Talk:Epic of evolution

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Old material[edit]

This sounds like an advertisement for something. Drunkonbananas 08:08, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

I've read the article but I'm still not sure what this is supposed to be about. Is this a religious idea? A scientific one? A book, even? Some clarification would be appreciated. --Todeswalzer|Talk 21:11, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

As the original author of this article, my intent is to write about the newly emerging Epic, which is similar to Epics like the Epic of Gilgamesh, except that this Epic is verified by the thousands of scientists who contribute to it. Unlike the discipline of biological evolution which only addresses biology, the Epic of Evolution tells the entire story of our universe, from the Big Bang (Great radiance if you prefer) to the emergence of life to the emergence of culture to now. Unlike other Epic stories, this story will always be changing as science reveals new insights about how we came to be. This is a scientific idea. But it's meant to be understood by people of all religions, of all philosophies and of all cultures. It's not just for scientists or science geeks. Momosean 21:37, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Okay, so now I understand the point being made by the phrase "Epic of Evolution". However, this sounds an awful lot like original research, as opposed to the Point-of-View concern outlined by Drunkonbananas. Without any authoritative "Epic" having been written (how I understand this material), as is the case of Gilgamesh, etc., this may be problematic for an article in an encyclopaedia.
What should be stated at the very beginning of the article is where the phrase "Epic of Evolution" comes from and whose idea it is. If, on the other hand, this is a synthesis of the ideas of several different people working independently of each other, then it shouldn't be posted on Wikipedia, which works to summarize existing knowledge and ideas. I'll keep an eye on this page for the next little while and help out wherever needed; or, if you want, you can leave me a message on my talk page if you have any other questions/concerns/etc. --Todeswalzer|Talk 22:42, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

This article contains no original research, but rather summarizes the work of many people working on the Epic of Evolution. In accordance with the mission of Wikipedia, this article is a summary of existing knowledge and ideas of many people working in the area. Momosean 14:17, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

You've done a good job clarifying the introduction as far as my previous concerns are, well, concerned. But I have just one more: Why the separate article on the "Epic of Evolution" if the idea is also known as "The Great Story"? Generally, articles dealing with the same subject matter are merged so that similar or identical material can be found in one place. The rationale for your decision to create a separate article should be spelled out clearly, both in the article (in the form of a "What distinguishes this idea from that one") and on this talk page so someone else doesn't come along and simply merge the two articles. Other than that, good work so far. --Todeswalzer|Talk 18:14, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

What distinguishes the Epic of Evolution from The Great Story? One subtle difference is that the Epic of Evolution does not necessarily promote a new religious movement (as The Great Story Wikipedia article suggests), but instead promotes the meaningful understanding of the evolution for people of all religions and philosophies. Momosean 21:14, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree with drunkonbananas, this is a problematic article, nothing like neutral and lacking reliable sources. Most of the extlinks seem to be from sites promoting the philosophy. The Great Story looks to have the same problem. I would say these are both vanity pages or borderline vanity pages. At minimum, a lot of cleanup is needed to bring them closer to neutrality. 67.117.130.181 04:18, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I have addressed the concern about original research. This idea is original in the way that Darwin's idea of evolution by natural selection is origial, yet this idea even precede's Darwin. The Epic of Evolution summarizes the an idea held by perhaps millions of people from all ages. I rearranged the article to show right up front that this concept is embraced by many people from around the world and from different times. Momosean 17:19, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

It's interesting that no one has yet critiqued the article "Big History" as a vanity piece, when it refers to basically a single work of scholarship by that name. But then some here critique this piece for referring to (synthesizing) multiple works. So it appears one is damned if one does, and damned if one doesn't. It seems clear to me that there is an important place in Wikipedia for an article on the epic of creation (is "evolution" the problem term here?) as told by scientists and historians, distinct from other articles summarizing religion, faith-based, or otherwise anecdotal accounts of creation. --TomEM 17:06, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Reposting of Epic of Evolution[edit]

I have reposted this article. This is because it was first disputed, then turned into a tiny, misleading stub and then redirected to The Great Story. No mention of this was done was made on the talk pages. I reiterate some of my responses to critiques of this article: This article is not a presentation of original research since this article restates information from all kinds of published books, general knowledge, journals and web sites. As for critique that this is a vanity article, this is not true because this article does not glorify a single person or a philosophy held by a single person or small group of people. As the article mentions in a reference, there was an Epic of Evolution conference held by AAAS in which hundereds of scientists, theologians and philosophers attended. To say that the Epic of Evolution is a vanity article is like saying that Genomics is a vanity article. Momosean 23:29, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Addressing References[edit]

