Talk:Creation–evolution controversy

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Former good article Creation–evolution controversy was one of the good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
January 22, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
October 4, 2006 Good article reassessment Delisted
November 25, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
Current status: Delisted good article
edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Creation–evolution controversy:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Cleanup : *Arguments relating to the definition, limits and philosophy of science' section.
  • Expand : *'Forums for the controversy' section should go beyond debates, and eventually add an introductory sentence.
    • 'Public policy issues' & 'Issues relating to religion' sections require introductory paragraphs to provide an overview and give structure to their sub-sections.
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Peer review This Natsci article has been selected for Version 0.5 and subsequent release versions of Wikipedia. It has been rated B-Class on the assessment scale.


RfC -- Debate over claims of discrimination in academia[edit]

I don't need the clear consensus among contributors here to tell me that this is a very malformed RfC, but it's nice to not be alone. This RfC starts with a simple sentence, with two sources, but then jumps into a whole bunch of paragraphs of text (whose provenance is unclear, and whose relation to the original sentence is likewise unclear), followed by no fewer than three long questions, one of which is leading and another loaded. So whatever the real question was, the answer is--probably--no. Drmies (talk) 02:01, 23 February 2015 (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.

This article is about the evolution-creation controversy. A previous RfP by Cposper regarding this one sentence edit [1]had mixed reactions, with most negative comments suggesting that more sources than the two clearly one-sided sources cited by Cposper were needed. See for example AndytheGrump's comments[2][3]

My proposed section, copied below, attempts to address the deficiencies of Cposper's contribution using 14 reliable sources on both sides of the controversy. The outline is simple. The first paragraph affirms the overwhelming support for evolution in academia. The second paragraph cites sources asserting discrimination against academics expressing any doubts, the third paragraph cites sources asserting the claim of discrimination is false and/or exaggerated.

Personally, I'm not a creationist. I only came to this article because of Cposper's RfC with a desire to encourage the process described in WP:PRESERVE, trying to build rather than block it. I have persisted on this talk page and through this RfC because I put effort into my original contribution and believe opposition to it, is totally contrary to WP:PRESERVE and represents problems with ownership sentiments that discourage new editors.

My addition:

===Appeals to Scientific Consensus===
The vast majority of the scientific community and academia supports evolutionary theory as the only explanation that can fully account for observations in the fields of biology, paleontology, molecular biology, genetics, anthropology, and others.[1][2][3][4][5] (See Level of support for evolution.)
This consensus is so embedded in academia that some critics believe it has created a chilling effect on scientists who might raise questions regarding the adequacy of evolutionary theory.[6] For example, sociologist Rodney Stark has also asserted that a "fear of censure"[7] exists such that any questions regarding the adequacy of evolution may be perceived as support for creationism.[8] In Ben Stein's much publicized documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed the alleged discrimination against scientists who question evolution theory is presented as a major obstacle to serious engagement with the theory of Intelligent design. In the film, Stein interviewed several academics, including biologist Richard Sternberg, and astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, who claimed, according to the Toledo Blade that "their careers were derailed for failing to follow the party line on evolution."[6] Similarly, Jerry Bergman claims he has documented hundreds of cases of scientists "whose careers have been capsized for doubting Darwin." [6][9]
The claim that academics are systematically punished for voicing doubts about evolution has been dismissed and refuted by many leading scientists and organizations.[10][11] In response to Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, the National Center for Science Education created a Expelled Exposed[12], a website with multiple resources criticizing the film including expanded biographical material on each of the six academics interviewed in the film who alleged that they had been discriminated against because of their views. Similarly, an article in Scientific American asserts that Stein provided only a "selective retelling" of Richard Sternberg's role with the Smithsonian Institution. The film failed to disclose, for example, that Sternberg's departure was planned before the controversy erupted over his decision to publish a paper on paper intelligent design by Steven Meyer.[13] Stein's assertion of widespread prejudice against scientists who hold religious beliefs was also dismissed by examples of the "[t]housands of other biologists across the U.S. who all know evolution to be true also still religious."[13] In a 2006 article published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, a group of scientists argued that the claim that “persecuted scientist against the establishment” allegation made by creationists is a "hoax.".[14]

