Talk:A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3


Odd nature, of course criticism is very important for the article. But in the lead sentence? About your recent reverts: I added a description of the 'scientific integrity' list, because the title does not make it clear what this list is about. Since there was an editorial comment after the 'clergy' list, I thought it would be good to have one here, too. The other links are self-explanatory. Sternberg is not listed with Smithsonian anymore. We know this now. Then, wouldn't the reader like to know how he is identified now? Northfox 23:42, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

<undent>I see no criticism. What are you referring to? And how does the title not make it clear what it is about? I think that Sternberg's previous AND current affiliations should be listed. BOth are interesting information.--Filll 23:47, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Filll, then please go ahead and mention his two Ph.D.s in Biology, his unpaid Smithsonian's affiliation and his present position in the article. Northfox 13:17, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
with criticism I meant the 'critical responses' section. This section is very important. The primary reason for the list was not an appeal for authority, as is claimed in the lead sentence, but what is stated in the subheader of the advertisement from 2001: Public TV programs, educational policy statements, and science textbooks have asserted that Darwin’s theory of evolution fully explains the complexity of living things. The public has been assured, most recently by spokespersons for PBS’s Evolution series, that “all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution” as does “virtually every reputable scientist in the world.”The following scientists dispute the first claim and stand as living testimony in contradiction to the second. There is scientific dissent to Darwinism. It deserves to be heard.
On the contrary, the PBS series announce sounds pretty appeal to authority to me. I am quite busy at work, so I have to limit my wiki-activity to one short session per day. My future responses will thus be delayed and shorter. This does not mean that I sneak out of the discussion, but please give me a break. Northfox 00:40, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

<undent>I see no particular reason to "give you a break". This list is indeed an "appeal to authority", as many of the previous similar creationist lists going back decades have been. This does not mean that the scientific community has not countered with similar "appeals to authority", but I do not think that the PBS series falls in that category, compared to the lists of Nobel Prize Winners, National Academy members, endorsements by dozens of scientific organizations with millions of members worldwide, etc that establish completely convincingly where the dominant scientific consensus is. The difficulty is that this list gives a completely misleading impression of where the dominant scientific understanding lies. If a tiny fraction of 0.1% of the relevant fields sign a vaguely worded and purposely misleading petition, does this really mean anything? What it means to me is that the sponsors of the petition are basically crooks and dishonest jerks, little better than their hate-filled huckster televangelist cousins, in the same category as glossolalia, demon possession, snake-handling, and thrashing seizures of religious fervor exhibited by the faithful writhing in the dirt while the preacher screams damnation and threats to all and sundry and flies into a religious tantrum. This sort of list needs to be revealed for what it is. Why are we protecting the DI? WP is not a religious tract to help them recruit. --Filll 00:58, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Signers Category?

Filll has just eliminated one of the signers from the "see also" section because "articles on individuals who signed the statement should not be will get too crowded" -- quite correctly to my mind. Would it be appropriate to create a Category for 'signers of the Dissent from Darwinism' instead? Hrafn42 15:39, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Or a separate article called List of signers of the "Dissent from Darwinism".--Filll 15:41, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Discussion of the alternatives can be found here:WP:CLS. I would have a mild preference for a Category over a List. Hrafn42 16:56, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Signatories to... and yeah I think a Cat would better than a list. ornis 21:04, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I started a category but I am not sure it will work. I do not know how to make categories. I read the directions but I do not know how to do it still.--Filll 23:24, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

That's alright I've already made it. You just needed to follow the red link and type in a blurb and give it a parent cat. ornis 23:39, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I've been going through the list of signatories, but it's starting to make my brain hurt. I got to: Rosalind Picard. If anyone goes further through the list could you post were you got to here. ornis 00:39, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
some signatories are listed by their first name (e.g. Michael Behe under M), others by their family name (e.g Frank Tipler under T). Reason? Can anybody fix this? Northfox 03:38, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Behe is listed under B on the Category page (between John Baumgardner & David Berlinski currently). The petition-list itself appears to be in no particular order (may be in order it was signed, may be not). Hrafn42 06:39, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Confucius he fix, and say "piped name put [[Category:signatory of "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism"|Behe, Michael]] in order" ..... dave souza, talk 06:56, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

(RI) Quite. Anyhow, up to Gregory A. Snyder Ph.D. Geochemistry Colorado School of Mines. ornis 07:06, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Very impressive. You are going much faster than I would have imagined. I did check the first page or two and added a few, but you guys are beating me hollow. Wow.--Filll 14:56, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
ornis, have you proceeded further? If not, I volunteer to check from Snyder (page 6 near the top) to M. Harold Laughlin (page 7 bottom). Coordinating it in such a way will prevent us from checking the same names over and over. Other volunteers, announce your search interval and we can process the whole list easily. Northfox 06:53, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Hmm? No I haven't but when I do, I'll start from Laughlin then, unless someone goes further. ornis 05:52, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
finished checking until Laughlin, found two entries. Northfox 07:51, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

In case anybody hasn't heard, the category is being nominated for deletion. Have your say at [[1]] Hrafn42 02:40, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

As much as I argued against the category and in favor of a list, I think that both would be useful, as I stated at the discussion link above.--Filll 04:10, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
if both is possible, that would be best. In an either/or decision, I would tend towards a list. Northfox 05:38, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

As I commented in the deletion-discussion, none of the editors seeking deletion appear to be active in Creationism-related articles. Anybody know why this is happening? Hrafn42 05:02, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

I think they are interested in deleting inappropriate categories in general. Northfox 05:35, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but that would tend to give them a somewhat generic/doctrinaire approach to the matter. A category is largely appropriate according to how notable & useful it is (per FM in the deletion discussion), and those can only be judged by editors who actually work in the area of articles covered by the category. Hrafn42 05:46, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

In spite of evenly balanced votes from Creation/Evolution regulars (for keeping) and CFD regulars (for deletion), this debate as been interpreted as having a result for deletion. I have written to the Admin concerned at User talk:Radiant!#Category:Signatory of "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism" requesting a reconsideration. Hrafn42 14:13, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

The result of Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2007_July_5#Category:Signatory_of_.22A_Scientific_Dissent_From_Darwinism.22 was clearly not delete. The comments there are about evenly split so there's obviously no consensus. I'd like to hear exactly how did User:Radiant! come to the conclusion for delete? I've left that question for him at his talk page and am letting other interested parties know about this misapplication of CFD. Odd nature 16:47, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

I have asked for a deletion review of Category:Signatory of "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism". You might want to participate in the deletion review. Hrafn42 17:36, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Names, please

Also, if a signatory was previously the head of a department or the president of an institute, his past and most prestigious position will be listed, not his current position. Visitors at prestigious institutions will have that affiliation listed, not their more humble home institution.

If no names are provided, these sentences should be removed as unsubstantiated.Northfox 12:28, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Richard Sternberg (since corrected, as noted in the article), "Bernard d'Abrera Visiting Scholar, Department of Entomology British Museum (Natural History)", "Ferenc Jeszenszky Former Head of the Center of Research Groups Hungarian Academy of Sciences", "M.M. Ninan Former President Hindustan Academy of Science, Bangalore University (India)", "B. K. Nelson Research Toxicologist (retired) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention", "Christopher Morbey Astronomer (Ret.) Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, National Research Council of Canada", "Joseph Lary Epidemiologist and Research Biologist (retired) Centers for Disease Control", "Wesley M. Taylor Former Chairman of the Division of Primate Medicine & Surgery New England Regional Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School". These would appear to be the most obvious ones where they have listed something that wasn't present and permanent. Hrafn42 13:42, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
NB, the above are direct quotes from the 'Dissent' document (hence my insertion of quotation marks) -- no OR was involved, beyond finding them in that document. Hrafn42 15:58, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
It is quite common to list retired academics by their last active post, placing retired or emeritus after their name. Experts in other fields (military, as a notable example) are identified in a similar manner. Also, more than once I have read 'former US president Carter'. Nothing wrong with that, I think.
Bernard d'Abrera: how do you know that his home position (not that this has to be mentioned) is less prestigious? Remember that the DI list gives the choice between alma mater and position at the time of signature.
For the sake of transparency, I would prefer if names are named in the article. Makes it easier to fact-check. Northfox 14:32, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
Actually, it is not up to us to do this OR. It is verifiable, with reliable references to this effect. And that is all we need to do here.--Filll 14:57, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
It is uncertain Wedging Creationism into the Academy is the reference for this claim as
  1. it is listed several sentences later; and
  2. no longer at that URL.
Hrafn42 15:16, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
Names asked for, names given, so why are you still fussing?
  • There is a world of difference between "retired" and "emeritus" -- the latter indicates that they still have an ongoing formal relationship with the institution, the former doesn't. Listing the latter is normal practice, listing the former isn't. All of the ones on the list were "retired" not "emeritus".
    • I would further point out that the 'dissent' document explicitly states "Scientists listed by doctoral degree or current position." An emeritus position is a "current position", a position that has been retired from is not! Hrafn42 16:08, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Because the British Museum is one of the world's most prestigious institutions. If d'Abrera had a permanent position, at a more prestigious institution, I think the DI would have trumpeted it from the rooftops by now.
    • Additionally, a "visiting scholar" is usually "visiting" from some other instiution and that is the institution that is the correct one to list. Hrafn42 16:08, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Naming names in the article would simply make for a messier, less readable article. It took me all of about 10 minutes to find these examples from the list, so I don't see why it should be necessary to present the exhaustive details in the article itself.
Hrafn42 15:08, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree that including names makes the article less readable. But since Bohlin, Rana and Wells are included examples for Forrest's claims of alma mater vs less prestigious present affiliation (and Bohlin and Rana seem not be notable enough to have a wiki entry), why not make it clearer for her other claims of retired vs present position and visiting vs permanent and include examples as well? The Sternberg section is too long, IMHO. My point is that the article should be consistent. Either naming names for all claims or none. Northfox 00:53, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
No offense, but why should we dance this OR dance?--Filll 02:57, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Because Filll, the sentence that Northfox is complaining about is not substantiated by the Forrest reference (as I already pointed out in your new section below). And I'm still not sure that I agree that citing signatory entries, directly from the 'Dissent' document counts as OR. Hrafn42 03:08, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm with Filll, and I'll point out that that the source provided supports the thrust of the content, as does the handful of other sources available that address this point. Do we want this article to turn out like the ID article, with ID cranks crying for sources for every uncontroversial fact, then griping in FAR that there's way too many footnotes? Northfox has been chipping away at this section and its source for over a month now, I think it's time for him to drop it and move on. Odd nature 20:59, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the source supports the general thrust of the paragraph, as well as the specific claims made in the sentences before (Raymond G. Bohlin, Fazale Rana, and Jonathan Wells) and after (Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas, Richard Sternberg) the one under discussion. I am merely pointing out that the specific claims of this sentence (previous and visiting positions) are not supported. This would seem to leave us with the following options:
  1. Eliminate the sentence;
  2. Replace the specific claims in the sentence with more general ones supportable from the Forrest reference; or
  3. Find new support for the specific claims of the existing sentence (which is what I've been attempting to do, from the 'Dissent' document).
Hrafn42 04:40, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
<undent> The sentence was not there originally. I am sure we can find out who put it in there and ask them what they meant. I have no doubt that it is true, in Sternberg's case if nothing else. I also am fairly positive that we could find verifiable reliable references that said something similar. Just have to look. Or find examples. Does anyone doubt that we will? Oh well...--Filll 05:13, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

<undent>I agree that this is definitely heading in the direction of the intelligent design article itself. If we continue, every single sentence in the article will need 5 citations. We can do it of course, but then it will be a bulky unreadable mess that people will complain about since it is too heavily cited. How many references are necessary for each statement? How many examples? Clearly from reading the references there are examples of:

  • people who signed but did not know what it was
  • people who signed out of irritation at being asked
  • people who signed and now have changed their minds and want off the list, but cannot get off the list even with repeated pleas and even outright threats to the DI
  • people who were fooled by the vague wording of the text, which is so carefully worded that any real biologist would probably agree with it, but not the intent of the DI and the purposes of the list itself
  • inconsistencies in affiliation, always seemingly biased towards the more prestigious institution. Sometimes the two institutions are the educational institution at which the individual recieved their degree, or some other institution with which they were associated during their career. 'Northfox, I challenge you to find me 5 counterexamples of this seeming pattern, with proper citations and references, or just move on.