Although this article cited many references already, I added a special reference section. Also, the "tone" issue was addressed by rephrasing the beginning of the article. Momosean 01:38, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Recreated article[edit]

Bear with me I'm new at this. The past comments appear appropriate and also the redirect but this is an article that merits inclusion. It was written by Dowd to promote his ministry. The Epic of Evolution is not a new religious belief but many new religions and scientists are buying into it. Wilson coined it, it caught on and the quote from him helps explain why.


And I have re-redirected it again:

  1. You provide no evidence that Wilson "coined", or even used the exact phrase "epic of evolution".
  2. Most of the article appears to be WP:OR, and is unsourced.
  3. Most of your citations are for the quote-farm at the end of 'The Epic' section.

Cutting out the unsourced WP:OR, this is what is left:

Edward O. Wilson is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, Wilson is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his secular-humanist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters.[1]

Wilson wrote – Human beings must have an epic, a sublime account of how the world was created and how humanity became part of it (…) Religious epics satisfy another primal need. They confirm we are part of something greater than ourselves (…) The way to achieve our epic that unites human spirituality, instead of cleave it, it is to compose it from the best empirical knowledge that science and history can provide.[2]

The Epic
  • Eric Chaisson - Epic of Evolution: Seven Ages of the Cosmos, Columbia University Press, 2006, ISBN 0231135602, 9780231135603
  • Loyal Rue - Everybody's Story: Wising Up to the Epic of Evolution, SUNY Press, 1999, ISBN 0791443922
  • Alfred K Thomas - The Epic of Evolution, Its Etiology and Art: A Study of Vardis Fisher's Testament of Man, University Microfilms International, 1989
  • James B. Miller - The Epic of Evolution: Science and Religion in Dialogue, Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2003, ISBN 013093318X
  • Gordon Kaufman - The Epic of Evolution as a Framework for Human Orientation,1997
  • The Encyclopedia of Christianity: E-I, By Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley, Translated by Geoffrey William Bromiley, Contributor Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley, David B. Barrett, Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2001, ISBN 9004116958. (Increasingly philosophers, theologians and scientists speak of the narrative as a whole, sometimes under the term “the epic of evolution
  • Ursula Goodenough - The Sacred Depths of Nature, Oxford University Press US, 1998, ISBN 0195126130

Distinguished biologist Ursula Goodenough makes frequent use of the term and uses it to extrapolate from the concept of evolution to a guiding belief for mankind. She writes in Sacred Depths – “Emerging Religious Beliefs: When the responses elicited by the Epic of Evolution are gathered together several religious principles emerge that I can believe, serve as a framework for a global Ethos” [3]

She continues – “Theologian Philip Hefner offers us a weaving metaphor. The tapestry maker first strings the warp, long strong fibers anchoring firmly to the loom, and then interweaves the welt, the pattern, the color, the art. The Epic of Evolution is our warp, destined to endure, commanding our universal gratitude, and reverence and commitment.” [4]

All that you have demonstrated is that a few authors use the term. You have not provided any sourced content expanding upon the term's meaning and significance. As this article has previously been the subject of an AfD, I don't think it should be created until something more substantive can be put into place. HrafnTalkStalk 04:14, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

This really looks like a disambiguation page with too much detail which should be in the linked articles – which should be live links. If the term is to be allocated to one particular case, good third party sourcing is needed to establish notability of that case. . dave souza, talk 17:49, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

A further problem, beyond the fact that the original lead didn't actually establish that Wilson coined the phrase, is that it didn't say what EoE is. It just wandered off onto a lengthy tangent (complete with infobox) on Wilson. HrafnTalkStalk 17:54, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Infobox[edit]

This article is not about the 'Epic of Evolution' not Wilson (and has in fact repeatedly failed to link the two), so please stop inserting an infobox on him that is only suitable for the article on him. HrafnTalkStalk 15:59, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

why don't you give me a change to finish this. I thought i had linked Wilson to the recent use of the term. I know a number of people who can personally attest to it. His stature is what got it being used. What got it being used is pertinent. What I just did on the lead seems to me to meet the Wiki lead policy as I read it. I'm trying to address your criticism of it.Jlrobertson (talk) 16:15, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


  1. WP:V states "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth" -- i.e. you don't get to include it until you can find a source for it. No adding material first and then only sourcing it when you get around to it.
  2. Your claim attributing the term to Wilson was based upon a source that made no mention of "Epic of Evolution". Therefore it didn't verify your claim -- which therefore cannot be included.

