Talk:Answers in Genesis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


I am trying to remove bias from this article, but my edits are being reverted. I do not mean to start an editing war, nor do I wish to get my editing privileges removed, so I will propose here in the talk section that changes be made to the introduction. Here is the area of the article which I have found to be biased:

It advocates a literal or historical-grammatical interpretation of the Book of Genesis, with a particular focus on a pseudoscientific young Earth creationism which rejects any results of scientific investigation which do not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative.

I believe the use of the word "pseudoscientific" is biased and portrays the opinion that young Earth creationism is false, or that AiG uses fake science. I believe that's a matter of opinion, which readers of Wikipedia should determine for themselves. Am I wrong for thinking this should be changed? AKA Casey Rollins Talk With Casey 19:52, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

Yes. -Roxy the dog. bark 19:53, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
@Roxy the dog: how so? AKA Casey Rollins Talk With Casey 19:56, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
See the Criticism section of the article. -Roxy the dog. bark 20:02, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
@Roxy the dog: Just read it...isn't it Leon Albert's opinion that Answers in Genesis is pseudoscience? The section should read (IMHO):

Creation science, which is promoted by AiG, is a "pseudoscience" that "lacks the central defining characteristic of all modern scientific theories".

Unless we can treat opinionated writing as fact (on Wikipedia). I'm looking for a bias-free reference that mentions AiG as pseudoscience... AKA Casey Rollins Talk With Casey 20:12, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Found this article: ( couldn't we just reference that and mention how critics call AiG pseudoscience without calling it pseudoscience ourselves?
Quoting from WP:NPOV: "Avoid stating facts as opinions. Uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources should normally be directly stated in Wikipedia's voice. Unless a topic specifically deals with a disagreement over otherwise uncontested information, there is no need for specific attribution for the assertion, although it is helpful to add a reference link to the source in support of verifiability. Further, the passage should not be worded in any way that makes it appear to be contested." Because it is related, please also look at Talk:Evolution/FAQ. —PaleoNeonate – 20:22, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia is going overboard with its editors' apparent need to use the word "pseudoscientific" in front of every mention of YEC. Including the word does not change people's opinions on the issue (essentially everyone reading the article either already has their minds made up, or they're being influenced elsewhere), and it just makes people think Wikipedia is not neutral (and I've seen this criticism even from people who believe in evolution). If YEC is pseudoscientific, editors need to show that it is, and avoid telling that it is (and we should do this for every controversial topic). And even if they don't, readers can just click on the YEC article link and learn about YEC. --1990'sguy (talk) 13:02, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
I've just labouriously gone through the article counting every time the word pseudoscientific is used. It took ages. Once. -Roxy the dog. bark 15:27, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
You did not do a very good job in searching, because it is in the article at least twice -- in the intro, and in the first paragraph of the "Criticism" section. However, I'm not just talking about this article. I'm talking about essentially every single other article related to YEC, OEC, or ID. These articles do not even discuss the theories themselves, but only people or organizations that promote them. There is no need to use that language in these articles -- just link to the articles of the theories they promote and that is fine (of course, many Wikipedia editors cannot stand showing YEC to be pseudoscience and have to tell the reader that it is). --1990'sguy (talk) 21:04, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
"many Wikipedia editors cannot stand showing YEC to be pseudoscience and have to tell the reader that it is" please avoid assuming personal motives. Reliable sources describe it as it, and per policies we also should where relevant. Since Wikipedia is not for promotion, it cannot present information the way adherents would in pamphlets... —PaleoNeonate – 21:24, 6 September 2017 (UTC)────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

No, checked again. Once. Cant see what all the fuss is about myself. -Roxy the dog. bark 21:32, 6 September 2017 (UTC)

