The statement's mission is a crucial one: to correct the public misunderstanding that Darwinism is settled fact unanimously agreed upon by every respectable member of the scientific community.
“The Scientific Dissent From Darwinism statement exists to correct the public record by showing that there are scientists who support an open examination of the evidence relating to modern Darwinian theory and who question whether Neo-Darwinism can satisfactorily explain the complexity and diversity of the natural world," reads the website which houses the document.
“In recent years there has been a concerted effort on the part of some supporters of modern Darwinian theory to deny the existence of scientific critics of Neo-Darwinism and to discourage open discussion of the scientific evidence for and against Neo-Darwinism,” explains statement's FAQ page.
The signatories “have all risked their careers or reputations in signing” the statement, said David Klinghoffer, a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow, noting the hostility of the scientific community at large toward anyone who dares to touch the Darwinian sacred cow.
“Such is the power of groupthink,” he wrote in an article for Evolution News. “The scientific mainstream will punish you if they can, and the media is wedded to its narrative that ‘the scientists’ are all in agreement and only ‘poets,’ ‘lawyers,’ and other ‘daft rubes’ doubt Darwinian theory. In fact, I’m currently seeking to place an awesome manuscript by a scientist at an Ivy League university with the guts to give his reasons for rejecting Darwinism. The problem is that, as yet, nobody has the guts to publish it.”
While the signatories do not necessarily agree on alternatives to Darwinism, "such as self-organization, structuralism, or intelligent design,” they all join in unity on the basis of “skepticism about modern Darwinian theories central claim that natural selection acting on random mutations is the driving force behind the complexity of life.”