Talk:Evolution/Archive 17

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Disclaimer recently added to the article

Does that new disclaimer really belong in the article? thx1138 06:50, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Well I don't think so. I've just removed it. I think its unencyclopedic to discuss the editorial process within the article itself. Barnaby dawson 07:48, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. We don't do things like that here. In rare circumstances, we can use HTML comments in the article to address notes to editors but not readers. Except when there is a clear problem with the text as it stands (e.g. "citation needed") we do not clutter up the article with directions to future editors. --FOo 08:01, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Nylon digesting bacteria

I've rewritten the rebuttal to the Information section of this topic. The previous author states that Prijambada I.D. et al (1995) found that the the ability of bacteria to digest nylon is not solely based on mutations. This is false. Simply reading the abstract from the cites article will reveal that the authors have found the enzyme in the bacteria once they were exposed to nylon only nutrition. Therefore the enzyme must have come from somewhere. I quote "After the cells accumulated the required genetic alteration to make a cryptic region active, cells grew in the nylon oligomer medium. The high frequency (1023) of the hypergrowing mutants of parental strain PAO1 on medium containing Ahx might be a result of a high mutation rate under the condition of starvation." Therefore the authors stipulated that a muation in an old protein caused the evolution of the new protein. To further solidify the point, I have cited a new article where the exact mutation is pinpointed.

--Roland Deschain 05:22, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

New (Sub)section

I'm uncertain whether this topic is a good fit for this rather dense subject. Over the last decade, the reconstruction of ancestral protein has yielded some strong results. What this entails is to take the current protein in living organisms and then using various bioinformatical methods, predict what the most common ancestor protein would have looked like (statistics is a big factor in this field). This ancestral protein is than synthesized in vitro and surprisingly, more often than not, it is functional and has many novel properties. I think this is a very good point to raise, as it portrays the direction evolutionary microbiology is heading. Scientists are actually starting to create those ancient proteins, testing the predictions of evolutionary theory. Now, this field is very new and very controversial, for a good reason: human made parameters are used to predict millions of years of evolution. However, the proteins predicted do show amazing properties which would never be expected from chance and luck (functionality alone is enough to get you published).

Here are some references:

  • Recreating a functional ancestral archosaur visual pigment. Mol Biol Evol. 2002 Sep;19(9):1483-9
  • Reconstruction of ancestral protein sequences and its applications. BMC Evol Biol. 2004 Sep 17;4:33.
  • Ancestral sequence reconstruction in primate mitochondrial DNA: compositional bias and effect on functional inference. Mol Biol Evol. 2004 Oct;21(10):1871-83. Epub 2004 Jun 30.

Feedback is appreciated: whether this is appropriate for support of evolution and what section it can go in.

--Roland Deschain 22:17, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

If it is peer-reviewed science, it is very important as it serves to illuminate this subject to both laypeople and non bio-field scientists alike. It should be included, but I agree that it would belong in its own section on modern research that augments or strengthens the evolutionary model on a ~DNA level. Would you be willing to propose the structure for such a section? I would be more than willing to contribute peer-reviewed sources on modern biophysics research of this kind for my part. Cheers, Astrobayes 23:07, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
Good to hear. I have a fairly decent knowledge about protein evolution, but I'll take a couple of days to gather sources before writing the section. I'll try to cite as much as I can to allow people to look up the articles and edit out any misunderstandings that I might introduce. As to the section, I think a section should be esteblished that deals more fully with the present molecular research into evolution.
I think every section about science should have a "Recent Findings/Modern Research" section, where people can add short paragraphs about cutting edge research. In my case, my topic would fall in the Molecular Evolution Subsection of the "Recent Findings/Modern Research" section. This should also encourage people to go out and look for recent peer-reviewed evidence for/against evolution. Should a particular subsection become to cluttered with detail, a new page can be created and a concise summery can be retained in this article.
If such a section where started, people should be made aware that posting in this section will always require citation to a peer-reviewed journal. Websites and books should only be secondary, as they lack this peer review status. In addition, new topics usually would not have gotten to those formats yet. In any current field in evolution, there is a lot of contention, and making any claims that a particular theory fits within evolution makes absolutly no prediction on whether it is sound or not. So (much to everybodies suprize) even scientists are pretty egotistic when it comes to their theories. That's why citation is important. Within current field, the concept of a predominant theory is not there, and there is a lot of heated debate. When it comes to reconstructing protein, I will cite literature for it and literature against it (if I didn't somebody else would). So, to sum stuff up, if such a section is to be successfull and not degrade into philosophical debate (I can see about 10 philosophical objections to reconstructing ancient proteins), we must make people understand that this section (even more than the other sections) is based on peer-reviewed science. Because it is new science, it is very shaky science, and very open to philosophical debate.
--Roland Deschain 00:51, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I've added the section. As soon as I can, I will go through it and cross reference some of the terms. If I have another day with nothing to do, I will create a topic about Ancestral Reconstruction to go alongside this barebone summery. I hope this section will encourage other people to add other research. Just remember, cite your sources.

--Roland Deschain 03:52, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Recent major addition by Isac [1]

While well written, I'm not sure this really belongs here. It moves from a historical note to a kind of support of divinely guided evolution and then about lamarkian murder. Maybe it can be pared down some and put in the proper sections. Note to Isac, you should probably bring up a major addition like this on the talk page first, otherwise the tendency is to blanket revert, like I noticed someone just did. Nowimnthing 00:23, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

I have removed the entire passage (it might have been too rash of a step to take for me, but I'm just discovering the workings of this beautiful site, so apologies. Next time I will bring this up here first). I totally agree that this passage does not belong here. It is about the science of evolution, with a short section at the end to direct the reader to articles with criticism and other views. Elaborating the point is needless as those other articles do a good job of creating different viewpoints. Some people might find it unfair that different viewpoints are exluded from this article, but this is for organizational purposes. People that truly disagree with the science of evolution have many many many articles on this site to improve. This particular topic should be on the science and the scientific defense/criticism of evolution.
--Roland Deschain 00:33, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
No problem, I think the removal was warranted. I just hesitated because I couldn't quite figure it out. If the original poster wants to, he can resubmit it here and we can see if there is anything we can use. Nowimnthing 13:19, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Roland, as I have been told by seasoned Wiki users recently, " bold in your edits." If you're following the Wiki guidelines and your edit improves an article, then be bold. Evolution may be a controversial topic for some, but it's simply science and there are plenty of peer-reviewed scientific literature to support good edits here that convey the actual science versus pseudoscience like what you removed. Well done. Astrobayes 20:21, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

"Most of it is theory"

I removed this phrase in my most recent edit because evolution is not "mostly theory," it's all theory... a Scientific Theory - and the elements therein are already adequately discussed in the article. The author who put this phrase into the section did exactly what the sentence following that edit described: highlighting the confusion of laypeople of what a scientific theory is. In science there are no "absolute facts" there are models and laws which reflect observations. As a scientist myself I know this well. So to put perjoratives like " is mostly a theory" or "...more theory than fact" makes no sense in the context of science. Newton's theory of gravitation is a theory, Relativity is a theory, Electromagnetism is a theory, and Evolution is a theory. They are all raised to the status of theory, they are not hypotheses or conjectures. Astrobayes 20:17, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

The addition was recent. All you did was revert it. Good. -- Ec5618 20:22, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. Good work, Astrobayes. – ClockworkSoul 23:06, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

wikipedia 101: sources are necessary for assertions of fact

This is not a big deal - cite sources for the claims made. What is the basis to oppose something so basic?

Be specific please. What passages, specifically, are not cited? Then I can help cite them. Titanium Dragon 08:24, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
I have been very specific - RJN keeps removing my simple annotations of assertions that lack citations.
(Oops - edit conflict) Would you care to explain why you think these points are so needing of sources? To a degree they're the biological equivalent of stating that the Earth orbits the sun, so do we need to source that too? As a new user, you may not be aware that much of the "debate" on this article is spurious, and usually creationism-led. Hence the rapid reversions. If you could please detail why you think these particular points need sourcing that'd help us here. Cheers, --Plumbago 08:28, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Please see the wikipedia policies I have linked to above - and adhere to them. There is no exception to the policies for evoultion - and in fact, based on your own comment above, this article draws controversy, which wikipeida policy explains makes it even more important to cite sources. Sure it will be easy to cite a source for the claims made. Please just follow the policy. The unwillingness to do so is puzzling.

I doubt this user is new. I don't think any new user would know about Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard. This is an established user who does not want to be identified and is just engaging in disruptive behavior because he/she does not support the assertion of evolution. —RJN 08:33, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

RJN, please follow policies I have cited above. Why are you fighting this so? How is it disruptive to ask for simple citations?

I am not fighting anything as I have no past or present involvement in editing this article. I just happened to see that you were vandalizing an article and I reverted your edits. I am all neutral regarding what is cited or what is not. This article is well cited and that is why it became a featured article. Now stop disrupting the process of this article and log in as a user instead of being annoymous. —RJN 08:43, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Please list the sections of the article which require citations HERE, on the talk page, so we can discuss them, clarify whether or not they are in fact cited, and then cite them if necessary. Titanium Dragon 08:37, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
I see them now. RJK, please don't delete his comments from the edit page unless they're inflammatory - what he's saying is not inflammatory. I'll go and look again and see if they're cited, and if they're not, I'll whip out Futuyma and cite them. Titanium Dragon 08:39, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

missing citations

In biology, evolution is the measurable change in the heritable traits (allele frequency) of a population over successive generations.[citation needed]
Evolution is ultimately the source of the vast diversity of the biological world. [citation needed]
Over time, it may result in the origin of new species (speciation). Contemporary species are related to each other through common descent, products of evolution and speciation over billions of years. [citation needed]
The phylogenetic tree on the right represents these relationships for the three major domains of life.[citation needed]
Natural selection is the process by which individual organisms with favorable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce. [citation needed]
Natural selection works on the whole individual, but only the heritable component of a trait will be passed on to the offspring, with the result that favorable, heritable traits become more common in the next generation. Given enough time, this passive process can result in adaptations and speciation.[citation needed]
This entire section can be sourced from source 1, which comes after all of this. I'm sorry you didn't notice that, but the entire section is apparently sourced from that; maybe the link should be modified to make that more clear. Titanium Dragon 08:47, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

The source you mention does not verify all of the assertions (the ones I have noted) as made in the article. Perhaps one of you can tidy up the text so it actually states no more than the source can verify.

It does, actually; they just only linked to two pages. In fact, the intro up to that point can be drawn from pages 2 through 17 of that website. I changed the link to reflect that. Titanium Dragon 09:00, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
You can also see some material here Gouy M, Li WH. Mol Biol Evol. 1989 Mar;6(2):109-22. Molecular phylogeny of the kingdoms Animalia, Plantae, and Fungi. [2] Shyamal 09:03, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
There's also Futuyma D, Evolution. 2005. Pages 1-16 cover the subject. However, it says the same thing as the website, more or less (okay, its more in depth, being a college textbook rather than a website, and it is for a 200-level course in evolution). I don't think there's anything wrong with the website, personally. Titanium Dragon 09:07, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
If the professor in question has proven these ideaas, then he needs to share his research with the world. So far, though, the ideas are plausble but not proven. Unfortunately the wikipedia article reads as if the ideas are factually proven. Are they? No, in fact, they are not. Any scientist will agree. I can quote some proponents of evolution on the topic it you like. But its you who are arguing that non-factual information should appear in the article as fact. And I assume you don't really want that to be the case!

Are you asserting that

  • Evolution is ultimately the source of the vast diversity of the biological world.


  • Contemporary species are related to each other through common descent, products of evolution and speciation over billions of years.

are sicentifically establihed facts? We know these claims are believed by many (most?) scientists. But they are not scientifically established facts. Far from it, if you actually ask any scientist. The articlde should not assert factual claims that are not verifiable. Any such assertions should be qualified with "Many scientists theorize..." or somthing similar. Or if you don't agree, please explain why.

Irrelevant; see the citation policy. We cannot state what is and is not fact, but we can use reliable sources to gather our information and write good articles. Thus we repeat what our expert, reliable sources say, more or less.
In any event, they are in fact scientifically established facts. All sequenced contemporary species are related to each other through common descent and are products of evolution and speciation over billions of years; we know all of these species are of common descent due to their common genetic encoding of their codons, which are nearly invariable and the few changes there are are what would be expected in extremely distant relations. We have yet to discover anything which has codons significantly (i.e. more than would be expected from billions of years of divirgence) changed from what we have; if we did, we'd know that life probably originated multiple times on Earth, but right now it seems to have a single origin (or rather, that all surviving species are of a single origin - its quite possible some extinct species from another start up of life existed at some point but were out competed by our slimy ancestors, long before multiceulluar life developed most likely).
And yes, evolution being the progenator of all living species is established scientific fact. This won't last long, mind you; pretty soon we'll have entirely new species which were man-made; we may already, actually. But their base was the result of evolution; this is well established through the fossil record, but even better established through comparision of DNA - even if we didn't have the fossil record, we'd know about evolution because of comparisons of genes, gene families, chromosomes, and genomes as a whole. Indeed, we can determine the order of divergence from genomics alone; to build a biological clock we need a fossil record to basically give us the rate of mutation. Between the two we can tell how long ago we diverged from chimpanzees and such.
If you're interested, I'd advise browsing the links. If you have a library nearby, or are at a college, you might want to check for Evolution by Douglas J. Futuyma - its an excellent textbook on the subject. Heck, if you're a college student, you might want to take a class on evolution - evolution is actually very intuitive once you understand it well and look at it in depth, so the class isn't that hard and it is interesting and enjoyable. I highly reccommend it.
Thanks for your concern about the citing; if you think that the citing is still inadequete, please say so on the talk page. Thanks. Titanium Dragon 09:26, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't agree. Evolution is so widely believed in the scientific community that there's no reason to qualify every statement. There are those that debate whether we truly exist, but there's no need to qualify that in articles either.

And regarding your nonsensical insertions of fact templates into the article (such as into definitions), it is unacceptable. --Ultimus 09:21, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Beliefs and facts are two different things. The article should make it clear which is which. And it does not. You objections appear to be highly emotinal. Some notable proponents of evolutionary theory have acknowledged the lack of proof - and the frustration that causes. You are exhibiting that. 09:36, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Citations, please. And none of these chopped up ones that creationists enjoy so much; I've seen those before. Anyone who is in the field and ignorant of the evidence is incompetant. Titanium Dragon 09:42, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
This is NOT chopped or out of context:"The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches - the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils." - Jay Gould
That's not an acknowledgement of lack of proof. Plus, that was, IIRC, written during the 80s, when we had barely sequenced e. coli. Not to mention you don't understand what he's saying - what he's saying is we don't know precisely what it looked like in between. We do know something happened in between points, and we know what it started as and what it finished as. We don't know, say, whether x evolved before y necessarily, though nowadays we actually can find out if x evolved before y due to the power of computers and genetic comparisons. He's not saying evolution has no evidence for it, or has a lack of proof, and he certainly doesn't state that it frustrates him that there is little proof for it. Titanium Dragon 10:00, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Gould is admitting that the claims of evolution are all based on plausible inference, NOT factual knowledge. WHy is it so hard to admit this? I am not saying that such inferences are false or that the article should read as if they are false. I am simply insisting that we uphold the standard for assertions of fact.
Evolution may be a theory, but that doesn't mean it has to be tagged mercilessly with {{fact}}. Intelligent design and creationism are theories, too. Why not tag them with {{fact}} while you're at it? Ryulong 09:44, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Incorrect. Creationism and intelligent design are not theories (unless you want to call them falsified theories), they are religious beliefs. Big difference. Evolution is a scientific theory; evolution also refers to how we evolved, as in, bacteria to eukaryote to multicellular eukaryote to spongish thinger to fish to amphibian to reptile to mammal - this part of it is the -fact- part. We know evolution happened; the modern theory of evolution is how that happened. Despite being called a theory, it is a scientific theory. Nothing useful in science is anything but theory, but evolution is correct, by and large. There may be additional factors, but we do know that genetic drift, natural selection, sexual selection, ect. all play major roles in evolution. Titanium Dragon 09:56, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
The current article states inference as fact. Big poblem. That's why I have inserted the citation markers. The article needs to be edited to ensure only FACTS are represented as such. Wy are you so afraid to do this? Why is it so important that unproven thoug widely believed assertions read as fact to you?
Irrelevant. There is really no such thing as a fact; there is only observed data. Fact is a nice word, but when a scientist uses the word fact, he generally means either observed data, or things which are so sure that if they were untrue the world would be essentially a lie. Evolution is one of the latter sort of facts - all facts are indeed "theory-laden"; that is to say, in the absence of theory, there is no fact. Indeed, if you state the sky is blue, you are using the theory that the word blue means something specific, and that it means the same thing to you as it does to me. Now, you may claim this is a readily verifiable theory, but science never really "verifies" anything so much as it doesn't "not falsify" them. So I could say the sky is blue, and you could say the sky is blue, but that doesn't necessarily mean the sky is blue - it means we've formed a consensus. Now, we can get everyone in the world to say the sky is blue, and that is a massive consensus - thus why we call the sky being blue a fact. Now, blind people obviously cannot see the sky, and they have no experience with the color blue (we will assume they were blind from birth here). Now, can they make any sort of useful addition to the sky being blue conundrum? Not so much, because they cannot see it. Likewise, laymen do not understand evolution - no paper in any accredited, acclaimed scientific journal will dispute evolution. But some people are blind to it.
In any event, this passage aside, please read the articles I linked to explaining wikipedia's policies. Thanks. Titanium Dragon 10:45, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
"The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches - the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils."
Actually its pretty clear that he is saying that the information they have is a small amount of the and that the REST i.e. what they don’t know is inference just like all science. Its pretty clear that it is not what you claim it is.

Definition of Evolution

  • What is the source for the assertion that evolution is only the "measurable change" in a population? What does "measurable" mean in this context? Are there inherently unmeasurable changes? And are these changes inherently "non-evolutionary"? Could someone clear this up? -Silence 13:43, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
I think they are using Futuyama for it. that definition bugs me every time I see it. I think the point of "measurable changes in allele frequency" is to catch everything. but defining evolution in terms of changes in allele frequency has several problems;
    1. it looks like dogmatic neodarwinism to me; it is like that assertion that "macroevolution is microevolution writ large".
    2. it doesn't catch everything - it looks like it is meant to catch neutral evolution, but it feels unnatural to me to call SNPs alleles (I think they are used to identify or mark alleles (though of course, some SNPs are functional...)). besides, then you have overlapping and nested alleles ... and 'allele' was coined to mean something, which we need to be able to designate efficiently, i.e., 'functional variants at a locus'.
    3. neutral evolution is kind of a funny and special, and somewhat confusing case.

I think it would be better note that defining evolution is tricky, and then have a couple of definitions, leading with "adaptation by natural selection". Sillygrin 14:08, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Response to Sillygrin
    1. The evolutionary mechanisms for micro- and macroevolution are the same. Therefore, from the scientific point of view, micro- and macroevolution are the same. As an example, a mutation in a gene can produce antibiotic resistance (microevolution) and the same mutation in a HOX gene can produce an additional pair of legs (a lot of work has been done in fruit flies, look it up).
    2. SNPs are not alleles. SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) are mutations at a single site of the DNA. A SNP is simply a type of mutation. SNPs can produce additional alleles in a population. Therefore, SNPs are one of the mechanisms that explain the wide range of alleles we see in a population.
    3. Neutral evolution (genetic drift) is a well documented and well suported case [again, simply look it up in journals and then post intelligent comments].

I hate the terms microevolution and macroevolution; they're the same thing, the same process, and are a false dichotomy. They aren't seperate; macroevolution is microevolution. There is no real clear definition for them, because there is no dividing line. It doesn't help that because evolution is a continous process, the original defintion of Dobzhanky is pretty worthless; Dobzhansky basically stated that microevolution is all evolution which occurs within a species (which is to say, pretty much everything save perhaps spontaneous doubling of chromosomes, which is rare in animals but more common in plants), while macroevolution is "the major, long-term features of evolution". The problem, of course, is that species is kind of imprecise; at one point, we and chimpanzees were both the same species. The classes I've taken in evolution don't use the terms except to clarify they're talking about the exact same processes, and the textbooks I've read use it for the same thing. Even Gould himself has admitted in 2002 that his theory of punctuated equilibrium was wrong about changes in morphology being caused by speciation. In reality, I suspect the reason for his theory in the first place was actually due to our poor species defintion; and with fossils, oftentimes every morphological change is hailed as a new species, while in reality it is part of a steady change, like in human evolution - our brain case didn't suddenly get bigger, and indeed, you can see the average brain case slowly expand over time, with later instances of earlier species having about the same brain capacity of earlier instances of the successor species. I think that macroevolution, evolution above the species level, is really worthless because evolution occurs always on a very low level; what they're really talking about is population genetics half the time, and the other half they say things like the origin of characteristics which diagnose higher taxa, like Levinton; obviously a flawed definition because such characteristics arise from microevolution, and in reality the only difference between a species, genus, ect. is time. Indeed, Futuyma prefaces its "macroevolution" chapter with that very set of comments; that it means different things to different people. In his macroevolution chapter, he discusses things like rate of evolution, punctuated equilibrium (and the problems with it, such as the periods of seeming stasis not really necessarily being stasis but having internal fluctuations), gradualism and saltation, phylogenetic conservation and change, limitations on variation, evolution of novel features (which really doesn't feel macroevolutionary to me, though it can take place over millions of years, such as with the horns of titanotheres), general evolutionary trends (and talks about how Darwin, unlike most everyone else of his time, denied that evolution was necessarily progressive - that is to say, that it leads towards some improvement or end goal), Dollo's law, increase in complexity (or the lack thereof, as there is no clear link between large genomes and greater complexity, other than non-eukaryotes vs eukaryotes), and increase in evolvability (something I find very interesting, kind of like cheating by going outside the standard rules by manipulating the basic process), efficiency, diveresity... and that's it. Titanium Dragon 21:39, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I think you may have misunderstood me.
    1. mechanisms, in the sense of random mutation and selection, yes, they are the same. but if 'macroevolution' is a meaningful term (I cautiously suspect it might be), then the mode or dynamic is likely to be different. just becuase accumulation of mutations is gradual, doesn't mean that all traits change smoothly!! Fisher worked out that for some traits, organisms (or genotypes) might well occupy local fitness maxima. there might be another fitness maximum nearby, but a fitness minimum, or 'valley' inbetween. thus to get from one genotype to the other would involve unfit intermediate genotypes. getting through this might be much favoured by special circumstances ('speciation in preripheral isolates' or 'peripatric speciation'), and the result might look like saltation. I think this has been demonstrated for phages (can't remember references). see also Lenski et al, Nature. 2003 May 8;423(6936):139. I seem to remember Carroll mentioning in one of his reviews that 'new traits' such as legs, often look pretty 'wobbly' when they first appear. in that case, I think he said that it took some time for the digit number to settle down to five. one might well suspect that the fitness landscape for the evolution of limbs was not smooth. conversely, some traits, such as skin colour in humans, probably can change smoothly and without cost in response to selection.
    2. I was trying to say that I thought the people who worked on the definition were trying to include neutral evolution, and that this was part of the point of "alleles"; my point was that alleles doesn't really include SNPs, or other neutral mutations, as you agree.
    3. when I said that neutral evolution was funny, I meant difficult to understand, not false. many people seem to have trouble calling junk DNA "junk DNA". if it is there, it must have some function, right? or how about introns? must be beneficial, right? actually, they seem to be weakly deleterious. genome size: must increase with complexity, right? otherwise organisms would get rid of extra DNA. gene duplication must be part of increasing complexity, right? not neutral?
      • you have a couple of misconceptions. Junk DNA does not need to have a function. For example, genes could accumulate mutations and lose that function. In that case, one is left with a stretch of useless DNA that has no function. This applies to humans, as we have several useless DNA streches that used to be hemoglobin genes but, as we didn't need them anymore in the past, mutations have accumulated and this stretch of DNA has effectivly become junk. Another way to get junk DNA is via LINE elements, which make up 20% (900,000 copies) i the human genome, but have no apparent function. The question then arises why there are so many of them. The answer is that they are assumed to be remnants of a virus; they duplicate within our genome with no check and as long as they don't affect vital functions, then are not selectect against. Introns have a very selectable function. They allow for Alternative splicing, which in turn allows one gene with many introns to code for many different proteins. There is no direct correlation between gene duplication and complexity. For example, the teleost fish have had up to 8 genome duplications in their history (leading to some species having 250 chromosomes), yet they are arguably less complex than a human. Currently, the prevailing theory in evolutionary studies is that the complexity of the protein interaction network seems to be correlated with organism complexity. So naturally, the more protein you have the more potential connections; it's not how many proteins you have (how many duplication events one had), but rather how those proteins are put to use. Sorry that I did not cite some of my assertions, but I've been in this field for a long time and if anybody is truly interested in some of my points, look them up in an advanced biology textbook.
who are you? you forgot to sign.
I was trying to be ironic, and trying to make pretty much all the points you made (except I am dubious about the number of protein/protein interactions as a simple explanation for complexity). no need to cite your assertions - I don't dispute them. in the literature you'll often have seen people saying things like
    1. 'perhaps duplications provide raw material for evolution of new genes'
    2. 'perhaps more genes allows you to be more complex, because you have a greater parts list'
    3. 'perhaps the genome duplications precipitated the adaptive radiations in teleosts' etc.
I'm kind of OK with 1) & 2), though mammals radiated like crazy without messing with their chromosomes (admittedly there was a basal WGD (whole genome duplication, for laymen), but we don't know if that was necessary, and other crazy radiations didn't necessarily have basal WGDs kicking them off. speciose clades, like insectivores, ungulates, bats, haplochromine ciclids, cypriniformes and drosopholids seem to have other special things about them, like speciating promiscuously and rappidly evolving reproductive isolation. and perhaps also, small effective population sizes (fresh water fish).
facilitating intragenic recombination, or alternate splicing, is not, of course, the function of introns (as I expect you are well aware). those benefits came later. also any benefits accrueing from other parasitic DNA. these things parasitise the genome. they are originally probably deleterious. any benefit comes later.
I was trying to say that lots of people I've spoken to and read, have a lot of trouble getting their heads around the idea that junk DNA is junk, and that parasitic DNA is there becuase it replicates, rather than becuase it has some purpose or function. Sillygrin 02:59, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

one should be able to quote Gould as an authority on macroevolution, but unfortunately, he was much more stimulating than precise. his view of what macroevolution is, changed from time to time. he probably killed it as a useful term.

by the way, I haven't yet found a Tetrahymena reference. I actually thought it didn't really belong in the section at all, but was reluctant to delete it. cheers, Sillygrin 07:48, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

I was also trying to say that the definition (change in allele frequencies over generations) specifies adaptive evolution, or at least evolution in functional variation. it excludes neutral molecular evolution (since most people seem to think that 'allele' (almost always) means 'a variant of the gene with detectably altered function' (which is what it should mean)). but the page also talks about neutral molecular evolution, and many of us think it is an important topic.

perhaps we could expand molecular evolution and put it on another page, which would include a fuller discussion of neutral evolution (except that neutral evolution is also a population genetic topic, and is not necessarily 'afunctional'), and perhaps also Roland Deschain's proposed stuff on artificial evolution of proteins. Sillygrin 02:59, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Edit War

I added a citation; please do not revert the section I added a citation to. I'm going to add another citation to the section as well. If you leave the page alone I'll go through and add any more citations which actually need to be added. Titanium Dragon 09:40, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

The missink link article is NOT prrof of a FACT - but verification that a CLAIM has been asserted by a scientist. Please edit text accordingly. We have hight standards here. Avoid crapola, please. I can tell you want a quality article. Don't let you beliefs get in the way of a quality NPOV article!

