Talk:Duane Gish

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Trott/Neanderthal[edit]

Okay, I've removed the whole discussion from the criticism section because the latest source used to replace Trott here does not refer at all to any claim by Gish. This edit probably resulted from a good faith effort to respond to an issue I raised earlier, but unfortunately it is way way off base to write our own criticisms of Gish here. Trott's criticism of Gish's comment about Neanderthal is sourced, but it's also lame. That's why I questioned Trott's credentials for making fact claims. (Trott seems to have been an IT student or something, not a biological anthropologist--that's one huge problem with using skeptic sources for fact claims. Many have no expertise at all; they're just hobbyists and self-appointed spokespersons for science). I raised questions why this criticism of Gish is noteworthy, in particular regarding his Neanderthal criticism because, again, it is just lame. Take the whole thing out: in the original version, it embarrasses Trott imho more than anything else. It demonstrates Gish's claim was accurate, and Trott's criticism of it was either desperately grasping straws or not written well enough to know what was wrong with what Gish said. In the second edited version, it's purely original research. In neither case is it a noteworthy criticism. I appreciate the effort to find more credible sources to use in this article. However these sources must refer directly to Gish. We cannot assemble our own evidence to offer side/by/side to make claims about Gish's accuracies or lack thereof. Professor marginalia 20:11, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Getting past the perceived problems with Trott, which were answered above right here, I did notice that there wasn't a ref mentioning that Gish had this claim. If we clear that up, can the information be reinserted? It fits quite well in the category of disputed claims, regardless of its "lameness". Baegis 20:23, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
The original statement was from talk.origins, where Trott discusses his debates with Gish. The relevant paragraph is:

Gish showed either incredible ignorance or a stunning lack of integrity when he stated that Lord Solly Zuckerman, writing in 1970 that Australopithecus was probably not an ancestor of Homo sapiens, had more or less all the evidence that we have today. The field of physical anthropology underwent a revolution in the 1970s due to new discoveries and Gish's claim is patently ridiculous. Gish also told his audience that Neanderthals are now accepted as "fully human Homo sapiens just like you and me." Of course, Neanderthals were not "just like you and me". A Neanderthal had a longer and lower skull, a larger face and larger teeth, no chin or a slight chin, and a massive brow ridge in front of a differently shaped brain, as well as a distinctive skeletal structure

I included it in the list of fallacious claims because it was referenced as one in the Trott article. I'd prefer the paragraph went back in now that the source is clarified, basically it needs to say "Claiming that Neanderthals are now accepted as modern humans of 'fully human Homo sapiens just like you and me'<ref name = Trott/> when there is still debate over whether Neanderthals are a subspecies of Homo sapiens or separate species of Homo.(Tattersall). The Tattersal reference is to show that the consensus is there is no consensus. It's not a lame criticism, it's one of the tactics used by creationists - claiming X when real scientists say Y, Z, A through J. Again, the pedigree for the reliability of the source is the oversight from talk.origins, not the person saying it; further, in this case we can cite the paper source of Rutgers, with the weblink as a link to the actual content. Some people are notable and their opinion is a reliable source for areas of their expertise - Richard Dawkins' blog is a valid source of comments regards evolution. Others are not, their reliability is from the review occurring on a different level. It's not like this is a random forum comment, talk.origins put it up on their website as a permanent, linkable page that the reviewers/webmaster found to be worth posting. Furhter, Gish himself replied to the article by Trott, meaning he acknowledged reading them. WLU 21:35, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Baegis: No. To replace Trott, we need a source which criticizes Gish as making inaccurate claims against Neanderthal scientists, or making inaccurate claims about Neanderthals. We can't find references independently to show Gish was inaccurate. We can only find refs to others who may have done so. Gish is a controversial figure. It is not our role to challenge him or support him. We simply describe who he is and how he is notable. It is also not our role to challenge or defend the accuracy of particular facts of his. This isn't a mini-Scopes trial here.
Gish is a hugely influential person. He has written some of the most influential works in creation science. His works were used in expert testimony about creation science in the court room. Some thousands, maybe millions, of people subscribe at least to some degree to some of his ideas. Those works directly challenge the overwhelming scientific consensus about biological evolution. And here in the article little of this big story is described, while instead there is an almost myopic focus on obscure particulars, such as this claim about Neanderthals, or that claim about Triceratops, etc. And most of the obscure issues, at least as presented here as isolated items listed one by one, are just Gish trivia absent a well defined context. It's missing the forest for the trees. In that sense the Neanderthal claim by Gish is a disputed claim. But not all disputed claims are notable. In Trott, the dispute is sourced, but Trott's quip makes no sense in its context. I found a publication by Gish in which it appears he is using some supposed reassignment of a Neanderthal find to homo erectus after it was dated; I don't know if this happened, or if he was criticized for claiming it did, but it reveals enough to me that the Neanderthal dispute is very convoluted--too convoluted to be put to any use here without a solid reference which has it all laid out. Basically Gish claimed scientists assigned the Homo erectus based on assumptions based on its age, not its morphology. Well, scientists certainly do do this to a large extent. Gish claimed Neanderthal was human--again, at a time when maybe most scientists agreed they were homo sapiens. There is so much of greater importance to say about Gish. But the Neanderthal thing is just too technical, too convoluted, highly obscure as well as pretty outdated now, to convey anything meaningful to readers in this article. All we have to source it is an internet republishing of an angry letter written by an IT student to a college newspaper. There is so much meaningful content available to us from solid sources. This acute focus on listing some of these minor bits just isn't worth the effort. If this were a meaningful issue, we'd have sources which describe the dispute far better than Trott did. Professor marginalia 22:14, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
WLU-you are putting a different "twist" on Gish's claim than Trott did. Gish uses scientific disagreements as PR, he uses scientific agreement as PR, whatever suits his purposes. Believe me, I'm not defending Gish at all but what I read of his on this at the ICR was a completely different "twist" on it than either yours or Trott's. I could challenge Gish on this as well, but on completely different grounds than either you or Trott. Gish ignores the fact that scientists wrestle with understanding fossil remains in the context of a "body" of other evidence. Not that many fossils are interpretable as completely "stand alone" entities all by themselves. Gish wants to make hay of this for PR purposes. He does that kind of thing. But unless I publish my criticism of Gish, we don't get to use it here. And neither can you use your analysis here. The fact that we now have three completely different "analyses" of the same Gish claim, yours, mine, and Trott's, none of it described very well in a good source, shows that this is too complicated and too convoluted for this article. Trott thinks he's just wrong, where what he said was accurate. You say Gish has pretended there was consensus about Neanderthal being a homo sapiens when there wasn't--and that's reading a whole lot more into what Gish said or meant to imply than our one source gave us. Why are we hunting up scraps like this for the article anyway? Professor marginalia 22:14, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
I think Trott's comment is prima facie a criticism, plus it's embedded in a paragraph criticizing Gish for his scientific errors. I can't see Trott's comment any other way. Gish isn't proclaiming on scientists disagreeing over Neanderthals, he's portraying it as a closed case, indicating that he's wrong about the scientific consensus. Which is what the section is about. In the paragraph cited above, Gish said something. It's wrong. Trott criticizes him for it. How is that not summarized by "Claiming that Neanderthals are now accepted as modern humans of 'fully human Homo sapiens just like you and me.') when there is still debate over whether Neanderthals are a subspecies of Homo sapiens or separate species of Homo"? Further, the Tattersall reference dates to the exact same year as Trott's on-line publication, indicating that even five years later, there's still disagreement. What do you see Trott as saying, and how is the Tattersall article not supporting him? I very carefully picked my words to try to summarize Trott's post as accurately as possible. Trott's reference is criticizing Gish for making inaccurate claims about Neanderthals, using Gish's own words ('fully human Homo sapiens just like you and me.') Our job isn't to see who is wrong or not, it's to add sourced information. The Neanderthal claim is sourced. Trott cites Gish as claiming Neanderthals were the same as us. He then says they weren't. Tattersall backs him up, even though it's not really needed. We're supplying a whole bunch of trees, in addition to a statement about the forest. Works for me. WLU 21:08, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
WLU, I just don't see how it's possible to read this position in Trott. It isn't "prima facie" a criticism that Gish pretends there is consensus where none exists. Why is Trott going on about the brow ridges etc? Trott is much more emphatic than Gish is, so much I'm more inclined to think Trott was exaggerating consensus. But Trott wasn't saying Gish pretended consensus. He said Gish pretended "Neanderthals were human, just like you or me". Those brow ridges and larger teeth have nothing whatsoever to do with whether consensus exists. Everybody knew Neanderthal had those morphological differences--even those who argued it belonged to homo sapiens. Why would Trott list examples of apples to support a claim about oranges? Please review WP:SYN. We absolutely cannot use Tattersall--it's a textbook violation of WP:SYN.
I'm offering this as a bit of context only, not that any of it can be used in fact claims in the article. Gish's creation science departs widely from biological evolution in a myriad of ways. Some of the most significant are: Gish doesn't accept speciation, he doesn't accept the mechanism of natural selection or shared common ancestory between different types of organisms, he doesn't accept the possibility of ambiogenesis, he doesn't accept that b. evol is a testable theory, he doesn't accept that science limit itself to natural explanations, and he rejects any interpretations of fossil evidence which are suggestive of "transitional" ancestors. Those are some of the big ones that really set Gish at odds with mainstream science. His comment about Neanderthals, whatever it was since there is no agreement what he meant by it, is far too picayune to bother with anyway. I've had a lay interest in following developments in paleoanthropology for decades. Claiming that "neanderthal are fully human" is just not that controversial a claim, not at the time he said it or now, and it doesn't enter at all in the territory where creation science deviates from biological evolution. There are probably dozens of other examples of Gish whoppers that do illustrate this difference between creation science and biological evolution. Neanderthal doesn't. Even among mainstream anthropologists in universities today you will find some emphasizing their similarities to modern humans, and others emphasizing their differences with modern humans. You will find the claim made in science textbooks, in science museums, etc. It's just not a creation science issue or dispute. It's a noteworthy mention in the context of the current academic disagreements about where neanderthals should be classified, but not in the context of the evolution vs creation science debate. Let's find some better examples that are actually notable in the context of Gish and creation science. There are many better examples than this one given by Trott himself. Professor marginalia 22:22, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

