Talk:Evolution/Archive 13

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Pic problems

Partly because sections have been moved around recently, the evolution article's pics are a bit out of sync. Specifically, there are no pictures for a huge section between "Misconceptions" and "Speciation and extinction". Can anyone think of pics we can put in the intervening part? Mikkerpikker ... 13:22, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Fixing references

There's a new reference format floating about that's much superior to what's being used on this page. By using <ref> tags, a list of references can be automatically created at the bottom by using <references />. You no longer have to make sure the count or order of everything line up. See here for an example of where it is used. --Cyde Weys 18:14, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Just had to drop in

Is it "wikappropriate" to leave comments on article discussion pages? I simply had to - this has become one of the most comprehensive articles I have seen on wikipedia in a while. Objective, eloquent and emphatic - and respectable even from an Intelligent Design advocate like me!!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! =) Salva 18:18, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Though I am more of a spectator here, I'm glad you approve of the article—it's good to know that it's well written. Thanks! — Knowledge Seeker 02:27, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

History of evolutionary thought

There's a dangling quote at the end of this section in the article. It's about horizontal gene transfer, but comes from nowhere. Has it been orphaned by text changes? --Plumbago 17:47, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

POV

I simply can't take this! This article talks about evolution as if it's actually been proven! YOU CAN'T PROVE THAT THIS HAPPENED! You don't see new species evolving today! The name of this article should be changed to "theory of evolution", because that's what it is, a theory, and it should say that evolution is a THEORY proposed by many scientists as a possible explanation for the introduction of new species. This article isn't scientific! Scorpionman 23:29, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm afraid you're mistaken. Evolution does occur, and noticably so. For example, when we grow a culture of identical cells, and then try to use an antibiotic to kill them all, almost invariably, some bacteria will survive. All of these bacteria should have the same genome if evolution did not occur. From this, we know that even a few generations of bacteria is enough for the evolution of a spontaneous resistance to a specific antibiotic.
If you have questions, please ask them. But the fact remains that evolution is a major part of our lives. -- Ec5618 23:34, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm talking about the whole idea of evolution. Okay, viruses do mutate and bacteria can develop resistance to drugs and whatever else. But this article says that life evolved over billions of years, without stating that this is a scientific theory. Scorpionman 23:36, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
You seem to misunderstand what theory means in a scientific context. Evolution is a fact, evolution is a theory, and evolution has millions of evidences supporting it. If you don't know this, you probably got a bad education. I'm sorry. It's not your fault though ... lots of schools have terrible science education. --Cyde Weys 21:52, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Tell me, exactly what is your idea of a "bad science education"? Scorpionman 01:49, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Hi Scorpionman, your argument is that the article is POV, so presumably it violates WP:NPOV. However, to quote NPOV

The task before us is not to describe disputes as though, for example, pseudoscience were on a par with science; rather, the task is to represent the majority (scientific) view as the majority view and the minority (sometimes pseudoscientific) view as the minority view; and, moreover, to explain how scientists have received pseudoscientific theories. This is all in the purview of the task of describing a dispute fairly. Pseudoscience can be seen as a social phenomenon and therefore significant. However, pseudoscience should not obfuscate the description of the main views, and any mention should be proportional to the rest of the article.

Whether or not you think evolution is true, the overwhelming majority of scientists accept evolution and believe creationism is pseudoscience. In other words, the article is perfectly in line with WP:NPOV. Mikker ... 23:48, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
A famous quote states: "nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution".
First of all, the article does state that evolution is a scientific theory, and does adhere to policy, as noted by Mikkerpikker above. Please understand though, that something doesn't become a scientific Theory lightly. Consider that no piece of evidence has even surfaced to contradict the evolution. Consider that evolution predicted a method through which features would be passed on to anext generation. Consider that evolution predicted and explained the existance of vestigial organs. Consider that any scientist who would find a way to disprove evolution would be incredibly famous and rich, yet no scientist has even been able to disprove it. Consider that all scientific Theories are put to the test every time the development of a cell culture is assumed to follow evolutionary rules. There is an enormous amount of evidence in favour of evolution. -- Ec5618 23:51, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Scorpionman Evolution and the exact tree of life are two different things. Evolution describes a process that explains how species evolve, the tree of life is the best representation of our knowledge that we have about how species evolved from each other. Evolution as process has been proven time and tome again. The tree of life, where you have the biggest problems with, gets refined every day by thousants of scietists who with various techniques try to determine how the species have evolved from one to another. However, even if the tree of life was wrong, evolution as a mechanism still remains as it is. --KimvdLinde 01:51, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Of course you can't prove any of this. Of course, neither can you prove that I am writing this, or that you exist, or anything else. Evolution happens, it's the best explanation for what has been observed, it's supported by overwhelming evidence. You take issue with the "fact" and "theory" stuff - I assume that you have a problem with Evolution#Distinctions between theory and fact. Can you please explain what specific problems you have with that section? I assume that you have familiarised yourself with the relevant parts of the archives of this page as well? What specific problems have we failed to address? I trust that you will supply constructive comments. Guettarda 06:16, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I can prove that you are writing this, I read it, therefore, it is :D. Of course, that only proves it to me.....but anyway, to this article's credit, it does spend a generous amount of time with theory and fact distinctions, and even though I don't agree with the article in the slightest for my own reasons, it certainly does at least represent people's perspectives for sure heh. Besides, Scorpion, the consensus is pretty much to represent evolution as absolute fact here, I don't see how changing it would last for very long. and in the end, this article does still have that one sentence in there acknowladging that supposedly pseudoscientific views actually do exist...right? Homestarmy 14:37, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I am a physicist and therefore a scientist, one of the consensus who supports an approach to the physical world based upon the collation of observations and the synthesis of that collated data with math and physics, the foundations of all sciences. I would like to applaud Wikipedia for their staunch support of NPOV in its articles, and all of you writers and readers who present and review the information in WP articles in a manner that attempts to reflect the world the way it is, rather than the way "this" group or "that" group would like it to be. Keep up the hard work. Now that I've discovered WP I hope to contribute to the high standards and rich information in WP myself. C.Melton 18:39, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Aristotle believed in the idea of spontaneous generation. Does that make it true? No! Stephen Hawlking (please forgive me if I mispelled "Hawlking"), a respected scientist, believes in the idea of evolution. Does that make it true? NO! And even if the majority of the "scientific" community believe that evolution is "true" and that creation is a "psuedoscience", it does not make that a fact. And frankly, I know why you all strongly support evolution: you want to deny the existence of an omnipotent diety, so you don't have to be responsible or accountable for your actions. That's the reason behind evolution! If Creation offered an opportunity to escape responsibility for a crime, then you'd support it the way you do evolution! Now, I'm not personally attacking anyone; I'm just saying that that's why most people belive evolution. You say that "time and time again evolution is proved", KimvdLinde. Sure, more evidence is turning up, but continues to be outweighed by the evidence supporting Creation! Are we supposed to believe that the Grand Canyon eroded over billions of years, when the eruption of Mt. St. Helens formed hundreds of mile-deep canyons in a single day, or over a couple of days? And since when was a biological mutation beneficial? Mutations in cells cause cancer, and cancer can cause death! Is that beneficial (of course it is if you believe in "overcrowding")? Absolutely not! And like I've said, bacteria do develop resistance to drugs, and viruses do mutate, but that doesn't mean that its beneficial! You evolutionists are just ignoring all the evidence for Creation, or you refuse to believe that it's sufficient. Well, I admit that Creation isn't scientific, because no one observed it, and science requires observation. So, have you ever seen a monkey turn into a human? Have you seen a fish mutate into a frog? Scorpionman 22:08, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Please, do not insult all those scientists that are also believers, in either your almighty omnipotent god, or in other gods. You are entitled to your BELIEFES, but do not confuse those with facts. --KimvdLinde 22:18, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Can you be specific in your objections? What is wrong with the article, in your opinion. What you or anyone else here thinks of evolution is meaningless - what changes do you think should be made to the article to make it fit NPOV, and why? Guettarda 22:21, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

I've already told you my objections, Guettarda! The article talks about evolution as if it is an absolute fact, and it is just a theory! And if what I think of evolution is "meaningless", then so is what you think of creation! And a fact is "something that has been objectively verified"(Webster's dictionary), KimvdLinde. Evolution has NOT been observed occuring, and people can only refer to it with postulations, so why does everyone refer to it as a fact? And you think that I can't insult your views, but you can insult creationism with impunity! Science precludes bias, and that is what you are showing in your comments! Evolution is also a BELIEF, it is NOT a fact, as I have said above. Creationism is not a fact either, but it has a heck of a lot more evidence than evolution! You doubtlessly think that the Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years. So, how do you explain the canyons formed by the eruption of Mt. St. Helens? And, like I've already asked and you haven't answered, have you ever observed a monkey turning into a man? "No, it takes billions of years." There you go! It's unobservable, and therefore unscientific! I haven't observed creation occuring, therefore I must believe in it. But you also have to BELIEVE in evolution! It's not a fact (I don't know how many times I have to repeat that)! Scorpionman 22:41, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