In the intro, it says "pseudoscientific." A variation, but it is the same word. This plus the mention in the first sentence of the "Criticism" section, and that's two mentions.
PaleoNeonate, you're proving my point by chiding me for somehow wanting this article to be worded like how a YECer would want it worded. I never advocated that, and my proposals would never be used in YEC pamphlets. That you think that NPOV wordings are somehow POV is unfortunate IMO. If I really were on a mission to turn WP into CreationWiki, I would be making far different proposals. --1990'sguy (talk) 21:38, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
And to be clear, my proposal is to remove the "pseudoscientific" or "pseudoscience" word from articles like this (articles about organizations/people and not the theory itself). --1990'sguy (talk) 21:39, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
You moved the goalposts. Unfair. I still do not see that describing an organisation whose sole purpose is to promote pseudoscience and pseudoscientific ideas, as promoting pseudoscience or pseudoscientific ideas, is problematic. This is the very epitome of NPOV is it is wrote. Roxy the dog. bark 21:47, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
To be pedantic, young Earth creationism, as a religious belief, is not pseudoscience. The creation science promoted by AIG is pseudoscience beyond dispute. Its promotion is such a prominent feature of AIG's activity that neglecting to mention it would be, well, negligent. Just plain Bill (talk) 21:58, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
What kind of statement is the proposition: "the universe was created 6,000 years ago"? Jytdog (talk) 22:26, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
Is it a question on Jeopardy! Merv? -Roxy the dog. bark 22:34, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
I'd call it a clerical extrapolation, using a literal reading of scriptural genealogy. It only becomes pseudoscience when apologists start defending it by misconstruing geological features. I do see the point you're aiming at, but I think there are more robust arguments in our inventory. Just plain Bill (talk) 22:53, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer and for seeing where that is going. For YEC it is a statement of faith, a "belief". But really different from s statement of faith like "god is one being with the three persons" (extrapolation from the bible) or a statement of faith like "there is one god" (no extrapolation but rather right there in the bible). These last two propositions -- both about god -- don't overlap with what science does. But "the universe was created 6,000 years ago" makes a claim about tangible reality. Indeed all the energy behind creationism is exactly to challenge science. You see this all the time in creationist discourse, about how "science" is attacking faith in God and the very underpinnings of our society and all morality, etc. So it is really dicey to try to segregate creationist beliefs from their explicit claims to be describing tangible reality over against the findings of science....
and where i am going is that this claim -- that bible-based faith is a valid basis for knowing things about tangible reality and making claims about tangible reality -- is pseudoscience at its core. It is similar to the claims of christian science about disease... or energy healers... or ways people who believe they are under electronic harassment that the government is actually messing with them.... these alernative ways of knowing things about tangible reality are all pseudoscience to the extent they are making those kinds of claims. Jytdog (talk) 23:56, 6 September 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I am not willing to call the Ussher chronology pseudoscience. It is an accounting based in scripture, as interpreted by a 17th-century Irish cleric. We may question the result using evidence discovered with the methods of science, but at its root it was faith-based determination, not claimed to be the result of experimental testing of a hypothesis.

I don't think it's too hard to draw a line between that and the cargo cult science being peddled by AIG. Just plain Bill (talk) 01:17, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Prescientific claims are different than what people say today. Same thing with ayurveda as traditional medicine vs claims about it today. Jytdog (talk) 01:51, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

@1990'sguy: When I said adherents and pamphlets I didn't mean Wikipedia editors or Wikipedia articles, but the actual paper pamphlets. Sorry if this was unclear. As for NPOV we don't seem to agree about what it really means... —PaleoNeonate – 09:55, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

PaleoNeonate, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I did understand you correctly: you said that we (WP editors) should not word Wikipedia articles in the same say that YECers would word things in their pamphlets. Is this correct? What I said is that what I'm proposing for WP articles is nothing anywhere close to what I YECer would say in a pamphlet, and I think it's unfortunate that you would think that (or it's a partial complement to YECers, as they would then word their pamphlets like a Wikipedia article minus the "pseudoscience" stuff). --1990'sguy (talk) 12:40, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Compare this to the Alex Jones (radio host) article. It is popular opinion that Alex Jones is a conspiracy theorist. I even think that he's a conspiracy theorist! But that article refrains from calling names. Why can we not do the same here? Whether or not AiG does scientific work or not should be a matter of opinion as far as Wikipedia is concerned because it's pseudoscientific-ness is up for scientific debate. It may be popular opinion that AiG is pseudoscience, but it's still opinion. Until some big, authoritative source (the Associated Press, Fox News, CNN, the CDC, et cetera) claims it's pseudoscientific, we should refrain from calling them so. Why is being fair so hard for so many to do? AKA Casey Rollins Talk With Casey 15:03, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

PS: Just changed it to say this:

It advocates a literal or historical-grammatical interpretation of the Book of Genesis, with a particular focus on the promotion of young Earth creationism, rejecting any results of scientific investigation which do not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative.

If that's not true...AKA Casey Rollins Talk With Casey 15:05, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
It does say that he's a conspiracy theorist, which is also supported by multiple sources. —PaleoNeonate – 19:23, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Alex Jones is a person, not an organization, so it is better to compare him to Ken Ham. Ham's article blatently says that he is wrong in his views, but Jone's article doesn't say that "he promotes false theories." We should show he is false, if he is, rather than tell it. --1990'sguy (talk) 20:16, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
I find it so odd that people who are dogmatic theologically and don't much care for cultural relativism become all relativistic-y when it comes to things like this. Conspiracy theory is conspiracy theory; pseudoscience is pseudoscience; religion is religion. People can believe in each of them (even all of these at once); it doesn't make any one of them different than what they are. It is important to keep apples with apples. belief is one thing; the subject of belief is another. Jytdog (talk) 22:17, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
Because this is Wikipedia, with NPOV. As I said, the wording/POV I would use here would be much different than on a different site, say Conservapedia or CreationWiki, and, hopefully, you would do the same when comparing RationalWiki and here. --1990'sguy (talk) 22:30, 7 September 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea what those other sites are like. We follow RS and we call a shovel a shovel. Jytdog (talk) 22:33, 7 September 2017 (UTC)