This in itself should be enough evidence of trouble with this list. We have to do more? Find more examples? More citations? More digging into the past of all those who signed the list looking for errors and malfeasance? How much is enough? I suspect that Northfox is perfectly willing to force us to dance to his merry tune, and is laughing maniacally as we make complete fools of ourselves. The pattern is evident to anyone who has a fair outlook and can see the obvious.--Filll 21:17, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

If this continues, I have half a mind to completely rewrite this article and spend a considerable amount of time digging up evidence of malfeasance and dishonesty on the part of the DI in perparation of this list, and wording the article very strongly, in accordance with this. This is just astounding to be forced to jump through these kinds of hoops. Look Northfox, you will not get what you want by this exercise. In fact, your behavior smacks strongly of someone who is trolling, and who needs to be dealt with accordingly. I am sure you do not want that.--Filll 21:42, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

undent (because I was writing offline and paste the text). Northfox here. I have been quiet for a while, partly because I am busy, but also partly because there has been a heated debate and I wanted to do my share of de-escalation. When I accessed the article again, it seemed to me that some of my initially rejected edits finally made it, sometimes in modified form. This is nice, because I am genuinely interested in making wikipedia a better place. Some said that the article was changed in order to please me (I paraphrase here). Please do not do that. This article is not here for me, but for the public. I do not own the article. But I have the strong feeling that some of the other editors have an axe to grind.

  1. There was the one comment by Filll that put the DI in the same family as pentecostal Christians, worded in a way that shows his aversion against both.
  2. There is the Sternberg mention that is not necessary. Why single him out and describe his affiliation history throughout the different versions of the list? How about all the others who updated their affiliations?
  3. There are the 'confusing and misleading' adjectives that are not in Forrest's article, but that sentence is linked to her article.

Filll, it may be a bit hard to find 5 counterexamples for the 'most prestigious' issue, since most signatories don't have a wiki entry. Thus it will be quite an effort to look on the web for such kind of information. Also, 'prestigious' is not well defined. The number '5' is also a bit arbitrary. Also, as I have said before, the choice of affiliation most likely lies with the signatory and not the ID. You ask 'how much is enough?' I agree with you. We should stick to the facts and not go into guessing or double guessing, trying to bring our own POV into the article. Sometimes less is more. Definitely in case of unsourced criticism.

Your trolling accusation is without any basis. Please look at my other edits. Look at my not very troll-like efforts in expanding the 'signatory' category and my participation in the discussion when is was up for deletion. Filll, wasn't it you who were all kudos about one editor who looked through the first few pages of the list to find entries for the category? Nothing to boast about, but I did my little share and checked roughly 2 of 17 pages. Interestingly, the baton was not taken up and progress stopped there. Also, I am the one who has started to add affiliations and academic background to the article signatories of the scientific decent from darwinism list. I stopped at three entries, because I was not sure if the article would be AfD'ed. Then all my work would have been wasted. Nobody else has followed up either. If you are so eager to expose how unscientific the signatories are, such an article would be a bonanza. Thus I think there is no grounds that 'I need to be dealt with'. You are again double guessing on what I 'do not want'.

As someone has said during the category deletion discussion, people are putting their academic career and reputation at stake by signing the dissent list. Thinking about it, maybe that's why I have such a strong feeling that the article should be as unbiased as possible. Have to log off. Northfox 02:50, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

I didn't expect you to meet the challenge. And do not give me a big song and dance about how much effort you have put in here. You stand at 372 edits. I stand at 16532. A slight difference, I notice. You went through 2 pages? I went through about 4, but then decided to do something else since others were going to help out. Which is great, since dividing up the labor is quite appropriate. The edits you forced are there to placate you, ok? It is nothing to brag about. Looking at this page, I see not much more than a lot of whining on someone's part. Sorry. So do you work for the Discovery Institute? --Filll 03:32, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Exact wording from Forrest article

Such statements commonly note the institutional affiliations of signatories for purposes of identification. But this statement strategically listed either the institution that granted a signatory's PhD or the institutions with which the individual is presently affiliated. Thus the institutions listed for Raymond G. Bohlin, Fazale Rana, and Jonathan Wells, for example, were the University of Texas, Ohio University, and the University of California, Berkeley, where they earned their degrees, rather than their current affiliations: Probe Ministries for Bohlin, the Reasons to Believe ministry for Rana, and the CSC for Wells. During controversies over evolution education in Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio, and Texas, similar lists of local scientists were circulated.

To my eyes, this is a pretty clear case of OR that we do not need to do.--Filll 15:41, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, this clearly substantiates the sentence before and after the one Northfox is complaining about, but not for the specific claims in that sentence itself. This leaves us with the question of whether we can use the words of the 'Dissent' document itself as substantiation, or whether this is impermissible OR. Hrafn42 15:51, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
The specifics are readily apparent to anyone with any familiarity with these characters, and other sources make the point which let's forget is accurate, so it needs to stay. Odd nature 21:02, 23 July 2007 (UTC)


There are 48 emerti on the list, and 5 retired.--Filll 20:28, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Ferenc Jeszenszky is a retired physicist in Hungary who handles the Hungarian Creation Research videos. He is listed instead, on the list, as "Former Head of the Center of Research Groups Hungarian Academy of Sciences".

I have found some other examples of this sort of inflation. It is sort of depressing. Robert W. Bass is listed as Ph.D. Mathematics (also: Rhodes Scholar; Post-Doc at Princeton) Johns Hopkins University, but in fact has worked as an engineer for at least 30+ years in industry.--Filll 21:07, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

There are many others I could include on the list, but I just put a couple of examples in the text as illustrative. We could spend months doing this, but it is not worth it. The fact that these kinds of errors exist, after the DI has been criticized repeatedly for this kind of hanky panky already is a bad sign.--Filll 23:05, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Ok Bernard d'Abrera is an author and publisher at Hill House Publishers Pty. Ltd. (Melb. & Lond.) permanently. And he visits museums all around the world. i got confused when I wrote that piece because I thought it was a chaired position that Sternberg held. I will have to rewrite it now that I know more information. --Filll 05:07, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

As much as an editor here wants to paint Sternberg in the most positive light, the list does not describe his two PhDs. We are not here to give a resume for Sternberg. This is ludicrous. I say we go back to the previous consensus paragraph about Sternberg before I screwed it up. And I add a new paragraph illustrating the point I was trying to make about Bernard d'Abrera.--Filll 13:32, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
On page 11 of the Feb. 2007 edition of the list, a Richard Sternberg is listed with his two PhDs. Northfox 09:52, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

It is not at all clear that the signatories all have PhDs, although the website associated with this petition canvasses those with PhDs to contact the DI. I strongly suspect that not all signatories have a PhD. However, this will take some effort to demonstrate. --Filll 14:39, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

If I may disagree with you on specifics, while agreeing with your general thrust Filll, it is clear that not all of signatories have PhDs (d'Abrera serves as a valid counterexample, refuting the claim that they all have PhDs), what is not clear is how many of them lack PhDs (or only have PhDs outside the DI's invitation, i.e. science, maths, engineering). Hrafn42 10:17, 29 July 2007 (UTC)
To track all these down would be a gargantuan task. One or two examples will have to suffice. And a reference to the British Center for Science Education which has done something similar. And to an interview with Eugenie Scott where she has done a bit of fact checking as well. It was a huge pain in the butt for me to dig up information about d'Abrera. Still some things about him I do not know. There are some clues that he mainly lives in the UK, some that he mainly lives in the Australia, and some that he moves back and forth. He might also give singing lessons over the internet to young boys, but I am not sure. He was involved in a college stunt to steal an alligator from the Sydney Zoo. This stuff I did not put in his biography article here. They are among the loose hanging ends that I could not resolve.--Filll 13:28, 29 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree that going through all of them is infeasible. The obvious thing to do is to pick out some low-hanging fruit from the bunch. Those lacking an explicit PhD/DSc mention or Head/Chair/Prof/Lecturer/Post-Doc title would appear to be the obvious candidates:

Suspect list

  • B. K. Nelson Research Toxicologist (retired) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Christopher Morbey Astronomer (Ret.) Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, National Research Council of Canada
  • David Chambers Physicist Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • David Chapman* Senior Scientist Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • David W. Rusch Sr. Research Scientist, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics University of Colorado
  • Denis Fesenko Junior Research Fellow, Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia)
  • Dennis Dean Rathman Staff Scientist MIT Lincoln Laboratory
  • Douglas Nelson Rose Research Physicist United States Army
  • Forrest Mims Atmospheric Researcher Geronimo Creek Observatory -- this is one we know doesn't have a PhD: "Mims has no formal academic training in science but has a career as a science author, lecturer and syndicated columnist."
  • Gary Maki Director, Ctr. for Advanced Microelectronics and Biomolecular Research University of Idaho
  • Geoff Barnard Senior Research Scientist, Department of Veterinary Medicine University of Cambridge (UK)
  • Giulio D. Guerra First Researcher of the Italian National Research Council (Chemistry) Istituto Materiali Compositi e Biomedici, CNR (Italy)
  • Henry Schaefer Director, Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry University of Georgia
  • Jeffrey Schwartz Assoc. Res. Psychiatrist, Dept. of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences University of California, Los Angeles -- MD not PhD
  • John Brown Research Meteorologist National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • John Stamper Research Physicist Naval Research Laboratory
  • Joseph Lary Epidemiologist and Research Biologist (retired) Centers for Disease Control
  • Khawar Sohail Siddiqui Senior Research Associate (Protein Chemistry) University of New South Wales (Australia)
  • M.M. Ninan Former President Hindustan Academy of Science, Bangalore University (India)
  • Manuel Garcia Ulloa Gomez Director of Marine Sciences Laboratory Autonomous University of Guadalajara (Mexico)
  • Martin Krause Research Scientist (Astronomy) University of Cambridge (UK)
  • Mary A. Brown DVM (Veterinary Medicine) Ohio State University -- DVM in US = medical rather than research doctorate
  • Miguel A. Rodriguez Undergraduate Lab. Coordinator for Biochemistry University of Ottawa (Canada)
  • Oleh Havrysh Senior Research Assistant, Protein & Peptide Structure & Function Dept. Institute of Bioorganic Chemsitry & Petrochemistry
  • Patricia Reiff Director, Rice Space Institute Rice University
  • Philip S. Taylor Research Fellow, Computer Science Queen’s University Belfast (UK)
  • Ricardo Leon Dean of School of Medicine Autonomous University of Guadalajara (Mexico) -- correct name: Ricardo Leon Borquez, MD, not PhD[2]
  • Rodney Ice Principle Research Scientist, Nuclear & Radiological Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Ronald R. Crawford Ed.D. Science Education Ball State University -- this one can go into the non-sci/math/eng doctorate section
  • Russel Peak Senior Researcher, Engineering Information Systems Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Sergey I. Vdovenko Senior Research Assistant, Department of Fine Organic Synthesis Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry and Petrochemistry
  • Tetsuichi Takagi Senior Research Scientist Geological Survey of Japan
  • Thomas C. Majerus PharmD; FCCP University of Minnesota -- professional doctorate
  • Tianyou Wang Research Scientist Center for Advanced Studies in Measurement & Assessment, University of Iowa -- PhD is in Education[3]
  • Weimin Gao Microbiologist Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Woody Weed Mechanical Engineer, Science & Technology Division Sandia National Labs