<undent>I don't really see any way of reconciling this. I think it's worth a mention, and not a synthesis. We don't have other criticisms right now, and the page isn't huge, so there's room. RFC? WLU 21:52, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Neanderthal summary[edit]

OK, I'm looking back through the posts. The objections to the paragraph seem to include the following. I've included my own rebuttal to each point.

1. Trott does not refer to any claim by Gish

  • "Gish also told his audience that Neanderthals are now accepted as "fully human Homo sapiens just like you and me." [1]

2. We are criticizing Gish, but Trott is not

  • "Gish showed either incredible ignorance or a stunning lack of integrity when...Gish also told his audience..."[2] - despite the big section in between, I think Trott is clearly criticizing Gish.

3. Trott's claim is sourced

  • Which is why it is eligible for inclusion on the page

4. Trott's claim is lame

  • Subjective, I disagree, I think it ably demonstrates how Gish's claims are incorrect

5. Trott doesn't have the credentials or expertise to criticize Gish

  • Review, which is the requirement for a reliable source, comes from the post being on the TalkOrigins Archive, an award-winning website which very ably demonstrates both the mainstream scientific consensus on evolution and biology, and explicitly makes a point of exploring and illustrating the flaws of creationism and all its incarnations

6. The criticism/claim isn't noteworthy (because it's lame)

  • As above

7. It embarasses Trott

  • Irrelevant, subjective, and I disagree

8. It demonstrates Gish's claim is actually accurate

  • I wholy disagree, and the Tattersall reference seems to back me up

9. Trott didn't know what Gish was saying

  • Trott quotes Gish, then lists differences between H. sapiens and H. neand. that show their differences and why the scientific community disagrees. Tattersall supports the disagreement

10. It's OR

  • Trott clearly (to me) is the one criticizing Gish, the removed sentence summarizes this accurately

11. The sources don't refer to Gish

  • Trott does, though Tattersall does not

12. We need a source that criticizes Gish for making inaccurate claims against Neanderthals

  • Trott does exactly this

13. It isn't our job to challenge or defend Gish

  • True, it's Trott's 'job' to do so, and ours is to report it

14. Gish is 'too big' for these little criticisms

  • Irrelevant

15. Gish challenges the scientific consensus, so focussing on specific claims where his challenges are inaccurate is too obscure

  • Here is one example where Gish makes a statement about the scientific consensus, and is wrong

16. Gish's claim is indeed disputed, but it's not notable

  • I'd say given the length of the article, the section is fine - it's a short aritcle and the section is hardly over-long

17. The Neanderthal dispute is too complicated to discuss

  • As portrayed in Trott and Tattersall, it's a very simple, accurate criticism that does not need expansion

18. Based on a different reference, Gish criticized the classification of Neanderthals as H. erectus

  • I'd have to see the reference, and Trott doesn't really go into this - his citation is of Gish clearly saying that Neanderthals = H. sapiens

19. There's too many important things about Gish that aren't said

  • Great, let's add them if we can find them, but like WP:WAX, we can only judge the point based on the current contents of the article, which could use expanding with any reliably sourced information

20. The Neanderthal point is too technical and outdated to convey anything meaningful

  • The point is that Gish makes claims that are inaccurate; at the time of the Rutgers debate, Gish was clearly wrong

21. Trott's article is an angry letter written by Trott and published in a college newspaper

  • Newspapers, even student newspapers, are reliable sources for some things; and the true source and oversight for this is TOA - that's where the real reliability of the source comes from.

Have I missed any? Have I misunderstood anything? Do we need to discuss specific points? Have we reached a deadlock in which we agree that we're disagreeing and should therefore take this to a RFC? WLU 21:47, 6 November 2007 (UTC)


Well, how is this not overkill trying to find some agreement on Trott's three little sentences on the subject? Put away the combat boots. These are the key questions.
  • Can you use Tattersall? Absolutely not. It's WP:SYN.
  • Does Trott criticize Gish for pretending there is consensus when there is scientific disagreement? No. He does not. He criticizes Gish for claiming Neanderthals were "fully human", and failing to acknowledge neanderthal's brow ridges and different shaped cranium.
  • Is this criticism noteworthy? I fail to see how. It has nothing whatsoever to do with scientific criticism of creation science. Trott's text is ambiguous enough that we don't even interpret it in the same way, and nowhere else, including from the court where Gish's creation science was used in evidence, nor in any scientific rebuttals that I've seen, has any other source but Trott been produced to show criticism of Gish for this. And Gish talks often about Neanderthals, not just once at this single presentation at Rutgers. Gish's criticized all over the place for scientific errors he makes-but nowhere else have we found Gish criticized for claiming they're "fully human".Professor marginalia 22:44, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I found your above posts confusing, so I broke them down. I'm guilty of long posts too, and sometimes can't figure out what I was trying to say in a week-old post. Anyway, not a synth to use Tattersall, perhaps the wording could be adjusted but Trott is clearly showing Gish making an erroneous claim, I think it's noteworthy. Since we don't have other sources or criticisms, why not use this one? Baegis? RFC? WLU 21:52, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
Despite changing scientific opinion regarding the classification of Neandertals (as direct human ancestors or as cousins of modern humans, as Homo Neandertalensis or as Homo Sapiens Neandertalensis), Neandertals have always (during Gish's lifetime, at least) been regarded as "human" but never as "fully human Homo sapiens just like you and me". This claim by Gish would have been regarded as erroneous regardless of when he made it: at no time in Gish's life would such a claim have been regarded as accurate. --Robert Stevens 23:45, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, been busy. Anywho, I am in agreement with both WLU and Robert Stevens on the matter at hand. It is an erroneous claim, as expounded on by RS, so it would belong in the current section. Even though Marginalia does make a point there are a good number of other things Gish may have said that are certainly of greater importance, we have to work with what we have. And as of right now, we have this specific claim made by Gish and the rebuttal to it backed up by two different sources. I am all for adding more to the claims section, but we shouldn't be in the business of eliminating claims because they lack importance. Don't forget Marginalia, a good deal of Gish's claims may never be heard or responded to because many people in the evolutionary fields do not enjoy debating or breaking down creationists claims. And please do not take this to an RFC. I think the whole RFC process is a great idea but when it is executed it turns out to be less that helpful. More of a headache than anything else, especially considering the sensitivity of the issues surrounding creationism and evolution (as evidenced by the somewhat recent FAR on intelligent design.) Baegis 01:31, 8 November 2007 (UTC)