The second sentence of the lead section reads: "it advocates a... interpretation of the Book of Genesis ... rejecting any results of scientific investigation which do not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative". First of all, this promotes a strong personal opinion, as is indicated by the word 'any', which implies certainty. Secondly, the claim is unreferenced - and is, furthermore, not supported by any sources whatsoever. Lastly, it is unverifiable, as even one argument against creation supported by Answers in Genesis will suffice to disprove the claim, and we can never whether such will exist in the future - unless explicitly stated so by Answers of Genesis themselves. I suggested a rewording which avoids each of the mentioned problems but doesn't change factual content: "...putting literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative before results of widely approved scientific investigations as primary source of truth". Users @1990'sguy: and @AKA Casey Rollins: seem to agree with me. Also, I'd like to hear @Rhododendrites:' reasons for keeping the current wording or against my rewording.OlJa 23:25, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

I didn't revert. That was Roxy the dog the first time and Theroadislong the second time. I agree with them, though, for the record. I don't really have an objection with replacing "any results of scientific investigation" with "results of scientific investigations", but it's not personal opinion either way. Sources are plentiful about AiG rejecting science that gets in the way of a literal interpretation. As for unreferenced, the lead section is often unreferenced because it should only contain information in the body. All of this said, we could certainly do a better job in the body (the "criticism" section, I suppose). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:37, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
In the little time I have to comment right now, I do think this article in general needs more neutral wording, and I think Oldstone James's edit does this. Even if his edit is not accepted, the word "any" should be removed, as it creates a very absolute-sounding and pov tone. --1990'sguy (talk) 04:16, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Both @1990'sguy: and @Rhododendrites: seem to have agreed that removing the word 'any' is a reasonable thing to do. I'll change it to "generally" to reduce pov. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oldstone James (talkcontribs) 08:35, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
The word generally isn't needed, Wikipedia:Weasel words Theroadislong (talk) 22:00, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
As an aside, {{ping}} only creates a notification if accompanied by a new signature (using ~~~~). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:28, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
@Rhododendrites: Taken into account. On the matter, what's the problem with my original edit? In what way is it worse than the current version? I really want to hear your reasons, as I personally don't see any.OlJa 21:57, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
The word generally isn't needed, Wikipedia:Weasel words. -Roxy the dog. bark 22:07, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
I am talking about "...putting literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative before results of widely approved scientific investigations as primary source of truth". It was reverted with the motivation that it is "not an improvement over previous version". Even if you don't think it's an improvement, why revert it? For you, keeping it changes nothing; for me, it is an improvement; therefore, just keeping my version would be a win-win, as opposed to lose-lose after your edit. OlJa 22:45, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

"...rejecting results of scientific investigation which do not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative"[edit]

