Talk:Creation–evolution controversy/Archive 6

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Too Big

I think this article clearly has lots of potential.. but there is much work to do. I didn't read the entire thing, but here is what i didn't like.. it's too long. Huge chunks of it could be split up into different articles, like the huge chunk on macroevolution could be summarized and moved to it's own article (called something other than "macroevolution".. like "creationist arguments against macroevolution"). Same with the Abiogenesis.. and its first sentence "The natural origin of life remains elusive to science, and is a limited field of research despite its impact on human understanding of our world." somehow feels like it's trying to convince me of something, and not explaining to me what Abiogenesis is.. and i don't like that one bit. And the gigantic "Perspectives on the debate over time" has to be moved and summarized.

More generally speaking, when I read this article, many times it really feels like it's a creationist writing, and trying to convince me of something by using language tricks and logical fallacies to their benefit.. which is really annoying. But I think it can all be fixed.. since there is actual content here that belongs in Wikipedia; maybe it just needs more people to read the article (it seems the discussions are generally among the same people.. who have a pretty good idea what the other thinks).. other people's input would also be great for advancing your talks on the definitions of things. but keep up the good work :)

cheers, Mlm42 22:37, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • I agree with all of the criticisms you have made of this page. This is a page under development. We are just beginning to grasp what this page is about--and at the same time just beginning to grasp what we can drop from this page. This page should be cut in about half--in my opinion. But this is not the right time yet, I would say. ---Rednblu | Talk 02:12, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • I too agree that the article reads like a creationist tract. This is due largely to the fact that from the standpoint of the volume of contributions, the article was written largely by creationists. Correcting that is going to take effort on the part of others. Please feel to stick around and help.--FeloniousMonk 21:59, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
That's just arrant anti-creationist nonsense. A creationist tract would promote creationism. This article describes the controversy. You may quibble how well it does that, but that it what it does. Philip J. Rayment 23:12, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You're not going to get anywhere by insulting your opponent. A creationist tract wouldn't necessarily promote creationism, but it could certainly provide more creationist evidence than evolutionary, which is what has happened here; most of the citations in the text of this page are of creationists, and the evolutionary scientists are summed up in one paragraph. That's hardly NPOV. thefamouseccles 00:10, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
You're not going to get anywhere by insulting your opponent
Sorry if it comes over as an insult. It was meant to be descriptive, albeit strongly worded. Also, do you make the same sorts of comments to the anti-creationists that call creationism "nonsense", "bilge", "stupid", etc.?
A creationist tract wouldn't necessarily promote creationism...
It would be an odd creationist tract that didn't.
...but it could certainly provide more creationist evidence than evolutionary, which is what has happened here; ...
Where is the "creationist evidence" here? The article is about the controversy, not a defense of creationism.
...most of the citations in the text of this page are of creationists, and the evolutionary scientists are summed up in one paragraph. That's hardly NPOV.
There's more than one paragraph on the evolutionists, but I do agree that there is more on the creationists than the evolutionists. However, that should be an invitation to provide some more information on the evolutionists instead of making false criticisms of the article. I suspect that the "one paragraph" that you are referring to is the one mentioning Richard Dawkins, Michael Ruse, and Stephen Gould. I would welcome others expanding that. NPOV doesn't require that a single editor write a totally balanced article by himself. From Wikipedia:Neutral point of view: The other side might very well find your attempts to characterize their views substandard, but it's the thought that counts. In resolving disputes over neutrality issues, it's far better that we acknowledge that all sides must be presented fairly, and make at least a college try at presenting the other sides fairly. That will be appreciated much more than not trying at all. I wrote the initial version of the "Participants in the debate" section, and even though I am a creationist, I made an attempt to include some participants from the other side. In fact all the anti-creationists that are in that section now, except for Strahler, I put there (as well as Ross, a Progressive Creationist, another view I don't agree with).
Philip J. Rayment 13:48, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

What is "the debate"? Why this article?

I just dropped in here at the request of another user. I'm confused as to the purpose of this article--what, exactly, is the debate that the article is supposed to describe? Whether Creationism should be taught in schools? Whether evolution is true? Aren't these covered in other entries? Those aren't really debates, anyway; for purposes of an encyclopedia, the Lincoln-Douglas debates are the sort of debate worthy of an entry, actual debates that took place at a particular place and time, not just a broadly controversial group of topics. A general forum for ongoing argument isn't appropriate to an encyclopedia, is it? (And there are no shortage of such forums on the internet, in any case).

The list of different creationist and evolutionist positions seems useful, but for the most part this just seems like a disorganized dump of all sorts of claims and arguments in the vicinity of creationism and evolution. If some specific debate cannot be agreed upon as the subject here, then I suggest the entry be renamed to describe a specific topic not already covered. And if this isn't addressing a concrete topic that is not covered elsewhere, why should the article exist? --BTfromLA 18:27, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

There is no debate between creation and evolution because creation is religion and evolution is science and science and religion inherently can not conflict. However there are people who nevertheless think there is a conflict, and the perpetual conflict between these people is what constitutes the "creation vs. evolution debate". To allow for this debate, evolution and creation are given new arbitrary or persuasive meanings. The conflation of evolution with athiesm is one example of this. Another example is considering creationism as science. Bensaccount 01:36, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

So, then, are you saying there is no point to having this article? Is there no agreement here about what the subject of the article is? --BTfromLA 01:50, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The conflict exists, but the page should describe it rather than taking part in it. It must emphasize that the definitions of evolution and creation used are popular definitions but not standard ones, and that the debate creates a false dichotomy. If the page remains a forum for the debate rather than a description of it, it should be deleted. Bensaccount 02:02, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)


there are three povs regarding the nature of the debate. 1) by evolutionists, that it is naturalistic science versus religion. 2) by creationists, that it is creation science versus atheism 3) by evolutionary creationists, that it is a false dichotomy.

currently the opener takes the first pov. while that is a valid pov, it is NOT appropriate for the page to take that pov as fact. bensaccount's profound ignorance regarding what creationists believe notwithstanding, creationists DO believe that the evidence points to creation, not evolution, and that the debate is therefore creation science versus atheism. it is not appropriate for the page to take any one of the above povs are fact, because this is a page about the debate and therefore must deal evenhandedly with all sides. any suggestions on resolving this issue? Ungtss 13:16, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • How about we write a summary opener section that actually summarizes what is in the rest of the article? What do you think are the three principal points in the current page? ---Rednblu | Talk 16:50, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
hmm ...
1) the debate takes place at the nexxus of science and religion, and is therefore very touchy.
2) the different conclusions of the various sides are the result of varying philosophical presuppositions underlying the interpretation of the evidence.
3) both sides think their science informs their ideology, rather than vice versa.
but i'm sure other people will disagree with what i draw from the page ... so i wonder what it would take to agree on something? Ungtss 17:36, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
As I see it (granting that I'm new here and may be missing something) the central problem is that there doesn't seem to be an agreement about what the topic of this article is, so it just becomes a sort of creationism/evolution message board. If the article can be defined as addressing something specific, limited, and not covered in existing articles, then progress can be made. If it can't be so defined, I take that as a sign this article should be dropped (though I see that discussion was had already). --BTfromLA 18:40, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Welcome to the project. 8)) In my opinion, we all agree what the topic is. Stick around. We are getting there. The question is how to organize what is on the current page. We need only about half of the text that is there now. ---Rednblu | Talk 02:56, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Please help me out--I'm not being coy. What is the topic here that isn't covered in another article? --BTfromLA 03:01, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The second paragraph

One's view of the debate often depends on one's perspective. Advocates of secularism and the theory of evolution typically see the debate in terms of "science" versus "traditional religious belief and pseudoscience." Advocates of creationism typically see the debate in terms of "creation science" versus "Atheism and pseudoscience." Advocates of evolutionary creationism typically see the debate as a false dichotomy, because the religious belief in God as creator is compatible with the science of evolution.

The debate is a false dichotomy. Don't present facts as if they are points of view. Bensaccount 20:56, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

i don't think it's a false dichotomy. your "fact" is a pov. Ungtss 21:15, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Blinding yourself doesn't change the facts. Bensaccount 22:49, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

what are you talking about? do you have the slightest idea what npov means? you are ONE pov on this page, not the ONLY ONE. it's been two months now -- are you still as ignorant as when you showed up? Ungtss 23:26, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

There are things that are true whether or not you or I believe in them. Contrary to what you think the world is not all fantasy. Bensaccount 03:02, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Unfortunately, even that is only a point of view; many people do not believe in truth. Graft 03:27, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The world is round regardless of if everone thinks it flat. Bensaccount 05:14, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

the eye was created intact, even if everyone thinks it evolved. Ungtss 18:37, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Try and focus on one subject Ungtss. Anyways, religion is not fact; religion is belief. Bensaccount 19:03, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

belief is either fact or falsehood. the eye convinces me that my belief in creation is fact. your problem is that you mistake your own beliefs for fact, just because people like to call them "scientific." that's fine if you want to hold that pov. personally, one look under a microscope leaves me unable to believe in anything but creation. Ungtss 19:10, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Which brings up the theme of conflation of science and religion. Bensaccount 19:13, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

which brings up the theme of rather stupidly holding that religious claims can have no basis in science and history. Ungtss 19:16, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
yes indeed. jesus lived around 4bc-30 ad in Judea, a Roman province, and was crucified. egads! conflation of religion and history! Ungtss 19:30, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Religion is the belief in who Jesus was and why he died. What you speak of is not religion. Why must you keep changing the subject? Bensaccount 00:12, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

listen, ben. just for one second listen to voices other than the ones inside your head. young earth creationism is a HISTORICAL idea. it is the idea that God CREATED the Earth AS DESCRIBED IN GENESIS, IN THAT ORDER, IN THAT WAY. it is the idea that God PLANTED A GARDEN where 4 rivers met, and filled it with particular trees, and MADE a man named Adam and a Woman named Eve, and those two people ate a fruit they weren't allowed to eat and got kicked out of the garden, and had Cain and Abel -- and Cain killed Abel. it is not a belief about "what creation means" or the "religious implications." it is the belief that 7,000 years ago, the EARTH DID NOT EXIST. it is NOT a false dichotomy with evolution, because evolution says the earth is much older than that, and that humans are related to blowfish. creationists read Genesis as a HISTORY, not just a "religious book." do you UNDERSTAND that there are PEOPLE in this world who think DIFFERENTLY than you? Ungtss 00:51, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Your digressive rant only serves to prove you don't know what a false dichotomy is. Bensaccount 03:11, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

your evasion only serves to prove your ignorance. Ungtss 03:38, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<sarcasm>Share the love!</sarcasm> Neocapitalist 01:24, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