References

  1. ^ Myers, PZ (2006-06-18). "Ann Coulter: No evidence for evolution?". Pharyngula (scienceblogs.com). Retrieved 2006-11-18. 
  2. ^ The National Science Teachers Association's position statement on the teaching of evolution.
  3. ^ IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution Joint statement issued by the national science academies of 67 countries, including the United Kingdom's Royal Society (PDF file)
  4. ^ From the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society: 2006 Statement on the Teaching of Evolution (PDF file), AAAS Denounces Anti-Evolution Laws
  5. ^ Fact, Fancy, and Myth on Human Evolution, Alan J. Almquist, John E. Cronin, Current Anthropology, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Jun., 1988), pp. 520–522
  6. ^ a b c Yonke, David (2008-04-28). "Expelled: Intelligent design film fuels debate over how life came to be". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Stark, Rodney (September 2004). "Fact, Fable, and Darwin". One America. Retrieved 31 December 2014. Popper's tribulations illustrate an important basis for the victory of Darwinism: A successful appeal for a united front on the part of scientists to oppose religious opposition has had the consequence of silencing dissent within the scientific community. The eminent observer Everett Olson notes that there is 'a generally silent group' of biological scientists 'who tend to disagree with much of the current thought' about evolution, but who remain silent for fear of censure. 
  8. ^ Stark, Rodney (2003). For The Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-hunts and the End of Slavery. Princeton University Press. p. 176. My reluctance to pursue these matters is based on my experience that nothing causes greater panic among many of my colleagues than any criticism of evolution. They seem to fear that someone might mistake them for Creationists if they even remain in the same room while such talk is going on. 
  9. ^ Jerry Bergman. Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, 2nd edition, April 2011, 422 pages, Leafcutter Press.
  10. ^ Jeanette Catsoulis. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008) Movie Review New York Times. April 18, 2008. Accessed Dec. 28, 2014.
  11. ^ Gefter, Amanda (12 April 2008). "Warning! They've Got Designs on You". New Scientist (London, England: Reed Business Information, Ltd.) 198 (2651): 46. Bibcode:2008NewSc.198...46S. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(08)61555-9. 
  12. ^ "Expelled Exposed". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Rennie, John; Mirsky, Steve (April 16, 2008). "Six Things in Expelled That Ben Stein Doesn't Want You to Know...about intelligent design and evolution". Scientific American. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Another plea often articulated by ID proponents is the idea that there is a community of ID scientists undergoing persecution by the science establishment for their revolutionary scientific ideas. A search through PubMed fails to find evidence of their scholarship within the peer-reviewed scientific literature. In the original Wedge document, a key part of the plan to displace evolutionary biology was a program of experimental science and publication of the results. That step has evidently been skipped." Attie, A. D.; Sober, E.; Numbers, R. L.; Amasino, R. M.; Cox, B.; Berceau, T.; Powell, T.; Cox, M. M. (2006). "Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action" (Full free text). Journal of Clinical Investigation 116 (5): 1134–1138. doi:10.1172/JCI28449. PMC 1451210. PMID 16670753.  edit

Three questions for the RfC:

Q1. Is the above material relevant to the topic, the evolution-creation controversy?

Q2. Keeping in mind that WP:PRESERVE techniques can be used to improve this contribution and further refine the balance and sources, does this contribution and 14 reliable sources provided form a reasonable starting point for refining the contribution in a way that improves the article?

Q3. Does this contribution "actually make the article worse"? -- justifying reversion per Revert only when necessary? See the "Unacceptable reverts" subsection

Please Note: Q3 is framed in the negative, with a NO favoring inclusion of he above contribution. No, No, Yes, opposes inclusion on all grounds. Yes, Yes, No favors inclusion on all three grounds.

Please remember this is not a poll on the validity of the claims of discrimination, much less creationism. It is strictly a poll on whether the proposed content is suitable to the article, supported by reliable sources, and a reasonable first draft to improve the coverage of the subject for our readers.--GodBlessYou2 (talk) 22:23, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

  • COMMENT - This is a non-neutral RfC that argues to keep the content via questions 2 and 3. Should be trashed and done over. Jytdog (talk) 23:01, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
  • COMMENT - Looks immediately like undue weight to Expelled which is no more than an ID propaganda exercise lacking basis in reality: there's already an article about it, at most it would merit a link and a very brief summary style note in this overview article. It's not even that crucial to ID, let alone the other forms of creationism. . dave souza, talk 23:05, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

In the material quoted is the phrase "who all know evolution to be true also still religious". I think this quote is missing a verb. Rick Norwood (talk) 23:30, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

