The TalkOrigins Archive is a website that presents mainstream science perspectives on the antievolution claims of young-earth, old-earth, and "intelligent design" creationists. With sections on evolution, creationism, geology, astronomy and hominid evolution, the web site provides broad coverage of evolutionary biology and the socio-political antievolution movement.
Origins and history
The TalkOrigins Archive began in 1994 when Brett J. Vickers collected several separately posted FAQs from the talk.origins newsgroup and made them conveniently available from a single anonymous FTP site. In 1995, Vickers created the TalkOrigins Archive web site. Vickers, then a computer science graduate student at the University of California at Irvine, produced a distinctive, sparse "look" for the web site. Certain creationist web sites have utilized elements of the style Vickers established. Vickers established an easily browsed site, coded a feedback system, and handled all the updates to the Archive from 1995 to 2001.
In 2001, Vickers transferred the TalkOrigins Archive to Wesley R. Elsberry, since Vickers's work demanded much of his attention, leaving little time to maintain the web site. Elsberry organized a group of volunteers to handle the maintenance of the Archive, now including Troy Britain, Reed Cartwright, Mike Dunford, Kenneth Fair, David Iain Greig, Mike Hopkins, David Horn, Kathleen Hunt, Mark Isaak, Adam Marczyk, Larry A. Moran, Ross Myers, Steven Pirie-Shepherd, Douglas Theobald, Brett Vickers, and John Wilkins.
In 2004, Kenneth Fair incorporated the TalkOrigins Foundation as a Texas 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Foundation's purposes include funding and maintaining the TalkOrigins Archive and holding copyrights to Archive articles, thereby simplifying the process of reprinting and updating those articles. The copyright issue has posed a particular problem since the FAQs started off as a small collection with little thought given to copyright but have since mushroomed. In 2005, the Foundation was granted tax-exempt status by the IRS.
The FAQs and FRAs (Frequently Rebutted Assertions) on the TalkOrigins Archive cover a wide range of topics associated with evolutionary biology and creationism. These include Mark Isaak's Index to Creationist Claims, a list of creationist positions on various issues, rebuttals, and links to primary source material. The TalkDesign sister site fulfills a similar role with the Intelligent Design movement. Also hosted is Jim Foley's Fossil Hominids sub-site which studies the evidence for human evolution and has an extensive list of links to websites on both evolutionary biology and creationism. Lastly, the Quote Mine Project, examines the use of Quote mining – taking quotes out of context – by creationists.
The archive maintains a feedback system involving reader comments and posts a compilation of these, along with responses, each month. The Awards page lists the notice given to the Archive by scientific societies, journals, magazines, and also lists college courses that make use of materials from the Archive.
Talkorigins.org has gained many awards and achieved substantial recognition.
- In 1999 the New York Times called TalkOrigins a "good antidote" to the plethora of creationist websites that had sprung up over the years.
- In August 2002 Scientific American recognized Talkorigins.org for its "detailed discussions (some of which may be too sophisticated for casual readers) and bibliographies relating to virtually any objection to evolution that creationists might raise."
- The webpages of the National Academy of Science, Smithsonian Institution, Leakey Foundation, the National Center for Science Education and other organizations recommend Talkorigins.org.
- "The TalkOrigins Foundation". Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- "IRS Letter announcing 501(c)(3) status". 8 March 2005. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- The Talk.Origins Archive. "Awards, Honors, and Favorable Notices". Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- Pollak, Michael (6 May 1999). "SCREEN GRAB; Exploring Neanderthal Lore on Line". New York Times. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- Rennie, John (17 June 2002). "Other Resources for Defending Evolution". Scientific American. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- Smithsonian Institution (Winter/Spring 1999-2000). "Teacher Resources: Human Evolution Websites". AnthroNotes 21 (2). Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- "The Leakey Foundation - Recommended Links". Archived from the original on 1 April 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- National Center for Science Education. "Critiques of Creationism: Links". Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2009. "The main site for arguments refuting the "science" of creation science."
- The Talk.Origins Archive. "Science Textbooks that Use the Archive". Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- The Talk.Origins Archive. "University and College Courses that Use the Archive". Retrieved 8 May 2007.