Talk:Level of support for evolution

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Former good article nominee Level of support for evolution was a Natural sciences good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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This talk page is to discuss the text, photographs, format, grammar, etc of the article itself and not the inherent worth of Evolution. See WP:NOT. If you wish to discuss or debate the validity of evolution or argue for or against evolution please do so at talk.origins or other fora. This "Discussion" page is only for discussion on how to improve the Wikipedia article. Any attempts at trolling, using this page as a soapbox, or making personal attacks may be deleted at any time.

Newsweek reference[edit]

"Only 700 out of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists gave credence to creationism in 1987, representing about 0.146% of relevant scientists." using a June 29th, 1987 Newsweek article as reference.

Wanting to use this figure, I looked up the article. The part in question said "By one count there are some 700 scientists...". But the article does not provide any source for these numbers. I don't think "by one count" in a news magazine is reliable. It would be great if someone found the origin of these numbers. If not, I think it should be removed from this Wikipedia article. The Cake 2 (talk) 21:10, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

I fully agree, something untraceable as that by some reporter cannot be called a reliable source. Certainly it wasn't an opinion poll of 480'000 scientist, contrary to the suggestion. Harald88 (talk) 13:56, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

This matter was authoritatively resolved in a high-profile 2012 debate (blogged about by PZ Myers) between a popular evolutionist, AronRa, and a creationist. McDaniels, the author of the Newsweek article was contacted, the article itself now appears online (it hadn't been online through the history of the Internet, until this debate post), and the membership director of the Creation Research Society was contacted. As a result, the source of the "count of 700" has been identified. There was no "estimate," no "count," no "poll," no "survey." The count very evidently was the number of members of the young-earth CRS group. That's as incorrect as a source for determining a PERCENT (99.86% as often cited) or as an ESTIMATE or a COUNT, as it would be to claim that only two-hundredths of one percent of U.S. adults are atheists, if we calculate using one count of atheists, namely, the membership of the Skeptics Society. See all this at http://www.leagueofreason.co.uk/viewtopic.php?p=143278#p143278. So, how then do we correct the statement in the article? Bob Enyart, Denver radio host at KGOV (talk) 04:43, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

Error in chart[edit]

I have added the data results from the pew report to allow the reader to decide if the chart/study results are subjective. eg only 116 muslems and 215 jehovahs wittnesses could be argued as a too small spectum of these faiths to give an accurate picture. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.132.237.174 (talk) 23:11, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

In the second chart in the section on public support in the United States, the two final columns have identical headings. But the data are different. Is this an error? JBFrenchhorn (talk) 00:50, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Yeah it looks like a mistake. In my defense, I did not add that table. I have been slowly rewriting the entire article, so most of what you currently see will be replaced when I get finished. I just have not been as careful in keeping track of the changes others make I guess for that reason.--Filll (talk) 01:12, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
It's two separate polls -- the trouble is that the table makes no attempt to distinguish between them -- first ('Creationist') & last columns are from one poll, middle two are from another. HrafnTalkStalk 02:20, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, they should be distinguished in some way, especially given the wide disparity between the last to columns on what % of Republicans believe in evolution. Maybe it should be divided into two charts, or just mentioned in the texts that different polls have shown conflicting data. Or maybe the older poll should be deleted. I don't know. JBFrenchhorn (talk) 02:25, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Physics of Time Asymmetry[edit]

Argumentum ad populum and Appeal to authority[edit]

I've removed this section, as it seems to be more of an unnecessary disclaimer than anything else. That is to say, the purpose of the article is to cover the levels of support for evolution from various groups. Not only is the fact that a majority view is not the same as proof so obvious it goes without saying, but I hardly see how the purpose of an encyclopedic article can shift from reporting factual information to cautioning readers as to what sort of judgements they should make based on the provided information. As I see it, if the article is to be truly objective, then it should do nothing to intentionally guide the reader's thought processes. In addition, it seemed that the Appeal to Authority bit kind of encouraged misconception regarding scientific consensus. But still, regardless, of what it encourages, the point is that it shouldn't encourage anything. So I removed the section, as I said. Calgary (talk) 14:20, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Personally, I'd like to know if the rest of the 480,000 were even asked their opinion, or if it was just assumed that they supported evolution. Maybe they supported neither evolution or creationism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ronar (talkcontribs) 16:02, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes indeed, this article is a mess. It gives food for Creationists sites to make fun of Wikipedia - for no good reason at all. Instead of fake arguments there are sufficient good (scientific) arguments, there is certainly no need for pseudo-scientific statistics and one-sided comparisons! Harald88 (talk) 13:46, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Regarding the topic heading of this article; specifically, changing it.[edit]

