Talk:Intelligent design

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Dave's lead[edit]

Since the RfC is now relatively old, and was over before it began anyway, let's make a new thread for dave souza's proposal (slightly edited by me):

Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents with the claim that it is "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins", but has been found to be pseudoscience.

Manul ~ talk 14:11, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Update: Taking in Bish's astute concerns about syntax (which are certainly not shared by Bishzilla), this wording is probably better:

Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" but found to be pseudoscience.

I think "presented by proponents as" already implies that it's just a claim. Manul ~ talk 16:28, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

  • Support. This follows WP:EVALFRINGE's advice to first describe the idea clearly and objectively, then refer the reader to more accepted ideas. It describes the idea more clearly than before, and by bringing context to the proponents' words it also addresses some previous objections. Manul ~ talk 14:11, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Meh It's no better nor worse than the existing or Alt 1, above. Still better than Alt 2 though. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 14:20, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
My opinion is that it is inappropriate to start another vote tally while the RfC is taking place. TomS TDotO (talk) 15:09, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
"Meh" to that, too. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with doing this, but it does add to the overall chaos of the talk page. I'm not disagreeing with you, precisely, it's mostly just that the overall chaos level here is not too bad, and a little extra isn't very difficult to deal with. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 15:15, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • The RfC is already over due to crystalline precipitation and should be closed soon, and as I explained it was probably needless to begin with. It's better to propose this now while it's fresh rather than waiting 30 days for no reason. Manul ~ talk 15:26, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I think this is slightly better than the current version. Guy (Help!) 15:57, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • OK except that the syntax isn't happy, with the two parallell clauses "presented by its proponents with the claim".. and "but has been found to be"... such different grammatical constructions. Quite itchy. I'm trying to figure some fix, but I'm just going out to dinner. Bishonen | talk 16:11, 24 January 2017 (UTC).
  • the purpose of an RfC is to get outside input. It has only just started and we will get more feedback with time. We should perhaps add this to the RfC. I would be happy to do that and notify those who have already responded (which are primarily those who watch this page already) Thoughts? Jytdog (talk) 16:34, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
No, it's much too late to amend the RfC. Please see the problems with the RfC I mentioned there. I think it would be best if you withdrew it (as the poster you can do that) or otherwise have someone WP:SNOW-close it as soon as possible. Manul ~ talk 17:21, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict)Constructive criticism (much better than 'meh') Both versions (including the version reworded to suit da Bish) look like they're begging for a [who?] tag. I'd say it looks better like this:

Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God; presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins", but found to be pseudoscience by the scientific community.

MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 16:35, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Not bad (Bishified version). I think it's actually more informative than the current version. Never been terribly fond of the "ID is the view" formulation, but all other proposals to date have been worse on other fronts. Not fond of adding "by the scientific community", per Mr. Pants. Who or what else could possibly make that determination? The deluge of sources will quell any temptation of adding [who?]. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 17:23, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Who or what else could possibly make that determination? Atheists, skeptics, Universal Unitarians, politicians, the pharmaceutical industry, etc, etc... Hell, you can toss Satanists and The Devil in there, too. Having been a follower of creation/evolution debates (and having switched from being a young creationist to an adult rationalist), I can tell you with the utmost confidence that there is no shortage of groups who serve as the Big Bad in the myriad of creationist views. As to a deluge of sources quenching any POV editing, I might direct you to the Acupuncture article history which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that a deluge of citations does nothing to stop POV pushing editors. I've got at least a dozen more such pages on my watchlist, if one example isn't enough to satisfy you. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 18:48, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Point taken. It won't quell the temptation to start pointless debates; but I should hope they would be quickly stopped in Talk. I don't watch nearly as many pseudoscience/religion articles as you, but on the few I have watched over a few years, such as this one, Adam and Eve, etc, good sense and the mainstream science POV tend to prevail when POV pushing occurs. Adding "by the scientific community" seems redundant to me, just as "found impressionist by the painting community" would be, and I don't even see how it would deter the POV pushers. On this very page, we have some classical examples of "look, scientists don't agree on stuff" / "there are religious scientists" / "Einstein was religious" thrown around higgledy-piggledy in an attempt to undermine the notion of scientific consensus. Not sure you'd get less POV-pushing; just the same from a different angle. The current formulation also does not exclude the court verdicts -- although scientific matters are not really within the purview of courts, given the nature of ID it's fairly important. To be clear, I don't have very strong feelings about the addition. I just don't see the added value. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 19:25, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Adding "by the scientific community" seems redundant to me, just as "found impressionist by the painting community" would be Normally, I would agree, except in this case, there are (in addition to the numerous 'bad guys' posited by creationists) numerous groups involved. We have politicians, scientists, science journalists, judges and courts, and 'liberal' clergy, all of whom could be the ones responsible for labeling it pseudoscience. I understand where you're coming from, because to me, when I read it I mentally add "...by the scientific community" instinctively and without conscious thought. But -and here's where we get a bit subjective- I remember how I switched sides in this debate. I set out to prove to someone that evolution was problematic and anti-religious POVs were the only reason that creationism didn't get published. I started doing research, and if WP had existed then, I'd have checked it, first. The kicker for me was realizing just how much support evolution has in the scientific community, and from Christian scientists, no less. I'd been led to believe that a good chunk of scientists were creationists who simply didn't write about their beliefs due to peer pressure. When confronted with the fact that scientists are virtually unanimous in accepting the tenets of evolution and rejecting all forms of creationism, I had to admit to myself that evolution was true.
(And then it made me an atheist. So the creationists are right about that much.) I see an article like this as a way to help educate people who might be surrounded by misinformation. To that end, stating clearly things that are obvious to me or you can help, when they are things that aren't necessarily obvious to the reader. It certainly wasn't obvious to me, 20 years ago. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:40, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
Fair enough. The addition certainly does no harm beyond the few bytes it occupies. I have never been on the other side of that fence (thanks for the sneak-peek at what the view is like from there!) so my opinions about how a creationist would react to such or such phrasing are not (must not be) very strong. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 21:56, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
ID is primarily an argument against evolutionary biology, using an old philosophical/theological argument for the existence of God, as if that were relevant and sufficient to defeat "Darwinism", without explicit mention of God, as if that were sufficient to make it non-religious and scientific, but only makes it pseudoscientific. TomS TDotO (talk) 18:35, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
I fully agree with this statement, but am confused as to why it is indented as an answer to my comment. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 19:25, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm confused, too. Sorry. TomS TDotO (talk) 02:23, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

The top of the page says that:

  1. This article is about a form of creationism, and
  2. Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God

By saying this, are we following the NPOV policy? Or are we asserting that opponents of ID are correct? (If it's the latter, then couldn't we at least say that Opponents of ID regard it as a form of creationism and/or Opponents of ID see it mainly as a creationist religious argument for the existence of God?

It wouldn't violate "undue weight" to attribute the views of opponents to opponents - provided we make darn sure that our readers know what percent of experts or other reliable sources endorse those views. --Uncle Ed (talk) 18:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Nope, due weight requires that we show the clear majority expert view, and don't recast reality from a fringe perspective. Calling that mainstream view "opponents" at the start simply attempts to give "equal validity" to pseudoscience. Even proponentsists present it as a religious argument for the existence of God in all but name, and their denial of creationism has no credence – even with their followers! . . dave souza, talk 19:10, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
WP:Neutral point of view says quite clearly: "Avoid stating facts as opinions." ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:17, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Meh seems largely the same result here as before "Of the options available in this thread, the status quo was strongly favoured. Discussion has now gone stale here and is continued in new threads down the page where further options have been presented. Samsara 20:16, 29 January 2017 (UTC)" For me, it doesn't seem worth saying yet again the things I feel wrong with these have been said before over & over... How about we just all agree we dislike the lead and that until something actually changes about the topic externally or we get some newer cites to work from we just put a longish hold on any rechewing this one over & over ? Markbassett (talk) 00:35, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Well, yours was the first comment in over two months, so I think we're taking the tact you recommend already. For the record, I can clearly see why, to a religious editor or to one who is completely agnostic on this issue, the current opening sentence appears POV-ish. the DI and others have worked very hard to get ID recognized as science. But at the end of the day, the current opening sentence is as accurate and brief a definition as we could possibly provide, with the possible exception of the previous opening sentence. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:12, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

