Talk:Bombardier beetle

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Seriously, a huge vacuum in the article is: I don't know where this bugs are to be found!! Can someone please fill that vacuum? And please don't turn it into some retarded Noah-related argument. Nobody cares about the Genesis myth anymore!! At least if you are a Catholic living outside the States... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:28, 25 December 2009 (UTC)


Of course "intelligent design" is a euphemism for God, since it says there exists (somewhere, somehow) a designer who creates life - e.g., God. But you are correct, in that my statement comes across as POV-ish, not wikipedia-ian, so I'm not going to try putting it back in. -- DavidWBrooks 18:51, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Not necessarily... could be "superintelligent race of Rigelians". Graft 19:02, 27 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I was vaguely thinking of the Raelians - but if you try, I won't revert. The link to irreducible complexity is the important bit :) Martin

Darwin's experience[edit]

The story of Darwin having tried to collect that beatle sounds unlikely at best. Are there any sources on this one? 19:20, 12 November 2005 (UTC)

I can find one reference saying it is a reputed story, with no direct source. I will water it down slightly. - DavidWBrooks 23:36, 12 November 2005 (UTC)
Source: Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin (London: Michael Joseph, the Penguin Group, 1991). ISBN 0-7181-3430-3. see Charles Darwin's education#Beetle collecting. ..dave souza, talk 08:02, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Nice story, but unfortunately, a bombardier beetle staying calm when picked up, staying calm when carried around confined in the hand, but going off when it is put in the mouth after some time of being carried around is not going to happen. They fire as soon as they are grabbed or even jostled, the whole point of the behavior is not to get picked up by anything in the first place. And you'll notice when they fire in your hand, it's about as pleasant as extinguishing a match with your bare fingers. What probably happened was that Darwin collected some other ground beetle - they have basically the same secretions, but without the bang. Carry them in your hand, and your hand is gonna smell bad (like the cleaning cabinet in an old mansion) and after a long time your skin is gonna become irritated. But you're not likely to notice anything anytime soon. Put them in your mouth, and you get precisely what Darwin decribed: "some intensely acrid fluid, which [burns your] tongue". He does not say "a bang", "a poppping noise", "a cloud of hot gas" or anything that is indicative of bombardier beetles. Indeed, when discussing this incident from an entomological perspective, he a) simply confirms the beetle in question to be a carabid and b) not peculiar enough to remember to species (which he was regularly able to do with beetles which struck his interest). See here. Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 22:50, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Since it's doubtful the insect in question was the bombardier beetle I went ahead and cut the section. Aunt Entropy (talk) 01:34, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

<undent> Desmond & Moore specifically state that it was a bombardier beetle, but Browne doesn't identify the beetle. The above is effectively original research, but looks convincing. Accordingly, I've modified the biographical article to show the various sources. dave souza, talk 14:42, 24 July 2008 (UTC)


Is it a problem that the entire second paragraph of this article is taken from here: (Number 2 in the sources)? - —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Indeed it is; all but the last two sentences. I've tagged it; it should be trivial to rewrite. - Merzbow (talk) 22:15, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
It was added in this revision by an IP user. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 22:18, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
It shouldn't be rewritten, it should be replaced. This part of the article is biased. Unless you want to be part of some kind of pointless childish argument, let's stick to the facts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:59, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
the paragraph is treating all the species's of bombardier beetle as 1 species, implying that the rare trait. I'm doing a quick draft to replace the section right now.Donhoraldo (talk) 05:07, 17 July 2010 (UTC)


At 06:35, 9 March 2006, added "Note: It was originally under the category of [Category:catalysts], but as it had no bearing on catalysts, I removed it". ..dave souza, talk 08:02, 9 March 2006 (UTC)


Where are these little guys usually found?

location is a good question[edit]