This is Tattersall in 1999: "Thus, although many students of human evolution have lately begun to look favorably on the view that these distinctive hominids merit species recognition in their own right as Homo neanderthalensis (e.g., refs. 4 and 5), at least as many still regard them as no more than a strange variant of our own species, Homo sapiens (6, 7)." Tattersall cites two arguments for giving neanderthal its own species, both published 1996. The first, again by Tattersall, says "Our ongoing studies indicate that the Neanderthals differ from modern humans in their skeletal anatomy in more ways than have been recognized up to now". Gish's presentation was given in 1994. Gish reportedly said they are accepted as "fully human Homo sapiens just like you and me". Gish's gig is that man did not evolve from other species; he accepts evolutionary change or variation within species. To make his point, he would be inclined to emphasize that Neanderthal was in the same species as us, not that they are indistinguishable from us. As Tattersall admits, even 5 years after Gish's presentation, half of anthropologists agreed Neanderthal was just as much a "homo sapiens" as we are. With Gish, this is such a minor hair-splitting criticism that doesn't amount to much. I'm working on pulling together more content for the article, and one example that comes immediately to mind, which is a thousand times better than this one, is Gish's misuse of Eldredge and Gould's punctuated equilibrium theory as supposed confirmation there are no transitional forms found anywhere in the fossil record. Gould lambasted Gish over this, and it's a very well-known, very notable criticism. Professor marginalia 01:34, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
On the RFC: There's no need for any RFC if you want to restore the criticism as it was initially, before it was edited with a new interpretation and an unallowed WP:SYN ref to source it. I didn't revert the original version - I thought it was a silly example and argued for better content in its place, but it was accurate to the source. The newer version I reverted had an unsupported claim. If Tattersall is going to be used to support that version it needs an RFC because I am positive it violates WP:SYN. Quoting the policy, such a claim cannot be sourced by Tattersall unless he had "published this argument in relation to the topic of the article", and clearly he did not. Neither Gish nor creation science were addressed at all in Tattersall, let alone expressing any criticism of either. Professor marginalia 01:43, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

<undent>So consensus seems to be that the Neanderthal criticism is OK, and I'm willing to let the criticism stand with just Trott's wording. No RFC needed. I'll replace the content without Tattersall. Hair-splitting criticism that it is, it's still a valid criticism. PM, if you've got other criticisms of Gish lying or being clueless to the evidence, please add them with sources. If the page gets of such length that it requires trimming, then we can revisit this. WLU 14:46, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks WLU. I restored it to the original version, since Trott didn't expressly say anything about divided consensus opinion. We just have to take extra care "not 'go beyond' what is expressed in the sources", as WP:NOR puts it. Professor marginalia 16:12, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Sure. I adjusted to a summary style 'cause a long quotation is unnecessary. Do you have those sources for the other criticisms of Gish? WLU 16:18, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that's better.Professor marginalia 17:32, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Criticisms[edit]

I have several sources of noteworthy criticism we can work with. This from Gould asserts that Gish's own words rhetorically discredit Gish's own claim to science, ie Gish's own words show there isn't any "science" at all in "creation science". [3] That ref also lambasts creation scientists for misapplying punct. equil. theory, unfortunately it's not so direct a criticism against Gish himself for this. I'll keep looking for a stronger example. This one is very close to the first Gould link: [4] Massimo Pigliucci's book, "Denying Evolution" has many of criticisms of Gish, including the same criticism that Gould has: that according to Gish's definitions, creation science is not science. He criticises Gish for trying to disprove evolution with physics, for Gish's attack against evolutionary biology for its failure to giving a central position to philosophical-theological concerns while of course those concerns don't lend themselves to empirical inquiry in the first place. He criticizes Gish for claiming evolutionary biology is not a science any more than creationism is. Massimo alludes to the fact that Gish has or had his critics even within ICR who rejected Gish's use of outmoded physics (ie pre-Einsteinian concepts such as the theory of "ether"). The trick in picking criticisms of Massimo, just like Trott or anyone else, is choosing the best examples to exemplify the best key points. That's why I'm much more concerned at this point with improving the article overall so it actually describes well Gish's most notable concepts--then the criticisms will have some meaningful context. (Gish isn't a noteworthy target of criticism because he goofs up some of the science factoids he uses. What's really the point with his most significant critics is Gish's affinity for distorting the scientific evidence purely to supplant real science with religious ideas, his propensity to completely ignore any scientific evidence or argument that doesn't fit the religious agenda, and the rhetorical tricks he uses to "dazzle" and confuse converts to his theory.) More later. Professor marginalia 17:32, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

The SJG link would be the best to start with, he's definitely notable and a RS. We do have to be aware of WP:BLP, but I don't see any problem with it on my brief skim. The book I can't say 'cause I don't have it, and I can't access the first link. WLU 18:30, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Just a quick off-topic note. I've archived everything prior to the current round of discussions. Yeshuamyking7 03:40, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
You should either have started a new archive entry in the archive box, or changed the date. I changed the date. You probably could have thrown in the Neanderthal/Trott debate too, since it looks like we've come to an agreement. Still, a good idea. WLU 12:56, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, WLU. I didn't think about the date change when I copied everything in. Yeshuamyking7 18:20, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
My first attempt at archiving was reverted and universally condemned, so one small error isn't too bad :P
I don't have a policy to quote (check WP:ARCHIVE for clarity), but I think it is more standard to start a second archive page rather than add to the first. That's what I usually see, but that doesn't mean its the only answer. WLU 19:58, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

"Errors"[edit]

Flatly calling someone's position an error is inherently a violation of NPOV. Wikipedia is supposed to describe debates, not enter into them. GusChiggins21 (talk) 01:56, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