To Yeah, yeah. I've heard it all before. But my views aside, this is about the article, not the theory. You are welcome to add {{Fact}} to articles, but throwing them around everywhere in places they don't logically make the least bit of sense is vandalism, and your edit war is in clear violation of WP:3RR. --Ultimus 09:43, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Added another link to the same section., please read the policy on citations - I believe you can find the link further up the talk page. Additionally read the page Wikipedia:No original research, particularly the section on primary and secondary sources. Wikipedia articles include material on the basis of verifiability, not truth. Thank you, please cease this edit war before disciplinary action is taken against your account or the article is protected - I'm sure neither of us wants either of those outcomes, but violating the 3RR rule is a good way to get your account suspended and/or get the article protected (due to your anonymous nature, this would prevent your further participation in the article). Titanium Dragon 10:06, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Exactly - your link allows the article to note that "some scientists" or "prominent scientists" theorize X (or imilar wording). But NOT that X is a fact! You get the prize!!!! Please edit the article accirdingly.
I added another reference and you reverted it. Please cease to revert these edits, you are not being helpful. I'm trying to add sources; if you have complaints about them, please list them here. But you summarily removed my Futuyma reference, which is far more authoritive than the NYT can hope to be on the matter. Thanks Titanium Dragon 10:11, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

You must edit the text to conform with the soure you cite. Regarding the NYT fish article: your source allows the article to state that there is a scientific discovery that certain scientists believe explains how species X mutated to species Y (for example). But that citation does NOT allow the articel to read as if there is proof that X mutated to Y. The fossil in question simply allows one to conjure up a semi-plausible story about what might have happened. No facts about evolution can be asserted from you citation.

Changed to a better reference; forgot about the Nature article. It is a far superior read, and a much better source than the NYT. Thanks for pointing that out. Titanium Dragon 10:22, 4 July 2006 (UTC), if you continue to edit the main article, I will see to it you are blocked. If you are willing, and able, to discuss this matter civilly, then please do so, on this talk page. And, please, stop saying that all you want is for claims to be represented as claims, as we know, by now, that that is your stance. Please say new and unexpected things we can usefully reply to. -- Ec5618 10:20, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Changed Futuyma reference to a different one, one more in depth about Archeopteryx. Titanium Dragon 10:27, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Please explain precisely how plausible though unproven explanations of how this fish and the flying dinosaur may be evolutionary links are then written into he article as facts? I don't see how that comports with wikipedia policy or logic. I am not opposed to including the information. But the article needs to reflect that the information is NOT factual.

Please reference the source. Wikipedia does not allow for original research; we are to cite sources. It is presented as fact in the source material, and it is good source material. There is no debate in the source material over whether or not it is fact, nor in the body of work of the scientific community. What is wrong with it? If you take issue, please show us a reliable source which contradicts - if you need help finding a good source, you can always look at Wikipedia:Reliable Sources. Sorry, but you don't appear to understand wikipedia policy; it'd probably help if you read that page and the related ones. Titanium Dragon 10:51, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
The Archaeopteryx is not a flying dinosaur. It is a bird, but the most primitive form of which we have yet discovered. It has characteristics which are only found in reptiles and never in modern birds - such as a pubic peduncle and a long, bony tail. It therefore perfectly demonstrates a transition between dinosaur and bird, and is therefore a transitional fossil. What were you expecting, a dinosaur with the head of a bird glued to it? That's not what transitional fossils are. JF Mephisto 11:27, 4 July 2006 (UTC) I suggest you get a username; it would look a little less inflamatory.
standard citation practice is to cite reviews (such as the textbooks that have been cited) for stuff like the sections you are tagging. the cites are to reputable published stuff, and therefore conform to wiki policy. remember that this is an encyclopedia, and therefore what it needs are citations to good sources.
and regarding "fact and theory", no human knowledge is absolute. there is no such thing as a fact that is completely free of theory, or free of the possibility of error.
perhaps everybody could take a breather; User: is likely to go away soonish! Sillygrin 13:18, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
As for Archeopteryx, really, I'd argue that it is a dinosaur AND a bird; at the time, it would have been classified as a dinosaur, though it is more closely related to modern birds than other dinosaurs are, it is more closely related to dinosaurs than birds are, not having the hundred million plus years of seperation modern birds have enjoyed since then. This is part of the reason why species definitions and the like are imprecise. Of course, birds are descended from dinosaurs, and are their closest relatives, so you could say that birds are actually all dinosaurs. Titanium Dragon 21:46, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
It's semantics. The Archaeopteryx is a bird, because it is in the 'Aves' class. But for all intents and purposes, birds are dinosaurs - avian dinosaurs, as opposed to non-avian dinosaurs - so it doesn't really matter. If anyone had any trouble believing it shared characteristics unqiue to dinosaurs though they could look at its teeth for one thing, or simply imagine it with no feathers in which case it would look similar to a small coelosaur. JF Mephisto 22:25, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
This all depends on your philosophy towards taxonomy - should taxa be classified purely based on phylogeny, or also physical characteristics? If the latter, then dinosaurs surely can't be birds. Also, my ur-grandfather, whose descendents were also chimps (see note below regarding how i feel about THAT), surely was not a human. So, birds are not necessarily dinosaurs, just like i'm not a proto-chimp/human. Graft 20:34, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Fact or widely held belief: "Evolution is ultimately the source of the vast diversity of the biological world"?

Please explain how this widely believed yet unproven theory can be properly asserted as fact in this article.

It is proven. Please see Futuyma, pg. 1-522. Titanium Dragon 10:46, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
If you'd bothered to read the article, you'd have noticed the sections explaining in what senses evolution is a fact and in what sense it is a theory, and what exactly 'theory' means in science (hint: it isn't "unproven"). While there is a widespread ignorance about evolution in which it is viewed as an unproven theory in a hierarchy of proof below fact - an ignorance which you apparently share - that is, you wont be surprised to learn, completely wrong. I recommend actually reading the article before disparaging it, as that might clear up a few things. Particularly: Evolution#Misunderstandings_about_modern_evolutionary_biology JF Mephisto 10:59, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
A very kind wiki editor pointed me to the scientific theory article recently. Having read this, anyone wishing to debate based on the whole "it's just a theory" stance should go there first. :) (Weenerbunny 08:30, 16 July 2006 (UTC))


The following portions have no direct citations for them in this article (note: many of these have sources through internal links elsewhere):

  • The end part of the history section (easily referenced by our general references)
  • Science of Evolution section (covered by our general references)
  • Academic Disciplines (covered by our general references, but a citation might be good)
  • Evidence of evolution intro (covered by our general references)
  • Morpological evidence (covered by our general references)
  • Ancestry of organisms (covered by our general references)
  • History of life (mostly unsourced, covered by our general references)
  • Modern synthesis intro (covered by our general references)
  • Heredity (mostly covered by our general references - Tetrahymena probably not covered, prions may not be covered, source should probably be cited)
  • Variation (covered by our general references)
  • Mutation (covered by our general references)
  • Recombination (covered by our general references)
  • Gene flow and population structure (covered by our general references)
  • Drift (covered by our general references)
  • Selection and adaptation (macromutation reference needed, otherwise covered by our general references)
  • Speciation and extinction (covered by our genereal references)
  • Current Research intro (covered by our general references, layman knowledge)
  • Evolution and devolution (probably covered by general references, but citation may be warranted)
  • Self-Organization and Entropy (covered by general references, but citation may be warranted)

Thus, the way I see it, the following sections need sourcing:

  • Heredity - Tetrahymena, prions
  • Selection and Adaptation - macromutation

The following would be nice to have references for:

  • Academic Disciplines
  • Evolution and Devolution
  • Self-Organization and Entropy

I think the other sections are adequetely covered by our general references.

Anyone know of any good sources for these which are needed? I'll go looking for a macromutation one, but I don't know much about Tetrahymena - if any of you know of a good article about it, a reference would probably be good. And as for the other three, if you know of some good source for them, it would probably be worth adding in.

Thanks. Titanium Dragon 11:28, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree, the article could do with more citations. perhaps we could go through and tag statements that could do with citations.
I recall reading the tetrahymena stuff in a review; I'll have a look for it. it might also be in one of the textbooks. are you still studying? I think the devolution stuff just looks kinda kooky there. Sillygrin 12:48, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
The evolution and devolution section could be sourced from Futuyma, though I think the section needs to be throughly re-written. I'll probably do that later today. Titanium Dragon 22:31, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Fact tag edit war

The anonymious editor of last night and all that respond seem to miss a point, namely that wikipedia is dealing with verifiable information, not truth. The {{fact}} tag was used to do the latter (is it truth or not), which is incorrect usage. For that reason, the reverting was correct. Furthermore, several of the claims were backed up by subsequent sentences, which made it silly to add tags. Finally, the first edit [3] of the series makes abundantly clear by itself, as does the edit summary removing extreme POV that is unsourced as fact.-- Kim van der Linde at venus 14:56, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Heavy evolutionist bias

Please, let's do a better job of representing NPOV and consensus, isn't that what Wikipedia's always been about?--F.O.E. 06:45, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Evolution is a featured article and has been through several layers of scrutiny to achieve balance. Criticism of evolution is documented in the "religious and social controversies" section. Perhaps you could offer more specific comments on what you would like changed. — Knowledge Seeker 07:16, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
I just had a look at your user page. You say that "tolerance" of "ideas" like Darwinism makes "monkies" (you mean monkeys) of us all, and have a picture of a monkey with the caption "a portrait of your average evolutionist." I don't think it would be unreasonable to suggest that you aren't interested in representing NPOV and consensus (which is already done quite adequately in this article) but rather trying to force a fundamentalist viewpoint on everyone else. There is no scientific debate on whether evolution exists, and the article reflects that. You're welcome to complain about that and call those who disagree "monkies," but I don't think it will change anything. Sorry! JF Mephisto 10:26, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
And, just for the record, it's a dead giveaway when you use words like "evolutionist" to characterise the consensus position of the scientific community (or even "evilutionist" as your "fair and balanced" userpage has it). Cheers, --Plumbago 10:33, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
You think those are bad—you should see what he had on his page earlier. I removed the especially inflammatory ones. — Knowledge Seeker 18:13, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Wow. -Silence 21:20, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Wow indeed! "Perverted un-natural deviants" and "pre-born infanticide." There's someone who must make great company at a party! JF Mephisto 00:30, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
Yeesh... I don't think I want to know what the "especially inflammatory" ones were. I like the ironic "live and let live" at the top of a page with all that down the side... Weenerbunny ( 12:20, 16 July 2006 (UTC))
I hate every chimp I see, from chim-pan-A to chim-pan-Z. No, you'll never make a monkey out of me. Graft 20:29, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Is it possible that this person is a strawman/troll sockpuppet? Their user page seems rather unbelievably stupid in so many senses.... Skittle 17:48, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
I've always found it impossible to distinguish the parody from the real on this topic. David D. (Talk) 18:10, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

F.O.E. appears to be "Friend of Ed (Poor)" Guettarda 19:03, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Ape Man, Ape Man, Ooh ooh ooh! We are smart, smarter than you! Evolution, evolution must be true! Ape Man, Ape Man, Ooh ooh ooh! Scorpionman 03:30, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Magic Man, Magic Man, Zip zap zow! God must have made us, though we don't know how! Evidence, evidence, no need now! Magic Man, Magic Man, Zip zap zow! :P (I don't think that scientific theories are determined by who has the catchiest themesongs. Sorry, man. :)) -Silence 04:02, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
For what they are worth though, yours was awesome. ;) JF Mephisto 17:37, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
So, Silence, because you don't know how God made us, He couldn't have. Is that it? Well, I can't think of how evolution could have happened, but that doesn't stop it from being possible, right? Scorpionman 13:56, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
O, please. Classic strawman argument. What's your point, Scorpionman? Evolution has a lot more going for it than "trust scientists, they're smarter than clergymen". Now, let's keep this lighthearted and good natured, eh. -- Ec5618 14:03, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
There's nothing straw-man about it. Silence thinks that because we don't know how God could have made us, it couldn't have happened. So I say to him, pthbthbththb. Scorpionman 20:27, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Your argument was indeed a strawman, and an incredibly obvious one. I have never asserted or in any way implied that it is impossible that God made us. It is perfectly possible—just as it is possible that leprechauns or Santa Claus made us. Almost anything is possible. It's just not necessarily probable. Whether or not something is impossible is irrelevant; what matters is that the assertion that God made us is based on religious belief, not on scientific evidence. It is thus a matter of personal spiritual choice, and is irrelevant in a scientific article like evolution. I have no problem with you believing that God created the world, as long as you don't try to force your belief on others or mislead people with unjustified claims that your belief is science.
  • By the way, thanks for admitting that you "can't think of how evolution could have happened"; I find your honesty in conceding that your objections to evolution are based largely on your lack of understanding of evolution admirable. :) -Silence 20:43, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
[personal attacks removed by Guettarda] Scorpionman 16:01, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
[personal attacks removed by Guettarda] Scorpionman 16:03, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Scorpionman, if you have something to actually contribute to this discussion, please feel free to. Otherwise, engaging in personal attacks and being generally unpleasant is unnecessary, unwarranted, and unwanted. --Fastfission 16:11, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
All right, fine. But I didn't even start this discussion; I just joined in. Every time someone tries to get this article to be neutral, some bullheaded evolutionist jumps down his throat with "Stupid! Evolution is proven and you're an idiot!" Scorpionman 21:37, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
this is definately NOt what's been going on. What occurs is someone who has a nonscientific, religious bias attempts to make an assertion that is untrue. You and others make claims out of a lack of knowledge, in which you try to assert simple false statments as factually accurate. You're not an idiot for not understanding evolution or accepting it. That's your decision to make. But to assert the things that are asserted here by creationists, and to pretend that evolution is not a completely supported accepted scientific fact with NO peer reviewed refutations is to be incorrect., 23 July 2006 (UTC)
You are more than welcome to challange any point in this article using scientific literature. Any paper criticising evolution that cites scientific literature is also very welcome (make sure to read the scientific citations first so you can defend their validity. This article is about the science of evolution and therefore should be focused on the scientific lietrature. If you want to criticise evolution beyond the scopes of science, the Creation-evolution controversy is a good place to go, as a lot of that article is beyond science and open to other sources. --Roland Deschain 21:52, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

I just came across this site after following a link from the acid article. It appears to have lifted some of the article here, but doesn't attribute it to WP. Seems a tad unsporting. Has anyone come across them before? Just before I fire an e-mail rocket at them ... Cheers, --Plumbago 09:59, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

It's just yet another uncompliant GFDL re-user, nothing too much to worry about. You could complain to them but they probably don't care. --Fastfission 21:50, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, actually, any contributor to this article is the copyright holder of their contributions, and has standing to bring action against a copyright violator. Notably, Wikimedia is not going to pursue violators, since Wikimedia does not hold copyright to the contents of Wikipedia articles (but only holds a license from us, the contributors). --FOo 19:18, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
At the bottom of their article they have a copyright logo along with " All Rights Reserved." I suppose they now claim it as their own (eye rolling) David D. (Talk) 06:19, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Claim about Ancestral Reconstruction

This is just a minor point. The reference to the article by Lucena and Haussler (who happen to be my colleagues) should be removed. Their article is not a criticism of the methods used in ancestral reconstruction, but rather presents a counterexample to a claim in the literature that says a certain phylogenetic tree topology (the so-called "star" topology) is optimal for reconstruction of ancestral states. It's a nice paper but addresses a fairly technical, mathematical issue that is not really relevant here. --Adamsiepel 03:30, 10 July 2006 (UTC)


Point of view throughout article

one example:

Because animals that are (in their view) "inferior" creatures do demonstrably exist, those criticising evolution sometimes incorrectly take this as supporting their claim that evolution is false.

second example: It doesn't call it the 'theory of evolution'. A former talk section said it shouldn't be called the 'theory of evolution' because its scientific fact. poppycock! it isn't scientific or fact. It is theory because it hasn't been proven.

I'm putting a POV template until this has been honestly and fully discussed. Their are real valid scientific desentions that should be listed in a con section, just as pro-evolutionists have done in the intelligent design articles. Who put the ban on evolution debate on this talk page and moved it to a talk page where it will make no difference to this article. J. D. Hunt 05:47, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand your first point. Is your beef with the content of the sentence, or with the way it's phrased? How would you rephrase it? It is somewhat awkward but expresses a useful point, viz, that the existence of "inferior" animals doesn't have anything to do with the truth of evolution. That is, just because humans "evolved from apes" (a gross misconception in itself) doesn't mean that there still shouldn't be apes. In any case, I don't see the POV problem.
As for your second point, you misunderstand the meaning of the word "theory" in science -- to be fair, you are not the first to do so. This is discussed at some length in the article itself at Evolution#Distinctions_Between_Theory_and_Fact. I recommend you read it. bikeable (talk) 05:59, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
1st point: The editor states that the critics of evolution incorectly take this as supporting evidence, saying incorectly is POV: 'Because animals that are (in their view) "inferior" creatures do demonstrably exist, those criticising evolution sometimes incorrectly take this as supporting their claim that evolution is false.'
2nd point: This is not my misunderstanding but yours - something is a theory until it is proven - its called the scientific methodJ. D. Hunt 06:20, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I have removed the NPOV tags, as the above points are not NPOV, but misunderstandings of how evolution works and the wealth of evidence that there is. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 06:02, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
yes they are POV, and I do not misunderstand how evolution works. What are you guys robots or all endoctrinated equally?J. D. Hunt 06:09, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
So you think it should be phrased along the lines of the following?
"A related conflict arises when critics combine the religious view of people's superior status with the misconception that evolution is necessarily "progressive". They argue that if human beings are superior to animals, yet evolved from them, then "inferior" animals would not still exist. That "inferior" animals (in their view) do demonstrably exist is then used as support for their claim that evolution is false."
With regard to the second point, does science not see Evolution as proven. Do scientists have to understand everything before something is proven? David D. (Talk) 06:45, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
1: I think that is an exellent rewrite that removes POV
2: No scientists do not have to understand everything about something that is proven, but according to the scientific method it must be proven before it is considered proven, and evolution has not been scientifically proven.J. D. Hunt 06:59, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
JDH, are you saying that 1) critics of evolution are correct in taking the existence of "inferior" animals as support for falsity of evolution, OR are you saying 2) that using the word "incorrectly" in that way is POV by way of disparaging critics of evolution?
As for the second point, you evidently did not read the link I included. Theories cannot be "proven", and there is no stronger word (like "fact") that is applied to them when they are accepted. They will always be "theories". Please read the link. bikeable (talk) 06:29, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
1st point: no I am not arguing their beliefs either way,I am saying that using "incorrectly" is POV
I didn't read all of your article yet, but theories can and have been proven-thats why we have something called scientifc fact.J. D. Hunt 06:59, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Regarding your first point, you're wrong. You'd have better luck asking for a cite of critics that actually argue this, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't be quickly provided. Arguments based on demonstrably incorrect assumptions are incorrect arguments.
On the second point, science doesn't allow for 'proofs' at the level math does. No theory is ever beyond question, pending further evidence. To the extent *any* scientific is proven, evolution, in the broad sense, is proven. In the same way gravity, for instance, is proven. That doesn't mean that there aren't questions at a finer grained level. Physicists are still working on gravity, and likely will be as long as they exist. There have been several revolutionary jumps where old theories of gravity were demonstrated to be wrong and new ones arose, and the understanding we have of it will almost certainly be considered wrong on many details in a few years. Nonetheless, gravity is a fact. Similarly, biologists are still working on evolution, and likely will be as long as there are biologists. This doesn't mean evolution isn't a fact, as well. It's a demonstrable, observable fact that it happens. The purpose of the theory is to explain *how* and *why* it happens. Arker 07:22, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
One: it shouldn't be claimed as a false assumption by an editor when stating evolution desenters theories.
There's nothing wrong with labelling a demonstrably incorrect assumption as incorrect. You seem to be advocating a policy that would lead to mealy-mouthed nonsense through the wiki. Not a good plan. However do note I did not revert your last edit. I see nothing wrong with it, it doesn't appear to be misleading or inaccurate and reads well so it looks fine to me. Arker 07:53, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
two: a difference on point two is that gravity is observative and evolution is not. J. D. Hunt 07:39, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Here is a thought. The theory of Gravity is wrong. I can prove it. When I swing a bucket round my head and let it go, it flies off. So we are on the earth, if the earth is spinning round so we should all fling off into space. So what really happens? The earth doesn't spin, it is the centre of the universe, and the sun rotates round it. It is the only logical explanation. We could jump off, but the atmosphere is too thick and it holds us down. Yes that's right. Now I'll think I'll go and put POV labels on all those biased gravity and solar system articles. --Michael Johnson 10:23, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
you are comparing apples to orangesJ. D. Hunt 07:41, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
It is most definately not a demonstrable, observable fact that it happens.J. D. Hunt 07:43, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
It most definitely IS.
Look, I'm sorry if this comes out harsh, but I'm not given to being mealy-mouthed and this has to be said. This is NOT the place to come for the elementary school biology education you were apparently cheated out of. Please read the notice at the top of the page again, and come back after you have a clue what you're talking about. I highly recommend starting here.Arker 07:53, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I like the the wikipedia no personal attacks rule, so here goes: I'm sorry you are so indoctrinated by evolutionist dogma that you believe evolution is a demonstrative, observable fact when its not. I'm sorry you were robbed of strait thinking and get angry and pissy when you are wrong and somebody points it out.J. D. Hunt 08:03, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
That's misconceptions according to pro-evolutionists-no thanksJ. D. Hunt 08:09, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Do you have any idea how stupid it sounds to talk about "evolutionist dogma"? Evolution is as uncontroversial and well-developed a scientific field as any other. Outside of fundamentalists in the American bible belt and a few other places, it's not even a matter of debate. While it's obvious that your schooling badly let you down, in most places of the world evolutionary biology is covered with no more "indoctrination" than chemistry or physics. Evolution is a demonstrable, observable fact: that which is called 'theory' are the explanations for its mechanisms (mutation; natural selection, etc.) and are otherwise known as the 'modern synthesis.' Unlike in the American vernacular, the word 'theory' in science does not equate to 'unproven idea' - it means a "set of explanations for the facts from which reliable hypotheses may be drawn." 99.9% of qualified scientists find the existence of evolution no more questionable than the existence of gravity, so to categorise them as "pro-evolutionists" is blatant nonsense. It's like calling a physicist an "electromagnetist" or a geologist a "plate tectonicist." It really does baffle me how people can bounce through life without actually gaining any scope of the wealth of evidence and science that both supports and is drawn from our understanding of evolution. JF Mephisto 09:30, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

What a stupid elitist comment their is dogma in all circles, false arguments in every acedemic and scientific camp. Science refuting evolution is just as valid a science as any science as well. Just because a majority believes something doesn't make it anymore true or false. The majority of americans (and scientists once believed that Africans were a sub-species or the missing link, but it didn't make them right or it a correct assumption or proven. Evolution is a highly contreversial subject. By the way gravity is a law and an obviously observable fact, and evolution is not. It should be labled psuedo-science or an advanced hypothesis.J. D. Hunt 23:05, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Trying to criticise something, while steadfastly refusing to even attempt to understand what it is you're criticising, is an utterly pointstless exercise. Arker 11:04, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm not critisizing something I steadfastly don't understand, because I understand it quite well. I just think the suposed evidence for evolution is weak, and their is better evidence stating the opPosite. I can't write pro or con on evolutionistic theory off the top of my head very well quite yet, but I understand enough of the pros and cons quite well. I can't stand the intellectual snobery towards someone not as intelectual as you or disagree with you.J. D. Hunt 23:05, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

<reduce indent> My tuppenceworth is that Creationismists generally accept the obvious existence of evolution, but for reasons of dogma call that "microevolution" and are unable to see that the same process admirably accounts for numerous facts that their dogma finds inconvenient. However, this is a science article rather than a religion article, and the relevant WP:NPOV rules apply, Until the Religionismists get their theocratic world government, and science is redefined to suit the Intelligent Fallingismists and the Astrologyismists. ..dave souza, talk 10:27, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

one) I understand the topic,
two) I am not a christian, jewish or islamist creationist - I am a deist(not sure what God is, have my ideas of God, but know there is one)
three) I am a free thinker who doesn't believe in evolution as fact, but I have seen just as much evidence for a young earth(10,000 to 100,000 years old - maybe more, but not millions or billions), a posible intelligent design, est.
four) just because they are religeous you eroneously say their views and science have no credibility, even the atheist or secular humanist are religeous, just as the religeous and religeous humanists have religeous world views. The atheist or secular humanist just have a different form of religion.

You guys probally have never studied the science for other theories as to the beginning of the earth or universe other than what has been feed to you in school. You are probally to high and mighty to come down to the level of somebody who believes a god created the cosmos. How can a religeous person be scientific or even smartJ. D. Hunt 23:05, 10 July 2006 (UTC)what bias