I'd suggest anybody who is interested in looking them up cross them out after a doctorate has been found for them. Hrafn42 14:09, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Wow these are a lot of people. I wonder what format we should report these in? I guess it depends what we find. Just another 2 or 3 examples of "suspicious" listings would really round out our points and make it quite clear that this list is almost meaningless. However, our criticism section is already pretty long. I guess we can have a detailed discussion and make sure we summarize it in another place so people do not have to slog through a lot of detail.--Filll 14:37, 29 July 2007 (UTC)
This is merely a list of candidates who I think have a lower than average probability of having a PhD. We still need to go through them. I've found one to date, Forrest Mims, who definitely doesn't have a PhD, as well as several that, on further investigation definitely or probably do have one. Hrafn42 14:50, 29 July 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. All one has to do is find a couple to cast doubt on the entire list and glorious edifice, to show that it is just probably nonsensical. Even if you find out that their affiliation is wrong, or credentials exagerrated, or they do not subscribe to creationism etc, it is valuable information that can be presented.--Filll 15:14, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Have given the list a once-through, and got a number of hits (as you can see), which I've put into the article. I think this gives us a fairly good range of anomalies, and probably as many as the article can withstand without a need to spin it out into a separate list or something. Hrafn42 11:04, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I think this gives an indication of problems, enough to encourage someone who is at least a bit doubtful to want to question the list more. After all, we have cast doubt on the credentials of at least 10 or so of the 700 signatories of the list, with only a little effort. I suspect that with a little more effort, this could be much greater. That, coupled with the confusion that NCSE and BCSE found when they tried to interview those on the list suggests that the list is just a sleezy sales job to trick the public. From the Australian radio show, I gather that NCSE tried to contact a few people on the list, and the first 10 or so responses they obtained were that the people all were firmly committed to biological evolution, but did not believe evolution was responsible for the creation of life itself, or some other confusion. They were unable to find a single person on the list that agreed with intelligent design when they were interviewing them. This investigation quickly came to an end when the Discovery Institute caught wind of it and told the people on the list to refuse to talk to the NCSE.--Filll 12:23, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
What I find odd is that a disproportionate number of those with irregularities seem to be people that the DI would have some contact with, or at least knowledge of. These cannot be dismissed as merely mistakes in vetting, they are clear indications of purposeful deception. Hrafn42 13:12, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I think it is pretty obvious the DI know they are cutting corners in places, but have decided to do so to make their list as long as possible. This helps to deceive the public, but is also intimidating to anyone who wants to check it (after all, it would clearly be a huge effort to check the entire list extensively). What started out as a simple exercise to get 100 people signed up has turned into an industry, and now a desperate race, even against Project Steve. However, the more they pad the list and the longer it is around, the more difficulties are uncovered and the less value it has, it would seem to me. The people that I read about who were interviewed at the Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity rallies quoted the Dissent list as proof that serious scientists doubted Darwin. We can perform a useful function by summarizing all the information that makes this list look doubtful in one place, that is easily found on a simple google search. People can then make up their own minds, once they have all the facts and links to places that they can check the facts for themselves.--Filll 13:31, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Then they're either not listening to their PR-hacks or should fire them. The flakiest few that the allow onto the list (d'Abrera, Mims, for instance) cost them far more in credibility than they add in numbers. If you have 700+ you can afford to lose a dozen or so to make it not quite so easy for nay-sayers such as ourselves to shoot holes in them. As they're going, they may as well put Peter Pan onto the list. :/ Hrafn42 14:28, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

With the amount of money they have and are spending on this, I think you are correct. Their PR firm(s) should be checking and double checking all the people on this list. Why keep Salthe on the list when he has publicly denied that he agrees with ID? I even remember some years back a couple of people had to threaten legal action to get off the list (it would be great to find some of this information and put it in the article; hopefully my memory is not faulty on this point). d'Abrera, when I checked a bit, turned out to a total flake. He claims (and other creationists have repeated this) to be the "most famous butterfly person in the world" (slightly paraphrased). Nevertheless, I have found almost NO support for this claim, although he has produced many books of photographs which are used by butterfly people and in libraries. In terms of actual science, we had NO mention of him on WP before this. We had a list of renowned lepidopterists and he did not appear on a list of about 15 real butterfly people and 5 fictional butterfly people. And he is the most famous butterfly person in the world? If he is the most famous butterfly person in the world, surely the Natural History Museum would mention it on their website, if he really is in residence there? I think they would be proudly championing this. Instead, NO and I mean NO mention. I might even drop them an email and ask about their connection with him. I did write to his alma mater to try to double check on his degrees, although Australian privacy laws might make this impossible (which I find amazing, but oh well, I have pretty good evidence that it was just a bachelor's degree). I think when the ID people get too wrapped up in their own culture of lies, it is hard for them to look at the situation objectively, and they are just too anxious to pad the length of the list, no matter what. --Filll 14:51, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Bernard d'Abrera

I wrote to the University of New South Wales to verify d'Abrera's lack of PhD, and this was confirmed:

Confirmation of Qualification - Mr Bernard D'Abrera Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2007 14:13:29 +1000

Dear XXX,

I am writing in reply to your email dated 7 August 2007 requesting confirmation of the qualification of Mr Bernard D'Abrera.

I can confirm that we have a student by the name of Bernard D'Abrera. He is a graduate of the University of New South Wales and was admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Arts on 21 April 1965.


Laura Chan

Laura Chan | Client Services Officer | Student Administration and Records | UNSW Student Services | The University of New South Wales SYDNEY NSW 2052 | Phone+ 612 9385 2433 | Fax + 612 9385 1252 | CRICOS Provider Code 00098G

--Filll 13:49, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

The section whose name Moulton keeps changing to "User:Hrafn42", but is really about Rosalind Picard‎

An editor is attempting to whitewash Picard's signing of the dissent, and is repeatedly attempting to restore unsourced POV 'puff piece' material on her. Any assistance would be appreciated. Hrafn42 18:17, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
And now this editor, Moulton, is attempting to bring his whitewashing here. His whitewashing claims here can quite easily be disproved by the early 2001 edition of A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism already referenced in the article. Hrafn42 04:11, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

What is your evidence that what Picard actually signed was a "dissent"?

Are you buying into DI's subterfuge? What kind of a scientist are you? Just because DI mislabels a call for skepticism as a "dissent," do you have to be one of their mindless lap dogs and repeat their hogwash?

The actual ad is sourced in the article. So is the description and analysis of the ad by NSCE. Go look at the ad again. It contains a bloody diatribe against PBS. Do you actually believe that a scientist whose work is regularly featured on PBS would sign an ad attacking PBS?

It is abundantly clear that the 103 signatories did not sign the ad against PBS. And it is also clear that the headline on that ad is not part of the two-sentence quote.

I am appalled at your abject failure to be a decent scientist. You are propagating blatantly false personal theories unsupported by evidence or reasoning.

And I am deeply disappointed in Wikipedia for allowing such sloppy work. You are not only hurting people who are on your side in the effort to promote good science, you are hurting yourself by demonstrating your inability to function as a decent scientist.

Moulton 10:04, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Moulton: Your tendentious attempt to disassociate the original title from the original petition is spurious and uncompelling. She is a signatory to a petition that has, since its first publication, been entitled "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism". She was stupid enough to venture outside her area of expertise to put her name to a petition announcing her "skepticism" of a (strawman version) of a widely accepted scientific theory. The difference between "dissent from darwinism" and "skepticism of ... random mutation and natural selection ... Darwinian theory" is insufficient to claim that the title misrepresented her views. She has further made no attempt to distance herself from or disavow the 'dissent'. So why should we take your unsubstantiated word that it is nothing to do with her? Hrafn42 10:18, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Hrafn42: I repeat... You don't have a shred of credible evidence to establish that the 103 original signers of the two-sentence quote had the foggiest idea who the DI was, what their agenda was, or that the quote would appear as a diatribe against PBS under a misleading headline. NSCE has analyzed the ad and sharply criticized the DI for grotesquely distorting the original petition. Your own article here goes on at some length about one of NSCE's interviews that strongly supports the theory that the 103 original signers were given no clue how the DI planned to abuse the petition to attack PBS or to falsely label the signers as "dissenters" or anti-evolutionists. Your own article reveals that many of those original 102 were of no such stripe.

You are accepting absence of evidence as evidence of absence, and you are shamefully promoting DI's detestable agenda by assisting them in the unethical practice of abusing other scientists. If you have one shred of decency left in your nigh-invisible soul, you will cease and desist from publishing false propaganda that aids the cause of DI while devastating the cause of science which we both share (albeit with unequal passion and dissimilar methods).

I spent three hours on the phone with Filll and we reached an amicable meeting of the minds. I put him onto the same evidence I laid before you -- namely that DI attached both the headline and the attack on PBS to an otherwise innocuous call for skepticism when examining the evidence.

It's sound advice, Hrafn42, and I urge you to heed it. For his part, Filll says he will use his contacts to find additional evidence to support the theory I laid out for him and you.

To be perfectly frank, I was astonished to return to this site after three hours on the phone and find that a good deal of the evidence was right here, on your own pages. I studied the facsimile of that original ad and I read the corresponding NSCE description and analysis of it. There is no mistaking the truth when it's right in front of your eyes, Hrafn42. The content of that original ad may be deceptive to the naive and gullible public, but any one looking at it with a careful eye can tell that the signers had nothing to do with the ad (including the infamous and misleading headline).

Use your head, Hrafn42. Why would anyone knowingly sign onto an ad attacking a PBS science series when their own professional work is frequently presented on various PBS series?

I suggest you take a day or two to reflect on this whole sordid affair and come to your senses.

It's time for you to learn to be a responsible producer of accurate content. And that includes a healthy dose of skepticism -- especially when the evidence you are relying on to attack other scientists is material supplied by DI.

Think about it, Hrafn42. You have allowed yourself to become a tool of DI, assisting them in discrediting scientists who have spent their lives trying to bring reliable scientific reasoning to a gullible public.

It's time for you to move on to a more sensible method of crafting accurate theories about what's really going on in the sleazy business of right-wing politics.

Moulton 11:23, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Moulton: you can "repeat" your song-and-dance act until you're blue in the face, nobody cares!

  • I don't care if Picard "the 103 original signers of the two-sentence quote had the foggiest idea who the DI was" or not -- they knew that they were expressing an opinion in contradiction to the scientific consensus.
  • The NCSE's criticism of the DI's tactics surrounding this statement is in no way relevant to the fact that Picard signed her name to this pernicious statement, and has never since disavowed it!
  • PBS is long since irrelevant! What is relevant is that Rosalind Picard knowingly put her name to the anti-science, anti-evolution statement "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." It. Is. Not. An. Innocuous. Call. For. Skepticism. It is a completely dishonest call to subvert well-founded science.
  • The rest of your drivel is too vague to be worth responding to. You don't like me. I'm insufficiently deferential to your idol. I get that. I don't care about you liking me. I care about the facts.

I will therefore leave you with these questions, Moulton: why did Picard put her name to this statement? And why, if the way it is employed by the DI misrepresents her views, does she not now disavow it? Hrafn42 11:55, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

The claim that you don't care, or that nobody cares about the ethical issues of published journalism is rather telling, Hrafn42.

Your claim of what the signers knew is rather arrogant, don't you think? Especially given that one of them, quoted in the NY Times, said he had no idea what the DI was. Your claim to know (and therefore to publish as fact) what someone else knew seems to be both absurd and dangerous, not only for you and your cohorts, but for Wikipedia itself.

The call for skeptical examination is hardly pernicious. Do you feel it pernicious that I call upon you to examine with a skeptical eye your own theories, beliefs, and claims, along with the evidence and reasoning upon which they are grounded? You have made many extravagant claims, including assertions that patently disprovable assertions are demonstrated facts. To my mind there is nothing quite so dangerous as an arrogant, out-of-control journalist who revels in publishing his flights of fancy as if they were God's Truth. Where do you draw the license to be so licentious? And more to the point, how does such immature, unprofessional, and unbecoming behavior in a role as a Wikipedia editor serve either your own interests of that of the public who comes here looking for useful, reliable, and germane information. Why, for example, would anyone looking up the biography of a university professor care about the silly machinations of either the Discovery Institute or a small army of Wikipedia editors who fanatically deface the biographies of living persons with false and defamatory claims originated by the DI? Cui Bono? Who is served? Inquiring minds want to know.