It's a fair point that "error" doesn't cover the possibility that it's a blatant lie, so I've changed the wording to "incorrect statements", in full accordance with WP:WEIGHT and WP:NPOV/FAQ. .. dave souza, talk 12:20, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Still entering the debate. Policy is clear that we aren't supposed to take sides in a debate, and calling someone's position incorrect violates this. GusChiggins21 (talk) 00:06, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
We aren't calling them incorrect, the sources are doing so. My question to you is, away from this current problem, what would you call a position that someone constantly pushes, over and over, that has been proven to be untrue? Baegis (talk) 02:08, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The talk origins one used (11) actually makes various use of the word false. "Gish preached falsehoods", "promulgated falsehoods", and other uses. We could use that term and still be completely within bounds. I think incorrect is much more neutral. Baegis (talk) 02:12, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Can we write that the theory of evolution caused Hitler and teen pregnancy? Because I'm sure we could find sources that say that. Writing what a partisan source says as a fact in an encyclopedia article is entering the debate, and it violates NPOV. It's black and white, you simply can't do it. GusChiggins21 (talk) 05:41, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
No - of course not. I have problems with this area of the article, though for quite different reasons than you. I think this section gets lost in examples, whereas the real story is given by scientists and other critics who have engaged in dialog with Gish and witnessed the dynamic, as he tunes out or "changes his story" when encountering any evidence which pops his pre-set thesis. The criticism isn't that he's wrong, the noteworthy criticism (what makes what he does not science, according to scientists) is that he's not willing to accept scientific evidence that doesn't confirm his conclusion. Critics say this out-right-it would be better to use that as cites, I think. I don't agree that the tete-a-tete about who-said-what about Monoclonius and Protoceratops is contributing much to the point, at least not in the section as its presently worded. Professor marginalia (talk) 06:27, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Talkorigins is not a partisan source. Gus, you have already tried the community's patience and received a one week and then a two week block. Why do you want to keep doing these things? Baegis (talk) 06:30, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Baegis, your dishonesty and double standards on this is embarrassing for you. I am no Duane Gish fan, but your approach on this matter is very discouraging. You are a let down for the standards on this site. MephiME — Preceding unsigned comment added by 159.53.78.142 (talk) 18:09, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
The source is a debate with Gish, for Pete's sake. Of course it's partisan. I can't even believe you're arguing that it isn't. GusChiggins21 (talk) 06:42, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
This is the "criticisms" section we're speaking of, right? Critics aren't required to be "nonpartisan". Professor marginalia (talk) 06:54, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, this source in no way fits the definition of "reliable sources" per policy. It's biased, not peer reviewed, it's a debate for crying out loud. So, it shouldn't be used as a source, and the statement it supports should be changed. GusChiggins21 (talk) 07:14, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. I think it would be more on point to say something like "people that debate Gish say that he ignores evidence that contradicts his position". But we can't just declare "Gish ignores evidence that contradicts his position". GusChiggins21 (talk) 06:40, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The section in question doesn't say that, and shouldn't. The gobble-de-gook with examples is getting us bogged down about whether or not "triceratops has no precursors" is "an error", "a lie" or what have you, and getting off point--which is, of course, Gish, not triceratops. Professor marginalia (talk) 06:54, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
That's the point; there is no right answer, and wikipedia shouldn't be deciding, or attempting to decide if someone's view is in error. And we sure as shit shouldn't be doing it based on an article originally titled "lying for Jesus". That's the whole reason we have NPOV. GusChiggins21 (talk) 07:16, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
On the contrary: there IS a right answer. "Triceratops did have precursors" is the right answer. It meets all the necessary criteria for a "right answer": it is a general prediction of an extremely well-supported scientific principle (how could Triceratops NOT have precursors?), and is specifically supported by the fossil record, and we have a reliable source that says so. The contrary claim is a creationist lie/falsehood/error/whatever. When a creationist claims that a specific transitional fossil does not exist, but fossils with all the necessary charactristics DO in fact exist: the creationist is clearly and demonstrably wrong. --Robert Stevens (talk) 09:46, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
You could argue that the theory of evolution is overwhemingly supported by evidence, and scientists. But when you argue that one explanation of a past event is demonstrably correct, you are getting outside of the realm of the scientific method. Whether a certain extinct species was preceded by another one is an evidentiary question, and thus cannot be subject to the scientific method. You cannot re-create the conditions and do an experiment, and thus it becomes a question of history, in which competing claims are decided based on the merits of their evidence. GusChiggins21 (talk) 20:38, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

GusChiggins, you've misunderstood my point. Besides, it's not good form to edit the section while the RFC is in process, and you really don't want to edit war-that's not how to resolve this. I think the RFC needs to be pulled down at this point. It's not written neutrally enough, and it's full of debate among editors whose opinions are already given on the talk page. That's not how to do an RFC. Professor marginalia (talk) 14:25, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Alright, I'll take it down, and we'll put another one up in a few days. GusChiggins21 (talk) 20:36, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Can we just flat-out call someone's views "incorrect" in an article about a controversial subject?[edit]

See the section on "Disputed Claims made by Gish". This seems to violate NPOV. Maybe we could say that scientists dispute some of the claims he has made, but calling them incorrect seem to be entering the debate. GusChiggins21 (talk) 05:48, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Read the sources. Using the word incorrect is much better than "falsehood" as the source actually uses. Baegis (talk) 06:30, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
So, you're saying that anything that a source says can be put into a wikipedia article, stated as a fact? GusChiggins21 (talk) 06:36, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
That's not what I said, clearly you should try to apply AGF. This is not just any source, it is a reliable source. This is a point that you can't argue. You may hate the source, but that is indifferent. It has been judged by the community to be a reliable source. That being said, I am unclear whether this frivolous RfC is about you not liking the source or because you don't like the term. Would you please clarify? Baegis (talk) 06:42, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
So, to clarify what you're saying: an article can state something as fact if it has been stated by someone "reliable" in a debate? GusChiggins21 (talk) 07:08, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
See NPOV: Pseudoscience, NPOV: Undue weight, NPOV: Making necessary assumptions and NPOV: Giving "equal validity". .. dave souza, talk 08:31, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Can you please be more specific? Are you agreeing that this violates those policies? GusChiggins21 (talk) 09:03, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Your edits have given undue credence to the pseudoscientific claims, against the overwhelming majority of expert opinion on the subject. We don't have to rehash the evolution debate here, and should not give equal validity to the anti-evolution position. Do you have a problem with that? .. dave souza, talk 09:50, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
So, to clarify, it is giving undue weight to the creation position to do anything other than flatly call it wrong? GusChiggins21 (talk) 20:30, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
If the "creation position" is flatly wrong, what else? Got any budgies with teeth? ... dave souza, talk 20:50, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
That's the whole point of NPOV! You can't flat-out call someone's position wrong because you believe it's wrong. I think Duane Gish's position is wrong, but that doesn't mean I can state it as a fact in an encyclopedia article. I'm not sure what you even mean about budgies(?) with teeth. GusChiggins21 (talk) 21:06, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
What perhaps is happening here is that we have two sides that aren't reading this passage the same way, and I admit I'm confused myself what this dispute is about. Are you saying that Gish's claims can't be characterized as incorrect? Regardless of what they were? Or are you saying that we can't say that triceratops had precursors? It sounds like the former, but since this is a criticism section don't we want to say the what he's being criticized for there? Now it says he's criticized for being incorrect in the claim, as opposed to other reasons he might be criticized for making a claim. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:46, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The issue is characterizing someone's position as incorrect, based on a terribly biased source from a debate. GusChiggins21 (talk) 01:39, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

(undent)If this is seriously your argument, I would strongly advise against bringing up another RfC on this article. It would be viewed as even more frivolous than the previous one. Baegis (talk) 04:04, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

You were the only person that called it frivolous! Calling a request for comment "frivolous" is definitely uncivil, and claiming that other people agreed is dishonest. You're defending flatly calling an expert's opinion "wrong", based on a debate, whose original title was "lying for Jesus". Honestly, is there nothing about this that strikes you as slightly intellectually dishonest? It's exactly this type of behavior that causes people to listen when the fundies claim they're being persecuted. Do you know that wikipedia is getting media coverage because of the bias on ID and creation pages? GusChiggins21 (talk) 11:30, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Gish has made claims, for more than 20 years, which the scientific consensus states are incorrect. 'Disputed' is a more neutral term than 'wrong', though 'wrong' would be more accurate. Gish has made claims. They have been refuted for years.
  1. Gish said there were no triceratops precursors. There are two precursors, at minimum.
  2. Gish has claimed there are no transitional forms. There are. Archaeopteryx is one.
  3. The 2nd law. It doesn't apply to the earth due to energy input form the sun. Yet it's still used by gish to object to evolution.
What would you prefer the section were called? The consensus from other editors is that it is an appropriate title because Gish's claims are contested by real scientists. If you believe you have a better title, please suggest it. I would say it is not a violation of NPOV to say his claims are disputed. Should we call Lamarckian evolution an alternative theory? Is it NPOV to state that it's wrong or rejected? All creationist claims have been rejected, all misrepresentations of the evidence has been pointed out as flawed. Disputed is charitable, when rejected or incorrect would be better. It is not a violation of NPOV to call something wrong, when it's wrong, or rejected, when it's rejected. Newtonian physics has been rejected, the vapours theory of disease has been rejected, and it's not NPOV to point this out. I don't see the NPOV violation merely because creationism is scientifically rejected while still getting popular and political attention.
I don't see the relevance of external media coverage related to ID/creationism, though that itself would be an interesting wikipedia page. WLU (talk) 13:59, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with calling his claims disputed. The problem is when you take a view that a majority of scientists support, and call it a fact. Scientific consensus is not fact, and it never has been. It is merely scientific consensus. So you can say that someone's views contradict scientific consensus, but you can't say that they are wrong; that's entering the debate. Furthermore, questions about whether or not there were precursors are, by definition, outside of the realm of the scientific method. Someone who disputes gravity can be shown to be wrong by doing a simple experiment, but the same can't be done for taxonomy and history of evolution.

