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.
Version 0.5      (Rated B-Class)
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.


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This statement would appear outdated, as it is a 2004 reference to a 1987 article.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)
A consideration could be made for including a list of organizations supporting evolution such as the one maintained by NCSE as a reference. Adding representative religious organizations[1] might be appropriate, as well.BiologicalMe (talk) 16:29, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
That shoowss many potential cites, but has no citeable content for the line in article, and none seem superior to IAP and AAAS in authority and scope. Might come back and reword for religius one, after other steps. Markbassett (talk) 15:10, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia biased towards Evolution[edit]

On the evolution page, wikipedia was very obviously biased towards it being 'factual' and the like. I looked into the discussion topic where it stated that, being an article on evolution, it focused on the concept and not the debate of it. There was no controversy section, nothing suggesting that evolution could potentially be false.

I went over to the article on creation (the primary opposite of evolution) and expected to find a similar article. However, the first thing I read was

    "Creation science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation   narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove or reinterpret the scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology and biological evolution"

The word 'attempts' and the implication of facts (implying truth) appear to suggest that the concept of creationism is an outsider attempt to undermine proven truth as opposed to a religious belief that has been around since arguably the creation of the world itself.

Scanning through the next paragraph, it is immediately bashed again as having 'overwhelming disapproval within the scientific community' (40% of Americans believe in Creationism, as opposed to 50% of Americans believing in evolution with a majority believing in some form of supreme intervention throughout the process... they are not irrelevant, but no mention is made.

The article then goes on to have an entire section dedicated to the problems of creation, although there was no section with the problems of evolution, which there are many.

Would someone care to explain why it seems as though Wikipedia seems to regard Creationists as usurpers to scientific fact?

Alexandrondon (talk) 19:53, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia bases article content on material verifiable in published reliable sources. And the overwhelming consensus amongst the relevant sources (those of the scientific community) is that Creationism is incompatible with the scientific evidence. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:10, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia follows the scientific consensus, so in a way WP is biased towards science. Evolution is an established scientific theory which is the backbone of biology. There is no "controversy" on evolution to mention in the scientific community. Argumentum ad populum is not how we do things in here, so the percentage of Americans who believe in creationism is irrelevant. Before you ask, the consensus on evolution in the scientific community is not based on beliefs, its based on scientific data. Darwinian Ape talk 20:14, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
See also the FAQ banner at the top of this page. RockMagnetist(talk) 21:43, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
Alexandrondon could equally say that biology faculties of major US universities are very biased against creationism. Why is this? Because they do real science (they aren't ancilla theologiae). Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:17, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
Heck, even the ancilla theologiae seem to be "biased" toward evolution. It's only a select group, primarily focused in America, that wants people to doubt fairly proven science (maybe it's just good for business). Ian.thomson (talk) 16:30, 13 August 2015 (UTC)