Talk:Icons of Evolution/Archive 1

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Just because a reliable source says something does not mean Wikipedia can say the same

On Wikipedia, there is a convention that if a reputable source identifies something as "propaganda" or "pseudoscience" or whatever, then it is appropriate to identify it as such in an encyclopedic context. This is nonsense. It does not matter that you have reliable sources that have called "Icons of Evolutions" "pseudoscientific"; IT IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR AN ENCYCLOPEDIA TO USE SUCH PEJORATIVE TERMS. It is perfectly fine to say that "so and so has called 'Icons of Evolution' 'pseudoscientific,'" but to simply say that "'Icons of Evolution' is a pseudoscientific book" is absolutely inappropriate in an enyclopedia. I saw the same thing with the movie "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." An opinion writer in "The New York Times" called the movie propaganda, so Wikipedia said -- in the first sentence of the article about the movie -- that "'Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed' is a 2008 propaganda film." This cannot be done in an encyclopedia!

I agree, I added the POV tag and will probably remove some unsourced shit that is obviously political, also going through the sources to check their neutral standing. Rajakhr (talk) 18:49, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Except that in this case, the book is indeed (and demonstrably so) nothing but pseudoscience. So the neutral point of view, is stating exactly that. There is no POV issue, so I'm removing the tag.Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 00:45, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree with the first comment. There is no reason to state immediately that the book is "pseudoscience". Such a statement is clearly only POV and immediately colours the readers view of the book. Such statements of judgement should be left to the criticism sections.--Justwonderingiv (talk) 13:58, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

If by "immediately colours" you mean "appropriately contextualizes the nonsense that is creationism in general and this book in particular", then yes it does. It appropriately sets the stage for a neutral summary of a fringe theory. "Neutral" doesn't mean "lacking an opinion". It means contextualizing the book within the proper scientific community reaction - that it's crap. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 05:02, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
@OP This is how wikipedia works. If you have a problem with that, you should either take it up on the appropriate policy page (such as WP:RS or WP:V), or find another project to contribute to. This isn't the place for wild ranting. Jess talk cs 05:23, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Whos point of view?

How can comments from id opposers be allowed but not comments from pro-iders? Also the comments from PZ Myers who's argument is clearly without merit from the response to Icons of Evolution. This is clearly anti-id point of view pushing. The statement about the whole scientific community rejecting the claims is also factually inaccurate. -PromX1 14:48, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

It is clear that nobody is either willing or able to address this is. The unwillingness of people to discuss this after I tried to do that has shown me that their aim is to keep the article biased as others have noted. On my next edit I am forced to once again reinstate the changes. -PromX1 18:27, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree. This article is highly biased, essentially serving as a rebuttal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.107.125.108 (talk) 00:08, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

The article is written per WP:UNDUE -- show us a substantive claim in the book that has not been discredited by the scientific community, and only then will you have a valid reason for complaining about the contents not being presented in a positive manner. HrafnTalkStalk 01:17, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
The article should at least be tagged with a neutrality dispute. For each sentence describing the book, there's about four describing how biased the author was and how invalid his arguments are. Bias obviously runs both ways. 74.243.147.22 (talk) 20:31, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Due weight is given the opinion of ID promoters. And four to one is actually giving more weight than ID and other anti-evolutionist movements are due in the scientific community; ID proponents don't compose even close to a quarter of the scientific community. So your complaint is unfounded. Aunt Entropy (talk) 21:37, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Early comments

This from "Avoid Weasal Terms":

Who says that? You? Me? When did they say it? How many people think that? What kind of people think that? Where are they? What kind of bias do they have?

It's better to put a name and a face on an opinion (and to seek out other alternate opinions to discuss) than to assign an opinion to an anonymous source. This doesn't really give a neutral point of view; it just spreads hearsay, or (worse) couches personal opinion in vague, indirect syntax.

. . .

If a sentence can't stand on its own without a weasel term, it lacks NPOV (neutral point of view) and should be better defined by adding sources for the statement (which helps focus the discussion on the dispute).