Thread is no longer about content and sourcing. Please feel free to open a new, focused thread if there are further issues. Jytdog (talk) 15:49, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I still want to solve this issue. First of all, this sentence is not sourced, and it is, in fact, not supported by any reliable sources. No reliable source explicitly says that "Answers in Genesis reject scientific evidence", and the claim in itself is both WP:OR and unencyclopedic. All controversial statements - and this statement, though very true indeed, is controversial, as Answers in Genesis claim they do accept scientific evidence and base their theories off it - must be very well sourced and written in as as neutral a manner as possible. This claim in neither sources, nor is it neutral. I suggest either removing it completely or rewording it to something like "...putting literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative before results of widely approved scientific investigations as primary source of truth", which is saying precisely the same thing, without losing any information, but in a more neutral manner. Neither is it controversial, as I hope I can find a reference from AiG that admits the Bible is the primary source of truth, rather than scientific conclusions. Please, tell me, what is the problem with it? So far, I haven't heard a single reason. The only thing I saw about my proposal is that it was constantly and obstinately being reverted, which makes me think that people have some good reasons why it might not be the best idea. If that is true, please express them here.OlJa 19:42, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Reference added for "Answers in Genesis reject scientific evidence". You're welcome. Theroadislong (talk) 19:49, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
@Theroadislong: Alright, nice reference. Maybe, then, we should change the wording to "...rejecting numerous results of scientific investigation accepted by the scientific community, such as [listed concepts]". I actually prefer this version over my original one. Also, please ping me when writing a reply to my comment to notify me.OlJa 20:15, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
In your view, what added meaning does that verbiage provide? Just plain Bill (talk) 21:15, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
@Just plain Bill: I must first note that I respect your approach of trying to comment on my idea rather than just ignoring it - unlike Theroadislong (talk · contribs) and many other users. However, I think it is very clear what my 'verbiage' adds to the article: neutrality. Saying, "rejecting things that doesn't conform to their beliefs" is a priori biased - unless it is specifically stated by the holders of said belief or is the consensus among reliable sources, which it is clearly not in this case. Also, my version is more specific than the current one - as it lists the specific results of scientific investigation rejected, rather than just saying there are some (your beloved weasel). Finally, it is not verbiage, as you stated, as the only word that I added to my version is 'numerous' - in addition to 'accepted by the scientific community', which is clarification.OlJa 21:32, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
"Neutrality" does not mean what you think it means - it does not mean "balanced" or something. Per WP:PSCI, which is part of the actual neutral point of view policy we address pseudoscience directly. Jytdog (talk) 22:22, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
The lead section is meant to summarize the body of the article. Immediately below it, the section on “views and activities” lists the branches of science whose finding AIG rejects.
”Verbiage” means “words”. Adding six of them, and then trying to claim five of them don’t count because they are clarification, brings an aroma of shenanigans to the discussion. I think I’m done here, unless I start seeing more cogent arguments and fewer sly little digs such as “[my] beloved weasel”. Just plain Bill (talk) 15:22, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
My impression is that your suggestion would result in WP:FALSEBALANCE. Scientific facts are also not opinions of a community (see related WP:YESPOV). The word "truth" is probably also inappropriate. —PaleoNeonate – 05:36, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
@PaleoNeonate: I don't really see how that would result in WP:FALSEBALANCE. Saying "which do not conform to their beliefs" adds no information - because any view that is different from another view on the same subject will reject evidence that does not conform to their beliefs. For example, the view that religion is morally acceptable rejects evidence that ulta-religious countries have laws which we would consider the least moral, that irreligious people are, on average, happier than religious people (upon surveys), that most wars, and a lot of terrorist attacks, throughout history were started in the name of religion, that religious morals all come from one book, which is subjective, etc. The view that it is morally unacceptable, on the other hand, rejects evidence that religious people, on average, feel more secure (upon surveys) and more likely to donate to charity (also surveys). Both views reject evidence that does not conform to their beliefs. However, we wouldn't mention that in a Wikipedia article, would we? Here, however, we do, and the only reason for that is that the held view turns out to be pseudoscientific, and because we are butthurt that so many people actually adhere to this view, we feel the need to add something that clearly expresses our opinion on it. The clause "which do not conform to their beliefs" bears no factual meaning - and is instead an expression of opinion. Please correct me where I am wrong.OlJa 14:14, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
For me, James has become a classic WP:TENDENTIOUS editor, and borderline WP:DISRUPTIVE. I'll say no more. -Roxy the dog. barcus 14:37, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Very strong counter-argument. You completely and undeniably made all of what I said on this section look foolish in one edit.[sarcasm]OlJa 15:07, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
No, you've done that yourself. -Roxy the dog. barcus 15:16, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Have I really? Explain how. Explain what part of what I am saying is incorrect.OlJa 15:54, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Yes, you really have. Read this et seq. -Roxy the dog. barcus 18:07, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Religion is about faith, not science, so why would anyone want to make a scientific investigation of it? Is somebody trying to "prove" that religion is either true or false? If so, they are wasting their time. Synthetic Woolly Mammoth (talk) 22:21, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
AiG is very dedicated to discredit science with pseudoscience (and we have WP:PSCI). —PaleoNeonate – 23:10, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
"any view that is different from another view on the same subject will reject evidence that does not conform to their beliefs." - That is a really weird thing to say. You seem to have no idea of what science is, right? Rejecting evidence just because it contradicts what you believe is a really big no-no in science. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:26, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
It may be a big no-no but I often see scientists doing it. Synthetic Woolly Mammoth (talk) 10:05, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Does anybody have a "This is comedy gold" barnstar? -Roxy the dog. barcus 10:27, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
You must live a very sheltered life if you have never seen a scientist rejecting evidence just because it contradicts what he/she believes. Synthetic Woolly Mammoth (talk) 11:02, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
@Hob Gadling: First of all, as Synthetic Woolly Mammoth rightly pointed out, some scientists are still doing it. Secondly, so what? I am not arguing that creationism isn't pseudoscience - I am arguing that saying, "which do not conform to their beliefs" adds no information whatsoever - and instead adds bias. I don't think you can argue with that.OlJa 13:58, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
@Synthetic Woolly Mammoth:, you must have a very strange life if you think most people see scientists rejecting evidence they don't like. Where do you see them? That's not a rhetorical question, I really would like an answer. I also note your post to Oldstone James, "Atheist fundamentalism is just as much a religion as Christian fundamentalism because its adherents have an unshakeable faith that they are right. Atheist fundamentalism seems to be the official policy of Wikipedia, just as Christian fundamentalism is the official policy of Conservapedia." That's nonsense of course - I'd even argue that most religious articles here, although probably not most of the major ones, are written more or less from the point of view of that religion. But then I've seen a lot more articles on a variety of religions than you have, obviously. @Oldstone James: I guess I should ask you the same question, which scientists are still "doing it" and what exactly are they ignoring? We aren't going to get far here if the two of you are just going to make assertions, presumably relevant to this article, but without evidence. Doug Weller talk 13:30, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
@Doug Weller: First of all, this wasn't my main point. Second of all, "evidence" is still subjective in science. Just off the top of my head: many scientists ignore experiments showing that the RF resonant cavity thruster works. Also, M-theorists ignore the fact none of their hypotheses have been confirmed - even when expected. A lot of highly regarded scientists (and me as well) don't consider either of those to be strong evidence neither for the validity of EmDrive nor against the validity M-theory, but scientists with a different view may say they are rejecting evidence that doesn't conform to their beliefs.OlJa 14:08, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
@Olstone James: Thanks. I take your point but I'm not at all sure that that is what Mammoth is talking about. Doug Weller talk 14:12, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • It is unclear to me what this discussion has to do with changing the article. The content was challenged as being unsourced. A bad source was provided and the OP was more or less satisfied; additional sources have been provided. If the discussion does not become about content and sourcing, I will be closing this thread per WP:NOTFORUM. Jytdog (talk) 14:17, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