This article, and this talk page, depresses me: people here don't seem to understand what a point of view is (see Ungtss's "fact" that the eye was created intact). Or perhaps that's the point; if you believe it's a *fact* that you can calculate the age of the Earth by counting the generations in the Bible then I don't suppose you can recognise that it's a point of view. That's the fatal flaw in having this page as a Wikipedia article. I would also point out - from the Wikipedia page on Belief - that belief is categorically not "either fact or falsehood" but rather "assent to a proposition" - watch out for both the Excluded middle and the logical fallacy that you can prove religious claims using historical evidence. nof20 05:08, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Ungtss' "fact" was nothing of the sort. It was a rhetorical response to Bensaccount. Creationists generally recognise and acknowledge that their views are views, whereas there are plenty of examples on Wikipedia talk and article pages of evolutionists stating their views as facts. As for "belief", as a creationist, I have argued that very point myself, both on a talk page or two and on my user page, because a number of evolutionists don't like "belief" being used in connection with "evolution", because they consider evolution to be a scientific fact and "belief" to be an idea not based on evidence. As for (not) proving religious claims using historical evidence, the problem with that is defining a "religious claim". Creationists argue that creation, the flood, etc. are historical claims, whereas anti-creationists like to label them "religious" claims. Philip J. Rayment 05:45, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, Philip. The whole strength of the scientific method is that everything is up for grabs. If you can prove, with evidence, that a hypothesis is wrong, then you have to discount it. Whilst I don't think this has happened with evolutionary theory - anyone who doesn't agree that it's possible misunderstands what science claims to be. Nick 02:39, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

A plea for good prose

As editors of an encyclopedia, and hopefully an encyclopedia of quality, I hope we can all remember that above all, our commitment should be first and foremost to good writing. No one wants to read, quote from, or attribute a poorly-written article. This is especially vital in the case of articles such as this one, edited by contending sides. Edits should not appear in the article like bomb craters in a war zone; the flow of the article should remain seamless and coherent from one edit to the next. So when you insert your passionate rebuttal to someone's evolutionist or creationist nonsense, PLEASE take a moment to make sure it fits in with the surrounding text, that your point isn't duplicated by a sentence one or two lines above or below, and that you have written it in a consistent voice, so it doesn't read like a harsh choir practice. Graft 20:46, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Amen. But, again, I think there's little hope for clear prose unless the topic of the article has been clearly defined. --BTfromLA 21:04, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I suggest that this edit exemplifies making a war crater in the middle of the quotation and citation to a published scholar. The following text that replaced the end of a direct quote of Scott mischaracterizes (Scott 1997) and makes an incorrect and unsupported statement: "While Scott concludes that the intelligent designer in question is God, proponents of Intelligent design only claim to have identified the existence of a designer or designers, without explicitly identifying the designer(s). Intelligent Design ideas often include explicit criticism of 'Methodological materialism' (see below) and related naturalistic philosophies." I suggest it would be better for this page to correctly quote and paraphrase each scholar that we select without making war craters. That is, if you want to make some passionate rebuttal to the exact quote of the published and cited scholar, I suggest it should be done in a following or preceding section that we would all refrain from blowing up with war craters. 8)) What do you say? ---Rednblu | Talk 06:25, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Geez, I didn't see that one coming. What mischaracterization? What incorrect statement? I was just trying to make the entry more accurate and concisely inforative. If anything there is inaccurate, by all means, correct it. --BTfromLA 06:42, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Argh. I didn't want to start any name-calling. I think BT's edit is fine; I meant something more like this (I think I can safely pick on an anonymous IP) [1]. This edit introduces back-and-forth in the middle of a paragraph, which is just really bad stylistically. And that's what I was complaining about; pure style. You can lie and dissemble all you want, but at least do it with BEAUTIFUL PROSE. Graft 06:57, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, Graft. I went back over my offending edit and saw that it was possible to read it in such a way that one might take it as claiming that Scott believed in God, rather than Scott believed that the ID-ers were creationists declaring the existence of God under another name. Maybe that's how Rednblu interpreted it. I've revised it. --BTfromLA 07:06, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)


The quote from Scott (1997) was this: "The vertebrate eye was Paley's classic example, well known to educated people of the nineteenth century, of design in nature. Darwin deliberately used the example of the vertebrate eye in The Origin of Species to demonstrate how complexity and intricate design could come about through natural selection, which of course is not a chance phenomenon. In creationist literature, evolution is synonymous with chance. In scientific accounts, there are random or chance elements in the generation of genetic variation, but natural selection, acting upon this genetic variation, is the antithesis of chance. In the Progressive creationism tradition, Intelligent design allows for a fair amount of microevolution, but supporters deny that mutation and natural selection are adequate to explain the evolution of one 'kind' to another, such as chordates from echinoderms, or human beings from apes. These and the origin of life are considered too complex to be explained naturally, thus Intelligent design demands that a role be left for the intelligent designer, God" (Scott 1997, p. 280). In my opinion, the interpretation of Scott in the current page mangles what Scott explicitly said and makes an inaccurate and uncited, unsupported, and illogical rebuttal that does not even make sense. That is only my opinion. 8)) I would suggest that if you want to insert that rebuttal, that is fine. But please don't make the war crater that you did. Please paraphrase, quote, and cite some other scholar in a preceding or following section that accurately reflects what some rebuttal scholar actually wrote, please. ---Rednblu | Talk 07:33, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

This "war crater" business is ridiculous. I am not an apologist for Intelligent Design. I cut the long quote from Scott because it seemed overlong for this brief summary of the different positions on the continuum. I'm not trying to supress or rebut anything, just to improve the readability of this grossly unreadable and thusfar pointless article. I'm pretty sure that all the claims in the summary are accurate descriptions of what the ID movement claims--if there's some false or misleading info in there, or some key point about ID that's missing, fix it. I did add a reference to Phillip Johnson, the man who popularized the ID concept, but your plea for every sentence to be attributed or a direct quotation makes readable writing impossible. And please realize that your idea about war craters is both inflammatory and false--both in the sense Graft intended it, which you've ignored, and in what I take to be the sense that you've invented--as a belligerant argument. Evidently, you are trying to drive editors away. I'm baffled as to why. --BTfromLA 07:56, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Nay, my friend, I am working with you to clarify a set of standards that will make this page readable. In my opinion, rebutting Scott's quote in the middle of the summary of Scott's thesis is jarring. This has nothing to do with favoring one point-of-view. Let us clarify Graft's observation: Inserting a rebuttal to make a back-and-forth in the same paragraph is generally jarring. Would that be a good initial standard? ---Rednblu | Talk 08:16, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Your assertion makes no sense to me. Please explain where you see any rebuttal to Scott's claims. I assure you that none was intended by me. --BTfromLA 08:19, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Opposed to Scott's argument that is in the quote, the following sentence is a rebuttal: "Intelligent design advocates also claim to have discovered empirical evidence . . ." That is not what Scott is saying; Scott is saying in the quote that the creationists, including the intelligent design artists, are ignoring empirical evidence--specifically, they are ignoring the very limited role that chance plays in natural selection--which "is the antithesis of chance." Would you agree? ---Rednblu | Talk 08:34, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I think I get it now. I thought we were borrowing Scott's categories to write a "brief summary of the different positions on the continuum." You think this section is not a Wikipedia overview of the subject but rather a "summary of Scott's thesis." So editing out some of Scott's comments and replacing them with another description strikes you as a violation, because you see it as an article about Scott's views. Nobody has answered my question about what the topic of this article is; if you want to make it a bunch of sections devoted to presenting various single-author arguments, it isn't currently evident that is the goal. Fix it up as you like--I don't appreciate being called upon to defend myself against accusations of war crimes when making good faith edits, and I'm not going to spend more time doing so. --BTfromLA 16:55, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • I would say we are all working to discover how to present this subject of the "debate" in "good prose." In my opinion, none of us here know how to do it yet, but I am sure that we can do it if we all work together. 8)) Surely it is better to quote, paraphrase, and cite published scholars on such a touchy subject--because it would always be NPOV to say that "Scott said"--and represent accurately what Scott said. There are a lot of other scholars with many views. The issue here is not to present only one view, but to present what we present here in good clean prose. I don't think Scott's views are better than any other scholar's views on a very common understanding of the debate--namely, that the debate is not a dichotomy, but rather a continuum of views. And what I have learned here is that, for this page, we will get cleaner prose if, in some sections, we don't have back-and-forth within paragraphs. We already have a subpage Views of creationists and mainstream scientists compared that is instant back-and-forth. What do you think? ---Rednblu | Talk 19:18, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Here's what I think. The page currently has no clear reason to exist; unless and until it does, fussing over the contents is a waste of time. I'll propose three solutions to this problem, you may have others.

1. Define this as an article that discusses the social history of conflicts between creationism and evolution. No scientific or religious arguments, just historical accounts of points where laws were written, people jailed, institutions formed or changed in relation to this conflict. The Scopes trial and the recent business about stickers in textbooks would be the type of thing discussed in this history.