HrafnTalkStalk 16:22, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

A couple of words of advice for Jlrobertson[edit]

  1. Find a good reliable source that describes (rather than simply uses the term) the 'Epic of Evolution' and write a short summary of what it says about it (citing it to that source of course).
  2. Don't try to write about things for which you don't have a source in front of you. It is too easy to get into the habit of writing 'off the top of your head', which inevitably leads to accidental misrepresentation and misattribution of misrembered sources.
  3. Anything that goes onto 'mainspace' (i.e. the articles) on wikipedia is expected to be an accurate reflection of a cited source. Perfection of writing is not demanded, but accurate relfection is. If you want to experiment with material that cannot yet meet that standard, you can do so in a 'sandbox' -- you can create one of your own by clicking on this redlink: User:Jlrobertson/sandbox.

HrafnTalkStalk 16:35, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

“In Goethe’s epic of evolution”[edit]

Jlrobertson: could you please provide the full paragraph that the above snippet is taken from, so that we can verify that it is actually using "epic of evolution" in the same sense that the article is. HrafnTalkStalk 16:50, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


Goethe quote - Chambers's Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal KnowledgeEdition: revised Published by W. & R. Chambers, Limited, 1901 Item notes: vol.4 - page 481 left column, mid column Original from Princeton University Digitized Jun 13, 2008 http://books.google.com/books?id=9zooAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA464-IA1&dq=editions:LCCN01030029&lr=&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=0_0#PPA481,M1 Jlrobertson (talk) 18:43, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Also - Philip Boardman - The Worlds of Patrick Geddes: Biologist, Town Planner, Re-educator, Peace-warrior, Routledge, 1978, page 68, ISBN 0710085486, “Thus begins Gedde’s ‘evolution’ – a lengthy but concise summing up of the various kinds of attempted answers from theology and philosophy and modern science. He traces the raise of dynamic and kinetic concepts in astronomy, chemistry, geology and above all, biology. He gives a full account of all the thinkers in many countries who, before and after, Goethe’s epic of evolution, contributed to the break through of Darwin” [1] retriveved 2009-1-29 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jlrobertson (talkcontribs) 20:34, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Wison's comments[edit]

here is the interview with Wilson, does this satisfy you that he sais it? http://books.google.com/books?id=ZjxUQDqc9mUC&pg=PA27&vq=evolutionary+epic&dq=connie+barlow&source=gbs_search_r&cad=1_1#PPA23,M1 Jlrobertson (talk) 17:31, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

I would suggest that a more scholarly examination of Wilson's writings are in order. Examples can be found here and here. If you're going to mention Wilson you need to describe what he had to say about the idea -- not simply mention that he used the term. HrafnTalkStalk 18:10, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

goethe quote[edit]

Goethe –left column ,mid page http://books.google.com/books?id=9zooAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA481&vq=epic+of+evolution&dq=In+Goethe's+epic+of+evolution& Chambers's Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge Edition: revised Published by W. & R. Chambers, Limited, 1901 Item notes: vol.4 Original from Princeton University Digitized Jun 13, 2008 Can not say it is used in the exactly the same way, but as I have tried to say Wilson really was the one to get it being used. see last talk65.26.156.212 (talk) 18:16, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

This 'snippet' view gives virtually no context, so makes it impossible to tell how it was being used. We don't even know what encyclopaedia entry it was under. HrafnTalkStalk 02:11, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Scopes Trial[edit]

Jlrobertson keeps trying to insert: "In that the term and the theory of life evolution is used by many in the fields of science, liberal religion and public education to replace or alter the mythical stories of Creation in holy texts, it has generated considerable controversy that began with the famous Scopes Monkey Trial."