I'm wondering if these bombardier beetles are found anywhere near Mt. Ararat... because if Noah did collect two of every kind, he must've collected many kinds of beetles, but the "bombing" beetle might be specific to an area that he couldn't get to. I would love to shoot holes in the Creationists THEORY. I love to find out if there are Bombardiers in Turkey, or more specifically, Mt Ararat. - Deon

I have added the fact that they are found throughout much of the world's temperate grasslands and woodlands; thanks for that suggestion. I don't know about Mt. Ararat, but if you're looking for an anti-Noah argument, there are plenty of other, better species - non-swimming animals in Australia or South America, to begin with. - DavidWBrooks 19:37, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Mind you, just because they're there now doesn't mean they always were ^_~ —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:37, 15 January 2007 (UTC).
Prior to the flood the world's sea level was of course lower, creating land bridges between the continents. Or the land bridges could have been eroded away by the flood itself. Thus all species were able to walk to the Ark. (talk) 20:50, 17 April 2008 (UTC) (PS: I am not a creationist, just pointing out an easy arguement in their favour)
Besides which, the result of a world-wide flood would be a drop of albedo of the planet, likely producing an iceage, which would allow species to move wherever they wanted, so that's no use as an argument. The locations where bombardier beetles are found today would have no bearing on creationism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:19, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
A long belated nit, a drop (decrease) in albedo means the Earth becomes (on average) darker, absorbing more sunlight and reflecting less, which would cause it to become warmer, not colder. (However, any major change in the ratio of open water to dry land would probably affect cloud cover, as well, which would probably have a much greater effect on the planet's temperature than any change in surface albedo.) NCdave (talk) 23:19, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Intelligent design section[edit]

Why not ask a 2 year old what his idea about this beetle is! he might do a better job than creationists! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:37, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

I removed this:

"In one demonstration, documented in the book The Blind Watchmaker, biologist Richard Dawkins mixed together hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide in an artificial environment. No reaction occurred—a catalyst was required. Dawkins' point was that as the beetle's defensive mechanism evolved, the intermediate stages would not explode - the chemicals would not react without a catalyst."

For the following reasons
1. The importance of this to an article about bombardier beetles doesn't seem that great.
2. This doesn't represent evidence in support of intelligent design since intermediate stages occurred under a different set of evolutionary pressures than currently exist.
3. I don't believe (please correct me on this if I'm wrong) that The Blind Watchmaker was not peer-reviewed, and therefore should not constitute 'scientific' evidence. I think its inclusion here makes it seem like accepted science.
4. Without a lot more context (that would seem better placed in an article about intelligent design or evolution), this paragraph just seems to be an afterthought.

Any objections? Rational User 05:52, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I'd suggest restoring it, or something similar.
  1. Creationists (let's call them) present the Bombardier beetle as an example of something natural selection could not have come up with. People will be coming to this article to find out more about it, so it's a good place for this discussion.
  2. Naturalistic explanations that would discredit the ID argument should definitely be added to the section. The Dawkins quote is a start, but I find it unclear.
  3. The article is not upholding The Blind Watchmaker as an authoritative biology text. It is used here to present the ID argument.
  4. Presenting every ID argument in any ID or evolution article would make that article unmanageably long. Much more context can be given in this article.
I do think that section could be made clearer, but I'm not a biology expert. / edgarde 07:03, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Both Edgarde and myself seemed to think that this was a paragraph indicating support for the ID explanation from Dawkins [from Edgarde's comment: It is used here to present the ID argument]. However, I would be shocked and amazed if this is the case: Just check out the Dawkins page or read the book (I realized I had this book on my bookshelf this morning and read the appropriate section). Dawkins is an outspoken opponent of ID. I don't think the paragraph should be included if it is so poorly written that 2 people can take it to mean something that the book's writer probably did not intend.
Unless there are serious objections I'm going to re-delete that paragraph and re-write the whole ID section this evening. I actually am a biology expert (Ph.D. in ecology) and I'd be happy to make the section sound better (I didn't have the time last night). 15:28, 9 January 2007 (UTC) (this was me Rational User 16:36, 9 January 2007 (UTC))
The wording of the section has been hacked around at various times to give credence to the creationist claims, and the Dawkins demonstration related to a different claim to the one in the children's book. I've reworded it a little and cited TalkOrigins who cite several sources. Any more technical sources or improved wording will be welcome. .. Ta, .. dave souza, talk 18:13, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I found the following on TalkOrigins.. I'd been reading up on evolution, and came across the beetles being mentioned, and wanted to read more about them. Usually wikipedia doesn't have just one-sided garbage, so I was surprised to see just the ID stuff.