2. Make this a links page. A minimal narrative: these are the major viewpoints, these are some prominent figures, these are the contentious issues. Almost no discussion, just point to the relevant articles. I'm not sure this is really needed, but at least it would clarify the aim of the page.

3. Delete the page. See if it is missed. If there is some need for this article, deleting it might be the best way of identifying that need.

--16:24, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

excellent thinking. here's another possibility: the current page contains the material for several pages:

1) sociological interpretations of the "spectrum of belief" and "causes for the debate"
2) a description of the primary "issues" in the debate," (which is currently views compared)
3) a solid wikiquote on evolution and creation.

what do you think? Ungtss 17:15, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think the wikiquote idea is fine, though I guess that means deleting this page and starting another, right? Your first two suggestions strikes me as still being overbroad, especially given all the wrangling that attends to the most straigthforward representation of these topics--those seem more like premises for books than encyclopedia articles. My vote is to either adopt the "social history of the conflicts" idea or just delete the page. I do think the "continuum" is useful and should find a home somewhere on wikipedia. --BTfromLA 06:05, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

i think you'll find a reasonably good history of the social conflict in History of creationism -- perhaps some of the material from here could go there so we can narrow down what we're doing here before deleting everything? what do you think? Ungtss 13:41, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)
If the social history is covered elsewhere, I'd say delete. If you can find a few nuggets (the "continuum" is the one I notice) worth preserving elsewhere, export them. Please don't direct more questions to me here--I've taken this page off of my "watchlist." --BTfromLA 18:00, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Ideology or science

Bensaccount recently edited to remove the second half of this sentence: "Advocates of evolutionary creationism typically see the debate as a false dichotomy, because they believe religious belief in God as creator is compatible with the science of evolution." I have restored it. This is a good example of evolutionism, an intolerant ideology, masquerading as evolution, a scientific theory, in that it won't even allow the statement of another's belief if it conflicts with its own. Many of the edits on these pages are also examples. Just as the definition of creationism changes "on-the-run," with great confusion between the variations in creationism, so does the definition of evolution, which conflates science with ideology in many cases on these pages. I will give this much credit, that some of the advocates of evolutionism, the ideology, believe so strongly that they cannot see this point, and are not lying when they try to equate their view with science. When someone says evolution is true, then one has gone beyond science, which uses a theory as a framework, but holds all its theories with healthy skepticism until a better comes along. Whenever one says evolution disproves God, then it is waaaaayyy beyond science and he/she has expressed a religious ideology. When one tries to convince others of this, then it has become an evangelistic religious idology. And when one goes beyond pursuasion, and tries to impose this view (through forced science curricula, court cases, etc.) then it has become a coercive religious ideology. Evolutionism today is fervently trying to suppress all opposing views through any possible means. Science, like religion, should be strong enough to stand on its own feet; it does not need to be force fed to one and all. All creationists, from young earth to evolutionary, unite to reject coercive religious ideologies, especially those that masquerade as science. Pollinator 14:17, Jan 20, 2005 (UTC)

well said:). Ungtss 14:28, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yes, evolution is compatible with creation, but no that is not why this is a false dichotomy. It is a false dichotomy because there are many other options than creation or evolution. Now could you please, explain to me why you keep replacing this statement? Bensaccount 15:56, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

he's replacing it because it makes sense, ben. i offered to rename the page "Origins debate" to try and pacify you, but you of course didn't like that either. this page describes the debate between two groups -- not saying there are no other groups -- but saying that these two are in a debate, and there is a "third way" between them. if you'd like to start a page called "Creationism vs. buddhism debate," go ahead. Ungtss 16:21, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The lack of conflict between evolution and creation means there is no dichotomy, not that there is a false dichotomy. How long do you think you can push this lie before people start to notice? Bensaccount 22:59, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

jeez man. there is a dichotomy between young earth creation and evolution (theistic and otherwise), because they are irreconcilably different views of historical events. describing the debate between those sides does not create a false dichotomy any more than describing a debate between bush and kerry means you can't vote for nader. Ungtss 23:04, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Nobody thinks that a false dichotomy results from a lack of conflict yet you write that: advocates of evolutionary creationism typically see the debate as a false dichotomy, because they believe religious belief in God as creator is compatible with the science of evolution.. This is a blatant lie. Bensaccount 23:19, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Ten dollars say you tire long before he does.
Not a lie. Theistic evolutionists believe in a theistic (read personal), creator God and at the same time have no problem accepting the science of evolutionary biology. A theistic evolutionist would say, " How does the fact that allele frequencies change over time interfere with my belief that Jesus Christ is my personal savior?". Thus, the framing of the debate in the terms "evolution vs. creationism" is a false dichotomy, since there is more than these two options as a valid position. --JPotter 05:42, Jan 21, 2005 (UTC)
well said, mr. potter. ben, you've been mangling every little bit of common sense to come across the page. why don't you put up or shut up: what do YOU think the intro should say? Ungtss 13:25, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The reason this is a false dichotomy is not the compatibility of creation and evolution. Bensaccount 21:31, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Then what IS it, Bensaccount? You've been going on about what it's not, why don't you just tell us what it is? Even if you believe that a false dichotomy exists, that's the defining characteristic of a false dichotomy: that it does not really exist, but that people nevertheless believe it does. And I'll give you a tip: abusing people and calling them liars will get you absolutely nowhere. !xuxobo 00:19, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

This is an old conversation. I have since realized that there is more than one reason why this is a false dichotomy (see below). The above statement should read: "The reason this is a false dichotomy is not only the compatibility of creation and evolution. Bensaccount 01:53, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Goals for the intro

  1. Remove the lies and evasion.
  2. Inform the reader that:
    • The debate creates a false dichotomy.
    • The debate is based on popular but not standard definitions
    • The debate involves the conflation of science and religion. Bensaccount 22:29, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)

okay. now. how do you suggest allowing the intro to be broader than your pov -- for instance, to include people that disagree with you on every one of the above points? Ungtss 23:40, 21 Jan 2005 (UTC)


If you disagree, say so. Stop evading it. I recommend you start with point #1. Bensaccount 00:14, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<<#*The debate creates a false dichotomy.>>

How about we use terms the way that mainstream scientists use them? Here is an appropriate use of "false dichotomy." "The creationists assert a false dichotomy between micro- and macroevolution (Antolin & Herbers 2001)." Is that what you meant by "false dichotomy"? If it is, we could quickly dispense with this "problem" by inserting a section called "The false dichotomy in the debate" in which we could cite to all the published uses by mainstream scientists of the phrase "false dichotomy." 8))

  • Antolin, Michael F., and Joan M. Herbers. 2001. "Evolution's struggle for existence in America's public schools." Evolution 55 (12): 2383. ---Rednblu | Talk 00:06, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

That is a different issue. Bensaccount 00:14, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

jeez. Ungtss 01:03, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Still waiting, Ungtss. Bensaccount 22:38, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

what are you waiting for? everybody else to give up logic and reason so they can agree with you? i'm tired, ben. i'm tired of revert wars and votes for deletion. you obviously have no interest in reality, so i'm gonna let you leave the intro a mangled mess, while i work on other pages you haven't yet decided to destroy. hopefully somebody else will fight you, or you'll decide to move on to mangle other pages. whatever. you've had this page in a do-loop for 2 months now. i'm moving on. Ungtss 00:07, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I am waiting for you to disagree with the above points. You allude that there are people who disagree but you don't say whom. Bensaccount 14:24, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

henry morris and stephen gould disagree with you. Ungtss 17:26, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

As usual, you are vague and deceptuous. Are you saying Stephen Gould disagrees with all of the above points including the removal of lies and evasion? Please specify what he disagrees with and provide a quotation to prove it. Bensaccount 17:33, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Lies and evasion

The reason this is a false dichotomy is that these two viewpoints are presented as the only options when they are not. It is not the compatibility of creation and evolution.

Informing the reader

False dichotomy

The creation vs. evolution debate obviously creates a false dichotomy. If there is any disagreement from the usual liars (Ungtss, Rednblu, Rayment), now is the time and this is the section. Bensaccount 00:37, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • Ok. What is the false dichotomy? And if you could cite to a published reputable scholar who says that the creation vs. evolution debate creates a false dichotomy, I would have no problem agreeing with you. But in fact, every published scholar I have read disagrees with you. For example, (Scott 1997) says expressly that it is not a dichotomy at all, but a continuum of views. ---Rednblu | Talk 01:15, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Which means that representing it as a dichotomy is false. Bensaccount 22:36, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

aren't you getting a little crazy with this false dichotomy stuff? i mean most debates are 'false dichotomies', but that doesn't make them horribly wrong. actually, if my understanding is correct, every two sided debate is a false dichotomy unless it's A vs. (not A).. and a false dichotomy is only a problem if somewhere in the debate of A vs. B you say (not A) implies B. wouldn't you agree? Mlm42 22:47, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

No it is not crazy. It is the truth and I intend to get it on the page. Bensaccount 23:09, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)


<<Which means that representing it as a dichotomy is false.>>

Ok. What text on the Creation vs. evolution debate represents "the debate" as a dichotomy? Throughout the page, I see quotations of various proponents that argue a dichotomy. But the page itself definitely does not represent the debate as a dichotomy--because it represents a whole continuum of views that proponents argue in the debate. Where is the dichotomy? The page just represents what the various proponents in the debate actually say. That is what NPOV is all about. 8)) So what point-of-view do you think is not adequately represented on the current Creation vs. evolution debate page? ---Rednblu | Talk 03:44, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You are obviously having trouble telling the article from the debate. Bensaccount 14:01, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<<"...every two sided debate is a false dichotomy unless it's A vs. (not A).. and a false dichotomy is only a problem if somewhere in the debate of A vs. B you say (not A) implies B. ">>

This is correct. Neocapitalist

MIT likes to pretend that there's an MIT-Harvard rivalry going. Harvard, meanwhile is totally oblivious, being far more interested in its storied rivalry with Yale. If you ask someone from MIT about it, MIT and Harvard are bitter rivals. But Harvard people just laugh contemptuously at the suggestion. Graft 03:50, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

What is your point Graft; unlike you I don't value good prose over meaning or clarity. Bensaccount 14:05, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

um ...