This piece is uncited, and to my knowledge no references linking the Scopes trial to the 'Epic' have been provided in the article. Please do not reinclude it without such a reference. HrafnTalkStalk 02:09, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Epic of Evolution Conference[edit]

  • Please ensure that the material accurately reflects the cited source. The conference was not "titled Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion" it was titled "Epic of Evolution Conference".
  • Please do not include references that do not verify material but are merely to the websites of things mentioned in the article (e.g. AAAS, Evolution Sunday and Evolution Weekend).
  • Please cease and desist introducing statements that are not contained in the cited source -- this covers the bulk of this new section -- which has therefore been removed.

HrafnTalkStalk 02:33, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Possible Language for Introductory Paragraph, and Possible Citations/Resources for this Article[edit]

The Epic of Evolution, “evolutionary epic”, and “Great Story” are terms used by a number of authors to point to meaningful narrative interpretations of the history of the Universe as revealed by science. It concerns communicating the discoveries of modern science—especially the evolutionary sciences, ranging from stellar evolution to biological evolution and cultural evolution—in an epic or story form, much like traditional creation myths passed down through oral tradition and sacred texts.

Google Books search of: “epic of evolution”: http://books.google.com/books?client=safari&um=1&q=%22epic+of+evolution%22&btnG=Search+Books

Google Books search of “evolutionary epic”: http://books.google.com/books?client=safari&um=1&q=%22evolutionary+epic%22&btnG=Search+Books

Google Books search of: “the great story” evolution: http://books.google.com/books?client=safari&um=1&q=%22the+great+story%22+evolution&btnG=Search+Books

Taylor’s Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature: http://www.religionandnature.com/ern/, entry on “The Epic of Evolution”

Teilhard Perspective, Volume 30, Number 2 (Fall 1997): http://www.thegreatstory.org/epic.pdf

“The UU World”, Nov/Dec 1998: http://www.thegreatstory.org/science.pdf - “The Way of Science and the Epic of Evolution”

“Science and Spirit magazine”, Volume 9, issue 1: http://www.thegreatstory.org/aaa.pdf - “Evolution and the AAAS”

Articles published in “The Epic of Evolution” journal: http://www.thegreatstory.org/Epic-Evol-Journal.html

“The Humanist”, March/April 1998: http://www.thegreatstory.org/way.pdf - “The Way of Science”

Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature: http://www.religionandnature.com/ern/ entry on Epic of Evolution Ritual (written by Connie Barlow): http://www.thegreatstory.org/EpicRitual.html

What Is The Great Story?: http://www.thegreatstory.org/what_is.html

“The Epic of Evolution is the 14 billion year narrative of cosmic, planetary, life, and cultural evolution—told in sacred ways. Not only does it bridge mainstream science and a diversity of religious traditions; if skillfully told, it makes the science story memorable and deeply meaningful, while enriching one's religious faith or secular outlook.” From entry on “The Epic of Evolution” in the 2004 Taylor’s Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature: http://www.religionandnature.com/ern/ MBDowd (talk) 17:57, 24 January 2009 (UTC) MBDowd (talk) 18:54, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

NOTE: I just read the Wikipedia External Links Guidelines and noticed that search engine results (like the google searches above) are not allowed for external links. MBDowd (talk) 12:30, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Thanks for simplifying this section, Hrafn. I had just read the External Links Guidelines and was beginning to try to figure out what more to cut from this section, and then noticed that you just took care of it. The more I see you edit, the more I understand why you do what you do and how it serves the wikipedia. MBDowd (talk) 12:55, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Evolution Theology is not a theory, just a view[edit]

I request that someone please change the line that reads "Evolutionary evangelist and Pentecostal Evagelical minister Michael Dowd uses the term to help construct his THEORY of evolution theology" to "Evolutionary evangelist and Pentecostal Evagelical minister Michael Dowd uses the term to help construct his VIEW of evolution theology" (or "understanding" or "ideas about" or "sense of") MBDowd (talk) 22:14, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Will do -- per WP:WTA "theory" is depreciated outside its formal meaning as a scientific theory in any case. I notice that the passage is incorrectly referenced to the front page of your website, which offers no substantiation for this. Is there a page within this site that would offer substantiation for this passage? HrafnTalkStalk(P) 02:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I suggest this page for the reference: http://thankgodforevolution.com/node/1128 I'm curious: Why the need to mention Connie after The Great Story website? Cathy Russell created the Epic of Evolution site but there's no mention of this. For seven years the Great Story website has been the leading educational site in the Epic of Evolution/Great Story/Evolution Theology movement. Connie edits it but dozens of others have contributed to its contents. A few even more so than me. MBDowd (talk) 15:39, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
It isn't standard practice to attribute ELs (for just such reasons as you give, among probably a number of reasons), so I've trimmed that off. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 15:54, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