Mr Hunt - You are violating a number of Wikipedia policies, among them, assume good faith and being civil. Clearly, you have not taken the time to familiarize yourself with either the scientific method or evolution or you would not be making statements such as, evolution isn't proven, it's only a theory. Or, that pointing out the creationist argument, "if evolution is true, why are there still monkeys", is a misreprenstation because modern humans don't descend from modern chimpanzees, is somehow a POV issue. These arguments from creationists are so ubiqitous that the talk.origns archive dedicates pages to each of these common creationist misunderstandings about evolution, and corrects them. To be fair, I suggest that you actually read the article ,its subpages and the archive, before you start POV warrioring. JPotter 23:20, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
May I suggest some measure of "don't feed the troll" and just ignore this guy who clearly has no clue what he is talking about. There is no use in listening to every creationist who subscribes to the old "it is only a theory" misunderstanding. --RE 23:44, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually, mr potter, I made one off the cuff comment to start with, then I stopped until some pro-evolutionists started to attack my intelligence and the religeous and scientific beliefs of many who legitimately and scientifically disagree with them. They are violating wiki-pedia policies, assume good faith and being civil, I understand the scientific method and the false tenets of Evolutionist, but not all evolutionist beliefs and science are invalid. I haven't claimed these issues of monkeys. If I correctly recall talk.origns is heavily biased pro-evolution, and there are just as many sites who can refute evolution and argue why some or all of these assumption are true. I have now read the article, and I have read this same drivle a hundred times before in different formats.J. D. Hunt 00:04, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
not trolling - Creationists and non old earth theorsts have no voice in the discussion sounds elitistJ. D. Hunt 00:04, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
J.D. Hunt. The problem is not that you are a creationist. Creationists and non-creationists alike are permitted to contribute to Wikipedia. The problem is that you do not understand the topic you are discussing. This is an easily-remedied problem, and several users above has offered to help; even if they haven't used the most diplomatic language (as, you admit, neither have you), that is no excuse to retaliate with more personal attacks or pointed insinuations. Please review Evolution#Science_of_evolution and/or Theory#Science and/or Evolution is a Fact and a Theory, then come back and resume your critique. You will be able to more competently argue your points when you understand evolution's status as both a fact and a theory, and the nature of the theory and fact in science. This is not meant to be insulting; many users here did not understand these distinctions either, before coming to this page, including myself. I trust that you will be able to explain what problems you have with the article better once you have read more on the subject. -Silence 00:18, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Mr. Hunt, I personally agree with you on the theory itself. I am a creationist. However, your approach to the matter is certainly not helping your cause. I also believe that there is no way to be totally unbiased on this issue. Thus, as long as creationism is mentioned without major condemnation, the article is just fine the way it is. Since it is a article about evolution, supporters of that theory have the initiative in writing it. --ZHE (BAC) 00:36, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree in theory, but I believe there are major biases relating to information that does differ from evolution in this article and bias against creationist theories on pages about creationism or intelligent design. You say supporters of that theory (evolution) have the inititave in writing it - I only somewhat agree - besides creatonists aren't given that same latitude in creationist or intlligent design articles; they are biased towards anti-creationists.J. D. Hunt 02:46, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
This page is entirely open to scientific discussion, be it pro or anti evolution, J.D. Hunt. I think the spirit of science is within open debate. However, scientific debate is structured around the scientific method; and for a very good reason: to prevent pointless arguments (see above). If you have objections to evolution, please find published and peer-reviewed scientific journals to support your claim (rather grandious claim at that). If you approach the problem from this way, you will get a lot more understanding from the group. So far, from your comments alone, it is apparent that you don't know anything about evolution. Please find scientific evidence for your claims, then come back and start another topic. Please refrain from using Creationist (ID) arguments, as none of them have ever been published in a scientific journal. If you want to attack the very philosophy of science (ie: find it unfair that you have to abide by scientific rules and think that supernatural theories are just as valid), then you have the wrong forum.--Roland Deschain 01:10, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
To:Roland Deschain & Silence - I clearly understand the topic, I understand the distinctions, and I understand the scientific method. I have read the arguments and information that these pages, that you guys mention, that cover evolution from the evolutionists camp. I have read other counter theories that support other notions and postulate other scientific theories that are the opposite or very different from evolution theory. I disagree that it is proven. I believe these so-called proofs are incorrect.J. D. Hunt 02:45, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Again, if you want to be taken serious in this group, please provide some kind of scientific proof. At least mention what these counter theories are and why the scientfic evidence of the last 150 years (don't forget to cite published papers) is supporting them rathen than evolution. Please also note evolution has at
You keep repeating that you understand the scientific method and evolution, yet you insist on making the same basic mistakes in insisting that evolution is "just a theory, not a fact" and that it has never been observed. You obviously don't understand the nature of science in general and evolutionary biology in particular, or you wouldn't keep repeating that sort of nonsense. Right in this very article are given examples of observed evolution, including the Hawthorne fly. You can go to Google Scholar and type in 'speciation' for hundreds of more examples. You are testing the patience of the Wikipedia community by your steadfast and block-headed refusal to acknowledge the evidence which has been repeatedly presented to you, not to mention unwillingness or inability to grasp something as simple as the meaning of 'theory' and in what senses evolution is theory and fact. It doesn't help your position that you're also trying to push the perspective that the earth is only thousands of years old, which is utterly and laughably ridiculous. Besides, if you're a Deist, why on earth are you taking the Christian/Jewish/Islamic view of the age of the earth? JF Mephisto 12:58, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Evidence of a young earth J. D. Hunt 02:43, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
What is the most convincing piece of evidence you have seen to date? David D. (Talk) 03:00, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
"I have read the arguments and information that these pages, that you guys mention, that cover evolution from the evolutionists camp." - The fact that you claim that the definition of "theory" is "conveying evolution from the evolutionists camp" demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that you haven't read the pages we've linked you to. By asserting that "evolution is just a theory", you do nothing but demonstrate your own ignorance of the scientific method and of scientific terminology, and unthinkingly repeat an ancient, long-refuted canard. What you clearly do not realize is that theories are the most important, well-justified explanations in science. You are using the non-scientific, colloquial definition of theory which has a similar meaning to "guess" or "speculation" or "hunch"; but the scientific definition, which is the only one that applies to evolution, actually means almost precisely the opposite. In science, a theory is a consistent, well-supported explanation of any kind. The theory of evolution (modern evolutionary synthesis) is simply an explanation of the fact of evolution (i.e., the ongoing process we observe every day whereby organisms change based on selective influences and genetic drift).
"other scientific theories that are the opposite or very different from evolution theory." - Name even one. :)
"I disagree that it is proven. I believe these so-called proofs are incorrect." - It is as proven as much as gravity is proven: the consequences of the process have been observed, and continue to be observed tens of thousands of times over every single day. No explanation has ever been given, other than evolution, that genuinely explains genetic information, the changing fossil records, the countless morphological similarities (and differences) between related species, the evolution of new breeds of dogs or plants or strains of bacteria or species of organisms of all sorts, etc. All the evidence indicates that evolution occurs, and none of it indicates that it doesn't. This is why the scientific consensus is that evolution occurs; even most creationists realize that this is the case, but only quibble, without justification, over why or how it occurs. This is because the evidence is so powerfully, overwhelmingly in support of the occurrence of evolution that only a deep misunderstanding or misconception can cause anyone to dismiss it, just as only a deep misunderstanding or misconception could lead to someone rejecting the notion that the Earth is round, or that the Moon isn't made of cheese—or that the universe is only a few thousand years old. :) -Silence 07:54, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Ultimately our opinions aren't what matters. If an editor can find a relevant, credible, unrefuted, scientific publication to cite then they are free to put text referencing it in this article. thx1138 12:21, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I've not been here very long so I will understand if my comments don't have much weight, but Mr Hunt please don't take offence at what people are saying. Your point of view is being dismissed for two reasons- one is that while you continue to state that you have studied evidence to counter evolution, you haven't stated at any point where this evidence was found. We would certainly listen far more to what you have to say if we could read the material you've seen, as we could then debate with you based on a firmer understanding of your criticisms. The other is that you keep on saying that evolution is not a "fact". I know you keep saying that you understand the difference between scientific theory and fact, but your above statements seem to contradict that. There is, Mr Hunt, no such thing as "scientific fact". Us laypersons may take it as fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun, but who has ever been to the Sun? Our assertion is based on evidence gleaned from telescopes mapping the progress of the Sun and other celestial bodies against the sky, and their relative motions made the most sense if Earth was not the centre of the galaxy, but no one has ever travelled further than our own Moon, certainly not far out enough to observe directly the relative motion planets and Suns. This, therefore, is a theory based on the evidence we have seen, and is backed up by the fact that the orbits we predict for planets hold true, and serves as a basis for theories regarding the movement of stars and galaxies further away. Remember also, that scientific concepts are not static. Scientists work on the assumption of ignorance, that we still don't have the full picture. We expect to find small flaws in all our theories, and calling them theory rather than fact allows for this. I hope this clears things up a little. Please don't feel we don't want you to contribute or anything, we just want you to back up what you say with some evidence we can see. Weenerbunny ( 10:23, 16 July 2006 (UTC))
Hey J.D., don't waste your time here. It simply does no good. These people are thoroughly indoctrinated with their dogma (yes, dogma) and won't hear anything they deem as unscientific. If you want my advice, go to True.Origins (not Talk.Origins) to discuss your points. I've been repeatedly bombed and shelled by these dogmatists for attempting to get this page unbiased. Scorpionman 03:16, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Ummm... okay I can't comment on your own experiences, Scorpionman, but at least from what I've read above that doesn't seem to be the cause of the problem this time. JD has made some points which are interesting- but people have repeatedly asked to be shown where they can read the same information JD has, and they have been ignored. That isn't dogma- it's just wanting evidence. I'm sure you'd want to see evidence if I claimed, for example, that some scientists believe veloceraptors may still be roaming the planet. (Not to say that JD's comments are like that, just an example taken at random) and I'm sure you'd refuse to take me seriously until I could provide at least a link to a website or the name of a newspaper that featured such a story. Just my tuppence-worth. Weenerbunny 12:15, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I for one would be fascinated by evidence someone had of a young earth- but I've seen nothing credible in my own amateur forays into the theory of evolution, and JD provided nothign himself. Weenerbunny 12:20, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Templates at the Beginning of Evolution Page

Does anybody have the time and the knowhow to create a nice template for the beginning of the evolution page. There are two templates at the bottom of this page directing readers to the other fields dealing with the theory of evolution. However, I think it would be much better if we could create a template at the beginning of the page (right underneath the Tree of Life picture) summarizing important links (history of evolution, the fields of science dealing most with evolution, etc etc). Nice examples of this use of templates can be seen in General Relativity and (I'm gonna be stoned for this) Intelligent Design.

If somebody starts us off with the initial coding half the job would be done. The rest could be accomplished via discussion as to which links are most pertinent and which links give the reader the best idea of the large picture evolution plays in the field of science (not only biology). --Roland Deschain 01:00, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

You can see templates by looking in the Template namespace (e.g., Template:Off topic warning). Guettarda 01:47, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
I just rearranged one of the templates from the botom of the Evolution page, see template:evolution3. Feel free to go in and adjust as needed. Is it wise to replicate templates on a page? Or are you considering it to have a very different role? David D. (Talk) 02:18, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Looks really good. The only issue I can see is the evo-devo title is not informative, but the full name is too big for the small space, so it'll have to do. Put it up on the main page and let's see what people think. Maybe right beside the Content section of the article as there is a big empty space right of it.--Roland Deschain
Bear in mind that i made absolutely no changes from the template at the bottom of the evolution page. I just moved things around. So for example no (your gonna be stoned for this) Intelligent Design. David D. (Talk) 03:01, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
The template at the top CAN be a good idea, but at my screen, it narrowed the TOC, and made it at least twice as long, which is not a good idea. So, I removed it for the moment....-- Kim van der Linde at venus 03:11, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
It's a nice start. A few comments: It's not entirely clear to me what "modes" means; is there a more descriptive word? There's no point in linking to the Evolution article in "processes of evolution", just say "Processes". Also, given the consistent confusion of new editors about the meaning of the word "theory", I would include a link to Evolution as a theory, perhaps as the top line of the last grouping. bikeable (talk) 04:03, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Modes, by reading the linked articles, means Modes of Speciation as far as I can tell. I agree, linking evolution is pointless. I'll edit it. Also, as you point out, another section should be added (Misconceptions about Evolution) where articles can be linked that deal with such things as the distinction between theory and fact. The template can be edited at: template:evolution3. The major concern now is not too make the template too bulky with too much information. Clear and concise is what I hope for.--Roland Deschain 04:16, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I have removed the Modes section, as it is too abstract too be of any use for general information (the terms are also quite arcane). I have added instead the Misconception section which links to the rebuttals. David D has also removed inefectual links and streamlined the template.--Roland Deschain 04:33, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Actually, I found the "modes" links exceedingly useful, and have used the terms heavily in articles like evolution of the horse. It is an incredibly common misconception that evolution only occurs when ; clarifying the evolutionary mode of cladogenesis clears up this error by pointing out that speciation can occur without the previous species disappearing; indeed, an "ancestor" species and descendant species can coexist. It seems to be a rather underlinked, underdeveloped series of articles that could use some more attention.
  • By the way, I recommend that this vertical template be used solely on the evolution article (and/or possibly evolutionary biology). Use a horizontal, bottom-of-article template (and preferably a more specific one) for the daughter article. -Silence 04:52, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

POV question

Evolution is ultimately the source of the vast diversity of life: all contemporary organisms are related to each other through common descent, products of cumulative evolutionary changes over billions of years.

What published source asserts that Evolution is ultimately the source of the vast diversity of life? Should readers assume this is the consensus view of biologists? (Note: this question is only about how to describe evolution at Wikipedia - it's not a debate question. I know how what proportion of biologists accept the Theory of Evolution.) --Wing Nut 20:19, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I found a 30-year-old Dobzhansky quote on this:
  • Is there an explanation, to make intelligible to reason this colossal diversity of living beings? Whence came these extraordinary, seemingly whimsical and superfluous creatures, like the fungus Laboulbenia, the beetle Aphenops cronei, the flies Psilopa petrolei and Drosophila carciniphila, and many, many more apparent biologic curiosities? The only explanation that makes sense is that the organic diversity has evolved in response to the diversity of environment on the planet earth. [4]
Shall we attribute the idea to Dobzhansky then, or to biologists in general? --Wing Nut 20:25, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I think this is pretty uncontroversially the consensus view amongst biologists. Graft 20:29, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
The only conceivably controversial or disputable aspect of the statement in question is that it asserts that life is "vastly diverse". If we can find any reputable sources which dispute whether or not life is "vastly diverse", then this claim should be sourced; otherwise, it needn't be, as only controversial or disputed or otherwise unusual claims require sourcing, not uncontentious common knowledge. As for the issue of whether evolution is responsible for life's diversity, that's certainly scientifically uncontroversial. Heck, it's almost true by definition. -Silence 20:34, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

But for laymen who might be reading this article - and most wiki readers are laymen, aren't they? -- how shall we let them know who declared that Evolution is ultimately the source of the vast diversity of life?

There is a source for this: The proposition that biological evolution occurs through one method or another has been almost completely uncontested within the scientific community since the early 20th century. So I'm just saying it would be nice for readers if the Dobzhansky quote or a similar source were given.

Do I need consensus for this before adding the ref, or do I just go ahead and make it? --Wing Nut 20:39, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Go ahead and add it. The ref is accurate, and even if it's trivial it's not controversial to have refs for "common knowledge." siafu 22:58, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
There are two reasons to add a reference - to source a statement which is not common knowledge, or to supply "provenance" to an idea. Since this is common knowledge, the source should establish provenance of some sort. So where does the idea originate? With Darwin? To some extent, although he was unaware of the depth of diversity in the living world. With Dobzhansky? I don't know. He was one of the greatest evolutionary biologists of the 20th century, but did he contribute to the development of this particular idea? I don't know. But we shouldn't just pick any reference at random to support something that is, for the most part, common knowledge. By all means add a citation, but pick it carefully and thoughtfully. Guettarda 23:13, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Exactly. Not to mention that WN here is hitting all the evo/creationism-related articles with similar objections, none of which have panned out/make much sense, calling into question whether this is a matter of WP:POINT. FeloniousMonk 23:19, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
the "citation for provenance" could also be to a review, or a textbook, I think, since it would be to establish concensus, rather than attribute to a source. I thought Darwin did suggest common descent? and if he didn't know how deep biodiversity is, perhaps neither do we.
source is a little infelicitous - cause looks closer. Sillygrin 05:46, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

It's not an "objection" or debate question. I simply think the general reader would like to know the name of at least one scientist or thinker who believes that the Theory of Evolution is the "only explanation that makes sense". Experts on evolution might consider this common knowledge, but it might only be common within their field. What about the general reader? --Wing Nut 13:30, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

To answer your question, Richard Dawkins and Kenneth Miller are two world famous scientists that think that evolution is currently the best explanation for life. Richard Dawkins is problematic, as he has quite an aggressive stance against religion and citing him as the authority would produce more trouble than it's worth (he has great scientific credentials, but he's not liked by the creationist circles, so citing him would produce a lot of needless flaming). Kenneth Miller, in any of his scientific Biology publications, makes it clear that he sees evolution as the best explanation. Any advanced biology text book also makes the same assertion. Roland Deschain 14:15, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
This is the kind of question that should probably be discussed on the page reserved for debate about the validity of the theory, as opposed to questions concerning the improvement of the article. Please see the link at the bottom. Tony 13:42, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Citing sources for things that are known by everyone in a field is a bad idea. No one gives cites in papers for, say, Western blotting, or plasmid transformations, etc. There's no point - it's standard knowledge, and anyone who really wants to know the history of it can look it up in detail for themselves. Also, I think citing single sources for something everyone believes diminishes the notion of its acceptedness - then it becomes, "Well, Richard Dawkins believes evolution explains all life," as opposed to "All biologists". Graft 14:29, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree. If we were to cite something, I would suggest a biology text book written by at least 7 seperate authors and had to go through many peer reviews by many scientists in each respective field. Any biology textbook will do, as they all agree that evolution is the best theory around.

No, I get it. May as well ask for a source for "gravity causes tides". It's common knowledge in the fields of physics, astronomy, geology, etc. Thanks for your help. --Wing Nut 16:16, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Careful. Bringing in astronomy discussion into a topic that's fraught with science vs religion issues is never a good idea considering the history of it. But to answer your question, the original proposition that gravity causes tides was proposed by Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. After the original proposition, many independant studies have been done to verify the hypothesis (you will have to go back quite a while in history to find those studies).
I think it was more meant as a statement that something as indisputed in those sciences as the effect of gravity on tids really does not need a reference; and that the same goes for the requested evolution reference within biology. Arnoutf 17:36, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Yet if we were to ask how does gravity cause tides we couldn't answer the question because frankly we don't know what gravity is (space-time curvature, graviton mediated force, both, other). Infact I'd like to see evolution - observed, studied and deducted phenomenon, a fact - and theory of evolution - how, where and when it works, if it does - as seperate articles. As for the POV quote...I think there's not enough evidence to declare common descent for *all* (for most yes, for all no) lifeforms on Earth (multiple origins, panspermia, etc..). - G3, 22:08, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
  • The seperation of evolution and the Theory of Evolution is pointless, as would be the case with any other scientific theory. Do you really want to seperate the article on how the apple falls (gravity) from the article that explains why the apple falls (general relativity). Fact and theory, within science, are interdependent and seperating the two would make for very convoluted articles on all scientific topics.
  • Aye, I thought about it some more after I wrote my reply and found it bit excessive. :-) - G3, 09:09, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Which organisms cast questions on the theory of universal common descent? Does it use nucleotides? Does it use L-amino acids? Does it synthesize DNA/RNA from 5' to 3'? Does it have a different codon number (4 instead of 3)? Does it have vital molecules (RNA or DNA polymerase for example, which are vital for the survival of any organisms that replicates)?
  • For example, nanobes might or might not have different origin or even the red rain. Secondly stating plain all instead of eg. all known is IMO horribly misleading and more akin to belief than observed fact: We haven't discovered all lifeforms on Earth, some would even argue that we've discovered a small percentage of them - Is it valid to make a carpet statement about *all* of them? Thirdly, promoting necessarily only one grandfather to all species is rather bleak statement about the chance of finding indigenous life elsewhere in the Universe: Once in billions of years on what's supposedly a good place for life? Fourthly similarity doesn't necessarily imply shared origin, something which is one of the teachings of theory of evolution. -G3, 09:09, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
  • You haven't met my challange. I have given you clear evidence on why biologists say that all known extant life had a common ancestor. To challange that idea, evidence needs to be found of an organisms that lies outside the commonalities of all life. How do nanobes and red rain fall outside the commonalities of life that I have described above. "similarity doesn't necessarily imply shared origin": can you supply an alternative explanation?
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.last sentence of The Origin of Species.--Pharos 05:54, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Irrelevant, I know, but I do love the poetic flow of that statement- simple, elegant and moving- if only more people realised how much of science is as elegant as that. Weenerbunny 14:06, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

See also

Whats up with the huge see also section?--Peta 10:20, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

With a topic as broad and noteworthy as evolution, everyone wants their favorite quasi-noteworthy and/or quasi-relevant article, such as teratogenesis or evolutionary art or HeLa or language, to be linked to here, even though if it's not relevant enough to be mentioned in the article text (or in our new, compact linkbox), it probably doesn't belong in the top-level article's "see also" section, and if it is relevant enough to be mentioned in the article text, it probably doesn't need to be linked to a second time. Eventually, it should be trimmed down heavily or even removed entirely, though I don't see it as a high priority (as long as the article proper is high-quality, linkbloat near the bottom is less of a concern). -Silence 11:32, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Reorganizing + Expanding Genetic Evidence Section

I find that the genetic evidence section needs both serious reorganizing and expansion. A point that especially needs to be made is that the advent of Genetics and Biochemistry have offered a mechanism for the processes of evolution. Another fundamental point (I've slowly started to add that) is that genetics offers the common denomiantor to all life, greatly supporting the common acestor hypothesis. The hypothesis that the mitochondria (found in all eukaryotic life) is actually an ancient symbiotic relationship between a bacteria and a eukaryotic cell is also a good point to make to show that evolution can account for sudden large leaps (ie: absorbing the genetic material of another organism). The phospholipid membrane is another less known common denominator which is an excellent example of how all life is related. The tree of life should also be introduced in this section, as it shows how functionally vital genes can be used to relate all of life (this also allowed for the realization that there are three domains of life). The RNA world hypothesis should also be in this section, as (currently) it is gaining strong support in the field of life origin. Pseudogenes idea need to be expanded, but ideas such a transposons, LINE/SINE elements, selfish DNA, polyploidy, gene duplication are all sections that should be mentioned and 'briefly explained as to their revelance to evolution (with an appropirate link to their actual wiki site).

This is a lot of stuff to do and I'll slowly start working on it, but I've found that bringing up my ideas in the discussion

a. draws in constructive criticism and other good ideas
b. encourages other people to implement those ideas a lot more quickly.

Thoughts? --Roland Deschain 18:42, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Wow, that sounds like a lot of work, one question though: If you and others manage to pull this off, what would be the size of that text? The reason for asking is that as the section would be very lenghty it couldreduce usefulnes of the whole article. In such a case it may be an option to create a separate article Genetic Evidence for Evolution (or similar) which then might be the mainarticle for the summary here. Just keep it in mind and good luck Arnoutf 09:28, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

It should be fairly short. Each of the topics I've mentioned already has a seperate article in wikipedia. So the challange is to make a succint point as to how a molecular finding supports evolution and then provide the link where the concept is grealy expanded and all the pertinent references are provided. I've added most of the ideas. The only ones that I'd liked mentioned (I'll get to them soon) is retrotransposons as a way to prove evolutionary relationships and gene duplication evidence to show common ancestry and increasing genomic complexity.

New paper in Science on recent natural selection of Darwin finches

Evolution of Character Displacement in Darwin's Finches Peter R. Grant and B. Rosemary Grant Science 14 Jul 2006; 313: 224-226. Just for those who would like some more evidence of changes in nature Arnoutf 07:36, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Yeah, great paper. Historically pertinent and the study was done over a really long time frame. Basically confirms and elaborates greatly on what Darwin saw 150 years ago.--Roland Deschain 12:57, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Re-protect please

I dont think this article will ever be safe. Rorrenig 02:39, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Then it won't be, but that doesn't mean it should be permanently semi-protected. If you feel it should be, make a request on WP:RFPP - although the level of vandalizing here does not warrant protection. KillerChihuahua?!? 09:17, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Nope I don't think it will be safe, but on the other hand there are more than enough 'watch dogs' guarding this article, so there is hardly any serious and lasting damage done; so protection maybe to heavy a measure. Arnoutf 13:25, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Once again vandalised, and it stayed for 3 minutes. It read:

"The following is a false theory. Man is not basically good at the core of his being and gradually changing to a better state. All men are sinners in themselves, but because of Jesus Christ's sacrifice in coming down to earth to die for us we are forgiven."

In bold text, at the start. If wikipedia wants to have any credibility a hard line needs to be taken on vandalism, none of this "Thanks for experimenting" crap. Rorrenig 04:34, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Proposed changes

This article has grown too long, too full of unnecessary details that belong more in daughter articles like evidence of evolution. Although I do not think we should trim off any of the valuable, relevant information that's been added here recently, I think there are a few improvements we could make to make the page less intimidatingly sprawling for new readers, and to improve the article's consistency and cohesiveness. For starters:

  1. Merge "Current research" into "Study of evolution" (and possibly into "Academic disciplines", which seems to have been the original section discussing this topic).
  2. The "misunderstandings" section has grown far, far, far too large. Although I understand the practical arguments for including such a section in this article, I see no sane reason at all to include such a mammoth section, split off (often in inconsistent or strange ways) from the overall flow of the article. For example, why have two separate sections on the exact same topic, one near the top of the article and one near the bottom? (I am referring to "Status as fact and theory", the older section, and "Distinctions Between Theory and Fact", the newer. The latter certainly has information worth preserving, but wouldn't it be more useful to incorporate those important details into the initial section and only leave a few sentences explaining the misunderstanding in the bottom section?) I could understand having even a five or six paragraph section on the topic of "Misunderstandings", even though it's obviously a rather unorthodox and disputable format for us to clear up people's misconceptions (it would be preferable, where possible, to simply address them in due course as the article discusses the topics in question: for example, why not merge the "Speciation" section under misunderstandings with the "Speciation and extinction" section under mechanisms of evolution, since both are such short, related sections?), but we currently have fifteen paragraphs (several of them quite large) devoted to the "misunderstandings" section; that's more time and space than we spend explaining the theory of evolution itself! Clearly this has gotten out of hand. We should trim down the section to a reasonable length, devoting at most a paragraph or two to each major type of misunderstanding (e.g. devolution, entropy, information...), not an entire subsection to every single one. To accomplish this without losing information, we should either create a daughter article called Misunderstandings of evolution (which I expect would meet quite a lot of resistance, but, at the current and ever-increasing size of the "misunderstandings" section, is quickly becoming warranted to keep the article from suffering under bloat), or we should, where possible, merge the bulk of relevant information under "misunderstandings" into the parts of the article which actually discuss those topics. Rather than hiding all those misunderstandings near the bottom of the article, when they're clearly so important (due to being such common errors), why not incorporate them into the article, like most Wikipedia articles (and encyclopedias in general) do? This makes the information more useful and easily-accessible in the overall context of the article, counters the balance issues, and avoids the sort of redundancies that have repeatedly cropped up due to the artificial segregation of the article into "explaining evolution" and "explaining misconceptions about evolution" sections; the latter is a subset of the former, out of necessity.
  3. And, while I'm at it: Why is the Creation-evolution controversy the only social effect of evolutionary theory that this article significantly addresses? Wouldn't it make more sense to rename "Social and religious controversies" to "Social effects" or similar (or make it a subsection, as long as we kept both down to a nice, compact size), since the former is a subset of the latter, but not vice versa? Is the only significant effect evolution has ever had on human culture or society the "controversies" it has caused?

-Silence 02:27, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

On the latter point, the creation-evolution controversy is not listed as a social effect, it is listed as a "social and religious controversy". The "social controversies" discussed are things like social Darwinism and eugenics, though they have gotten pretty compacted in favor of the creationist stuff. --Fastfission 15:13, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
It's listed as both a social effect and a social/religious controversy, since a social/religious controversy is a type of social effect. That's why the article social effect of evolutionary theory is listed as a "main article" for that section, even though it doesn't seem broad enough (since it deals exclusively with "controversies", not with the general effects of evolutionary thought on culture or society) to fit the scope very well. -Silence 21:32, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
Silence, I believe your analysis is correct. --Rikurzhen 21:55, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
totally agree about the length and depth. the daughter pages could well do with some more stuff on them - lots of them have quite a bit of cut-and-paste, and not a lot more meat on them.
I'm working on merging some stuff in a hard copy at the moment. should be about a week or so. Sillygrin 13:23, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

The end is the beginning is the end...