Hello Oldstone James-- Wow, this is quite a claim: "Second of all, 'evidence' is still subjective in science." Tell me please, what is still subjective about gravity having a measured effect inversely proportional to the square of distance. Or that no exception to the laws of motion or thermodynamics have ever been reproducibly measured at non-relativistic speeds? Rhadow (talk) 15:14, 12 November 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


@Jytdog: What makes your preferred wording better? The source does 'not use the wording "convert", and it matches much more closely to "teaching" or "spread the word", which does not mean "convert."

Also, the word "convert" strongly implies religious conversion, which, when used in this article, strongly implies that AiG is some sort of cult, which it is not. AiG wants to convert people to Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation, but it wants to persuade people to believe in YEC -- and this is entirely consistent with what the source says. --1990'sguy (talk) 14:35, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

I agree that "convert" is not the right word here. In fact, I believe that Dave souza's addition might run afoul of Wikipedia's guidance regarding close paraphrasing. If we are going to hew this close to the source material, why not just use a long block quote and save any argument over verbiage?
Further, I note that we have now created a section on AiG's views and beliefs that cites almost no sources published by AiG itself, the exception being some trivial issue about Spongebob Squarepants, of all things! Note that the first text on the organization's home page is a nice little summation of what they believe, and they also have an "About" page that elaborates. Surely it would be appropriate to lead this section with what the organization itself says it believes before we introduce third party scholarship on the matter. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 15:39, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for opening a discussion. You are bringing AiG's view of itself here per this page on their website.
This is not how independent sources discuss AiG AiG is a ministry that is not a big tent, accepting anybody who believes in Jesus (that is necessary but not sufficient for them). The source discusses the competition among theologies and even among literalists and describes how AiG's mission is to pull people into its tent - it is the Word as found in a literal reading or human reason; salvation or destruction. Ham is famous for criticizing Christians who are not YEC enough as harshly as he criticizes atheists.
I've added an additional source for that sentence, in any case. Jytdog (talk) 16:01, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
You'll notice that I didn't argue for removing what independent sources say. I simply asserted that AiG's own statements about what it believes should be added to the section for comprehensiveness, and I suggested that the issue about wording could be resolved by quoting the independent source directly, with the beneficial side effect of resolving a possible close paraphrasing issue.
Further, I don't believe the source you added is being fairly represented in the article as-is. Near the beginning of the paragraph in question, the author states, "In this chapter, I argue..." (emphasis mine). The author himself is acknowledging that there is disagreement with his position, yet we present it in Wikipedia's voice as fact. (That the "argue" qualifier applies to the entire paragraph is made clear by his repetition of the "I argue" language further down.) Assuming that both the author and book meet the criteria for reliable sources – and I have no reason to question this – I have no problem with the author's assessment of AiG's beliefs being added to the section, but they should be represented as his assessment, not as an unchallenged fact. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 16:25, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
In due course, my intention is to add another mainstream source as well as what AiG say, which looks to me pretty consistent with the assessment. . dave souza, talk 16:45, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
My initial reply was only to the OP (i actually edit conflicted with you). I have not replied yet to your first comment nor this one.Jytdog (talk) 17:02, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
Replying now -- in general it is a somewhat loaded issue as to whether we describe what a FRINGE organization or person advocates (or any organization), cited to its own sources. We generally don't do this and instead describe organizations and people based on what independent, secondary, and ideally scholarly sources say. This is deep in the guts of WP and is how we ensure NPOV content. People sometimes come to WP and argue that we should give "equal voice" or the like to how organizations and people describe themselves, under a misunderstanding that NPOV ="fair and balanced" or something. Of course it doesn't mean that and especially with regard to FRINGE organizations, NPOV teaches against that per WP:GEVAL.
With regard to the Fletcher source, the "in this chapter I argue..." bit is about something else - the claimed shift in evangelical reaction to waning power - in other words, a high level analysis of the big picture. That is not relevant here. The description of what AiG is doing further down in the paragraph is the relevant bit. Jytdog (talk) 17:23, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
Ah, I see now your intention to reply to 1990'sguy, so please accept my apology for misunderstanding (and messing up your intended indention in the process).
Given Dave souza's comment above that he intends to add more mainstream sources and some AiG material, I will refrain from further comment on citing AiG material to state what AiG believes until after he finishes his work so we have a starting place to work from.
Regarding the Fletcher source, I disagree with your reading of the source. The entire paragraph represents one man's assessment of AiG's beliefs. He may be well-qualified to make such an assessment – I assume he is – but I still contend that his assessment requires attribution and should not be presented in Wikipedia's voice as if his is the only such assessment that exists or matters. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 18:38, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Hi all, I'm not insisting on "convert the public", and had thought of "evangelising" but wasn't sure how to spell it in American. dave souza, talk 16:45, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

