Talk:Creationism/Archive 1

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1

I've tried to adhere to the Wiki nature in this morning's edit of Creationism. I accept that the dominant view is anti-Creationist and content myself merely with labeling the critique as such. I have restored much of the original points (as well as memory serves) and pointed out that objections to Creationism are mainly against Sudden Creationism. The argument against ID seems (here, at least) to be only that it's a religious tenet rather than a scientific hypothesis.

My aim is to summarize and highlight the various arguments, rather than to put forth my own view as right. This is my best effort at achieving NPOV, and I'm sure that any unconscious bias which has slipped through will be boldly corrected by others. --User:Ed Poor

2

What's the ? It is not mainstream Christian theology; I'm sure that the Catholic and the majority of Presbyterian denominations, for example, do not accept Creationism. Acceptance of Creationism is highly related to biblical literalism; many conservative (as opposed to fundamentalist) Christians do not believe in biblical literalism. GregLindahl

Source of claim: Gallup poll.
What makes you think it's not mainstream theology? Very few of the religious leaders I've talked to reject Creationism. And the only survey I've seen (reference quoted far below) says 85% of Americans believe it, either as Sudden Creationism or Intelligent Design.
Oops! I thought I put that reference here. Maybe it's on a different Talk page, unless it got accidentally deleted. User:Ed Poor
It's at Evolution Poll
I gave 2 examples of why I suspect it isn't a view held by a majority of Christians. You did read my entire paragraph, right? As for your %, I don't consider Intelligent Design to be Creationism: it is not falsifiable. You should realize that defining the terms is a very important part of any disagreement, and NPOV applies to that too. GregLindahl
I'm confused: how is falsifiability related to which school of thought is included in Creationism? ID is the branch of creationism that accepts the fossil record. Creationism is rejected by most scientists, because (they say) it is not falsifiable. Am I missing something? User:Ed Poor

I think you're confusing Christian theology with theology in general, and U.S. Christian theology with general Christian theology. Most other world theologies accept evolution, and most Christian theologies outside the U.S. do, as well. --User:Dmerrill

3

If you want the Creationism page to be an argument that Creationism in all its forms is wrong or unscientific, why not say so and be done with it? Otherwise, let's make an Evolution Debate page.

I think when presenting a theory, we should explain why its adherents believe it.

Also, I think there's an attempt to identify Sudden Creationism with Creationism. It's not the clear majority view, according to the only survey I ever heard of. Surely the omission of Intelligent Design is not a deliberate attempt to deceive.

Come on, gentlemen. Where's that NPOV you're always talking about?

4

The number of people who believe something has not historically had much correlation with whether that thing was true.

Even something so easily falsifiable as Aristotle's theory of motion was once believed by the vast majority of authorities. The trouble is, no one before Galileo ever bothered to check it.

(It turned out that sufficiently dense bodies fall with a speed that is proportional to how long they've been falling -- not how heavy they are. So a five-pound cannonball and a ten-pound cannonball hit the ground at the same time, while other objects such as a feather reach will have already reached their terminal velocities.)

Sorry to butt in, especially since I don't have anything to say on the topic of creationism per se, but the trouble with the above stated "fact" of Aristotle's theory of motion is that no one ever bothers to check it. I'm afraid I'm at work, not my home, so I don't have access to the materials, but I think you'll find that Aristotle himself wrote that in a "vacuum," all objects would fall at the same rate... but since Aristotle thought the idea of a "vacuum" was ludicrous, he didn't really include this in his work. For most every-day experience, when we're dealing with things with a density much less than lead, it is in fact true that lighter materials fall slower. Of course, we couldn't make planes, etc., if we didn't understand the "real" way things worked, but then Aristotle was never trying to make planes... he was trying to describe the observed world with regular laws.
Many people seem to like to believe that there have been a great number of truly stupid people in the past, who believed truly stupid things for truly stupid reasons. It's more the case, in my opinion, that people have always done the best they could with the information they had until raw chance enabled them to see a little more clearly than their predecessors. So, it's not a very wise idea to take a high-horse view with respect to how stupid everyone is.

Sorry, I meant no disrepect to Aristotle. No doubt the intellectuals in the Roman Catholic Church misunderstood him. It was really the medieval interpretation of Aristotle's views that I meant. I should have mentioned Galileo's foray into church politics -- how a committee not under the pope's direct control hassled Galileo for reporting some of his astronomical discoveries. I'm no longer sure what any of this has to do with creationism. We need a topic called the quest for truth or something like that. --User:Ed Poor

Well, Ed, since you put it like that, feel free to read some Pierre Duhem on medieval physics. They were a tad smarter than you're giving them credit for, Catholic Church and all. Stanley Jaki is a nice introduction. --MichaelTinkler

5

"Neologisms like "scientific creationism" and "intelligent design theory" are regarded by the vast majority of practising scientists, theologians and philosophers of science as meaningless.

The names of the theories aren't what are regarded as meaningless, are they? Perhaps crucial elements of the theories are regarded as meaningless. (E.g., perhaps no good sense can be given to the notion of creation ex nihilo.) In any case, probably the more important thing to mention is that the theories, insofar as they do seem to be meaningful at all, seem to be unsupported and unverifiable. (I can maintain that the theories are unverifiable but, disagreeing with verificationism, believe them to be more-or-less meaningful--just false. Far from all scientists, theologians, and philosophers of science are verificationists.)

How about: "A very large ['vast' pours salt in the wound] majority of practising scientists, theologians and philosophers of science believe scientific creationism and intelligent design theory [identifying these as 'neologisms' in this context is to dismiss them]--terms many of them cannot use without shuddering--to be untenable, either because they are scientifically unsupportable and unverifiable, or because they are outright nonsense." --User:LMS

6

In reference to the following:

[We need a way to sum up the situation that does not make it seem as though Wikipedia officially endorses evolutionary science, as the above does. (Whoever gets the last word seems the victor, eh?) Yes, that sounds ridiculous, but that's an illustration of lack of bias.]

One can carry the "lack of bias" mantra too far. If Wikipedia didn't officially endorse evolutionary science, it would be derelict in its duty to educate. Its only obligation to non-bias is to accurately report that some people choose not to believe in evolution. It should also not call those people idiots, or otherwise make derogatory comments about them (the word "nonsense" is probably a bit strong, though I happen to believe that, and I like the rest of LMS's phrasing). But it most definitely should report accurately that evolution, as endorsed with near unanimity among educated biologists, accurate describes the biological world, and that creationism does not. The article on Numerology is a good example: it clearly shows why it doesn't make sense, accurately identifies it as nonscientific, and merely reports that some people believe it. --LDC

I'd like to make a distinction between
(a) reporting the findings of science, e.g., "science has found..." or "it's the univeral opinion of scientists that..." or "Biologists unanimously agree that..." or "according to science..."
and
(b) requiring students to voice agreement with something their religion teaches against. Nearly half of American adults disagree with evolution altogether. Almost as many disagree with the Theory of Evolution per se and want the creationist view taught -- if not labelled "science", at least as not denigrated as "wrong" or "contrary to fact". --User:Ed Poor

7

Ed: The creationist view isn't science -- its religion. Religion has no place in a science class -- religion belongs in the religion class (if the school has one.)

I beg to differ. Intelligent Design seems scientific to me. Questions about falsifiability certainly are relevant in a science class. I'd hate to see a student marked down or punished for saying, "You're teaching that God had nothing to do with the creation of human beings, and I just cannot accept that." This would constitute at worst, a religious comment on science, which is protected in America by the First Amendment (free speech, freedom of religion). --User:Ed Poor
Action by God is not a scientific explanation. It may be a perfectly valid religious explanation, but it is not a scientific explanation. Scientific explanations do not involve supernatural entities such as divine beings. Anything with God in it is not science. A student who wrote on a science exam claiming God created humans should get zero for the question -- its a science exam, not a piece of paper to write your own religious opinions on. -- User:SJK
  • I don't see why action by God should automatically be considered unscientific. Infection caused by an invisible substance was considered unscientific in the 1800s, although in retrospect we might say that the refusal then to even consider the matter then was itself unscientific.
  • I see nothing in the scientific method specifically excluding supernatural forces as being in the domain of science.
  • I have heard that there is a body of learning known as the scientific study of religion.
  • A student who wrote that God created humans, while acknowledging the accepted scientific theory should get extra credit, not a zero, provided they dealt with the issue of falsifiability.

--User:Ed Poor

And besides, suppose the majority of students believed that the Earth was a flat disk, and said that believing that the earth was semi-spherical was against there religion. Should we teach flat-earthism as equally valid as round-earthism? Or suppose they thought the theory of relativity was a lie (something which, by the way, a lot of Nazis did) or that it was against their religion -- does it follow that we should teach the view that the theory of relativity, and not denigrate it as false? Suppose they thought that mechanistic physics (as in Gallileo, Descartes, Newton, etc.) was the work of the devil, and that the universe was really teleological (as in Aristotle) -- should we teach this also?

If a majority believed such outlandish views, it would behoove a science teacher to be polite, saying rather "science has found..." than "You are wrong." or "Sit down and shut up." Then, turn the discussion into an examination of the scientific method, falsifiability, et al. A student has the right to reject science's standards of falsifiability. Do they lose that right upon entering a science classroom? --User:Ed Poor
Well, if they reject science's standards of falsifiability, what are they doing studying science? If you wish to study a field, you must accept the field's basic presuppotions, at least for the purposes of studying it. (What one believes in one's own time is one's own business.) -- User:SJK
There are valid reasons for studying a field without accepting its basic presuppositions. Curiousity is one, desire to challenge a premise is another. The decision to exclude supernatural causes may one day prove to have been arbitrary. Suppose, for example that life after death is proven, or the efficacy of prayer. I believe discussions on the limits of science are germane to the study of science, which is modern man's primary means of extending the body of knowledge. --User:Ed Poor

The fact is that creationism is rejected by almost all persons in the relevant scientific fields. Evolution, on the contrary, is accepted by almost all persons in these fields as scientific facts. Schools should teach the scientific facts according to expert opinion. If some students disapprove of science on religious grounds -- that is there problem. -- User:SJK

8

I don't think that what I asked carries the lack of bias policy too far. I very strongly disagree with your stated view that Wikipedia would be derelict in its duty to educate by not officially endorsing evolutionary science. In fact, I really wonder why you say this. Insofar as education includes the teaching of values, as it does and should (I think), I don't think that Wikipedia should engage in education; it should engage, rather, in reporting. Compare these two claims of yours:

  1. But it most definitely should report accurately that evolution, as endorsed with near unanimity among educated biologists, accurate describes the biological world, and that creationism does not.
  2. The article on Numerology is a good example: it clearly shows why it doesn't make sense, accurately identifies it as nonscientific, and merely reports that some people believe it.

The Numerology example doesn't illustrate what you want it to illustrate. The Numerology article does not state that Numerology is false. It states that it is nonscientific, which (I am supposing) is uncontroversial. In precisely the same way, I think we should not claim that evolution accurately describes the biological world and creationism does not. There are many good reasons, that we can review if you wish, that it is far preferable to say, instead: most scientists embrace evolutionary theory and reject creationism. This gets the idea across.

I don't think encyclopedias should be in the business of doing anything other than stating facts that sane, thinking people--among whom I would include, yes, creationists--can agree upon. If not on the subject matter itself, then they can usually agree on how competing views are characterized; or at least they can agree to allow each side to be permitted to characterize its own view sympathetically and to criticize other views. When an article becomes contentious, I think we should "go meta."

Please don't forget to distinguish between the two main currents of Creationism: Intelligent Design, which accepts the authenticity of the fossil record and the mechanism of natural selection; and Sudden Creationism. --Ed Poor

Why should there be any resistance to this? I'm very curious to know. Do you want to have a (another) debate about this on neutral point of view? --User:Larry Sanger

P.S. I find your resistance to the word "nonsense" puzzling, and it indicates that, perhaps, you aren't entirely understanding the nonbias policy the way I understand it. I think it is all-important that the claim of nonsense is attributed to someone, rather than asserted to be the case by the author of the article itself. When it is attributed to someone, it immediately becomes uncontroversial and straightforwardly fact-stating (no matter how irritating to creationists). --User:LMS

9

Sorry, but strong disagreement with the above. Neutrality is about stating facts rather than opinions, and the existence of evolution is as close to a fact as we are ever going to get. Certainly it is going to be taken as such on virtually every biology page written, because the phylogeny of organisms is important, and it would be an unbelievable headache to have to qualify it in every case to avoid offending a minority of people who are wrong. I say giving fair treatment to anything so unanimously decreed as false by workers in the field is silly and makes a mockery of the concept of objectivity. Or should we also make allowances for the flat earth hypothesis on our geography and astronomy pages?

As for creationists still being thinking and sane people, well - yes, they probably are. But that doesn't mean that the hypothesis is any less ridiculous. Aristotle believed in physics that can be disproved with a bowl and some water. And what will we do with the views of historical revisionists? --JG

10

Perhaps--consider the possibility a moment--it is possible, in most articles that elaborate evolutionary theory and processes, simply to use a few words that imply that the claims in question are the views and the results of work by scientists. Then creationists will have nothing to do complain about.

You say "neutrality is about stating facts rather than opinions." Well, that's a quick-and-easy way to put it. It is more accurate to say that, where there is significant disagreement on a point, then neutrality demands that the disagreement be fairly characterized. Be careful to understand what this does and does not imply. It does imply that evolutionary science not be stated as fact and creation science as obviously false (rather, it implies that these views be described as being held by certain groups of people, and then the public can draw their own conclusions; you don't mind that they draw their own conclusions, do you?). It does not imply that, whenever you mention anything about evolutionary theory, you say something to the effect that creationists disagree. It does not imply that you outright assert, "Evolution is just a hypothesis." This too would be hugely controversial. You would be fully in your rights to say that most scientists fully believe evolution to be a very well-substantiated theory, as well-substantiated as many less controversial theories.

In general, and most importantly, this principle does not imply that our articles have to look like we think that evolutionary theory and creationism are equally weighted, and we (Wikipedia article authors) can't make up our minds. If you think that's what it implies, you don't understand the principle. Don't you think it's possible not to take an official stand, and yet still very strongly be in favor of one of the views? Of course it is. Why would you resist doing this, then, when you can (after all) say that most respected scientists reject creationism? It seems you want to cow creationists and people whose minds are not made up--as silly as they might seem to you and me--into believing what you believe. That's never the right way to go about it. Is there something wrong with letting people draw their own conclusions?

The Wikipedia articles on controversial subjects are not likely to change any minds. The kooks will go on believing kooky things, the rational people will go on being rational, and we can take enormous pride in reporting accurately on the situation.

As to historical revisionists, sometimes they're right, eh? And even when they're not, sometimes their views need to be reported--if only as a fascinating sociological phenomenon. --User:LMS

11

The problem is that evolution is not controversial, not among anyone except the misinformed and those with an agenda. I honestly think that continual treatment of evolution as if it is the consensus of an extreme majority of scientists, rather than fact, is misleading. Do you think that it is a good idea to prefix every page with such a statement? "Most scientists now believe that Calcium has an atomic weight of 40.078..." It's silly, but if not, then topics like evolution are going to appear strongly singled out as questionable.

Historical revisionists are probably more important even. Yes, they can be interesting, but statement of their opinions as anything even resembling potential fact isn't just wrong, it is potentially offensive. To take the extreme example, even if it invokes Godwin's law against myself, what do you suppose would be the response if we said the holocaust was something widely considered to have occured by most historians, rather than something that occured? I'd consider that an awful legitamization of some of the worst opinions available. Or would you throw out such claims and keep those of other revisionists, less offensive but certainly no more valid? I say the best ground for decision is on merit; meritless arguments should not need consideration, unless we want to pretend all of reality is an opinion. And those probably include young earth creationism.

--User:Josh Grosse

12

I'm with Josh here. Evolution is not controversial within the scientific community. As someone who has spent the best part of ten years researching creationism, I can attest that Creationists are not crazies or ignorant (far from it in many cases). However, in accordance with the views of 99% of theologians, scientists and philosophers, they are wrong. We should state so emphatically. To do otherwise is to be spineless. Evolution has traditionally been singled out among scientific areas and people are more likely to use accomodationist language so as to placate a vocal minority. This, I assure you, is contrary to the aims of any good project (particularly if it is haunted by the shades of the original Encyclopediestes). Evolution is a fact, natural selection is currently one of the few scientific mechanisms by which evolution can occur. Move on.

--User:Jmlynch

13

Hear! Hear! I personally admire philosophers a great deal, study philosophy, and enjoy throwing the monkey wrench of doubt into common beliefs as much as anyone. But when philosophers and others go beyond rational skepticism to justify what are simply and clearly mistakes, one should throw at them what one personally believes to be a brick, and assuage one's conscience with the assurance that they are free to believe otherwise. --LDC

14

I'll reply later, but I would like to see someone reply, dispassionately, to my arguments. I had some, if you didn't notice. You're all rational people; you should be able to appreciate my efforts. --User:LMS


I think we all agree with your arguments, and even with your value judgement that Wikipedia articles should be fact-stating and unbiased (two very independent goals). I think our disagreements here are with (1) the standard by which we decide that something is a fact, and (2) the extent of implied bias in fact-stating prose. There is no such thing as a fact without a standard by which it is judged to be a fact--even simple observational statements like "Fred claims that grass is green" imply that someone at some point judged this to be a fact because he observed Fred saying it (thus "direct observation" being the standard), and might be argued by someone. I happen to think "agreed upon with near unanimity by persons educated in the field" is a sufficient criterion for factualness. Sure, that will occasionally require us to change when some new discovery upsets an established fact, but so what? Any standard will require change--so why not choose one that's useful. Even your stricter standard of "totally uncontroversial" is no guarantee against future change.

Further, one can easily propagandize by stating only facts. A full page of "Creationists believe that...because..." with no reference to contradictory evidence or any other claim is clearly a propaganda piece, even though it happens to be fact-stating. The goal of eliminating bias requires more than merely being fact-stating. It also requires us to judge the rhetorical effect of an article, and to add rebutting facts where needed. I also believe that it is fundamentally impossible to eliminate all bias, and the all readers of any purportedly-factual article should understand that all authors have biases, and read in that context.

I hold the additional value judgments that Wikipedia should be lucid and useful. I believe that being overly afraid of bias sometimes compromises those goals, by cluttering articles with reportage on clearly useless beliefs held by a few minorities. This latter is certainly open to argument. Yes, an article specifically about Creationism (which is by its very nature a controversial belief) should probably stick to making claims about who said what, how many believe what, and how such beliefs compare to other scientific and theological beliefs. Reporting on a controversy as a controversy is a worthwhile thing for an encyclopedia to do. The articles should also point out arguments on both sides, but we should further report what are actual arguments and what are simply unsupported claims, because that is useful. Even the article on evolution should probably mention that there are a few people who choose to dispute it, and point to the article on Creationism, though it should otherwise be written simply and clearly by treating it as a the ordinary uncontroversial fact it is.

General articles on biology, on the other hand, should simply treat evolution as uncontroversial, because no serious biologist disagrees, and failure to do so compromises understanding of the subject. Articles about radiocarbon dating or tree rings should not be cluttered with an unnecessary reference to the fact that a few folks happen to believe that God placed all of the old rocks and trees here 6000 years ago, and is just trying to confuse us. --LDC

15

Can someone tell me where the matter involved in the Big Bang came from? If not, you will have to cut creationism in one stripe or color or another, some slack. All creationism is not biblical literalism. It is, however, in every case, an effort to arrive at a rational answer which science has so far not been able to provide ie, where everything came from. This is not Evolution/Talk, but Creationism/Talk. As something better than half the world populace embraces some kind of creationist explanation for the beginning of things, then we are not talking about appeasing a vocal minority here. We are talking about acknowledging what we don't know - the first step to finding out...

The simple belief that the world as it exists was created by a supernatural being is not what we are talking about here. The word "creationist" is never used to mean that; the word means denial of biological evolution, and that's what we're talking about. What you describe is merely Theism. --LDC

16

Let's get this straight once and for all (I have to do this with students every semester). Firstly, the Big Bang or any other theory of cosmogenesis has nothing to do with evolutionary thinking. Cosmologists could theorize about the universe and it would not dent the theory of evolution one bit. Secondly, and almost most importantly, creationists don't really care about cosmology - it's the proposition that humans evolved that creates problems for them (a proposition that is indepndant of cosmology). Lastly, theories of abiogenesis also have nothing to do with evolution. Evolutionary theory explains how the diversity of life on Earth came to it's present state, not how life got here and not how the universe got here.

Creationism is not an 'effort to arrive at a rational answer'. Rationality has nothing to do with it. As any theologian will tell you, the project of rationalizing the existence of a creator has fallen into disrepute for various reasons. Creationists can believe whatever they like about the history of life, but that does not mean they make scientific statements.

--User:Jmlynch


Jim I am talking about creationism, not about evolution (pro or con). Did you notice that? Humans arrive at answers through reason. Use of reason = 'effort to arrive at a rational answer.' Let's get this straight once and for all - creationism, as a holding, is not necesarily either pro- or anti-evolution. That is the area where we see the most frequent fireworks and high-profile clashes, but please quit cofusing the two. Again - this is creationism/Talk.

'effort to arrive at a rational answer' = "I can see what caused z; y caused it. I can see what caused y; x caused it. I have investigated until I am blue in the face, and cannot tease out of the universe what caused a. Maybe whatever caused it is not natural, but super-natural. Maybe that's why I can't get at it." This may not be scientific method, but it is how people rationalize. Ie, it is an effort to arrive at rational answer.

This is where creationism as a subject comes from. Then we later on down the road get into such things as oral tradition, legends, myths, scriptures, and other means of passing down the stories about the supernatural. Never proved nor disproved, neither provable nor disprovable by scientific means, they are, by definition, unscientific. Now there are some parts of this tradition which seem to run afoul of scientific evidence. The most notable of these in recent time involves timescale of this planet and origin of species. When the scientist points this out to the dyed-in-the-wool hardline fundamental biblical literalist, the irresistible force meets the immoveable object. At the same time, bits and pieces of biblical history are verfied by archaeology daily. So, "See! The Bible is the infallible word of God!" and the scientist cringes.

BUT it is not necessarily the case that unscientific = wrong, any more that it is the case that proof of bible history a = proof of the whole bible.

To say that creationists believe that someone created things in the beginning is not to say that they beleive, 1-for-1, that SCIENCE in its infinite wisdom, ultimate arbiter of all human knowledge, is wrong. It is to say - "we believe these extra-scientific facts to be true." And who is to gainsay them?

When writing about evolution, that other topic, explain what theories it encompasses.

When writing about creationism, explain what theories it encompasses.

When writing about cosmologies, mention creationism. It happens to be one such.

Why is it necessary to flay the creationist? Has someone here disproven that a supreme influence, possibly an intelligent one, created the universe? Has someone read the report of a researcher who has? I think not. It's unfalsifiable. So it's unscientific. That does not make it wrong, or even irrational. "The geologic record does not support a literal biblical version of planetary time scale and origin of species." So how does that invalidate creationism as an overall subject?

17

LMS - I am with you 100%

and...

Blatantly stealing from Webster:

Main Entry: cre·a·tion·ism Pronunciation: -sh&-"ni-z&m Function: noun Date: 1880

a doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis -- compare EVOLUTION

Hey LDC - how do mean creationism is "never" used to mean that the world as it exists was created by a supernatual being?


OK, then, describe that as another sense of the word. The most common meaning of the word is as your definition above describes it: that various forms of life were created, as opposed to the belief that they evolved from a single earlier form. This is what a newspaper or magazine would generally mean when they describe someone as a "creationist writer" or something. If you choose to also use the word to mean mere theist, or to think of creationism as cosmology rather than biology, I suppose you're free to do so, but that's a second sense of the word, and perhaps separate articles should treat them as such. --LDC

If webster and I are wrong as to what the word means, then we'd better re-write the wikipedia article to reflect that creationism is only anti-evolutionism and nothing else.


The defense rests. You guys divvy up creationism into different articles however you want. maybe there should be an article biology/creationism (how's that for an oxymoron?) and another (which is the branch under which I created this one) cosmology/creationism arrows pointed to see each other, see theism, etc. I don't have the time right now. Damn - I just realized my cookies have somehow been cleared. This has been AyeSpy raving on above. Did not mean to hide my light under a bushel...

Then the article is misleading: the very first sentence says that creationism is the belief that a supreme being "created the physical universe and all life contained therein." Make up your mind: if you are a calling it a cosmology, then you can't include life, because life evolved long after the birth of the universe. If you want to include life, then call it a biology and take your lumps from the evolutionists. --LDC

Larry's Big Reply

Before I reply, let me just say that if we can agree that creationism as it stands, apart perhaps from the fact that the evolutionist insists on having the last word, is adequately unbiased, then our dispute is probably academic. So--on with the academic dispute!

I totally agree with your guys' attitude toward creationism. I think it's silly nonsense, too. Let's get that straight--we don't need to debate the merits of the theory (unless Bruce wants to do so). Moreover, I am probably the biggest commonsense realist and defender of rationality here. If you think my position is rooted in anything like relativism, that is excellent evidence that you don't understand my position and that you need to re-read what I've written more carefully. Jimbo, too, is a realist and defender of rationality, and he shares my view (in generalities, at least), as you can see on neutral point of view. Gee, how can that be? Read on.

Why on earth would I wanna do that, Larry? It's not like I advocate Creationism as such or anything. I only tried to point out that beating on the creationists is counter-productive. - AyeSpy (aka BrucieBaby)

1. Is evolution controversial? Yes--to the public at large, which will be reading Wikipedia. No--to scientists. For whom are we writing? The public at large--and scientists. (Perhaps that's what causes our problem here.) Lee says: "General articles on biology, on the other hand, should simply treat evolution as uncontroversial, because no serious biologist disagrees, and failure to do so compromises understanding of the subject." I think this is wrong on two counts. First, while evolution is uncontroversial among serious biologists, it is controversial among an alarmingly large portion of the general public; you do them and yourselves no favors by ignoring this controversy. Second, I see no reason to believe that recognizing that nonbiologists do not accept evolution as fact in any way "undermines understanding" of evolution. It doesn't even undermine your real goal, of course, which is to get people to accept evolution instead of getting caught up in idiotic creationist nonsense. In fact, the opposite is true: by failing to recognize the controversy, you essentially alienate the people you most want to teach. You would prefer indoctrination, it seems.

I think you may overestimate the controversy over evolution in the general public, but I agree with your point wholeheatedly - AyeSpy

2. Will we have to qualify every statement, or even every page, with a statement to the effect that it is the view of scientists? No, of course not. Why not? Because it's not controversial to anyone. Will we have to highlight discredited minority views as prominently as scientific fact? Of course not.

3. If we do describe scientific fact as what is accepted by all or nearly all scientists, then how are we misleading anyone? The question, again, is how? Have we encouraged anyone to believe anything other than what you want them to believe? Where's the downside you all fear?

4. Josh writes: "Historical revisionists are probably more important even. Yes, they can be interesting, but statement of their opinions as anything even resembling potential fact isn't just wrong, it is potentially offensive." Josh, I am not saying that historical revisionism should be presented as "anything even resembling potential fact." I am saying that the view should be described and appropriately attributed. How does that imply that the opinions will be presented as "anything even resembling potential fact"? Please bear in mind that we can reserve plenty of room for attributed explanations of why mainstream historians regard various kinds of historical revisionism as so much hokum. Our including such explanations is absolutely essential to having an unbiased encyclopedia, by the way.

5. Josh again: "To take the extreme example, even if it invokes Godwin's law against myself, what do you suppose would be the response if we said the holocaust was something widely considered to have occured by most historians, rather than something that occured? I'd consider that an awful legitamization of some of the worst opinions available." I would say that this is a very poor illustration (i.e., a "straw man") of my position. I imagine we should first clearly present what is generally believed about the Holocaust; then, perhaps quite far down in the article, we should have a paragraph or two that says something to the effect that the above is accepted (in generalities anyway) by all but a very small handful of trained historians, called Holocaust deniers and revisionists, blah blah blah, and explain the facts of that. This then attributes the claims about the Holocaust in a perfectly appropriate way and also mentions the fact that there is another (very minority) view. At the same time, we can state that most historians (most people) find such revisionism not only obviously false, but extremely morally repugnant. I hope I am making my position clearer now.

6. Is my position "spineless"? Jmlynch thinks so: "in accordance with the views of 99% of theologians, scientists and philosophers, they are wrong. We should state so emphatically. To do otherwise is to be spineless. ... This, I assure you, is contrary to the aims of any good project (particularly if it is haunted by the shades of the original Encyclopediestes)." Well, as a modern-day encyclopedist who has thought for many, many hours about this stuff (even before I started working on an encyclopedia), I can "assure you" that our doing what I ask is not in the slightest "spineless." Well, so much for mutual assurances; now to arguments. I think I can understand your reason for thinking so. Your assumption appears to be that, if we do not explicitly declare something to be true, then the reader can draw certain inferences about us--such as that we wish to placate creationists, or that we think creationism might be scientifically respectable, or that we might be creationists ourselves, etc., etc. Well, no. Reasonable people do not draw such inferences when presented with unbiased texts. You yourself, Jim, would not typically draw such inferences--you know better, of course. Suppose that a history text adopted a policy of failing to identify Nazi scum as the murdering bastards they were--but simply reported the facts about what they did. Would it be reasonable to assume that the text's author(s) might just be willing to admit the possibility that the Nazis were upstanding citizens doing a service to Europe?

Factually, I have read some very dry and "non-judgemental" accounts, practically devoid of adjectives. They still gave me the heebeejeebees and I never thought for a moment the author favored the Nazis. - AyeSpy


-- The facts about what they did, simply reported, permit most readers to judge for themselves that the Nazis were in fact "murdering bastard scum". Readers who make the judgement that the Nazis were in fact "upstanding citizens doing a service to Europe" would probably not be influenced by the editor's stating his/her personal opinion to the contrary. Arguably, we are insulting the reader by assuming he/she needs to be "pushed" to see things our way. -- 27 Septenber 2001.


7. Are being fact-stating and unbiased independent goals? No: in order to be unbiased, you must be fact-stating. In particular, you must be very clear about how you word the facts about what various majority and minority positions are. I contrast (in the present context--not when I'm talking metaphysics & philosophy of language, where 'fact' is a technical term) fact with opinion; opinions can be correct (and thus fact-stating), but one identifies something as a fact to emphasize that it is not under dispute, and one identifies something as an opinion in order to emphasize that it is under dispute. If, in our evolution article, we say that evolution is a "proven fact," while this is no doubt true (i.e., evolutionary theory has met ordinary standards of scientific evidence), the force of saying it is that evolution is simply not under dispute. Well, it is under dispute by your readers, guys. And (damnably) that's a fact. You aren't going to change their minds, or make the world otherwise any safer for rationality and science (which I love at least as much as you do), by explicitly averring that evolution is a fact and creationism is false. Actually, what you do is close off the avenues of discourse by doing so, setting up the less-rational folk in an antagonistic stance toward you, and make it harder to help them see the light. (Think of this as intellectual diplomacy.)

8. "Further, one can easily propagandize by stating only facts." Very true; that's why we shouldn't refer to my position as merely that articles should be fact-stating. They should be unbiased. I've explained what I mean by this in many different places many different times. "A full page of 'Creationists believe that...because...' with no reference to contradictory evidence or any other claim is clearly a propaganda piece, even though it happens to be fact-stating." I totally agree, and I will thank you for not setting up further caricatures of my view.

9. "I also believe that it is fundamentally impossible to eliminate all bias, and the all readers of any purportedly-factual article should understand that all authors have biases, and read in that context." But whenever we can identify bias, we can eliminate it--one way or another, and usually by going "meta." Give yourself some credit; people are creative; we can think of ways to eliminate bias when we spot it. (If you're still not convince, I suspect this is because you have a useless, impossibly-restrictive concept of bias. Personally, I prefer my concepts to be useful.)

10. "I believe that being overly afraid of bias sometimes compromises those goals, by cluttering articles with reportage on clearly useless beliefs held by a few minorities." Why think that articles will be cluttered with views held by minorities? If they are minority views, they will not be highlighted and ubiquitous in the same way that the majority views will be. That's as it should be. No one can reasonably complain.

My conclusion:

We should not impose our values on other thinking people. You are all liberal-minded people, I trust--not liberal politically, necessarily, but liberal in the sense that you want to free minds. I enjoin you to think carefully about the best way to achieve this. By failing to take stands on controversial issues, we aren't demonstrating weakness--in fact, we are demonstrating the strength of our faith in the minds of our fellow human beings. We should let them arrive at their own conclusions. We should trust them to use their own minds--just as you want to be trusted. More benighted souls than our enlightened selves will appreciate our stance and be more apt to listen when we hand down the truth.

I don't know if I can make my case any more completely...

No need to... - AyeSpy

Larry

19

Yes, well said. Perhaps my initial reaction comes from a different mindset about the "audience" of our work, since I generally think of encyclopedias as things used by schoolchildren, or adults looking for quick explanations of things outside their fields of expertise. Your view seems more appropriate to a collaboratively built growing record of facts, usable as a resource even for those with expertise. I certainly cannot argue with that vision, or your method for achieving it.

I would like to expand upon something you mentioned in passing that I think is important: you mentioned that an article might written largely as though uncontroversial, followed by a mention that the text above is believed by a majority, but controversial in that others believe something else (which is then linked to). I think this is a great method of doing it, and if using this technique meets with your approval I wholeheartedly endorse it as a way to write both lucidly and without bias. This seems appropriate for the article on the majority view, while the article on the minority view might be written more from the minority's own viewpoint (though careful to remain fact-stating).

Finally, I have encountered some places where I think minor amounts of open bias in an otherwise factual article is useful and not very controversial, so some simple method of doing those appropriately is needed. The specific example I have in mind is my pages on poker, which are full of opinions like "X makes a more interesting game than Y", or "game X is best played with betting structure Y", or "clay chips are easier to use than thin plastic ones", and so on. I originally wrote most of this text as a potential book which was full of my personal opinions. In the process of Wikifying it have removed opinions that were more significant and might be more controversial ("many casinos have rule X, which is stupid and counterproductive"), but those other little tidbits are the kind of thing I think someone learning the game of poker from a text such as this will want to know, and I think it's a waste of time to reword them all into "many poker players believe..." form. Of course if someone does object at some point (perhaps a manufacturer of plastic chips?), then rewording and pointing to other opinions might be necessary, but until then, I think they are clean and useful as they are. --LDC

20

Scientists believing in evolution as part of their work (basically all geologists and a good chunk of biologists) have made themselves easy targets for the religious loonies.

Evolution as taught and published in research papers, up to about 1980 was almost always a crock of unscientific shit, based more on bizarre ethical and religious ideas that hardly anyone belived, than on any observational basis, or any relationship with other well-founded scientific theories. That it took a bunch of loonies with no interest in science to put these failings on the agenda is very sad.

Since then evolutionary scientists have started to put their house in order. They still have a way to go, but some of the leading biologists and geologists are now researching evolution in a scientific way, and a genuine scientific theory of evolution is starting to emerge.


In teaching, especially at high school level, evolution is still stuck firmly in the 17th century. I really mean that. Although the name of Darwin is always mentioned, his ideas hardly ever are, and are never taken seriously, let alone some of the more modern ideas.

Maybe some of this should make it into the article (or maybe a different article about history of theory of evolution). Obviously it is not encyclopedia material as is, someone would have to do a complete rewrite from scratch.

21

I'm a big Steven Jay Gould fan. It's not so much because he's a brilliant geologist/biologist. Too be honest, I don't know whether he's brilliant, sort of good at it, or just plain incompetant. I like him more because he's the sort of person to write half a book about .400 hitters in baseball and essays on the Defenstration of Prague, and do a very fine job of it. I don't unswervingly trust everything he says, though, because I have no background and little comparable research to base it on. But the only mention I've ever heard him make of creationism is interesting, and I think it should be brought up here.

According to him, in The Panda's Thumb, I think it was, Creationism is an almost entirely American phenonmenon. He claims that most Europeans, even the most stringently religious, entirely embrace Evolution. John Paul II very nearly ( though not quite ) called evolution incontrovertible awhile ago. Since the only time I've ever been to Europe was a very bitter and unhappy one month stay in Oxford, with not much theological conversation, I was wondering whether or not this could be confirmed by someone who knows more about what they're talking about than myself. As for the rest of the world, I'd imagine that East Asia and India isn't very fertile creationist ground, and I've got no clue how Islam treats the issue.

Yes it is true that evolution is not controversial in Europe. I grew up in Ireland, one of the most conservatively Catholic countries in Europe (though much less so now) and in my religion class we were thought that people did in fact evolve from apes, and that at some point God decided they were far enough along and gave them a soul. --User:Eob

I'd imagine that if the world view is significantly different than the American view, that probably would affect Wikipedia's policy in some way. The way I look at the matter, is that Darwinism, Natural Selection, or whatever you want to call it ( Evolution, which I've been unfortunately using so far, is a gross misnomer ) is a scientific law. Plain and simple. What goes up, must come down. The sun rises in the east. E equals MC squared, and species diversify according to rules of competition, climatic changes, genetics, and other such things that are well known. Those very few biologists who are strict creationist set out in the field of biology with the express intent of disproving evolution, and still have no basis for the 7 days nonsense. As for the original amino acids and divinely inspired puddles of goo, I just personally don't care whether or not god or anyone else got involved. But that's just me. User:Seckstu

Hear, hear. Creationism is a crackpot theory and should be presented as such as long as no shred of evidence can be presented. --Pinkunicorn

The latter is entirely the wrong approach. Yes, creationism is a crackpot theory. No, it should not be presented as such, precisely because there are many people, some of them quite intelligent people who would like to make up their own minds for themselves, thank you very much, who disagree that it's a crackpot theory. It is not our job to convince the world of the truth. It is our job to present the facts about what the theory says, about what evidence there is (or is not) for the theory, about who promulgates it and their arguments and who opposes it and their arguments--and do all this in an unbiased fashion--and let people make up their own minds for themselves. If we do this, we will gain the respect of everyone, including the vast majority of those who think that creationism is a crackpot theory. --User:LMS

22

I think this article should be clearly about (so-called) "scientific creationism". If I hear the word creationism, that is what pops into my mind. At present the article begins with a statement which many people who believe in evolution might agree with:

Creationism is a philosophical or religious position grounded in the idea that a supreme being or ultimate mover literally created the physical universe and all life contained therein. Within the Judeo-Christian tradition, this creation is taken to be ex nihilo (out of nothing), but some Biblical scholars have argued that this comes from a mistranslation of Genesis.

Also, I agree it is primarily an American phenomena, but it has spread to other parts of the world, e.g. Australia. I once had a substitute English teacher a few years ago (back when I was in high school) who was a "scientific" creationist. I also not so long ago saw ads posted up around Macquarie University (my uni) advertising lectures run by Answers-in-Genesis, an American creationist organization. But I'd still say it has a lot less support in Australia than in the US. -- User:Simon J Kissane

23

Moved this to /Talk 1 October 2001:

"[We need a way to sum up the situation that does not make it seem as though Wikipedia officially endorses evolutionary science, as the above does. (Whoever gets the last word seems the victor, eh?) Yes, that sounds ridiculous, but that's an illustration of lack of bias.]"


Moved from talk:Main_Page:

Don't know where this goes, since James Ussher doesn't have a page yet.... does anyone know if he's the guy that argue that God, when he created the Earth & all its animals and plants, etc., also created fossils of animals that no longer existed--created them *as* fossils, which had never been actual alive animals? Anyone know what that school of thought was called?

You're thinking of Philip Henry Gosse, who wrote a book called Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie The Geological Knot that expounded this idea. It crashed and burned in such a firestorm of criticism from both scientists and biblical literalists that I don't think it ever gained a groovy name a la uniformitarianism or catastrophism. Gosse called it "prochronism", but I don't think that got into the language. It's generally referred to as "Omphalos" after the book, or sometimes "in situ creation" -- User:Paul Drye

24

I'd like to pose a brief, very honest question concerning falsifiability as it relates to creationism and evolution. Based on the falsifiability article, I can easily agree that Creationism is about as falsifiable as the very existence of God, for about the same reasons. But how is evolution falsifiable? The experiment itself would have to last those same billions of years, wouldn't it? --Wesley, a Christian who has wondered about this for a while......

Lots of potential observations would falsify evolution: for example, finding reverse-dated fossils (i.e., finding a fossil of a species dated older than the species from which it apparently descended); finding colorful sexual-selection markings on a species without vision (like blind fish and moles); finding a species so bizarre and different from all others that it has no plausible ancestor (say, finding one that doesn't use DNA/RNA); finding a species with a new complex major body organ or apparatus that is totally absent from its closest ancestors. That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but there are probably others. --LDC

I think the issue is more delicate than that: Darwinism is ultimately a probabilistic theory. Things that increase fitness are more likely to happen, but they don't have to happen, nor are things that decrease fitness impossible to happen. There are virtually no rules in biology without exception, there are just some things that are vastly more likely than others, and for good reasons. Not all species are well-adapted: in fact, all species die out after a short while, so observing a particularly mis-adapted species could just mean that it is in the last phase of its life cycle.

Supporting or falsifying probabilistic theories is a difficult matter. If I show you a die, and claim it is loaded, how can you test this hypothesis without cutting the die in pieces? You have to roll it repeatedly, but what counts as a falsification? Statisticians come up with criteria of course, but they are not as hard and fast as one would like, and they are difficult to apply to biology, because Darwinism is not advanced enough predict the answer to a question like "How likely is it that a species living exclusively in water would have lungs as opposed to gills". If Darwinism could compute a probability, then the statistician could attempt to check it against the evidence. Darwinism is a qualitative, not even a quantitative, probabilistic theory at this point, and it is truly tough to falsify those. --AxelBoldt

The mistake you're making here is assuming that evolution is one theory. It is not. It is literally thousands of theories, each one falsifiable. Formally, the set of such theories is known as the "evolutionary mechanism theories," or EMTs. You cannot falsify the set of EMTs all at once, but you can falsify any one of them. And, in fact, this happens all the time. The consequence is that either the theory is dropped as unsound, adjusted to become more sound, or evaluated in its interaction with other theories, and then perhaps several theories are modified.

I agree with you that the EMT's can be falsified. But I diagree when you say "there's no theory of evolution, just a set of EMTs". There most definitely is an accepted theory that claims to explain how life evolves, in general. It's called the modern evolutionary synthesis, bringing together Darwinism and molecular biology. Any book by Mayr explains it very well. And it is a qualitative probabilistic theory. --AxelBoldt
So I if I had to summarize the above, it sounds like an individual, very specific "evolution mechanism theory" is falsifiable, but the set of all such theories is not. It sounds like even if they were all shown individually to be false, scientists would wait for someone to put forth a new EMT before looking outside of that framework for an explanation. Or to take AxelBoldt's explanation, the general modern evolutionary synthesis is not falsifiable until the exact probability of certain things can be determined in advance. If anyone did come up with such testable probability figures, it would surely be by means of a specific EMT, so if those figures were then shown to not match real world data, then only that one EMT is disproven, and we're right back where we started. So it still seems to be that evolution in the broader sense of the word is no more falsifiable then creationism. Have I missed something?
Thanks for your patience, --Wesley

25

The following was added to the main page, but is clearly commentary, so it belongs here. I think he's right that some mention should be made of the different schools of thought, including "intelligent design" (though it would be incorrect to call it a scientific hypothesis as he does, because it's clearly not falsifiable). ---LDC

I don't see how Intelligent Design is any less falsifiable than random genetic mutation. Tell me more, please.

Don't forget that there are two major kinds of Creationism: Sudden Creationism and Intelligent Design.

Sudden Creationism is the religious doctrine that God created everything in a very short period of time (one week) a relatively short time ago (six thousand years). What He created includes the artifacts known as fossils, which would in this view not comprise a 'record' of any sort.

Intelligent Design is the scientific hypotheses that evolution, i.e, the appearance of new species over time, really did happen. Its cause was not random genetic mutation but intervention by a divine force.

Sudden Creationism is not a scientific theory because it interprets the only evidence available (fossils) according to pre-conceived doctrine. Intelligent design is a viable hypothesis because it fits the facts rather than interpreting them away.

The difference between Intelligent Design and Darwinism is the change agent. While Darwinists regard God as not being involved in evolution (often because of His presumed non-existence), advocates of Intelligent Design regard God as being involved.

-- Ed Poor


Further, in the highly controversial aspect of the evolution of humanity itself, which is where the big hangup is in the minds of creationists, I added a blurb for creationism. I mean, what's the harm. See Homo sapiens, which itself needs some work.  :) --User:Chuck Kincy


This was indented, so it looks like it was intended to be discussion:

Many proponents of Darwin's theory claim that it's compatible with Christianity, but a substantial number of Creationists disagree, disbelieving that random forces could create new species at all, although ID adherents agree that once created, the species would be subject to natural selection.

If it wasn't discussion, it still didn't really fit into the article, and doesn't say anything that isn't already well covered here.

26

WRT the comment on US/not-US views on creationism, there's more to it than that. The comment probably applies in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Western Europe (first-world nominally majority-Christian countries), but beyond I simply don't know (for example, the mostly Catholic areas of South America), suspect that the debate, if any, between evolution and religious creation views is framed in entirely different terms (Japan, for instance), or suspect that much of the general public simply isn't aware of evolutionary theory because of a lack of education (large parts of rural Africa, perhaps). --User:Robert Merkel


It would probably be difficult to find hard data supporting the idea that creationism is less strong outside of the US, but here's my evidence:

  • US is the most religious country, creationism is correlated with religion.
  • I lived for 25 years in Germany; the word "creationism" has no translation, because the notion doesn't exist there. People would be laughed at.
  • Catholic countries don't espouse creationism, since the pope has made his peace with evolutionary science a while ago.

I don't know about islamic countries though. --AxelBoldt


27

There's much more Creationism/Talk than Creationism. I'd like to find a way to extract the arguments for and against Creationism and put them in a Wikipedia article to stand for all time. The threads here are too hard to follow.

How about a structure like I. Define the term II. Explain why (some) people believe it. III. Give a critique of those reasons.

I'm well aware that Darwin's theory is dominant. I have no problem with it getting the lion's share of Wiki space, even on non-Darwinist articles! Just let the other views get heard and understood is all I ask. After that, critique all you want. If the ideas are any good, they'll stand the test. If not, the opposing ideas will be clear winners.

Just have a fair contest. User:Ed Poor

I deleted the comment that "People outside USA accept darwinism" - I want numbers and reference sources. Actually although I am obviously an evolutionist, I would dispute that "darwin's view" is dominant. It certainly is among the "educated" classes of the world, but how many people are "educated" to the point where they can discern the distincrtions of Darwinism? I'm not supportive on any claim regarding "who and how many believe what" until we have HARD DATA with well-defined methodologies for the collection of that data. - User:MMGB

I found some better data to put on the Evolution poll page; it should be folded into the Creationism article eventually. Unfortunately, the best data is Gallup's phone poll of 1000 Americans (which isn't very good); the only European data was an internet poll, which is even worse. --LDC

28

If "commonly-accepted scientific model" means the model commonly accepted by scientists, than it sure isn't ID or any other stripe of Creationism. But if you meant to indicate that the non-Creationist model was commonly accepted by the general public, your own link proves you wrong.

Now, don't get me wrong. I respect you, and I love science. And I'm not going to insist that everyone slap labels of approval on all my pet ideas. But can't you let me describe Creationism is it is, without sticking in your critique before I even get up to speed? --User:Ed Poor

29

Revised this sentence, which glosses over ID's areas of agreement.

Although creationism is not part of the commonly-accepted scientific model of the history of life on Earth, many persons prefer the creationist to the evolutionary model.

Article said Papal acceptance of evolution had ended debate in Catholic countries for "those who hold to Papal infallibility". I deleted the reference to papal infalliability, because evolution is not ex cathedra, so papal infalliability does not apply to it. And besides, most Catholics who accept the Pope's views on evolution don't do so because they believe him to be infalliable on the issue -- rather they believe the scientists, especially since the Pope does not oppose what they say. So I replaced that bit with "for most people." -- User:SJK

30

How can I put in an HTML link to non-wiki information, such as http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/sides.html ?

I put it at the bottom of Creationism. LMS has asked us to label such as "external links". There is a prettier way to format these, which I can never remember. I'm sure someone will enlighten us on this shortly.  :-)

Also, Jonathan Wells writes:

We are frequently told that "evolution is a fact," as undeniable as gravity or the shape of the earth. Anyone who challenges it, at least in an academic setting, is likely to be regarded (in the words of Darwin popularizer Richard Dawkins) as ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked. (1) In the United States, religious people who question evolution are often likened to the caricature of creationists promoted by the 1960 movie "Inherit the Wind," Hollywood's version of the 1925 Scopes trial.
(1) Richard Dawkins, review of Donald Johanson & Maitland Edey's Blueprint in The New York Times, April 9, 1989, sec. VII, p. 34.

-- User:Ed Poor


Moved from main page:

In the United States, whehter most people prefer creationist or evolutionary models depends on how one interprets the evidence. . . . However, this cannot be taken to mean that the 40% who believe God guided evolution believe in Intelligent Design theory -- they may merely believe that God guided evolution as a religious view, while accepting Darwinian evolution. (Or, even more likely, they may not have sufficently understood or thought through the issue to understand the distinction at stake here.)

31

Ed Poor: You removed 'fundamentalist' from the following, saying most Americans believe in creationism and aren't fundamentalists:

The United States fundamentalist Christian community has no real parallels (in terms of numbers, prominence, and political influence) elsewhere in the Western world, and because most vocal creationists are from the United States, it is generally assumed that creationist views are not as common elsewhere.

Firstly, I disagree that most Americans are creationists -- 49% of Americans believe in evolution vs. 47% believe in creation, according to the Gallup Poll. (That 40% believe God has some role in it only makes them creationists if they believe this is a scientific theory.) Secondly, the point is that American support for creationism is because of the influence of Christian Fundamentalism in the US, even if many Christians who support believe in creationism are not fundamentalists. -- User:SJK

No, you're mixed up on the poll numbers. Give me 10 minutes, and I'll lay it all out for you. This war is senseless. Can you be patient? --User:Ed Poor

I mixed up the poll numbers before, but the point was completely correct, and had nothing to do with the poll numbers -- the 40% who support theistic evolution cannot necessarily be counted as creationists -- in fact, many of them would not even identify as creationists. -- User:SJK
Okay, but we were discussing your characterization of evolution-rejecters as 'fundamentalists'? Can it really be that 47% of Americans are fundamentalists? And is this relevant to an article on creationism? --User:Ed Poor
No, I'm not saying that 47% of Americans are fundamentalists. I'm saying that if it was not for the influence of fundamentalism in American society, it is unlikely that so many Americans would be creationists. Certaintly the power of American fundamentalism is an important factor in the frequency of creationism in the US compared to its relative absence in Australia and Europe. Even though not all American creationists are fundamentalists, fundamentalism is a reason why many are creationists.
Secondly, what is a fundamentalist? A fundamentalist, in the Christian context, is defined as someone who believes in biblical literalism and rejects the theory of evolution. (That was the original definition given by the founders of the fundamentalist movement in the US.) Now, a significant proportion (though not all) of the 47% would be fundamentalists under this definition. -- User:SJK

Poll numbers, quoted verbatim from <http://www.gallup.com/poll/releases/pr010214c.asp>

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings

  • 40% Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process.
  • 9% Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process.
  • 47% God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.

Ed: And, the poll, by my interpretation says 49% of Americans believe in evolution, 47% in creationism. I think very few of the 40% who believe in God-guided evolution believe this to be a scientific theory as opposed to religious belief. -- User:SJK


SJK: And my interpretation is that 9% of Americans believe in unguided evolution, 40% in God-guided evolution, and 47% reject evolution altogether. --User:Ed Poor

But you are saying that the 40% who believe in God-guided evolution believe in what you call Intelligent Design Theory, as opposed to having a mere religious belief completely compatible with Darwinian evolution. -- User:SJK

Gosh, no. I have no idea whether any of the 40% who believe in God-guided evolution are even aware of Intelligent Design (ID). Also, I'm not sure how compatible ID is with Darwinian evolution. Doesn't the latter specifically exclude any supernatural causes? If so, this would seem to differentiate from ID, to say the least. --User:Ed Poor

It's entirely "compatible" in the sense that it's entirely irrelevant to it, as are all non-falsifiable theories. --LDC


This discussion is going too fast. I wrote this three or four Edit Conflicts ago:

Perhaps you deem the term 'creationism' to exclude God-guided evolution (see Intelligent Design). If so, we need to decide which usage of 'creationism' the wikipedia will retain. For example, should the articles on Creationism and Intelligent Design be separate, with Creationism held not to include ID? Or will we stick with my proposal that Creationism includes both Sudden Creationism (what you call simply 'creationism') and ID?

I will support whatever best accords with the Wiki Nature. I am really not trying to garner support for my biases, and I am open to constructive criticism.

--User:Ed Poor


I think there are two theories of God-guided evolution, one of which is compatible with Darwinian evolution, the other is not. The one which is incompatible, the one you are putting forward, is that speciation occurs by direct divine action (which is what the Intelligent Design article says). This theory is certaintly a form of creationism (indeed, I would question whether it deserves the title 'evolution', but that is another issue.) The other one, which is compatible with Darwinian evolution, holds that God guided evolution, but puts this forward as a purely religious view, not as a scientific theory. This second theory of God-guided evolution is compatible with Darwinian evolution, and is not a form of creationism.

Now the Gallup Poll you provide does not distinguish these two theories, so the 40% who believe in God-guided evolution could be believing in either. However, I think it is more likely than not they believe in the second theory; most of these respondents probably identified as evolutionists, not creationists, and thought they were agreeing with science, just expressing a religious view on top. However, the Gallup poll itself really can't answer this question. -- User:SJK


I don't think either of your proposed definitions is adequate. As the term is generally used in the press and by most Americans, a "creationist" is someone who rejects evolution, and believes that God created man. This would exclude most ID proponents, but it would include far more people than the small minority which you describe as "sudden" creationists (your term--I've never heard that term anywhere else). I personally know quite a few people who accept, for example, that the Earth is 4 billion years old and that the fossil record is accurate, but maintain that mankind in its present form was created (or instilled with "souls", or whatever) by God. The spectrum of belief is complex and interwoven. It simply cannot be reduced to a few categories. --LDC

I also repaired two sentences that claimed scientists reject ID because it is a religious idea (which is false--they reject it because it is nonfalsifiable), and removed the word "proof" from the next sentence, since no scientist would ever use that word. --LDC


LDC: Just in case there is a misunderstanding here, 'Sudden Creationism' and 'Intelligent Design' are Ed's terms, not mine. (Sudden Creationism occurs only once on Google: http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/GCCCREA.TXT). I think that although there are a broad variety of God-guided evolution viewpoints, they can be divided into two classes -- those compatible with the modern Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, and those incompatible with it. I think that those who believe in theories involving God incompatible with Neo-Darwinian evolution belong in the creationist camp, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise :) -- User:SJK

I'm willing to own up to making up 'sudden creationism' out of my own head, but 'intelligent design' is something I cannot take credit for. See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cosmo.html --User:Ed Poor

I'm not confused, SJK; I was replying to Ed, not you--it just looks that way because the damned edit conflicts make it impossible to have a thoughtful discussion here since we're posting every 5 minutes. And Ed's right--"Intelligent design" is a well-known mainstream term, and deserves coverage. --LDC

Perhaps the thing to do is write up the worthy viewpoints that disagree with the modern Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. That done, we can decide whether to call them 'creationist' or what. I really don't care what terms we wind up using; I just want to see the ideas included somehow. --User:Ed Poor


I've been lobbying for that all along, Ed: go to it. There's a lot about the ID school that should be covered on that page. Who created the term? Who were its early proponents? What are the major books in the field? What are their specific claims? How has the field developed? What are its specific disagreements with other beliefs? I don't know these things--I've studied science. But you claim to be an adherent of the field, so do some basic research and write a good article on that. Then we can decide how to link it in with the rest of these. --LDC


Not sure of the relevance to this. Did the writer intend to link fundamentalism with the rejection of evolution? (If so, it's not clear and should be expanded on.) I vote for taking it out. --Ed Poor

The United States fundamentalist Christian community has no real parallels (in terms of numbers, prominence, and political influence) elsewhere in the Western world, and because most vocal creationists are from the United States, it is generally assumed that creationist views are not as common elsewhere.

The Newsweek article makes a claim that 700 scientists take creation science seriously, which is a reasonable statistic. It is then claimed that the remainder therefore believe in "the scientific theory"; which theory is not stated, and at any rate this cannot be assumed, so I removed that assumption.

I also removed:

but since it makes no claims of direct divine intervention, it is also consistent with Darwinism.

from the discussion of process theology, because it is confusing: it says that PT is consistent because it makes no claims of divine intervention, which implies that Darwinism denies divine intervention (which is false, though certainly many Darwinists themselves do). And at any rate, every non-scientific theory is compatible with any scientific theory--that's why they're not scientific, so this statement doesn't say anything. --LDC

I tried to rephrase the statement before I saw the explanation here for why you took it out. I will take it back out with the new rephrasing, but my point in making that statement was to compare PT with Deism--note that the article in the parapraph above states that Deism is compatible with Darwinism. So if we remove the comment that says that PT is compatible with Darwinism, then we should also remove the statement that says that Deism is compatible with Darwinism. And I thought the point here was that Creationism is not compatible with it, while Deism is. So I was putting PT in the Deism camp as far as Darwinism goes--in other words, PT accepts Darwinism.

However, this cannot be taken to mean that the 40% who believe God guided evolution believe in Intelligent Design Theory -- they may merely believe that God guided evolution as a religious view (Intelligent design), while accepting Darwinian evolution. (Or, even more likely, they may not have sufficently understood or thought through the issue to understand the distinction at stake here.)


Creationism refers to more than just the belief that God created the universe; it refers to the belief that He did so in such a way that evolution did not occur, as accepted by science.

This statement ignores the 4 out of 9 creationists who believe in God-guided evolution. --User:Ed Poor

The following looks like commentary, and I'd like to take it out (or rephrase it) --Ed Poor:

Rather than using the term "species", they use the term "created kinds" to describe the boundaries they believe evolution does not cross, but they offer no rigorous (or operational) definition of what a "created kind" is, just as the term "species" was not rigorously defined for many years.

From what I know, it's basically true, so it shouldn't be deleted. In order to be npov, though, it probably should be reworded. Can anyone actually come up with a rigorous definition? It is a "creation science" term, so it should be in scientific terms, i.e., testable in any given case. Some examples would be good, too. --User:Dmerrill


You guys have been so darn nice and accommodating that now I'm being to doubt some stuff that I fought keep in:

It is also possible to believe that God created the universe and still accept Darwin's theory of evolution; although very few religious believers hold to this view.

I'm no longer sure about the "very few" part. It could be anywhere from 10% to 50%, I guess. Anyone got any hard numbers on this? --User:Ed Poor


Since the statement about process theology being compatible with darwinism was removed, I also removed the following statement:

Deism, while in no way required by the theory of evolution, is not incompatible with it.

Personally, I think that the point that both process theology and deism accept Darwinism, while creationism doesn't, is a point worth making, but we have to be consistent here if we are going to describe which theologies accept Darwinism, so for now I took out the statement regarding Deism. -- Egern.

If a particular named school of thought (ID, PT) explicitly accepts Darwinism, that should certainly be mentioned (though perhaps more appropriately on a page devoted to that school of thought). But if it is merely compatible (or entirely orthogonal) to it, that's not something worth mentioning, since lots of things are. And particularly "deism" is a broad school of thought about much more than human origins, and there are likely deists with varying views, so one cannot describe "the" deist view. --LDC
Yes, but ID explicitly rejects Darwinism. The questions are: (1) What religious beliefs accept Darwinism? (2) What religious beliefs reject Darwinism yet accept some kind of evolution? (3) What do you call the belief that evolution didn't happen, so as not to confuse it with #2? I am somewhat taken aback to realize that I don't have a handle on any of this :-( User:Ed Poor
I agree with Ed on this. The whole point of this article has a lot to do with how specific religious theologies relate to Darwinism. So it seems completely appropriate and consistent with the point of this article to highlight various classifications of theologies (where those classifications directly impinge on how they view the process at work in the universe), and to show how they view Darwinism. -- Egern
On the other hand (after further thought), perhaps a comparison of the way various religions view creation belongs in a different article than the creationism one. But I feel that they do belong in an article somewhere. -- Egern

"Sudden Creationism is generally considered an expression of religious literalism. Sudden Creationists oppose evolution on the grounds that it conflicts with the account of creation . . ."

The above needs revision, because someone deleted the Sudden Creationsim page on the (apparently correct) grounds that I simply made up the term. How about, "One current in creationism" has roots in religious literalism (or 'Biblical fundamentalism'), opposing evolution on the grounds . . ." . User:Ed Poor

You could replace it with "Young Earth" creationism, which probably should have a page of its own. -LDC


User:Ed Poor suggests some questions the article should address:

  • Does creationism conflict with the Darwinian theory of evolution? (All variants? Only some? Be specific.)
  • What versions of creationism accept evolution, and with what reservations?
  • What are all the various ideas called? Creationism, young or old earth creation science, intelligent design, etc.?

Some answers: by definition, creationism conflicts with Darwinian evolution as accepted by science. If it is compatible with it, then it is not creationism, as the term is normally used.

It is possible for a creationist to accept some form of evolution, so long as they do not accept the full Darwinian theory. (Otherwise, if they fully accepted Darwinian evolution, they wouldn't be a creationist.) --User:SJK


SJK's formulation would seem to divide ideas on evolution into three broad categories:

  • Accept Darwinian evolution fully
  • Accept God-guided evolution
  • Reject evolution altogether

1. Do all agree? 2. If so, may I revise Creationism to reflect this "clarification"? --User:Ed Poor


The following needs revision to conform with SJK's definition of creationism (one I'm happy to accept):

"Many creationists believe in some form of evolution, but they deny certain key parts of the Darwinian theory. Others believe God had some role in the process, but do not put this forward as a scientific explanation, and fully accept Darwinian evolution . . ."

or

"Others believe God had some role in the process, but do not put this forward as a scientific explanation, and fully accept Darwinian evolution -- these people are not creationists, since their beliefs are in no way incompatible with Darwinian evolution. "
This second (overlapping) quote seems self-contradictory. -- User:Ed Poor

The "Others" should not be understood as "Other creationists", but rather as "Other people". Sorry if my text was less than clear. -- User:SJK



The creationism talk page has become so long we clearly need to archive older discussions (in lieu of someone boldly deleting discussion that is no longer relevant to anything). So, see Talk:Creationism (archive) for the creationism talk page archive.

I would be happier with the article if it became so clear that the following sentence would be untrue (and thus have to be omitted):

Due to imprecise and shifting use of the terms evolution and creationism it is difficult to say definitively whether "creationists" believe in "evolution" or not.

I think we have won half the battle already, assuming SJK's definition of creationism holds.

It should also be possible to resolve any remaining ambiguity over the use of evolution into (a) the accepted Darwinian theory in particular and (b) evolution in general (any theory even the Darwinian one). Then I can die happy :-) Ed Poor


The article is sometimes unclear when mentioning evolution and creationism. Perhaps their meaning is shifting

Maybe we need a chart with categories such as:

  • believes God was involved in creation of the various species
  • believes in some sort of evolution
  • accepts the Darwinian theory of evolution completely
  • believes that God created/initiated life on earth

These would be overlapping categories, and the various terms could be defined in reference to them. --Ed Poor


According to the Catholic Church[1]:

" . . . the Encyclical Humani generis considered the doctrine of "evolutionism" a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis.
"Pius XII stressed this essential point: if the human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter the spiritual soul is immediately created by God ("animal enim a Deo immediate creari catholica fides nos retinere inhet"; Encyclical Humani generic, AAS 42 [1950], p. 575). Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the mind as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man."

Okay, folks, I took another stab at creationism. I hope this version makes it quite clear that scientists (a) don't accept it and (b) have very good scientific reasons for not accepting it.

My aim was to present creationism as creationists see it, while giving science its due. There are a dozen scientific articles supporting evolution, and only a couple of creationism articles. Try not to feel that every article must repudiate creationism lest science fail in its educational goals. I really doubt the creationism article (as I revised it) will sway anyone away from the scientific camp.

The goal of NPOV on controversial issues is to make clear what the various positions are, and that's all I'm trying to do here. --Ed Poor


As contentious as the debate has been at times, as have to say that the article as it now stands is pretty good article. I'd like to see a few more specific references to important works of specific creationists (this is, after all, an encyclopedia article, and should have a bibliography); but other than that, I think it does a good job covering the field. --LDC


From a recent addition to the article:

The stories of the fall of humankind from that divinely-created state of grace, the sacrificial crucifixion, the resurrection and imminent return of the Messiah, all rely for their power on acceptance, by faith, of literal creationism, and an outright rejection of evolution.

This needs to be qualified, since for instance the pope and most other christians are not creationists yet believe in all those stories. AxelBoldt


I am not sure this makes sense:

Current creationist thinking embraces natural selection and small changes in species

"Natural Selection" is a major mechanism of speciation, which I thought creationists deny. User:Slrubenstein


Are there any numbers known for supporters over the WORLD? It's kind of unnecessary to focus on the USA only, and read a whole paragraph with all kinds of different polls conducted only there. Jeronimo


The stories of the fall of humankind from that divinely-created state of grace, the sacrificial crucifixion, the resurrection and imminent return of the Messiah, all rely for their power on acceptance, by faith, of literal creationism, and an outright rejection of evolution.

If a claim so sweeping is going to be made, it would be nice if it were accompanied by something like a coherent argument. The conclusion has no obvious relationship to the issue. Mkmcconn


I think that it might be helpful to point out the difference between specific kinds of creationism, which have more reliable and stable definitions - and organize the article according to those more stable definitions. The reason is, creationism is just too big of a word for what the article is targetting. The entry complains that the meaning is shifting. That's not really true, IMO. The meaning is growing, because opinions (which have always been diverse) are multiplying. Does anyone agree with me? Mkmcconn 02:13 Dec 27, 2002 (UTC)


Young Earth creationists who interpret the Bible literally believe that the Earth is somewhere around 6,000 years old (according to Bishop James Ussher's dating) and usually reject the Big Bang theory (which is related to creation of the universe). They claim that scientific findings contradict an old Earth and therefore evolution itself, a view that most mainstream scientists regard as absurd.

I would have to disagree with this statement. A 6,000 year old earth is not absurd to "most mainstream scientists", it is absurd to ALL scientists. If you believe the earth is 6,000 years old, you do so in the face of overwhelming science to the contrary, and with no science to support you. I would change it to "a view which is at odds with archaeology, biology, geology, climatology, and quantum physics", or at the very least "a view which scientists regard as absurd". Cardsharque


This article still needs to do a better job of defining the various kinds of creationism. For the most part, it seems to concentrate on scientific creationism and a scientifically literally interpretation of Genesis. This leaves the majority of creationists under-described. Mkmcconn 17:10 5 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I hope I helped in this regard. I also removed what I thought was a shameless assumption that scientific evidence on this topic is conclusive. Scientists are unanimous in granting evolution the status of theory due to the fact that none of the various evidence discovered has been strictly conclusive. Until now this article lacked that important detail. Science will not be rushed to a conclusion in this matter. I ask you all to stop proselytizing. Jtocci 20:51 6 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I'm going to have to put something back in the article, because the objection was not based, as you falsely claim, on evolution, rather on a "6000 year old earth". The scientific evidence for a billions year old earth IS conclusive, and all attempts to ignore the facts by so-called "scientific creationists" are laughable at best, and downright deception and distortion of provable facts at worst. A 6000 year old earth is at odds with many different scientific disciplines and has no basis whatsoever in fact.
Paleoclimatologists, for instance, have actually drilled into glaciers and found over 100,000 layers of ice. Each layer represents one year of growth. Carbon dating, while not accurate down to the minute, is at least accurate enough to prove that some fossils are tens of thousands of years old. Certain types of sediment take millions of years to form. Uranium dating proves that some types of rocks are billions of years old. Astrophysics prove that the universe is at the very least several billions of years old.
I'm glad you have an open mind about this. I find it interesting and I hope you do to. Specifically, let's cover the layers of ice first. First, one has to have faith that the layers were formed yearly, then that they were all formed in a row, and then that the scientists didn't drill down through the core and into layers heading 'back to the future' so to speak. I agree that they've got a great many details that point to something that meets their criteria, but scientifically they'd have to repeat the process of forming the rings to be certain--to prove--that they have something factual. Now until scientists--or creationists for that matter--have time travel to get some actual facts, there is only 'beyond a reasonable doubt' and that's not science, that's a judgment requiring a leap of faith. Now, just to be thorough, carbon dating, fossils, sediment formation, uranium dating, and astrophysics all require faith as well, no less than Dr. Carl Sagan has pointed out the concept. Now gravity, that's science--repeatable, same thing every time, but this stuff you talk about all requires a faith I don't possess, so it's easy for me to point out.Jtocci 06:28 12 Jul 2003 (UTC)
That is sheer nonsense. You obviously are totally ignorant of science, and are trying to push a fundamentalist religious point of view. Your claims are not only wrong, but they demonstrate that you are using words whose definitions you do not even understand. Please refrain from editing articles on such subjects until you posesses the necessary skills. To claim that those sciences are merely beliefs is so incorrect and offensive, that I can hardly find words for this. RK
One hundred percent ad hominem. Scientists are the worst kind of believer.Jtocci 02:57 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)
None of this has anything to do with evolution, but my statement: "a view which is at odds with archaeology, biology, geology, climatology, astronomy, and quantum physics", was quite correct. If you would care to offer any sort of scientific evidence to the contrary, I'm all ears.
Well, in addition to my remarks above, I could point out that philosophically, whether we like it or not, there is no way to prove something in the past with absolute certainty. There is only the present for that. An example would be that a police officer can kill a person shooting a gun at him, but if the gun runs out of bullets before the officer can shoot the alleged attempted murderer, there is only an arrest, because there is only alleged at that point.Jtocci 06:28 12 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Jtocci, you are making a serious (and common) logical fallacy. You are using the common religious fundamentalist position of denying the relevance and weight of all evidence about what happened in the past, merely because we don't have God-like omniscience, yet you accept religious fundamentalist beliefs about the past which have no support whatsoever. RK 20:44 12 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Don't type when you're disturbed. I give equal weight--zero--to religious and scientific views on the past, yet you claim I accept religious beliefs. Brother, you've clearly lost your NPOV. Take it easy.Jtocci 02:57 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Creationism is not considered a part of salvation theology for most Christians, and all major Christian denominations accept evolution theory.

