Talk:Sewall Wright

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Untitled[edit]

as one of those contributing material to "Sewall Wright", yes of course the two pages "Sewall Wright" and "Sewall G. Wright" need merging -- he was the same person (I can testify personally as I knew both of him).

As to which title is appropriate, I am not sure. I think more people are familiar with him as "Sewall Wright".

In addition, the big section Philosophy in the Sewall G. Wright page can be reduced to a sentence or two, as most of what it discusses is his population genetics (the sentence about stasis onwards). He was not a major figure in philosophy but was incredibly important in evolutionary biology.

Does anyone read these comments? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.18.173.243 (talkcontribs) 10 January 2006


--- Both articles refer to the same person, and should be merged. Wright authored most, or perhaps all, of his books and papers under the name "Sewall Wright", and this is the appropriate title for the article. I agree that the section entitled Philosophy is confused, and should be eliminated or rewritten and reduced. 131.210.4.95 28 November 2005

I have moved the genetics part of the philosophy section up into the scientific section. The language of the whole thing seems somewhat naively gushy. Kind of wish the stuff in the old Sewall Wright page was accessible now (it has vanished) as I thought it read better. (Of course I wrote some of it). Joe Felsenstein

National Medal of Science[edit]

User:Mikejuinwind123, why did you add the sentence about the National Medal of Science? That is already mentioned in the list of honors he received, earlier in the article. Felsenst 20:08, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Restoring section of Scientific Achievements and Credits[edit]

The whole section on Scientific Achievements and Credits was removed on 12 March 2007 by User:74.130.74.231 who also seems to be known as "koolieo". No argument was posted here as to why this was desirable. OK, I am biased as I wrote most of that section, but I have restored the section under the assumption that this was simple vandalism. If "koolieo" has an argument as to why the removal was desirable, they should post here. I don't think one can argue that Wright was too unimportant to merit this much coverage -- just look at how many scientific citations he gets almost 20 years after his death and 111 years after his birth! (No April fooling) Felsenst 15:20, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Wright's contribution[edit]

I have restored to the introduction a sentence about disagreement between evolutionary biologists as to whether Fisher or Wright made the greater contribution to the founding of theoretical population genetics. Having such a sentence is helpful because otherwise partisans of Fisher may regard this as giving Wright credit for developments that they assign to Fisher. Also, the sentence had most recently ended up saying that Wright was a founder of evolutionary biology, which is inaccurate as that wider field is much older (Darwin? Lamarck?) Felsenst 14:32, 23 June 2007 (UTC)


Which is the Wright age?[edit]

Text says "Sewall He was the youngest of three gifted brothers – the elder two being the aeronautical engineer Theodore Paul Wright and the political scientist Quincy Wright. " - yet his birth-dat is before the other two!

Which is Wright?

Johnbibby 21:47, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
It is Wright to say that Sewall was the oldest of the three brothers. This is stated in Provine's biography of Wright (see pages 4-5). So I have changed the word accordingly to make it Wright rather than Wrong. Felsenst (talk) 18:35, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Not an undeveloped idea[edit]

User:Professor marginalia deleted the sentence "Evolutionary biologists argue as to whether Fisher or Wright made the greater contribution" from the introduction as "undeveloped". I wrote the sentence, and I am an evolutionary biologist of over 40 years standing, and I knew Sewall Wright. I wrote it because I thought readers should get some sense of where Wright stood in the pantheon of Fisher, Wright, and Haldane. Most evolutionary biologists would place Haldane third in importance in this list. They do argue about Wright versus Fisher, with some of the breakdown being by national origin. I didn't think this was worth extended discussion in the article but don't see why it should be controversial. If "Professor marginalia" will explain why, I may stay my hand, but my impulse is to restore the cut. Felsenst (talk) 22:53, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree that Sewall Wright is important, but the sentence, stating as it does that evolutionary biologists argue about the greater contribution, should have a citation. (Which biologists? Where did the discussion occur?) EdJohnston (talk) 23:24, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
I am basing myself on 40 years of talking to evolutionary biologists, and yes, the subject did come up fairly many times. But this is apparently not good enough for Wikipedia. Until someone publishes results of a formal survey, it can't convey that information to its users! Felsenst (talk) 17:00, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
An article in which the evolutionary work of Fisher, Wright and Haldane was lined up in some fashion (perhaps even in a summary table) would be of interest. The only place I could find where their work is put in context with each other is Modern evolutionary synthesis#The foundation of population genetics. Our articles on Wright and Haldane could certainly benefit from expansion. EdJohnston (talk) 17:23, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Trivia or Childhood[edit]

The change of the section heading Trivia to Childhood seems unjustified. Wright's parents being first cousins was true all his life, and his work on inbreeding was not during his childhood. In addition there is much more to say about his childhood than the connection to Carl Sandburg, and it is said above. The connection to Sandburg is not part of his biological work, and the fact that he himself was inbred is also not directly connected to it, so I think Trivia is the right heading. I wrote this section and will revert its heading unless there is some argument that it is justified. Felsenst (talk) 06:32, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Date of photo?[edit]

The photo of Wright is given currently as being taken in 1965. In Provine's book the photo (the more complete image with him holding the guinea pig) is described as taken in 1954 on the occasion of his retirement from the University of Chicago (at which point he moved to the University of Wisconsin), so I have corrected the date to that year. I also filled in his religious affiliation and place of death. Felsenst (talk) 06:59, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

His work at USDA[edit]

The useful paragraph about his work up to 1925 at USDA says

His main project was the close inbreeding in artificial selection that resulted in the leading breeds of livestock used in American Beef Production.

This is ambiguous. His project was to cause the inbreeding? Or to analyze it? I think the latter. Also the statement that the guinea pig and cattle work led to the Shifting Balance Theory sounds like an empirical biologist's viewpoint. I think his theory had a lot to do with it too. But then, I'm a theoretician, so I'm biased. Also, why is "Beef Production" capitalized? It is not a brand name. Felsenst (talk) 02:53, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Detection of license infringement[edit]

I was looking for information about S. Wright on other sites and I founded this page which seems to be copyrighted by date 2009. It resembles very closely to this article. Firstly it seems to me it was a copyright infringement, but the I take a look at the "history page" and it seems to be the opposite, because the version before 2009 belongs to Wikipedia. I am right? In that case eplantscience.com has the right to publish a copypaste version of a version in Wikipedia under incompatible license? --Bestiasonica (talk) 08:57, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

I see some sentences there that I wrote, and they were written for the Wikipedia article. I cannot comment on the licensing issues, but this eplantscience.com page is clearly derived from the Wikipedia page. Felsenst (talk) 12:11, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Birth date[edit]

Wright's birth date has been changed to December 16, 1889. No evidence for this is given and the author of the change is identified only by an IP number which has not been used for any other Wikipedia edit.

A weird vandalism? Can the author of the change justify that date? Provine's book on Wright says December 21, 1889. Felsenst (talk) 06:41, 30 July 2014 (UTC)