"an evolutionary pathway that accounts for the bombardier beetle is not hard to come up with (Isaak 1997). One plausible sequence (much abbreviated) is thus:

1. Insects produce quinones for tanning their cuticle. Quinones make them distasteful, so the insects evolve to produce more of them and to produce other defensive chemicals, including hydroquinones.
2. The insects evolve depressions for storing quinones and muscles for ejecting them onto their surface when threatened with being eaten. The depression becomes a reservoir with secretory glands supplying hydroquinones into it. This configuration exists in many beetles, including close relatives of bombardier beetles (Forsyth 1970).
3. Hydrogen peroxide becomes mixed with the hydroquinones. Catalases and peroxidases appear along the output passage of the reservoir, ensuring that more quinones appear in the exuded product.
4. More catalases and peroxidases are produced, generating oxygen and producing a foamy discharge, as in the bombardier beetle Metrius contractus (Eisner et al. 2000).
5. As the output passage becomes a hardened reaction chamber, still more catalases and peroxidases are produced, gradually becoming today's bombardier beetles.

All of the steps are small or can be easily broken down into smaller ones, and all are probably selectively advantageous. Several of the intermediate stages are known to be viable by the fact that they exist in other living species."—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:47, 23 June 2007

It's a good point that ID has been completely discredited as pseudoscience, and NPOV: Pseudoscience together with NPOV: Undue weight require us to avoid giving credence to the "irreducible complexity" argument. Feel free to improve the section. .. dave souza, talk 07:56, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
If ID has been "completely discredited as pseudoscience", then why is there even a debate on the issue? Why are supporters of Darwinian evolution so adamant about their interpretation of how they think things happened in the past (were they there?) if there's no issue to discuss? And why, if there is an issue to duscuss, is Wikipedia taking the approach of labeling ID "pseudoscience" and attacking it in any and every article that could conceivably be used for this purpose, while suppressing any attempt by proponents of ID to explain their views? To me this smacks of systemic bias against Creationism. But I understand that this same bias exists throughout the scientific community, with even well-qualified scientists being ostracized if they admit to any belief in ID. I'm sure very few scientists today would even entertain the idea of considering the merits if ID, nor have they ever done so, being willingly ignorant on the issue.
Anyway, regarding this article, I'd rather see an article on the bombardier beetle used to inform people on the insect, and not used to bash a miniority viewpoint. There are other articles which would be more appropriate for the evolution vs. creation issue that's presented here, and there's more to say about the beetle than what has been said so far. EthanL (talk) 21:35, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
As you point out, the fact that ID has been discredited as pseudoscience doesn't stop creationists from believing it, citing the bombardier beetle as evidence to support their faith, and editing this article to reflect that idea. Science is systemically biased against proving or disproving religious or supernatural explanations, and npov requires us to present unscientific opinions in the context of the scientific consensus. If there's more you feel should be said about the beetle, please add it with sources for the information. Thanks, . .. dave souza, talk 12:02, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

I just wanted to comment that this section of the article is EXCEEDINGLY poor. The bombardier beetle is used frequently by creationists/intelligent designists as an example of a complex system the individual parts of which are useless. The minor factual errors of Creationist X (e.g. the chemicals don't actually explode when put in immediate contact) is irrelevant to the point being made. It is not the purpose of Wikipedia to attempt lame deconstructions of theories with which we disagree. Somebody please rescue this section of the article. Am I wrong? Must Wikipedia "weigh in" on the creationist, evolutionist fight? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:19, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