I feel the title of this article does not really reflect its contents; this article is really about the level of popular support for evolution/creationism, not really about the level of support for evolution per se. The level of support for evolution, objectively speaking, consists of hundreds of thousands of scientific publications, the contents of which are largely dealt with in several other WP articles such as evidence for evolution and other articles in the evolutionary biology series.

This article, i believe, is fundamentally about the public's perception of evolution/creationism, and should be (re-)named as such. To this end, I would propose renaming the article to "Level of popular support for evolution", which serves to disambiguate the intent of this article from evidence for evolution, and more accurately reflects the article's content and intent. Mjharrison (talk) 14:11, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

I disagree -- both in the lead and in the article body the article discusses the level of support for evolution among scientists as well as among the general public. "Popular" does not cover this aspect. The "hundreds of thousands of scientific publications" ambiguity is already covered by a dab-tag at the top. HrafnTalkStalk 14:22, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Since this article is strictly considering the personal beliefs or opinions of evolution as distinct from evidence for/against, i'd contend this is still "popular support". Scientists are still a subset of the population and may hold personal convictions that stem from faith that do or do not agree with their acceptance of the extant evidence for evolution. The current article conflates belief with acceptance, which doesn't seem right to me. How about prising the current article into 2 separate articles - "level of scientific acceptance of evolution as fact" and "level of popular support of evolution"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mjharrison (talkcontribs) 17:14, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Even if I were to accept your characterisation that these are the "personal beliefs" (as opposed to the 'professional opinions') of the scientists discussed, "personal" is not equivalent to "popular". Further, "popular" has a strong connotation of 'lowest common denominator' mass culture, which is quite antithetical to the articles' coverage of the views of scientists (whether personal or professional). I think it is the contrast of the views of the masses versus the scientifically literate that provides this article with any point -- if split into two articles, it would simply be regurgitating the polling statistics for the respective groups (and wikipedia is WP:NOT simply a repository for polling data). 17:38, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree wtih Mjharrison. This article really puts lots of different things together to make something new. "Support for evolution" is not even defined. Why does a scientific fact need support anyway? Northwestgnome (talk) 16:30, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Problem with article[edit]

It's an interesting article. However It really reads more like a magazine article than an encyclopedia article to me. BTW I fully support evolution. Northwestgnome (talk) 16:28, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

How about this example? Motorcycle helmet laws is also a controversial issue in the USA. What if we took a survey of brain trama experts, then one of professional motorcycle racers, then one of the general public and put all three together to create an article: Level of support for motorcycle helmet laws? Northwestgnome (talk) 03:18, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
You're welcome to start an article on Level of support for X provided the topic is notable. That is, there would need to be a significant number of reliable sources indicating that Level of support for X is something that is widely discussed. The topic Level of support for evolution is notable. --Johnuniq (talk) 04:52, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
I like the article, and I learned some things reading it. My problem with it is that it puts together various different things to create something new -- like a magazine article, say in the New Yorker, would. Not like an encyclopedia article. I see that it has been AfDed twice so I won't nominate it again. I also think "Level of support for motorcycle helmet laws" is just as notable. Among people I know this comes up as a topic of conversation more often then "Level of support for evolution."  :-) Northwestgnome (talk) 11:37, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Level of support among Evangelical theogians[edit]

This report finds that 46% of Evangelical theologians (i.e. those from the denomination generally considered most vocal in its opposition to evolution) "can accept the theory of theistic evolution." Would there be any problem with including this in the article? HrafnTalkStalk(P) 09:15, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

If the methodology of the polling is sound, large enough sample, et al. then I don't see why not. I'm not surprised by the number, but I'm sure many antievolutionists would disagree with the (in their minds) high number. Auntie E. 18:35, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

The extent of the claimed consensus[edit]

The references [1,2] do not give any indication as to the extent of the claimed consensus. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alex Andrew Richards (talkcontribs) 23:01, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

  • [2], found here, reads:

    Dr. Miller, a widely-recognized biology professor at Brown University who has written university-level and highschool biology textbooks used prominently throughout the nation, provided unrebutted testimony that evolution, including common descent and natural selection, is “overwhelmingly accepted” by the scientific community and that every major scientific association agrees.

