Talk:Elaine Morgan

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Elaine Morgan web site[edit]

currently (August 2011) the reference in this article to Elaine Morgan's web site, currently reference 10 pointing to http://www.elainemorgan.me.uk/, is a dead link. If this web site has moved (I haven't been able to track it down), can someone correct the link? If the web site no longer exists, I suggest deleting the sentence that refers to it. Tonydwyer2001 (talk) 20:41, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

I spotted this too, then noticed that there was already an item on this. As five years have elapsed I have removed the sentence and the link. As this was Elaine Morgan's personal website it is unlikely to have been retained. If a link to a site summarising her views is thought necessary, then perhaps a further link to the TED site would be appropriate could be inserted here - though there are three links to it already.Ntmr (talk) 10:11, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

Initial comment[edit]

References to satisfy all the citation placeholders in this article can readily be found, in either David Attenborough's or Elaine Morgan's own spoken words, in the BBC 4 radio programme 'Scars of Evolution', recordings of which can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/scarsofevolution.shtml

Neutrality under dispute[edit]

Much of the discussion about Elaine Morgan's "Aquatic Ape Hypothesis" quotes from her own website, including the criticisms from the scientific community raised against her theories. There is very little independent reference to her work, published in third party sources. I believe her aquatic ape hypothesis has not been well-received or accepted by the scientific community on the whole, from what I've heard and read, and contradicts what is stated on Ms. Morgan's own website.

In any case, for a Wikipedia article and under WP:NPOV, an article needs well-referenced third party sources and discussions about criticism and support. Please provide sources OTHER THAN from Ms.Morgan's own website - perhaps from scientific journals or publications, discussing the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis.

24.18.216.212 (talk) 15:10, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

In describing the hypothesis it is necessary to quote from Elaine Morgan´s own books and web-site since she is the main proponent, and for many years was the sole proponent. There are references to ample material describing her struggle for acceptance. In a biographical article such as this, one would not expect more. The detailed counter arguments can be advanced in Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. There would be a justifiable accusation of a lack of NPOV if this article did not emphasise that it was only a hypothesis. In this article we only need give references to what Elaine Morgan herself has done. JMcC (talk) 15:47, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
OK fair enough. I accept your point, and shall take down the neutrality issue. Cheers

24.18.216.212 (talk) 03:20, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Aquatic ape hypothesis[edit]

Regards the revert of the page [1], here is my rationale for my changes:

  • The formatting changes are pretty banal, Pinker's List is unrelated to the AAH and shouldn't be in the same section. Her books are easily separated into the substantial body of AAH works and unrelated text, though per the guide to layout they could equally easily be a single section with all books together.
  • the section should have a {{main}} template for the AAH instead of being linked in the paragraph
  • Morgan's position on the AAH is best described as advocacy and I think it's a more informative section title than just the name
  • The savanna theory isn't really used anymore and within the AAH is more of a caricature than an accurate description of a prevailing or discarded theory. It's also a redirect to bipedalism (probably not the best choice, see for example here or here).
  • the section was quite long for what should be essentially a brief summary on a tangential page. Though it would be a good choice for the aspects of the AAH that relates most specifically to Morgan's actions and I could see re-adding some bits to it.
  • regards the part of the edit I think probably most strongly objected to, the section gave more credence to the theory than is due. On the main AAH it's pretty clear that it's a fringe theory with no real mainstream support. In particular, the quote from Colin Groves is undue weight in my mind for reasons I've enumerated elsewhere - it's a single quote that represents the sum total of the book's contents regarding the AAH and it does not deal with the many other sources that indicate the theory does not have legs in contemporary anthropology. New Scientist, in addition to being an interview, is a popular magazine and not a scientific journal. Her talks at Oxford, Cambridge, University College London, Tufts and Harvard are undated, so it's unclear if she's referring to "in the last week" and "over the past four decades". In addition, using the interview to justify "her opinions are now being considered by a broader audience and have achieved some recognition in academic circles" reads as original research and undue weight to me. In my opinion the interview can't be used to justify the idea that the AAH has mainstream support. I don't consider this POV-pushing, it's pretty well established that the theory has no real mainstream support. I'm not trying to POV-push, I'm trying to represent the contents of the main page more accurately. It's not a matter of "some critics remain", the sources support the idea that it's more accurately "not taken seriously". If editors would rather I provided citations in this version, I have no problem with that as they are readily culled from the main AAH page.

Regards this edit

  • the TED lecture I moved out of the EL section because it is linked as an inline citation, but it is certainly defensible that WP:ELYES supports a second mention as an EL.
  • the {{IMDB}} is pretty banal and I can't think of a good reason not to use it.

