Talk:Charles Darwin/Archive 8

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compelling evidence

See Talk:Charles Darwin/Archive 7#compelling evidence.

To Gerard von Hebel Is that your conception of an open discussion? I looks exactly like the dogmatic mantras of creationist! The mecanism proposed by the author in my footnote is auto-organisation and is based on the chaos-theory, auto organisation is also proposed by Dyson and fox and others supporters of the protein first cell first theory and concerning natural selection you seems to choose to ignore science history all the same, and I agree with the last intervenant proposition to modify the wording.--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 11:47, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Sounds irrelevant, I disagree with your proposal. . . dave souza, talk 11:58, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
"The nature and cause of transpecific evolution has been an highly controversial subject during the first half of this century. The proponents of the synthetic theory maintain that all evolution is due to the accumulation of small genetic changes, guided by natural selection, and that transpecific evolution is nothing but an extrapolation and magnification of the events that take place within populations and species. A well-informed minority, however, including such outstanding authorities as the geneticist Goldschmidt, the paleontologist Schindewolf, and the zoologists Jeannnel, Cuenot, and Cannon, maintened until the 1950's that neither evolution within species nor geographic speciation could explain the phenomena of "macroevolution", or as it is better called , transpecific evolution. These authors contended that the origin of new "types" and of new organs could not be explained by the facts of genetics and systematics."Mayrs, E (1970) Does it sound so irrelevant now? If Darwin had provided so compelling evidences even on the "macroevolution" level would have such a debate endured until 1950 (and it does still indure between evolutionist).So I propose the wording : "Darwin did provide compelling evidences that species weren't fixed but were evolving from common ancestors, and give natural selection as explanation of this phenomenon" wich is the all truth about it. --Ha-y Gavra (talk) 17:26, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with the current wording "presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors," and my understanding is that none of these authors were disputing that evolution occurred through common descent. The second part of the sentence "through the process he called natural selection" is about something that was debated until at least the 1930s, and could perhaps be better phrased. As a possibility, "and explained this by the process he called natural selection" is reasonably concise. Darwin made no comment on Mendelian genetics. . dave souza, talk 13:15, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
It remains that Darwin evidences were only compelling in relation with microevolution thus it is not accurate to says "all species", because "extrapolation and magnification" are not evidences, in particular today that it is experimentaly proved that eucaryotes evolved from bacteria through endosybiosis (Lynn Margulis) and not through a darwinian process of minute modifications and natural selection, and that macroevolution seems to be much more saltorial than Darwin imagined (Gould). --Ha-y Gavra (talk) 11:44, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Comparing the world of biological science before and after Darwin shows that it is reasonable to say "compelling evidence". The phrase does not mean that Darwin got every detail correct, or that he convinced everybody, then or now. Johnuniq (talk) 12:42, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

The question is not if the evidences were compelling or not, but on what, if you say that he brought "compelling evidence" on the phenomenon evolution he was observing I would totally agree with you, however the actual wording implies much more and is not justified, not historicaly and not scientificaly, it's only the ideological stance of the new synthesis(nowadays is obsolete)and doesn't even make justice for Darwin real contribution. Furthermore if you do place yourself in a historical perspective (vs ideological)it would have been correct to mention for whom and when was it compelling.(for Dave)"Darwin made no comment on Mendelian genetics", for a very good reason Mendel's work was only published in 1866, eventhough his research began before "the origin's of species" publication, Darwin was believing in "pangenesis" a Lamarkian-like theory (transmission of acquirered characteristics).--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 14:48, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

As stated by Bowler, by the mid 1870s the scientific consensus was that evolution occurred and common descent was accepted, the debate was over the mechanism. That was resolved by the MES, when natural selection was agreed to be the basic mechanism of evolution. That's stated in the lead. My intention is to add some more about this in a reassessment of the biography section. . . dave souza, talk 18:32, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Excuse me Dave but this is not to the point, we are not discussing the actual state of the theory, but the extent of Darwin contribution, for exemple if we refer to the fossil record, it was already pinpointed by Lamark as proof of evolution, but in relation to Darwin's own theory, it would have been a "compelling evidence " only if numerous intermediates would have been found, wich is not actually the case, at the point that neodarwinians are now under-estimating the importance of paleonthology (my source is neither creationist nor even ID oriented). The actual consensus concerning macro-evolution is based on evidences wich were not available to Darwin, like comparative sequencial analysis of genome, wich don't give more credit to the darwinian and neodarwinian paradigm than to an other thesis(like Goldschmidt's f.e.), and the cytoplasmic genes (Margulis) wich is clearly not Darwinian, so why does the redactor of this article affirm that Darwin brought evidences that all forms of life evolved from a common ancestor, when others and not Darwin did it, if not to cling to the legend created by Huxley.--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 12:14, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Have you studied the subject? Darwin based his arguments on a range of evidence, but played down the fossil record as too fragmentary to reconstruct a history of life. That morphologists went where Darwin cautioned against treading was one cause of the eclipse of Darwinism. Later evidence supported Darwin's theorising, but obviously didn't contibute to the shift in thinking in the 1860s. . . dave souza, talk 12:28, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
You may be partialy right on this point, though Darwin himself was hoping for more fossil finds to prove his point, but let me bring some citations from recent research in the field of the so called "homeobox" :


"Another aspect of the model I am suggesting is that it demonstrate how a mutation involving the expression of homeobox genes can produce a morphological, physiological, or bchavioural novelty that would emerge in a full-blown and viable state. [ ... ] Given the potential of homeobox genes to be fully rather than partially expressed, we can appreciate why "missing links" are so elusive in the fossil record. They probably did not exist. The lack of transitional evolutionary stages between adult invertebrates and chordates [ ... ] is a case in point." (Schwartz, 1999: 369, m.c.)
"We have lost the hope, so common in older evolutionary reasoning, of reconstructing the morphology [ ... ] through a scenario involving successive grades of increasing complexity based on the anatomy of extant "primitive" lineages." (Adoutte et. Al, 2000: 4455, m.c.)
"Aangetoond werd dat er een verschil is tussen micro-evolutie (puntmutaties in structurele genen binnen één soort) en macro-evolutie (speciatie ten gevolge van mutaties in regulatieve genen)." Nathalie Gontier De oorsprong en evolutie van leven p322, traduction "It is demonstrated that there is a difference between micro-evolution (punctual mutation in structural genes inside a sort) and macro-evolution (speciation caused by mutation in regulatory genes)"
If micro and macro evolution are two different phenomenons, then the evidences of Darwin are only relevant in regard to the first and there no possible extrapolation to the second so the wording has to be changed.--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 14:26, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

That sounds very much like a WP:FRINGE view, and offtopic for this article which is based on relevant biographies. See microevolution and macroevolution. . dave souza, talk 14:37, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
and what if biographies are not update? or don't want to admit scientific progress?--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 09:52, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
It is seemingly a frequent occurence that orthodox darwinian when confronted with view challenging the ol' good new synthesis resort to the same old tricks : dismissing it as creationnist if possible (like in the case of the agnostic M Denton), try to push it back in the mold like Dawkins's rationalization on the punctuated equilibrium and if both don't work label it as fringe opinion, very comfortable but not courageous and crippling for science--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 12:30, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Ha-y Gavra, what changes do you propose to the article? Please place them here. Shot info (talk) 22:50, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Logicus to Shot info and H-ay Gavra: For whatever its worth, the provisional change I propose is that the first sentence should be replaced by the following sentence:

'Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist[I] who maintained that all the different species of life have emerged by evolutionary descent from a common ancestor, mainly but not exclusively by means of natural selection.'

Hence the highly contentious issue of whether he ever presented any empirical evidence for his theory is avoided, but of course it can be discussed elsewhere in the article, which currently fails to discuss this crucial issue and the view that the reason why Darwin's theory of evolution was rejected was simply that no scientific evidence was presented for it.

The current minute lobby who claim Darwin did present compelling evidence for the hypothesis of evolutionary descent from a common ancestor, or for the hypothesis that NS has been the main cause of evolutionary modification, should either identify on what page(s) of Origin he presented it, and what it was for which of these two different hypotheses or else desist in their opposition to the removal of the claim that he did. --Logicus (talk) 15:08, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Clearly you're trying to understate the significance of Darwin's work, and want to remove well referenced content which is the current consensus of most other editors, on the basis of your own opinion. Your proposal does not appear to me to be an improvement. . . dave souza, talk 15:20, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to souza: I am not trying to understate the significance of Darwin's theory of evolution. And it is surely bad faith on your part to claim I am when I have already explained that rather I am trying to provide an accurate account of exactly what it was, one that neither understates nor overstates its historical significance at the time and says whether it constituted any empirical scientific progress in the theory of evolution at that time. If biological science is empirically rational, then the historical fact that Darwin's theory was rejected would be rationally explained by the fact that it did not achieve any empirical scientific progress. But if elements of his theory were rejected in spite of his presenting compelling evidence for them, then surely late 19th century and early 20th century biology must have been an irrational pseudoscience, not decided by compelling evidence. Thus this article currently irrationalises biology for almost a century, sacrificing the scientific rationality of biology on the altar of St Darwin worship.
It is also further bad faith to impute that I want to remove well referenced content which is the current consensus of most other editors. This is not so. Rather I want to replace wholly unreferenced and mistaken content, that it seems at most only a vanishingly small minority of other editors want to retain, with more neutral accurate content in line with the prevailing historical consensus, whereas it seems you and your fringe group want to retain an opinion that it seems nobody supports, which is apparently why you cannot find any source that verifies it and are forced to resort to ventriloquism.
The pompous egotistical declaration "Your proposal does not appear to me to be an improvement" surely raises the questions 'So what? Who do you think you are ?' Inevitably my proposal will not appear to be an improvement to anybody insufficiently literate to see that the claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for the specific hypothesis that 'all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors' is not verified by any source text provided to date. For none of those sources even mention this particular hypothesis, which is anyway notorious for its non-confirmation by the fossil record. And the Coyne source is now the fourth failed verification of this claim following those of van Wyhe, Carroll and Bentley that have now been replaced or sidelined due to Logicus 's admirable persistence and his opponents' grudging implicit acknowledgment he is right (-:
BTW, I think the standard view in the MES is that there was no evidence for evolution from common ancestry until the genetic DNA revolution in the theory of evolution demonstrated the near identity of the genetic code for all life forms. And Darwin himself was apparently undecided as to whether there had been one common ancestor or as many as 5 for animals and 5 for plants.
--Logicus (talk) 18:23, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm increasingly certain that you, Logicus, are reading an entirely different talk page. From what I've seen, you are the only person making these arguments and contesting the validity of the sources supplied. One person does not make a consensus. If it seems to you that your opposition is dwindling, consider the possibility that we are considering your points to be repetitive, opaque, tiresome, and increasingly irrelevant, and that we prefer to use our time building good encyclopedic articles than debating with you about an issue we already consider settled. There is a sense that there is -no- reference that would satisfy your requirements. Some of your comments suggest to me that you're expecting to "win" by being the most stubborn and that you intend to beat this dead horse until everyone gives up. That's not building consensus. Quietmarc (talk) 19:28, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
The pompous egotistical declaration "Your proposal does not appear to me to be an improvement" surely raises the questions 'So what? Who do you think you are ?' Logicus - can I recommend that you review the reasons that you are not able to get your proposed changes (whatever they are - we are still yet to see what you actually propose - sure you talk a lot about them - but have yet to offer suggestions) is that you don't understand about building consensus. Also your "discussions" on these talk pages are not dicussions at all - but you lecturing and pontificating - all violations of the purposes of these talk pages - as it says Do not use the talk page as a forum or soapbox for discussing the topic. The talk page is for discussing improving the article. As Quietmarc has pointed out - you are running the risk of being viewed as a Tendentious editor and hence ignored. Your call really. Shot info (talk) 23:04, 2 September 2009 (UTC)


It's not understating Darwin contribution to replace it in it's historical context, where not only him but paradoxaly creationist biologists like Cuvier, play a important role in the emergence of the theories of evolution, it's far better than to cling to an hagiographic stance. However the proposed wording does not justice for is contribution in the field of microevolution, but the not willingness to disting it from macroevolution is greatly responsible. David I send you exerpt of the preface of the book I mentionned :
De biologie heeft echter sindsdien heel wat vooruitgang geboekt. Nieuwe bevindingen, deels door de ontwikkeling van nieuwe methoden zoals er gelijkend genenonderzoek, zorgden ervoor dat oude domeincn werden uitgebreid en nieuwe domeinen ontstonden, ...