I know that many biologists do not view evolution as the "unifying principle of biology." Some do. Fine. Just give a citation to who says it. --VorpalBlade 15:21, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

You know biologists who do not view evolution as the unifying principle of biology? I'd be very intrested to know who, what field and what they actually do, as for most fields of biology it has been pretty difficult if not impossible to function as a biologist without recognising that evolution is the central unifying theory. I have never met a biologist who does not view evolution as the central unifying theory of biology, and I've met many. I have talked to a few creationists (though fortunately we don't tend to come across them in Europe) who make the claim that biologists do not view evolution as the central unifying theory of biology, but when asked to name some or point out where they are they've never managed to get past Wells. Joe D (t) 15:35, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The author

I suggest we divide this article into:

  1. material about the book: points it makes, and rejoinders made to them
  2. material about the author (and move these to article about him)

Moreover, it would be good to expand this article by covering more than just one or two "icons".

Also, it will help readers to distinguish between (1) rebuttals that focus on each example and (2) rebuttals that attack the author's character or motivation (see ad hominem). Uncle Ed 11:52, August 28, 2005 (UTC)

I agree, I think this division makes sense. I think the section on the author's motivation is over-long, particularly the Well's quote which dominates the article in real estate. I also think the Coynes review needs some context. There's a series of good links in the article, but they follow the preceding paragraphs somewhat randomly. --Camipco 17:15, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

External link removal

I just removed a recent entry because it did not seem notable or relevant to this article:

Bridging the Differences

If we'd like to include it, I recommend we discuss this here. Jokestress 00:04, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

To: Jokestress
From: Gary (thegreatwhitebuffalo)
I'm sorry that you feel there is no value to the link that you removed, I replaced it in hopes that you will review your position and consider that what I propose is a Win/Win for both the Religious extreme like myself and the Athiest where the essence of GOD is the ether or fabric that makes up the universe and thus the idea behind my work is to bring a unification between the Science of Evolution and the Designer that is SOOOOoo Intelligent that life could start and evolve out of space that has always existed. This theory strips credibility of all religious sources and reshapes how we think about and look at an infinite universe.
The site in question appears to be someone's personal beliefs, which do not really qualify as notable in this issue. Further, the beliefs expressed on that site are vague and unsupported by references to the ongoing debate. While there are plenty of great books and sites looking at evolution and religion (e.g. Kenneth R. Miller), this is not really on of them. Jokestress 00:37, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Your deletion of my theory is my theory on how the Universe was created and how we evolved, there is a debate going on right now in the court of law where the argument could be settled with a new look at the evidence, if you in your wisdom are so smart as to remove everything that you believe is irrelevent to the articles about Evolution and I.D. you could cause a catastrophic down fall of our great civilization.
This really is one of them, and you young lady should consider spell check before posting your thoughts.
I recommend you make your case for including your theory at Talk:Intelligent Design. It's the main page on this topic. I struck through your spelling flame above. Wikipedia has a policy of no personal attacks on other editors, so please refrain from insults and personal remarks. Jokestress 01:16, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for showing me how to strike a line that I don't like. Please explain what you wrote above, and tell me that this isn't a typographical error. I know very well that a spell checker wouldn't pick up on this mistake, but it does exist. Here proof read what you wrote, I'll repost it right here.

(e.g. Kenneth R. Miller), this is not really on of them. Jokestress 00:37, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Now I do believe that it should read one of them. I'm sorry you appearantly have made two mistakes today.

I thank you for directing me to another source to engage the idea I am proposing, I am not looking to make matters worse, I wish I could have the oportunity to dialogue this out with out feeling violated. Sorry if you feel violated. It isn't a good thing to be stressed out over an idea. The problem is that this idea could change the world. Read what I wrote and consider the implications on humanity. Have an open mind and think outside of the box. TheGreatWhiteBuffalo 02:37, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Criticizing spelling is considered disruptive and can get your editing privileges revoked. I recommend you make your case for including your theory at Talk:Intelligent Design. It does not belong here and will be removed per Wikipedia guidelines regarding external links. Editors at Talk:Intelligent Design will be happy to discuss the value of your site as an external link. It has no specific relevance to the book Icons of Evolution, and is not appropriate for this specific article. Jokestress 02:52, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
You are critizing my theory with out giving me a fair chance to defend my position, and you don't find that disruptive? I didn't make the mistake, I only tried to validate my position, let the boss figure out what is going on here. I see that you are not willing to reason out the relevence of the information that I am offering. And FYI since you appear to be an athiest, may I add that the fabric of the universe is the space between the molecules of everything that exists, that space is the ether of the universe. Just in case you didn't understand my position, think about what that means.