One one hand are observations which show evolution happens. Questions remain. Did man evolve from mud? Does evolution have enough information to state how quickly species arise when under the duress of an astriod strike? Evolution is proven to happen Scorpionman, but it does not answer all the questions that man has asked, either. Terryeo 03:48, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Have you been watching Dr Dino videos, lad? — Dunc| 22:44, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Scorpionman, don't try and make this into a debate forum between evolution and ID or creationism. You won't win, regardless of how much you rant and rave. Listen to Guettarda - bring specific ideas to the table instead of making generalized assaults. You're wasting your time otherwise. Oh, and make sure that you can provide sufficient, credible sources for any and all information. (Kent Hovind is NOT a credible source. He's a fanatic, and has absolutely ZERO scientific credibility.) I was in your position once, long time ago, as I'm sure many of the wikipedians here remember =) I know the feeling that Hovind incites with his seminars, but it's empty. Salva 22:50, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Stop putting words in my mouth. I never mentioned any one named Kent Hovind, although I'm sure that you'd call anyone who doesn't promote your ideas "empty" or "fanatical". Yes, I am wasting my time arguing with you, not because my words are "empty" but because you aren't going to listen to a word of it. And Duncharris, I don't know who the heck Dr. Dino is, but I have listened to a docent named Ken Ham who is very intelligent and has lots of scientific credibility. Now, you ask me to provide "sufficient, credible sources" for all my information. I don't see any of you doing that! By the way, I wasn't the one who turned this into a scientific debate; I was originally complaining about the lack of NPOV in the article, but then you have to suddenly beat up on me for my "fanatical" belief. Scorpionman 01:36, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I am an MD Phd, and my dad as well + professor of physiology with >150 publications in PubMed, however we dont agree with mainstream science regarding the origin of life. The microevolution observable today is to our opinion wrongly extrapolated. The fact that bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics is far from proof to us that a complete organ would develop out of nothing. Removing the antibiotic from the bacterial culture eventually supresses the resistance gene bacteria which has an impaired survival as compared to the "wild type" bacteria without that gene . Also, many resistance genes are there in the bacterial population from scratch, but with antibiotic pressure those with the resistance genes are favored. By the way, mutations, an important mechanism of evolution, almost always results in genetic reduction. I haven't seen one evidence of positive mutations occuring today where genetic material is added to the genome of a species resulting in a higher complexity structure. Further, the use of Occams razor and parsimony in choosing between two theories can argue both for and against (macro) evolution. Some feel that God is to big to cut away with the razor, while others, like me and dad, have no problems with a supreme being and creator but big problems with the credibility of evolution. Thulesius 22:51, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

OK....what are the PROPOSAL(s)?! Salva 22:54, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Question, why should it be your version of creationism, and not the one of my religeon that explains things better? --KimvdLinde 23:01, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Oh no, Not the Flying Spaghetti Monster again... (although written as a joke, this has been all over this debate many times). Wikipedia has article on creationism and intelligent design as well and to me this discussion belongs there, rather than here. Also; Occam seems to be all about cutting away the BIG complex assumptions, so I don't see why a deity should be exempted. With regard to scientific degrees, I am a PhD myself and still nobody lets me get anywhere near spacecraft as that's not my area. Or in other words, as this is about evolutionary biology, no PhD degree except one in that field classifies any of us as more of an expert than any lay person. Arnoutf 23:34, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, I don't know how I could put it better than Thulesius. But as this argument is over this article (as I have already said), the discussion should be kept here. If you don't think I had any proposals, look at the top of this "debate" that I "started". Scorpionman 01:47, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I believe you missed the notice at the top of the discussion page. It went something like this:

IMPORTANT - If you wish to discuss or debate the validity of the theory of evolution please do so at Talk.Origins. This "Discussion" page is only for discussion on how to improve the Wikipedia article.

Cyde Weys 01:50, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

IPORTANT - I gave you my proposals! You're just ignoring them! I didn't intend to start a big debate on evolution here, but someone just has to put that here! For the third and last time: Change the article so that it says that evolution is a theory, not a fact! The preceding unsigned comment was added by Scorpionman (talk • contribs) .

You don't understand what a scientific theory is. Please see here, here, and here, and if you have any further questions, take it to Talk.Origins. Just post your message line with a subject line of something like "ATTN: Cyde Weys" and I promise I will respond. --Cyde Weys 18:34, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

As already noted, the article does call evolution a theory. Here is a quote to make this clear. Is it satisfactory for you?

The word "evolution" has been used to refer both to a fact and a theory,

If the article were modified to say that evolution is only a theory, then that would be a significant change which would need justification. Such a justification seems unlikely to me given the scientific consensus. If you have any words about Mt. St. Helens which could improve the article (perhaps in a criticism section), then it would be interesting to see them. As a final point, evolution is different from abiogenesis. Eiler7 16:46, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Proposed insertion by user Axa497

The folowing is the proposed insertion of user axa497 who I invited to come to this page to duiscuss the inclusion of this piece into the evolution page

Flaws of Evolutionary Theories

Recently, many scientists have discovered undeniable flaws in modern evolutionary theories. The two most notable flaws are the biochemical impossibility of evolution and evolution's statistical improbability.

Biochemical Impossibility

The main argument used by biochemists against the theory of evolution is that many biological systems are irreducibly complex at the molecular level. An irreducibly complex biological system is defined as:

"a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional." [1]

In essence, the evolution or mutation of the individual components which comprise complex structures such as human cells is not possible because human cells would not able to perform their basic functions (or even exist) without the proper functioning of all of their components. Evolutionists often ignore this fact and try to argue that this does not prove Creationism to be a science. It is all too true that this fact, by itself, in no way proves Creationism to be a science, however, this fact does prove that the theory of evolution is inherently flawed. right|thumb|200px|A spoof of the theory of evolution based on a [http://xfiles.wearehere.net/believe.htm popular X-Files poster].

Statistical Improbability

The main argument used by mathematicians against the theory of evolution is that evolution is simply a statistical improbability. The mathematicians who have refuted the theory of evolution state that there has not been enough time since, the random formation of the first organism to the evolution of modern man, for the correct number of recombinations to occur. Mathematicians have further stated that the random formation of even a single protein is statistically impossible when adhering to the most basic principles of the theory of evolution. One of the proponents of evolution, Professor Richard Dawkins, states the improbability the theory has fallen into in these terms:

"So the sort of lucky event we are looking at could be so wildly improbable that the chances of its happening, somewhere in the universe, could be as low as one in a billion billion billion in any one year. If it did happen on only one planet, anywhere in the universe, that planet has to be our planet-because here we are talking about it." [2]

To display an example of the statistical improbability of evolution a creationist student organization of Mississippi State University has created a web page which calculates the probability of the random formation of the word "evolution" from the 26 letters in the alphabet. Members of the organization argue that "the word "evolution" is only 9 characters. However, to get a correct strand of DNA for the simple virus fX174, needs 390 characters (from which it can choose from either A-C-T-G [Adenine-Cytosine-Thymine-Guanine]). So the probability of getting the correct order of gene sequencing is one out of 4390 which is the following number:

63591141060637037983702199847424104663322051261099893192255571477547 04702203399726411277962562135973685197744935448875852478791860694279 74735580067856867794618144758178140121313388660994702723000427724469 7462656003657100713230572978176.

This is essentially 6.4x10238. However, probabilities less than 1 in 1050 are considered statistically impossible." [1]


Quote:"If it did happen on only one planet, anywhere in the universe, that planet has to be our planet-because here we are talking about it." [3]
This is the worst case of circular logic I have ever seen. Considering there are other possibilities on the formation of the world (i.e. Creationism), it makes me wonder how this guy became a scientist. (I am not disputing Hawking's credentials, I am just wondering where his brain was when he said that.) Twipie 05:10, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes there are other possibilities. I think FSM should get equal time. Pasado 05:29, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
aren’t these claims about evolution not being probable just straw man fallacies. They are based on the idea of creating the same sequence twice in a row in one step. Out of all possible sequences, that is the odds of getting a particular sequence in one step. It doesn't seem to take into account the idea that evolution is gradual and that many other sequences would also produce life. --146.244.137.130 21:26, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

I think this piece is not NPOV, and is deliberatly misleading. --KimvdLinde 03:29, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Not only is it biased, it is poorly sourced. And includes an un-named creationist student as an example? expert? on Evolution? Nope. KillerChihuahua?!? 03:34, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
My idea also. Looks like a strawpuppet as the text was clearly good edited for wikipedia at once, so does not feel to me as a newby. --KimvdLinde 03:39, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Polemics. Feh. Not science. The creationist viewpoint is already covered in the article. FeloniousMonk 03:53, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
An un-named creationist student presenting a simulation that has nothing to do with evolution, even. The theory of evolution holds that complex life forms have developed over time because small changes occurred, were adaptive, and were thus inherited by future generations, becoming the new "base" to which further changes accumulated. The simulation they present, on the other hand, randomizes *every* letter, *every* time. This is about as legitimate a commentary on evolution as saying "Clearly no one could ever solve a crossword puzzle! Do you know how huge the odds are against knowing the exact answer to every single clue on the first try??" -- Antaeus Feldspar 04:35, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

As I told KimvdLinde, my insertion is not a creationist viewpoint and consists only of facts and criticisms of the theory's weaknesses and flaws. Some of the sources may have come from creationists, however, the creationist viewpoint was not promoted and only undeniable facts were presented. Anyway, as I've alreay told KimvdLinde, I will stop trying to complete the Evolution article by including critisms and/or facts that were never presented in the first place or ommitted. It is really my own fault, I forget how "enlightened" and "open-minded" the "modern scientific" community really is. If not KimvdLinde, I'm sure someone else would have censored the facts I presented. Keep in mind that true scientists do not ommitt facts in their search for the truth and that the biased ommission of facts only serves to keep minds in the dark.--Axa4975 04:15, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

First of all, the process of evolution is not a random process alone, but a combination of random mutations and directional selection. So, that is a misrepresentation of the facts in your piece. Furthermore, you claim that many scientists have discovered undeniable flaws in modern evolutionary theories. Unfortunately, those many scientists are unknown to the many scientists that do evolutionary biological research. So, a source for that claim would be appreciated. --KimvdLinde 04:23, 11 February 2006 (UTC) (edited typo's) I only addressed two issues of the many. --KimvdLinde 04:27, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
[edit conflict]There is no virtue in being "open-minded" to misleading propaganda. All this stuff has been shown to be false and misleading. The "random formation of a word" is a classic strawman, because no one is asserting that evolution is a purely neutralist process. It ignores this little thing called "natural selection". As for irreducible complexity - there is no real evidence that any such thing exists, and no publications documenting any ic systems. There is nothing enlightened in failing to reject such obviously misleading propaganda, and there is nothing so ridiculous as someone pretending to be offended by the rejection of such a transparent attempt to mislead. Guettarda 04:33, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
"only undeniable facts were presented." No, I beg to differ. You also presented some unnamed student's simulation which, while presented as demonstrating the statistical impossibility of evolution, actually demonstrated that the student in question either did not comprehend the basic nature of evolution or did not feel like representing it adequately. You also presented an assertion that "many biological systems are irreducibly complex at the molecular level" but failed to give even one example. -- Antaeus Feldspar 04:35, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Just let it go, you know who the many scientists are as well as who the sources are (Richard Dawkins, Peter Bowler, Michael Behe, Fred Hoyle, and Bill Dembski anyone?). Just calm down and let it go; the "dirty little secrets" of the theory of evolution will not be exposed by me again and will probably remain nothing more than secrets. This is officially my last response and I'm moving on, so let the blind "scientific" attacks on my proposed insertion begin! --Axa4975 04:36, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
IMPORTANT - If you wish to discuss or debate the validity of the theory of evolution please do so at Talk.Origins. This "Discussion" page is only for discussion on how to improve the Wikipedia article.