Deze nieuwe wegen die biologen vandaag bewandelen, maakt dat de Moderne Synthese stilaan verouderd is. Terwijl de biologie, vooral de genetica en moleculaire biologie, zich razendsnel ontwikkelen is het daarom meer dan verheugend dat dit werk, dat enorm fris aandoet verschijnt. Het uiteindelijke resultaat zijn 15 thesen, onderwerpen en discussie punten die niet behandeld werden door de oprichters van de Moderne Synthese, maar die zoals de auteur in haar werk aantoont, uiterst relevant en absoluut noodzakelijk zijn om leven en de evolutie van leven te begrijpen. Philip Polk, emeritus hoogleraar klassieke biologie Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Translation :"These new which today biologists are treading, cause the Modern Synthesis to become quietly obsolete, while the biology , especially the genetic and molecular biology, are developing very quickly, therefore is it more than rejoicing that this very refreshing work is being published... The final result are 15 theses, subjects and topics of discussion which are not handled by the fonders of the Modern Synthesis, but like the author shows it in her work, are extremely relevant and absolutely necessary to understand life and its evolution. Philip Polk, emeritus Professor of classic biology at theVrije Universiteit Brussel"
It's a license work but in the postface the tutor said it has a doctorate level and he engaged the author in his college
once again the references(VUB not UCL, my mistake) Nathalie Gontier De oorsprong en evolutie van leven © 2004 VUBPRESS ISBN 90 5487 361 2 NUR 922 D/2004/1885/06 and here the complete reference where to find this fringy thing:[1]
The neodarwinism seems to be a methaphore of itself, evolution in the theory can only occur by accumulation of minute variations on a geological scale--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 10:09, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Whether or not it's compelling evidence or not, those first lines read nothing like an encyclopaedic entry. Just compare it to the introductions of other famous scientists. 90.218.61.134 (talk) 02:27, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't see how those lines are much different from the first lines of Isaac Newton or from some of the text in the intro to Galileo Galilei. Rusty Cashman (talk) 04:30, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Non-arbitrary resumption of 'No compelling evidence'

Logicus to von Hebel: You invalidly deleted my justified flagging of the first sentence as having failed verifications in the quotations provided for the claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for the two theses mentioned.

And on the substantive issue of whether Darwin did present any such evidence, you have claimed:

“Evolution as put forward by Darwin is in my understanding an inductive empirical theory. Darwin did give empirical evidence for the proposition that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors, through the process he called natural selection. Although it must be admitted that much (perhaps even most) of the evidence was actually found when the theory was tested in the 150 years that have passed since. [Since when ? Since the publication of Origin ?] Darwin did show that the proposition was empirically demonstrable through the inductive method..... Gerard von Hebel (talk) 21:15, 11 July 2009 (UTC)“

But these comments seems very confused. But at least you now seem to be claiming that at most only very little of the alleged compelling evidence for the two theses in question was presented by Darwin in the first edition of Origin. But what then do you claim was that evidence presented by Darwin in that 1859 first edition, and also what subsequent compelling evidence do you claim he presented, if any ? And if you can find any such evidence he presents, perhaps you would be so kind as provide a reference to where it may be found in his collected works on Darwin Online.

Or are you even now only claiming Darwin showed "that the proposition was empirically demonstrable through the inductive method.", but did not empirically demonstrate it himself anywhere, rather than the stronger claim that he also empirically demonstrated it, by whatever method ? But of course on 'the inductive method' itself, as such as Leibniz, Kant, Duhem, Popper, Feyerabend and Lakatos et al have conclusively demonstrated, that method is an illogical myth. And of course as the self-professed Darwinian Popper has pointed out, in particular the theory of natural selection is a non-empirical untestable (i.e. irrefutable) and thus metaphysical theory, albeit a metaphysics he personally favoured.

What evidence did Darwin present that ALL species are descended from common ancestry ? None !

And what evidence did he present that natural selection has been responsible for most of the extent of evolutionary modification ? None ! And in fact contrary to your claim that he showed his theory of natural selection was empirically demonstrable, he claimed it was not empirically demonstrable, for he even admitted it is empirically impossible to determine what proportion of any evolutionary variation has been due to natural selection, as follows:

"When a variation is of the slightest use to a being,we cannot tell how much of it to attribute to the accumulative action of natural selection, and how much to the conditions of life." [p116 Origin (Ed1) Watts & Co 1950 My italics.]

But of course it follows immediately from this that not only he could never empirically determine whether natural selection had been responsible for the most part of any variation, his key thesis, but he could not even tell whether any part whatever of any variation was due to natural selection, but rather all of it due to other factors.

Thus he could not empirically demonstrate his proclaimed key innovatory revisionist thesis within Lamarckian evolution that not all of any evolutionary variation was explicable by the conditions of life, the primary cause of cumulative variation according to Darwin's 'Lamarckian' theory of evolution in which natural selection was only a secondary cause, if any. But nevertheless, even so he himself speculated natural selection had played no role whatever in some evolutions such as the blindness of some cave-dwellers, which he speculated were wholly explicable by habit of disuse and the inheritance of acquired characteristics.

"From the facts alluded to in the first chapter I think there can be little doubt that use in our domestic animals strengthens and enlarges certain parts, and disuse diminishes them, and that such modifications are inherited. Under free nature we can have no standard of comparison by which to judge of the effects of long continued use or disuse, for we know not the parent forms; but many animals have structures which can be explained by the effects of disuse." [p116-7 ibid My italics] ....

It is well known that several animals, belonging to the most different classes, which inhabit the caves of Styria and Kentucky, are blind. ...As it is difficult to imagine that eyes, though useless, could in any way be injurious to animals living in darkness, I attribute their loss wholly to disuse. In one of the blind animals, namely the cave-rat, the eyes are of immense size...natural selection seems to have struggled with the loss of light and to have increased the size of the eyes; whereas with all the other inhabitants of the caves, disuse by itself seems to have done its work." [p119 ibid My italics]]

Small wonder Darwin apologised in the Introduction and elsewhere for the rank inadequacy of his evidence for his theory, and small wonder he could only repeatedly fall back on the evidentially empty last refuge of the opiniated arrogantly self confident middle-class Victorian gentleman who imagines his personal conviction is acceptable as a gaurantor of truth

"Furthermore, I am convinced that natural selection has been the main, but not exclusive means of modification."

Small wonder his empirically undemonstrable theory was rejected by the scientific community, who presumably required evidence rather than personal conviction, and especially when Darwin himself had not only failed to demonstrate that not all of any variation could be explained by the then accepted Lamarckian factors, and so required his innovative auxiliary factor of natural selection to explain the remainder, but had even identified variations that he claimed could be wholly explained without it, by habit and inheritance of acquired characteristics by pangenesis.

Do wake up and read Origin critically rather than hagiographically ! It is purely a work of metaphysical speculation rather than of any empirical scientific progress. So far as I am aware it made no testable empirical novel predictions whatever, unlike Newton's Principia that at least predicted some novel facts, albeit it seems they were all refuted or unconfirmed in his lifetime, during which it was therefore at best empirically degenerate science.. However, this does not mean Darwin did not make any contribution whatever to an empirical theory of evolution, for he may have articulated heuristic methods that have subsequently born fruit.

A period of silence and non-interference by you would be most appreciated while you go away and read Origin and also learn something about scientific method.

Meanwhile I once again flag the first sentence for its failed verification in the quotations given. Please do not remove this flagging unless a verifying quotation is provided.

--Logicus (talk) 18:09, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

WP:TLDR, but nobody else agrees with your assessment that the sentences: "the strongest piece of evidence for evolution ...lines of evidence that Darwin mustered in 1859" and "magnificent synthesis of evidence...a synthesis...compelling in honesty and comprehensiveness" don't amount to "realised and presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors" in the article. This is verging upon disruptive editing, particularly when considered alongside the drawn-out and tedious discussions of May this year. Why are you bringing this up again? Editors are entitled to test whether a consensus has changed, but this was only a few weeks ago, and the discussion above should plainly indicate that it hasn't. --Old Moonraker (talk) 20:00, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to Old Moonraker: Oh dear, Old Moonraker, it seems your grasp of the logic of evidence of opinion in Wikipedia may be no better than it is of what texts verify the claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for the hypothesis that "all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors". For the former evidence is that virtually none (less than 1%?) of the many Wikipedia Charles Darwin article editors have disagreed with Logicus's compellingly valid point that neither the claim that "...the fossil record provides...the strongest piece of evidence FOR EVOLUTION. ...lines of evidence that Darwin mustered in 1859." nor the claim that "Darwin's solution is a magnificent synthesis of evidence...a synthesis...compelling in honesty and comprehensiveness" provide any verification whatever for the article's mistaken claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for the hypothesis that "all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors". For the first quotation only concerns evidence for evolution rather than for the far stronger logically different hypothesis that "all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors". And the second quotation only concerns some unspecified evidence that constituted Darwin's solution to some unspecified problem, and thereby wholly fails to specify what hypothesis or hypotheses this evidence was for or against, whether it be the hypothesis that "all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors" or whatever.
BTW, I am not bringing this up again re May Talk ? As I recall these were not the failed justifying sources in May, but are new ones. Please be more focused. And perhaps you should read contributions you wish to criticise ? --Logicus (talk) 14:36, 22 August 2009 (UTC)


Logicus, Darwin brought evidence to the table that there was a correlation between variations that arose in species and changes in their environment. That correlation strongly suggest environmental influence on what changes in organisms are selected for. The Galapagos finches are an example. Origins clearly brings evidence to the table for that. Evidence you may or may not agree with, but: a) it made his theory work b) evidence that countered the idea was not around. That may not constitute "proof" in the way you prove a mathematical proposition, but it is a compelling achievement. He achieved that in Origins. Not "proof" but evidence brought to the table that supported his position. Popper recanted his view of evolution being metaphysical btw. Your claim that induction is a myth is your POV. Induction works just fine as long as you limit yourself to the premisses that it may show you that a proposition that you came to by induction 'may be the case"' "is most likely to be the case"or even "is probably the case". In the realm of pure logic, induction has it's limits. In the real world however an inductive theory can be based on so many observations that all confirm it's premisses, that abandoning the theory causes more explanatory problems than it would solve. Those are the strongest theories we have in matters like these. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 16:20, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Logicus to von Hebel: Unfortunately your comments here are logically irrelevant and way off beam in this malfocused question-shift. The question here was never whether Darwin presented any compelling evidence for the hypothesis you pose here, namely that "there was a correlation between variations that arose in species and changes in their environment", which was of course the standard Lamarckian hypothesis of his day. Rather the question here was/is now whether he did so for the wholly different specific hypothesis "all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors". If you wish to contribute constructively to this discussion, which is not a discussion about evidence for or against contemporary evolution theory, but rather about what evidence Darwin presented for his specific theories mentioned in the article, you may therefore wish to consider the logic of what would constitute compelling evidence for or against this totally different hypothesis. It is incidentally a hypothesis that I understand was anyway widely accepted by the mid 19th century, if not the crucially different hypotheses that '"all species of life have evolved over time from a common ancestor", or that "all species of life have emerged from different species by a process of evolutionary variation over time", or that 'all different species of life are descended from a common ancestor'.
On Popper, you say he "recanted his view of evolution being metaphysical". But so far as I am aware he never held the view that evolution is metaphysical. It was rather the hypothesis of natural selection that he held was unfalsifiable metaphysics. I would be grateful if you would say where he recanted this view, presumably for the view that it is falsifiable science. I should perhaps add by the way that in 1973 Popper's LSE successor Imre Lakatos held that no criterion of science had yet been found according to which Darwin was scientific.[ See Lakatos’s 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture 1, p24 in For and Against Method: Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend Motterlini(Ed) University of Chicago Press 1999] Lakatos's own criterion of a 'scientific' theory was the theoretical prediction of novel facts, and it was 'empirically progressive science' if they were confirmed and otherwise 'degenerate' science. You may wish to consider whether Darwin's theory of evolution ever successfully predicted any novel fact(s) whatever between the first and last editions of Origin, thus providing compelling evidence in its favour on that criterion, notwithstanding your faith in Whewellian consilience of inductions. --Logicus (talk) 14:43, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Karl you are still clinging to the same dogmatical stance that macroevolution can be infered from microevolution, even if fossil record and other evidences are contradicting this simplistic extrapolation, I am reading a very interesting work about all actual evolution's theses (exept creationism and ID)and it gives ground to Logicus critics--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 12:28, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