Gary

  • Please be civil and avoid criticising individuals - content matters here, not who says what.
  • "since you appear to be an atheist" - apart from the fact that J's belief system is utterly irrelevant here, I can't even see how you can make that inference from this discussion.
  • Your blog does not appear related to this book.
  • Your blog does not appear to have had a major impact on the debate - there are just a handful of posts. When it has made an impact on the discourse elsewhere it might be appropriate to link to it (although not from this article). Coming here first is the wrong way to get things done - Wikipedia is not a forum for the debate. It is our job to report on notable elements and players in the debate.

Guettarda 04:04, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Gary-- Jokestress and Guettarda are right. The content you added has no place in not just this article, but wikipedia. It's spam for your original research-- a double no-no. Please read WP:CIVIL, WP:NOR, WP:RULES. Thanks. FeloniousMonk 15:06, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

To All of the above,
I'm sorry if I appear to be uncivil, I've been working real hard to get this whole concept off of the ground. We as a community can grow, and know, how to prevent (Domestic abuse) from becoming even more of a problem than it already is. We have a lot of problems in our world that certainly can be corrected. And just this one article I wrote has led me to write other articles. I am now going over them and working out the bugs and growing in knowledge of how to present my work and get feedback on my work and credit my work for the value that can be gleaned from it. My sources are as old as time and can be considered common knowledge while the way I put the idea together is rather unique and worthy of consideration and review. Peace to all of you, TheGreatWhiteBuffalo 03:30, 11 October 2005 (UTC) * Link to a Source and Concept
Furthermore; as for the comprehending that Jokestress does not adhere to the Truth, her typographical error proves to be a provoking trick as to troll for a response. She baited and tested to see if I could be provoked. The obvious point to be made is that she never edited her mistake and never appologized for making that mistake. She immediately took offense to the fact that I pointed out the error in her typing, and never accepted that removing my work would offend me without first giving me the opportunity to understand the rules and why my Edit was in violation of the rules which seem to be rather slanted to only including notable writers and excluding the up and coming. My work was probably not even read. I know that because I know who I am and what I wrote when comprehended makes a great impact on the reader, as in WOW! TheGreatWhiteBuffalo 00:50, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Criticisms of Wells, presentation of book, criticism of book

Criticisms of Jonathan Wells is off-topic here. This article is about the book. Andries 20:30, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Before biologists discovered that peppered moths don’t normally rest on tree trunks, many experiments were conducted by pinning or gluing dead moths to tree trunks. This practice should have been abandoned, however, once biologists knew that it fails to test the camouflage-predation theory under natural conditions. In Icons of Evolution, I criticized textbooks that continue to use staged photos of moths on tree trunks to illustrate natural selection--though I stopped short of calling them “fraudulent.” [1]

I didn't quite catch the reason this Wells quote was taken out. Don't our readers want even one example of an "icon" Wells critiques?

I suggest we divide this article into:

  1. material about the book: points it makes, and rejoinders made to them
  2. material about the author (and move these to article about him)

Moreover, it would be good to expand this article by covering more than just one or two "icons".

Also, it will help readers to distinguish between (1) rebuttals that focus on each example and (2) rebuttals that attack the author's character or motivation (see ad hominem). Uncle Ed 23:31, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Sorry Ed but yet once again you're seeking to undermine the majority's view, which is critical of Wells, and in turn circumvent WP:NPOV. What you propose is to separate the views critical of Wells and the book from their context, creating a hierarchy of fact where Wells' view, an extreme minority view, is presented as is "true" and "undisputed" whereas that of the scientific community, the majority view here, is presented as a fringe view that "controversial" and therefore more likely to be false, an implication that is inaccurate and violates a specific clause of WP:NPOV.
Your recent habit of bouncing from ID-related article to article adding biased content and arguing to insert content that ignores or violates policy is becoming disruptive, Ed. Since you are on arbcom probation prohibiting this very activity and you've already been spoken to several times about this on your talk page over the last 3 days and yet here you are, still at it. If you continue this pattern don't be surprised if some are compelled to seek enforcement of the terms your probation. FeloniousMonk 05:14, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Agree for the most part with User:Andries that criticism of Jonathan Wells is off-topic here and should mainly go in the article about Wells. An article about a book should present what the book is about, including main themes and arguments, and in the case of a highly controversial book such as this one, criticism of the book. I do not at all agree with Wells's program/agenda or views on evolution or on "intelligent design," but this article is still very heavy on criticism and a bit light on presentation of the book, even after I cleaned up a few obvious problems. User:FeloniousMonk's criticism of User:Ed Poor seems unwarranted. Obviously it is not biased to explain one of Wells' "icons" when the article is so heavy on criticism. -Exucmember 09:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
It's based on an arbcomm ruling concerning Ed. How is that not warranted? Guettarda 20:45, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Campaign to keep this article highly biased