<<Mainstream scientists counter by arguing that creationists are dead wrong in saying evolution requires innumerable unknown assumptions and causes, because, they claim, every cause and assumption for evolution has been objectively verified.>>

not that i'm complaining or wanting to cut it out (god forbid the scientific community be denied its say in the matter), but do mainstream scientists really counter by saying that evolution is completely figured out and "has been objectively verified" so there are no gaps left to fill? maybe that's why i have a hard time believing them:). Ungtss 16:29, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You are obviously complaining. Bensaccount 22:37, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Can we try and act like grown-ups? We are grown-ups, right? I agree with Ungtss - the statement is pretty dubious, and not something any scientist would seriously say anyway. Graft 03:47, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The statement is dubious, because it claims "every". Perhaps it would be good to edit it to say:

<<Mainstream scientists counter by arguing that creationists are dead wrong in saying evolution requires innumerable unknown assumptions and causes, because, they claim, enough causes and assumptions for evolution have been objectively verified to consider evolution nothing less than valid fact.>>

definitely a great qualifier:). Ungtss 04:22, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)


You have a right to complain. In the end, that sentence should be cut unless there is some actual published scholar who said that. But I suggest that it should be left for the time-being--to be replaced in the future by what some published scholar actually said. 8)) However, in my opinion, the creationist claim to which that sentence replies is even more unjustified. How about we look for a published scholar who actually 1) says that "evolution requires innumerable unknown assumptions and causes" and 2) provides some rational argument for such a conclusion?  :) ---Rednblu | Talk 03:55, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

point taken -- i probably need some quotes from Phillip Johnson, don't i:)? Ungtss 04:02, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • A concise and accurate paraphrase might suffice, yes. 8)) With a citation, of course. ---Rednblu | Talk 06:29, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)
would you believe all his books are checked out of the library:)? i never thought i'd see the day:). i'll get the quotes whenever the books are returned. Ungtss 21:19, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

proposed daughter pages

well ... it seems that the "views compared" page is here to stay, and this page doesn't know what it is, but it's got a lot of good material. here's how i propose dividing up this megalith:

to stay on this page: spectum of debate, nature of debate, causes of debate -- issues related to the debate itself, but NOT to the history of the debate.
to go to views compared: abiogenesis, macroevolution, irreducible complexity, flood geology, radioactive dating etc.
to go to a new wikiquote entitled "Creation and evolution": the quotes section.
to go to a new page entitled "Creationism and philosophical naturalism" -- discussion of occam's razor, stuff by phillip johnson, etc.

Thoughts? Ungtss 20:59, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  1. Sounds good. Philip J. Rayment 02:18, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  2. Sounds reasonable to me. ---Rednblu | Talk 07:51, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Archive edits

Not having been on this page for about a week, I have now responded to some earlier points that were archived. See this revision comparison for my responses. Philip J. Rayment 02:21, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Reversions without explanation

I have given precise edit summaries for each of my individual edits, so if someone reverts I expect some rebuttal of my comments. Bensaccount 18:10, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • I went through each edit in the series and found that each edit harmed the page without adding a single positive value. Reversion is a waste of time, in my opinion. We should solve the real problem. 8)) ---Rednblu | Talk 22:05, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
What is the "real problem"? Bensaccount 20:51, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

"Precise edit summaries"? I tend to agree with Rednblu, but here are some of your edit summaries and the rebuttal comments (as precise as your comments) that I would use if I was reverting:

  • Removed pointless statement
    • Reinstate useful statement
  • We are not here to debate abiogenesis
    • Abiogenesis is one of the issues in dispute.
  • No reason for this section
    • There is reason for this section
  • No reason to go into this here
    • There is reason to go into this here.
  • Remove lies and speculation
    • Reinstate accurate statements.

The point is, you haven't given good reasons for your mass changes and deletions; rather you have provided a terse, almost meaningless, comment. You haven't, for example, explained how stuff you removed is "lies".
Philip J. Rayment 02:43, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  1. Pointless statement: One's view of the debate often depends on which side one takes in the debate.
This is pointless because we are trying to define the debate not everyone's view of the debate (which is not even possible). Now explain why it is necessary to include this statement Phillip. Bensaccount 20:38, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
the only way to define the debate in an npov way is to give the spectrum of definitions. the alternative is to only include YOUR definition of the debate. Ungtss 21:16, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I said that the statement is pointless because it is regarding a different subject. It is about views on the debate, instead of the debate itself. I still am waiting to hear why this statement is useful. Bensaccount 21:29, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
what are you talking about? it's about views of the debate itself. when the definition of the debate is at issue, you've got to qualify the nature of the debate. Ungtss 21:47, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Let us observe Mr. Ben's repeated violations of NPOV here. First, Mr. Ben repeatedly deletes paraphrases, quotations, and citations of reputable published scholars. Second, Mr. Ben refuses to provide scholarly reference to his assertions, such as the assertion "the creation vs. evolution debate creates a false dichotomy and involves the conflation of science and religion." Third, Mr. Ben asserts his own personal research contrary to all published scholars--such as the assertion that characterizing the views of the participants is "about views on the debate, instead of the debate itself." So what do we do about it? ---Rednblu | Talk 22:00, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
weep softly into our pillows:(. Ungtss 22:03, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I have provided an unrefuted reason why the statement is pointless, and my request for you to explain why the statement is useful has degenerated into insults based on Rednblus faulty understanding of NPOV. Bensaccount 22:15, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<< It is about views on the debate, instead of the debate itself.>>
what in the world does this MEAN, ben? Ungtss 22:25, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
For example, if we deem this as important whats to stop us from writing about views on views on the debate? Bensaccount 22:29, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
nobody is proposing that we do that. but there are a number of views on the debate that need addressing. your alternative is to provide only one view of the debate. that's not going to happen. Ungtss 22:57, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
No my alternative is to remove the statement altogether, since it is pointless, unless of course you can say why it is of any use, which so far you haven't done (although you have said how it is good to provide many views, which has no relevance here.) Bensaccount 23:50, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps the easiest way to make your writing more encyclopedic, is to write about what people believe, rather than what is so. If this strikes you as somehow subjectivist or collectivist or imperialist, then ask me about it, because I think that you are just mistaken. What people believe is a matter of objective fact, and we can present that quite easily from the neutral point of view. -- Jimbo Wales, Wikipedia founder

From that quote, I would assert that the essence of NPOV is paraphrasing, quoting, and citing to published scholars. ---Rednblu | Talk 22:32, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Only when necessary. Stop trying to wield NPOV as a weapon Rednblu. Bensaccount 22:37, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  1. still weeping:(. Ungtss 22:56, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  2. Stop faking argument by making non sequiturs, Mr. Ben. If we are going to get a good page on such a difficult topic as Creation vs. evolution debate, we will have to stop writing "what is so" for us. We will have to start writing about what people say. ---Rednblu | Talk 23:02, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

What non sequiturs? Bensaccount 23:50, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)


<<<<#Pointless statement: One's view of the debate often depends on which side one takes in the debate.>>>>
<<This is pointless because we are trying to define the debate not everyone's view of the debate (which is not even possible). Now explain why it is necessary to include this statement Phillip.>>
Some people see the debate as a debate between science and religion. Other people see the debate as a debate between the science of one religion and the science of another religion. Yet others see the "debate" as a false dichotomy. Generally speaking, young-earth creationists and some old-earth creationists see the debate as a debate between the science of one religion and the science of another religion. Materialists see the debate as a debate between science and religion. Theistic evolutionists see the debate as a false dichotomy. Therefore, as the lines said, "One's view of the debate [i.e. how one sees the debate] often depends on which side one takes in the debate [i.e. YEC etc., materialist, or theistic evolutionist]". You can quibble over the details, but to me (and obviously most others here) that seems pretty correct, and pertinent. Philip J. Rayment 05:49, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Speaking of non-sequiturs, saying that "theistic evolutionists see the debate as a false dichotomy" does not lead to the conclusion that "one's view of the debate often depends on which side one takes in the debate", since other "sides" also see the debate as a false dichotomy. Anyways, you digress, get to the point. How is this statement useful. Bensaccount 16:53, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Pity ignorant Rednblu, who can dish out buzzwords but can not explain himself. Bensaccount 21:48, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<<Speaking of non-sequiturs, saying that "theistic evolutionists see the debate as a false dichotomy" does not lead to the conclusion that "one's view of the debate often depends on which side one takes in the debate", ...>>
No, I didn't say that it did. What leads to that conclusion is the sum of all three things I said, not just that one thing I said. I mentioned three views to demonstrate that there is more than one view. I did not mention just one view in support of there being more than one view, which is what your quote of me has me saying.
<<since other "sides" also see the debate as a false dichotomy.>>
First, I din't claim that my list of views or sides was exhaustive. You don't need to quote every last view or side in order to demonstrate that there is more than one. Second, typical of your unsubstantiated responses, you claim that there are other "sides that see the debate as a false dichotomy", but you fail to give any examples.
<<Anyways, you digress, get to the point. How is this statement useful.>>
It is useful because it goes part way to explaining to the reader why there is so much heat in this controversy.
Philip J. Rayment 23:20, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Finally a reason. Unfortunately there is only heat in certain areas and among certain people, so this is incorrect. In the future, I suggest losing the hidden motives and going right out and saying what you are trying to imply. I don't like having to dig through these seemingly pointless statements to get to your insidious motives. Bensaccount 15:34, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