I would be fine with "evangelize" instead of convert. It comes down to the same thing but if "evangelize" will settle things that would be fine. Jytdog (talk) 17:03, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
"Evangelizing" is even worse wording. AiG, based on everything its website and employees say and do, wants to evangelize people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- what "mainstream" evangelical Christians believe, while it wants to convince people that YEC is true. Your proposed wording is inaccurate. --1990'sguy (talk) 17:54, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
Given that Google's definition of "evangelize" is "convert or seek to convert (someone) to Christianity", using "evangelize" is just using "convert" via a level of abstraction. Is my proposal of including a direct quote acceptable? Acdixon (talk · contribs) 18:38, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, I think they want to evangelize people to JC + YEC Old Testament beliefs, but see below.. dave souza, talk 18:52, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
AiG believes that faith in Christ is the only way to salvation (as the quotes below help show), not "YEC Old Testament beliefs", which they still believe are important for understanding the Christian message. --1990'sguy (talk) 21:48, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

The Fletcher source provides an AiG angle, which isn't so much Ham's original view, so I've summarised it as "and Answers in Genesis presents evangelicalism as an all-out battle of their biblical worldview against a naturalistic scientific worldview." . . dave souza, talk 18:52, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

@Dave souza: While I still think the "three central points" material is best presented as a direct quote, your edits have improved the article by 1) eliminating the contentious "convert/evangelize/teach/whatever" language, and 2) making it clear that the "three central points" are (or at the very least, were at one time) Ham's ideas, and not necessarily AiG's. Some might argue that's a distinction without a difference, and it may be, but your version is truer to what the source literally says. I would probably remove "all-out" as unnecessarily grandiose, but that's a very minor quibble. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 19:23, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
Adding another possible term: proselytize. All religious groups who preach claim and feel that they are teaching; to those outside this perception can be challenged. —PaleoNeonate – 03:14, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

AiG's Message and Faith[edit]

The whole paragraph is properly based on secondary sources, but worth comparing that with AiG's Message and their Statement of Faith. Note particularly:
"the scientific aspects of creation are important but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel... [including the] doctrines of Creator and Creation".
"The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth, and the universe."
"The various original life forms (kinds), including mankind, were made by direct creative acts of God. ..."
"By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information." . . . dave souza, talk 18:52, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