  • COMMENT - Persecution of scientists who don't believe in evolution is a paranoid conspiracy theory propagated by US Christian fundamentalists out of frustration with science and in order to advance their political agenda through public education, see [4], [5] and [6]. The paradigmatic example is Behe: although his whole academic department unanimously stated that ID isn't science, he is still employed there to teach his own specialism. Tgeorgescu (talk) 23:32, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
  • COMMENT Per Jytdog, this RFC is badly phrased and seems to have been constructed to make it virtually impossible to avoid some form of the content getting in the article. A virtually identical RFC has already rejected any such inclusion very recently. The possibility if a further RFC has been discussed at length too and also been rejected. I recommend that it be at a minimum restructured and probably removed entirely. Rwenonah (talk) 23:54, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
  • COMMENT. Invalid, partisan RfC created by a tendentious contributor who refuses to accept the clear consensus in the earlier RfC (which incidentally also failed to ask a neutral question). It should be noted that not only does the new so-called RfC not ask neutrally-worded questions, but that it misrepresents the nature of the previous one. I can see no reason why this nonsense shouldn't be summarily closed as the abuse of process it self-evidently is, with at minimum stern warning to the contributor that any more of this nonsense is liable to result in significant repercussions. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:10, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. Invalid and tendentious RfC by someone who has great difficulty understanding the abundant comments he has already received for his proposal, which violates our policies and guidelines on many levels. Yes, it makes the article worse, and no, there isn't a single word or even a single letter of this conspiracy theory nonsense worth "preserving". Flushing twice, shutting the lid and weighing it down with cinderblock so that this stinkbomb of a proposal never again sees the warm light of day is more in keeping with our policies. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 01:16, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. The previous RfC, on the issue of "Should the section on public policy include a reference to concerns about the silencing of dissidents?", appears to have ended resoundingly with the answer of "No". The present RfC perversely proposes to address the concerns of earlier commentators with an even lengthier treatment than was suggested in the course of the previous one. Also, I think editors really ought to know better than to suggest that half a dozen or so movie reviews constitute good, reliable sources for an article of this kind. Sławomir Biały (talk) 02:16, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment No, just no. This isn't a real issue. GBU2 should be topic banned from Creationism/Evolution controversy pages. How much of this are we going to put up with, before we say 'enough is enough'?--Adam in MO Talk 02:45, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment No. Enough of this Ben Steinery already. Just plain Bill (talk) 03:04, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment Improperly formed, POV pushing RfC, rehashing issue that has been resolved in the previous thread and was essentially covered in the recent RfD. Tenditious editing of talk page and stunning IDHT. The idea of including the conspiracy theory nonsense has been thoroughly rejected. Support topic ban this has used inordinate amounts of time for multiple editors for no useful purpose, only to respond to a single SPA disruptive editor. Rather than continue this time sink I suggest taking this to ANI. - - MrBill3 (talk) 03:54, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment Partisan, malformed, non-neutral, and invalid RFC by a tendentious contributor whom seems unable to get it as far as what the conciousness on this issue is. WegianWarrior (talk) 05:07, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes,Yes, No It most certainly is a real issue, academic freedom and the summary dismissal of employees, intimidation or sabotage of the lab work of colleagues, despite excellent academic credentials over an interpretation of data is of direct and central relevance to this page. Experienced editors at the RS noticeboard and even the fringe theories noticeboard [7][8] indicate that Bergman and those societies that support and cite him are RS for creationist views on the subject. The proposed edit gives fair airing to both sides of the issue. Is there not also a danger here of advancing a religion of another kind, not intrinsic to the scientific method - that of materialistic fideism? Cpsoper (talk) 05:36, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