How does heat being limited to certain areas make it incorrect? And what hidden and insidious motives are you talking about? Philip J. Rayment 13:36, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

You are trying to imply that this is a heated controversy. It is only a heated controversy in certain areas and among certain people. Therefore, you only present half the story. Bensaccount 15:28, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

How is that so? The fact that it is a heated controversy (in some areas) is reason to give an explanation of that. Philip J. Rayment 14:18, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"Perceived" disagreement

"The creation vs. evolution debate is the conflict among people who perceive disagreement regarding the origin of the universe, Earth, life, and humanity." Bensaccount, I don't get you. Are you trying to say that there is no disagreement about the origin of aforementioned things? Everybody agrees about the origin, but somehow, through an optical illusion or whatever, they perceive disagreement? --Hob Gadling 16:28, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)

It would be more correct to say: is the perpetual disagreement among people who think there is conflict regarding the origin or the universe. I'll change it. Bensaccount 22:35, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, I still don't get it. Do you mean it like this (simplified)?
  1. There are people who think creation is right and evolution is wrong. (creationists)
  2. There are people who think creation is wrong and evolution is right. (atheistic evolutionists)
  3. There are people who think creation is right and evolution is right. (theistic evolutionists)
You seem to think (you will probably correct me if I'm wrong) that groups 1 and 2 think there is conflict, and group 3 thinks there is no conflict.
But - there is a conflict between group 1 on one side and group 2 and parts of group 3 on the other side. There is no conflict between group 2 and group 3 because they disagree only on creation, which is a matter of belief.
Maybe you mean "conflict" not in the sense of conflicting parties, but conflicting notions? --Hob Gadling 12:48, Jan 28, 2005 (UTC)

I do mean conflicting notions. I will add this. Bensaccount 16:36, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)


May I remind everyone that our job here is to write about "what people say," not about "what is so." I have no objection to the content of Mr. Ben's statement; I have even looked for published scholars who say anything like that so that we could cite to it and develop a clear page in good style. However, if we add a section about "conflicting notions," it will violate NPOV policy because there is not one published scholar who has characterized the controversy as "conflicting notions." Every published scholar characterizes the conflict as a battle over "what is so." Wikipedia is no place for uncited personal research. ---Rednblu | Talk 19:10, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You may not, since what is so always takes precidence over what people say. Bensaccount 21:51, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • Not in Wikipedia--except by grace of our tolerance of your repeated violations of NPOV policy. ---Rednblu | Talk 22:15, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yes in Wikipedia. Bensaccount 22:19, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I will partly disagree with both Rednblu and Bensaccount. Wikipedia usually says "what is so". For example, the Puffing Billy Railway, Melbourne article starts of with "Puffing Billy is a narrow gauge (2'6") steam railway in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne, Australia." That's not a description of what people say, it is a statement of what is so. However, we write "what is so" when there is no dispute about what is so, and we write "what people say" when it is disputed. Neither "takes precedence" over the other. It's different approaches for different circumstances. Writing "what is so" when "what is so" is disputed, is violation of Wikipedia's NPOV policy. Philip J. Rayment 23:28, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • I stand corrected. Would this be correct? It is against NPOV policy to write "what is so" when all published scholars disagree with the point-of-view being asserted in that writing of "what is so." ---Rednblu | Talk 00:04, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
that is precisely so:). Ungtss 00:23, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Yes, that is another way of putting it.
And, I thought later, the only things that we can write on Wikipedia are "what is so". However, we can only do this, as I said, if there is no dispute about what is so. So if the "what is so" is disputed, then we write "what is so about what people say is so". In other words, we say things like "X says that A is so, whereas Y says that B is so". This (hopefully) forms an undisputed "what is so" about what people say.
And very occasionally it gets back to what Bensaccount was derisively suggesting about writing about views of views of what is so. That happened in the Religion article. You couldn't write about what things are religion until you had first provided a definition of religion. But the problem with that was that different people had different views on how you define religion, so that had to be explained also! We possibly have the same problem here. If so, then the answer to Bensaccount's question is "yes", we may well have to write about views of views of the debate. I'm not convinced that it's come to that yet, and I don't think for one moment that there will any need to go further and write about views of views about views of the debate.
Philip J. Rayment 05:35, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Removing uncited, unsupported, and unexplained statement

<<The creation vs. evolution debate creates a false dichotomy, involves the conflation of science and religion and is based on popular, but not standard definitions.>>

I removed the above statement. The lead section should summarize what the scholars cited in the article say. The above statement contradicts every scholar cited in the "References" section. ---Rednblu | Talk 23:04, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

No the lead section should sumarize the article. Or more directly, it should summarize the subject. Bensaccount 17:04, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)


<<There is absolutely no doubt that evolution, though possibly not in its current form, is fact. Creationists may be sympathized with, but they are just like little children- believing what is taught to them by others. In this way, believing in Creationism is a bit like believing in Santa Claus. But your parents aren't there to tell you the truth when you're older.>>

I moved the above comment here for discussion. Can somebody please explain this? It would help if there were a citation to a published scholar. 8)) ---Rednblu | Talk 09:47, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

yikes. if evolution is indeed scientific fact, i do hope you succeed in your goal of presenting evolution in a persuasive manner to us ridiculous "child-like" creationists, because the endless stream of garbage spewing from the mouths of these evolutionist fundamentalists convinces me they have nothing but rhetoric, ad hominem, proof by assertion and authority, raw bullying, and baseless assumptions to back their religion ... and they don't seem to notice, or care :(. Ungtss 13:07, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • 8)) In my opinion, the contributor of the "There is absolutely no doubt . . ." paragraph gives us an opportunity to discuss how we should deal with vandals. Mr. Vandal has no interest in developing a NPOV page--even within Mr. Vandal's understanding of NPOV. Mr. Vandal is merely expressing "what is so" for him, and the expression of "what is so" is a violation of NPOV. Our job here is to write about "what people say." If I had found Mr. Vandal's paragraph in the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, I would think I had a good quote for my side--because I could expect that the article would develop some survey data and hypotheses correlating something like 1) "parents' beliefs about Santa Claus" vs. "child's beliefs about Santa Claus" compared with 2) "parents' beliefs about Creationism" vs. "child's belief about Creationism." In my opinion, it is crucial for Americans at this time that we would take very seriously the question of "Why do people still believe in Creationism?" So the difference between Mr. Vandal and any one of us is that Mr. Vandal does not want to work within the rules of NPOV which require writing about "what people say" rather than "what is so." ---Rednblu | Talk 18:19, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

So is there any science to any "Creationism" ?

This article

refers here

I was curious if anybody has any way to interpret either the magentic evidence on the sea floors, or the paleobiological evidence in eastern and southern Africa, in any way consistent with any young earth theory -- or if there are any actual young earth theories (besides, just assertions of "God said so" I mean).

Neither of these articles seems to cover any scientific theory at all.

It is apparent that I can find a lot of name-calling, but, what I was wondering was, is there any science in the anti-evolution camps? Especially, is there any geologic or paleobiological science?

  • No. But this is Wikipedia. It is not our job to write about "what is so." Our job is to write about what the proponents of the various views say. Does that make sense? ---Rednblu | Talk 11:23, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Frankly, no. There is nothing scientific about creationism. However, it is popular for people to conflate the two, and eventually this page will have a section regarding the conflation of science and religion. Bensaccount 16:33, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

      • FWIW, if you're willing to look at the evidence objectively, there is scientific evidence in favor of both a young earth and an old earth (and for both "Creation" and "Evolution" as well..) Trying to keep this on the track of the scientific aspect only of the discussion (which after all is what you asked about), I would suggest reading through the archive of newsletters at [2] There are a number of very good articles there, some of which support young earth interpretations. Read and decide for yourself.
Science in creationism: The National Academy of Sciences still says "No." [3] That little pun aside, creationism by definition cannot be part of science as it's conclusion will always preceed any of its premises. In other words, creationists will always choose to beleive that god created the universe/earth/man no matter what the evidence indicates. This position makes creationism antithetical to science and the scientific method.
As for your question about the geological evidence, I recommend reading Arthur N. Strahler's books Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation Controversy and Physical Geology. I believe Strahler addresses sea floor magnetism in both. --FeloniousMonk 22:21, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

>>> Ok, I take your point, creationists are generally religionists who are looking for a way to intrepret what they see so as to prove God, right?
>>> But surely, eventually, some of them must be pressed to face science, or at least evidence, somewhere?
>>> For example, why don't some topics such as "where does Homo Habilis fit in to creationists anthropology?" or the ::Taung baby, or the Afar hominids (Australopithicus? or...) etc, appear?
Why don't such topics appear on Wikipediea, or elsewhere? If the latter, what makes you think they don't? If the former, perhaps they will in the future. Philip J. Rayment 13:53, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

There is plenty of science to creation, despite the denials of anti-creationists. I know that is just a bald statement, but then so are most of the claims to the contrary (unless they quote others making bald statements). FeloniousMonk's claim that it is unscientific by definition is a genetic fallacy. He is claiming that a theory is false because of the reasoning of the people proposing the theory, rather than on whether it actually is false or not. Many evolutionists believe evolution because they are atheists (or similar) who have rejected creation as even a possibility for consideration, but few anti-creationists will claim that that thereby invalidates evolution. Philip J. Rayment 23:44, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