I'm pretty sure there are a few denominations which do not (Southern Baptists? Mormons?). -- stewacide


Key tenets of creationism were disproven in the early 19th century with the Rev. Adam Sedgwick's and Charles Lyell's publication of falsification of flood geology, and Louis Agassiz's promulgation of glacier geology and ice ages. Remaining tenets of creationism in biology were disproven by Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin, and the spectacular dinosaur finds of Richard Owen, Barnum Brown, and other dinosaur hunters.

I'm removing the above sentences because they assume the reliablity of evidence and procedures that as yet can only be accepted on faith. Also, dinosaurs becoming extinct no more disproves creation than any recent animal extinction, so 'key tenent' is not really NPOV.Jtocci 22:00 8 Jul 2003 (UTC)


Creationism is not considered a part of salvation theology for most Christians, and all major Christian denominations accept evolution theory.

I tried to reword these statements into something true and couldn't do so satisfactorily so I cut them. Roman Catholicism has always had creation as a doctrine, recent statements by the pope saying evolution is worthy of study doesn't change that. And how many ministers preach creation? When they do are people groaning? I think you merely have to look at the poll results in the article to know that most aren't. I welcome anyone to try to reword this.Jtocci 22:11 8 Jul 2003 (UTC)


I feel that RK is removing NPOV statements that should be left in. For example, "the only form of evolution admitted in pure creationism is microevolution" and "there are legitimate gaps, hence the debate on this point". Angela 21:00 12 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Huh? I never removed any of these topics. I did some rewriting, because the current form of this article is poorly written and needs clarification. But rewriting an article for clarity is not the same as deletion. Please carefully and slowly re-read what I have added. If you have objections, fine, please state them very specifically, explain what precisely you think is problematic. But at the moment you are arguing against a position that I do not hold, and thus it seems clear you have misread my text. RK
For example, you removed "creationism is seen as contradicting the Darwinian theory of evolution which is at this time the most popular theory presented by mainstream science." There is now no mention of Darwinism or of the fact that this is currently the most popular theory. You also removed "it is accepted among philosophers that neither theory is provable nor falsifiable but there is some debate on the matter among physical scientists and creationists" and replaced it with "creationism describes events in the past which by definition are untestable". By doing this, you suggest that creationism is untestable but that other theories of evolution are testable. Why not leave in the original comment which reflects the debate over this point? Replacing the term literalism with fundamentalism is also POV. Angela
Thank you very much for clarifying! I did take out the one word "Darwinism", because this article was very mistaken on that point. Scientists do not accept Darwinism. Terminology is very important. if we want to be accurate, we can write that "scientists accept that biological evolution occurs", or we can also state that scientists accept neo-Darwinism, which is the extension of Darwinism to include what we have learned about genes and genetics since Darwin's time. The name "Darwinism" by itself should not be used, because (a) in a scientific sense it is used to describe a set of beliefs which are no longer fully accepted as valid, or (b) it is used by religious fundamentalists as a way of denigrating what they imagine to be the beliefs of scientists. RK
Also, it is not I who suggests that religious beliefs about creationism are scientifically untestable. (1) Most religions make this claim themselves! Classical forms of Judaism, Christianity and Islam quite often deny that one can use scientific measurements to prove their beliefs. In your effort to "equalize" the religious view with the scientific view, you are misrepresenting the beliefs of many religious believers. (2) Even for those religious believers who claim that their theology is somehow testable, we can only remark that this itself is a religious claim! And for the small subset of religious belief they hold that are subject to measurement (i.e. the age of the world being only 6000 years old) science has studied these claims, and disproven them. So we are left merely with the claim that "Some religious believers hold that science can prove some of their religious beliefs, despite the fact that all current scientific research totally refutes all of their claims." RK 22:46 12 Jul 2003 (UTC)

To address your last point, I did delete one sentence that may contain the germ of a new idea; however, it really wasn't a topic I deleted - it was one vague sentence. We certainly can restore it, and we can have a section on this third party (philosophers, as you mention), as some of them apparently believe that scientific findings are no more or less falsifiable than religious claims. But this would need some specific examples and positions. The statement you want restored is vague, and needs elaboration. RK 22:46 12 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Ok, but just to clarify, I wasn't saying religious beliefs are testable, I was saying that some people feel that other theories of evolution are not testable. It just seemed more NPOV to leave in the comment that some think that neither are testable rather than say this about either one of them. I don't have any "specific examples and positions" that you request and I didn't originally write the passage in question. Hopefully the person who did can fill in these details. Thanks for the explanations above RK. I don't want to get involved in an edit war so I won't make any changes to the article now, but I have put in a boilerplate text about the article being in dispute so that people know to look up this talk page and the history if they want to. Angela 00:07 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I think that material concerning who or what the Creator is, is more relevant to the issue of Creationism generally speaking, than is the material concerning proof and the relationship of science to Creationism. Although the latter is certainly a hot topic and plenty interesting, it isn't fundamental to the issue, as the former is. Just voicing out loud my disapproval that a strait-jacket has been put on this article, which in my opinion is the main reason that the patient appears to be deranged ... Mkmcconn 04:40 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)


There are three main views on "creation" and human origins, although they surely don't have equal numbers of adherents. In chronological order of appearance, they are:

  1. creationism - the view that God created everything and everybody
  2. materialism - the view that everything and everyone came into existence without divine intervention
  3. intelligent design - the view that various aspects of the universe and living beings show signs of having been designed

Regardless of the degree to which individual Wikipedians adhere to these 3 views, I think they make a pretty good framework for defining and discussing the various schools of thought.

We might, for example, discuss the creationism inherent in various theologies. Also, several of the currents of thought regarding evolution may be defined in terms of "God created" vs. "no divine intervention".

I think so too, Uncle. How would you feel, if I reverted the deleted material about "creationism inherent in various theologies"? This page is a little hot, right now; and while I want to be bold, I don't want to be provocative. But, in my opinion, the entire discussion of proof, science and young-earth creation science should be put on ice until the article's treatment of what creationism is is improved; then a more solid foundation will be provided for discussing the objections to various implications of creationism, more meaningfully and informatively. Mkmcconn 05:40 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Most interesting for me is the conversation between various scientists on the one hand, religious believers on the other hand, and a host of thinkers in between -- on the issue of what the fossil record and other evidence brings to bear on the issues. --Uncle Ed 05:07 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)

And it's obviously what most editors want more to hear about, as well. I dare say, it seems that there is more interest in the implications of Creationism, than in describing what Creationism is. However, I think that we need to put the cart behind the horse, of course. Mkmcconn 05:40 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Yes, let's stop fighting over what the Wikipedian position on creationism ought to be. It ought to go without saying that the Wikipedia cannot take a position -- on anything.

I think editors are afraid that if they let the article describe creationist views without a sufficiently strong rebuttal, it might mislead readers into becoming Creationists! --Uncle Ed

A few edits back Angela made a good point that seem worth emphasizing. There are two theories to explain speciation. The Theory of Evolution and the The Theory of Creationism. Creationism is as much a theory as evolution. As a scientist I have no problem with accepting and considering both theories. There is apparantly considerable evidence to support both theories. Ping 09:15 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)


<< There are two theories to explain speciation. The Theory of Evolution and the The Theory of Creationism. Creationism is as much a theory as evolution. . . . There is apparantly considerable evidence to support both theories. >>

No doubt there are some scientists who feel that Creationism is a valid scientific theory, but the vast majority of scientists reject Creationism as being something other than science. Moreover, there is a general antipathy among scientists for the forensic tactics of Creationists. -- NetEsq 14:43 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The creationists that I know, who are biological scientists, treat evolution as though it were the mechanism of speciation, on the tentative assumption that the results of creation will appear evolutionary. For the present, it is the reliable framework within which to treat data. One of them, in fact, believes on the basis of the Bible that the earth is very young, and that there was a global flood. His views of Scripture have the effect of constraining his activity as a scientist within his local neighborhood of time, making him more present-focused and practical (he regards these as virtues, in a scientist). However, being practical, and a scientist, he finds nothing of value in creation scientism, which he distinguishes sharply from creationism. Mkmcconn \
A similar attitude was adopted by Aquinas, mentioned in the article. Thomas argued at length against the views of his contemporaries that the universe can be proven to be of finite age. As far as "science" (or rather, metaphysics), the "light of nature" was concerned, Thomas proved that the universe gives all appearance of being eternal. However, Scripture reveals what cannot be discovered otherwise: that there is a beginning of time. If it were not for this, Thomas argued, there should not be an argument concerning the eternality of time, space, matter/energy. Therefore, Christian philosophers following him, considered created things as though they had no beginning, but knew (because of what the Scriptures say) that appearances were misleading for some purposes, while they must be relied upon for others. Clearly, Aquinas was a creationist, and yet, was not a creation scientist (since by that is meant, the expectation that what the Bible says concerning the origin of things, is provable). Mkmcconn \
If the article does not make such basic distinctions as these clear, it is quite simply worthless. And, I would like to have a vote on whether it was an improvement to the article to remove the material on LDS and Hindu creationism. I want it back. Mkmcconn 15:44 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
The comments above by Mkmcconn inspired me to look up "Creation science," a Wikipedia article that redirects to Scientific creationism. IMHO, the disputes over the current article's POV on Creationism have already been resolved in the context of the article on Scientific creationism, and the present article should be reformatted to address the more broad philosophical issues which Mkmcconn seeks to address. -- NetEsq 18:04 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

NetEsq makes an interesting point, the vast majority of scientists reject creationism True, but when did popular vote become a method for establishing scientific facts? The point I was making is that Creationism is, and always will be, only a theory. As such it does not threaten the Theory of Evolution. There is never going to be a vote upon the subject, not least because no one would pay any attention to the outcome anyway. Ping 07:58 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)


<< [W]hen did popular vote become a method for establishing scientific facts?>>

This is a straw man argument. No one has asserted that popular vote is the method for establishing scientific facts. Rather, scientific theories are subject to peer review, and when a theory that purports to be scientific has been rejected as unscientific by the vast majority of scientists who have reviewed that theory, it is our job as Wikipedians to note that fact.

In the talk sections of various other Wikipedia articles, I have commented that it is not our job as Wikipedians to resolve factual disputes. Rather, if a noteworthy person group of people makes a factual assertion, it is our job to report that factual assertion and the factual assertions made by other noteworthy persons or groups, taking great care to note who said what and leaving the reader to determine the credibility of competing authorities. For instance, we can report that the former Iraqi Information Minister asserted that Saddam Hussein was still in control of Baghdad while noting the contrary reports of embedded reporters. Moreover, we can report that a significant group of people believe that the Earth is flat, even though the vast majority of scientists and laypersons reject this viewpoint. -- NetEsq 15:02 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I agree with Netesq here: ALL noteworthy views/counterviews should be presented. Some wikipedians are propogandizing that this is too burdensome, will lend equal validity to less normative views, and/or non-normative views detract from wiki articles. These arguments are specious. Only ungenerous and uncreative minds would cynically conclude that there is not a NPOV way to handle non-normative views on wikipedia. B 21:46 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I agree as well. As a reader/editor who holds several views that are non-normative, I only want to see an accurate representation of the norms upon which that judgment is made - accurate, as sometimes opposed to fair, since it never feels fair when one's views are described as being "ridiculous to the scholars". If it plays without distortion, to rewind it and mentally insert, "these proofs offered by scholars advocating my view are considered ridiculous by the majority of scholars", then I am content that NPOV has been satisfied. We need to be concerned with reporting, not argumentation and proof. Mkmcconn 22:47 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Well said about the accurate/fair distinction. B 01:37 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

A valid point and well put. Ping 07:21 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)


There has been a great deal of talk on the Talk page for the Evolution article about merging the Scientific Creationism article into the article on Creationism. I think this would be a huge mistake. The creationism article should cover the philosophy of creationism, and the scientific creationism article should cover the pseudo-science which is the classic adversary of the Theory of Evolution. Beyond a certain amount of ambiguity in the terms creationism and creation science, the two topics have very little in common with each other. -- NetEsq 04:30 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I can't understand it either, but the goal might be to remove from Wikipedia the what's been called the oxymoron of "scientific creationism", altogether, by burying it in a religion article. Regrettably, I'm unable to see the sense of this, for the reasons you mention. Some heavy-hitting Wikipedians support this, but it is clearly a mistake. Mkmcconn 04:46 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Actually, it would make the oxymoron of "scientific creationism" more visible :-). Look, can we agree that "scientific creationism" is an emotionally loaded term? If so, then even if you want to treat philosophical and (pseudo-)scientific arguments in different articles, the one about (pseudo-)science should have a reasonably neutral title. Neither "Scientific creationism" nor "Creationism (science)" nor "Creationism (pseudoscience)" are such neutral terms. This is the main reason why I don't want them to be separate, because "creationism" is reasonably neutral and descriptive for both concepts, and the title under which most people would expect to find the controversies, both scientific and philosophical, discussed. --Eloquence 04:52 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
The bottom line is that what is commonly known as "creation science" has *nothing* whatsoever to do with creationism. Creationism is a philosophical topic, subject to the scrutiny of logicians, and creation science is an invention of Christian Fundamentalism. The two topics should not be conflated into one. -- NetEsq 05:09 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I hate to say it, but on this issue at least, I agree with NetEsq. Creationism and creation science are two separate things: not all creationists are creation scientists (quite the contrary!). Placing everything we have on creation science into this article would be like placing everything on the Unitarian church in our article on Christianity. --mav 05:22 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Well, all the creationists I have met so far have tried to make some kind of rational, pseudo-scientific argument for creationism. But that may have something to do with living in Europe. Anyway, as I said, if you want to keep things separate, I want to see a neutral title, and the present redundancy should be eliminated. --Eloquence 05:24 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Creationism as a philosophical topic antedates the Theory of Evolution by several hundred, if not several thousand, years. Creation science, OTOH, is a modern construct of Fundamentalist Christians in the United States who see the Theory of Evolution as a challenge to their world view.
The bottom line is that whatever hole Wikipedians want to stuff creation science into, they should do it without bastardizing a truly legitimate topic. -- NetEsq 05:50 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
My understanding is that the word "creationism" carries heavy connotations of religious fundamentalism and specific fundamentalist views today, whereas the broader philosophical concepts you describe are commonly referred to as creation myths (which are already discussed in that article). This understanding is validated, for example, by the American Heritage Dictionary entry about creationism, which simply states that creationism is the "belief in the literal interpretation of the account of the creation of the universe and of all living things related in the Bible." A similar definition is given by Princeton University's WordNet. Generally, we try to describe concepts under the article titles our readers expect, and not in whatever hole Wikipedians want to stuff them into. That means discussing the concept of creationism in its modern form separately from the broader philosophical topic of creation myths, instead of bastardizing that truly legitimate topic. --Eloquence 05:59 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I just opened up the Third College Edition of Webster's New World Dictionary (ISBN 013-949298-4) and found the following definitions for creationism and creation science, right next to each other:

crea*tion*ism - n. Theol. 1. the doctrine that God creates a new soul for every human being born; opposed to TRADUCIANISM 2. the doctrine that ascribes the origin of matter, species, etc. to acts of creation by God.
creation science - a theory, concerning the origin of the universe, which states that the literal biblical account of creation can be scientifically verified: essentially rejects Darwinism and much of modern scientific thought, esp. in biology and geology.

Note that the theological doctrine in re the genesis of souls -- i.e, creationism -- is a philosophical topic that has *NOTHING* whatsoever to do with the Theory of Evolution, much less creation myths such as the biblical account of Genesis, whereas the second term is a highly specific one that has entered the official lexicon of the English Language (as set forth by Webster).

In other words, put creation science anywhere you want, as long as you don't put in the creationism article. -- NetEsq 06:35 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

You seem to be focusing on definition 1. and completely ignoring definition 2. Definition 2. -- ascribing the origin of species to acts of creatio by God -- is quite related to the Theory of Evolution. --Delirium 06:40 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Although many here clearly disagree, theology isn't about some alternative universe, but this one. So, sure, there is a relationship between theology and the theory of evolution, and of course it has to do with the Bible - it is a religious view of things. The purpose of theology is to relate the knowledge of God to life. But that doesn't mean that it's concerned with proofs in a naturalistic sense. What we're now calling more uniformly, "creationists", have an interesting but (speaking for myself) an invalid idea of how the knowledge of God relates to things, and particularly to the task of science. In holding the view that this is an invalid approach, I'm in line with a very old and yet quite living tradition of thinking. In the name of accuracy and completeness, the two ideas can't be blended into one - they are oil and water - putting them together just makes a mess. Please let the article on Creationism (theology) expand, with this in mind, and I think that what I mean will become obvious. May I do this, without provoking an edit war? Mkmcconn 09:08 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Correct. The predominant, modern use of the term is the one in definition 2, as any cursory search in media sources will reveal. Therefore the older theological use should be discussed at creationism (theology). As for Webster's definition of "creation science", their advantage is that they don't have to follow a strict NPOV policy -- we do. Furthermore, we have a Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) policy. There are twice as many hits for Google searches on "'creationism' 'fossil record'" as for "'creation science' 'fossil record'"; the same ratio applies for "missing links", "moon dust", and it is even higher for "complexity" -- creationism is clearly the preferred term. (Oh, and "scientific creationism" is even less common than "creation science".) --Eloquence 06:48 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
And you seem to be ignoring the clear and concise definition in re creation science.
The bottom line is that creationists and creation scientists have nothing in common. The former are theologians/philosophers, and the latter are pseudo-scientists. Pursuant to your specious line of reasoning, we might as well put the content for creation science under Existentialism, a philosophical discipline which is the foundation of the modern religious dogma of Biblical inerrancy.
I don't think that really makes sense. The vast majority of English speakers understand "God created the world" or "God created species" or something similar when you use the term Creationism, so a discussion of that viewpoint should appear here. If you wish to write an article about an unrelated topic that also goes under the name "Creationism," given that it's a less-common usage of the term, it should go under "Creationism (theology)" or something of that sort, with a disambiguating note at the top of the article on Creationism in the sense most people mean it. --Delirium 06:51 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

<< [T]he older theological use should be discussed at creationism (theology). >>

Now *that* makes sense! Bravo! -- NetEsq 06:53 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)


From the article:

The debate on creationism entails a debate on what constitutes scientific evidence, and what kinds of facts are acceptable as proof. Ultimately, the discussion rages with unverifiable assertions on both sides.

The reason for passionate debate on the matter is known however. Believers on both sides begin by accepting something on faith and build from there. Creationists believe in a creator and scientists believe in various dating techniques. For those who hold that faith is not admissible as evidence, there is no evidence to begin a debate.

This is totally non-NPOV. Scientists do most surely not accept that their arguments are based on faith. The two paragraphs make the article worse rather than better in their present form. --Robert Merkel 06:13 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

100% correct. The whole article might be better off if it was rewritten from scratch. --Eloquence 06:24 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

OK, I'll try to rewrite/merge the two articles in a way that hopefully makes sense. Please give me a few minutes and then look over the result, but let's try to avoid edit conflicts. --Eloquence 07:11 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

My interest in the creationism article was ancillary to my interest in anthropology and the theory of evolution, and the creation of the creationism (theology) article has addressed my concerns. I think we are now both on the same page. -- NetEsq 07:22 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I'll be happy with this, if the wide theological issues can be moved to Creationism (theology), and manage to remain substantially separate from discussion of that form of Creationism which claims to be science rather than theology. If that can be done, then please consider moving the entire section under "Absolute creation" (retitled however seems best, if you wish). Mkmcconn 08:26 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

OK, I'm mostly finished. I considered moving all the theological stuff over, but since it's currently relatively brief, that may not be necessary. Please tell me what you think. --Eloquence 09:14 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

My frustration, E., is that while it's perfectly legitimate to speak theologically of creationism as a view of where the soul comes from, where do we put the views of creationists who are theologically interested in the creation of the world? I know that this sounds like the same thing as a scientific discussion of the proof of the existence of a creator: but, that is so much at the periphery of the theological issue that very many sincerely wonder whether it belongs there at all. In the meantime, the subtopics have taken over, and the supertopic has nowhere to go. Please make a suggestion. Mkmcconn 09:22 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I believe, M., that I have not removed any substantial part of the previous theological discussion, although I moved it around a lot. My suggestion would be to start adding such discussions to the relevant sections (or to add new ones), and to move most of this material to creationism (theology) if it becomes too dominant. Could you explain what you mean with "the subtopics have taken over, and the supertopic has nowhere to go"? --Eloquence 09:32 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Rats. My modem disconnected, and I lost everything... But, I understand you to be saying that the article on creationism v traduscianism is an appropriate place for the material I have in mind. Mkmcconn \
As for what I meant, maybe I can illustrate it by an analogy to the Evolution article. If the discussion of Evolution can only proceed by fits and starts, interrupted along the way by the comments of anti-evolutionists, then the article will have ceased to be informative. It will have become a subtopic ([Creationism v Evolution]) masquerading as a supertopic. First, any reader should want to know what evolution is all about. It's only after knowing this, that discussion of proof should enter. And it's only after that, that controversies regarding whether it is proven are even relevant. It may be hard for some people to read through all of that, without grinding their teeth waiting for the rebuttal to come in, but that's where their opinions are starting to show up - and what article on Evolution would be worth its salt, if it didn't raise the issues that raise opinions? Mkmcconn \
It's likewise with a theological issue. If nothing can be said theologically, without interruptions by philosophical naturalism, or "creation science", then the main article will not be about what it purports to be about. It is a subtopic, pretending to be the main article. What the theology is can't be learned that way, and the article becomes sidetracked by a discussion of implications. Mkmcconn \
Although it's certainly a legitimate theological issue, to discuss creationism v traduscianism, this is a subissue concerning how God grants being to persons. The main issue is that God does grant being to persons, as well as to everything else. After this idea is described, it's appropriate to discuss theological proofs and the theological controversies regarding those proofs (because there is no such thing as a theological proof without controversy). Then it's appropriate to talk about the implications for science, and all the very interesting noise that is raised over that. But in the main, the issue is a theological one; and I can't presently see a place for that discussion (unless it is, after all, Creation (theology) or Creationism (theology), certainly not in this article, which is mostly about Creationism v Evolution. Mkmcconn 10:25 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Mkmcconn: I would urge you to forge ahead and create a high quality article at Creationism (theology), taking whatever material from the article on Creationism that you feel is appropriate for a theological discussion, and if any creation scientists attempt to interject material in the theological discussion that you feel is inappropriate, direct them to the creationism article and let them deal with Eloquence, et al. -- NetEsq 15:31 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I've raised my expectations so much, that it's not going to be easy for me, anymore. I'll take a couple days. Mkmcconn 17:05 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)


Well, if you want the theology completely separate from rationality, as it usually tends to be, then Wikipedia is not the place for such presentations. You will have to live with "interruptions" by people having different views, unless you are dealing with very specific theological questions. I think the current article does a reasonably good job at this, and defines creationism in more ways than most readers will probably care to know before going into the controversy. But if you think that the theological formulations need to be further refined, just go ahead and do it, we'll see where it goes. Just don't expect me to write about angels on pinheads, or something like that, I'll leave these questions to the experts. --Eloquence 10:45 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Interruptions are part of every controversial article, and theology separated from rationality is entirely meaningless theologically. Anyway, the article will look different to me tomorrow, when the plan in my head fades away and I can see read it more objectively. Thanks for the work you did. Mkmcconn 10:57 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I moved a substantial amount of content to Creationism (theology) because it seemed to be better suited to that article, but please feel free to mercilessly revert that edit if anyone thinks the move was inappropriate. -- NetEsq 17:36 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)


I suspect that this move is wrong because I look at it and I say inside, "Good one. That scores ten points for my side."

But hey! The game here is not scoring points. Rather, we should be doing something like describing the "system" of our modern world.

How can you split part of creationism out as theology! Practically speaking creationism is all theology. That is, the split of creationism into 1) God individual creation, 2) traducianism, and 3) pre-existence are merely variations on creationism in regard to the soul. You could also generate another humorous page on creationism (evolution) in which you could classify the various conjectures on the "means" by which God influenced the evolution of species.

By my thinking, as soon as you introduce God as some element in your hypothesis, you have a theology from which likely you oould remove God by Occam's razor to get a simpler testable hypothesis in the real world. Hence, practically all of creationism is theology. I leave as an exercise what part of creationism that would NOT be theology. To work that exercise maybe I could draw up a hypothesis that some entirely natural space alien "created" something on earth, but again it seems to me that Occam's razor would remove that space alien from every useful hypothesis--except possibly for something like those hypothetical crop circles that are signed by "Space Alien" in a metal alloy that could not possibly have earthly origin.

Hence, I propose as a feasibility study that I rewrite the combination page of creationism and creationism (theology) in a new set of pages with practical disambiguation where advantageous, starting from the link User:Rednblu/Development/Creationism which will of course have its own Talk page. After I and whoever wants to help has a working draft that we think is an improvement over what is already there--if we can do that--we will move it to replace creationism with a redirect from creationism (theology).

Maybe the split is the best solution. I don't have a real idea until I try it. Rednblu 21:07 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)


You can split them, and ought to, because practically speaking they are not the same thing. The theologians are usually not scientists, and the scientists are not theologians (although the way that they do science, certainly has to do with their theology). Rhetorically speaking, they are not the same thing at all (because creation scientists say that they are not doing theology, they are doing science). Mkmcconn \
I would urge you to develop these topic separately, and after they have reached a more or less finished state, only then move to merge the two. Mkmcconn 22:03 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Simply put, the article "creationism" should give a history of creationist thought and an account of the controversy, while detailed discussions of various variants of creationism, some of which can be united with science and some of which cannot, should be discussed in creationism (theology). Ultimately, we may also want to merge creation myth into creationism (theology) as these two are somewhat redundant, and creationism (theology) is currently extremely Christian-centric. --Eloquence 01:29 18 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Alright. But in taking this approach, definitions suffer. There is a well-known doctrine of creation, and another of creationism, in Christian theology. But wikipedia is about nothing, if it isn't about the exercise of patience. Mkmcconn 01:53 18 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Wikipedia is also not just about Christian theology. If we want to discuss different "doctrines of creation", creationism (theology) or creation myth seems to be the right place to do so. Right now there's some redundancy here. Seeing that some Christians may object to the label "myth", whereas most non-Christians probably won't object to "theology", having the two in creationism (theology) may make the most sense. --Eloquence 02:00 18 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I can accept that being Christian-centric is as much of a handicap, as being anything-else-centric. But we write best about what we know best. For what it's worth, I originally posted a general description of various views of creation, which someone cut out, apparently under the impression that different views of the Creator are irrelevant to the issues of creation. And you are right that, just as the label "scientific creationism" sounds as though it's designed to provoke scientists, so the name "creation myth" sounds malicious against belief; and yet, it has now found its way into this article. Mkmcconn
OK, I've moved this stuff around. The Bible part in creation beliefs now contains some redundancy, could you fix that? --Eloquence 02:43 18 Jul 2003 (UTC)
You have an quick talent for organization. I'm being pulled away right now, but if no one fixes the redundancy, I'll give it a try later. Mkmcconn 02:47 18 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The source I used for the statistics I quoted was the following:

A more primary source would be good, I'll see if the companion book to the series provides a direct source for the claim. --Robert Merkel 02:06 17 Jul 2003 (UTC)


Eloquence, in classical theology, a theory is a construct of systematic abstract reasoning, as opposed to a fact. Creationism in its old sense is not properly, a theory. But neither does it "refer to a belief". It is a doctrine, whether anyone believes it or not. In any case, the purpose of editing that sentence was to remove the clumsy phrase, "refers to the belief", not to insert the word "theory" (which I used only because not all accept it as doctrine). I would prefer the sentence to read "traditionally, creationism is", rather than "creationism refers to". Are you opposed to my intention, here? Mkmcconn 05:05 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I think perhaps the word you are searching for is Conjecture. Which is perhaps the weakest form of a theory. Conjecture is considered to be true because it cannot be proven to be false but does not sustain a full chain of evidence to support a scientific proof. It is certainly the correct word to descibe the "God directs evolution" form of Creationism. I think that Hypothesis acceptable because of the proof vs belief issue. User:MartinSpamer.
I would say that Conjecture or Hypothesis would accurately label "God directs evolution." And I think the conjecture "God directs evolution" is 1) unwarranted by the data and 2) destructive in the society. However, what I think does not need to cripple my ability to recognize the unnecessary materialist POV bias in the Evolution and Creationism pages--just to name two of the POV-sick pages in Wikipedia. Rednblu 14:03 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I don't know much about theology, so I trust you that the word "theory" is in fact used in that way. Please do expand the article theory accordingly when you find the time. However, given that large parts of this article refer to scientific arguments, Eloquence 05:36 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)


Pardon me, please for interrupting, but it is ridiculously prejudiced and biased that there are so many scientific arguments on the Creationism page. How would you like it if half of the Evolution page were refutations, line-by-line of the Evolution argument--so that no coherent picture of "Evolution" would be possible. Surely every one would be better off if the evolutionists could present Evolution so that we could consider it.
And likewise, supposedly, everyone would be better off if the creationists could present Creationism so that we could see what this mythical creature actually is.
There is a place for line-by-line blood-letting and that is on the Creationism versus evolution page. Rednblu 08:17 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Since the primary goal of the modern creationist movement is to substitute or complement the teaching of evolution in schools, Eloquence 08:23 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I agree. I am on your side. But you are not playing fair in this medium. Rednblu 10:15 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

their arguments have to be presented in the article about said movement, just like the arguments of the Flat Earthers are presented in Flat Earth, and not in Flat vs. Spherical Earth controvery, or even in Geology.

I have no problem with Creationism being presented like that--except the creationists complain that it is not fair. And it is not fair.

Evolutionary biology is the mainstream,

So? Is this just another case of the majority vandalizing the rights of the minority?

and the arguments by creationists are, for the most part, irrelevant from a scientific point of view,

No disagreement with you in substance. But the creationist argument is not a scientific argument. You said that already yourself. Hence, scientific argument has little relevance to a page on Creationism.
If you want to play Creationism versus evolution, then you should do that on the Creationism versus evolution page.
It seems to me that the small section of creationism on the Evolution page is about the right proportion. And a similar proportion of scientific argument would be appropriate for the creationism page, in my opinion.

so there is nothing biased about largely ignoring them in the article about evolution and linking to creationism instead, just as there is nothing biased

It would be biased to do it the way you suggest, but nobody would mind because nobody has the guts to defend the Flat Earth wrong answer. Rednblu 10:15 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

about ignoring the Flat Earth arguments in articles about geology. --Eloquence 08:23 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I think it would be a good idea to avoid this usage of the term, since a theory by the scientific definition has to be testable, which theological "theories" certainly are not. Doctrine, dogma, belief would all be fine with me. As for the "refers to" phrase, I did not find it clumsy, as "creationism" was explicitly put in quotation marks, so it could be read as "the term 'creationism' refers to ..". But some people seem to have an aversion to this particular phrase, so I have no strong objections to replacing it. --Eloquence 05:36 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)


Rednblu, as long as this article is about the scientific views of believers in creation, who try in various ways to prove the truth of their position, then this page is the right place for writers about science to test the merit of their claims. In fact, this is what "scientific creationists" want. They desire to have their claim tested on its scientific merit, rather than prejudicially dismissed as a religious view. If this is the scientific creationism article, then this page is the Creationism v Evolution page. It is on this page that the debate is allowed to appear undecided, so that the debate can be understood. Mkmcconn \

The Evolution article is different. It is a science page, where the finding of fact is reported: like reporting on the present understanding of how electricity works. It doesn't make much sense for a description of the present state of understanding to be interrupted with questions that have been answered in the past. The problem is clutter, redundancy, and confusion. Mkmcconn \

The answer is scope. Here, the scope of the topic touches on religion and science. It is not a theology page, but it invites theological debate; and the scientists say that it isn't science, but it invites interaction with science on its own terms. Each article is scoped, to allow in one place what is excluded somewhere else. Here, creation and design are treated as testable scientific issues; on a theology page they are not, and on the Evolution page they are not. In my opinion, that's an accurate report of the present state of these issues, with regard to Creationism. Mkmcconn 15:18 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)


Some duplication here because of contention for the edit privilege on the page.

Rednblu, as long as this article is about the scientific views of believers in creation, who try in various ways to prove the truth of their position, then this page is the right place for writers about science to test the merit of their claims. In fact, this is what "scientific creationists" want. They desire to have their claims tested on its scientific merit, rather prejudicially dismissed as a religious view. If this is the scientific creationism article, then this page is the Creationism v Evolution page. It is on this page that the debate is allowed to appear undecided, so that the debate can be understood. Mkmcconn \

I suggest that Creationism is much more than scientific creationism whatever that might be. Scientific creationism, logically, is something like a red-hot snowball. While it is true that a red-hot snowball is a variety of snowball, snowball is much more than red-hot snowball--whatever that might be. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The Evolution article is different.

Now you are scoffing at the creationists. They contend that are proposing the best scientific explanation for the data. You and I may disagree with prejudice but we should express that prejudice on the Creationism versus evolution page. Why not let the creationists express their view on the Creationism page--just like we let the evolutionists express their view on the Evolution page? Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

It is a science page, where the finding of fact is reported: like reporting on the present understanding of how electricity works.

Surely the finding of fact is very different from establishing the probable cause for the fact!! By your standard, creationism would be fact up until at least 1809!! Not a very useful standard, I suggest. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

It doesn't make much sense for a description of the present state of understanding to be interrupted with questions that have been answered in the past. The problem is clutter, redundancy, and confusion. Mkmcconn \

Sorry. Your argument here makes no sense to me. You seem to contradict yourself. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I agree with you to this extent. It doesn't make sense for a description of alchemy to be interrupted, as it is now, with questions about chemistry that have already been answered many times in the past. Hence, I would find the current page on alchemy to be totally NON-useful for finding out what alchemy was--because the alchemy page currently does not treat alchemy. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Now I have no interest in straightening up the alchemy page--because there are few alchemists complaining. Some things are more interesting than others. And I would rather work an area where there is controversy--so that I can learn something. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The answer is scope. Here, the scope of the topic touches on religion and science. It is not a theology page,

Amazing! How could creationism be anything other than theology? Creationism contorts observable fact to conform to a certain view about God. Accordingly, if you remove each and every part of creationism that contorts observable fact to conform to a certain view about God, there is nothing left on the page--as I just observed here in my own laboratory in three separate experiments. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Can you give me an example of a creationist assertion that is NOT theology, please? Just for my own edification? Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

but it invites theological debate; and the scientists say that it isn't science, but it invites interaction with science on its own terms.

It does? Surely you jest! What creationist assertion invites interaction with science on its own terms? Can you name one? Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Each article is scoped, to allow in one place what is excluded somewhere else. Here, creation and design are treated as testable scientific issues;

Let us try your two suggestions: creation and design. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Creation is all theology because it concerns itself with the role of the Creator in initiating the universe. It would seem to me that Occam's razor would slice the Creator from any testable scientific hypothesis--unless the data contained a huge footprint of a Creator. Hence creation is about something other than what science deals with. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Wouldn't Occam's razor also slice all elements of "design" from any testable scientific issue? Can you name for me what Occam's razor would leave as residue from a "design" hypothesis? Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

on a theology page they are not, and on the Evolution page they are not. In my opinion, that's an accurate report of the present state of these issues, with regard to Creationism. Mkmcconn 15:18 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

 ?? Hardly. By "creationism" you must mean creation science, which has little to do with creationism, which is about God's role in creating the
  1. universe
  2. soul
  3. evolution
  4. War in Iraq
  5. miracles at Jericho
  6. atheists challenging the Pledge of allegiance.
I guarantee you that there is zero data about God's non-null role in any of the above, so the "science" part of creation science will have nothing to analyze except their own benighted imaginings. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
So very little of the creation science view on creationism should be on the Creationism page since they have nothing to say about creationism. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Creationism was around probably as long as people have had a language. The evidence for that is the lack of languages without a Creation myth.

Colour blindness test.png
What do you see?
What is REALLY there!

So likely creationism is a genetic defect of men--something akin to color blindness. That is, it would be inappropriate to keep interrupting each paragraph of the color blindness page with an irrelevant statement of how vision works in healthy people. Nevertheless, it may be appropriate to have a small section on the color blindness page that explicitly states how healthy people see--just for completeness--and to make sure that the color blind do not get the idea that their vision is perfect just because the page describes exactly what they see when they look at the color blindness test pattern. Rednblu 17:12 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Rednblu, please try to express yourself in a somewhat coherent manner, and please do not break up paragraphs to insert your comment or duplicate signatures. Instead write a reply on the next indentation level. See Wikipedia:Talk page for details. Please do not expect me to read through this mess. --Eloquence 18:58 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Ok. Rednblu 19:16 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Rednblu, there's a lot of answering going on, but I'm not sure what you are saying. One thing I can say is, tell me what you think should be on this article's page, in terms of information rather than arguments. Then I think that we'll be getting somewhere, in negotiating what the content should be. Mkmcconn 23:32 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Mkm, Thanks for helping me think through this problem (puzzle). I am consulting with activists who are tackling this area in the real world. So this Talk page has been a very valuable worksheet for me in the last few days. What goes onto the Creationism page is up to you. I don't disagree with any of the content on the Creationism page.
A couple of days ago I did start a redraft of the Creationism page at Rednblu/Development/Creationism based on the conversations with you and Eloquence as part of my analysis, a "feasibility study" if you will allow me, but I got only far enough to see a fair way to structure the page and did not 1) fold in all the current Creationism page content and 2) split out the irrelevant scientific rebuttals to a Creationism versus evolution page.
However, the structure of the Evolution page seems about right to me, with the "foreign" thought process mentioned in the short section "Creationism versus Evolution." A similar brief section "Creationism versus Evolution" would be fair in the Creationism page, in my opinion.
But again, I value most what I have learned from my brief conversations with you and Eloquence and care little about what you put on the Creationism page. However, if any creationist starts arguing that the Creationism page is not fair, I will likely join in--because the current Creationism page is NOT fair to the title subject of the page. The current Creationism page is a blatant vandalism of the history of Creationism in the name of ____. I am not sure what to put into the blank because I have not figured out the pattern yet.
Thanks for your patience. Rednblu 01:42 20 Jul 2003 (UTC)

There are three main views on "creation" and human origins, although they surely don't have equal numbers of adherents. In chronological order of appearance, they are:

  1. creationism - the view that God created everything and everybody
  2. materialism - the view that everything and everyone came into existence without divine intervention
  3. intelligent design - the view that various aspects of the universe and living beings show signs of having been designed

Regardless of the degree to which individual Wikipedians adhere to these 3 views, I think they make a pretty good framework for defining and discussing the various schools of thought.

We might, for example, discuss the creationism inherent in various theologies. Also, several of the currents of thought regarding evolution may be defined in terms of "God created" vs. "no divine intervention".

Most interesting for me is the conversation between various scientists on the one hand, religious believers on the other hand, and a host of thinkers in between -- on the issue of what the fossil record and other evidence brings to bear on the issues. --Uncle Ed 13:08 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Why is intelligent design required as a separate category? That is, is there any element of intelligent design that is not also a part of creationism? Rednblu 13:31 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Yes. The Bible is not part of intelligent design. Intelligent design is natural theology, pure and simple. Mkmcconn 13:58 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
It would seem to me that the neutral empirical evidence suggests that Creationism and intelligent design pre-existed the Bible.
That is, each element of intelligent design seems to be a member of the set creationism. And apparently there are Bible and Non-Bible subsets of intelligent design. Am I wrong? Rednblu 14:30 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
We have needed to negotiate our terminology, for the sake of making progress on these articles. There is a difference in approach and conclusion, between those who take a revealed religion approach to the issues, and those who argue that reason leads to certain conclusions. It is a separate issue, from whether revelation is necessary to religion. Mkmcconn 14:55 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
It seems to me that both the evolutionists and the creationists are unwilling to negotiate a terminology. So if NPOV is to mean anything real, it might be best to negotiate an approach--such as a neutral template that both evolutionists and creationists generally think is fair.
I also agree with you that the evolutionists and the creationists have diametrically opposed approaches and conclusions--which is part of the etiology of the pathological process that generally has produced POV-sick pages biased toward the evolutionists when the creationists attempted to fairly represent history. Rednblu 15:11 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

How old is the creationism argument?

Generally, it takes time to work out these disagreements. The hotter the topic, the more courtesies are required. We are working with people, rather than mathematical entities. Everyone understands that there is much more at stake than what goes into a Wikipedia article. Mkmcconn 15:27 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Yes. But, this creationism versus evolution argument is at least as old as Lucretius and his On the Nature of Things and that was around 58 BC. Time? How much time would you like? Why won't the evolutionists work on the Creationism page to get it to state clearly the creationists' views, while the creationists work on the Evolution page to get it to state clearly the evolutionists' views? Rednblu 15:40 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

/ -> I'm growing too reflective in my responses, and I'm sorry. But please bear with just a moment's more reflection. If creationism is identical to what I would rather call The doctrine of creation, then it must be noted (for example) that the Roman Catholic church, like most other traditions, has never made a final pronouncement on either the truth or the falsity of evolution, but is dogmatic concerning belief that everything is the creation of God. Evolution is a peripheral issue. That evidently is not what this article is dealing with Mkmcconn \

Yes. I agree. This page Creationism has nothing to do with evolution. Just as mathematics and architecture have nothing to do with each other--except when they accidentally intersect. That they intersect has nothing to do with either discipline intrinsically. This article should be dealing with, for example, the creationism that the Catholic Church spends its time on--NOT with the evolution that the Catholic Church does NOT spend its time on. Rednblu 22:11 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

If any theological perspective is peripheral to what we are calling creationism, but religion is essential, then it may be possible that what appears under creation beliefs (a redirect from creation myth), creator god, and a few other places, is suitable here. Mkmcconn \

It would seem to me that the theology that deals with creationism should be here. Maybe on creationism there should be some links to theology where the link would explain something about the structure of creationism. Rednblu 22:11 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

But the state of present debate is one of our guides for categories. And at the present, "creationism" is almost precisely equivalent to biblical creationism or scientific creationism. These are are various religious critiques of the atheistic theory of evolution, usually based on or referring to the Bible. In that case, this article concerns the use of scientific arguments to disprove atheism in particular (especially Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Intelligent Design - which differ significantly between themselves). Evolution is narrowed to its aspect as an expression of atheism. This is the reason that an atheist is more likely to complain of POV in this article, than the creationists are, when defining terms key to the debate, such as "creationism", "science", "evidence", "proof", etc. Mkmcconn 17:08 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Ok. So it seems to me that the fundamental problem is how to let the creation scientists say what they see as true on this page without misleading the evolutionists into thinking that a mere scientific proof would convince the creation scientist. A mere scientific proof will not convince the creation scientist that he is wrong. Rednblu 22:11 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)



There are problems under "Microevolution vs. Macroevolution". The article speaks of small critters, but microevolution concerns small changes in a population. Does the author referred to, accept the macroevolution of simple organisms, but not of complex organisms? Mkmcconn 15:14 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)


Why is the article so US-centric? Tannin

I'm sure that it's only a reflection of what people here know best, rather than a desire to exclude anything. Mkmcconn 15:36 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Because, at least amongst nominally christian countries, outside the US Creationism is not a live issue. IIRC, Even the Vatican has accepted evolution. Something about what fundamentalist moslems/sikhs/hindus/zoroastrians think of it would be useful, though Malcolm Farmer 16:06 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
It's interesting to go back through the history of this article, and see the revisions of the first paragraph. In its present form, the opening paragraph puts focus on faith in God (or anything called a god) on the one hand, and the recognition of design on the other (which, I would suppose, does not stipulate a single intelligence, nor the existence of a transcendent being of any kind, nor that design is pervasive in all things). In other words, the only alternative to atheism is creationism; and intelligent design may be atheistic, or it may be creationist. Mkmcconn 16:17 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Theoretically you may be right that intelligent design could be atheistic. But whenever has there existed an atheist that argued for intelligent design. Could you name one? Rednblu 16:28 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I'm not familiar enough with the personal beliefs of the proponents of ID, to know whether they are atheists, theists, or biblical theists, or whatever. Just thinking about their argument, however, I don't see any reason why it couldn't be adapted to the belief that existing things are the product of other evolved beings, who were themselves a product of others, ad infinitum: which is atheism. They do not argue for what the intelligence is, but only that it is evidenced. Mkmcconn 17:08 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I am mainly interested in how we could come to a NPOV statement for a Wikipedia page on whether there are atheists that argue for intelligent design. Supposedly we would have to find some atheist who actually argued something like looking at all the order among living creatures I conclude that there must have been some intelligent designer who at least designed what we see.
Historically, it does not make sense to me to 1) be an atheist and also 2) conclude that there must have been an intelligent designer. On the other hand, there have been many intelligent people throughout history who looked at the order in the universe and concluded that 1) any actual gods that you find will be composed of atoms and 2) there was NOT an intelligent designer. I cite to you Epicureanism just for starters--and those people started writing down their cogitations around 300 BC. And they evidently got the idea from some people much earlier.
So what process could we employ to actually manifest NPOV on this question in a Wikipedia page? Rednblu 17:44 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

<< [W]henever has there existed an atheist that argued for intelligent design. Could you name one? >>

Richard Milton. See Darwin Doesn't Work Here Anymore: Shattering the myths of Darwinism.

Please note that I do *NOT* endorse the work of this author. -- NetEsq 18:13 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

A useful example, but Richard Milton does not seem to be an atheist. Now maybe he is an atheist who is out to make a buck off the theists. The problem is: he argues basically for time sequences that cater to the market of Americans who believe the Bible. And look at the titles of his chapters: "Rock of Ages," "Tales from Before the Flood," "Fashioned from Clay." That book is not an atheist book. It may not pass the offering plate, but it is a religious exercise.
Ok, look. I will score you one point if I can refashion my question. Can you name a book, writing, or poem that expresses an atheist viewpoint and argues for intelligent design? Rednblu 19:29 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)


I wasn't personally aware of whether there are any advocates of ID, per se, who are convinced atheists. On the other hand, what I was describing before isn't as fake as it appears at first. There are important religions that worship highly exalted beings, but which believe these beings were in turn created by other exalted beings, and deny the existence of a transcendent being. If this is not what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches, then it is at least a common misunderstanding of their doctrine, even among their own adherents. While it would be uncharitable to call this philosophical atheism, at least it can be more fairly described as agnosticism concerning the existence of a transcendent being. You might remember Jeremy Rifkin, and his book Algeny, which did not advocate theism in the usual sense either. So, I don't really know how to answer Rednblu's question. Mkmcconn 18:51 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

<< A useful example, but Richard Milton does not seem to be an atheist.>>

Richard Milton is, in fact, very well known among evolutionary biologists for his categorical rejection of Biblical creationism as well as his criticism of Post-Darwinism. To wit:

"I accept that there is persuasive circumstantial evidence for evolution, but I do not accept that there is any significant evidence that the mechanism driving that evolution is the neo-Darwinian mechanism of chance mutation coupled with natural selection. Second, I do not believe that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. I present evidence that currently accepted methods of dating are seriously flawed and are supported by Darwinists only because they provide the billions of years required by Darwinist theories. Because radioactive dating methods are scientifically unreliable, it is at present impossible to say with any confidence how old the Earth is."

(Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, Preface.)

I am an anthropologist by training, and I accept the Theory of Evolution at face value -- i.e., as the most reasonable and scientific explanation for the genesis of life on Earth and the origin of the human species. However, I have always found a great deal of controversy among evolutionary biologists as to the reliability of the claims made by their peers. In fact, the only thing that most evolutionary biologists seem to agree upon is that anyone who questions the scientific validity of the Theory of Evolution should be labeled a Creationist before they are promptly tarred, feathered, and then run out of town on a rail, not unlike the Cold War persecution of accused communists in the United States.

As I stated previously, I do not endorse the work of Richard Milton: His criticism of Post-Darwinism is weak at best. At the same time, he is clearly not someone who is trying to advance a religious agenda. -- NetEsq 21:18 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I find what you write very interesting. But I still see no evidence in what you write that Richard Milton is an atheist.
Or did you want to discuss whether the evolutionists are religious zealots? Rednblu 21:27 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)
The question here is whether there are people who question the validity of the Theory of Evolution without falling back on the explanation that some deity is responsible for creating life on Earth. There are many such people, and Richard Milton is one of the most well known. By comparison, consider the fact that there are many noteworthy scientists who question mainstream theories about the evolution of humans and think that the aquatic ape hypothesis is a much more satisfactory explanation. -- NetEsq 01:33 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Actually, the question of whether there are people who promote an openly atheistic POV and also question evolutionary theory is a lot more interesting. As Rednblue pointed out, critics of evolution seem to cater primarly toward a religious audience. It's simply good marketing to assert that you question evolutionary thought but are not religiously influenced -- "look, even scientists are coming around to our point of view" -- but it is bad marketing to openly promote a POV that will not resonate with your target audience.
Furthermore, I find your assertion that critics of evolutionary thought are "labeled a Creationist before they are promptly tarred, feathered, and then run out of town on a rail, not unlike the Cold War persecution of accused communists in the United States" highly questionable. First, persecution of accused communists in the US was openly promoted by the government and organized and coordinated by the FBI (domestic) and CIA (abroad). If the current US administration voices any opinion on the evolution vs. creationism debate, it seems more likely that they would endorse creationism, or acknowledge that there is a "legitimate controversy."
Scientists, on the other hand, are reacting to a very real and present threat that regional school policies will be successfully influenced by the heavily funded lobbyists of the religious right. Modern creationism is not a "grass-roots movement", it is an integral part of the fundamentalist agenda. I'm not aware of any legitimate criticisms that have fallen victim to this ongoing battle, but if there are any, it is the creationists who are to blame -- they have made the attempt to bring religion into the classroom and to erode the separation of church and state, the responses by biologists and cosmologists are merely a reaction to that threat of irrationalism and theocracy. There is no such parallel in the persecution of communists. --Eloquence 02:58 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

<< I find your assertion that critics of evolutionary thought are "labeled a Creationist before they are promptly tarred, feathered, and then run out of town on a rail, not unlike the Cold War persecution of accused communists in the United States" highly questionable. >>

Point of order: There is no love lost between me and the Fundamentalist Christians who seek to promote their religious values by impeaching the legitimacy of the Theory of Evolution, and careful reading of my post will reveal that I have no pity for such people. However, I do not think that Richard Milton falls into this category, and -- wrong as Milton may be -- I do not think that he deserves the same contempt that one might reserve for a modern day William Jennings Bryan.

On this note, leading the charge against Milton is none other than Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, one of the most controversial books ever to be published on the subject of the Theory of Evolution. To wit, it has been apparent since at least the 1970s that genes are not evolutionary units, at least not in any functional sense, no matter how one defines genes. And if there is such a thing as a "selfish gene," it would be synonymous with an oncogene.

Rather than respond to the criticism of anti-evolutionists such as Milton, Dawkins sees fit to poison the well by labeling Milton a creationist with a religous agenda, and he ain't. He just ain't. -- NetEsq 05:30 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Do you mean that the evolutionists should argue their facts rather than attack their critics personally? I would agree. However, I must admit that, if I were Dawkins, I would find it very hard to ignore how Biblical the chapter titles of Milton's book sound. "Rock of Ages"? Come on. I know that the only time I personally use that phrase is to evoke the Bible or the hymn. In fact, I would never use that phrase in polite society--because I would know that everybody would feel the presence of the Big Bad God of the Creationists breathing down their backs. Thanks for bringing Milton's book to my attention again. I enjoyed looking it over again.
Your story reminds me of William Jennings Bryan who, on some break in the Scopes trial said to a reporter, "I am more interested in the Rock of Ages than I am in the age of rocks." Well, when Milton gives the title "Rock of Ages" to the chapter that criticizes the evolutionists radiocarbon dating methods, that sounds very suspicious to me. Maybe I am jumping to a verdict of guilty by association, but I would bet that Milton is as much of a creationist as Billy Graham or Elmer Gantry. I'm not sure either of them actually believe those fairytales either, but they make it sound convincing. I haven't heard Elmer Gantry in a while; is he still around? Thanks for having fun with me in all these arguments. ;)) Rednblu 06:42 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I suppose I'm just being obnoxious pointing it out but, "Rocks of Ages" was, of course, an interesting little book by Stephen Jay Gould, in which he seeks to point out a principled course toward avoiding conflict between theologians and scientists, through mutual respect. Although he provides his own reasons for doubting that he is a believer, he provides no reason to doubt his sincerity. Mkmcconn 07:14 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Stephen Jay Gould, God rest his soul, was one of the most principled opponents of creation science. In one interview I saw on PBS, Gould expressed great personal frustration with the tactics employed by anti-evolutionists with a religious agenda, but never did he resort to poisoning the well or other ad hominem rants when disproving specious arguments. In fact, my deep respect for Stephen Jay Gould is based upon his book The Mismeasure of Man, in which he takes on the advocates of scientific racism with the same academic poise.
The bottom line is that there are many laypersons -- and scientists -- who just don't get it when it comes to topics like evolutionary biology, but dismissing all critics of the Theory of Evolution as religious zealots when they are not in fact religious zealots only gives greater credence to the religious zealots. -- NetEsq 14:31 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)


Yes, you are right. I agree. In regard to Mkm's comment, personally, I guess I put too much weight on the "realistic content" of the argument. I guess I just read too quickly by the "Rock of Ages" part of Gould's title and fall upon the "Science and Religion" part of the title. I guess I am not fair when I read Milton's text that I feel like the important part of the evolutionist argument is ignored. Milton's text feels like tearing down something that seems to me to have a lot of validity without providing me with some enticing alternative. I am supposed to jump to my own alternative explanation just by the context somehow. I too easily imagine myself looking around at all the other readers of Milton's text and I can too easily see them nodding. I too easily imagine that they are nodding becuase they are jumping to the alternative explanation of--creationism.
Am I being unfair? It seems to me that Milton spends the whole book finding fault with the evolutionists' methods, like rock dating methods. But I can't find Milton's alternative methods for interpreting the data. Does he give the alternative explanations for explaining
I give you an example of Milton's words: "Because radioactive dating methods are scientifically unreliable, it is at present impossible to say with any confidence how old the Earth is." [2] That kind of reasoning triggers my mechanisms of suspicion which are not very fair, but I would have preferred if Dawkins had been a little more polite and artistic in expressing his outrage. I would have suggested that Dawkins would have read Cyrano de Bergerac to see how Cyrano expressed artfully his outrage verbally before he sliced the insulter to ribbons with his sword.
In contrast, I think that you and I, sir, could write a book that would get the reader to tangle with the problem--figuring out where we came from--not just jump to their favorite myth that avoids the problem. Rednblu 15:10 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)



Thanks to all, for toning down the conversation to a decent level of civility and politeness. It's much easier to follow the thread(s) when there's a dearth of invective.

Now, how about the "creationism vs. evolution" issue, in regards to government-run public schools in America? Should that issue be in the creationism article -- or what?

Somewhere in the Wikipedia, there should be an article outlining the viewpoints of the various groups who want:

  • children to be indoctrinated with the belief that God created all people, animals, etc.
  • children to be indoctrinated with the beleif that people, animals, etc. simply "came into being" without God -- or without God needing to intervene, which is slightly different but actually a major legal point
  • children to make up their own minds on the issue, based on scientific evidence alone (or scientific evidence combined with their religious beliefs).

You can all probably guess where I personally stand on the creationism vs. evolution controversy. Yet the issue of what I (or you) want the US government and state governments to encourage children to believe is another, separate matter. I don't actually want the goverment to indoctrinate children with my own church's views (that possibly violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment). On the other hand, I don't want goverments indoctrinating children to reject religious views (that certainly violates the Free Speech and Freedom of Religion clauses).

So, where do we go from here, fellows? --Uncle Ed 14:47 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Do you think we could some up with an organization of the pages that would allow the creationists to make their statement without being interrupted in each sentence by the evolutionists' rebuttal? It seems to me that the structure of the Evolution page does it pretty well--by keeping the rebuttal to one or two short paragraphs. There is a lot of invective that should be shunted to some other page, such as the Creationism versus Evolutionism page into which the scientific rebuttals on the current Creationism page could be moved. And maybe the invective would follow to that page. Rednblu 15:17 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Being "interrupted" is part of NPOV, writing one-sided articles is not. Ed, the teaching of evolution is not "indoctrination" -- it is exactly option 3 you propose, based on scientific evidence alone. The creationists have no scientific evidence to support their case, so instead they constantly repeat long-refuted pseudoscientific arguments. This has no place in the classroom. If a religion is incompatible with scientific thought, then so much worse for that religion. To argue that it is unconstitutional to only present scientific arguments on a subject that has nothing to do with religion is preposterous -- by the same logic you could argue that the theory of gravity should be balanced with "alternative views" because these guys think they can fly in the air if they concentrate hard enough. --Eloquence 15:31 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
*applause* :-) -- Tarquin 17:32 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Being "interrupted" is part of NPOV? I suggest that even you do not find that to be true. If you peruse /Archive 3, you can can see what continual interruption does to the statements that you made. If the "rebuttal" is made to every line, it is difficult to see what point-of-view is being rebutted. And I suggest that the current Evolution page provides a workable template. There are still a few creationist rebuttals in the Evolution page that should be moved somewhere else--just so the reader can get what the evolutionists are saying. Rednblu 15:50 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
This is an entirely different matter and purely related to article writing style. Of course every statement does not need to be answered in the same sentence, but it should be answered in the same article. As I have already explained, the evolution article reflects the current state of scientific thought -- this can be quite easily formally defined; as the statistics presented in this article demonstrate, virtually nobody in the actual relevant scientific fields questions evolutionary biology. The article here is about political pressure groups who present themselves as scientific, but are actually not part of the scientific establishment. From a scientific POV, they are a fringe group, just like the Flat Earthers. However, you have already made quite clear that you find it non-neutral to discuss all Flat Earth arguments in Flat Earth. I don't believe anybody but yourself subscribes to that interpretation of NPOV. By your logic, we will soon have:
Flat vs. Spherical Earth controversy
Gravity vs. Yogic Flying controversy
Laws of thermodynamics vs. perpetual motion machine controversy
Unicorn existence controversy. --Eloquence 15:59 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Ok. Now that you have had your tantrum, shall we discuss how we shall proceed in developing an actual NPOV approach to significant controversies? Rednblu 16:05 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
You think that was a tantrum? You have much to learn, young padawan. As I have explained several times, the article is NPOV. What it lacks is a larger section devoted to the scientific issues with more and better presented arguments. If you want to help to improve this article, summarize some of the most important FAQs from the talk.origins site. Should the section get too long eventually, we can talk again about separating it from the main article. Right now, this is not an option. --Eloquence 16:14 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Ok. Rednblu 16:20 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

<< So, where do we go from here, fellows? >>

Given my druthers, I'd leave this article to the tender mercies of Eloquence, as I agree in spirit with the assertion that creation science/creationism is the bane of public education and legitimate scientific inquiry. Moreover, without the context of the Theory of Evolution, there would not be an article on creation science/creationism. The same thing cannot be said about the Theory of Evolution: It stands on its own two feet.

During my college days, I encountered quite a few religious zealots who were anthropology majors, and it was rather intriguing to see them write long, drawn out, technical expositions of the mechanisms of biological evolution, then finish their essays with, "Of course, I only wrote this paper because I want a good grade. Everyone knows that the Theory of Evolution is just a bunch of crap. The true story of creation is found in the Book of Genesis in the King James Version of the Bible."

In other words, if parents want their children to learn creation science/creationism in lieu of and/or in addition to the Theory of Evolution, there is no shortage of parochial schools in the United States that will be happy to accomodate them, and these schools will do a very good job of insulating impressionable young minds from the dangers, be they real or imagined, of secular science. -- NetEsq 16:08 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I agree with the content of what you say. But when you operate a public arena from your strongly-held opinions, you do nothing better than fifteenth century church censorship. You are ignoring that there are valid views quite different from what you call "legitimate scientific inquiry." Rednblu 16:18 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Interruptions: It takes imagination to write these interruptions into a flowing narrative. I worry about seeming to flatter Eloquence, but I think he did a good job of organizing the material into an encyclopedic treatment of the debate, instead of a transcript of the argument. That pattern should be upheld. Mkmcconn \

Education: just to review the obvious (but it will not directly help this article). Within the creationst communities themselves, the priority of issues is in this order 1) Belief in God through 2) belief in the word of God for the sake of 3) training their children to escape the insanity of the world, to 4) make their children useful to the kingdom of God and a benefit to the world. In order to put these goals to work, they need 5) knowledge of the world. Education that consists of of the lowest 1/5 of their priorities, is useless to their purposes. They cannot all afford private education, and they do not all feel competent to educate their children on their own. They turn to the redemption of public education to the Evangelical cause, because they are tax-payers, and feel that the collection of their taxes for education, implies the privilege of control of education. Finally, these are essentially the same priorities that the Catholics have; and the fact the majority accept evolution does not change the fact that 4/5 of what they think is important, cannot be mentioned in a public school classroom. The difference is, that Catholics, due to their more stable institution, have a greater range of educational choices. And now, conservative Muslims and Sikhs are entering the picture. We are facing a situation in which public schools do not teach, even in the most general terms, what most people think is most important in education. And this would not be so bad, except that a growing number feel that the schools are, in fact, indoctrinating their children to be hostile to their parental influences. Mkmcconn 16:21 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I agree completely that the evolutionists are not fair in how they treat those whose highest priority is "Belief in God." Rednblu 16:35 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

<< You are ignoring that there are valid views quite different from what you call "legitimate scientific inquiry." >>

I'm not ignoring it, although that is a valid concern. Rather, I am expressing my own viewpoint in re the consequences of appeasing creation scientists/creationists. (I.e., "Given my druthers . . .") Ultimately, I defer to Wikipedia's NPOV policy, and I think that creation science/creationism should be discussed with the same sort of dispassionate academic demeanor observed by scholars such as Stephen Jay Gould. And for all his clear, obvious -- and eminently *rational* -- bias against creation science/creationism, I think that Eloquence has repeatedly demonstrated a keen understanding of Wikipedia's NPOV policy.

That may or may not be. We shall see. But if what you say is true, then Wikipedia's NPOV policy is NOT NPOV, as is manifested by the current Creationism page vandalism of what creationism is. Rednblu 17:02 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
<< [Members of creationist communities] cannot all afford private education, and they do not all feel competent to educate their children on their own. They turn to the redemption of public education to the Evangelical cause, because they are tax-payers, and feel that the collection of their taxes for education, implies the privilege of control of education. >>

You are preaching to the choir, but this is an issue that is ancillary to this article. One solution that has been proposed is funding parochial schools with tuition vouchers, a solution that is almost as controversial as the subject currently being debated. -- NetEsq 16:50 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

But it may not be a tangent from the issue, to refer to the conflation of naturalism with evolution, as an important factor in understanding this debate. Creationists have resorted to arguments of subterfuge, because they percieve that in education, evolution is a subterfuge: an insidious purpose in a respectable disguise. I don't know if this helps the article, but I think it's not off-topic. Mkmcconn 16:59 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Not necessarily off-topic, but an ancillary issue, and probably better suited for the Creationism vs. Evolution controversy article. -- NetEsq 17:15 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I agree that the struggle over American public school education is at the heart of the phenomenon of creationism in America. I think that is a good insight. In fact, I would say that the struggle over American public school education is just another replay with modern scientific weapons the struggle between Epicureanism and creationism back in the days before any of the speciations of the Catholic Church or progeny. So what would be a NPOV presentation of that struggle that has taken on many what you call "disguises." Rednblu 17:13 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

<<[I]f what you say is true, then Wikipedia's NPOV policy is NOT NPOV. >>

True enough. Wikipedia's NPOV policy is not aptly named. In fact, Wikipedia's NPOV policy requires a balanced presentation of noteworthy biased viewpoints. To wit, "The vast majority of scientists reject creation science as pseudo science, and this is why. . . ." -- NetEsq 17:15 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

And I have no personal interest in turning the Wikipedia NPOV policy into an actual NPOV policy. I am fascinated by the vehement evangelism hiding under that Wikipedia "NPOV" policy. So, in the spirit of discovering what is under that vehemnt evangelism, I propose that the Creationism page should take on at least the actual NPOV of the Evolution page. That is, the rebuttal in the Creationism page should be confined to one paragraph containing a summary of the main rebuttal points, with a link to another page of the detailed line-by-line blood letting between the barbarians' views and what the majority of ___s say. Rednblu 17:37 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

What has happened here is that the evolutionists have established an official censorship over the content of the Creationism page to prevent the development of a NPOV page that explains what creationism is.

So I propose the development of a NPOV page on creationism away from the current powers of the evolutionist censors. For example, we could start a NPOV page on creationism at User:Rednblu/Creationism. Alternatively, you might start a NPOV page on creationism under your own LogonId. We will maintain a link at the top of this page to where the actual NPOV development is occurring.

I am curious to see what an actual NPOV page on creationism would say.