Cyde Weys 04:48, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

And DoNotFeedTroll.jpg FeloniousMonk 06:51, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

What a shame that these astounding "facts" weren't presented by the Dover defense at the Kitzmiller trial. Nice X-Files picture, but isn't it a spoof of the religious faithful evolving their desire to believe? ....dave souza, talk 15:20, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Wow! Didn't know wikipedia talk pages could be this much fun. This stuff rivals the onion! :) Mikker ... 15:59, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
If you find this fun you should definitely check out Talk.Origins. --Cyde Weys 18:35, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
And they can't figure out why they lost the Battle of Kansas[2]? Salva 19:13, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Look, could you please refrain from using profanities? Thanks Scorpionman 22:24, 11 February 2006 (UTC)


I think that this stuff should be in the article. I mean, evolution is a theory. Its not considered a fact, yet. The preceding unsigned comment was added by 24.174.25.130 (talk • contribs) .

You should probably look up what scientists mean when they "theory" they don't mean speculative guess as the word is generally used. JoshuaZ 01:03, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

There is still a substantial amount of criticism to evolution worldwide. It should be included with the article. The preceding unsigned comment was added by 24.174.25.130 (talk • contribs) .

Not from scientists. JoshuaZ 01:03, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

There is scientific criticism to the creationism article, the same should go to the evolution article. Its only fair. The preceding unsigned comment was added by 24.174.25.130 (talk • contribs) .

Not really, only creationist apologetics. You may want to read among other things the Dover decision. JoshuaZ 01:03, 2 March 2006 (UTC)


There is criticism in the creationism article because it is a political movement designed to get the teaching of evolution out of the schools. There is no mention of evolution or scientific criticism on the article on Genesis which is the creation account of a specific religion. A scientific criticism would be out of place there, as would a non-scientific one here, and there is no scientific criticism of evolution (at least not yet). Varith 14:52, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
This might be one of the most uneducated conversations I have ever read. To be honest the person who started this is obviously very misinformed and has probably not taken the time to read this entire article on evolution. Yes I agree, as would all scientist, evolution is a theory, and all scientist are proud of that, it is in no means in insult. A theory is a yet to be disproven idea that has been repeatedly confirmed by observation and experimentation. Evolution has been observed in action, in response to the bad doctor you posted a comment, I sure hope you do not so graciously give your patients antibiotics like candy by the way. And to the starter of this conversation Humans did NOT evolve from Chimps, we evolved from apes, not the same thing, we are relatives to chimps on the evolutionary tree. Please, please do your research before you throw around words as if you know something. And dont expect that throwing theory around discredits and idea...the theory of gravativity, the theory of relativity, the theory of inheritance.
Aside from this, this is a great article, wikipedia has done a fabulous job touching on the various points this subjects has. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.231.157.165 (talkcontribs)

evoltalk discussion template?

Just my feeling last night. There is a continuous stream of people that comes to the talk pages to convince the regular editors (I am not including myself yet in that category) that they have it all wrong, and spew the usual flawed creationist/ID arguments such as the statistical impossibility (while conviently ignoring the non-random natural selection part), many scientists believe evolutio is wrong (where are those?) etc. So, would it be handy to make a template ({{evoltalk}} that we can add to user talk pages (and at top of this page) that provides some standard answers, a like to talk.origins for discussion, and some guidlines what is needed to convince the regular editors of including a dissident fact. If than the regular editors would just go the the user talk page and provide that template there, avoiding extensive discussion over and over again on non-arguments, it would cut down considerable in the chatter at this page. --KimvdLinde 15:56, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea to me... Mikker ... 16:00, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Made a rough first draft here Template:Evoltalk. It is just a first start, needs polising... --KimvdLinde 16:35, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Not a bad idea, certainly. In the end, there is really no difinitive answer, but by confronting such editors with this template, we will at least be able to get a clue to their biases. It's not impossible that a new editor will have a point we haven't though of yet, but this template should help weed out the chaff. -- Ec5618 18:21, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I just beefed it up a bit. It should be ready for use now. --Cyde Weys 18:27, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

And by the way usage would be something like this:

  {{subst:Evoltalk}}  --~~~~

--Cyde Weys 18:28, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, I like it as it is now. We probably will think about new additions or changes, but for now, lets roll with it. --KimvdLinde 19:37, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Excising "theory" of evolution

I've meant to do this for a while now, but only now got round to it. I'm changing all the instances of "theory of evolution" to (depending on context) "theory of natural selection" or "evolution" (or whatever seems correct for the sentence in question). Why? Because the term "theory of evolution" is highly misleading and widely misunderstood. Natural selection is the theory that explains the occurrence of evolution - evolution is not properly speaking a theory itself.

See:

  1. Evolution#Distinctions between theory and fact
  2. Talk:Charles_Darwin#Evolution_is_a_fact_and_a_theory &
  3. Evolution as Fact and Theory - J.S. Gould

See also:

  1. Changes to the Charles Darwin article
  2. Changes to the intelligent design article

Mikker ... 19:23, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Evolution is broader than natural selection, since it includes nonselective processes such as genetic drift. You may want to use the term "evolutionary biology" in places to describe the study of evolutionary processes. --FOo 20:28, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, drift causes evolutionary change but it cannot cause adaption so I'm not sure how important it is. (Moreover, drift is constrained by selection processes, and not vice versa). That said, please do review my changes & alter them if you deem it necessary. Mikker ... 20:35, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Drift can be very important. Random walk models to explain variation in a trait across the phylogenetic tree test whether drift is sufficient to explain the variation in the current taxa. So, I agree with others that evolution is much more than natural selection and mutation alone. However, it is the basics and even that is not really understood by many Creation/ID proponents. --KimvdLinde 20:58, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Alright, I stand corrected; but my point wasn't really about drift it was about how the term "theory of evolution" is misleading. Do you agree with the changes? Mikker ... 21:18, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I so wish you would've posted this message here and waited a bit before you committed those edits. I think some of them are adding inaccuracies. Evolution as a whole is a lot more than just natural selection. I don't know whether to revert or let someone else deal with it. --Cyde Weys 21:07, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I apologise for not waiting but I didn't think this would elicit opposition... Revert if you really want (pending discussion) but I'd prefer it if you make changes to the inaccurate edits you refer to. I'm now going to create a list of my changes in the talk; so you'll have an opportunity to comment on them individually. Mikker ... 21:22, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Changes

1


2

3

4

5

6

3 more changes: to an external link & two changes to avoid a redirect & correct the theory issue Social implications of the theory of evolution --> Social effect of evolutionary theory.

Please indicate which changes are deemed inaccurate or liable to cause confusion. Mikker ... 21:34, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Primarily ok. I think 3 is incorrect limiting to much. I would word 5 different, but change in itself is ok. In 6, I would change understandings to knowledge --KimvdLinde 21:59, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
On 3: how about "one of the great strengths of evolutionary theory science"? On 5: I have no problem with you re-wording it (indeed, I encourage it), I just want to get rid of "theory of...". On 6: what about "not supported by the science of evolution"? ... Mikker ... 22:10, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Fine with 3. I misread 6 apparently, support your change. 5: I think the whole sentence is wacky, and could be inproved, let me think about that.... --KimvdLinde 22:51, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, just to be clear, with 3 & 6 do you support the original change or my subsequent amendment? On 5: I agree with you, it's clear what the sentence tries to convey, but it doesn't do it very well. Will give it some thought too... Mikker ... 22:57, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Yup, indeed. --KimvdLinde 23:03, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Being too quick to replace "theory of evolution" or "evolutionary theory" with natural selection misses a number of important point - the role of drift and neutralism, and "evo-devo". "Theory of evolution" is, IMO, valid usage - not of a single theory, but of a family of theories. Of course, that is to be differentiated from the "fact" of evolution. There is a lot more to theoretical evolutionary biology than just natural selection. Guettarda 00:14, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, but do you think I am incorrect in saying that "theory of evolution" is widely misunderstood and misused? (I read a brilliant article about it recently but can't find the damn think now). Anyway, the only instance where I changed "theory of evolution" to "theory of natural selection" is in 1 - where the usage seems perfectly fine with me. Wallace is credited with comming up with natural selection to explain evolution independently from Darwin. What do you think about the other changes? Mikker ... 00:59, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Humph. I never left out the natural selection part, Redhead. Natural selection is included in random chance. It's not like it was designed to happen that way, right? Scorpionman 15:26, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Natural selection is NOT included in the random chance. I stop this discussion here and I suggest you get first a better understanding about how evolution works. I do not feel the need to educate you at this page about the mechanism of evolution, if you want we can discuss by e-mal about this. But representing evoluton as one big random process is incorrect, and a very general misconception among anti-evolutionists. --KimvdLinde 15:41, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
And you do know that nat seln isn't random, right? - "a mechanism for generating an exceedingly high degree of improbability" ? — Dunc| 15:36, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Scorpionman continued