It's a work of Nathalie Gontier De oorsprong en evolutie van leven in dutch. Citation : "Aangetoond werd dat er een verschil is tussen micro-evolutie (puntmutaties in structurele genen binnen één soort) en macro-evolutie (speciatie ten gevolge van mutaties in regulatieve genen)." Nathalie Gontier p322 Translation (mine)"It is demonstrated that there is a difference between micro-evolution (punctual mutation in structural genes inside a sort) and macro-evolution (speciation caused by mutation in regulatory genes)" To say that she does base herself on the papers of Gehring(1998)Schwartz(1999),Adoutte (2000),on the role of the so called "homeobox". One citation : "We have lost the hope, so common in older evolutionary reasoning, of reconstructing the morphology [ ... ] through a scenario involving successive grades of increasing complexity based on the anatomy of extant "primitive" lineages." (Adoutte et. Al, 2000: 4455, m.c.), this means that micro-evolution (the Darwinian one) caused by micromutation of structural genes can only explain variation inside a sort "The Galapagos finches are a good example", but this old paradigm doesn't explain the macro-evolution and the extapolation doesn't fit with the facts, the new can well : "Another aspect of the model I am suggesting is that it demonstrate how a mutation involving the expression of homeobox genes can produce a morphological, physiological, or behavioural novelty that would emerge in a full-blown and viable state. [ ... ] Given the potential of homeobox genes to be fully rather than partially expressed, we can appreciate why "missing links" are so elusive in the fossil record. They probably did not exist. The lack of transitional evolutionary stages between adult invertebrates and chordates [ ... ] is a case in point." (Schwartz, 1999: 369, m.c.)it answered a lot of objections found in M Denton book, that were not only justified, but also fertile. What would you say if somebody had written "that Newton brought compelling evidences on the theory of relativity"? To write that Darwin brought "compelling evidences that all species descended from a common ancestor" is the same in my opinion. To limit the contribution of Darwin to it's true limit is not lessing it, in the contrary, the false conception implicated by the incriminate wording is crippling research in both field of micro and macro evolution.--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 14:08, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

By what mechanism is microevolution limited then? There is only a quantitative difference between microevolution and macroevolution. Not a qualitative one. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 18:19, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
not at all, microevolution can only do more of the same, create sub-species like all Darwin's finches, and then natural selection is conservative and not innovative it only select the subspecie fit to a specific environnement, in macroevolution a minute mutation of a homeogene will alter the ontogenese in it's whole creating new specie or even a new genus "in a full-blown and viable state" or end with an extinction , so you have not to search for missing links and the hyatus in the fossil record are no more a problem.--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 10:29, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Not according to the reliable sources I've seen; you seem to be pushing a fringe view. . dave souza, talk 18:33, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

This source was a academic assignement before beeing published as book on the request of the tutors who found it outstanding and even wrote a preface for it. UCL of Brussel is a very known european university where seemingly the mind are more open than elsewhere--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 12:13, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Logicus to Ha-y Gavra, von Hebel and souza: Could you guys please focus your discussions on the simple question at issue here, which is now namely whether any source verifies the claim that Darwin himself ever presented any compelling evidence for the specific hypotheses that "all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors", and if so, what was that evidence. Please also see my comments of yesterday to Old Moonraker and von Hebel on this issue. Also please note that the article has now dropped providing any verifying source for the claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence of evolution through natural selection. Presumably this is because it has now been conceded he did not --Logicus (talk) 14:25, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

No, the two "compelling evidence" sources remain. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:44, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to Old Moonraker: Yes, as I said these two were dropped as sources for the claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for the hypothesis of a process of natural selection in evolution when they were shifted from the end of the sentence to become sources just for the hypothesis that "all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors", as can be seen as follows:
"Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist[I] who realised and presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors,[1][2] through the process he called natural selection."
This sentence gives no source at its end for its claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for the hypothesis that 'all species of life have evolved over time through the process he called natural selection', but only for its claim that he did so for the hypothesis that 'all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors'. For as souza points out today "It's standard to expect a reference to deal with the words before the inline citation."
But neither of the two sources it provides for the latter hypothesis verify it, since one is not about evidence at all but rather about rhetoric, and the other only concerns evidence for evolution, not for descent from common ancestors. It was of course long accepted before Darwin that the fossil record provided strong evidence of evolution. But it did not provide evidence for Darwin's theory of evolution and of its two specific hypotheses (1) of the descent of all different species from a common ancestor and (2) that evolution had been gradual, and in fact if anything the fossil record of the time strongly refuted both of them, as Darwin well realised.
Certainly a verifying source is required for the mistaken claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time through the process he called natural selection. Hence I propose to flag that claim for a citation, with a flag at the end of the sentence.
As I have repeatedly pointed out, Darwin himself admitted it was impossible to tell what proportion of any particular evolutionary variation natural selection had been responsible for, if any. Please let me repeat that admission here in triplicate in bold lettering for you to read and re-read hopefully until you understand it.
(1) "When a variation is of the slightest use to a being,we cannot tell how much of it to attribute to the accumulative action of natural selection, and how much to the conditions of life." [p116 Origin (Ed1) Watts & Co 1950 My italics.]
(2) "When a variation is of the slightest use to a being,we cannot tell how much of it to attribute to the accumulative action of natural selection, and how much to the conditions of life." [p116 Origin (Ed1) Watts & Co 1950 My italics.]
(3) "When a variation is of the slightest use to a being,we cannot tell how much of it to attribute to the accumulative action of natural selection, and how much to the conditions of life." [p116 Origin (Ed1) Watts & Co 1950 My italics.]
Therefore Darwin could not possibly provide any compelling evidence for the hypothesis that NS has been the main means of modification in evolution. And he didn't. And nor did he claim to. He just provided lots of historical 'just so' stories, metaphysical speculation of the possible role of NS in the evolution of particular variations. If you don't believe me, just read Origin for yourself. Or is it maybe TLDR for you ?
As both sources specifically mention "compelling evidence", the fact that the index marks have been shifted to follow the comma within the sentence (I hope I've grasped properly the gist of your complaint here) probably doesn't make any serious difference to their validity. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:45, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to Old Moonraker: No, your not grasping the gist. Because, as souza points out, refs deal with the words BEFORE the inline citation, rather than those AFTER it, this backwards shift of these two sources therefore leaves the (mistaken) claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for natural selection unsourced, and only sources the common ancestry hypothesis. I agree that with the replacement of the Carroll source by the Coyne source, now both sources mention “compelling evidence”. But they are both totally invalid because neither mentions any compelling evidence for the specific hypothesis that is now flagged, namely the common ancestry hypothesis. Thus you are right that the shift makes no difference, for they both remain entirely invalid. Please do read things more carefully.--Logicus (talk) 16:18, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Supporting citation from Coyne

Popping in here because I'm currently reading Why Evolution is True by Jerry A Coyne and came across this passage on page 17: "In The Origin, Darwin provided an alternative hypothesis for the development , diversification, and design of life. Much of that book presents evidence that not only supports evolution but at the same time refutes creationism. In Darwin's day, the evidence for his theories was compelling but not completely decisive."
I'm still unclear on where science books written for lay-people fit in as reliable sources, but this is an expert who has used the word "compelling" to directly describe Darwin's theory and the evidence provided. Hope it helps...Quietmarc (talk) 19:44, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to Quietmarc: No, the Coyne quote does not help verify the article's mistaken claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for the hypothesis that "all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors", indeed any more than Penniman 1955 does. For if you read the quotation more closely, I hope you will see it only mentions evidence for evolution and against creationism, but makes no mention whatever of any evidence for the evolution of species from common ancestors. Hence your popping in supports my case that your exceedingly small lobby are unlikely to find anybody claiming Darwin presented compelling evidence for evolution from a common ancestor, nor for evolution by natural selection. A wop pop a loo pop, a lop bam boom !--Logicus (talk) 15:41, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Jerry Coyne is certainly a WP:RS and his paragraph seems to be very relevant. Should go in! --Old Moonraker (talk) 20:18, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to Old Moonraker: No, it is entirely irrelevant, and should not go in.--Logicus (talk) 15:46, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Excellent citation, particularly useful for the "compelling but not completely decisive" aspect which allows both for the holdouts such as Sedgwick and for the eclipse of natural selection. Have checked it out on Google books and added it instead of Prothero, which had the disadvantage of referring to fossils: Darwin's emphasis was on the overall trend and imperfection of the fossil record being compatible with his theory rather than strong evidence for the theory, as at that time the "creationist" view was of successive creations corresponding to the abrupt changes perceived in stratigraphy. . dave souza, talk 09:41, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to souza: Yet another radically failed verification, which I therefore flag as such.--Logicus (talk) 15:46, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

<undent> Once again Logicus is failing to read what's written in sources, and demanding that all others follow his or her idiosyncratic interpretation of primary sources, failing WP:NOR. This extended argumentation and repeated unnecessary tagging is disruptive rather than helpful. We have to give a concise summary in the lead reflecting the consensus of modern historians, and the current phrasing is reasonable: where specific issues need more discussion, that should appear in the body text. . dave souza, talk 16:48, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Logicus on souza: Once again souza fails to read what's written in sources, and reads into them what is not there, but rather what he falsely imagines to be there in his failed ventriloquism. And once again souza misrepresents Wikipedia policy, falsely accusing Logicus of breaching WP:NOR but as per usual failing to demonstrate any rule that he has breached. And as per usual, when challenged souza will no doubt be unable to say what rule of NOR Logicus has breached.

Having to give a concise summary in the lead reflecting the consensue of modern historians does not justify the article's current lead giving a false initial summary that misrepresents the consensus of modern historians, to the best of my knowledge none of whom claim Darwin ever presented any compelling evidence for his hypothesis of descent from common ancestry. The current phrasing of the lead is thus grossly unreasonable. And this specific claim needs more discussion in the body text to substantiation the lead's idiosyncratic claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for common ancestry by identifying what that particular evidence was. It should start 'The compelling evidence Darwin presented for his theory that all life forms have evolved from common ancestors was [such and such accepted facts]....' and then explain what made that evidence compelling.