You claim that I don't like you. That's a theory of yours. How do you know if it's an accurate theory? How do you account for the fact that I write you painstakingly crafted essays designed to lure you into thinking more like a scientist and less like a petulant child.

I am, among other things, a teacher of science to children. I consider teaching an act of love. How do you feel about that? Does it trouble you? Or does that idea warm the cockles of your heart. How do you account for the fact that someone whom you treat with disdain and abuse continues to try to educate you, despite clear evidence that the goal is very likely futile?

Moulton 04:35, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Moulton, I suggest you read WP:NPA and then seriously consider striking through some of your remarks above. I'd also recommend a consideration of the letter and spirit of WP:3RR in light of the article history, and a revision of your strategy. Sheffield Steeltalkersstalkers 13:52, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Not only are Moulton's claims a violation of WP:NPA, but they are a gross distortion of what I have said, as well as what the 'Dissent' statement actually says. As such, I don't really see any point in talking to Moulton further -- it would merely give him more to distort. Hrafn42 17:47, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

In one of the Star Trek movies -- the one about V'ger -- Spock says to Kirk, "V'ger is acting like a child. I suggest you treat her like a child."

Sometime one has to meet another person on their level.

It's a strange thing to do, but sometimes quite necessary to break someone out of petulant stage of infantile behavior.

Moulton 04:40, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Opening paragraph

The present opening paragraph seems to me to be rather vague and uninformative:

A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism is a list of people agreeing with an anti-evolution statement produced by the Discovery Institute as an appeal to authority to support its viewpoint. This list is intended to bolster the Discovery Institute's claims that intelligent design is scientifically valid by creating the impression that evolution lacks broad scientific support. It is one of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns to discredit evolution.

It seems to me to miss the point that the statement signed is vague to the point of not actually disagreeing with the principle of evolution, and is presented with an interpretative statement which creates a particular impression of how they want readers to understand the statement. Here's a proposal for a more informative intro:

A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism is a list of signatories attesting to a statement, produced by the Discovery Institute, expressing skepticism about the ability of natural selection to account for the complexity of life, and encouraging careful examination of the evidence for "Darwinian theory". This list is published in a document together with an introductory statement claiming that its signatories dispute assertions that evolution fully explains the complexity of life and that all known scientific evidence supports evolution. It is one of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns to discredit evolution and bolster claims that intelligent design is scientifically valid by creating the impression that evolution lacks broad scientific support. The Discovery Institute presents the list in an appeal to authority to support its anti-evolution viewpoint.

The changes are sourced from the Skip Evans NCSE article. I'd suggest that the Discovery Institute usage section should set out the misleading nature of the introductory statement, as discussed in that article. .. dave souza, talk 19:15, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

I think this is not a bad idea at all. Other comments?--Filll 19:33, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
This looks good, except that I'd change the first sentence to "the ability of mutation and natural selection", in line with the 'Dissent' statement. Hrafn42 01:52, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

I discussed this idea at length with Filll last night. I don't know who all is in the loop on this material, so I don't mind reviewing it here on the discussion page so that we can get people on board in an orderly manner.

Line one, as it now appears reads:

A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism is a list of people agreeing with an anti-evolution statement produced by the Discovery Institute as an appeal to authority to support its viewpoint.

That's what DI wants people to think. But I daresay that there is considerable daylight between what DI wants people to think and the objective truth of the matter. That's why I proposed this more NPOV wording:

A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism is a list of signatories to a controversial statement circulated by the Discovery Institute as an appeal to authority to support its viewpoint.

This NPOV revision recognizes the demonstrable fact (perhaps to be demonstrated more rigorously) that the names on the list (specifically the first 103 names) cannot be shown to agree with the DI's characterization, including its mischaracterization of the signers as "dissenters." I've made this point before. The 103 original signers did not sign a statement of "dissent." They only called for sensible scientific skepticism. This is an essential step in the examination of any theory, lest one fall into the trap of adopting a delusional belief. This is good advice for examining any scientific theory. It's basic epistemology. Just because DI took the unethical liberty of mischaracterizing and relabeling the two-sentence cautionary urge as "dissent," in their original ad, Wikipedia should not mindlessly repackage their toxic kool aid. Those scientists urged a skeptical view and that's exactly what's needed here when it comes to examining how DI spun the quote.

The revised wording makes it possible to go on and demonstrate (per the NSCE analysis by Skip Evans and the NY Times article) that there is scant evidence to support the DI's absurd claim about the meaning of the two sentences in the minds of the signers. Moulton 21:51, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Which revised wording? In my opinion the proposed wording in the box I added above fully meets the points you're making, and is more informative. Do you consider it a good way forward? .. dave souza, talk 23:24, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, Dave. I find your proposed wording an excellent way forward.

I would very much like to see your version in place of the current version. I would also like to hear some ideas on what to do about the misleading name of the document. Do we continue to refer to the DI's document by its misleading name, or is there some practical way to deal with that perplexing issue as well?

Moulton 17:17, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Second Paragraph

The above revision to the opening sentence then makes it possible to augment the second paragraph along these lines...

The document itself has been the subject of controversy and extensive criticism from a variety of sources. The statement in the document has been branded as poorly worded, misleading and vague. The listed affiliations and areas of expertise of the signatories have also been criticized. As originally circulated, the document did not bear the title "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism." As originally circulated, it bore no title at all, and made no claim to represent the signatories as "dissenting" from Darwinian theory or its more modern sequels. It was originally published as part of an ad with the headline "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism" followed by two paragraphs criticizing the PBS series on Evolution. Below the headline and commentary appeared the two-sentence quotation, in a gray box, surrounded by 105 signatories. It is clear that the signatories applied to the two sentences in quotes and not to the entire ad attacking PBS.

A key observation, which a little research should be able to confirm, is that the original petition, as signed by the first 103, only carried the two-sentence quote. It did not carry any of the other text of the ad, including the headline. I learned this a year ago from Roz Picard, who was one of the original 103 signers. She was miffed that the sentence urging skepticism was spun into "dissent." It may be a subtle point, easily lost on a gullible public, but it's a point that can be verified factually, and then tacked onto Skip Evan's comparable analysis of the spinning of the PBS portion of the ad.

I was frankly astounded to discover that this point had not come to the attention of the editors here, especially since a careful examination of the ad makes it clear that the headline and PBS attack are not part of the material in the gray box. I thought the NY Times article did a fair job of casting doubt on the ad, especially with the quotes revealing the signers had never heard of DI or its agenda.

As it happens, Roz Picard's research projects (and those of her colleagues at the Media Lab) are frequently featured on PBS programs such as Scientific American Frontiers. It is absurd to believe that a faculty member would knowingly endorse an ad attacking a PBS science series. And it's reasonably clear that the signers of the statement in quotes had no inkling that DI was going to abuse and distort the quote in such an unethical and reprehensible manner. This is the kind of bad faith behavior on the part of DI that needs to be exposed.

I was frankly chagrinned to observe that some of the editors on this project bought into DI's mischaracterization and repeated it in Wikipedia as if it were demonstrated fact. Now it's time to fix that regrettable mistake. I believe you already have sufficient evidence to proceed. But Filll also may be able to dig up further evidence above and beyond what is already at hand.

OK. I've vented my spleen enough on the unfairness issue. Now let's roll up our sleeves and do some proper science here to shore up the evidence required to establish the facts as I've outlined them.

Moulton 22:14, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

It's been four days, and no one has objected to the proposed additions to the second paragraph. Am I in the clear to make those changes now? Moulton 18:50, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Subsequent paragraph

A bit further down, I proposed this augmentation of one of the paragraphs:

In addition, the exhortation to encourage the careful examination of evidence for Darwinian evolution sounds, on the face of it, to be quite reasonable, and something most would agree to. The difficulty arises from 1) the subsequent insertion of a title that suggests an interpretation at variance from the actual statement, and 2) the unauthorized uses to which this document has been applied.

Here we are just reinforcing the demonstrable fact that the inserted title falsely reinterprets the quote, per DI's political spin, and does so without the knowledge or consent of at least some of the 103 signers. The fact that some of the signers then went to extraordinary lengths to have their names removed is the evidence you need here.

Moulton 22:23, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

It's been four days, and no one has objected to the proposed additions to the above paragraph describing the statement. Am I in the clear to make those changes now? Moulton 18:55, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

A source is needed per WP:A, which shouldn't be to difficult for the first part. In particular, a source is needed for the "unauthorized" uses – there may have been a disclaimer, and if you sign a petition you expect something to be done with it. If the DI left that open, then the signature constituted authorisation. dave souza, talk 19:20, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
On the "subsequent insertion of a title" does it suffice to cite the 2001 version and compare it to later ones? Or do I also need to cite a dictionary to establish that "skeptical examination of evidence for a theory" is not Webster's definition of "dissent"?
On the "authorization" issue, does it suffice to exhibit just one such signer as an example?
Moulton 21:24, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:No original research with particular attention to synthesis of material. Showing and comparing changes in the title sounds useful, provided there's a reliable source for the titles. Webster's dictionary doesn't refer specifically to this context, what we need is a source saying that the meaning's been changed here, so if conclusions are to be drawn from the change, we need to attribute the conclusions to a reliable source. If one signer has a published statement that the use wasn't authorised, that's worth showing, but we can't suggest that others had this view unless there's a source saying the feeling was more widespread. Hope that helps. .. dave souza, talk 21:56, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Beating a Dead Horse Even More

A bit further on, we come to this proposed augmentation:

The list was advertised in prominent periodicals such as The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and The Weekly Standard in October and November 2001, "to rebut bogus claims by Darwinists that no reputable scientists are skeptical of Darwinism" by "producing a list of 100 scientific dissenters."[1][2] Its initial release was timed to coincide with the airing of the PBS evolution series at the end of 2001, and included both a headline and a two-paragraph criticism of PBS separate from the lower portion bearing the petition itself. There is no evidence that the original 103 signatories had seen either the headline or the paragraphs attacking PBS.

We are driving the same point home, perhaps to the point of overkill.

But DI is a hardy horse. Mebbe it needs a good thrashing.

Moulton 22:27, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

It's been four days, and no one has objected to the proposed additions to the above paragraph. Am I in the clear to make those changes now? Moulton 18:58, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

It will be all reverted. There is too much WP:OR in it.--Filll 19:04, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Let's do an experiment and find out. Moulton 21:30, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
That would violate WP:POINT. Odd nature 21:36, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
So you went ahead and did it [4] even though you knew doing so violated WP:NOR and WP:POINT? You won't get far at Wikipedia with that method and attitude. Odd nature 22:06, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Critical Responses

One final thwack...

The Scientific Dissent From Darwinism document has been widely criticized on several different grounds. First, similar to previous appeals to authority produced by other creationists, the professional expertise of those listed is not always apparent and is alleged to be deficient.[3] Also, the professional affiliations and credentials that are claimed for some of the signatories has been questioned. Finally, there appear to be many who appear on the list who are not firmly committed to the agenda advanced by the Discovery Institute, and who have been misled into signing or who have changed their minds. One of the complaints of signatories is that the statement, as originally circulated to them, did not bear its current title (or any title at all). The current title of the document has largely superseded the statement itself, and thereby transformed its meaning.

If the point hasn't been made by now, there's no hope at all for reintroducing scientific thinking into America.

Are we done? What's missing?

Moulton 22:30, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Citations making the points that you're trying to make, to avoid what appears to be original research on your part, and hence unacceptable. Similarly, it doesn't matter what you learnt from Roz Picard, or what it would be absurd to believe about her programs – to appear here it has to be what she's reported as saying in a reliable source so that statements about her or about what she allegedly knows are verifiable. ... dave souza, talk 23:30, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Noticing what's in the sourced material is hardly original research. The sourced material contains material evidence that was inexplicably overlooked, biasing the NPOV so as to promote DI propaganda as if it were established fact. For example, noticing that the original 2001 ad includes additional content above and beyond what the signatories signed is well-sourced evidence of the disparity. Some of the editors have unflinchingly accepted the DI spin (e.g. equating skepticism with dissent), in the face of well-sourced evidence to the contrary.