Before you participate in such a revolutionary act, I suggest that you consider what participation in this project will cost you when the evolutionist censors come after you. Rednblu 12:16 24 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Anybody who throws around terms like "evolutionist censors" does not really appear to be interested in NPOV. And any links on this page to the user namespace will be deleted. This isn't censorship but standard Wikipedia protocol that separates the user from the article namespace. Let's all concentrate our best efforts on this article instead of forking things. --mav 19:40 24 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Interesting and symptomatic response.
Clearly this page, being Talk:Creationism, is a talk page, and, like most talk pages is hardly ever NPOV.
Furthermore, this page, being Talk:Creationism, is a talk page, and, like most talk pages will accept any links to the user namespace, as in, for example, if you hadn't noticed, the link to User:Maveric149 that the system inserts in place of the 4~s that you put at the end of your "interesting" response above. Rednblu 04:31 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I think what mav said was unintentionally ambiguous, but if I read him correctly, I think when he said "this" page, he was referring to the actual article Creationism and not the current page, i.e. not Talk:Creationism. Let's all keep cool and not jump to conclusions, we can all work together. --Lexor 05:00 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)
What Lexor said. -- NetEsq 05:44 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Stop it, Rednblu; please, just stop it. You are driving me crazy with your rants about NPOV, and calling Maveric "diseased" (via your Bartleby link) is the last straw.
We don't need seven different articles on creationism. All we need is one article, explaining what creationists believe and why. How much opposition should be in the article, and how that opposition should be organized, is all we should be discussing here.
Of course, I disagree with Eloquence and Tarquin on the issue itself, but the reason they trust me (and miss me when I take vacations!) is that I consistently try to approach every topic neutrally and treat each contributor with respect.
I beg you to join me in placing civility #1 on your list, as well as to come to a better understanding of what "neutral" means in terms of Wikipedia articles. --Uncle Ed 14:17 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I understand. However, it seems to me that creationists should get as much chance to explain creationism without interruption from the "scientific point of view" as the evolutionists get to explain evolution without interruption from the "creationist point of view" on the Evolution page.
Personally, I put my all my bets on Evolution. So my only interest here is to assist you in getting to express your point of view with no more interruption from the "scientific point of view" on Creationism than creationism is allowed to interrupt the very lucid presentation of the Evolution page.
I think Mkm's comment about the unfair "conflation of naturalism with evolution" is key to fixing what is wrong with the Creationism page.
What are your thoughts? Rednblu 15:11 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)
My thoughts are that I don't see any major problems with the creationism article. If I did, I would fix it! ^_^ Of course, I did think about the "interruption issue" over the weekend: so if the flow of the article becomes too choppy, then we can always re-organize it into sections: "What creationists believe" & "Arguments in favor of creationism", followed by "Arguments against creationism" -- which could potentially isolate (or separate) the pro- from the con- a bit more. But, honestly, does anyone think that's really necessary at this point? --Uncle Ed 18:56 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Don't you think a format more like the Evolution page would be clearer? The Evolution page has only a couple of paragraphs of rebuttal. I think it is fair that the evolutionists shunted most of the counter-argument somewhere else, because if I look at the Evolution page, I want to get a clear picture of what Evolution is. I have no criticism of what is now on the Creationism page, but it isn't much about Creationism has to say without the kickback of the "scientific point-of-view."
But you answered my question. You think the Creationism page is allright.
Sorry about the shouting I did. But I thought you and Mkm were working on an important idea that the Creationism versus Evolution was about the unfairness of the Evolutionists indoctrinating children to a godless view on life. I agree that is unfair. Rednblu 19:16 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Assuming, arguendo, that Evolutionists are indoctrinating impressionable young children to a Godless view on life, it is unfair. As it stands, that loaded assertion is hardly a given, but it is a legitimate concern for religious parents whose children are subject to compulsory education, a concern that goes far beyond the controversy surrounding creationism/creation science. It reaches into many other controversial topics, most notably sex education. However, there is no pseudo-scientific quasi-religious parallel for sex education, so conservative religious forces simply do their best to censor the lesson plan in public schools when it comes to courses that offer "too much information." -- NetEsq 20:15 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
From a systems point-of-view, I would say there is something wrong in the sense of dysfunctional about the Creationism versus evolution controversy in America. And Uncle Ed and Mkm got me to thinking that, perhaps, the systemic reaction is not about whether the creationists or the evolutionists are right, but about how unfair it is that the public schools are anti-religious.
I would guess that, judging from the reaction of the creationist part of the system, the creationists feel more pain about, what they cognize as, the religious indoctrination in evolution than they do about the sinfulness of sex education. Just a hypothesis. After all, there is no visible campaign to remove the Nineteenth chapter of the Book of Judges from the Holy Bible!
Several people here have dug at this: The Creationism versus evolution debate is not about science. It is about ____. You fill in the blank. Creation science is a disguise for something else that American creationists are buzzed about. Rednblu 20:34 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)

---

Concerns about creationism and evolutionism in public schools

<< Judging from the reaction of the creationist part of the system, the creationists feel more pain about, what they cognize as, the religious indoctrination in evolution than they do about the sinfulness of sex education. >>

That has not been my experience. As a whole, religious conservatives are *VERY* concerned that their children are being taught *ANYTHING* about sex in the public school system, much more so than they are about whether Creationism is being given equal time alongside the Theory of Evolution. In fact, a common assertion that is made by religious conservatives is that their "children don't need to learn about sex until after they're married!" In the rare instances where I've been able to point out that the Bible is full of all sorts of salacious material -- e.g., Lot and his daughters; the Song of Songs -- and that it is highly advisable for adolescent girls to start visiting a gynecologist regularly before the onset of menarche, I am quickly labeled a Godless heathen. -- NetEsq 21:04 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Generalizing, religious conservatives talk much more openly about sex than you seem to think; but, they don't trust the internet, George Carlin, their public school health officer, or you (apparently) to be the one to teach their children about it. They typically believe that the public schools are outside of their competence, and the proof of it is that they treat issues of sexuality as though they were religiously neutral. There are analogies here, to the creation/evolution debate. Mkmcconn 21:18 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Ahh. I can see that that could be so--if the parent's religion expressed strong views that ran counter to early teaching about sex. So maybe we could produce a generalized page that would capture the "systemic structure" of the debate. Maybe the name of the page is Religion versus anti-religion (America). And sex education would be one section and evolution would be another section. Rednblu 21:37 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
This makes sense to me. Creationists aren't so much against evolution specifically, as they are against their children being taught things that they don't agree with in general, and evolution is an easy target. Quux 21:38 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
So shall we design a new page on part of that topic? Rednblu 21:48 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I'm convinced that this sort of general view of things would best be derived by readers for themselves, from reading various articles that illustrate the issues. The clash, or perceived culture-war, between religion and anti-religion in the US, is illustrated for some people everywhere. I can't imagine one article that would presume to sum all of that up (NPOV): especially since it is part of the culture-war, according to some who think they are fighting one, that the other side denies that such a culture-war is taking place. Mkmcconn 21:53 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Maybe. Just for an experiment with NPOV on that issue, I drew up a page on atomism. That is the evolutionist side. Similarly, there must be a fair and NPOV way to talk about the creationist side of the culture war. What do you think? Rednblu 22:07 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)

<< Generalizing, religious conservatives talk much more openly about sex than you seem to think; but, they don't trust the internet, George Carlin, their public school health officer, or you (apparently) to be the one to teach their children about it. >>

Actually, I have a great deal of sympathy for conservative parents who wish to shield their children from agendas which the parents find objectionable, be they religious agendas, secular agendas, humanistic agendas, or simply libertine agendas, and -- in the instances where I have had the opportunity to do so -- I have been more than willing to intercede on behalf of the religious conservatives who want nothing more than the opportunity to raise their own children as they see fit. At the same time, I think it is somewhat disingenuous to say that most religious conservatives speak openly about sex, even amongst themselves. I am very familiar with such people, given that I have a first cousin who teaches Greek and Hebrew at a seminary, and his grandfather (no blood relation to me) donated an entire gymnasium to Pepperdine University. My cousin, his parents, and the benefactors of my cousin's grandfather would be the first to admit that their values are puritanical, and that they see a great deal of danger inherent in the frank and open discussion of the taboo topic of sexuality. God only knows why they tolerate my frequent challenges to their world view. -- NetEsq 22:52 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)

This is rather off-topic here -- please move it elsewhere before it turns into an interesting, insightful discussion.—Eloquence 22:59 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)
(To NetEsq discussing the format of an article that gets at the real problem underlying the Creationism versus evolution debate.)
Why, you must have the gift that promotes toleration!
I am not sure that I agree with you that parents should decide how a child should be raised. From my own experience as a child, I learned at least as much from opposing my parents, both of them, singly and together, as I did from allowing them to control what I heard in school, did in my life, or learned about sex.
So underlying this issue of creationism is a huge problem about whether parents should be allowed to determine even the school to which children go--or the curriculum in the classroom. It is a question. And we could write a gorgeous article on the issue. The easiest format might be a historical thread that we could follow--maybe in a narrow geographical region--presumably in the United States, because every other civilized country has come up with untroubling solutions for educating children, whether on evolution, creationism, or sex. Rednblu 23:13 28 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Parental control of children

Relevance to Creationism

Some parents tell the children stories of creationism. And other parents sue in court to keep creationism out of public schools.

Some parents think they should protect their children from the doctrines that the majority wants to teach. Rednblu 00:48, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)


Removing children from parental control?

No doubt there are people who would question whether parents should have the right to decide how their children should be raised and/or what their children should be taught in school, but for me that issue is a non-starter. The only exceptions that I see to that general rule are the issues of when children should be removed from an abusive parent and/or when children should have the right to emancipate themselves and take on the rights and responsibilities of an adult and/or the right to choose their own legal guardian.

In the United States, minors are more or less automatically emancipated at the age of 18, but for the fact that people under the age of 21 cannot drink alcoholic beverages, people under the age of 25 cannot run for Congress, and people under the age of 35 cannot run for President. Emancipation proceedings for minors over the age of 16 are fairly common, a little less common for minors over the age of 14, and extremely rare (but not unheard of) for minors under the age of 14. -- NetEsq 00:07 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

NetSeq, we are guinea pigs for the new software! Congratulations.
We might do a better job of planning an article if we look at the parental control problem in terms of us figuring out what is going on in the system. When we get a good hypothesis for what is going on in the system, then we can find the experts who have written about the various aspects of what we think is going on.
Does that make sense? I gave you a bit of my story to give you a sense of how wrong I think parents often are. But, even if my parents were wrong, I'm glad that no state agency took me away from them. It was a great lesson in how to safely fight authority without giving in.
So what would be a theme to thread through our article describing what is going on in the Creationism versus evolution debate? Rednblu 00:48, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Is Creationism a hypothesis?

... without the context of the Theory of Evolution, there would not be an article on creation science/creationism. The same thing cannot be said about the Theory of Evolution: It stands on its own two feet ... (NetEsq 16:08 23 Jul 2003 (UTC))

Netesq, this is a very interesting statement; and as I think about it, the more interesting it is (it couldn't be more opposite of my own views of the issue). But, before I settle into my conclusions about what you mean by it, I should ask first, what do you mean by it? Mkmcconn 15:20, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

There is creationism qua creationism, which is a purely theological topic, but that topic has been lost in the noise of the controversy in re creationism qua creation science. Creation science, such as it is, owes its existence to the Theory of Evolution. To wit, creation science seeks to discredit and/or disprove the Theory of Evolution in favor of a literal interpretation of the story of Genesis. In striking contrast, the Theory of Evolution began as an explanation by Charles Darwin and his contemporaries in re empirical observations of the fossil record and/or the speciation that occurs in nature. -- NetEsq 16:43, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)
What you are saying is reflected in the article. Its structure, its arguments, all show creationism as a hypothesis offered as an alternative to evolution. I think that you've put your finger on what has bugged me about this article from the beginning. It is an account of creationism the way that evolutionists encounter it.
In contrast, evolution as the typical creationist looks at it, is an alternative to religion: and that's the reason that the debate takes the form that it does. In that context, creationism serves only an "evidential" purpose, an apologetics intent: as such, you are right that it does not stand on its own, because it is an answer to the "objections" of evolutionism as a form of anti-religion. But, this suggests that the correct way to believe in God is as an explanatory hypothesis, alternative to evolution. I would suggest that the reason that creationism in these terms fails to "stand on its own", is because it is only being described by indirection: in terms of its answer to evolution. What creationism is on its own, is not really explained. Mkmcconn 17:49, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The current Creationism page is NOT about creationism

<< What creationism is on its own, is not really explained. >>

I wholeheartedly agree. As I'm sure you remember, I attempted to point out that creationism is not synonymous with creation science, and I argued for the creation (pun intended) of a separate article on creationism qua creationism in theology. Somehow that article ended up getting redirected to the present creationism qua creation science article, and the article on creationism qua creationism in theology ended up in the article on creation beliefs. I am not particularly satisfied with the way that played out, but I feel that I've more or less shot my wad on this issue: I'm not particularly well-informed on the theological aspects of creationism, and I would have a difficult time making a case for creationism qua creationism in theology having its own article. -- NetEsq 18:18, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

OK. But, what I think I'm learning here is the explanation for why article is such an inadequate expansion on the definition: In modern usage, creationism is the belief that God, has created or substantially contributed to the development of life, the universe, and everything in it. That is indeed what creationism is. But the debate, recounted from that point on, is not about that. Instead, it is about the conflict with naturalism and evolution, where the chief combatants on the other side are the likes of Dawkins, Provine and Gould. This is what creationism is as it is encountered in a particular set of conflicts (the secular university and public school classroom); and it is only in that conflict that it is presented as a scientific hypothesis. But what is creationism apart from that conflict? What does it mean, when the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic bishops reject "creationism", but insist that God has created all things? Mkmcconn 23:39, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)
<<That is indeed what creationism is. But the debate, recounted from that point on, is not about that.>>
Exactly. As NetEsq so eloquently expands below, the current Creationism page does not expound on what creationism is. In contrast, when I compare the Evolution page, there is a good accounting of what evolution is. -- And, of course, there are a few paragraphs on the Evolution page that give an opposing view of the creationist interpretation of the facts.
So what would a Creationism page look like if it said what creationism is? It seems to me that what creationism is has nothing to do with evolution. After all, creationism is at least as old as "In the beginning, God . . . ." And all of those events happened long before Evolution was even a gleam in Darwin's evil eye. Rednblu 00:04, 4 Aug 2003 (UTC)
The current page is well structured and explains exactly what the word "creationism" refers to in modern societies: a belief system and partially a political movement that offers an alternative view on the origins of life and the universe to the theory of evolution and modern cosmology. As would be expected, this article explains how and why some adherents to this belief system attempt to change the status quo within the education system and within society in general. That status quo is described in evolution, where it belongs. Likewise, we would not discuss the Reciprocal System of Theory in general physics articles, even though it tries to supplant classical physics, but discuss its arguments against the status quo in the article about it instead. NPOV dictates that the placement of views depends on the standing of their adherents. I quote:
Now an important qualification. Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views. We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by only a small minority of people deserved as much attention as a majority view. That may be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. If we are to represent the dispute fairly, we should present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties. None of this, however, is to say that minority views cannot receive as much attention as we can possibly give them on pages specifically devoted to those views. There is no size limit to Wikipedia. (emphasis mine)
From a scientific point of view, creationism is very much a fringe movement, and accordingly, its arguments against science are discussed in the article about that movement. On the other hand, modern creationists make claims about evolution -- thus, logically, the views of experts on evolution should be discussed in the context within which these claims are made, namely the creationism article. Both the modern use of the term "creationism" and the social relevance of creationism make it furthermore justifiable to discuss the details of different beliefs on how exactly creation came about in a separate article: creation beliefs. This article itself is a synthesis of parts of this article and the originally redundant creation myths article.
Your repeated attempts to rewrite this article according to an incomplete understanding of our policies are, frankly, tiresome and annoying. I very much enjoyed reading your article about atomism and hope to read more new articles from you soon instead of silly attempts to destroy the work of other contributors in violation of our policy.—Eloquence 01:25, Aug 4, 2003 (UTC)
I understand that you think you are justified in your censorship. But reason will win. And you will lose. You will see. This has nothing to do with me. I am merely the messenger. Rednblu 01:35, 4 Aug 2003 (UTC)
And I am the key master. Now where is the gatekeeper? It's time to unleash the Marshmallow Man.—Eloquence

If I may be so bold, and play the Devil's Advocate on your behalf, the primary conflict here seems to be a philosophical and moral one wherein atheists, agnostics, and secular scientists seek to impeach the value of theology as a field of inquiry. Assuming, arguendo, that this is the motive of evolutionists, one could logically impeach the arguments of evolutionists in re creationism (qua creationism in theology) as being red herring arguments and/or fallacious arguments ignoratio elenchi. This fallacy occurs when an advocate of a particular position is ignorant of the logical implications of his or her own premises and (as a result) draws a conclusion that misses the point and/or changes the subject to draw a conclusion that no reasonable person would dispute. -- NetEsq 02:10, 30 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Why the evolutionists will not let the creationists say what Creationism is

Tannin has just reverted an edit by Jtocci without discussing any of his reasons, so I reverted it back. I see nothing wrong with the arguments Jtocci added so would like Tannin to point out the problems before he reverts it back. Angela 00:58, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)

It seems pretty obvious to me that what Tannin took out, and you put back, is nothing but an attempt to ridicule evolutionary thought by creating a straw man argument that evolution science doesn't believe. RickK
  • Revert it you feel strongly about it. I was objecting to the revert without discussion not to a revert per se. Personally, I thought it was worded fairly neutrally, with phrases such as "Creationists ask..." rather than outright statements of fact, but I do not wish to comment on whether those phrases are straw men or not. Angela 02:07, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)
  • If I get the time I will re-write the entire article to discuss creationism--I now know what it should look like. I only made these small changes today to gauge the audience. I'd say those who made changes without justification are acting on emotion and not ready to see an article with a NPOV that discusses creationism. I invite all that fit in that category to go check out the evolution page. You'll likely tolerate it better.Jtocci 02:58, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I agree with Jtocci that someone should "re-write the entire Creationism article to discuss creationism." However, I disagree with what Jtocci has written in rebutting evolution. For, it seems to me, none of those rebuttals of evolution address what Creationism is; hence, none of Jtocci's rebuttals of evolution should be on the Creationism page. The historical record suggests that, until evolution appeared on the scene, creationism was all about revelation and none about science. Furthermore, the arguments of the creation scientists, incuding Jtocci's accurate and worthy quotes, show that creationism still is about revelation and not about science. Accordingly, Jtocci's comments perhaps should be on a totally different page Creationism versus evolution, as I read NetEsq to argue repeatedly on these pages. But the evolutionists will not allow the truth to be spoken. Instead of designing and performing some convincing demonstrations of their evolution theory, they repeatedly revert to some form of censorship, as in Aguillard or as in Tannin's recent emotional reversions of creationist arguments on Wikipedia. Rednblu 05:40, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I reverted under the "obvious nonsense" rule: the edit, among other grossly POV silliness, said that "no transitional form has ever been found", for example - and that's about as far from the verified, accepted, uncontroversial truth of the matter as it's possible to get. See any biology textbook. Tannin 03:08, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I concur with Tannin. Creationism has validity in the context of theology, and I think this article could be much improved by re-orienting it to a theological perspective. However, when creationists attempt to impeach the scientific validity of evolution with hackneyed straw man arguments, the "obvious nonsense rule" should obtain, sans discussion. -- NetEsq 03:46, 18 Aug 2003 (UTC)

The theological perspectives on creationism are already discussed in detail in creation beliefs. This article makes quite clear that usage of the term creationism has shifted from referring to specific theological concepts to describing the belief in the creation of the universe or Earth by a deity. I fail to see what kind of "theological perspective" is missing.—Eloquence 08:38, Aug 18, 2003 (UTC)

Let's not revert stuff merely because we don't agree with it

Let's not revert stuff, merely because we don't agree with it. I myself have no opinion on no transitional form has ever been found and neither should the article. Why not say this?

Mr. X, a creationist, maintains that no transitional form has ever been found. Mr. Y, an evolutionist, calls this claim "arrant poppycock"

Of course, we might want a put a bit more detail on the views of X and Y, such as (a) on what basis X claims no such form has been found; (b) what precisely a "transitional form" is supposed to be; and (c) what evidence Y advances in favor of them (certain fossils, I guess).

Let's not suppress each other's pet ideas, but help one another give them their fullest expression. I really want to know why creationists believe in creationsm, and I really want to know why evolutionists believe in evolution. Please help one another to make an article of lasting value. --Uncle Ed 13:48, 19 Aug 2003 (UTC)

You are very generous, my friend. The evolutionists have so riddled the Creationism page with their censorship and hopeful delusions that the current Creationism page is a first-magnitude disgrace in the history of mankind. I say that, and I am an evolutionist. I suggest it is time that we all re-write the Creationism page with a careful attention to fact. I suggest a first fact to start with is this: Creationism was here upon this earth--as a theory--long before Evolution was here upon this earth as a theory. I cite a simple fact. Robert Chambers wrote the Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation while evolution was but only an evil gleam in Charles Darwin's eye. Robert Chambers wrote in 1844:
How can we suppose an immediate exertion of this creative power at one time to produce zoophytes, another time to add a few marine mollusks, another to bring in one or two conchifers, again to produce crustaceous fishes, again perfect fishes, and so on to the end? This would surely be to take a very mean view of the Creative Power--to, in short, anthropomorphize it, or reduce it to some such character as that borne by the ordinary proceedings of mankind. And yet this would be unavoidable; for that the organic creation was thus progressive through a long space of time, rests on evidence which nothing can overturn or gainsay. Some other idea must then be come to with regard to THE MODE in which the Divine Author proceeded in the organic creation. Let us seek in the history of the earth's formation for a new suggestion on this point. We have seen powerful evidence, that the construction of this globe and its associates, and inferentially that of all the other globes of space, was the result, not of any immediate or personal exertion on the part of the Deity, but of natural laws which are expressions of his will. What is to hinder our supposing that the organic creation is also a result of natural laws, which are in like manner an expression of his will? More than this, the fact of the cosmical arrangements being an effect of natural laws is a powerful argument for the organic arrangements being so likewise, for how can we suppose that the august Being who brought all these countless worlds into form by the simple establishment of a natural principle flowing from his mind, was to interfere personally and specially on every occasion when a new shell-fish or reptile was to be ushered into existence on ONE of these worlds? [3]
Let us begin to attend to facts and re-write the Creationism page with pinpoint citations in support instead of the evolutionist censorship and evolutionist hand-wavings for proof that repeatedly interrupt the exposition of what Creationism is. Rednblu 15:42, 19 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Oh god, this man is a raving lunatic. Sysops and others, please be aware: Here Rednblu admits he will be trying to totally rewrite Wikipedia articles on this subject in a fundamentalist creationist fashion. This is very dangerous. We should all keep a close watch on this issue. RK
These are exactly the sort of contentious posts that thwart good faith attempts to write articles that all parties will find acceptable. Rednblu is not a "raving lunatic," and the people who revert hackneyed straw man arguments are not "evolutionist censors." Nonetheless, as I have stated many times, the current article could be greatly improved by greater emphasis on the theological aspects of creationism and less emphasis on the pseudo-scientific aspects of creation science. If anyone else agrees with me, you might want to take a step back and work on improving the current theology article. -- NetEsq 17:10, 19 Aug 2003 (UTC)


<<people who revert hackneyed straw man arguments are not "evolutionist censors.">> I find this an interesting hypothesis which I would like to examine on the Talk:Censorship page to avoid clutter here.
<<the current article could be greatly improved by greater emphasis on the theological aspects of creationism and less emphasis on the pseudo-scientific aspects of creation science.>> I agree with you. In my opinion, creationism is all theology. Hence, logically the scientific rebuttal to pseudo-scientific aspects of creation science should be moved to another page.
If theologians find these issues interesting and write about their theological implications, that by itself doesn't mean that these topics are in the domain of theology, per se, any more than if a theologian writes about the recipe of lemon pie. If the theologian mistakes a bad source of science for a good one, that reflects only indirectly on his theology: he isn't expected to be an excellent scientist (unless his god is natural science, if there is such a theology) Mkmcconn \
Creationism, in contrast, is the work of people writing about science, with the aim of illustrating their belief in God's existence. That means, every one of them is a religious apologist, including those who claim not to be religious. They are not "doing science", and they are not "doing theology". They are engaging in apologetics, or at least speculative natural theology. Their job is to draw on science to illustrate their theology. If they draw from bad scientific sources, or use bad, illogical, unpersuasive or deceptive arguments they are bad apologists, just as they should be judged poor if they have bad theology. But the fact that they are apologists does not in itself make them "pseudo-scientists". Dawkins is not a "pseudo-scientist" just because he exploits science in his apology for atheism: although, some think he's open to the charge. Mkmcconn 01:20, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

<<Creationism, in contrast, is the work of people writing about science>>

Creationism doesn't read to me like science--because it looks to me like it starts from a revelation. Expanding on what you say, "their job is to draw on science to illustrate their" revelation, the Bible being a principal revelation. So maybe the Creationism page should be about revelation, and maybe all the science and pseudo-science should be moved to another page. Rednblu 02:53, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Creationism is not science. It consists of writings about science. Is the term "apologetics" really that unhelpful, in seeing what these writers are doing? Mkmcconn 03:44, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)


<<improving the current theology article>> Again, I find this an interesting idea. Could we talk on Talk:Theology? Rednblu 22:57, 19 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I am wholly in favor of moving the content of the present article on creationism to creation science or (even better) scientific creationism, thereby leaving the creationism article to cover the topic of creationism in the context of theology. Indeed, this was my original suggestion, long since steamrolled over in favor of stuffing creationism into the article on creation beliefs, which is a wholly unsatisfactory solution. -- NetEsq 03:38, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

If the article is about all of those views which in a general encyclopedia (as opposed to a religious encyclopedia) would be called "creationist", how can this exclude all of the science, bad science, and pseudo-science that could be gathered under that title? An encyclopedia article under "creationism", will be written under a term attached to a specific controversy (regrettably), or it won't be about what people will encounter outside of this encyclopedia. In a encyclopedia of theology, views would be compared under "Creation" or "Doctrine of Creation". A much narrower subject would appear under "Creationism". Mkmcconn 03:44, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Good question. I am thinking. How about the international structure of this controversy. Isn't this "creation science" thing an American fad? Surely creationism in Britain is simply creationism--because in Britain, if the local community wants to teach religion to their kids, they simply teach religion to their kids--without the pretense of science or pseudo-science. Rednblu 04:04, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
It's a phenomenon radiating from the English speaking world, to the rest of the world. It's capitals are in the US, Australia, and Britain. Wherever Seventh-day Adventists are, there is Young Earth Creationism and Flood Geology (because these are part of their religion, made so by a vision reported by Ellen G. White). SDAs are stronger in other parts of the world, than in they are in their American home. Many Evangelicals, all over the world reject evolution entirely, and their influence is felt among fundamentalist Jews and even Muslims all over the world. I am convinced that it's some sort of wishful thinking, Euro-centric myth, that these are views limited to the fanatical yankee puritans. Mkmcconn 04:47, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
On the other hand, this is the picture only as it has developed in the last 100 years. Prior to that, "creationism" was much more widely believed by conservative Evangelicals to include some kind of Evolution under the guidance of God. B.B. Warfield, universally recognized as one of the fathers of modern "Fundamentalism" and the modern "doctrine of inerrancy", referred to himself as a "Darwinist of the purest water" (not without controversy, of course; but without censure, and that's what's interesting). It is of highest interest to historians of Evangelicalism, how this picture came to shift so dramatically. Mkmcconn \
But, what's most interesting to me is that this article is about believers in Creation in the widest possible sense, including ID, non-monotheists, and even Mormons (who believe in the eternality of matter). That's what makes me think that the controversy described here, is actually the controversy between atheism and theism; not the Creationism controversy. Mkmcconn 04:47, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

<< . . . [T]he controversy described here, is actually the controversy between atheism and theism; not the Creationism controversy >>

I echo these sentiments. -- NetEsq 04:58, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)


I am stronlgy opposed to this plan and have so far not seen any cogent argument in favor of it. Rednblu has campaigned on this page tirelessly against a supposed conspiracy of "evolutionist censors". This conspiracy is a figment of his overactive imagination. The article in question discusses what it is meant to discuss, the modern creationist movement, which is primarily a Christian, US-centric phenomenon. Detailed aspects of creation theology are discussed where they would be expected, in creation beliefs, with no preferential treatment for any particular faith. Readers who expect information about creationism will want creationist positions and activities to be discussed in this article.
"Scientific creationism" is a contradiction in terms -- it is a POV term that is unacceptable as a Wikipedia article title. The section "Defining creationism" explains exactly why the article is written in the way it is written. If you seek to expand this section, I am wholly in favor of that. If individual positions eventually take up too much space, we can talk about splitting them away. But the current logical setup is the most reasonable one and I would appreciate it if people could concentrate on adding useful material instead of trying to destroy existing structures in favor of highly questionable constructs that satisfy little more than personal idiosyncracies.—Eloquence 04:59, Aug 20, 2003 (UTC)

Uncle Ed, do not read the following. It does not matter that "scientific creationism" is a contradiction in terms. How could POV terms be "unacceptable" if they are the terms that people use in reality? That you see a POV term as "unacceptable" is symptomatic of the problem here. You have not reached a NPOV level from which you can see that "scientific creationism" is just another POV label that people in reality use--with no more threat to your dearest beliefs than the other oxymorons in the English language such as "free market," "Communist conspiracy," or "free love." If you do not permit the oxymoron and POV label "free market" to be used, you will cause the kind of nonsense page that you have at Creationism. The nonsense label "free market" stands for something in the real world because people make it stand for something even if you object very strongly from your POV to what the label stands for. Wake up! Rednblu 05:28, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

"Free market" is a far less POV-loaded term than "scientific creationism". Both critics and advocates of a free market economy agree that a free market is theoretically possible; they may not agree about its practical possibility. "Creation science" is not used as a theoretical concept but to describe an actual movement. At this point, the question must be asked whether this label is reasonably acceptable. For "free market", there is no equivalent neutral substitute -- the term is universally used. "Creation science", on the other hand, is less often used than "creationism" (by a factor 4 according to Google), and while creationism is used by critics and believers alike, creation science is primarily used by those who believe in creation and want their beliefs to be accepted. When referring to the "free love" movement, the same questions would have to be asked, and for good reasons we do not have an article titled communist conspiracy.—Eloquence 11:38, Aug 20, 2003 (UTC)

KRS' additions

KRS added the following:

Hinduism, Creationism and Evolutionism

Hinduism doesn't see a conflict between creation and evolution. In Hinduism, the triumvirate [Gods] Brahma- Vishnu- Shiva are considered respectively Creator- Protector- Destroyer.The various Avatars of Vishnu the Dasavathara [Dasa=10, Avatar= incarnation]are generally accepted as showing a remarkable and very close co-relation with Darwinian evolution.

The Avatars are as follows 1.Matsya- fish 2.Koorma- turtle 3.Varaha- single horned pig 4.Narasimha -half lion half man 5.Vamana- dwarf 6.Parasurama- a great sage 7.Rama - a great and righteous king 8.Balarama- brother of Krishna 9.Krishna- a popular God who was a cowherd 10. Kalki- God on a horse.

[There are also other versions of the Dasavatar, one of which incorporates the Buddha]

According to popular belief, the first nine avatars are already completed, the tenth avatar is yet to come and would coincide with Pralaya when the world would end in water- to rise yet again. This is supposedly in the near future in the Kali-Yuga, yuga being a unit of time.

The concept of cyclic time is central to Hinduism [unlike the concept of linear time in many other religions]. In fact, time is represented as a wheel- 'Kaala Chakra- Wheel of Time'.Probably this could be one of the reasons why there is no conflict between religion and science in Hinduism.

Probably any debate on creationism Vs evolutionism would have to necessarily include and accomodate the concept and theories of time.

An interesting point is that though Brahma is considered the Creator, unlike Vishnu and Shiva,there is no temple of worship for him reasons for which are given in myths.

Since hinduism does not see the conflict which is the center of this article (which focuses on the modern usage of the word "creationism"), this material probably belongs on creation beliefs. It could use some copyediting first, though.—Eloquence 21:31, Aug 19, 2003 (UTC)

I agree. KRS might also want to correct or expand what is in the Creator god article, as well. Mkmcconn 21:52, 19 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I think you are being Eurocentric by removing the section on Hinduism. I agree that this section was a] not well written b] too long with some irrelevant info c] needs more coherence.
Please do not accuse Mkmcconn, for all intents and purposes, of racism. He simply is pointing out that the material recently added is off-topic, and should be put in an article better suited for it. Your claims of Eurocentrism are unfounded, and insulting. RK 12:29, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I meant whoever removed the section on Hinduism. Anyway, now I am out of the debate, there is an intro which satisfies meKRS 13:50, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

But I don't agree with the fact that it is controversial or should come in some other section. If this was a specific article on Christian beliefs I would not have even touched the page. The first sentence clearly says that creationism believes that God created man and evolutionism that man evolved through natural selection. In such a general context, if you point out that in Christianity a conflict occurs between both beliefs and add on that most scientists don't believe in Creationism, I have an equal right to add that in Hinduism there is not much of a conflict. How can you say that because there is no conflict it need not be included? It is precisely because of this that it has to be included.In connection with the mention of surveys, in India, the most learned and brilliant scientists still believe in God and are not atheists because of this lack of conflict. But I have not mentioned this because, there is no scientifc survey, just a general acceptance that religion and science coexist peacefully.

In Islam, for example, figurative sculpture is not allowed because only God can create man, and man is not allowed to create man. This is also germane to the discussion. probably someone weel versed in this should add on info.

Accusations of Eurocentric bias

This remark of mine below was based on a previous Wikipedia definition of what creationism was- it was very ambiguous and could have included many beliefs. Now the definition has been rewritten, and taking the definition at face value, I am currently suspending my subscription to my previous viewpoint. I believe that there are still ambiguities in the definition, but I am not an expert and I don't want to intervene. I am only writing this because people tend to interpret reactions out of context when the original stimulus is no more visible [ User Miguel- please note] --KRS 05:12, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Noted :-) — Miguel
Ok. But you taught me a lot by what you said. In following up on your comments, I explored a little of the Hindu traditions of Creationism. Here is what I found. I will give you citations to the evolutionist censors' own Bible--the venerable Talk.origins archives. Scan this page and you will see the documentation on the creationism from many faiths other than that of the Christian God.
And on this page, you will see a review of Hinduism's own leading creation scientist, last seen surfing near the Bhaktivedanta Institute, San Diego. Again that link is straight to the evolutionist censors' own Bible marker, none other than the venerable Talk.origins archives. (That last poetical repetition of the chorus was an invitation for RK to censor what his myopic eyes see as a repeated paragraph.)
And for a nightcap, there is even a wonderful NBC special narrated by Charlton Heston, that dear man, who introduces many creationists both Hindu and Christian. Here I can offer you two chapters from the evolutionist censors' own Bible--chapter and verse.
It seems that the evolutionist censors' Bible does not treat Hindu Creationism with any more respect than it does the Christian Creationism. So maybe you are right in not insisting that the Creationism page be corrected to deal with reality. What good would it do to get the evolutionist censors to expand their parochial POV and recognize that there are indeed Creators other than the Christian ones that they harden their veins and hearts against? Good night again! Rednblu 06:37, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Not so fast! I realize you are a very generous person, but, in my humble opinion, that current definition at the top of the Creationism page is a mere parochial POV and is simply--wrong. That definition is the logical equivalent of defining religion as only Christian. In my experience, creationism is a very active element of Hinduism. Just a second and I will find you an internet link. Be right back. Rednblu 05:30, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I would like to rewrite the Hinduism angle in just a few sentences without the specifics. [I admit I got a bit carried away with the details] If you don't want me to,then you have to rephrase what Creationism is to mean that it is a specific belief associated with Christianity where people believe that God created man. Please don't disappoint me by subscribing only to one point of view, especially in such a touchy topic like religion. KRS 03:59, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Yes. You have stated a problem that has bothered me from the beginning about this Creationism page; it is parochially biased and too Christian. It is as if the "controllers" of this page will not let you say anything on the subject of this page unless you toe the line of either a Christian creationist or an Anti-Christian evolutionist. No other views of Creationism are allowed here. The justification for the exclusion of other views is that the other views of Creationism have not generated the conflict with the "scientists" that Christian creationism has. Rednblu 05:05, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Once again, you're missing the point. The reason these views are not discussed here is that they are not relevant here -- there is no Hindu creationist movement. The term "creationism" is simply not applicable as KRS himself has stated. There are, however, creation beliefs in Hinduism, which are conspicuously missing from that article.—Eloquence 05:11, Aug 20, 2003 (UTC)
Then, wouldn't it be prudent to narrow the definition, as KRS has suggested, and to focus on Creationism as the name of a controversy with evolution? The only thing that bugs me about the article, is that it shifts meanings as it goes along. What is described in the opening paragraph, is a creation belief. What is described thereafter is a conflict between primarily Christian apologists (read 'anti-evolutionists'), and evolution (read, 'atheism', or 'naturalism'). Those who are attempting to explain evolution in terms that do not conflict with faith are also, somehow, on the 'evolutionist' side against 'creationism', at one point, and the other way around later (I think). I find this very confusing and I can't figure out, from section to section, who is who. Mkmcconn 05:43, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Eloquence, if you say that there is no Hindu Creationist movement, I have to take your word on it, I am not an expert. By Creationist if you mean a conscious movement,then my addition is irrelevant. The main confusion is this- is any person who believes in God a creationist or is it an explicitly stated and taken position? If the former, my addition is valid, if the latter, it is not . If the latter, then why don't you make it clear in the article that Creationism is a conscious movement, predominantly having a following from adherents of Christianity, that stems from the belief that God created man.... or whatever. BTW, I am a Hindu, not a Hindu fundamentalist, practically an atheist[only because it is not scientific to denounce what you don't know ]or [I think] an agnostic and not a male- just to deconstruct any mental picture you have of me:-)KRS 05:34, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

<<Once again, you're missing the point.>>

Of course, I missed your point--because you refuse to deal with reality. My job is to keep stating reality. You have an idea that Creationism is necessarily in conflict with something structurally equivalent to what you call "science." KRS has pointed out to you again and again that you are wrong. You are wrong because you have a very parochial view of creationism and a very parochial view of "science." And KRS is right. Now KRS is a civilized person, and therefore he or she will, as you say, concede the part of the point that you want to protect to keep your POV intact. I am merely stating the way that it is; you are wrong and KRS is right. Rednblu 05:41, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I never stated that creationism is necessarily in conflict with science, I stated that most people who call themselves "creationists" consider it in conflict with science or want it to be given equal attention in education. This article is not about some view of creationism that you may have, it is about the meaning of the word "creationism", and the creationist movement, today. This is our policy: articles should focus on the modern meaning of a word. What you want is an article on theological beliefs about creation -- "uninterrupted by criticisms". That article already exists and is, correctly, titled creation beliefs. Please concentrate your energy on improving existing articles instead of engaging in time-consuming and unproductive structural debates. You may consider this debate interesting, for me it is primarily a waste of my time for which I hold you responsible. And I have no choice to waste my time on these debates if I want to prevent this article from being turned into a POV mess similar to the one it was before I restructured it. Now who is controlling whom? —Eloquence 11:46, Aug 20, 2003 (UTC)

The way I understand creationism, it really is a belief that the account of creation in the Genesis is true, and it really is largely confined to the USA. The way I understand ethnocentrism, the article would be Eurocentric or Americocentric if it were phrased in a way that didn't make that clear and claimed or lent itself to the interpretation that every religion adheres to these beliefs, or that opposition to evolution is prevalent in every culture. Since that is not the case, the article is not Eurocentric. -- Miguel

The terms eurocentric and americocentric are derived from the term ethnocentrism, one of the fundamental concepts in anthropology. As a general rule, ethnocentrism is not perceived as "good" or "bad," but it is definitely seen as something to guard against when engaging in "participant observation," a technique that anthropologists use when engaging in ethnography. All too often, people tend to misinterpret the behavior and opinions of people from cultures exotic to their own because of cultural bias. A simple example is the business custom of shaking hands. When American businesspeople first interacted with Japanese businesspeople, the Americans offered a firm handshake in lieu of a bow, which was perceived by the Japanese as an intentional insult. This assumption is easily correctible, but many ethnocentric assumptions take place at a subsconscious level. -- NetEsq 16:43, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Christians supposedly controlling this article

<< [T]he "controllers" of this page will not let you say anything on the subject of this page unless you toe the line of either a Christian creationist or an Anti-Christian evolutionist. >>
To be clear, there are no "controllers" of this page. Rather, there is one particularly "eloquent" Wikipedian who sees no merit to the views expressed by various other Wikipedians who are very unhappy with the current state of the creationism article, and he enjoys the silent support of other Wikipedians who don't really understand what the big deal is. This type of impasse is not uncommon here at Wikipedia, and I have abandoned my fair share of POV disputes after noting my objections. In any event, the best way to resolve such impasses -- when they can be resolved -- is through the passage of time and (more importantly) through the involvement of more Wikipedians. -- NetEsq 06:03, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)


Thank you, NetEsq, for putting this succinctly. There is no Christian control of this page. I am beginning to see some anti-Christian and anti-European statements here that really bother me. RK 12:29, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Just checking: Are the terms "Eurocentric" and "UScentric" perceived as meaning something more than "I assume things elsewhere are much as they are where I am"? Mkmcconn 13:23, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
The term "Eurocentric" was a widely code-word among black supremacists for racism against everyone who is not a white European, by all (or nearly all) people of white European descent. This use of the term has moved into parts of the mainstream. On many college campuses, in African studies, Black studies, Womens Studies departments, and even some English departments, this term is often a code word for racist denigration of non-white views. On the other hand, to most Americans, the word "Eurocentric" probably has little meaning at all. Fortunately, many Wikipedia users on the WikiEn list use it in a non-perjorative way, and they use this term in the same way that you think it means. RK 13:35, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Yes. Of course. I am being dramatic. But in the process, I appreciate everyone's contributions to what I am learning here. To summarize, I hypothesize that our conversation about the Creationism page mirrors the structure of the problem in the outer world. And I appreciate your coming in and out of the conversation and not abandoning the knotty problem here. Sure, there are no "controllers" here. But I would not feel that I knew a very good solution if I could not come up with something that the "controllers" would not look at and say, "Well. Maybe you have a point. Give it a try." So I think my job is to keep coming up with more ideas. I liked your idea that the page should be titled Creation science. And Mkm's question about making the page match people's experience made me think. And Elo's complaints about "Creation science" as a title made me think about the problems of oxymoronic and POV titles for pages. Is this learning worthwhile? It is at least as entertaining as the book I am supposed to be writing. Thank you and good night all. Rednblu 06:16, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

My views have shifted along the way, as well. I was originally (overly?) jealous of the fact that the term, "creationism", is tied to the creation science controversy, so tightly and confusingly. It's too bad that the discussion is too long for most people to read, because I think that it might be one of the most interesting dialogues concerning the debate, in terms of an overview, that I have ever come across. But, I regret it if it has seemed to be a destraction, rather than serving toward the improvement of the article. Mkmcconn 14:44, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Upper Case C for all mentions of Creationism

Eloquence, now the intro is clear and I am getting out of the debate. But I think that wherever the word creationism is mentioned it should be represented by an upper case C- this will remove any remaining ambiguity. I am not touching the article, so please obligeKRS 15:07, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Interesting suggestion. I'll have to think about that.—Eloquence 15:09, Aug 20, 2003 (UTC)

Definitions

I wish there were some way to clear the air. Maybe all this "hot air" could move over to the global warming article, heh heh. But, seriously, folks...

We need clear definitions of terms. Can we say that creationism is the belief that God deliberately created life? And that a particular major current of creationism claims that deliberately created ALL forms of life, including every species known to man?

Can we come to some sort of agreement over how to classify those creation beliefs that are not involved in the "creation vs. evolution" debate? I think Eloquence moved or advocated moving some of the Hindu ideas into another article, on the grounds that they are MERE BELIEFS.

I guess it is "creation science" or "scientific creationism" that causes the biggest fuss here. I'm reading a book by Larry Witham which says that English-speaking creationists reacted to the Darwin centennial by re-asserting their religious beliefs. This assertion included the claim that geology backs up the Old Testament account of Creation. Of course, the outcry against this claim has been loud and long.

Really, we need at least one or two articles to cover creationist ideas properly.

  1. an article that explains in detail what creationism is, who believes it, and why
  2. an article which describes the debate between creationists and their opponents
  3. an article about the intelligent design movement

If we can cover all this material in one article, that's fine and dandy. But it might requre multiple articles. It goes without saying that no article which speaks about evolution will go unchallenged for more than a day or two around here, if it attempts to "disprove" evolutionist ideas. I don't think any of us imagine we could or ought to write an article which uses the Wikipedia name to endorse anti-evolution ideas -- or for that matter, pro-evolution ideas. That wouldn't be neutral; Jimbo said that this encyclopedia shouldn't take sides in controversies.

However many number of articles we settle on, we should try first to agree on an editorial policy. I suggest that we:

  • write down what a specific creationist author has said on a particular point, like Smith said fossils came from the Flood.
  • write down somewhere at least one evolutionist's rebuttal to this point. (This can be 90% or 99% of the 'space' or 'air time', I don't care!)

I think this will work. What do you all think? --Uncle Ed 15:40, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I agree with Ed that it might be good to have separate articles for the three points he lists, and I think that this article correctly addresses point 1). -- Miguel

Differing definitions from different dictionaries

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

Creationism: Belief in the literal interpretation of the account of the creation of the universe and of all living things related in the Bible.

From Princeton's WordNet:

Creationism: the literal belief in the account of creation given in the Book of Genesis; "creationism denies the theory of evolution of species"

From Encarta's Dictionary:

Creationism: belief that God created universe: the belief that the Bible’s account of the Creation is literally true

From Webster's 10th Edition:

Creationism: a doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis -- compare EVOLUTION 4b

From Columbia Encyclopedia:

creationism, or creation science, belief in the biblical account of the creation of the world as described in Genesis, a characteristic especially of fundamentalist Protestantism (see fundamentalism). Advocates of creationism have campaigned to have it taught in U.S. public schools along with the theory of evolution, which they dispute. [etc.]

And so forth, and so on. Every serious work of reference uses the term creationism in the sense in which it is used here -- to describe the primarily Christian belief in the origins of the universe and life that is opposed to scientific explanations. It is only Rednblu who has been campaigning here for weeks to use creationism according to his pet definition, long after all participants in the debate had agreed on a useful structure. Sadly, Rednblu has managed to again cultivate dissent among the participants in the debate without regard for logic or evidence.—Eloquence 15:50, Aug 20, 2003 (UTC)

I do not agree with Eloquence's characterization of this dispute, particularly his assertion that he is the voice of reason and his implied assertion that the problem lies with the one person who will not be reasonable and see things his way. In truth, there are many people who never voice an opinion in debates like this because they are afraid of being taken to task. Like it or not, Rednblu speaks for a silent opposition that could very well be a majority but for their desire to stay out of a controversy stained with bad blood. Indeed, the mere existence of the creationism article in its present form speaks volumes to the fact that a significantly large and outspoken group of people think that Eloquence is categorically wrong. -- NetEsq 16:28, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Huh? Please elaborate on the last sentence. Again, no arguments, no facts, no logic, just rhetoric. I don't have time for this. Virtually all modern reference works agree with the definition of creationism presented in this article. If you disagree with it, put up (citations) or shut up.—Eloquence 16:35, Aug 20, 2003 (UTC)
Netesq is totally wrong; he is way out of line here. This is the English Wikipedia, and it is specifically for English speaking users. Among people who speak English, the word "creationism" refers to precisely the set of beliefs that Eloquence says it does. I do not know why Rednblu is making false claim about bias towards non-Christian views, and I can't figure out why Netesq joining him in this tirade. Eloquence is merely pointing out that the material others want here is out of place in this entry, and is best moved elsewhere. The way you Netesq is responding, you would think he is fighting some Eurocentric Christian conspiracy to control people's minds through propaganda. Chill the heck out. Stop rewriting the dictionary just so you can insult Eloquence. RK 16:38, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Your assumption that the entire English speaking world knows that Creationism relates to Biblical origins is totally wrong. And for your information, the word Eurocentric is not a derogatory term as far as I know, it could just be assumptions like yours. Please keep in mind that most of the world today speaks and thinks and writes in English but need not have the same cultural/ religious associations of Europe/ Christianity/ US whatever KRS 16:57, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)


The Wikipedia article did [does] not mention the meanings suggested by the above mentioned encyclopedias explicitly right away. When as a newcomer I came into the picture, the meaning suggested was a generic one and that's why I participated at the spur of the moment, seeing such a major lacuna. You knew what creationism was, I didn't, but the article gave a wrong beginning impression- the point of the encyclopedia is to inform the ignorant person. Even now, you have introduced this concept only in the second sentence, I think it is still too late an introduction in an encylopedia.The different encyclopedia entries you mention are very clear about this in their very first sentence. As Uncle Ed says, all this 'hot air' is because of a lack of clarity in defining the subject matter at the very beginning. It is not a waste of time for you to counter every newcomer's arguments because the same ambiguity is bound to rise again and again with every new reader unless you see it from their eyes, which you can't- being into the subjectKRS 16:51, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

KRS, I am all for clarifying the language of this article. What I am opposed to is a massive reorganization that contradicts common usage.—Eloquence 17:05, Aug 20, 2003 (UTC)
In that case, I think that of the definitions you posted, the one from the Columbia Encyclopedia is the best, least ambiguous model. Mkmcconn 17:08, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

<< Please elaborate on the last sentence. >>

I will be happy to do so: "[T]he mere existence of the creationism article in its present form speaks volumes to the fact that a significantly large and outspoken group of people think that Eloquence is categorically wrong." When it comes to the issue of creationism vs. evolution, I agree with virtually everything that you have to say on the subject. To wit, I have engaged many creationists in heated debate and debunked my fair share of straw man arguments in the process, but I am not prepared to dismiss all creationists as kooks.

<< Virtually all modern reference works agree with the definition of creationism presented in this article. >>

That's not true. I pointed this out previously when I cited Webster's New World Dictionary wherein creationism is clearly defined as a theological concept that is totally distinguishable from creation science. To wit, Webster's entry for creationism makes no reference whatsoever to Christianity or the Bible, whereas the entry for creation science does. However, creationism and scientific creationism have become more or less synonymous in common usage, and it is our job as Wikipedians to explain that the two terms do not mean the same thing.

<< Again, no arguments, no facts, no logic, just rhetoric. I don't have time for this. Virtually all modern reference works agree with the definition of creationism presented in this article. If you disagree with it, put up (citations) or shut up. >>

It's like I'm looking in a mirror. Perhaps you would have more "time for this" if you spent less time engaging in the very rhetoric that you seem to find so reprehensible. -- NetEsq 17:30, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Any dictionary that misses the modern usage of creationism is simply incomplete. This article does mention the historical theological usage of the term creationism and distinguishes it from the modern one, as it should. What, exactly, are you missing and why can it not be accomplished within the given structure?—Eloquence 17:34, Aug 20, 2003 (UTC)

The dictionary that I cited does not "miss the modern usage of creationism." Rather, it lists creationism and creation science side by side as separate entries; after reading both entries, any intelligent person would come to the inescapable conclusion that creation science is a particular type of creationism that is sui generis. To wit, "a theory, concerning the origin of the universe, which states that the literal biblical account of creation can be scientifically verified: essentially rejects Darwinism and much of modern scientific thought, esp. in biology and geology." -- NetEsq 17:41, 20 Aug 2003 (UTC)

You did not answer my question, NetEsq.—Eloquence

But he did. What we need is a place where the people neutral to this debate can put together a NPOV article or series of articles. Any ideas? The Creationism page does not seem to be available for development of a neutral article. We could start with Uncle Ed's outline. We could let all the people who like the current Creationism page be the final judges on whether we did a better page. I wonder what a NPOV page on Creationism would look like. Rednblu 02:22, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Yes, I have an idea. Stop trying to force English speaking people to change the way they speak English, in order to further your religious and political agenda. We are not amused by the way that you are making this issue out to be a matter of bias and POV violation. It is not. You show no interest in discussing the topic; rather you just try to force English speakers to redefine how they use the term "Creationism" to meet your peculiar definition. Frankly, I have read dozens of books and articles on the subject, and not a single one uses the peculiar definitions that you and Netesq keep demanding. RK 02:53, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I have removed the following paragraph: "Ironically, the creationism debate, as part of the larger evolution debate ( which in turn is a part of the larger "science vs. religion" debate) is largely dispensed with--the scientific world has grown to be more respectful of spiritual life, and the religious world is mostly made of up non-literalists--people who value their religion for its moral values, and less for its literal-and-complete representation of fact."

This isn't correct; in fact, in the United States of America, the opposite is true. The creationism debate not only has not been dispensed with, but Christian fundamentalists in many states are in the process of a full frontal assault on science, by manipulating school boards, and threatening to unseat politicians who refuse to adavance their religious goals in public schools. Organized groups are trying to force school boards to promote Biblical fundamentalist religion in Biology classes. The fact that most scientists respect religion is irrelevant to many religious fundamentalists; the respect is not often returned, and many still view the study of evolution as Satanic. RK 12:23, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

But that paragraph is essentially correct except for Biblical literalists in the United States. If that point were made clear, the paragraph could be reinstated. And that would be the appropriate point to mention Hindu beliefs, etcetera. -- Miguel
If you could add some of these facts to the article, with references, it would help: (a) Christians threatening to unseat politicians should be easy to find in newspapers; (b) accusations/complaints from opponents that Christains are "manipulating" or conducting an "assault", with names and organizational affiliations; (c) and comments from observers or critics on "promoting fundamentalist religion" in class. I wonder the issue of US public schools and evolution should be a separate article. --Uncle Ed 13:33, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

There have been many articles on this issue from CSICOP and Skeptic magazine. In addition, see these websites:


<<Stop trying to force English speaking people to change the way they speak English, in order to further your religious and political agenda.>>

I do not object to you calling me POV or mischaracterizing us as having a "religious or political" agenda. How about the following as grounds upon which we can talk? We need an unofficial place in Wikipedia where we could develop a NPOV article on Creationism. You can control the official Creationism page. Uncle Ed has some great ideas, NetEsq has some great ideas, and you have some great ideas. We could develop a NPOV article on Creationism. I am sure of it. Rednblu

We already have a good Creationism page. You should are just anrgy that the rest of us English speakers do not define "creationism" the way you wish it would be defined. Too bad. Stop rewriting the dictionary to win an argument. RK
I agree that the article is pretty good already. -- Miguel
I won't even restore my complete comment. I let the record stand. Why would you butcher my comment? Surely you know some limits to your bloodthirst for censorship. Rednblu 16:01, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Stop lying. Your text is still here. Stop harassing me for the "crime" of not agreeing with your childish attempts to rewrite the dictionary. I also have to wonder what kind of person would take an intellectual disagreement and label it as "bloodthirst". I am unsure of why you see violence where none exists, but you may need to take a look within yourself, an ask where all this rage is coming from. It is not healthy, my friend. RK

What I mean by NPOV is that the whole article would characterize as faithfully as possible what the various people have said--without homogenizing the points-of-view. As an experiment, I with the help of many others put together the atomism page to illustrate NPOV on a highly incendiary subject. Rednblu 15:24, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Arguments for Creationism

This page desperately needs an Arguments for Creationism section to go after the Arguments against evolution section, but I'm not qualified to write it. Populus 16:13, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

What topics would you put in an "Arguments for Creationism" section? Rednblu 21:48, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
There are a number of must-read FAQs at the Talk.origins archive. The content of these FAQs can and should be recapitulated here. -- NetEsq 23:10, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I suspect that some people may object to some statements throughout the article as being anti-creationist POV. If that is the problem, maybe those statements (whatever they are) could be listed here for discussion...
I actually think that the approach should be the opposite as Populus suggest. Namely, arguments against evolution should be moved to the evolution article, and any anti-creationist arguments that are in this article should be collected in an "arguments against creationism" section, either here or in "creation science". This argument is supposed to be a dispassionate description of Creationism, after all. -- Miguel
No doubt this article should be a dispassionate description of what creationism is, but I don't see that happening any time soon. As I have stated previously, creationism is first and foremost a theological topic whereas creation science is a particular type of creationism. Ultimately, what is needed is a separate article entitled creation science.
As it stands right now, the assertion of Eloquence is that creationism as a theological topic is an antiquated concept. To prove this "fact," he points to dictionary definitions of creationism that agree with his position and dismisses those definitions that contradict him. Unless and until creationism is recognized as a legitimate topic that is the province of theologists, the debate over creation science will continue unabated. Those who recognize this plain simple truth would be well-advised to expand the coverage of the theology article rather than be forced to take sides in the battle between scientists and religious fundamentalists. -- NetEsq 23:10, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Ok, let's do this section by section. What are the objections to this? (alternatively, can you quote paragraphs from the article that you dispute?)
Good idea. Welcome to this circus, Miguel. Rednblu 01:37, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Creationism is the belief, based on a literal interpretation of the first book of the Bible (Genesis), that God created the universe and all life within it, especially mankind. In this sense, creationism has its origin in the Hebrew Bible and classical Judaism, and was adopted early on in Christianity.
Using the term creationism in this sense is relatively recent, dating back to the late 1800s. The term was chosen to counter Charles Darwin's popular and revolutionary work, The Origin of Species.
In the United States creationism often refers to an organized philosophy by Christian fundamentalists which they intend to use as the primary, or supplemental, curriculum for schools to teach.
For the last 2000 years, "creationism" in its basic form has been the mainstream understanding, in both Judaism and Christianity, of how the Earth and mankind were created. These interpretations were a product of their era, and pre-scientific understanding tended to dominate all aspects of culture before the time a scientific understanding took hold toward the end of the 18th century.
-- Miguel

From a Biblecentric POV, Creationism is based on the Bible

<<Creationism is the belief, based on a literal interpretation of the first book of the Bible (Genesis), that God created the universe and all life within it, especially mankind. In this sense, creationism has its origin in the Hebrew Bible and classical Judaism, and was adopted early on in Christianity.>>

Those statements follow the definitions in several very Biblecentric dictionaries. To say that the "belief that God created the universe" is based on Genesis is one interesting POV. But that Biblecentric POV is as ridiculous as saying that "law" is based on the Ten Commandments. Some creationism is based on the Bible. And some is not--according to the various scholars that spend much of their time with such matters.

In any case, we should not be deciding one POV versus another. We should record the varieties of POVs and the way that they have evolved in history--and ascribe the various POVs to the generous men who invented those different POVs. Rednblu 01:39, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

According to Webster's New World Dictionary:

crea*tion*ism n. Theol. 1. the doctrine that God creates a new soul for every human being born: opposed to TRANSDUCIANISM 2. the doctrine that ascribes the origin of matter, species, etc. to acts of creation by God
creation science a theory, concerning the origin of the universe, which states that the literal biblical account of creation can be scientifically verified: essentially rejects Darwinism and much of modern scientific thought, esp. in biology and geology

-- NetEsq 04:25, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Yes. Exactly--just for starters. I don't have my OED right here. But the Catholic Church has used those two definitions for "creationism" since before the 1700s. And around 1860, in responding to Darwin, some theologians invented a third definition for creationism which was opposed to Darwinian "transformism;" in the new third definition for creationism, certain Church fathers asserted that God created each species by his own "hand." [4] Darwinian "transformism" was interpreted by the Church fathers as theorizing that the chimpanzees speciated into humans spontaneously by the mere steady influence of God's natural loving laws. We could make a good NPOV Creationism page! But it is like the Inquisition; we have to do it by stealth of night--and in secret right-to-left writing. How about we just append a Creationism section to Theology? The deleted don't read the Theology page. I think I just **got** your suggestion. Good night! Rednblu 05:17, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Luckily my university has an institutional subscription to OED online. Here it is:
Creationism A system or theory of creation: spec. a. The theory that God immediately creates a soul for every human being born (opposed to traducianism); b. The theory which attributes the origin of matter, the different species of animals and plants, etc., to `special creation' (opposed to evolutionism).
-- Miguel
No "Church father" could possibly have had an opinion about Darwinism, as they had all been dead for centuries before Darwin was born. Get a grip. -- Someone else 05:41, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Are you sure about that? I can see two Church fathers right outside my window and I assure that they are very much alive right here in the Twenty First Century and probably beyond. Rednblu 06:39, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Quite certain. "Church Father" is not synonymous with "priest". -- Someone else 07:14, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the term Church father refers to someone who is generally accepted as an authority on the teachings and practices of the Christian church. In other words, while there may in fact be Church fathers alive today, the term Church father is generally used to refer to men and women who have been dead for quite some time, such as Saint Augustine. -- NetEsq 07:09, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)


So nobody will let me call the padres who in 1860 or thereabouts created the doctrinal distinction that the Church followed therafter some "church fathers"? Ok. Let's call them Church padres? Rednblu 07:38, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Let's Stop Bickering

Bickering -> Wikipedia:Community case RK

"Murray Eden showed that it would be impossible for even a single ordered pair of genes to be produced by DNA mutations in the bacteria, E. coli,?with 5 billion years in which to produce it! His estimate was based on 5 trillion tons of the bacteria covering the planet to a depth of nearly an inch during that 5 billion years. He then explained that the genes of E. coli contain over a trillion (1012) bits of data. That is the number 10 followed by 12 zeros. *Eden then showed the mathematical impossibility of protein forming by chance. He also reported on his extensive investigations into genetic data on hemoglobin (red blood cells). " [5]

So I have a question. Should Murray Eden's argument even appear on a NPOV Creationism page? That is, is Murray Eden's argument germane to Creationism? Rednblu 21:20, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
These mathematical calculations have been proven wrong. The Talk.Origins FAQ has an essay entitled Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations which explains the error:
Every so often, someone comes up with the statement "the formation of any enzyme by chance is nearly impossible, therefore abiogenesis is impossible". Often they cite an impressive looking calculation from the astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, or trot out something called "Borel's Law" to prove that life is statistically impossible. These people, including Fred, have committed one or more of the following errors:
1) They calculate the probability of the formation of a "modern" protein, or even a complete bacterium with all "modern" proteins, by random events. This is not the abiogenesis theory at all.
2) They assume that there is a fixed number of proteins, with fixed sequences for each protein, that are required for life.
3) They calculate the probability of sequential trials, rather than simultaneous trials.
4) They misunderstand what is meant by a probability calculation.
5) They seriously underestimate the number of functional enzymes/ribozymes present in a group of random sequences.
I will try and walk people through these various errors, and show why it is not possible to do a "probability of abiogenesis" calculation in any meaningful way....(rest of essay on the following webpage)
Read the rest of this essay here

Isn't "public schools" a bit ambiguitous in UK/English ? Ericd 23:36, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Proposed disambiguation notice

I suggest replacing the first paragraph of the article with a disambiguation notice based on the Webster's 10th edition and OED definitions above, along the lines of:

Creationism refers to a belief in creation by a divine agency, primarily:
    • the belief that the human soul is created by a divine agency (opposed to traducianism); and
    • the belief attributing the origin of matter, life, and the various living species to special creation by a divine agency (opposed among others to Darwinism).
This article develops the second meaning, for the first see creationism (theology).

I use divine agency to avoid the culturally biased term God. By the way, the article creationism (theology) should not redirect here, the previous content should be restored, and a similar dismbiguation notice added. Any comments? -- Miguel

Thanks, Miguel. I think we're getting on the right track now. Eloquence, Paul, RK, and (okay, let's include "victim" :) NetEsq -- what d'yall think? --Uncle Ed 21:51, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Thank you, Miguel. As I stated previously, NPOV disputes can most effectively be resolved by the passage of time and (more importantly) through the involvement of more Wikipedians, such as yourself. Please note that I am parroting this verbage from another Wikipedian who goes by the alias Eclecticology. It is a mantra I have come to value highly.
The course of action that you are proposing will put us more or less where we were a few weeks ago, but it would definitely be a step in the right direction. Ideally, the present article would discuss all flavors of creationism, including those flavors promoted by theologians who do not seek to impeach the scientific validity of the theory of evolution. If this is done properly, I believe that the need for an article entitled creation science will become self-apparent. -- NetEsq 22:19, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Good KRS 01:55, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Thank you, Miguel. We may be an unruly crew, but we will follow you if you let us stick to what people have actually said. And I would like to see a section for each POV--not my POV or the writers' POVs, but the POVs of published scholars and activists--that gives each POV a clear and concise summary. Then we could have a set of sections at the end that summarize the controversies of POVn versus POVm. Just ideas. Count me in. I like the divine agency substitution. Rednblu 00:57, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Follow me? No, no! -- Miguel

How to go about changing the page

However, if I might suggest, could we develop this very different kind of page somewhere else like in the UserSpace so that it would not have the appearance of Us winning against Them. At the end we could have something to compare with the current Creationism page and everybody could vote on their preference. Maybe? Rednblu 01:02, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I beg you pardon? Who is us and who is them? And which side am I supposed to be on? :-)
IMHO it is better to agree on a "reference version" that we can revert to if we later decide all our work just made the page worse. Say, at any point we may agree to revert to the last version before my proposed opening paragraph is implemented. This is better than an alternate page because the edit history of the attempt would be documented in the article's history. Hopefully this won't be necessary, though. -- Miguel Sat Aug 23 13:12 UTC 2003


--

<<:I beg your pardon? Who is us and who is them? And which side am I supposed to be on? :-)>>


Well, I am acknowledging that you received three thank yous from some people who have used some harsh words in denouncing what certain very smart and very eloquent people people have done in keeping the Creationism page locked into its current look, format, and content. In my opinion, all of us, whether for or against the current Creationism page have a goal of making the Creationism page better. I would say that you are on the side of making the Creationism page better.

<<IMHO it is better to agree on a "reference version" that we can revert to if we later decide all our work just made the page worse. Say, at any point we may agree to revert to the last version before my proposed opening paragraph is implemented. This is better than an alternate page because the edit history of the attempt would be documented in the article's history. Hopefully this won't be necessary, though.>>

I can see the advantages of agreeing on a "reference version"--now that you point them out. All of the UserTalk comments would be in one place automatically. How about this for a plan? We start with the agreement on a "reference version" as you suggested. And if an edit war starts, we then move the page development to somewhere else such as a UserSpace. Just an idea. Let's not give up on developing a better Creationism page just because an edit war starts over the Creationism page. I would hate to see so much intellectual promise go to waste just because of this genetic hunger to defend the territory that all of us men inherited from the ancestors of the chimpanzees. ;)) Rednblu 15:29, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I decided to boldly go and update the pages as per my suggestion. Hopefully an edit war won't ensue.
The reference version to revert to should an edit war occur is 03:43, 2003 Aug 23 . . Robert Merkel.
I hope we can all agree to this.
-- Miguel Sat Aug 23 16:00 UTC 2003

One more general comment about the procedure. I suspect that, as the page is revised from top to bottom, inconsistencies or redundancies may arise. I suggest that allowing redundancy is good, and that material from further down in the page can be copied into the newly rewritten section, and changed in the section being rewritten if necessary. Inconsistencies requiring only minor modifications can be repaired immediately, but for major modifications I suggest discussing them here first. As the rewrite progresses, we will eventually get to everything. -- Miguel


How about let's work ideas for the Introduction here on the Talk page. Then when we have what we think is a good idea, one of us will integrate the idea we have developed here with the text in the current Introduction, making sure that the worthy comments from the past end up on some page here in Wikipedia. Any ideas? Rednblu 16:02, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I have made an edit to the introduction to the page. Describing pre-scientific creationist beliefs as a "product of their era" seems insulting to modern-day creationists. Just because it's an old idea doesn't in itself make it wrong --Robert Merkel 07:39, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Creationism as a theological topic

With the reinstatement of the article at creationism (theology), I was able to recapitulate some public domain material there that should help flesh out the topic of creationism in the context of theology. I invite all interested parties to review and/or mercilessly edit the material that I have added to that article before I attempt to add more. -- NetEsq 20:58, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)

There's some redundancy with creation beliefs now. Could you fix that?—Eloquence 19:49, Aug 24, 2003 (UTC)

Developing this page and related pages

I would suggest the following structure:

  • Creationism will be primarily used used to discuss the following:
    • history of the anti-Darwinian creationist movement (as per the "origin of the universe/life/everything" definition of creationism)
    • arguments that creationists by that definition are using now, or have used, to make their cause that
      • evolution is flawed
      • creationism is a consistent and sufficient model to explain our origins
    • responses to these arguments
  • Creation beliefs will be used to described detailed theological models that have been put forward by different religions to explain our origins
  • Creationism (theology) or perhaps, better, Creationism (soul), will be used to develop the doctrine concerning the origin of the soul. If we use Creationism (soul), we can redirect Creationism (theology) to Creation beliefs.

Concerning the matter of non-Christian creationists in the anti-Darwin sense, I think these should not be excluded from the creationism article.

Concerning the question of whether the discussion of the evolution arguments, the arguments against or for creationism, or any other part of the current creationism page should be moved away, I propose the general rule that if any of these sections dominates the article and the maximum article size of 32K is exceeded, this section is briefly summarized, with a link to a more extensive discussion in a separate article.

Concerning the recently added disambiguation intro, I have no strong objections to it, but it may place too much emphasis on a specific Catholic doctrine that is of little relevance to the majority of our readers. Perhaps it would be better to highlight the page creation beliefs prominently in the intro and to have a less prominent disambiguation notice for creationism (soul) in the head of the page. Does this sound like a fair and reasonable proposal to the participants? —Eloquence 20:01, Aug 24, 2003 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable to me. RK 02:15, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)


I, on the other hand, think that arguments that evolution is flawed belong in the article Evolution, but arguments that Creationism is sufficient to explain origins belong here. Note that Creationists not only have issues with Darwinism, but with the Standard Model of Cosmology, Astrophysical theories on the origin of the Solar System and with Geological theories of the origin of the Earth. This needs to be mentioned on this page, but the specific critique of each of these theories belongs in the page on that theory. Similarly, the "responses to these arguments" have two parts: defence of the merits of evolution (belongs in evolution) and criticism of Creationism (belong here). Miguel
That would be a bad idea. The article on evolution is an article on science, and should only include scientific points for and against how evolution is understood. It can refer to the religious disputations and link to this article, of course, but that is the extent of it. The arguments made against evolution and physics by fundamentalist Christians do not belong in a science article! Fundamentalists (in Judaism as well) disagree with much of science, genetics, evolution, biology, astronomy, chemistry, etc. However, we shouldn't go around putting in Christian (and/or Jewish, Muslim) "rebuttals" to science in all of these articles, or even in one of them. Those are not science issues. These are purely religious issues. Otherwsie, we will have to rewrite almost every one our science articles to explain why Chrisitians, Muslims, etc. all disagee. RK 21:14, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)
What I mean to say is that neither this page nor the avolution page are the proper place for the debate between creationism and evolution. I wonder whether wikipedia should even contain such a debate. The creationism and evolution pages should describe each paradigm and criticisms of it.
If by "religious rebuttals" you mean something like creationists dispute this theory on the basis that it contradicts scripture, I don't think it's out of place. Just like saying that modern geology is incolpatible with a 6000-year-old Earth. But of course, nothing more than a passing remark is appropriate.
Notice that some of the "arguments against evolution" in this article are disputing the validity of dating techniques, and the interpretation of fossils data and geological strata. In so far as those arguments are scientific, they belong in the appropriate science pages.
I don't really want to commit one way or the other. Let's wait until the editing of this page has progressed. -- Miguel

--

* Creationism will be primarily used to discuss the following: ** history of the anti-Darwinian creationist movement (as per the "origin of the universe/life/everything" definition of creationism)

I have no objection to Creationism being devoted entirely to the Creationism versus evolutionism debate--if that focus of the Creationism page resembled the reality of history and the reality of creationism today. But in my opinion, the Creationism versus evolutionism debate comprises less than half of what creationism is today. Furthermore the Creationism versus evolutionism debate comprised zero percent of what creationism was before 1850.
What are you talking about? What do you mean "less than half". In the USA, Australia and Europe, among English speakers the term "creationism" refers to the attempt to battle science based on a religious reading of the Biblical book of Genesis. You keep using a definition of the word "creationism" that no other English speakers use. RK 21:14, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Accordingly, it seems to me that your proposal that the Creationism page be primarily used to discuss the Creationism versus evolutionism debate is as unfair and unreasonable as proposing that the Communism page be primarily used to discuss the Communism versus capitalism debate. That is, the Communism versus capitalism debate is less than half of what communism has ever been about. I spend the time to voice my opinion here because, in my opinion, there are many people here who, for different reasons, think that your proposal for the Creationism page is unfair and unreasonable. Since I think they are right, I spend the time to say that.
No, it is not unfair. You keep trying to convince everyone to rewrite the dictionary to make this article focus on your own pet topics. The funny thing is that no one is preventing you from writing on those topics, in the appropriate articles. You do have intellectual freedom, just not the authority to rewrite the dictionary. RK 21:14, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)
For all of the above reasons, I vote against the Creationism portion of your proposal.

<<* Creation beliefs will be used to describe detailed theological models that have been put forward by different religions to explain our origins.>>

I do not see why you think that theological models would be a significant portion of the Creation beliefs page. I can cite you to any number of anthropology scholars who would list at least five varieties of creation beliefs, only one of which involves theological models. After all, from a NPOV, the Big Bang theory, even if throughly documented as scientifically true, would still be a creation belief for anyone who thought the Big Bang theory is correct in describing what happened to create the current physical universe. However, in my opinion, there are not many Wikipedians who are expressing an objection to your proposal for the Creation beliefs page.
Thus, for all of the above reasons, though I think your proposal for the Creation beliefs is unfair and unreasonable, I will abstain from voting against your proposal for the Creation beliefs page at this time. In my opinion, that is what the Creation beliefs page is right now.