As a matter of basic logic, creationism cannot be scientific by definition. It's method, which begins with a conclusion (God created all), is completely incompatible with the scientific method. Not to mention that the premise comes from divine revelation. An argument is valid if and only if the supposed truth of its premises guarantee the truth of its conclusion. If the premises are true, the conclusion must follow --not the other way around. The creationist position asserts the conclusion --that god created all-- will always be valid because it is divine revelation. Thus the conclusion that god created all must always precede any premises.
That you misidentified my statement as a genetic fallacy indicates that you either did not understand my point or you do not understand what a genetic fallacy is. A genetic fallacy is where the origin of a claim or belief has no logical relation to its truth or falsity. In my original post I asserted that creationism by definition cannot be part of science because it rests on a logical fallacy: it's conclusion will always precede its premises. Since science respects valid logic and abjures flawed logic, clearly the origin of my claim has a logical relation to its truth.--FeloniousMonk 07:23, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You confuse the practitioners with the method. Most creationists begin with a premise, as do many evolutionists. Creationary scientists begin with the premise that there is a Creator Who has provided us with a summary of His creation (i.e. the Bible), and do their science, following the scientific method, based on that premise. Atheistic scientists begin with the premise that there is no creator, and do their science, following the scientific method, based on that premise. But just as the philosophical framework of the atheistic scientists does not in and of itself invalidate their theory nor their method of doing science, neither does the philosophical framework of the creationary scientists in and of itself invalidate their theory nor their method of doing science. Philip J. Rayment 10:07, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The scientific method does not include beginning with an assumption that there is no god. It does include the requirement that all underlying assumptions must be subject to verification. An underlying assumption like 'god created all' however is an extraordinary claim which requires solid proof. Most extraordinary claims also do not survive Occam's razor, and 'god created all' does not. Either you profoundly misunderstand the scientific method or you are choosing to misrepresent it.--FeloniousMonk 19:14, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Again, you are talking about the scientific method rather than the scientists.
  • But even there you are effectively contradicting yourself. You say that the scientific method does not begin with an assumption that there is no god, but it does include the requirement that assumptions must be subject to verification. But if God is not, by definition, subject to verification, then you have just ruled God out of the equation, meaning that, according to you, the scientific method does exclude God
  • Additionally, the scientific method does not "include the requirement that all underlying assumptions must be subject to verification", because that is self-contradictory. If an underlying assumption was subject to verification, it wouldn't be an assumption. And one of the underlying assumptions is that we can trust our senses to observe and study the universe. How do we subject that underlying assumption to verification?
  • And finally, what is it that makes "God created all" an extraordinary claim? Personally, I think that the claim that "the universe made itself" is far more extraordinary. We observe things being made by intelligent beings, but we don't observe things making themselves.
Philip J. Rayment 13:53, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Step back from this repetitive discussion and observe the prevalent themes of conflation of science and religion, and persuasive or arbitrary definitions. Bensaccount 15:50, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Indeed. In this instance this micro parallels the macro nicely. Apparently we are fated to repeat this debate ad infinitum. Any hope of progress may be doomed if so.--FeloniousMonk 19:15, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

reasonfor page move

okay, don'tgetmad. I moved the page wiktionary:controversy rather than wiktionary:debate. The former is more specific. It is used by both sides scientists (top right), creationists. Debate suggests a structured discussion where sides are equal, when this is not the case. Dunc| 11:56, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

no complaints here -- i think it was a good idea:). Ungtss 13:12, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think you should have asked on this page before you made the move. I don't really think it makes much difference though, so long as one redirects to the other. Bensaccount 16:08, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)


<<I moved the page>>

Let us not please import into Wikipedia the slanted bias of That bias is just one of many. The peer-reviewed publications should be considered also. And the peer reviewed publications, such as in Evolution or Quarterly Review of Biology, use "debate" just as often as "controversy" to describe what goes on among the proponents of creation and the proponents of evolution. We need to stop two things on this page 1) unilateral massive changes and 2) personal research that does not take into consideration what scholars actually say. This undiscussed move procedurally violated both those 'no-nos.' Substantively, either title for this page would represent what scholars actually have published on the topic of this debate. ---Rednblu | Talk 22:03, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • And by the way, since you unwisely and unilaterally moved this page, would you please fix the links to the archives, which you destroyed in the move. Thank you. Just a suggestion: The simplest fix to the archives would be to move this page back to its rightful name. ---Rednblu | Talk 22:08, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
"Let us not please import into Wikipedia the slanted bias of" Oh, I don't know... if suffices as citable support for some around here and in related articles, has a place here too I'd think. I don't see an issue with it, and tend to rail against the excluding any significant player or voice.--FeloniousMonk 22:29, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Neither do I have any real problem with the move, other than that it was done without consultation (and I'm not convinced that it was necessary—it seems to be based on the nonsense that "there is no debate"). I also agree that Talk.Origins is a valid source for citations, but disagree that they represent "scientists" as distinct from "creationists". So if they are being used to show what anti-creationists or evolutionists (or whoever) think, that is okay, but not if they are being used to show what scientists think.

And just to be cheeky, I agree with Dunc that the sides are not equal. Evolutionists have the numbers (in certain quarters at least), but creationists have the better argument.  :-)
Philip J. Rayment 23:55, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

> but creationists have the better argument
What argument do they have? I'm only beginning my studies of paleobiology, geology, and evolution, and I've yet to see any real argument at all for any young earth religionists (ok, excluding the "God said so" appeal to special dispensation) -- and the old earth religionists appear to me to boil down to "well, maybe it looks indistinguishable from what the scientists say, but God faked it", and from a scientific point-of-view, an indistinguishable (or immeasurable) difference is no difference.
I don't normally throw an entire web-site at someone, but for a question as broad as this, I can only suggest that you look at a web-site such as Answers In Genesis. To narrow it down a bit, look at their Q & A Topic Index page. You won't find "any real argument at all for any young earth 'religionists'" from your normal educational sources, as they are effectively controlled by the mainstream scientific establishment. Perhaps you should be asking your teachers why they don't give you both sides of the story? (And see how willing they are (not) to provide balanced treatment!) Philip J. Rayment 14:03, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Motion to revert the Page Move

I move that we revert the Page Move back to the name Creation vs. evolution debate for the following reasons.

  1. This "controversy" is also a "debate" within the Category:Debates. Look at the other elements in the Category:Debates, such as The chicken or the egg, Nature versus nurture. Those other elements in Category:Debates are not organized debates either and none of them are non-overlapping sets.
  2. The move destroyed this page's links to its archives. So this page should move back to its name of Creation vs. evolution debate.
  3. As many scholars call this a "debate" as call it a "controversy." Count them yourself.
  4. Calling this a "controversy" rather than a "debate" does not make the issue clearer; still some people will have the view that "There is no controversy! Can't you see? They are totally compatible!" So the Page Move is only a work avoidance. The real problem is describing accurately and clearly the debate. 8)) ---Rednblu | Talk 08:37, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I moved the archives. Bensaccount 15:08, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • FeloniousMonk 19:36, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC) - Based on the level of rancor alone it's less a 'debate' and more a 'controversy.' Also, within the ranks of mainstream science the theory of evolution is widely accepted. Whether it occurs generates almost no debate, only the theories of how it occurs are still being debated in any significance. The controversy is being driven by parties external to science for reasons other than science. Hence, controversy.
  • i gotta abstain, but i lean toward controversy. rednblue's reasons 1,3, and 4 don't recommend either, just holding that they're equally valid. #2 has been taken care of. "controversy," i think, is broader than "debate," because it provides for all the discussion in churches and schools and coffeeshops, as well as formal debate. mr. monk's cliche reasoning aside, in my opinion, the real reason there's not much "debate" is that the contemporary scientific community lacks any factual or logical basis for its assertions, forcing it to resort to vacuous exclusion and censorship tactics in an effort to prevent cognitive dissonance:(. Ungtss 21:47, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • Controversy. Evolution is a controversial idea, but it is not a debatable one. Meaning, evolution is what it is. --JPotter 23:31, Jan 29, 2005 (UTC)
  • I abstain. I've already said that I didn't see need for the move, and didn't agree with the way it was unilaterally done, but neither do I have a particular preference now that it is done.
<<Also, within the ranks of mainstream science the theory of evolution is widely accepted.>>
Of course. "Mainstream science" is the majority, and evolution is the majority, so "mainstream science" is that part which accepts evolution. The statement was a tautology.
<<The controversy is being driven by parties external to science for reasons other than science. Hence, controversy.>>
No, the debate/controversy is being driven by parties external to mainstream science. But I agree that it is for reasons other than science. It is for truth.
<<Evolution ... is not a debatable [idea]. Meaning, evolution is what it is.>>
Philip J. Rayment 14:11, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

False dichotomy

Eventually this article needs a subsection about the debate being a false dichotomy. Any input for this subsection?

Previously I said that the debate is a false dichotomy because it sets up two alternative points of view as if they were the only options, when they are not (ie. see Hesiod's Theogony). I now realize there are in fact two reasons why this is a false dichotomy, the second being that the two options do not oppose eachother by contradiction. Bensaccount 04:01, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • Again, this is personal research on your part. It may be true, but there is not one published scholar who even implies that "creation vs. evolution" is a false dichotomy. Perhaps you have read some publication that I have not seen. What is your citation? ---Rednblu | Talk 04:31, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

How is stating the obvious research? Bensaccount 15:51, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

if it's obvious, how come everybody thinks you're wrong? Ungtss 16:10, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Are you refering to yourself? Bensaccount 16:30, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

am i the only one deleting the statement from the article? Ungtss 16:31, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Rednblu doesn't think it is wrong, he says it may be true. So are you refering to yourself? Bensaccount 16:35, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