I think this is generally what I was trying to get at. I think we should first present what AiG says they believe and then compare that with what independent sources have written about what they believe. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 19:23, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Acdixon, and these quotes confirm what I stated above. --1990'sguy (talk) 21:48, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Acdixon too. Synthetic Woolly Mammoth (talk) 23:22, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
I think that a primary source quote is acceptable to describe their point of view, as long as independent sources are not replaced. I have no preference as to the order. —PaleoNeonate – 03:10, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
No, Wikipedia articles are not proxies. We do not describe what organizations/people say they are doing, sourced to the organization/person themselves. fwiw we have been through major drama on this recently with something like four overly long discussions/RfCs driven by supporters of Richard Spencer demanding that the article about him not describe him as a white supremacist because he disagrees with that.
We do not privilege self-descriptions of people or organizations, especially not FRINGE pushing ones, over what independent, secondary, high quality sources say.
If you all want to do that, you will need an RfC and I very much doubt that the community would support that. Jytdog (talk) 04:10, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
"We do not describe what organizations/people say they are doing, sourced to the organization/person themselves" I certainly agree with that. Also, as I included: "as long as independent sources are not replaced" (adding: and represented). —PaleoNeonate – 04:16, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
@Acdixon: says above: "I think we should first present what AiG says they believe and then compare that with what independent sources have written about what they believe". Why should this be controversial? If you don't allow AiG to say what they believe then it is like presenting the case for the prosecution and banning the presentation of the case for the defence. Synthetic Woolly Mammoth (talk) 09:52, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
It's controversial because Wikipedia bases articles on reliable third party sources and we don't structure coverage to give undue credence to pseudoscientific views. The third party sources point towards an overview, and we can carefully use the primary source of AiG doctrines to make sure our wording is on the right track. AiG can only be quoted with care to avoid "equal validity" or undue weight. . . dave souza, talk 10:43, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
It's ridiculous to say that we cannot use AiG as a source for what AiG thinks. Nobody said that we should AiG alone -- everyone is OK with using AiG in addition to independent and reliable sources. If we exclude AiG as a source, we would likely be putting words in AiG's own mouth, as it is possible that AiG would disagree with what the sources say about their beliefs. People reading this article would not think much of it as well. --1990'sguy (talk) 13:41, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
It may surprise folks to hear that I don't necessarily disagree with the statement by Jytdog that, "We do not privilege self-descriptions of people or organizations... over what independent, secondary, high quality sources say," nor do I disagree with Dave souza saying, "AiG can only be quoted with care to avoid 'equal validity' or undue weight." That said, I don't think a brief presentation of what AiG says they believe (not what they say they do, as was misrepresented by PaleoNeonate above), followed by a discussion of what the third party sources say about what they believe, violates either of these tenets. No one, as far as I can tell, is advocating that we replicate AiG's "About Us" page here in the Wikipedia article, but a short summation of the material there – clearly and properly attributed to AiG and not presented in Wikipedia's voice, obviously – is not undue when followed by third party assessments. In fact, presenting what the organization says it believes can help the reader understand how that might motivate what they do. On the other hand, the reader may conclude that what the organization does is at odds with what they say they believe, and that's OK, too. Per WP:PRIMARY: "Deciding whether primary, secondary or tertiary sources are appropriate in any given instance is a matter of good editorial judgment and common sense, and should be discussed on article talk pages." I, and apparently some other editors here, have come to the talk page to express that our editorial judgment finds the use of a mix of primary, secondary, and tertiary sourcing provides our readers with the most complete understanding of the beliefs of this organization. I don't think WP:PRIMARY allows that viewpoint to be dismissed out-of-hand. WP:PSCI may affect how or how much of those primary sources may be used, but I don't believe it outright excludes them, either. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 14:46, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Primary sources are great for something like George Washington wrote "blah blah blah" in a letter (supported by some secondary source showing that this is DUE, of course) , or maybe a rare press release just to get a source for the exact date that something happened. Primary sources have a role in Wikipedia, of course.
In my experience, arguments for using primary sources as is being discussed here, are usually in the context of advocacy for or against something, when people come to the topic bringing strong RW passions. This is not what we should use primary sources for. Jytdog (talk) 15:35, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: With all due respect, your past experiences are not really germane, other than to explain your own reservations about what is being proposed, in the abstract. Because policy does not preclude the use of primary sources to describe what an organization says it believes, and because multiple editors have expressed their opinion that it could potentially improve the article, I think we should at least see some proposed language here on the talk page. @Dave souza: seemed to indicate above that he intended to draft something; please correct me if I misunderstood this. If my reading of this editor is correct, anything he writes certainly wouldn't come from a position of advocacy, so as I said above, I'd like to see his draft, at least as a starting point.
BTW, I'm assuming your abbreviation "RW" is for "right wing"; not sure if you are limiting your comment to say you've only seen advocacy by the right wing or to generalize that Wikipedia advocacy only takes place on the right wing, as opposed to the left, but I suspect either wouldn't actually be true. If "RW" was intended to denote something else, please accept my apology in advance. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 16:07, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
"RW" is commonly used to mean "real world" in WP and that is what I meant. Pre-skirmishing is generally unproductive and this one is going off the rails. If anybody wants to propose content and sourcing along the lines being discussed they will of course do that and I'll be happy to reply to that. Jytdog (talk) 16:15, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I have added content. Please discuss. Synthetic Woolly Mammoth (talk) 17:04, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
This is not what we have been discussing. It makes Wikipedia into a proxy or megaphone for AiG. Please do read WP:PROMO and WP:Avoid mission statements. Jytdog (talk) 18:28, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Rejecting the consensus of the scientific community[edit]