To be frank, i would move to ENTIRELY remove the 'evolution' section: It cites very little in the way of reliable sources, mostly repeats the 'defence mechanism' information and is continually biased either to one theory or another whilst adding no meaningful information to the article. Abergabe (talk) 15:56, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm sure what you meant to write was "I would move to entirely IMPROVE the "evolution" section with better discussion and references" - DavidWBrooks (talk) 17:00, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Nope, I'm still thinking it would be better to remove it entirely. It's not going to be neutral, it's based on conjecture (in both directions), and some of physiological information should be under defence mechanisms anyway. Abergabe (talk) 13:51, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Bad idea, the science of its evolution is informative and based on good sources, not on "conjecture". As for the creationist views, they're so widespread as to be notable and worth a brief mention. . . dave souza, talk 18:23, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Reorganize initial paragraph?[edit]

The initial section, "Defense Mechanism", consists of two parts: an overview paragraph and a more detailed pair of paragraphs. The two parts are divided by a sentence at the end of the first paragraph: "A more detailed description of the process follows:". This seems awkward to me, but I'm not sure of how to improve it.

Perhaps the two parts need to be split into separate sections, the first describing the external manifestation of the defense mechanism, and the second describing the internal organs and chemicals that produce the observed results. --Dan Griscom (talk) 00:38, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I tried changing it around a bit - putting a shorter version of the first paragraph in the introductory section, for the casual reader, and leaving the detailed bit in the subsection heading. I'm not sure it works, though. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 01:41, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Article About a Creationist Argument or the Bombardier Beetle?[edit]

Why is literally half the article about Creationism? It's inappropriate to waste so much of an article on this "debate". Keep that garbage in the Creationism vs Evolution or Intelligent Design article where it belongs. Don Dueck (talk) 06:28, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Good point, as it was giving undue weight to an extreme minority viewpoint. The sources provide useful explanations of the evolution of the mechanism, and I've accordingly rejigged the section as Evolution of the defense mechanism. . dave souza, talk 09:37, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
I was kind of hoping to learn about bombardier beetles here. This article contains very little information beyond naming taxa and describing the defense mechanism (what I really wanted to know there is how the beetle survives its own attack, apparently unharmed, since video shows that it catches a lot of its own spray). The rest definitely belongs in an intelligent design article, although a briefer mention with a link seems appropriate.
What is needed is distribution, feeding habits, etc. for common examples of the type. We have several tribes mentioned, but what distinguishes them? What tribes are found where? I would have graded this article D. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:55, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

the beetle[edit]

I added 2 new sections about the beetle instead of the "controversy" surrounding it. the links I posted for the new sections have ,ore information that I can (or others can) transform into new sections I.E. Physical Description, Reproduction, ETC. I'm going to be busy for the weekend but could expand further on Monday. till then (and after) please others expand this article. if you remove the creationism and refutations this article is a stub and we should treat it as such.Donhoraldo (talk) 06:19, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, but if you're going to add sentences like "The mane distinguishing characteristic of bombardier beetles is the defensive mechanism where they eject a caustic liquid out of one or more orifices in there abdomen" then it's going to be reverted, as I just did. There has to be a certain level of spelling and grammar in an encyclopedia, you know. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 11:26, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
you reverted not only a rewrite of a completely inaccurate section but also 2 new sections. OK the it poorly worded but I did something. don't just revert with ought merit. again I point to the fact that the first paragraph is talking about just a few species of beetle and not the whole 500 that is the topic of this article. the rest you replaced something with nothing. blanking a section because of the quality of writing. that's just removing information from the site and against at least the spirit of Wikipedia.Donhoraldo (talk) 13:35, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
You are correct - I was too hasty. My apologies. It has since been re-arranged by another editor. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 18:40, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Argument by fiat[edit]