From Jlrobertson[edit]

In gathering material to properly reference the article on epic of evolution, I gathered a good bit on Michael Dowd who appears to be a very active minister in discussing the issue. Thought I would include it in his article. Also a good way to ‘practice doing things right’, Would you please take a look at it and advise before I add any of it to his page. It’s at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jlrobertson He’s a rather impressive person. Thanks Jerald RobertsonJlrobertson (talk) 17:54, 4 February 2009 (UTC) Dowd has an interesting audio on the Epic at: http://thankgodforevolution.com/audiovideoJlrobertson (talk) 17:54, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

[Please note: article talk is the correct forum for discussing issues pertaining solely to a single article HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:59, 4 February 2009 (UTC) ]

Rewritten for cleanup and better referencing[edit]

This article was tagged in Jan 09 as having multiple issues needing cleanup and perhaps rewritten to comply with Wiki lead section guidelines. An original article was posted on Nov 06 but shortly after rightly deleted due to lack of references. I have attempted to correct those deficiencies. The many references from notable people, sources and books demonstrate the merits of this topic. They also establish it as an article that can stand independent on its own and should not be merged with others. In reworking it, I gathered a mountain of material but only a portion of it was used in order to keep the length of the article within Wiki bounds. It is a subject that in my opinion will continue to expand. The various ‘chapters’ of the Epic are already covered in many wiki articles and should be linked when found. The Epic of Evolution binds them together into a unifying story.Jlrobertson (talk) 11:10, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

The rewrite is (although from a superficial examination, reasonably well referenced) a complete and utter mess. The 'Background' section is an unstructured bloat. The 'Chapters of the Epic' & 'Future chapters' sections make improper use of embedded lists. The 'References' section is chock full of bare links. Other MOS violations abound (particularly massive over-use of italics). I'm tempted to simply revert it, but will instead simply template the worst features, at least for the moment. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 09:25, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

What is it?[edit]

I thought WP articles were supposed to tell what the subject of the article is in the first sentence. Is this a book?, a movie? a TV show? or what? Thanks. Steve Dufour (talk) 18:44, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Hence the intro-rewrite tag. My impression is that it's a philosophical/theological construct/idea. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 23:28, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
It seems like it. I personally think it's a good thing. However it somehow needs to be defined more tightly if it's going to be the subject of an article here. I mean we gotta have an opening sentence. Steve Dufour (talk) 23:51, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
The first sentence has no meaning whatsoever? "The Epic of Evolution is the scientific story or narrative of the universe told in a meaningful and empowering way." It REALLY needs changing.TeapotgeorgeTalk 14:05, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I think that translates into UK English as "twaddle", other dialects may vary. Ever obliging, I've changed it to reflect the quoted definition. The article still looks too much like a sales spiel or a gospel tract, improvements welcome. . . dave souza, talk 14:43, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
"Twaddle" would be a good description of the whole article.--75.83.69.196 (talk) 05:44, 16 June 2011 (UTC)


Requested move 18 May 2014[edit]

The following discussion is an archived 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: page moved. Armbrust The Homunculus 13:05, 1 June 2014 (UTC)


Epic of EvolutionEpic of evolution – Standard sentence-casing, as seems to be the case elsewhere (albeit after a brief and online-only search). --Relisted. Armbrust The Homunculus 10:07, 25 May 2014 (UTC) Sardanaphalus (talk) 11:35, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Support. Common names are not capitalised. Coreyemotela (talk) 20:23, 25 May 2014 (UTC).

Discussion[edit]

Any additional comments:

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.

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  1. ^ name="cnn">Novacek, Michael J. (2001). "Lifetime achievement: E.O. Wilson". CNN.com. Retrieved 2006-11-08. 
  2. ^ Edward O. Wilson, Foreword of Everybody's Story: Wising Up to the Epic of Evolution By Loyal D. Rue, SUNY Press, 1999, page ix and x ISBN 0791443922,
  3. ^ Ursula Goodenough - The Sacred Depths of Nature, Oxford University Press US, 1998, page 272, ISBN 0195126130
  4. ^ Ursula Goodenough - The Sacred Depths of Nature, Oxford University Press US, 1998, page 272, ISBN 0195126130