Similarly, when the NYT reported the claims of the DI, along with the comments of a sampling of the signers, they adopted a neutral point of view, neither substantiating nor refuting the claims of the DI. It is fair to say the NYT reported the claims of the DI. It is not fair to say (or imply) the NYT reported those claims as substantiated fact.

For example, almost every day the papers report something the president said. In so reporting, the papers do not imply that the remarks of the president are verifiable facts. The reader is expected to judge for himself the veracity of the reported remarks of any politician.

What perplexes me is the standard by which some editors take published claims by DI and repeat them in these articles as if they were established facts, especially in the face of copious evidence that the claims of DI are not reliable. Moulton 02:19, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Whilst the 'framing' of the introductory paragraphs may draw untenable logical conclusions from the two-sentence statement that the signatories (including Moulton's Roz Pizard) signed, it also quite clearly indicates that it is the statement not the introduction, that they put their signatures to. Hrafn42 02:26, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

The key objection is that it is false to assert that the original 103 signers were "dissenting" from anything. They were only advocating skeptical examination of evidence. Therefore, publishing in Wikipedia an assertion or conclusion that these signatories are "dissenters" is a violation of ethical standards of journalism. You may cautiously publish DI's doubtful claim to that effect, together with counterbalancing evidence (found in your own copious collection of cited sources) that DI's otherwise unsourced and undemonstrated assertion is a (potentially libelous) falsehood that does potential or real harm to the individual. But an ethical editor may not elevate DI's demonstrably false or dubious claims to the level of established fact. Moulton 03:14, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Expressing "skepticism" of well-founded science is "dissent" from the scientific consensus, by any reasonable definition of these words. By signing the statement, irrespective of what title or introductory paragraphs were appended to it, they were advocating spurious, irrational and anti-scientific "skeptism" in the face of overwhelming evidence. Therefore Moulton pretending otherwise is "a violation of ethical standards of journalism." Hrafn42 04:43, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

The call was not for skepticism of the theory. The call was for a skeptical examination of the evidence for the theory. Let me elaborate.

Suppose in mathematics I have a theorem --- say the Pythagorean Theorem, for instance. And I want to know if it's true. So I examine a purported proof. Now the proof may or may not be a correct proof. I can have a true theorem with an incorrect proof attached. But I don't want that. I want to be sure my proof is correct. Examining a purported proof with a skeptical eye is an important exercise in mathematics. It does not equate to disbelief in the theorem.

This is a crucial feature of science and mathematics -- making sure the evidence and analysis is sound. When DI equates a call for "skeptical examination of the evidence for a theory" with "dissent" they make a fundamental error in the characterization of the scientific method. When evolution is taught in school, the teachers should help the students to carefully examine the evidence. Why? So they can understand why most scientists accept the theory. Same thing with teaching the Pythagorean Theorem. The students should carefully examine the proof. Why? So they can understand how mathematicians establish the truth of a theorem. Examining evidences and proofs with a skeptical eye is not dissent. It's the hallmark of a diligent scientist or mathematician. And that's all the original 103 signers put their name to. Relabeling it as "dissent" or support for some bizarre political agenda is simply wrong. And claiming that's what the original 103 signers meant or agreed to is blatant fraud.

Now just because DI committed a fraud upon some or all of the original 103 signers, and just because the NY Times reported what the DI had done, it doesn't ratifiy or legitimize it. The editors of Wikipedia must be very careful not to propagate the reported claims of the DI as established and verified facts.

Moulton 17:03, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

"Ethical standards of journalism"? Methinks Moulton is confused -- this is an encyclopedia, not a blog.

An encylopedia article is an example of journalism. The writers of encyclopedia articles need to be aware of generally accepted journalistic standards for any published article. Failing that, Wikipedia will lose any reputation as a useful source of reliable information.

Of course the document is poorly worded, and likely misleading in some cases (as in, some dim-witted "scientists" may have signed it thinking it was just a statement of skepticism, not dissent), but we point that fact out in the article. On the other hand, precisely what point other than dissent could physicists, astronomers, engineers or professors of "fiber science" have thought they were making by signing the document? Maybe, "OK, biology isn't my specialty amd I really don't understand evolution, but I'm a scientist damnit and I say I'm skeptical so everyone else should be too"? Bah. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 08:46, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

That's an excellent question. Why would scientists in other professions urge scientific standards in fields other than their own?

It's simple. Scientists do specialize, but the scientific method is applied to all branches of science. Urging people to apply scientific methods to all branches of science is part of the overall objective of the scientific community.

Similarly, if I were a journalist specializing in one beat, I'd nevertheless want to urge all would-be journalists to employ ethical standards of journalism in any other beat.

There may be some disciplines where the public has a strong interest in the subject, and a lot of ink appears on the subject, including some doubtful ink. Scientists or journalists in unrelated fields would naturally feel the need to urge appropriate tools of science or journalism, so as to avoid the kind of mistakes that have plagued human civilizations since the dawn of recorded history.

Urging people to examine the evidence for (or against) some theory with a skeptical eye is simply sound advice, regardless of the subject. The dissent is not against any theory. The dissent is against sloppy methods for establishing which theories are viable, and how we can be so sure of what we claim to believe.

Moulton 17:03, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Does anybody believe that the statement that was actually signed bears the slightest resemblance to the claims Moulton just made about it? Is wikipedia crossing over into a parallel universe? Hrafn42 17:53, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Filll: I appreciate that you are exhibiting distinct versions of the petition, as you have been able to find them. As I understand it, the only exhibit containing the 2001 version is the facsimile of the anti-PBS ad, which includes the 32-word version of the petition within a gray box. The later versions appear to include a lot more content, including a 5-word title framing the context of the remaining 32 words, disclosure of sponsorship, and more. Can you find any verifiable source of the prepublication version that circulated in academia back in 2001? Is there any verifiable source indicating whether it included the 5-word title that appears on later versions? Is there any verifiable source indicating whether it included any identification of the sponsor or disclosure of how the sponsor intended to use it in the anti-PBS ad? Is there any verifiable source indicating that any of the 103 scientists knew about, agreed with, or supported the sentiments expressed in the 2001 ad? Moulton 18:26, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Sources already present are sufficient per Wikipedia's guidelines. Why should Fill or anyone else have to jump through any additional hoops that are not called for by policy just to satisfy you? Give it a rest. Odd nature 18:30, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
There is an overarching goal not to publish anything that is not verifiable. Elsewhere, some of the claims of the DI have been presented as if they were verified facts. Among these claims are characterizations of the 103 scientists whose names appeared on the version of the statement incorporated into the 2001 anti-PBS ad. That ad is the only exhibit purporting to reveal what was presented to the 103 scientists. Since then, the 32-word statement has acquired a 5-word title that dramatically reframes the context in which it is interpreted, and it's also been associated with the anti-science agenda of the DI. It's important to demonstrate that the 103 scientists did not sign a 37-word petition bearing a 5-word title, and it's also important to demonstrate that the 103 scientists had no verifiable knowledge of or connection to DI or to its political agenda. Moulton 19:24, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Rather than attack us and cause trouble, a better use of Moulton's energy would be to find other versions and WP:RS and WP:V articles about the petition itself. There probably are 2002, 2003 and 2006 versions floating around on the internet. It is just a matter of diligence. I would like to have as many of the intermediate versions of the petition as possible so we can track people who appeared and might have disappeared from the list, and people whose affiliation might change.--Filll 18:36, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

He's wasting his time. If you're looking for sources in their original context, the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine is always a good place to start looking: [5] Searching there is very interesting. Works for most newspaper sites too. Odd nature 18:40, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
The original 2001 statement circulated on paper in academia. There doesn't seem to be any source (reliable or otherwise) to show what, if anything, was on that piece of paper other than the 32 words (which do not include the 5-word title that appeared in subsequent versions). There doesn't seem to be any source (reliable or otherwise) to indicate whether there was any disclosure of sponsorship or the intended purpose of the sponsor. There doesn't seem to be any source (reliable or otherwise) to indicate if any of the 103 knew about or supported the sentiment expressed in the anti-PBS ad. In the absence of any such evidence, it would behoove the editors of Wikipedia to treat the 103 names on the 2001 statement differently from those who signed the 37-word statement which included both a title and a full disclosure of sponsorship. Moulton 19:24, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Why? Do you have a source that indicates the two are any different in a meaningful way? Odd nature 19:30, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Sure. How about any good college dictionary? The 32-word version says nothing about "dissent". Skeptical examination of the evidence for a theory is part of the scientific method. It's especially important to skeptically examine the evidence for and against one's own theories. That's not "dissent" at all. The DI is trying to suggest that the signers believe the theory is false. When a scientist engages in skeptical examination of the evidence, she neither believes nor disbelieves the theory. She neither affirms nor denies it. Instead she says, "I have a theory to examine. How can I determine if it's an accurate theory?" The answer (from the scientific method) is to carefully examine the evidence. Dissent only comes into play after one has falsified a theory by showing that its predictions deviate from the outcome of the experiments. The scientists who responded weren't saying that Darwin's model was false. They were saying that the scope of Darwin's model doesn't cover all the research issues they were interested in. The complexity of life (e.g., the complexity of the molecules of life) is not explained by Darwin's model, because that part of evolution is not driven by natural selection. Trying to invoke Darwin to explain stuff at the molecular level is like trying to invoke Einstein's Theory of Relativity to explain stuff at the Quantum Mechanics level. Not only is Einstein not helpful in QM, it interferes with it. But that's hardly a 'dissent' from Einstein. Calling the 32-word statement a "dissent" is a gross mischaracterization of what the scientists were saying. Moulton 21:11, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Take it up with the Discovery Institute, not us. They are the ones who named it Dissent from Darwinism. Odd nature 21:21, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Adopting their name for an unnamed statement adopts their POV as to what the unnamed statement is talking about. The 5-word name chosen by DI functions as a selective contextual reframing that dramatically reinterprets the meaning of the original statement. Moulton 21:50, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
So does a reliable source say something along these lines so that it can be attributed? ... dave souza, talk 22:02, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Jerome Bruner of Harvard has a book called "Acts of Meaning" which explores the practice of reframing to change the way things are viewed, appreciated, or understood. It's often used in Cognitive Psychology and Psychotherapy. Here is a definition cited in a paper, "Seeing Things In a New Light" by Antti Mattila on the application of reframing to psychotherapy:

To reframe means to change the conceptual and/or emotional setting or viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another frame which fits the ”facts” of the same concrete situation equally well or even better, and thereby changes its entire meaning. (Change, Watzlawick et al., 1974, p. 95)

Mattila illustrates the definition by calling up the famous passage in Tom Sawyer on whitewashing the fence. Tom reframes the activity, and the boys see it in a new light.
Initially the practice was called "relabeling" but nowadays it's more common to call it "reframing." Does something like that suffice to establish that the addition of a context-shifting label is an example of "reframing" so that the sentence is now interpreted in an entirely different light?
Moulton 22:48, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Dave, I've found some more on reframing. Turns out there's a Wikipedia article about Framing. Here is the first few sentences of the article...

In media studies, sociology and psychology, framing is an unavoidable process of selective control over the individual's perception of the meanings attributed to words or phrases. Framing defines how an element of rhetoric is packaged so as to allow certain interpretations and rule out others. Media frames can be created by the mass media or by specific political or social movements or organizations.