This claim falls flat. The claimed fallacious article doesn't try to say this is how the defense mechanism evolved exactly step by step, but instead tries to counter the claim that there is no way for the mechanism to evolve. The article counter is this is A plausible evolutionary pathway. Further there is an argument presented that the gaps in the pathway make it religious, But as there are an infinite number of gaps between any 2 points and adding new data only demonstrates this the point is moot. After all by this argument 2 coming after 1 is a religious belief.Donhoraldo (talk) 16:10, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

"Contrary to . . . " in the creationist dispute section.[edit]

Is there a reason that's even up? Cataloging both sides of the story is one thing, but the section as written is definitely espousing a POV. MudskipperMarkII (talk) 20:42, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

You appear to be mistaken about WP:NPOV policy, which under WP:WEIGHT requires that "the majority view should be explained in sufficient detail that the reader can understand how the minority view differs from it, and controversies regarding aspects of the minority view should be clearly identified and explained." You may also find Wikipedia:Fringe theories helpful. . . dave souza, talk 21:25, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Intelligent design biochemist[edit]

Intelligent design biochemist isn't Behe title, nor anyone's. However I can understand if some think the accurate statement that he is an intelligent design creationist is not needed. As such I've changed it to intelligent design proponent. As far as it goes if it is needed to have the irrelevant fact of him being a biochemist (as his work on ID doesn't actually involve biochemistry)I advise them to follow the article on Behe and put it in the format ,"American biochemist, author, and intelligent design advocate" or "biochemist, and intelligent design advocate" to save space.Donhoraldo (talk) 21:03, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

possible vs. all necessary[edit]

The source lists extant organisms with all necessary intermediate stages for the formation of the defense mechanism. It has been claimed that because this is not necessarily the evolutionary sequence provided in the article we should however use "possible", instead of "all necessary". Even if the beetle didn't evolve along the prescribed lines this does not change the fact that there are extant animals witch use the proposed stages.Donhoraldo (talk) 02:38, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Did Behe say that the complexity of bombardier beetles suggests complexity.[edit]