"Many critiques of the modern theory of evolution involve misunderstandings of the theory, or of science in general." That's nonsense! Ken Ham, who I have mentioned before, understands science very well, understands evolution very well, but he still supports creation! Don't even mention Kent Hovind; he's not one bit like Ham. Also, "one of the great strengths of the evolutionary theory are that it has no need of a supernatural intelligence or intelligent design." I find this quite humorous. In fact, this is one of the "weaknesses" of evolution. If you throw a bunch of scrap metal and other garbage into a furnace, do you think that a space shuttle will come out? Indeed, this lack of a supernatural intelligence is one of evolution's weaknesses! Scorpionman 22:34, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Scorpionman, if you believe that the space shuttle analogy is similar to the process of evolution, to me that indicates a lack of comprehension of evolution. Throwing the raw materials into a furnace is an essentially random process, and does not include any method for repeatedly selecting subtle improvements over billions of years. — Knowledge Seeker 22:40, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Knowledge Seeker, Scorpionman, from what you've posted you don't seem to understand evolution. If I can be so impertinent as to make a suggestion: read "Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea" by Carl Zimmer (see [3]). Great book, easy to follow & presents everything clearly. If you still don't accept evolution after that, fine but at least then you'll understand it. :-) Mikker ... 22:45, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
I am sorry, WP is not a discussion forum about whether evolution is correct or not.--KimvdLinde 22:51, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
quite, but couldn't help myself! :) Mikker ... 22:59, 11 February 2006 (UTC)
Look, I want to remain civil but I'm getting angry. You paid no attention at all to what I said. I most certainly do understand evolution. The space shuttle analogy is an example of random chance, which is essentially what evolution revolves around. If you throw a bunch of metal into a furnace is it going to produce a space shuttle? No. Now, what evolution is saying is that the solar system formed from a big ring of gas that by chance gathered in the Milky Way. A bunch of matter collided to form planets, and Earth was the only one that could sustain life. Just how is it that the Earth is just the right distance from the sun? If it were a little closer, it would be too hot for life. If it were a little farther, it would be too cold. Saying that the Earth formed from stray matter and that life evolved out of that stray matter is exactly like saying that throwing a bunch of scrap metal into a furnace is going to produce a space shuttle. There's no better way I can put it. Scorpionman 01:48, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Why are you getting angry? This talk page is not the place to discuss your personal objections to evolution or affront to your religious convictions. This article discusses biological evolution from the earliest organism, and your doubts about the formation of the solar system are not relevant here. The current scientific theory is that the solar nebula contracted due to gravity, not chance (why would you think that?), perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova. Rotation would cause it to flatten out. It is entirely possible that there are billions of planets scattered throughout the universe, and on the tiny fraction where life originates and evolves intelligence, beings look at the inhospitable planets around them and marvel that only their planet developed life. This, however, is not relevant to this article. Biological evolution produces complexity by repeated selection of subtle improvements over billions of years, and your scrap metal analogy does not even closely resemble this process. If that's the best way you can put it, then please stop restating it, as it is not an effective comparison. — Knowledge Seeker 02:05, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Scorpionman, you just showed that you do NOT understand evolution, because you left out the natural selection aspect and focussed ONLY on the random aspect. If you do not get the point that evolution is incomplete without natural selection, there is no discussing on the merrits. --Redhead 02:49, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I apologise if you found what I wrote offensive Scorpionman, but as several people have now pointed out your understanding of evolution can be improved. I'll leave it at that and again suggest you have a look at the book I suggested. Mikker ... 18:20, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Please continue this discussion at Talk.Origins. That's what it's there for. Scorpionman, how many times do I have to ask you? Are you actually going to do this or are you just blowing me off, at which point I should just stop? --Cyde Weys 00:15, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, Cyde, I would go to Talk:Origins, but I have to have an account and I don't want to waste time doing that. I don't want to give away personal information or stuff like that, so why can't they let you make a comment there without having to have a stupid account? Scorpionman 01:48, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
It takes a minute to create an account; that's hardly a waste of time. Heck, just look at how much time you've "wasted" already discussing evolution in an inappropriate venue (Wikipedia). And the only "personal information" you need to give away is your email address, but if you can't trust Google with that you can't trust anyone with it. And you don't need to use Google Groups to post to talk.origins ... your ISP probably has a newsgroup server that you can post to using your login and password with your ISP. So you won't even have to create a new account or anything. Just a warning though, Google Groups is probably easier to use for the novice. --Cyde Weys 16:40, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Scorpionman has proposed changes just as he was asked by Guettarda. He's not blowing anyone off. In fact, it looks to me like it's quite the opposite. Inconspicuous comments like that hidden in the article are meant to depreciate ID and/or Creationism, not to educate people about evolution. Shouldn't NPOV be applicable here just like everywhere else on Wikipedia? Salva 01:52, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Salva, what are the proposed changes according to you, and what is the source to back it up with? --KimvdLinde 05:29, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Nonsense. If you are talking about the paragraph above, he proposed nothing. He complained. KillerChihuahua?!? 02:03, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I have to agree with KC; I didn't see the proposed changes either. — Knowledge Seeker 02:32, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Again, Scorpionman cites Ken Ham. The latimes of Feb 11 has an article about Ham with the subtitle "Those who believe in creationism -- children and adults -- are being taught to challenge evolution's tenets in an in-your-face way." Coincidence? ...dave souza, talk 10:34, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Scorpionman has implied, (or alluded) that the two aforementioned statements be removed from the article. I concur with the first one. A misunderstanding of evolution does not constitute a misunderstanding of science. Science is obviously not defined by evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theory is an example of science. To say that misinterpreting it involves a "misunderstanding...of science in general" is nonsense. One can understand science and disagree with certain aspects of biological evolution. That's perfectly rational. On the other hand, the statement seems implicitive of giving the reader the idea that evolutionary theory is not understood by the vast majority of (people? scientists?). This is confusing, and either needs to be ellaborated upon or removed in my opinion.

"one of the great strengths of the evolutionary theory are that it has no need of a supernatural intelligence or intelligent design."

Actually, I take back what I said earlier about this statement. It's actually quite honest, if one is referring to the evolution of species that we have observed today. Although it is slightly ambiguous (since the process of evolution initially required intelligent intervention of some sort to begin with), it's nevertheless encyclopædic. Salva 17:27, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you, that the misunderstanding of evolution does not neccesarily imply a misunderstanding of science. However, it can and does go together at times. So, I do not see the incorrectness of that sentence. On the second statement, you assume the need for a intelligent source to start stuff, which is a believe, and as such,not science. --KimvdLinde 18:43, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

So what? You assume that there was no need for an intelligence to initialize the process, which is a belief. It's the same thing. Salva 21:33, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

No, I do not assume that. Do not try to force things on me that I do not do. --KimvdLinde 02:45, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with KimvdLinde, most of the common objections to evolution bespeak a wider ignorance of science. In this context the sentence makes perfect sense. Mikker ... 19:07, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I am not going that far, as I think just leaving natural selection out of evolution is not equal to misunderstanding science. Just more convinient.--KimvdLinde 19:16, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Very well. Salva 21:33, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

The first sentence says many, not all. I don't think this is untrue in the slightest, and one can surely cite plenty of articles and books by notable authors who believe this is a key component. As for the second sentence, it should be tempered as to not making a value statement. "Many scientists think..." tacked onto the front of it would be more NPOV. --Fastfission 21:42, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
The introduction of an inteligent designer to evolution would change the theory so fundamantally that it would not be the currently known theory of evolution. As such, I think the statement described adequatly a key requisite of evolution in its current form. --KimvdLinde 02:45, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I think you're missing the point of the sentence -- it says the benefit of the theory is that it doesn't require supernatural intervention. I think that's a true benefit of any scientific theory, of course, but saying that it is a good thing is clearly a value judgment, and we should attribute value judgments. --Fastfission 03:22, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
At the pure phylosphical level, you are right. However, if you extrapolate this, there are no facts, only believes. Personally, I do not think this is the way to go with something that has been seen as a major benefit of the scientific method since the enlightment. I consider that a valid value judgement that does not require a subsentence such as "99 % of all scientists think...". --KimvdLinde 03:42, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
In this instance, this is a statement about the theological implications of the theory. This is an aspect of things -- unlike the scientific content of the page -- where the opinion attributed does not necessarily default to be scientists. As such, it should be noted whose opinion it is. I'm not sure I understand the reason you object to attributing such a statement even in such a vague way? I don't think it does any harm to do so. --Fastfission 01:55, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
No, I disagree, it has nothing to do with theology. --Redhead 02:52, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I think a key misunderstanding here is that the sentence on "one of the benefits of the theory" assumes the reader understands that we are talking about its benefit in terms of being a good scientific theory, ie it requires the assumption of the fewest things. Not requiring the assumption of an omnipotent being (with all the complexity entailed) makes it a simpler (in terms of assumptions), and thus better, theory. Note also that not requiring the assumption of an omnipotent being is not the same as assuming the absence of the same. We're not talking about the moral value. Skittle 22:06, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Can we get back to "Changes"?