Moreover the current text includes no discussion of the specific issue raised by philosophers of science of whether Darwin's theory of evolution was evidentially scientific. This issue has been so widely debated that, like Bowler, many authors now feel compelled to discuss it. But it can hardly do so when the lead forecloses this issue with its false and unverified claim that Darwin presented compelling evidence for the hypothesis of common ancestry.--Logicus (talk) 16:24, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Please see List of arguments won by repetition. Johnuniq (talk) 01:40, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to Johnuniq: Please see the meaning of the word 'repetition'. And then try and spot the new arguments presented here. See me if you cannot ! (But nice joke for an illiteratus (-:) --Logicus (talk) 14:24, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Seriously, though, take time to look at Argument from repetition#As cognitive bias and logical fallacy. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:02, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Fertilisation of Orchids

Discussion on candidacy of the article about Darwin's significant but not very well known book Fertilisation of Orchids is in progress at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Fertilisation of Orchids/archive1. Any comments much appreciated. dave souza, talk 19:18, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Death Anne Darwin

There seem to be several dates for the death of Anne Darwin. In this article the 22nd of April is her day of death, which was introduced a long time ago with the source "child article". In said article Anne Darwin this used to be the 22nd and was changed twice to the 23rd which is what stayed in the article. This is also correct assuming that this letter is dated correctly. Also this letter suggests it was the 23rd and here Darwin writes explicitely that she died on the 23rd:

At Malvern on the 23d inst; of Fever, Anne Elizabeth Darwin, aged ten years, eldest daughter of Charles Darwin Esq. of Down Kent.

— Letter 1416 — Darwin, C. R. to Darwin, E. A., [25 Apr 1851]

But in his autobiography, Darwin himself writes:

We have suffered only one very severe grief in the death of Annie at Malvern on April 24th, 1851, when she was just over ten years old. She was a most sweet and affectionate child, and I feel sure would have grown into a delightful woman.

— Autobiography p. 97

It really looks like Darwin got it wrong in his autobiography. But I wonder where the date of the 22nd comes from which is still here in the english wikipedia. Are there any other sources out there? Greetings --hroest 15:02, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for checking that out, the 22nd was an error, don't know where that originated. Darwin's journal shows the 23rd, as does this timeline and Desmond & Moore p. 383. Thanks for your help on this, dave souza, talk 16:37, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
ok great. Maybe we should reference the date or put a note there to prevent future mistakes. Greetings --hroest 17:52, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Natural Selection never seen as the primary explanation of evolution

The introduction currently claims

['Darwin's] theory of natural selection came to be widely seen as the primary explanation of the process of evolution in the 1930s, and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory....'

This claim is partly sourced to a van Wyhe article.

But this is a failed verification, for the van Wyhe source only claims "Natural selection's canonisation had to wait until the modern synthesis of Darwinism with Mendelian genetics in the 1930s.", but not that it is the primary explanation of evolution, which it is not.

Rather it is a secondary explanation of evolutionary variation, supplementary to the primary cause of Mendelian random genetic variation, upon which it then operates. This Mendelian primary cause replaced Darwin's 'Lamarckian' primary cause of adaptive variations induced by the conditions of life and the inheritance of acquired characteristics by pangenesis, which Darwin speculated were then further modified by the secondary cause of natural selection. Thus natural selection is only a secondary cause/explanation of evolutionary variation both in Darwin's modified 'Lamarckian' theory of evolution and also in the contemporary theory of evolution based on Mendelian genetics as the primary explanation of evolutionary variation. The following passage from Origin makes it particularly evident that the 'Lamarckian' Darwin thought the primary cause and sine qua non of evolutionary variation was the conditions of life and changed conditions, to which natural selection was rather only a secondary cause:

"We have reason to believe, as stated in the first chapter, that a change in the conditions of life, by specially acting on the reproductive system, causes or increases variability; and in the foregoing case the conditions of life are supposed to have undergone a change, and this would manifestly be favourable to natural selection by giving a better chance of profitable variations occurring; and unless profitable variations do occur, natural selection can do nothing." [pp70-71 The Origin of Species Thinkers Library 1951]

I propose to replace the current phrase with ‘whilst the theory of natural selection came to be seen as an important part of the secondary causes of evolutionary variation that operates upon Mendelian random genetic variations.’ --Logicus (talk) 14:57, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

While there's some merit in rethinking this on the grounds you set out, your proposed replacement is convoluted and confusing. Will review it and consider better phrasing. . . dave souza, talk 15:18, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I think "primary" in this case means "of primary importance", not "primary in sequence" — as indicated by the fact that natural selection is described as the primary explanation, rather than as the primary mechanism (which would indeed be misleading). Regardless, if that statement is relying only on the van Wyhe source, then another source must be supplied as well, since "canonization" suggests neither that something is the primary explanation nor that it's "the basis". I think a case can be made for the current wording, once it's better-cited, on the grounds that the empirical phenomenon the theory of evolution primarily (or "basically") seeks to explain is the nonrandom distribution of traits among organisms, not the precise process by which those traits first arose. It is true that selection would be impotent without some pre-existing variation to act upon, but only in the same sense that gravity would be impotent without mass-bearing objects to act upon. I'm open to suggestions of other, stricter possible wordings however, provided that they maintain the clarity and basic informational content of the current wording. -Silence (talk) 16:12, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Logicus to Silence: Thanks for your observations, but the current wording is unclear and misleading rather than clear with basic information. For what does "primary explanation" mean, and what does your proposed interpretation of it as "primary importance" mean here ? Again, it is not of primary importance as outranking genetic variation, but is only a secondary auxiliary cause of variation amongst others, such as sexual selection e.g., and of course there is the ongoing genetic drift debate, in which “Vigorous debates wage among scientists over the relative importance of genetic drift compared with natural selection” according the Wikipedia.

But was NS widely seen as 'the most important' of these secondary factors in the 1930s? When Darwin said in the Introduction to Origin that he was convinced that natural selection had been the main if not exclusive means of modification, it seems from reading the rest of Origin that what he meant by that was that although he thought it was only a secondary cause of evolutionary modification - secondary to the primary cause of environmentally caused variation - nevertheless it was responsible for a greater or even major part of the whole extent of the observed variation compared with the extent of it that the other factors were responsible for, either singly or jointly. But of course he then blatantly scuppered his theory of natural selection as nothing more than non-empirical metaphysical speculation by his own admission that it is impossible to tell whether NS or changed conditions have been responsible for most of any modification:

"When a variation is of the slightest use to a being, we cannot tell how much of it to attribute to the accumulative action of natural selection, and how much to the conditions of life." [p116 Origin 1950 Watts & Co]

And of course one reason for this is that we do not know the original parent forms in the wild:

"From the facts alluded to in the first chapter I think there can be little doubt that use in our domestic animals strengthens and enlarges certain parts, and disuse diminishes them, and that such modifications are inherited. Under free nature we can have no standard of comparison by which to judge of the effects of long continued use or disuse, for we know not the parent forms; but many animals have structures which can be explained by the effects of disuse." [pp116-7 ibid]

Small wonder nobody accepted his theory of evolution, quite apart from his glaring failure to explain speciation by natural selection, rather than by pangenetic mutation and changed conditions inducing sterility, for example, as in his theory of domestic variation in which changed conditions induce sterility.

The original problem here is that Darwin produced neither theoretical reasons nor empirical evidence for the pseudo-problem he posed in the Inrtroduction that changed conditions of life and inheritance of acquired characteristics were insufficient to explain the whole extent of evolutionary variation rather than just a part of it, thus requiring a supplementary cause of natural selection to explain the remainder of its full extent. Thus he presented a non-empirical pseudo-solution to a non-empirical pseudo-problem.

But so far as Darwin's theory of NS goes, even when its now discredited 'Lamarckian' basis is replaced by Mendelian genetic variation in contemporary evolution theory, surely the intractable problem still remains of being unable to empirically determine whether genetic variation or NS has been responsible for most of the evolutionary variation ?

Hence it seems it is, or should be, a bridge too far to say NS was/is seen as the most important factor or of primary importance in explaining evolutionary modification, rather than just as at least an important factor, and hence as my provisional edit proposal has it. --Logicus (talk) 14:53, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

As I said, the reason natural selection can be considered the 'primary explanation' is because it is what accounts for the nonrandom distribution of traits in organisms. The nonrandom distribution, not the existence of diversity in the first place, is what the theory of evolution was primarily intended to explain, so natural selection is "primary" within the explanatory framework, even though it couldn't have gotten the job done on its own (nor could mutation or any other process, acting alone, have). This was the purpose of my 'gravity' analogy: Gravity (or, more strictly, general relativity — and related, less well-understood factors, like the cosmological constant) could be considered the 'primary explanation' for the nonrandom distribution of matter in the universe, even though gravity would not have resulted in any such thing if matter/energy hadn't existed in the universe in the first place. In the same way, even though natural selection would have been useless without variation to act upon, that doesn't necessarily rule out natural selection as the 'primary explanation' for the macrophenomenon in question. For example, natural selection also would have happened to be useless if, say, there had been no stars in the universe, or no H2O; does that mean that neither variation nor selection is 'primary', but rather that the existence of H2O, or of stars, or even the initial physical constants of the universe, is the only 'primary' explanation we can appeal to? This is plainly absurd, and I would argue that it is a straightforward extension of your logic, if we are not careful to specify what phenomenon the theory is trying first and foremost to explain, and what phenomena it more or less takes (or took) for granted. -Silence (talk) 00:26, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
"cause of variation amongst others, such as sexual selection" - Sexual selection is a type of natural selection, in modern usage. Strictly speaking, asexual selection is preferably called ecological selection, not 'natural selection'.
"Small wonder nobody accepted his theory of evolution" - "Nobody" Mm. As I suggested, I think the question for us is not "Exactly how much observed variation is selected vs. 'random'?", but rather "Was the theory of evolution primarily answering the question 'Why don't organisms just have a random distribution of traits?' or the question 'Why aren't all organisms in the world just completely identical?'" My view is that the latter issue was assumed, not addressed (just as the pre-existence of matter was assumed as needing no special explanation in early discussions of gravity), and the former question was instead originally focused upon. -Silence (talk) 00:26, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Bowler gives a useful summary, confirming that by the consolidation of the MES in the 1950s there was a broad consensus that natural selection is the basic mechanism of evolution, so have edited accordingly. Oh, and of course several eminent scientists accepted natural selection theory in Darwin's lifetime, not least Wallace and Weismann. . . dave souza, talk 21:52, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to souza: My text here was perfectly adequate, simple and hopefully non-contentious, whereas your replacement text is prolix, multiply contentious and unclear.
First natural selection is not the basic mechanism of evolution, but only a secondary auxiliary mechanism to the basic mechanism of genetic variation. My text avoided raising this contentious issue, but yours does not. (Note here how Silence’s strenuous but degenerate efforts to establish NS is the basic mechanism of evolution redefine the explanandum of the theory of evolution to be at odds with this article’s conception of it, as well as being plain wrong and unsourced.)
Secondly, your text apparently equates ‘Darwinian selection theory’ with the theory of natural selection adopted by the modern evolutionary synthesis, but it is contentious and debateable whether the modern natural selection theory is the same as Darwin’s. Even the article’s very next sentence apparently recognizes this in its opening qualifying clause “In modified form…’
Thirdly your text raises the apparently contentious issue of what exactly ‘Darwinian selection theory’ was, and whether it means Darwin’s selection theory, which was much more than just natural selection, also including such other selectors as habit and changed conditions etc, and which has never been accepted.
Fourthly the term ‘revived’ erroneously implies Darwin’s selection theory was once alive and kicking, which it never was.
I therefore restore my uncontentious and superior simpler text, which also preserved the original van Wyhe source, and which was as follows:
“…but it was not until the 1930s that natural selection came to be widely accepted as an important factor in explaining the process of evolution.”--Logicus (talk) 09:50, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
That's not what van Wyhe says, "Natural selection's canonisation" does not mean "an important factor". In your anxiety to minimise the significance of Darwin's findings you misrepresent the source. I've restored the properly sourced statement, please discuss any proposals you have for improvement and seek consensus before reinstating your provisional wording. . dave souza, talk 10:15, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to souza: In your anxiety to practice Darwin hagiography rather than practice objective evolutionary history of science you have misrepresented the source given, for neither of the two pages of Bowler’s 2003 cited express the claims made here. And Bowler certainly does not claim NS is the basic mechanism of evolution there. Nor do any of the sources quoted below by the functionally illiterate Cashman do so, even Larson’s.
I propose to re-instate my provisional wording. It cited van Wyhe for dating of acceptance of NS, not for its relative importance, which is surely implied by ‘canonisation’. --Logicus (talk) 14:57, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Which bit of "Natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution" didn't you read? . dave souza, talk 16:16, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to souza: Since my copy of Bowler's 2003 Evolution contains no such sentence nor concatenation of words on its p337 nor on its p348, as cited in your footnoted reference, the logically correct answer to your question is [I never read] 'Any bit of it !'. In fact no sentence whatever on either of those two pages begins with 'Natural selection'. Thus I validly and boldly restore my original text. Do not change it again unless you first clearly establish some valid reason to do so on the Talk page that also has my explicit approval, thus securing consensus ! --Logicus (talk) 18:03, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

At the risk of troll feeding and dead horse beating here are some other quotations from sources that could be used to support the current wording or even the stronger wording we started with. This is from Edward J. Larson's Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory (2004) page 242:

From the shift of gene frequencies within populations through the orign of similar species to the divergence of biologic kingdoms, modern neo-Darwinian theory relies on the cumulative selection of favorable genetic variations over enumerable generations to account for life's diversity.