I quoted Behe earlyer and someone reverted it becase I suposedly mis represented BEHE by a direct quote. Well here is the conclusion Behe comes to at the end of the passage. "All we can conclude at this point is that Darwinian evoultion might have occured. If we could analyze the structural details of the beetle to the last protein and enzyme, and if we could agree with Dawkins. For now, We cannot tell wether the step-by-step accreetions of our hypothedical evolutionary stream are single-mutation "hops" or helicopter rides between distant buttes."'s+system+in+such+a+way+that+the+function+continuously+improves?+It+would+seem+that+they+can.&source=bl&ots=ZAxoy1jrfT&sig=2d2IwQxHS-fage6ip6DuxUjCuIg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4J0sT-jPM8ru0gGqlKW8Cg&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Can%20the%20other%20components%20be%20added%20to%20the%20bombardier's%20system%20in%20such%20a%20way%20that%20the%20function%20continuously%20improves%3F%20It%20would%20seem%20that%20they%20can.&f=false(all transcriptional errors mine) In reading this it becomes clearly apparent that the previous version was in fact the one misrepresenting Behe.Donhoraldo (talk) 03:08, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Can you clarify what you would mean to say then with your addition of the direct quote taken out of context from an entire body of work that is about explaining how the compexity of biochemical systems refute evolution?
Are you saying Behe discussed bombardier beetles and then did not conclude that it was complex enough to prove that it had not been derived incrementally by evolution? We are treating his entire body of work, not a single stray sentence.
The sentence you added: Intelligent design proponent Michael Behe on the other hand stated in Darwin's Black Box "Can the other components be added to the bombardier's system in such a way that the function continuously improves? It would seem that they can.", makes no sense and falsely implies that Behe did use it as an example to claim irreducible complexity. -- OBSIDIANSOUL 03:52, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
In addition do note the current wording: Others such as intelligent design proponent Michael Behe and Answers in Genesis, accept most of the scientific view but contend that "complexity" suggests an origin by design., which is exactly what Behe did.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 03:57, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't look at Behe's entire work, no but it does at least bring up the question if Behe wrote that the bombardier beetle isn't at current a case for ID, then why is he listed as doing so. If Behe is being brought up for his role in ID but not his opinions or work on the bombardier beetle then he should be removed.Donhoraldo (talk) 07:19, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
A side issue, the AIG reference as it sits now is supporting the claim, "that "complexity" suggests an origin by design". Not that AIG makes that claim. The alteration wherein I quoted AIG saying the same did however.Donhoraldo (talk) 07:23, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Please read between the lines. ID proponents are not exactly unknown for the way they manipulate half-truths through ambiguous statements or lie through their teeth outright. Reexamine Behe's wording. After pointing out the remarkability of the bombardier beetle's defense mechanism, he concludes that in order to say that it could be the result of evolution it must meet the following conditions: "If we could analyze the structural details of the beetle to the last protein and enzyme, and if we could agree with Dawkins." You can reword what he said as: "Look at how complex all this is. They say it evolved, but I'm more likely to believe it was designed until they can prove otherwise." He might as well have said never. It's sly but it's quite obvious as even this book review interprets it as thus, as well as numerous other works.
He is not listed as proposing that bombardier beetles are a case of ID. He is suggesting it might be, though he superficially acknowledges something creationists often deliberately omit: that there are examples of similar defense mechanisms in related beetles from whence it might evolve. Both of those are dealt with in the sentence. Let me bold the relevant points again:
Others such as intelligent design proponent Michael Behe and Answers in Genesis, accept most of the scientific view but contend that "complexity" suggests an origin by design.
I have no time for this BS. If you think he didn't say it, in direct contradiction to the numerous sources that says he did, then remove him as his statements would then be irrelevant and would give undue credence to ID (per WP:FRINGE). I'm busy writing articles for real biology at the moment.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 07:57, 4 February 2012 (UTC)


I've significantly pared down the section about creationism as giving undue weight to a fringe view. If someone wants to add the beetle as an example to Irreducible_complexity#Stated_examples, then it could be linked to. But this article does not need to go into any more detail than to say a creationist argument exists and is rejected by mainstream science. GDallimore (Talk) 13:34, 20 June 2012 (UTC)


GDallimore, you reverted my edit with the comment:

("essily" is a better representation of the tone of the source which says, eg, " all the pre-bombardier beetle had to do..." Believe is wholly inappropriate language implying some correlation between science and religion)

I have two problems with that. First, your complaint that the word "believe" has religious connotations is mistaken. Check the dictionary, if you doubt me.

Second, that "all the pre-bombardier beetle had to do" quote didn't come from a biologist, it came from a computer programmer. This section of the Bombardier beetle article is about what biologists believe (or, more accurately, what evolutionary biologists believe), and it cites page 214 of botanist Stan Rice's book, Encyclopedia of Evolution. But that citation supports neither the "have shown" claim nor the "easily" language.

The "have shown" claim is also contradicted by the (accurate) preceding phrase, "the true evolutionary path is still unknown..." If the evolutionary path is unknown, then it hasn't been shown.

If you don't like "biologists believe" then we could say "biologists hypothesize." For now, I'm going with "evolutionary biologists believe." If you prefer "hypothesize," please make that change, I will not object.