You appear to still be having a basic comprehension issue here. You have been told that Bergman is a reliable source for his own opinions. Everyone is a reliable source for their own opinions. Nothing in the links you provide supports the assertion that Bergman's opinions have any credibility amongst anyone beyond a fringe subset of Creationist conspiracy theorists. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:44, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I simple consideration of Due weight resolves any question. The subject of the article has received substantial discussion in weighty sources, the proposed content represents a tiny minority, fringe, conspiracy theory that has recieved coverage in sources which carry negligible weight in comparison. The consensus has been established, re-established and confirmed, enough. "fair airing to both sides" is proposing false balance and is not in keeping with policy. "a danger here of advancing..." irrelelvant soapboxing. Bergman and "those societies that support and cite him" constitute a fringe, tiny minority that have not recieved coverage, consideration or serious academic study or debate, regardless of their reliability on their own opinions those opinions are not due inclusion per policy that has been explained, re-explained... As above tendentious talk page editing, IDHT and failure to grasp policy does not demonstrate that an editor is here to improve the encyclopedia, quite the contrary. - - MrBill3 (talk) 07:29, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
@AtG. If you trouble to read the contributions by others at the noticeboards, you will find that Bergman was regarded as RS for other creationist opinion, based on the fact that he is widely cited by several different bodies. There is a somewhat neuralgic quality to these contributions.
@Mr Bill, if you think 46% of US college students and 25% of postgrad students are 'a tiny minority', I wonder how you define a large minority?! The issue being not whether such opinions represent the establishment consensus, but how widely they are held. Do you not think this contribution smacks of the very same problem of silencing legitimate dissent that Bergman is highlighting? Cpsoper (talk) 12:30, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
At the noticeboard, it says that the Bergman source "appears reliable that the view is held by the person" (which is reiterated by TFD). That's a bit different than it being a reliable source that there has been some sort of suppression. What weight do we assign the personal views of some random creationist? Basically none, I should think. If there are quality secondary sources concerning his opinion, then we should be discussing those instead. If 25% of post-grad students have really heard of Bergman, then it should be very easy to find reliable secondary sources concerning his opinion. Sławomir Biały (talk) 12:44, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
True, TFD was against, however another editor wrote 'it must be possible to source the views in question to that larger community rather than a single author. CMI and AiG would make a good start', see [9][10][11] for his enthusiastic endorsements by such bodies, and another editor of the two earlier 'it seems one source meeting some RS'. Cpsoper (talk) 13:17, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Bergman's reliable for his own views, and maybe for the views of fringe, extreme young-earth creationists, but probably very little else. An endorsement by such blatantly partisan bodies as CMI or AiG, which already blatantly espouse young earth creationism, only reinforces this impression. The fact is, by assigning any Wp:WEIGHT to his or their fringe accusations of discrimination in the article, we would be giving it equal validity to true scientific discourse. Rwenonah (talk) 13:31, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Book flap isn't really a "reliable source" either. And the comment at WP:RSN that you just referred to is unintelligible. Also, you asked that we should look at this as further evidence of the reliability of the Bergman source, meaning that you (apparently) agree with the clear consensus there. Since that consensus very clearly is that Bergman is not reliable, except for his own opinions, I should think that the matter of whether to use Bergman as a source is absolutely settled. Sławomir Biały (talk) 14:29, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
You've misread the comment I made, I simply restated the argument of another editor for clarity, as the context clarifies. The other comments are quite intelligible, but as usual on controverted matters highly nuanced. As to your 'absolute certainty' on RS issues, that statement speaks for itself. The issue was whether Bergman is RS for most creationist opinion, given he's widely cited and approved - remember they are subject of the other half of this page. Censoring their opinion is somewhat like having a page on Sunni-Shia divide but allowing no Shia quotes, because they are 'a small and irresponsible minority'. Sure, their views do not represent the establishment scientific consensus - but if that consensus is sustained by severe sanctions, as creationists are claiming, ones that violate the judgement and conscience of a large minority[12] how much is it worth? Truth stands for itself. Simply silencing that voice, without rebutting it in detail is not a small problem. Shouldn't Wiki rise above censoring reporting well sourced and documented disputed positions? Doesn't that give space and time to address them properly? Cpsoper (talk) 14:07, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