Thanks, WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 22:37, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm sure you have some valid points in the above, but it is not acceptable to change a heading from "Aquatic ape hypothesis" to "Advocacy for the aquatic ape hypothesis", and there is no urgent need to ensure that all mention of the AAH is qualified so the reader understands that it is nonsense. Therefore, I am going to concentrate on the discussion at Talk:Aquatic ape hypothesis. Johnuniq (talk) 01:23, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
If you don't address my points above, then you can't contribute to the discussion and accordingly I have no reason to address your points which is both frustrating to me (particularly if you decide to revert the page) and contrary to work on a collaborative project. I'm doing this out of politeness rather than edit warring and I rarely make a change I don't see as well-supported. In this case I see things as extremely well supported and for the most part banal.
Regards the section title, the page shouldn't have a substantive discussion of the contents of the AAH. This is the page about the writer, and therefore should discuss her contributions. She is a prominent and vocal advocate, that's an easily sourced, well-established point. An alternative wording would be "Work on...", "Promotion of..." or "Contributions to..." as they assert the same thing - Elaine Morgan has spent much of her time developing, expanding upon and promoting the AAH. I'm not trying to diminish the AAH with the section title, I'm trying to show it's relation to the person who is the subject of the page. If the section title is the only reason you would object to my previous edits, then I will gladly change the title when I replace my changes.
As for establishing that the AAH is nonsense, for one thing it is important to make sure that when it is mentioned, it is clear that it is not accepted by most of the relevant scholars and that it is not seen as either a former driving force of evolution nor an explanation for many features. I qualified the AAH like I would qualify intelligent design, homeopathy, tension myositis syndrome and a variety of other subjects that are clearly well-known but not well-accepted (with obvious differences in acceptance and absurdity). The AAH may be believed by proponents to be responsible for vernix, a hooded nose and hairlessness, but most relevant experts do not. Again, this is easily and explicitly sourced by numerous references and in my mind uncontroversial. IWLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 11:35, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm getting a bit off topic, but one reason I am perplexed by your enthusiasm regarding the AAH is that in the worst case the AAH is simply an incorrect interpretation of some details regarding human evolutionary history (I know they are important details that many scientists have spent a lifetime studying, but Morgan is not suggesting there is some flaw in the theory of evolution, she is just arguing about relatively recent details). By contrast, the three other topics you mentioned are outrageous anti-science scams designed to exploit the gullible, and it seems inappropriate to devote the same dilligence to refuting each of the four topics. However, my state of mind is not relevant, so I will move on.
I see what you mean about "advocacy" (you did not intend the term quite as I feared), but I still think the label is not required. Sure, the text can point out that she has spent a long time advocating the AAH, but I think it is fairly unusual for a section heading to do more than announce the topic. I'm sure you noticed that it was another editor who reverted your changes; I was just trying to let you know that I stopped trying to understand the issues when I saw "advocacy" being used to color the AAH, and the excessive trimming of the AAH section. As a very major part of her life, it is fair that the section provide more than the dismissive background in your version, although I totally agree with your above comment that the AAH section here can be pruned to remove perhaps a third of its content. Johnuniq (talk) 13:51, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
Intelligent design you are correct about, but homeopathy and tension myositis syndrome are both practiced by sincere, well-intentioned individuals who are advocating for a process and product that is not well-supported scientifically or believed by the mainstream relevant experts. Exactly like the AAH. I'm merely trying to ensure it is accurately summarized and given due weight in all areas it appears - otherwise there is one main page that gives due weight to mainstream opinion and a series of side pages that tangentially mention it approvingly, creating a series of content forks whose descriptions do not accord with the reception of the hypothesis.
I see her advocacy as the topic that should be discussed in the section, rather than being a thumbnail sketch of the theory itself. The AAH page should mention Morgan briefly and tangentially, cite her as a source where appropriate and in the history and reception section briefly discuss how she has impacted the AAH. This page I see it much more relevant to discuss how the AAH impacted her life, thought and details which are more about her and less about the theory. Here is where I would put the most effort into where she originally read about the idea (though {{cn}} for what was there before), why it struck her as meaningful (such as appealing to a feminist streak - which seems obvious from her comments even if I wouldn't put it in the page without a citation; might use a quote), and specific points and incidents where the AAH and her life intersect in notable ways (i.e. the TED lecture). Part of the reason I removed some of the more descriptive sections on how and why she became involved with the AAH was due to a lack of citations (WP:PROVEIT and WP:BLP). Given a bit more time I could have dug for more citations or if someone replaced the information, sought them out since I didn't have a lengthy and labour-intensive trim to undertake.
I realize another editor reverted my change and I'm hoping Cygnis insignis comments soon. However, s/he has not commented since the initial revert, the edit summary wasn't particularly informative, and consensus is built up through all editors and you're the only one talking to me right now. I hope you can see what I meant by my changes and would appreciate a more thorough review now that you see I am willingly concede that a different section title would be equally or more appropriate (I would prefer it not remain simply the AAH). If that was your sole objection, could you either state you don't object to the remaining changes, you do object and your reasoning, or you don't care either way? If the latter is the case, I will take up my discussion with Cygnis insignis on his/her talk page again - s/he has edited since I posed my comments but not on any talk pages. I don't see myself as POV-pushing, particularly since it is spectacularly easy to source the version of the page I am editing towards (WP:UNDUE). Having my well-intentioned, well-sourced edits called POV-pushing is rather hurtful and as far as I can tell inaccurate. It's not like I'm a throwaway account who does a drive-by revert every six months; I've been here for three years now and have close to 40,000 edits. I'm sure you can see why I would object to having the substance of my points ignored and my well-sourced changes reverted because of a section title... WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 16:51, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I have nothing to add, except an apology for my curt summary.cygnis insignis 20:05, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