I see that the article also cites a 1997 usenet newsgroup essay, which obviously is not a reliable source, so I an deleting that. (I'm also making a couple of other minor improvements to the prose, which I'm sure you'll be okay with.) NCdave (talk) 19:45, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

My, you really don't seem to get WP:WEIGHT, and your arguments are inaccurate: "biologists have shown that the system could" is not an absolute, so is entirely compatible with the actual path being unknown. TalkOrigins Archive is recognised as a reliable source. As for "easily", in my view "readily" is better, so I've changed it to that. . dave souza, talk 20:25, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Whatever the dictionary definition of "belief", the implication was clear and improper. Belief and plausibility are irrelevant when the sole purpose is to show a mechanism by which natural selection could create the defence mechanism, which is all that is necessary to dispense with the claim that the system is irreducibly complex. Exactly how the mechanism evolved is unknown, so there is no "belief" by biologists that it evolved in one way or another.
In any event, this section needed a little attention anyway. I've tried to focus the discussion more and avoided interesting but irrelevant tangents. GDallimore (Talk) 22:27, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Dave, "biologists have shown that" certainly sounds absolute, to me. When someone claims that something has been shown by biologists, there should be a citation indicating where & when has it been shown, and by which biologists.
W/r/t the TalkOrigins reference, I'm surprised that an archived usenet essay could ever be considered to be a reliable source, but I do find archived discussion indicating that Wikipedia does allow such material from TalkOrigins, when the authorship is not in doubt, in those circumstances in which other self-published material would be acceptable. The rules for self-published material are:
"...self-published media... are largely not acceptable as sources. Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. Take care when using such sources: if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else will probably have done so."
So the question becomes, is the author of this article, Mark Isaak, an established expert on evolutionary biology, or (preferably) on the biology of Bombardier Beetles, whose work has been published by reliable third-party publications? I did a quick Google Scholar search, and didn't find any evidence that he is. He wrote a book on how to argue with creationists, and a 1998 usenet essay arguing against a Biblical Flood, but I couldn't find a vita or any indication that he's an established expert on any sort of biology. If not, then his Usenet essay from TalkOrigins is not a reliable source. NCdave (talk) 00:41, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Nice bit of quote mining there... GDallimore (Talk) 01:44, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Hey, what's with the attitude, GDallimore? I didn't "quote mine" anything. I cited the Wikipedia policy documents that I found. If I left out anything pertinent, I assure you that it was unintentional. NCdave (talk) 01:54, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
You quoted one paragraph out of context of a larger discussion rendering your entire argument void. The discussion you link to says talkorigins is a reliable source. GDallimore (Talk) 09:23, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
That is untrue, GDallimore. I paraphrased (and linked to) the conclusion (at the top) of the archived discussion. The discussion did not conclude that TalkOrigins is always a reliable source (though some participants in the discussion argued that it should be so considered). Rather, the conclusion likened essays archived at TalkOrgins to self-published media (if the authorship is not in question), and referenced that policy. This is what it said, in its entirety:
"The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows. / TalkOrigins Archive should nowhere be considered less reliable than a self-published source, with the authority of individual authors determined on a case-by-case basis by editorial consensus on article talkpages, per suggestions by Stephan Schultz at 12:28, 6 April 2008, Filll at 14:12, 7 April 2008 among others."
So I quoted the relevant part of the referenced policy on self-published material, which applies to self-published articles and essays. If you think I missed something, then by all means cite it. But, unless I missed something, it seems clear that the Usenet essay in question is usable if and only if its author, Mark Isaak, is an established expert on evolutionary biology or the biology of Bombardier Beetles, whose work has been published by reliable third-party publications.
I looked for evidence of such qualifications, but didn't find it. Please see if you can find it. NCdave (talk) 12:34, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