  • [1], found here, states: "99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution"
Did you actually read the sources? — Scientizzle 23:48, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Did you? If so, please explain the methodology for estimating the 99.9% - and don't forget to add the 99% confidence interval. ;-) Harald88 (talk) 13:50, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Contents of amicus curiae - citation needed?[edit]

Hey there! Following these two edits to the last sentence of the paragraph on the 1986 amicus curiae brief, I believe that the current wording should be changed. In the sentence, "The amicus curiae brief also clearly described why evolution was science, not religion, and why creationism is not science," the phrase "clearly described" seems to be a subjective judgement on the brief's contents. Can we change it to something like, "The amicus curiae brief also asserted that evolution was science, not religion, and that creationism is not science"? Other possible words choices: claimed that, indicated that. --Cerebellum (talk) 06:25, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

"The amicus curiae brief also states evolution was science, not religion, and that creationism is not science" would be more appropriate, as this can be considered expert opinion. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 08:49, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Actually the claim of clarity comes from a secondary source describing the brief. I've reworded the text to reflect what each source explicitly states. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 09:03, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Awesome, that's much better! Also, as regards the question of creationist articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, I think we can do better than what we currently have. Right now we say that, "To date however, there are no scientifically peer-reviewed research articles that disclaim evolution listed in the scientific and medical journal search engine Pubmed." This is borderline original research (although it might fall under WP:OR#Routine calculations), and is basically unverifiable (for us to provide definitive evidence of absence, we would have to read every article in Pubmed - by just using as search engine, after all, we could be missing something). Would this talk.origins page or this book be considered reliable sources? We should also consider presenting the Creationist point of view as expressed here, although that invites a WP:UNDUE argument. What do you folks think? --Cerebellum (talk) 18:49, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I'm fairly sure I've seen that claim (or one very similar to it) made in a source -- but I have not got time, right at this very moment, to track it down. So I've tagged the claim & will attempt to track down a source for it later (assuming somebody hasn't beaten me to the punch). No, we should not include the DI's WP:SELFPUB, "unduly self-serving" claims (for example, at least one of the claimed 'peer reviewers' of Darwin's Black Box had never even read the book). HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:52, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Project Steve synth[edit]

User:The ed17 took out the Project Steve numbers as WP:SYN and WP:OR and I believe it was the correct move, however it might be possible to find a source that actually makes a similar statement Noformation Talk 09:02, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

Add. "Reverted 3 edits: This study is outdated, has admitted problems, and is being used to advance a POV on education. Please discuss on talk."[edit]

Problems with definitions[edit]

Polls about Americans are plagued with differences that come up due to the variable wording of questions. Possibly there are sides in the C-E conflict that want to inflate support for "their" side. I'm not interested supported any side, but in describing as accurately as possible how much support the various POVs have had.

The term "theistic evolution" is defined in our own Wikipedia article as asserting a belief in unguided evolution (I don't know why this should be an empty page):

  • that biological evolution is simply a natural process within ... creation

So in one major poll around 1/3 of Americans are said to believe this. Yet I have seen other polls which attributed up to 85% of Americans believing in either of the two major schools of thought on Creationism:

  • 40% believe in Young Earth Creationism - God made everything less than 10,000 years ago; and,
  • 45% believe in Old Earth Creationism - God made everything, but it took around as long as modern scientists say it did, i.e., hundreds of millions of years

One distinction that often gets lost is between the two variants of creationism. Creationism's opponents tend to use the term creationism to refer only to the views of YECs. They seem to overlook the existence of OECs (almost on purpose). Yet there have been polls with suggested statements like, "God guided a process by which humans developed over millions of years from less advanced life forms" (35% to 40% of Americans, 1982-2010 Gallup).

Another problem is the definition of "evolution". We used to have an Aspects of evolution article which clarified the three main parts; perhaps Definitions of evolution would serve; the former was based on material found in the NCSE website, but it was taken down and the VWP article was deleted.

