Skip Evans dies

Skip EvansSkip Evans

Skip Evans, a former employee of NCSE, died on July 26, 2012, at the age of 49, according to a post at The Panda's Thumb blog (July 26, 2012). Born in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, on June 4, 1963, Evans earned a B.S. in computer science from the University of Central Florida in 1987, and thereafter worked as a programmer for a variety of companies in Orlando, Atlanta, and New York City. A man of varied interests, he was active in motorcycle racing, community theater (as actor, director, and playwright), improvisational comedy, and, increasingly, activism on behalf of church/state separation, serving as the secretary of Central Floridians Against Censorship and the president of the Atlanta chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He worked for NCSE as Network Project Director, succeeding Molleen Matsumura, from August 2001 to April 2004. Afterward, he returned to programming, operating his own company from Kalispell and Helena, Montana, and then relocating to Madison, Wisconsin. He remained active in opposing creationism and promoting evolution education, blogging at The Panda’s Thumb and helping to found Wisconsin Citizens for Science and the Madison Science Pub. At the time of his death, he was a senior programmer for SoLoMo Technology.

Even before coming to NCSE, Evans was already a stalwart defender of teaching evolution in the public schools. A dogged critic of the flamboyant young-earth creationist Kent Hovind, he requested a copy of Hovind's "dissertation" from Patriot University, only to receive the original document, complete with a taped-in clipping from a magazine, to his surprise and delight. Among his publications in RNCSE were a report of his visit to a "seminar" run by Answers in Genesis and a review of a bizarre creationist novel. During his nearly-three-year stay at NCSE, Evans worked closely with activists in California, Georgia, Montana, Ohio, and Texas, who found his level of commitment impressive and his trademark sense of humor infectious. He produced effective critiques of the "intelligent design" movement's propaganda, such as "Doubting Darwinism through creative license" and "The Discovery Institute pioneers the misinfomercial." His delight in NCSE's Project Steve, which he helped to conceive and implement, was heightened by the fact that his given name, which he rarely used, was Stephen. And as a self-described refugee from the dot-coms, Evans also brought his expertise with information technology to bear, substantially improving NCSE's ability to communicate with, and to facilitate communication among, activists.