I made a series of 17 edits, most of which no reasonable person could dispute, including correction of such banalities as the correct title of a Wikipedia article, and I added the "Unbalanced" template, because even after my edits the article was still highly biased and very unbalanced. Several editors have refused even to allow any of my 17 edits to see the light of day. If those editors feel a hachet job is in the best interest of readers, I think they are mistaken. Many readers can easily tell that an article is highly biased. -Exucmember 20:29, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

  1. Making 17 separate edits really messes up the page history - please consider using the preview button.
  2. I was in the process of trying to re-instate your useful edits when you reverted the page. If you choose to edit war, don't expect people to rush to clean up after you. Guettarda 20:40, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

I use the preview button, thank you. When I have edits on different issues, I cite a rationale or summary of what I am doing in each one. People may disagree with some of my edits and not others. This way they can clearly see what I have done on each topic and why.

You kept my article title correction and my semicolons, and none of the others. -Exucmember 07:13, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

The statement "Wells' doctorate in biology at University of California, Berkeley was funded by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church" does not match the citation. -Exucmember 07:14, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

"Case study"

  1. Two quotes does not make a "case study". That is not the way you write an encyclopaedia article.
  2. This contrast is unrepresentative of most of what has been said about Icons.
  3. The "case study" is misleading. As many people have pointed out, Coyne got it wrong on this one.

Guettarda 13:42, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I modified my contribution so that it no longer conflicts with any of your 3 objections above, but you simply dismissed it with "rv per talk" even though you didn't write anything else here. Did you not notice that I changed my contribution very substantially to answer all 3 of your objections? -Exucmember 06:00, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
You changed your edit, but did not address the my points. Instead of presenting two quotes, you presented only one. To begin with, that does nothing to address the primary problem - your addition is not a section of the article, it's a quote with no context. Undiscussed quotes are copyvios. Additionally, your original version consisted of two quotes, one by Wells, the other by Coyne. While Coyne is a very poor choice on the peppered moth, going from a bad perspective to no perspective is not in keeping with NPOV. So no, you did not correct the problems with that section. Guettarda 06:21, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Your response makes it clear that I did address your objections, and that you are now creating new ones. Perhaps you could show good faith by providing the needed perspective, being careful to represent Wells's views as he would present them. -Exucmember 06:28, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
"Making things worse" isn't the same as "addressing concerns". I explained the problems, and you exacerbated them. Wikipedia articles are supposed to be written using secondary and tertiary sources. They are not supposed to be verbatim quotes of primary sources. Since you obviously don't believe me, consult the appropriate policy and guidelines (WP:NPOV, WP:NOT, WP:MOS, etc.) and stop making false accusations. Guettarda 17:16, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Author's views

Interestingly the only description of the icons is the opponents' view. Nowhere is Wells' view on his own point. And is talkorigins really a reliable source? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 69.211.150.60 (talk) 12:35, 3 April 2007 (UTC).