  • I understand your frustration J. D. Hunt, believe me I do. I’ve tried several times to convince evolutionists to step back and look objectively at the evidence and at their own presumptuous claims, but it’s practically an impossibility, because from the time we are little kids we are more or less subtly being indoctrinated and brainwashed into believing in millions of years (Let’s learn about dinosaurs kids! Millions of years ago…), and the rest is history, which is quite evident from the media, popular science magazines, museums, and Wikipedia in general. Just take a look at part of the debate I had with Roland on the Talk page [5]. There is nothing in this world you can say to them and no amount of evidence contradicting evolution to make them change their minds. And please do not encourage them by calling evolution a theory. I have stopped calling it a theory because it gives evolution credit toward being actual science when it is nothing but a religion. This is why evolutionists are afraid to do live face to face debates with creationists, because their religion is exposed and their arguments are destroyed (not like in these places where they gang up on you and dismiss everything you say as fallacy strawmen and argument from incredulity, and are free to use elephant hurling and argument from authority tactics to support their empty presuppositions that they try to use for evidence). I don’t totally agree with everything he says or believes in, but Kent Hovind has destroyed many an evolutionist in live debates all over the country (of course evolutionists will attack his character and say he doesn’t pay taxes, blah, blah, blah) Some of evolution’s biggest proponents are scared to debate creationists, such as Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is the equivalent of the pope in the religion of evolution/naturalism. Anyways, my only point is that when you are as brainwashed as most of these people are, you will only see what you want to see and nothing else. Just see how they react when you mention dinosaur soft tissue.
    • Now, let’s play a game. It’s called evolution is a lie. The object of the game is for all the evolutionists here to take a serious look at what qualifies something as operational science and to prove that evolution is anything more than just a non-testable, non-verifiable, non-repeatable hypothesis. The first and most evident factor is that is must follow the scientific method in order to be true science IAW the overwhelmingly biased (toward evolution) Wikipedia: [6]. That being said, your evidence for qualifying it cannot be mere assumptions based on presuppositions (and no elephant hurling or arguments from authority). This includes but is not limited to:
    • Bioliquid2fusion
    • Is it just me, or is rather amusing that this person, based on their religion, is dimissing evolution as "nothing but a religion"? --TonyKemp 05:23, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
  • "we are more or less subtly being indoctrinated and brainwashed into believing in millions of years (Let’s learn about dinosaurs kids! Millions of years ago…)" - What you call "indoctrination" I call "teaching". That dinosaurs existed millions of years ago is indisputable, therefore there is no harm (indeed, there is a significant benefit) to instructing children about it, even before they've developed all their critical thinking abilities. This is the same reason it is fine to teach gravity to small children, or to explain rainbows to them; is it "indoctrination" to not leave children completely ignorant of even the most simple and basic physical facts, of the history of life and the earth, etc.?
  • Well isn’t that just your opinion then? Gravity is proven and can be tested and observed. Where are you people drawing the correlation between gravity and evolution?! If you throw a fifty pound weight up above your head, is there some instance where it would just magically fly into space unless not bound by the gravitational pull of the Earth? Can we not test gravity to our hearts content and come out with a logical conclusion to its effects in everyday life? What the deuce?
  • "There is nothing in this world you can say to them and no amount of evidence contradicting evolution to make them change their minds." - This statement is false. It is certainly possible to provide evidence contradicting evolution that would make the vast majority of people change their minds. The only problem is that you have yet to do so. We're waiting.
  • Okay, then please give me at least three things that would completely falsify evolution. And yes, there is much evidence that contradicts evolution, but it is simply dismissed or modified to fit the evolutionary framework.
  • "And please do not encourage them by calling evolution a theory." - Evolution (specifically, modern evolutionary synthesis) is "a set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena"; thus, it is indeed a theory. This is not under dispute. However, I am glad you understand the correct definition of theory; you're at least arguing for the right thing if you want to undermine evolution.
  • But evolution cannot be tested, and it can make all the predictions it wants, but it is not repeatable or observable, and therefore is still just a non-testable hypothesis. I do understand the definition of a theory; I only wish that those who claim that evolution is a fact, theory, or is even subject to the scientific method could understand those respective definitions.
  • "toward being actual science when it is nothing but a religion." - Actually, it is not a religion. To call it such is mere name-calling and rhetorical equivocation, as there is no basis on which to justify such an assertion (and you have not even attempted to provide one). To argue that a scientific theory is a religion is as silly as arguing that a mathematical proof is. Religion by definition involves supernatural assertions; as science does not invoke the supernatural, science is by definition non-religious (or, if you prefer, secular).
  • My definition was more of the archaic one: scrupulous conformity. This pretty well fits into the overall premise of evolution: accepting without question, and without considering contradictory evidence. I’m not arguing anything about scientific theory, only evolution, which is just about the opposite of a mathematical proof. I agree with the last part, but again, evolution is not science, and no amount of your own hypocritical rhetoric is going to change that.
  • "This is why evolutionists are afraid to do live face to face debates with creationists," - Biologists are not "afraid" to do such debates, they're just too busy actually benefiting the human race with new study and research to engage in repetitive political stunts over points that have already been refuted a hundred times over. Science is based on facts and evidence, not on PR campaigns; you're thinking of politics. If geologists refuse to waste time debating Young Earth Creationists (who similarly have no evidence on their side), does that make them "afraid"? Emotionally characterizing biologists is just more rhetorical games (as is calling them "evolutionists", attempting to misrepresent a field of scientific research as an ideology; what's next, are gravitational physicists going to be called "gravitationists"?).
  • What in the world does evolution have to do with biology? Biology was fine before evolution reared its ugly head, and it would do just as well without it now. Please explain how lack of evolution would be detrimental to biology or any other field of science. All of your supposed evidence has been refuted a hundred times over as well. What of it? It doesn’t matter if evidence is contradictory to your beliefs, if you don’t consider anything that contradicts your beliefs. I agree that science is based on facts and evidence, which is why evolution is not a part of it. When evolutionists who claim to have “overwhelming evidence” for their side cannot back up there words in the public arena, then yes they are afraid. Once again with the gravity thing; what is your fixation with that analogy? It has no significance in any aspect of our argument. Evolution is not science and does not follow the scientific method; that was the claim.
  • "Dawkins is the equivalent of the pope in the religion of evolution/naturalism." - The pope is a popular author and proponent of Catholicism with no special status or authority in the religion who is mainly significant as one of the more prominant popularizers of various Catholic ideas? News to me.
  • Dawkins is a very prominent activist for the evolution agenda. The passing comparison was only meant to signify the importance of his role to creationists who would enjoy getting a shot at such a vocal religious fanatic as himself who projects evolutionists’ hypocrisy
  • "Anyways, my only point is that when you are as brainwashed as most of these people are, you will only see what you want to see and nothing else." - Characterizing everyone you disagree with as "brainwashed" is (1) a violation of Wikipedia policy (WP:AGF, WP:CIVIL), (2) a cheap, obvious tactic you are attempting to use in lieu of actual argumentation or evidence, and (3) baseless.
  • Okay, so you are allowed to share your opinions about creationists, but mine are personal attacks? Is there a Wiki policy for that? Why is it that point #2 is basically all that evolution is based on? Is evolution itself a violation of Wikipedia policy? What a conundrum huh?
  • "Just see how they react when you mention dinosaur soft tissue." - What about soft tissue? Alluding to an argument does not take the place of actually making it.
  • Well, for one, if dinosaur soft tissue is discovered, does it posit a problem for the dogmatic evolutionary dating assumptions; do evolutionists have to rethink their millions of years timeline, or will they simply modify the evidence to fit their theory, or try to discard it? Because logically, if a bone still has soft tissue still intact attached to it, it cannot be 70 million years old, especially if there was more than one example of this occurrence. So what would this mean for the evolutionary beliefs of millions of years? [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15]
  • "The object of the game is for all the evolutionists here to take a serious look at what qualifies something as operational science and to prove that evolution is anything more than just a non-testable, non-verifiable, non-repeatable hypothesis." - Sounds like a boring game. I prefer the game "Gravity is a lie", it's at least a more interesting waste of time. Or how about "cellular respiration is a lie"? -Silence 23:19, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Again with gravity; why do you pawn all evolution’s shortcomings off by alluding to gravity? Better yet, why do you persist on dodging the question of why evolution does not succumb to the scientific method? If you bore easily by things that challenge your beliefs I’m sorry, but that is not an argument winning answer by saying it’s boring.

  • "There is nothing in this world you can say to them and no amount of evidence contradicting evolution to make them change their minds." Interesting assertion. Please do tell, what evidence?
  • Obviously when talking to evolutionists, evidence is simply assumptions that support your hypothesis, so if that is the case then there is a lot of evidence for creation. If you are referring to physical evidence that more readily supports creation than evolution, which evolutionists ignore, there are written historical documents (Dead Sea Scrolls support the Bible), polystrate fossils (contradict geological column), biological time clocks based on uniformitarianistic models (give a time limit to how old the earth can be), dinosaur soft tissue, sharply bent rock strata, written history so recent (nothing before 6,000 years), extreme complexity in the universe, so few people on earth (considering the rate of population expansion documented throughout history), just to name a couple
  • "I have stopped calling it a theory because it gives evolution credit toward being actual science" - and how is it not actual science?
  • It doesn’t follow the scientific method, every piece of supposed evidence depends solely on assumptions of evolutionists, and it doesn’t allow its hypothesis to be challenged by contradictory evidence.
  • "This is why evolutionists are afraid to do live face to face debates with creationists" - hmm, and why are creationists afraid to present their "evidence" in actual scientific publications, instead of "debates" based on talking points, rhetorical flourishes, and outright lies?
  • They do present evidence, only when you refer to ‘actual scientific publications,’ you have to remember that they are extremely biased toward evolution, and will not consider anything outside their own dogmatic beliefs. Verbal debates are healthy, and allow creationists to present their ideas and contradictory evidence without being methodically denied the same courtesy from your so called ‘scientific publications’ which are not at all impartial. What are these ‘outright lies’ you refer to?
  • "Dawkins is the equivalent of the pope in the religion of evolution/naturalism" - Dawkins? No, even if there was anything to compare to a "pope", it would never be Dawkins. Guettarda 00:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Fair enough, I no longer care

Natural selection

1. Using natural selection as evidence for transitions to more complex organisms in nature (i.e. the elusive information gain that evolution requires) without referring to processes that simply repeat the same information or scramble it around (i.e. duplication, replication, polyploidy, etc.).- This is called the bait’n’switch tactic that evolutionists use in which they use small changes (natural selection) as proof that ridiculous changes happened such as molecules-to-man. Natural selection could just as easily be an incredibly complex adaptive mechanism built into our genes by an intelligent designer. Evolution would require a near infinite amount of beneficial functional information-gaining mutations to get to the point we are now, and yet beneficial mutations are extremely rare, and beneficial mutations which increase functional information are non-existent. This argument cannot be used as scientific evidence.


  • "they use small changes (natural selection)" - Natural selection is not "small changes". Natural selection is a major mechanism under which evolutionary changes, especially large, long-term ones (because it's much easier to measure selective forces over hundreds of generations than over a handful of them), occur. It is a theory explaining the fact that species change over time, adapt to their environments, etc., which is information gathered from fossil evidence, genetic evidence, and morphological evidence.
  • Okay, natural selection facilitates changes, from what we know, within a structure of limitation. Meaning you can breed ever larger dogs, but I’ve never observed a dog the size of a train, have you? And just to say that because we haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it cannot happen is no more credible of an argument then creationists’ argument for God. How large and long term are you talking about? We have to look at what we have observed as the evidence, but all else is strictly fanciful thinking, no more. You cannot use your opinions to suggest something you and I cannot observe as evidence and call it science.
  • "as proof that ridiculous changes happened such as molecules-to-man" - Although I know you didn't want us to accuse you of crafting any strawmen, this is, in fact, a strawman. :) If you don't want us to point out strawmen, please refrain from utilizing strawmen. Deal? Abiogenesis is a topic distinct from evolution; the origins of life are not directly addressed by evolutionary theory, which deals with how life changes over time, not how it first came into existence to begin with. Arguing against evolution based on your concerns over the origin of life is as silly as arguing against gravity based on concerns over the Big Bang.
  • It’s not a strawman argument. Evolution claims we came from molecules-to-man, and cites natural selection as its evidence. That is directly your argument, which is a complete fallacy in itself, but I did not try and misstate your beliefs, I was just realistically candid
  • "Natural selection could just as easily be an incredibly complex adaptive mechanism built into our genes by an intelligent designer." - And gravity could just as easily be an intelligent designer "pushing" objects towards heavy objects. Just because something is possible doesn't make it remotely likely, nor does it negate valid scientific explanations for them. Just about anything is possible, after all. It's possible that rainbows occur because leprechauns make them, but since there's no evidence for that and plenty of evidence for the dispersion of sunlight being refracted by raindrops, it is reasonable to operate under the working assumption that rainbows are caused by the aforementioned naturalistic occurrences, until contrary evidence arises. For the same reason, it is reasonable to operate under the working assumption that natural selection is caused by the well-explained naturalistic processes and interactions we've observed for centuries, not by an invisible magical man in the sky known only from anecdotal claims, until contrary evidence arises.
  • Once again, I agree with science, but not that evolution is science. Do you think that it is realistically possible to prove whether there is creator? What about by dying? Do you know anything about what happens after you die? Perhaps the physical laws and dimensions that you are aware of and are capable of observing with your five senses are only part of the equation. Does not death present a conundrum in which your beliefs could possibly be wrong? I know your argument is that anything absurd could arguably be possible, but regardless of what an individual believes, there is an ultimate truth and reality that governs our universe (agreed?), and if it is that a supreme being created us all 6,000 years ago such as is stated in a certain historical document (whether you want to believe it or not), then why do your claims to the contrary, which are based on mass amounts of assumptions about the lack of that creator and historical document, automatically become true?
  • "Evolution would require a near infinite amount of beneficial functional information-gaining mutations to get to the point we are now," - Hyperbole. "Near-infinite" is not a meaningful scientific descriptor. I'd say that a few billion years of constant mutations would be sufficient to get to about where we are now. :) A billion years is a staggeringly long length of time, just about inconceivable on any but an abstract level to human beings, but that doesn't make it "near-infinite", and it certainly seems to have sufficed to produce the diversity of life in the world today, unless the rocks are "lying" to us about how old they are. :) Or maybe it's a conspiracy of geologists? Damn those tricky scientists!
  • Okay, well, statistically speaking then, that many beneficial mutations (remember they must be information GAINING mutations) are not just highly unlikely, they are ludicrous. After all, we have yet to observe even a single verifiable beneficial mutation that subsequently increases functional information. The rocks are not lying to us, the dating methods are unreliable at best, and cannot even give accurate dates for things of known ages, so definitely cannot be a good resource for dating things of unknown age.
  • "and yet beneficial mutations are extremely rare," - This is either a falsehood, or just going out of its way to be exceedingly misleading and loaded. Beneficial mutations are no rarer than harmful mutations. Most mutations are neither harmful nor beneficial; a mutation becomes "harmful" when it happens to have a negative effect on the organism's chances of surviving and reproducing, and it becomes "beneficial" when it happens to have a positive effect on the organism's chances of surviving and reproducing. With that in mind, beneficial and harmful mutations are both actually extremely common; every human being in the world has at least minor beneficial and harmful mutations. Antibiotic resistance is one well-known example of a common and well-studied "beneficial" mutation—beneficial for the microorganism, at least. :)
  • Okay, so mutations are for the most part neutral, but there are a lot more documented cases of harmful mutations then beneficial, and irregardless of the effect of the mutation, it is always represented by a loss of overall genetic information, not a gain. The examples of antibiotic resistance and sickle-cell anaemia I have heard, but if they are so common, can you provide me with some more examples please?
  • "and beneficial mutations which increase functional information are non-existent." - Judging by your last few comments, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of information theory. I recommend reading up on the topic before you continue to make such false (and really, rather silly) assertions. Here are some links you'll find useful: [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]
  • I've got to go to dinner now, but I'll finish replying to the above points as soon as I return. -Silence 23:19, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Okay and I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of Occam’s Razor, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the Scientific Method, and pretty much what qualifies something as science in general. Information denotes an intelligent source, especially the amount of information in the given universe, which cannot be explained by a series of random occurrences. Also, I like how you attempt to validate evolution by using mathematic principles, but completely ignore the concept of mathematical probabilities and evolution’s failure to succumb to it.
  • "Using natural selection as evidence for transitions to more complex organisms in nature (i.e. the elusive information gain that evolution requires) without referring to processes that simply repeat the same information or scramble it around (i.e. duplication, replication, polyploidy, etc.)". Interesting request. Since this has been demonstrated (that evolution can bring about these changes through these mechanisms) why would anyone want to ignore proven mechanisms? Guettarda 00:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • It’s simple. Evolution REQUIRES many many many many (etc.) INFORMATION GAINING changes to get from an amoeba to a human (which, just for example, has a brain consisting of 100 billion neurons each with close to 7,000 synaptic connections). Seeing as how your belief requires not just genetic changes that modify or copy existing information, but a ridiculous amount of increases in genetic information and functional complexity, and we haven’t seen even one example of this, I don’t see how you can simply ignore this argument.
First, this page is not the page to debate evolution and creationism, if you want that go to All of thse are old tired arguments, second of all, I've noticed that you seem to be impersonating another user with your signature. Stop. JoshuaZ 02:09, 9 August 2006 (UTC)


2. Using apparent similarities between organisms as evidence for a common ancestor-this could just as easily be explained by a common designer. No amount of DNA comparison is going to prove one over the other. We share close to 90% of the same DNA with mice, and close to 50% with bananas, this proves nothing. Either way, it cannot be used for testable verifiable science and so is just opinion.


  • We share close to 90% of the same DNA with mice, and close to 50% with bananas, this proves nothing. You have to be kidding me. Didn't I just yesterday spend 1 hour writing and telling you how complete genomic similarity is not used to infer evolutionary relationships by scientists but are just used as a public sound bites (see the Wikireason evolution discussion page if you don't believe me). I also directed you to 10 cited articles (cited by the creationist site that you recommended) that say the same thing (and which the author of that creationist article conviniently fails to mention). Did you read those articles? Did you ever actually sit down and read evolutionary science. What books have you read? Tell me. --Roland Deschain 23:58, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I’m not kidding you. I simply made a statement which was my opinion. You of course are free to do the same, as you do, and can readily believe whatever you want, but opinions cannot be used as evidence for your wild claims. Yes I have read much on the topic of evolutionary non-science. No I don’t read books on it, because usually by the time a book is written, published, and printed and distributed, the information has changed or has been refuted, and is invalid. Not always, but the internet has far more up-to-date info on such topics (i.e. Wikipedia evolution page, right?).
  • "Using apparent similarities between organisms as evidence for a common ancestor-this could just as easily be explained by a common designer." - No, it couldn't. A common designer would have no reason to give consistently similar morphological characteristics to organisms, especially where those structures serve little function in one species and a major function in another, closely-related/similar one (e.g., the vermiform appendix in humans has barely any functionality, yet it is extremely similar to the vitally-important cecum which many organisms related to humans, including the ones that humans descended from, use for breaking down cellulose). Also, since the intelligent designer you speak of is scientifically unexplained and unjustified, appealing to it is scientifically untenable. Simply appealing to an unexplainable "X factor" (a God of the gaps) to explain natural phenomena that already have natural explanations is pointless. You could try to rationalize any phenomena by saying "maybe an intelligent designer made it", but that wouldn't actually be explaining how or why it occurs. To ignore the physical processes under which evolution operates in order to appeal to an intelligent designer is inane. Even if an intelligent designer is the ultimate creator of life, appealing to such a designer does not in any way explain how life has developed as it has, anymore than appealing to an intelligent designer as the ultimate creator of the universe would explain how gravity occurs (or justify discounting naturalistic evidence for gravity).
  • Uh, yes it could. If the designer knew what he was doing, he most assuredly would. He probably would also think that the most intelligent of all the designed beings would have the common-sense to figure out that common characteristics and biological similarities denotes a common architect. Unfortunately willing ignorance is a stumbling block in the way of logical deduction. (hey, there goes another gravity comment!)
  • "No amount of DNA comparison is going to prove one over the other." - It proves that evolution occurs, which is all that matters from a scientific perspective. Science doesn't care about whether a supernaturalistic intelligent designer is the ultimate cause for some phenomenon or other, as long as there is no way to test whether or not such a designer actually exists. Attempting to explain phenomena by appealing to an entity that is itself completely unexplained is not science, it's religion.
  • No, it actually proves that no matter what the reality of it is, you will think, assume, presuppose that evolution occurs, just because you know it requires no evidence to say. I love how you claim just because you cannot test something it is not scientific, and yet fail to see this connection to evolution.
  • "We share close to 90% of the same DNA with mice, and close to 50% with bananas, this proves nothing." - It demonstrates that we are more closely-related to mice than to bananas, and thus provides evidence for common descent. There is no particular reason for us to have similar DNA to other organisms; there are a vast number of potential ways certain structures could have been coded, yet organisms frequently feature arbitrarily near-identical structures that can only be explained by evolution or by a mischievous trickster Designer who is trying to fool us into thinking evolution occurs. :) Very silly. Heck, there's not even any particular reason for organisms to necessarily be carbon-based, or to use DNA, rather than some other self-replicating organic molecule. These similarities are impossible to coherently explain without evolution—a supernatural designer would have no reason not to use alternative structures or DNA arrangements that would be more efficient than the exceedingly similar ones that organisms actually have. Moreover, there is no explanation for why an intelligent designer would create life; there is no apparent purpose to doing so. Appealing to intelligent design thus raises many more new questions than it actually answers (and, for that matter, it doesn't answer any questions). It is a thought-terminating, vacuous, and unjustified assertion, and is ultimately based in religious beliefs and tradition, not in evidence or scientific inquiry. -Silence 00:32, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • So if something has any passing similarities to something else, then that can be used as proof for whatever you want, huh? Well, bravo, you can now answer any question in the universe just by using that logic. And has it ever occurred to you that biological similarities might be necessary for different organisms to gain energy and nutrients from other organisms? It’s almost as if it was intelligent to construct things in such a way.
  • "Using apparent similarities between organisms as evidence for a common ancestor-this could just as easily be explained by a common designer. No amount of DNA comparison is going to prove one over the other. We share close to 90% of the same DNA with mice, and close to 50% with bananas, this proves nothing". I'd say that similarities, together with all the other evidence, is actually pretty strong evidence. But that was the science of the 70s. For the last 15 years systematics work has been based on actual changes in DNA sequences. Synapomorphies and all that stuff. Guettarda 00:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Okay, now you are just assuming that you have ‘all the other evidence’ to back up your wild claims, which you do not. Once again, as a reminder in case you forgot, there have been no documented cases of an information gain, which evolution requires.


3. Using fossils as evidence for evolution- fossils can just as easily be explained by the global flood as presented in the Bible. Showing variation within fossils (such as horse fossils) of the same kind of animal only proves that their genes allowed them to adapt physically to their environment, but does not prove that they can magically morph into whatever they want (or evolution so desires). In order to use this as evidence for real science, you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fossil record physically shows every beneficial functional information-gaining mutation between a one-celled organism and a human. Well, actually, even a single undisputable (i.e. not a hoax or variation within a group) transitional fossil that fits this description would probably do, as we have yet to see one thus far.


I mean, really, you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fossil record physically shows every beneficial functional information-gaining mutation between a one-celled organism and a human. That's one of the silliest things I have ever read. I, personally, will not believe that User:Bioliquid2fusion wrote that message until I see an HDTV-quality video of said user typing out each keystroke, with timestamps from an atomic clock on each frame. ho hum! bikeable (talk) 22:49, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Well, lucky for you typing is an observable, testable, process that can be easily recreated and studied physically in the real world. It can also be video taped with timestamps if you like. Unfortunately, things that “supposedly” happened millions and billions of years ago do not have that luxury, so you must make wild assumptions and try to make the “evidence” fit your beliefs, because that is all you can do.

  • "Using fossils as evidence for evolution- fossils can just as easily be explained by the global flood as presented in the Bible." - No, it can't. Your assertion here is patently false. Explaining fossils by appealing to the Flood myth is not only difficult, but, in fact, impossible.[22]
  • Okay, is that your argument? Then why can I not say that your assertion is blatantly false, and explaining the LACK of transitional fossils that evolution (the myth) requires is something evolutionists have failed to do?
  • "Showing variation within fossils (such as horse fossils) of the same kind of animal" - What is a "kind" of animal? This is not a scientific term, but a religious one. There is no such thing as a "kind". If by "kind" you mean species or genus, then the evolution of the horse deals with countless different "kinds" of equids, increasingly unlike the modern Equus caballus in earlier and earlier fossils, but still dramatically similar throughout the progression.
  • A dog is a “kind” of animal. A horse is a “kind” of animal. Is that a serious question? That’s like saying “What is a ‘kind’ of automobile?” Obviously a VW Bug is exactly the same as a Harley right? Are they the same “kind” of vehicle? So you probably don’t see a difference between a horse and a dog then I guess.
  • "only proves that their genes allowed them to adapt physically to their environment," - Which is evolution. I find it strange that you are arguing against evolution while simultaneously admitting that evolution occurs (but avoiding calling evolution "evolution" in those cases, for some reason).
  • Actually it’s adaptation. Evolution has several different meanings depending on who you’re talking to. Using the fact that evolutionists call adaptation evolution doesn’t prove all the other definitions right. Remember it’s called bait’n’switch?
  • "but does not prove that they can magically morph into whatever they want" - You're right, it doesn't. And it's a damned good thing, too, because if they "magically morphed" into "whatever they want", that would refute the theory of evolution. :) Luckily, since their changes had nothing to do with "whatever they wanted", but was rather based on natural selection (facilitated by dramatic environmental changes in North America during this period) and genetic drift operating on successive generations of populations, and since the changes were gradual adaptive ocurrences, not "magical morphs", evolution is not refuted by the occurrence of evolution. :) I find it disappointing that you have not taken the time to even understand the most basic definition or processes of evolution, and equally disappointing that you have so soon broken your promise to actually argue against evolution itself, not against random strawmen of evolution.
  • I find this type of logic disappointing as well. You claim that it happened the way you say because you say that it happened that way. You presume that things changed dramatically by themselves instead of things being designed to adapt to their environment, which we have observed. That’s like saying I saw this guy jump really high, and that is proof that we used to fly. I like that logic, it’s magical. Please try not to be hypocritical when you point your finger.
  • "In order to use this as evidence for real science, you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fossil record physically shows every beneficial functional information-gaining mutation between a one-celled organism and a human." - Your doubt is unreasonable and based in theology and religious conviction (as demonstrated by your appeals to Biblical mythology, e.g. the Flood, and Christian theology, e.g. the teleological argument), not science or evidence. Your standards for "evidence" are unrealistic and arbitrary; it is physically impossible for us to ever have every single organism that ever lived in a certain lineage. If we did, that itself would actually refute various aspects of modern evolutionary theory, because it is impossible under our current understandings of biology and geology for such a complete, unblemished sequence of fossils to occur. In geologic time, fossilization is a rare, sporadic event; we only have even so many fossils as we do because of just how long life has been around, and how many organisms have lived. To ask for every organism that ever lived in a certain ancestry of species to have been fossilized, even though it is essentially impossible for there to be so many species so consistently placed in the exact right set of circumstances needed for fossilization to occur, is as absurd as asking that every rainbow that ever occurred in the history of the universe be photographed in order to prove that rainbows exist. "Real science" does not require 100% perfect, flawless, complete evidence, merely good evidence; that's why science is probabilistic, not absolutist, in even its facts and theories.
  • Your beliefs in evolution are unreasonable, and your lack of realization that evolution is indeed based solely on religious conviction (i.e. scrupulous conformity) and in no way follows the scientific method does not prove your point. And the fact that you say it is ‘impossible’ for every organism that ever lived to come from a certain lineage does not make it so. I say it is ‘impossible’ for some random meaningless process to morph a single-celled organism into a human being, so how have you proven me wrong? I also find it funny that you use the horse adaptation as evidence for evolution and at the same time, refuse to realize it for your claims against a single lineage. Will the hypocrisy ever end? And by the way, a rainbow is something that we can see and study, so I don’t know why you are mentioning it, any more than I understand the gravity comments.
  • "Well, actually, even a single undisputable (i.e. not a hoax or variation within a group) transitional fossil that fits this description would probably do, as we have yet to see one thus far." - Actually, technically speaking, every fossil in existence is a "transitional fossil". Under modern evolutionary theory, there is no real, objective distinction between a "transitional" fossil and a "non-transitional" one; every organism is transitional by its very nature, evolution does not "stop" for one species and then suddenly occur in another. The term "transitional fossil" is a human construct for a species that demonstrates a "transition" between two major, distinct groups of organisms, something we can only label in retrospect. Under this definition, we have thousands of "transitional fossils", at the very least, some of the most well-known being Archaeopteryx (transition between dinosaurs and birds), Tiktaalik (transition between fish and amphibians), and Cynodont (transition between reptiles and mammals). -Silence 00:32, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Actually, dogmatically speaking every fossil in existence is a ‘transitional fossil.’ So it’s survival of the vaguest, is that the idea? Is that your way of explaining away the fact that there is no evidence that all species came from the same ancestor billions of years ago? Okay, so let me see if I understand this: An African child obviously has different bone structure than an Asian Man (facial features, bone diameter, etc.), and the man is three feet taller than the child; if they both die, and are buried right beside each other, is that a couple of transitional fossils? What if a child born with six fingers and three legs dies the same day as an anatomically normal child, and they are buried together? Are they considered transitional fossils of each other? According to your beliefs they would be. Furthermore, Archaeopteryx was a bird and nothing more. And no amount of wild assumptions and hopeful beliefs will make it into a pseudo-reptilian bird. I think you are a little off the reservation calling any of those last two speculative claims well known transitional fossils, but then again, you call anything a transitional fossil, so what does it matter? You think someone with a lopsided head is a transition between a human and a football.
  • "Using fossils as evidence for evolution- fossils can just as easily be explained by the global flood as presented in the Bible" - "easily"? Er, no. The whole idea of explaining fossils through the Flood only works on the terminally gullible who have been fed misinformation cherry-picked and taken out of context, liberally sprinkled with outright lies. No one really believes that nonsense, do they? Guettarda 00:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Er, yes. The whole idea of explaining fossils by a ridiculous random process that somehow brought us from non-life billions of years ago to extreme complexity today is for the terminally gullible, or just the indoctrinated masses who accept evolution, have been brainwashed from childhood, and been preprogrammed with outright lies. No one really believes that nonsense, do they?


4. Using existence as evidence for abiogenesis- since evolution has no cause or reason, and no intelligence to guide it, there must have been a spontaneous generation of life from non-life which there is no evidence of. Using Genesis as a historical reference for the creation of life is just as plausible and “scientific” as abiogenesis. But of course evolutionists already know this, which is why they try to avoid this topic.