If evolution means that new species have appeared in a period of over 100 million years, and if creationism means that God makes species, then:

  1. Around 15% of Americans (a) believe in evolution but (b) reject creationism
  2. Around 45% of Americans (a) reject evolution completely and (b) embrace creationism (YEC)
  3. Around 40% of Americans (a) accept evolution, in the limited sense that (b) God guided this process (OEC)

Has anyone else found sources which agree with this? Or do all sources disagree? Please enlighten me, so we can improve the accuracy of the present article. --Uncle Ed (talk) 17:12, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Title[edit]

Shouldn't this be "Acceptance of evolution"? What does support for evolution even mean? Wouldn't that be something like transhumanism or eugenics? Abyssal (talk) 20:48, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

India[edit]

In the lead section of the article, India is mentioned as a nation with widespread belief in creationism. When i checked the cited reference, it led to a small write-up that says a British Council poll of 10,000 people in 10 countries found that creationism is strong in India among some other countries. I decided to go deep in to the survey results and i found this link ([1]) from the National Center for Science Education website. It says that when the question was posed to those who had heard of Charles Darwin and knew something about the theory of evolution 77% in India agree that enough scientific evidence exists to support Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Incidentally, this is also the highest among all countries surveyed. Also the survey says that 85% of God believing Indians who know about evolution agree that life on earth evolved over time as a result of natural selection.

Given that India is a country with very poor level of education, one can easily see to it that the majority of Indians have not heard of evolution or Darwin or his theories. But, As a matter of fact Evolution have huge support among those who have heard about it. This article is about "Level of support for evolution"; and saying that those people who have never heard of evolution do not support the evolution theory is a kind of linguistic contradiction.

Therefore, i convey my opinion that India be deleted from the list.117.204.91.158 (talk) 19:20, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Also, i have added these stats to the country subsection in the article. 117.204.91.158 (talk) 19:30, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm not surprised by this. When I lived in India I discussed evolution thoroughly and only found opposition from members of ISKCON. We should balance your point with the results regarding the uneducated though. As you pointed out, the majority of Indians haven't heard of evolution and support is poor among the uneducated. Sædontalk 20:10, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, one cannot support something that one has never heard about. We have enough evidence to prove that Indians who have heard about evolution overwhelmingly (77%) support it. Naming India in lead gives totally the opposite impression. What do you say about removing "India" from the lead (4th para) 117.204.89.62 (talk) 20:44, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I would object to removing it because the lede makes a true statement: that creationism is widespread in India. This doesn't contradict the high level of support among the educated, it just points out that a plurality of Indians believe in creationism. Being that you added a section clarifying the Indian demographic, a reader should walk away from the article understanding both points. Sædontalk 21:46, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Well then, i am adding a [Note] explaining it.117.204.84.245 (talk) 16:24, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

reason for development in the US?[edit]

I wonder whether there's research why the level of support is differing in the USA in comparison to many other countries (it was triggered by Tony Spiro's chart on the subject (http://www.calamitiesofnature.com/archive/?c=559). I assume it could be connected to religious groups' attempts to concealing themselves as scientific institutes (Discovery Institute), taking over school boards and inducing the "teach the controversy" idea into schools' curriculums.

Scientific opinion on evolution[edit]

I suggest a fork of related content to Scientific opinion on evolution, to mirror Scientific opinion on climate change. Any thoughts? Betters title? IRWolfie- (talk) 17:05, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

No widespread support for creationism in India[edit]

This article wrongly puts India in the list of countries where belief in creationism is widespread. Personally I have not come across any person including of Abrahamic faiths who said they believe creationism is true. So India needs to be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 123.236.62.36 (talk) 14:57, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Problem with article II[edit]

I am not sure how to add my two cents so please bear with me. This article needs a major overhaul. It reads like a partisan pamphlet rather than an encyclopedia article. The tone and point of view is very partisan. It should be rewritten to be more objective. Thank you for your efforts though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.164.184.30 (talk) 01:32, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Please be more specific when you say that the "article needs a major overhaul," given as how we're constantly bombarded with people making vague but vociferous complaints about tone and point of view, and who make it tortuously obvious, but can not spit out that these complaints are because the article is not an explicit Creationist propaganda piece For Jesus that casts unreasonable doubt on science.--Mr Fink (talk) 02:05, 4 July 2014 (UTC)