Logicus , — (continues after insertion below.)LogicusThis quote clearly does not support the claim that NS is the basic mechanism of evolutionary variation.--Logicus (talk) 18:27, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Note that Larson uses "neo-Darwinian theory" as a synonym for the modern synthesis. This is from David Quammen's The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (2006) page 231:

As Darwin himself conceded — and as Sewell Wright, Motoo Kimura, and certain other biologists have since affirmed — natural selection is not the sole mechanism of evolutionary change. But it's the primary mechanism. It is the lathe and the chisel that shape adaptations.

Logicus , — (continues after insertion below.)LogicusThis quote certainly but mistakenly uses the word 'primary', but not the word 'basic', and does not support the claim made in view of the following muddled metaphorical sentence about lathes and chisels that presumably means NS shapes those favourable variations produced by the basic mechanism of genetic variation ? It is thus an inconclusive muddle--Logicus (talk) 18:27, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Finally here is Ernst Mayr from The Evolutionary Synthesis, Mayr and Provine (1998) page 1:

The term "evolutionary synthesis" was introduced by Julian Huxley in Evolution the Modern Synthesis (1942) to designate the general acceptance of two conclusions: gradual evolution can be explained in terms of small genetic changes ("mutations"), and recombination, and the ordering of this genetic variation by natural selection; and the observed evolutionary phenomena, particularly macroevolutionary processes and speciation, can be explained in manner that is consistent with the known genetic mechanisms.

Logicus , — (continues after insertion below.)LogicusThis quote clearly does not support the claim that NS is the basic mechanism of evolutionary variation.--Logicus (talk) 18:27, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

All of these sources, in addition to the two that Dave has provided, can be cited to support the statement that the core idea of the modern evolutionary synthesis was that the primary source of evolutionary change was natural selection acting on genetic variation. Rusty Cashman (talk) 17:34, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Bowler and Morus Making Modern Science (2005) p. 158 has a nice turn of phrase:

The final phase of the Darwinian revolution emerged from a complex process of reconciliation by which the geneticists were brought round to the idea that selection was indeed necessary to explain the accumulation of favorable genes in a population. It turned out that Darwin had been right after all, even though a generation of biologists had turned their backs on his theory.

.dave souza, talk 16:16, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
LogicusThis quote clearly does not support the claim that NS is the basic mechanism of evolutionary variation.--Logicus (talk) 18:27, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I entered "Natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution" and Bowler into Google and immediately found it. Dougweller (talk) 18:43, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Logicus wrote:

"Since my copy of Bowler's 2003 Evolution contains no such sentence nor concatenation of words on its p337 nor on its p348, ... "

Well, it might help if you were to check the pages actually cited (338 & 347), rather than two that were not. Here's a verbatim extract from the latter of the two cited pages (it's the 4th sentence on the page):

"Natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution, and biologists had to work out the details of how that mechanism operated to produce the diversity of species we observe."

David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:48, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


Logicus to Dougweller (and Wilson): Thank you so very much indeed for your very speedy apparent confirmation that Logicus was at least half right that Dave souza's two sources for the article's blatantly mistaken claim that NS is THE BASIC mechanism of evolution, namely p338 & p347 of Bowler's 2003 Evolution, are failed verifications. Logicus's untypical error in not spotting that Bowler does indeed make this egregious blunder on his p347, whereby like the usually more mistaken souza even Logicus was also at least half wrong on this occasion, is explained by the fact that in haste, and working from memory, Logicus confused pp338 & 347 for pp337 & 348. But certainly subsequent inspection of Bowler's p338 confirms that at least Bowler makes no such blunder there. So it may be that he only made this blunder just once in Evolution, namely on its p347, as you have discovered.

I am most grateful for your drawing my attention to Bowler's egregious methodological error that I had previously overlooked. I would be even more grateful if you would be so kind as to let Logicus know whether Bowler also commits this blunder anywhere else in any of his other manifold works. And in accordance with your apparent confirmation by default that Bowler does not make this blunder on p338 of Evolution, I appropriately propose to flag that p338 source as the failed verification it is, preliminary to its deletion. I hope that you would agree with the Wiki-policy justice of this on the basis of your own Google research on this issue.

On the more general issue of the current status of this article's attempts to justify its grossly mistaken claim that in the MES 'NS is THE basic mechanism of evolution', I note that the Darwin hagiography lobby spearheaded by souza has now at long last found at least just one academic who has been foolish enough to make this claim, no doubt in just a slip of the pen..But Logicus had anticipated that the intellectual disease of English Darwin hagiography contra Mendel is so intense that it could well contain such foolish hyperbole.

But the Wiki Darwin hagiography lobby having now at last found just one such source, the question now arises of whether this is just an extremely idiosyncratic POV, in an extreme minority of just one, or is rather representative of 'a broad consensus' amongst that elite social class that Wikipedia elects to privilege and source as providing reliable knowledge to humanity, namely 'university academics', from whose ubiquitous misrepresentations of the world may God preserve us ! And the evidence on my fairly extensive if radically incomplete reading of the literature on the history of evolution theory is that, in addition to being blatantly wrong, Bowler may even be in a very small minority in his wrongheaded methodological analysis of the MES that NS is THE basic mechanism of evolution in it. For as I have already pointed out, NS is neither the basic nor primary mechanism of evolutionary variation in the MES, which is rather Mendelian random genetic variation. In the multifactoral causality of evolution in the MES, which also includes factors such as geographical migration and environmental change etc., NS is only a secondary cause that acts upon the variations that are the results of the primary and basic cause of variation in genetic variation. Thus in David Quamman's confused metaphor for NS, his lathe and chisel would have nothing to work on without the products of the basic mechanism of evolution, namely genetic variation. And as St Darwin of Downe, he no less, observed “unless profitable variations do occur, natural selection can do nothing.”.

So Logicus challenges Dougweller, and indeed also the usual suspects of the Wikipedia Darwin hagiography lobby, to find anybody else who agrees with Bowler's profoundly mistaken methodological analysis, and thus disprove the charge that it is an idiosyncratic minority POV that should not be included in the article. Good hunting !

However, before you do that I recommend you Search Google on "natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution”, whereupon you should see that the first 4 references confirm Logicus’s POV that NS is not THE basic mechanism of evolution, but only one amongst others. For example, as the Wikipedia article on Evolution itself says, “The TWO main mechanisms that produce evolution are natural selection and genetic drift.” Thanks for indirectl;y drawing this to my attention.--Logicus (talk) 18:25, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Logicus, please stop refering to other editors as "Wiki Darwin hagiography lobby". If you continue to do per, under WP:TALK your comments will be deleted. Please focus on improving the article. If you see a clash between two articles, then do some research to tell other editors which you think is correct; the proposed edit you wish to make; and achieve consensus prior to the proposed edit. Shot info (talk) 01:30, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus, as Shot info says, provide detailed references for your unusual interpretations and get talk page consensus before tagging or making contentious edits to the article. That you personally disagree with Bowler is classic original research and is unacceptable on Wikipedia. . dave souza, talk 18:23, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree, in any case, TLDR - if Logicus wants to repeat this in concise clear English I might read it, but as it is, and considering the insults, I'm not even going to try to wade through his prose. Dougweller (talk) 19:13, 20 August 2009 (UTC)
And one wonders what he is trying to say. I could somewhat understand the argument about compelling evidence in 1859, although I disagreed. But this? One could argue that the mechanism involved is genetic and that natural selection works to steer that (Which Darwin wouldn't have known). But the whole thing seems a bit pedantic to me. Perhaps it's indeed the "hagiographic" tone he's worried about most. But that's an ellusive category. Logicus should tell us a little more about his agenda. What would he like the article to express what it doesn't now? Gerard von Hebel (talk) 19:33, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Logicus explains for the hard of reading and understanding: The leading practical point I made immediately above was that souza's p338 Bowler source given to verify the article's claim that 'there is a broad consensus that NS is the basic mechanism of evolution' is a failed verification because no such claim is made on that page. And I proposed to flag it as such, preliminary to its removal. And in the absence of any expressed disagreement with this proposal by the next day, I did so flag it.

However, souza immediately removed this flagging without offering any discussion on the Talk page of why he regarded it as invalid, surely an unreasonable malpractice and arguably another case of disruptive editing on his part.

In conformity with Wiki Verifiability rules, I therefore now require souza to provide a quotation from Bowler's 2003 p338 that verifies the claim made, and so I now flag the p338 source for the provision of such by souza, or whoever.

The second main point I made briefly is that even Wikipedia articles on evolution themselves belie the claim of souza and Bowler that NS is THE basic mechanism of evolution. For example, the Evolution article clearly agrees with Logicus, contra Bowler, that in the MES genetic variation is the basic mechanism of evolution, and not NS, which is only a secondary mechanism, one that just shapes that genetic variation by reducing its diversity in eliminating harmful traits and making helpful traits more common, as follows:

"The basis of evolution is the genes that are passed on from generation to generation, these produce an organism's inherited traits. These traits vary within populations, with organisms showing heritable differences (variation) in their traits. Evolution itself is the product of two opposing forces: processes that constantly introduce variation, and processes that make variants become more common or rare. New variation arises in two main ways: either from mutations in genes, or from the transfer of genes between populations and between species. In species that reproduce sexually, new combinations of genes are also produced by genetic recombination, which can increase variation between organisms.

Two major mechanisms determine which variants will become more common or rare in a population. The first is natural selection, a process that causes helpful traits (those that increase the chance of survival and reproduction) to become more common in a population and causes harmful traits to become more rare. This occurs because individuals with advantageous traits are more likely to reproduce, meaning that more individuals in the next generation will inherit these traits.[2][3] Over many generations, adaptations occur through a combination of successive, small, random changes in traits, and natural selection of the variants best-suited for their environment.[4] The second major mechanism driving evolution is genetic drift, an independent process that produces random changes in the frequency of traits in a population. Genetic drift results from the role that chance plays in whether a given trait will be passed on as individuals survive and reproduce." [My caps and itals]

And even the article Natural selection only claims, like Logicus does, that "It is A key mechanism of evolution.", and "natural selection is AN important process (though not the only process) by which evolution takes place within a population of organisms.", and "Natural selection is ONE of the cornerstones of modern biology", but not that it is THE basic mechanism/process/cornerstone of evolution. [My caps in these quotes.]

I provisionally rest my case, contra souza and Bowler, on such Wikipedia evidence that my more neutral and uncontentious proposed text

“…but it was not until the 1930s that natural selection began to be widely accepted as an important factor in explaining the process of evolution.”

should replace the article's current contentious POV text:

“but it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution”

Souza's classification of my text as an "unusual interpretation" is surely wrong.