Before we all got into the debate Scorpionman started we were discussing the 9 changes I made (see Talk:Evolution#Changes) and several people voiced objections/concerns. Since these alterations have not been undone (see this diff) can we please get back to discussing the relevant changes? The potentially problematic ones seem to be 3, 5 and 6. Mikker ... 19:49, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

I think it is only 5 that remained. Have to think about that, but I need to do some stupid work and not write articles to be able to do that. --KimvdLinde 19:53, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Ok, here's my take on them:
  1. Darwin/Wallace evolution -> natural selection: change to "evolution by natural selection", best of both worlds
  2. occurrence/theory confirmed by genetics -> I think "occurrence" is the point meant here, though I would lend towards not using the word "confirmed" myself (there is no confirmation in science, just disconfirmation). Maybe something along the lines in saying exactly what the genetics has done (lent complete support to notion of common descent?)?
  3. no divine intervention needed -> Honestly I'd either qualify the statement by saying WHO thinks this is one of its strengths, or drop it alltogether. But I agree that natural selection is what is meant here specifically.
  4. confused about science -> the problem with changing it to "evolutionary thought" is that it no longer agrees with the use of the word "theory" in the same sentence. But I think "evolutionary thought" is a better wording, so perhaps the whole sentence should be arranged a bit.
  5. scholars occurrence/theory -> "occurrence" is better
  6. orthogenesis theory/understandings -> no problem with the proposed wording
Hope that helps a bit or is comprehensible. I think you're right to point out those phrases as problematic though in some cases I think the preferred version might be a slight tweak of what you've suggested. --Fastfission 04:05, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
At no divine intervention. This sounds a bit like a defense against belief, and by explcitily referring to divinities may be taken up harshly by believers. Can't we phrase this in a more positive way, e.g. something like: 'Self-contained physical system is sufficient to explain evolution.' possibly with the inclusios of 'without need for external influence'. This is (of course) saying the same as that you don't need divine intervention but may be putting less emphasis on the Belief-Science debate (which sadly seems to take up most effort on this page) Arnoutf 10:19, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
1) I agree with Fastfission, evolution by natural selection is the optimum wording
2) May I suggest the alternative wording: " Today, there is strong evidence from Genetics that evolution occurs and that it does so by natural selection." possibly it is unnecessary to qualify the statement with "and it does so by natural selection.". Discuss.
3) I second the proposal by Arnoutf to change the wording to "without the need for external influence". Brings the sentance closer in line with wikipedia's ballanced view point policy.
4) I would like to propose a small change. remove "the" so that it reads: "critiques of modern evolutionary thought"
5) I propose this be changed to read "... continue to document examples of evolution, contributing to a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms". I'm not happy about saying "examples of evolution", but I can't think of a more accurate (and probably excessively wordy) alternative.
6) This should be changed to read either "the scientific understanding" (uderstanding singular) or scrub the"the" altogether. I favor my first suggestion.
Please note: this is my first contribution to wikipedia, so I do not intend to edit the main text of such a high profile entry myself, at least not until I've had some feedback. If you think my suggestions are useful, I would be grateful if you were to make the appropriate edits yourself. Quick background of my credentials - final year Genetics student currently averaging a 2:1.

Friedgreenkillertomatoes 11:50, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

1) Agree. The text is explicity referring to Darwin and Wallace's mechanism
2) I see what Friedgreenkillertomatoes is getting at. Evidence from things like anti-biotic resistance strongly suggests not only evolution, but evolution directed by natural selection. If introducing this here makes sense, then go with Friedgreenkillertomatoes, otherwise the "occurrence" wording is best.
3) Agree with both Arnoutf and Friedgreenkillertomatoes. We may be missing a trick here re: artificial selection, but let's not confuse things.
4) Agree with Friedgreenkillertomatoes. The original wording suggests people have a problem with natural selection, while it seems to me that it'd be more accurate to say they've a problem with evolution per se.
5) Much prefer Friedgreenkillertomatoes's wording. The proposed new wording is clunky.
6) Again, prefer Friedgreenkillertomatoes's version.
Just my five cents, --Plumbago 12:18, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I think we've given this enough time for discussion... We seem to have consensus on (1), (4), (5) and (6). (2) and (3) may need some more discussion.

  1. should change to "evolution by natural selection"
  2. should either stay the same or change to "Today, there is strong evidence from Genetics that evolution occurs and that it does so by natural selection" (though, does the evidence from genetics show evolutionary change occurs via natural selection? I honestly don't know)
  3. Either change to "without the need for external influence" or go for Fastfission's suggestion and cite who says this. A great candidate is Daniel Dennett and his "Darwin's Dangerous Idea". (I prefer the second option)
  4. remove "the"
  5. change to "continue to document examples of evolution, contributing to a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms"
  6. change to "the scientific understanding"

This is what I've extracted from the above debate, if I've misunderstood anything and you think this isn't a fair summary, please let me know. Mikker ... 00:54, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Theory

Since evolution is an "unproven theory" by any definition of the word, the article is better suited to be described as such, until this criteria is satisfied. Any argument purporting to have "proven" the theory of evolution had better start, "not by changing the wording in the article but by actually presenting the facts".

As such a thorough explanation of the replication of the very first dna molecule is required (by this reader) before moving on. Such is not given anywhere in modern science literature. Thus how can the remainder (anything purported to have taken place after the first replicated molecule) of the "theory" be spoken off as proven when the very basics are not even explained satisfactorily. So please, start with the basics, before classifing a theory as a fact. (Spintronic 21:25, 16 February 2006 (UTC))

Consider a jigsaw puzzle. While one could start from the bottom left corner and gradually work from there, chances are you'd put together pieces as and when you find them. Starting with the pieces that are closest to hand and easiest to understand. Working from them, you can probably build up a pretty good idea of what the picture on the jigsaw is without having positioned every last piece of it. Eventually, you'll be in a position to place that final bottom left corner piece. Its content may contain a surprise, and change the picture you'd built up until then, but no point getting worried about that until you're there. It might even turn out not to illuminate the picture at all, and that you got everything you were going to get from it by filling in the middle first.
Essentially, you're suggesting that until science has pinned down this first bottom left piece it can't talk about the picture the other pieces show. I'm guessing that you don't do jigsaws very often. Cheers, --Plumbago 18:04, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
P.S. As it happens, science isn't even clear on whether DNA marks the start of "life". From the picture we see so far, it's everywhere, but has that always been the case? Anyway, you might find that your DNA piece that seems to be from the bottom left corner isn't actually from there at all.

Thank you for your agreement, there are many missing pieces, thus the article should be discussed as a "THEORY" until proven otherwise. Since evolutionists cant even explain the most basic or simplist of its "jigsaw pieces" (and i do jigsaws btw, its always best to start with the easiest pieces) the article "should" refer to the "Theory of evolution"!

And im not suggesting that the whole cant be inferred from the pieces! Im saying the article should refer to the "Theory of evolution" as that; a theory!

(Spintronic 21:25, 16 February 2006 (UTC))

You're misunderstanding what the word theory means. Natural selection is the theory that explains the occurrence of evolution - evolution is not properly speaking a theory itself.
See:
  1. Evolution#Distinctions between theory and fact
  2. Talk:Charles_Darwin#Evolution_is_a_fact_and_a_theory
  3. Evolution as Fact and Theory - J.S. Gould
  4. Talk.origins archived entry on fact/theory
Mikker ... 21:32, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

No my friend its you who are misguided! e.g;

Newtons "Law" of gravitation!

Einsteins "Theory" of General relativity!

Newtons "law" is such because thats what it is! "At any given distance. The strength of a gravitational field is directly proportional to the mass creating that field". Einsteins "Theory" of gravitation is such, because although the geometry is more accurate and complete than newtons picture, and gives more accurate results, it is still "not" proven beyond doubt.(expandind universe, Black holes, dark matter to give a few examples)! Whereas the "simple" premise that gravity is proportional to mass is proven, and thus is not a "theory"!

There is no such "simple" premise in "evolution theory" that is an undeniable proven Fact!

(Spintronic 21:40, 16 February 2006 (UTC))

Nothing is ever proven beyond all doubt (read Descartes), that's not the point. The point is evolution is something observed i.e. we see it happen (in the lab), we infer it happens (fossil record), we infer some more that it happens (genetics), etc. That is, evolution is a descriptive proposition that must be explained. Natural selection is the theory that explains evolution. Mikker ... 21:47, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Again you are misguided, (the limitless number of primes as just one example) [[4]Proof]

On the subject of "Proof" there is a type of proof called "reductio ad absurdum". Trying to define "evolution theory" as a fact is such a "reductio ad absurdum". You are trying to palm off as fact, that for which you have no explaination of how its most simplest process came about.

e.g the replication of the first dna molecule.(Spintronic 22:09, 16 February 2006 (UTC))

This is an interesting point. After all, taken from a certain point of view, facts are an illusion in science, since our knowledge is constantly evolving (or should I say changing) what we know one day may very well be overthrown the next. A classic example being the popular belief that the earth was flat and the centre of the universe. Thank goodness for Copernicus, or my GPS would work even less well! As for proof, don't even get me started. On the other hand, evolutionary theory does have a good body of evidence behind it, drawn from a variety of sources (see evolution).
I concur with Spintronic that fact and proof are inaproprtiate for a discussion of science, although if (s)he reads the article carefully, (s)he should see that the word fact is used only 15 times. Out of these, 8 are a discussion of the distinction between fact and theory.
Of the rest, there are only two times when fact is used to refer to evolution. I would like to propose that the section Science of evolution, which contains both of these references be revised. I think this section does a poor job of getting its point accross. I think the point was meant to be that evolution (as defined as the change of species) has been observed, allbeit on a small scale, and to distinguish this from the collection of theories that endevour to explain how this occurs. This section would certainly benefit from reference to a couple of papers that describe such change. I will try and fish some out over the next week or so, but if anybody has any to hand then edit, edit, edit!
Other than these two instances, I don't see how the article depicts evolutionary theory as fact? Perhaps you could be more specific so that any issues you have can be adressed, rather than discussing whether evolution occurs or not. This is not the place.
To re-itterate- Spintronic makes an excellent point that we should be "actually presenting the facts". So start digging up those references and depositing them in wikipedia!
Ohh, yeah and thanks, Mikker, for your eloquent explanation of evolution.