Talkorigins is pro-evolution point of view pushing and commits the same dishonesty Wells is exposing. -PromX1 15:07, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
Articles should be written based on secondary and tertiary sources, not primary sources. And yes, Nick Matzke is a reliable source. Guettarda 14:26, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Talk Origins is an outstanding site for compiling primary sources that can be used in the article. There is no "pro-evolution POV-pushing", since Evolution is a well-studied and accepted scientific fact. Over 99% of scientist accept Evolution as is. If that's POV-pushing, then someone needs to redefine the words. Orangemarlin 14:41, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Um, no. Guettarda is right about using secondary and tertiary sources vs. primary sources, see WP:RS, Matzke is an expert on the topic, and the Talk Origins represents the majority viewpoint on the issue, that of the scientific community, so is perfectly acceptable as a source. FeloniousMonk 16:12, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
The pov pushers here are the editors. My additions and corrections were reverted without consensus stating pov pushing while the editor was doing pov pushing by doing so. The article makes it sound like there is consensus in the scientific community when there isn't by starting off with "The members of the scientific community ... have roundly rejected ...". This is blatent dishonesty and readers should be made aware that this is not the view of the whole scientific community. The changing of text books is central to this fact and readers should know that people like Tamzek is not without their critics too and that they are mainly becrying the changing of text books to make them accurate. These are not pov puching, they are facts. -PromX1 13:02, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
The statement is more accurate as it stands than is your change. Changing it to "some" is highly misleading. Please stop insert misleading information into articles. Thanks. Guettarda 21:09, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
why not many scientists instead of many in the scientific community. Reads much easier. Northfox 13:17, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Would you call 99.9% just many? 'Near unanimous' or 'nearly all' at a minimum are the only accurate terms according to the available sources here and at other ID articles that describes to the degree to which the scientific community rejects ID and accepts evolution. Odd nature 19:37, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Even if it's just 1 out of 1,000,000 the statement about all and roundly is highly misleading and untrue so it can NOT stand. -196.207.32.38 13:55, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Mainstream scientists

This = "No true scientist", otherwise, he would have said "name one scientist who does." — goethean 15:18, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Trolling. Odd nature 23:10, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Video

Is there more than one edition of the video? The text in the article reads:

In 2002, a 75-minute video titled Icons Of Evolution and directed by Bryan Boorujy was released by Discovery Institute (ASIN 0972043314). In it, Wells discusses the ideas presented in the book.

I have obtained an undated [on edit: the end credits carry a 2002 copyright] DVD also entitled Icons of Evolution, also directed by Boorujy, but this edition is 51 minutes and is released by ColdWater Media LLC of Palmer Lake CO. The video I have is marked ISBN 0-9720433-1-4 and includes interviews and commentaries with a broad cross-section of people on all sides, including Jonathan Wells, David Berlinski, Eugenie Scott of NCSE, and Roger DeHart, among many others. The video I have describes both the political controversies and various technical objections to how the scientific evidence is organized and presented when teaching macro-evolution at the high school level. This edition appears to differ from the one described in the article. Moulton 08:56, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Given that the DVD of Icons was mentioned in Dover trial testimony (as is mentioned in the article), it is likely that any version that mentions the Dover trial [as Moulton's original, unedited, comment explicitly specified[2]] is a revised/extended edition. Given Wells' record to date, I doubt if its descriptions or 'objections' are in any way honest or accurate. Hrafn42 09:30, 1 September 2007 (UTC) Updated to account for editing in the original question. Hrafn42 10:34, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
I'm less interested in the cogency of any of the theses or rebuttals presented by any of the principals appearing in the video itself, and more interested here in the accuracy of the description and identification of the video as a bibliographic item. Is the 51-minute video released by ColdWater Media LLC a different version from the one cited, or is there an error in the citation? Moulton 10:09, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Update. Here is the relevant paragraph from a May 15, 2002 story in the Seattle Weekly on the video in question...

The 51-minute documentary film, which made its official debut last Friday evening in the modest setting of Seattle Pacific University's Gwinn Commons, is credited to a video production company called Coldwater Media LCC, but to anyone even slightly familiar with neo-anti-Darwinian synthesis in America today, the tone, text, and cast of characters are all intimately known. Whatever Coldwater Media LCC may be, the fingerprints of Seattle's neoconservative Discovery Institute (DI) are all over the film.

Icons of Evolution is in part the story of a crusading high-school science teacher persecuted by the authorities for daring to expose his students to the truth about evolution. No, not John Scopes. This time the martyr is Roger DeHart, hounded out of his job with the Burlington-Edison (Wash.) School District for daring to take a critical attitude toward Darwinian dogma and encouraging his students to do likewise.