  • "Using existence as evidence for abiogenesis- since evolution has no cause or reason," - Evolution has a cause just as much as all events do. However, I don't see what you mean by "reason"; why would a process have a "reason", per se? What would it be a reason for? Does gravity have a "reason" and "cause"? If so, evolution does as well.
  • Okay, let’s think logically here for a second. Your beliefs basically give credit to an unintelligent and unguided process, which basically breaks down to random occurrences with no goal to drive toward and no reason to continue to drive forward in the first place. Events have a reason because they behave according to the process of cause and effect and are bound by the physical laws that govern our universe. Evolution cannot even explain how life began, as either way it would have to refer to something outside of our known physical laws (i.e. life coming from non-life, or God).
  • "and no intelligence to guide it, there must have been a spontaneous generation of life" - "Spontaneous" is misrepresenting the occurrence, which involved millions of years of tiny changes in organic molecules like DNA and RNA. Your intelligent designer is the one who apparently involves "spontaneous generation of life"; science is much more gradual, and dramatic change only occurs in retrospect, looking over millions and billions of years of small changes. Furthermore, you should keep in mind that there is no hard, fast, obvious line between "life" and "non-life"; the distinction between inorganic and organic molecules and chemicals is largely a matter of historical convention, not an objective scientific "fact". There are numerous things that demonstrate some, but not all, of the characteristics of life, such as viruses.
  • Okay, so as long as you can blur the lines between what constitutes life and non-life you can give credit to some random process that you suppose brought us to the point we are now, and don’t have to explain why that defies the laws of physics? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines life as: “an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction” So before you can have DNA and RNA to build on, which we have never seen happen anyways, you have to have an origin of DNA or RNA, which are pretty complex in their own regards. Just because you cannot define life, does not mean that you can assume that the origin of life is a non-issue.

  • "Using Genesis as a historical reference for the creation of life" - ... is as silly as using any of the millions of other origin beliefs as historical references for the creation of life. Genesis is not a historical account anymore than any other mythological explanation for life's origins, and there is no external evidence for the supernatural assertions within Genesis. Religion is not science; myth is not history.
  • Okay, it’s silly because you say so, is that it? Did I mention how silly an impossible amount of coincidences driven by randomness and non-intelligence is to explain our origins? You are obviously welcome to believe whatever you want, but your wild mythological fairytale called evolution is no more credible then my documented beliefs that I call history.
  • "is just as plausible and “scientific” as abiogenesis." - There is a problem here. You misunderstand the basic dichotomy in play between the two options of abiogenesis and biogenesis. Abiogenesis is "life from non-life"; the only other possibility is biogenesis, "life from life". In other words, regardless of whether an intelligent designer created life or not, the only two options are for all life to either have arisen from earlier life (biogenesis) or for at least some of it to have arisen from non-life (abiogenesis). The Creation account in Genesis is an example of religious, mythological abiogenesis: it asserts that life arose from non-life through spontaneous generation by a deity. Modern theories of abiogenesis are examples of non-religious, scientific explanations of how life arose from non-life. But regardless, almost everyone, scientist and theologian alike, agrees that abiogenesis of some sort occurred, because the only other option is that life has always existed, forever, which would require an infinitely old universe and would generate an infinite regress of more and more organisms.
  • How is creation by an intelligent living being the same as life spontaneously and for no reason bursting forth from nowhere; or building itself up slowly from nothing for no reason over billions of years for that matter? I think that abiogenesis, depending on how you define it, either never happened, or was prompted by a creator who started life from non life, although technically speaking that would be life creating life, which is biogenesis. I think it’s all semantics either way, but my main point was simply that without an intelligent source with supernatural means, life, however you define it, could never have arisen by itself.
  • "But of course evolutionists already know this, which is why they try to avoid this topic." - ... Vigorously studying a field for decades is "avoiding" it? You have a strange definition of avoidance. -Silence 00:32, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I meant for discussion purposes. You cannot explain how evolution began, so therefore your beliefs have no foundation.

  • "Using Genesis as a historical reference for the creation of life is just as plausible and “scientific” as abiogenesis" - no, that's not the case. Scientific theories of abiogenesis are plausible, they are in keeping with the observed facts. The creation account in Genesis not only contradicts itself, it also contradicts the evidence. Guettarda 00:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Well, that’s probably going to be a hard one to prove, considering you just pulled that out of thin air.

Dating methods

5. Using radioactive dating as evidence of millions/billions of years- scientists know how unreliable and conflicting these dating techniques are, and so they cannot be used as evidence for long periods of time. Only an unbiased double-blind testing procedure involving non-evolutionists (not necessarily creationists) and objects of known age can the dating methods be considered fair and science-worthy. Until then evolutionists’ claims for millions and billions of years will be assumed to be due to the discarding of conflicting dates and fabrication of results.


Yawn. One point does interest me. "non-evolutionists (not necessarily creationists)" - is there such a person? I suppose there are lots of people who just don't care. But if you think about the subject, and you are skepticable about evolution in any form, (not just Darwinian) but are not a creationist, how do you think all the forms of life on earth occured? --Michael Johnson 22:41, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm with Michael... yawn. Virtually all of this has been discussed before; if you think you're striking at the core of the scientific method, well, you have a lot to learn. bikeable (talk) 22:49, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Well, that was an expected response, I suppose. And btw, what have I got to learn about the scientific method that you can teach me? How evolution is the exception to it?


  • "Using radioactive dating as evidence of millions/billions of years- scientists know how unreliable and conflicting these dating techniques are," - I'm afraid that you have been profoundly misled on this point. Scientists know how reliable and consistent these dating techniques are; indeed, the only reason scientists use them is because of how amazingly consistent the dozens of different dating methods are in the information they provide on how old various rocks, organisms, etc. are. You are simply repeating lies, propaganda spread to try and add false doubt to an exceedingly well-tested, reliable, widely-used group of dating methods. I strongly recommend that you consult pages such as this and this before you continue to repeat such outright, obvious falsehoods without thought. Just a tip.
  • Well that’s very noble of you. I will have to respectfully disagree with you here and point you to this page[23], and “strongly” recommend you consult it before you continue to repeat such outright, obvious falsehoods without thought. Just my tip.
  • "Only an unbiased double-blind testing procedure" - All scientific dating attempts have involved such procedures. Tens of thousands of them are performed every year, and published in scientific journals. Have you been under a rock for the last few hundred years? O_o;
  • I seriously doubt that. That is a highly dubious claim at best, unless you mean 'tens of thousands' of them are performed on one object until the desired date is reached, and don't forget that when you say 'scientific journals' you are referring to ones that are completely biased toward evolution.
  • "involving non-evolutionists (not necessarily creationists)" - Pretty much all non-evolutionists are creationists, because there is no scientific argument or evidence against evolution, and never has been. The only opposition to evolution is religious. To find "non-evolutionists" to analyze radiometric dating methods would be as silly as finding "non-gravitationists" to analyze weighing methods. Scientists found that these dating methods were accurate after putting them to rigorous, decades-long tests involving millions of separate validations for their accuracy and consistency; some of them were in use long before evolution was widely accepted. There is no bias involved in such simple, standard, objectively verified tests, and no reasonable analysis of the facts could construe any possible motive for such a bias. It is pure fantasy, conspiracy theories devoid of even a drop of evidence in a sea of accusations. If you disagree, then support your assertions with actual evidence: find a peer-reviewed study showing that the dating methods used by geologists and biologists are unreliable and inconsistent. -Silence 01:16, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • There we go with the argument from authority I was talking about. It wouldn’t matter if I did the tests myself a thousand times and found them completely unreliable, they would still be used to get the desired outcome regardless of their erroneous nature. Do you not think that thousands of people have been screaming how unreliable these dating methods are? But if you think for a second that evolutionists will give up one of the greatest deceitful and false “evidences” for their beliefs, you are sorely mistaken. Besides, these scientists that disagree with evolutionary dating methods are only considered ‘religious’ and so cannot contradict evolution by so-called extremely biased ‘peer-reviewed’ process, in which all the ‘peers’ are dogmatic believers in evolution. You said it yourself, ‘The only opposition to evolution is religious.’
  • "Using radioactive dating as evidence of millions/billions of years- scientists know how unreliable and conflicting these dating techniques are, and so they cannot be used as evidence for long periods of time" - yep, the reliability and error in dating systems is known and is taken into account in estimating dates. That's why they include confidence intervals on dates. Guettarda 00:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • There is no confidence when you’re throwing darts blindfolded at a map of the world and trying to hit Rhode Island.

Geological column

6. Using the supposed geological column as evidence for evolution- the geological column does not exist, it is a fictitious tool that evolutionists try to use to give the appearance of millions of years between rock layers (which they give presupposed dates according to fossils) and in a [not so] amazing display of circular logic, use each strata layer to date fossils, even though things such as polystrate fossils and radiohalos completely destroy the credibility of this idea.


  • "Using the supposed geological column as evidence for evolution- the geological column does not exist," - You are mistaken. The geological column and its fossil differentiation has been attested by independent observers in every part of the world for hundreds of years; tens of millions of people all over the world see them every year. Are all of them colluding in some vast, pointless "conspiracy" just because you disagree with them? Please read this page on the geologic column, if you have any interest whatsoever in clearing up your profound misconceptions in this issue.
  • Elephant hurling at its finest I see. ‘Hundreds of years’ and ‘tens of millions of people’ he says, and it magically becomes true. I read it, and then I read this, and it sounded better [24].
  • "it is a fictitious tool that evolutionists try to use to give the appearance of millions of years between rock layers" - Uh. So, an imagined, centurious-old nefarious group called "evolutionists" has engendered a worldwide conspiracy that has placed trillions of fossils in the ground in every part of the world, meticulously sorted by species and anatomical features according to an elaborate fabricated timescale, for no apparent reason and to the detriment of their own purposes? Wow. I never knew "evolutionists" had the godlike powers to restructure the very earth's structure on a mass scale, arbitrarily change the rate at which naturally-occurring isotopes decay, surgically implant vestigial structures in trillions of organisms, etc. Impressive. :D
  • Obviously you do not know what you are talking about, but you are of course welcome to believe whatever you like. And I never said the claims evolutionists made were actually true, so no, they did not reconstruct the evidence; it simply never existed to begin with.
  • "(which they give presupposed dates according to fossils) and in a [not so] amazing display of circular logic, use each strata layer to date fossils," - Incorrect. Geological strata are not dated based on fossils, they are dated based on reliable methods such as radiometric dating, which are then in turn used to date the fossils within such strata. Is the fact that organisms of specific varieties occur only in specific strata (along with the fact that the deepest strata represent progressively "simpler" organisms) a mere coincidence in your view?
  • Radiometric dating is not reliable, organisms do not only occur in specific strata, and deeper strata does not necessarily represent “simpler” organisms. In fact, vertebrates have been found in the Ediacaran strata, which is below the Cambrian strata, in which consequently, almost every variety of phyla can be found without so much as a viable ancestor fossil (simpler fossil) below it representing a supposed transition. Overlapping strata are commonly found, as well as polystrate fossils, and many fossils “out of place” according to evolutionary geological dating [25].
  • "even though things such as polystrate fossils and radiohalos completely destroy the credibility of this idea." - Again, you are mistaken. You are parroting debunked pseudoscience back at us as though it somehow still has credibility despite thousands of refutations. I wish you would at least have the imagination to use new arguments, not the same ones that were refuted a hundred years ago. Please review this page on radiohalos and this page on polystrate fossils. -Silence 01:16, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Perhaps you are mistaken and are parroting what you thought was debunked. I like the ‘thousands of refutations’ though, that was a nice touch. I don’t see the need for “new” arguments (even though there are new ones all the time that are simply ignored or rejected dogmatically), when evolutionists still have not satisfactorily answered the long standing arguments that creationists have posed. Please review [26] and [27]

  • "Using the supposed geological column as evidence for evolution- the geological column does not exist, it is a fictitious tool that evolutionists try to use to give the appearance of millions of years between rock layers". Interesting assertion, but it has nothing to do with "evoltuionists", it's the geologists who have come up with this - and who use this "supposed" system to find oil and the like. Guettarda 00:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, geology is a concept evolutionists frequently use to try and support their beliefs. Evolution has many definitions depending on who you talk to.


7. Using vestigial organs and “junk DNA” in any way to support evolution- many of the so called “vestigial” organs that evolutionists have presumed were useless really had redeeming qualities and quite important biological functions after all that they failed to realize. “Junk DNA” is just evolutionists making assumptions again that attempt to make their hypothesis sound more credible.


  • "Using vestigial organs and “junk DNA” in any way to support evolution- many of the so called “vestigial” organs that evolutionists have presumed were useless really had redeeming qualities and quite important biological functions after all that they failed to realize." - You obviously do not understand what the word "vestigial" means. It does not mean "useless", it means "the remnant of a structure that formerly had a different or fuller functionality". Please read Wikipedia's article on vestigial structures, which clearly explains that the definition of vestigial has always been this, making arguments like "the vermiform appendix might have some minor function!" irrelevant red herrings.
  • So something that “supposedly” had functionality but is now useless for all intensive purposes is a pretty good way of summarizing it then right?
  • "“Junk DNA” is just evolutionists making assumptions again that attempt to make their hypothesis sound more credible." - Um? Junk DNA is not "made up", it really exists. Interpretations and explanations for such DNA sequences vary, but noone disputes that they exist, though some prefer to call them noncoding DNA to avoid misconceptions. Your arguments are getting even more bizarre and unsubstantiated. -Silence 01:16, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • If you read what I wrote, I did not say that it is ‘made up,’ but that calling it “Junk DNA” is evolutionists simply assuming that it has no functional value.
  • "Using vestigial organs and “junk DNA” in any way to support evolution- many of the so called “vestigial” organs that evolutionists have presumed were useless really had redeeming qualities and quite important biological functions after all that they failed to realize. “Junk DNA” is just evolutionists making assumptions again that attempt to make their hypothesis sound more credible." Hmm, no. Guettarda 00:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Good argument. Hmm, yes.

those bones in the whale which this article says are vestigial are not vestigial they are used during whale sex and birth they need them becasue they are big animals and they have speaical muscles anchor to that bone. also you do need ur tail bone and your appendix is part of your immune system it does a function —Preceding unsigned comment added by Barry White (talkcontribs)

Please read the article. Vestigial structures may very well have function. Just not the original function. -- Ec5618 10:51, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

i am just saying according to the published dictionay definations plus if your thinking that it is not or may not be the intended original fuction (according to the thoery) that is just gusseing and is not observed fact


  • The evidence that you use (besides all the stated non-evidence above of course), must be testable AND verifiable, and must not make speculative claims that cannot be repeated in the known fields of science, which is necessary to determine their validity.
    • Obviously, those of you in the audience who are evolutionists will want to delete this from the page immediately because it questions your faith, and therefore is automatically not considered. I know it is pointless even putting forth a challenge that requires you to submit valid evidence OR prove that evolution follows the scientific method in any way, just like asking you to explain abiogenesis or soft tissue on dinosaur bones. Nevertheless, if you do happen to have any real evidence, don’t hesitate to post it!


  • "The evidence that you use (besides all the stated non-evidence above of course), must be testable AND verifiable, and must not make speculative claims that cannot be repeated in the known fields of science" - maybe you should have a look at some of the hundreds of scientific papers published each year in the field of evolutionary biology. If they weren't testable science they wouldn't get published. Have you ever picked up a scientific journal? Instead of repeating talking points, why not try looking at the actual facts? Stop parroting talking points fed to you by dishonest manipulators intent on deciet. Guettarda 00:00, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
This discussion has become rather lengthy rather quickly, due to the vast number of distinct points that are being argued. Would anyone mind if I reorganized this discussion into subsections addressing each separate point, so that it will be easier to reply to each? Perhaps 1 subsection for his introductory monologue, and another 7 for his 7 points? It would make it easier, in any case, to go straight from the original point to the counterargument against that point, and then to the counterargument of that..
-Silence 01:24, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
That would be awesome. He's using a technique employed in the early 30s and 40s by creationists where, in debated, the creationist would point out so many (flawed) evidence about evolution that the scientists did not have time or the organization to reply to each and single one of them in full in such a short time.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Roland Deschain (talkcontribs) .
Go ahead, but I think you've been "trolled". --Michael Johnson 01:39, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
OK, I've reorganized the sections to make it easier to read and reply to the separate points, for both sides. If anyone objects, feel free to revert it. -Silence 01:53, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
This isn't the place for this discussion anyway, and everyone involved knows that. Teflon Don 03:37, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
This was his opening comment "Now, let’s play a game. It’s called evolution is a lie. ". Now if this is not a troll, what is? David D. (Talk) 06:49, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Proposal: Archive debate threads; use only cited responses to standard claims

This article causes a hell of a lot of trouble. People post "omg evilution is the same old lie, read my same old claims" or "omg creationists post same old claims, read my same old rebuttal" and it turns into a repeat of the same old stuff that you can see doubled, redoubled, and in spades all over or any other such debate forum. It is unnecessary, redundant, and does nothing to improve this article. Wikipedia is not a debate forum, but this talk page is constantly abused to be one.

I propose a simple guideline for this talk page (and any others that care to adopt it):

Any post which merely rehashes standard creationist claims may be archived immediately in Talk:Evolution/Creationist Claims Archive. The only necessary response is a citation to The Index to Creationist Claims for each standard claim made.
Any thread which has already degenerated into a debate over standard creationist claims may be archived immediately without comment. Editors are discouraged but not forbidden from continuing to respond in the archives, but not on the main talk page.
Any creationist claim that is not covered in the Index is not covered by this guideline.

For instance, the set of claims debated above could be replied to simply with: CB102 (information) CI141 (similarity means common designer) CH550 (flood fossils) CB050 (abiogenesis speculative) CD010 (radiometrics) CD101 (geo column) CB360 (vestigial organs).

No lengthy, custom-written response is necessary, since the standard claims have already been indexed. Yes, it's a little like the old joke about the guys in prison telling jokes by reciting numbers ("you've gotta work on your delivery!") but it's more sensible than actually replaying the same old debate over and over and over and over and over again.

Indeed, the specific links are overkill. A link to the top-level index and a list of the codes for the claims made is sufficient response. The point here is that the only rebuttal necessary to standard creationist claims is a reference to the standard literature, which includes further references to the scientific literature. Any more than that is merely abuse of Wikipedia as a debate forum, which is unacceptable. --FOo 08:03, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not need a separate page for creationist claims. Such a move can only lead to trouble: archiving creationist claims in their own, special page will simultaneously add legitimacy to the idea that creationist arguments belong on Wikipedia, and add legitimacy to the claim that "evolutionists" are "suppressing discussion" by hiding all counter-arguments on a distinct page. Instead, simply move off-topic posts to the respective User Talk pages of the poster, where they won't get in the way but can still be discussed if anyone is interested. This is what we've done in the past, and what's worked the best.
I would support, however, having a Wikipedia Talk page for addressing the most common creationist arguments we see here, so we can simply direct them to that page rather than directing them to the Archives of this talk page, which may be harder to navigate and access and don't always concisely address the issue. I'd be glad to help construct such a page, and it could always be revised (unlike a Talk page archive) to reply to new significant creationist arguments that arise. Obviously, such a page shouldn't get out of hand and divert much-needed attention from this article itself, but in the long run it could provide a valuable shortcut to rehashing the same old arguments, and will be (not to mention that there are potential problems with Wikipedia endorsing directly an external website by directing questions there, plus some creationists will be much more likely to be receptive to arguments made on Wikipedia than on; an internal link would be superior, in addition to its being directly editable by us, unlike the archive). We could use the page to summarize the basic, obvious problems with various creationist assertions, and could cite external links like for elaborations, and archive pages for past discussions. -Silence 08:33, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree, this page is for improving the article and people with that intention don't deserve to have to read creationist filth. Anytime people post rubbish like this it should considered vandalism or trolling and instantly removed, and also a link posted on their user page to this, (a comprehensive list of all creationist claims and a response to them, which is effectively what silence is wanting an article on). Rorrenig 09:11, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I didn't ask for an "article" on it, I asked for a subtalk page. Although the page Fubar linked to above was an excellent one, it has various shortcomings: (1) some creationists will object to linking to what they will see as an "evolutionist" site, and most won't bother to read it (if they didn't even read the evolution article, they're even less likely to read an off-wiki page!); (2) the page is exceedingly long and in-depth, which makes it more comprehensive, but also makes it potentially overwhelming to a user we direct there, whereas a talk page could be much more concise and have all the relevant information on a single page, accompanied by links to sites that go into the topics in more depth, like; (3) the page includes a number of claims that have never been a problem here, contributing to the length issue; (4) although most of the responses to the assertions are acceptable, some of them are quite poor, and not very valuable to link to (for example, I was very disappointed by its treatment of the argument from incredulity, a major creationist theme). A page on Wikipedia itself to direct users to would not have any such deficiencies (in the long run), because we could immediately fix any problems that presented themselves, and conform the page specifically to our needs—nothing more, nothing less. -Silence 09:20, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
the article Silence suggests might well end up being good troll bait, protecting this talk page somewhat from being a forum for evil creationists/evilutionists. Sillygrin 13:18, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Sorry to pour cold water on this proposal but any system that relies on deleting material on this talk page and/or directing posts on certain topics elsewhere is unlikely to work for the following reasons:

  • Established editors often respond to trolling or repetitive posting. We will be constantly treading on each others toes with such a policy.
  • Newbies by their very nature are often unwilling to find their way to the pages we redirect them to because they feel fobbed off with such a response.
  • It's against the wiki ethos to proceed in such a manner. With a regular influx of inexperienced and experienced users accustomed to other talk page practices we will constantly be defending the acceptability of such a system.
  • We open ourselves up to accusations of censorship and elitism.

I would note that we have tried the following mechanisms to reduce the problem of off-topic postings (none of which have worked):

  • We have put warnings at the top of the talk page concerning appropriate posting behaviour and feeding trolls. It seems few people read these messages before posting on the talk page or possibly they don't think it applies to themselves.
  • We have tried deleting posts that are not relevent to the improvement of the article. The Problem is almost any off topic post can be phrased to make it a broad attack on the quality of the article and often people aren't happy to delete discussions once they've got going.
  • We have tried establishing separate pages for discussions of this nature. This didn't work because most newbies don't realise where they are meant to post or possibly don't think such messages are meant for them.
  • We have tried archiving previous discussions and directing posters there. This doesn't work because there are too many editors prepared to respond to off topic postings and trolls. Also it requires a fair amount of effort to locate the right response and many editors would rather fire off a quick (and sometimes hot headed) response.

Instead I propose we establish a separate talk page for on-topic postings. Doing this will have the following benefits:

  • Those that are most prone to making off topic comments and trolling are newbies and are unlikely to post as a first resort on the on-topic page.
  • We will not have to engage in any activity remotely resembling censorship.
  • Those that wish to engage wish off topic discussions/trolls may do so if they wish.
  • We do not discriminate against editors on grounds of their beliefs.
  • The on-topic page will remain largely free of long off topic discussions facilitating the improvement of the article which is after all the point of this talk page!
  • This can be implemented on an entirely voluntary basis.

To make this work we will need to copy on topic discussions onto the on-topic talk page fairly regularly. We will need to leave links on the main talk page and user subpages to show newbies where the on-topic discussions are being held. Also it would work best if experienced users make a habit of only posting on this on-topic talk page. I would suggest such a talk page is created at talk:Evolution/lounge. I'm tempted to do so myself. Barnaby dawson 19:39, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

  • "Established editors often respond to trolling or repetitive posting. We will be constantly treading on each others toes with such a policy." - No, we won't. We'll be directing established editors to continue their discussion in a more appropriate place: a User Talk page, not a Talk page like this for specifically discussing a certain article and how to improve it. I certainly wouldn't object to having the above discussion moved to a Talk page, even though I participated heavily in it. Besides, established editors (like me :)) should know better.
  • Maybe this is the case. I'm not sure our creationist editors will agree.
  • "Newbies by their very nature are often unwilling to find their way to the pages we redirect them to because they feel fobbed off with such a response." - They don't need to "find their way" to anything if we provide them with a specific link to a section of a subTalk page. Your assumption that newbies cannot read is not really accurate, even if it seems that way sometimes. :P They just need to be told where to get the information sometimes, because they aren't used to navigating the place.
  • If I were a newbie I would construe such behaviour as trying to stop me having my say in the relevent place. About half of these discussions are started by newbies.
  • "It's against the wiki ethos to proceed in such a manner." - Utter nonsense. We've already been dealing with off-topic posts in this manner for months, albeit inconsistently. Nothing bad has happened even once; indeed, the only time problems have arisen is when we haven't moved the off-topic discussion to the user's Talk page. There is no Wikipedia "ethos" that requires us to leave trolling, off-topic comments on this Talk page.
  • That depends on the judgement of off-topic. I suspect there will be substantial disagreement over that one.
  • "With a regular influx of inexperienced and experienced users accustomed to other talk page practices we will constantly be defending the acceptability of such a system." - No, we won't. We already have a template easily explaining how we do things here. If it needs elaboration, feel free to edit it.
  • We have the template but we very rarely enforce it.
  • "We open ourselves up to accusations of censorship and elitism." - Moving an off-topic comment to a more appropriate discussion site is not "censorship", it's streamlining, and it is not "elitist" to not want to rehash the same discussion again and again. Hollow accusations are irrelevant. Wasting time when we should be working on the article, just so we can avoid having our reputation tarnished by trolls who will attack us either way, is foolish. Simply moving the comments to User Talk pages solves all of the problems easily, as has been agreed to in many past discussions. The new proposal here is not to move the off-topic comments to User Talk pages, which most editors here have already agreed is best, but rather to create a simple, clear subTalk page addressing the most common issues raised by Creationists that have already been thoroughly refuted and answered many times in the past.
  • I meant deletion with this one. Should have been more clear.
  • "(none of which have worked)" - How do you know that none of them have worked? Just because we are getting any comments about evolution's validity doesn't mean that we're getting as many as if we weren't doing anything to direct such users elsewhere. What if a certain method is the reason we only get 1 such comment a week, rather than 10; does that justify abandoning it, because it isn't perfect?
  • Just observation. Each of these have been tried and none seem to have had any noticable effect. There is one partial exception though. We haven't enforced the policy of removing off-topic responses to talk pages properly (See my comment below).
  • "We have tried deleting posts that are not relevent to the improvement of the article." - Deleting posts that are not blatant inane, trolling attacks (e.g. "DARWIN WAS A HOMO!") is foolish. Moving them to other pages, like User Talk pages, avoids any accusations of censorship, allows interested users to explain the issues to the User in question if they wish, and keeps the bulk of the potential discussion from overwhelming more productive discussions on this Talk page. Win-win-win situation, and a very sensible solution. All we need to do is implement it more consistently.
  • I agree with your first sentence. Not sure about the rest (but see comment below).
  • "Instead I propose we establish a separate talk page for on-topic postings." - This is easily the worst suggestion I have ever heard on this Talk page as any possible solution to the matter. The solution is worse than the problem itself, by an unfathomable degree of magnitude. What you are proposing would turn the real talk page into a meandering creationist chatroom, while the real talk page, for actually discussing on-topic and relevant issues related to the article, would be hidden away where only an "elite" of experienced users could get to it. Stunningly poor idea.
  • I think perhaps you could be a little less harsh in your criticisms and make the same points here. Firstly this solution can be adopted alongside any of the others and probably should be. Secondly the on topic talk page (or lounge) would be heavily linked to from the standard talk page. I do, however, acknoledge that the real talk page would become worse as a result. But if we get more work done on the article is that really that bad?
  • "We will not have to engage in any activity remotely resembling censorship." - Sure we will. As soon as a creationist finds our secret "real" talk page, we'll need to "censor" them by removing their trolling comments there.
  • We will still have some trollish comments and off topic material but all things being equal it should be less of a problem.
  • "Those that wish to engage wish off topic discussions/trolls may do so if they wish." - Why in the name of God do you list this as a benefit?!? Madness.
  • The point is that we don't need to interfere with people's postings. That is a benefit.
  • "We do not discriminate against editors on grounds of their beliefs." - We don't do that anyway. We should remove both creationist and non-creationist comments (and move them to the User's Talk page) that are blatantly off-topic. And creationists are just as welcome to edit this page as anyone else is. However, POV-pushing on any side is not permitted. Your insinuation that we are persecuting creationists for their beliefs is baseless and inflammatory; it is the anti-wiki actions of many of them, not the beliefs, that are the source of the problem.
  • If we stick to moving off-topic comments and no others then we'll still have plenty of useless discussions on the talk page. If we don't stick to moving off-topic comments and remove comments that are extremely unlikely to result in any improvement to the article we will be removing primarily creationist comments. This is not necessarily discrimination of course but it will be hard to ensure it does not degenerate.
  • "The on-topic page will remain largely free of long off topic discussions" - And it will remain largely free of long on-topic discussions, due to its increased isolation. Joy.
  • Its hard to say without actually trying out the idea.
  • "This can be implemented on an entirely voluntary basis." - Which would render all the "benefits" you described above moot, as everyone would be free to post whatever they wanted wherever they wanted. The end result being, all the same problems are still present, but on two pages rather than one, and with even more complexity, bureaucracy, and convolutedness standing in the way of working on the article, as we're constantly forced to explain how the nature of evolution's Talk pages to new users (and even experienced ones, who will, if anything, be even more confused).
  • The benefit is the choice to work on this article without having to wade through reams of irrelevent and often heated exchanges. The talk page for evolution is so long it practically needs to be split up as it is. Also I don't think you can assume that the two pages would end up the same as they are not linked to in identical manners.
  • "To make this work we will need to copy on topic discussions onto the on-topic talk page fairly regularly." - Which will waste hours of our time. And you criticize the troll-comment-removing methods, which will consume less than a tenth as much time, for being time-wasting?!? Wow.
  • I didn't criticise the simple removing of comments in that way. Plus it wouldn't take long to copy an initial post and pop in a link to the on-topic page. This would only be necessary with comments made by newbies that are on topic and only at the beginning of a discussion. I'd estimate not more than 15 times a month. Which could be achieved in about 30 editor minutes I reckon. That really isn't that much of an overhead.
  • "We will need to leave links on the main talk page and user subpages to show newbies where the on-topic discussions are being held." - Which most of them won't follow, and those that will will largely be confused by. And you criticize the infinitely simpler disclaimers at the top of the page now for being too opaque to newbies?!?? Not to mention that making the main Talk page of Evolution a haven for trolling, off-topic comments, and any other chatter will be the worst, most destructive idea in this article's history, turning the page into the biggest haven on all Wikipedia for nonsense and trolling. -Silence 23:12, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Your first comment is an eqully good criticisms of most other methods including those earlier proposed. I think the disclaimers are mainly ignored not un-noticed. I commented on the other point above.
Well what can I say. I am suprised by such an in depth response. I am just observing that the suggestions being made are all things we've tried in the past and have manifestly not worked. I have been watching this page and have not seen any change in the frequency of such events. I have tried placing off topic warnings myself and they've had no effect whatsoever. I could respond to each of your counters above but I'm going to leave it a while to allow others to comment and to maintain a cool head. Barnaby dawson 06:28, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree that simple off-topic warnings are ineffective. Off-topic warnings should be accompanied by links to a specific alternate location where such matters can be discussed; this simultaneously makes clear that the purpose of this page is to discuss the article, not tangential topics (no matter how interesting), minimizes the amount of time and energy that will be wasted by valued editors here on such a discussion, and diverts any continuations of the discussion that do emerge to a more appropriate site. Ideally, when providing a link to such an alternate location, we should even move most or all of the discussion thus far from Talk:Evolution to that page, to discourage responses here. -Silence 12:09, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I have returned the favour by commenting on your counters. I do not intend to engage in another round of discussion over my proposal as I am busy and I find it irksome.
I would not support a move to catalogue responses to common creationist posts as I think any such page would quickly become unmanagable. I started up an article with a similar purpose before and it was a total disaster. On the other hand I shall remain neutral on the idea of moving irrelevent discussion to talk pages (of those who started the discussions) and indeed if you wish to go ahead and try this out I will help out. Barnaby dawson 15:27, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
the suggestion of aggressively deleting off-topic discussions (i.e. arguments about the validity of evolution) looks like a good one to me. without those discussions being deleted (or perhaps, archived), the off-topic warnings are a joke, and it is hard to discuss edits of the evolution article.
shifting off-topic stuff to talk pages of those responsible sounds like a reasonable compromise. Sillygrin 01:09, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Recent note: I just tried out this strategy with an off topic post by Aiden. Suffice it to say that Aiden took offence at what s/he considered to be "censorship". This is precisely what I predicted would happen (although I don't agree such a reaction is justified). Barnaby dawson 17:03, 4 August 2006 (UTC)