You can say that most scientists think he's wrong, or cite evidence that contradicts his position, but you can't flatly call it wrong, any more than you can call 9/11 conspiracy theorists wrong, even though everyone knows they are wrong, because there are a few people that support that view. The examples you gave are all theories that have no support whatsoever today. And no, creationist theories are NOT "rejected". A plurality of Americans supports young earth creationism, compared to approximately 10% that support evolution by natural selection. Also, we're using a ridiculously biased source to make all of these statements.

It's a major problem on the whole ID project; we're entering the debate, calling people creationists who don't consider themselves such, saying evolution is a demonstrable fact, calling people pseudoscientists, etc. Instead, we should be describing the state of the debate, showing that scientists overwhemingly support evolution, but that there are a few experts who disagree, and a whole lot of non-scientists that disagree. Our inability to do this has spawned conservapedia, and a whole lot of criticism, and I only expect it to get worse. GusChiggins21 (talk) 14:14, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Gus, from your viewpoint it's a major problem with reality, calling people creationists when courts find that they're creationists, and calling it incorrect when the noted Mr Gish states, for example, that Archaeopteryx had "a skull totally birdlike". Birds don't have teeth. Except, perhaps, in the creationist "worldview". Which WP is not here to share. .. dave souza, talk 14:31, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Bottom line: the issue isn't settled. Evolution by natural selection enjoys almost no support outside of academia in the US and the Muslim world, and you want to write an article that supports your beliefs about evolution. It's called bias, and just because "experts" support your bias, doesn't mean that biased view becomes reality. It's very simple; you describe the debate, instead of finding sources that support your view, and using them to "prove" that view. Instead of saying "Duane Gish is wrong about the fossil record" you write "Duane Gish has made disputed claims about the fossil record". You can even say that his view is very marginalized, and not taken seriously in the scientific community. You can cite evidence that contradicts him. But you also have to keep in mind that all of those "facts" are disputed by creationists, and even by a few non-creationists. That's the problem with matter-of-factly calling someone wrong on a disputed subject. It's blatantly obvious that the article is biased, and it needs to describe the debate, instead of attempting to settle it. So, there are two options here. 1. You don't understand bias 2. You do understand bias, and you think it's okay to write articles that support your bias, which means you need to learn about ethics and intellectual integrity. Which is it?GusChiggins21 (talk) 16:05, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
There are better sources available which more fully describe this very dispute-which unfolds over many years. (Recalling from memory): Gish at first surprised scientists with what seemed to be his "ignorance" of the fossil record. So when he said 'no precursors have been found for triceratops in the fossil record', offering at the same time a description of what kinds of features such a precursor would have to have, scientists were scratching their heads how Gish could be unaware that fossil forms which aligned with that very description had been known for something like 50 years. So in the early days engaging with Gish, scientists shared the relevant information with him-yet in subsequent public declarations, Gish continued to deny their existence, as if he did not know otherwise. He wasn't disputing them, he was ignoring them. In later head-to-heads over this, he'd offer various other rationales for dismissing the fossil forms. He'd claim that they couldn't be a precursor because they were found in the same temporal strata with triceratops-an unsupported claim made by a man who doesn't himself generally defer to evidence from stratigraphy anyway. And he also later would diminish the significance of those fossils by denying they had the necessary precursor characteristics, basically deviating from specific criteria he himself laid down in his earlier arguments to emphasize features those fossils didn't have and ignoring those they did. Gish, who has no real education or research background in paleontology, was not contesting the fossils with the tools or evidence of a scientist, but with oratorical sophistry. That's really why he's so hotly criticized, not because he's "incorrect" about things, but because those on the other side were becoming convinced of disingenuousness on his part. I will dig up the sources. Professor marginalia (talk) 17:15, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Trouble is, truthful creationist evidence is as rare as hen's teeth ;) ... dave souza, talk 17:24, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Gus - consensus is against you. That pretty much settles it as far as wikipedia is concerned. Further discussion is just debating, and that's not what talk pages or wikipedia is for. Can we please stop discussing it? What creationists, who use a non-scientific approach, have to say about science and biology, is irrelevant except to point out that they're wrong. Creationists are not reliable sources. WLU (talk) 18:48, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
That's viewpoint discrimination. Creationists are not reliable sources only because they don't support evolution by natural selection. Furthermore, wikipedia is not decided by votes, so you can't just say "there's more people that agree with the way it's written" and that settles it.

<undent>Here's a question - the page does not say that Gish is wrong, it points out where science disagrees with his claims. This is exactly the position that you appear to be arguing for Gus. So why are we talking about this? Your objections are no longer about Gish, they're extending to evolution itself, and bringing in conservapedia is irrelevant. By your own rational, there does not seem to be a reason to have this discussion, or change the page. If you have problems with the way evolution is presented on wikipedia, take your comments there, this page is about Gish. And if you do decide to debate evolution on wikipedia, then don't. This is the place to report, not debate. And if still, you think it's necessary to discuss, note that public opinion doesn't determine the scientific consensus, truth, or scientific theories. Testing and evidence does. So this point is a red herring no matter where you go. WLU (talk) 18:57, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Do not mis-characterize what I said. I never said I had a problem with evolution, I said I have a problem with flatly declaring the creationist position to be wrong. The page DOES say that he is wrong. "Gish has made incorrect statements about the fossil record". That's entering the debate; it should read "Gish has made statements about the fossil record that are disputed by the scientific community" or "...that are considered wrong by most scientists" although the second one constitutes a claim of consensus, and would need a specific poll of scientists regarding Gish's beliefs. Furthermore, scientific consensus does not determine truth, either. Scientific consensus has been wrong, many times, so we can't rely solely on consensus as the way to determine truth. We should state that a view has the support of scientists, and not synthesize and state that the view is true. GusChiggins21 (talk) 22:27, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
The statement you're arguing about is not flatly declaring the creationist position to be wrong, it is a statement that Gish has made incorrect statements in arguing for his creationist position. Got any hen's teeth to argue otherwise? .. dave souza, talk 22:43, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Gus, regards this particular item, I am officially shunning you. If you end up producing any comments worth responding to, I'll do so. Otherwise, consider this notice that I don't think you have a case. WLU (talk) 02:29, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
If you're going to shun people just because you don't like what they're saying, that's fine. But I also expect you'll recuse yourself from editing, in accordance with policy regarding consensus. GusChiggins21 (talk) 05:58, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
You're calling him wrong, and you're using a circular argument to do it. Gish disputes the theory of evolution, citing the lack of transitional fossils for triceratops. Since triceratops actually evolved, it has transitional fossils, and therefore Gish is wrong. It is not logically possible for someone to be proven wrong in their view about transitional fossis, because there is no way to prove if a fossil really was a transitional form. Exactly what would the bone structure of the fossil look like if it evolved into a triceratops, vs. if God created it on day 4, or if the alien Xenu spawned the dinosaurs in a cloning vat? It's the same tautology present in the "we share X% of our DNA with chimps"? Well how the hell much would we share if God created us? Only 90%? It's outside of the realm of the scientific method, thus its impossible to say that someone's opinion is proven wrong. GusChiggins21 (talk) 05:47, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Gus, that's tendentious casuistry to the point of disruptive editing. When Gish states, for example, that Archaeopteryx had "a skull totally birdlike" he is incorrect. Birds don't have teeth. WP is fact based, not fantasy based. .. dave souza, talk 08:53, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

You clearly don't even understand what I said, or you wouldn't have made a second circular argument. You let me know when you have a logically sound response to the fact that the whole criticism section is biased, poorly sourced material about a living person, and isn't even logically sound. GusChiggins21 (talk) 10:22, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

<outdent> GusChiggins-I think that in some ways the section is just vague enough that as a consequence readers may be reading completely different arguments in it. The following is a quote from Gish:

Here's the "phylogentic tree", what's called the "phylogenetic tree of dinosaurs", the idea of some evolutionists of how dinosaurs are related. And they start with one particular dinosaur, and then they branch out into the various kinds of dinosaurs, the plated dinosaurs, the horned dinosaurs, the duckbilled dinosaurs, the big plant eaters and all of that. Now, if this were truly...if they really truly had an evolutionary tree of dinosaurs along the trunks and the branches they would have the transitional forms, the intermediate types you see, showing horns gradually evolving, showing jaws and teeth gradually changing into duck bills and all this sort of thing. That's what we must have if evolution is true. But what we have among the dinosaurs is what we see throughout the fossil record. Each one of these unique types of dinosaurs appears fully formed, right at the start. You see, there's no evidence they gradually evolved from some ordinary reptile, or from some different kind of dinosaur. And that is what we must find, you see, if evolution is true. Well, let's look at some of these different kinds of dinosaurs. We believe this is the way God made them, and that's why they do appear fully formed. Here we have triceratops. Now triceratops means "three horned face". This dinosaur had one horn above each eye, and one horn above the snout. Now he's a three horned dinosaur. Notice he has a huge bony armor sheath, now this bony armor sheath was several inches thick, protecting his neck and his flanks. Now we have different kinds of dinosaurs. There are one horned dinosaurs, there are five horned dinosaurs, there are seven horned dinosaurs, various kinds of horned dinosaurs. And if they've evolved, as evolutionists believe, we should start with some ordinary dinosaur or reptile, maybe with some kind of nobbies up there on his head, and then these nobbies finally got longer and longer through millions of years of time until we have the triceratops. Well then, if that were true, we ought to have some fossils of the intermediates, and we've never found such a thing. These three horned dinosaurs appear fully formed right from the start.

What Gish has done there is to define a necessary criteria for evolution to be true, insisting that there must be transitional forms evident in the fossil record. Then he uses triceratops as an example, delineating features he would expect the transitional forms to have. He established the criteria, and he claims, "we've never found such a thing". But Gish was either ignorant of or blind to the fact that "such a thing" as he says we would need to find has been found, many many of them. He doesn't say, "we have these but we can't know they were precursors", he simply says we have never found these "nobby" headed dinosaur forms. This is not a difference of opinion about whether fossils can be evidence of evolution. What Gish has done here is to acknowledge that such fossils would be evidence of evolution, but denies we've ever found any. That we have found such fossils is an historical fact. We do have them, it's a fact, and we can see pictures of them here in this very encyclopedia. It's justifiably an "opinion" whether scientists can prove a common lineage from the fossils, that's true. But scientists and others can prove that the fossils matching the description Gish gave have been found. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:48, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

See the criticism of Gish in this link, especially Evolution of the Ceratopsians. The chart found at top of "- page 7 -" shows the "phylogenetic tree" of triceratops showing the various horn arrangements, where we can see the nobby headed forms found so far in the fossil record.Professor marginalia (talk) 20:03, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Professor, thank you for your input. As I see it, what you're saying is that Gish was incorrect because he asserted there were no transitional forms forms triceratops, but pro-evolution scientists assert that there are several. Is that correct? If so, the problem I see is that Gish disputes that the transitional forms are really transitional forms. Do you see how calling someone "incorrect" because of a disagreement over whether certain forms are transitional is in fact a circular argument? To me, it's no different than saying "The Koran incorrectly states that Jesus didn't die on the cross" and then citing the Bible as a reference. The only thing you've really proved is that Muslims and Christians have different beliefs. GusChiggins21 (talk) 20:42, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Not quite what I'm saying. You're introducing the idea he disputes what the evidence means, or how conclusive it is, whereas he's claimed there just isn't any all, period. He's like the lone holdout juror who says, "If this is a murder, where is the gun? There would have to be a gun if this was a murder, and there is no gun! Nobody has ever found any gun!", and puts his fingers in his ears every time one of the other 11 jurors attempt to remind him of the Luger entered into evidence, as well as the dozen witnesses who testified about it. Professor marginalia (talk) 22:05, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Gus's idea of a circular argument applies well to Gish's arguments. Transitional fossils can't exist, therefore Archaeopteryx isn't a transitional species but a bird, therefore its skull is a typical bird skull. He ignores the reptilian characteristic in the skull that it has teeth. Which are as rare as hen's teeth in birds. Gish's "disagreement" is incorrect, and it's right for us to say so. We don't have to treat evolution as a "viewpoint", we can make the assumption that it's correct and don't have to give equal validity to Gish's possible delusions. .. dave souza, talk 22:22, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
He disputes that the fossils are transitional, here: [[5]]. GusChiggins21 (talk) 06:11, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, of course to some extent, Gish's argument is circular, but that's the point. Both of the arguments are necessarily circular (because they rely on the presupposition of whether evolution occurred), so one can't be declared incorrect on the basis of the other. If you see the above source, however, he argues that there aren't even any paleontologists that consider one of the cited transitionals to be an ancestor of triceratops. GusChiggins21 (talk) 06:11, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Back on point[edit]

This is increasingly off-topic, if you would to continue this further, please see User talk:GusChiggins21.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

We're arguing too much about theories, and while that's important for improving the whole ID project, I'd like to talk about the wording of the article. I have several proposals. 1. Could we change the criticism section to cite the "incorrect" statement to a specific source? 2. Or, could we present Gish's arguments from the debate, and then present the criticisms of those arguments? Right now we only present the criticisms without presenting the arguments that drew the criticisms. 3. Could we just remove the word "incorrect", because its only source is a debate? GusChiggins21 (talk) 06:16, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

The article as a whole can be improved – at present it's rather vague, and under represents majority scientific opinion about Gish's claims and debating techniques. Setting out Gish's arguments and the detailed responses could have value, though of course we have to be concise and can't examine every possible argument in detail. There are several sources pointing to errors of fact, or deliberate misrepresentation, in Gish's presentations and writings. The former are, of course, debates, which seems to be his preferred mode presentation, and more needs to be said about the staging of these debates. By the way, Gish is YEC and not ID, though of course sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. .. dave souza, talk 11:04, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the section works because it fails to convey very well the true nature of the disputes against this very controversial figure. The examples don't do the job because a reader with no familiarity with fossil evidence won't "get it". One of the most notable criticisms scientists have with Gish is that he delivered streams of totally claptrap claims to great effect. These presentations were almost always "canned", supported by the complete catalog of logical fallacies, before large audiences that don't have the rudimentary understanding of evolution to recognize what he's done. What scientists have faced in challenging Gish's examples is that they first have to lay out the basics so the audience can follow the discussion. What is the fossil record? What can it tell us? What is a "transitional form"? What forms have we found? What do they look like? How were they dated? How are they assigned on the phylogenetic tree? How come there are gaps? In what's been nicknamed the "Gish Gallop", Gish is described as unleashing not one or two false claims in a single presentation, but scores of them, and each one not only requiring a direct answer in terms of the fossils which have been found, but a virtual "re-education" effort to undue all the false logic and false tests each claim is packaged with. What this section does is to grievously oversimplify the dispute, reducing Gish's claims to the level of a difference of opinion about certain fossils, which is how Gish would like the dispute framed but is not how his challengers saw it at all.Professor marginalia (talk) 17:19, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
By 'criticisms' section, do you mean Disputed claims? If so, every single statement cited below that section title has a footnote attached to it. We could repeat every single footnote after the word incorrect, but I don't see it as necessary. And every line presents what Gish says, then why it is not supported by the scientific consensus. Bullshit! lacks an in-line citation, but the source is there (and if needed, there is a citation template for TV shows). Also, the Debates section talks about the 'Gish Gallop', sourced only to Eugenie Scott as those were the only reliable sources I could track down (assuming it was me, I seem to remember doing so but can't say for sure). The word 'incorrect' is accurate - he happened to make the statements in a debate, but the claims are sourced, as is Gish's rebuttal, and the rebuttal of the rebuttal. He made the claims and there is a source saying they are wrong. Also, the thermodynamics believe is sourced to Gish's own writings. Where he made the statements is not really important - he made them and there's a source. WLU (talk) 17:37, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Now that I think about it, this is really a waste of time. This article reflects the bias of the community here, and there's no way it will change. There are at least a dozen people (and probably a legion of sockpuppets that can be summoned), supported by like-minded admins, who believe that wikipedia's purpose is to prove the theory of evolution is the only reasonable thing anyone could believe. It's not; no rational person could look at the fossil record and support evolution by natural selection, or look at the fairy-tale explanations for the origin of life and consider them to hold any weight. I wish that the editors in this project had the intellectual integrity to be willing to set aside their own bias for long enough to write an encyclopedia, but I am dreaming. Academia has a presupposition that there is no God, and that science must describe the world as having no God, and that wikipedia must consider "science" the only viewpoint. I hope you re-consider your views about the origin of life, or at least about what itellectual integrity is about, but I'm done wasting my time on this. GusChiggins21 (talk) 06:43, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Claims.[edit]

These need to be added http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cre-error.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by 158.234.250.71 (talk) 14:47, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Erroneuz1's WP:COATRACK[edit]

Erroneuz1 seems desperate to prove that Shermer was an atheist, in an apparent attempt to justify Gish's ad hominem attacks on him. However:

  1. "Whether or not Shermer was an atheist at the time is unknown" is pure WP:OR; and
  2. What he said about his beliefs three years later is hardly relevant -- particularly when he expresses considerable discomfort at the "atheist" label even then.