The comment you cited appears not to be written in proper English. In any event "meets some RS" is not elaborated on, and so is just a bald opinion, with no actual reason given. As you continue to maintain that 25% of post-graduates are familiar with Bergman's work, it should be very easy for you to find some scholarly accounts. I'm still waiting... Sławomir Biały (talk) 16:25, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
"if you think 46% of US college students and 25% of postgrad students are 'a tiny minority', I wonder how you define a large minority?! The issue being not whether such opinions represent the establishment consensus, but how widely they are held." What is the source for this assertion? Is there a reliable source that says anyone other than a tiny fringe minority considers the views held by Bergman and represented in the widely dismissed Expelled anything other than conspiracy theory rants not taken seriously by anyone (except that tiny fringe of conspiracy theorists)? This has been asked repeatedly by mulitple editors, yet without supplying any reliable sources discussing the persecution/suppression/chilling the IDHT behavior continues. This has become clearly tendentious and disruptive behavior. It is time to Drop The Stick or for this to go to ANI. - - MrBill3 (talk) 05:48, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, QED. Cpsoper (talk) 20:20, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, Yes, No, but... I think it demonstrated these charges are part of things talked about externally often and at high level (see Expelled). The significance and being controversial are supported by there being organizational responses and number of (see NCSE Expelled Exposed) and that common media mention it as point of contention. The lengthy writeup above is a place to start, maybe not the best but it's a place -- I think it more appropriate to just note what is a point where difference exists and that length be about that of other points. I don't think that this subject or that presentation makes the article notably worse, I think it would add a tiny bit. But ... seems some fundamental disconnects with editors here over the WP:CONT practice. Markbassett (talk) 16:42, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
More like, some fundamental disconnects with editors here over the WP:WEIGHT and WP:GEVAL policy. Any coverage here has to be well sourced and not undue, the screed above isn't. . . dave souza, talk 17:44, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
dave souza - those were not asked about in this RFC, so you're seeming to dislike my input and giving side comment off thread of the RfC questions, kinda confirming it is some kind of point in controversy and the disconnects in WP:CONT practice, though lots more screeeds in this thread already did that in bigger ways ;-) Markbassett (talk) 21:35, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, Yes, No, but... for me as well. Yes, we absolutely need to mention something about the alleged/perceived chilling, but I worry (1) this article is pretty long as is, and (2) this does seem to give undue weight to one movie, Expelled. By my count, out of the 13 sentences, 6 are about Expelled, 4 are nonspecific (and 2 of those are cited to sources clearly about Expelled!), and only 3 are about other specific instances (Stark, Bergman, and the JoCI). I am also not happy with the title "Appeals to Scientific Consensus" - this isn't about appeals to consensus, this is about the perceived chilling effect, right? I recommend (1) drastic shortening, (2) breaking off into a specific article, and just referring to it here, as most sections of this article do, and (3) in that article, making sure it's not so strongly focused on this one movie. --GRuban (talk) 22:29, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
    • The problems with the "alleged/perceived chilling" is that the Toledo Blade movie review never uses that term. All it has is a claim, unsupported by evidence, that Bergman says that there are "100 professors and teachers" who suffer in silence for fear of being persecuted for their beliefs. Bergman's book, "Slaughter of the Dissidents" was published in 2011, so it would be the appropriate source here, not a movie review. Except, of course, that it's published by what appears to be a vanity press. So it's likely to not be an RS. And neither is this. Guettarda (talk) 22:02, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
  • No, No, Yes. The first paragraph is inaccurate, so that's out. Evolutionary theory is not "the only explanation that can fully account for observations in the fields of..." That's a weird caricature of scientific thought. It's also not an accurate reflection of what PZ says (ref 1), not true of the IAP statement on the teaching of evolution (ref 3). Links 2 and 4 are dead, link 5 is paywalled. The most generous take on the first sentence is that it is SYNTH, and fails for one of the classic reasons SYNTH fails - because the average Wikipedian isn't knowledgeable enough about the topic to actually accurately synthesise multiple sources.

