby pamby "we believe that we should carefully examine the evidence" stuff -- asking for a right that they already have? Why don't they ask people to sign a statement that says what they mean: either "Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged as a focus of high school science classes" or, "We believe that Intelligent Design represents a serious scientific challenge to evolution"?

I rather suspect it's because a very large percentage of those signatures would simply dissolve if they actually took a stand on anything.
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