<<* Creationism (theology) or perhaps, better, Creationism (soul), will be used to develop the doctrine concerning the origin of the soul. If we use Creationism (soul), we can redirect Creationism (theology) to Creation beliefs.>>

In my opinion, creationism is all theology. The soul part of creationism is a minor part of the theology of creationism. So, at least, the Creationism (theology) page should describe that part of creationism that has nothing to do with the Creationism versus evolutionism debate. For example, at least, the Creationism (theology) page should describe Plato's Timeaus theory that the Demiurge created the universe from the eternal archetype of the Good--which Platonic theory certainly has nothing to do with the Creationism versus evolutionism debate. And, in my opinion, there are many, many Wikipedians who think that your proposal for the Creationism (theology) page is unfair and unreasonable. Thus, for all of the above reasons, I vote against your proposal for the Creationism (theology) page. Rednblu 02:23, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)
You keep referring to the "many Wikipedians" who support you, but I don't see them. RK 21:14, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)
It's one of the oldest tricks in the rhetorical books. Or maybe Rednblu has just learned from Rush Limbaugh. ;-) What you are missing, Red, is that the definition of creationism simply does not include the particular beliefs of creationists. The page, if edited according to your ideas, would look more and more like creation beliefs, which is very removed from what the word creationism means. Even NetEsq has cited only one additional definition, namely that of creationism in the context of souls, which is now prominently linked in the article. Platonic theory is not a variant of creationism according to any definition, it is a particular creation belief and as such should be discussed in the article about creation beliefs. The reason you are met with such resistance is not that you want to "create a neutral article about creationism" as you claim, it is that you want to change the definition of it to match your own idiosyncracies. —Eloquence
On this particular confrontation between us, Elo, I refuse to respond to the inaccuracies in the above paragraph until you take out your rhetorical tricks in that paragraph to imply that the issue is "Red's" problem. Rednblu 17:04, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)



23:08, 25 Aug 2003 . . Rei (Reverted: Jecar, the goal is to *remove* POV, not to add it.) My full apologies if I have done something wrong but I fail to see how the removal of a duplicated word could in any way be perceived as adding "POV". Jecar.

No, my apologies to you. I accidentally had clicked on the diff to RK's edit to his post on on Talk:Creationism instead of your edit to Creationism. My fault. It would, of course, explain why my revision did nothing. Sorry there for inadvertently slandering you! And of course, RK is free to use any sort of bias he wants on the talk page, I was just thinking that it happened on the article page because of my mis-click. Rei 01:10, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)

On what page should the Creationism versus evolutionism debate go?

The article on evolution is an article on science, and should only include scientific points for and against how evolution is understood.

Perhaps an article on a religious belief should only include religious points for and against that belief? Arguments from scripture and such? There is the belief in that the world was created as described in Genesis. That's a religious belief. Then there is the purported science, that attempts (and fails, I believe) to give a scientific grounding to that religious belief.

I propose having one article on Creationism for the Genesis-based creation myth, and another article on creation science. The term "creation science" is well used (63,000 hits), and unambiguously refers to the purported science. Then we add in creationism (soul) for the Catholics, creation belief for a general overview of creation myths around the world.Martin 10:13, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Religious arguments for a literal interpretation can be included in the article as is. The kind of arguments that should be moved to creation beliefs are the ones that detail the creation story as given in the Bible. The term "creation science" is perceived as an oxymoron by many in the anti-creationist movement, so choosing it as a title would not be neutral.—Eloquence 12:19, Aug 26, 2003 (UTC)

I understand that some proponents of the theory of evolution consider "creation science" to be misleading. Similarly, some proponents of Holocaust revisionism consider "Holocaust denial" to be misleading. These concerns should be taken into account, but they are not the whole story. However, given your objection I take back my specific suggestion with respect to titles. Martin 12:57, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)

It is in the nature of ideas that the first people to describe them well generally get to pick what they are called. So while "creation science" may not be an excellent description of the set of views that are generally called "creation science," it is nonetheless what that set of views is most commonly called. What other, widely-used term would you consider for that body of belief which purports that the Genesis 1 account is (a) literally true, and (b) scientifically demonstrable, as opposed to that body of belief which holds that it is (a) (literally or otherwise) true, and (b) not a topic of scientific inquiry. User:Shimmin <<Attribution added by User:Rednblu following the PageHistory.>>


Its best to have a disambiguation page as for 'English'. I brought this issue for discussion in a general sense in the village pump- referring to cases such as calculus, Tajmahal, architecture etc., But the solution suggested- to qualify every meaning in a bracket- seemed to me inadequate. After this there was not much reaction, probably because I am a newbie:-)

Here the primary tussle is which meaning is more important than the other or is the 'first among equals'. This cannot be resolved by any discussion, each person[especially two] thinks his POV is correct. It is therefore best to have a very short creationsim disambiguation page which will redirect to creationism[creation science] and creationism [theology]---KRS 14:01, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Why not have two sections which cite examples/ proof so that other participants who are not active but like to have a say in the final NPOV :-) get more knowledge on this. Some of this exists, but it can be organised like in a vote. Each one can cite their sources, so that the dubiousness of Internet- related info can be verified by everyone interestedKRS 14:08, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)

An important point which seems to be missing in many such cases[ actually only one I know of till now-a small part of the tussle of New imperialism was due to this]is the etymology. All this debate can be resolved when while creating a page with a predominant meaning, one brings out at first its etymology. Then the redirect can go to the historical meaning from the etymology. Thus justice is done both the current meaning and the historical meaning KRS 14:16, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Proposal: The Creationism versus evolutionism debate should go on a new Creation science page

<<The term "creation science" is perceived as an oxymoron by many in the anti-creationist movement, so choosing it as a title would not be neutral.>>

That is a blatant illogical point-of-view. A neutral point of view might be: If term T is defined in two standard English dictionaries, then it would be neutral to choose the term T for the title of an article in Wikipedia. Rednblu 17:17, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)
The simple fact which you continue to ignore is that there is a much more neutral and acceptable term: creationism -- a term used by encyclopedias and dictionaries in the sense in which we use it. Your use of this term is idiosyncratic.—Eloquence 17:21, Aug 26, 2003 (UTC)
Idiosyncratic? Do you mean "peculiar to those who believe in creationism"? If so, then you are right. I am using the term as most creationists use the term creationism: "Creationism is the belief in creation by a divine agency."
If you want an example of how creationists use the term "creationism" to refer to the theology that the creationists think sinners have fought against since at least 250 B.C. then check this link. On the other hand, if you want to continue denying reality, then you may do that also. Unlike Martin, I have no interest in being nice to you or being diplomatic. So I will continue to tell you that you are wrong if I think that you are wrong. And I can trust you to respond in kind. Rednblu 17:51, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Now I understand why you want to rewrite the creationism article so badly -- you want it to be in direct contrast to the article atomism which you wrote, just like Bergman puts the two historical ideologies in contrast to one another. While this is an interesting philosophical perspective, it does not reflect mainstream usage of the term creationism as my citations have demonstrated. So please don't be surprised if you run into walls when you try to fit the article structure of Wikipedia into your personal philosophical model.—Eloquence 18:13, Aug 26, 2003 (UTC)
The above inaccurate paragraph contains too many rhetorical tricks of avoiding the issue by dissecting the messenger. Rednblu 18:32, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)
The case for having a creation science page separate from that of creationism is similar to the case for having a Libertarian Party separate from that of libertarianism. (Not a perfect analogy, but close...) Libertarian socialists in particular might even find the term "Libertarian party" both misleading and an oxymoron, but it is nonetheless the most commonly used term to describe that political organization. Shimmin 12:47, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Looking for consensus on the Introduction

While the debate rages above this header, let's try to get something positive out of it by working on the Introduction. It would be productive to focus the discussion on what this section should say. Here's the current version. -- Miguel

In the Western world, Creationism often refers to the belief, based on a literal interpretation of the first book of the Bible (Genesis), that God created the universe and all life within it, especially mankind. In this restricted sense, creationism has its origin in the Hebrew Bible and classical Judaism, and was adopted early on in Christianity.
Using the term creationism in this sense is relatively recent, dating back to the late 1800s. The term was chosen to counter Charles Darwin's popular and revolutionary work, The Origin of Species, which presented an alternative and widely accepted explanation, evolution, for the origin of human life. For the previous 2000 years, "creationism" in its basic form had been the mainstream understanding, in both Judaism and Christianity, of how the Earth and mankind were created.
In the United States creationism often refers to an organized philosophy by Christian fundamentalists which they intend to use as the primary, or supplemental, curriculum for schools to teach.

I would personally subscribe to this introduction in its entirety, and I think so would Eloquence (because he wrote it?). It seems that NetEsq, Rednblu and RK have serious issues with it, and it would be great if they proposed specific additions, subtractions or modifications here. I can't quite figure out where Ed stands on this one (but that's a statement about me, not about him). I apologize if I missed anyone.

IMHO, we should strive to quickly agree on a final form for this introduction. The point is that anything that, once we agree to an introduction, any remaining material which is inconsistent with the introduction will have to be moved to another page! (The introduction can be changed later if the need arises, of course) This will help focus the discussion of the relation of this page to other pages. -- Miguel

The problem with this introduction is that most "creationists" do not subscribe to "literal" interpretation of Genesis. Neither has "evolution" nor yet even "Darwinism" always been considered an explanatory alternative to "creationism". Augustine, for one example, defined "creation" as evolution (development orformation subsequent to the grant of mere existance). Aquinas rejected this idiosyncratic definition, but he did not reject development. Although special creation of species has always had variant forms, and is by far the most representative view of Christian believers, this is not necessarily tied to "literal interpretation". As the article says, "creationism is a spectrum" (and this intro appears to me to contradict this important observation). The whole debate is much older, and much more intricate and subtle (and consequently, too boring for those only casually interested) than can probably be represented in one article, let alone in one introduction. Mkmcconn 20:31, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Could you propose an alternative introduction instead of pointing out what's wrong with the current one? I understand what you're saying, I just don't know how to put it in the article. You may need to propose a change to the disambiguation notice, too! (see below)
From reading this and the creationism (theology) talk pages, it seems to me we have reached an impasse. One way out might be to find a better name for the anti-Darwinist biblical-literalist creationism movement which is mainly confined to the US and wants to take over the science curriculum (maybe this is a little too narrow, though) Do you advocate an article on special creation?
We need a good disambiguation page to help the casually interested reader find the article they want, and also so that everyone involved in this discussion can add content to a real page they are happy about instead of to the talk page of something they are unhappy about. So, the question is, creationism (what)?
It seems that Eloquence is responsible for a large part of the current content, so it would be important to know what he thinks a good alternative title for this page would be, if any. -- Miguel
I appreciate the frustration. I didn't mean to be critical; only, to advise against your suggested approach to the introduction, and to commend the approach currently taken, as being relatively better. My opinion has been that, it will work out best if we work on eliminating internal contradictions and redundancy, preferring those edits which integrate well in the existing structure. I think that the present structure has proven durable, for incorporating new material and expanding the scope, without further sacrifice of clarity. Mkmcconn 21:26, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Let me just say that I am, and have always been, perfectly willing to strive for compromise concerning the structure of the article. I, NetEsq, Mkmcconn and others arrived at the present compromise a few weeks ago in mutual consensus. It is only then that Rednblu joined the debate and tried to alter the structure so he can create an article about creationism that philosophically matches the article on atomism he has written. Nobody else has had any complaints about the structure at this point.

Since then, Rednblu has been tirelessly campaigning against "evolutionist censors", worked on unnecessary page forks and wasted everyone's time. Even NetEsq's main complain, as I understand it, was simply that the original theological meaning of creationism concerning the origin of souls was not given proper attention. It is only Rednblu who wants to fundamentally restructure the relevant pages, not to adopt the pages to the modern and traditional meanings of the word creationism, but to make them reflect his personal philosophical interpretation thereof.

Rednblu has been entirely unwilling to work for compromise and insisted on his preferred structure so far, while everyone else in the debate has worked to achieve consensus. His major contribution to the debate is to try to create "factions" who attack each other. He is trying to seed the kind of mistrust and paranoia that he needs to establish his point of view.

At this point, I think the most reasonable course of action for all concerned parties would be to ignore Rednblu and to simply carry on improving both the structure and content of the relevant articles. Don't play his game.—Eloquence 21:08, Aug 26, 2003 (UTC)

I have to say I am getting tired of playing the game. Unless you are misrepresenting other people's opinions, all that is left is for Rednblu to give a specific proposal as to what the introduction should look like. -- Miguel

Personally, I think it's more important to fill in the details at places like Young Earth Creationism and panspermia. Also, rather easier... :) Martin 23:17, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)

One question. Wouldn't it make more sense to define creationism at wiktionary:creationism? Is there a place on wiktionary for wikipedians to say "we're having a semantic dispute here - help!"? Martin 23:19, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)


I think we all agree that creation beliefs is for religous dogma, with no rebuttals. (Those 'crazy religious people' believe some astonishing things, ain't it a hoot? one might say.)

An article on creationism might focus on the Christian (esp. Anglo-American) assertion that God created the world AND the living creatures AND people, in contradiction to the evolutionist view. Whether or not this needs rebuttal is still an open question at Wikipedia as of late August 2003.

I believe that creation science or scientific creationism is the school of thought which:

  • asserts that Creationism is true
  • claims that geology and biology PROVE that Creationism is true
  • wishes American public schools would give as much time to Creationism as to theories of Evolution, in science classes.

Summing up, I daresay that we contributors

  1. have no problems with the creation beliefs article.
  2. still are unsure how much rebuttal and so forth should go into the creationism article
  3. might consider moving some of battle between creationists vs. evolutionists to creation science.

--Uncle Ed 13:55, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Specific proposal as to what the introduction should look like

I offer the following as an attempt to develop consensus on what the beginning and Introduction of the Creationism page might be.

I have cut out specific authors, such as [Author1]¸ and specific quotes, such as [Assertion1], to assist those who reject specific authors as being "creationist," for whatever reason. Fill in your own sources and quotes!

I suggest we edit this beginning and introduction between the container marks here on this TalkPage to minimize edit wars. Let's see what we have. Rednblu 21:04, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)

**Specific proposal container Beginning**

Creationism refers to a religious belief in creation by a divine agency, primarily:

  • the belief that the human soul is created by a divine agency - see creationism (theology)
  • the spectrum of beliefs attributing the origin of the universe, life, and humanity to creation by a divine agency.

This article discusses the second meaning.

For the various stories of how creation happened, see Creation beliefs.

For an exposition of the conflicts of creationism with science, see Creation science.

This article is specifically about the various creationism outlooks on theology and the duty that people owe to the divine agency that created them.

Introduction: The broad spectrum of creationism

Creationism, attributing the origin of the universe to creation by a divine agency, is at least as old as the writings of [Author1] in [YY1] BC and [Author2] in [YY2] BC. Creationist scholars differ widely in characterizing the role of the divine agency in the affairs of this earth. Some creationists, such as [Author3], assert that the divine agency hears their daily prayer and will intercede in daily events to make things turn out right. Other creationists, such as [Author4], assert that the divine agency created the universe many aeons ago and has not intervened in events since that initial creation.

There are creationist scholars that follow many different religious beliefs, including Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, [Religion1], Christianity, and many others. Some creationists, such as [Author5], are highly critical of all organized religions and make assertions like [Assertion1] and [Assertion2]. And across that broad spectrum of religious beliefs, creationists over the centuries have developed many different views of theology and of the duty that people owe to the divine agency that created the universe and created them at least by starting the forces that gave them birth.

Theologies and duties to a "watchmaker and absentee god"

Theologies and duties to an "angry god"

Theologies and duties to an "ever-forgiving god"

**Specific proposal container End**

While this all looks interesting for some kind of symposium on a "creator" somehow vaguely defined, it's really a meta-wikipedia discussion. It doesn't have much to do with "creationism" as that term is usually used, does it? Mkmcconn 21:25, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Exactly. Creationism, the view that a divine agency created the universe - this is your definition of creationism, Rednblu, and it is not the common definition of creationism in dictionaries and encyclopedias. Britannica, for example, calls creationism a "counterevolutionary, fundamentalist theory or doctrine that postulates that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing", and Columbia calls it the "belief in the biblical account of the creation of the world as described in Genesis, a characteristic especially of fundamentalist Protestantism (see fundamentalism)." Dictionary citations can be found in the archives or via onelook.com. As long as you refuse to acknowledge the mainstream definition of creationism and try to push your own agenda, you can't expect us to cooperate with you.—Eloquence 21:29, Aug 27, 2003 (UTC)
If someone wants to talk about nonchristian views on creation, I don't have a problem with that. That's why I proposed the definition I did (based on the OED, basically). There's nothing wrong with choosing the dictionary definition that is broadest, especially if it makes more people comfortable. It seemed at one point that everyone (including Rednblu) was ok with the disambiguation notice, but now he's proposing a fundamental change of focus that I disagree with. -- Miguel
First, when and why did special creation get dropped in favour of creation in the definition?
Second, Rednblu wants this article to discuss ethics (for lack of a better name), which I find amazing.
Third, I don't see why the essence of the broad spectrum paragraph cannot be incorporated into the current introduction. However, Rednblu makes no attempt to salvage any of the current content.
IMHO, "Duties towards your favourite kind of god" are irrelevant to this article.
-- Miguel
I changed "special creation" to "creation", because:
  1. It's not clear what it means - looks like jargon to me.
  2. Dictionaries don't use that term, as far as I can tell.
hth. :) Martin
"Special creation" might be useful jargon, because it was often used in the 19th century by some evolutionary creationists, where they believed that a divine act of intervention could be inferred at specific places in the evolutionary chain. It is still used in this way to distinguish a creationist explanation at any particular point where a naturalistic explanation might be offered instead: as, for example, the special creation of the human soul, or the special creation of the first Man. Mkmcconn 00:31, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Constructing an Introduction to Creationism

<<Second, Rednblu wants this article to discuss ethics (for lack of a better name), which I find amazing. >>

I assume you refer to the "theology and duty to . . . ." sections. That repeated phrase is merely a place holder suggesting some feature by which the encyclopedia page would classify the different creationisms in the broad spectrum. What would you suggest as the distinguishing feature of the creationisms within the broad spectrum?

<<Third, I don't see why the essence of the broad spectrum paragraph cannot be incorporated into the current introduction. However, Rednblu makes no attempt to salvage any of the current content.>>

The assumption with the above construction was that the creationism versus evolutionism debate would be disabiguated to the creation science page where all of the current content would be applicable essentially as is.
But that assumption is not shared by most people involved in this page, or is it?
Now, I see a difference between creationism and creation science, whih I'll go on to explain.
Creationism is an answer to the problem of origins. As I have pointed out before, literal interpretations of sacred texts (I dare say from any religion) are incompatible with at least one of: 1) The standard cosmological model; 2) Astrophysical theories on the origin of the solar system; 3) Modern geology's account of the history of Earth; 4) Accepted biological theories on the origin of life; 5) Evolution by natural selection; 6) Materialistic theories of consciousness. That's fine and dandy, it's just an alternative explanation of how the things we see came to be the way they are, it's just that I don't agree with it, but hey! Anyway, that's what should be in the creationism article.
Creation Science, on the other hand, is the attempt by the biblical literalists to prove that creationism is a better scientific theory that any of its competitors in (at least) any of the 6 areas mentioned above. That's what should be in the creation science article.
Since these people put scripture before any experimental evidence, IMHO creation science is doomed to failure. The reason I say this is that, back in the 19th century, everybody (including Darwin) could be described as a creation scientist (if we allow ourselves to be anachronistic), and they came around.
Finally, there is no reason to have a page on the debate between creationism and evolution. Creationism should be described on its own merits, creation science should be described on its own merits, and evolution should be described on its own merits. An encyclopedia is no place for an actual debate, although the fact that creation scientists keep trying to keep the debate alive, make it prominent in the media, and fight for "equal time" in public schools in the US, should be mentioned.
-- Miguel
That is, if you take the OED definition seriously, then it seems to me that this page is not about creationism. Perhaps the current Creationism page is about the clash between creationism and evolutionism. Rednblu 01:05, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I am not disputing that some of the content here may be determined to fit better elsewhere when we get to it, but your proposal for the actual Introduction seems (to me) not to go in the direction of developing that definition, but of sidetracking it. -- Miguel
As Britannica correctly states, creationism is at its core a counterevolutionary movement. Now I am completely open to discussing non-Christian variants of that movement, but belief in divine creation as such is not the only defining feature of creationism.—Eloquence 01:58, Aug 28, 2003 (UTC)

--

<<As Britannica correctly states, creationism is at its core a counterevolutionary movement.>>

I am beginning to comprehend the POV from which you edit the Creationism page. Let me see if I have it straight. Your POV seems to comprise the following assertions:
1) Because by one dictionary the term creationism was first used in 1860, only those beliefs fitting the definition of creationism in use after 1860 are to be considered as examples of creationism.
2) Since the term creationism was first used in 1860 and since the term creationism is used by [those holding some POVs] to describe a counterevolutionary movement in the United States, then it is inappropriate on the Creationism page to describe the pre-Darwinian historical world-wide religious thought that gave rise to what [those holding some POVs] call a "counterevolutionary movement."
Feel free to edit the above text to describe your POV. And feel free to insert what you think is the correct terms for [those holding some POVs] in the above. I do not object to your POV or to the POVs of [those holding some POVs]. And I have no interest in shifting POVs or altering them. I am curious to see what your POV is.
Furthermore, fixing the Creationism page will go much faster if we all know the POVs of the writers and editors of the Creationism page. Rednblu 17:15, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Sense in which an intepretation is "Literal"

The current intro says, based on a literal interpretation of the first book of the Bible (Genesis). The word, "literal", has baggage that the article has difficulty sustaining from the start to the end. Mkmcconn \

Or, does it? I'm sorry to throw this twist in; on the other hand, there is ambiguity that I would like cleared up:

  1. "strict adherence to the letter", "unimaginative" and "ordinary sense of the words" reading is important to some Creationists - they call this "literal interpretation".
  2. "Creationists believe that the Bible teaches that God literally exists and is literally the cause of the existence of other things". Without regard to how imaginative their interpretation actually is, they understand the Bible to be reflective of historical fact, at least insofar as it describes God as the origin of things.

Which sense of "literal" is being chosen, 1, or 2? Mkmcconn 00:31, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

All I have to say is that I'm glad you are getting involved in this discussion. -- Miguel

Strangely enough for a religious believer, I find myself more allied with Eloquence on the issue of what "creationism" should be defined as. I think that in the last 100 years, creationism has come to carry the connotation of Bible-based Christianity, specifically Anglo-American, Protestant and even fundamentalist.

Precisely. But the history of how it came to acquire that meaning, and a discussion of earlier meanings of the word and creationism in other cultures is appropriate here. -- Miguel

How we distinguish this current of thought from other religious views about Creation is an open question.

But there is a school of thought which has been battling the evolutionists (mostly in America) for many decades now, and what they believe in is possibly best identified as Creationism. I'm suggesting that religious beliefs that are not in a fight with evolutionists could be relegated to the creation beliefs article.

By the way, it might be interesting for our readers to distinguish between the ex nihilo or "out of nothing" variant of Creation dogma, and other religious views of Creation. Unfortunately, the only creation doctrine I know well is Unificationism, which denies ex nihilo (where God got the matter or energy is another story -- best put in creation beliefs, eh?). --Uncle Ed 13:13, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

On recent changes after the intro

I was just following the changes in intro till now, but today I happened to notice that there has been a major change in the body of the article for quite some time[ a few days?]- I think not by anyone who has been active in the Talk page. Wasn't there a discussion on what should come in creation beliefs and what should come in creationism?But now there is a lot of info on Creation beliefs such as Flat earth and Geocentrism. I am getting even more confused now. Are we including scientific beliefs/ theories also? I don't think we should. Then I would again like to bring in my Hindu angle:-)Just because in earlier times- such as the so-called Medieval ages-religion and science were intertwined, doesn't mean that scientific theories with limited knowledge of the universe should be confused as religious beliefs. In that case, before Copernicus' contribution or Galileo's famous quote-'It still moves', there is authentic evidence that the Indian scientist Aryabhatta had propounded a helio-centric theory, and most Indians know about it.But we w[c]ouldn't call it the Hindu theory of creation w[c]ould we? I am sure that there were some people in this discussion who didn't want creation beliefs discussed here, but now we seem to have that as well as scientific theories.KRS 13:26, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I don't see that there's a "lot of info" on Flat Earthers. They're just placed on one end of a spectrum. Martin
Whether it is a little or a lot it does not fit here- even one is a lot in this case. What I meant by lot was the whole section- flat earth, geocentrism, etc.,which comes just at the beginning. I thought that the start Miguel made was good and it could be developed from there. Now the whole page lacks focus. Any change should be put in the Talk page for reactions and then included in the articleKRS 15:24, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
My original plan was starting from the top and working section by section. If we could reach an agreement on the Introduction like we had on the disambiguation notice, I would call that progress. Unfortunately, we now seem to not even agree on the disambiguation notice any more... -- Miguel

--

<<Whether it is a little or a lot it does not fit here- even one is a lot in this case. What I meant by lot was the whole section- flat earth, geocentrism, etc.,which comes just at the beginning.>>

Wouldn't an encyclopedia article on Creationism list a series of categories which would group the varieties of creationism? If you would not provide a list like flat earth, geocentrism, . . . to head the encyclopedia article on creationism, what list would you provide?
In my opinion, your insistence that the Creationism page should focus on the religious aspects of creationism is the genuine NPOV--because the religious aspects are what motivate the various forms of creationism. It seems to me that the creation scientists, for example, focus on religion, not on science. Would you say that the Hindu versions of creationism focus on religion, not on science? Rednblu 15:40, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I think the spectrum of beliefs between creationists and opponents of creationism is very relevant to this page. Perhaps I should clarify that by geocentrism, Isaak and Scott are referring to modern geocentrists. The rest of that section I can take or leave. I've moved it below for comment. Martin

I don't think it is important at all unless flat earth is an integral part of a religious doctrine, which I don't think it is. If the concept of flat earth was employed by orthodox Christians for religious purposes,then the flat earth theory itself is not the focus, but a means to an end. You have also said "I think the spectrum of beliefs between creationists and opponents of creationism is very relevant to this page". But I don't think that you should start the opposition at the beginning itself. If you want NPOV, let Creationism talk for itself, and then introduce arguments for defence/ offence.
Now Creationism has got a universal meaning again and not even a sentence at the beginning about its predominant usage in the Western world..Why don't everyone agree on what it should be before developing the page further?--KRS 16:17, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I think the reason that this scale of beliefs is recounted here, is because it describes various degrees of belief about the "scientific relevance" of the very words of the Bible. To the extent that people believe that their religion has given their adherents a head-start in the origins of the world, I think that these views are relevant, whether the religion is intuitive, revelational, animistic, or whatever - whether it teaches that, "this religion claims to have anticipated modern science by thousands of years", or "adherents of this religion believe that their views of origin harmonize with science", or "adherents of this religion hold science to be wrong about origins on such and such a point" - etc. The interest here, I think, is the interface between religious views and the science of origins. Flat Earthers are only there to illustrate a far end of a spectrum, if Creationism is described in terms of "by the letter" literalism. Mkmcconn 17:04, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Why "scientific relevance"? I thought this page was about Creationism.

<<I think the reason that this scale of beliefs is recounted here, is because it describes various degrees of belief about the "scientific relevance" of the very words of the Bible.>>

Are you sure that the "scientific relevance" of the words in the Bible is important? It seems to me that the evolutionists do not consider the "scientific relevance" of the words of the Bible. Moreover, it seems to me that even the "creation scientists" do not consider the "scientific relevance" of the words of the Bible to be very important. Maybe the creation scientists consider the words of the Bible to be important revelations or matters of faith. So maybe the creation scientists fake scientific evidence to support the words of the Bible. Can you give an example of "scientific relevance" of the words in the Bible? Rednblu 17:43, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)


As you have pointed out a number of times, Rednblu, the article can't be about what evolutionists think, but rather must focus primarily on what Creationists think. Creationists believe that their religion is scientifically relevant, or that their science is religiously relevant. That's why there is an "argument". If they did not make these claims of relevance, there would be no argument.
Thus, ID says that the facts point in the direction of a Designer rather than in the direction of mindless chaos (a religious statement of the most broad sort), and the Creationists say that their religious texts describe a real, historical state of affairs (e.g., not a purely subjective state of mind). Reconciling what their "religion says" with what "science says", is what Creationism is all about. As I've said many times, Creationism is an exercise in apologetics in the arena of science (not theology, and not science: religious people writing about science, and scientists writing about religion with the aim of harmonization or refutation of specific arguments, to legitimize a specific point of view). Mkmcconn 18:57, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

--

<<Creationism is an exercise in apologetics in the arena of science (not theology, and not science: religious people writing about science, and scientists writing about religion with the aim of harmonization or refutation of specific arguments, to legitimize a specific point of view)>>

All right. But would you say that the statement S = "Creationism is an exercise in apologetics in the arena of science" is a broad enough statement to include the whole broad spectrum of what creationism is? I can see that that statement S might apply to "creation science." But would that statement S apply to a Deist who calls herself a creationist that sees no conflict between science and theology because the Creator just started the clock ticking according to the laws of nature? Rednblu 20:05, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
In my opinion, it is broad enough for the purposes of this article. That's why it makes sense to me to split out theology per se, into Creation beliefs. For example, the Deist who views God as so distant and unknowable that nothing can be known of God except what can be deduced from the regularities of "nature" established by God, argues for Design. He believes that nature is imprinted with the rationality of the Great Architect, "self-evidently" (a favorite Deist phrase, right?). No, you have to step away one more degree, I think, into beliefs according to which God is either entirely unknowable, or the knowledge of God is identical to the knowledge of created things. In the former case, apologetics is futile, because there is no possibility of defending the knowledge of God by means of the knowledge of other things. In the latter case, there is no need for such a defense, because there is no real difference between the knowledge of God and the knowledge of other things. Do you agree with this flow of thought? Mkmcconn 20:45, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
So, how about a section in the Creationism article titled "Creationism as an exercise in apologetics in the arena of science"? I can see how that might flow--there are some interesting historical examples, I think. Rednblu 22:21, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

--

<<Do you agree with this flow of thought?>>

I immediately agree because it mesmerizes me. And I can see how that flow of thought could organize the Creationism article.
So would you include the Deists' rationalizing of "what religion says" and "what science says" on the Creationism page? And if the Creationism page is about rationalizing "what religion says" with "what science says," why wouldn't you include on the Creationism page the reasonings of, for example, the Scriptural geologists in 1820 as they attempted to rationalize "what religion says" with "what science says?" Rednblu 22:11, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Exactly, yes. I think that this whole line of discussion is within the scope of this article (and sub-articles, as is our typical habit to produce). And, congratulations on having dug up the very important connection to the "Scriptural geologists". Mkmcconn 00:39, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Changes in sequence

Have changed the sequence so that 1] Meaning 2]Introduction 3]Defining creationism [appropriate after end of Introduction (about new meaning in USA) as well as informing about various types/ conflicting views]4]Spectrum of beliefs- continuing the various types 5] creationism and evolutionism.....- KRS 17:52, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I had precisely these changes in mind. Thank you. Mkmcconn 18:59, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Yes, this is excellent, as is the merge of "introduction" and "definition".
Excellent. -- Miguel

Changes in meaning first para

Have changed first para by including all POVs- anyone can link anywhere. 1. already existing- general definition 2. added that it is predominantly used in Judaeo-Christian world- predominantly is not restrictive, other religions are not excluded. 3. already existing- specific usage to living forms[ what about the flat earth,geocentric beliefs the?]I have left it as it is, but depending on whether you want to add flat earth, etc., you can decide 4. already existing- theology- soul- etc., 5. added- modern day usage which is already there but elsewhere. As some experts in religion also feel that this meaning overrides most historical ones, this has to be included at the beginning.

So 5 POVs, any more?

Any problems?--KRS 19:20, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Also merged Introduction para and Defining Creationism para- they have a continuity in terms of discussion of meaning.KRS 19:29, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

The first section heavilly duplicates the "introduction" section. Can this be fixed? Do we need a long first section, and a seperate "introduction"? Is some of this info better placed in a history section? Martin
As I have clearly mentioned there are 5 meanings now in the first section. This 'cannot' come later because I think this is the source of all conflict. The introduction can be toned down in whatever way that anyone sees fit. In fact, if the first section had been clear, I would not have even been drawn into this debate.Not for me alone, but for others who feel that creationism in the modern day usage has a lot of influence on today's way of life- teaching debates,etc., even religious persons in this debate have agreed on thatKRS 19:51, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
As KRS points out, it is essential that we have a good first paragraph to help us set the tone of the article. Once we agree to that first paragraph, we can edit section by section, removing inconsistencies or redundancies. The more we write the more constrained the scope of the article will become, and that will be help future edits. Once we get going, it will get progressively easier (I hope). We should make an effort to find a good home for any material we remove, of course. -- Miguel
I'm going to offer another synthetic arrangement of the spread of definitions, in just a moment. Please offer your <strikethrough>rejections</strikethrough> reactions. Mkmcconn 23:41, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)


what do you think of numbering them, or bulleting the POVs described in the preface? Is it too hard on the eyes? Does it suggest too much of a dictionary scheme? I prefer the order of things as the preface stands, because it makes sense going from broader to narrower meaning (rather than from "most common" to "most rare" usage), but I'm not sure that the preface para makes clear that we are discussing only part of a spectrum of meanings. Mkmcconn 19:59, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)
With due respect,Mkmcconn,I think my opening para was better, more crisp. There are only 5 sentences and they read as a whole without irritating disambiguation sentences, but one can still disambiguate by making links to words in the para - such as creation beliefs, etc., Detailed meaning is not required in this para, but you have given lots of details. Qualities of a good opening para should be disambiguating without giving separate sentences, unless you want it like meaning 1, 2 or bullets etc., which I don't think will be good in this context. As I had started in mine there is a sequence from more general to more specific meanings with a historical thread and bulleting them will remove this quality. I feel that if you find mistakes in ideas or grammatical errors, you can correct them rather than making a long intro. Or if you want to rewrite, at least you can try to fix the disambiguation problem by having links through words integral in the para.KRS 03:49, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
On second thoughts only your first para has this problem of disambiguation. Can you try to fix it?KRS 03:52, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I'll try. Stay tuned. Mkmcconn 04:28, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

<<Though creation beliefs exist in most religions, the term is more generally used in the context of the Judaeo-Christian world because of its origins.>>

What does this sentence mean? Maybe you mean something like the following:
Though many religions have their own form of creationism, in America various creationist groups such as among the Seventh Day Adventists and certain Christian fundamentalists have formed a powerful political movement to lobby against the teaching of evolution in pubic schools. Rednblu 20:39, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Mkmcconn, your removal of 'as opposed to impersonal processes of nature' is correct. It was a sentence which was already there, I didn't notice the difference. But now your removal seems to be correct because when creationism theory/ belief would have first made its appearance it is unlikely that there would have been scientific theories of evolution. So there would not have been anything that Creationism would have consciously wanted to oppose.KRS 09:06, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Reading your suggestions more attentively, I think I've undone some of the damage. What do you think? Mkmcconn 16:00, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

New New Preface

I have come to the conclusion that further participation in the creationism page is a waste of time. It would appear the overwhelming majority of people find it acceptable to delete factual representation of creationism beliefs because they don't meet their personal goals. There has also been several attempts to show both sides of the issue and these have fallen into one of two patterns. Where creationism shows weakness there is very unprofessional exploitation at the expense of creationists, and where creationism shows strength there is deletion or what is worse, more unproven theories are given as rebuttal.

By the way, I can't help but point out to all the pseudo-scientists that populate this page; two unproven theories that reach the same conclusion means nothing. Were math to be approached in such a manner we would've put all the mathematicians in treatment long ago.

Jtocci 09:55, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Yeah, I'm about to give up too. My only hope would be if rednblu would agree to butt out for a week or 2 and let KRS and the 4 M's work on creationism without his interference. Eloquence can referee.
How about that, everybody? --Uncle Ed 14:44, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
If you could please tell your specific viewpoints in terms of your dissatisfaction, it would be good. As Miguel had suggested, and the general consensus is[ at least seems to be], is to start from the preface. The other topics can be dealt with subsequently.Do you have any objectios to the preface?KRS 16:59, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Jtocci, I don't object to the removal of the "Introduction" label, but I do think that we should keep some kind of demarcation between the disambiguating preface, and the main body of the material where we descend into details. What would you suggest as an alternative? Mkmcconn 15:07, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I removed it, not Jtocci.
Normally "primary topic" disambiguation is done in italics, as on Paris, and kept very short. Perhaps we need creationism (disambiguation)? Martin 15:51, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
The reason that I like KRS's approach to the preface, is because the basic meaning behind the uses of the word is really the same - the difference between them is only point of view and context: especially historical context. I think that she is right, that the introduction must comprehend these diverse uses. I only quibble with trying to make the statements which summarize the POVs and contexts so brief and compacted together, that they are unclear in their meaning. Mkmcconn 16:00, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
OK, I can accept that. I tried to make a disambig page, but couldn't do it very well, so I'll concede that her approach is superior.
I've reinstated an "introduction" header at a different point, to cause maximum confusion... :) Martin



rather than traducianism which holds that the sould is inherited from parents.

I don't think we need it in the intro. On the one hand, it does clarify what material is covered at creationism (theology), but anyone who knows what traducianism will already know what we're covering there. So we can tighten the thing further, like this. Martin 15:57, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

It's looking much better, and clear. Mkmcconn 16:01, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I wonder if it would be worth adding ", rather than inherited", though... not sure. Martin 16:13, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I'm going to leave it for a while, and let all my brain-knots relax. It seems clear enough. The preface is now a gem, in my opinion. I especially like the use of wiktionary there. Mkmcconn 16:21, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

The first two sentences in the preface are good,especially the way the links come naturally. But you[ I mean generically- I no longer know who is specifically making each small bit of edit:-)]

(cutting in) That's good! :) When you have a truly co-operative effort going, I often find that myself - edits get made, and because everyone's working in the same direction, I've got no idea who made them - or even if I made them myself! Precious times, and a lot of fun. :) Martin 22:26, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

...seem to have removed the Creationism[ theology]way of linking so there are 4 words 'creationism is the doctrine' serving as link. Can something be done about that? Most important problem is that the last sentence comes too abruptly. You describe creationism, and suddenly come to the creation controversy- the reader is clueless about this sudden creation controversy[someone pointed out that this new phenomenon is predominantly American so others wouldn't understand the context].I think the substance of my last sentence in the earlier preface can be reworded/ rephrased according to how you see fit wherein there is a description of how the new creationists see a direct challenge in science to their creation beliefs. You can easily make this in one sentence.KRS 16:53, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Go ahead, KRS. I'm soaking my head. Mkmcconn 16:57, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
... On second thought, you have given me some ideas. I'll fiddle. Keep critiquing (and feel free to edit). Mkmcconn 17:02, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

KRS, do you have an idea for how to thin out the excursus (in the west, in the US, among fundamentalists) in the preface? The briefer, the better, as long as it's clear, I think. Mkmcconn 17:12, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I will think about it. But I am totally ignorant of the whole subject, so I would never use terms such as Christian fundamentalist, etc., even if it were warranted,because I am a non- ChristianKRS 17:19, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Just hack away at the preface, to tidy it up. There is a thin and beautiful preface within, just waiting to get out. Mkmcconn 17:25, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

fleshing out the historical background

I think the preface is looking really good. KRS is doing a great job and we have Mkmcconn to make sure we get our Christian theology right.

Accordingly, I have moved on to the Introduction. I think the characterization of the controversy and its history is a little simplistic. I have distinguished between Darwin's books Origin of Species and the later Descent of Man. The first one was only really controversial among naturalists (Continental Europe clung to Lamarckism for a really long time), it left plenty of room for God's acts of creation, and did not threaten man's position as God-appointed Lord of Creation. It was the second book that suggested that men and apes had common descent, and left no room for a literal interpretation of Genesis.

I have rearranged the section slightly, and now it doesn't quite seems as coherent as before. Please feel free to hack at it!

I have said that the overview of the controversy is a little simplistic because, from the outset (around 1800) it involves much more than the origin of species. There were huge controversies regarding the age of the Earth, as geologists were beginning to discover that Earth had to be at least hundreds of thousands of years old, not just thousands.

The controversy seems to involve primarily evolution, but that's just scretching the surface. Both creationists and mainstream scientists have been aware from the start that there is an interplay among astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology when it comes to the problem of origins, and that often evolution is not attacked on biological grounds, but by undermining some other science's "theory of origins". For this reason, I would be happier if the article did not stress evolution as the only point of contention.

-- Miguel
The section reads a little bumpy, but you're on the right track. Can you address the flow of thought through this section?
I wonder what the weekend will bring? Looking forward to Monday, I hope I can keep my mind on my holiday. :-) Mkmcconn 22:03, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I have done some reorganisation. Hack away as you please. I want to get out of this:-)---KRS 18:27, 30 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I removed the following from the preface:
More specifically, it is used in the context of the three important monotheistic religions of the world - Christianity,Judaism and Islam.
It's probably true, but it's only important for a dictionary. For our purposes, I don't think it's necessary.
Also, I removed the word "traducianism" again, as I'd previously mentioned on Talk, for much the same reasons. This time, I replaced it with a piped link to the same place - perhaps this will serve us all sufficiently? Martin
Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Just a reminder... ;-) Martin

--- I am pleased to find that despite my edit conflict with Martin - losing three paragraphs of changes-- that his edits and mine were quite close, and indeed his were improved over mine own. Thus I am satisfied. :)-戴&#30505sv 19:09, Aug 30, 2003 (UTC)

Oops - Sorry Stevertigo! :) Martin

Moderates

Martin, you have added so much information on moderate creationism after disambiguating in the preface. Isn't it inappropriate?- KRS 04:36, 31 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Well, there are two competing prefaces:
This article describes the modern Creationism controversy, a debate concerning the modern theory of evolution, predominantly associated with Fundamentalist Christianity in the United States.
and:
This article describes Fundamentalist, Christian forms of creationism that see certain theories and findings of science - especially the Theory of Evolution - as directly contradicting its creation beliefs.
I personally prefer the first version, but there's not a vast amount in it. I think the weak attachment to findamentalism is important, as a strong attachment means that we cannot talk about the beliefs and theories of Michael Behe, a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Can we discuss the creationism controversy without reference to irreducible complexity? I don't think so.
Setting aside that issue, I think the beliefs of moderate Intelligent Design advocates are very relevant to this article, as they are an important part of the creationist controversy. While Evolutionary creationists may not themselves be part of the "creationism" we discuss in the preface, their views are just as relevant as the views of materialistic evolutionists, who are certainly well covered. Martin

Martin points out - Do arguments against evolution support creationism? The answer - Nope. Arguments against evidence for biological evolution only could prove that the mechanisms described by scientists are not at play, and that some other mechanism is at play. That's it. These other mechanisms could (in theory) be some form of science we don't understand or know about; they could be a form of magick; they even could be the workings of the Greek and Norse pagan gods! But refuting evidence for evolution does not automatically give logical support for Christian, or any other form of, creationism. However, it seems that most Protestant Christians in the USA are pretty sure that evidence against evolution somehow is evidence for creationism, if not outright proof. Its not strictly logical, but its commonly held. RK 23:12, 31 Aug 2003 (UTC)

These are certainly solid arguments against the teleological argument: specifically, they suggest that said argument is an argument by lack of imagination. But surely we should cover such arguments in depth there, not here? It's a genuinely interesting philosophical debate, and I'm not sure we'll do it justice on this page. Martin 23:31, 31 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Traducianism

rather than traducianism which holds that the sould is inherited from parents.

I don't think we need it in the intro. On the one hand, it does clarify what material is covered at creationism (theology), but anyone who knows what traducianism will already know what we're covering there. So we can tighten the thing further, like this. Martin 15:57, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Also, I removed the word "traducianism" again, as I'd previously mentioned on Talk, for much the same reasons. This time, I replaced it with a piped link to the same place - perhaps this will serve us all sufficiently? Martin Aug 30, 2003
And once more. Say, does anyone actually read this stuff? ;-) Martin 20:12, 31 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Martin, hiding links, as you did with traducianism, is generally a bad usability practice. It should be clear from a link title what page I'm going to end up on.—Eloquence 02:50, 1 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I don't think the word "traducianism" provides any extra information to most readers. Either they know about the creationism/traducianism dichotomy, in which case they'll know where the link will go, or they won't, in which case "traducianism" is meaningless anyway.
However, I'll try a slightly different wording. Martin 09:41, 1 Sep 2003 (UTC)
The point is not to use a word that readers will know, the point is to use a link title that clearly shows that this link points to another definition. If we use the specific term for one link, and an unspecific term for another, that might lead readers to believe that the belief that souls are inherited does not have a substantial theological tradition. Furthermore, by using the word in the text, we provide a reasonably short definition for both terms without a need for readers to waste their time reading tons of exegesis.—Eloquence
I still believe that people coming here don't want, or need, a link or explanation of traducianism - it's purely a disambiguation issue. However, I'll give way. Martin 12:37, 1 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I have no problem with turning the whole thing into a standard disambig notice in italics on top of the article that only points to creationism (theology). If it's in the text, however, it should be reasonably descriptive.—Eloquence 13:30, 1 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Right direction?

In spite of Eloquence's sarcasm-[Good work -less coherent?:-)] and also because of his additions now, I think there is some amount of coherence now in the preface and in the historical overview- especially now that the last para of the historical overview outlines the current definition.I hope that no one tampers with it now without discussion on the talk page. But just to add some more controversy:-)[ Mkn..please note] now that the creationism[ theology] is built into the introduction, because the link has the same name as the page do you think people would follow such a link? [I am just raising this question from my objective point of view, objective because I have nothing at stake and I don't know any POV] Otherwise, I think one can move further to the next section.--KRS 05:20, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)

While much improved, the current article still emphasizes a very myopic view of creationism. To wit, creationism qua creation science. Even the disambiguation of creationism (theology) in re the genesis of souls is incomplete and incorrect, reflecting the bias of a scientific point of view rather than an NPOV discussion which would include a theological discussion of the underlying issue of what was the first cause. Nonetheless, as the content of the current article is expanded, I believe that the need for a separate article entitled creation science will become obvious. -- NetEsq 06:07, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I agree with NetEsq that creationism and creation science are not the same thing. -- Miguel
KRS, Eloquence, etc.: the "Creationism (theology)" link is buried, and is somewhat misleading. As written, it sounds as though the "traditional Christian doctrine" holds that God has only created individual souls of people, but has no doctrine that all things are created by God. What it means to say is that "the traditional Christian doctrine, called creationism, is not the same thing as the traditional doctrine of creation. I would like to see another round of edits on the preface, to fix this problem. Can you stand it? Mkmcconn 16:04, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I didn't mean it quite that way. I just meant that you could have clarity as to the fact that there is a traditional/ moderate/ theological/whatever type of creationism by either 1] having some word in the bracket or whatever or 2]the usual disambiguation clause along with the disambiguation of creation belief[ back to square one?]I don't think your point about the meaning is well taken because the first sentence clearly brings out the general meaning of the term- which includes creation of everything. The next sentence on creationism theology has to be 'read' along with the first sentence and includes the meaning of the first sentence, you don't have to again bring in the same idea.So I don't think there is a problem there at all--KRS 16:35, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Also, the sentence on creationism[theology] is the same as you had written previously--KRS 16:49, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Regardless of who wrote the sentence, it strikes me now as not being clear, situated as it is in the paragraph. '"Xism refers to act X for all things. Traditionally, Xism refers to act X for soul." Is familiarity with the subject required, in order to understand how "traditional" implicitly contrasts the meanings? It seems that the two sentences together unintentionally imply a contrast of, "soul" with "all things", instead of "use B" with "use A". You don't think so? Mkmcconn 17:14, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Will re-read it and get back-KRS 17:28, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)

How about something more like this:

This article describes the creation beliefs primarily of Fundamentalist Christianity, that are strongly opposed to some findings of mainstream biology and cosmology, and to the Theory of Evolution in particular. The popular use of the term is assumed, rather than the terminology of traditional Christian theology according to which creationism is the doctrine that every human soul is created by God, as opposed to inherited (traducianism).


Mkmcconn 18:27, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Progress over Labor Day Weekend

I would like to thank everyone for laboring over the creationism article while I rested! It begins better, and reads more smoothly. Hats off to User:Rednblu who apparently abstained from the process for awhile.

One area of weakness remains: the treatment of intelligent design is little better than a rebuttal: it's almost entirely an argment against, and contains hardly any information about ID itself. The central thrust of ID, its contention that life shows "signs of having been designed" or its appeal to the concept of irreducible complexity, are both hard to find in the article as of Sept. 2nd 2003.

But otherwise, great work! -- Uncle Ed 17:59, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Maybe the whole intelligent design subject should be treated at intelligent design exclusively.—Eloquence

Joyce Arthur about creationism

The tone of the web site mentioned above is rather polemic. It doesn't do the whole debate a favor basically calling religious people liars, asking some rhetoric questions and then telling stories which may or may not be true. The other two references under evolution are of good quality. Isn't it possible to handle the whole stuff a bit less emotional? There are surely other good web pages. JackH 14:35, 15 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Are we reading the same article? The article does not call religious people liars, and it does not tell stories "which may or may not be true". In fact, you have totally distorted it beyond reason. This article contains a very serious and well documented expose of the way that certain religious fundamentlists brazenly lie, plagarize and deceive their readers in order to attack science and push their religious views. This article is very representative of the complaints that scientists have about the way their work is deliberately misrepresented by the religious right-wing. (And I say this as a person long on the record as a religious person, as well as a scientist.) if countering scientific dishonesty, plagiarism and deception is "polemic" then all of science and history is polemic. RK 23:31, 15 Sep 2003 (UTC)
JackH, please do not remove links because you do not agree with the tone of presentation. Links may well be one-sided -- NPOV applies to Wikipedia articles, not to links. That's why we have plenty of pro-creationist links, even though creationists spend much of their time spreading fraudulent information about science and scientists.—Eloquence 04:37, Sep 16, 2003 (UTC)
@RK: Yes, we are reading the same websit ;-) If you think that the article well represents the level of argumentation of anti-creationists than we should include it. I wonder that you as a religious person don't feel offended by the very questionable opening citation of Martin Luther where he seems to be in favor of lying for a good cause. An opening citation is like a motto. Within this context it means that creationist are religious people thinking it is necessary to tell lies in favor of a good cause. To me doesn't seem to be a particularily good environment for a helpful debate. It rather heats up the discussion in an emotionalized way. I wonder if there are no better sites with arguments against creationism. However I agree with you that there might be right-wing people using unfair methods of debate. Within the context of the article it means that pro-evolutionists seem to be ill equipped if they have to resort to such a style.
@Eloquence: You are right. We probably should have this citation unless we have something better. However I took the liberty to attribute this source to make my views represented.
To all: As this seems to be an interesting topic for many I suggest that we put some energy in the article itself. For example we could deal with the individual arguments in a more intensive way.

I put the pro and con arguments in a table. They are mere outlines and need considerably more flesh. Neither pros or cons are really convincing unless more details are given. Who could help? --JackH 10:42, 17 Sep 2003 (UTC)


Eloquence seems to think still that the Arthur site is a valuable resource against creationism. I do not share this view. The article cites the page as if it is an authoritative thing and even does a generalisation about all creationists as beeing similar to Gish who is severly bashed. This is not decent style. In fact Eloquence has wiped out such a tiny remark of mine as that labels the Arthur page as an example of an anti-creationist page. Really weird. He depicted the remark as 'POV'. However Eloquence may have it his way. There are other things to do ;-)

You just don't get it, do you? You want to modify the description of a single link you do not like to say that it is "an example of an anti-creationist page" (implying that it is representative, which may or may not be the case, but which is certainly a point of view that, if it is held, needs to be attributed), while ignoring the fact that we list 7 (!) pro-creationist websites without any commentary whatsoever as to their content. Both types of websites are clearly listed in their respective categories. What you are trying to do is to preemptively create an impression of bias or an inappropriate style for links which point to a side of the argument which you do not like -- attacking creationists where it hurts, their personal credibility (or lack thereof), credulity, and unfortunate tendency to distort the truth for their own purposes. This, however, is not a POV that Wikipedia itself assumes -- it is merely one which needs to be represented, among the other idiotic creationist diatribes, "creationist news" websites and the various other crap which your ridiculous movement keeps churning out at an impressive rate, fattened with the funds stolen from the gullible fools who fall for the idiot religion which this movement represents and who would love nothing better than to live in the kind of shallow and repressive theocracy which it seeks to create. Your point of view is noted, but it is not one which Wikipedia itself will ever assume, and the lies and distortions made by the creationists need to be pointed out whenever and wherever they occur.—Eloquence 21:23, Sep 18, 2003 (UTC)

describe your links (but on both sides). Martin 22:03, 18 Sep 2003 (UTC)

The link is described, Martin. JackH does not merely want to describe it -- he wants the description to reflect an opinion.—Eloquence
Look past his bigotry toward the Christian religion, and listen to Eloquence on this issue. He is right. Please drop it. Mkmcconn 22:42, 18 Sep 2003 (UTC)


OK, I'll drop the issue attributing the Jocye reference. Perhaps somebody other might pick this up. A summary for those who didn't follow the discussion: Eloquence deleted my attribute to the Joyce reference which was worded as follows. A particular example of an anti-creationist page. Contrariwise he seems to think it is necessary to tell the readers that Joyce reference is a "critical review". In fact it is a primitive elaborate just bashing a creationist. The whole thing is cited in the wp article as if this is something authoritative. One would expect that we find the results of an effort of careful work not just hate-speech like the one above by Eloquence. If this is anti-creationism at it's best - well then .... :-) But why do we label this as critical? It is not so much the reference as such but the use of the reference which I think is not OK. Let's look at the individual arguments in the future. --JackH 14:02, 19 Sep 2003 (UTC)

<< [The Joyce article] is a primitive elaborate just bashing a creationist.>>
The above discussion prompted me to read the Joyce article, and I found it to be a very accurate narrative exposition of the fallacious forensic tactics that are typically employed by creation scientists. The use of such tactics is the essence of the creation science controversy and is the true source of the animosity that most mainstream evolutionary biologists have for Fundamentalist Christians, whether those biologists be Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, etc., etc., or secular agnostics/atheists.
Those who interpret the Joyce article as an indictment of Gish are correct in doing so, as Gish has always demonstrated a reckless disregard for the truth, and no amount of equivocation can change that fact. But for the tactics employed by Gish and his ilk, the topic of creationism would have moved on to more scholarly theological and philosophical questions long ago, such as the nature of the primordial first cause. -- NetEsq 20:49, 19 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Why didn't God create the world as scientists see and explain it?

Would a Creationist or two, of differning views, please explin to me why, or if, Creationists believe that God didn't create the world complete with all of the scientific evidence to stimulate man, just as the many beautiful aspects of the world do so. It's surely within the capability of an omnipotent god to do so, so why isn't this answer used to eliminate the conflict between Creationism and science and have scientists be exploring the world god created for them to explore?

There are a couple of double-negatives in there, that make the question hard to follow. Maybe your question could be rephrased? If you have the impression from the article that, creationists do not encourage the exploration of the world on the presupposition that God created the world for just this purpose among other things, then that should be fixed. This is precisely what the creationists do argue. Mkmcconn 00:33, 16 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Well, I frankly don't understand conflict between Creationism and science (and the fundamental beliefs of Creationists in relation to scientific records), so I'm seeking to try to better understand it, in the hope that curing some of my ignorance might resut in some questions or answers which can improve the article. I see no way for a scientist to counter an argument that an omnipotent god created the world complete with an intact fossil record, evolution to be discovered and whatever else, just as part of the design of the god, for the benefit of the humans created. Given that, I also don't see why teaching science is any more controversial than teaching art, for they both become no more than ways to study the creation. Scientist says "fossil record shows x billion years of history", Creationist says "Yes, isn't it wonderful how God created that record". Seems to me to be a very short conversation, ending in an a point which is completely irrefutable by any scientific method, but given all of the heat I must be missing something very significant.
It's a very old argument - as old as the discovery of fossils <G> - and the problem is that it requires a deceptive God - one who plants clues to a false past. Those who are uncomfortable with the notion of a deceptive God will therefore be uncomfortable with it. -- Someone else 01:17, 16 Sep 2003 (UTC)
The "apparent age" way of harmonizing science with creation gives up the argument of creation science (CS of one sort, anyway). Creation science says that flood geology and miraculous creation are evident. "Apparent age" says that these are not evident, and attempts to explain why. Mkmcconn 02:48, 16 Sep 2003 (UTC)
And no way to reconcile science and Creationism by acceting a God who created a universe to please the minds given to those he created? Doesn't sound like that is going to be acceptable to at least some Creationsts, making it inevitable that those Creationists have to consider science to be an attack on their beliefs, much as a competing religion would be, even if just about every other (I can't think of another one which doesn't) religion acccepts science as something apart from religion. Is this a fair summary, (from the point of view of Creationists who hold this belief)? JamesDay 23:49, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Also:
  • Those who support a literal interpretation of the Bible believe that evolution is an out-and-out falsehood (and possibly a deliberate deception as well).
  • Since some sects of Christians are encouraged to witness for Christ, they tend to be unwilling to walk away from the argument. Some evolution supporters take atheism as an "article of faith", and are equally unwilling to walk away from the argument.
  • Creationists may also believe that the preponderance of the evidence supports (some form of) Creationism, leading to arguments about data interpretation. -- Cyan 01:52, 16 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I still don't know what people mean by "literal", here. If this is short-hand for a particular interpretation, it would help me if "six twenty-four hour days, global flood, and Bishop Ussher timetable" were indicated, instead of "literal". Too often "literal" seems to be a mild criticism instead of a description. Mkmcconn 02:48, 16 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I am very curious to find out where the original question was first originated from. The fact remains, from a majority of Creationists POV, that God (AND please remember to capitalize this as it is a proper noun refering to a single entity; as apposed to god which could refer to any given entity other than the one in question - Jehovah) did in fact create the world full of scientific evidence to display His power. I guess the point here to be made is that God made man to serve Him and not vice-versa. With this in mind God created the earth and all that entails for His pleasure - Man being His greatest creation. "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let him rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." see Genesis 1:26 God did create man to rule over the earth. Actually, most translations would say God created man to be a caregiver - to watch over creation. A farmer takes care of his crop. A man takes care of his family. It is both a responsibility and, in a majority of the cases, an incredible joy. Therefor, it seems quite clear that the earth was created to "stimulate" us into learning more about the world around us. The problem that arises in the issue is not Creationism vs Science, but in fact Creationism vs Evolutionism. A point to ponder: Science is not without uncertainties. The problem arises when we as human beings want to be able to explain everything. How many stars are in the universe? What exactly is at the core of our planet? What are the other planets in our solar system composed of? Are there other inhabitabal planets in other systems? The fact is we do not know. The best we can offer is an educated guess based on what we do know. Call it what you want. Evolutionism is still a type of faith. It is a faith in the evolving process of creation. Creationism is the faith in a God who has the power to create a universe even down to the smallest atom. The term "literal" I would suggest to most Creatinists would mean God's creation of the earth in 6 days (please note that in Genesis God rested on the 7th day). Nhishands4ever


Reptile - mammal transition

Argument number 6 on the evolutionist side gives a reference - [1]. Could somebody specifiy which link is meant? --JackH 16:00, 17 Sep 2003 (UTC)

On the history of "the controversy"

I just tweaked the historical section again. I realize there is a disagreement in the interpretation of the facts, and the motivation of the actual events. So let's debate this ourselves in the talk page. Let me spell out my POV on this, so we can discuss it while I look for references to fully document it.

My idea is to frame the evolution/creation debate withing the larger question of the "problem of origins" (which should have its own page). Religious cosmologies are not limited to the origin of the species of living things, and humanity in particular, but include accounts of the origin of the Earth, and untimately the whole universe, more or less detailed depending on ow explicit the description of the actual cosmology is. Scientific theories of origins are similarly broad in scope.

Regarding the origin of the Earth (and the solar system), at the turn of the 19th century, Laplace put forth his theory of planetesimals. There is a famous anecdote in which Laplace recounts his theory to Napoleon, and remarks that God isn't a necessary hypothesis.

At around the same time, geologists were starting to discover that the Earth could not possibly be 6,000 years old, for a variety of reasons. See The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology.

Also around this time, Lamarck's theory of evolution by inheritance of acquired characteristics was widely accepted, and there was no significant religious debate presumably because there was no concept of speciation, and more importantly, because nobody dared postulate a common origin for men and beasts.

When Darwin (himself an ordained minister) came along, the controversy was not with Christian cosmology, but with Lamarckism. This is actually the origin of the modern debate on macro/microevolution, on speciation as an observable phenomenon, etc.

It is only when Darwin applies his theory to humans that the religious debate starts in earnest. However, already in the 18th century Linnaeus had classified humans among the apes, but putting humans in a genus (homo) containing a single species. The point is that Darwin was not the first to challenge man's unique position in creation, but he was the first to do so in a way that was obvious to most people, which ignited the debate.

In the late 19th century, the geological dating of the Earth ran into trouble because it was impossible to explain where the sun could get the energy to shine for so long. The discovery of radioactivity solved this particular problem, dealing the final blow to young earth theories and also providing the basis for radioactive dating.

By the turn of the 20th century evolution is widely accepted, and the intensity of the religious debate is rather low. The creationist movement experiences a resurgence in the US around WWI. If I am not mistaken this coincides with the birth of the modern fundamentalist christians.

But the problem is that, by this time, the scientific debate has moved on. The fundamentalists were about 100 years late to influence the discussion of the scientific theories. Even their opposition to Darwin's theory is of a different character than the Victorian opposition.

Anyway, the current historical overview actually covers the prehistory of creationism (understood as an offshoot of fundamentalist christianity). A history of creationism since about 1915 is sorely lacking. -- Miguel

Yes, more on history would be great! --JackH 18:25, 18 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Miguel, Playing the Devil's Advocate, or rather God's advocate,I feel that your current elaboration of the historical overview makes it look more like a historical overview of evolution. Can you make it into one para? You yourself have said that it lacks the 20th century history. Probably adding that would make it more balanced.
I made the changes I made because it seemed to me that the account of the when and why the reaction to Darwin happened was misleading. I will condense all of it into one paragraph. It is not my intention to make it look like an introduction to evolution. And I totally agree that Creationism should be presented on its own merits, and the scientific arguments against evolution belong squarely in the creation science article.
Regarding the history of creationism proper, in encyclopedia articles we have a tendency to overemphasize the oldest roots of whatever we are writing about. In this case, however, since it is agreed that the article is primarily about the fundamentalist christian creationist movement, all we have written on the history is actually prehistory, and that situation should be remedied.
Now, I am not qualified to write the 20th century history of creationism, as I can only write from the history of science side and, as I argue here, the scientific side of the debate was pretty much closed by the time the fundamentalists came about [POV alert!]. Since I don't know that much about the specific history, I found the article fundamentalism very instructive. -- Miguel
In an encylopedia Creationism should be understood for what it is rather than proving one's point either way. The talk page discussion looks as if a theological discussion is going on rather than arriving at encycopaedic definitions. And the arguments for and against Creationism in a tabular form makes it even more so.A summary would be much better than a tabular column. Everyday the balance seems to be tilted one way or the other.KRS 14:56, 19 Sep 2003 (UTC)

The two creation stories in the Bible

I feel that the whole issue of creationism cannot be discussed properly without considering what the Bible actually says about creation in the two stories at the beginning of the Book of Genesis. I hope that other readers and contributors will find this of interest and use. (MG)

The Genesis stories are only relevant as an issue to Young Earth Creationism. Therefore, I propose moving the section into the article on YEC. Martin 09:49, 22 Sep 2003 (UTC)
This is a bit of an overstatement. The way that the Genesis story is interpreted has very much to do with all versions of Christian Creationism. Genesis is supposedly irrelevant to "scientific creationism" (predominantly advanced by Young Earth proponents, to adapt their view for the public school classroom), but I'm not alone in thinking that this is a very strange claim. Mkmcconn 15:22, 22 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Hmm. You're right: I didn't express myself clearly, and my thoughts weren't too clear too start off with. I'll come back later. Martin 16:33, 22 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I would like to reiterate my point above. Creationism cannot be discussed properly unless we consider what the Bible actually says in the two creation stories. Then, and only then, is it possible to consider critically how the two stories are interpreted by various parties, both Creationist and not.(MG)

Lists of ex-creationists, ex-evolutionists

I believe that it is important to list people who have changed their mind on the subject, as it can help people gain new insights and understand certain arguments. Both creationists and evolutionists certainly point to ex-creationists and ex-evolutionists to make their point. Of course, only reasonably important people where their change of mind is well-documented should be put on the respective lists. Glenn Morton, for example, is well known in creationist circles, Michael Denton is a published author, David Fasold an (in-)famous researcher who tried to find Noah's Ark, Edward Babinski an outspoken critic of creationism. I have removed Michael Bragg, who does not seem to have published much on the subject besides his initial explanation.—Eloquence 20:32, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

The most important thing to help people gain new insights and understand certain arguments is to have good articles. This is not really so at the moment (As seen from from any particular POV). To make the better needs a lot of work though ... There are already quite elaborate link lists on the web pages cited in the reference section. We do not need to duplicate this. We should concentrate on content. --JackH 20:59, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)
This is content. Wikipedia contains plenty of lists, see List of reference tables. I do agree that the article itself needs improvement in the argument section, but I'm too busy to devote much attention to it at the moment.—Eloquence


Link section

I understand that there are different opinions regarding the length of the link section. Isn't it a WP policy to have a few well selected links for each article? The quality of the article does not improve if the link section grows and grows. Instead of answering questions the reader is referred to find out himself. It means a lot of work to maintain link sections and WP is meant to convey more stable information.

Eloquence: Do you really want me to add another round of let's say 12 links showing people who once were evolutionist and now are creationists. No, ridiculous! Please do you link work for example on www.dmoz.org or your own homepage. You put in some more links I do not want. What has this to do with vandlism? Plz answer? ~~----


These are all bogus arguments. If you checked out articles like fiction, or the lists on List of reference tables, you'd know that Wikipedia is very much about providing useful and on-topic lists of links on a subject. The lists in this article satisfy both criteria. Yes, JackH, I would not mind having links to people who once were evolutionist, but to be relevant, these people should have made some publications about evolution before their "conversion", just like the people in the current list were known in the creationist movement before they left it. Just saying "physicist X no longer believes in evolution" or "mathematician Y is now a creationist" is not sufficient. That's why I have presently limited the list to evolutionary biologists, but it would be fair to also list physicists etc., if they have done work in the field of evolutionary biology before.—Eloquence 11:36, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Tune down a bit please. The fiction link list is motivated because it is leads people to WP articles, links within WP. And List of reference tables is an index to content of WP. Too times about stuff within WP. Please come up with real arguments for your link list feast you like to have. --JackH 11:48, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Jack, these links are within the Wikipedia as well. If you have an issue with the external links, then do not remove the in-house links, but discuss the relevance of the external links. Removal like you are doing without consensus will not get anyone anywhere. Dysprosia 11:50, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
There is no difference here. The links point to Wikipedia articles. It doesn't matter whether they exist or not -- nor did most articles on fiction when it was originally created, nor do many people on List of people etc.—Eloquence 11:52, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I advocate that an article should have a short list of well chosen quality links. List to other WP articles are fine. Maintaining different categories of external links with (probably growing lists) of who thinks what is a nuisance. --JackH 11:58, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
That's not your decision to make, JackH, and frankly, if you continue to remove these links, 1) the page will be protected, 2) you will be banned from editing Wikipedia.—Eloquence 12:36, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Well then, strong words, young man - your weaving the scepter of sysadmin power. Contrariwise you seem to have no problem with the idea of forcing people to maintain these lists. Did you ask here in the talk page if people want your lists? Anyhow let's not loose more time with this issue, write and see how these lists develop? --JackH 13:10, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Jack, just a little note, no one is asking you to maintain the lists, if someone would want to maintain the list, they're free to do so; this is a Wiki after all, everyone who wants to will pitch in. Dysprosia 13:18, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Indeed, no one asks me personally to maintain lists, but implicitly all contributors are asked. WP is a project with an encyclopedic aim, and that means comprehensiveness. Thus if we start such lists this automatically includes the urge for other people to maintain them.
I still think these lists here are not a great idea as there are already excellent link collections on this topic. (e.g. http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/other-links.html). Eloquence seems to insist on having this list. He does this even at the expense of a threat of locking this page. Ts ts.. --JackH 14:19, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Some points: Eloquence will not lock the page, he will ask for someone else to do it - that is Wikipedia policy. All contributors are not asked to maintain lists - users are invited to edit pages, but they are not forced to edit pages. External link collections are not a good idea - as I have mentioned before users who wish to make the contributions to the links will not be able to do so if the links are not here.
If I understand you correctly WP policy has changed insofar as it is now OK to have large link list sections in the article? Generally I think I can adapt to this idea but I thought this was not WP style. --JackH 14:33, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I don't know where you got the idea that I said that it is OK to have "large link list sections", I don't believe there is any 'official' policy to this regard. However it is standard practice - you have been shown many examples. Dysprosia 14:36, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
You say that external link lists are not a good idea as this doesn't allow us to maintain them. This implies that internal link lists are favored. The very nature of a encyclopedia implies that these lists may become comprehensive. Capito? --JackH 14:41, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand what I'm saying. Internal link lists are favored because that it enables people to add to and edit links that don't exist. This is the point of the Wikipedia; it allows people to contribute. Removing links does exactly the opposite. Dysprosia 14:45, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I think I understand you. You say it is good to have internal link lists and to edit them. I add that theses lists may grow because of the encyclopedic nature of WP. JackH----
I don't see anything really wrong with that; at the moment these lists are small - perhaps when they are considerably larger they will be split off into their own article. Dysprosia 15:02, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)~

The Bible: What it says and how people interpret it

If you are going to look at what people make of the Bible, it makes sense to look at what the Bible says before discussing how people interpret it. It is difficult to decide the ordering of the article, but putting interpretations of the Bible before looking at what the Bible says strikes me as putting the cart before the horse.