Does that do a better job of framing the issue of reframing?
Moulton 22:27, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
There's nothing to be attributed. Moulton is missing the point, either intentionally or unintentionally, that the Discovery Institute both named A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism and wrote the statement the signatorees signed. His objection is short on facts and long on spin. Odd nature 22:11, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, it is unknown who wrote and circulated the 32-word statement that the 103 academics signed in 2001. We only know that DI appropriated it and used it in their anti-PBS ad. There is no reliable source (or any source that I know of) to establish who wrote it or circulated it before it appeared in that 2001 ad. What we do know (if not authoritatively) is that DI intentionally reframed the 32-word statement with a 5-word headline that suggested how to interpret it. Chang's NY Times story reveals that at least some of the 103 scientists viewed the statement in a substantially different (and emotionally uninteresting) light. Moulton 23:03, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
We don't know who wrote it? Are you kidding? It was written by the Discovery Institute by their own admission as part of their campaign against PBS’s Evolution series: [6] You're clearly not up to speed on this. Please stop wasting your time and ours. Odd nature 23:09, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Where in that ad does the DI disclose that they either drafted the wording or circulated it in academia? All you can infer from that ad is that they invoked it, along with the claim that it supported their views as expressed in the anti-PBS ad. It's equally plausible that someone unrelated to the DI drafted and circulated the petition in 2001, after which the DI seized on it. The reason this matters is because if the DI merely seized on a pre-existing statement that they had no part in crafting or circulating then there is no legal basis for claiming they defrauded any of those 103 scientists by intentionally circulating a "stealth petition" that they intended to reframe. Did it come out anywhere in the Davidson case that DI was behind the original petition? Moulton 21:42, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
Give me a break. If we're going to play the game of tossing out baseless and clueless objections I may as well ask you for a source that the DI didn't write the Dissent From Darwinism statement. The DI has many times over claimed used the exact same language in their Wedge Document and their website, which you know had you bothered to read the relevent article and the source they contain. Before you waste anymore of your time and ours go read up on it starting with the sources provided in the ID articles here, because you're clearly not up to speed on this topic. Odd nature 00:40, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't have a shred of evidence to prove that the DI wrote or circulated the original 2001 32-word statement that circulated in academia. I'd love to have that, as it would enable the NCSE or other parties to put together a class-action suit against the DI alleging fraud. That can't be done at this time, because there is no evidence to show they actually created or circulated it. Think about it. Suppose someone tries to assert that the 32-word petition was fraudulently circulated, with intention of reframing it as an anti-evolution dissent from Darwinism. The DI could claim they didn't write or circulate it. They could claim they saw it on someone else's bumper sticker and fell in love with it. Mimesis is a fairly credible defense, since it's a fairly common practice. Co-opting the other guy's language and then reframing it is a very common practice. If you like, I can give you lots of examples. As far as I know, the concept of Intelligent Design was not in circulation in 2001, except in the context of engineering courses. Moulton 01:16, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Eh, the concept of ID was in circulation in 1989[7] and getting publicity in some states from then on[8], with more widespread publicity by the end of the decade. It was the subject of a Congressional Briefing on May 11, 2000,[9] but obviously if you weren't keeping an eye on K-12 education programs you could have missed it. See Timeline of intelligent design for some of the intervening incidents. .. dave souza, talk 08:17, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Memory Lane

Check these out:

If you can get past the crappy graphics and production values, the content makes for excellent primary source material. Have fun with this, kiddies: [13] Odd nature 18:45, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Those are from 1996. I don't see anything there connected to the 2001 statement. Moulton 19:30, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
You mean, other than it's the same organization, the DI? Odd nature 19:32, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Here's an early version in PDF from the DI: [14] Odd nature 20:59, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Yeah that is the original 2001 version, with Davidson removed. They clearly scrubbed the versions which he was included in quite vigorously. I keep hoping to find a version that still includes Davidson's name, but so far, no luck.--Filll 21:07, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
If it was the result of a court order can you find any citations to the case? Or do you know if it was negotiated out of court? Moulton 22:01, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Court order? What are you talking about? Do you even bother to read the article? Odd nature 22:13, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I have no idea if there was a court order involved or legal action. It does not say so in the newspaper article. I vaguely remember someone threatening legal action to get off the list, but I might be misremembering. There is no indication that Davidson did, as far as I know.--Filll 22:17, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
If Davidson is the only one who ever got off the list, then either he is the one who had to resort a lawsuit (or threat of lawsuit), or else someone else who tried the legal route failed to get off using that method. Do we have any information on how long it took for Davidson to reach his goal? Moulton 23:10, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

<undent> You can get an upper bound from the sources, obviously.--Filll 23:20, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

That would be about four years. Not all that encouraging, eh? Moulton 23:32, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Well you have to do some searching and some reading. I do not think he announced he wanted to get off the list until August 24, 2005. I think he probably made the request sometime after that. I think that the Discovery Institute moved very quickly and quietly to do it. If we had better searching of the internet, we might know more. That is why I am again asking you Moulton. Put all your energy towards a useful goal. Instead of harassing the other editors and causing a stink and edit warring and trying to argue how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, use your computer skills to dig out more information. Who knows what can be found? I constantly am amazed at what I or other editors can turn up. All kinds of amazing bits and pieces. Arguing with people here will not do any good, and probably does harm to your case. Digging up information can help. Talking to the principles involved can help.--Filll 23:39, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm frustrated and dispirited. I had a long talk with one of the better known 2001 signers a year ago, and also long talks with her husband, with the MIT Police, with the US Postal Inspectors, and with other authorities. In the end nothing really changed. The harassment just eventually died away after about a year. I have plenty of information, but there isn't anything usea lotful I can do with it. In the end it comes down to what it takes to craft a functional society -- a goal that I once believed was possible. Now I'm much more cynical about it. There just aren't enough influential systems thinkers on the planet to achieve a paradigm shift to a functional system. Moulton 00:04, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
The December 10, 2005 version of the Petition I dug up has Davidson's name on it. The others obviously were sanitized. We might be able to find more. Sa loto roll up your sleeves, and start working, and stop complaining.--Filll 00:21, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
There's nothing left to do. The cause is hopeless. Leonard Cohen was right. Everybody knows that the good guys lost. That's how it goes. Everybody knows. Moulton 00:48, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

I gave you several clear constructive actions to take. It is up to you if you want to take them or not. --Filll 01:51, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Well I now have 9 different versions of the petition. I could get more I think, but I have some gaps I want to fill. I even have at least one that has Davidson on it. So instead of whining, try to contribute something constructive. The only way to win here is to produce. When Hrafn42 and I started here, we only had 2. Now we have at least 9. And we might get more. We need versions of the list from 2002 and 2003 in particular. So keep your eyes peeled!!--Filll 03:55, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
The version I'd really like to see is the 2001 pre-publication version bearing the signatures of the 103 scientists. I'd like to establish, once and for all, that it had only 32 words on it, not 37. I'd like to establish, one way or another, if it bore any disclosure of sponsorship. Moulton 00:37, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Well of course we would all like that idea. And we would like all the versions that are available, if at all possible. So as I said; you have computer skills. So put them to use! I found 6 and Hrafn found 2 so far. --Filll 00:58, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

All I've found is oral testimony from one of the 103 scientists. I dunno what to do with that. Moulton 21:44, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Do you have a link?--Filll 21:53, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

I didn't tape it. I just listened to it with an attentive ear and a compassionate heart. Moulton 22:53, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Can't do much with it, at least on Wikipedia. I have tried to explain this to you over and over and over. There are rules on what can be used. And if you want to try to fight those rules or change them, you will end up swimming in molasses.--Filll 22:57, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

In traditional journalism, reporters often get information they can't print (for one reason or another), but which helps them get the part of the story they can print right. A reporter might learn something that, while itself unprintable, alerts him to the awareness that he may have been mistaken about something else that could nonetheless be printed, if there were no caution regarding factuality. Moulton 00:29, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
See WP:NOT. It's tempting to use Wikipedia for campaigning journalism, but it's simply not built for that, for very good reasons. From what little I know, the NCSE could be expected to offer a sympathetic possibility, and they'd surely welcome evidence that undermines the credibility of the "petition". My recent investigations into the Majerus case at Peppered moth evolution#Criticism and controversy suggests that they'll just keep using discredited claims regardless, but an open statement goes a long way to stopping unwelcome speculation from the uncommitted. Of course, if a signatory agrees with the DI's viewpoint, they'll provide a ready platform to publicise the plight of their martyr, and would be the first to complain if those wicked evolutionists censor them by deleting their Wikipedia biography. I'm an outsider to all this, but the BBC programme A War on Science caught the mood pretty well. .. dave souza, talk 00:04, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
If someone comes out and affirms that the DI's version is theirs as well, that's fine. If someone is silent, you cannot assume assent, especially since you know that people are generally urged to work quietly behind the scenes rather than challenging their antagonist openly, as that is likely to start them down the path of a contest. Moulton 00:29, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, at Wikipedia silence is often taken for if not assent, at least an admission of having no viable reply. Odd nature 00:33, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
It's my understanding that silence is taken for assent in areas of your legal system, for example in trademark law where trademark holders have to quickly assert ownership when others pinch the trademark. If someone's name is repeatedly published on a petition, the natural assumption would be that they assented to the petition as published in the absence of any evidence that they'd objected to that inclusion. Assuming that everyone should expect everything put out by the DI to be a pack of lies seems like a pretty weak legal position to me. .. dave souza, talk 09:19, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
It occurs to me that opining on the legal rights of people who been subjected to affronts, torts, or fraud is an insufficient basis for condemning them in an encyclopedia. More to the point, assumptions are not verified facts by any stretch of the imagination. They need to be examined with a skeptical eye in light of the evidence. Moulton 16:15, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

<undent>That is my understanding as well, of much of the legal system. And it is also pretty personally convincing. Now people might not want to be bothered with the hassle of requesting to get off the list, or the publicity associated with disputing the use the list has been put to, or any purported fraud in creating the list. And so we might wrongly associate them with the sentiments expressed by the statement they signed. < Filll 14:05, 30 August 2007 >

<later insertion> That's the point. Just because some party may have committed an affront, tort, or fraud, Wikipedia should not amplify or ratify that affront, tort, or fraud, or otherwise elevate it to any status of legitimacy. Moulton 16:15, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

This is the suspicion of both the NCSE and the BCSE. And they both tried an experiment to contact all the members on the list that they could, and ask their opinions of evolution. In both cases, as described on their websites, the NCSE and BCSE were only able to contact a few of the people on the list before it was clear that the Discovery Institute had contacted everyone on the list (they must have some easy way to contact them all quickly, apparently), and spread the word not to talk to the NCSE or BCSE about their beliefs. And so, the later inquiries were met with stoney silence. The New York Times got a bit farther, but in their case the responses were all that the people had signed the list out of religious convictions, not scientific dissent from darwinism. I do not know if the New York Times efforts were prematurely terminated by the DI, however. --Filll 14:05, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Notice that the opinions that didn't seem to be controlled by the DI were those of the handful of 103 scientists whose comments variously emerged either in Chang's own article (Tour and Salthe with technical quibbles), other articles (e.g. Davidson in the Seattle Times), or in independent publications (e.g. Skell's article in The Scientist). Moulton 16:15, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Moulton, please don't break up other people's comments as it confuses the thread. Notice also that by not objecting the remaining signatories are giving de-facto public support to the DI, and while you may harbour suspicions of tort, fraud etc., unless such suspicions are published we can't report them. Your effort would be better directed to looking for published information and accurately summarizing it in the article. .. dave souza, talk 17:37, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Are still at it with the tendentious objections? This is becoming disruptive. You've made your points many times over and no one here agrees with you and you've presented absolutely zero sources to support your opinions, and now you're taking to breaking up the comments of others to get noticed. You've failed to gain consensus and have no supporting evidence that the article is in anyway inaccurate. It's time for you to drop this and move along to another topic, I think. Odd nature 21:56, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

The recent disruption here is part of a larger campaign

Moulton (talk · contribs) has a rant at his blog two days ago about Wikipedia and this article in particular: [15]

That wouldn't be an issue but that he's teamed up with User:Larry Fafarman over at his blog [16], and Larry's been banned from Wikipedia. What's really troubling is that not only was Larry banned for conducting an edit war and using his blog to recruit meat puppets (see his userpage for the links), but he has for the last week or so used three anon sock puppets to side step his ban and disrupt the Discovery Institute article. And the Discovery Institute is the author of the Dissent From Darwinism. The teaming of these two creates a pattern of disruption that's hard to see as anything but meat puppetry to go alongside the sock puppetry already used to circumvent Larry's ban.