I guess not. Does anyone else know of any evidence that Mark Isaak is an established expert on evolutionary biology and/or Bombardier Beetles, whose work has been published by reliable third-party publications? Dave Souza, do you know of such evidence? NCdave (talk) 20:00, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Isaak is well established as an expert on creationism, and on reporting on science as it relates to creationist claims. Once again, it's published by TOA, a reliable source for such discussions. If you doubt that, you're free to go to RSN. . dave souza, talk 20:14, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Isaak wrote a polemical book on how to argue with creationists, I guess that's what you mean. That certainly doesn't qualify him in this context. It's irrelevant to the question of whether he is an established expert on the topic at hand, which is the evolution of the Bombardier Beetles' remarkable defense mechanism.
What do you know about Isaak? Where is there evidence that he is an expert on evolutionary biology and/or Bombardier Beetles, who has been published by reliable third-party publications? (And note the plural: publications!) I looked, and didn't find any evidence of such expertise, nor did I find any examples of anything he's ever published on any related subject in any reliable third-party publications.
Perhaps I missed something, though. If you think so, then please find it, if you can!
But note that TalkOrigins Archive is not a "reliable third-party publication" in this sense. The conclusion of the noticeboard discussion was obviously referring to other publications. To suppose that the archiving of a Usenet essay at TalkOrigins Archive is, itself, the qualification needed to establish the "expert" status of the author, thereby making such an essay usable as a Reliable Source in Wikipedia, is a circular reference equivalent to declaring that all TalkOrigins Archive articles are automatically useable as Reliable Sources, which contradicts the conclusion of the noticeboard discussion. NCdave (talk) 05:15, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Isaak's book is published by a major academic publisher (University of California Press) and is widely accepted by evolutionary biologists as a high-quality source, as evidenced, for example, by the blurb from Kevin Padian (a distinguished evolutionary biologist). Isaak (2007) cites Isaak (1997), so it makes more sense to cite the longer (1997) version. Guettarda (talk) 05:45, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
But Isaak's (one and only?) book is on the wrong topic! If he'd written a successful textbook on evolutionary biology, or published papers on Bombardier Beetles in respected journals, that would be evidence that he's an established expert on the topic. But writing a book on how to argue with creationists doesn't make Isaak an expert on evolutionary biology or Bombardier Beetles. It just makes him a polemicist for his (and your) POV.
As it happens, in addition to being a Biology professor, Padian is also a prominent activist for that same POV, who even testified in the Kitzmiller trial. So it's not surprising that Padian would praise a book which champions his own POV.
What Padian does not say, though, is that Isaak is an expert on evolutionary biology or Bombardier Beetles. In fact, Padian's 3-sentence review of Isaak's book doesn't mention either biology or beetles.
Has Isaak has ever published any papers at all on either evolutionary biology or Bombardier Beetles? Is there even any reason even to believe that he would recognize a Bombardier Beetle if he saw one?
In the absence of compelling evidence that he's an established expert on evolutionary biology and/or Bombardier Beetles, whose writing on such topics has been published in reliable third-party publications, we must assume that he is not. NCdave (talk) 07:05, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Your line of reasoning is flawed. Isaak's article is not research into evolutionary biology so he does not need to be an established evolutionary biologist. His article is a tertiary source gathering together existing research on evolutionary biology to counter creationist claims. He is a recognised authority on countering creationist claims so the source is reliable for the purpose in which it is being used. Evolutionary biologists do not counter creationist claims because they have no need to bring themselves down to that level. GDallimore (Talk) 11:37, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

NCdave, will you please try to rephrase that without the conspiracy theories, attacks on named living people, and general accusations of bad faith? No, science is not "just another POV", and no, Isaak's book is not "how to argue with creationists". And testifying at the Kitzmiller trial isn't evidence of POV, it's evidence that Padian's an expert on the subject. Calm down, and try discussing this based on facts and policy. Guettarda (talk) 13:49, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Gases produced probably don't include hydrogen[edit]

Of the enzymes mentioned, catalases typically decompose hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, and peroxidases catalyze the reaction of hydrogen peroxide with various reducing agents depending on the particular peroxidase. In this case the reducing agent is hydroquinone, and the reaction product is para-quinone. Accordingly I have removed hydrogen from the list of reaction products.CharlesHBennett (talk) 15:48, 27 March 2014 (UTC)