Friedgreenkillertomatoes 22:55, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I must respectfully disagree, Friedgreenkillertomatoes. You're not distinguishing between two senses of "doubt": that is, between reasonable and hyperbolic doubt. If we're going to doubt hyperbolically, the only thing we can save is cogite ergo sum - nothing else is "certain". In fact, several modern philosophers have pointed out that Descartes didn't go far enough wrt to hyperbolic doubt for why assume logic tracks truth? (As Colin McGinn has pointed out, saying if a then b, a therefore necessarily b simply because we can't conceive of an alternative fallaciously deduces an ontological conclusion from premises concerning human psychology.) In any case, if we apply the standard of hyperbolic doubt we have very few (or perhaps even no) facts. But this is obviously not the standard used science. In science we apply the standard of reasonable doubt - and on that measure evolution in the descriptive sense of transmutation of species (etc.) is as much a fact as the sky's being blue. No reasonable person can dispute evolution in this sense. Of course, perhaps our explanation for why evolution happens is wrong, but that's a completely different matter. Mikker ... 23:29, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
You make a fair point Mikker and perhaps I was being a little facetious. It does seem though as if the article is not clear enough on this point to aviod confusion, judging by this page. I'm sure that you're tired of explaining what a theory is every couple of days, so can something be done to minimize this discombobulation?
-Friedgreenkillertomatoes 00:29, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I completely agree that something needs to be done to sort out this problem... perhaps we can beef up Evolution#Distinctions_between_theory_and_fact? I've mulled over several possibilities but haven't come up with anything worthwhile. Suggestions? Mikker ... 00:37, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm wondering whether a discussion of what constitutes a theory belongs under "Misconceptions of modern evolutionary biology" rather than "Science of evolution". I don't like seeing "fact" being discussed at all - it appears to cause too much confusion,though I'm not sure right now how to get arround that. Perhaps we could clarify what we mean by a "fact" by giving examples of "facts" that have contributed to the understanding of evolution, such as the change in colouration of that moth (sorry, i ought to be going to bed soon - I can't remember its name) from white to black during the industrial revolution. It's a simple example that illustrates evolution in action. The more examples like this dotted arround the article, the better. If you know of any literature describing speciation events being observed, that would definately be worth putting in - I'd love to get my hands on some of that material too. Of course that would bring in the whole question of "what is a species", and this article doesn't need any more controvesy. One possibility might be to have this discussion nearer the beginning of the article, which might solve the problem that it doesn't seem to get read by some. but then it doesn't really belong there. That's all I've got for now. I'll mull it over myself.
-Friedgreenkillertomatoes 01:40, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

"Why" of science

I am not conviced that "why" is an appropriate question for science; it depends on what you mean by "why", of course, but "why" is often seen as a metaphysical question. Guettarda 21:13, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

-Forgive me, but I don't quite understand the relevance to a discussion of evolution. Could you elaborate? Friedgreenkillertomatoes 21:23, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I think it has to do with this diff. Mikker ... 21:29, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not so sure... Science is fulfilling exactly because it answers our 'why' questions. Why is the sky blue? Why did that darn apple fall on my head? Why does evolution occur? Why can planes fly? etc. etc. Science is far more than just description it is explanation - i.e. science answers why questions. That said, there are (sometimes) metaphysical implications, but that's hardly a reason to get excited. Philosophers aren't lepers! :) Mikker ... 21:27, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

This paragraph ("Why of science") doesnt make sense and doesnt discuss improving the article thus "should" be deleted! (172.214.43.37 22:20, 16 February 2006 (UTC))

It relates to a change by an anon which Mikker reverted. At least one of my mentors was adamant that "why" was not a scientific question. I think it's especially apt in EB, because "why" implies a purpose, an intent. "Why is the sky blue" is actually "what causes the sky to be blue" and not "for what purpose was the sky made to be blue". I'm not sure that "why" really adds terribly much in that sentence, and it does take away, at least in some people's eyes. Guettarda 21:38, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

"Why?" is one of the most important questions you can ask (and answer) in science. It's trivial to measure something like, say, the gravitational attraction that the Earth exerts on a falling object. It's quite a more interesting question to ask why gravity works ... now that is still an unsolved mystery. Here's another good question that we don't have the complete answer for yet ... Why did humans evolve such massive intelligence? --Cyde Weys 16:35, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Part of solving problems is looking at them the right way. Asking the right questions. Calling things by their right names and distinguishing between things formerly thought to be the same. "Why did humans evolve such massive intelligence?" is improved by replacing "why" with "how". It is further improved by first considering "What is intelligence?" and discovering it is many diverse forms of data processing, done by individual cells, groups of cells that communicate (and even store data - see immune system) with blood borne chemicals, nerve cells specialized in data processing arranged in various structures that evolved at various times, and data processing and storage outside of organic bodies - most notably by humans. Continued investigation into what intelligence is produces increasing knowlege as to the processes and mechanisms that resulted in humanity's current data processing abilities. Getting away from "why" is useful. WAS 4.250 17:09, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

As I understand it, some people prefer to say that "Why" is only answered by religion, and "How" is supposedly answered only by science. Personally, I think that's extremely limited, and in my opinion, often used to support bias to ignore things, and im not talking about just evolution either. But hey, I don't know any Wikipedia policies or guildlines against answering "why" in articles, scientific or not, if whatever section someone is trying to add helps the article, I can't think of a good reason to leave whatever it is out. Of course, if the section wasn't helpful, then it's all irrelevant anyway I suppose. Homestarmy 00:54, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

POV - Christian "Mythology"?

It has prominently been seen as opposing a literal interpretation of the account of the origins of humankind as described in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, a religious text containing the corpus of Christian Mythology.

The article was doing so good up til that point. It was neutral, factual, overall pretty well-written, and then at the last second the author takes a swipe at Christianity.

It would be out of place for this article to say that many scientists regard Genesis as mythology, whether or not that is the case. But to go all the way and say that it IS, in fact, mythology... that is far worse and stands out as profoundly unprofessional. It's embarrassing.

Anyone else think this needs to be removed? -Alexwebb2

No, and it is in no way a swipe at Christianity. I think you just don't understand what "mythology" means. thx1138 09:01, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
It was most certainly a swipe at Christianity. First of all, we know who wrote the first half of that sentence, which means that somebody else made an addition that amounted to "Genesis is Christian Mythology". Second, it's referred to as Christian mythology, despite being a collection of stories about the Jewish people. The bias is plain as day. -Alexwebb2 13:51, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Hmm, well of course technically it is a mythology whether or not it is true or not. But that's beside the point -- it is a poorly written sentence with a very obvious and explicit POV, which is completely unnecessary. I don't remember what it originally was, but it should be changed back. (as for the "at the last second" -- it should be remembered that these articles have no single author! I wrote the first part of the sentence long ago, but never would have written "Christian Mythology"!). --Fastfission 02:31, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, technically Genesis does fit the dictionary definition of mythology, in that it is a people's record of events etc etc. But I'm sure everyone would agree that the word "mythology" carries a little more weight than that and strongly suggests that something is fictional (that is the real-world use of the word). I'm going to go ahead and edit it to read "It is widely viewed as contradicting the account of the origins of humankind in the Book of Genesis." Oh, and btw, by "at the last second" I simply meant that it was at the tail end of the article, I did not mean to imply that the whole article was written by one guy who was masquerading as a genuine scholar while secretly plotting an attack on Christianity. :-) -Alexwebb2
I fail to see how mythology refers to something being untrue.
Anyone who speaks English knows that "myth" is a loaded word and carries with it connotations of untruthfulness. I don't care if Genesis is true or not, the point is that any statements regarding the truthfulness of it belong in another article, as it comes off as very POV here and hurts the integrity of the article. Look up the definition of myth if you don't believe me, I guarantee it will say something about fiction. -Alexwebb2 13:35, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
This is simply a misconception, similar to the common misunderstanding of what the word "theory" means. I can confirm that the term "Christian mythology" is a valid literary term, and is a perfectly NPOV term, implying no bias whatsoever. --Ashenai 14:25, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

"In the beginning" (which, if you add up the beggets, was about 6000 years ago, before the first pyramid in Egypt was built) the world was a choas. Then God created all in 6 days. Does this not sound like mythology to you? How "historical" is the fairy tale of Adam and Eve? Does the "explanation" of where rainbows come from (after the alleged great flood) not sound like a simple myth? It's myth and untrue.
Moses (assuming he existed) wrote the Pentateuch quite a long time ago. Children in high school know more than he would have known when died, and yet our intelect is constantly insulted when we're expected to consider Judaic stories as possible fact. It's like asking one to be open minded about the possibility that the Sun is a flaming ball of coal. Tolerance is great, but don't expect everybody else to pretend to be dumb simply because religion is popular (so is the belief that Iraq/Afghanistan had "weapons of mass-distruction", that polygraphs actually work, that race is a real biological phenomenon...). -User:ZyXoas 08:53, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

ZyXoas, that's not the point. I don't care if Genesis is true or false, the point is that it does not belong in this article. I haven't looked into it, but there's probably a "Validity of Genesis" or "Interpretations of Genesis" page where that would be better suited. BTW, you reek of POV. :-) -Alexwebb2 13:35, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

"In the beginning" was an undisclosed amount of time ago according to observations 13 billion years to be precise. The term "day" is very fluid, if you read the account it says there was a division between the "day" & night. Here depicting "day" as a twelve hour period. Later it says God rested on the seventh "day" according to Heb 4: this "day" is still in progress. after thousands of years. So the term "day" is not literal and only a fool would think it was. As for your faith in the dating of the pyramids, There was a program about a baby incased in concrete. The forensics had dated the brick at 8 years old or 1992. Later the facts didnt fit, it turned out the brick was 1960's. So dont hold too much faith in dating techniques.