Meat puppet or not Moulton's pattern of failing to cite sources, misrepresenting, ignoring and dismissing reliable sources, presenting and repeating original research, ignoring community input and violating WP:POINT puts him squarely at odds with Disruptive Editing. Next steps? Odd nature 22:14, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Depends, has a WP:RFC been tried yet? I don't really think it will help much, but we should probably try it, for form's sake if nothing else, though I suspect in the end, we're probably going to have to seek a topic-ban at the very least. ornis (t) 06:49, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
In case you're wondering where the expession "Scathing Glances" comes from, it's the punch line of a story.
The older brother goes to pick up his younger brother from soccer practice. On the way home, the older brother offers some advice.
"You'd do better if you didn't roll your eyes at the coach."
"I wasn't rolling my eyes at him. That was a scathing glance."
Moulton 04:16, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Assuming soccer means fitba, that brings to mind the expression "the ba's on the slates". ... dave souza, talk 08:46, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Given that Moulton seems to be on a continuous cycle of violations of WP:COI (including WP:EW), WP:POINT (and thus WP:DE), WP:SOAP (and failure, in the face of often repeated challenges, to come up with WP:RS for his claims), I really think that something has to be done about him. I must admit I'm surprised that his behaviour hasn't already gotten him a block or two. Hrafn42 15:20, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

I am surprised myself. By my rough count, I see about 10 editors and a half dozen admins calling for administrative action in this situation. There are multiple examples of problems and continuing problems. This is a waste of time and resources.--Filll 16:31, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
For the record, it's earned him one so far[17]. I think the question now is, do we go through the whole lengthy WP:DR process, or should we skip to WP:CSN? ornis (t) 17:17, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

I am sufficiently irritated at being lied to, being harassed, being threatened, being browbeaten, etc, that I think we should go straight to WP:CSN. I put immense effort into trying to educate Moulton and save him from himself. He continued his self-destructive march, unimpeded, attacking other editors with abandon and dishing out lies, disruptive edits and a tendentious attitude. He spat right in my face, figuratively, in troll-like fashion. He lied. He cheated. He wiki-lawyered. Do we really have to go through the effort to compile the evidence? How much clearer could this be? I have had it. No more chances, as far as I am concerned. --Filll 17:29, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Can I quote you on that? Moulton 09:48, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Next steps

I believe we should start compiling diffs etc for an RFC. I have not much experience in this, so I need some assistance. I believe that the issues include WP:COI, WP:DE, WP:RS, WP:V, WP:NPA, WP:NPOV, WP:3RR and possibly others. Comments?--Filll 18:12, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Request for Comment: Rosalind Picard

She is a signatory of A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.

The RFC concerns whether it is appropriate or not to include a disclaimer noting that Picard is outside of her speciality, and that the petition was an absolute failure of an appeal to authority.

There have been no supplied WP:RS that utilize this argument. So it has been argued for exclusion on the basis of WP:NOR--ZayZayEM 09:20, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

See the next section, below. I have asked Orangemarlin to provide evidence and reasoning to defend the theory that Picard "totally lacks any scientific knowledge about it [evolution]." Moulton 11:08, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

More on DI agenda

You have (without any dispute from me) that 103 scientists signed a 32-word untitled statement prior to any publication. In the first publication, the label "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism" was the headline of an advertisement criticizing the PBS series on evolution. The advertisement invoked the untitled 32-word statement and reframed it as "evidentiary proof" that "over a hundred scientists" supported the view expressed in the anti-PBS ad. The DI subsequently invited more signers, displaying the identical 32-word statement, but adding the title, "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism", and framing their call for more signatures within the now-disclosed context of their public relations campaign to influence the teaching of science in the public schools.
To my mind, the reason the petition fails as an appeal to authority (for DI's agenda) is because the original 32-word statement is an exhortation to scrupulously adhere to the protocols of the scientific method when examining the evidence for any scientific theory. When viewed in that (non-controversial) light, all the scientists are qualified to remind their fellow scientists and science educators to ensure that scientific theories are supported by the evidence as filtered through the rigorous protocols of the scientific method.
With respect to the second-tier issue of whether any given scientist among the 103 is engaged in research that is relevant to Darwin's model for macro-evolution, one has to be careful. About the only WP:RS that anyone is likely to find is a demonstration that many of the same mathematical modeling tools (e.g. stochastic processes) that apply to Darwin's model also apply to a wide spectrum of random processes. It's not hard to show that the mathematical models for micro-evolution are considerably more mature than the corresponding ones for macro-evolution. That observation doesn't automatically invalidate any of the theories of macro-evolution (e.g. Darwin's stationary random model, or Gould's non-stationary model known as Punctuated Equilibrium).
Moulton 14:07, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
The Discovery Institute's reframing of the scientifically relevant issues is dealt with in the article here, as well as in the articles on intelligent design, intelligent design movement and Discovery Institute. The point of advocacy pursued by Moulton at present, that of Rosalind Picard, is indeed a second-tier issue at most. More directly notable in the context of this particular article is the assertion of the Discovery Institute that 103 of the signatories are actively engaged in research. As to the note from Moulton about being an appeal to authority: Well, yes of course it is. A notable source asserting that the Dissent from Darwinism is a fallacious or misleading appeal to authority may well deserve very brief note. But I too urge care with something like this, because to many, many persons the entire assertion of the fact of evolution in nature is an appeal to authority, and the allegation by intelligent design proponents that there is a genuine scientific controversy about the basic empirically verifiable facts of evolution is actually an attempt to diminish the authority of the scientific community and substitute in its place an appeal to, pardon me, an alleged "higher authority". ... Kenosis 14:52, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
Speaking as a science educator, I eschew arguments from authority. It occurs to me that students ought to be encouraged to examine the evidence for a theory at a level of rigor that demonstrates an appreciation of critical thinking and the scientific method. Moulton 03:44, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
To point the obvious, Moulton's analysis appears to misrepresent both Darwin's model, which is of historical interest, and the current synthesis. Of course it's original research, and attribution is needed to add any such analysis to the article. .. dave souza, talk 16:54, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
Picard is listed in current version of Dissent from Darwinism: [18] Period. There's nothing here to dispute or discuss; Moulton is simply continuing his disruptive POV campaign to help out his pal Picard, run from his blog. Not only is he violating WP:DE while intentionally ignoring WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:RS, but he's been violating WP:COI too. Enough is enough, this needs to end. Odd nature 18:17, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
I have always found it interesting when someone denies their involvement in something, yet you can't quite prove that they aren't involved. I always laugh at someone says they "support evolution" as if it can be supported (it's science, it's not a fucking election). Picard signed the petition and she totally lacks any scientific knowledge about it. We're done with this conversation. NEXT. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:18, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
What is your evidence and reasoning to support your theory regarding the level of knowledge of the object of your theorizing? Moulton 03:44, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
I've already said next. Prove that she does. Oh you can't. NEXT. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 11:13, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
The burden of proof is on you. It's your theory; show me your evidence and reasoning. If you want to put something into a Wikipedia BLP, it must be supported by something more substantial than a personal speculative theory by an anonymous Wikipedia editor. Moulton 11:41, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Her name is on THE list. That is de facto evidence for a lack of knowledge of Evolution. Why am I discussing this with a person with an RfC in play against them, with clear evidence of bias and other negative behavior traits. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 12:04, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

<undent> Calm down, everybody. What are we discussing here? We certainly don't expect to read anyone's mind, all we go on is published information. There's a problem with the statement at the start of this discussion, "the original 32-word statement is an exhortation to scrupulously adhere to the protocols of the scientific method when examining the evidence for any scientific theory". Hardly. It's an exhortation to be skeptical about the scientific explanation for much of the process of evolution, and to "encourage" careful examination of "the evidence for Darwinian theory", whatever that might be. Not careful examination of the evidence for other theories. This selective focus on evolution was ruled unconstitutional for school teaching. Of course it's only a theory ;) Scientists who are unfamiliar with the theory, or with what exactly the terms mean, should be cautious about putting their names to a public statement about an area outwith their expertise. The NYT specifically notes that more than 350 of the signatories are nonbiologists, including Dr. Tour, Dr. Picard and Dr. Skell. [19].. dave souza, talk 15:18, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

All you've got on record for the 103 scientists is two sentences...

We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.

The skepticism is not about "much of the process of evolution" but about explaining "the complexity of life." The complexity of life begins with the complexity of the nucleic acid structures and the ribosomes, et al, that enable a complex organic molecule to replicate itself. Darwin's model doesn't even address that mystery. As far as I know, no one has a definitive theory about how these self-replicating nucleic acid structures ever got started in the first place from basic organic chemistry. I've seen speculative theories about DNA precursors such as polynucleic acids, but to the best of my knowledge no one has replicated any such imginable process in the lab. The separable question of how good the evidence is for Darwin's mechanism is independent of whether his mechanism is precisely how it works. Darwin's random model lacks a good third-tier calculus, because the requisite stochastic models are yet in place. It's clearly not a simple Wiener Process. It's not even a stationary stochastic process. Gould proposes a non-stationary model (punctuated equilibrium), but no one (as far as I know) has worked out a good quantitative model that has both explanatory and predictive power. Right now, if you have a mutant variety, you can't reliably predict its chances of survival. Nature picks the "winners" but we mostly have to wait to find out. A scientific model is supposed to predict the outcome of an experiment in advance. To say that some will survive and some won't isn't good enough for a lot of scientists who want a lot more rigor in their models than that. And I want a lot more rigor in the process by which Wikipedia articles are crafted. Moulton 16:43, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, it seems that you don't understand natural selection, which I presume is what you mean by "Darwin's model". All of which is irrelevant to this article. If you have reliable sources making specific reference to the petition that would be of use. Please read WP:TALK. .. dave souza, talk 17:34, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I guess I would ask, if what Moulton keeps claiming is accurate and so obvious, why do all the nobel prize winners in biology and over 99.9% of all trained biologists disagree with his position? Hmm...Who do I trust? A biologist about biology, or an engineer of doubtful provenance and background?--Filll 18:53, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Do you honestly believe that most biologists disagree with the view that scientists should adhere to the protocols of the scientific method? Moulton 19:25, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Now Filll and Moulton, stay on topic. In accordance with NPOV: Making necessary assumptions we shouldn't be debating the validity of evolution theory, but discussing properly sourced improvements to the article. Is there anything relevant in this section? ... dave souza, talk 19:28, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree. This is just nonsense and trolling. As friendly advice, Moulton might find it more useful to pay more attention to his RfC, try to edit other articles instead, and be productive instead of arguing against consensus with nonsense arguments attempting to push an anti-science agenda and lobbying to install anti-science material in the articles. --Filll 19:33, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I dunno what Filll's RfC has to do with anything, other than a disruptive distraction from the real issue, which is how to craft an article worthy of being called an encyclopedic treatment of a subject. The DI website is a PR site promoting a partisan agenda. I dunno why it even merits an article in Wikipedia at all. There are lots of PR groups pamphleteering for this or that agenda. Why is Wikipedia giving so much spotlight to this one? Moulton 19:40, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:About. If you feel this article shouldn't be here you can of course nominate it for deletion, but that's unlikely to succeed. Perhaps your efforts would be more productively directed to an article you think is worth keeping, but remember to provide sources and avoid original research. .. dave souza, talk 19:54, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
See WP:DE, particularly the part about rejecting community input. Keep this up and your tenure at Wikipedia will be far shorter than you suspect. Odd nature 00:16, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Moulton, if you want to have this article removed, feel free to put it up for deletion. And I might note that if you believe the RfC is not important, you might want to learn a bit more about what an RfC is on Wikipedia and what its significance is. --Filll 20:03, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