I noticed that this often debated sentence was also changed again. I think this is better than what was recently proposed above. The older sentence included that the results of scientific investigations were also rejected which is similar although from a different perspective. Other alternative may be: "Rejecting evidence...", "Rejecting facts...". This may be a good middle ground. A possible issue may be presenting it as the opinion of a community (rather than evidence resulting from good science, possibly resulting in false balance). —PaleoNeonate – 03:07, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Will come back to this, but what emerges from the recent third party sources and the AiG doctrines is that they don't so much reject the consensus as they insist on the primacy of their literal interpretation of the bible, and totally deny the validity of human reason or science wherever they think that conflicts with the bible. They perceive a clash of worldviews, not a dispute within science. . . . dave souza, talk 10:47, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the current wording represents an appropriate middle ground, and have supported versions similar to this one in the past. I also think that the sentence should include a wiki-link to scientific consensus, which has a very specific definition beyond the general definition of consensus. That should ameliorate concerns about false balance. Dave souza's point immediately above is also well-taken, and in the abstract, I'm not opposed to evaluating some proposed language to bring out this nuance of the issue, either in addition to or in place of what is currently there. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 16:15, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
It is slightly better than “results of widely approved scientific investigations”, which skates too close to casting science as a popularity contest. The present wording, even with a link to scientific consensus, still leaves wiggle room for rhetoric of the “science was wrong before” variety. I believe that presenting it as a clash (or incompatibility, or inconsistency) between frames, or worldviews as Dave suggests, is an accurate, defensible approach. Just plain Bill (talk) 16:30, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

agreed. Bobble head (talk) 17:47, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

And again some back-and-forth editing... what exactly is the problem with “rejecting results of scientific investigation which do not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative“? It seems neutral and accurate to me. Just plain Bill (talk) 18:06, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • So the whole sentence here has been, for a long time:

It advocates a literal or historical-grammatical interpretation of the Book of Genesis, with a particular focus on a pseudoscientific promotion of young Earth creationism, rejecting the consensus of the scientific community which does not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative.

This edit note says "what consensus?" and in the context of the whole sentence, it is plenty clear that the we are talking about the scientific consensus with regard to the age of the universe, the age of the earth, life on Earth including humans evolving from chemical soup starting around 4 billion years ago, etc.
Putting "scientific investigations" here makes it sound like "an experiment or two" as opposed to converging lines of evidence from many fields supported by a very strong theoretical underpinning - in other words, scientific consensus.Jytdog (talk) 18:36, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
In the context of Bobble head’s edit summary, that meant “What talk page consensus?” Just plain Bill (talk) 18:54, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Jytdog you should self revert [1] as the long-standing wording is which rejects any results of scientific investigation which do not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative. See this revision from January of this year [2]. rejecting the consensus of the scientific community which does not conform to their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative seems like "Engrish" to me. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 18:42, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your note.. checking... Jytdog (talk) 18:50, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Yep, thanks, what has been there a long is "rejects any results of scientific investigation which does not conform..." Jytdog (talk) 18:52, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • We are coming at this backward. How about something like:

Answers in Genesis, like other contemporary YEC movements, arose in protest to the scientific consensus, developed in numerous scientific disciplines, that shows that the age of the universe is around 13.8 billion years, the formation of the Earth happened around 4.5 billion years ago, and the first appearance of life on Earth as occurring around 3.5 billion years ago.[1][2][3][4]


  1. ^ Trollinger, Susan L.; Trollinger, Jr., William Vance (2017). "Chapter 31:The Bible and Creationism". In Gutjahr, Paul. The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in America. Oxford University Press. pp. 217ff. ISBN 9780190258856. 
  2. ^ "IAP Statement on the teaching of evolution" (PDF). the Interacademy Panel on international issues. 2006. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Planck Collaboration (2015). "Planck 2015 results. XIII. Cosmological parameters (See Table 4 on page 31 of pfd)". arXiv:1502.01589Freely accessible. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201525830. 
  4. ^ Bennett, C.L. (2013). "Nine-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Final Maps and Results". The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 208: 20. arXiv:1212.5225Freely accessible [astro-ph.CO]. Bibcode:2013ApJS..208...20B. doi:10.1088/0067-0049/208/2/20. 

-- Jytdog (talk) 18:48, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Stray thought, offered for discussion; how about something like:
It advocates a literal or historical-grammatical interpretation of the Book of Genesis, with a particular focus on a pseudoscientific promotion of young Earth creationism, holding that their literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative falsifies (overrules?) the results of scientific investigation. The organization sees evolution as incompatible with scripture...
Your comments? Just plain Bill (talk) 18:54, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I still prefer the current wording with a slight copyedit: It advocates a literal or historical-grammatical interpretation of the Book of Genesis, with a particular focus on a pseudoscientific promotion of young Earth creationism, which rejects results of scientific investigation which conflict with a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative.. It seems to be (a) good English (b) straight and to the point. Why fix something that isn't broken? And in the absence of much in the way of consensus (see the voluminous discussions above) much change from the long-standing version should be done through a RfC or similar mechanism. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 19:09, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Fair enough; I was thinking that sometimes a jostle can lead to things settling in better order, along the lines of how the metaphor of annealing has been adapted from metallurgy. I was also thinking of having the article (and its lead) give some prominence to the “worldviews in conflict” idea suggested by Dave Souza above. Something like an RfC would be needed for that, I agree. Just plain Bill (talk) 19:21, 15 November 2017 (UTC)