This is simply a piece of dishonest WP:COATRACKing, in an illegitimate attempt to besmirch Shermer's reputation. HrafnTalkStalk 05:20, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. It should not be included with a WP:RS. We66er (talk) 06:40, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Disagree. He stated he was an atheist, that justifies Gish's argument. That entire paragraph can be perceived as Gish's argument was meaningless, when in fact, given the evidence that Shermer stated he was an atheist, is not. --Erroneuz1 (talk) 06:12, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
THREE YEARS LATER! So you have no evidence as to whether he was telling the truth in the Gish debate or not. And your "Whether or not Shermer was an atheist at the time is unknown" remains pure WP:OR, not sourced to any WP:RS. HrafnTalkStalk 10:21, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
If your contention is that there is no evidence that Shermer was an atheist or not, this should still be included in that paragraph. Otherwise the paragraph just reads like it's besmirching Gish. -- Erroneuz1 (talk) 04:48, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
My contention is that we have no information as to whether Shermer considered himself an atheist at the time of the debate. Given how grudging his acceptance was of the label three years later, it is entirely conceivable that he did not consider himself to be one at that earlier time. Regardless of whether Shermer was an "atheist" at the time, Gish's strategy is clearly one of ad hominem attack and his equation of atheism with immorality is simply ignorant bigotry. HrafnTalkStalk 06:12, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
The claims like these written up in these controversial articles push editors into conflicts when they fail to simply describe and attribute claims and instead are used to present an argument with them. Michael Shermer has been a non-believer since he was in grad school. In the strict definition of the term "atheist", since he did not deny there was a God or deny the possibility there was a God, he did not consider himself an atheist. To many religious figures who devote months and years of their energies into doctrinal categorizing and theological hair-splitting, emphasizing some difference between "nonbeliever" and "God denier" would be interpreted as a deliberate deception. Shermer appears in later writings to be addressing atheists who feel that way also. So what? The issue is moot. All this article should do is describe in the debate what Shermer said or did, what Gish said or did, and what reliable sources might have said about what Shermer said or did and what Gish said or did. Editors cannot referee what these subjects say or do. The same goes for similarly ambiguous labels such as "creationist", which has been the source of hundreds of squabbles like this. Whether or not a belief or believer can justifiably be labeled a "creationist" is not for WP editors to argue over. So editors may not assemble evidence to show Shermer was or was not really an atheist. In this instance, they can only assemble claims from sources writing about the role the claims or denials of Shermers atheism figured in the Gish/Shermer debates. End of subject. Professor marginalia (talk) 17:10, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
So using Shermer's book as the only source for this debate is in no way biased? -- Erroneuz1 (talk) 22:39, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
The section is not NPOV and needs reworking. It's also not as informational as it should be. But the section does not need to delve into whether or not Shermer was really an atheist. Most every detail in the debates section is merely an opinion held by his critics, and as such is a disjointed listing of his opponents' peeves. Most sources I've seen would describe Gish as one of the most influential creationists, and though his "style" wasn't academic and his claims against the scientific evidence weren't accurate, nonetheless, he was so effective against opponents with the gathered public that there was a loose boycott of sorts launched to cease debating against him. His tactics certainly infuriated the scientific community but he was by most accounts quite a crowd pleaser. So what was Shermer really doing? He was trying to pull Gish away from his script and actively debate, to get him off the canned speech. But it didn't work; Gish delivered his script as planned. The Debates section now somewhat gives the impression that Gish bumbled in the debates. But that's not so. The audience was often filled with pro-Gish parishioners coming to rally for the cause, at least this was noted in some sources. But even most of his critics noted the pro-science debaters made little headway with the crowd due to Gish's showmanship. It's important to describe the elements that irked the pro-evolution side, but now there's nothing describing the effectiveness with the public Gish had in these debates. Professor marginalia (talk) 23:56, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough. You effectively see what I was getting at, thank you. -- Erroneuz1 (talk) 03:34, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Archaeopteryx and disupted claims[edit]

The stuff about Archaeopteryx under the disputed claims section would be better sourced using this detailed article rather than the Trott article. Nedin is a published paleontologist. Trott, on the other hand, is just a guy.—Preceding unsigned comment added by SlubGlub (talkcontribs) 16:47, 13 December 2008

I agree Trott is a weak source, but this article isn't much better. In it, Nedin relied on a 2nd hand report from Trott about what Gish supposedly said at a presentation. That's a weak foundation for a critique. One challenge with using talkorigins is it's not easy to distinguish the do-it-yourself, bloggish, amateur hour stuff from articles that actually have a measure of publisher review involved. Trott isn't an authority on the topic and probably wouldn't be published in a scientific publication. This (google cache-talkorigins seems to be down) from Nedin is a bit stronger since in it at least Nedin was basing his critique on Gish's published claims rather than 2nd hand reports from a non-expert about what Gish may have said at a particular university talk.Professor marginalia (talk) 21:48, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that Nedin article you suggest is better than the Nedin article I suggested.
More broadly, I don't think the "disputed claims" section should be there at all. Instead, all that's needed is one short paragraph that says that Gish's views on evolution are rejected by the vast majority of scientists. Although not strictly necessary, a small number of citations and perhaps quotations in the paragraph may be helpful too (perhaps including Nedin, or Stephen Jay Gould's "Evolution As Fact And Theory" or the Godfrey edited _Scientists Confront Creationists_, or any of a number of other sources). But the particulars of this or that comment about Archaeopteryx or whatever are not really relevant, as the individual claims themselves are generally not really notable. All that is relevant is that his views are not seen as worthy of serious consideration by practicing scientists. Even if one believes that Gish is right about everything and scientists are biased, the fact that his views are overwhelmingly rejected by scientists is indisputable, verifiable, and NPOV. At best, the disputed claims stuff should be relegated to a link in an External Links section to a TalkOrigins.org page that contains links to all their articles about Gish. (If no such page exists, I'm sure they'd be willing to create one.) SlubGlub (talk) 22:56, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
I think I would agree with you as an overall principle. I've battled over the Trott cite in the past but unsuccessfully. As an indication of how strongly talkorigins influences WP, the Henry M. Morris article cites Trott as well, for a very controversial suppositional claim which in any objective sense should be more solidly sourced. And no offense intended toward the fellow but Trott's a nobody in the field of evolution, religion and creation science. The item by item debunkery wonkery is talkorigin's forte, but I don't think it's the proper style for an encyclopedic article. This should be a narrative that includes criticism of Gish's claims, yes, but the cherry picking of this claim and that through the talkorigins website is a poor way to do it, I think. Professor marginalia (talk) 00:05, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
If it's talk.origins influence, then that's pretty hilariously counterproductive (in addition to being against the spirit of WP:NOT). An article that simply sticks to a NPOV fact--that Gish's views on evolution are considered, by almost all professional scientists in relevant fields, to be abject nonsense--will nonetheless have the effect of conveying to most fair-minded and relatively disinterested readers that he's basically a crackpot. (And even the most partisan creationist would have to agree that if you define "crackpot" in terms of someone's beliefs compared to the overwhelming professional consensus, as opposed to whether or not someone is wrong or right, then that impression is also indisputably correct.)
In contrast, an article that debunks Gish's claims one-by-one has many benefits for the creationists: It makes Gish seem more notable and important than he really is by making his article longer. It also risks giving the casual disinterested reader the impression that there is a legitimate controversy where there really isn't one.
Point-by-point debunkings of Gish have their places in the world. Those places are the talkorigins.org, the talk.origins Usenet group, the National Center For Science Education web site, the publications of organized skepticism, etc. That place is not Wikipedia. SlubGlub (talk) 01:59, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
I decided to be bold and edit the article along the above lines. I personally think it's a vast improvement on the "being encyclopedic" front, but we'll see if the edits survive over the next couple days. SlubGlub (talk) 03:01, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't quite agree with all of them myself, and would strongly advise against bold strokes in articles about controversial subjects. Wrong tool for the job, in my opinion. The problem of too much point-by-point within these articles is often reactionaryism triggered by overreaching with invitation to be bold. Professor marginalia (talk) 03:11, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm not surprised that you don't agree with every change, but I'm (naively?) optimistic that informed consensus will be (a) that the current state of the article is an improvement over the previous state, and (b) that the deficiencies in the current state of the article can be addressed by moving forward with positive edits rather than reversions to the changes I have made. I guess I'll just sit tight for a while and see what happens. SlubGlub (talk) 04:14, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps next time you might try beginning with the positive edits before the deletions. It's not like there isn't good reason for the extra level of caution in this family of articles. Professor marginalia (talk) 05:19, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion. Personally, I think the article is much improved from before (although, obviously, it is not perfect). But I can understand your concern and see how my approach here might have backfired. Fortunately, it seems like it did not and all seems to have gone fairly well. Cheers. SlubGlub (talk) 02:39, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
?? Professor marginalia (talk) 05:21, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Citations in article[edit]