And virtually all the points and instructions issued by Shot info and souza above are mistaken or misplaced. It would be too tedious to demonstrate their many errors one by one here. But if they wish I would at least consider requests to do so, at least pour encourager les autres who make cavalier allegations. Indeed in response to von Hebel's request for Logicus to tell a little more about his agenda, von Hebel may wish to check out Logicus's recent robust encouragement of souza on User Talk:dave souza for its last paragraph. --Logicus (talk) 16:00, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

347 says "With the consolidation of the evolutionary synthesis in the 1950s, the field had at last come of age. The broad outline of the history of life on earth was now known, and although more details might be revealed by the fossil record, few surprises were expected. The acrimonious debates of the early twentieth century between a range of mutually incompatible theories had been resolved by a broad consensus based on a revived Darwinism. Natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution, and biologists had to work out the details of how that mechanism operated to produce the diversity of species we observe. I lumans were part of the story, of course, but even some biologists conceded that, in this case, progressive evolution had generated an entirely new level of mental activity." p. 348 talks about the synthesis being cemented in the mid 1940s and gives a bit more detail.
The thought strikes me that perhaps Logicus wants someone to verify that Bowler is correct - in other words, he's challenging what Bowler wrote. Dougweller (talk) 16:45, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to Dougweller's comedy of errors: It seems we have now both committed a comedy of typo blunders in good faith here. I flagged Bowler's p338 cited as a failed verification, not p347 nor p348. You then invalidly deleted that flag with the comment that you would provide verification on the Talk page. But you only quote p347 and mention p348. Thus you failed to verify that p338 verifies the claim that 'NS was the basic mechanism of evolution'. It seems you make the same blunder as Logicus did in previously confusing the page numbers. In the spirit of putting us both out of our pathetic confusion tout de suite, I now simply delete the p338 reference, which clearly failed to verify the claim. For I now suspect p338 may have been a typo blunder by souza for p348. This deletion does not of course prejudice the outstanding issue of whether the claim that in MES NS was the basic mechanism of evolution can be reliably sourced. Meanwhile you may wish to add the p348 reference.
Note my point the Wiki Evolution article implicitly also challenges what Bowler wrote.
--Logicus (talk) 14:56, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Third Opinion, per request. Although listed at WP:3O, this appears less a difference-of-opinions, and more a content dispute regarding complex issues in a specialized field. Personally, I haven't the grounding in biology to comment on that, but I do see issues with comments and behaviour from User:Logicus. Specifically, Logicus appears be lacking good faith in other editors, frequently makes uncivil remarks, and those remarks sometimes verge on personal attacks. I doubt that a Third Opinion will resolve either the content dispute, or the behaviour issues, although I would leave the door open to the possibility. An RfC would probably be the next step in the dispute resolution process. Since I wasn't able to comment usefully on the dispute itself, I'll leave the 3O request in place. Good luck, Doc Tropics 19:47, 21 August 2009 (UTC)
See below for clarification The third opinion step in the dispute resolution process is specifically intended to be for resolving disputes between two editors only. Since several editors have been engaged in this dispute, another editor (Athaenara) has now removed Logicus's Human.v2.0's request for a third opinion as inappropriate "not suitable for WP:3O". If any of the parties to the dispute believe that it can't be resolved satisfactorily by further discussion on the talk page, then a request for comment would indeed appear to be their most appropriate recourse.

David Wilson (talk · cont) 15:01, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to Doc Tropics: I have no idea why you have intervened in this dispute, who you are talking to, nor who has requested a third opinion on it. I presume you are some sort of Wiki Bigwig. But may I correct your various claims. First, contrary to your claim that this a content dispute about complex issues in a specialised field, requiring a grounding in biology, rather it is a content dispute about a very simple issue not requiring any grounding in biology, but only basic literacy competence in English. It can easily be decided just by reading just one page of Bowler's 2003 Evolution, namely p338, but which it seems my opponents cannot have read. You simply need to check that page 338 to see it does not contain any claim that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution in the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. I would be grateful if you would be kind enough to do so and confirm on this Talk page that it contains no such claim.
You may also wish to verify that Wikipedia itself claims that genetic variation is the basis of evolution in the second paragraph of its Evolution article.
Secondly, re your presumably unsolicited negative allegations about my behavious and comments, in fact I do not appear to lack nor lack good faith in other editors, I do not frequently make uncivil remarks on any acceptable criterion of frequency, and do not make personal attacks nor verge on doing so. Have you maybe misunderstood Wikipedia policies ? I would therefore be grateful if you would either substantiate your three allegations, or else withdraw them. Of course if any editor wishes to complain of any lack of good faith or incivility they think I have committed against them and are seriousl aggrieved by such, I would be happy to apologise to them if their claim is reasonably substantiated.
Thirdly, to correct your evident bias against Logicus, I would be most grateful if for the sake of fair comment and balance you would now kindly identify all the many breaches of policy committed by other editors against Logicus on these pages in respect of apparent unfounded presumptions of bad faith, making uncivil remarks, invalid accusations of vandalism or virtual vandalism, and disruptive and tendentious editing of Logicus edits, and especially commission of the following two sins of DE
" * repeatedly disregards other editors' questions or requests for explanations concerning edits or objections to edits;
* repeatedly disregards other editors' explanations for their edits."
Finally, I note that if Wilson is right, and he often is, your decision to retain the 3O request is mistaken. But please note I made no such request.--Logicus (talk) 14:07, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't matter who filed it or who I am; someone listed a request for a third opinion, and I responded. No, I'm not a wiki-bigwig; but I reviewed the situation, commented on what I saw, and I'll stand by those comments. I'll continue to monitor this situation and if necessary I will file a report in an appropriate venue and request offical action. Or, Logicus could try to behave in a more collegial manner and no further action will be necessary. Doc Tropics 14:56, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
See below for clarification My mistake. The third opinion was requested by by Human.v2.0. When reading the diff, I appear to have confabulated Human.v2.0's link to Logicus's user page as a signature. Apologies for the error.

David Wilson (talk · cont) 14:30, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to David Wilson: David, thanks for this information and apology. If Human.v2.0 is involved, this explains everything. I expect/hope this immediate dispute will be quickly resolved when souza and Dougweller realise their reading error in the p338 citation, presumably a typo, possibly meant to be p348, and so accept its deletion as a failed verification. Anyway, I have now deleted the p338 ref. Do you agree with me that page is a failed verification ?--Logicus (talk) 14:41, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
I have been informed that at least one editor has thought that my above remarks ([1], [2]) appeared rude, and misconstrued them as saying 'basically ... "no, you can't give your opinion on the matter because this doesn't meet 'Third Opinion' guidelines" '. I am somewhat bemused that anyone would place such a construction on what I wrote above, but I would like to assure readers of this talk page that no such implication was remotely intended. On my understanding of Wikipedia's founding principles, any editor in good standing is entitled to contribute to any talk page discussion as they see fit, and I would not presume to tell anyone else that they couldn't do so—regardless of whether or not their contributions had been explicitly requested. My apologies to anyone who might have taken my remarks as implying otherwise.

David Wilson (talk · cont) 11:26, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Hi, folks, had to leave this alone for a few days while dealing with real life. Regarding "but it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution." I've restored the reference formatting, which for this article uses the syntax p= or pp=, and have restored Bowler 2003 pp=338, 347. The latter page covers "the consolidation of the evolutionary synthesis in the 1950s, while p. 338 deals with the emergence of the synthesis from the 1930s on. As it says, "The synthesis was certainly a revival of the selection theory and of a Darwinian perspective more generally." . . dave souza, talk 17:55, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Logicus to souza: Well thanks for this crucial clarification that the first source is only for the dating of the MES, and only the second is for its alleged broad consensus that NS was the basic mechanism of evolution ! Accordingly I shall separate them as appropriate to avoid the confusion their conjunction has caused. Hope you approve ! --Logicus (talk) 14:45, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Problems with your change: it's over-splitting the references to resolve a confusion which seems to have been confined to yourself, and your formatting did not comply with the article standard. It's standard to expect a reference to deal with the words before the inline citation. . dave souza, talk 15:11, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I would though point that according to Bowler Darwin was not that convinced of the preeminence of natural selection in the evolutionnary process--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 10:18, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Natural Selection is not the basic mechanism of evolution in MES, but rather genetic variation is.

Since the previous thread succeeded in securing the withdrawal of the mistaken and unsourced claim that NS is the primary mechanism of evolution, to be replaced by the mistaken but sourced claim that it is the basic mechanism of evolurion, I start this new thread to deal with this different issue. Thanks to all those who supported Logicus's point that NS is not the primary mechanism in the MES, and also his identification of various failed verifications of the claim that it is the primary mechanism.

The current problem as I see it is that whereas the broad consensus in the MES is that genetic variation is the basic mechanism of evolutionary variation rather than NS, which is only a secondary superstructural qualifying mechanism that reduces the amount of variation by elimination of some of it, unfortunately the article now cites an academic author claiming NS was the basic mechanism of evolution in the MES, contrary to the MES. But the author is either mistaken in this claim, or else has mistaken a minority/fringe view for the mainstream view. But since he never identifies anybody who held this view, it seems more likely he is mistaken and hence unreliable in this respect.

However, evidentially establishing that the mainstream view in MES is that genetic variation is the basic mechanism of evolution, and not NS, would be a mammoth research project, just as it would be to establish Bowler is mistaken, either because nobody makes that claim or else because he mistakes a fringe view for a mainstream consensus.

What to do ? Immediately, evidentially I have already pointed out that the Wikipedia Evolution article supports my view that genetic variation is the basic mechanism of evolution in the MES.

I suggest the leading issue here is why my opponents cannot accept my proposed modest and neutral conciliatory compromise text:

“…but it was not until the 1930s that natural selection began to be widely accepted as an important factor in explaining the process of evolution.”

Perhaps they would be so kind as to explain why not here ?--Logicus (talk) 14:52, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Dear Logicus, Bowler is a highly respected historian of science, with particular expertise in evolution but not a Darwin specialist. When you've published and received similar credence for your views, then we can look at your publications and assess them against Bowler's work. . dave souza, talk 18:01, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
Logicus to souza: These irrelevant remarks avoid answering the issue posed here. It is entirely irrelevant whether Bowler is a respected historian of science or not or whether Logicus has published or not.
First, since it was you who added the claim that in the MES there was/is a broad consensus that NS is the basic mechanism of evolution, which I challenged as mistaken, the onus is surely on you to establish that Bowler's idiosyncratic view you quoted in verification is itself rather the mainstream consensus view of historians of science, rather than at best a fringe minority view, if not completely mistaken. Certainly he never gives any evidence for his view on the very minimum criterion of citing somebody in the MES who held it, let alone providing evidence that it was the broad consensus.
Secondly, you also notaby fail to comment on my point that even the Wikipedia Evolution article confirms the view that genetic variation is the basic mechanism of evolution. And many other sources can be found for the MES view that NS is not the basic mechanism of evolution, but rather genetic variation is.
Thirdly, you notably avoid answering my question of why the alternative text I propose is unacceptable. This is surely an example of an especially arrogant vice of disruptive editors. I propose it as a provisional neutral text whilst you try to establish Bowler's POV reflects a broad consensus of historians of science. Why are you so unreasonable about it ?
As for Bowler, he may well be a highly respected historian of science, but not a highly respected philosopher of science. The judgment in question here is one of the philosophy/methodology/logic of science and the logical structure of a theory, a subject in which historians of science are widely regarded by philosophers of science as generally unreliable, such as in misunderstanding and misrepresenting the logic of theories and evidence and scientific method. In this respect you may wish to review the failure of Bowler's attempts to establish the theory of natural selection is scientific in "Darwinism not scientific ?" on pp369-374. Especially note his failure to identify any empirically testable prediction the hypothesis of NS makes. Even worse, whereas in particular NS did not predict the evolution of the peppered moth's coloration, Bowler perversely takes it to be a confirming example of NS rather than what it is, namely another example that NS has no empirical content that can be confirmed by observation, as opposed to post-facto 'just-so' stories Note how he outrageously invalidly shifts the issue to misrepresent armchair philosophers as denying the observations as illusory, whereas what they deny is not the observations, but rather that NS predicted them.--Logicus (talk) 15:14, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