    Paragraph 2 builds upon paragraph one ("This consensus..."), so that's its first problem. The first sentence also attributes a "chilling effect" to something made up. Bit of a problem in itself, but a big problem when the source does not speak of a chilling effect. And even if it did, it's not an adequate source - it's basically a movie review, and it's written by the newspaper's religion editor. Not good enough. Sentence three has "sociologist" (not "sociologist of religion") Rodney Stark "assert", when in fact that article attributes the quote to Everett Olson. Who'd probably be a better source than Stark, but its impossible to say, since the source of the quote isn't given. Stark's comment is an Op-Ed, so we'd need to know why we cared about the opinion of an apparent non-expert. The remainder of the section(rest of para 2 and para 3) is about Expelled, both using it as a source and critiquing its accuracy (which undercuts it as a source). Whatever you think of it, Expelled isn't a high-quality scholarly source. In fact, the material in para three is basically reason not to use it as a source.

    So, per Q1 - no, the material isn't relevant since it's (a) SYNTH (not just the first sentence, but in fact, the entire thing), (b) UNDUE, because its almost entirely about one film, and (c) dubious (it attributes facts to sources that the sources don't include, and includes information that's just simply incorrect). Hence, Q2 - it's not a reasonable starting point. And yes, of course, Q3 - it makes the article far worse. Guettarda (talk) 21:50, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Invalid RFC, as it is presented in a manner that almost obligates the inclusion of this nonsense. - Maybe time to WP:DROPTHESTICK on this one. - Cwobeel (talk) 01:49, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Invalid RFC This whole RFC is based on an "impression" of what scientists do as viewed by others. A sentence like "This consensus is so embedded in academia that some critics believe it has created a chilling effect on scientists who might raise questions regarding the adequacy of evolutionary theory" does not reflect the reality of scientific life. Berkeley university lists these types of misconceptions. I've highlighted this one in particular.Misconceptions "Science is based on the principle that any idea, no matter how widely accepted today, could be overturned tomorrow if the evidence warranted it. Science accepts or rejects ideas based on the evidence; it does not prove or disprove them. " Scientists WANT their scientific theories to be challenged. If someone comes up behind them and says, the theory on the book is wrong and here is the evidence, scientists will WANT and NEED to look in that new direction. That is the whole basis for science. If the evidence points in a new direction, that's where scientists will go. That is the reality of how science works. CanadianLinuxUser (talk) 10:56, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Well put, CanadianLinuxUser.Rick Norwood (talk) 21:42, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
I disagree with User:CanadianLinuxUser: notable theological views should be rendered, even if they are scientifically wrong; the only problem is that it has not been shown that Expelled would be notable as theology. There are respectable creationists who advance cogent philosophical arguments for creationism, there are theologians which have posited notable creationist views, but who, nevertheless, would never like to be associated with the lunatic fringe. Notable theological views should be rendered, but not views which are only supported by the lunatic fringe (such view tends to be fringe even among creationists). If according to WP:FRIND there are enough independent reliable sources about it, the fringe view could be discussed in its own article. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:07, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
The problem is evolution is not theology. It's science. Just like religion belongs in the theology course not in the science classroom. The Fringe groups thinks their beliefs are the same as science but do not back it up with evidence. The fringe view IS discussed in it's own article. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed even states what this so called documentary is: "the film is dishonest and divisive propaganda, aimed at introducing religious ideas into public school science classrooms" CanadianLinuxUser (talk) 02:29, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
  • COMMENT- The way the section you wrote is written with an easily discernible POV. That POV should be represented in the article, but the way you have written it is not encyclopedic. Elmmapleoakpine (talk) 01:14, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Question to editor who requested comment - I was pinged by a bot to this Rfc and am an uninvolved editor. Could you please tell me if I have a correct understanding of the issues at hand (numbers 1 to 3);
1. The proposed paragraph for inclusion is about a perceived discriminatory atmosphere within the scientific community.
2. You believe there are reliable sources for this assertion, as well as enough weight in sources
3. Other editors disagree with inclusion because they ascribe this assertion to fringe views which they say has no backing by reliable sources
Question: Are editors here of the impression that this is a black and white issue? Is there any common ground or are the sources completely against the assertions made in the proposed paragraph?
Question: Are the sources 6, 7, 8 and 9, reliable? If so, please explain why.
Question: The proposed addition states the second sentence as if it follows the first sentence by saying "This consensus is so...". Do the sources combine the two like it has been done, this is asked in light of WP:SYNTH.
Mbcap (talk) 01:07, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Q1 no as fringe conspiracy theories go, it is not relative / important enough to the subject to be included. Q2 with Q1 being "no" , moot, Q3 yes. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 12:34, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. Scientists and other professionals generally show "widespread discrimination" against people expressing views that they consider obviously wrong. How far do we have to go in documenting a particular instance? The proposed paragraphs we are asked to !vote on have their good and poor points, but mainly, they are far too long. Maproom (talk) 07:32, 6 February 2015 (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.