  • Wow, I didn't know my little outburst would cause so much confusion, sorry. I was simply frustrated from my debate with Roland, and I got a little crazy on your page here so I apologize. Here's an idea: delete it all, and I'll start over and ask one question at a time in a less hostile way so that I can genuinely learn (by point-by-point responses)what evolution's stance is on different issues, without either side being condescending. Agreed? Besides, you all did gang up on me like I had predicted, but I suppose the same would have happened on the creation forum if an evolutionist posted something similar.
    • Okay, first question: Seeing my links to all the dinosaur soft tissue reports, what do evolutionists make of this discovery, and does it affect your proposition that dinosaurs lived 68 million years ago?

Bioliquid2fusion Note: This comment was actually left by User:

Er, what links (as Silence asked above)? BTW - it isn't "ganging up" - several people (probably at the same time) bothered the spend the time answering your points. Not exactly "ganing up". BTW - having raised all that, maybe you should address the points made. Guettarda 15:48, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Oh, sorry, they were on the Talk page that I linked to, but here you go: [28], [29], [30], [31], [32], [33], [34], [35], [36] Again, what do evolutionists make of this discovery, and does it affect your proposition that dinosaurs lived 68 million years ago? Bioliquid2fusion Note: This comment was actually left by User:

  • Why are you signing the name of someone elses account?-- 16:06, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Please stop trying to impersonate me--Bioliquid2fusion 16:08, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Cool. Thanks for the links. I'll look into it more later when I have a chance, but I think that the answer is fairly trivial. The real chance is for sfot tissues to survive a few years, not a few million years. Depending on the conditions (e.g., anoxia, high tannin concentration, etc) soft tissues can be preserved in the short term (think pickling). Once it survives long enough for mineralisation to seal it in, it's more likely than not to be preserved. Of course, over the course of millions of years highly unlikely events become highly probable, and most soft tissue will probably become exposed to decomposers. But there's no reason to assume that all will be. So, at a glance I'd say it's highly unusual, but fairly trivial to explain. Guettarda 16:31, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm not impersonating you Bioliquid2fusion. I've been using that alias for close to 5 years (not here though). My yahoo email address is Bioliquid2fusion and has been since I can remember. Are you sure you are not impersonating me? I was under the impression that that was rather a unique username, but if you prefer I will sign as Evilsizor, because that's my last name. Man, I gotta get used to this Wiki stuff! Evilsizor Note: This comment was actually left by User:

  • oh now he's doing me, please somebody help combat this identity theft--Evilsizor 16:59, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Fooled me once, shame on you. Fooled me twice, shame on me. Now can we get back to the topic at hand? I know there is a lot of intelligent people on here, so why is it that I am dealing with these childish games?

Does anyone else have an answer to the question I asked so very nicely? Evilsizor Note: This comment was actually left by User:

  • I asked you a very pointed question when you first brought up the dinasour tissue and you have never aswered it. If the tissue is still that fresh as the pictures show, the DNA will be in perfect condition. It will take me less than 2 days to sequence the tissue. Out of all the cell components, DNA is one of the most stable. This is the 4th time I ask you that question and you have been sidestepping it ever since.--Roland Deschain 17:50, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I have read all the articles and I still do not know how you think this contradicts the theory of evolution. Please provide points detailed points why you think it does. --Roland Deschain 18:06, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Roland, you never once asked me a pointed question about dinosaur tissue. Please go back and reread your posts. Perhaps you forgot a question mark somewhere. And you did not ask a question this time either, come on Roland.

We aren't here to debate evolution guys. If someone thinks that preserved soft tissue can't survive 68 millions years then they are free to continue in their fallacy. The article talk page is to discuss the article. Jefffire 18:10, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • So it is indeed a fallacy to ask evolutionists to consider ideas outside of their dogmatic beliefs, and to think logically about the implications of obvious evidence?
Agreed. A twenty-page long UseNet-style thread going over the same fuckin' stuff is highly uncalled for. I understand we all want to slap the shit (rhetorically speaking) out of idiots who show up here prattling nonsense, but restraint is a virtue, eh. Hopefully a well-written Evolution article does a lot more to correct ignorance than does debating one-at-a-time. But, even if it doesn't, that's why we're here... Graft 20:55, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • So it's okay to have a "supposed" theory that assumes a great deal about the unobservable past, but to question it in any way is 'nonsense,' is that right?

C'mon, be helpful people. Claim CC371.1. Now to get back to improving the article. ..dave souza, talk 21:52, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Isn't it funny how creationist go nuts, pretend we're super biased and can't answer they're questions, making such claims that we refuse to debate them out of fear, only for us to come in, answer EVERY SINGLE question they have and show how vacuous their ideas are? I feel all warm inside, knowing that so many well knowledged people are holding the fort at wikipedia. on a side note, the people trumpeting these "soft tissues" are once again scientifically illiterate. Go ACTUALLY read a scientific article or go to on the iidb for more info. In a few, simple words the secret is this...The "soft tissues" were indeed fossilized! "soft" is simply a relative term. -Keio 03:53, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Well said keio.Rorrenig 04:19, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
No, just because you respond to questions does not mean that you automatically win the argument and evolution reigns supreme and becomes fact. Besides, I'm but one man against all of you. So the scientists who discovered and studied the specimen were scientifically illiterate when they said it was flexible and transparent? But you think that a PARTIALLY fossilized dinosaur bone with soft tissue inside (which had a certain amount of mineralization, granted)could last 68 million years? Is "common-sense" a relative term as well? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 20:36, 28 July 2006.
So hows that for common sense: The material that it was encased in was dated to be 68 million years. So i guess someone either put it there as a hoax or the dating mechanism is unreliable. You'll probably go for the latter and if this is the case see canned response CD010 ( and CD011 ( 04:35, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't see what the big deal is. The articles say it's 70~ million years old so it doesn't disprove anything. If we are asserting that it is impossible for soft tissue to last that long (which I have no knoweldge of) so the dating mechinism must be wrong then I'd have to say that the dating mechnism relies on physics which not only are proven not just in experiments but also in commerical uses. To assume that radioactive decay just doesn't work in carbon is baseless.RussS 15:53, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Merging sections

the page is a little lenghty and repetitive, and I have just started to merge some of the duplicated sections, deleting some of the doubled up stuff in the process, and explaining other stuff for the benefit of laymen. in the past, this sort of edit on this page has not been wildly controversial (there is very of this sort of discussion on this discussion page), so I won't give lenghty justifications unless people raise specific points here. Sillygrin 12:47, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

rv'd. OK.

so this is what I am proposing needs to be fixed, and what I am trying to do with this series of edits. there is a lot of duplication on the page, as Silence has noted (other people who have read the whole article in a sitting will presumably also have noticed). for instance,

  • the duplication I was trying to clean up last night, modern synthesis, which is there in the history of evolution section (which I thought was a good place for it), and further down the page.
  • another duplication follows directly - the birth of molecular genetics (Avrey and co, Watson and Crick).
  • the inaptly named science of evolution (which is really about the status of the theory) is duplicated further down as distinctions between fact and theory.

another problem, I think, is that the sections on evidence of evolution is a bit wobbly. it is a bit too pleading (but evolution is TRUE), and as some editors have noted, goes too quickly into too much depth in what appear to be randomly picked examples, often from the too-recent literature. contrast the quality of this section with that of the history of evolutionary thought (which, admittedly, was what I chopped into first). Sillygrin 01:22, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I've compared the two versions - yours and Pizzghost. You've moved a section on modern sythesis up, which I find completes the history summary. (Saw a typo - "wree") You've written some new text to begin the "Heredity" section, and now that section seems to start abruptly compared to the former section. Overall I like your version and think you should work from there. Gimmetrow 01:54, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
This is what I have done to the page (edits bolded):

Charles Darwin in 1854, five years before publishing The Origin of Species.The idea of biological evolution has existed since ancient times, notably among Greek philosophers such as Anaximander and Epicurus and Indian philosophers such as Patañjali. Scientific theories of evolution were proposed in the 18th and 19th centuries, by scientists such as Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Charles Darwin.

Classical Darwinian Theory

The transmutation of species was accepted by many scientists before 1859, but Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection provided the first convincing exposition[5] of a mechanism by which evolutionary change could occur: natural selection. Darwin was motivated to publish his work on evolution after receiving a letter from Alfred Russel Wallace, in which Wallace revealed his own, independent discovery of natural selection. Accordingly, Wallace is sometimes given shared credit for originating the theory.[6]

Darwin was able to observe variation, and infer natural selection and thereby adaptation, but the basis of heritability wasn't known, so he couldn't explain how variation might arise, or be altered over generations, and Darwin's proposal of a hereditary mechanism (pangenesis) was not compelling to biologists. Although the occurrence of evolution of some sort came to be widely accepted by scientists, Darwin's specific ideas about evolution—that it occurred gradually, through natural selection—were actively attacked and contested. From the end of the 19th century through the early 20th century, forms of neo-Lamarckism, "progressive" evolution (orthogenesis), and an evolution which worked by "jumps" (saltationism, as opposed to gradualism) became popular, although a form of neo-Darwinism, led by August Weismann, also enjoyed some minor success. The biometric school of evolutionary theory, resulting from the work of Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, emerged as well, using statistical approaches to biology which emphasized gradualism and some aspects of natural selection.[7]

Modern synthesis Main article: Modern evolutionary synthesis

In Darwins time many thought that when two individuals were crossed, their traits must be blended in the progeny, so that eventually all variation would be lost, much as if you mix a set of paints, you eventually end up with grey. If this were the case, it would be hard to see how natural selection could work. The solution to the blending problem was provided by the work of Gregor Mendel, a late 19th century Augustinian monk, and the 'Father of Genetics'. He noticed several traits in peas that occur in only one of two forms (e.g., the peas were either round or wrinkled), and was able to show that the traits were: heritable (i.e., not controlled by the environment); discrete (i.e., if one parent had round peas and the other wrinkled, the progeny were not intermediate, but either round or wrinkled); and were distributed to progeny in a way that could be described by algebraic laws (mendelian inheritance). From these observations Fisher was able to infer that those traits were controlled by discrete units, which we now know as genes.

Gregor Mendel's work on the inheritance of traits in pea plants laid the foundation for genetics.When Gregor Mendel's work was "rediscovered" in 1900, it was initially interpreted as supporting an anti-Darwinian "jumping" form of evolution. The convinced Mendelians, such as William Bateson and Charles Benedict Davenport, and biometricians, such as Walter Frank Raphael Weldon and Karl Pearson, became embroiled in a bitter debate, with Mendelians charging that the biometricians did not understand biology, and biometricians arguing that most biological traits exhibited continuous variation rather than the "jumps" expected by the early Mendelian theory (We now know that the Mendelians were investigating Mendelian traits (i.e., those where existing variation is controlled by one gene, and therefore is discrete, and the biometricians were investigating complex traits (i.e., those controlled by multiple genes, where the varaition is therefore continuous)). However, the simple version of the theory of early Mendelians soon gave way to the classical genetics of Thomas Hunt Morgan and his school, which thoroughly grounded and articulated the applications of Mendelian laws to biology. Eventually, it was shown that a rigorous statistical approach to Mendelism was reconcilable with the data of the biometricians by the work of statistician and population geneticist R.A. Fisher in the 1930s. Following this, the work of population geneticists —notably Sewall Wright and J. B. S. Haldane, who together with Fisher are considered the architects of the Modern Synthesis— and zoologists in the 1930s and 1940s synthesized Darwinian evolution with genetics, creating the modern evolutionary synthesis.[7]

Molecular genetics


    1. Modern synthesis - I shifted this section up because it was duplicated, and I think this is a better place for it.
    2. convincing exposition[5] of a mechanism - Darwin was not first to suggest natural selection; the citations here are from Darwin - he notes that these two more or less explicitly proposed natural selection (though not in a way that convinced anybody)
    3. Darwin was able to observe ...altered over generations, and - this, admittedly, is perhaps fluff. I brought it up from further down.
    4. Modern synthesis - brought section up from below
    5. Gregor Mendel's work ... Gregor Mendel's work was "rediscovered" - smoothing
    6. (We now know ... is therefore continuous)). - explanation for layman
    7. statistician and population geneticist - Fisher was actually mainly a statistician
    8. —notably Sewall Wright ... the Modern Synthesis— - missing names
    9. synthesized Darwinian evolution with genetics, creating -smoothing and explaining
    10. Molecular genetics - subheading

Sillygrin 10:30, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Status as fact and theory

  • I think this section does not say anything that is not already said in distinctions between theory and fact, and I am replacing it with that one, which says it all, and more concisely, though there are a couple more points that could be made. Sillygrin 12:47, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

this is the text I replaced: Status as fact and theory The word evolution is used to refer both to a fact and a theory. The existence of these two distinct meanings, and confusion over the relationship between and scientific definitions of fact and theory, have often caused misunderstandings among laypeople about the scientific status of evolution. In common language, the word fact is used to mean simply "something known to be true", but in science the word more specifically means "a confirmed observation". Likewise, while theory often means "speculation" or "conjecture" in nonscientific contexts, its scientific meaning is "a well-supported explanation".

As a fact, evolution is actually a commonplace occurrence that is regularly observed in a variety of forms. For example, evolution occurs whenever a new species of bacterium evolves a resistance to an antibiotic which previously was lethal to that bacterium. Biological organisms change over the course of many generations, as descendants are seen to go through a process of genetic modification that distinguishes them from their ancestors. The modification is most often the result of natural genetic synthesis, and the differential traits manifested may be translated into changes in the genetic composition of the population.

The modern scientific method seeks to formulate testable hypotheses—ideas which can be tested directly through experimentation and analysis of the evidence. After a hypothesis has been found to be consistent, and has held up under extensive testing, it is generally agreed that it represents a justified explanation of the observations, or facts, available: it becomes a theory. It is important to note that even though theories represent the best scientific explanations for observed phenomena, in no case is a scientific theory free from further testing and revision, nor is it necessarily considered a sufficient explanation of the observations to the exclusion of additional testable hypotheses. The same applies to scientific facts: a fact can always be replaced if the observation it is based upon turns out to have been misinterpreted.

In the case of evolution, the observation of organisms evolving, a fact, is explained by a theory of how they evolve. Past theories of evolution have either been refuted (e.g., Lamarckism) or expanded and revised (e.g., Darwinism), so that the modern theory of evolution—that is, the accepted explanation for how evolution occurs—is known as modern evolutionary synthesis. Modern evolutionary synthesis is considered a theory because it has stood up to extensive and repeated testing, and is consistent with all other theories and past observations. The broad scientific consensus is that it is the best explanation that has yet been proposed for the fact of evolution.

    1. The word evolution is used to refer both to a fact and a theory. - this is incorrect. if common descent is a fact (as opposed to being demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt), then the word theory doesn't have any meaning. this is explained in the section I have moved up.
    2. The existence of these two distinct meanings, ... often caused misunderstandings among laypeople . - this is so not true, and for a crucial reason. what has caused misunderstanding is materialists asserting that 1) evolution would prove atheism, and since 2) evolution is true, 3) atheism must also be true. then the creationists responded (accepting the same false premise, namely that atheism and theism are emprically falsifiable hypotheses) actually, 1) God does exists, and 2) therefore evolution must be false, and 3) actually, it is in fact, only a theory.
and since the evidence for evolution is rather technical, it is not readily understood by the layman.
I think this explanation should go in as the first part of the status of the theory of evolution or distinctions between theory and fact or whatever the section ends up being called, but I am not sure I can write it in an appropriate encyclopedic way (it looks perilously close to original research). Sillygrin 13:06, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Social & religious controversies

I haven't been around wikipedia for a couple of months now & it was pleasant to return and see the article has been improved greatly. I particularly liked the changes to the intro, well done everyone! Anyhow, I did see one (small) thing: in the controversies section it is said, "The proposition that biological evolution occurs through one method or another has been almost completely uncontested within the scientific community since the early 20th century". That is true, but it understates the consensus in my opinion - isn't the consensus since at least the '30s that natural selection is the mechanism that explains the occurence of evolution? That is, the sentence says the fact of evolution is uncontested, but withint the scientific community, there is consensus also that Darwin's mechanism is the theory that explains the fact. I've changed the sentence to reflect this... Mikker (...) 11:04, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Just one small correction. Natural selection is just one of the recognized mechanism that drive evolution. Your sentence "...natural selection is the mechanism that explains the occurence of evolution?" indicates that you think it is the only mechanism.--Roland Deschain 17:57, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Erm, right. There is sexual selection, drift, etc. Knew that, just wasn't thinking of it at the time. Though, aren't the other types of selection considered special cases of natural selection these days? (And drift of course cannot feature in an explanation of complexity). Mikker (...) 21:46, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Misleading statement

This sentance does not sit right with me: "Interestingly, at that time, genes were still theoretical entities, and biochemists and developmental biologists, for instance, were inclined to dismiss them. ". The biochemical concept of a gene, even today, is not agreed upon. Especially with the advent of genome sequencing, the idea of a gene has become very blurry. The sentance seems to indicate that biochemists did not believe in discrete packets of genetic information, which is not true. Mandel proved that they exist, but, at that time, nobody knew the exact molecular nature. The disagreement was not about the existence of discrete genetic packets, but rather about the biochemical basis of them and if all of life could be explained only by the use of genes. Now, I have read the article in question, and it is the paleontologists and the embryologists that were questioning the concept of a gene as a source of all the variation. Even giving the sentance the benefit of the doubt, it should be rewritten: "Interestingly, at that time, genes were still theoretical entities, and paleontologists and embryologists, due to the lack of knowledge of population genetics, were inclined to dismiss the gene as being the ultimate denominator of the diversity of life.

This article should also mention the impact that Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene had on evolutionary theory, as it shifted the focus from the survival of the individual to the survival of the gene. Any objections?

--Roland Deschain 03:35, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

No opinion on the Dawkins matter, as for the sentence you mention "Interestingly, at that time, genes were still theoretical entities, and paleontologists and embryologists, due to the lack of knowledge of population genetics, were inclined to dismiss the gene as being the ultimate denominator of the diversity of life.

I think that sentence is accurate in the context as a prevailing attitude during the time period, even though they knew about Mendel's (and at that point other work). However, I don't have a citation for this. Can someone find a citation maybe? JoshuaZ 06:02, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

have a look at Judson's "Eighth day of creation" (I strongly encourage everybody to read it, or at least all molecular biologists). I seem to recall that the arrogant young molecular biologists percieved the old biochemists as being very dismisive.
I'll have to read the article again. my weak excuse is that I couldn't download the article last night from home. it is also a little hard for us now to disentangle genes from DNA. remember that geneticists typically think that genetics is everything (and they are right of course). the old biochemists and developmental biologists tended to believe in templating, developmental or morphogenetic fields, etc. I won't press the issue until I can remember what some of those old refs are.
I don't think the biochemical nature of the gene is at all as fuzzy as you (Roland Deschain) suggest. protein coding genes have transcribed sequence, which typically has introns which are spliced out, and coding sequence which is translated once the mature mRNA hits the ribosome. protein coding genes have a pol II promoter, and often dispersed cis-regulatory modules. we don't know how it all works, but my impression was that the nature of the gene is pretty clear - for a protein-coding gene, it is the information encoded in a genetic locus for making a particular protein in approximately the right amount at the right time.
I'd edit that sentence to:
  • What I meant when I said that genes are still a mystery to molecular biology is our inability to define them. What you have mentioned there are the cis-elements of a gene, which, I will concede, have been very well characterized over the last 30 years. However, the trans-elements of a gene, which can be up to 30,000 basepairs away from the actual coding region, are just starting to be discovered. Furthermore, alternate splicing makes it impossible to define intron/exon within a single gene: this means that one gene can code for up to 50 proteins. I'm not saying that we are clueless about genes, but I'm still waiting for a hard defentition of the idea in molecular language.--Roland Deschain 13:11, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
I think we know what a gene is, but we are not able to write good gene prediction programs, presumably because we do not understand what signals proteins and so on see in the DNA.
This article should also mention the impact that Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene had on evolutionary theory, as it shifted the focus from the survival of the individual to the survival of the gene. Any objections? - as Jeffire notes below, Dawkins is cited by behavioural ecologists, but so far as I have seen, very little, if at all, by geneticists or molecular biologists. if you want to mention him, behavioural stuff would be the place. but it is perhpas too specialised for this page, and I ahve the impression that the evolutionary behavioural stuff may be a little contentious for this page.
how is the molecular evolution stuff coming along? Sillygrin 13:26, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

"Interestingly, genes were then still theoretical entities, and many paleontologists and embryologists, were inclined to dismiss them as of no, or minor, importance.

in an academic context, due to the lack of knowledge of population genetics sounds like due to their hopeless ignorance
and with regard to Dawkins, I cannot ever recall seeing anything of his in the literature. I don't know for sure, but my impression is that he is a teacher and a popular writer - he doesn't seem to be a scientist, and is not quoted as an authority by scientists (in contrast to Gould, for instance). his idea of selfish genes is interesting and cool, but possibly not as influential among scientists as you believe. I wouldn't quote him as an authority.
Scientific papers by Dawkins are heavily cited in the behavioural ecology text books I've used. He is indeed a scientist and a very well regarded one in his speciality. I can't comment with complete authority on the influence of the "selfish gene" model, but it seems to be extremely influencial amonst the geneticists and at least well known by the other biology disciplines. Jefffire 12:46, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
Latterly Dawkins hasn't published much pure research (not least because he's moved from research into public understanding of science), but he did publish as an everyday scientist when he was younger. As it happens, he's still very much a presence in the Web of Science (a UK PubMed), though tending to publish shorter reviews or notes. --Plumbago 12:54, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
The gene-centered view of evolution wasn't created by Dawkins; it was only popularized by him. --Fastfission 19:39, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Urban evolution

Wouldn't it be a good example on how fast evolution works in some situations by referring to the evolution of the urban animals in the article? For instance, in the London underground there is a population of mosquitos who has evolved from Culex pipiens into almost a new species called Culex molestus. It is clear that this mosquito has been exposed to a very strong selecture pressure within a limited area. A relevant link: 03:32, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Darwin's Finches

Mikkerpikker made a small but interesting edit to speciation just now. I know that Darwin failed to recognise the finches as such until Gould identified them back in England. However I thought the finches were used as evidence in "Origins", a book of course written 20 years later and after much reflection. Or am I wrong? I think Mikkerpikker is right to have edited the paragraph, as otherwise it read a little like the discovery of the fincbes was a Eureka moment for Darwin. But I don't think that is the end of the story. --Michael Johnson 00:31, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

While I've no objection to Mikker's edit which may save misunderstandings, the discovery of the finches was indeed a Eureka moment, but it happened when Gould make the identification during the Inception of Darwin's theory#Geological début, species related to places and subsequent Transmutation ideas. While on the islands, Darwin thought the relationship of bird to island so unremarkable that he didn't bother noting this on his labels, and after Gould revealed that they were all finches, Darwin had to find better labelled specimens collected by others. The "discovery" of the significance of the finches came while he was still working on his journal, which incorporated the description cited in Darwin's finches including the statement that "one might really fancy that from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends". However Gould's explanation in Jan. 1837 rather predated Darwin's idea of natural selection which appears to have come to him around Nov. 1838. ....dave souza, talk 01:02, 26 July 2006 (UTC) minor clarification dave souza, talk 00:32, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I mostly made the edit, as both of you above seem to realise, to avoid misunderstanding - the pop conception is often that there was some sort of causal relationship between the finches and Darwin's discovery of natural selection. (And, *blush* one I shared when I originally wrote that caption way back when I first uploaded the picture...) Michael, if you can think of altering the caption to both avoid misunderstanding and address the concerns you seem to have ('it's not the end of the story') I certainly won't object... Mikker (...) 22:45, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Evidence of Evolution?