Let's not turn this into a discussion on the validity of Genesis. Use Talk.Origins for that. -Alexwebb2 13:35, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Im not here to preach, and you're not here to tear down, so if you stop so will I. I could quite happily rip into "evolution theory". And you have just as much "faith" as the next man as you are defending a theory that doesnt have a foundation. You cant explain the utter impossibility of the first dna replication. This isnt the place to discuss technicalities, just the article.:)(172.209.205.109 09:37, 17 February 2006 (UTC))

Again, let's move comments like this over to Talk.Origins. -Alexwebb2 13:35, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

"Myth" may be a loaded word in some contexts, but Mythology is the best term to describe the Judeo-Christian scriptures in this article. android79 14:21, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

"Myth" is a loaded word in virtually every context. Of course, among scholars, this wouldn't be much of an issue because they would go by the dictionary (not the popular) definition of mythology. But the main audience here is not a group of scholars, it is not a group of people who specialize in ancient cultures and their mythologies. Let's try to use words that will be understood the way we want them to be understood. There are definitely some more appropriate words which convey that Genesis is a Judeo-Christian tradition without implying that it is fictional... like, well, "tradition". If somebody wants to say that evolution is widely viewed as contradicting the Judeo-Christian traditions found in the book of Genesis, that would be factually correct and could not possibly be construed as POV. -Alexwebb2 16:12, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
The main audience can also easily click on Mythology and read the definition given there. I'd rather use words for their precise meanings rather than "use words that will be understood the way we want them to be understood", which sounds far too much like political correctness to me. android79 16:24, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
By no means am I trying to be politically correct. By using words "that will be understood the way we want them to be understood", I mean that we should not use words that have a significantly different meaning for the reader than what the authors intend. There is no need to make things more complicated by saying "Genesis is mythology, but not the way that most people will think when they read this, so if you want to understand what we're talking about you should go to this other article". Just say "tradition", it gets the point across, doing no more and no less than it needs to. -Alexwebb2 16:35, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I disagree that the word "mythology" has a significantly different meaning for the casual reader. We could even link to Christian mythology instead. I don't think the word "tradition" does a good enough job of describing what is being discussed. android79 17:09, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Hmm. I do think the meaning is different for the casual reader, since the context (the fact hat it is widely viewed as contradictory) gives it an air of "this is science, and that other stuff is just a few little myths". I think tradition does just as good a job as mythology in describing Judeo-Christian beliefs, and that tradition has a distinct advantage in that it will absolutely not be misunderstood. The way I see it, if we put down mythology and link to it (or, like you said, Christian Mythology), most readers would take it the wrong way and see it as POV (which is most definitely is, if you're taking it to mean the common English definition). But hey, it's also possible that most people will then follow the link and learn what the term actually means in that context. Personally, I don't think it's worth it for a few reasons, mainly that if it's quoted by some other source (obviously without the direct and immediate ability to look into Christian Mythology), it will make Wikipedia look biased or slanted. In short, the question is whether the prospect of teaching people the scholarly definition of mythology is worth the confusion it is likely to cause. -Alexwebb2 17:50, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Just like the "mythelogical" missing link.

Um, most uses of the term "missing link" are based on misconceptions about the underlying concepts. In any event, what do you mean and what does it have to do with this use of mythology as a term? JoshuaZ 16:07, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
The reason i typed the above comment, has now changed as the auther has changed hes comments. But you tell me, how do you define the term missing link, then we can be sure that we are not talking about a misconception. Then ill explain why it belongs in a mythelogical discussion.
This is completely irrelevant to the discussion. This is about whether there are better terms to use than "mythology" to describe Genesis, as the most common definition of mythology is pejorative and implies that the subject is fictional in nature. If you want to discuss a "missing link", please take it to Talk.Origins. -Alexwebb2 16:45, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Regardless of how appropriate the word mythology is in this instance, I think it's safe to say that most people understand what the bible is, just as they would know what you were referring to if you spoke of the Koran, or the Torah or even the "Origin of Species". In other words, there is was no reason to include any of the sentance after "the first book of the Bible". I don't think the article is in any way impoverished by the loss of this sentance.
Friedgreenkillertomatoes 17:52, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with AlexWebb2 completely on the issue of whether "mythology" is transparent POV. As our article on mythology says:
In common usage, myth means a falsehood — a story which some believe but which is not true. The field of mythology does not use this definition.
However in this article it is clearly not being used in the "field of mythology". One could just as rationally call all of history "mythology" if one wanted to -- it is a series of stories about the past which is told -- and you could even call scientific accounts of the history of the universe "mythology" under the strict technical definition. All would be blatant POV violations in most contexts. Also I think the rabid attacking of AlexWebb2 -- who has raised a perfectly valid objection -- is a bit unnecessary, much less the invocation of discussions of the validity of Genesis or anything like that, which is completely beside the point here, and rude to boot. It plays into the worst assumptions about people who advocate a scientific worldview (of whom I am one). --Fastfission 18:00, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
That is much appreciated, Fastfission. I will also add this for anyone who says mythology in the common sense does not imply falsehood - this is taken directly from the Christian Mythology article: In theological and academic studies, describing a story as myth sometimes, but not necessarily, implies falsehood. A true story can also be symbolic and explanatory. However, in common usage a myth is a story that is not true. Therefore to describe Bible stories and deeply held beliefs as 'myth' is frequently taken as an attack on those sources and on the beliefs which are based on them. -Alexwebb2 18:04, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
The first definitions given for "myth" at dictionary.com and Wiktionary don't imply falsehood, and none of the definitions for "mythology" at dictionary.com and Wiktionary imply falsehood. I don't understand how, if we use these definitions, history or science can be reduced to mythology, as in Fastfission's examples; the definitions are very precise and specific. I understand the POV concerns with using myth/mythology, and I believe the editor that originally inserted that passage intended to imply falsehood, but I think that "mythology" is the most accurate term for what we want to describe. If readers are confused or offended by its use here, perhaps reading Mythology will educate them on other meanings of the word, in much the same way that this article serves to enlighten those confused about the definition of "theory". android79 18:57, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Take a look at the second word used in the dictionary.com definition: traditional. If you want to use a word that is going to be misunderstood, you need to have a good reason for it - the fact is, tradition does the job just fine and, unlike mythology, it is consistent with usage elsewhere on Wikipedia (see my previous post quoting Christian Mythology). -Alexwebb2 19:14, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
If your looking for consensus here or something, I just thought i'd add, I think it's a swipe at Christianity myself :/. It reads that way to me, plus, one of the people up there who thinks it isn't called me (And some other Christians im sure) a fool, that was downright harsh, "tradition" seems like a better word. Homestarmy 19:40, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Amazing that one word can cause such an in-depth debate. Therein lies a prime example some of the true motivations behind Darwin's more adamant "intellectual thugs," who seek to rewrite our history and breed contempt for religion, especially Christianity. Dispicable, to say the least. Salva 00:21, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Haha, I'm gunna plagiarize the hell out of that statement later. Its funny to me that when you are talking about the religion of native Americans, it is a creation myth, but if you are talking about Genesis, it is not a creation myth. --Ignignot 19:56, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
You don't know the half of it. To his dying breath, my fundamentalist Christian father refused to accept that Christianity was a "religion"; it was Truth revealed by God (pronounced "Gaw-ed") himself, while "religion" was stuff people made up. Going to Church three times a week can indoctrinate you into believing anything. WAS 4.250 11:22, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
I think of those as fads in vocabulary. Today people will commonly say "I am not religious, I am spiritual" because they equate religiousness to orthodoxy. Maybe 30 years from now they will be saying something else. Alternatively, 30 years from now the definition of the words might actually reflect that view. Getting into arguments about what word to use serves no purpose because language itself is an evolving and imperfect tool, and words have relative definitions. I have to admit I enjoy pointing out the inconsistencies in such arguments, however. --Ignignot 16:33, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Wait, where did indian creation myths come into this? Homestarmy 22:18, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Once people complained that the Bible's version of creation should not be called a myth, I thought it was obvious to compare it to an unpopular religion (animism in this case but I could have chosen Greek mythology) where it is always referred to as mythology. It is clear as day that mythology should be used only when it is someone else's religion. I think that wiktionary has omitted that nuance from its definition, maybe it should be corrected. (Looking back on my comment, when I said "you" I meant it in a general sense, like the academic "one." I did not mean that someone had brought it up.) --Ignignot 16:33, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Darwin's Contribution

Reading through the complete page it seemed to me that two diametrically opposed POVs were being proposed about Darwin's contribution to our modern understanding of evolution. In one section his work seems to is presented as though he proceeded on thoroughly scientific lines, complete with statistical analysis of his results, so that Mendel's work on inheritable characteristics was merely icing on the cake. In another section, however, there is what seems to me to be the more realistic implication that Darwin got the ball rolling, in a fairly amateurish way, after which a great deal of further work was required in order to get us to where we are today. (As a matter of interest, I understand that Darwin was actually shown a copy of Mendel's 1866 paper but had too little scientific training to appreciate its importance. Fact or fiction?)
Anyway, if my perception is correct, may I respectfully suggest that someone who has a sufficiently neutral POV should standardise the depiction of Darwin's role.
Thank you for your attention.
Eric 18:00, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, I didn't perceive these two views, but I'll take a look at it. Darwin was not amateurish though he was not working in the mode of what we now call "modern biology" (towards the end of his life he started using quantitative research methods, but they were not really his interest). To my knowledge Darwin never saw Mendel's paper, but even if he had been he would not have seen its importance from a modern point of view. Even Mendel himself didn't see it as being important in the way it is now seen (our article on Mendelian inheritance discusses this a bit), and neither did any of the 19th century biologists. --Fastfission 19:25, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Fastfission will know more than me, but my understanding is that Darwin had as complete and up to the minute scientific training and background as anyone in Britain at that time, and was already an eminent geologist and distinguished biologist who had done a massive work on barnacles before publishing his theory. He was also an amateur and gentleman in that he was self financing and part of the Cambridge set who dominated natural history as amateurs and clergymen, as well as being a friend and supporter of the new professional scientists such as Huxley who were trying to take over the system. When they succeeded, Darwin was their honoured mentor, though still self financing. His work included statistical analysis with the assistance of Galton.. As he was the first to say, it left an enormous amount to be done, and while he speculated about the mechanism of inheritance, Mendel's work was of the utmost importance in taking this further. ...dave souza, talk 23:23, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
We watched a movie about Darwin last year in history class, he certainly was very well-respected in his field when he lived, and had indeed done some work on other projects I think before publishing his Origin of the Species book. Just my 2 cents if it matters :/. Homestarmy 23:49, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Glancing at Charles Darwin, it's notable that his work on geology was honoured in 1839 when he was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society, and his work on barnacles earned him the Royal Society's Royal Medal in 1853, establishing his reputation as a biologist. He had two distinguished careers at the top level of science before even announcing his theory in 1858. The linked biographical articles give more detail, including how he continued to make innovative studies, such as his work on orchids and worms. ...dave souza, talk 00:31, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

So

We can tell people who question the modern synthesis to screw off now? Finally. --Ignignot 14:16, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Im still not taking this page off my watch list. Homestarmy 14:31, 21 February 2006 (UTC)


Why won't the lib mods allow me to put links to sites that have scientifically disproven evolution? Are you wiki people afraid that you biased recount of world history will be seen for what it truly is?