<<there is not one published scholar who even implies that "creation vs. evolution" is a false dichotomy.>>

you're great fun, ben. rednblue has said you're wrong 100 times. so has everyone else. you have nobody to cite it to, and nobody here thinks it's "Fact." but you still sit there and say it's obvious. Ungtss 16:39, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Rednblu has never said I am wrong. Neither have you. You only imply that other people think I am wrong, and never produce any evidence of it. Bensaccount 16:46, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • My personal opinion? My personal opinion should not matter on a NPOV Wikipedia page; the page should quote, paraphrase, and cite to published scholars--not come out of my personal opinion. My personal opinion? I don't think even Bensaccount truthfully thinks there is a false dichotomy here. Certainly, the U.S. Supreme Court thinks there is not a false dichotomy--because the U.S. Supreme Court has banned the teaching of creation but not the teaching of evolution from public school biology classes. And Darwin certainly did not think that there was a false dichotomy between creation and evolution in the origin of species--because Darwin in his 1872 edition asserted that evolution originated the species and not special creation. But even against all of the published scholars, if you can find that one dissenting scholar who disagrees with all the other published scholars, then tell us the citation, please. I am allowing you only that possibility that "you are right" within a NPOV page. But none of the above is the issue, in my personal opinion, Bensaccount does not truthfully think there is a false dichotomy here. 8)) ---Rednblu | Talk 18:45, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Huh? See [4] and the links it points to, and the literature given there. Eugenie Scott's "continuum" has been mentioned several times here. And if you think you know people's minds better than they themselves do, that's your private problem, and if you talk too much about it, not only those people won't take you very seriously. --Hob Gadling 19:33, Jan 31, 2005 (UTC)

I also point to Eugenie Scott as a published scholar to points out that EvC sets up a false dichotomy Also, even our own false dilemma article uses EvC as an example. --JPotter 19:42, Jan 31, 2005 (UTC)

the point is, my friends, that some people think there's a false dichotomy, and others don't. but those people that think it's a false dichotomy define creation differently than YECs -- evolutionists (like both of the above links) say there's a false dichotomy because religion and science don't intersect (awfully convenient). evolutionary creationists say "God created it through evolution." but YECs say "God created it as described in genesis." there is a TRUE dichotomy between YEC and evolution -- the two are incompatible -- so to state as fact that "the debate creates a false dichotomy" is one pov among several, and based on a different definition of the term "creation" than used by the YECs. the point is, that sentence damages states a pov as fact -- it's not "obvious" as Mr. Vandal has repeated 1000 times -- it's a point of contention. Ungtss 21:27, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I agree with what you say, Ungtss. As Scott points out, there is a continium of beliefs, thus the framing of the debate as either evolution or creation, as most Americans seem to, creates a dichotomy that is false. Many others, who do not frame the argument as either A or B, find no such false dilemma. However, there are creationists who say that if creationism is true, evolution is false. And there are many evolutionists who say that if evolution is true, then creationism is false. Others find this framing of the debate as a false dichotomy. Simply search Google for the words " Evolution creationism false dichotomy" the results are replete with people saying the argument is a false dichotomy. In your example, YECists believe that if YEC is true, then evolution is false. A theistic evolutionist would say this is a false dichotomy because there are other possible choices. Example, my mother-in-law saw my Darwin fish on my car and asked if I was an atheist. And a friend of mine who I told I was religious and I attended church service thought I was a creationist. It seems to me most people frame the debate as a dichotomy, but a closer analysis, as mentioned by Scott, indicates there are a continium a beliefs that render any dichotomy false. --JPotter 21:42, Jan 31, 2005 (UTC)
I think the language in the article currently is very close to perfect "
"there is a TRUE dichotomy between YEC and evolution -- the two are incompatible" This is not what a dichotomy is. Dichotomy means that
  • the two are incompatible and
  • there is no third possibility.
This is definitely false in the case of YEC and evolution. Fred Hoyle, for example, believed that life, the universe, and everything had always existed - no creation, no big bang, only eternity. The Hare Krishna think that evolution is false and the earth is very old. --Hob Gadling 10:12, Feb 1, 2005 (UTC)

A continuum of approaches to creation and evolution The creation vs evolution debate presents a dichotomy in which one must choose between either "creation" or "evolution". However there is in fact a continuum of approaches to creation and evolution. Following are some points-of-view along this continuum: --JPotter 21:48, Jan 31, 2005 (UTC)

  • There is an underlying true dichotomy beneath this "controversy." The true dichotomy is this: Either God had a hand in how we got here or She did not. And along Scott's continuum, there are different personal decisions about how much of a hand She had in it. 8)) We could even get several good scholars' quotes and citations to support that point-of-view. ---Rednblu | Talk 22:46, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)
An IDist would disagree with you, Red. They would say that there is an Intelligence that had a hand in how we got here, but that Intelligence isn't necessarily a god, it could be aliens or pink unicorns. Right before they went to church. --JPotter 23:25, Jan 31, 2005 (UTC)
  • 8)) Good one, Jason! An Intelligent designer might say that God had no part; a pink alien did it. However, no Intelligent designer could deny the following true dichotomy: either 1) God had a hand in how we got here or 2) She did not. Saying that pink aliens did it is merely selecting the second prong--"She did not"--of the true dichotomy. If the Intelligent designer's answer flips between inside and outside the church, then that Intelligent designer is just a flip flop. Let us all relax; there is nothing fundamentally unsound about binary arithmetic. 8)) Many dichotomies are true dichotomies. ---Rednblu | Talk 23:45, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I'm still not seeing it. An agostic wouldn't be able to participate in your dichotomy. They would need a third choice. Ex. YECist : God had a part. Strong Atheist : God had no part. Agnostic : I do not have enough information to know whether or not gods exists, therefore I cannot say if god had a part or not. --JPotter 23:56, Jan 31, 2005 (UTC)
  • Ahh. Wouldn't the dichotomy still be true even if the outcome was unknown? If you allow me a fanciful analogy with the Stern-Gerlach experiment, the statement "Either 1) up-spin or 2) down-spin" is a true dichotomy even if the outcome before the experiment is unknown. Is that not true? That is, the outcome of determining which prong of the dichotomy is true may be unknown even while the dichotomy is still true. Is that not so? The agnostic may not know the outcome yet, but wouldn't the agnostic still say that the following dichotomy is true? "Either 1) God had a hand in how we got here or 2) She did not." What seems right to you? Could there possibly be a third outcome of some kind? Like maybe half-and-half? 8)) ---Rednblu | Talk 00:22, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  • Got it, that makes sense. I don't think we are very far off here. Ultimately,the way the debate is framed by the popular media and lay people, is a false dichotomy, because in reality, a continuum of views exists. There is, however, a true dichotomy, in that, either a deity played at least some role or it did not. This dichotomy may be rejected by some as theology or unknowable. --JPotter 00:38, Feb 1, 2005 (UTC)
  • now we're getting somewhere:). i'd just add that with respect to the rest of the debate, it's a "false dichotomy" only if it the debaters state that there is no "third way" -- and nobody's saying that. you don't have to choose creation or evolution -- you can believe whatever you want -- but if you believe something else, you're not taking part in the creation-evolution controversy. the creation-evolution controversy is also a TRUE dichotomy between people who think that EITHER evolution OR genesis happened, regardless of whether God had a hand in it:). i think what we're seeing here is a tangled web of true and false dichotomies, and a variety of views as to which are true and which are false. what do you think? Ungtss 13:07, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I think you digress. There is only one major false dichotomy here. The title itself should make that clear enough. Two views are set up as if they were the only options when they are not. Can anyone guess what the two views are? Bensaccount 15:22, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

nothing in the title says there are no other options. the title says there's a controversy between two options, and there is. Ungtss 17:24, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Yes, the title says there's a controversy between two options, and there is. In reality however, there are many options. Hence the subject is a false dichotomy. Bensaccount 00:26, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Removing uncited, unsupported, and unexplained statement

<<The creation vs. evolution debate creates a false dichotomy, involves the conflation of science and religion and is based on popular, but not standard definitions.>>

I removed the above statement. The lead section should summarize what the scholars cited in the article say. The above statement contradicts every scholar cited in the "References" section. ---Rednblu | Talk 23:04, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

that's a lot of scholars, ben. Ungtss 17:33, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I did not realize that Darwin said that the creation vs. evolution debate is not a false dichotomy (in his book, the origin of the species, no less). Would it be too much trouble to for you to obtain the quotation on that? Bensaccount 17:51, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Oh and don't forget to inform the reader that Edgar Allan Poe found first hand proof that the words "evolution" or "creation" are not used arbitrarily or persuasively in this debate. (Talk:Creation-evolution_controversy/archive_5#Arbitrary_or_persuasive_definitions).Bensaccount 17:57, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

truly a master of illogic. name ONE SCHOLAR who SAYS what you think is "OBVIOUS." Ungtss 18:06, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

That was not "illogic", that was sarcasm. And it is absurd to cite the obvious. Bensaccount 18:12, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

if you can't cite it, it's PROBABLY NOT OBVIOUS -- and CERTAINLY not obvious for purposes of npov. Ungtss 18:20, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I didn't want to get into epistemology, but you redefine obviousness, so you leave me no choice. Obviousness does not depend on citation. You don't need to cite something for it to be obvious; that is the opposite of obviousness. You need to cite something when it is not obvious, because it is not easy to see or understand. 15:15, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

jeez man. you're saying it's obvious. i'm saying it's not. i'm saying if it WERE obvious, you'd be able to name a scholar who says it. i can name scholars who disagree (including gould, dawkins, dobzhansky, and darwin). therefore it's disputed. where are your scholars? Ungtss 17:30, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Darwin never even vaguely implied that the creation vs. evolution debate is not a false dichotomy. What the hell are you talking about? Bensaccount 17:51, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

you're stuck on one stupid little point: "yes, God can create through evolution." so what? Darwin thought genesis was wrong. THAT'S A DICHOTOMY. DID GENESIS HAPPEN OR NOT? i get too pissed talking to you. ben, listen, you've obviously had your head up your butt your whole life. as you were. Ungtss 17:44, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Cut an inaccurate statement here for discussion

<<. . . is a disagreement among people who think that creation and evolution are conflicting notions regarding the origin . . .>>

I cut the above statement from the first sentence because it is logially inaccurate. The "controversy" is a religious and political argument among many different viewpoints: some say 1) creation and evolution are conflicting notions, some say 2) creation and evolution are compatible notions, some say 3) creation is religion and evolution is science, some say 4) 8))) creation vs. evolution is a false dichotomy, some say 5) creation and evolution are both just different speculations, . . . (Scott 1997). ---Rednblu | Talk 04:55, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Methodological materialism

The article states "Methodological materialism is the acceptance of the operating procedures and logical standards of the modern scientific method, rather than supernatural causes." This <Methodological materialism> is linked but goes nowhere. The definition frankly sounds like science, which does have an article. Is this serious, or some propaganda stuff?