I don't know about you guys, but I know I am starting to see evidence of evolution in the behavior of vandals on Wikipedia. Whereas most used to just come in, write utter nonsense and depart, several now create themselves an ID and either put in totally outrageous claims in different articles (but not utter nonsense) or just take the article and revert it to a stub (properly done, actually). ok... that was meant to be taken as a joke. Don't get mad, just delete it if totally inappropriate.--Ramdrake 21:57, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Do you think more sophisticated vandalism makes them more likely to breed? -- Ian Dalziel 22:24, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
It probably makes them more likely to last long enough to influence others with their views, thus the vandalism breeds :-) Oh gods, I've got into memes again. Skittle 22:26, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Inappropriate and unscientfic word choice

Can we change the sentance: "Evolution is ultimately the source of the vast diversity of life" to Evolution is the source of the vast diversity of life". The word ultimate has no place in a scientific theory, as it implies a level of certainty that science cannot offer. It is akin to saying that the four forces in physics are the ultimate answer to everything in the universe. Every scientist will tell you that such a statment can never be made, as tomorrow a new force might be discovered or one of the four known forces will have to be slightly modified due to new observations. I have been reluctant to breach this topic (for obvious reasons), but I can't stay silent anymore ;). If somebody can justify the use of that word, I'll be more then happy to leave it be. --Roland Deschain 04:41, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, I also don't like it since it is a vague adverb that doesn't add to the sentence. JoshuaZ 04:52, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I say keep because it pisses off the creationists.Rorrenig 11:25, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I also do not like ultimately, but then I don't like source either. cause would be better, but still not that good. I also wanted to edit the sentence, but couldn't improve it. :-D Sillygrin 12:39, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
How about "Evolutionary processes lead to the vast diversity of life on Earth"?JPotter 21:30, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
neat'n'tidy, and not overclaimed.
I would edit to: "Evolution lead to the vast diversity of life on Earth" OR "Evolution is responsible for the vast diversity of life on Earth". Sillygrin 06:03, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
A point of pedantry, but we know that the past tense of 'lead' is 'led', right? Robin Johnson 15:25, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't like any of the above. They make evolution sound like a creator. Evolution is a process. How about "Evolution is the process by which the vast diversity of life on Earth came about". Hmmm, not perfect but something along those lines. --Michael Johnson 08:46, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

And that is what JPotter said, which shows I just didn't take the time to read it all properly. --Michael Johnson 08:47, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
 :-D his version was good. I clipped out "processes" for brevity, but I think you are right, it reads better in. Sillygrin 11:22, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
    • How about evolution is an unsubstantiated hypothesis?
He, he, very funny! --Michael Johnson 02:15, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Evolution is neither an hypothesis nor unsubstantiated. It is a theory, and one of the most well-established and repeatedly-proven in all of scientific knowledge. How pleasant it must be to live in a world where actual facts ever impinge upon your particular religious delusion. JF Mephisto 03:16, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
  • If you really believe evolution is a theory that is 'one of the most well-established and repeatedly-proven in all of scientific knowledge' then you are more brainwashed than I thought. You of course realize that evolution cannot be tested or repeated, and the only thing that can be observed is natural selection, which could just as well be a design element. That in itself is not proof for anything, but is your hypothesis based on assumptions, which cannot be verified to fit either side of the argument. The fact that you think an incredible amount of assumptions are considered overwhelming proof for an untestable hypothesis shows how incredibly hypocritical you are, and just how well you fit into the last statement you made.
Hey guys how about we not feed this troll, and get back to the question in hand.--Michael Johnson 13:53, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Michael Johnson, have you added anything even remotely beneficial to this conversation besides your ridiculous "trolling" argument? The whole point of a "supposed" theory, is that it must be open to scrutiny and evidence that blatantly contradicts it. Your attitude pretty well exemplifies my point about how evolution is very religious by nature, besides the fact that it is not subject to the scientific method. One would think if you wanted to appease the creationist 'trolls,' as you so eloquently put it, then you would stop proclaiming religiously that you have "overwhelming" evidence for evolution, when all you have is scores of assumptions about the past that cannot be confirmed or denied scientifically.
  • anon, this is not the place to discuss evolution. Try some of the user groups suggested at the top of the page. I personally have no wish to applease anybody, especially not creationists. --Michael Johnson 01:42, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  • ----
Hello all
  • ----

I am relatively new to this page, and I had problems with the wording of the first paragraph too.I propose changing the opening to:

In biology, evolution is the change in the heritable traits of a population over successive generations, as determined by the shifting allele frequencies of genes.
The Science of Evolution studies how this observed change in populations is potentially the source of the vast diversity of life as we know it: the accumulation of small changes over time initially results in speciation - a separation of breeding populations - then further accumulation of changes result in more divergence, further speciation events and, barring extinction, ever increasing diversity in the daughter populations as time passes. By this process all contemporary organisms appear to be related to each other through common descent from intermediate common ancestors as products of cumulative evolutionary changes over billions of years.

I think part of the problem is that this article as a whole is trying to cover both

  • (small e) evolution -- the change in frequencies of alleles in a population, and
  • (big e) Evolution -- the science that studies and documents evolution, and which includes theories like common descent, punctuated equilibrium, natural selection, sexual selection, mutation and gene transfer, etc.

Common descent does not have to be true for (small e) evolution to be true.

Maybe distinguish between these two levels of e/Evolution at the start? ... Maybe divide the article into two articles, one on the science and one on the mechanism? (with a disambiguity page)?

I think the entire article was biased, not because of it's content, but because of what content was ommitted. For example, in the Intelligent Design page, you see (time after time) the article referring to "Critics say....bla bla bla"...and there is never any direct quote from an Intelligent Design proponent him/herself. Here in the Evolution page, there is absolutely no "Critics say... ", and evolution is instead presented as some fact that is undisputable (which is a farce). The article does not mention many of the problems with evolution theory, and for this reason, I find it unbalanced, biased, and outright shameful. Of note, if one counts every line of text that supports evolution as some kind of fact, and then the lines of text that count mention some kind of information that questions the validity of evolution, you will find it grossly unbalanced. With the Intelligent Design page, you will see the opposite. Most lines of text have to do with what the critics say, instead of the actual information about Intelligent Design. User anonymous (I'm not signing up for this nonsense)

Thanks.paul 00:07, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

The distinction between big and small evolution does not exist. The only difference (at this point in our understanding of evolution) between micro and macro evolution is time (with macroevolution being observable after longer periods of time and microevolution being seen only after a few generations. To divide this article into these two sections would give the wrong impression that there are two theories of evolution, when there is just one that has the same explanation for small and big evolution.

I would suggest reading up more on evolution, especially the pitfalls people usually fall into (the apparent duality of micro and macro evolution being one of them.)--Roland Deschain 00:19, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I was recently reading through one of Dobzhansky's papers, and a chapter by Mayr, and both of them used the word "macroevolution" (approving of the distinction between macroevolution and microevolution (Dobzhansky even refers to mesoevolution)). that's all the justification I need for carrying on using the word!!!!!!!!!!! Sillygrin 13:10, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

modern synthesis

  • Darwin developed a blending ... generation of new mutants at a very high rate -this is from Fisher - when I remember where I got the link, I'll cite the book
  • (rather than controlled by the environment) - this is the specific point that was important, since at the time people were attributing directed mutations to environmental conditions and other stuff like that.
    • "since at the time people were attributing directed mutations to environmental conditions and other stuff like that." Mendel did not touch upon mutations at all, much less evironmental conditions. He never went about describing why his traits were so (ie: mutations), but that they were heritable (from parent to offspring). It was an axiom of his theory, and, at that time, a commonly accepted one. That time period had a good grasp that traits were heritable in many oganisms (see Vítezslav Orel, Heredity before Mendel, 1996 by Oxford University Press). So saying that heritable means not controlled by the environment is a) a false dicotemy (traits can be non-heritable and not be affected by the environment, like genetic methylation) and b)a fact that was understood before Mendel proposed his laws and simply stated as an axiom. When Mendel said that traits were heritable, he meant that they were passed on from parent to offspring and not that they were not affected by the environment.
  • described by the algebraic laws - this is a strict description of what what he did. it therefore includes "well defined and predictable manner"
    • I cannot see how Mendel's laws are algebraic and have never heard anybody use that specific term for his theories. The oxford dictionary (2004) defines algebraic as: denoting a mathematical expression or equation in which a finite number of symbols are combined using only the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and exponentiation with constant rational exponents. Mendel's laws led to statistical applications (this offspring has a 3/4 chance of being tall), but his laws were not algebraic. He said that different traits (on different chromosomes) seperated independatly of each other and that the same versions of a trait (allele) seperated independantly of each other: how is that algebraic?
  • From these observations Fisher was... - I read recently (letter to one of the journals) that Mendel did not actually explicitly talk about discrete units of heritablility, and that it was Fisher who, describing Mendel's work, said "discrete", in his discussions of particulate inheritance. I'll try and find it, but its rather thin as an authoratative source.
    • Mendel, to even propose his theories, must have understood that his traits were discret units of heritability. His entire theory depends on that fact. Here are a couple of websites that state that Mendel understood his tratis to be what we call today genes (in the most loose sense of course, Mendel had no chance in hell to propose what we know today to constitute a gene).
      "But the concept of the gene dates back only to the late 19th century. It was first put forth by an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel, who used his monastery garden for a now-famous series of breeding experiments with pea plants."[37]
      "Mendel proposed instead a theory of particulate inheritance, in which characteristics were determined by discrete units of inheritance that were passed intact from one generation to the next. These units would later come to be known as genes, though Mendel did not coin the term himself."[38]
      --Roland Deschain 19:06, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
  • "since at the time people were attributing directed mutations to environmental conditions and other stuff like that." - I think in the second or third chapter of the "Origins", a few pages after he has finished his literature review, when he starts to talk about natural selection, Darwin starts talking about variation as being due to the effect of the environment (for instance, more food, or new islands) on the reproductive organs producing variation in the progeny. Mendel showed in principle how variation could persist over generations (whereas Darwin thought it would rapidly be lost). perhaps the sentence should say that variation was heritable, rather than induced by the environment' (directed mutations, as were commonly proposed).
    • I think we should differentiate what Darwin contributed to evolution and what Mendel contributed. As far as I know about Mendel, he never went into the causes for his traits (mutations) or how they interact with the environment (natural selection). That kind of reasoning was beyond him and his time. When he used the term heritable, he meant it in the simplest sense: that his trait was passed from parent to progeny. If you can find a reference to the contrary, I'll be very interested to see it.
  • algebraic: A + 2Aa + a
    • Nice website, but even it doesn't use the term algebraic to describe Mendel's laws. I did a google search to see if anybody else refers to Mendel's laws as algebraic and only found one obscure website that does so. My problem with algebraic is that it implies a mathematical law, when Mendel's laws where the first genetic laws ever established. Many genetic theories have math behind them (that's why I went into it), but we still call them genetic theories, rather then mathematical ones.
  • Mendel ... must have understood - I would have supposed so too, but what you or I think is not the point, but what he actually wrote.

Mendel gets credit because he got the laws right, and he did beautiful experiments. Sillygrin 12:46, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

    • My point is that he wrote his two laws which dealt with the inheritance of discrete traits. His very laws (which he wrote) necessitate that his traits are independant units of inheritance. If you can find references that say that Mendel was confused about the nature of his traits (ie: that they were not single heritable units), to counteract my references, I will reconsider my standpoint.--Roland Deschain 13:20, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I didn't mean that he was confused, but the letter I read said that he never explicitly talked about discrete units of inheritance. and it is hard for us now to evaluate whether it was obvious, since we grew up with genes. I will look for the letter, but I don't think it is an authoritative source. better to simply clip the sentence out, I think. Sillygrin 13:00, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

incidentally, I was rather intimidated by how well written the modern synthesis section was, but I am less so now, given the similarities in paragraph structure with this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this looks interesting (for those who have access through JSTOR): The Reification of Mendel Augustine Brannigan Social Studies of Science, Vol. 9, No. 4 (Nov., 1979) , pp. 423-454 Sillygrin 11:22, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Mendelian Controversy

I haven't read the entire article, but the thesis (from the abstract) is currently what most historians of biology believe about the Mendelian "rediscovery". Peter J. Bowler's The Mendelian Revolution, cited in this Wikipedia article, goes over this in some detail. Our article on Mendelian inheritance has many of these conclusions already incorporated into it. --Fastfission 21:01, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
I removed the strange paragraph that began the section -- it wasn't accurate, was rife with errors of all sorts, and was not, as far as I could see, necessary. --Fastfission 20:56, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Please provide a detailed and cited discussion on how it is rife with errors and inaccuracies. It is very necessary as genetics, and its historical foundation, is a major stepping stone for evolution. Please don't take a legitimate discussion about very specific disagreements concerning Mendel and his contributions to mean that the entire paragraph is unnecessary.-- 21:12, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
It is full of simple spelling errors, for one thing ("Mandal", "rappidly"), it also introduces properties which were not in Darwin's consideration (mutation rates), it has an unencyclopedic analogy ("mix a set of paints, you eventually end up with grey"), and it misstates the purpose of Mendel's work in his time completely, much less Darwin's method of heredity (pangenesis was not simple blending). It is also unnecessary—if the paragraph is removed the article still reads fine and historically accurate, since it is only in the "rediscovery" of Mendel's work (see above—it is not a simple rediscovery) that any of this begins to have any applications for evolutionary theory. I don't see what the paragraph adds—instead I see only misleading statements and sloppiness. I don't think elaborating the differences between different forms of heredity is really necessary for this article—their relevance to evolution is already explained by the text and if people want the details they can see the sub-articles for each. Just my opinion as someone who has done a lot of reading in the history of evolution. --Fastfission 21:20, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Spelling: fix it please, no argument from me here
"Darwin's consideration (mutation rates)...": true, but this topic deals with evolution, and Darwin is just the originator and this article is not bounded by only his ideas.
"unencyclopedic analogy": I agree, find a better one, as I think one is necessary
"misstates the purpose of Mendel's work": how?
""rediscovery" of Mendel's work": he still did the work and he has to be cited for his experiments. If you believe that he did not do the work that this article states, please provide multiple references as it’s a very large claim.
In short, Mendel did the original work which led to another 100 years of study that now fits nicely into the theory of evolution. It is just a general practice to state the originator of an idea. Same thing with Darwin, he originated the idea and we still mentioned him, even though almost all of this theory has been drastically remodeled over time.
--Roland Deschain 21:41, 30 July 2006 (UTC) (I was also the other poster. I am at work, so switching between computers).
In any case if one really wants discuss Mendelian inheritance in any way, please try to do so in an encyclopedic way that fits with the article flow and run a spell checker on it first. --Fastfission 21:22, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
I have been intending to shift most of the paragraph to the Mendel page, if possible, or delete it otherwise. but:
  • "genes as discrete entities" belongs on the evolution page - the modern synthesis is the synthesis of Mendelian genetic theory with Darwinian natural selection.
  • if the analogy is problematic (does it have too many monosyllabic words? or is it too informal? the former should not be a problem), then I suggest deleting it, if the analogy is not needed to make the thing clearer to a non-geneticist. most readers will not have a lot of background reading in evolution.
  • misstates the purpose of Mendel's work - what is relevant is the significance, not the purpose.
  • Darwin's method of heredity (pangenesis was not simple blending) - but it was blending, and had the blending problems. I got this from Fisher, and I'll provide the citation when I find it. but its in the "origins" anyway: Darwin is forced to postulate that new environments somehow impinge on the reproductive organs, causing variations in the progeny. he has to do this, because he thinks variation will rapidly be lost through blending).

Sillygrin 13:05, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Pangenesis was not simple blending. Read the article, or read Darwin himself, if you need some more establishment of this. I don't think we need to go into the details of it here because it is not terribly relevant, but I don't want the article to over-simplify something to the point of being misleading. While I have nothing against Fisher as a scientist he is not a historian and was in fact a participant in many of these debates, which in the history of science is usually viewed with a skeptical eye (geneticists are not the best people to write the history of genetics—they have vested interests in reading it in certain ways). Peter Bowler's book on the Mendelian revolution (cited in the references) is a much more historically sound account. And I agree that what is important is the significance—which is why the section was originally oriented around the "rediscovery", and did not try to explain what Mendel was doing or thought he was doing (which is complicated and, for the purposes of a brief history of evolution, not necessary to go into). --Fastfission 14:46, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Missing Verification

To rephrase my earlier entry: Please include reference to the falsifiable predictions made by this theory, and the corresponding experiments. For example, I understood extensive work had been done with fruit flies. As it reads, the evidence presented verges on the anecdotal. This is a request for improving the article, not an issue of debate. Gordon Vigurs 07:04, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Come to think of it, Ross Ashby's homeostat could be interpreted as a mechanical demonstration of natural selection. Gordon Vigurs 12:52, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Evolutions is observed in nature these days, so it's not just in retroperspective it's observed. As to predictiveness, the recent findings of Tiktaalik roseae, was found as a result of a search for exactly such fossils, since they had to be there according to evolutionary theory. Also, much research into vira and micro-organisms is dependent on predictions beased upon evolution. --Kristjan Wager 18:55, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Please do not use this talk page as a forum for debating the validity of evolution. The questions you are asking are already answered in this article and others, and in the cited sources. This is not the place to invite or conduct a debate. --FOo 18:56, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

thx1138 07:35, 31 July 2006 (UTC)


This paragraph here is wrong or, at best, very misleading:

"Evolutionary developmental biology is an emergent subfield of evolutionary biology which inspects the genes of related and unrelated organisms. By comparing the explicit nucleotide sequences of DNA and RNA, it is possible to trace and experimentally determine the timelines of species development. For example, gene sequences support the conclusion that chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans, sharing a common ancestor as recently as 5 million years ago."

Compare it to the introductory paragraph for the actual topic:

"Evolutionary developmental biology (evolution of development or informally, evo-devo) is a field of biology that compares the developmental processes of different animals in an attempt to determine the ancestral relationship between organisms and how developmental processes evolved. The discovery of genes regulating development in model organisms allowed for comparisons to be made with genes and genetic networks of related organisms."

I propose to change this paragraph to mirror the actual introductory paragraph of the topic.--Roland Deschain 15:45, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Allele frequency/extinction/chicken/egg

Extinction is an event that might be said to be sort of independent of evolution, if you consider fluctuations in population size to not be part of 'evolution', but in any case, the latter is obviously AFFECTED by allele frequency nonsense. If there's low variation in a population, it's health suffers, and it's far more likely to be stuck in adaptive valleys and die out. Et cetera. Anyway, it's contentious, I agree; but extinction ought to be fitted into the intro somehow. Graft 05:27, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

And yet fluctuations in population size are quite important to evolution! Aside from the obvious problem that a species whose population fluctuates to zero (or one, or a sexual species) will have no further evolution, there's also the effects of a small gene pool -- beginning with the founder effect, and then carrying on to inbreeding and so forth. --FOo 06:35, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

History of life inaccuracy

In the "History of life" section, it states : "However, all existing organisms share certain traits, including cellular structure and genetic code." This is too great of a simplification, given the distinctions between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and the fact that there are several alternative non-standard genetic codes. I don't want to detract from the subject of the article, but simplifications/inaccuracies like this are quite misleading. I'd be interested in people's opinions on how to best improve this. --GoldenTorc 07:33, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

The non-standard genetic codes are minor variations at best; they're not substantial re-writes with completely different codon structures. Often they're variations only in specific contexts, and most of the really radical variants exist in mtDNA. So I think that's a pretty safe claim. As to general structure, sure, eukaryotes, prokaryotes are different, but cellular structure has a lot in common - ribosomes, lipid bilayer, nucleic acids, proteasomes, etc. Graft 08:02, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks - while I agree with you, I still see the text as inaccurate, and inaccuracy in this article merely provides fodder for creationists. How about "However, all existing organisms share certain traits, including various aspects of cellular structure and in large part their genetic code."? --GoldenTorc 08:07, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
All known organisms share the same genetic code. Any nucleotide that works in one organism works also in another no matter how far apart the are on the evolutionary tree. So rewriting it to large part of their genetic code would be misleading, as that would imply some exceptions and, to my knowledge, there are none. The basic building block of life (nucleotides) is conserved across all known life.--Roland Deschain 13:17, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
No, all organisms do not share the same genetic code. Please see the genetic code article. The genetic code is not the same as which nucleotides you use, it is how you translate triplet codons into amino acids. There is a Standard Genetic Code, and then many variants, all mostly the same as the standard, but with one or more exceptions. Thus, to say that all organisms use the same genetic code is not completely accurate. --GoldenTorc 15:43, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
If you'll consult the canonical list, you'll see that most of the variation is in mtDNA, as I said; this can't really be considered "separate organisms", anyway, but the point is, this is really a TINY, TINY minority of organisms anyway. If you say "Well, 99.99% of life uses one genetic code, but there's about 50 different codes used overall," - unless you want to capture that nuance, I'd avoid mentioning it. Graft 17:24, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Sorry for the confusion. You are right in that there are exceptions to the genetic code (most notably the mitochondria). To make the sentance more accurate and reflect universal attributes of life that are used to argue for a common ancestor the sentance can be rewritten: "However, all existing organisms share certain traits, including cellular structures and genetic materials." Material in this case would denote nucleotides (NTP or dNTP) which are the basic building block of all known life.--Roland Deschain 18:11, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Variations in the code don't suggest that they're different codes - they're clearly of common origin. That's like saying fly and human alcohol dehydrogenase are "different" and not worthwhile evidence of common descent because there's some amino-acid substitutions. I think the genetic code is probably one of the strongest available pieces of evidence for common descent - it oughta stay in. Graft 18:40, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
From someone who knows next to nothing about evolutionary genetics, let me say I agree with Graft that to quibble over .01% would be confusing to the user. In science we always know that 100% is very rare for any statement, but we must also be precise in our wording. In this case we seem to balancing 100% correct wording with the chance for misunderstanding by the user. Personally I would lean toward eliminating the chance for misunderstanding but if we can be more precise without getting too confusing we should aim for that. In that vein I support Roland's general revision but maybe we can find a word better than materials. Genetic Construction? Genetic Makeup? Genetic Structure? Don't flame me, like I said I know little about genetics apart from a 200 level Evobio class. Nowimnthing 18:54, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
We definitely need to refer to the Genetic Code, rather than genetic materials, because, as Graft says, the Genetic code is one of the strongest pieces of evidence available for evolution. When I said that there are different codes, I didn't mean to imply that there are completely different codes, but that they are not all identical. Clearly my wording did not convey this, so need to be improved, so as to not mislead readers in a different direction. How about "However, all existing organisms share certain traits, including various aspects of cellular structure and their genetic code (for which minor variations exist)."? I just want to make sure it is accurate. --GoldenTorc 21:39, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm still saying I don't think that level of detail is important to point out. We would do the same for shared proteins, as I said above. They can find out about variants if they read genetic code, after all. Graft 22:19, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

The genetic code is just one example, and not the best, for universal common ancestry. My favorite one is that all amino acids have left symmetry across all known life. There is no functional advantage to having left over right symmetry, so the simplest explanation is that the original developing life, for some reason, evolved to take advantage on one form and, through common descent, passed it on. (There are right amino acids, but they require special enzyme that have been shown to have evolved later to convert left amino acid to right amino acid) A reason I don't like using the genetic code is that it's very easy to manipulate it without affecting the organism too much, allowing some leeway for evolution (see suppressor mutations). However, a right amino acid is vitually impossible to introduce into an oganism. So, as there is this small exception in the genetic code and as its just one of the arguments for common descent (and certainly not the best one), lets just go with the nucletides, as there is absolutly no known exception to that rule and it is the best example for the common descent of all life.--Roland Deschain 22:37, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

evo devo

We currently have a short section on this topic linked to a short article. The May 11 issue of the New York Review of Books has an essay by Israel Rosenfeld and Edward Ziff on evo-devo, reviewing From DNA to Diversity, Endless Forms and The Plausibility of Life. This essay I think makes an important case that the section on evo/devo should be expanded. It could also be a be a source for improving this article. I could draw on it myself but would defer to someone actually in the field of evolutionary biology, or who has actually read the three books reviewed. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:00, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Evo-Devo is a huge field that is rapidly expanding and offering evolutionary mechanisms for macroevolution (God, I hate that word). I am familiar with the field, but the first thing that needs to be done is expand the actual evo-devo page and then take the salient points and put them in this topic.--Roland Deschain 18:11, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Can you do it? I wish someone who has read From DNA to Diversity and the other books could take this on - I think it is worth it.SR

Sure. I'll pick the book up tomorrow and read through it. I'll take notes and update the evo-devo site accordingly.--Roland Deschain 03:28, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. See my comment below: I believe that ultimately NPOV requires this article to present debates among evolutionary scientists, including those over the significance of evo-devo for the modern synthesis (which in its original formulation took no account of embryology or of course recent developments in molecular bioloby) user:Slrubenstein

Are we sure we need to expand the section. This article already seem to long. Shouldn't we be directing users to a more specific page that discusses evo-devo only? David D. (Talk) 16:04, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree we should work on the evo-devo page first. However, when the time comes we should reconsider the section here. This article ought to comver current debates among evolutionary scientists that get to the heart of any theory of evolution. It will be longer than many other articles because it is a complex and controversial topic. So, all I ask is we discuss this and keep it in mind. SR

Neutral point of view

At first glance, this article seems filled with sweeping statements such as "[Evolution] is the source of the vast diversity of extant and extinct life in the world; all contemporary organisms are related to each other through common descent..." that give the impression it is conveying a point-of-view, in contrast to WP:NPOV. Perhaps such sentences should be given qualifiers such as "Most biologists consider..." and given appropriate citation? My quam has nothing to do with the theory or lack of evidence, personal conviction, etc., and is based solely on the Wikipedia policy that articles should maintain a neutral point of view. —Aiden 05:02, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Another thing, why does the article not include a controversies section or anything to demonstrate the opposing viewpoint? For example, no mention is made of arguments against macroevolution related to irreducible complexity. Why is this? —Aiden 05:09, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Becuase there aren't any really? The vast majority of biologists, indeed the vast majority of scientists accept evolution. The only controversy is in the minds of a few and in the lay public. And no, there aren't any real arguments against macroevolution just propaganda from groups like Answers in Genesis. JoshuaZ 05:18, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
  • All this has been discussed to death before. Bahe, the leading proponent of irreducible complexity, has said, under oath, that there is no scientfic evidence for the arguement of irreducible complexity. Same thing with macroevolution, it has been discussed to death. Read through the archives and post if you have something new to contribute.
  • As to following WP:NPOV in scientfic topics where the scientific community clearly supports a theory: do you really advice for the gravity wikipedia topic to say that: "Most scientists think that the apple falls to the ground because of gravity", rather than saying "The apple falls to the ground because of gravity".--Roland Deschain 05:24, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Again, I'm not attempting to debate the merits of the theory of evolution or its counter-arguments. I am simply saying that according to WP:NPOV, you have to present both sides of the issue, something which is not done in this article. Further, what is part of theory is presented as fact in this article, such as the statement I provided saying that all life on Earth came about because of evolution. That is a point of view which is impossible to empirically prove and thus should not be presented as fact, regardless of how many scientists agree with it. The NPOV thing to do would be to say that it is "Widely accepted as..." but phrasing every sentence with a definitively is cleary takes one side over another. —Aiden 06:49, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

This is an article about a biological phenomenon, not about a belief system or point of view. You'll note that our article Earth does not dwell upon the "point of view" that the Earth is a flat plane or a hollow sphere we live within. It deals with the facts, briefly mentioning counterfactual beliefs such as this -- but it does not shy away from stating that the earth is in fact an oblate spheroid and not a flat plane or hollow sphere. Likewise, our article on evolution deals with the facts of evolution and the science that discovers and documents them. --FOo 07:08, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Please see the archives for in-depth discussions on the matter (really, this point has been discussed at least twenty times and all your questions will be answered there). To briefly address your issue the area of WP:NPOV you are looking for is WP:NPOV#Undue weight. Note particularly: "In other words, views held only by a tiny minority of people should not be represented as though they are significant minority views, and perhaps should not be represented at all."