I notice that someone removed a sentence where I pointed out that many modern translations of Genesis effectively conceal one of the differences between the two stories with a non-literal translation of the word 'day' in Genesis 2:4b. What was the problem?

Also I noticed the sentence where I said that creationists have to explain the differences between the two creation stories, or ignore them was removed. Fair enough. If creationists can ignore this issue, there is nothing to explain!

"Other arguments proposed by creationists include"

Two Q&A's from the article:

10. " The "equation" for intelligent life is IL = information + matter + energy."

Answer - " For intelligent life to develop outside information is not necessary IL = matter + energy + a stochastic process "

[Onebyone] I don't understand this at all. I think that some significant percentage of readers won't understand it either, and therefore that it needs work.

11. "Nearly all mutations are destructive. Biochemical processes are reversible."

Answer - "The fact that we have life on earth cleary shows that evolution happend and that the gradual mutations and the selection process were sufficient."

[Onebyone] Two points - firstly, I don't entirely understand the proposed argument. It looks to me like an abbreviated version of something, and I think it's gone too far for someone not familiar with the full argument to follow it. It would be helpful if someone who is familiar could rephrase it so that it is more obvious what is being said, and thus what is being countered.
[Onebyone] Secondly, the evolutionist answer here is a classic example of begging the question. It states that evolution must be fast enough to produce observed complexity, because evolution is the process by which life develops, and observably life has developed. But the original point of contention is whether or not evolution is the process by which life develops. Now, it may be that this argument has been presented in the past by one or more evolutionists, but I think most of them would agree that it's a bad argument, and there are better ones which would be more representative of the typical evolutionist stance on the issue.

Since this is a contentious issue, I'd appreciate comments before touching anything. Oh, and I'm sorry that the formatting of this question is rubbish, but I'm tired and I want to go to bed. Cheers. -- Onebyone 01:08, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Feel free to write more. I put in the text for these arguments mostly as a placeholder for not forgetting to elaborate on this because it touches an important subject.
Currently I do not have time for this. Argument number 10 is a terse way of describing the factors for an evolution or creation process. The crucial difference is the question where the information comes from. Do stochastic processes produce information? I agree with your opinion about argument 11; I wanted to convey that many evolutionists (e.g. Dawkins) say that alternatives are unthinkable. So they have to stick with their way of thinking and do the best they can to maintain the theory. --JackH 10:15, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Much as I dislike Dawkins, I don't think it's a reasonable representation of his views to state that he says alternatives are unthinkable. He thinks they are thinkable, but that in each case where one has been thought of it either contradicts observed evidence, or else requires assumptions that he regards as irrational (such as the existence of God), or else is rational but is a less good theory than those he does subscribe to. He isn't completely dogmatic - his own work has contributed to changes in the details of evolutionary theory - he merely dismisses each rival theory in turn according to how he sees the evidence and how he judges rational belief.
The fact that I agree with Dawkins on many points is annoying, because I think that his methods and arguments have at times been distinctly underhand. But he has far stronger grounds for his views than you seem to give him credit for. Evolution is not (in the opinion of those who support it) by any means a theory on the back foot. Onebyone 10:44, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Split this article into two articles, or more

Creationism properly does not belong under evolution. If evolutionists want an article to refute the claims of creationism, then there should either be a section under evolution or an article specifically titled “evolutionary answers to creationism” or similar title.

The article on creationism should be written by creationists, not evolutionists. Then there should be a section or a separate article written by creationists to refute claims by evolutionists. All articles should be interlinked so that a person has all sides of the issue available to him.

(Evolutionists should want to do this, then they could stand on the sidelines and amuse themselves as they watch creationists tear each other apart: young earth creationists do not consider old earth creationists true creationists, while old earth creationists often use the same vitriol as used by many evolutionists against young earth creationists, and so forth. But I doubt evolutionists could keep their hands off long enough to be amused.)

Based on my experience, I doubt this suggestion will be enacted upon, as evolutionists, in particular militant evolutionists, do not want an honest discussion where people can exercise critical thinking, rather they want a population who have been indoctrinated into only one side of the issue; their side.

kwr.

Rename this article Scientific creationism

A quick look at creationism (theology) will show that creationism is properly a theological topic, whereas the present article is more aptly named "creation science" and/or "scientific creationism." Needless to say, Eloquence will disagree with my position, asserting that the titles "creation science" and "scientific creationism" are not NPOV. While I certainly understand the hostility Eloquence has towards creation scientists, I am baffled by his assertion that the titles I prefer are somehow not NPOV, particularly in light of the aptly-titled Wikipedia articles junk science and pathological science. Agreed, creation science is *NOT* actually scientific, but this position is argued forcefully in the body of this article. -- NetEsq 18:19, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I agree with this. Creationism itself is a theological issue...there are many scientists who don't agree with scientific creationism who would consider themselves "creationists", in the sense that they hold religious beliefs in some type of creator. "Scientific creationism" makes it clear that the creationist claims are intended to be held as scientific, regardless of whether they are scientifically correct or not. Lots of awful proofs may purport to prove FLT, but that doesn't mean their authors didn't intend them to be proofs, and they should be attacked and discredited as proofs. Similarly, lots of stuff is bad science, and it should be attacked and discredited as bad science. Indeed, the confusion and conflation of science with morals and religions is one of the signs of a democracy slipping into totalitarianism. Also, I find this article extremely POV (towards the direction against scientific creationism), and I say this as someone who thoroughly disagrees with it. Despite my own conclusions, I think I have a slightly more sensitive pulse on looking at things from the other side's point of view -- see all my contributions at AIDS reappraisal and Talk:AIDS reappraisal. Revolver
Part of the reason why the article may not appear neutral is that 2/3 of it are about the creation/evolution debate. I am pretty happy about the preceding 1/3 of the article, and I should hope you would be, too. If not, please be a bit more explicit about the POV issues you have with the article. -- Miguel
I disagree. Adjectives are more important than nouns with NPOV, because they are more likely to indicate a point of view. For instance, "a true religion" is a phrase that has a definite point of view in a way that "a religion" doesn't. When you say "scientific creationism", you're not just talking about creationism, you're saying that it is, in fact, truly scientific. "Creation science" is acceptable and shows that the adherents to it attempt to use science, whether or not they are successful. — Olathe 18:35, 25 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I disagree. Creationism is theology. Sounds as though the content of Creationism (theology) may need to be merged into theis article or vice-versa. Scientific creationism is a title which doesn't make a lot of sense to me and creation science is a completely different field of study, that of the non-theological origin of the creation of the world. Jamesday 05:44, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I disagree with your disagreement. :-) Creationism is both a theological doctrine, which has developed over centuries long before Darwin ever came along, and a shorthand term for "religious fundamentalist opposition to evolutionary theory". Perhaps the best solution would be to leave the Creationism (theology) article where it is and rename this article "Creationism and Science", as that would better reflect the subject matter? Note that creationism didn't become generally problematic until science began to contradict it 150 years ago, so an article focused on the conflict between the two - in other words, this article - needs to be distinct from the article on creation theology. -- ChrisO 08:26, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
This is substantially similar to the position that I have been advocating for quite some time. The content currently found in Creationism (theology) should remain where it is, at least for the time being, and the current Creationism article should be renamed to reflect the true nature of the content found there. To that end, renaming the current Creationism article Creationism and Science would be a big step in the right direction as that title does not conflate pseudoscientific creationism with mainstream science. -- NetEsq 17:04, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
How about Creation and Science? I absolutely abhor the word creationism. Ezra Wax
It's what the stuff is normatively called. You might as well assign a random string of letters and numbers as the article title. - David Gerard 17:42, Mar 2, 2004 (UTC)
It is a commonplace rhetorical trick nowadays to declare that the normal usage of the concept under discussion is now "derogatory." It is tempting to see this technique as a last-ditch attempt to stifle mention of the Idea Itself and to substitute— what? There is nothing "scientific' about creationism. What if one were forced to use the term "Heavenly Satanism"? (Anyone who has this page on their watchlist is wasting their time anyway. But there you are.) Wetman 16:38, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
"Nothing scientific about creationism"? What? - SamE 13:09, 2 May 2004 (UTC)

Yes. There is nothing scientific about creationism. see philosophy of science. See this article for how creationists are either ignorant or dishonest. Anyway, yes, this should be moved to creation science, as that's self-identification. Howevre, it should make it absolutely clear in the first paragraph that the scientific community considers it to be pseudoscience, and dishonest. Duncharris 16:52, May 8, 2004 (UTC)

I think it is fair enough to use whichever term Scientic Creationists are happy to apply to themselves, and to point out in the introduction that non-creationsists dispute the "scientific" part - just as in "Christian Science".

It should not be called Scientific Creationism. Then every group of wackos will start putting "Scientific" in front of their ideas to pretend they have intellectual bases. Scientific Astrology, Scientific Nazism, Scientific Witchcraft, etc. "Science" has a precise meaning--tested by the Scientific Method. Creationist argument is based a) on an inculcated conviction that the Bible is correct, b) on dubious theoretical/philosophical arguments for why evolution cannot be correct, and c) misunderstanding and ignorance about voluminous, incontrovertible evidence in favor of biological evolution.
There simply is no NPOV issue here. Biological evolution is proven. The fact that many people don't believe in it is not an issue of science--it's an issue of sociology and psychology. All throughout history masses of people have believed silly things. The Egyptians, Sumerians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, etc. all had creation myths. Should the article on Greek creation myths be called Scientific Greek Creationism? Wikipedia should present facts regardless of how many people are aware of the facts. Creationism is best and most accurately discussed by treating it as a sociological phenomenon. If we are to pretend that idiots are intellectuals for the sake of maintaining NPOV, then there is no reason for Wikipedia.

Rmalloy 00:09, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

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I agree with the vitriol in what you write. For in my opinion, the human hunger for "religion" is a curse upon people--something like the curse of the nagging inherited human hungers for more sugar, more salt, and more burned fat than a healthy body can stand and stay healthy--given today's technology and profit incentives for producing and marketing sugar, salt, and burned fat. However, the current Creationism page is not about "creationism." Perhaps, the current Creationism page is about the "turf battle" between two barbarian armies that care neither for truth nor facts. But the current Creationism page is certainly not about "creationism." In contrast, the current creationism (theology) page appears to be about "creationism." So, what should be the title of the current Creationism page? --Rednblu 01:31, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

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Well, for money they should be one in the same page. I have never encountered a "creationist" who didn't have a theological motivation. Does anyone claim to be an irreligious creationist? I would get rid of "Creationism (theology)" and put everything under Creationism.
Is it possible to speculate about there needing to be a "God" or "Intelligent Designer" for the world to work so splendidly without involving religion? Sure. But that's not science, that's philosophy. No experiment can be done to determine whether our universe was necessarily Created. So perhaps this article could be "Creationist philosophy" or "Intelligent design," but certainly not "Scientific creationism."
But like I said, I think it should all be under "Creationism." I think Wikipedia makes a mistake by splitting articles that shouldn't be split. What is now "Creationism" should be discussed under a subheading like "Attempts to find philosophical and scientific support for creationist beliefs" Rmalloy 17:42, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

---

Yes, Creationism is theology. But the Creationism page is not about theology, so it is not about "creationism"; it is about the flaws in "Creationism" when viewed from a "scientific" viewpoint. On the other hand it appears to me that the Creationism (theology) page is about theology. --Rednblu 04:51, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

"Fundamentalist" is not NPOV?

The frequent use of the pejorative term "fundamentalist" and the serious-toned grouping of creationists with fringe "flat earthers" and "geocentrists" (taken from an anti-creation source) makes the article clearly NOT NPOV and shows a subtle effort to create a straw man. -- Pollinator 18:59, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

The term fundamentalism is used in the sense of the Wikipedia article christian fundamentalism. -- Miguel
If a racial or ethnic group objects to a pejorative term, and you continue to use that term, you are a racist. Why is this any different? Keep the term "fundamentalist" in the historic sense, and for those few who proudly wear it. But the persistant use of the term to group all creationists with the most narrow minority is a transparent straw man attack. Pollinator 12:21, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Note that fundamentalism was the name that a certain group of christians gave themselves, and it is used to refer to them and their intellectual descendents.
If you wish to contest the idea that the modern creationist movement has its origins in the fundamentalist movement of the early 20th century, please argue your case. You may also point out specific places where it is stated or implied that all modern creationists are fundamentalists, and we can discuss what should be said instead. -- Miguel 23:04, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Miguel, the cause and effect here may well be transposed. Atheism and agnosticism are statements of religious belief. NetEsq says one thing that is very true: "However, a conflict arises when people try to sell their religious beliefs in scientific packaging." So you could say that the modern creationist movement has its origins in reaction to the overstepping of the bounds of science by many of the Darwinists. Pollinator 05:51, 26 Nov 2003 (UTC)
...or in the realization that the teaching of evolution in colleges was causing young people to question their faith. Also, there is the sociological issue of why the movement seems confined to the US and spreads to other countries in parallel with the spread of evangelical christian groups. -- Miguel
The term fundamentalist is not a pejorative term, and the grouping of creation scientists with flat earthers and geocentrists is an apt one, as the term creationism refers to a wide spectrum of theories and beliefs, ranging from the wholly plausible to the totally outlandish. To wit, there are many creationists who do *NOT* take issue with the scientific validity of the theory of evolution, just as there is a very negligible minority of scientists who think that the theory of evolution is an inadequate explanation for the origin of life on the planet Earth. However, a conflict arises when people try to sell their religious beliefs in scientific packaging. Creation science is pseudo science, plain and simple, and there is no reason to equivocate when stating this plain simple truth. -- NetEsq 22:21, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)
This is a diatribe, not a response. I rest my case. Pollinator 12:21, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)
A dismissive retort does not prove your "case." Rather, it demonstrates your unwillingness to engage in dialogue with people who can easily rebuke your unfounded claims. Such tactics are used quite frequently by creation scientists, which is not at all surprising, as the pseudo-scientific claims of creation science cannot withstand the scrutiny of mainstream science. -- NetEsq
<< If a racial or ethnic group objects to a pejorative term, and you continue to use that term, you are a racist. Why is this any different? >>
Apples and oranges. Fundamentalists are not a racial or ethnic group, and your objection to the term fundamentalist is the first objection that I have ever seen. Exactly what do you find so objectionable about the term fundamentalist? And what term do you think would be more accurate and/or less objectionable? -- NetEsq 15:44, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Perhaps traditional Christianity...this page is so bitterly polarized against Creationism that the writers can't even see it, and it makes a mockery of Wikipedia NPOV.
Does traditional Christianity include Catholicism or any of the European protestant denominations? Because then you would be grossly exaggerating the appeal of creationism. -- Miguel
The bitterness is so apparent to any Creationist that only the most brassy would make any attempt, and that is quickly struck down (with snide comments on the talk page - to prove my point).
How about a poll? Has any Creationist ever made any contribution to this page that stood?
The Anti-Creationists club wrote the Evolution page, and they wrote the Creationist page. Heck, even the definitions are only the ones allowed by Anti-Creationsists club. It's a bit like a page written on Afro-American civil rights - not about a bunch of white liberals who think they understand the whole concern, because they once marched in a civil rights march. No, this is beyond that - more like a bunch of white supremacists, who think they can understand the entirety of the issue.
We went through an entire round of rewriting the introduction last August. Since you missed that, why don't you propose an alternative introductory paragraph here? -- Miguel
On the labeling, it could easily said that this is a group of primarily fundamentalist Darwinists. How does that make you feel? For further development, see my contribution on Fundamentalism and the "religious right" Talk:Fundamentalist Christianity
That is simply not true. Have you gone through the list of contributors to ths page and checked their Wikipedia home pages? -- Miguel
I ask: where is the NPOV? Pollinator 05:51, 26 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Ok, ok, point taken. But just saying how the article is wrong does not make it right. Can you just make the edits you think you need to make? -- Miguel
The first thing is that the "Spectrum Chart" has gotta go! It is a straw man polemic against creationists to place tiny minority fringe groups together with them. Removal of this spurious comparison will be a step in the direction of NPOV. Anyway, there is a link to this "Spectrum Chart", in the anti-creation web sites listed. Pollinator 16:55, 22 Jan 2004 (UTC) (Sheesh! I must be getting addicted - putting links on the talk page....)
Okay, here's an edit of one section, at least makes a begining to express some of the Creationists' points of view, which IS the topic of this page (heretofore basically just an attack). Lest someone bring up Godwin's law, it should be noted that the connection between Darwinism and Hitler is a lot firmer than the connection between most Creationists and Flat Earthers. Pollinator 18:40, 22 Jan 2004 (UTC)
It's not true, though - Hitler was a Young Earth Creationist, not a Darwinist, so the connection is actually rather closer to Creationism. See http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA006_1.html for details. -- ChrisO 08:26, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Hitler followed Malthusian scientific racism, as did Darwin, which is why Hitler felt free to try to eliminate people that didn't fit his qualifications. I believe, since this page has long been "101 reasons why Creationism is a Neanderthal view," it's time to put some of Darwin's racist passages (which are usually swept under the rug) on the Evolution page (NPOV, you know...)Pollinator 13:37, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Well, to be fair, Nazism perverted both scientific and religious doctrines - I rather agree with Churchill's characterisation of it being "a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science." And of course, Darwin was writing in an age when commonly held ideas of race were very different to those in evidence now - he was hardly alone in perceiving South American aboriginals as primitive. I wonder, though, if it might be a good idea to introduce a section on "moral arguments against evolution" - racism, moral relativism etc - as this does seem to be a major topic of concern to creationists. Do you want to have a go at drafting something on this? -- ChrisO 15:15, 26 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I am wondering why the criticism of Darwinism would necessarily be on a separate page, while the bulk of the Creationist page is still primarily attempted refutations of it. Is there a Wikipedia policy? Is it applied neutrally? Should not the criticisms of Creationism be primarily on a separate page as well? I would be willing to "have a go" at the suggested page, if there is a likewise effort to bring the Creationism page into the same format. Pollinator 10:17, 28 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Splitting the page

Can someone split this page to a manageable size and archive the older section?

Is there any interest or any point to my adding a response to the claims of irreducible complexity? Skeetch 04:45, Nov 17, 2003 (UTC)


Creationism vs creation science?

Is it possible to separate creationism from creation science? -- Miguel 21:36, Nov 17, 2003 (UTC)

If you have to split, do it by section:

Leave a summary in place in the main article of each of these sections. See the country pages as an example. —Eloquence 22:47, Nov 17, 2003 (UTC)

In talk:creationism and evolutionism you say that the debate belongs in the creationism article. It seems to me that the debate part is dominating this article and clouding the discussion of creationism on its own merits. -- Miguel 23:09 Nov 17 2003 (UTC)
Creationism has merits? ;-) Seriously, though, my point is that if we split the article up, we should do it in a neutral fashion, i.e. the creationism article should be an overview of the issues related to creationism, from its definition (a complex matter), history and followers to its struggle against evolution in the political and scientific sphere. To move away only such a central issue as the (pseudo-)scientific debate and to let this article focus on other aspects, whatever these may be, would be POV. There's a simple rule for cases like this (when an article gets too long), and that is the one I have outlined above: to split the article up according to its sections and to leave summaries in place. This avoids a situation where, e.g. the key "creationism" article is dominated by non-scientists whose primary intent is to portray their ideology in a positive light.—Eloquence 23:43, Nov 17, 2003 (UTC)
The problem (in my view) is not that the page is too long, but that the "debate" part is distracting us from writing a discussion of creationism in and of itself. What I'm getting at is: does creationism have any content other than a critique of evolution? Can creationism be described in its own terms, or mostly only as a list of "flaws" of evolution? Arguments against evolution are about evolution, not about creationism, and so belong in articles related to evolution. There's nothing wrong with the article portraying creationism in a positive light: after all, there must be reasons why people are creationists. If anyone wanted to include a critique of creationism, that would also be appropriate. -- Miguel 00:26 Nov 18 2003 (UTC)
That's exactly what the article creation beliefs is about, with no precedence given to Christianity. Creationism defines itself largely by challenging scientific points of view, and therefore needs to be discussed on these terms.—Eloquence 00:36, Nov 18, 2003 (UTC)
As I have stated previously, creationism is not synonymous with creation science, and this article is seriously flawed in that it pretends to conflate the two. Creationism is properly a philosophical and theological topic, dealing with such issues as the nature of the primordial "first cause." The primary reason that creationism and science come into conflict is that creation scientists attempt to validate their religious creeds by impeaching legitimate scientific inquiry. -- NetEsq 01:39, 18 Nov 2003 (UTC)
That view has already been soundly refuted.—Eloquence 01:44, Nov 18, 2003 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly disagree. That view has not been soundly refuted; it has been stubbornly rejected, by you. However, even the most stubborn rejection can be overcome by the involvement of additional Wikipedians. -- NetEsq 02:02, 18 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Actually, not only by me, and not stubbornly, but by virtually everyone else in the debate who can read a dictionary.—Eloquence 02:09, Nov 18, 2003 (UTC)

New article on Ussher-Lightfoot Calendar

Wikipedians may be interested in the article that I've just submitted on the Ussher-Lightfoot Calendar, beloved of Young Earth Creationists. - ChrisO 00:44, 20 Nov 2003 (UTC)


Assumptions of creationists and Darwinists

A recent edit added "Creationists and Darwinists have a different ontology, each making a fundamental assumption which is outside the realm of science." This statement is not backed up later in the edit, though. Creationists must necessarily make the assumption that a god exists. This can be seen as an assumption that is "outside the realm of science". I don't see what non-scientific assumption the darwinists are making, though? A further point to note on this edit is that it reverts my change to the sentence "Materialistic Evolutionism [...] accepts the theory of evolution, but denies the existence of any divine agency." I changed the "but" to "and". The "but" implies the POV that accepting the theory of evolution is usually done while believing in the existence of a god. The "and" on the otherhand just states that they hold both positions without implying anything. --snoyes 19:57, 22 Jan 2004 (UTC)

The edit may have been referring to the belief that life spontaneously ordered itself to begin with, which sounds like "outside the realm of science" to me until somebody can observe it or duplicate it. In any case though I would have deleted something like that in the article. silsor 20:43, Jan 22, 2004 (UTC)

I (snoyes) moved the following here, as there is no evidence given that this statement is factually correct.

"Creationists and Darwinists have a different ontology, each making a fundamental assumption which is outside the realm of science."

"Adolf Hitler was a believer in the doctrines of Thomas Malthus which also heavily influenced early evolutionists."

Linking Hitler to Malthus to Darwin in this manner seems kind of silly. First of all, this is the first time I ever heard that Hitler was directly affected by Malthus. Wagner? Yes. Nietzsche? Yes. Malthus, an English economist and so forth? Hitler usually attributed his influences to Germans. Secondly, Malthus's ideas applied to humans whereas Darwin took those ideas and fixed them on animals. And Malthus merely fleshed out economic ideas which were prevalent in his day and shared by most economists of the day - and are still more or less shared by modern economists as far as I can see. I've removed this sentence, please cite where Hitler said this if you want to put it in. -- JohnWoolsey 11:25, 30 Jan 2004 (UTC)


A few days ago I rewrote ONE section of the article to try and give a little expression of the Creationist viewpoint (which is supposedly what the page is about). I pretty much left alone the BULK of the page which is primarily an expression of anti-creationist viewpoints. Since then the anti-creationists have been progressively removing this tiny bit of creationist viewpoint, and replacing it with still more anti-creationist viewpoints. POV is running rampant here. The article would better be retitled 101 reasons why creationists are all extremist Neanderthals. I've removed some un-fair and un-balanced proselytizing and pejorative edits by an anti-creationist and restored some of the key points of creationist belief. This page is about Creationism, folks. Apparently many think the only expression allowed on the Creationism page is that of anti-Creationists, and key points of Creationist viewpoints are not to be allowed. I've kept the edit by JohnWoolsey, as an explanation was given on the talk page, and we can revisit this later. Pollinator 17:16, 30 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Listed on Cleanup

I'm listing this page on Cleanup. It's some of the worst POV I've ever seen. silsor 00:26, Feb 12, 2004 (UTC)


It's not that bad, but in recent weeks apparently both creationists and anti-creationists have battled about getting derogatory phrases about each other into the article. Highly immature.—Eloquence
Would you kindly explain how this is immature? For much of this page's history it's been: (1.) establishing a caricature of creationism, and (2.) making derogatory comments about it. Any part that expresses a serious creationist viewpoint is soon whittled away.
Personally, I think I've bent over backwards to be courteous. I have tried to introduce some genuine Creationist viewpoints, but have mostly left alone the anti-Creationist writings (except for the blatant straw man "flat earth" stuff). The page still has a long way to go to be NPOV. One step forward, two steps back sometimes...BTW, if you would like to see "derogatory phrases" take a look at the comments left on my talk page.Pollinator 18:11, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I'd also like to either remove the Christian-centrism, or move this article to Christian creationism. silsor

Both is unwarranted. Creationism in common use primarily refers to Christian religious fundamentalist beliefs. [6] There are some other beliefs which are occasionally labeled "creationist", but the bulk of them can be discussed in creation beliefs.—Eloquence
There you go again. POV. Most creationists are not fundamentalists.Pollinator 18:11, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)
No, that is not the common definition of the term "creationism". Please do some research.—Eloquence
I have. I found that fundamentalists are usually "young earth" creationists. That leaves three other categories.Pollinator 07:03, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Just because YECs are fundamentalists does not mean that OECs are not. Both YECs and OECs use the Bible as the basis for discussing biological origins. That is a fundamentalist concept. We would call someone who claims that God plays a substantial role in magnetism, and that this role is documented in sacred scripture, a religious fundamentalist or at least highly religious. So we should use the same terms when talking about biological origins.—Eloquence 16:32, Feb 14, 2004 (UTC)
(Sigh!) Is this deliberate or are you unable to grasp the differences? Fundamentalists are a specific group with a specific history. They are not equivalent to "religious." Broad brush statements like the above are first a slap at those who are proud of their fundamentalist heritage and do not wish to be confused with others. Then in the same sentence you backhand other groups who are not fundamentalists, and also do not wish to be confused with them. Talk about making derogatory comments! I don't wish to be rude, but I've gotta be frank, because you just don't GET it! And I despair over any NPOV on the Creationism page, when even the very definitions are only allowed to be what the anti-creationists want them to be. Pollinator 20:26, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Capitalisation

What do you think about capitalizing? Personally I think capitalizing Creationism and related terms every time they show up is silly, not to mention clashes with the intro in which they are decapitalized. silsor

I agree. I don't know who added the capitalization, it is unnecessary and annoying.—Eloquence
I have fixed the capitalisation and created temporary redirects to articles with incorrectly capitalised titles (there are lots of inconsistencies—e.g. young Earth creationism, but old Earth Creationism) so the links still work, but someone should just delete my redirects and rename the articles themselves. I didn’t want to do it myself without consulting others. Rafał Pocztarski 13:33, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I have seven pages of archives to read. Moan. silsor


After having read the article and all of this commentary, it increasingly seems to me like it's trying to do too many things at once. I would actually suggest a total rewrite, replacing it with a much shorter article that simply describes how the term refers to an American political controversy without going into too much detail about the arguments of each side. I don't think Wikipedia is the place for political debates.

As suggested by other above, the religious aspects of the controversy can be addressed at creationsim (theology) and controversial aspects of evolutionary biology can be addressed at evolution (controversy). I'll be happy to write a draft of the revised article if others think it's a good idea. Jeeves 23:36, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I'm working on a rewrite of this page, to simplify it, express more accurately what creationism is, examine the driving forces of creationism, and bring it to a more NPOV. I do think the page is needed here. And it needs to have some input from wikipedians who have some understanding of creationism, not just from those who simply want to attack it. Pollinator 02:14, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Science is not about "controversy", or motive, it's about evidence. Those who want to attack creationism understand it perfectly well. "Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing 'does not!'" - Ialdaboath 02:30, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Simplistic? Yes. Straw man? Ayup. POV? Obviously. In line with the history of this page? Most definitely. "Religious" ferver? Maybe. Unwilling to take a breather in the attack on Creationism to see if more neutral ground can be found? Seems so. Pollinator 04:15, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I suggest that any rewrite of this page narrow the defintion of creationism to Young and Old Earth Creationism. Theistic evolution and Deism are not forms of creationism, as per any the definition of creationism that I have ever come accross or even the definition of creationism in the first sentence of this article. The most common definition of creationism is a belief in a literal interpretion of Genesis. This would of course include YEC. OEC and Day Age would also apply as the literal interpretation still stands except for the length of the biblical day. Creation science is the effort to prove that creationism is factually accurate through science. So I believe that the article should define creationism and its subsets as it does today, then move on to the history as it does today, but focus more on the history of creationist though, notable creationists of history and the evolution :-) of creationism over time. Comparison of Genesis 1 and 2 and treatment of the documentary hypothesis should be ommited. This is an entry about creationism, not textual criticism or criticism of creationism. For NPOV the article should not delve into arguments either for or against the factuality of creationism, except for summaries of tje arguments of noted creationists. In that same vein, the article should not explicity or implicity try to refute creationism or try to diminish it as a worldview.Perhaps a singular link to a page that can refute said arugments. The interpretation of Genesis section should be changed to reflect the different positions of the main variants of creationism, YEC and OEC and its variants. There should be a history of creation science pre Darwin, then contemporary to Darwin, finally in the years since Darwin culminating with Edwards v. Aguillard, the rise of the ID movement and recent theschool board debates in Kansas, Ohio, Alabama etc. Common Descent and the age of the Earth should be briefly treated, as well as the distribution of creation. However, I would simply create timelines of each worldview for comparison and not offer any judgements on the validty of any of them. That way the reader can simply learn what each world view is and compare them. That would elminate needing sections on common descent, age of the earth, origin of the earth and humans, etc. Creationism in public schools can be covered in the history as described above.The philosophy section should probably just be removed. Then I would have a list of notable creationist and a brief summary of their position. The sections including and after Arguments against evolution should probably be edited down to the bare essentials. There need not be refuations of each creationist argument in tabular form. Most of the sections after this point are clearly POV and should be either removed altogether or redacted down to NPOV.--JPotter 06:56, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Well-put. I agree. - SamE 13:29, 2 May 2004 (UTC)

NOT two Genesis creation accounts

Stating unequivocally that Genesis contains two creation accounts is POV. Most Christians I know believe that these "two accounts" are both the exact same story, with no contradictions. Things people see as "contradictions" we see as different details that were either focused on or left out. IMO, Genesis is a continuous narrative; the creation is described in general, then a summary statement is made and the author goes into more detail about the creation of man.

The list of events this article gives from the "two accounts" aren't contradictions. For example, the fact that the "first account" mentions the Sabbath and the second doesn't is not a contradiction; it just means that the author already mentioned it and saw no reason to repeat it at that point. The fact that the "second account" begins with the creation of man is not a contradiction; it means the author already described the creation of the universe and the earth and is now focusing in detail on the formation of man. (In fact, if you'll bother to read it, the supposed "second account," that uses YHWH Elohim begins in verse 4 by summarizing the creation of everything, describing the state of the world, and then digging in in more detail into the creation of man.)

Statements like "This is important because many people are not aware that the Book of Genesis contains two distinct versions of the story of creation," come off as saying, "Some people are so stupid that even though they read Genesis over and over again in their religious studies they've never noticed that there are contradictions." You just can't state as fact that there are two accounts here. You need to contextualize it by saying many people SEE it as two accounts.

Now that I've looked a little lower in the article, I see that it does talk about how these can be harmonized. But it still isn't right to begin with a "statement of fact" that there definitively ARE two accounts here; that is only somebody's opinion. And it's even worse to have the statement about "some people aren't aware of it." I'm fully aware that some people see this different from me; the fact is that I disagree with them, not that I am unaware.

Jdavidb 14:33, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Quite so, the statements in this regard should be NPOV. There is more general information on the proposition that there are two creation accounts in Genesis (specifically Gen. 1:1-2:3, "P," and then from 2:4-25, "J") at documentary hypothesis.

Fire Star 15:33, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)


I think the words creationism and creationist are loaded words. When used by scientists they are almost always meant derogatorily. As such, while an article called creationism might be appropriate, discussing the viewpoints of people who might fit into the category using words that are derogatory is certainly not.

Something easier to fix is to change the term creator God to divine creator. I find the second term less jarring. Ezra Wax 16:29, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The opening definition

Can someone provide the basis for the opening definition? I personally do not consider myself a creationist, nor do I think of God as a "first cause." But this definition seems anachronistic to me. In the United States, at least, I would bet that 99.99999% of the time a person refers to "creationism" or "creationists" they are referring to the belief that God created the different species; a view that is articulated expressly in opposition , or as an alternative, to Darwin's theory of the evolution of species through natural selection. When Aristotle (and later, St. Thomas, and even later, Mortimer Adler) articulated the argument of God as first cause, they were not engaging Darwin. Moreover, I know many people who accept Darwin's theory and believe that God created the universe. I am not saying they are right, and I am not inviting any argument on whether their position makes sense or not. I am just questioning whether this is an accurate definition. I don't think it is, and I have read a good deal about creationism, creation science, Darwin, and theology. If I am missing some major literature or debates, please let me know what and where they are! Slrubenstein

I continue to think that this is a valid point. It has been discussed vigorously in the Talk archives that, because the term is used in a polemical way, it has become difficult to define. Thus, many who believe that God created all things nevertheless deny that they are creationists. And although some identify themselves as creationists, others deny this label to them because they believe in evolution. It is very confusing. Mkmcconn
<< Can someone provide the basis for the opening definition? >>'
I think the opening definition sucks. Let me clarify that: I think the opening definition *really*, *really* sucks. (Compare with the opening paragraph of Creationism (theology).) -- NetEsq 20:52, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)
<< In the United States, at least, I would bet that 99.99999% of the time a person refers to "creationism" or "creationists" they are referring to the belief that God created the different species >>
Ethnocentrism and cultural bias is clearly part of the problem. -- NetEsq 20:52, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)
<< I know many people who accept Darwin's theory and believe that God created the universe. >>
As do I. However, in the context of the present article, at least one eloquent contributor considers these viewpoints hopelessly irreconcilable. Indeed, hostility towards the pseudo-science of creationism (i.e., creation science/scientific creationism) has become hostility towards the particular brand of Fundamentalist Christianity that espouses creation science and has become conflated with a hostility towards religion in any form. -- NetEsq 20:52, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)
<< I don't think [the opening definition is an accurate one], and I have read a good deal about creationism, creation science, Darwin, and theology. If I am missing some major literature or debates, please let me know what and where they are! >>
I can't speak to the opening definition of the current creationism article, but the opening paragraph of creationism (theology) is derived from the article on creationism from the Catholic Encyclopedia. (< http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04475a.htm >) You might also want to take a look at the article on creationism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (< http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/creationism/ >.) -- NetEsq 20:52, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for the citations! Slrubenstein

The Western World outside of the US

Is there any country except for the US where there is a sizeable creationist lobby, or where creationism has political support? I think we may safely say that US creationism is considered "weird" by the vast majority of Western Europeans. David.Monniaux 20:14, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I don't know how widely it is believed in the Muslim world, but there are at least Creationists there. Ashibaka 00:20, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)
It is raising eyebrows, but it exists to a limited extend: Economist Article

 The organization "Answers in Genesis" is based in Australia.

Blue boxes

I think it's appropriate to have a blue box to link these articles together. Hopefully, that'll help with the naming disputes. I'll put it at {{msg:creationism}}. Feel free to edit it appropriately.Duncharris 18:05, May 2, 2004 (UTC)

In my opinion, you have posed an interesting intellectual puzzle for everyone to examine. Did you not also insert the blue box at the top of this page? So let us examine the implications of inserting the two blue boxes.
<<Blue box at the top of the page>> The insertion at the top of this page poses the question: What is the relation of creationism to evolutionary biology? And in my opinion, creationism has nothing to do with evolutionary biology. Historically, creationism derives from totally different forces than does evolutionary biology. Creationism derives from the human hunger to find the "great alpha male" to whom we can bow. In contrast, evolutionary biology derives from the human hunger to make people "self-sufficient" without having to depend on what our parents taught us. Apparently, we humans inherited both of those contrasting hungers from the ancestors of the chimpanzees. But the two hungers are competing.
Here is an analogy. The human hunger for sugar, salt, and burned fat is unrelated to the human hunger to find out what good nutrition is. Apparently, we humans inherited at least the rudiments of both of those contrasting hungers from the ancestors of the chimpanzees. But the two hungers are unrelated. That is, often the inherited hunger for sugar, salt, and burned fat overpowers the human hunger to find out and to follow what good nutrition is. Similarly, the human hunger for the "great alpha male" of a God to whom we can bow often overpowers the competing human hunger to find out how to make people "self-sufficient."
Accordingly, creationism has nothing to do with evolutionary biology--just as, the inherited human hungers for sugar, salt, and burned fat have nothing to do with nutrition. They derive from totally different forces.
<Bottom of the page>> Your proposed insertion at the bottom of this page poses the question: What is the relation of creationism to the Ussher-Lightfoot Calendar and similar lines of inquiry? Here it seems to me, you would have to itemize an objectively fair overview of the theoretical aspects of creationism throughout history, including Plato's Creator following the "eternal archetype of the Good" and Aristotle's "prime mover."
From all of the above, I would suggest that you remove the blue box at the top of this page and that you expand the blue box at the bottom of this page to include the theoretical aspects of creationism throughout history. --Rednblu 20:04, 9 Jul 2004 (UTC)

This article is absolutely riddled with bias. Clearly the main contributors are people who loathe Creationism and probably Christianity in general; and that's unfortunate. Too bad the hate mongers win again. *shrugs* --User:66.81.134.138

Well, discuss what you want to do, or what changes you want. Your point of view will be given full respect. Just don't throw major stuff in without saying anything. I'd be happy to discuss with you. Perhaps some of the things you are putting in would go better in a new article? There are options and discussion is always possible. --DanielCD 13:27, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Creationism reading list

For evolution, we have started a list of popular science books on evolution. I think it would be good to have a similar list for creationism (or "non-evolutionary explanations for the diversity of life"), and we can link to it from the evolution list. I didn't notice any such list in this page. Is there one, and would anyone want to start a list similar to List of popular science books on evolution? Thanks. AdamRetchless 17:48, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

evolutionism

I have rewritten that article from a redirect to evolution into an expanded dicdef of the word as I believe it is used by creationists as a general for us "evil atheists". Can someone check that that is what they think of it? Dunc_Harris| 00:00, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

australia

Nitpick here, but since when is Australia a Western nation?


as explained in western world, the term is not so much geographical as it is cultural and economic

Rejection of Creationism

What's with this?

"While many scientists believe in God, probably the reason for rejection of creationism or Intelligent Design is the need to have a God or an Intelligence to do the design, and to date no scientific experiments or observations support the hypothesis that such a being exists. However, perhaps as a result of resurgent Christian fundamentalism gaining converts among well-educated right-wing Americans, a small but vociferous number of academics have come out in favour of creationist ideas."

Here I thought most scientists reject Creationism because of the overwhelming PHYSICAL evidence for an ancient universe and evolution over a long period of time, contrary to the creationist account. Obviously we can't say that "this is true" in a NPOV creationism article, but why assume this kind of insulting reasoning on behalf of "many scientists"? Is there any evidence to back up the claim that scientists "reject Creationism" only because gods can't be observed? -- User:130.91.65.76

---

You are right. That paragraph is just another evolutionist fantasy without empirical justification. ---Rednblu 19:28, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Evolutionists refuse to face reality

The Creationism page continues to manifest the evolutionist syndrome of ignoring fact, inventing history, and censoring the attempts of the creationists to state what is true about Creationism.

A religion-neutral Wikipedia community would allow the Creationism page to develop the format of the Evolution page in stating the Theory of Creationism, with perhaps a few paragraphs at the end summarizing the opposition's rebuttals.

The opening section is nothing but an evolutionist tract and does not belong on Creationism. A religion-neutral definition might begin as follows by recognizing historical fact. [7]

  • Creationism is an explanation for the origin of the universe and everything in it as resulting from deliberate creation by an Intelligent Designer such as God.

Furthermore, why is it the evolutionists keep refusing to face the facts about Origin of Species? For example, the following sentence and similar prevarications continue to come back, recur, and revert all over Creationism.

  • "Charles Darwin's famous work, The Origin of Species (1859) introduced the theory of evolution by natural selection."

That sentence is simply not true. Charles Darwin very carefully excluded the word evolution from the first five editions of Origin of Species. You can make a word search through the entire text of the First Edition of Origin of Species [8] and find that the word evolution does not appear even once. The creationists keep correcting this evolutionist distortion, but in Wikipedia as in most of the civilized world, the evolutionist censors win over fact. There is no use in even correcting the evolutionist distortions of fact; it is a waste of time. ---Rednblu 19:28, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)

There's no such thing as a "Theory of Creationism". It's something else, but not a theory. To state that is POV because it implies it has something to do with science. --DanielCD 19:35, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Of course it's a theory. A theory can relate to any field - history, sociology, literature, whatever. DJ Clayworth 20:40, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)
True, but the word "theory" has a specific meaning in science that it doesn't carry in sociology. Googling for definitions, I thought this expressed it best: "a well tested (as opposed to a hypothesis which is less well tested) explanation for observed events. A theory must allow one to make predictions which can be tested by experiment. When the results of those experiments are as predicted, it lends support to the theory as a good explanation. If the results are not as predicted, they may lead to the eventual modification of the theory, or even its replacement." [9] Scientists contend that creationism doesn't qualify as a scientific theory because it makes no predictions and can't be verified by experiment. -- ChrisO 13:18, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Probably stating that it is not a theory in the sense of scientific method, that being not falsifiable it is also not a hypothesis in the stricte scientific sense, and writing how does it relate to Occam's razor, should be enough to say in which sense it is called a theory. Being a theory or not using different definitions of the word can be quite subjective, but fortunately falsifiability and scientific method are precisely defined, so the issue whether any assertion follows them is a simple fact, no matter if one believes following them is important or not. Rafał Pocztarski 14:43, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

---

Let's see if we could agree to a religion-neutral means of determining if there is such a thing as a "Theory of Creationism"? So let's look back in time to an explanation that was not in the modern sense "scientific" but was an explanation commonly adopted by mainstream scientists at that time.

Suppose that the explanation of phlogiston was commonly accepted by mainstream scientists in 1674 just about the time of J. J. Becher; no doubt J.J. wished that were so in 1674. :)) And let's suppose that for a hundred years nobody really made a test of the phlogiston idea--at least nobody made a test that would satisfy the scientific method. And let's suppose that in 1774 the Right Reverend Joseph Priestley, who definitely believed in God and preached God and preached Phlogiston, discovered oxygen and mistakenly called it "dephlogisticated air." And let's suppose that it was not until 1778 that Antoine Lavoisier devised an experiment that could make the phlogiston idea a verifiable assertion. And let's suppose that up until 1778, the mainstream scientists accepted the phlogiston idea as correct. Would you still assert that there was no Phlogiston Theory? Would you still contend that "there's no such thing as a Phlogiston Theory" merely because the fundamentalist preachers of today still believe it and preach it contrary to all empirical evidence and contrary to the efficiency principle of Occam's Razor? --- Rednblu 20:30, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure what relevance this has; it's of historical interest, sure. An article with a title of "Theory of Creation" has a scientific connotation, that's what I mean. There's not a scientific Creation (*sigh*) theory that stands up to all known facts. If someone called something a theory in the past because it was a theory based on the level of knowledge at the time, then yes, as a historical footnote you could call it that. But there the word has a different meaning, being that it's understood it's a historical usage. Not sure how you're relating the two, but there it is.

I agree with DJ below, just tell it how it is. --DanielCD 21:41, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)


This article has got way out of hand. When people come to an article about a subject, they want to learn about that subject. The bulk of this article should be therefore about what Creationism is, and what Creationists believe. I suggest we try to do this without interrupting the flow every few lines with an intejection about why they are wrong. DJ Clayworth 20:45, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I agree; others disagree, as we will discover in this process. In my opinion, the Evolution page would be an appropriate template. The Evolution page is not interrupted every few lines with an interjection about why they are wrong. What do other people think about using the Evolution page as a template for Creationism? --- Rednblu 22:43, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)

A few changes: deleted the line "it's just a matter of calling different things by different names" as this statement is nonsensical. Here I added some clarifying comments. Deleted "so the relevance is unclear to evolution advocates" as this is wrong. Clarified. --- User:12.64.234.26 22:36, 18 Aug 2004

Also the example of Streptococcus pneumoniae is not a "destructive mutation" as it has aided the bacteria's survival. It may be destructive for us, but obviously not for the little bacterium.

Wow how does that happen? I make some additions, check back later and it's gone. History shows the change by my IP, 12.64.234.26, to be the current version yet it's the old version that comes up and there is no record of the deletion of my additions. Are there two, mirror wikis, is there a shadow editor or is it just a delayed wiki thing?

The old page is still in your browser's cache. Reload it. This happens to me all the time. 141.211.62.118 04:23, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Structure for representing alternative points of view in Wikis

This is a great topic to work out a method and style for dealing with controversial topics. Any encyclopedia must include controversial topics. The alternative points of view are essential attributes of a controversial topic.

Controversies may contain more that two points of view. The development of the alternative points of view could be quite extensive (beyond the ability of one author or beyond the ability to be comprehended in one scrolling page).

The controversy would, presumably, be settled were it not for the continued introduction of new facts, findings and conclusions.

How does one maintain a NPOV while conveying accurately the best of the alternative points of view (APOV?)? Can the hypertext capability of a Wiki help organize the ever expanding set of facts and findings?

Here is a suggestion: A page might define a particular thesis, for example: evolution – specific differences between individuals in a species are more likely to survive and be reproduced due to preferential success in an environment (or whatever the best worded definition might be).

This would be elaborated with the underlying elements, e.g., There is a method of creating differences between individuals (e.g., mutation) Differences that help survival are sustained and differences that hurt survival fall away (e.g., natural selection) Banana slugs and humans are equally evolved since both exist in the current environment  (actually, Banana slugs might be better suited to the environment around Northern Calif than humans since the slugs do not need electricity for energy, cars for mobility, etc.) <= it’s a joke

The individual elements of the thesis would be supported by evidence. Evidence would be the specific, verifiable facts that anyone on either side would agree (e.g., Java Man consists of four bone fragments). The interpretation (e.g., the artist’s depiction of Java Man based on the fragments) would be linked to – but not same as – the evidence. This allows multiple interpretations of the evidence along with arguments supporting the interpretation (perhaps citing additional evidence).

Each piece of evidence would likely be worth its own Wikipedia page.

There might also be a page (or more) dealing with the validity of the evidence. Whether the method used to produce the evidence is consistent with the claims (e.g., whether the Earth’s environment actually matched the simulation).

Authors may connect various papers or other resources that support the claims/evidence.

The NPOV enforcement would be to eliminate labels, e.g., “fundamentalist”, “creationist”, “materialist” etc. Labels add nothing to the evidence itself or to the logical interpretations. Labels serve as shorthand to evoke responses. That is not useful.

There could be point-counterpoint. The NPOV (or APOV) enforcement would require that the adherents to a point of view be the ones to characterize their view – not the adherents to other points of view (e.g., creationism should be defined and defended by “creationists” not by others; the others could quote the “creationist’s” material; over simplification or pejorative synopsis would be disputed).

Whadayathink?



Why am I reverting the article back? That which came after mine is generally unfocused and imprecise

Examples:

"macroevolution is the accumulation of enough microevolutionary changes to create a distinct species" Imprecise. It is not quantity of changes which determines a new species but whether the original and offshoot interbreed.

"With more time and evolutionary pressures the differences will compound, producing the wide variety of species we see today" This statement makes too big a leap from a single species example to everything we see today.

"However, creationists treat macroevolution with considerably more skepticism and suggest that if it occurs at all—which some deny" I would say most of those who call themselves creationists deny macro-evolution.

"This makes it impossible for the organism to change beyond certain limits" does not state what makes it impossible.

You mention the panda bear, however while it is a good example of evolution it misses the specific point relayed in the use of the example of the red (or lesser) panda. Here is a species that is classified, for various reasons as a member of the bear family yet which has acquired so much change that that classification is doubted by creationists.

The statement: "To a creationist, these three bears are all examples of different but similar kinds" is demonstrably false since the polar and brown bears can still breed (though only in captivity). Creationism usually limits a "kind" to a breeding group thus they would have to acknowledge that they were originally one "kind" yet a radical divergence has taken place. One which allowed the polar bear to adapt to a completely different environment. I will mention that they can interbreed.

"The similarities between the polar and the brown bears are taken to mean that the environments they were created for and the tasks they were intended to do were relatively similar". Actually there's a lot of difference between the polar and brown bears and their respective environments. Here's a creationist site that breaks from the usual and calls the differences dramatic [10].

Deleted by your edit are good specific examples of micro -> macro evolution, i.e. turtle/tortoise, and hyena/aardwolf. Also this explanatory sentence "Live examples such as these probably constitute the upper limit of obvious to anyone change since any variation more than this would likely result in a species that would appear sufficiently unlike the original that there would be automatic dispute as to whether the two ever were related. In other words, the claim might then be made by evolution deniers that they were "probably two separate creations that just happen to look somewhat similar" should remain.

Is there a link to the Streptococcus pneumoniae mutation expending more resources? I think though that your paragraph is an improvment upon mine in general and I will leave it. Also I am keeping your links.


I do not think that I am out of line on the npov.

See the species article. Interbreeding is not the only method of determining whether two organisms are the same species.
As for differences compounding, I'm flexible on that.
When I originally wrote "which some deny" (way back some months ago), I had no references available which told me how many creationists believed in macroevolution and how many did not. For me to say "most", I felt I would have needed a statistic. Do you have a statistic? If not, I think it should stay as "some".
What makes macroevolution impossible to the creationist is that you can't change so much that you're a different kind. This is not something that comes out of biology—it comes out of the classification of animals as different kinds. Different kinds must remain different. As the article says, kind is an immutable attribute which is passed on to one's progeny.
As far as the bears go, I admit that I'm not too familiar with what's involved. But you did seem to be POV to me—saying things like "clear-cut examples" and "significant positive change has plainly occurred" is very supportive of evolution. If I had thought that those paragraphs were acceptable as they stood I would not have touched them. Not that I think you were being malicious or anything, but in my experience it's easiest to avoid POV yourself when you present both sides' arguments as their respective and equally valid POVs. Could you rewrite
The best I can give you on Strep is previous versions of this article. 141.211.62.118 15:21, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Apologies for the length.

First, if two species cannot interbreed they are definitely not the same species. In that way you can positively exclude as related or not many "kind" scenarios. In the determination of a species first and foremost considered is the ability to reproduce. But since it is difficult or impossible to determine which of every closely related species can interbreed other factors are considered such as amount of change etc because after so much change it is assumed that the reproductive compatibility of the two animals will have changed as well. Also just because two species look alike doen't mean they are related, it could simply be a case of convergent evolution. I don't think any serious scientist would limit his definitions of relatedness based on looks alone if sexual compatibility can be determined. Mate-recognition is tied to ability to breed. As for those which reproduce without meiosis or mitosis comparison of their DNAs is enough to establish relation as you can't get much closer than clones. Phylogenetic means use apparent differences to determine which how closely or far apart related species are. As Mayr says it "simply uses the degree of morphological difference as an indication of the underlying degree of reproductive isolation" [11]. Reproductive isolation, he says is "primary". He also says "To repeat, certain individuals are part of a certain species not because they have certain characteristics in common but they share these characteristics because they belong to a single reproductive community, a biological species". Reproductive ability doesn't mean that two different "kinds" of animals interbreed, but just have the ability to. In the article I stated "macroevolution is nothing more than the accumulation of enough microevolutionary changes over time that the offshoot no longer can or will breed with the original". I will change my statement that "this is the usual defintion of a new species" to "basic definition of a new species".

About how many creationists reject macroevolution I didn't find a specific poll, but no doubt someone has done one. I did find this: 85% of Americans consider themselves Christian http://www.gallup.com/poll/indicators/indreligion2.asp 81% want creation to be taught in public schools http://www.gallup.com/poll/releases/pr990830.asp. The ICR brand of creation prominently fighting for inclusion in the schools rejects macroevolution. I did not look at the Gallup site as you need a subscription but accept them as stated.

Your paragraph that begins "What makes macroevolution impossible to the creationist", I agree with. But just because they hold these ideas doesn't make them right. I am merely showing, in a general discussion of macro/micro evo that this immutability of species notion has another side.

"But you did seem to be POV to me saying things like 'clear-cut examples' and 'significant positive change has plainly occurred' is very supportive of evolution." Yes I made these statements because they are true. The polar bear I've already touched on, the tortoise left the water to become land going, even in deserts, an environment that would kill a turtle in no time. The aardwolf has become an insectivore comlete with long sticky tongue and decreased dentition [12]. These are significant changes. Of course faced with this creationists are saying that, for example, the "original bear kind" must have been created with all the attributes that went into making up all the different species of bear that have ever existed incorporated in their genes, and then later on these delineated into specific species. So the genes that make up a polar bear was present in the first bear (even though God supposedly created the earth as a uni-seasonal tropical planet). Says Answers in Genesis "virtually all the necessary information was already there in the genetic makeup of the first bears, a population created by God with vast genetic potential for variation" [13]. This desperate, last ditch stance really doesn't deserve a response. In a moment of honesty a writer at ICR said "The Polar Bear, however, provides evidence for more dramatic change", "These morphological changes seem to me to go beyond the small, microevolutionary changes which are widely cited in creationist literature", "At the very least, a study of these members of the Ursus group suggests that creationists need to be more positive about larger-scale adaptations (with the appearance of design) than generally appears to outside observers" [14].

Perhaps where you're, IMO, slipping up is, as you state "it's easiest to avoid POV yourself when you present both sides' arguments as their respective and equally valid POVs." The problem is, according to all of mainstream science outside fundamentalism, creationism is not equally valid. However I have qualified my comments with "For the majority of biological scientists", "Given enough time and micro-changes at the genetic level , say evolutionists"

Look. You and I both know that the creationists are wrong. They don't know that they're wrong. As such, we have three choices:
  1. We can attempt to convince them.
  2. We can politely disagree, but treat their viewpoint respectfully.
  3. We can be assholes.
The first won't work (at least, not in the short term). The third is rude. This leaves the second. As part of treating them respectfully, I feel that we must represent the facts not as we see them, but as they see them.

>I agree that we should represent their side as they see it, or let them do it themselves, however we are doing a disservice to others if we let the matter rest there. I certainly hope that I was not being an asshole.

Otherwise we're denying them their voice, which is unneighborly to say the least.

>Absolutely. On the other hand, creationists have no lack of a voice to air their opinions and the deep pockets to back that up. I do not own the article and anyone is free to change it as they see fit. For a moment though, lets change to topic from evolution to flat earthism, or from astronomy to astrology. Would we be bending over as much to attempt to accomodate these points of view? Remember creationists are trying to force their dogma into public school science classes, yet they don't even have a theory.

As far as the species thing goes, the fact that there is no easy, clear-cut test for speciation is why I think we should leave the definition of species to the species article. It is more than just interbreeding, since polar bears and brown bears can interbreed and yet they are clearly not the same species.

>At some point in their past polar bears and brown bears for some reason ceased to breed. At this point they became a separate species. As you probably know it's called reproductive isolation. Subsequently the polar bear acquired lots of interesting adaptations to its environment. But they were a new species before the acquisition of these features. The fact that they can still breed is amazing and very unusual and bound to end relatively soon.

"Reproductive isolation", as Mayr puts it, is a good start, but it only applies to organisms which sexually reproduce.

>Which is by far the great majority.

Though the bulk of the debate is about such organisms, I think it would be foolish on our part to act as if those were the only possibility.
I'd prefer we stick with "some creationists deny" rather than "most" if we can't find some sort of number to back that up. The Gallup site is, as you say, subscription only.

>Or we can include the word "Fundamentalist" creationists, which would make it true, and since they are the ones making all the stink. Feel free though to make your change.

When you call the creationist stance "desperate" and "last-ditch", you're showing your bias.

>No doubt. It's true nonetheless.

It's fine to be biased on Talk pages, but it's not fine to be biased in articles themselves;

>I hope that I haven't been. I have confined these comments to the talk page.

I have attempted to clarify the species question.

see Wikipedia:Neutral point of view.
(BTW, please sign your contributions to talk pages (use four tildes (~).)) 141.211.62.118 03:34, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Firstly, it's very hard to read your reply when you write it that way. Use a colon (:) to indent a paragraph. Use two colons for two levels of indentation, etc. And remember, sign your messages.
I have changed "most" back to "some" again, since you seem to be okay with it. That leaves my more serious issue, which is POV.
I still think that calling such examples "clear-cut" and "plain" is out-of-place in Wikipedia. It doesn't matter how clear-cut and plain those examples are to us, because the creationists disagree. We can only present our opinions as opinions. By presenting our opinions as such, we convert them into facts (because it is a fact that we believe such-and-such), and even into facts that everyone—creationist or not—can agree on. As I said before, see Wikipedia:Neutral point of view.
If you think your edits are fine as is, we could go ask for help—I'd rather ask for a third-party opinion than have us complain to each other all day.
(Oh, and no, I don't think you were being an asshole, but I really wanted to link to something. :-) 141.211.62.118 05:49, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I do think my edits are fine and right as is, however I am finished with my contribution and will leave it in the hands of the editors. Have at it. Nice chatting with you. User:12.64.229.68 -How's that?

Whoops! hold on, my last edit has disappeared. Will attempt to recreate.

Okay, restored the lost passage. As I stated at the time I have attempted to clarify the species question. So long.

---

I missed a point. Your statement "However, creationists (all? most? some?) treat macroevolution with considerably more skepticism and suggest that if it occurs at all—which most deny" is inconsistant.

As to your latest edit, I still find it imprecise and wandering. Also statements such as "Evolutionary scientists explicitly reject the notion that a creature is limited by its kind" is in error since the designation of types of animals as "kinds" is not recognized by mainstream scientists. Also I strongly suspect that it is not "possible for the red panda to interbreed with the brown bear or the polar bear".


Page archived. It was 76Kb. --141.211.62.118 05:49, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Capitalisation

Should all of the See also links be capitalised? I have already changed them before but someone keeps changing e.g. gap creationism to Gap Creationism, young Earth creationism to Young Earth Creationism, day-age creationism to Day-Age Creationism etc. I was trying to follow /Archive 8#Capitalisation but now I see that there is no consensus at all and that issue needs to be discussed again. Rafał Pocztarski 00:19, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The capitalisation across this article is very inconsistent and keeps changing quite chaoticly (not without my own fault of course) so I suggest making a short list of words to capitalise. If anyone thinks “creationism” should always be capitalised, please add it to the list below before changing the article, so everyone could discuss it and agree upon a common, consistent spelling. Thanks. Rafał Pocztarski 16:45, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Which words should always be capitalised

  • God, Earth, Bible (just a few for a good start—please add more)
  • names of religions but not names of theories (Is that correct?)

When other words should be capitalised

  • beginning of a sentence but not in a list when there is no real sentence (Is that correct?)
"Creationism" is not the name of a group or affiliation, as with Catholicism, Buddhism, and Republicanism (big "R"). It is the name of a specific belief or opinion, as with theism, holism, or republicanism (small "r"). It should not be capitalized except where any other common noun would be. Terms like "day-age creationism" get the same treatment. The capitalization of "Earth" is variable -- when the planet as a whole is meant, it usually is capitalized. Thus, young-Earth creationism.
The word "god" is capitalized when one is writing in a solely monotheist context. Thus, "Catholics believe that God sent the Archangel Gabriel to Mary," but "The Greek god Zeus wields a thunderbolt." It can be argued that when comparing monotheist and non-monotheist religions, the lowercase form should be used for both so as to not appear to be favoring the former: "The Greek god Zeus did thus-and-so, while the Christian god Jehovah did this-and-that." This isn't meant to imply that Christians have multiple gods (though a Muslim would say so!) but rather that the Christian view is not being favored over the Greek. --FOo 03:23, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Is "creationism" a belief, an explanation, or a theory?

Moved to /Is Creationism a theory.

Begin text copy from logical subpage to fix broken link and to restore continuity of dialog

<<User:Rfl subtlely inserted the following reader-invisible comment into the Creationism page, I am resisting the temptation of inserting a response similarly into the hidden code of the Creationism page, and I am taking the liberty of cutting that comment below, celebrated in green here for the historical record.>>

Creationism is the explanation <!-- was the word "belief" really an "evolutionist bias"? --> that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God.

In looking through the historical record at the competition between creation and evolution in Darwin's day, I was impressed by Thomas Huxley's 1887 account of how Origin of Species provided the first explanation that in Huxley's view was a better explanation than creation. Huxley describes the sense in which he rejected creation as an explanation.

If Agassiz told me that the forms of life which had successively tenanted the globe were the incarnations of successive thoughts of the Deity; and that he had wiped out one set of these embodiments by an appalling geological catastrophe as soon as His ideas took a more advanced shape, I found myself not only unable to admit the accuracy of the deductions from the facts of paleontology, upon which this astounding hypothesis was founded, but I had to confess my want of any means of testing the correctness of his explanation of them. And besides that, I could by no means see what the explanation explained. [15]

Huxley describes his similar rejection of the explanations of the evolutionists prior to Darwin.

And, by way of being perfectly fair, I had exactly the same answer to give to the evolutionists of 1851-8. . . . [A] thorough-going evolutionist, was Mr. Herbert Spencer, whose acquaintance I made, I think, in 1852. . . . Many and prolonged were the battles we fought on this topic. But even my friend's rare dialectic skill and copiousness of illustration could not drive me from my agnostic position. I took my stand upon two grounds: firstly, that up to that time, the evidence in favor of transmutation was wholly insufficient; and, secondly, that no suggestion respecting the causes of the transmutation assumed, which had been made, was in any way adequate to explain the phenomena. Looking back at the state of knowledge at that time, I really do not see that any other conclusion was justifiable. [16]

Furthermore, any self-respecting religion-neutral anthropologist, such as Robert L. Carneiro, Curator of the American Museum of Natural History, would classify creation and evolution as mere successive stages of incomplete but improving explanations in a universe where there is no God to assist the women and men who attempt to discover the truth of their origins. [17]

From all of the above, I suggest that it is more accurate to define creationism as an explanation rather than a belief. After all, the survival of the belief derives from the usefulness of the belief, and a primary use of creationism is explaining how we all got here. According to Thomas Huxley, until Origin of Species, creationism was as good an explanation as evolutionism. And for the majority of American voters who cannot understand the evolutionists' explanations, creationism is a better explanation than evolutionism even yet today. [18] ---Rednblu 16:08, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Considering that "Belief in the psychological sense is a representational mental state that takes the form of a propositional attitude and in the religious sense, belief refers to a part of a wider spiritual or moral foundation, generally called faith, and that creationism is part and parcel of the christian faith, I think the use of the term "belief" was completely justified. Creationism is indeed an explanation, but it is an explanation founded on belief, hence it is a belief. It is not founded on knowledge or evidence; to imply otherwise, which is what you're doing, is to create a false impression that Creationism shares some sort of parity with other explanations which do not require belief in the supernatural. It does not. You seem to be substituting your own personal bias for this imputed "evolutionist bias" you claim is on the Creationism page. --FM 16:48, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

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"Personal bias"? Nope. I have bet on Darwin's explanation, myself.

In fact, I have a personal interest in getting more "creationists" to understand the extent to which their various hungers, including hungers for sugar, salt, burned fat, raiding Iraq, and gender bias are inherited hungers from the ancestors of the chimpanzees.

You propose a hypothesis: That the source of the political power of "creationism" is "belief."

I quote to you an opposing standard hypothesis from religion-neutral anthropology:

Although origin myths are usually assigned to the province of religion, they contain one element of science: explanation. While moral lessons may be scattered here and there throughout them, origin myths are basically ways of accounting for things as they are. Explanation, then, is not unique to nor did it begin with science. Science shares explanation with mythology. What distinguishes science from mythology is verification. Not only does science propose answers, it proceeds to test these answers, and if the answers prove incorrect, they must be rejected or modified. [19]

So I pose to you this question: How could we determine empirically whether the political power of "creationism" derives from

  • its simplistic explanatory power that appeals to hungers inherited from the ancestors of the chimpanzees (my hypothesis) or
  • its "foundation on belief" (your hypothesis--which wording of course you may edit to accurately reflect what you are saying)?

Would you agree that before 1850, creationism was an explanation founded on available knowledge and evidence? ---Rednblu 19:01, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes, that's the thing about our knowledge, it keeps changing and growing (with any luck). Knowledge of the natural world and evidence of the same surpassed and rendered obsolete the majority relevant beliefs as to our 'creation' some time ago. This puts creationism squarely in the realm of belief, IMHO.
My apologies if I was incorrect in implying a personal bias you may have towards creationism. --FM 19:44, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

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I think what the Bloomsbury Guide to Human Thought has to say on the nature of belief is distinctly relevant here:
Belief is the direct mirror image of knowledge. To know something is to have experienced proof of it; to believe something is to sidestep the need for proof. To know that black is white would be a very different thing from believing that black is white. And yet believers consistently behave as if what they have is knowledge, and claim their belief as such. This is the case in matters both great and small, but is particularly so in our attitude to the supernatural. If one believes in the existence of supernatural beings, the next stage is to make that belief into a faith (belief with imperatives for action), and the step after that is to claim that proofs exist (miracles, personal revelations and so on). A scientist can prove the existence of, say, black-body radiation or ripples in space - the process of proof may be laborious, but the end result is sure knowledge which the outsider is bound to accept. In the same way, religious believers down the ages have offered laborious and meticulous proofs - but here, in the final analysis, the outsider must share the revelation, accept the irrational, in order to share the belief. I do not need to believe in the existence of black-body radiation to know that it exists; I do need to believe in God to know that He exists. In the same way, unless I am a fool or a charlatan, disproof will change what I know; someone else's disbelief, by contrast, will have no effect at all on what I believe.
I agree with FM that creationism, on this standard, clearly is a belief rather than a theory. Or if you want to be generous, perhaps call it a conjecture. -- ChrisO 16:56, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Would you agree with the following? "Creationism is an explanation"--with the understanding that, given today's total empirical evidence, "creationism" is as poor and inadequate an explanation for origins as is the "Phlogiston theory" for burning? ---Rednblu 19:01, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'm not sure using something like "Creationism is an unfounded explanation" is much of an improvement. --FM 19:44, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

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Is "creationism" a discredited hypothesis?

If we would pattern the beginning of the Creationism page after the Phlogiston theory page, we would have the following.

Creationism is a now discredited pre-5th century BC hypothesis regarding the formation of the universe and the origin of species.

That beginning sentence would at least be accurate--and defensible. In contrast, the current first sentence is indefensible. It would similarly be indefensible to define Evolution as

Evolution is the belief that natural selection over millions of years has provided the origin of species from ancient lifeforms.

That is not what evolution is! Evolution is a whole complex of observations, conjectures, and progressively better explanations for the observations. Now, someone might believe that some version of evolution is more accurate than some other explanation. But the belief is forever separate from what is believed--even for the "creationists."