  • Yes, something like that. 8)) You have made a fair criticism. Some of the personages hovering over this page do not want anything to be clear, logical, or cited on this page; so they keep removing anything that is clear, logical, or cited. 8)) Consequently, the page stands right now in a defaced condition; it is only a temporary state of affairs. If you want a clear, logical, and cited version of this section, you will have to go back into the history file to about here. ---Rednblu | Talk 17:02, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Problems with the A continuum of approaches to creation and evolution section

Instead to engaging in the debate that gave rise to this section I've been searching published journals to fact check. There are a couple of problems with this section:

  1. "Materialist evolutionism" is not a standard, widely accepted, or widely used definition or concept. A search of scholarly publications for "materialist evolutionism" returns only 7 hits, 5 of which are from the originator of the term who is cited in our article, Eugenie Scott (EC Scott), of
  2. The section prefers the "a continuum of approaches" viewpoint over other possible viewpoints, such as a "dichotomy", and offers a cite to as support. At one finds that most of the supporting writings for this viewpoint comes again from Eugenie Scott (EC Scott), originator of the "materialist evolutionism" phrase/definition. I argue that this is far too narrow and sparse support on which to favor a viewpoint. We need to either find additional support and cite it, open the section up to describe other viewpoints, or remove it altogether.

For the record my personal views lean toward the "continuum" viewpoint.--FeloniousMonk 04:19, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

There is a problem with the concept of limiting ourselves to "standard, widely accepted, or widely used" terms. That is, some terms are not widely used when they refer to groups that comprise the overwhelming majority. They don't need a term; its the minorities that need the term to distinguish them from the majority.
For example, the term "creationist" only came into use, at least general use with the current meaning, during the 20th century, despite the concept of creationism being the norm prior to that. Because everyone (speaking generally, I acknowledge the existence of exceptions) was a creationist, so there was no need to have a special label for that. These days, "everyone" (at least in academic circles, etc.) believes in evolution, so most people don't need to use the term "evolutionist", leading to objections from such people that the term is not one they use of themselves. The exceptions to the norm—creationists—are the ones that need a label to distinguish them from the norm.
The same may well apply to "materialist evolutionism". Because that is the norm, it doesn't have a label, at least not one widely used. But that doesn't mean that it's not appropriate in an article of this nature. (Although in this case, it may also be the particular combinations of words that is partly to blame. "Materialism" would generate far more hits, even when you (somehow) exclude those that refer to wealth and possessions.)
As for the "continuum of approaches", I'm not disputing that Scott may be the only real user of that concept, and I don't agree with the continuum exactly as she describes it (remembering that she is hardly an unbiased party in this), but it is true to the extent that there is not just two positions, but a variety of positions and combinations of positions, so the concept is useful.
Philip J. Rayment 13:54, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
i agree with mr. rayment's cogent analysis. it's true that there may be other approaches to the problem -- but i think it would be better to add those other approaches, rather than deleting this one -- i think it's a very useful continuum -- it's cited, and it makes good sense. Ungtss 14:03, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

There is no reason to have an entire section dedicated to one persons incomplete viewpoint (cited or not). There are, however, obviously other viewpoints than the dichotomy this debate creates. Therefore, this section should list the various viewpoints on origin, and not just list Scott's viewpoints on origin. Bensaccount 17:19, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Ben on this one. Any section touting only one person's opinion as representative of all views is not accurate or acceptable for an encyclopedic article. As I've said already, I've searched the pubs and EC Scott is somewhat unique in her views. Either find additional credible academic support to defend this section against additions or accept that it is open to editing.
As for EC Scott's coined term "materialist evolutionism," 7 hits out of a search of literally thousands of documents is not sufficient to accept Scott's claim or definition on it's face. Particularly when 5 of those hits are from EC Scott's own publications at Materialist evolutionism stands as a notional concept and term, and I'll note it in the article as such. I'm open to entertaining rebuttals.--FeloniousMonk 21:44, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Just to be clear here, I'm not trying to discount EC Scott, she was, BTW, on the Working Group on Teaching Evolution of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. But I think all positions should be represented, continuum and dichotomy, and any positions presented should enjoy robust support, to avoid future disputes and challenges, as we're seeing now.--FeloniousMonk 22:29, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Materialist evolutionism, Cultural materialism, and Evolutionist materialism were terms that Marvin Harris and other scholars used before 1970 to describe the rigorous theories in anthropology that looked only at data rather than consulting divine inspiration. 8))) The standard graduate student text is Marvin Harris's The Rise of Anthropological Theory or RAT as it is lovingly called. If I get time, I will put together a page on materialist evolutionism citing to RAT which was probably Dr. Scott's text. 8))) ---Rednblu | Talk 00:18, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Interesting. I wonder why "materialist evolutionism" is not citing M Harris in my searches? I've tried ERIC and GEM for the CSA and RLG article databases, and the only hits I got are for EC Scott and two others, one of which is citing Scott. I'll try RLG and GLADIS at Berkeley. If Marvin is well cited it will come up in RLG, and I'll have no objections to removing the attribution to Scott.--FeloniousMonk 00:44, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I've searched RLG and GLADIS and have not gotten any returns for "materialist evolutionism" for Marvin Harris or EC Scott.--FeloniousMonk 21:15, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Gallup Poll

The Gallup Poll is still heavily biased.

If you add up the figures you get "0% stated that they believed that there was no God", clearly evidencing that the poll's figures only correspond to the already-religious group of people. Compared to a more mixed population, the figures become much more clearly a tiny minority of pro-creationists.

There is, after all, no county, state, or nation, with a majority of voters supporting the abolition of the teaching of evolution in favour of creationism. An important point showing the opinion of the populous, which is often overlooked.

What are you talking about? How can you get "0% stated that they believed that there was no God" when that wasn't one of the questions? Of course the figures only correspond to already-religious people—everyone is religious, even if their religion is atheism. And one of the choices in the poll was "Humans developed, but God had no part in process". That is the option (apart from "other") that caters for believers in no-god.
If the "opinion of the populous" is relevant (and I'm not suggesting it isn't), then why is the "opinion of the populous" ignored when the majority want both creation and evolution taught? Why do you only raise the "opinion of the populous" when it suits your POV?
Philip J. Rayment 15:22, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)


<<everyone is religious, even if their religion is atheism.>>

8)) Not a good argument--in my opinion. I would not mind if you say that I am religious, but it does not make sense to say that I am religious. You could as well say that I am a Martian. I would not object, but it does not make sense. 8)) As for your criticism of Mr. Dreams's comment, I agree. Mr. Dreams's comment does not make sense. I am signing off before I say something that does not make sense. 8)) ---Rednblu | Talk 19:14, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

and which definition of Religion is everyone using:)? Ungtss 20:38, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
For the definition I'm using, and why, please see my user page. Rednblu can't be a Martian, as there are no such beings as Martians. But there are religions, so that is not a valid analogy. Philip J. Rayment 02:05, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

POV tag by Bensaccount, 10th Feb 05 (Australian time)

Yet again, someone (Bensaccount in this case) has put an "Totally Disputed" tag on without adequate explanation of what's wrong. All he said (in the edit comment) was "Unfortunately we need this tag again. There are certain short descriptions of the participants and the external links that are POV and incorrect. Not to mention the section dedicated to Eugenie Scott.
Because that has been discussion about Scott, I will not remove the tag. But the other reasons for putting the tag have not been explained sufficiently for someone to identify them and do something about it. Bensaccount, here is your opportunity to explain those other reasons (which you should have done at the time of including the tag). Others might actually disagree with you on Scott, and if so that would leave no legitimate reason for the tag remaining. --- While I'm discussing that section, I want to mention a bit of POV editing that occurred recently. First, I wrote most of the "Participants" section, and I included the following two sentences:

  • CRS has a voting membership of about 650, and a total membership of 1700 people.
  • The National Center for Science Education ... is a membership organisation with 4000 members ...

I got both figures from their respective web-sites. Although I am a creationist, I saw no reason to dispute the latter figure, even though it was a larger number than claimed by CRS.

However, Old-copy-editor saw fit to change the first of these only to read (emphasis added):

  • CRS claims a voting membership of about 650, and a total membership of 1700 people.

Apparently a claim by a creationist group must be suspect and therefore qualified, but a similar claim by an evolutionist group is to be accepted!
I am reverting the change as I don't think he has any reason to question the CRS figure. If someone disagrees with me, at least have the courtesy to be consistent and change both sentences, please.
Philip J. Rayment 15:22, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"Evolutionist" bias

"The consensus in the scientific community is firmly against creationism". This is "evolutionist" bias; the scientific community is not firmly against creationism. Bensaccount 21:39, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"the debate is maintained by a handful of religiously motivated creationist scientists and non-scientists who utilize the mass media arenas of the internet, publishing of books and periodicals, lecture tours, staged debates, and conventions to get across their message."

This is an incomplete picture of what causes this debate. The debate is also maintained by "evolutionists", such as Julian Huxley, who think that evolution leaves no room for God or creation. Generally the people who partake in the debate on either side are people who:

  1. Use arbitrary definitions of evolution or creation.
  2. Conflate science and religion.
  3. Think that evolution and creation are a dichotomy. Bensaccount 21:33, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC) (copied from archives).

Therefore, point #1 above is central to any definition or description of the debate. Hence the section on non-standard definitions. Bensaccount 21:59, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)