- :::If you have a reliable source that negates it, then we can discuss consensus. Bowler is reliable: the burden is on you to show he isn't. Auntie E. 18:22, 25 August 2009 (UTC) - - ::::Well hello Auntie ! I note from your User Talk page that you hold that scientific theories successfully predict previously unobserved novel phenomena, a criterion you claim creationism does not satisfy.(BTW, I am not a creationist, but rather interested in the methodology of scientific revolutions).) Would you be so kind as to say whether or not the hypothesis of natural selection or the hypothesis of evolutionary descent from a common ancestor satisfies that criterion of being scientific? As you may be aware, in 1973 the renowned and highly influenmtial philosopher of science Imre Lakatos, who advocated that same criterion of scientific, claimed that nobody to date had found an acceptable criterion of science according to which Darwin was scientific.[ See Lakatos’s 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture 1, p24 in For and Against Method: Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend Motterlini(Ed) University of Chicago Press 1999] - ::::Do you agree with Lakatos's judgment when applied to (i) Darwin's 1859 theory and (ii) when applied to the contemporary theory of natural selection ? - - ::::Bowler is reliable about what ? No, surely the burden is on souza & co to establish Bowler's judgment about the MES reflects a broad consensus of e.g. historians of science. - - ::::What proposition would you regard as negating Bowler's claim ? For example, do you accept that the Wikipedia Evolution article's claim that "The basis of evolution is the genes that are passed on from generation to generation; these produce an organism's inherited traits." negates it ? --Logicus (talk) 18:04, 26 August 2009 (UTC) - :::::See WP:V and WP:RS, and note that Wikipedia is not a reliable source, particularly your interpretation of it. See also WP:NOR. Your views appear to be fringe views, which should not be given undue weight. . . dave souza, talk 18:28, 26 August 2009 (UTC) - - :::::Logicus to Auntie E: Please ignore souza's wholly invalid remarks, and please answer the questions at hand. --Logicus (talk) 14:46, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Logicus to souza: The unreliability of Wikipedia, rather than the proposition itself, is irrelevant here. The pupose of the question is to try and elicit what your lobby would possibly accept as a negation of the basic mechanism claim. So your breach claims are as invalid as ever. Nor do I hold nor push any fringe views. What views did you have in mind ?--Logicus (talk) 14:50, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

See WP:TALK. . . dave souza, talk 19:23, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
See it for yourself, and do let me know if you can see anything relevant there for a change. --Logicus (talk) 18:10, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
My command of English is a little limit. Can you explain in simple terms, in less than 500 word? Thanks, 74.98.43.217 (talk) 22:39, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Logicus has put forward an assertion that is not supported by the sources used as references. The WP:TALK page guideline requires proposals for improvements backed up by sources supporting the proposals, and allows deletion of personal opinions which lack any sources to meet the verification policy. Obviously there is some leeway in discussions, but always the aim must be to add well sourced information to improve articles and not to change them at the whim of editors who hold minority views lacking supporting sources. . dave souza, talk 23:18, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
I see. Thank you for the clarification, 74.98.43.217 (talk) 00:37, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

There is much more to evolution than genes - but all this is long after Darwin's time. One of the few genine cases of religious prejudice holding back science is the way in which Mendel's work was ignored by the atheistic german-speaking evolutionists - Darwin would have loved it and it would have helped his thinking no end. But none of this belongs in the Charles Darwin articlee NBeale (talk) 09:50, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

What is this discussion doing on the talk page of a Wikipedia article? This is not a forum. --TS 10:25, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Darwin as geologist?

Just reading a book about the Inca, and there is a mention of Darwin as a geolist, who was one of the first to theorize that mountains were 'ever-changing structures', among other things. I just skimmed through the article and don't see much of anything related to this. The reference in question is [2]

  1. ^ ADOUTTE, André, Guillaume BALAVOINE, Nicolas LARTlLLOT, Olivier LESPINET, Benjamin PRUD'HOMME and Renaud DE ROSA 2000 "The new animal phylogeny: Reliability and implications." proceedings of the National Academy of Science, · 97 (9): 4453-4456
  2. ^ Cameron, Ian (1990). Kingdom of the Sun God: a history of the Andes and their people. New York: Facts on File. p. 17. ISBN 0-8160-2581-9. 

Hires an editor (talk) 01:37, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

See Charles_Darwin#Works as his geological work is mentioned. Vsmith (talk) 02:16, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
There's actually a lot in the article about this geologising, but naturally enough more detail has to be given about his species work. The lead states "His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian ideas", the Journey of the Beagle section begins by noting that "as FitzRoy had intended, Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections" and covers geology in most of its paragraphs, and publication of the geological books is discussed in the sections after that. To give geology a little more emphasis, I've made some minor changes. Hope that helps, dave souza, talk 09:56, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

James Hillman and John Henslow

"In the year 1831 one of those marvellous old-fashioned scientific expeditions was to set forth; a schoolmaster named John Henslow suggested that one of his former pupils be appointed naturalist. The lad was then 22; he had been rather dull at school, hopeless in maths, although a keen collector of beetles from the countryside; he was hardly different from the others of his type and class: hunting and shooting, popular member of the Glutton Club aimed for the clergy. He had a 'typical family complex' as we might say today, soft in the mother and dominated by a 300-pound father. But Henslow saw something and persuaded the parties involved, including the pupil named Charles Darwin, that he make the journey." -James Hillman "Egalitarian Typologies versus the Perception of the Unique" -- noosphere 20:18, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Amusing, a bit inaccurate. Evolution of psychology? . . dave souza, talk 21:20, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
By the way, what is this 'typical family Complex'? . . dave souza, talk 21:25, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, different people define the term in different ways. But Hillman was a Jungian; rather than seeing the resolution of family relationships through the Oedipal complex, he would say it comes through the experience of the "night-sea journey", as embodied in myths involving the descent into Hell = immersion in the unconscious, or being swallowed by a monster or imprisoned. Equivalent to Joseph Campbell's myth of the hero. So Hillman is saying that Darwin's journey was the "solution" to his family problem, and that by immersion in "uncivilized/primitive/raw/vital" nature he performed a heroic function and was remade in a form greater than that he would have achieved if left in the bosom of his family. Nunh-huh 22:03, 16 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, that makes some sense in relation to Darwin's father fearing that his son would turn out an idler, and relief when Darwin returned from the voyage to acclaim that he was ready to join the scientific ranks as a geologist and naturalist. Not sure about "soft in the mother" given that he barely remembered his mother, and as "the man who walks with Henslow" he had become an outstanding student naturalist at Cambridge. . . dave souza, talk 10:20, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, well, sometimes psychologists don't let facts stand in the way of a good generalization or pointed story. :) - Nunh-huh 10:46, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

French version

I checked the french version of this page and in place of bringing "compelling evidences", Ch. Darwin was only "drawing a hypothesis" which seems much more objectif"--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 10:30, 4 September 2009 (UTC). Furthermore they mentionned that Darwin stoud faithfull to the Lamarkian principle of heredity of acquired caracteristics and didn't consider natural selection as the major mechanism "The origin of species by means of use-inheritance ". John Waller, Fabulous science, Oxford University Press, 2002, chap. 9, pp. 176-203.. So our incriminate wording is very discutable and tend to suggest an unique common ancestor for a theory with much more complex and dialectic roots--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 11:02, 4 September 2009 (UTC)--Ha-y Gavra (talk) 11:05, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Image of Darwin with ape body restored

I have restored the image of the cartoon of Darwin with an ape body that was deleted from the article. This image is commonly associated with the 19th century debate over Darwin's ideas and that makes it highly approrpiate for this article. The image that it was replaced with is also iconic but not nearly as appropriate for a discussion of the reaction to Darwin's work.Rusty Cashman (talk) 06:31, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