And the evolutionists will not let the creationists make a clear statement of what the "discredited hypothesis" is. ---Rednblu 21:09, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

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Creationism is not a discredited hypothesis. Which is the whole point of this discussion. There is enough forthcoming evidence of the validity of Creationism to create a daily raido broadcast. To see some of the recent evidence the raido spot has a web page at [20]. To see some of this recent evidence, click on "View Transcripts" and look at the latest volume. KeyStroke

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Though I personally think that creationism as at [21] is a discredited hypothesis, I concede that you make a very important point--whether creationism is a discredited hypothesis is the "whole point of this discussion." And we should not hope to prove one way or the other here on this Talk:Creationism page. Here, we should be figuring out how to turn the Creationism page into a coherent presentation of what "creationism" is. Would you agree? ---Rednblu 05:30, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I would agree that the Creationism entry, itself, and perhaps this talk page are not the place to "prove", one way or the other, the validity of Creationism. The purpose of Wikipedia is to make encyclopedia entries. It needs to take the approach that the old Dragnet TV show investigators took - "Just the facts, ma'am". We need to present the ideas of Creationism in a way that cohesively and accurately represents what Creationsim is. The article is not the place to try to convince people that Creationism is right, and it is not the place to try to convince people that Creationism is wrong. Those people who are led by God to accept those ideas would do so, without the article needing to "convince" them that Creationism is right. Those people who have determined to reject ideas based on faith would do so, without the article needing to "convince" them that Creationsim is wrong. Let the ideas stand on their own merit with the reader. KeyStroke

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What you say makes sense to me. But let's wait to get discussion on this Talk:Creationism page from other points-of-view before we do anything. Okay? Meanwhile, what do you think of the proposed split of the Creationism page that many of us have been discussing in various forms for the last couple of years? ---Rednblu 14:46, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

As an interested reader, the split seems eminently sensible. The subject is, IMHO, large enough and contentious enough to make the work worthwhile. Katherine Shaw 10:40, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)

I have put back a summary of the creation accounts in Genesis. To discuss rationally what creationists believe it is imperative to consider what the Bible actually says. I realise that what I have written may be contentious but it needs to be done. Michael Glass 03:23, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)


End text copy from logical subpage to fix broken link and to restore continuity of dialog

Text copied from logical subpage to fix broken link and to restore continuity of the dialog. --- Rednblu 17:16, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Creation accounts in Genesis

The creation accounts in Genesis are already described in the Creation beliefs page. Why are the creation accounts in Genesis repeated in the proposed Creation accounts in Genesis page? ---Rednblu 05:34, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

This section is not totally accurate and not NPOV (for example, it assumes that there is something to be reconciled) and I reworded it (offline), but having now read your question, I think I agree. It is in the Creation beliefs page, and it does not need to be here also. Philip J. Rayment 12:35, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Not all Christians are creationists

This was added back as I have evidence of the existence of believers who are not creationist. If the intent was to say "if you do not accept creationism, you are not a true christian" then this is a No true Scotsman logical falacy, and contrary to Matt 7:1-5 and Rom 14:4. Lets leave the statement in. KeyStroke

according to the article, creationism grew out of fundamentalism in the United States. Therefore, Christians who are neither fundamentalists nor Americans probably aren't creationists. Furthermore, I personally know people who go to church, love Jesus, but believe that the creation story is a parable or fable or whatever. I assure you, I do know such people. Family members, even. Most definitely there are christians who are not creationists. why would one think otherwise? -Lethe | Talk
You haven't read the definition, have you? There is a range of belief among Christians on how literally to interpret the creation passages. Creationism is not a fundamentalist thing. Some Christians believe God used evolution.
Please folks, before jumping in to make a sweeping assertion, READ the work of others. Serious changes need discussion first. Don't create up your own definitions. Pollinator 14:54, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)
Ah, I see others have been tinkering with and altering the definition, as well. There is a spread among creationists; someone has tried to limit it only to those who are anti-evolution. Not true. I'll get back to this later, no time right now....Pollinator 14:58, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)
Which definition are you talking about? the definition of Christian? I haven't read the definition, but really, what does it say? That you have to interpret the Bible literally to be considered a Christian? that's nonsense. You yourself admit above that there is a range of beliefs among Christians. So what's the problem? I really don't feel that saying "not all Christians are creationists" is a "sweeping assertion". I thought that was obviously true.... -Lethe | Talk
The definition of creationism. Recently there seems to be an effort to redefine it to apply only to literalists. And THAT's nonsense. So we are quibbling about a definition that seems to have gotten changed by someone while we weren't looking. Look up the history of this page to see the various viewpoints of creationists; this section seems to have been eliminated, and should not have. Sorry, gotta go, try to get back tomorrow.... Pollinator 15:23, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)
It seems like it might be easier for you to find this hypothetical definition than for me (when you have some free time), and anyway, I don't care so much about this article (I should probably take it off my watchlist). But still, I think that whether or not "creationist" means "literalist" or "fundamentalist" or some other much more elusive idea that you are alluding to, whatever you want to claim it means, then I will find you a christian who isn't that. there are as many belief systems as there are people on this Earth. -Lethe | Talk
I, really, don't like the way the sentence reads, now. It was clearer when it read: "not all creatinists are Christians, and not all Christians are creationists". To me, this is simply a true and relevant observation. Lets put it back. KeyStroke


Not all creationists are Christian

<<Creationism is the usually Christian belief that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God as described in the Bible.>>

That current first sentence does not even resemble reality. That statement is like saying: "Mammal is the usually Terrestrial lifeform covered with hair." Just as the "Terrestrial" trait and the "hair" trait are non-defining descriptors in a bad definition of "mammal," so the "Christian" and the "Bible" descriptors are non-defining descriptors in a bad definition of "creationist."
Accordingly, I suggest that a more accurate and more neutral approach would be to emphasize common ancestry--which is the logical taxonomic approach to defining mammal. That is, most of the mainstream political furor over creationism derives not from the Bible but from the writings and explanations of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Just as one point of common ancestry, both Roman Catholics and Protestants derive from Saint Augustine their sense of "sinning" if not acknowledging God as creator, and Saint Augustine derived that nonsense from Plato. For example, when Saint Augustine wrote "And yet, I sinned herein, O Lord God, the Creator and Disposer of all things in nature, of sin the Disposer only, O Lord my God, I sinned in transgressing the commands of my parents and those of my masters." he was not under the influence of the Bible but rather under the influence of what Saint Augustine called the Platonists and so he writes the following confession to God.
"Thou procuredst for me, by means of one puffed up with most unnatural pride, certain books of the Platonists, translated from Greek into Latin. And therein I read, not indeed in the very words, but to the very same purpose, enforced by many and divers reasons, that In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: the Same was in the beginning with God: all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made: that which was made by Him is life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." Book VII, Confessions of Saint Augustine
From the empirical evidence, the Bible was merely a tool of argument for making the creationist point which derived from Plato, not from the Bible. ---Rednblu 18:05, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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You stated: "both Roman Catholics and Protestants derive from Saint Augustine" and I cannot agree with your assumption. The way Protestants started was with Martin Luther who is quite well known for "scripture only". My point being that the Protestants I know are lothe to follow the writings of any Roman Catholic Saint, and prefer to limit their basis for belief only on the KJV Bible. I have never heard of Plato espousing any creation story. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, but I think it is safe to say that most Creationists get their understanding of the creation story from the Bible and not by reading Plato. The point being that, even if you are right (which I do not conceede), it is not Plato nor is it Augustine from which most creationists get their understanding of the story of creation. Therefore the statement in the "definition" is true... most people who are creationists get their belief from the Bible.

nuff said, lets move on KeyStroke

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You stated: <<The way Protestants started was with Martin Luther who is quite well known for "scripture only". My point being that the Protestants I know are lothe to follow the writings of any Roman Catholic Saint, and prefer to limit their basis for belief only on the KJV Bible.>>

In my opinion you represent accurately with that statement one important view on the origin and definition of creationism. But also in my opinion, with the above statement, you and the "Protestants you know" are ignoring reality. For example, according to the empirical evidence, Saint Augustine, according to his Confessions, based on his readings of the Platonists invented on his own the term and the concept of "original sin" which Luther and Calvin inherited from Saint Augustine and took for granted.
Of course, Luther preached and maybe believed that he was "scripture only." That is, Luther justified his own inventions and regurgitations of Saint Augustine by quoting the text of the Bible. But statistically, most secular analysts who can read Hebrew, Greek, or English do not believe that "original sin" is anywhere even implied in the text of the Bible--except by extreme distortion of the printed page. Saint Augustine simply invented the term and concept of "original sin" and appended his own invention on the nonsense he inherited from the Platonists. And Luther followed in Saint Augustine's thought without taking seriously the ambiguous nature of the Biblical text.
So. Yes, you are right; you and I disagree. But it is not our job to resolve the disagreement. Rather our job is to summarize the various views on the disagreement between us as expressed in what Plato, Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, and other scholars for examplehave written to document the various views on the stages in the evolution of the present day doctrine of "creationism." Accordingly, the Creationism page should be written to include both your view and my view--not our personal views--but rather the expressions in the words and thoughts of the renowned scholars--both believers and non-believers. ---Rednblu 21:46, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Lets take the sentence that seems to bother you so much (I am guessing, here, as to which one really bothers you) and break it down into its constituant parts to find out where you disagree:

  • Creationism is the belief ...
Isn't Creationism a belief (just like trust in the scientific method) ?? Do you agree, or disagree that this statement accurately reflects what Creationism is?
  • (a) belief that that the universe ... was created ...
Isn't this the core of creationism, that the universe was created? Do you agree, or disagree that this statement accurately reflects what Creationism is?
  • (a) belief that all life were created ...
Isn't this the important part of Creationism, that we, and the animals and plants, were created? Do you agree, or disagree that this statement accurately reflects what Creationism is?
  • created by the deliberate act of God ...
Isn't this what we all think about when we think about creationism? That it was God who did the creating? Do you agree, or disagree that this statement accurately reflects what Creationism is?
  • .. as described in the Bible.
Isn't this a true statement? Doesn't the Bible describe the act of creation in a way that accurately reflects the basis for what Creationism is?

If none of your answers are a categorical "No, absolutely not." then I have to conclude that the sentence (put back together) is not false. If the sentence is not false, then it is accurate and should stay. Lets not turn this into a battleground for our different denominations. I think it would benefit all who take the name of 'christian' to at least agree together what creationism is, whether or not we agree to the ideas. This shouldn't be an effort to claim ownership of the idea by one denomination or another. KeyStroke

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I have no interest in showing which creationism is right; I am interested only in putting together a reasonably accurate Creationism page that faces historical fact. Let's start from the last section of your analysis.

<<* .. as described in the Bible.

Isn't this a true statement? Doesn't the Bible describe the act of creation in a way that accurately reflects the basis for what Creationism is?>>

First of all, I have no objection to that part of the opening definition being true--if the historical record would show that "creationism" was limited to the creation beliefs described in the Bible. However, for example, Plato in his Timaeus sometime around 350 BC wrote a creationism hypothesis that historically was even more influential than any of the Bible versions; Plato wrote the following.

Is the world created or uncreated? -- that is the first question.
Created, I reply, being visible and tangible and having a body, and therefore sensible; and if sensible, then created; and if created, made by a cause, and the cause is the ineffable father of all things, who had before him an eternal archetype.

(Here is the on-line text of Plato's Timaeus if you want more details.) [22]

If you read the Catholic Church's expositions of creationism, you will find that the detailed, logically developed opinions of Plato, Thomas Aquinas, and Augustine on creationism were more important than the sketchy and logically inconsistent material in the Bible. Here is a link to the Catholic Encyclopedia's article on "creationism", for example; you can see on that Catholic "creationism" page that Plato, Thomas Aquinas, and Augustine are quoted more often than is the Bible. I am not saying that Catholic "creationism" is the right creationism. I think all the variations I have seen of the creationism hypothesis have been proven as wrong as the phlogiston theory. However, I am interested in getting a Wikipedia Creationism page that accurately reflects the various stages in the evolution of the various creationism hypotheses. Wikipedia should not be proselytizing for any particular hypothesis; Wikipedia should just report accurately what happened. ---Rednblu 05:06, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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And that is where we disagree. Wikipedia shouldn't be irrelevant history (assuming your version of that history is true, which I do not grant). It should be a description of what creationism is, now. I know several creationists and none of them initialy got their belief from (as you put it) "'the Catholic Church's expositions of creationism'", not even the Catholics I know. Granted, the Catholics I know didn't get it by reading the Bible for themselves either, but instead got it from their parents, or the other parishioners, or from the pulpit. The important thing I am trying to say is that none of them read "'the Catholic Church's expositions of creationism'" either. If I were to choose between giving a history lesson, and telling people where holders of creationism initially get their belief, I think it is more informative to do the later. For most creationists the source of their belief comes from the Bible. Go into the history of the idea in a later part if you want to (I still don't think you are right in your version, but I won't contest it in a later section). Just do not hijack the initial definition for your agenda. KeyStroke

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Do you seriously think that the creationists of today derive their ideas from the text of the Bible? Where in the Bible text can you find Young Earth creationism, or Gap creationism, or Intelligent design, or Evolutionary creationism? Where? For any politically active form of "creationism" today, the first sentence is wrong--at least in misidentifying the source of most creationist beliefs. ---Rednblu 05:57, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Enough bantering. We have fully expressed our views. I call the question. Lets put it to a vote. All those in favor of keeping the reference to the Bible in the initial definition signify by voting keep, all those in favor of rewriting the initial definition to the viewpoint of Rednblu signify by voting rewrite. Lets have the voting time be one week. KeyStroke]

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In the following section, I suggest you not allow yourself to vote for a sentence that you feel is like: "When did you stop beating your little poodle?" -- if you feel that you have never beaten your little poodle. Take this chance to fill in one of the "Version N" stubs below to say exactly what you think is right and accurate. If you see a version below that you think is right, then vote for it, and please give us a quick reason for your vote. For myself, I will feel free to change my vote when I see a "Version N" that I think is better than the one for which I have currently placed my vote. :)) ---Rednblu 19:21, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Votes for Retention or Modification of initial definition

Version 1: Creationism limited to text from the Bible

<<Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God as described in the Bible.>>

  • keep for reason previously stated. KeyStroke
  • keep I haven't met a creationist who wasn't a Christian; I haven't seen a creationist on the internet who wasn't either Jewish, Christian, or Islamic. Samboy 06:58, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Version 2: Creationism includes hypotheses, explanations, and beliefs contradicting the Bible

<<Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God.>>

  • keep. This was the initial definition. ---Rednblu 07:25, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • keep.. Seems at least as accurate and less Christian-centred that the other version. I would even tend to a definition more like "...by the deliberate act of some supernatural power". Virtually all civilisations and religions offer a creation myth. The fact that some people hold the one presented in the Genesis for true (or the numerous ones which have elvolved with time to be the Genesis as we know it, but that's another story...) does not negate of the other creation myths. (Sorry I had forgotten to sign, I do it now ^^;;) Rama 16:32, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • keep. I don't see why any creationist has to adhere to Judeo-Christianity. Lots of mythologies have creation myths, and anyone who believes in any creation myth, to the exclusion of the Big Bang theory and the Theory of Evolution is a creationist, regardless of what beliefs he holds in their place. -Lethe | Talk
Hmmm, I suppose it is possible to integrate the Big Bang theory and darwinist evolution in creationism, for instance by saying something like "God said : let there be the laws of electrodynamics, quantum Mecanics and general relativity". But that's a rather special case. Rama 16:32, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yes, I guess this is the sort of god that a lot of physicists "believe" in. For example, it's the sort of God that Einstein had in mind when he said "Raffiniert is der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist Er nicht" ("Subtle is the Lord, but malicious He is not"). Or Newtons clockmaker god. One who perhaps started the Universe, decided its rules, but otherwise is not involved in its processes or evolution. I wouldn't call belief in such a deity a religion really, nor would I call belief in this form of creation creationism. I feel like this sort of belief is just a personification of science. A placeholder for the unknowable. But maybe I'm being too picky. I dunno. what do you think? -Lethe | Talk
it is an interesting question indeed. As to wether this is an actual religion ot not brings us back to what a religion is. The "Physicist's God" is not abstract than the "usual" God whom one can pray, or who would send a Messiah ; in this perspective, the Universe has probably not the purpose of creating humankind (especially if there are other intelligent species out there... would they need a messiah ?). On the other hand, this abstract religion does have its rules and customs, derived from the laws of nature ; "Thou shallst not kill" logically derives from the complexity of Life which is to be respected ; other commands which are not usually in traditional religions will also arise, like "Thou shallst not drive and SUV for it is naugthy in My face to waste complex hydro-carbonate molecules which could be used to synthetise interesting plastic materials".
the scientist's god I am envisioning doesn't care so much about SUVs or killing, he says things like "thou shalt not violate the laws of thermodynamics" or "let there never be a naked singularity". -Lethe | Talk
Agreed, I was more commenting about the "believers" then about the god himself. And the SUV thing itself is highly dependant on the individual and the time (for instance, Jules Verne's books are often oozing so much confidence about "taming Nature" that it is funny). Besides, this would essentially be a "tolerant" religion : if we take Einstein for cannonical example of a "deist" scientist, we see he was deeply anti-militarist and pacifist, yet he did write to Roosevelt to persuade him to launch a nuclear weapon project.
Besides, it would be funny to try and think about the actual Commands of the scientist's god : for instance, Laws of Termodynamics are derived from principles and depend upon the four fundamental forces, which can probably be unified into one Fundamental Force (As far as I know, Strong -- Electro-weak unification is done, so we still need to put Gravitation into the thing -- unless we get some new surprises ?? ). Fundamentals axioms of Math seem to be necessary but not to derive from anything else ; axioms of fundamental Logics as well...
Electroweak and strong forces have not been unified. That is, many of the proposals that unify them have been ruled out by experiment, and none has been experimentally verified. -Lethe | Talk
The remark about the placeholder for the unknowable is interesting also, I would say that there would be an abstract God which "comes into the way", like when Einstein said that God would not role dice (fat chance, seems he does :p ), against a God which would be somewhere "before the Big Bang", which you can "safely" believe in, since the Big Bang results in a complete destruction of information about what was before. I do agree that is this form of creationism, if it is, is very close to a "way to speak". Would be interesting to see the point of view of someoe who would be highly educated both is Science and in religion, like Teilhard de Chardin Rama 08:48, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I agree. I feel mostly unqualified to enter into any form of theological debate, and am usually even uninterested in them, but I don't think i would mind hearing what some serious scientist who was also trained in theology and philosophy had to say. -Lethe | Talk

Version 3: Creationism includes supernatural powers bigger than just the Judeo-Muslim-Christian God

<<Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of some supernatural power (usually one or several gods).>>

Just an idea... Rama 16:29, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Version 4: <<stub>>

<<Creationism is . . . >>

Version 5: <<stub>>

<<Creationism is . . . >>


Did you kill your wife or did you stab her to death?

This is about as logical as the poll now being taken, because it does not speak to assumptions of the newcomers who are currently writing. For a broader and more logical definition, see the list of creationist variants.

<<Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God as described in the Bible.>> Yes, but not with the assumptions that seem to be following...

Why are both sides assuming the most narrow definition possible? It is an assumption that is propagated only by the poles. This is an acceptable assumption to the Christian fundamentalist and to the enemies of fundamentalists, who prefer to label all Creationists as fundamentalist for the propaganda purpose of marginalization and ridicule. It is not acceptable to the large majority in between. To be a Christian is to be a Creationist. But some Christians believe the Genesis account to be a scientific treatise; some believe it to be a literary or theological treatise.

The most vocal Creationists are those who both accept the Genesis account as literal and believe that it contradicts modern science. But a larger number of Christian Creationists are either comfortable that no real dispute exists, or are willing to wait for the resolution of the paradoxical parts. Pollinator 13:16, Sep 4, 2004 (UTC)

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Would you please state a "Version 3" above for which you could vote wholeheartedly? Personally, I have very fundamental criticisms of "Version 2" above; I think it is wrong. Nevertheless, I inserted the original first sentence as "Version 2," because in my opinion it represented the conclusions of the majority of editors working the Creationism page over the past year--in this instance, I am protecting the progress I have seen this whole group make over the last year. I wanted to give you and others a chance to make a complete statement of what you think should be the first sentence--from your point of view--as "Version 3," "Version 4," etc. above. ---Rednblu 19:07, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Rednblu, what are your criticisms of version 2? -Lethe | Talk

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Thanks for asking. I have no personal objections to Version 2. But I see a lot of objections from the creationists who say that "creationism is NOT a belief--it is a hypothesis." And in my opinion, most religious-neutral scholars would agree that creationism is a "hypothesis." By my own standards, creationism would be a "discredited hypothesis"--something like Phlogiston theory--a hypothesis that either contradicts modern empirical evidence or posits unnecessary variables, such as "creator" or "phlogiston."

Hence, I would argue that the current definition "Creationism is a belief . . ." is no more accurate than would be a definition "Evolution is a belief . . ." that a bunch of unthinking Wikipedia bigots could enforce on the Evolution page if there were enough of them. For now, my criticism of version 2 is much less significant than the question up for vote: Whether creationism includes some theories, hypotheses, explanations, and ideas that contradict the Bible. So I voted for Version 2 to avoid introducing a much less important point that would be a distraction in the current setting. Thanks for asking. ---Rednblu 23:14, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Ah, so it's the word belief that you object to. Creationism is just an idea that can be believed or not believed, it is not a belief in itself per se. is that your point? would a better wording be "creationism is the idea that..." or "creationism is the proposal that..."? personally, I think that the wording "creationism is the belief that..." is the best choice, but you are correct, that i would object to the same wording on the evolution page. -Lethe | Talk
Sounds right to me. I only bring up that point when, in my opinion, a creationist is objecting to that "same wording on the" creationism page. ---Rednblu 17:45, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I have come to the conclusion that Rednblu, and cohorts, simply want to sabotage this page. I am going to give up trying to reach a reasonable agreement, since all that they seem to really want to do is to argue. I, myself, wanted to build an encyclopedia entry that reflected the ideas of all the creationists I know. However, it is obvious to me that the beliefs (yes, beliefs) of the vast majority of people who hold that God created what exists seem not to matter, here. People that I know who believe God created us initially get it from three sources: A. The pulpit. B. Their family or friends. C. The Bible. Almost always the other two reinforce whichever of those three was the first source to which someone is exposed. None of the dozens of people I know who accept the idea that God created us got it from reading obscure Catholic texts or Augustine or even Plato. It is a shame that the viewpoints of the vast majority of people who accept creationism have to be swallowed up by the vocal minority. Creationism is important because the public school system in the USA preaches (yes, they preach it) that man did not come from God, but rather from a lower form of life. The alternative view, that man came from God, and therefore we have an obligation to our creator is what makes creationism important. The "foundation stone" for the belief of the dozens of creationists I know is the Bible. That fact cannot be contested. People get, or at least verify, their belief in creationism by reading the Bible. They don't go checking obscure Catholic texts, nor do they read the dusty archives of Augustine or Plato. Instead, they accept the veracity of the Bible. I don't know why Rednblu and crowd want to obscure that fact. However, the contention is obvious. And it does neither side benefit to continue the argument. So, I sacrafice the idea that Wikipedia, in this page, can reflect the viewpoint and opinion of hundreds of thousands of people who hold the ideas of creationism as true. It means more to Rednblu to sabotage it than it does to me to preserve the truth, here. I am no longer watching this page. KeyStroke

You know, just because we all learn about Physics from our physics teacher does not mean that the ideas don't have a long history going back to Newton and Aristotle. Just because people get creationism from their preachers or parents doesn't mean that the idea doesn't stem from Augustine or Plato. I don't know why you're upset. This article doesn't have to only reflect the beliefs of people you know, it can also reflect the results of literary and anthropological analysis of the topic. afterall, why not? -Lethe | Talk

science doesn't distinguish macro- from microevolution?

according to the article text, i assume that the distinction is the presence or absence of speciation. insofar as biology has a working definition of species, then it recognizes a distinction between micro- and macroevolution. should this sentence simply be removed?

"Current mainstream scientific opinion does not really recognize the difference between the two forms of evolution, so people following the theory of evolution implicitly accept both versions as valid." -Lethe | Talk
I wrote the original sentence, including the embarrassing typo. In my experience micro- and macroevolution are not really concepts used in biology except at the most perfunctory level. The whole idea of having an arbitrary cut-off point of a continuous process is alien. The same applies for the term species. There is a working definition, but everybody involved is aware of the fact that there are many slightly different definitions and that even for any given definition, there are borderline cases. As Samboy wrote below, the difference has been introduced by creationists as the evidence for (micro-)evolution became overwhelming. Stephan Schulz
OK, like i said below, I thought macroevolution was a real scientific term. If it is not, then my original objection to the sentence is removed, although I still slightly prefer Rednblu's version (which makes it more explicit that there is no such thing as macroevolution, rather than that there isn't much distinction) -Lethe | Talk 13:43, Sep 15, 2004 (UTC)

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I suggest we replace that sentence with a sentence that is accurate. How about the following replacement?

"Current mainstream scientific opinion concludes that all evolution proceeds by microevolution. For example, the evolution of man from the ancestors of the chimpanzees consisted of many, many microevolutions spread through 5 million years." ---Rednblu 00:25, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Perhaps add the clause at the end something to the effect of "The cumulative effect of these microevolutions over geological timescales results in speciation which is referred to as macroevolution"? -Lethe | Talk

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Maybe. But within my observations, mainstream scientific journals do not use the term "macroevolution"--even as a cumulative result. So it would be inaccurate, in my opinion, to say "referred to as macroevolution." So I would suggest not adding that sentence. In my opinion, the creationists use the concept of "macroevolution" as a resistance against considering the possibility that just the simple "microevolution" that can be proven in the lab could cumulate such that a herd of ancestors of the chimpanzees doing only "microevolution" could result in two herds of animals as widely different as chimpanzees and humans. Just my opinion of what makes a clearer, accurate statement. What do others think? ---Rednblu 00:53, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Correct. "Macroevolution" is not a term used by reputable scientists; it is only used by creationists trying to attack the theory of evolution. Samboy 02:41, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)
OK, I defer to Rednblu and Samboy, let's replace the sentence in question with the one Rednblu suggested, right? -Lethe | Talk
But that still incorrectly uses the term. If we want to change it (I think the original sentence is fine, but then I'm biased), we should write something like "Current mainstream scientific opinion concludes that all evolution proceeds by so-called microevolution. For example, the evolution of man from the common ancestor of man and chimpanzees consisted of many, many small steps spread through approximately 5 million years." Stephan Schulz
Can you explain how that differs from Rednblu's sentence? But for a few words like 'approximately', I can't see the difference. -Lethe | Talk 13:43, Sep 15, 2004 (UTC)
The two major changes are a) the qualification of "microevolution" as "so-called", making it clear (I hope) that it is not a standard term, and b) changing the ugly (and incorrect) plural "many, many microevolutions". Microevolution is a concept, not an evolutionary step.Stephan Schulz
Yes of course. How about the following alternative?
"Current mainstream scientific opinion concludes that all evolution proceeds by shifts in the gene pool from generation to generation. For example, the evolution of man from the ancestors of the chimpanzees consisted of many, many shifts in the gene pool of successive generations spread through 5 million years. (Current mainstream scientific discussion uses neither the term 'microevolution' nor the term 'macroevolution.')" ---Rednblu 00:25, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I like it, including the parenthesized part.Stephan Schulz
but is it not true that archeobiologists studying the fossil record cannot view what we would call microevolution? I'm really not sure what biologists think about macroevolution at all; I am sort of talking out my ass. Anyway, we can agree that the sentence as it stands needs to be revised. So yes, what do others think? -Lethe | Talk


Also, does anyone think that it might be a good idea to mention in the article this thing that we've descussed here, namely that macroevolution was brought about as a concept by creationists, not by evolutionary biologists, as a workaround to the overwhelming laboratory evidence for evolution? -Lethe | Talk 13:43, Sep 15, 2004 (UTC)

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According to Macroevolution FAQ, the terms were not invented by creationists. However, creationists (well, AiG at least) prefer not to use the terms, instead talking about the difference between loss of genetic information and gain of genetic information. See Variation, information and the created kind. Philip J. Rayment 16:05, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Fixity of species

Just a minor point, but User:Michael Glass has just made some edits that include modifying the following sentence with the words I have shown in italics: "The term usually refers to Christian creationism and especially to the belief that living organisms were created by God in their present form. This sounds very much like an old idea that creationists perhaps once had that there has been no speciation and that creatures have not changed at all. However, this view is not held by (most?) creationists today. Rather, they believe that the original created kinds had sufficient genetic variability that allowed for speciation and adaption within genetic limits. On that basis, I believe that the additional words should be removed, or if I have misunderstood the intention, the wording should be clarified. Philip J. Rayment 05:14, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment, Philip. It is my understanding that this is what creationists believe. If this is not the case, then it would appear that creationism and a belief in evolution are compatible with evolution within species. Perhaps a better wording would be to revert to the Biblical definition of "after their kind". This would then accommodate this limited form of evolution and I will make this clarification, as you suggested.Michael Glass 05:50, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Just as there are a variety of evolutionary beliefs, and just as may lay believers in evolution are not up with the lastest evolutionary ideas, there are no doubt creationists that do believe in fixity of the species. However, the leading creationary scientists have long drawn a distinction between genetic variation and specialisation within the gene pool including a loss of genetic information on the one hand and the increase of genetic information required by "goo to you via the zoo" evolution on the other hand (this has also been labelled as micro- vs. macro-evolution, but that terminology blurs the actual distinction). Philip J. Rayment 06:30, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yes. I saw those edits. He, like other editors, has keyed in the kind of "creationism" he believes in, and he has made sure that most of the real variations of "creationism" are not represented. The current first two sentences are atrociously wrong.

Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God as described in the Bible. The term usually refers to Christian creationism and especially to the belief that living organisms were created by God "after their kind".

Just out of curiosity how would you edit the above two sentences to make them right? ---Rednblu 05:43, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I was going to say that I was happy with it the way it was before, but on further reflection the second sentence could be changed to something like "The term usually refers to Christian creationism and especially to the belief that God created various distinct kinds of living creatures." I can't really see that the sentences are "atrociously" wrong, though. Philip J. Rayment 06:30, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I have now made the changes as outlined above. I hope that this wording is acceptable.

Actually, I wasn't describing my beliefs, I was trying to describe creationist beliefs. This is hard to do because different beliefs come under the heading "creationist". At one extreme we could have a definition of creationism that would demand a rather literal interpretation of one of the creation stories in Genesis. At the other extreme, we could have a definition of creationism that could encompass a belief in evolution, provided that God was in final control.

Perhaps Philip's wording (immediately above)is clearer than "after their kind". I would certainly have no objection to the wording that he suggested. Michael Glass 06:50, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What is wrong with the lead section of Creationism?

Summary of the issue: What is the best single word or phrase to describe "Creationism"? Should the word "theory", which has multiple meanings be used?

Please post discussion on this topic at /What is wrong with the lead section


--- Begin copy of contents from /What is wrong with the lead section

What is wrong with the lead section of Creationism?

<<Actually, I wasn't describing my beliefs, I was trying to describe creationist beliefs.>>

In my opinion, the fundamental logical flaw in this approach is basing your investigation on "belief." Hypothesis: To start an encyclopedia article with "Xism is the belief that . . . " will always fail to produce a good encyclopedia page. You might start paging through your virtual Encyclopaedia Britannica for a counter-example to the above hypothesis--looking for a "good" encyclopedia page that begins with what I am asserting is an irredeemably flawed first sentence "Xism is the belief that . . . ." You may find what you think is a counter-example encyclopedia page, and of course I will contend that that encyclopedia page is not "good." :) It is like beginning an encyclopedia page with the first sentence: "Ten is the odd number that . . . ."

The first sentence of a "good" encyclopedia page on "creationism" should describe what "creationism" is--not what "creationism" believes. For example, you might begin a "good" encyclopedia page with "Communism is a system of political and economic organization in which . . ." or you might begin a "good" encyclopedia page with "Creationism is the theory that . . . ."

I leave it for the reader to derive the general logical constraint that produces a "bad" encyclopedia page from the first sentence of the form "Xism is the belief that . . . ." ---Rednblu 15:29, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

But is there really anything wrong with saying that creationism is a belief if that's what it is? "Communism is a system..." is appropriate because it is a system, not a belief. You can be a believer in communism, or a believer in creation, but not a believer in creationism, because creationism is the belief in creation.
I want to have a good look at this article, but have not done so yet because I wanted to wade through the nine pages of talk before I change too much. But as well as this article on creationism, there is also an article on Creation and another on Young Earth creationism, as well as other origins views. What should go where, and whether we need all these, are also issues that should be addressed, but presumably this article is about the belief rather than the origins model of creation, or what is often known as Creation Science. Perhaps this article should say little more than "Creationism is the belief in Biblical Creation" and put the rest under the latter (or similar) article?
Philip J. Rayment 16:37, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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<<But is there really anything wrong with saying that creationism is a belief if that's what it is?>>

Let me illustrate the problem with the current first sentence to the Creationism page.

Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God as described in the Bible.

If everyone agreed to that sentence, then there would be no problem with that first sentence. The difficulty is that, to make that sentence correct, over half of the people on this earth would have to change the words that follow "Creationism is the belief that . . . ." We could take a poll to pin down the statistics that I imply in "over half of the people."

As it is now, most people who explain their existence as divine creation have beliefs that violate the phrase "as described in the Bible"--because most people who explain their existence as divine creation believe that some form of speciation fomed H. sapiens and that is not "as described in the Bible," but rather "as described in" Darwin's, Origin of Species. Again, we could take lots of polls to pin down the statistics I imply by phrases like "most people who. . . ."

I don't really think you mean that Creationism is just a belief. It is also a political movement, it is a controversy, it is the basis of a way of life, it is a basis for moral systems, etc.

And the professional encyclopedias recognize the entirety of what "creationism" is in the lead sentence. Consult any professional encyclopedia. Creationism is not just a belief, it is a . . . . ---Rednblu 18:36, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I totally agree that "as described in the bible" is much too narrow, and could be changed to, perhaps, "as described in some creation myth" or some such (I would like to hear your suggestion).
But I am unclear as to your point here, is the the word "belief" that you're objecting to, or the phrase "as described in the bible"? As for whether creationism is only belief or a belief and other stuff too, what difference does that make? The sentence doesn't say "just a belief" it just says "belief", and all that other stuff (morality, etc) can't really be mentioned in a single sentence, and doesn't really need to be, since those things are often associated with beliefs, and therefore can probably be assumed by the reader. So what exactly is it that you are proposing about that word "belief"?-Lethe | Talk

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What difference does that make? you ask. I would say it is only a matter of accuracy--as long the words model somewhat closely what is going on in reality. At first, "belief" seemed to me to be the right word. To me, "creationism" is a belief that some people have. But then I saw that so many people disagreed with what followed the phrase "Creationism is the belief that . . . ." So then it seemed to me that it would be nearly impossible to make an accurate statement that would model reality, beginning with "Creationism is the belief that . . . ."; it doesn't matter whether you put the Bible into that definition or not, it still will not model reality. I assume that an encyclopedia would like to model the "reality" of what people have thought, said, and done.

So then I explored how the hardcopy encyclopedias have introduced the whole host of "beliefs"--the -isms. I found in the hardcopy encyclopedias the following:

  • Theism is "the view that . . . "
  • Atheism is "the critique and denial of . . . "
  • Agnosticism is "the doctrine that . . . "
  • Fundamentalism is "the conservative movement arising out of the . . ."
  • Fatalism is "the view that . . . "

The textual structure here is that view, critique, doctrine, and movement are all abstractions that you can define outside of the believer's head. They are defined before "belief"; belief is what someone might have in the view, critique, doctrine, or movement. I found it interesting that Britannica starts the "creationism" entry with

  • Creationism is "the theory that . . . "

With that kind of beginning, the article can lay out the variations in the "theory." The "theory" can have a political influence. The "theory" can be criticized as having more causes than it needs, or the "theory" can be proven wrong. And of course, some people have a belief in the theory and some people don't. It is merely a question of accuracy of the encyclopedia article in modeling reality. ---Rednblu 23:27, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Please don't expect too much support from the word "theory" here. The topic of creationism touches upon the topic of biological science; within science, the term "theory" has a rather specific meaning. It does not mean "view" or "proposal". In a scientific context, the word means that a system of knowledge has substantial evidential basis; thus, to call creationism a theory is, here, to favor it as science. This is, of course, the POV of creation scientists, and so would lean the article toward that viewpoint. —FOo 02:46, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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I understand your political turf explanation quite well. It is nothing more sophisticated than our inherited chimpanzee politics. Reality be damned; what counts is holding the political turf. I'm not even objecting. I'm just pointing out that in fact, "Creationism is a theory . . . ." I understand that currently in Wikipedia, the evolutionist censors will not allow the truth be told. But if you look outside Wikipedia at reality, there are many kinds of theory other than scientific theory; there is wage theory and auteur theory and location theory and tricellular theory and creationist theory none of which even claim to be a science. At least all of those non-scientific theories are "explanations" that serve quite adequately for what science cannot even begin to handle. Just because some lame-brain religious zealot devised the brilliant chimpanzee politics trick of faking up creationism to be a science does not justify ignoring the reality of what "creationism" is. ---Rednblu 05:18, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Well, sure, if you are trying to start a fight (as your use of expressions like "evolutionist censors" and "lame-brain religious zealots" suggests) then it's a great choice of words. The Usenet newsgroup talk.origins is a much more entertaining place to have a fight about creationism than Wikipedia is, though. —FOo 06:40, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Let me rephrase if you will.

I understand your political turf explanation quite well. It is nothing more sophisticated than our inherited chimpanzee politics. Reality be damned; what counts is holding the political turf. I'm not even objecting. I'm just pointing out that in fact, "Creationism is a theory . . . ." I understand that currently in Wikipedia, many will not support the use of the word theory that differs from the way that the word theory is used in biological science. But if you look outside Wikipedia at reality, there are many kinds of theory other than scientific theory; there is wage theory and auteur theory and location theory and tricellular theory and creationist theory none of which even claim to be a science. At least all of those non-scientific theories are "explanations" that serve quite adequately for what science cannot even begin to handle. Just because some creationist strategist devised the brilliant chimpanzee politics trick of faking up creationism to be a science does not justify ignoring the reality of what "creationism" is. ---Rednblu 06:58, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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People are right to object. While creationism is a theory, in practice it's paired up with evolution that to call it that is confusing. Besides, other similar things aren't usually described as theories anyways (e.g. most are described as stories rather than historical events even though people believe in them). As such, some other synonym is preferrable. I don't know why you object to the term belief, which does a good job summing up other positions like theism, atheism, etc, but there are plenty of other words that could be used. Idea, view, and position come to mind.

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<<I don't know why you object to the term 'belief'>>

I object to "Creationism is a belief that ..." in the same sense that I would object to "A mammal is four legs that ...." Even allowing for some whales having the vestigial hind legs, "four legs" does not capture the functional essence of "mammal" very well. The flaw in "Creationism is a belief that ..." is that it does not model reality very well in representing what "creationism" is. Let me state the following Hypothesis: The political drawing power of "creationism" is that creationism looks to uneducated people like a theory that explains how people got here on this earth. This is the standard anthropological interpretation of why people gravitate to creationism. [23] ---Rednblu 07:56, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Fair enough. Any objections to Creationism is the position that...?

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No. In common parlance, position would be a little vague--as if settling the issue would be a matter settled by vote. But position would settle the algebraic inconsistency of using belief to stand for two totally different thinge 1) the "story" believed and 2) the act of belief. The belief page has it right: "Belief is assent to a proposition." ---Rednblu 17:19, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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On the "belief" issue, I was assuming that an "ism" is, essentially, a belief (or a set of beliefs, perhaps). However, Mirriam-Webster Onlinedoesn't actually give that definition, instead defining "ism" as a distinctive doctrine, cause, or theory. I still don't really have a problem with the word "belief", but I am happy for something else to be substituted. I would probably go for "view", which incidentally was used twice in Rednblu' list of examples, but I'm open to "doctrine" or other possibilities.

On the issue of "as described in the Bible", I think I see where you are coming from, Rednblu, having now read most of the nine pages of talk (whew!). If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting/claiming that the term creationism is applicable to anybody who believes in a divine creator (or something like that), regardless of whether or not they follow/accept the biblical narrative. On this I would disagree. Sure, the term could be used to describe non-biblical views of creation, but is that the way that it is normally used? As mentioned by others in the earlier discussion, most dictionaries do refer to the Bible or Genesis in defining the word.

As for the comparison with "A mammal is four legs that...", again I think I see your point, that "belief" (or any of the other terms that have been suggested?) don't explain creationism well enough. I'm a bit ambivalent on this at the moment, but I'm not convinced that the analogy is correct. Perhaps you could propose some alternative wording so that we can better see where you want this to go.

Actually, I don't really like the third sentence of the introduction ("However, not all..."), as it appears awkward and rather pointless.
Philip J. Rayment 12:31, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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<<If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting/claiming that the term creationism is applicable to anybody who believes in a divine creator (or something like that), regardless of whether or not they follow/accept the biblical narrative. On this I would disagree.>>

I do believe that the empirical evidence supports the following Hypothesis: Out of all the people of this earth who believe that divine creation put them here, only a very small fraction believe that the divine creation followed the biblical narrative. I have no personal preference that all of those people would 1) follow or 2) not follow the biblical narrative. Isn't this just a question of fact--comparing statistically what 1) people say about the divine creation that put them here versus the 2) biblical narrative?

Let's not worry for now about whether "belief" is appropriate. The resolution of that issue, in my opinion, is a huge political problem within the whole camp of evolutionists, of which I am one. That is, in my opinion, fixing the "belief" problem in the Creationism page is a long-term process of getting the evolutionists to deal with reality. If you think "belief" is good-enough, let's stay with "belief" for now. ---Rednblu 17:19, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Just to comment on belief a bit more, a belief doesn't have to be an airy-fairy thing that has no connection to reality. We believe, for example, that if we sit on a chair, it will hold our weight, based on the experience that we have with sitting on chairs previously.

As for what should come under the heading of "creationism", the following articles could be instructive, although personally I wouldn't take everything this author says at face value: [24] [25] [26] Philip J. Rayment 15:30, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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We've discussed the topic of creationism: theory/belief/hypothesis/etc.? at length previously here: Talk:Creationism/Is_Creationism_a_theory.

A hypothesis or conjecture requires the following to qualify as a theory:

  • is consistent with pre-existing theory to the extent that the pre-existing theory was experimentally verified, though it will often show pre-existing theory to be wrong in an exact sense,
  • is supported by many strands of evidence rather than a single foundation, ensuring that it probably is a good approximation if not totally correct,
  • has survived many critical real world tests that could have proven it false,
  • makes predictions that might someday be used to disprove the theory, and is the best known explanation, in the sense of Occam's Razor, of the infinite variety of alternative explanations for the same data,

Creationism clearly does not qualify as a theory. Barring any additional credible proof that it is indeed a theory, then it remains in the realm of belief, or conjecture at best. It seems some are bent on getting a second- and third bite at the apple on this point.--FeloniousMonk 17:42, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Sure. You have expressed exactly my particular point-of-view; that is how I want to use the word theory; that is how I have trained myself to use the word theory. But that point-of-view is not how most people use the English word theory. Just take for example what most people mean by "domino theory." That is, most people use "theory" not to mean scientific method; but rather to mean an organization of knowledge that explicitly names assumptions, accepted principles, and rules to explain the knowledge--with no requirement for verifiability.

  1. Just because scientists use a term of art in a particularly peculiar though very useful way does not justify censoring how most people use the term. For example, the word work has a very peculiar though very useful meaning in physics, but the usefulness of that term of art in physics does not justify censoring how people use the word work in the phrase "right-to-work laws."
  2. Just because the previous edit war ended up with the evolutionists getting their bigoted view of theory enforced throughout Wikipedia does not prevent correcting the Creationism page today to reflect reality accurately. ---Rednblu 18:20, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Since we are in essence talking about creationism's relation to scientific explanations of the same phenomena, we should use the definition of theory as it applies to science, regardless of the existence of a less rigorous definition used in common speech outside of science. Particularly considering that the word "theory" is hardly a term-of-art or jargon as you imply, nor is it's use by scientists "peculiar." The point is, calling creationism a theory creates a false impression as to its validity as an explanation for matters that are also (and better) addressed by science.
The current opening paragraph identifying creationism as a belief does reflect reality. Creationism fails to qualify as anything more than a belief since it: 1) is inconsistent with any pre-existing theory that has withstood verification experimentally or in reality, 2) is not supported by any credible evidence but rather rests on a single foundation of magical thinking, 3) cannot be verified or tested, but must be accepted on faith, leaving it open to unresolvable disputes regarding interpretation and its nature, 4) makes no predictions that might someday be used to prove or disprove its claim, or those of any of the alternative explanations for the same data.
Are you seriously claiming that "bigoted evolutionists" have managed to enforce their strictly POV content in the wikipedia theory article, or are you just being ironic here? --FeloniousMonk 21:48, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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<<considering that the word "theory" is hardly a term-of-art or jargon as you imply, nor is its use by scientists "peculiar.">>

Ok. Would you say that the "domino theory" applies the

  1. definition of theory as used by scientists or the
  2. Encyclopædia Britannica definition of "theory"? ---Rednblu 22:55, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Your point about which usage of theory in the phrase Domino Theory is a non sequitur; if we are to maintain more than just a pretense of intellectual rigor and stringency in wikipedia, then of we must insist on equally rigorous definitions. As are found at our own theory article, for which there is no reason to abandon here. I'm not surprised Britannica uses a lax interpretation of theory in this particular instance, considering that they are in the business of selling books and subscriptions. Why would they alienate over an intellectual subtlety the significant percentage of the potential market who'd be offended to find their personal objects of faith are not legitimate theories with some parity to actual science? Their customers might even insist on redefining the term theory then...
What constitutes a theory is sufficiently well defined for everyone except those whose beliefs don't get a place at the table. Special pleadings here for redefining what constitutes theory have already been declined, as you apparently already know.--FeloniousMonk 07:23, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Restatement of Hypothesis: The evolutionists on Wikipedia enforce a censorship on Wikipedia from a bigoted and parochial view of theory that contradicts the general usage of the English word "theory".

<<Your point about which usage of theory in the phrase Domino Theory is a non sequitur; if we are to maintain more than just a pretense of intellectual rigor and stringency in wikipedia, then of we must insist on equally rigorous definitions.>>

Thank you for your example in support of my hypothesis. No need to reply; typical misuse of facts, logic, and grammar. ---Rednblu 17:04, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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I don't think you're going to get too far with either that tone or that reasoning. You are making a special pleading for an exception to the standard definition of theory, plain and simple. Theory is well defined on wikipedia, and it is consistent with the common usage in science, and I've presented a plausible explanation for Britannica's misuse of the phrase. Just because Britannica is wrong does not mean that we should be too. You could produce supporting facts to further make your case for an exceptional use of the term theory instead of ranting and alleging an "evolutionist" conspiracy, which is virtually guaranteed to get you nowhere.
If you have a problem with how wikipedia defines theory, I'd normally say take it to RFC or even through the dispute resolution process, but since the current theory article is actually the product of that already, I'll say you should probably just get used to the fact that your opinion on the matter is not mainstream. Also, your allegations of my misuse of facts, logic and grammar, remains as unsupported as your claim that theory is incorrectly defined here and that there's an "evolutionist" plot on wikipedia to deny you your special pleading.--FeloniousMonk 17:48, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)



Obviously there is a dispute whether creationism is a theory. One side says it is, one side says it isn't. Therefore it would be a violation of NPOV to start the article with "Creationism is the theory that...". The obvious solution, for me, is to start with "Creationism is the belief that...", then say that "creation scientists" claim it is also a theory. Hob 17:44, Sep 25, 2004 (UTC)


No price for good style, but another possibility would be:

Creationism is the theory, however not in the scientific understanding of "theory", that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God as described in the Bible.

Pjacobi 21:44, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)


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I disagree with this solution. Calling creationism a theory, even in a relaxed, vernacular form, when it fails to meet any of the criteria of an actual theory, is misleading and confusing to readers, who would first have to understand the nuance. Also, as long as creationists consistently insist their belief is an alternative to scientific explanations for the universe's origin, not to mention consistently insisting that such science is wrong and/or flawed, their belief should then have to meet the same standard as any other explanation for the origin of the cosmos if they want it to be taken as an credible alternative explanation.

The correct solution is to call reader's attention the fact some creationism proponents insist that their beliefs qualify as theories and outline the criticisms of those claims.--FeloniousMonk 04:50, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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Arrgh! I forgot to put this page on my watch list. A bit of catching up here...
<<Creationism clearly does not qualify as a theory.>>
I am not pushing for using the word theory', but some things need to be said here (although I just know I'm going to regret this).

  • I have previously said that I am happy to use belief, but now have second thoughts. Just as theory means different things to different people (scientific vs. non-scientifice, for example), so does belief. To me, a belief is an understanding of something that may or may not be provable. For example, I believe that most scientists are evolutionists. Does anybody want to dispute that belief? But for others, belief is something divorced from reality, as in "that's not a fact, just a belief". Using it that way, I reject the word belief in this article.
  • If Creationism clearly does not qualify as a theory, then neither does (goo-to-you) evolution. Evolution is a set of explanations about the past to explain how the present came to be. So is creation. The past cannot be observed nor replicated; therefore evolution has not been observed nor replicated, any more than creation has. (NOTE: Both evolution and creation incorporate natural selection, although each uses it in a slightly different way; it is not natural selection that I am talking about here.)
  • To elaborate, and take FeloniousMonk's criteria for a theory,
  • Evolution was inconsistent with the pre-existing theory (creation). Creation had been accepted scientifically at the time.
  • Evolution is not supported by any credible evidence but rather rests on a foundation of magical thinking, specifically that order can come from disorder for no reason.
  • Evolution cannot be verified or tested, but must be accepted on faith, leaving it open to unresolvable disputes regarding interpretation and its nature. This is due to its nature as a series of unique past events that were not observed and cannot be replicated.
  • Creation makes predictions that might someday be used to prove or disprove its claim. For example, creation predicts a lack of transitional fossils (between major groups), which is what is found.
  • Evolution makes few predictions that might someday be used to prove or disprove its claim. For example, Darwin predicted the discovery of lots of transitional fossils, but when they failed to materialise, the theory was not discarded, but altered to argue that transitional fossils should not be expected in significant numbers.

On a slightly different note, I am frequently amused by people arguing that:

  • Creation was falsified 150 years ago.
  • Creation is not scientific because it is not falsifiable.

So which is it really?
Philip J. Rayment 04:24, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

Don't worry, we're equally amused by anyone that thinks creationism could ever be tested...
Based on your comments here and at Talk:Intelligent_design, I'm inclined to agree with Graft's comments to you at Talk:Intelligent_design: it's clear you neither understand the basic undelying science you address here, nor the scientific method. --FeloniousMonk 05:27, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)
So rather than actually address what I wrote, you dismiss me as an ignoramus. At least in my description of how evolution does not meet your criteria for a theory, I explained how it didn't with examples, unlike your description which merely assumes that creation doesn't meet the criteria. Do you care to actually get down to specifics? How, for example, does one observe and replicate the evolution of reptiles into birds? It is not falsifiable. Philip J. Rayment 06:32, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

As I've said before, I will not be drawn into sideline debates on peripheral topics. I'm only here to address the matters at hand: editing wikipedia in an equitable and accurate fashion. If you want to debate evolution vs. creationism, there are articles with their own discussions for that. You've made enough errors of fact, logic, and method that your understanding of the science of the topic, and science in general are suspect, and I see no benefit to be gained from arguing points barely related to the matter at hand with someone who is unable to discern a correct argument from one in error.
The point being discussed here is whether identifying creationism as a theory in the opening sentence of the article is accurate and I will only discuss that topic here. I say calling it a theory is not accurate, indeed it is misleading.--FeloniousMonk 07:01, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You introduced the "sideline debate" by dogmatically expressing you POV that creation is not a scientific theory. I was not arguing for using the word "theory", and Rednblu was not arguing for using in a scientific sense, but you still thought it relevant to put your POV on whether or not it can be used that way.
<<I say calling it a theory is not accurate, indeed it is misleading.>>
I say calling it a theory is not NPOV. If you want to agree with and leave it at that, then fine. But you are going further and arguing your POV that "it is not a theory". I was debating that because you introduced that debate.
<<it's clear you neither understand the basic undelying science you address here, nor the scientific method. --FeloniousMonk>>
<<Insults, implied or overt, are neither welcome nor in the spirit of wikipedia.--FeloniousMonk>>
Hmmm!
Philip J. Rayment 23:23, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

The fact that creationism is not a scientific theory is not my POV, it is the official position of the majority of the relevant scientific community, as stated by the National Academy of Sciences, The American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, The Geophysical Union and nearly every other eminent scientific organization... I am merely advocating their position. Creationists continually insisting (as you have) that their beliefs are a credible alternative explanation to those of science mandates that the use of the word theory in relation to creationism be consistent with how it is used in science. Additionally, any claim that equity demands balanced treatment of evolutionary theory and creationism as equally credible explanations of our origin reflects a profound misunderstanding of what science is and how it is conducted.
My observation that it seems you do not understand the science behind evolution or the scientific method is shared by others elsewhere as well and was not intended as an insult; the difference between an insult and an observation is a point that should be apparent to those who insist on using nuanced definitions here.
That you continually insist on interjecting sidelines about evolution and other peripheral topics here is your own doing, I have not done that nor am I responsible for you doing so as you stated.--FeloniousMonk 02:19, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
<<The fact that creationism is not a scientific theory is not my POV,>>
I never said that it was exclusively your POV. But it is a point of view that you apparently agree with.
<<...it is the official position of the majority of the relevant scientific community,...>>
Yes, the majority. There is also a significant minority that have a different point of view.
<<Additionally, any claim that equity demands balanced treatment of evolutionary theory and creationism as equally credible explanations of our origin reflects a profound misunderstanding of what science is and how it is conducted.>>
That, also, is your point of view. It is, also, a majority point of view amongst academia. It is not the only point of view, even amongst academia.
<<...was not intended as an insult;>>
I'll accept that it wasn't intended that way, but telling me that I don't know what I'm talking about, I do find insulting. Frankly, I don't think that you know what you are talking about, but I say that merely so that you will experience what it is like to be on the receiving end of such an "observation". If you want to tell me that I don't know what I am talking about, tell me, specifically, where I am wrong.
<<That you continually insist on interjecting sidelines about evolution and other peripheral topics here is your own doing, I have not done that nor am I responsible for you doing so as you stated.>>
So you can say something like "creation is not scientific", and I am not allowed to debate the point? Because that is what I was doing--debating the claim that you made.
Philip J. Rayment 02:51, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)


If your are as knowledgable on the topic as you claim then I should not have to tell you here that when I wrote "Additionally, any claim that equity demands balanced treatment of evolutionary theory and creationism as equally credible explanations of our origin reflects a profound misunderstanding of what science is and how it is conducted." I was not stating only my own opinion as you insist here, but I am citing nearly verbatim the official position of the National Academy of Sciences regarding the validity, or invalidity more accurately, of creationism as a putative scientific theory.[27]
Both the terms "scientific" and "theory" have been sufficiently well defined on these pages and it has been repeatedly shown here how creationism fails to qualify as an actual part of science. Additionally, to this end, references have been given showing that the majority of the scientific community and the eminent organizations thereof do not consider creationism science or theory; that you willfully refuse to accept that does not change the fact.
This dialog has turned unproductive and I suggest we end it. You are entitled to your views, but you are not entitled to redefine ours or what is considered science. It's time to put this particular discussion to rest.--FeloniousMonk 05:37, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
<<I was not stating only my own opinion as you insist here>>
Did you properly read what I wrote? I said, "It is, also, a majority point of view amongst academia." How do you read that as me insisting that it was only your opinion?
<<it has been repeatedly shown here how creationism fails to qualify as an actual part of science.>>
I don't believe that it has been shown. It has been claimed, but not shown. In any case, my point was that creation is just as scientific as evolution. That is, perhaps creation is not scientific, but if so evolution is not either. That point has not been addressed, other than perhaps to quote majority views.
<<references have been given showing that the majority of the scientific community and the eminent organizations thereof do not consider creationism science or theory; that you willfully refuse to accept that does not change the fact.>>
Again, you haven't really read what I have said. I have willingly acknowledged that your POV is also the majority POV at least among the scientific/academic community. But it is still a point of view.
Philip J. Rayment 23:29, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What Points-of-View should get "air-time" on the Creationism page?

It seems to me that our struggle here is a valid one. We are attempting to define among ourselves what points-of-view should be allowed to make statements on the Creationism page. The final constructive outcome of our struggles here would be a list of the allowed points-of-view. Here are some of the points of friction that we have encountered so far.

  • There is a question of whether a science view should be allowed to dictate such things as the definition of theory, particularly when the subject of "creationism" has deep roots in history, which often has been at odds with science.
  • Here is a short list of the points-of-view that think they have something to say about "creationism." Some of these points-of-view may have more relevance to "creationism" than science.
    • Philosophy -- looking at the types of epistemology operating within creationism.
    • Ethics -- particularly taking into consideration, for example, Tom Paine's and Thomas Jefferson's view of the importance for the society to worship the Creator in the right way.
    • Faith -- Many parts of creationism do not depend on proof or logical consistency.
    • Competitiveness -- There are several published scholars who have analyzed the political dynamics of the creationism versus evolutionism debate and interpreted it as mere "power dynamics" -- which would-be alpha male can get the other alpha males to bow to him.
    • Anthropology -- Particularly, looking at the elements of creationism that are required to give the satisfaction of "explaining enough."

Approaching the problem of making a great Creationism page from this angle, we might make a list of the points-of-view in the current Creationism page--and then see what points-of-view would need to be added to make that great Creationism page. ---Rednblu 05:42, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)



I think your approach to and framing of this particular question is flawed. In a very real way we as wikipedians don't get to "define what points-of-view should be allowed to make statements on the Creationism page" as you say. The points that should be addressed are the ones that are relevant to describing accurately and concisely creationism, and they are already determined. The Creationism article should be an accurate and concise description of creationism and its status in society; nothing more and nothing less. Most have stated here and on the main discussion page it it does that already. Further, neither you nor I own the article or the debate, so I don't think creating your proposed "a list of the allowed points-of-view" is in the spirit or the best interest of wikipedia, it smacks of censorship and power grabbing. I would oppose it, as attempting to control knowledge in such a manner is anti-wikipedia and likely to fail. Continual attempts by self-appointed minders to redefine and restructure the debate will only smack of POVism, as some have discovered.

Addressing your individual points and suggestion here:

  • Whether a science view should be allowed to dictate the definition of theory: This is a non-starter. There is and has been historically a majority consensus on this article that creationism is a belief, not a theory in any meaningful sense of the word. As long as creationists continually insist that their beliefs are a credible alternative explanation to those of science the use of the word theory in relation to creationism must be consistent with how it is used in science. You'll have to make the case that history has indeed been at odds with science before you can adopt this new position.


  • As for your short list:
    • Philosophy -- addressing the types of epistemology operating within creationism seems reasonable, but might be better suited to a new article dedicated to The Philosophy of Creationism.
    • Ethics -- being a subset of philosophy this is only marginally relevant here, particularly content that explores historical figure's religious beliefs. It is better suited to the proposed new page, Philosophy of Creationism.
    • Faith -- You are correct, most elements of creationism are appeals to faith or authority, not observed data. This is already pointed out in the article if I remember correctly, but could stand to be expanded upon slightly. A more thorough expansion would again be appropriate to a Philosophy of Creationism article.
    • Anthropology -- This is likely significant enough to warrant a few sentences or paragraph in the Creationism article. I don't believe a separate Anthropology of Creationism article is warranted, though.

I feel that the points raised here point out the need for Philosophy of Creationism article that leaves the original Creationism article to deal a concise and balanced way with describing creationism. I will be moving to have that article created, so to speak.--FeloniousMonk 07:32, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)


In what way would a history view contradict a science view?

<<..it's clear you neither understand the basic underlying science you address here, nor..>>

In my opinion, it is irrelevant whether a participant on this page understands the underlying science. And it is unnecessary to engage in this standard chimpanzee politics and hierarchy challenge that we all inherited from the ancestors of the chimpanzees. We are writing an encyclopedia page. And what matters is whether the participant faithfully represents a valid and documented point of view on the Creationism page. We will expect legitimate citations, of course. The Creationism page does not address, challenge, overlap, threaten, nor discuss science, though some wrongfully keep twisting the Creationism page to do so. In my opinion, Mr. Rayment's statements faithfully represent history and standard uses of the English language whether or not they correspond to the narrow views of science. ---Rednblu 06:01, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

Insults, implied or overt, are neither welcome nor in the spirit of wikipedia. We can add these to your previous put downs of those who oppose your position as being "bigoted evolutionists." You may want to reconsider your tone here and blatant POV edits made to the main discussion page lately.--FeloniousMonk 07:01, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

Let me start with saying, that I'm also of the opinion, that Creationism is a belief. But as some important believers want the label "theory", I agree with putting "theory" in the first sentence and suggested above the possibility of the clarifying however not in the scientific understanding of "theory" sub-sentence for a NPOV treatment. Please consider three points.

  • Whereas in the scientific discourse it is a honor to be a theory, in popular usage of the word, it is a dishonor. There is an interesting precedent of Wikipedia acknowledging this mismatch. Shortly after the Black hole article was featured on the front page, the necessity was seen of removing [[theory|theoretical]] from the first sentence [28] to avoid mis-interpretation as "not established", of "second class status".
  • At many different, difficult spots, we accept self-labeling of groups, to clarify later the opposing view. For example in characterising Jehovah's Witnesses as christian (intro sentence may change every second). The situation there is more bizarre, as not only the JWs self-label them as christian, but also most non-christians will label them christian, only most christians refuse vehemently. Same story with Samaritanism and Judaism.
  • It is pointless, leading only to overlong debates and edit wars, to put the fight to the top of the pyramid: the label, the summary, the "judgement". Get the facts right, and the reader can judge. It's the "Don't start the Adolf Hitler article with Adolf Hitler was an evil man argument", see [29].

And, BTW, has anybody read something of de:Harun Yaha? We are seeking some concrete counter-arguments for some of his concrete arguments but so far nobody volunteered to actually obtaining his book. Pjacobi 10:03, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

I agree it is important to get the facts right and let the reader judge, which is why I suggested outlining both sides of the controversy over use of the word theory in relation to creationism, as opposed to just using the phrase with what amounts to a disclaimer. I'm not summarily objecting to the proposed statement because it is not accurate, but because the sentence is confusing and not explicit; it requires of the reader an understanding of the differences and significance of those differences between "theory" in the sense of a nonacademic belief or notion, and an actual scientific theory, without providing an explanation of those differences. In other words, explicit statements are preferable to implicit statements, or tautological statements. If we can rework it to be an explicit statement, that would be an improvement and something I could support.--FeloniousMonk 17:20, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

I was aware that my formulation attempt will most likely not be stringent enough for a first sentence, as I said in my first post here. I'm still of the opinion that the statement is correct, and I interpret your post to agree on this. I fear I'm not much help in finding a good formulation, as I'm not a native speaker, and subtle difference between German and English may blur my view. On de: we settled (so far) on "ist die These" (is the thesis), which is less awkward but also less informative than is a theory, however not in the scientific understanding of "theory". In German the is the belief ("ist der Glaube") formulation would look rather strange. "Menschen glauben an X" (people believe in X), but we want to talk of X, and in some places of the believers (persons, organisations and tactics), not about the belief in X.

Sorry for confusing everbody.

Pjacobi 19:07, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

--

I have a feeling your English is likely better than ours, so please, have a go at it.--FeloniousMonk 07:47, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)



Again, I think your approach and framing of the question are flawed. Historic POVs and scientific POV's are not competition in academia, or in an encyclopedia. One POV does not trump the other generally, but share space. Nor should either impinge on the other's purview. They coexist within our corpus of knowledge and as to what extent this is relevant to keeping the article accurate it should be pointed out.--FeloniousMonk 07:47, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

"POV" Headings

I have reverted the headings in Talk:Creationism#What is wrong with the lead section of Creationism? to NPOV headings. As my previous comments failed to convince, I am here enlarging on why.

  • Changed The Creationist point of view to One point of view
It is ludicrous to paint this POV as the creationist one when (a) the person putting this point of view is an evolutionist, and (b) no creationist has said that they agree with this POV. As a creationist, I am not arguing that point of view. "One point of view" is NPOV wording anyway.
  • Changed The Scientific Community point of view to Another point of view
This is now also NPOV. Calling it the scientific community point of view implies that the "scientific community" have a single point of view on this. Whilst not disputing that it is the majority point of view within the scientific community, it is most certainly not the only point of view in that community.

In any case, the proposals should be considered on their merits, not on the basis of whose points of view they are.
Philip J. Rayment 03:15, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

I understand the struggle here to find NPOV descriptions all too well, but I don't think leaving the particular arguments unindentified with the stance or groups with which they are assoicated is an improvement.
Nor can one make much of a valid argument for RednBlu's personal POV being "evolutionist" considering his anti-evolutionist rants here and elsewhere and his personal statement on his User homepage. He may accept evolution as the best explantion, but he's clearly against those who he considers "evolutionists" and has consistantly worked to opposed them aggressively.--FeloniousMonk 18:09, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

I learned a lot from that "Summary" exercise of Points-of-View, though sometimes it felt like a mere Chimpanzee Politics turf battle in which I felt like I acted like a chimpanzee ganging up in temporary coalitions to defend turf like everyone else I saw. However in the process, I consulted more actual encyclopedias and dictionaries in more depth than I had before. User:Steinsky wisely, in my opinion, replaced the ramble on the parent page with a thumbnail summary that actually works. And, in my opinion, it would be constructive for the quality of the Creationism page if we would continue that "Summary" exercise here on the subpage where that work toward a "Summary" actually belongs. Accordingly, I structure a "Summary area" below where I would suggest that each contributor wanting to participate would edit only their own Summary statement. Whose statement goes first or last does not matter to me; so feel free to move the position of my statement as you feel that position would strengthen your own personal point-of-view. And of course, I invite anyone else not listed below to make a summary statement, particularly anyone reading that has not yet had a chance to make a statement on what they think would be the most accurate lead section for the Creationism page. Please limit statements to around ten lines--merely for clarity. If you want to make a long statement, please do so outside the following "Summary statements of participants" section. ---Rednblu 16:04, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

I've stated my opinions here clearly a number of times already, readers will have no trouble finding them. Constantly refactoring the Talk pages is a well-known tactic here on wikipedia used to wear down resistance of opposing POVs and shape debates to favor a particular POV, so please be aware of this and the three edit and three revert rule, and keep your refactorings here within that range to avoid being accused of running a campaign.
I'll re-summarize my opinion here again, but I will not be limited to an arbitrary ten line limit that you've dictated without seeking consensus. I think interested parties should be free to use as many lines as needed to clearly state their position.--FeloniousMonk 18:09, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

No civilized approach would allow science to own the word and definition of "theory"

<<By positioning its assertions in the realm of science and opposing science, Creationism should then have to meet the same standard as science when identifying its claims or itself as a "theory.">>

Maybe for some enterprises your principle of "have to meet the same standard as" would be constructive. But I doubt that your principle of "have to meet the same standard as" is a good approach for writing a truthful and accurate encyclopedia. For in establishing the principle of "have to meet the same standard as," someone must declare which standard is the winner, within what otherwise would be a free-market competition among different standards.

Perhaps, the Wikipedia community would like to encourage the scientists in winning the competition over what definition of theory is allowed within Wikipedia. After all, as Justice Holmes once said, "If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition."

Above you argue that the Wikipedia community should declare that "Creationism should then have to meet the same standard as science." But I suggest that declaring the monopoly outcome for science over control of the word and definition of theory would be fatal in trying to put together an accurate and truthful encyclopedia.

For as Justice Holmes said, it is natural to want to sweep away all opposition. Then he continued, "But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas-that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out." [30]

I suggest that instead of adopting the principle of "have to meet the same standard as," a truthful and accurate encyclopedia would display the participants in the "free trade in ideas"--something like Creationist A says "A theory is the following . . .," and Nobel Prize Winner B says "A theory is something different . . . ." You may think that such an accurate description of the "free trade in ideas" would permit the creationists to manipulate people's minds with their pseudoscience. I do not take such a dim view of what natural selection and circumstance have made of us. Do you really think that pseudoscience has such power? ---Rednblu 06:58, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

So wikipedia should allow Straw Man arguments to redefine the word "theory" for everyone to accomodate your special pleading?

You have a singular gift for coming up with straw man arguments. Science doesn't "own" the term "theory" any more than Christians own the term religion; dictionaries define words based on what is found in general usage, and according to most dictionaries, people associate the word theory first with science before they associate it with a notion or idle conjecture, which is what you're arguing it is in this limited case (making your claim a special pleading).

"...I doubt that your principle of "have to meet the same standard as" is a good approach for writing a truthful and accurate encyclopedia. For in establishing the principle of "have to meet the same standard as," someone must declare which standard is the winner, within what otherwise would be a free-market competition among different standards."

OK, so it's your position that in order to have a "a truthful and accurate encyclopedia" we should not define terms consistently or demand stringency in our justifications for defining thusly? Your "free-market" justification for abandoning explicit definitions leads to a race to the bottom and intellectual mediocrity; it only assures that all definitions so defined will be so vague as to be near useless.

"Perhaps, the Wikipedia community would like to encourage the scientists in winning the competition over what definition of theory is allowed within Wikipedia... Above you argue that the Wikipedia community should declare that "Creationism should then have to meet the same standard as science." But I suggest that declaring the monopoly outcome for science over control of the word and definition of theory would be fatal in trying to put together an accurate and truthful encyclopedia."

That's singularly threadbare and ignoble reasoning. Not exactly in the spirit of wikipedia now, is it? Trying to make this out as a competition and that scientists here are trying to make a power grab is a shabby and intellectually vacuous tactic. You used the same ploy in your creationist campaign at talk.origins and alt.atheism and it didn't work there, what makes you think it's going to work here? You and the proponents of creationism are the ones seeking to redefine the term and change the article, not us, we are satisfied as it is. Those here you call "scientists" are not asking for the article to be changed, you are. You've been flooding this debate with every form of specious notion to find an angle, and barring that now you're stooping to new lows. Your POV campaign here isn't able to make the case so you try to tar your opponents... Nice!

"For as Justice Holmes said, it is natural to want to sweep away all opposition..."

Well, Justice Holmes also said "Three generations of imbeciles are enough." in Buck v. Bell, 1927, endorsing Virginia's eugenics program. I'm not surprised you'd cite his likes as support.

Then again he may have had a point, perhaps we have had enough generations of imbeciles...

"I suggest that instead of adopting the principle of "have to meet the same standard as," a truthful and accurate encyclopedia would display the participants in the "free trade in ideas"--something like Creationist A says "A theory is the following . . .," and Nobel Prize Winner B says "A theory is something different . . . ."

Using your logic here one would never be able to have meaningful foundational basis for the word. It's like saying even though most experts and the public agree dogs are members of the species lupus, some non-experts should be allowed to say they belong to the species silvestris, because their religious beliefs dictate that any other belief is wrong and so they should get a special exemption. That's singularly bad logic.

You repeatedly use the phrase here"...a truthful and accurate encyclopedia..." but I have to ask why the concern about truth and accuracy now? I mean, you haven't bothered to be truthful or accurate to us about your POV agenda and history now, have you? Bringing up this argument now after our summaries is again an attempt to get another bite at the apple and refactor the debate, just more proof of the shabby tactics of your POV campaigning here; it's blatant flooding of the Talk pages, a violation of wikipolicy.

I'm reluctant to engage you again in anymore discussions here considering the recent revelations as to your true POV, the lack of good faith it indicates, your history and identity. Obviously your mild claims of supporting evolution are nothing more than a beard you've hidden your creationist, religionist agenda behind to disarm your opponents, based on my reading your extensive history of usenet tactics in talk.origins, alt.atheism, etc. going as far back as 1996. You used the very same tactics and arguments there and were shown up to be a fraud. I feel your pet POV campaign here to redefine creationism as a theory and dishonesty about your true POV bias here precludes you from contributing anything with semblance of NPOV. I think you've got a lot of explaining to do before I and others will give you full faith and credit as a wikipedian.--FeloniousMonk 09:39, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The creationists' points-of-view should dominate the lead section of Creationism

<<Therefore, my first choice of wording would be along the lines of:
Creationism is the movement that proposes that the universe and all life were created by deliberate act of God as described in the Bible.>>

In my opinion, movement is a great improvement in accuracy over belief--because I think movement captures both the idea and the organization that promotes the idea. Also, I think Mr. Monk's suggestion is a good one: "Creationism is the religious doctrine that . . . ." What came to my mind on reading both of your summary statements was this possibility:

"Creationism is the movement and religious doctrine promoting the idea that . . . ."