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Anti-evolution legislation[edit]

The article Anti-evolution legislation was titled Academic freedom bills until this past December. There is currently a discussion at Talk:Anti-evolution legislation about whether the article should be moved back. You are invited to participate. (I am not watching this page, so please ping me if you want my attention.) --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 19:48, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

Opening sentence[edit]

Apparently even minor copy edits get reverted on sight at this article. My edit was far from elegant, but the sentence as it stands is even farther from elegant. It's a cumbersome sentence. I split it into 2 sentences to improve readability a bit. Joefromrandb (talk) 02:58, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

That opening sentence has been so hotly debated, and with such regularity, that people here are extremely skittish about even the slightest change of wording. The current one is a minor alteration of the previous long-standing version obtained via a multi-part RfC which you can find in the archives if you care to waste your time. For this lead, DDDDDDB applies, rather than BRD :P Your addition of the abbreviation, OTOH, cannot possibly alter meaning, and is a clear commonsense improvement, so it's likely to stand on its own. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 05:00, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I've seen it. I'm not out to change anything. The change I made did not alter the meaning of what was being said one iota. Joefromrandb (talk) 05:24, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps it could be argued that "an example of" is a minute departure from "found to be". I took another crack at it, this time retaining the original text almost word-for-word. Again, I have no objection to what's being said. I'm just trying to make it a bit easier to parse. Joefromrandb (talk) 05:34, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I will support the RfC on that comma. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 06:46, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The text involved, without references, is:

Previous (20:24, 17 May 2017) Current (05:36, 20 May 2017)
Intelligent design is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" but found to be pseudoscience. Intelligent design (ID) is a creationist religious argument for the existence of God. Presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins", it has been found to be pseudoscience.

The changes look good to me. Johnuniq (talk) 06:57, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

  • The change seems reasonable to me, but I am concerned about the comma and whether it should follow the close quotation mark in the second sentence of the new version, or be placed between the word origins and the close quotation mark... In line with usual practice for this and similar topics, I propose an RfC be prepared and advertised on the central messages, a minimum of 150 kB discussion at AN over the composition of a three admin panel to close the RfC, revert wars over the changes in the meantime, several blocks, and a three-month ArbCom case coming to the conclusion that it cannot mandate MOS changes and DS are already authorised. Newyorkbrad, at the risk of having to recuse and miss what will no doubt be one of the archetypes of pointless ArbCom cases, can you weigh in on the weighty matter of the lede sentence change and the vitally important topic of punctuation? Wow, I wish I could pretend there was no basis for my admittedly sarcastic comment, but I've been here too long... EdChem (talk) 07:07, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
  • I also realized that "evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" appears twice in the first paragraph. Hopefully my use of a pronoun in place of this word-for-word antecedent that appears only two sentences before it isn't a major issue. Joefromrandb (talk) 14:09, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
(fast track attempt :) I see no problem with your changes. — PaleoNeonate — 14:19, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
  • The first sentence as it is now looks good to me, especially with the repetition of the "evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" taken care of. Bishonen | talk 14:43, 20 May 2017 (UTC).

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The second paragraph of the lede[edit]

I think the second paragraph of the lead section was rather hard to follow, especially for readers who don't already know what irreducible complexity and specified complexity are. I've attempted a copyedit, without changing the content. Since I've moved things around, the notes may not be best placed. (And note 12 seems to be defined somewhere lower down; I dunno if anything needs doing about that.) Altogether, please improve or revert or comment here, anybody who cares to. Bishonen | talk 14:39, 20 May 2017 (UTC)