In mid-January, a group of fundamentalist creationists started a page on Facebook titled “We can find 1,000,000 people who don’t believe in Evolution before June” and it started to gather hundreds, then thousands, of fans within days. Needless to say, this caused a bit of a stir among those of us who actually like science.
In response, a group of pro-science types started another Facebook page titled “We can find 1,000,000 people who DO believe in Evolution before June”.
Now what’s interesting about all of this is that the creationist page started off ahead because it got a jump start. If my records are correct (they start at January 14th, 2010), the creationist site was at about 3000 when the evolution page got started. But the creationists didn’t stay ahead for long – by about January 18th the evolution page passed the creationist one in fan number, and since then has left the creationists in the proverbial dust. In fact, a good skeptical friend of mine put together a nice graph of the population of each page as a function of time…
The vertical axis is the number of fans, and the blue series denotes the population of the evolution page whereas the red series denotes the population of the creationism page. To date (February 1st), the creationist page is at 26,300 whereas the evolution page is at 115,400! I wonder if this is the result of natural selection on the Interwebs?
Long story short: the evolution Facebook page is kicking the crap out of the creationists, but we shouldn’t get complacent because we know how sneaky they can be. Remember, the goal is to make it to 1,000,000 members by June, and we’re well on our way having already gotten over 10% of the way there. But we won’t make it by resting on our laurels.
So, to keep this explosive population growth going, I suggest we all spread the word and take a page from noted evolutionary biologist P.Z. Myers when he blogged about this over at Pharyngula. And, one last thing, let’s take a bit of advice from P.Z. on something about the word “believe”…
Don’t get all pedantic and academic over the word “believe,” either. We know that the nature of our belief in evolution is very different than the creationists belief in their god: we have a provisional, non-dogmatic acceptance of the overwhelming evidence for a powerful theory. It’s just that that phrase is ponderous and pretentious when “belief” is a simple English shortcut to the meaning.