Your phrase "Creationism is the movement that . . ." may be simpler and more accessible to the reader.

Is there any significant view within creationism that would feel a bias against them in the statement "Creationism is the movement that ... "? Perhaps a significant portion of creationists might not like to associate themselves with the Organization of a movement. Also, in your opinion, is there a significant view within creationism that would feel that the phrase "as described in the Bible" is biased against them? For example, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica article on "creationism,"

"Scientific creationists believe that a creator made all that exists, but they may not hold that the Genesis story is a literal history of that creation."

Would the statement Creationism is the movement that proposes that the universe and all life were created by deliberate act of God as described in the Bible be biased against such scientific creationists? ---Rednblu 17:32, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Regarding whether any creationists would object to "Creationism is the movement that...", I can't really say, other than to offer the opinion that I don't think they would.
Regarding whether any creationists would object to "..as described in the Bible", I suppose it depends on who is included in that category. Intelligent Design people don't refer to themselves as "creationists", but if you include them, then I guess that some of them would disagree with this bit. Apart from them, creationists pretty well all agree with what the Bible says, they just disagree on what it means!
Philip J. Rayment 12:53, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)

---

Ahh, ok. Are you saying that generally each creationist reads the Bible account of the creation as describing the events in their particular version of creation? Hence, the Bible account is given wide interpretation by creationists in a full range from those who believe that creation occurred in 1) six twenty-four UTC hour days to the extreme of 2) God created only the first bacterium of life from which all creatures alive today evolved according to natural selection. If that is so, in my opinion that would be important to say, perhaps in the second sentence. ---Rednblu 16:20, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)


In principle, yes. My caveats are:

  • To be pedantic, it's a bit extreme to talk about "twenty-four UTC hour days". I've never heard of a creationist insisting that the days were exactly 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 60.00 seconds long. Rather, I've often heard them refer to "six solar days" or similar, to allow for the fact that Earth's rotational speed may have varied slightly and therefore the original days may have been different to modern days by, say, a number of seconds.
  • It depends on who is included in the term "creationist". As I said, ID people don't use that term of themselves, and I wonder if it would be fair to include theistic evolutionists (the other extreme you mention) in the term. Even though they believe that God created the universe and the first life, I don't believe that the term "creationist" is really used by them nor about them. I more had in mind people that reject evolution, such as progressive creationists, gap-theory followers, etc. that don't necessarily agree on the meaning or the length of the creation-week days.

Philip J. Rayment 12:24, 3 Oct 2004 (UTC)

---

Are you advocating that "creationist" is a self-proclaimed designation? It may be better to adopt a "neutral" point of view to define the term and apply it whether or not the person with the defined point of view uses it to describe themselves. I offer as an example the term "materialist." I don't think I have ever referred to myself as a "materialist"--because the term does not express the nuances of how I think of myself. Nevertheless, the term "materialist" is regularly used--and fairly--to distinguish my writing and thought from "dualist" or "idealist."

The term "evolutionist" offers another useful example. It is useful in the Creationism article to use the term "evolutionist" even though there are few molecular biologists who would refer to themselves as "evolutionist"; Charles Darwin used the term "evolutionist" repeatedly to refer to himself and to other "naturalists" who were convinced that natural selection explained the Origin of Species. Sixth edition of Origin of Species that you can scan for Darwin's uses of the phrases "admitted by most evolutionists" and "admitted by all evolutionists."

---

You make valid points regarding the use of terms. I actually wasn't totally advocating that; I was being deliberately vague, pointing out that there are different ways of looking at this, although I suppose I was leaning a little the way you said. However (to still sit on the fence), here are some further thoughts.

  • I have no problem with using a term of people that they don't use of themselves, if that term is appropriate. If fact I know I do this myself in other areas (e.g. calling atheism a religion, even though I know most atheists don't consider atheism a religion).
  • We still need to consider the normal use of the word. With regard to theistic evolutionists, I didn't just say that they don't use it of themselves, but also that others don't use of them.
  • We need to consider people's sensibilities. In this case, if creationist is used the way that I described, then it may be understandable that others who believe something different didn't like being lumped into that category.
  • If we include ID within creationism, then we cannot describe creationism as "... as described in the Bible", as ID poeople don't necessarily go along with that.
  • If we include theistic evolution within creationism, then we cannot describe creationism in terms that indicate creation as distinct from evolution (which the article doesn't do at the moment), nor even as a "movement", because the "creationism movement" is really a reaction to uniformitariansm and evolution, both of which theistic evolutionists accept.

So I'm still fence-sitting. Back to you for further comment.
Philip J. Rayment 03:18, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

---

Well said. I am listening. Wouldn't you want the Creationism page to have a short paragraph on all the varieties you mention above--with a break-out subpage for the details--similar in structure to the Evolution page? ---Rednblu 05:59, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Summary statements of participants in the above discussion

Summary of the issue:

What is the best single word or phrase to describe "Creationism"? Should the word "theory", which has multiple meanings be used?



Summary statement of FOo:



Summary statement of FeloniousMonk:

My position remains that the current opening sentence "Creationism is the belief that the ..." is accurate. It correctly identifies creationism as a belief. Any meaningful sense of the word theory implies codified sets of useful knowledge, which creationism is not. It should be noted that those who are making the argument for the use of theory to describe creationism are making a special pleading.

Historically and here on wikipedia creationists consistently insist that creationism is an equally plausible alternative to scientific explanations and that such scientific explanations are wrong. By positioning its assertions in the realm of science and opposing science, Creationism should then have to meet the same standard as science when identifying its claims or itself as a "theory." Few would assert that the geocentric model is a theory in any sense, yet actually it is supported by empirical evidence unlike creationism, for which there is no empirical evidence. This illustrates clearly the problem of associating creationism with even the idea of theory, even its loosest sense.

As theory is defined on wikipedia, creationism fails to qualify as a theory because: 1) is inconsistent with any pre-existing theory that has withstood verification experimentally or in reality, 2) is not supported by any credible evidence but rather rests on a single foundation of magical thinking, 3) cannot be verified or tested, but must be accepted on faith, leaving it open to unresolvable disputes regarding interpretation and its nature, 4) makes no predictions that might someday be used to prove or disprove its claim, or those of any of the alternative explanations for the same data.

Of the vernacular definition of theory as defined on Dictionary.com, only the last, most fully deprecated definition provided can be said to apply to creationism. It is clearly not the most common usage of the term and hence not sufficient to justify its use in an introductory statement to a encyclopedia entry. By the majority of the above criteria creationism clearly does not qualify as a theory, yet it fully qualifies as a belief as it is defined by both wikipedia and dictionary.com

Additionally, the following leading scientific organizations have all issued statements that creationism is not a scientific theory:

The constant drumming insistence of creationists that their belief is a theory here and elsewhere itself is significant enough to justify including a mention of it in the article. I propose an outline of their justifications followed by objections/criticisms of those claims.

I do not support Pjacobi's compromise solution on the grounds it would be misleading and confusing to readers who may not understand the nuances and distinction it makes. His proposed sentence is confusing because it is not explicit; it requires of the reader an understanding of the differences and the significance of the differences between "theory" in the sense of a nonacademic belief or notion, and an actual theory, without providing an explanation of those differences. An good encyclopedic entry should present explicit statements, not implicit statements, ill-defined, nuanced statements or tautological statements.

Frankly, the introductory statement is not explicit enough... this is a more accurate statement and and used in the media: "Creationism is the religious doctrine that all living things on Earth were created separately, in more or less their present form, by a supernatural creator, as stated in the Bible; the precise beliefs of different creationist groups vary widely." I propose that this more accurate description identifying creationism as a "religious doctrine" be used in place of belief or theory.--FeloniousMonk 00:47, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)



Summary statement of Philip J. Rayment:

  • The competing origins models are creation and evolution. The competing philosophies are creationism and evolutionism.
  • "Belief" is an accurate word for both creation and evolution (e.g. one of the definitions FeloniousMonk linked to says a degree of conviction of the truth of something esp. based on a consideration or examination of the evidence). But "belief" is often understood to be only to do with things that cannot be verified, and for that reason I expect evolutionists would not like evolution called a "belief", so to call creation a belief would be just as misleading.
  • "Theory", used in the scientific sense, is equally applicable to creation and evolution (I have shown above, for example, how one can make predictions from the creation model, and how it is therefore potentially falsifiable). The only sense in which it is not scientific is that it refers to unique past events which are therefore not observable nor reproducable, but this same criticism applies to evolution.
  • However, as some evolutionists understandably object to "theory", and creationists similarly object to "belief", I propose that we use neither of these terms, but find a term that both sides can agree to.
  • As this article is titled Creationism, I propose that it be about the phenomenon of the apologetics movement arguing for belief in creation and opposing belief in evolution, primarily (but not exclusively) as expressed in the last 150-200 years in reaction to uniformitarianism and evolution. Therefore, my first choice of wording would be along the lines of:
Creationism is the movement that proposes that the universe and all life were created by deliberate act of God as described in the Bible.
  • If others disagree about the 'movement' aspect, then my second choice of wording would be:
Creationism is the idea that the universe and all life were created by deliberate act of God as described in the Bible.


Summary statement of Rednblu:

I support Pjacobi's suggestion above that the first sentence of the Creationism page should be
Creationism is the theory, however not in the scientific understanding of "theory", that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God as described in the Bible. (Pjacobi 21:44, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC))
because Pjacobi's suggestion is supported by standard English dictionaries and encyclopedias including but not limited to
  • Encyclopædia Britannica ("theory that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing (ex nihilo).")
  • Buch, Carl W., Hagenbach's (C. R.) Compendium of the history of doctrines tr. 1847 ("The theory designated Creationism..was now more precisely defined.")
  • Oxford English Dictionary, 3d edition ("The theory which attributes the origin of matter, the different species of animals and plants, etc., to ‘special creation’ (opposed to evolutionism).")


Summary statement of Hob Gadling:

I am definitely against "theory" and don't particularly like "belief". "Movement" is better than both, but I guess "point of view" is the obvious choice. Hob 21:24, Oct 1, 2004 (UTC)

Ed Poor butts in

I didn't participate in the above discussion, but I think I'm the contributor of the disputed sentence. (Let me take a moment and *blush* if I'm not ;-)

Here is what I'd like to see now, in view of the recent, er, unpleasantness:

"Creationism is the belief that the universe, the planet earth and all life on the earth was created as deliberate act by a divine being.

A later sentence -- possibly even in the same intro paragraph -- would identify the religious believers espousing this view, why they believe it, and some important variations of the belief. If this is too much for the lead paragraph, trim it and allude to details to follow:

Jews and Christians cite the Old Testament account in Genesis as authority for their faith: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. ... God created man in his image ... male and female He created them." (Genesis, chapter one from memory, so please correct the wording)

Whether the view should be called a "belief" or a "theory" is another question. If the term theory is disputed by us contributors, just use view as a catch-all term. I think most of us can agree on belief simply because a lot of people believe this viewpoint. We could also mention somewhere in the article the movement which is trying to get the view re-classified as a scientific theory (see creation science or scientific creationism). Note that the intelligent design movement is also trying to get scientists to agree to use the term hypothesis in a this context. --Uncle Ed 15:03, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)


--- End copy of contents from /What is wrong with the lead section

History of Creationism

Summary of the issue:

One point of view:

  • Darwin should be mentioned on the Creationism page because Darwin's ideas gave rise to various compromise ideas in modern creationism (day-age, gap theory, theistic evolution, etc.) and changed creation from being the dominant paradigm to almost wiping it out, before it started to claw its way back.

Another point of view:

  • In the Creationism page, those interruptions about "Darwin and Darwin's ideas" are only non-sequitur context-driven popup ads for Evolution; Darwin was not an influential creationist; Darwin's ideas did not change the thinking of creationism; even after Darwin, creationism continued to insert the same pre-Darwin day-age, gap theory, and theistic evolution interpretations of the Bible as axioms that Occam's razor proves to be unnecessary.



Please post discussion on this topic at /History of Creationism



--- Begin copy of discussion from /History of Creationism

History of creationism

I removed the reference to Darwin introducing natural selection as it was described by Edward Blyth (a creationist!), 25 years before Origin of the Species. I also removed the references to Darwin not intending to oppose religious accounts but rather opposing Lamarck, as I don't believe it to be true. Stephen Jay Gould claimed that Darwin did intend to oppose the biblical creation story, and as I understand it Darwin implicitly accepted Lamarck's ideas. Philip J. Rayment 12:59, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

In my opinion, that reference to Darwin does not belong there at all. Darwin was not a creationist; he did not contribute to creationism; he did not change creationism. Darwin is irrelevant to the History of creationism--just as Jesus Christ is irrelevant to the History of Judaism. That insertion of Darwin into the History of creationism is only an artifact of the constant evolutionist nuking of the Creationism page--interrupting the explication of the theory with advertisements for motorcars that have nothing to do with the theory.

The format of the Evolution page is about right. Everything about Darwin and evolution should be moved to a minor section "Creationism and Darwin" that would be the structural and logical equivalent to the current "Evolution and religion" section of the Evolution page--presenting the most significant competitive theories. ---Rednblu 17:44, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I believe that it is vital to refer to Darwin in the history of Creationist thought. Creationism as a movement arose in reaction to Darwinism so of course it is relevant to consider it. My understanding is that Darwin hesitated to publish his theories because of the outcry that he knew they would cause. he was only persuaded to publish when he realised that Wallace had developed a similar theory and if he didn't publish he wouldn't get the credit for all his work. Michael Glass 03:52, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Did Darwin's ideas change "creationism" at all? Isn't it still faith rather than science both before and after Darwin?

To the extent that Darwin's ideas gave rise to the movement known as "Creationism", it is appropriate to mention Darwin and his ideas. Philip J. Rayment 15:36, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

<<Creationism as a movement arose in reaction to Darwinism so of course it is relevant to consider it.>>

I take that as a hypothesis. And I am more interested in the nature of proof for that hypothesis than I am interested in whether your hypothesis is right or wrong. First, I would look for counter-examples--because why waste time proving A when there is a simple counter-example to A? :) So suppose I could show you in Darwin's own letters that the Creationists around him so terrified him that for years he could not bring himself to publish his Origin of Species. Would that be a counter-example to your above hypothesis?

<<My understanding is that Darwin hesitated to publish his theories because of the outcry that he knew they would cause.>>

Are you sure you want to say that?--because it seems to me that you are saying there was a very active Creationism movement going before Darwin ever drew his first breath, a very active Creationism movement that had Darwin in such hesitation that he postponed publishing his own theories in opposition to the Creationism movement--even when he knew he was right--because of the outcry he feared that would erupt from the very active, very organized, and long-established Creationism movement that had him under control--until he got the courage to stand up to the Creationist movement that held him back. ---Rednblu 23:18, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Of course there were people who believed in creationism (theology) before Darwin. But that wasn't a Creationist movement, there didn't need to be a creationist movement because before Darwin nobody could really conceive of an alternative to the creation hypothesis. This article is about the creationism movement, not the theology. The creationism movement is a group specifically devoted to obfuscating Darwinian science and philosophy. --Steinsky 23:31, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

Let me introduce you to the Creationism page from which I quote the first sentence: "Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God as described in the Bible." I have carefully Wikified links to the nouns in that sentence so that you can point out to me which of the nouns in that definition did not exist before Darwin. Maybe you want to write a new page Creationism (movement)? But your whole conception is as wrong and as myopic as saying that there wasn't a Christianity movement before محمد; "the Christianity movement is a group specifically devoted to obfuscating Muslim science and philosophy." ---Rednblu 00:13, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

When did the "creationism controversy" begin? With Democritus or with Darwin?

And let me introduce you to the line imediately above that:
This article describes the creationism controversy.
We don't need to create another page, we already have the page and it's this one. You're getting the purpose of this page confused with the Creationism (theology) page. --Steinsky 00:45, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Nope. You are picking a very unrealistic view of how old the "creationism controversy" is. I have in hand a translation of a gentleman who lived before Christ who had his own movement and explanation in controversy with the creationists. He wrote:

Nothing from nothing ever yet was born.
Fear holds dominion over mortality
Only because, seeing in land and sky
So much the cause whereof no wise they know,
Men think Divinities are working there.
Meantime, when once we know from nothing still
Nothing can be create, we shall divine
More clearly what we seek: those elements
From which alone all things created are,
And how accomplished by no tool of Gods.

And this gentleman writing before Christ proceeds to lay out a series of explanations that learned men knew was right: Who would create the Creator? Lifeforms had metamorphosed slowly under natural forces into other forms--and eventually into the living animals around us. And there was no need for a Creator to intervene. Certainly, this gentleman living before Christ was not even close yet to guessing at natural selection, but he certainly opposed creationism, and the creationism movement surely condemned him as a heretic and likewise those who similarly tried to figure out the details of how we could metamorphose over many generations from beasts to men. Aren't you interested in the facts? ---Rednblu 02:12, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm aware that there were people before Darwin who questioned the logic of creation myths, but before Darwin there was no organised "creationist movement" like we see today. People simply believed and creation and since nobody who questioned it had a better idea, it was no difficulty dismissing the ideas. The controversy only really got started with Darwin, because Darwin could provide an alternative. That is why Darwin needs to be mentioned on this page, if only because his ideas definitely did change the creationism controversy. --Steinsky 02:46, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

In what way do you think that Darwin's ideas changed the "creationism controversy"? Creationism continued to argue from the old-fashioned foundation of faith. Look at the facts. Do you mean to say that Darwin's ideas changed the "evolutionism controversy"? That is, probably you can find some writings of Thomas Huxley that support the idea that Darwin's ideas changed the "evolutionism controversy" by giving the evolutionists a hypothesis "to get hold of clear and definite conceptions which could be brought face to face with facts and have their validity tested." [31] But that did not change the "creationism controversy" one whit; the creationists still argued from faith and common sense--as they have for over two thousand years. ---Rednblu 03:17, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Did Darwin's ideas cause Old-Earth creationism, Theistic Evolution, and Intelligent Design?

Darwin's ideas changed the "creationism controversy" in lots of ways, because they provided the first (and only) real alternative to creationism that anyone had come up with. This led to millions abandoning creationism, and the rise of Old-Earth creationism, Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design, are those not massive changes in the controversy for starters? It was only because of these alternative world views that any controversy (beyond the ocassional individual questioning a bit of logic) could get started, with a creationism movement directed against Darwinism. Perhaps you should state what you think the "creationism controversy" actually is, because I really can't see how anybody familiar with the controversy that I'm familiar with can fail to understand how Darwinism has been crucial in shaping it. --Steinsky 03:59, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

<<This led to millions abandoning creationism, and the rise of Old-Earth creationism, Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design, are those not massive changes in the controversy for starters?>>

Surely, you don't really think Old-Earth creationism and all of those other pretenses are "massive changes." They are just preacher homiletic tricks to package the same old faith. Do they look like science to you? Heaven help you if they do. They were around long before Darwin got into the act. These are all ancient ideas; they go back at least to the Greeks. But let's just take "modern" examples before Darwin. For example, around 1824 the Reverand William Buckland in introducing the first dinosaur fossil Megalosaurus already was interpreting the "days" of creation as "ages" in order to explain that there had been giant beasts around long before men appeared.

The idea that there had to be an Intelligent Designer was argued by William Paley as early as 1809. on-line text And Theistic Evolution was argued at least as early as an 1845 London Times article where a reviewer says about Reverand Buckland's 1836 Bridgewater Treatise that "his general conclusion being, that the present world was constructed out of the materials of a former one; that former one from the wreck of its predecessor; and so upwards, ad infinitum." (The London Times Monday, Jun 23, 1845; pg. 6; Issue 18957; col A) Darwin no more changed "creationism" than Lavoisier changed phlogiston theory; Darwin may have disproved "creationism" but he had negligible effect on the content of the "creationism" theory that he disproved. ---Rednblu 08:42, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Whether or not they are big changes in the creationist philosophy (I believe they are major changes in the way the world is viewed) [note I never mentioned they were anything like scientific, I have no idea where you got that idea from] they are a major part of the creationist movement today, and therefore they belong in an encyclopedia entry about creationism. The fact that preaching tactics like ID and OEC exist, that many people believe in them and that a major part of their remit is tackling perceived materialism and atheism in Darwinism, has to be covered in an encyclopedia entry on creationism. --Steinsky 17:02, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Should "Creationism" be defined as a "movement" instead of a "belief"?

<<Let me introduce you to the Creationism page from which I quote the first sentence: "Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life were created by the deliberate act of God as described in the Bible." .... Maybe you want to write a new page Creationism (movement)?>>

Actually, after logging off last night, I had the thought that instead of "belief", "view", "doctrine", or similar, perhaps the best wording is Creationism is the movement... I agree with Steinsky in that creationism as a movement only began as a response to Darwinism, and even though before that there were creationists, and debate about creation vs. something else, the word creationism was not used in that context. (Rednblu, did you look at these links--[32] [33] [34]-- that I previously included?)

So I guess the question is, should this article be about the creationism movement, that has existed for less than 200 years, or should it cover the entire history of debate about creation? I suggest that we concentrate on the creationism movement that was a response to Darwinism, but include a bit of "background" in the form of documenting some of the earlier debate.
Philip J. Rayment 12:10, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

<<I suggest that we concentrate on the creationism movement that was a response to Darwinism, but include a bit of "background" in the form of documenting some of the earlier debate.>>

Perhaps the communism page is a good template. That is, as with the word "communism," once you have the definition for the "-ism," to be accurate, you will have to look back through history to the Greeks to see whether the "-ism" existed even back then. Your three links are interesting, but I don't see anything beginning just because someone put an English word on it. The mechanics of Magnetism are unchanged whether you apply the English word to the phenomenon or not--likewise for "creationism" or "communism." The English word is merely a label that you put on the phenomenon.

<<perhaps the best wording is Creationism is the movement...>>

Perhaps. But the driving force even in "creationism as movement" is not the movement. The driving force is the common sense appeal of the theory within "creationism." For example, the "theory" of "creationism" makes the best sense to people who are unconvinced by the facts that suggest evolution; 2000 years ago the "theory" of "creationism" made more sense to some people than the facts that supported the "theory" of "atomism". They look into their "heart of hearts," and they say "God did it" -- facts be damned. It is the same theory and it is the same appeal that has worked at least for the last 2000 years. ---Rednblu 16:48, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Did Darwin's ideas change Creationism? Why mention Darwin in the Creationism page?

Nobody is denying that, you know, we are allowed to cover both pre- and post-Darwin Creationism in the article! You seem to be set on removing the section on the effects of Darwin's idea from the article, but only because the creationism philosophy existed before Darwin? --Steinsky 17:08, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

<<You seem to be set on removing the section on the effects of Darwin's idea from the article>>

Yes--because Darwin's idea had negligible effect on the "belief," "controversy," or "theory" of creationism. One of the predominant features of "creationism" is that it does not evolve in the face of the threats from the competition. Instead of evolving, "creationism" responds to science--not with science--but with repackages of the old faith and common sense arguments--churning through the same old set of 2000 year-old interpretations and fudges of Biblical text packaged in modern language.

Do you still contend that Old-Earth creationism, Theistic Evolution, and Intelligent Design grew out of Darwin's idea? In my opinion, it would be accurate to pull all of the Darwin material into a section "Creationism disproved." But it is a disservice to the reader to embed the Creationism page with the current infestation of pop-up ads for Darwin's idea. The reader comes to Creationism in the hope of reading a clear exposition of "creationism." Why isn't the Evolution page a sufficient advertisement for "evolution"? ---Rednblu 18:04, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)


You think these pages are advertising Darwin's ideas? I still contend that the OEC, TE and ID exist as reponses to Darwinism, why would I change my mind, you have provided no evidence to the contrary? --Steinsky 18:36, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

What in Intelligent Design is not just homiletic repackaging of William Paley's 1809 book Natural Theology? Notice, I am giving you an on-line link to the actual text. In my understanding, homiletics is the kind of repackaging of the Bible lesson that a good pastor does in giving modern stories and examples to elucidate the underlying dogma of what he or she is trying to get across to those sitting in the Sunday church pews. ---Rednblu 19:06, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

I don't think I've come across the word before, you appear right that ID is homiletics, but my point is that it is a significant example of homiletics because:

  1. It has repackaged the argument from design in a way to present it as a [apparently] scientific alternative to Darwinism.
  2. It is a recently formed creationist movement that has a significant 'contemporary following. This is the major point: the contemporary creationist movement is united against Darwin.

Steinsky 19:28, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

Would you agree with the following?

  1. Intelligent design is not science, so the "creationism movement" was not affected by the science in Darwin's idea.
  2. The "creationism movement" displays repeated ignorance of what Darwin's idea really was; so when they unite, they cannot be uniting against Darwin's actual idea. ---Rednblu 20:13, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

  1. ID is not science, but it is dressed up as science because the creatonism movement was affected by the fact that it felt threatened by the science in Darwin's ideas.
  2. Many creationists show an ignorance of the details of Evolution (both Darwin's ideas and post-Darwin detals), but the controversy that they have built is described as Creation vs Evolution. Perhaps I should have said that the movement is united against Darwinism, but obviously Darwin's ideas are still central to that. --Steinsky 20:34, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

  1. ID is as much science as evolution is. It is studying the evidence and offering an explanation for that evidence.
  2. Many in the creation movement know as much about evolution as the next man, or the next scientist. In fact many of them were evolutionists originally, and in some cases actually studied and/or taught evolution. And in my observation, creationists know far more about evolution than evolutionists know about creation, which is consistent with the fact that most creationists get taught evolution, but very few evolutionists ever get taught creation.
    Philip J. Rayment 16:54, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

<<For example, the "theory" of "creationism" makes the best sense to people who are unconvinced by the facts that suggest evolution; 2000 years ago the "theory" of "creationism" made more sense to some people ...>>

This may be just semantics, perhaps, but maybe it illustrates some of the disagreement. I would have written that sentence (without the quotes) as "For example, the theory of creation makes the best sense to people who are unconvinced by the facts that suggest evolution; 2000 years ago the theory of creation made more sense to some people...". Creation is the idea/theory/model, creationism is the movement. By the way Rednblu, thanks for fixing those links.

<<Darwin's idea had negligible effect on the "belief," "controversy," or "theory" of creationism.>>

It, along with uniformitarian geology, had quite a big effect. They gave rise to various compromise ideas (day-age, gap theory, theistic evolution, etc.) and changed creation from being the dominant paradigm to almost wiping it out, before it started to claw its way back.

<<One of the predominant features of "creationism" is that it does not evolve in the face of the threats from the competition. Instead of evolving, "creationism" responds to science--not with science--but with repackages of the old faith and common sense arguments--churning through the same old set of 2000 year-old interpretations and fudges of Biblical text packaged in modern language.>>

It didn't evolve because it didn't believe in evolution! (sorry). It did change, and it does respond with science (as well as Scripture). They are certainly not the same old arguments (some may be), but there are a whole lot of new argument used.
Philip J. Rayment 16:54, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

<<[Darwin's idea], along with uniformitarian geology, had quite a big effect. They gave rise to various compromise ideas (day-age, gap theory, theistic evolution, etc.)

Can you get a copy of Reverand William Buckland's 1836 Bridgewater Treatise? I once had a link to an on-line copy; I would give you the link, but the site disappeared. In my opinion, Buckland sketched out the logic of day-age, gap theory, and theistic evolution before he ever read Darwin. And Buckland published those pieces of creationism theory before Darwin returned from his Beagle voyages. Of course, Buckland did not talk about how God guided natural selection, but he talked about how God guided a series of extinctions of life and how God built the next set of creatures from the fragments of the prior creatures, starting with an earth that had no creatures, then microscopic creatures, then vast dinosaurs--like the Megalosaurus that Reverand Buckland himself introduced to the science world--and finally, according to Buckland's 1836 treatise, God built man from the fragments of the creatures of the world in which no man existed. And Buckland wrote about all of that day-age, gap theory, and theistic evolution before Darwin got back from his Beagle voyages--so, in my opinion, Darwin had little effect on day-age, gap theory, and theistic evolution--except maybe give a trivial label--"natural selection"--to what it was that God guided. ---Rednblu 17:47, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hmmm, I didn't write exactly what I meant to write. Just as evolutionary ideas were around before Darwin, some (or all?) of these compromise ideas were around before Darwin also. But very few people accepted them. They only became widely accepted as a result of uniformitarianism and evolution becoming widely accepted. For example, the Gap Theory became popular as a result of it being promoted in the notes of the Schofield Reference Bible which was published in 1909 I think it was. Philip J. Rayment 18:19, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

---

So were Darwin's ideas popularizers of "creationism"? Or were the writings of "creationists," such as Reverand Schofield popularisers of "evolutionism"? In any case, it seems to me that the creationism theory was firmly in place before Darwin. Perhaps, all of the references to Darwin should be moved to a section "People influential in popularizing the Gap Theory." ---Rednblu 19:03, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Back to the original question: Should Darwin be mentioned in the Creationism article?

Let's keep the debate focused and on topic. The original question and purpose of this Talk is the question: Should Darwin be Darwin be mentioned in the Creationism article? Remember wikipedia policy: "The Talk pages are not a place to debate which views are right or wrong or better. If you want to do that, there are venues such as Usenet, public weblogs and other wikis."

--- My position is yes, mention of Darwin needs to remain as part of the creationism article.

A Creationism article without Darwin is like a Goliath article without David.--FeloniousMonk 09:59, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)


--- End copy of discussion from /History of Creationism

Dealing with campaigns promoting a POV slant

Myself and several others over the last three months have noted in the discussions here what appears to be a loosely organized campaign on this and related articles to work POV statements and positions into the articles by repeatedly using a particular set of tactics. The most common tactic seen has been to tie up those holding the consensus view that is unfavorable to a particular POV in endless debates over semantic arguments over common terms and drawn out debates on peripheral topics, all while ignoring or denying the existence of prevailing, well-established consensus opinions. The point of this tactic is to wear down and confuse any opposition and muddle the issues making the introduction of POV content easier. The use of this particular tactic violates the wikipedia policies on abusing Talk pages: "The Talk pages are not a place to debate which views are right or wrong or better. If you want to do that, there are venues such as Usenet, public weblogs and other wikis." and that wikipedia is not a battleground for ideologies.

A quick perusal of the recent debate of whether creationism is a "theory" has good examples of the tactic being used, as will the User Talk and home pages of some of the participants.

I would like to see the opinions of users here and reach consensus as to how best to deal with campaigns bent on promoting a particular POV that can avoid the wikipedia mediation process.--FeloniousMonk 09:43, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You are right, and I'm outing your nemesis

You are very right to bring this up Mr. Monk, more than you realize. I've been watching this ongoing drama for the last few weeks with some amusement, because obviously none of you have any idea who you are dealing with. Rednblu is contributing here under false pretenses: he is a notorious, longtime usenet creationist crank and crackpot. His pro-creationism, pro-religion, anti-evolution posts and rants comprise one of the most famous creationist campaigns in usenet history. Longtime users of talk.origins, alt.atheism, and alt.fan.publius are very familiar with his tactics there: flooding the boards with attempts to control debates and misrepresenting his own views and those who dare oppose him. He employs deceit, insults and ingratiating flattery in equal, copious portions. The time is here for the truth to be made known, you are facing one the usenet's most notorious POV creationist campaigners here, despite his claims to being a supporter evolution.

Some on the usenet cite an article claiming Rednblu is a grad student experiment or a bot, though there is an actual person that goes by his real name. Search Google Groups for Rednblu and read for yourselves, dear readers, then decide if his dishonesty and POV campaigning is something that you want to put up with here...--Logic hammer 03:36, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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I suspected as much. They appear to be one and the same, the positions, writing styles and phrases are identical. Taken with his actions to manipulate discussions here this just confirms it for me, Rednblu is conducting a POV campaign, apparently just as he has on the usenet. His disingenuousness and misleading statements are proof of not participating in Good Faith and against the policies.--FeloniousMonk 04:06, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I will not speak as though Rednblu has been convicted or proved to be acting in Bad Faith. But your accusations are serious. If they are real (and let me be clear that I have enjoyed Rednblu's contributions), he must be disciplined formally. Tom - Talk 23:11, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

 :) Yes, but to keep from disturbing our neighbors, I suggest we should keep this side discussion on the User talk:Rednblu page. Accordingly, we ask FM to provide on the User talk:Rednblu page an example that we could discuss there. ---Rednblu 23:26, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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Too bad we didn't benefit from Rednblu's concern for other users here when you ran three different Talk page discussions to absurd lengths in an effort to insert your POV into this article and Intelligent Design over the last three weeks...

To the extent that it is here now, the existing content of this discussion should stay where it is as it grew out of Rednblu's actions here and relates directly to his imputed objectivity and that of his propositions made here. Additional discussion can take place elsewhere on wikipedia as needed, including his and my User talk pages. Beyond the allegations made by Logic hammer above, I assert that Rednblu has been conducting a mendacious campaign rewrite the Creationism and Intelligent Design articles to suit his POV, to which end he is constantly restructuring/refactoring of Talk pages to favor your POV, continually resurrecting previously settled NPOV topics, and flooding Talk pages with long, drawn-out off topic debates, violated has willfully violated the BBC terms and conditions for the use of their content.--FeloniousMonk 23:56, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

No I disagree that this needs to be kept private. "To keep from disturbing our neighbors" seems a blatant attempt to control the discussion, and in itself seems to me to be highly suspicious and perhaps even symptomatic of trolling. Perhaps he thinks that here, there will be less attention, but clearly you can't hide anything on wikipedia. I noticed this discussion, and others will as well. If this IS trolling, it will definitely be dealt with. On the other hand, if this is unfounded slander it will also be dealt with. Logic hammer might very well be (or equally NOT BE) the same person, in fact, as trolls often use sockpuppets with opposing views to bring more discussion, and argument, and as each 'side' increasingly supports the different troll POVs, the original trolls quietly slip away, leaving dissension and confusion behind. Not to point any fingers, as I am going offline, but I will be looking this over with great attention. Comments welcome here or my talk page.Pedant 21:27, 2004 Nov 7 (UTC)

Majority NOT most, Not serious debate?! Needs to be defined

I would like to bring up a separate topic on the lead opening statements. As follows, in regards to this part,

""This debate is highly controversial and is not considered a serious debate by most scientists.""

I object to this part. It is not a neutral view. I propose the following modification. This debate is highly controversial as demonstrated by the famous scopes trial for inclusion of evolution into public schools, a majority of scientists do not consider creationism a scientific proposal but a religious doctrine therefore outside the scientific Method.


To say not a "serious" topic is bias IMHO. I think my description is more neutral and to the point, I mean come on "most"? a majority would be a better term. To the majority not serious? to minority is? I mean really I think my description is more to point and explains the "most" what most? a majority right? and this most what do they object to? no scientific method. Also it is a serious subject for debate legal and scientific as demonstrated in our courts, it needs a qualifier like I have about the scientific method. If it is not serious why the big deal in the courts? Vistronic --Vistronic 07:00, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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This discussion probably belongs as part of the discussion at Talk:Creationism/What_is_wrong_with_the_lead_section.

Regarding the statement in the article: "This debate is highly controversial and is not considered a serious debate by most scientists." The statement is consistent with the wikipedia NPOV policy and the wikipedia style guide. It is a factually accurate statement, most scientists do not seriously consider creationism to be a serious alternative explanation to evolution, though proponents of creationism continue to insist that it is while denying science's primacy in the matter, thereby creating their own controversy. That the issue still occasionally finds its way into the courts because creationism proponents insist on promoting it as an alternative to scientific explanations is not much of a strong endorsement of its relevancy, but says more about the mendaciousness of creationism's boosters.--FeloniousMonk 08:47, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)


If you will note I have not dismissed the fact that a majority of Scientists reject creationism.No I do not dismiss that but clarify it. Second the premise assumes that Science by default is the ultimate truth, or should I say trumps religious truth, I am not trying to debate here, what I am saying is this ARTICLE on creationism sounds like its written by a evolutionist! At least in this part... why do I say that it is.. it omits the fact that some consider creationism a subject of faith! Yet here we go again trying to box it up in science and the science method, Why? We are talking creationism here NOT DEBATING ITS FAULTS. so SCIENTISTS don't take it serious whoopee! Millions of others do! Should we now take a poll and then post the results here? Maybe we should call it a cult? or polls show only Fundy's in America think such things. No a definition should be neutral... not subject to EVO scientists to define creationism! Give me a break, please read my revision it is NOT BIAS.

To define a religious statement by EVO scientists.... well its like different don't you see that? Again my revision, what is wrong with it? what are its errors? does it not say about the same thing but better? I mean using the word "most" is kind of simple in this context? no?

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I agree that the "controversial" tag violates all reasonable standards of neutrality. That "controversial" tag is just another pop-up advertisement for the scientific method as being the only true point-of-view. And as most advertisements, the "controversial" tag is irrelevant to the subject of the page, which is "creationism."

My main criticism of your proposed substitute header tag is that it is too long, if I may say so. I hereby move that we just remove the "controversial" tag altogether. ---Rednblu 16:08, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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I disagree that the "controversial" tag is unreasonable or an "advertisement for the scientific method as being the only true point-of-view". No reasonable person viewing the volume of debate on the Talk pages for Creationism and its nine archives(!) would conclude that the subject of creationism is not controversial, not to mention the fact that creationists constantly fan the flames of the controversy themselves by insisting that creationism be taught alongside or in place of evolution or other scientific explanations. In fact, the current favored tactic of Intelligent Design proponents, which is a proxy argument for creationism, is to "teach the controversy", cementing the fact that creationism is indeed a controversial subject.

The controversial tag was placed for good reason, because creationism is a controversial topic both here on wikipedia and in American society in general. Any effort to redefine it as otherwise demonstrates a POV bias. I oppose any effort to remove the tag.--FeloniousMonk 17:47, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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Back in the Dark Ages, the Scientific method page was mislabeled with the "controversial" tag; that mislabeling resulted from the bigotry of the theists who wrongfully insisted on defining what the scientists--not theists--should be defining. In the case of the Creationism page, the mislabeling with the "controversy" tag results from the bigotry of those who 1) believe in the preeminence of science and 2) insist on defining what no standard of neutrality would allow non-creationists to define. ---Rednblu 18:31, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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Do you actually have an argument that even attempts to prove creationism not controversial here on wikipedia or in American society? Or does your assertion rest on your previously made allegation that there's a conspiracy of scientists at wikipedia?--FeloniousMonk 19:04, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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The value of Scientific method in explaining Origins is as "controversial" in the American society as is the value of Creationism. sample poll And in fairness and even-handedness,

  • the "controversial" tag should be removed from the Creationism page as it was from the Evolution page and the Scientific method page, and
  • the phrase "is not considered a serious debate by most scientists" should be removed from the lead section and placed later in the article--where 1) quotations to specific scientists or the wording of 2) cited polls could be presented to accurately frame that put-down.

I am not objecting to the put-down in "is not considered a serious debate by most scientists"; just state it accurately. If Richard Dawkins said it, then use Richard Dawkins actual words--that would be accurate. In paragraph 2, the phrase "is not considered a serious debate by most scientists" is purposefully deceptive--because we all know that scientists consider this debate to be so serious that highly regarded scientists like Richard Dawkins will devote a Hell of a lot of time and effort to win that debate. ---Rednblu 20:00, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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That's a terribly specious argument: a poll that finds the scientific method as "controversial" as creationism in explaining Origins is not the same as saying the scientific method is controversial at all. Not even close. And you've failed to make your case, or any case for that matter, that creationism is indeed not controversial on wikipedia or in society.

The existing second paragraph currently reads: "Most creationists reject the modern evolutionary synthesis (the current scientific theory of evolution) because it attempts to explain the appearance of life without divine intervention. In this article, supporters of evolution will be referred to as evolutionists. The creationism controversy is the debate between creationists and evolutionists about the origins of life. This debate is highly controversial and is not considered a serious debate by most scientists."

As long as the article's lead statement contains reference to creationism's opposition to evolution, it is only appropriate to qualify how the opposition views creationist's assertions.

The existing phrase "This debate is highly controversial and is not considered a serious debate by most scientists. " accurately reflects reality and should remain as part of the lead section. Quotations of specific scientists and reference to relevant policy statements made by scientific organizations can be accommodated elsewhere in the article. Keeping the existing statement in its current location is central to understanding creationism's status in society as long as the proponents of creationism continue to: 1) insist that creationism is an equally plausible alternative to our scientific understanding of our origin, 2) insist that scientific explanations for our origin are wrong, biased, or part of a anti-creationism conspiracy 3) insist that creationism be taught alongside or in place of scientific explanations in science classes. --FeloniousMonk 20:40, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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Hello I must say I find this discussion interesting. I also noticed that somehow my revision is now appearing on the main page?! I thought it was removed?! Anyways as far as I can assimilate, the revision is better EXCEPT for length; that may have merit, the whole opening being too long in whole, but really I see little that needs to be trimmed. By mentioning the Scopes Trial the whole topic is really driven to home base. By mentioning the Scientific Method the EVO opposition that is mentioned in the previous line is brought to the fore front. Look I am new here so I am trying to work the system whatever that may be... But I am not new to the topic; I have spent a great deal of time on this topic, and I consider myself to have somewhat of an open mind. But the line.... Not a serious debate? Look at this talk page! Look at all the INTERNET! The statement needs to be clarified and my revision I think does that.. it is not a serious debate AGAINST the scientific method--For a majority of scientists. Look! Is creationism to be defined by the scientific method in its description? I think not, but I agree it's appropriate to mention such. Again this is quite interesting, glad I am playing a small part. Vis. -- --Vistronic 03:33, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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The "controversial" tag on the article surely refers to any controversy surrounding the content of the article, not any controversy surrounding creationism. So some of the arguments put by FeloniousMonk and others are invalid, but the fact remains that the content of this article is controversial, as seen by all the discussion on these talk pages. In theory (although I'm not too hopeful), we could get to the stage where we could have a non-controversial article about the creationism controversy. Then, we could remove the "controversial" tag.

As for the phrase "is not considered a serious debate by most scientists", this phrase is ambiguous at best. Most scientists don't consider creation worthy of serious (or any) consideration, but on the other hand, most scientists think that creationism is a serious matter than cannot afford to be ignored, even to the extent of organisations being started and books being written with the express purpose of opposing it! Now that's serious!
Philip J. Rayment 15:06, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I think the controversial tag needs to be put on all the new daughter articles as well (if it is not already) and only removed when people are happy with them. When the daughter articles have been finished, will all the controversy have moved into them, or will some remain about this page? If not, then I think that it would be appropriate to remove the tag from this page at that point. CheeseDreams 20:29, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
i agree with you that if we move the controversy off to daughters, we could (and should) take the tag off the main page. as to the daughters, however, are there a substantial number of people that think the daughters are pov? i'd say we should only add controversy tags if a number of people really see them as problematic ... and maybe it's my bias, but i think they're pretty close to fair as is ... and whatever problems there are could be quickly and easily fixed without tags ... any thoughts? Ungtss 20:53, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I am not sure, and therefore I think they ought to be put on by default, as people will need to become accustomed to the new page location. I think at least one page will prove to be controversial (though I am not sure which one).
However, since this article will have less content (due to it being seperated) I am wondering if anything contentious remains in it. CheeseDreams 21:55, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
in the absence of dissent, i'm gonna remove the tags. Ungtss 21:13, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The article reads (to me) to be NPOV, so I agree its ok to remove the tags on this page. CheeseDreams 21:33, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

contentious phrase

i like very much Ed Poor's recent edit. -Lethe | Talk

It helps if you sign ~~~~ i.e. use four tildes, that way we know what time you wrote that comment, and what recent edit it therefore refers to. CheeseDreams 21:34, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Speed of Light

Considering that Barry Setterfield's article about the decay of C is an example of Junk Science (see http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/c-decay.html ), don't you guys give it a little too much credit by not mentioning that it is a fraud?

I don't believe that your criticism is fair. Science puts forward lots of ideas that later turn out to be wrong. Setterfield honestly believed what he was putting forward; it was not a fraud. I also reject that it was junk science. It was an interesting idea that turned out to be wrong. The linked article is hardly a fair account, by the way.
On the other hand, I doubt that the current wording is accurate, in that I've not heard of the idea getting any support from helium diffusion dating.
Philip J. Rayment 02:32, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Actually, theoretical physics considers the idea of a variable C as highly plausible. However, it disputes the plausibility of the variation proposed by Creationists, for the various reasons given. This subject, however, now belongs in the Talk:Creation vs. evolution debate talk page. Should I cut this discussion and move it there (leaving a note to state that it has been moved)? CheeseDreams 21:37, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Micro, macro, and selection

  1. I don't understand the difference between microevolution and macroevolution. Would someone please explain it to me, in simple terms a layman can understand?
    The meanings of microevolution and macroevolution seem to vary depending on who you talk to. One definition is that microevolution refers to changes within species, whereas macroevolution refers to one species changing into another. Another definition is that micro- refers to rearrangement, elimination, or corruption of genetic information (i.e. a "downhill" change) whereas macro- refers to the addition of new genetic information. Creationists argue that the former had been observed whereas the latter has not been, but they also (well, Answers in Genesis at least does this) argue that use of the terms "microevolution" and "macroevolution" are misleading in the context of differentiating between what creationists accept and don't accept, and that the terms themselves are best avoided, as they don't really consider "microevolution" to be "real" evolution at all. Instead, they prefer to use terms such as variation. As an aside, creationists use variation to explain the numbers of species and varieties of living things that exist today having derived (in the case of land animals and birds) from the relatively fewer kinds on the ark, without having to invoke "macro-" or "real" evolution. This is consistent with their views that the universe could not create itself, and that the original creation was perfect but has deteriorated since, due to the fall.
    Philip J. Rayment 15:02, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    As I understand it, macroevolution is a large-scale change which brings a new species into being while microevolution is a small-scale change within an existing species. An example might be that of human races - the emergence of skin colouration in humans is the product of microevolution (a minor change within a breeding population) while the emergence of homo sapiens is the product of macroevolution (the establishment of a new population distinct from, and noth breeding with, other populations). Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong on this... -- ChrisO 15:16, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    I just want to add that evolutionists don't make that distinction. "Macroevolution" and "microevolution" are terms used by creationists only. The border is determined by the imagination of the creationist: if he can imagine it, it's microevolution. Hob 18:09, Oct 10, 2004 (UTC)
    This is wrong, and has already been discussed in Talk:Creationism/Archive 09#science doesn't distinguish macro- from microevolution?, where I wrote:
    According to Macroevolution FAQ, the terms were not invented by creationists. However, creationists (well, AiG at least) prefer not to use the terms, instead talking about the difference between loss of genetic information and gain of genetic information. See Variation, information and the created kind.
    Philip J. Rayment 00:52, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    I stand corrected. First time in ten years that a creationist knew something better than me. Hob 22:33, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC)
  2. Another thing I don't understand is the role of natural selection in the formation, creation, or appearance of new species. I thought natural selection meant "survival of the fittest", i.e., the principle that AFTER a new species is introduced into an environment, it will either survive and thrive, depending on well its characteristics fit into that environment. I don't see how its fitness for survival AFTER it appears on earth can be a "mechanism" that CAUSES it to come into being. --Uncle Ed 13:39, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    As for natural selection, you are quite right, despite what some evolutionists (who accuse me of not understanding things) say. According to evolution, the new genetic information, and therefore the new varieties of creatures, are due to mutations. Once you have these new varieties, then natural selection chooses the improved ones from the others. On the other hand, the creationist view of natural selection (which, incidentally, was described by a creationist before Darwin), is that natural selection works by removing the less-fit, defective, etc. creatures from the population. It is therefore a conserving force, not an innovative one.
    Philip J. Rayment 15:02, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    Thanks, Philip. May I put this information in the evolution and natural selection articles?
    Uhh, yes, I guess so. But that's a rough summary. Perhaps read up on it (from a creationary/scientific POV) at [41], [42], and [43] Philip J. Rayment 15:57, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    And are there really two different views of natural selection? Sounds like "six of one, half a dozen of another". In database programming (my area of expertise), we speak of using a "filter". SELECT name FROM employee WHERE department='sales' is a filter, which returns a subset of employees, i.e., only those in the sales department. You can think of it filtering out those that don't match the criteria in the WHERE clause. --Uncle Ed 15:21, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    Well, they are both "natural selection". They both work the same way. The difference is in purpose, I guess, not method. Is your database filter used to "filter out" the ones that you don't want, or to "filter in" the ones that you do want? With natural selection, does it remove the exceptions, or keep them? It depends on whether the exceptions are inferior to the norm (the creationary view) or potentially better (fitter) than the norm (the evolutionary view). (NB: That's a simplified view that doesn't account for fitness to specific environments. Again, see those links above.) Philip J. Rayment 15:57, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    Natural selection causes a species to come into being and determines whether it will then survive and thrive. If an organism is well adapted to its environment then it has a better chance of survival than a less well-adapted organism. If its adaptations take it in a direction where it can no longer interbreed with its ancestral population, a new species will emerge. Speciation is the cumulative effect of natural selection - lots of small adaptations (or maybe a few big jumps) in sequence result in new species coming into existence. This has actually been observed in the wild (see for example this story on speciation in Drosophila [44].) -- ChrisO 15:16, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

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May I in a soft voice :) suggest that we develop the documentation of these two oppositely-clustered scholarly POVs on the definition of "natural selection" by careful citation and maybe even short quotes to published articles and books? For example, has some molecular biologist used in a publication something like Ed's excellent metaphor of "selecting-in versus selecting-out" to discuss various routes to speciation? I am looking. ---Rednblu 16:19, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Um, actually *blush* it was Philip's excellent metaphor, but thanks anyway! --Uncle Ed 17:58, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Selection as a creative force

Summary: A POV argument ignoring science.

Moved to /Selection as a creative force.

Incredible slant toward Christianity (concerning Judaism in particular).

Christianity is far from the only religion which advocates creationism. References to "Christian," "Christianity," and "Bible" should be replaced with terms that include all three Abrahamic religions. Excluding Judaism and Islam simply because Christianity is the most popular advocate of creationism in the 'States ("english speaking world"?) makes this article philosophically inaccurate. Excluding Judaism in particular is quite unusual, seeing as Christians draw their records of creation from Torah texts.

I also had problems with the following sentence: "However, not all Christians are creationists, nor are all creationists Christian. In fact, other major religions believe some variant of Creationism, though often not in such terms." I attempted to fix the sentence by replacing "Christian" with theist, but the statement would no longer be true, as I'm fairly sure all theistic creationists are indeed theists. I have removed the sentence altogether.

This article should not become a propaganda pamphlet for Southern Baptist "Christian Creationism." Shem 10:09, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

<<Christianity is far from the only religion which advocates creationism.>>
Which is why the article had the sentence that you removed. Thus Judaism and Islam weren't "excluded", and the article was not therefore inaccurate (on that point). However, I didn't particularly like the sentence you removed, but because it was awkward. The fact is (I believe) that Creationism is primarily a Christian-based phenomemon, as most other religions don't take that much of an interest in it. But I agree that these other religions do address it to some extent, and they certainly should be mentioned. The only question is how much prominence they should be given. I don't have an exact answer to that.
"Theistic creationists"? Do you mean theistic evolutionists?
Philip J. Rayment 00:12, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

No, I meant what was typed. "Theistic creationists" meaning those who hold that the universe was created by a deity, as opposed to those who might suggest an extraterrestrial theory. The sentence "not all Christians are creationists, nor are all creationists Christians" cannot be changed to read "theists," as I'm fairly certain all (theistic) creationsts are indeed theists.

So far as prominence goes, Christianity should not hold a place above any other Abrahamic religion in this article, especially not Judaism (nor should any of the others hold prominence over Christianity, as well). Fact is, the "records" of creation come from Torah texts, courtesy of Moses, via Judaism before Christianity. That you believe Christians are paying more vocal attention to it does not change the idea's origins, nor does it change that all three Abrahamic religions (largely) hold it in truth.

Christianity may contain more creationists, but its followers were also the first "theistic evolutionists" in the religion scene, if I recall correctly. I can't say that I know of any prominent "theistic evolutionist" Jews or Muslims. Shem 03:45, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

<<"Theistic creationists" meaning those who hold that the universe was created by a deity, as opposed to those who might suggest an extraterrestrial theory.>>
I've heard of suggestions that life on Earth could have been started by extraterrestrials, but extraterrestrials would be inhabitants of the universe, so how could they have created the universe? There seems to be only two choices for creation of the universe: Chance (i.e. Big Bang) or a deity.
<<That you believe Christians are paying more vocal attention to it does not change the idea's origins...>
No, and I agree with you on the origins, but why should prominence in the article reflect origins rather than the size of its following?
<<I can't say that I know of any prominent "theistic evolutionist" Jews or Muslims.>>
See [45] for a brief bit about Muslims and creation. With Jews, I expect that belief in creation is related to strength of conviction regarding Judaism, i.e. strict Jews would accept 6-day creation, liberal Jews would accept evolution. However, as Jews, unlike Christians and Muslims, don't try and win converts, I don't expect that they make a big deal about creation either (both Christian and Muslim creationists use creation as one tool to convince non-believers to convert).
Philip J. Rayment 04:49, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Throughout this discussion please be aware of the difference between Creationism and Young Earth Creationism. Most Christians (and I imagine Jews and Muslims) are Creationists - i.e. they believe that the Universe was created by God. Outside the US only a minority are Young Earthers. There is already an article on Young Earth Creationism and I think some of the stuff here should go there. DJ Clayworth 21:10, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The term "creationism" is today used in several senses. One is the one you describe — the belief that the universe, in some form, was originally created by God. Another is the one that is propounded by deniers of biological evolution — the belief that the universe was created in its present form, including Earth and all living genera more or less as they now are. The latter does not have to mean YEC. A person can believe the geological evidence that the Earth is more than 10,000 years old without believing the biological evidence that today's genera developed from earlier genera. —FOo 21:56, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Heya -- a little afraid to jump in here for fear of getting in trouble. i don't have a strong pov here but i like to think i'm well-versed in all pov's involved. lemme know if i piss you off. Ungtss 04:52, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Rant-ish: Creationism is the opposite of .. um Evolutionism!?

the following might be somewhat pov, so I won't change the the main article until I've figured out a way to npov it.

Well that's what the intro says at the moment, creationism is the opposite of evolutionism. But um, in modern usage, evolutionism is just a rhetorical straw man. Ie "If you're not a creationist you must be an evolutionist", or "If you're not a christian you must be a satanist". It doesn't actually exist! Even though many folks might think it does. Witches and satanic rituals don't really exist either.

In general no real evolutionists (in the modern sense) have really existed until recently, just like no satanists have existed until some folks got inspired by th wild stories.

From a scientific viewpoint, evolutionism would be a cargo cult.

Ok, now to fix the article based on that.

That'll sort of be a problem though. Defining something as the opposite of something that doesn't exist isn't really a good idea in the first place.

Hmm, I know, how about saying that "Creationism is the belief that the world, and all life was created by God" (This is actually more all inclusive than I used to think :-) ). Leave out the anti bit, I don't think there really is one. (the opposite of creationism might be "Satan created the world"

Oh well, at least no one tried to compare Creationism with the Theory of Evolution, since those are from very disparate branches of philosophy. So thank God no one actually tried that! ;-)

Any suggestions?

Kim Bruning 11:35, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

heya ... my change. definitely appreciate your thought ... but note: it doesn't say it's the OPPOSITE of. it says it's best understood in CONTRAST TO. the two are different POVs that constantly clash, and you can't really understand the one without the other. as a result, both are best understood "in contrast" to each other -- not as opposites -- but as useful means of understanding the other. also note, what you're upset about isn't the definition. the definition is "Creationism is the belief that the universe and all life were created by the miraculous and creative act of a Deity," which comes first, and stands independent of evolutionism. have i pissed everybody off yet? Ungtss 14:06, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Very careful wording, that's already pretty good. But hmm...
Well, let's say it's like saying that red is best understood in contrast to flurble. What's flurble? Well I just made it up to find a nice contrast for red.
In the same way evolutionism is sort of a made up thing as a nice contrast for creationism, and it's not actually got so much to do with Theory of Evolution or Biology or even real life or anything like that. :-)
So I'm wondering if it's a good idea to mention it at all. It gives flurble evolutionism more credence than it deserves perhaps. Kim Bruning 14:39, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
gotcha ... so your objection at its HEART is that "evolutionism" doesn't really exist? i can concede that. lemme try again:). Ungtss 15:14, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
 :-) Kim Bruning 15:27, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Any better? Ungtss 16:04, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Really Close! Just at the end, what's "Atheistic Evolution" ? No topic on that referenced on wikipedia, maybe you're thinking of evolutionism again by another name, by accident like? Hmmm.
Perhaps a better way would be "many creationsts believe there is an contrasting belief, called evolutionism" or somesuch? Would that cover it? Kim Bruning 17:22, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
how about no reference to evolutionism (as you'd suggested before), because creationism at its heart only asserts that there is a Creator of one type or another, in contrast to any belief that says the universe is purely natural = no creator (including, say buddhism = no creator, not necessarily evolution). eh? Ungtss 17:34, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, that's good reasoning and sounds good and best of all solves the problem anyhow. Now the sentence is almost contentless though. *sigh* Ah well. :-)
Just to elucidate: my original objection has to do with there being a difference between Evolutionism and Theory of Evolution. They both contain the word "Evolution", but the similarities tend to end around about there. Folks mix (and match) them up and end up making really *weird* statements :-) Kim Bruning 17:41, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
True enough -- seems like if we understood our words better we wouldn't have to argue so much:). Thanks for the collaborative efforts, my love:)! Ungtss 18:18, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

---

For the record, responding to the statement
<<In the same way evolutionism is sort of a made up thing as a nice contrast for creationism ...>

In my opinion, creationists in the Creationism page should be able to use the word "evolutionist" as a label for the advocates of evolutionary thought at least with the meanings that Charles Darwin used the word "evolutionist." I cite to you just two sentences from the Sixth Edition of Origin of Species. [46]

  1. It is admitted by most evolutionists that mammals are descended from a marsupial form; and if so, the mammary glands will have been at first developed within the marsupial sack.
  2. That species have a capacity for change will be admitted by all evolutionists; but there is no need, as it seems to me, to invoke any internal force beyond the tendency to ordinary variability, which through the aid of selection, by man has given rise to many well-adapted domestic races, and which, through the aid of natural selection, would equally well give rise by graduated steps to natural races or species.

From both of the above sentences, I would conclude that Charles Darwin would subscribe to the phrase, "I am an evolutionist" at least, according to Thomas Huxley when Darwin was talking with Thomas Huxley and Darwin's creationist wife Emma was not around.

Similarly, creationists in the Creationism page should be able to use the word "evolutionism" in the same way that the English newspapers used the word "evolutionism" as a label for the advocacy of evolution as the explanation for the diversity of life on earth. Was the label "evolutionism" a made up word? Yes, at some period in time all the ism words were made up from the word fragments of the previous generations. In fact, by my recollection, most of today's ism words were invented by Charles Darwin's contemporaries. I note in particular Thomas Carlyle's repeated invention of a new ism word as he boldly labeled, contrasted, and criticized the strains of thought competing during Charles Darwin's lifetime.

Since I find no deviation of the modern English dictionary meanings of evolutionist and evolutionism from the usage of Charles Darwin and his contemporaries, I conclude and assert that the creationists should feel free to use the terms evolutionist and evolutionism in the Creationism page with exactly the definitions provided by the modern English dictionary, such as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Oxford English Dictionary, or the American Heritage Dictionary, pick your edition.

Specifically, the following sentence, though more convoluted than necessary, would qualify as NPOV by Wikipedia standards--because this sentence accurately summarizes the contrasting POVs of Charles Darwin and his contemporaries as stated expressly by Charles Darwin and his contemporaries.

  • Creationism stands in contrast to Evolutionism, in that while Evolutionism asserts that life arose through purely naturalistic means, particularly evolution, and not necessarily through the act of any Deity, creationism asserts that life arose through the creative act of God, and not necessarily through evolution. ---Rednblu | Talk 18:19, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • rednblue: excellent point, my friend, and that was my first instinct. i think the concern kim was trying to express (or at least my concern) was that evolutionism has theistic and atheistic variants. since there are theistic evolutionists and (conceivably anyway), atheistic creationists (who believe that some intelligent being created life on earth but still do not believe in god), it doesn't make sense to contrast evolutionism with creationism. do you have any ideas for npov ways to describe the ATHEISTIC variety of evolution? or would atheistic evolution work for you? Ungtss 18:24, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC).

I don't mind whatever you say, but do note that currently there is a difference between

  • The scientific Theory of Evolution, which predicts many things wrt living organisms.
  • The belief of Evolutionism, which may have to do with the origin of this world. I don't know, I've never met a true evolutionist I could ask, and I'm skeptical as to their existence. (Some folks do claim to be evolutionists, but tend to abandon that position under further questioning).

Like RTFA even. If the creationism page wants to contrast with evolutionism, that's fine, but note that there are very few realistic proponents of evolutionism in existence, as far as I'm aware. (Those that exist should probably be put out of their misery). Comparing with such a weak position wouldn't really add much to the article. This is not the place to attack evolutionism though, that'd be at that article. :-)

Kim Bruning 18:50, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

---

In my opinion, the Creationism page is one of those pages where the published scholarly POVs are so clustered at such widely scattered poles that the only way to construct a NPOV lead section is to quote and paraphrase some key scholar in each of the widely separated clusters. For example, the second paragraph of the lead section of Creationism sketching the broad spread of creationist and evolutionist views might have a structure something like the following.

  • Many creationists agree with ... at the Institute for Creation Research who says YEC . . . . In contrast, many creationists agree with Francis Beckwith who says ID . . . . In accepting the "microevolution" portion of evolutionary theory, many creationists agree with ... who says. However, many creationists in accepting all of the findings of evolutionary biology agree with ... who says. . . . Opposed to all the creationists, many atheists agree with Richard Dawkins who says . . . . (I think this paragraph needs some wordsmithing!) :)

It would seem to me that quoting a key scholar in each of the contrasting categories of Mr. Ungtss's interest would satisfy Ms. Bruning's excellent criticisms--that it is unacceptable POV to force labels onto people who object to the labels. I would say that you could quote some scholar who forced those labels onto people; you could say Scholar A forced those labels onto people. But then, it seems to me, you would have to acknowledge and quote the people who object to having those labels forced onto them. Hence, it might be easier to quote a key scholar in each cluster so that the people in that cluster would say, "Hey. I agree with that. I own that label. And I aggee with Mr. Ungtss's characterizations of all those other clusters out there that are wrong."  :)

I would say that Ms. Bruning points to the modern situation in which many modern "evolutionists" reject having the label "evolutionist" forced upon them--a label which Charles Darwin finally owned as his own in the Sixth edition. But if you examine Darwin's first five editions of Origin of Species, you will see that Charles Darwin resisted even having the label "evolution" put on his theory. Hence, the first five editions of Origin of Species contain neither the word evolution nor evolutionist! [47] So for thirteen years after first publishing Origin of Species Darwin himself rejected having the labels evolutionist and evolution put on him and his work. ---Rednblu | Talk 19:53, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)


A lot can happen while I'm away for the weekend! Here are my responses to the comments in this section.

  • Are "evolutionist" and "evolutionism" legitimate words?
They are both found in dictionaries, and the Oxford specifically describes "evolutionist" as "a person who believes in the theories of evolution and natural selection." The American Heritage Dictionary describes "evolutionism" as "1. A theory of biological evolution, especially that formulated by Charles Darwin. 2. Advocacy of or belief in biological evolution."
  • Is it appropriate to use the words if the evolutionists don't use the terms of themselves?
* If you don't use these terms, what do you use instead to convey the same meaning?
* If creationists have to put us with their views being described as Creation myths on the grounds that the term is accurate, why shouldn't evolutionists have to put up with the use of the terms "evolutionist" and "evolutionism" on the same grounds?

Philip J. Rayment 01:45, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Completion of the Creationism page break out to reduce Creationism page size

I plan on moving the "Creationism in public education" section to the Creationism in public education page according to the ToDo list we have been discussing as a means of bringing the Creationism page size to within reasonable limits. Does anybody have any new objections or discussion? ---Rednblu | Talk 05:40, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

one thought -- i think it might be more npov to title the page, "Creation and evolution in public education" -- ultimately, you're teaching one, the other, or both -- and THAT's what the issue is about. thoughts? Ungtss 16:35, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Much better title, in my opinion. I will go ahead and change the ToDo list. Anybody can revert the ToDo list if they have different ideas. :) ---Rednblu | Talk 18:53, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think that Creationism in public education still needs to exist in some way, such as a redirect, as people will search for this phrase. CheeseDreams 20:26, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
sounds great. any dissent? Ungtss 20:29, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
(echo) sounds great. any dissent? ---Rednblu | Talk 05:47, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If you must move something from this page, remove some of the Genesis stuff which appears in other articles; why explain day-age creationism when you can just link to it? Also notice that the link from Creation_belief says: Some fundamentalist religious groups assert that creation beliefs should replace or complement so-called "scientific" accounts of the development of life and the cosmos. For a description of this debate, see creationism. I think the article in its current form really is about the debate, and I think that despite the opening paragraph of this article, creationism is today widely understood to mean a stance opposed to evolution, and not including Theistic Evolution. But I'm sure this has been gone over before. -Fleacircus 21:59, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Are you dissenting to either the existance of Creationism in public education as a redirect, or of the seperation of the education section? Or are you requesting some other things to be removed (if so, can I put a new header above your comment as it isnt really about the matter of this section?)? CheeseDreams 22:30, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I was dissenting to the separation of the evolution vs. creationism to another page. What content belongs on this page, however, that isn't covered by Creation_belief and the various specific pages for each creation belief system? Should this page should be about the creationist side of the creationist vs. evolution debate, as it now seems? Should this be discussed in a new section? [changed indenting of CD's comment]-Fleacircus 22:58, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, it should not. Please review the todo list, and notice that this page should be a series of summaries with links to main articles in the same style as the Evolution page. CheeseDreams 22:10, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

POV of the page title Creation accounts in Genesis

Let me summarize what may be a POV problem with the page title Creation accounts in Genesis. I open this question here because the master ToDo list for the Creationism series is maintained at the top of this TalkPage.

  • According to some POVs, there are two creation accounts in Genesis. But according to other POVs, there is only one creation account described from two perspectives. Hence, there is a POV problem having the plural "accounts" in the title of the page. Have I accurately stated the POV difficulty? ---Rednblu | Talk 06:03, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    • Yessir -- that's the heart of it. Ungtss 18:39, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
      • Maybe we could think of a name that would avoid the parenthesis in account(s)? Would the page title Creation as in Genesis work? Or is there a better title something like that? ---Rednblu | Talk 20:09, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
        • Beautiful. Do you concur, Mr. Cheesedreams? Ungtss 21:24, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think Creation according to Genesis would be better and use less colloquial english than as in. CheeseDreams 00:48, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Before we go changing the title, can someone clarify as to who believes that there is only one creation account? As a 6-day creationist, I consider it to be quite clear that there are two accounts. (What I don't agree with is that the two accounts are in any way inconsistent or contradictory.) Actually, looking again at what Rednblu said, is that some believe that there is "one creation account described from two perspectives". Are we just playing with words here? What does "account" mean in this context? Does the very use of the word somehow indicate inconsistency or something? Philip J. Rayment 00:37, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Some people have significant issues with the page title, as you can see here. I think a change would remove this dispute and produce a title percieved as neutral by more readers than the current varient. CheeseDreams 00:48, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

---

<<can someone clarify as to who believes that there is only one creation account>>

Sorry for the lack of history in the proposal. Here is a short explanation of history. I jumped into a little tussle :) and proposed a compromise. Someone renamed the "accounts" page to read "account(s)" and a little revert tussle erupted in my opinion. :) I proposed a compromise to remove the varieties of the word account from the page title completely.

I like Mr. Dreams's suggestion of Creation according to Genesis best of all. Does anybody have see a fault in that title? Is there any reason to retain some variation of the word account? ---Rednblu | Talk 01:09, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

sorry i missed all this discussion -- i like creation according to genesis best of all. i was the one that had problems with accounts ... because i think that by its very nature it implies that there IS (pov) a contradiction in the passage. maybe that's just the way i read it ... but i LOVE "Creation according to Genesis" best of all, because it dodges the issue entirely. Dissent? Ungtss 03:02, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Notable evolutionary biologists who believe in god

In the section about belief in god vs evolution (philosophical naturalism, or something), there is mention of Ashley Montague as a notable advocate of both God and Evolution. Who the hell is Ashley Montagu? Could we put someone of World standing here instead, so that it actually becomes meaningful to people outside of wherever it is that Ashley Montagu has been heard of? CheeseDreams 21:09, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Is the Wikipedia link to Ashley Montagu sufficient? ---Rednblu | Talk 02:32, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Well, it shows he is significant in the subject of "female genital mutilation", but not really much else. Is there something significant with respect to creationism he has done, and if so, why isn't it mentioned in his article? CheeseDreams 00:44, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Retroactive proposals on Accounts in Genesis section

1) i'd like to change the name of the "creation accountS in genesis" page to "creation account(s) in genesis" 2) i'd like permission to remove the text in the creation account(s) section, and leave a simple link to the new page.

any thoughts?