Regarding the article title[edit]

Does anyone else besides me think that the title and URL of the "creation-evolution controversy" article should be changed to "creationism-evolution controversy"?

"Creationism" is a belief system.

"Creation" is a vague, general term.

Perhaps more people have been referring to a "creation-evolution controversy" than a "creationism-evolution controversy" but that doesn't make it "correct."

How do we change the language (terms) that people use? Can it begin with Wikipedia and one outside source, or do we have to wait 50 years for a majority of other groups to change the language (terms) first? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scienceteacher3k (talkcontribs) 11:06, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia only reports on what the reliable sources say. Theroadislong (talk) 11:15, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia as encyclopedia would seek collect what RS say and accurately convey it. Wording with "creation" does seems by google to be far more hits than "creationism". Yes, I agree it's improper English, and yes there has been wording wights over 'Darwinism' or 'Evolutionist' or what counts as 'Creationist' here, and 'irregardless' elsewhere, but think this title is at least reasonably close. Markbassett (talk) 01:34, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Technically, evolution is agnostic about creation (like in creation of the world). It is against creationism, but not against creation. Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:26, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Support for Creationist Accounts "Virtually Nonexistent"? By whose judgment?[edit]

Regarding the statement in the 2nd paragraph of the up-front summary, "Support for Abrahamic religions' accounts or other creationist alternatives is very low among scientists in general, and virtually nonexistent among scientists in the relevant fields.[9]"

This statement would appear outdated, as it is a 2004 reference to a 1987 article. It does not appear reflective of the current landscape. For example, I recently viewed a Blu-Ray video presentation that was released in 2014, more than 25 years after the study referenced in citation 9. The title was "Evolution's Achilles' Heel", Evolution's Achilles Heels. Regardless of agreement or disagreement with the positions they held, the program presents 15 PhD scientists, all in relevant fields, who not only support but lucidly argue for creationist alternatives and against evolution. Per the interviews, more than one of these scientists had formerly been adherents of evolutionary theory.

So what I think we need to review is the generalized statement in the 2nd paragraph of the introductory summary, stating that support for creationist accounts is "virtually nonexistent among scientists in the relevant fields":

First, that statement does not allow rebuttal because it is not quantitative. What percentage of a population qualifies as "virtually nonexistent"? (i.e. approximately equal to zero). This is a judgment statement and not a statement of fact and therefore resists rebuttal. Since we don't know if "virtually nonexistent" is being defined as anything below 40%, or below 20%, 12%, 2%, or 0.02%, then it cannot be independently verified or falsified.

Second, the statement "among scientists in the relevant fields" does not define what scientific fields are being considered "relevant" here. Molecular biologists? Geologists? What about information theorists and computer scientists who work on DNA decoding projects? Do philosophers of science count? So this also is a vague unqualified statement that resists rebuttal because the terms are not defined. It cannot be verified or falsified because the terms of qualification are not given. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 143.85.29.18 (talkcontribs) 21:47, 12 March 2015

The reference below it dates 2014 and is quantitative, citing the number of scientists who believe in creationism to be about a tenth of 1%. Professor marginalia (talk) 22:45, 12 March 2015 (UTC) Correction: the ref is 1987. Professor marginalia (talk) 22:48, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

This statement would appear outdated, as it is a 2004 reference to a 1987 article. It does not appear reflective of the current landscape.

There has bee no major change in the views of the scientific community.

the program presents 15 PhD scientists,

15 is an incredibly tiny number. Project Steve, which is a list of scientists who have the name "Steve" who support evolution, has 1,359 signatures.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Steve

Also, these scientists may have real degrees, but they are not publishing their criticism of evolution in scientific journals, but rather presenting them to the public. Creationists are a fringe group by any definition of Wikipedia's rule and have very little support in the scientific community. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 23:16, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

What would be needed to replace or update the number would be a reliable source that consists of some kind of survey showing the level of support for evolution among scientists. If such a source is provided the numbers can be updated. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 10:52, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

This is what annoys me. Clearly an evolutionist wrote this (I am not generalizing, like he or she who wrote the debated passage). I myself am Christian, but do not wish anything to be biased one way or another. Why are so many Wikipedia articles treating evolution articles as fact and Christian, Muslim, Buddhis, etc as theory, or even mythology. Wikipedia needs a massive overhaul in the matter of bias. Perhaps it is because anyone can edit most articles, and accounts to access semi-protected articles take about 5 seconds to create. Some unprotected articles are written so unbalanced I find it difficult to read. Wikipedia needs to ramp up monitoring on controversial subjects such as these, and not worry as much about the FIFA World Cup. Iheartthestrals (talk) 05:00, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Why are so many Wikipedia articles treating evolution articles as fact? Because, according to the sources we cite - which is to say those most qualified to discuss the matter, academic biologists etc - it is a fact. There is no significant scientific debate over the issue. Those wishing to present it as a 'controversy' are doing so because their belief systems are incompatible with the scientific evidence. If people wish to misrepresent an argument from belief as a scientific disagreement, they will have to do it elsewhere - Wikipedia is not in the business of misleading our readers. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:10, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Not just Wikipedia, even the Pope accepts evolution as a fact. As for the "virtually nonexistent" We could update the source if we can find a more recent survey or study, but I seriously doubt the statement has lost it's accuracy. So it's fair if we let it stay for the time being. Darwinian Ape talk 06:08, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
A 2008 evolution is fact statement by the NAS: http://www.nas.edu/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html . Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:41, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Others have argued that science teachers should teach the “controversies” surrounding evolution. But there is no controversy in the scientific community about whether evolution has occurred. On the contrary, the evidence supporting descent with modification, as Charles Darwin termed it, is both overwhelming and compelling. In the century and a half since Darwin, scientists have uncovered exquisite details about many of the mechanisms that underlie biological variation, inheritance, and natural selection, and they have shown how these mechanisms lead to biological change over time. Because of this immense body of evidence, scientists treat the occurrence of evolution as one of the most securely established of scientific facts. Biologists also are confident in their understanding of how evolution occurs.

—Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences, Harvey V. Fineberg, President, Institute of Medicine, Francisco J. Ayala, Committee Chair, Science, Evolution, and Creationism, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2008, p. xiii
Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:51, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
@Iheartthestrals: Wikipedia treats objective facts differently from subjective beliefs. Theology establishes subjective beliefs (as what the believers of a certain church should believe), while science seeks to establish objective facts. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:29, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes, I was in the spur of a moment when I commented. My point (more thoughtfully) is that though Wikipedia articles take care to avoid open discrimination against particular topics, they are, in fact, quite discriminative in subtle ways. I understand that evolution is, by present science, a fact, but I am more speaking about the how this article (and many like it) are written from a clear scientific point of view, and not simply presenting the facts behind the debate. I quite appreciate the complexity of evolutionary theory, even if I don't support it, but, however supported by scientific evidence, this article is not supposed to be convincing readers about the facts of science, we have 'Scientists Confront Creationism' for that, it is supposed to be presenting information on the debate between two opinionated sides. Iheartthestrals (talk) 21:09, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Wikipedia is a mainstream encyclopedia, WP:FRINGE/PS, WP:GEVAL, Wikipedia:Lunatic charlatans and WP:ABIAS. So, to some extent the article renders a debate between opposite views, but at the same time it has to render the idea that creationism is denialism of mainstream biology. E.g. we don't give Holocaust denialism equal validity with mainstream history, nor teach the controversy in respect to Holocaust. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:25, 18 July 2015 (UTC)
And that article manage well without going into 'virtually nonexistent' or 'relevant fields', which was the thread here. I think that phrasing does come off as sounding like only a vague tiny subset of scholars are that vague total agreement. Seems like it is leading towards saying US generally against or not supportive. That might be the larger point, but the vague phrasing is odd. Markbassett (talk) 11:56, 19 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree that there are some weasel words in this sentence that make it sound less than encyclopedic. I would suggest removing the Larson citation because it just offers a vague opinion without (as far as I could tell from a brief scrutiny) backing it up. It would also be nice to find the study referred to in Martz and McDaniel ("By one count ...") and provide some figure like 0.1% in the lead. RockMagnetist(talk) 01:32, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Maybe better to just end it aat the prior line, veery strong support in scientific community and academia, with cites to NSTA AAAS and IAP. Save any details like Abrahmic or percentages for the later full article -- I just see clearly strong and then wanders into numbers and definitions confusing the basic simple point without adding any value that I see. Markbassett (talk) 03:36, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
That sounds like a good approach. Since only a single sentence would remain, it might be better to put it at the end of the paragraph starting with: "A 2014 Gallup survey ..." RockMagnetist(talk) 03:53, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Since no further comments, I will start doing so -- begin slow with reducing the cite overload of 6 to 3 and moving them to what they support. Markbassett (talk) 16:43, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Fixing 'level of support' line[edit]

Just making a section to highlight (from prior section) I am adjusting slowly the support para 2 as follows:

  • cites to NSTA, AAS, and ISP for scientific community and academia; dropping rest of 6 as overkill and not totally relevant
  • Leaving details about Abrahamic or percentages for later full article - this was a simple strong and clear statement until it wanders into numbers and definitions confusing the point
  • Since only a single sentence would remain, put it at the end of the paragraph starting with: "A 2014 Gallup survey ..."

Markbassett (talk) 17:03, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Just put the IAP, AAAS, and NSTA cites at their part of the line -- will wait a bit before any other move. Markbassett (talk) 17:38, 2 August 2015 (UTC)