If you can cite verifiable, significant sources that dispute the validity of evolution (i.e. peer reviewed scientific publications to that effect) then there is grounds for altering the article. --Davril2020 07:11, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

There is a big difference, in my mind, between asserting that the force which brings an apple to Earth is known as gravity and asserting that all life on Earth came about through the process of evolution. The former is a observable in every minute of daily activity, while the latter is hotly debated in the least. Again, I am not attempting to debate the theory of evolution, which I personally believe on many levels. I am however, attempting to raise the issue of neutrality in this article as a whole, and the fact that what many people consider opinion is presented here as fact and no dissenting view is presented in this article, not even something based in science such as irreducible complexity. I shouldn't have to come to the talk page to find out about irreducible complexity and what it is and if/why it is wrong. —Aiden 13:23, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
There is no difference between the theory of gravity and the theory of evolution. Both are scientific theories that are accepted by a vast majority of the scientific community. So any comment you make about the neutrality of the thoery of evolution applies to the theory of gravity and also to any other well established theory is science. If you want to write "Evolution may be..." you must concede that the gravity article should also write "Gravity may be..". About gravity being observed, has anybody ever observed the sun's gravity on the 9 planets. No, it is inferred through centuries of detailed, but indirect, observations. The same applies to evolution and every other theory.--Roland Deschain 14:37, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
To Davril2020, I would like to see a criticisms section created which in the least discusses science-based criticisms such as irreducible complexity, regardless of how disdained they are. I strongly disagree that per WP:NPOV#Undue_weight, minority viewpoints should not at least be mentioned. If the Earth article mentions the Flat Earth theory or other minority view points, this article should definitely include a criticisms section, as the dissenting opinion is much larger here than there. —Aiden 13:25, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I repeat my previous statement: "Bahe, the leading proponent of irreducible complexity, has said, under oath, that there is no scientfic evidence for the arguement of irreducible complexity.". So this particular criticism has absolutly no scientific revelance to the theory of evolution. In addition, irreducible complexity is simply a revamped version of William Paley's Watchmaker analogy. Irreducible complexity is a philosophical argument (proposed centuries ago) and, in my opinion, has no place in a scientific article about evolution. However, if you do find scientfic criticism of evolution, please do not hesitate to bring it up here.--Roland Deschain 14:30, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Edit conflict
We already have two whole sections on it here and several seperate pages!
How much more do you think we need? If it is such a big controversy, show me 1 scientific, peer reviewed paper that discusses it. Nowimnthing 14:32, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
If I may chime in, one person saying that there is no scientific evidence for something, rregardless of their status concerning something, doesn't automatically make something non-notable. Furthermore, scientific, peer-reviewed papers being the only thing allowed in the article in terms of disputes conforms to a scientific point of view, not a neutral point of view. Just thought i'd throw that in. Homestarmy 14:51, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
It isn't a question of whether it is notable or not. Nobody things ID isn't notable. They just don't think it needs to be specially called out any more than it already has been, and that extensive discussion of it does not belong on this particular page. The opinion of scientists is definitely primary as to what is a "science-based criticism". --Fastfission 14:59, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I have to agree with Nowimnthing. What exactly are you looking for Aidan? There is much discussion in this article on the controversies with hyperlinks to even more discussion. The article is about evolution, not the controversies. Of course it will be weighted to that topic. Your point is only valid if NO controverisies were mentined. Since this is not the case what is your point? Do you want to rename the article Irreducible complexity vs evolution and write the content in that context? David D. (Talk) 15:06, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Guys, you are all beating a dead horse. Many times each year someone tries to use NPOV to distort the article on Evolution. This is BS. Above I called for more attention to evo-devo. That, in my opinion, is a serious response to the call for NPOV work because biologists are divided over the significance of evo-devo for models of evollution and the article indeed should cover all views. But the views Aiden wants acknowledged are spurious and we all know it. The talk archives are full of many smart responses to Aiden´s point; indeed, the article responds to it too. There is only one way to respond to Aiden´s point: ignore it. If you do not believe me, go ahead and keep discussing. Weeks will pass without any productive outcome that will lead to an improvement to the article. user:Slrubenstein

You're right, sorry for biting the bait. David D. (Talk) 15:43, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Yeah I'm such a troll because I thinking misintepreting (or not mentioning) counterarguments is not a good thing. It's laughable to think that the best we can do for a criticisms section is titled "Evolution#Misunderstandings about modern evolutionary biology". —Aiden 16:03, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
You forgot these other two: Evolution#Social and religious controversies, Creation-evolution controversy. If you want scientific counter arguments then cite them. You look a lot like a troll, if you can't see it then you'll have a frustrating time editing these types of pages on wikipedia. David D. (Talk) 16:07, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't see how that will be possibly judging by the cabalistic nature of some of this article's editors. I've attempted to request citations on two statements and was met with a revert war. I'd really like to see how adding a section on IC would fly. —Aiden 16:51, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
You are deliberately ignoring remarks by other editors (see above) that IC does not have a scientific basis. As such, it does not deserve a major section in an article on a scientific subject. If IC really was "science-based" (as you suggest) then it would have an established position in the scientific literature. That it doesn't speaks volumes (to those prepared to listen). --Plumbago 17:03, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Two sentences in the article are more than enough to direct the reader to other article that cover IC amongst other non-scientific ideas.

"Though the modern synthesis is almost universally accepted within the scientific community, many people find aspects of it counterintuitive. While from a scientific viewpoint one of the great strengths of evolution by natural selection is that it has no need for a supernatural intelligence or any intelligent designer, people often find that it introduces concepts which go against their perception of design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in nature, and so find difficult to accept. "
"In some countries — notably the United States — these and other tensions between religion and science have fueled what has been called the creation-evolution controversy, which, among other things, has generated struggles over the teaching curriculum."

What would you change in either of these sentences to make it more acceptable. You do agree this is a science aritcle? If IC was accepted as science it get more of a mention. Since even Behe does not think it has scientific merit you are stretching it a bit that it should get a special mention other than as part of the creation-evolution controversy. David D. (Talk)

Nearly every sentence which mentions a counterargument is loaded with phrases such as "This is a misunderstanding of both science and evolution" or other POV comments. If I was to write the article, I would present one viewpoint and another, without having Wikipedia take a side as it does in countless instances in this article. Secondly, the IC debate is worth mentioning as it was brought to the forefront by a biochemist who based his findings on scientific evidence, not on Biblical creation stories. Although it may be flawed, it still remains a scientific challenge to evolution which is for the most part omitted from this article. Anything critical of evolution's origin of life viewpoint or of the theory in general is described with loaded terms such as "redefine", "misunderstanding", "unclear" in order to set up a straw man. There are plenty of scientific challenges to evolution, or in the least wholes in parts of the theory that are not mentioned for the sake of making this a persuasive article, not a neutral one. —Aiden 23:27, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Labeling something as a misunderstanding when it is, in fact, a misunderstanding is not POV. The theory of evolution is quite clearly defined, and a common attack on it is to introduce misunderstanding to the general public to create non-existant weak point in the thoery. The section addresses this wide spread occurance. If you believe that these points are not misunderstandings please start a new topic and state your reasons.
  • IC, and I say this for the 4th time, is NOT worth mentioning, for the simple fact that Bahe, it's leading proponent, said under oath that there is NO scientfic evidence to support it. If we include IC, we would be forced to include every single other opinion (there is an infinity of them), all of which have no basis in scientfic fact. Chosing which one to include is impossible, as all of them have no evidence to go for them.
  • Please, if you know of scientific challanges to evolution, bring them up here. I would be the first one to read the paper and comment on it. Now, when you say scientific challange, I automatically assume it's published in a scientific journal.--Roland Deschain 00:19, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Aiden - yet again you fail to acknowledge what other editors have been telling you above : there is no scientific evidence for IC. This is why you are labelled a troll. If you can answer this charge, then do so - if there is all this "evidence" out there, then this shouldn't be a difficult task. Otherwise, stop wasting our time (and the WP's diskspace). --Plumbago 08:47, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

I'd just like to clarify one thing: This is not a personal crusade of mine and I am no troll. I personally accept evolution as undisputable, although I find no reason to believe evolution and religion are mutually exclusive as is implied at several points in this article. I simply don't think it is a wise excercise of Wikipedia policy to convey points-of-view as fact. —Aiden 23:34, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Now is your chance to suggest something better. Ideally rewrite the passages you think are POV so we can see what you have in mind. Preferably here on the talk page so it can be agreed upon before being inserted into the article David D. (Talk) 23:37, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
And while I'm at it, where does it say in the article that evolution and religion are mutually exclusive? Religion based on a literal interpretation of a holy book written long before people knew much about the world, well, yes, since that is at odds with what we know now. But it's not just evolution that has a problem with that - try astronomy, earth science, physics and the rest of biology. Much religion does not take this view, and science in general has no problem with this. If you really accept evolution, then get on with accepting it - and stop raising red herrings like IC which are disingenuous at best. --Plumbago 08:47, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Citation of bible conflicts with science

I reverted the request for citation because we do not need to cite general knowledge otherwise we would cite everything. See Science and the Bible. Nowimnthing 16:45, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I requested citations for two unsourced statements, something which is encouraged in Wikipedia policy. Whether these sweeping statements are "general knowledge" is debatable. The loaded phrasing of the sentence on "kinds" needs a citation. There is no reason why you would need to revert such a request. —Aiden 16:47, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Doesn't work that way. It is impossible to cite every single sentance. Conflict between science and religion is general knowledge. However, kinds is not that well known, so add Created kind.--Roland Deschain 16:53, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
So you admit that it is not well known, yet rather than simply adding the link to created kind, you revert my request for a citation? —Aiden 16:57, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Secondly, your revert comment claiming that it is "general knowledge that science contradicts religious faith" is highly POV. This article itself makes mention of theistic evolution, mentioning that according to many faiths, evolution and religion are not mutually exclusive. Thus, the statement is not only unsourced, it is POV, hence my requesting a citation (which of course you reverted). —Aiden 17:01, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
The claim that you want a source for is "such as cosmology and earth science, also conflict with a literal interpretation of religious texts". Can you find a source that states the opposite, that sciences do not conflict with a literal interpretation? Until you do, I vote for common knowledge. Nowimnthing 17:14, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
If it is common knowledge it should be pretty easy to provide a source, no? I know of no Wikipedia policy which requires that I show an opposing source in order to request a citation. Further, regardless of source, that statement is POV in that it claims definitively that religion and science conflict, something which many on "both sides" may disagree with. Hence, providing a source is the right thing to do. Why is that so difficult? —Aiden 17:22, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Please go to the specific topics that are linked concerning this section of the article: Creation-evolution controversy. There you will find all the necessary links. We have simply taken the information from that article. If you have problem with the info, take it up over on that topic.--Roland Deschain 17:26, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Why would I take up an issue with an unsourced statement in the evolution article at another article? —Aiden 17:31, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Because all the information in the evolution article is cited to have come from Creation-evolution controversy.--Roland Deschain 18:01, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Agree that the idea of a literal intepretation of Genesis being at odds with earth and life sciences, is general knowledge and doesn't need a citation. JPotter 17:35, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, for the second statement. While many other fields of science, such as cosmology and earth science, also conflict with a literal interpretation of religious texts, is absolutely common knowledge and needs no citation. In no way does that statement "[claim] definitively that religion and science conflict," Aiden. The first statement, about creationist redefining macroevolution, would benefit from a citation. bikeable (talk) 17:48, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I added a wiki link to the kind argument.--Roland Deschain 18:06, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Yep, doesnt need a cite. Fail. Kthxbai! Rorrenig 08:34, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

  • It is not hard to add a generic citation for the fact that science and religion have conflicted over many topics. One link which I think is not too bad is Conflict & agreement between science and religion, which discusses is a pretty matter-of-fact way the ways in which some sects of religions have conflicted with a variety of difference scientific positions, not limited to only evolution. --Fastfission 23:41, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Will anybody miss this sentence?

This sentence is really bad: "While from a scientific viewpoint one of the great strengths of evolution by natural selection is that it has no need for a supernatural intelligence or any intelligent designer . . .". This sentence is really wrong. The fact that evolution does not require a supernatural influence is not a scientific strength of the theory.

  • Every scientific theory (true or false) cannot be based on supernatural influences, so the fact that evolution does not include it makes it no better than any other competing scientific theory.
  • This sentance implies that just because evolution doesn't need supernatural intervention it's a great theory, which is (mildly put) totally ridiculous.
  • The great strenghts of the theory of evolution is all the evidence gathered over the last 150 years

--Roland Deschain 04:30, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, that's a very poor sentence. However, at the time, there was a widespread perception that life was the last vestige of creation that hadn't been conquered by science. So in the minds of some people, including many scientists, the theory had an additional meaning in representing the final nail in the coffin of the pre-scientific worldview. Actually, in science it did have that effect (and nobody ever really thought the lay public would accept it anyway). Darwin realized this and addressed it in his famous passage about there being beauty in the evolutionary outlook. The most vocal proponent of evolution as antidote to religion was Thomas Henry Huxley, and his writings are well worth the read. Perhaps this sentence or something like it belongs in a section about the public perception of evolution. --Aelffin 14:20, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I have no problem of a sentance being put in the history of evolution saying that evolution offered a naturalistic mechanism to explain life. But to say that the strenght of evolution that it does not include supernatural explanation is wrong in any section of this article.--Roland Deschain 17:30, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree the sentence is stylistically problematic, but disagree that there is a problem with the content. If you look at the history of the study of life (e.g. Paley's "Natural Theology" or Hume's "Dialogue concerning Natural Religion") you'll see that, before Darwin, people had tremendous difficultly in conceiving an alterative to "God created it". But, of course, saying God did it is no explanation at all because to account for one set of puzzling facts (the appearance of design) you have to posit the existence of an entity that is even more puzzling. Essentially, you "explain" something you don't understand by gesticulating in the direction of something else you don't understand. So, in my view, it *is* one of the greatest strengths of evolutionary theory that one doesn't need to posit a "greater intelligence" that is itself beyond science. Mikker (...) 22:56, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, if you say that evolution's strength as a scientific theory is that it doesn't posit a supernatural creator, then you're implying that there could be weaker scientific theories that do posit such a being. Which, or course is ridiculous. In other words, the reason that it's better than natural theology is that it is scientific (read: mechanistic), where Paley's was not. So, the contribution is that it played a role in bringing biology into the purview of science. Note, however, that Darwin's theory was not the first attempt to do so. Buffon and Lamarck and (significantly) Erasmus Darwin all attempted more-or-less scientific descriptions of evolution. The main strength that Charles Darwin's theory had over these is that it presented a tight, evidence-based approach to the study of life. So, I think the sentence fails in its content, but could be reworded so it neither implies that all of the predarwinian theories were non-mehanistic nor that a non-mechanistic theory could be scientific. --Aelffin 23:15, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I agree with Roland that the "greatest strength" of evolution should be posited relative to its scientific value, not relative to its ability to do away with God... That is exactly what the creationists are erroneously claiming.--Ramdrake 23:21, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't see why saying it's a scientific strength of a theory not to posit a creator implies there are scientific theories that do imply such a being. I am fully aware of Buffon, Lamarck & Erasmus Darwin (though calling the last "scientific" is a serious stretch IMO). However, these opinions were distinctly in the minority. Basically no one in the scientific community accepted these pre-Darwinian theories and Darwin himself was not widely accepted for decades, the last doubters being convinced only after the modern synthesis in the '30s. To the extent that we want to minimise debatable metaphysical assumptions in science, it is a strength of Darwin's theory that it did not need a god, because before Darwin few people could see how it would be possible to explain the appearance of design mechanistically (i.e. w/o god). Before Darwin the was seemingly no way for a scientifically minded person - witness Hume - to do away with the proposition that god was needed. Mikker (...) 23:57, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
  • It's like saying "The strength of the internal combustion engine over other horseless carriages is that it requires no animal for locomotion." By virtue of saying it's scientific, you're already saying it posits no god so you can't use that as a point of contrast with other scientific theories. You can, however, say it's a strength over nonscientific theories. What Darwin had over other scienfitic theories is that his was the first to provided a large body of supporting evidence. --Aelffin 02:19, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
I've removed that sentance again as the consensus is that the sentance is wrong. Scientific strength is not based on the lack or inclusion of supernatural intervention as this sentance implies. It is a deep misunderstaning used (unfairly) against evolution when all of science (be it right or wrong science) must follow this rule. --Roland Deschain 23:28, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Edit warring is childish and I won't indulge in it here, but rv-ing me and claiming (falsely) there is a consensus to do so on talk is far from kosher. If a person makes an alteration to the status quo & somebody objects, the onus is on the person wanting the change to convince the community the change is necessary. Mikker (...) 23:39, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Seems there is a consensus - and I'll add to it. Chop the sentence. Vsmith 23:49, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

I think, originally, the sentence was there because someone perceived the clause which follows it (that evolution upsets some religious cosmologies) as a slur against evolution, and wanted to point out that the qualities that annoy fundamentalists about it are actually qualities which most scientists think are good for a scientific theory. I agree that it isn't necessary. In any case, evolution is neutral on supernatural creators, like most scientific theories. It is either a description of what they did do, or what they did not do; it simply says what happens, and does not posit whether or not there is or is not guidance from a supernatural creator. A supernatural creator is not necessary for the theory but that does not mean that it would not exist or play a key part in it being true. Richard Dawkins aside, scientific theories are usually agnostic on the ultimate involvement of a deity. --Fastfission 23:53, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Roland and Fast have given good rationals for the removal. JoshuaZ 23:54, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Chop the two paragraphs. The sentence definitely is not wrong--for it is right, even if awkwardly worded. Just as one example of all the wonderful people back in that time who recognized what Darwin saw, Thomas Huxley said the following.

"That which we were looking for and could not find, was a hypothesis respecting the origin of known organic forms, which assumed the operation of no causes but such as could be proved to be actually at work. We wanted, not to pin our faith to that or any other speculation, but to get hold of clear and definite conceptions which could be brought face to face with facts and have their validity tested. The 'Origin' provided us with the working hypothesis we sought. Moreover, it did the immense service of freeing us for ever from the dilemma–refuse to accept the creation hypothesis, and what have you to propose that can be accepted by any cautious reasoner?" [39]

Nevertheless, I would say that there is no need for those two introductory paragraphs at all. Those two paragraphs are poorly focussed and have no useful purpose. Those two introductory paragraphs are "misunderstandings" themselves and are not accurate statements about misunderstandings. I suggest we should go directly from the heading "Misunderstandings ..." to the sub-heading "Evolution and devolution." --Rednblu 00:11, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, Huxley would say something like that, but he was always happy to be anti-religious. I agree that those particular paragraphs don't do a whole lot, and are covered in more detail in the controversies section below it. --Fastfission 00:28, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

I wonde whether this is a matter of semantics. My interpretation of Roland´s point is that the lack o recourse to a supernatural being does not make evolution a ´´better´´ scientific thiry, it is what makes it a ´´scientific´´ theory period. If this needs to be expressed more clearly, fine. Nevertheless, I believ 8based on many personal experiences, I am not saying this is objective truth) that a great number of creationists in the US, no matter how many specific criticisms they make of evolution (including those forwarded by ID), are really responding to the absense of a creator which they find frightening. Moreover, the question of whether there is or is not a conscious creator (god, or intelligent designer) is fundamentally what makes Evolution scientific and ID non-scientific. I suggest that these are the points that need to be communicated (perhaps more clearly or effectively) in the passage in question. SR

The lack of supernatural intervention is just one criteria for a scientific theory. There are many more (see here). So evolution meets the lack of supernatural criteria as well as the other criteria. Evolution is not for or against a creator. Any scientific theory must be agnostic, as it is impossible to prove or disprove a supernatural god via the scientfic method. For all we know, God designed evolution when he breathed life into the first life form.--Roland Deschain 18:49, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Roland, you know I respect you but you are missing the point, completely. No one has said anything contrary to your point. I did not man that not apealing to God is the only thing that makes Evolution scientific, but that it IS one of the things. Moreover, the issue is not whether Evolution says there is no God or whether it is agnostic. The point is that the theory of evolution shows that one ´´does not ´´´need´´´a God´´ (to explain the variety of species) and this certainly upsets a great deal of fundamentalists. User:Slrubenstein

And is something more scientific because it upsets fundamentalists? Homestarmy 19:59, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
The issues we are discussing now are best explored in the Creation-evolution controversy. And User:Slrubenstein, I understand your point. But this topic is not about appeasing fundamentalists, but rather the description of the Theory of Evolution. The article links to the Creation-evolution controversy for those who are interested in this ago old conflict.--Roland Deschain 20:24, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

I won´t respond to Homestarmy´s obviously inane comment, but Roland, I agree with you that in general this issue should be addressed in the controversy article. However, since this is the main article dealing with evolution, I believe that there should be brief summaries of linked articles (which we do elsewhere) that are in effect content forks. As for this particular point, I think that the issue is not just of historical importance. I think that the power of the theory of evolution to explain things without recourse to divine intervention, for whatever reason, remains an important part of its appeal to many (as well as resistance by many). Scientists represent only a fraction of the people whose lives have been influenced by this theory. And while I absolutely believe that the views and concerns of scientists should domkinate an article on a scientific topic, we must remember that it is being written for a very broad general audience. I do not think that including this one sentence is too much to ask, and I do think it will be missed (to answer the initial question). That said I certainly do not object to making the sentence clearer, more precise, more accurate. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:55, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Moved off topic debate

A post was made to this talk page which was off topic and very unlikely to result in any improvement to the article. The text has been moved to the talk page of the user who originially started the discussion. Wikipedia guidelines ask that users use article talk pages for the improvement of the article and not as a discussion forum. Barnaby dawson 09:05, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Good ol' ID vs evolution thread

I recommend('re'-com--moc-'mend') everybody read the "Intelligent Design" page, Logic, Intelligence, Illogic(Randomness) and AI pages, so that you are not completely "brain washed" about "evolution", as I do want you not to be so ancient and to be more open minded -- *****GeorgeFThomson***** 18 August 2006

And I recommend that you read the transcript of the Dover trial, so that you can see how pathetic ID really is when it's proponents do not talk to a Christian audiance which looks for any reason to suspend all and any rational thought.--Roland Deschain 14:01, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Please stop posting such threads. They are useless and do not add anything to this article.

Sorry ! That was not of course my intention, rather the contrary. Yes, I do not think the Dover trial was legally represented correctly, and that ID did not do a good representation of this important theory, nor that the judge would know much, or fully, what was being told to him either, as a bigger panel of judges, would have made a less obscurantist judgement ! You have to seperate religion from theories ! Intelligent Design does not imply to me religion more than evolution does which is also a belief based on what Science of the day wants to believe !*****GeorgeFThomson***** 18 August 2006

I have no idea what you're trying to say, most of the time. Assuming I'm not the only one, you want to consider reconsidering your writing style. You may also want to consider proofreading your posts before you elect to save, to avoid having to revise your posts so often.
Evolution does not require belief. in fact, it is compatible with all faiths (excluding literalist fundamentalism). No other socalled 'faith' is compatible with other faiths. Intelligent design, on the other hand, is supported only by Christians (although there may be a few words of endorsement from a Jewish source somewhere). I'm sorry, but nothing suggests evolution is a faith. -- Ec5618 14:28, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Mr. I think a belief becomes a faith without you knowing it, as your mind makes foundation on it, and you tend to block out all other analysis. So if Evolution does not require belief, what thought process is it and how would you define it in this context ? I am not a Christian, rather I oppose Christianity by pure logic and my logic and illogic clearly makes me study and believe Intelligent Design, as I haven't proven anything else, and try and understand on what Evolution in founded on and how you think, and what you believe, if you have to ! (Sorry for any incapability in communicating my thoughts clearly) -- GeorgeFThomson 18 August 2006

Evolution is founded upon hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers and over a century's worth of experimentation and observation, all in its confirmation. Thousands of predictions based on evolution have come true, including the entire field of genetics. It is based on the agreement of 99.99% of biologists qualified in the field. It's based on common sense. If you really think that it is based upon anything resembling faith, I think you really ought to reappraise the facts upon which you are basing your beliefs. JF Mephisto 20:27, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I like your ability and that of scientist to calculate, and to have such certainty of 99,99%, and don't permit the public school teaching of other hypothesis or theories such as ID in schools ! You must be blest with the faculty of "all knowledge" or "full control of knowledge" rather ! Nice discussing with you all in this section . GeorgeFThomson 18 August 2006

Two points which make this paragraph deeply flawed:
  • ID is a hypothesis that has absolutly no scientfic support (as admitted by the scientific leader of the movement, Bahe, during the trial), for the simple reason that ID has not done any scientific research. One cannot teach something in science class that has absolutly no science in it. I have no problem teaching ID is philosophy or a religious study.
  • Science can never give all knowledge. Tomorrow evidence can come out that shows ID to be superior to evolution. However, as of this point in time, evolution is the best theory and you have not offered a single shred of evidence to the opposite.
Nice talking to you too. I encourage you to actually pick up a advanced biology text book and read about the evidence for evolution. Then go back to the creationist claims. All research ever done to prove the theory of evolution is open to the public via scientific journals. All it takes is a quick trip to the libarary. There is no conspiracy on the part of scientists here, rather it's the creationists who are trying to fabricate the conspiracy to blanked the obvious fact that they cannot find scientific evidence that contradicts evolution. Always think for yourself and question authority, regardless of the type of authority. When you actually have evidence to show evolution lacking do not hesitate to come back and present it. However, triple check if that evidence has not been already discussed (such as microevolution vs macroevolution). --Roland Deschain 23:52, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
It's getting old folks. This talk page is about discussing improvements to the quality of the article, not debating the substance of the subject being presented. If evolution is not your bag, then don't contribute. If you enjoy science and have something new and useful to add, then post about it or make a bold edit. But Wikipedia is not the forum for a "debate" between evolution and faith. This talk page is immense - can we please keep it to what will improve the article? Nothing in this section adds anything new. Tired, Astrobayes 00:57, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

My Conclusion is: Like Evolution is the only thing Science teaches as Science in Biology classes of every level. Then for you to be objective you should clearly state what Evolution isn't: (1)Evolution isn't 'intelligent design' as religion proposes it, but teaches as the only evidence to 'natural causes' as the designers non-intelligent of life on Earth. Etc... If you are not willing to do this you are not objective and so you do not put all the variables on the table. To fully define and conceptualize Evolution, you have to state what Evolution isn't to be fully explicit. GeorgeFThomson 17:05, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

You need to take a introductory class in logic. It takes an infinate amount of time to say what a concept/object/idea isn't. For example, I can give you a round red ball and ask you to tell me what it isn't. I can come back a life time later and you would still not have given me all the answers. But it would take you only three words to tell me what it is: round red ball. Rather, what I think you are asking for, is comparing evolution to other ideas such as creationism (ie: opposing viewpoints). As creationism isn't science (take this fact up in the Creationism topic), it cannot be compared to any scientific theory, including evolution.--Roland Deschain 03:30, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

I won't mention anything more. Only that I soon will have better 'arguments' to qualify, contrary definitions, than evolution, so that they qualify as 'hypothesis'. I am not interested in 'creationism persee. I need to refute scientifically 'evolution', be it by 'de-volution or in-volution or anything'. I am not going to let EVOLUTION be the only taught and accepted scienctific theory of origins. I don't care what it takes. You think you will triumph as 'evolution ' has so far. I will redifine textbook content compliant with science. You bet and count on it. GeorgeFThomson 14:43, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

To start a clear discussion for everybody's interest. As I need this data. Is evolution a unintelligent (non-intelligent) process? GeorgeFThomson 14:47, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

As it says at the top George, take it to the Usenet group This is only for discussing changes to the article. Discussions of this nature are going to be very quickly archived as being irrelevant to Wikipedia. — Dunc| 14:52, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Roger ok. GeorgeFThomson 14:59, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

But as I said soon you will have to include in this article the link to the contrary or some contrary hipothesis to evolution. It's going to be interesting to beat evolution. GeorgeFThomson 14:59, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

George, other scientific (but falsified) theories such as Lamarckism, are also briefly covered. If on the other hand you have a scientific theory of intelligent design, the Discovery Institute would like to hear from you! Creationism (inc ID creationism) is covered in this page under #social effect. — Dunc| 15:09, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually I have to disagree with Dunc. There are not "alternative hypotheses to evolution", except the one proposed by the Man Who Rules The Universe ("How can I tell that the past is not just a fiction created to explain the difference between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind", or something of the sort). Evolution is an observation. There are theories and hypotheses to explain these observations (natural selection, sexual selection, genetic drift, etc), but the only meaningful alternative to evolution is stasis, and that is demonstrably false. Guettarda 15:30, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

It might be possible to use 'evolution' itself to diproove it......! Well of course all hypothesis or theory have to be disprovable......! I'll try and use your observations which impress me greatly to disprove 'evolution'. GeorgeFThomson 16:15, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Evolution textbooks should say simply: humans self developed from other primates and mammals, without knowing it. That is a tremendous claim to be scientific regardless that it complies with all scientific method. GeorgeFThomson 16:33, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Do you have any suggestion for the article? Otherwise, please do not use Wikipedia as a discussion forum. Jefffire 16:40, 26 August 2006 (UTC)