The left wing, atheist viewpoint of all things on this site is laughable.

You people will never admit to it, and with your army of nazi-esque admins and mods, you will never allow anyone to post something that brings it to light.

That settles the discussion. See Godwin's law :) Wyss 22:13, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

  • "lib mods"? You make us sound like some sort of 60s hipsters. When you can provide links to peer-reviewed, scientific articles, rather than unfounded silliness, we will be happy to add them. bikeable (talk) 21:37, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Did you even look at the links that I included? Of course you didn't. You are lying. You saw something that would disprove your obtuse view of the world, and you deleted it.

  • First of all, I didn't delete it -- learn to read the edit histories. As JoshuaZ has pointed out, there is already a big article on the creation-evolution controversy, which covers this stuff in detail. Now, dispite your personal attacks, I did in fact skim through the first page you posted (the correct link is here, and it is truly unscientific: it's just unfounded numeracy, and not remotely convincing. The numbers are mostly made up and silly; the part about language is truly ridiculous. Much better claims against evolution have been discussed elsewhere. (The second page you posted, as JoshuaZ points out, is essentially anti-creation.) bikeable (talk) 23:07, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

The problem, quite frankly, is for every objection to evolution, somebody is probably going to invent a counter-objection through enough time and thought, it's happened for decades i'd think, it's a vicious cycle :/. But anyway, calling everyone nazi-esque and atheists really is not going to solve anything i'd assume, besides, if you want to help make things less "Left-wing" and "Atheist", come help us on the Jesus article, much different field of study, we need a few extra hands. Im afraid this place isn't where arguments against evolution are looked at with high esteem, not always because everyone is an evolutionist, but because the talk origin's archive link way up at the top is where you've gotta go around here to fight against evolution, this encyclopedia can only report on things, not make up new decisions :/. Homestarmy 21:41, 21 February 2006 (UTC)


In nearly every other page on this site, one can find a link or 2 to an opposing view. Execpt here, the Holy Grail of the left.


Please keep in mind that Wikipedia strongly frowns on personal attacks. I don't consider "lib" to be a personal attack per se but "nazi-esque" is about as bad one can get. Aside from the wikirules, people are more likely to listen to you if you argue and discuss in a calm fashion. So it is in your best interest, not to engage in such behavior. JoshuaZ 21:45, 21 February 2006 (UTC)


You mean, like calling one's contibutions "spam", "silliness" "nonesense"?

Read the links. I guess 160+ scientists at the infamous Chicago Conference is not enough to merit 2 links in the almight Wiki, eh?

IMPORTANT - If you wish to discuss or debate the validity of the theory of evolution please do so at Talk.Origins. This "Discussion" page is only for discussion on how to improve the Wikipedia article.

charles petzold.

Alienus, While a second glance shows that the link is interesting. It is a) a personal website and b) simply not relevant to this webpage. It might make sense on the evolution-creationism controversy page, and I would not object to it being moved there. In the meantime, I am removing it. JoshuaZ 22:15, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I'm not going to remove the Perzold link again given that there seem to be many who disagree with me, but can someone please explain what it has to do with evolution and wouldn't make much more sense in the evolution-creationism article or the Maxwell article. What am I missing? JoshuaZ 22:37, 21 February 2006 (UTC)




Key policies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Policies_and_guidelines

Avoid bias. Articles should be written from a neutral point of view, representing all differing views on a subject, factually and objectively, in an order which is agreeable to a common consensus.

By not allowing me to add this opposing views, you are subverting the very nature of Wikipedia, and breaking the very rules you have agreed to protect.

I disagree with the addition of both links, the first one simply doesn't belong there and the second link, though is supports evolution, doesn't add anything but fuel for flame wars. As quoted above, lets reach a common consensus on whether to leave the links in there or remove them for good. Tailpig 22:42, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

You deleted them before you even read them. That is fact.--166.73.21.146 22:51, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

It's not like people haven't tried to get even just a tiny recognition that there are non-evolutionist actually credible scientists out there, but i've given it all i've got already as have some other people, I dunno what to tell you :/. Someone added the petzold link back in I think, it does seem pretty educational, maybe we can defend it, I dunno, but the point is, don't count on overwhelming support. And trying to get into an edit war just makes everything doomed to failure on this article heh. Homestarmy 22:37, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Oh for crying out loud. 1) The first link still doesn't work for me, and I've now tried about 5 different permuations of it. 2) 64, did you even read the Petzold link? Petzold isn't saying that at all. Please read it. 3) In any event, can someone please explain why the Petzold link should go here(I think it is an interesting essay but not relevant to this page)? JoshuaZ 22:43, 21 February 2006 (UTC)


The very fact that these "mods" are afraid to have 2 links on this entire page that may present a different point of view speaks volumes about all of Wiki as a whole.

You can find links to different points of view on 99% of the controversial subjects, even an entire section on the "Creationism" page.

What if I added a section on "Critique of Evolution"? How fast would that be deleted by the mods?

How is this neutral and fair?

I challenge any of you mods to answer that.

Ok. First the links are not relevant. This page is about evolution, not the evolution-creationism controversy. There is another page for that, as I have repeatedly explained to you. Second, the petzold link is basically anti-creationist (although slightly more complicated than that) if you read it, so why we would be scared of it is beyond me. Third, the other link is from a non-notable source and in any event seems to be broken (is it working for you?). Please calm down and help us reach a consensus. JoshuaZ 22:55, 21 February 2006 (UTC) p.s. We aren't "mods" the term on wikipedia is editors, we all (including you) are editors of a collective enterprise. The next category after that would be admins but thats not directly relevant for our purposes. Also, could you standardize your formatting on the talk pages? Thanks. JoshuaZ 22:55, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
The link is outdated and uses quite humorous arguments against evolution... such as that the earliest "civilizations" were civilized and not "brutes". Of course that is misleading as it does not even attempt to account for pre-civilization "pre-written word" history and evidence. Allowing such a link, in the context of a valid (or even meaningful) critique of evolution, would be like allowing an enthusiastic 15-year-old atheist post his link critiquing the Bible and religions. It would be wrong to do and have little exploratory power (the link in question of course is relevant for a historical account of the debate), and as mods we shouldn't allow it here. (PS: And scientifically speaking, evolution is not anywhere close to being controversial; hence there isn't a need for a critique section.) - RoyBoy 800 16:48, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
mods? Guettarda 22:56, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Presumably, moderators.

I actually restored the Petzold link because it was interesting and not propaganda. However, if you think it fits better into the controversy page, I certainly wouldn't object to it being moved there. Alienus 22:59, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

As per your agreement I have moved it over to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation-evolution_controversy#Creation_vs_Evolution_links JoshuaZ 23:04, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
I have made a dab ref at the heading: For arguments against evolution, see Creation-evolution controversy. All applicable additions made to this article can simply be cut n' pasted there. No need to argue. --Wetman 19:37, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
If it's really necessary, I don't see much of a problem with this. Homestarmy 20:00, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Shouldn't that be "for religious arguments against evolution", because any scientific arguments do belong here. Guettarda 20:14, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
There aren't any. Whether arguments "against" evolution are religious or not is doubtless discussed at Creation-evolution controversy.
It's not needed. Or perhaps a warning "if you're deluding yourself with an argument from incredulity, look away now!" — Dunc| 22:25, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
does it really matter if the arguments are called scientific or religious, how about just "For some arguments against evolutionary theory and the resulting controversy, see..."? Homestarmy 23:01, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Am I missing something? There is a whole section on the evolution controversies. CuteWombat 23:12, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
This is already covered in Evolution#Social and religious controversies. The notice at the top is superfluous. I agree with CuteWombat. — Knowledge Seeker 23:23, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

IMPORTANT - If you wish to discuss or debate the validity of the theory of evolution please do so at Talk.Origins. This "Discussion" page is only for discussion on how to improve the Wikipedia article.

IMO talk.origins as a usenet newsgroup shouldn't be capitalised. I decapitalised your link at the top. Benny Benjamin 00:32, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Er, what is this in reference to? Why are you saying this here in the middle of a discussion about the article? — Knowledge Seeker 00:38, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Endosymbiotic Theory

Despite a link to the article on the endosymbiotic theory, there is no discussion of this theory here. I think that it has a place in a discussion about evolution as it tries to explain the significant transition from prokaryotic life to eukaryotic life. There is also evidence that the mitochondrial genome, in plants at least, is still being exchanged with the nuclear genome, . Finally in their book "Accquiring genomes: A Theory of the Origin of Species", Lynn Margullis and Dorion Sagan discuss how symbiosis may continue to play an important role in speciation. I think this would fall nicely under the heading of Mechanisms of Evolution. I wanted to get some feedback before writing a paragraph on this though. Does anybody have any objections to this being included here? Does anybody have suggestions about what should be included in it if I go ahead? Friedgreenkillertomatoes 08:53, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Be careful to distinguish speculation from hypotheses with empirical support. Guettarda 08:56, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
I see this as part of the larger issue of "What is evolving?" RNA or DNA (genes or whole molecules or groups of genes in orgenells or entire cells), populations within a species, whole species, groups of species (e.g. humans and the bacteria in our gut evolving as a whole), local ecosystems, or the whole world's ecosystem. I think biological evolution occurs at all these levels and simplifying assumptions can be both useful and misleading. Mechanisms of evolution can look different at each of these tighly interrelated levels. One question is how in the world to do justice to this in a single short wiki article. I wouldn't know where to begin. (Friedgreenkillertomatoes raises his hand and says, "I know! Let's start with Endosymbiotic Theory!) WAS 4.250 11:35, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
    • ^ Behe, Michael, Darwin's Black Box The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, Free Press, New York, 1998, p. 39.
    • ^ Dawkins, Richard, Climbing Mount Improbable, W.W. Norton, New York, 1996, p. 283.
    • ^ Dawkins, Richard, Climbing Mount Improbable, W.W. Norton, New York, 1996, p. 283.