What perplexes me is not just the existence of this article alone, but the existence of 170 articles sponsored by thirteen card-carrying members of the Intelligent Design Project, 157 of which articles are assessed as of no importance. These articles primarily reprint the essential PR messages of a partisan/theological public interest lobby, including such lovingly crafted pamphlets as Intelligent Design Movement, Irreducible Complexity, Specified Complexity, Fine-tuned Universe, Intelligent Designer, and Theistic Realism. Don't the promoters of those synthetic ideas have their own webhost to publish their own soap? Moulton 21:37, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Articles for Deletion is thataway. This page is for discussing improvements to this article. Try to stay on topic, folks. Sheffield Steeltalkersstalkers 21:59, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Are you still at it? Have you read your user conduct RFC lately? Just give it a rest. You're only throwing fuel on your own pyre. Odd nature 00:12, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
As usual, Moulton is wrong, as well as off-topic. The "None" of these articles' assessment means "no assessment" not "no importance". This can be seen from the fact that they are all (including this article) in Category:Unknown-importance Intelligent design articles. Is assessment for importance a priority of the ID Wikiproject? Hrafn42 12:00, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
The assessment table speaks for itself. Of 170 articles, 165 of them have been assessed, and 5 have not been assessed. Of the 165 articles that have been assessed, one is assessed as being of "top" importance, eight have been assessed as being of "high" importance, three of "mid" importance, one of "low" importance, and 152 of no importance. Moulton 12:47, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
Moulton's complete inability to read a table speaks for itself. The "Assessed" vs "Unassessed" clearly relates to "Quality" not "Importance" & the "None" column-title in "Importance" links directly to Category:Unknown-importance Intelligent design articles. Can you get much clearer than this? No! Can Moulton follow this? It would seem not. Hrafn42 13:17, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
Is it your position that, of 170 articles sponsored by the Wikipedia Intelligent Design Project, 165 of them have not yet attracted sufficient attention from the thirteen signatories to merit a rating of their importance? Moulton 14:43, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
No, its basically because assessment is not in and of itself an easy enterprise, so a lot of people aren't comfortable doing it. The primary assessor for most of the projects I deal with is me, and I've been trying to update the project directory and other things lately. I believe that the question above is what could be seen as being possibly intentionally misleading, or at least based on faulty reasoning? John Carter 15:52, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
For one, it's "of interest to...", not "sponsored by". As for assessing importance - we never sat down and decided importance ratings, so I have been hesitant to rate articles. It's not exactly an active WikiProject. (As for the 13 members, you've kept half of them busy with this nonsense. When are they supposed to find the time to rate articles?) Guettarda 14:54, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
The tag reads, "This article is supported by the Intelligent design WikiProject." To my mind, sponsors provide support for an enterprise that might otherwise falter and fade without their boost. I'm interested in what the Wikipedia Intelligent Design Project is up to, but I'm hardly a sponsor, booster, or supporter of that enterprise. Moulton 10:01, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
That is, however, as you have yourself explicitly stated, a statement of opinion. What it in fact means is that the members of the project are going to try to, as much as possible, try to improve, or at least maintain, the quality of articles, based on their relative importance to the project. Your opinion, as an outsider who is seemingly less than familiar with the group, is worth about as much as any such opinion would be. :) John Carter 15:58, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

<undent>Some people enjoy counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin too...This is just a worthless line of inquiry. If you edited noncontroversial articles for maybe a good 8 months, and put in a minimum of 500 constructive mainspace edits for 8 months on a few hundred articles, maybe you might start to understand what we are doing here. You might start to understand what the project is. You might start to understand the mechanisms involved in WP. You might start to understand the principles of WP. You might start to understand why WP does what it does. You might start to understand that WP is not journalism. You might start to understand that the other editors are not ignorant insolent children to be lectured and talked down to. However, I do not know if Moulton wants to put in the effort. Also, given Moulton's recent actions, I am not sure Moulton will have the chance.--Filll 15:26, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

I might also come to appreciate the concept of WP:OWN. Moulton 10:01, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

BLP tag

Sorry if I didn't make my reasons for including the tag on this page clear. The template for the tag says it "is suitable for other articles containing information on living people, such as lists." So it seems to me that it is very suitable for this article which is about a list of (as far as I know mostly) living persons. Thanks. Steve Dufour 13:26, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Except that whether they are on the list or not is not a matter open to questions of subjectivity, or other issues likely to involve WP:BLP. Your sole reason for including the tag would appear to be that you tried and failed to put it on the Category talkpage & you are continuing your WP:POINT here. Hrafn42 13:54, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree. This is a ludicrous use of the WP:BLP tag and appears to be a violation of WP:POINT or worse.--Filll 14:56, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Still, the article is about living persons and it is covered by WP's policies on living persons. Steve Dufour 06:52, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Ludicrous. The article is about a petition. ornis (t) 07:05, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
The opening sentence of the article says it is about "is a list of signatories." Steve Dufour 07:06, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, a list, obviously not a living person, a least not last time I checked. ornis (t) 07:15, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
The signatories are living people, unless some have died. Steve Dufour 07:25, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

So all lists with living people on the lists should be marked with BLP tags? All companies with living people working for the companies should be marked with BLP tags? All organizations that have living people in them like the National Center for Science Education or the Discovery Institute or the National Academy of Sciences should be marked with BLP tags? This is one of the dumbest claims I have ever seen. Sorry.--Filll 07:17, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

What would be the problem with putting this tag on them to remind people of an important WP policy? Steve Dufour 07:21, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Well for one thing, it erroneously puts this talkpage into Category:Biography articles of living people. For another thing, you keep on spamming other article talkpages with it as well: [20][21][22][23][24][25] Hrafn42 10:38, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't aware of it putting the article into a category. In adding it to the other articles I was following Filll's suggestion. I still think that every article on WP needs to follow the BLP policies. Steve Dufour 13:31, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

This, coupled some of your previous posts on various talk pages, starts to look a bit suspicious. What IS your POINT here? What is your purpose on WP? This kind of behavior starts to look disruptive. I can put all kinds of tags about things on all kinds of pages to "remind" people of WP policies, but at a certain point, the choice of the pages starts to look very very bad. I suggest strongly you mend your ways before this starts to look VERY VERY bad and actions have to be taken by the community. Just a plea for sanity and reasonableness, not a threat, ok? --Filll 13:34, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

I am 100% in favor of evolution. Without it we wouldn't be here. I also happen to have strong personal feelings against bullying and personal attacks on people. Thanks. Steve Dufour 13:45, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

I will note that 100% of the time that someone says something like "I am 100% in favor of evolution" they have a problem with a certain kind of POV agenda. I never mentioned evolution. I wonder why you did? Hmm...ever hear that Shakespeare line that includes "doth protest too much" ? This line of reasoning you are following would include the BLP notice on almost all WP articles that have something to do with human beings, no matter how tenuously.--Filll 13:53, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

I would not object if some tag reminding editors about WP's living persons policies were included on every article that mentions a living person. Steve Dufour 14:23, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Our policy applies to all material on living people, here or elsewhere, templated or not. Nobody's personal opinions are relevant: comment on content, not the contributor. Tom Harrison Talk 13:58, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Eh, opinions are relevant when attributed to a reliable source dealing with the subject of the article. See WP:BLP. .. dave souza, talk 14:09, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Of course, sorry, I mean that contributors' personal opinions are not relevant. Tom Harrison Talk 14:20, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Of course ALL policies apply to ALL Wikipedia articles on ALL subjects ALL the time. And your point is? And you disagree that it is appropriate to warn a fellow editor in a friendly way about the appearance of their behavior? What about warnings about WP:DNFTT, and WP:NPA? It is your opinion that editor should never use these on talk pages? I suppose that is one point of view for editing behavior, but I wonder how many would subscribe to this viewpoint if we asked them? Care to poll a sample of the editors ? I would be most interested to know that WP:DNFTT, WP:NPA, WP:DE and similar violations are not to be discussed under any circumstances since they might be associated with actions of an editor, and not with the article itself. Perhaps this is already in the relevant WP policy manuals and I have missed it. Please be good enough to link me to the appropriate relevant sections. Thanks.--Filll 14:12, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
I guess my point is that I am prepared to enforce the policy on blp on this page. Are there concerns that the article includes controversial unsourced material about living people? Tom Harrison Talk 14:20, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
My main concern is that some of the individual articles on the signers (Category Talk:Signatories of "A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism") give undue weight to the fact that they signed this petition and that this could be harmful to them in their careers. Steve Dufour 14:28, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
That is an issue to be discussed on those articles' talkpages. It is no excuse whatsoever for spamming the template here (or any of the other non-biography articles you've been inserting it). Hrafn42 14:35, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
There's no question that BLP should be carefully followed wherever relevant, but this seems to be a proposal that public statements by people attributed to reliable sources should be censored as it can be speculated that these public statements might conceivably result in harm. Not how I read BLP. ... dave souza, talk 14:40, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Looking at James Tour, that does dominate the page, but it doesn't look terribly controversial. The articles will probably have to be considered individually. It doesn't seem like a huge deal that Steve Dufour put the blp template on some pages where others don't want it. I came here from the noticeboard, made a couple of pretty bland comments, and was met with something like full-on attack mode. Having worked in difficult areas before I understand that, and have probably done it myself, but it's not really helpful. Tom Harrison Talk 14:52, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Tom: if you wish your comments to be perceived as "bland" then I would suggest that you don't phrase them in the imperative voice -- that tends to get peoples backs up. It doesn't help that you appeared to be defending Steve's ongoing campaign (it started nearly two weeks ago) to insert BLP tags where they were neither particularly relevant nor welcome, which [insertions] stikes a number of editors as being a low-level campaign of WP:DE. Hrafn42 15:09, 12 September 2007 (UTC) [Clarified Hrafn42 15:42, 12 September 2007 (UTC)]
My reception here as an uninvolved admin who you think chose the wrong 'side' makes me more inclined to consider there may be widespread blp violations about people who take the 'wrong side' of creation vs. evolution. I hope that does not turn out to be the case. Tom Harrison Talk 15:25, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
You seem remarkably pugnacious & quick to take offence for an "uninvolved" admin. As far as I know, no issue of violation of WP:BLP has been raised. There is nothing therefore for an uninvolved admin to adjudicate upon. Hrafn42 15:36, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

Problems with this article

I have tagged several statements in the article as original research because they are not supported by the source given. For instance, the lead states, "Therefore, the document gives an inaccurate impression of the situation in the scientific community." It is followed by soure eight. But source 8 is talking about ID in general. It is not referring to this specific issue at all.

Also, the entire article suffers from undue weight given to criticism of the document. This is very striking in the second section, "Statement", where the number of words devoted to criticizing the statement are many time more than the statement itself. This is also evident in the "Critical response" section, which is completely critical, with no attempt made at counter-arguments or balance. This section also picks at the qualifications for a small subset of the 105 signors. Yet, it ignores the fact that this is a small subset of the whole. This is a serious problem of undue weight. These sections need re-balancing to comply with WP:NPOV. Johntex\talk 02:01, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

You are incorrect and do not understand WP:NPOV and WP:UNDUE.--Filll 02:14, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
You offer no basis for your assertion. Could you please attempt to point out where you feel I am mistaken? I offer a very specific example of how a claim in the article is not supported by the given reference. Johntex\talk 14:38, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Having had a look at the points raised, I've added an inline reference to a source making the specific point above, and have reworded a summary of sources to paraphrase the original more closely – that may also answer concerns about any signatories who didn't expect to be associated with the DI campaign. Regarding undue weight, that refers to opinion in the relevant area of expertise, and see also NPOV: Pseudoscience, NPOV: Making necessary assumptions and NPOV: Giving "equal validity"..... dave souza, talk 16:53, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
You appear to have undue weight exactly backward. ID and this list are an extreme minority view in the field in which they stake their claim, biology. Whereas the scientific community is the majority view there. And the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected ID. Now Wikipedia's core content policy WP:NPOV says specifically "article[s] should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each. Now an important qualification: Articles that compare views should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views." Hence the majority of the views here are from the majority view on the topic, that of the scientific community, and in the proper proportion. Odd nature 18:29, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
Note that proportion's not a question of the number of words. ID proponents have a tendency to produce concise statements that take a great deal of disentangling so sort out the layers of misleading meanings. ... dave souza, talk 19:22, 13 September 2007 (UTC)