No. You are mistaken. It was a farcical caricature, not 'iconic'. The image is in nine other articles, & while it suits 'Controversy' type articles, it is not about Darwin or his work. Take a look at the URL [http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?viewtype=image&itemID=CUL-DAR141.5&pageseq=1 that has been at the top of the image's talk page for the whole month of the RFC that concluded that the image should be removed: it is straight up farcical caricature. The Huxley diagram illuminates the fact that the progression of ape to man, printed in a million textbooks, came from Huxley, not Darwin. That remedy to misinformation needs to be where it will do the most good, as well as Huxley's article. Anarchangel (talk) 10:32, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Repeating from the image talk page, Anarchangel's opinion is uninformed original research: Browne is someone to take very seriously regarding Darwin, and having slept on the problem I fully support Rusty on this. As it happens, Browne p. 377 discusses this specific image as appearing in March 1871, one month after publication of Descent of Man, and as typifying cartoons that readily identified Darwin as the author of the theory. He responded to a similar cartoon in the same paper by asking a visiting guest "Have you seen me in the Hornet?" Darwin showed it off very pleasantly, saying "The head is cleverly done, but the gorilla is bad: too much chest, it shouldn't be like that." Will review the image caption in that light. . dave souza, talk 11:22, 7 September 2009 (UTC) (self-corrected spelling 16:48, 7 September 2009 (UTC))
There is no such thing as original research in a discussion. Pretty hard to be 'uninformed' about an opinion like 'Browne is someone to take seriously, too. Darwin's aplomb and magnanimity aside, putting a subject's head on an animal body is a last resort for cartoonists. Anarchangel (talk)
I fully agree with Rusty Cashman and dave souza. When Anarchangel writes
" ... the RFC that concluded that the image should be removed: ...",
he is misstating the outcome of that RFC. When the RFC was closed on August 22nd, there had been no suggestion whatever that the Hornet image be removed from this particular article, let alone a consensus having been reached to do so. In fact the only mention of this article in the Rfc was by Anarchangel himself:
"I support the image's inclusion in Charles Darwin, as it includes his image, albeit a caricature."
Obviously he has since changed his mind (which he is perfectly entitled to do), but he did not make this change of mind apparent anywhere in the Rfc (not, at least, before it was closed), so I am completely baffled as to how he can assert that there was any consensus to remove the image from this article.
—This is part of a comment by David J Wilson (of 15:52, 7 September 2009 (UTC)), which was interrupted by the following:
My bad. It was six weeks ago. However, is the meaning of consensus really that confusing? Surely the five to one vote in the RFC, agreeing that the image was in way too many articles and should be removed, was worthy of mention. Anarchangel (talk) 07:28, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
The image seems to me to be a reasonable representative of the many similar cartoons which appeared in British humorous magazines after the publication of On the Origin of Species, and on Janet Browne's analysis, seems to me to be perfectly appropriate for inclusion in the section Responses to the publication, as an illustration of Darwin's influence on the contents of those magazines. While I see nothing wrong with also including the illustration from Huxley's book (in a different section), it cleary cannot serve the same purpose as the removed image, and is not suitable as a replacement for it.
Janet Browne's analysis of these types of cartoons and the texts which accompanied them seems to me to be spot on. When Anarchangel says (in the now closed Rfc) that "Janet Brown is mistaken", it is not clear whether he has actually read Browne's analysis, or is merely disagreeing with Rusty Cashman's and dave souza's description of the image as "iconic", and has mistakenly assumed that Browne also used that term.see note If the former, then in my opinion it is certainly Anarchangel, rather than Ms Browne who is mistaken. But, in any case, by Wikipedia's standards, Browne's biography is an impeccable source, so editors' opinions on whether she is correct or not are completely irrelevant. If Anarchangel wants to rely on his own contrary opinion as a pretext for removing the image, he will need to back it up by citing an equally authoritative source which supports it.
—This is part of a comment by David J Wilson (of 15:52, 7 September 2009 (UTC)), which was interrupted by the following:
No, I do not need to do any such thing, actually. The onus is on you to provide reasons for inclusion (WP:V), and 'spot on' just is not going to cut the mustard. Anarchangel (talk) 07:28, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Note. Which, as far as I can tell, she never did. I do not here mean to imply that dave souza and Rusty Cashman were wrong to use that term. In my opinion, arguments over whether the image could reasonably be called "iconic" are a largely irrelevant distraction. What matters is whether the image is a reasonable representative of the sorts of cartoons that appeared widely in British humorous magazines after the publication of On the Origin of Species. According to Janet Browne's account, it is.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 15:52, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for these comments and support, it's likely as you suggest that Anarchangel was disagreeing with my comments based on an overview of Janet Browne's views, not anything specifically stated by Browne, and I'm grateful to Anarchangel for putting forward the above link which puts the image in context. Originally I put together a caption aimed at summarising pp. 376–379 of Browne's book, with no certainty as to which cartoon this was: the caption and the date make it clear that Browne has commented on this specific image as typifying cartoons that readily identified Darwin as the author of the theory. In my view "iconic" summarises that sentiment, but I'll think it over. Browne's earlier comments about British cartoonists presenting Darwin's theory in an unthreatening way are more concerned with other cartoons parodying his evolutionary views in an everyday setting, the issue may be best mentioned in the body text with the image caption being made more specific. Either way, this is one article where the image is well justified: Browne is probably the foremost Darwin biographer, and the fact that she devotes several pages to this specific issue of cartoons portraying Darwin as an ape or monkey confirms its notability for this bio. . dave souza, talk 17:11, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Y, w/e. See below for my opinion on Browne, as if it matters one way or the other, and my argument for deletion, below, which most certainly does. I concede that "Browne is wrong" was too brief to answer, yet all you have presented here is conjecture upon it. You need to be concentrating on reasons for inclusion, and more importantly, the means by which it can be included without my objection, as below. Anarchangel (talk) 07:28, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Since writing the above, I have noticed one discrepancy (relatively minor, in my opinion) in the use of the Hornet image. It was published in March 1871, and in the text which accompanies it,the editor jocularly says he made the cartoonist "take a solemn vow that he would read Mr. Darwin's new work [emphasis mine] right through, ... ". This new work must have been The Descent of Man, which had just been published in the preceding month. Thus the appearance of the cartoon was a response to the publication of The Descent of Man, whereas its inclusion in the section Responses to the publication tends to suggest that it was a response to the publication of On the Origin of Species. I don't think this matters all that much, but in the interests of accuracy, when the image is reincluded in the article (as it should be), I think it would be worth adding a short clarification to one of the footnotes cited in the image's caption.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 17:24, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Have rethought tha caption, and added commentary on the issue to the body text. Hope that's an improvement. . . dave souza, talk 14:34, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Looks good to me.
David Wilson (talk · cont) 08:45, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Woah, down, there. That there are three editors that will respond within a day to an image change goes a long way to explaining why this image is still here. But you are not getting a consensus that easily. I might have gone along with it if you had not tried to steamroll it through, but you have to come up with reasons for inclusion, as the burden of evidence is on you. I do not see much convincing being done here, but a whole lot of you being convinced by each other.
The reason I know that Janet Browne's stuff is crap is, one, it smells like crap, and two, because exactly the same thing was said about Darwin at every opportunity: in image captions, in full uncited paragraphs, and it was always the same guff about how attack caricatures are really just "non-threatening" or "unthreatening". It was fairly obvious, long before it was clarified that Brown was the source of the 'unthreatening' term, that someone had taken a big old drink at someone's punch bowl; I could smell it a mile away.
Had she written Hamlet, Janet Brown would still have to be taken pretty seriously, for her comments to be presented, without citation, or mention that it is only her saying it, as though it were the consensus of the entire historical community. I have no objection to the inclusion of the statement in its entirety, as long as it is clear that it is only her scholarly opinion. Of course it would be civil of someone to get a few citations of her by other people, and another source saying the same thing about unthreateningariness or w/e would be dandy also.
The cartoon itself is a low blow. The double meaning is, Darwin does that funny ape theory, and, as it would be for any public figure given an animal body, Darwin is an animal. Such caricatures of no one else living or dead would be allowed on their pages, and the first meaning's virtue does not attone for the second's vice by a long shot.
I concede that I have changed my mind, since six weeks ago. I concede that the editors that responded to the RFC, in regard to the image's presence in no fewer than TEN articles, did not single out this one as I did, either for deletion or keeping. But it is quite wrong to imply that the RFC has no bearing on this article. And as there seems to be difficulty relating the events of the RFC without Telephone (game) errors, I reprint it here. Anarchangel (talk) 07:28, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

" - From the RFC at File talk:Darwin ape.jpg
Darwin as ape overused
I call this RFC for the reason that this image has proliferated in an unwarranted manner (10 mainspace articles), and to find suitable replacements for this image in as many of the articles as consensus indicates. Anarchangel (talk) 03:49, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Responses
No fewer than 10 mainspace articles use this image. Would not have made it into any of them were it not for the unhallowed ground that is the inevitable 'Criticism' and 'Response to X's theories' sections? :) I propose that a free use version of the familiar image of the Ascent of Man (a version shown here) might be a suitable replacement for many uses. I support the image's inclusion in Charles Darwin, as it includes his image, albeit a caricature. It obviously belongs in Portraits of Charles Darwin. It also could exist side-by-side with shall we say, more serious representations of Darwin and/or his theories. Anarchangel (talk) 03:49, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree totally. The main appeal of this picture is that it makes evolution look silly, and also ape-men are funny. There aren't all that many places it could comfortably fit in. BTW, this does look to be a reproduction of this. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 06:56, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
I also agree completely. It is clearly being used in ways that don't benefit Wikipedia. Dougweller (talk) 07:32, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree and suggest that the ideal number of articles for the image to appear in may be about one to three articles (not zero!). Coppertwig (talk) 02:02, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
Good call! Is definitely overused. I commend the user for even finding this. Seb az86556 (talk) 15:38, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm afraid I don't quite understand the complaint here. In which ways that "don't benefit Wikipedia" is the image being used? Anarchangel, you list some articles which you say the image is appropriate for, but why exactly do you (or anyone else who's commented) think it's inappropriate for the others? I'd say that it's eminently appropriate in Reaction to Darwin's theory and History of the creation-evolution controversy, for example. I disagree that its main appeal is that it "makes evolution look silly". That was obviously its author's intent, but in the context of an encyclopedia its role is to show one of the ways that critics of evolution have tried to make it look silly, including the fact that criticism of Darwin often included ad-hominem attacks as well as scientific or religious arguments.
Or is the objection directly to the number of articles, not to specific ones? I can imagine the argument "people browsing through the evolution/creationism articles will get fed up of that image and we should have some variety" being proposed, but since it hasn't been explicitly put forward I'm not sure what you think is wrong per se with having it in so many places (if indeed you do).
I'd be interested to hear your motivation for objecting. Olaf Davis (talk) 13:23, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
The reaction to Darwin's theory is, as they say, history. The vast majority of scientists support it, and although the charicature of Darwin may represent a minority of popular opinion at the time, it is by no means a mainstream reaction to his theories. I don't support its inclusion in "Reaction to Darwin's theory" just for the sake of supposed balance, in fact I think its inclusion is imbalanced. Of the inclusions that I oppose, "Reaction" is by far one of the weaker ones, as there is some basis for it. It's all very well to take its inclusion on a case by case basis, but something is very wrong with the assessment, I feel, if it is considered the best picture available for all of them. So the answer to, do I object to individual inclusions, or as a whole, is, 'both'.
More important than which are to be deleted, to me, is finding a substitute of the kind I described above. The progression from ape to Man is an iconic 19th and 20th century image that a cartoon cannot hope to match; if anyone knows of an example of this image we could use, please let us know. Anarchangel (talk) 15:43, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. My understanding is that, at the time, the viewpoint this cartoon represents was pretty widespread and its inclusion isn't therefore unbalanced (though obviously we shouldn't include it to give actual Creationist viewpoints balance - just balanced coverage of the history).
I agree though that looking at alternatives is likely to be a more profitable route. Hopefully we can find a good one, and then come back to discuss for which pages it's better than this cartoon. Olaf Davis (talk) 08:50, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Seems to me that any substitute image would have either the same problem, or a total lack of relevance. A better approach would be to simply remove the images. For example, substituting one of the versions of Ascent of Man with Darwin in the final position would not improve matters, and any other version would not be relevant to a discussion of the critical reception of evolution. Ben Standeven (talk) 19:09, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

- End quote from RFC - File talk:Darwin ape.jpg Anarchangel (talk) 07:28, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Your change of opinion is noted: your new view in relation to this article is clearly not supported by the RfC, and any decisions have to be resolved on this talk page, not on a discussion about the image itself which was not notified on this talk page. Your lack of a source to verify your revised opinion is also noted. . . dave souza, talk 17:11, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Respond to my points, please.Anarchangel (talk) 23:35, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

Above, I wrote:
"If Anarchangel wants to rely on his own contrary opinion as a pretext for removing the image, he will need to back it up by citing an equally authoritative source which supports it."
Anarchangel replied
"No, I do not need to do any such thing, actually. ... "
Oh yes, I'm afraid you do, actually.
" ... The onus is on you to provide reasons for inclusion (WP:V), ... "
That onus has already been met. Janet Browne's biography is a reliable, published source, as required by Wikipedia's criteria of verifiability, and she herself has an impeccable reputation for fact-checking and accuracy, as required by those same criteria (see below). These assertions are eminently verifiable by reading the reviews of her book that have appeared in numerous reliable sources, and can be easily found with a simple google search.
" ... and 'spot on' just is not going to cut the mustard. ... "
As I have already acknowledged, Wikipedia's editors' own opinions on the matter (including both mine and Anarchangel's) are irrelevant—unless, of course, they can back those opinions up by citing reliable sources to support them. The crucial difference between my opinion and Anarchangel's is that I can (and will—see below) do precisely that, because I have done my homework. Anarchangel, on the other hand has failed to do his, so his opinion remains ill-informed and incapable of being supported by such sources. If anyone doubts this, I challenge them to provide a single reliable source which contains any major criticism of Janet Browne's biography, faults her accuracy, or her reputation for fact-checking, or contradicts any of the information from her biography which has been included in the article.
Is Janet Browne's The Power of Place a reliable source?
The evidence that it is, as documented in innumerable reliable sources, is overwhelming.
It has received wide acclaim from reviewers in reputable mainstream newspapers, popular magazines and scholarly journals (see citations below). The tone of the reviews ranges from moderately positive to fulsome, most tending towards the latter rather than the former, with only a handful of them voicing any criticism at all, and all that which has been voiced is trivial. I have yet to find a single negative review. The reviewers have included many professional academic historians of science, and such distinguished scholars as Ernst Mayr and Peter J. Bowler, both of whom praised the book highly.
The Power of Place received the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, and, more significantly, the 2004 Pfizer Prize awarded by the History of Science Society, a society of professional historians of science. Here is an extract from the citation for the Pfizer, signed by Lisbet Rausing, John Harley Warner & Crosbie Smith (Chair):
"For her impressive works of scholarship, exemplified in this volume, our scholarly community stand deeply in debt to Janet Browne."
Here are some google search pages containing links to numerous reviews of The Power of Place in reliable sources. I have listed 18 of them below, together with some of the most positive quotations from each, to give a flavour of how extremely well-regarded Browne's book has been. These links were not cherry-picked. I waded through the first 15 or so pages of the google search, and if I saw that a review was from a source that I recognised to be reputable, I read it and included it in the list. I did not eliminate any negative reviews from the list—in fact I couldn't, because I didn't find any.
I invite Anarchangel, or anyone else who thinks his opinion of Janet Browne's biography has any merit, to wade through 15 or so pages from the google search (as I have done) to try and find a scintilla of evidence to support it. I am confident they will find none.