It would be appropriate to mention feminism, for example, if we can take the time to also mention how that background led to her valid concerns. I have read allegedly feminist material which makes completely misguided claims about sexual selection and more. By contrast, I read one of Morgan's early books and (at that time; no idea about recent books) her feminism is not at all anti-science nonsense. When I said "valid concerns" I do not mean to say that the arguments and conclusions are correct, merely that Morgan did raise interesting points for consideration. Further, Morgan has done serious study in the science of the topic; she is no scientist but she is an entirely different case from proponents of homeopathy (and in her book, she clearly announced when she was speculating and when she was trying to draw an argument from scientific data). I have no problem with trimming the AAH section here, but it is reasonable to present at least some of the case as she saw it because while we may say her conclusions are totally wrong, it is simply incorrect to sum it all up in a way that suggests she is of the same class as other misguided advocates. For example, I would be a lot happier with mentioning her irritation with "largely male-centered" explanations if a reasonable example of what that means is provided (because there are many crazy writers who fit that description and it is not reasonable to put Morgan in the same category). Johnuniq (talk) 02:00, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Cygnis, not a problem and if I'm interpreting your statement correctly you wouldn't object to your undo being undone?
Johnuniq, I think your suggestions are great ones for demonstrating Morgan's original relationship to the theory and the unique interaction between the two. Having an outline on this page would be very appropriate in my mind and certainly add to the encyclopedic content of the page without affecting the truthfulness or acceptance of the theory overall. I know there is at least one source for that sort of statement that I've read, even if I can't think of it right now. Here is a starting point, I'm sure there are more. I wouldn't give the impression that her ideas are wrong because they are based on feminism or coming from a feminist (I wouldn't even say they're based on feminism at all, the only thing I'd really want to say is Morgan was frustrated with the contemporary androcentric views and this was in part one of the reasons for her initial interest on the subject).
Thanks for the very polite discussion, it is greatly appreciated. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 02:18, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Without having fully undertaken the task to understand all facettes of your somehow lenghty dispute - a few remarks from my side: "Advocacy of AAH" is unnecessary and unappropriate - everyone who makes up a hypothesis and propragates the idea behind is advocating her/his hypothesis in some ways - that's just a commonplace remark. Advocacy would be appropriate if a third party were behind it.
I have interspersed a new section heading "Literary work" to resolve the mischmasch of AAH and books on other issues. Should have been there from the start. A subsection heading "TV related work" is still missing - take a look at the german article, there would be quite a list of work to be mentioned here.
The feminisitic grounds of Morgans AAH related work can be readily found in "The descent of woman" - why not cite from it? --Burkhard (talk) 21:59, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
How about "work with" or something similar? Akin to "Work on..." for a TV series she has won awards for? She has consistently promoted, published and generally kept the theory in public discourse for close to 30 years, but didn't actually originate it. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 22:46, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
I can see how the ref from Wilson (1975) could be used, if the context - who, where, when , why - of Elaine+Morgan+feminist is supplied. He gives a contemporary view on her 1972 book, an 'inevitable feminist' counter to The Imperial Animal —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cygnis insignis (talkcontribs) 09:19, September 28, 2009
The article in its present form gives an accurate account on Morgans contributions to AAH. Why do you want to diminish it by fiddling with the section heading? She was the one to publish whereas Hardy did not. She had elaborated on most parts of AAH. What good is an idea that is kept undisclosed? I agree that it might not originally have been her idea, but it certainly is her hypothesis. --Burkhard (talk) 20:23, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
If you look at her works, a very small proportion can be described as feminist. If you can't summarise a significant majority of her work by a single adjective, there is no need to call her anything other than a writer. JMcC (talk) 21:31, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

@JMcC - it's original research to decide ourselves if she's a feminist or not, there are many sources that describe her as such.

@Drahkrub - Much of it is unsourced, and needs to be sourced, but I take your point that you don't think a qualified title is necessary. I won't replace it. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 13:43, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

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Requested move 22 February 2018[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved. (non-admin closure)Ammarpad (talk) 11:01, 1 March 2018 (UTC)


Elaine Morgan (writer)Elaine Morgan – Clearly the primary topic, as an important and well-known writer who won several awards. The singer can be dealt with by a hatnote. PatGallacher (talk) 00:13, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

  • Support per nom. Delete the DAB page and use a hatnote per WP:2DABS; also note WP:2DABPRIMARY. —  AjaxSmack  01:11, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. I agree with the change. Bmcln1 (talk) 13:14, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Clear primary topic. kennethaw88talk 20:37, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. 90% of readers are looking for the writer. [2] - Station1 (talk) 21:34, 22 February 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per nom and other comments. Shadow007 (talk) 00:58, 27 February 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Re @Andrewa: It seems we crossed-paths. So I already closed this for you. –Ammarpad (talk) 11:16, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

No problem, we reached the same conclusion, and as far as I can see the result was good! Thanks for the heads-up. Andrewa (talk) 15:53, 1 March 2018 (UTC)