Ungtss 21:56, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

1) This should be discussed on the talk page of Creation accounts in Genesis
2) Why? Standard wikipedia practice is to summarise subarticles on the main page. When the article is controversial (e.g. the article is disputed/ about disputes), it is standard practice to summarise both sides of the controversy, where possible without stopping the section being a summary.
CheeseDreams 22:41, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
1) posting both places because i want to make sure somebody besides you hears this. summary on the page, fine -- whatever -- have your happyfuntime (although i think that the controversy is not pertinent to the discussion, as CREATIONISTS do not ascribe to mr cheesedreams pet interpretation of the text -- but whatever -- as long as there's equal time, i'm cool). i would like to ask for a vote, however, on whether to change the title of the article to account(s). Thoughts? Ungtss 23:10, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
1) But this is the talk page for Creationism. People interested in talking about the Creation accounts in Genesis page will talk there not here. They will talk here to talk about Creationism, in the same way that to talk about Pythagoras they will talk there, not here. This is not the talk page for the whole of Wikipedia.
What pet interpretation? My POV of the text is irrelevant to Wikipedia, which is a NPOV enterprise. If you look at the Creationism account(s) in Genesis section (which I have not written 1 word of, by the way), you will see that both positions (i.e. that of there being 1 account and that of there being 2 accounts) are given equal weighting, which is the NPOV thing to do. CheeseDreams 23:39, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
i thank you for that.

I HEARBY APOLOGIZE FOR RESPONDING TO CHEESEDREAM'S INCIVILITY WITH INCIVILITY OF MY OWN. please forgive my error. Ungtss 23:13, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This is not the place to discuss incivility unless the incivility was committed here. Please comment on it where it was committed so that interested parties are actually able to see the comments in context, so that it actually makes sense to them CheeseDreams 23:39, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
and i apologize for that.

(For a continuation of this conversation, see /Talk.)

Essay by 65.6.59.190, for discussion

--- Begin cut of essay

      • ce chap. 3 pp. 34-37 What Does Genesis Say? ***

How Did Genesis Know?

31 Many find it hard to accept this creation account. They contend that it is drawn from the creation myths of ancient peoples, primarily those from ancient Babylon. However, as one recent Bible dictionary noted: “No myth has yet been found which explicitly refers to the creation of the universe” and the myths “are marked by polytheism and the struggles of deities for supremacy in marked contrast to the Heb[rew] monotheism of [Genesis] 1-2.”3 Regarding Babylonian creation legends, the trustees of the British Museum stated: “The fundamental conceptions of the Babylonian and Hebrew accounts are essentially different.”4

32 From what we have considered, the Genesis creation account emerges as a scientifically sound document. It reveals the larger categories of plants and animals, with their many varieties, reproducing only “according to their kinds.” The fossil record provides confirmation of this. In fact, it indicates that each “kind” appeared suddenly, with no true transitional forms linking it with any previous “kind,” as required by the evolution theory.

33 All the knowledge of the wise men of Egypt could not have furnished Moses, the writer of Genesis, any clue to the process of creation. The creation myths of ancient peoples bore no resemblance to what Moses wrote in Genesis. Where, then, did Moses learn all these things? Apparently from someone who was there.

34 The science of mathematical probability offers striking proof that the Genesis creation account must have come from a source with knowledge of the events. The account lists 10 major stages in this order: (1) a beginning; (2) a primitive earth in darkness and enshrouded in heavy gases and water; (3) light; (4) an expanse or atmosphere; (5) large areas of dry land; (6) land plants; (7) sun, moon and stars discernible in the expanse, and seasons beginning; (8) sea monsters and flying creatures; (9) wild and tame beasts, mammals; (10) man. Science agrees that these stages occurred in this general order. What are the chances that the writer of Genesis just guessed this order? The same as if you picked at random the numbers 1 to 10 from a box, and drew them in consecutive order. The chances of doing this on your first try are 1 in 3,628,800! So, to say the writer just happened to list the foregoing events in the right order without getting the facts from somewhere is not realistic.

35 However, evolutionary theory does not allow for a Creator who was there, knew the facts and could reveal them to humans. Instead, it attributes the appearance of life on earth to the spontaneous generation of living organisms from inanimate chemicals. But could undirected chemical reactions relying on mere chance create life?

--- End cut of essay

What is the point of this essay? ---Rednblu | Talk 02:28, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

In this article, probably no point. And it is wrong in claiming that the Biblical order of creation and the order of evolution are the same. Philip J. Rayment 02:39, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
yeah ... seems like some strong pov essay stuff ... good thoughts tho -- to whoever wrote it: if you're interested, i'd like to work together on finding a way to integrate your thoughts effectively into an article on my person page ... particularly the "creation vs evolution debate" ... but as it stands, i don't support it. Ungtss 02:50, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Its nonsense. The order of creation could be guessed by anyone. Like god would create man, and then create the earth, and then create existence?. To claim that the mathematical chance of randomly matching it to evolution is significant is deliberately obfuscating the fact that most of the sequence is obvious.
Besides, 7 should actually be 1.5, and 8 is 5.5. and 5 & 4 are the wrong way around, as are 2 & 3. The quote from the British museum is a lie - see this article (also note that the trustees discuss funding etc. and are businessmen, it is the curators that comment on comparisons between ancient beliefs etc, and are academics). And this neglects the OTHER creation account in the Psalms involving Behemoth and Leviathon, which match other creation myths remarkably well (even explaining why the otherwise random references are there). And it also neglects the other creation account in Genesis - the one which was mostly cut out, leaving only a rather odd reference to Nephilim (Bible). However, this is irrelevant to this article. CheeseDreams 21:50, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The People for the American Way Poll

Disregarding the the other biases in the article, I would have to say that quoting the PAW poll as greater than 50% support for teaching creationism is the same as quoting 99% support for teaching Christianity by defining 'teaching Christianity' as 'mentioning the Bible in class.' Historical and philisophical education is vastly different from scientific education.

The Edwards v. Aguillard quote

First, the link to the wiki entry for Edwards v. Aguillard is right there (and I moved the quote there); second, this is in a section that was supposedly moved to a daughter page; it should be short.

I think we can reach a one or two sentence summary that we can agree upon. How about this:

Most recently, the Supreme Court has held in their ruling of Edwards_v._Aguillard that laws concerning theories of origins (even creationist ones) taught in public schools must have a secular purpose and scientific merit, using the test laid down in Lemon_v._Kurtzman.

-Fleacircus 20:56, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

sounds good ... think you're right about keeping it short ... how about we either cut any reference to evolution or creation (as it is now ... just "a variety"), or list them in parallel (i.e. evolutionistic, creationistic, or any other theory) ... by the way, appreciate the help on weeding out my POV:). Ungtss 21:02, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
What you put up is fine with me. I think it's important to note that the SC decision does give special place to evolution; it is the "prevailing scientific theory" in the first sentence. By my reading the quote is pretty much saying that if creationism wants to get into science class, it needs to be presented and presentable as science.
I have POV too of course.. I don't want to overstep into that either. -Fleacircus 21:28, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
that's the way i read it too -- basically, "listen, creationists -- if you want in the game, quit trying to censor the real scientists (by banning evolution) or subsidizing your own beliefs (by requiring equal time regardless of scientific merit) and COME UP WITH SOMETHING WORTH TEACHING:)." sorry:). end pov rant:). Ungtss 21:42, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The way I see it is belonging on Talk:Creation and evolution in public education. Shall I move this discussion there? CheeseDreams 21:47, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Hi CheeseDreams... I think this discussion should be linked to over there, but it needs to stay here, even if copied over there.
I'd like to remind everyone on this discussion that they are dealing with someone alleged to be a 'notorious usenet troll' (see that discussion way up above this post.) and that wrapping up good articles with endless disscussion is one of the goals of trolls on wikipedia. This article needs some sort of disclaiming verbiage. Without it it is crackpottery, with it, it can be handled as NPOV without constant reference to who disagrees wihth the theory.Pedant 22:59, 2004 Nov 7 (UTC)


Cheesdreams: I don't see why you want to move the discussion since it is done. And since we were talking about what should appear on this page, and we reached an agreement, what's the problem? -Fleacircus 18:45, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Space. CheeseDreams 22:45, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Creation in Australia

I removed:

Creationism remains a minority position within Australia, closely associated with evangelical fundamentalists such as Fred Nile. It has not received anything near the social or legislative prominence accorded to it within the United States.

The first phrase is redundant, the reference to "evangelical fundamentalists" is (what's the term?) perjorative?, it is no more associated with Fred Nile than many other people, I question whether it has any less social prominence than in the U.S.A, and from what I can gather, it hasn't achieved any legislative prominence in the U.S.A. anyway, with most legislative attempts being rejected. Philip J. Rayment 02:36, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, the fact that there even is regular discussion about legislative aspects of creation means it has a lot more (legislative) prominence than in any other major industrialized country. One thinge we recently hashed out on the Flood geology page is that most Creation science is not so much rejected by scientist, as ignored, since most scientists (and certainly most scientists outside the US) are not even aware of the fact that this is pushed as a serious scientific position. --Stephan Schulz 14:19, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If "legislative attempts" and similar are factors in "legislative prominence", then I will probably concede that point, notwithstanding that some years ago there was some sort of requirement to give equal time to creation in Queensland, if I understood that situation adequately. Philip J. Rayment 15:29, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Something went wrong

In the edit of 20:20, 24 Nov 2004, something went wrong. Can somebody figure it out and fix it? ---Rednblu | Talk 06:56, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I think it's ok now; I changed the Links section from <h4> to ====. Now the sections seem to work. ---Ben Standeven 02:41, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

---

I formatted the Creationism page in the standard Main Article summary and layout that is used, for example, in the Evolution and Human pages as has been discussed on this TalkPage for over a year. Please refer to the Creationism archives and subsequent discussions if you have any questions. :)) ---Rednblu | Talk 21:40, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Summaries of other articles shouldnt be here because it's redundant and can cause inconsistency when one of the pages covering the same subject changes while the other remains unchanged. Grice 10:57, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

---

Summaries of "Main articles" are the Wikipedia standard, as you can see in the Evolution and Human pages, just for two examples. Can you give me a Wikipedia example of a page where "Summaries of 'Main articles'" was considered by the Wikipedia community to be "redundant and causing inconsistency"? ---Rednblu | Talk 15:16, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Creationism and philosophical naturalism section

I've corrected sentence introducing Phillip E. Johnson to reflect that Phillip Johnson's claims are not general, but highly particular.--FeloniousMonk 06:23, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Additionally, it would be in the article's interest to add some context around the Phillip E. Johnson bit with some of the opposing viewpoints for balance.--FeloniousMonk 06:26, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

i agree ... in fact, i think that we would do well to make a daughter article that covers this topic in detail with a number of arguments on all sides -- because it really is the heart of the debate, i think. what do you think? Ungtss 14:49, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Does anybody else think this page needs a major reworking?

It seems to me that this page is really poor. There isn't a well-defined use of the term "creationist". The opening paragraph seems to indicate that a creationist is someone who believes in Genesis creation. However, later on there are references to a 1997 Gallup poll that was completely neutral to whether the respondent was a believer in a Judeo-Christian formulation or some other formulation of theism. Furthermore, there are "creationists" who believe such things as the Earth and even the universe was "created" by aliens, for example. Is this a form of creationism? If not, then we should really define what exactly we are talking about. 67.172.158.8 17:56, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

defining yec

you can't place yec as a straw-man in opposition to science -- that's one pov. the yec folks believe that science SUPPORTS a young earth. to set YEC in "opposition" to science in the first paragraph is pov ... and an especially damaging pov on a page like this. as to the "scientific consensus," it was Karl Popper who said, "I don't believe that success proves anything." Ungtss 00:49, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

In the UK certainly most people use the term YEC to describe those that assert that the scientific method would back up their beliefs. I'm sure there are those that take the belief without believing in the scientific method but are they common enough to warrant discussion? I reverted to Ungtss' version. Barnaby dawson 16:05, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

There are definitely people who are YECs that use evidence other than that from science to back up their assertions. As such, the statement is too narrow to be correct. 67.172.158.8 18:00, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

There seems to be some clamoring for a removal of the statement that most YECs are fundamentalists. This is surprising, because it is definitely one of the primary perspectives of every YEC I've ever met. 67.172.158.8 16:28, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

"Fundamentalist" carries connotations and meanings that many if not most YECs disagree with, even if the use of the word is technically correct. Also, many sceptics appear to consider YECs fundamentalist by definition, in which case saying that a YEC is also a fundamentalist is redundant. Philip J. Rayment 01:57, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I have yet to meet a YEC who, when asked, didn't admit to being a fundamentalist. Can you point in the direction of any that are. The only reason that the line was included was to distinguish between those creationists who are not fundamentalists. I will change the term to "biblical literalist"
I won't admit to it, at least not until it is defined. What I said was that it "carries connotations and meaning that ... YECs disagree with". "Fundamentalist" originally meant someone who believed the fundamental truths of the Bible. I have also heard it use to mean a literalist. In popular and media use these days it means a religious extremist, sometimes bordering on a terrorist. Now do you understand why YECs don't like the term applied to them? Philip J. Rayment 02:44, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
i'm pretty much yec and definitely not fundamentalist. i don't believe in inerrancy, i don't believe that only christians get to heaven (in fact, i don't even necessarily believe in heaven), i don't believe God's omnipotent, omniscient, or omnibenevolent, and I haven't been to church in 3 years because i think, on the whole, the church is a crock and has been since a generation or two after Jesus. yet i still find genesis to be the most reasonable explanation of our origins, and the teachings of Jesus to be the truest we've ever been blessed with. Ungtss 03:59, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
With all due respect to user Ungtss, if he is as he claims then he is in a definite minority with respect to the YEC population. I wonder that user Ungtss is a YEC yet claims that he doesn't believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. What evidence from astronomy, for example, do you disbelieve so strongly that Genesis seems to be a more scientific text than an intro astronomy text? Do you actually evaluate the claims of geology, astronomy, chemistry, nuclear physics, etc. and find them wanting? What references do you use to support your claims? Do any of the writers of these references (or anybody else you've met) hold a similar position to your own?
I submit that unless user Ungtss can provide evidence that he is not alone in his opinions and that there is a substantial portion of the YEC community like him, the edit he is promoting is a vanity edit and strictly not permitted in Wikipedia. I will wait three days before changing the edit back to hear from user Ungtss for the evidence. I submit that the vast majority of YECs are believers in biblical literalism if not Christian fundamentalism. 67.172.158.8 17:08, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<<I submit that unless user Ungtss can provide evidence that he is not alone in his opinions and that there is a substantial portion of the YEC community like him, the edit he is promoting is a vanity edit and strictly not permitted in Wikipedia.>>
first of all, it is not a vanity edit when i refuse to allow you to associate a belief with a certain people group without citation, especially when i personally do not fit the association, and the association uses politically and religiously charged terms such as "fundamentalist." you are attempting to assert something as fact which i know not to be fact. if you'd like to present a cited, quoted poll showing what percentage of YECs are fundamentalists, go ahead. as it stands, it's just your word against mine. and i won't allow you to state things as fact that i know not to be fact. i am not a fundamentalist, my roommates are not fundamentalist, many personal friends of mine in africa and the middle east are not fundamentalist ... yet somehow we're still YEC. don't tell us we're something we're not. it's strawman, namecalling bs. Ungtss 21:52, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I agree with you both. "Fundamentalist" is a pejorative word, plain and simple. And I don't think any of my YEC friends would appreciate being called one. Samboy 10:58, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Fundamentalist is not pejorative in its definition, though it may have pejorative connotations. We can call them "biblical literalists" if you like. 67.172.158.8 17:36, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<<What evidence from astronomy, for example, do you disbelieve so strongly that Genesis seems to be a more scientific text than an intro astronomy text?>>
first, if you take a look at the genesis account, it doesn't claim that God created the universe in 6 days -- in fact, before God created ANYTHING, his "spirit moved over the waters." To my reading, there was something on Earth before God did anything to the Earth, and the days of creation are just God's preparation of a preexisting earth for life. so your "age of the universe models" are irrelevent to my opinion of the date when God did everything he claimed to do to the earth.
This is strictly a different opinion from YEC. Afterall, it doesn't follow from the Ussher-Lighfoot calendar. 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
and who said Ussher was the authority in YEC, any more than Darwin was the authority on evolution? Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
secondly, i find the genesis interpretation (although not necessarily literally 1 day) to be much more reasonable than star and planetary formation models in your "introductory astronomy text," which fail to explain how hydrogen clouds were able to violate the laws of gas in a vaccuum long enough to begin fusion
If you want to know about interstellar gas dynamics, shouldn't you research it? I have been an astronomer for some time and have yet to see a convincing argument that hydrogen clouds "violate" the laws of gas dynamics. By the way, "laws of gas in a vacuum" makes no sense.67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
the laws of gas in a vaccuum simply means "How the Gas laws cause gas to behave in a vaccuum. what's hard about that plain english? Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
without the intervention of an outside force,
There is an outside force -- a lot of them. Sometimes shockwaves cause star formation. Cooling functions allow for clouds to collapse. I'm not sure where the myth of an intractable problem came from.67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
i would greatly appreciate some reference to back up your conclusion -- preferably something that explains, blow by blow, exactly what those shockwaves are composed of, and how the nebula failed to obey the Gas laws prior to the explosion long enough to be close enough to explode. consensus from my coursework and research is, "nobody has a friggin' clue." Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
how the disks began to rotate,
See conservation of angular momentum. 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
that doesn't do a thing to explain how the disks began to rotate. Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
how planets of such radically different substance congealed from the same nebula,
See planetary formation models and differentiation of protoplanetary disks. 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
i've seen them ... i find them laughable. Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
how we came to have a moon in such perfectly balanced orbit that is currently RECEDING from the Earth,
Typical psuedoscientific claim: [48] 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<<The moon is receding at about 3.8 cm/year. Since the moon is 3.85 * 1010 cm from the earth, this is already consistent, within an order of magnitude, with an earth-moon system billions of years old. >>
is that supposed to mean something? i asked how the earth came to have a moon, with the moon so perfectly balanced in orbit, and slowly receding. you gave me a silly conclusory statement that didn't address the issue. Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
how many planets came to rotate the opposite way of all the other planets, how many moons came to revolve the opposite way of other moons.
[49] 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<<The "backwards" planets and moons are in no way contrary to the nebular hypothesis. Part of the hypothesis is that the nebula of gas and dust would accrete into planetessimals. Catastrophic collisions between these would be part of planet-building. Such collisions and other natural processes can account for the retrograde planets and moons. >>
is that conclusory crap supposed to impress anybody? how did it HAPPEN? "such collisions and other natural processes can account for the retrograde planets and moons." HOW!? Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I find it most reasonable to believe that a designer or god of some sort arranged our solar system in roughly the order described in Genesis. not necessarily 6 days (although it could well have been), but certainly not the billions of years asserted by these pseudoscientific planetary formation models foisted as fact on an ignorant public by a scientific community bent on supporting its rampant atheistic/agnostic bias against all reason. Ungtss 21:52, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Your POV as to the motivations behind a community of literally tens of thousands in academe is really quite alarmist. Perhaps you should do a more careful bit of research before getting on a shrill high-horse. 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
that's good. ad hominem and no rebuttal. i'm getting to like this. Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<<Do you actually evaluate the claims of geology, astronomy, chemistry, nuclear physics, etc. and find them wanting?>>

I find that the empirically observable and verifiable facts of geology, astronomy, chemistry, and nuclear physics (which i have studied at least somewhat, and accept as far as i've studied) show evolutionary models for star, planet, and life formation to be self-contradictory and ridiculous.
But have failed to provide even one example that isn't easily shown to be claptrap. 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
no sir. you've failed to explain any of these pseudoscientific efforts to explain away reality. Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
don't confuse true science with the pseudoscientific speculation of evolutionary origins. i accept the former, and reject the latter. Ungtss 21:52, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
And don't confuse planetary formation with biological evolution. 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
the only thing they have in common is a lot of nonsense. Ungtss 21:50, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<<What references do you use to support your claims?>>

foremost, my personal research and common sense.
Really? Does your personal research encompass actually doing the physics in the models that you claim don't work physically? 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
beyond that, the ever-growing body of creationist literature which is based more and more on science and less and less on dogma, as the creationist community finally "grows up" out of its medeival foolishness. Ungtss 21:52, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Most creationist literature writers are very upfront about the fact that they are NPOV. Moreso than it seems you are willing to be. 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I have read Ungtss' comments and remain unimpressed. Here is the Wikipedia definition for YEC:

I have responded to the above claims of Ungtss. I just couldn't let the nonsense keep. User Ungtss truly doesn't have a grasp on the science involved in the popular level "debate" of creationism vs. science. I submit that his attempts to paint himself as having the higher ground are nigh on ridiculous. 67.172.158.8 21:07, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
And your attempts to do likewise, whilst making an artificial distinction between "science" and "creationism" are ironic. Philip J. Rayment 13:54, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Young Earth creationism is the belief that the Earth and life on Earth were created by a direct action of God a relatively short time ago. The belief is held by the Christians, Jews, and Muslims who believe that the ancient Hebrew text of Genesis is a historical account.

There is no account of any claim to science in the first paragraph. I will not take the time to debunk the incorrect science stated by user Ungtss, since he can edit any of the statements in the Wikipedia library if he were really to believe this (for example, he could edit the article on the conservation of angular momentum if he believes that there is no way to get rotation in astrophysical gas clouds), but I have edited the definition to my satisfaction. YEC relies either on a faith-based rejection of modern science (as pseudoscience or as naturalism or as secularism) but is not on the whole necessarily scientific.

As to the claim that there are no references to this, the reasonable thing to do is refer to self-described Young Earth Creationists. Polling makes no sense because the term is self-descriptive. I can refer to any number of websites that reject prevailing scientific notions of astronomy, geology, biology, physics, etc. in favor of Young Earth Creationism. As such, they necessarily reject scientific statements. I can also refer to most Young Earth Creationist literature as accepting a literal interpretation of Genesis. Therefore, I have justified my edits and will continue to maintain the position. 67.172.158.8 02:18, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<<YEC relies either on a faith-based rejection of modern science >>
No, this is a misrepresentation.
This is true. There are those that rely on a faith-based rejection of modern science.
Like who? I don't doubt that there are some somewhere, but it is not typical of creationists. Philip J. Rayment 13:54, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<<I can refer to any number of websites that reject prevailing scientific notions of astronomy, geology, biology, physics, etc. in favor of Young Earth Creationism.>>
As Ungtss said, "don't confuse true science with the pseudoscientific speculation of evolutionary origins". YECs reject the uniformitarian assumptions and their consequences in astronomy, etc. They don't reject true science. Philip J. Rayment 02:44, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<<I have edited the definition to my satisfaction.>>

this page is not here for your "satisfaction." it is here for npov. Ungtss 03:06, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I editted it to npov standard. My satisifcation stems from NPOV.
npov is not determined by your satisfaction, but by consensus satisfaction according to the rules of the game. Ungtss 09:54, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Consensus in science is determined by the rigors of the scientific method, which YEC fails on many accounts. Read the article on science if you don't believe me. 128.138.96.220 20:31, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
not according the The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Scientific consensus is reached by common ideology, and what scientists have been taught and built their reputations on. scientific revolutions come from outsiders who actually have the guts to apply the scientific method. as to whether or not YEC fails, that's one pov among two, both of which deserve representation on this page. Ungtss 21:24, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
While Kuhn makes valid points, he is not the arbiter of science. The Baconian ideal still stands and that's the scientific method. What Kuhn did was characterize the flavor but not the methodology. 67.172.158.8 17:32, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
what he did was to describe exactly how and why the scientific community consistently fails to live up to its baconian ideals. Ungtss 19:38, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Did you read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions? Kuhn does no such thing. He takes a functionalist approach to the study and describes how, for example, the history of science and science texts are a misrepresentation of science in practice. There is no description of the scientific community failing to live up to Baconian ideals -- indeed, Kuhn advocates the opposite in his forward. If you have a beef with the scientific community, that's fine, but imposing this belief onto authors who don't share it is a little strange. 67.172.158.8 20:52, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
he said the "history of science" texts are a misrepresentation of the history of science, because they claim that science is an unbroken line of progression (the baconian ideal) while in fact it's a series of huge jumps by outsiders who buck a scientific community unwilling to think outside the box. Ungtss 21:16, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The main bit on which I "don't believe you" is the bit that "YEC fails on many accounts". And the article on science says nothing about that. Philip J. Rayment 14:14, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Take the Age of the Earth article referenced in the definition, if you don't believe me. 67.172.158.8 17:32, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
That article also says nothing like "YEC fails on many accounts". Philip J. Rayment 13:54, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<<As to the claim that there are no references to this, the reasonable thing to do is refer to self-described Young Earth Creationists.>>

then start describing them as they describe themselves: creation scientists.
Not all Young Earth Creationists are creation scientists. Some are simply proponents of of a literal Genesis.
not all evolutionists are scientists either. some of them just believe in the fictional computer-generated missing links they're shown on the discovery channel. Ungtss 09:54, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Strawman. There isn't any claim in the statement about "evolutionists" being "evolutionary scientists". The statement is about YEC and you claim that they are really "creation scientists". If not all "evolutionists" are scientists that doesn't mean that we can't point out that not all YEC are scientists. 128.138.96.220 20:31, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
true enough -- but that wasn't what i was trying to argue. i was arguing that you can't put "mainstream scientists" against "biblical literalist fundamentalists." you have to put "mainstream scientists and unemployed discovery-channel watchers" against "creation scientists and snake-handlers." Ungtss 21:24, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
There was no pitting. It was a simple statement about what the group of YECs believe in general. They do reject statements about the age of the Earth. I'm surprised that user Philip doesn't think that the article referencing the age of the Earth is scientific. Perhaps he can tell me what it is if it isn't scientific. If he manages to do that, then I'll agree to keep the editorial removal of the term. Otherwise it's going back in. 67.172.158.8 17:32, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
the pitting comes in lining up "scientists believe this" and "creationists, who are mostly fundamentalists, believe this." as to whether dating methods are scientific, how do scientists know how much radioactive material was in the rock, originally, in order to calculate the age of the rock? Ungtss 19:38, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I'm not going to get into the scientific debate here. After all, you can read the Age of the Earth article for yourself where the matter belongs anyway. I'm not lining up any "scientists" believe this, "creationists" believe that. It is a fact that creationists reject scientific statements as to the age of the Earth. 67.172.158.8 20:52, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
it's not a fact that the methods are scientific. it's disputed. the age of the earth article very clearly CALLS them scientific, and then very clearly goes on to explain how a series of failed methods based on silly assumptions (like, "there was no lead in the original rock" by holmes) gave way to still other flawed and unreliable attempts, until it was finally voted on in the 20s by a nearly unanymously atheistic organization,
This is beside the point. First, the unsubstantiated atheistic claim is merely an ad hominem for you to state, but the last sentence in the Age of the Earth article states it all. Just look into how the work was done and evaluated. It's very meticulous and you've obviously not read it.
look. what i'm saying is very simple, and i'd appreciate a direct response instead of this elephant hurling.
The methods are agreed upon and agreed to be free of bias by the people that agree with them. Not by others (i.e. YECs). Philip J. Rayment 13:54, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)
STILL without providing any scientific basis for the assumptions regarding the original level of radiation in the rock.
"Original level of radiation"? You've got to be kidding me. We know what causes radioactivity: it's radionuclei. We know that there are parent and daughter nuclei relationships. None of that is argued. If you are arguing about contamination, you can see this is a silly argument here: [50]
unless you can explain to me how scientists know the relative proportion of radioactive elements in the original rock,
See above.
it is BOGUS for you to call them scientific on a page about people who think they're bs. Ungtss 21:16, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Since I have demonstrated this to be the case, I will revert the edit. 67.172.158.8 21:49, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<<Young Earth creationism is the belief that the Earth and life on Earth were created by a direct action of God a relatively short time ago. The belief is held by the Christians, Jews, and Muslims who believe that the ancient Hebrew text of Genesis is a historical account.>>

i wrote that paragraph, biased fundamentalist that i am. the paragraph contains no reference to science or anti-science, because that is an area of pov dispute -- and this definition was much the same, before you introduced your hackneyed "creationists reject science" pov. if you want that pov in the definition, then you have to allow the creationist pov that they are scientific. if you don't want the creationist pov in the definition, then you've got to cut yours out too. those are the rules of npov. don't address the issue, or address both sides. anything less is bs. Ungtss 03:06, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I am willing to live with the current incarnation. However, I will probably edit the YEC article. 67.172.158.8 04:59, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<<This is beside the point. First, the unsubstantiated atheistic claim is merely an ad hominem for you to state, but the last sentence in the Age of the Earth article states it all. Just look into how the work was done and evaluated. It's very meticulous and you've obviously not read it.>>

look. what i'm saying is very simple, and i'd appreciate a direct response instead of this elephant hurling. you base your conclusion of the age of the rock on the rate of decay (known), the current element proportion (known), and the original element proportion (unknown). how do you know what the original proportion was, in order to calculate how long the elements have been decaying to arrive at their present level? Ungtss 22:02, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Here is a link: [51] ~

i appreciate the link. from a creationist pov, it fails to answer this objection. Ungtss 22:30, 6 Jan 2005

(UTC)

This objection holds no water:[52]
it holds water to my reading. Ungtss 22:41, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

From your site:

Radiometric rock dating, the methodology of determining the date of formation of a rock sample by the well-established rate of decay of the isotopes contained, depends on accurately determination of the starting points, the original concentrations of the isotopes.

From my site:

Isochron methods do not assume that the initial parent or daughter concentrations are known.
In basic radiometric dating, a parent isotope (call it P) decays to a daughter isotope (D) at a predictable rate. The age can be calculated from the ratio daughter isotope to parent isotope in a sample. However, this assumes that you know how much of the daughter isotope was in the sample initially. (It also assumes that neither isotope entered or left the sample.)
With isochron dating, we also measure a different isotope of the same element as the daughter (call it D2), and we take measurements of several different minerals that formed at the same time from the same pool of materials. Instead of assuming a known amount of daughter isotope, we only assume that D / D2 is initially the same in all of the samples. Plotting P / D2 on the x axis and D / D2 on the y axis for several different samples gives a line which is initially horizontal. Over time, as P decays to D, the line remains straight, but its slope increases. The age of the sample can be calculated from the slope, and the initial concentration of the daughter element D is given by where the line meets the y axis. If D / D2 was not initially the same in all samples, the data points would tend to scatter on the isochron diagram, rather than falling on a straight line.
For some radiometric dating techniques, the assumed initial conditions are reasonable.
  • Potassium-argon dating, for example, assumes that minerals form with no argon in them. Since argon is an inert gas, it will usually be excluded from forming crystals. This assumption can be tested by looking for argon in low-potassium minerals (such as quartz), which would not contain substantial argon daughter products. Ar/Ar dating and K-Ar isochron dating can also identify the presence of initial excess argon.
  • The concordia method is used on minerals, mostly zircon, that reject lead as they crystalize.
  • Radiocarbon dating is based on the relative abundance of C14 in the atmosphere when a plant or animal lived. This varies somewhat, but calibration with other techniques (such as dendrochronology) allows the variations to be corrected.
  • Fission-track dating assumes that newly-solidified minerals will not have fission-tracks in them.

The article is untractable and doesn't deal with the simple explanations provided. It is also the reason I reverted. Joshuaschroeder 23:16, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

i understand that. but you've only quoted the intro to my article, without even considering the length of it on isochron dating.

The general theme of the article and its contents are well-refuted in the previous article quoted. Are you asking for a point-by-point clarification?

<<Potassium-argon dating, for example, assumes that minerals form with no argon in them. Since argon is an inert gas, it will usually be excluded from forming crystals.>>

that assumes the original level of argon in the crystals. it says it's "usually excluded," but doesn't say under what circumstances it is INCLUDED ... or why the rock could not have been CREATED with the argon intact. i'm not saying creationism is right. i'm just saying it has a pov that needs to be articulated on this page. Ungtss 23:22, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Argon, being a noble gas, cannot form crystals. The only way to get argon in a rock is for it to cool quickly which will in turn not allow for crystal formation. To deny this fact about argon is to question the measured vapor pressure of argon, the laws of chemistry, etc. Joshuaschroeder 23:44, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
an article about excess argon. whether the article is well-refuted is a matter of point of view. both povs must be represented here. Ungtss 23:51, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but ICR is incorrect here. The K-Ar measurements that are believable are only done with slow forming crystals which necessarily have no excess Ar. The only way to get excess Ar in a crystal is to form it above at a pressure equivalent to the vapor pressure of Ar at the temperatures required. The phase diagrams for the interior of the Earth (where crystals form -- not in lava flows as the article harps) doesn't allow for this.
It's not a matter of POV when a group is incorrect. There is no problem with K-Ar dating when used incorrectly. And that's, of course, not the sum total of radiometric dating. Joshuaschroeder 01:04, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you've lost me. You appear to be saying that the only way to get excess Ar in a crystal is for it to be under pressure, as happens deep in the earth. But the examples in the article, which you dismiss as being from lava flows, are therefore not under this pressure and therefore should not have excess argon, but do. What am I missing here?
<<It's not a matter of POV when a group is incorrect.>>
But whether or not they are incorrect is disputed, and therefore a POV! Therefore the article needs to take that POV into account.
Philip J. Rayment 13:54, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

perhaps if you'd read the article more thoroughly, you would have noticed this:

Further confirmation comes from diamonds, which form in the mantle and are carried by explosive volcanism into the upper crust and to the surface. When Zashu et al. obtained a K-Ar isochron "age" of 6.0±0.3 Ga for 10 Zaire diamonds, it was obvious excess 40Ar* was responsible, because the diamonds could not be older than the earth itself.14 These same diamonds produced 40Ar/39Ar "age" spectra yielding a ~5.7 Ga isochron.15 It was concluded that the 40Ar is an excess component which has no age significance and is found in tiny inclusions of mantle-derived fluid.
cited to:
S. Zashu, M. Ozima and O. Nitoh, "K-Ar Isochron Dating of Zaire Cubic Diamonds," Nature, 323 (1986): pp. 710-712.
15 M. Ozima, S. Zashu, Y. Takigami and G. Turner, "Origin of the Anomalous 40Ar-36Ar Age of Zaire Cubic Diamonds: Excess 40Ar in Pristine Mantle Fluids," Nature, 337 (1989): pp. 226-229.
Ungtss 01:31, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
This is an old claim, one that was bantered about by Henry Morris. The talkorigins archive has the following to say about the very article you site (4th response down) [53]
Christ Stassen says this about the particular example you give:
I investigated this some time ago and wrote a response (1998) but could not find it in Google news. When I am home I will check my archives there. I think the answer is mixing in this case, and was demonstrated in a followup paper by Ozima by comparing chlorine ratios. But that is just off the top of my head, and it has been five years since I researched this example.
The incremental heating Ar-Ar method was applied in this case, but essentially no argon was released up to the temperature where the whole diamond disintegrated. The result is a plot with basically one data point, which is no better than a straight K-Ar assessment. The 'standard' test for mixing doesn't work on Ar-Ar because of the correction for atmospheric argon.
The YEC's may be right that the result wouldn't have been viewed with as much skepticism if it hadn't been so obviously wrong, however there are plenty of results in accordance with mainstream geology that have been investigated and stood up to equivalent skepticism. And this one example is a non-issue as far as the reliability of isotope dating goes since mixing was demonstrated.
It is funny that the YEC incredulity is not extended to their own ideas as much as they are extended to a single erroneous argon mixing problem. There is no doubt that a preponderance of the evidence is used in geology, and that this is a legitimate use.
To put it another way, there are cataloged literally tens of thousands of isochron datings that give consistent results. I wouldn't expect a YEC to go through each and every one of them, and they don't. Instead they latch on to the anamolies and cry foul. It's a typical creationist tactic that misses the forest for the trees, so to speak. Joshuaschroeder 02:57, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
all of which may be well true -- i'm just here to write an npov article:). my question is, if K/Ar dating is only accurate in slow-forming crystals formed in the mantle, then exactly how much of current rock can be dated accurately by K/Ar? Ungtss 03:04, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Some, not all. Of course, any mineral that has a naturally occuring abundance of potassium is going to be a better radiometer, so to speak. The truth is that there are dozens of isochron methods. See radiometric dating for more. Joshuaschroeder 03:06, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)
thanks:). Ungtss 03:11, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)

new revert war

um ... would you care to justify the revert of an edit which added factual information without deleting anything? Ungtss 22:43, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

great compromise:). thanks for working with me:). Ungtss 02:52, 7 Jan 2005 (UTC)


biblical literalism

josh, what relevence do the stats on changing attitudes on biblical literalism and inerrancy have to do with creationism, since creationism is not dependent on either? (evident from the stats, since 1/3 take the bible totally literally, but almost half believe God created us within the last 10k years, leaving roughly 20% of americans who are non-literalist creationists?) Ungtss 04:10, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

a) just because someone believes "God created us within the last 10k years" doesn't make them a creationist.
run that by me again? the belief that God created us doesn't make one a creationist? i'm sure it's convenient for you to equate "creationist" and "biblically literal creationist," but there's no basis for that equation. anybody who believes God created man is a creationist. Ungtss 13:21, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
One could, for example, believe that God created the universe 10K years ago, but believe that the Genesis account is completely incorrect about everything. This would mean that the person wouldn't be a creationist in the sense most used for this article.
that would make them an ID, or non-biblical creationist. Creationist just means "God created." Evolutionary creationist = "god created by evolution." ID creationist = "God created in some way we don't know how or when." But the only think CREATIONISM means is that things were CREATED, no? Ungtss 15:01, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Not in the sense of this article or the linked ones. While a belief in an "amorphous" creationism is given a nod of the head in the introduction, the remainder of the article is about the kind of creationism that you and Phil ascribe to.
seems to me that the best way to approach the article is to start with the amorphous creationism, and then focus on the types of creationism which you and i agree are most vocal and organized. however, just because some creationists are more vocal and organized doesn't mean that nobody else is a "Creationist." Ungtss 15:39, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
b) creationism and the belief in biblical inerrancy go hand-in-hand as demonstrated by, for example, Henry Morris (considered to be the founder of modern creationism, by many).
again, i'm sure it's very convenient for you to limit the definition of creationism to evangelicals like henry morris, but there's no basis for that equation. it ignores the entire religion of Islam. Ungtss 13:21, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
But Henry Morris and company are those most cited as proponents and are the ones who coined the term. You yourself have cited him from time to time. Those in Islam who are creationists are arguably not as concerned with the issue as the Christians and the Orthodox Jews. It is obviously a very wide community, but the arguments one comes in contact with are more often than not from a biblical inerrant POV.
not the arguments i most often come into contact with:). i grew up in west africa and saudi arabia -- places where creationism exists completely independent of biblical inerrancy. in saudi arabia, in fact, teaching either the bible or evolution are ILLEGAL and will get you BEHEADED. i think we need to take a global perspective here. the West may THINK it's the whole world, but it certainly isn't:). Ungtss 15:01, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The fact is, though, that few in Saudi Arabia would call their version of the events that lead to the creation of the world as "creationism" without the preaching of Morris and others. I realize that the west isn't the only place where evolution is attacked, but the "creationist" alternative (and indeed the polarization of the issue itself) is a western concept. Joshuaschroeder 15:21, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
i'll have to disagree with you on that. muslims see a definite polarization of the issue, without morris. very few of them have even HEARD of morris. they think that evolution and materialism are going to be the death of humanity, and they're willing to fly planes into buildings over it. Ungtss 15:39, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I have read plenty of radical Muslim writings. Nowhere do I read that they believ that evolution is going to be the death of humanity. And the materialism they cite isn't the philosophical materialism but "mammonism" generally. Having read the complete works of bin Laden over the summer I can assure you that Al Qaeda, for example, did not attack the US over evolution. Joshuaschroeder 16:29, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Non-sequitur. just because they dispute mammonism generally doesn't mean they don't dispute evolution specifically. The whole picture goes together for them. "Evolution" is just another sick idea to come out of the "Great Satan" -- right up there with the Crusades, Naziism, Communism, Nihilism, and Colonialism. Ask any orthodox muslim what they think of evolution and you'll get the same answer: "Wrong." The point is, they're 6-day, young earth, adam, eve and noah creationists, but not that "fundamentalist biblically-literal christian" caricature the evolutionists love to throw around so much. Creationism is bigger than the bible. a lot bigger. Ungtss 18:12, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Most radical muslims would dispute the creationism described on these pages just as much as evolution. You are the one with the non-sequitor, not I. Joshuaschroeder 18:40, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
c) the inclusion is justified. It is meant to document trends within religious views of the natural world. Joshuaschroeder 05:03, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
how does it document trends within religious views of the natural world? i would answer "not all literal" in that poll, because many things ARE allegorical -- but i STILL think Genesis should be taken literally. your assumption is that creationism stems only from a literal and inerrant view of the bible. you're wrong. Ungtss
I took a stab at addressing the issue more completely. have a look. Ungtss 13:21, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Your stab works well, but there is one problem I see:
Among Biblical creationists, there are a spectrum of views regarding scriptural literalism and inerrancy. Some believe that Bible is absolutely inerrant and should be taken absolutely literally. Others believe the Bible is a historically accurate text, but is not absolutely inerrant, and that parts such as the Genesis creation account were intended to be taken as literal history. Others believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, but not everything should be taken literally. Still others believe that the Bible is largely fictitious.
Creationists generally fall into the first two categories: those who believe that bible is inerrant and literally true, and those who believe that Bible is a historical text.
Obviously these two paragraphs contradict each other, or at the very least there is no quantifiable way to show that the last sentence is true. Are you sure that creationists "generally fall into...two categories"? If so, how do you know? I have been trying to find resources and opinions of people that match your take on the issue, Ungtss. I have yet to find anybody but yourself that believes as you do. It looks like you may be treading on original research here. Joshuaschroeder 14:36, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
how so? if half the us population believes that god created man w/in 10,000 years, but well less than that number believe the bible is literally true, there are a substantial number of people who believe God created Man, but don't believe the bible is literally true. those people are creationists who don't believe in biblical inerrancy. i'm part of that group:). how can we possibly get around that? Ungtss 15:01, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The poll numbers don't really work that way because the question wasn't posed in such a way. It may be that all the people who believe that the Earth was created 10,000 years ago who don't believe in a literal Bible believe that Genesis itself is literal but the rest of the Bible is fake. Likewise it could be that they believe that the world was created as according to Hindu texts 10,000 years ago -- but obviously they don't accept the bible as historically accurate. We just don't have enough information to arrive at the conclusion you want to make. You, Ungtss, are part of the special group of people who a) don't believe the Bible is inerrant and b) believe the creation account is historically accurate to the extent that you believe that Flood Geology is correct. I really have tried to find a group, an individual, or an organization who holds these two beliefs in as tight tandem as you do. Your current edit makes it sound like this is a large group of people. Without citation, I'm afraid this is simply vanity on your part. Joshuaschroeder 15:21, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
we don't have numbers on how MANY people are non-inerrancy creationist, but we have very real evidence that they exist. i think you'll find no reference to literalism in the writings of Behe, Dembski, or Johnson. Given the fact that they exist, even tho we don't have polls, wouldn't you say it's best to include that possibility? wouldn't excluding that group creates a false dichotomy by forcing us to choose between "biblical inerrancy!" and "science!" when there's a third group saying "history!" ??? Ungtss 15:39, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Behe is a bit of an enigma -- he definitely doesn't think that Genesis is historically accurate at all. Dembski is probably a creationist, but he remains closelipped as to how much of a literal Genesis he accepts. Johnson is the closest to the type you describe, but his advocacy often looks more like a polemic against all of science and I have yet to read where he explicitly rejects biblical inerrancy (in fact, I have read quotes where he explicitly accepts it). So you're going to have to give me more evidence than this. Joshuaschroeder 16:29, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
why do you need more evidence? we have muslims, we have significantly more people that believe that God created man than believe the bible is literal and inerrant, we have behe, dembski, and johnson, whose arguments for creationism are SEPARATE from inerrancy, regardless of their personal feelings about it, and we have me, right in front of you. there ARE non-biblical-inerrancy creationists around -- lots of them. i'm sorry i don't have a stat, but the page CANNOT deny we exist. Ungtss 18:12, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
This is what you wrote: Creationists generally fall into the first two categories: those who believe that bible is inerrant and literally true, and those who believe that Bible is a historical text. This is an unsupported generalization from the very words you wrote above. My beef isn't with the non-controversial statement that there are creationists who aren't believers in biblical inerrancy. My beef is with the statement that the two most general categories are creationists who believe that the Bible inerrant and those who believe that the Bible is a historical text. It is this assertion that is unwarranted. We don't have the evidence right now to show it. You claim that Muslims consider the Bible to be a historical text. I am sorry, but most of what is written by Muslims about the Bible is saying that it is corrupted and not to be trusted. That's hardly an endorsement of the Bible being a historical document. We know that biblical inerrancy has influenced creationism. We also know that there are creationists who are not believers in biblical inerrancy. There may be a group of people who, like yourself, believe that the Bible is an accurate historical account but not necessarily inerrant. I don't know. I can't find anybody but you who has that type of nuanced take, and certainly it doesn't seem reasonable to claim that creationists generally fall into two categories one of which is that one. A statement like "not all creationists believe in biblical inerrancy" should suffice. Joshuaschroeder 18:48, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

For some background on the issue, I quote the Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Ron Numbers on the history of the term "creationism":

Antievolutionists and Creationists

When the Origin of Species went on sale late in 1859, the term "creationist" commonly designated a person who believed in the special origination of a soul for each human fetus, as opposed to a traducianist, who believed that the souls of children were inherited from their parents. Although Darwin (in private) and his allies occasionally referred to their opponents as "creationists," for about seventy-five years after the publication of his book such adversaries were more typically called "advocates of creation" or, increasingly, "anti-evolutionists." This custom prevailed well into the twentieth century, in large part because antievolutionists remained united far more by their hostility to evolution than by any common commitment to a particular view of creation.

As late as the 1920s antievolutionists chose to dedicate their organizations to "Christian Fundamentals," "Anti-Evolution," and "Anti-False Science," not to creationism. It was not until 1929 that one of George McCready Price’s former students, the Seventh-day Adventist biologist Harold W. Clark, explicitly packaged Price’s new catastrophism as "creationism." In a brief self-published book titled Back to Creationism Clark urged readers to quit simply opposing evolution and to adopt the new "science of creationism," by which he meant Price’s flood geology. For decades to come various Christian groups, from flood geologists to theistic evolutionists, squabbled over which camp most deserved to use the creationist label. However, by the 1980s the flood geologists/scientific creationists had clearly co-opted the term for their distinctive interpretation of earth history.

The Creationist Revival after 1961

For a century after the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) antievolutionists were united almost solely by their antipathy to evolution, not by agreement on the mode of creation. Among Christian Fundamentalists in the twentieth century, three interpretations of Genesis 1 vied for acceptance: (1) the gap theory, which held that the first chapter of Genesis described two creations, the first "in the beginning," at some unspecified time in the distant past, the second about 6,000 years ago, when God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; (2) the day-age theory, which equated the "days" of Genesis 1 with vast geological ages; and (3) the theory of flood geology, advocated by George McCready Price, which allowed for no life on earth before the Edenic creation and which assigned most of the fossil-bearing rocks to the catastrophic work of Noah’s flood. Until the early 1960s the vast majority of American Fundamentalists who left any record of their views on Genesis embraced either the gap or day-age schemes. Support for flood geology was limited largely to the small Seventh-day Adventist church, of which Price was a member.

This division of loyalties began to change dramatically with the publication in 1961 of The Genesis Flood by John C. Whitcomb, Jr., and Henry M. Morris, and the formation two years later of the Creation Research Society (CRS). Whitcomb, an Old Testament scholar, and Morris, a civil engineer, collaborated on an up-to-date presentation of Price’s flood geology that attracted considerable attention in conservative Christian circles. Their argument that science should accommodate revelation rather than vice versa resonated with the sentiments of many concerned Christians, who followed Whitcomb and Morris in jettisoning the gap and day-age theories as unholy compromises with naturalistic science.

In 1963 Morris joined nine other creationists with scientific training to form the CRS, an organization committed to the propagation of young-earth creationism. In the 1920s antievolutionists had lacked a single scientist with so much as a master’s degree in science. Their most impressive scientific authorities were a successful Canadian surgeon, a homeopathic medical-school dropout turned Presbyterian minister, a Seventh-day Adventist college instructor without an earned bachelor’s degree whose most advanced exposure to science had come in a course for elementary-school teachers, and a science professor at a small Fundamentalist college whose highest degree was a master’s awarded for a thesis on the teaching of penmanship in the public schools of two Midwestern towns. In contrast, five of the ten founding members of the CRS had earned Ph.D.’s in the biological sciences at reputable universities, and a sixth held a doctorate in biochemistry. Not all of the founders, however, possessed legitimate credentials. The only geologist in the group fraudulently claimed to have received a master’s degree.

About 1970, in an effort to sell their views as science and gain entry to public-school classrooms, these young-earth creationists renamed their beliefs creation science and dropped the label flood geology. Although two states, Arkansas and Louisiana, eventually passed laws mandating the teaching of creation science whenever evolution science was taught, the U. S. Supreme Court in 1987 ruled that such laws violated the First Amendment to the Constitution, requiring the separation of church and state. Despite this setback, the creation scientists flourished to the point that they virtually co-opted the term creationism for the formerly marginal ideas of Price. Public-opinion polls in the 1990s, though failing to distinguish young- from old-earth creationists, showed that forty-seven percent of Americans, including a quarter of college graduates, professed belief in the recent special creation of the first humans within the past 10,000 years. A hundred and forty years of evolution had left many Americans unconvinced.

we've definitely got a semantic issue here ... were they creationists before they called themselves creationists? before darwin, the biblical account of creation was largely taken for granted. what did creationists call themselves back them? they called themselves "Christians." Along comes Darwin, and the christians that rejected darwin defined themselves as "antievolutionists." but then, later, in order to state their views more positively, they called themselves "Creationists." The only thing that changed is the name. the story hasn't changed a bit. what do you think? Ungtss 15:01, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I submit that creationism wasn't creationism until they called themselves "creationist". As is stated above, there were many beliefs before creationism that were nebulous and had varying degrees of agreement with a literal (or historical) reading of Genesis. The canon of accepted ideas didn't come into being until the 1920s or so and then really picked up again after 1961. This is the birth of modern creationism.
well then let's call it "modern creationism." King David, Job, Jesus, the Apostle Paul, Augustine, St. Thomas, and Paley were all creationists before "Modern Creationism." but they were still creationists. what would you call them if not creationists? Proto-creationists? Ungtss 15:39, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I wouldn't call them anything. It'd be like asking what we would call Julius Ceaser with respect to capitalism -- a "proto-capitalist"? The question doesn't make sense. If an idea or concept isn't around when a person is alive, they aren't connected to it. Joshuaschroeder 16:29, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
what do you mean the concept wasn't around? "In the Beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth ... God said, 'Let there by light' ... God planted a garden in eden ... God sent a great flood ... Abraham was the son of Terah." That story hasn't changed in 3000 years. evolving and changing ideas about that creation doesn't change the basic idea. Creationist="God created." Peter read the same Genesis we're reading, and he believed it to be true -- he even warned us about uniformitarianism in 2 peter 3:4-5.
Read the above statements. Just because the roots of a belief are antecedent doesn't mean that they themselves are representative of hte belief. The Bible in and of itself isn't indicative of creationism: there is an interpretation that is creationist. Julius Caeasar promoted free trade in the Roman Empire, that doesn't make him a capitalist because capitalism didn't exist as a concept when he was around. Likewise creationism didn't exist as a concept when the Bible was written. I know you believe that God, etc. are creationists, but history is fairly clear on when the consolidation occurred. Joshuaschroeder 18:40, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
While creationism can refer obliquely to the other definitions we provide in the article, 9 times out of 10, it is refering to the more strict definition and, further, YEC in particular! To not admit this in this encyclopedia article is dishonest.
i think the article should do both -- give a general understanding of creationism, and then "common parlance." Ungtss 18:12, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The story is really defined by people who accepted a Darwin's explanation and subsequent revisions of the theory of evolution and people who don't. The people who don't weren't united under the banner of creationism until they consolidated their efforts. Therefore, it is important to point out how "creationism" as a modern religious movement sprang out of this.
some would say that evolutionists are united only in their rejection of creationism. Ungtss 15:39, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I agree totally. The majority of scientists don't even engage in the "debate" and many would disagree with the term "evolutionist".Joshuaschroeder 16:29, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
well then we're on even ground:). nobody's debating, everybody thinks they're right, and nobody has a clue what really happened. Good:). Ungtss 18:12, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
It is ridiculous to calim that nobody has a clue what really happened. You might as well become a solipsist. Joshuaschroeder 18:40, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
One might even be tempted to claim this is an American phenomenon since the first-past-the-post polling system dominated democratic opinion in this country. The idea is that if you can get more than 50% of the population to agree to something, you automatically win in the United States and other first-past-the-post systems. This encourages the polarization of camps to pro and con, republican and democrat, creationist and evolutionist, etc. That the concept of creationism as a unified idea occurred may simply be a manifestation of this socio-political climate. Joshuaschroeder 15:21, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
that's one valid pov which can be represented on the page. but it cannot be presented as facts, because creationists see it in a vastly different light. Ungtss 15:39, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I really don't think the above is worthy of inclusion because it is my own opinion. Joshuaschroeder 16:29, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

---

How's that? Ungtss 19:03, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I think we have it. Joshuaschroeder 00:57, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

---

I think that discussion's just about thrashed the topic out—again! I'm sure we've been through this sort of discussion here before.

And by the way, the problem with first-past-the-post systems is that someone can win with less than 50% of the vote (or alternatively, this possibility tends to discourage multiple candidates so that there are only two candidates offering).

Philip J. Rayment 02:22, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

incomprehension

The article currently says Among the scientific community, the age of the universe, the age of the Earth, and biological evolution are overwhelmingly considered to be the correct description of the origins of nature.

Two of the 3 don't make sense to me. Is this supposed to be the Big Bang, Giant impact theory, and biological evolution ? --DavidCary 20:44, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The article currently says the option of teaching creationism in school has never been seriously considered in any Western European country.

This seems incorrect. I've been told that every school, in every European country, not only considered it, but exclusively taught creationism for centuries. It may be true that this option has never been considered in those contries for many years, since year ___N___. I expect N to be sometime after the book The Origin of Species (1859) was published, and before 2004. --DavidCary 20:44, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

well said, and welcome onboard:). i'll make the appropriate changes. Ungtss 20:57, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I think this is misleading. Schools in Western Europe did not teach what is called "Creationism" now, they taught the biblical creation story. And many also taught things incompatible with a literal interpretation of it at the same time. I don't think the term "Creationism" even makes sense except in contrast to evolution (and sometimes the other scientific disciplines). --Stephan Schulz 21:05, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)
we can dodge the issue by just addressing the situation today. however, mr. schulz's comment seems analogous to saying Lamarckism and Orthogenesis were not actually evolution. the ideas of creationism have evolved, but the basic concept has stayed the same. Ungtss 21:09, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Creationist arguments

The latest revision says "Creationism may be entirely based on theology (see creationist theology), entirely based on science (but often called pseudoscience by the vast majority of the scientific community who regard evolution as fact; see intelligent design), or on a mixture of both". I don't think this is adequate - most scientist (including this one) do not consider creationism pseudo-science because they consider evolution a fact (although most do), but because of the methods employed ("statements of faith", ignoring vast amounts of evidence, repeating refuted and easily refutable pseudo-facts, and so on). That it produces results in conflict with mainstream science is a symptom of its nature as pseudo science, not the reason for this designation. --Stephan Schulz 23:03, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

dispute tag

where's the dispute? nobody's mentioned any pov complaints on the talkpage ... what's the problem, alai? Ungtss 22:02, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

In the first instance, it flouts the "fill in the edit box" policy; it was as clear as mud why you were deleting this. This IMO a bad thing to do at the best of times, moreso with 'dispute' tags, and moreso still on 'sensistive' topics like this one. Secondly, it was added (albeit in non-canonical form) by the anon user around 6am, 7th Jan, citing 'tone' of the article, and (on the talk page) objecting to the treatment of the PAW poll. I didn't see either of those addressed, on the talk page or otherwise. Alai 04:59, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
1) not sure what the "fill in the edit box policy is."
2) look at the page -- you'll see that the PAW section has been rewritten.
3) "tone" is a meaningless term. what are YOUR specific objections, and why haven't you fixed them yet?
4) what good does a tag ever do anyone, ever? what is it other than a way for people to cop out and say "i hate this!!! it's bad!!! don't listen to them!!!" rather than constructively edit the page to npov standards of quality Ungtss 12:50, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
A tag is good when there is a need to draw attention to a problem that can't be readily fixed. This may be because someone can see a problem, but doesn't have the skills or knowledge (or time) to fix it. However, that doesn't excuse putting a tag and not explaining specifically what the problem is. Philip J. Rayment 02:59, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Or for where there's an on-going edit war (which is why even the suggestion of a tag-removal edit war is especially unfortunate). Alai 04:18, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  1. "Always fill the summary field" Edit summary#Guidelines This is rather key to the misunderstanding here.
  2. By the person adding the tag, therefore giving the impression there was an 'outstanding issue'. (Pretty shoddy original, BTW.) Perhaps a mistaken impression, but not one you greatly illuminated.
  3. I didn't say I objected to the 'tone', I said that was the reason cited by the person adding the tag.
  4. "I hate tags!!! They're bad!! Delete them unilaterally!!!"? I don't think that's a very useful characterisation. It may not have been the best use in this case, but they have a pretty well-defined and useful role. Alai 04:18, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  1. my apologies.
  2. hey -- i just based it on Creation and evolution in public education -- an improvement from the EXTREMELY misleading original. i didn't know they broke it down further, and i'm glad our lovely anon fixed it.
  3. right -- that anon is gone but you readded the tag -- what's the problem?
  4. only if they're backed with the description of specific issues on the talkpage which can be addressed. Ungtss 13:20, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  1. Thanks. This was my principal point, and what's led to this (unexpectly long-running...) exchange.
  2. OK, noted; disapprobation appropriately redirected.
  3. I "re-added" the (now long gone) tag (i.e., reverted your edit) because you removed it without any explanation whatsoever. And said that was what I was doing at the time. I thought we'd covered this.
  4. You need a modicum of consistency here. The addition of the tag certainly wasn't ideally explained, but it was a darn sight better than its removal in that respect. Alai 17:14, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  • With regard to No. 2, I would say that the talk comment about the PAW was his explanation for changing it, rather than an "oustanding issue". It's not obvious that if he changes something then complains about bias that he is complaining about remaining bias in the bit he changed.
  • With regard to No. 4, you will see that I disagreed with what Ungtss wrote about the usefulness of the tags, but to rise to his defence, I've seen this and/or similar articles repeatedly had NPOV or similar tags stuck on them for unstated or unsupported reasons, and I get the distinct impression that some anti-creationists just insist on sticking NPOV tags on any article that doesn't actually make creationism look bad. Their POV is that creationism is not just wrong, but irrational, and if an article doesn't reflect that, it must be written from a creationary POV and therefore warrants the tags without even the need to find any actual POV statements in it. I know that I've now got to the point that if someone doesn't spell out specific alleged POV problems, I'll readily delete any such tags.
Philip J. Rayment 13:35, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I agree, it was far from clear one way or the other. (And there was no talk, one way or the other.) I can't comment on said impression, but there needs to be some maintenance of editting transparency both ways, otherwise things will descend into "I didn't like your (lack of) explanation, so I'll change it back with even less". Alai 17:14, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

roman catholics

i corrected the patently false statement that all roman catholics accept evolutionary creationism. it is "more than a hypothesis," but not an official position. Ungtss 15:16, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The vatican's official position is that it doesn't have an official position, except that under no circumstances does it permit belief in atheistic evolution. [54]
But the vatican does "allow" for:
  1. the Big Bang- as long as it is still ultimately attributed to God and his plan
  2. biological evolution- as long as it received its impetus and guidance of God and ultimate creation is ascribed to him
  3. human evolution- where it allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul.
These seems like salient points to include in the article.--FeloniousMonk 19:30, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
indeed. well said. Ungtss 19:37, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

eurosuperiority?

the following was recently added to the page:

<<The level of interest in creationism in the United States is frequently referred to by Europeans who allege that American culture or education are inferior to that of Europe.>>

are we quite serious about allowing this rather bizarre bit of unadulterated european arrogance? Ungtss 04:57, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)
What's your objection, that it's arrogant, or that it's unattributed? :/ I don't think it's a very good sentence either, though. If anything I'd have thought the popular stereotype would have been more that (parts of) American culture is characterised by 'religious extremism', but I don't see that popular stereotypes are very pertinent here. (e.g. that Europeans are arrogant, etc... Was this even added by a European?) OTOH, I don't think we ought to see unattribution per se as good grounds for 'delete on sight' (though yes, there's more here, besides that). Alai 21:22, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)
<<What's your objection, that it's arrogant, or that it's unattributed?>>
a little bit of both, i'm afraid:). if it were attributed, then the arrogance could be placed in its proper context -- at least we'd know WHO was arrogant. but to throw out unverifiable, unattributed statements that "europeans think american culture is inferior because there are lots of creationists running around?" yikes. all this to say nothing of how many americans feel about the europeans they had to bail out after the last european experiment in eugenics turned a little sour. i don't see any reason to go down the road of exploring "who's inferior." Westerners ALWAYS think they're superior. it's in their blood, i fear. Ungtss 21:45, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Anecdotally, I can attest to the veracity of the sentence in question, but I understand people want support before allowing it to stand. To that end I'm offering this to start with [55], [56], [57] and will provide more support as time permits. --FeloniousMonk 00:03, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Anecdotes not withstanding, the sentence is much overly broad. Some Europeans consider the US Creationism debate as a sign that the average level of science education in the US is rather low. This does not translate to a general "inferiority" of culture or education. --Stephan Schulz 00:16, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I agree.--FeloniousMonk 00:40, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Question

Why was the Giant impact theory included in the following sentence?

Among the scientific community, the Big Bang, Giant impact theory, and biological evolution are overwhelmingly considered to be the correct description of the origins of nature.

It is a very narrow theory that describes a vey particular event. I just don't see its relevance here.

Consider the following,

Among the scientific community, the theories of the Big Bang and biological evolution are overwhelmingly considered to be the correct description for the origin of the universe and the evolution of life respectively.
I've taken the liberty of making that change. To maintain the rhetorical harmony of the three element list, I've added abiogenesis (more to the point, because that's often argued to be a separate theory from evolution per se). I can't think why GIT was there. I suppose one could add things like stellar evolution, the formation of the earth, etc, if one wanted to sketch out the whole pathway, but how much detail does one want here? Alai 05:37, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Yes abiogenesis makes much more sense. One thing remains. I don't know if it is that I am no native English speaker or that I have a very queer sense of phraseology but the part "origins of nature" sound awful. I think it should be changed to either "correct description of nature" or "correct description of the origins of the universe and life on Earth". --LexCorp 06:16, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
You're right, it's rather vague: we could list anything and everything as helping explain the "origins of nature", giant impact theories and otherwise. Your latter suggestion, especially, is nice and focussed, and matches the list as amended, if no-one has any obs... Alai 21:49, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Non-creationist or Anti-creationist link

Whilst I can understand that "anti-creationist links" doesn't sound the best, "non-creationist links" sound to me like neutral sites (if such a thing is possible), whereas at least most of the links are to sites that are overtly anti-creationist. Is there a third way we can go that's better? If not, I'd prefer "anti-creationist links" as being more accurate. Philip J. Rayment 12:32, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I changed it to "anti-creationist links", but LexCorp considered it too biased to have "anti-creationist links" instead of leaving it as "non-creationist links". He hasn't given any argument why as yet, given the fact that most of the links are indeed anti-creationist stuff.Ethereal 14:12, Feb 20, 2005 (UTC)

The matter is not so much one of bias but description. Neither is really very descriptive. I propose the external link sections be entitled Creationist resources and Criticisms of creationism, or something of that ilk. --FOo 17:28, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I do consider "anti-creationist links" biased for the fact that some of the links are merely informatiove and do not even take a view on creationism. I agree with Fubar that we should seek a more descriptive term. Maybe "Divergent views from Creationism" or "Different views from Creationism". --LexCorp 19:38, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I'm curious to know which of the sites you consider to be "merely informative" rather than opposed to creationism, because at a quick glance they all appear to be opposed to creationism to me. Philip J. Rayment 01:59, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)
well, this is one [58] --LexCorp 01:49, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
That one supports the teaching of evolution and rejects the teaching of creation. It claims that evolution is scientific and creationism is not. None of its references and further reading are to pro-creationism resources, but many of them are to anti-creationism resources. It seems as one-sided as most of the others to me. Philip J. Rayment 15:07, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The site only informs. Does not take sides at all. --LexCorp 16:15, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

How about pro/con? "Con-creationist" doesn't sound right, though, I guess.--FeloniousMonk 19:41, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Ow. Ow. Wikipedia:Pro & con lists considered harmful. :) There are more than two sides here; we should be careful to keep that in mind. --FOo 20:00, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
pro + con lists -- man. if only i'd seen that policy before Views Compared:). Ungtss 20:04, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Oh, it ain't a policy, just a rant of mine I cleaned up and put in the proposed guidelines category. :) --FOo 21:56, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Exactly my point. Some of the links are not anti-creationism just plain informative. --LexCorp 20:10, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

What do people think of Creationist links (as now) and Sites opposed to creationism or Sites critical of creationism? Philip J. Rayment 01:59, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I'd be broadly in favour, though I note that one link listed wouldn't really fit, being just a link to "pro-" and "anti-" sites itself. (I dislike "Non-" as being unduly innocuous-sounding, and "Anti-" is overstated and/or ambiguous. (Is that (anti-creation)ist, or anti-(creationist)?) But at least we've on from 'evolutionist'...) Alai 02:42, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I guess Sites critical of creationism is ok. Consider also Sites with opposing views to creationism. --LexCorp 03:43, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I really like LexCorp's suggestion Sites critical of creationism. I also support Rayment's suggestion too as my second choice. May I suggest that links that are purely informative/neutral/do take a position/whatever be placed separately either before (my preference) or after the sectarian links.--FeloniousMonk 04:30, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Not mine but Philip's. The fourth entry above this one. Mine is Sites with opposing views to creationism --LexCorp 04:32, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The fact that they're external links is obvious from the section. So ... how about just Opposing views? --FOo 01:42, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
And you are right there. It is just that to me it sounds better with Sites in front. But that is because I am no English native speaker. So Sites can go. Opposing is still opposite and some links are just informative so why no use Diverging views or as FeloniousMonk suggest lets put three section one pro one anti and the othe informative.--LexCorp 01:55, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

There, I hope all parties are happy. I did not check the context of the web pages but asumed material was organised in a pro-anti manner. --Cool Cat My Talk 10:45, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

creation science criticism in the intro.

Argh:

1) you noted in an edit summary that one short sentence would be appropriate. but you added three long ones.
2) creationism is not exclusively about creation science -- it is much broader -- so i don't see why we should have extended criticisms of creation science here, particularly in the intro.
3) if you DO want an extended criticism of creation science here, then we need a balancing pro-creationist take on it. do you really wanna go through that here, in the intro of an unrelated article? why not do it all on creation science? Ungtss 16:49, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
1) I didn't say "one short sentence would be appropriate", I said "so a small sentence on it is relevant".
2) I accept that this point is correct, however, the article mentions that "Creationist beliefs may be based on creationist theology, creation science, or a combination of both" therefore making this criticism completely relevant to the article. Equally, the further criticism of 'creation science' could be applied more widely to creationism as a whole. I am referring here to the sentence, "Science uses the scientific method to systematically comprehend reality as it is, whereas 'creation science' begins with an assumption and attempts to find evidence or twist facts to support this original assumption."
3 )It is more a critical approach towards creationism, rather than simply 'creation science' that I am advocating. This article is misleading in that it appears to add totally equal merit to both creationism and evolution. While this may appear to be in the interests of NPOV, the reality is that the actual evidence for evolution is so hugely overwhelming, that to give an impression of equal validity is itself a bias point. Sorry, but the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, creationism is a pseudo-science of no real merit, and this should be quite clear in the article. I accept that an argument putting forward the 'credentials' of creationism is fair and should be included, but the argument against it should not be tamed in order to give the ostensible appearance of neutrality. Aaarrrggh 17:38, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
<<I accept that an argument putting forward the 'credentials' of creationism is fair and should be included, but the argument against it should not be tamed in order to give the ostensible appearance of neutrality.>>
i'm not asking that the argument against it be tamed. i'm simply saying that your argument against "creation science" is not properly placed in the intro of creationism, because creationism is much broader. For ONE thing, creationISM allows for EVOLUTIONARY creationism, which is ENTIRELY in accord with science -- why, in an intro to an article about a topic including evolutionary creationism, are you making arguments against creation SCIENCE, when evolutionary creationism is just as prominent, if not moreseo? Ungtss 18:23, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
<<Sorry, but the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, creationism is a pseudo-science of no real merit, and this should be quite clear in the article.>>
once again, creationism allows for evolution -- are you telling me evolutionary creationists are violating science? Ungtss 18:23, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
third, i'm concerned that what you're inserting is a pov -- and a minority pov at that -- so it may be ATTRIBUTED, but may NOT be stated as fact in this npov article. nearly 1/4 of the US population wants creation SCIENCE taught in SCHOOLS as SCIENCE -- is it really appropriate to state as fact what is in reality one opinion among two? Ungtss 18:23, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
finally, as i'm sure you noted, the battle over that paragraph began as SOON as you inserted it -- you've inserted a VERY controversial pov, and that paragraph will NEVER be acceptable to consensus -- the edit you called "vandalism" is only the beginning. it is BEST, i think, to CONSOLIDATE and ATTRIBUTE that pov, rather than stating it as fact, because MANY MANY MANY people disagree with you, and agree with the edit you called "childish vandalism." indeed ... science starts with the assumption that there are no supernatural events. without evidence of supernatural events, there is no reason to believe in god. when you define science as you do, you're led inevitably to the conclusion that there is no god. this paragraph will be an ENDLESS source of controversy here. PLEASE move it over to creation science where it can be dealt with properly. Ungtss 18:37, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)
"are you telling me evolutionary creationists are violating science?" Yes.
well then you think science has disproven the existence of God, which puts you in a TINY minority opinion -- roughly 8% of the US population, and significantly less worldwide. Ungtss 20:53, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)