Maybe this is just my ignorance of how Wikipedia works, but I have some questions about the repeated citing of a source only known as "Numbers 2006, p.XXX." This document is cited 5 times in the article. I am totally unable to track this source down or determine anything about it. Since the whole point of citing your sources is to show readers where your information/point comes from, it seems that these citations are a total failure in that respect. If anyone knows anything about these sources or where to find them, I would greatly appreciate either editing the entry or just replying here, if the citation format is, in fact correct. In general, I always want to improve Wikipedia, but in this case I'm also very curious about this topic and would like to learn more. 76.120.122.220 (talk) 02:10, 4 March 2010 (UTC)Daniel

Sounds like it's the item listed in the References section, a source from 2006 with someone named "Numbers" as author. Wiki citation format doesn't seem to have a standard way to footnote different specific pages from the same larger work:( DMacks (talk) 04:26, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I've fixed the references so they directly link to the book in question. If you click on the footnote you will be taken to the full citation. Professor marginalia (talk) 04:47, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
That's a cool feature! DMacks (talk) 04:56, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Debates Section[edit]

I'd like to dispute the overall tone of the Debates Section. In reading it, it seems that the portrayal of Gish's style is the predominant focus and it is in a negative light. I know this a user-driven site, and Gish is an extremely polarizing figure, but shouldn't the description be more neutral in approach? I focus on Debates here, but in the article and above comments, several mentions of figures that oppose Gish are made that are just as polarizing (Pietropaoli, for example, uses a low-science, high-trash talk style in "Denying Evolution"). I think that comments/discussions, not to mention hundreds of independent web sites, are the place for the debate, not an 'encyclopedia' article. (talk) 01:25, 21 May 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.97.96.113 (talk)

I checked the Sydney Morning Herald, and given I couldn't confirm the quotes supposedly from them, with them I removed the section. Further I removed the reference as it wasn't NPOV.Donhoraldo (talk) 08:02, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
It is cited to The Creationists. Kindly do not remove material that has been cited to a WP:RS. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 08:18, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
(ec)A ref is just a ref, you can only debate whether it's reliable (WP:NPOV means "use the sources", not "don't take their positions" or "be 50/50 balanced"). I restored it, since other cites in the article also point to it. I'm also confused...when you say you couldn't confirm the statement, do you mean you looked at the given page and the material there didn't confirm, or you didn't actually read that page? DMacks (talk) 08:19, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
I think he meant that he couldn't verify it directly from the SMH website and/or Google News -- but then newspapers often tend to be a little haphazard with their back-issue archives. It is confirmed to a cast-iron-solid WP:SECONDARY source, which I have open at the relevant page even as I type this. Turning to the detailed footnoting, it appeared in the SMH on June 25 1988. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 09:18, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Ah yes, now I see what he's saying. Thanks for re-confirming from your ref. DMacks (talk) 09:24, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
I'll concede The CreationistsDonhoraldo (talk) 00:22, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I agree the section appears unbalanced - all negative, almost as if the authors have an agenda - and, at the very least, mistitled. The subject is not "Debates" (which would presumably talk about the important debates he has participated in), but "Criticism of Gish's debating style". --Bermicourt (talk) 19:55, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Evo/Creo debates are never "important", in that they're simply rhetorical events, serving an entertainment and tribal purpose, not any serious, scientific one. Trying to 'win' in a debate an argument that has been lost in scientific discourse for the last couple of centuries is unlikely to do much for your credibility, which is likely to be reflected in the WP:RSs covering the events. If you can find RSs prominent reflecting otherwise, you're welcome to introduce them. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 08:42, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

See-also[edit]

I would point out that it requires more than for somebody to have written a forward for somebody else's book, or for them to hold the same general ideology (two ludicrously permissive standards), for them to be sufficiently relevant to be listed in the 'See also' section. I'm sure Gish has written forwards for hundreds of obscure books, and I know that there are millions of YECs. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 08:29, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Photo[edit]

Is it just me or has the photo of Gish been taken or distorted to make him look grotesque or ridiculous? Some of Gish's views appear ridiculous in that they contradict mainstream science but surely we should use a more neutral photo, or is this actually what the man looks like? Booshank (talk) 18:51, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

It is sourced to creationwiki.org, so no it isn't an Evil Evolutionist Conspiracy™. As far as I can make out, none of his recent photos are particularly flattering. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 19:19, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. I have no truck with Gish's views, in fact I hadn't heard of the man until I came across the term "Gish gallop" used to describe a debating style in which the speaker throws up a large number of confusing or irrelevant points in an effort to overwhelm his opponent. Booshank (talk) 20:02, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Gish gallop[edit]

Like Booshank, I too was familiar with the phrase "Gish gallop," but I had no idea it was connected to this guy (or that it was originally used specifically to refer to creationists.) I added a sentence in the article to convey that it is now used outside of the creationist context (and, yes, I was extremely tempted to write something along the lines of "The phrase "Gish gallop" has evolved to mean...") That being said, I really struggled with writing a sentence explaining how it's now used, and the references I used aren't great. If anyone wants to improve on what I wrote or the references, please do so! (We could delete it altogether, but I think that would be doing our readers a disservice -- if you came accross the phrase "Gish gallop" and didn't know what it meant, wouldn't Wikipedia be one of the first places you would check??)— Preceding unsigned comment added by JoelWhy (talkcontribs) 13:38, May 21, 2012 (UTC)

I agree, the term "Gish gallop" is increasingly used in media these days, for example this article [6] and this one [7] and this one dating back to 2012 [8]. At the moment, a link to "Gish gallop" just redirects to this article, which is a disservice to our readers. HouseOfChange (talk) 05:45, 26 January 2017 (UTC)

Death[edit]

Answers in Genesis is not the epitome of reliable sourcing for most things, but they're not people who would make up something like this - David Gerard (talk) 18:05, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

The Institute for Creation Research (where Gish worked) also noted his death, so I think it safe to assume that in this case AiG is correct. Evolutionist1859 (talk) 03:31, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

There is a discrepancy between Gish's birth date in the body of the article (February 17, 1921) and the in side bar (December 7, 1921). I have e-mailed the Institute for Creation Research for a clarification. Evolutionist1859 (talk) 04:00, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

The Institute for Creation Research confirms that February 17, 1921 is the correct date. Evolutionist1859 (talk) 02:07, 8 March 2013 (UTC)