That's the video I obtained. 51 minutes, released by ColdWater Media LLC, and mostly about the story of Roger DeHart. Moulton 11:15, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

I propose the following revision to describe the video...

In May of 2002, ColdWater Media LLC released a 51-minute DVD video documentary entitled Icons of Evolution (

ISBN 0-9720433-1-4).[1][2] This video was directed by Bryan Boorujy and chronicles the story of high school biology teacher, Roger DeHart. The documentary includes interviews and commentaries from a cross-section of observers on all sides, including Jonathan Wells, David Berlinski, Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and Roger DeHart, among many others.

  1. ^ Icons of Evolution DVD, ColdWater Media LLC, 2002
  2. ^ "Not the Whole Truth," by Roger Downey, Seattle Weekly, May 15, 2002

Moulton 11:10, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Amazon lists it as 75min.[link deleted on archiving sue to spam filter] It's quite conceivable that there are two different cuts of it. So what? The easiest thing to do is simply to delete the exact length of it, so that the brief mention can cover either/both. They really only require separate mention if they cover substantially different material. Hrafn42 14:26, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
The www.coldwatermedia.com link is inappropriate under WP:EL#Links normally to be avoided ("5. Links to sites that primarily exist to sell products or services. For example, instead of linking to a commercial bookstore site, use the "ISBN" linking format, giving readers an opportunity to search a wide variety of free and non-free book sources.") Hrafn42 14:44, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
I'm still unclear as to whether there are two different cuts. I can find two WP:RS confirming the existence (and availability) of the 51-minute video released by ColdWater Media LLC. I cannot find a reliable citation for any 75-minute cut, Amazon[link deleted on archiving sue to spam filter] notwithstanding. Perhaps the Amazon listing is also inappropriate, since it's a commercial bookseller. But I did appreciate the fact that Amazon supplies 28 reviews. The third reviewer on Amazon says it's an hour-long video produced by ColdWater Media. If the article devotes a section to the video, should it not include a citation to the publisher (as is the usual practice for books and published articles). Moulton 15:14, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Moulton: Who cares whether it is 51 or 75 minutes? It is a trivial piece of information either way (on a video that is little more than a footnote in an article that is mainly about Wells' dishonest book) and certainly not something worth obsessing over. Please drop the issue. Hrafn42 15:22, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
The different lengths of the two (??) versions is just a red flag. The 51-minute documentary video is primarily about the story of Roger DeHart. Amazon lists[link deleted on archiving sue to spam filter] the video as Icons Of Evolution by Steve Meyer, Paul Nelson, Ken Miller, and Bruce Chapman (DVD - May 1, 2002). This would appear to be substantially different from the book of the same name by Jonathan Wells. Moulton 16:25, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
It isn't a red flag, it is a red herring. The signal to noise ration of the DI is notoriously low (does anybody really think that Kenneth R. Miller is a co-author of this piece of tripe?), so working out what exactly is true/changed/misrepresented/a mere typo/etc is a futile exercise. The exact contents of this video is peripheral to the article, and no WP:RS can be found to say exactly what is going on. So can we please move on. Hrafn42 18:15, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

I propose the following revision to the first paragraph of the Icons of Evolution Video ...

In 2002, a 51-minute video entitled Icons Of Evolution and directed by Bryan Boorujy was released by ColdWater Media LLC.[1] The video chronicles the story of Roger DeHart, a high school biology teacher who came to controversy for handing out unapproved material from a Natural History article[2] by Stephen Jay Gould and an excerpt from Of Pandas and People.[3] Jonathan Wells appears in the video and presents some of the ideas from his own book of the same title.

  1. ^ Boorujy, Bryan (Director) (May 1, 2002). Icons of Evolution (DVD). Palmer Lake CO: ColdWater Media LLC.
  2. ^ Stephen Jay Gould (March 2000), Abscheulich! - Atrocious! - the precursor to the theory of natural selection, Natural History Magazine
  3. ^ Not the Whole Truth, Roger Downey, Seattle Weekly, May 15, 2002

Given that this 'revision' contains OR (the claim that DeHart used a Natural History article is unsourced) and omits sourced information (the DI's prominent role in manufacturing this controversy), I would disagree with this proposal. I would also note that I am getting more than a little tired with Moulton's obsession over it. Hrafn42 14:18, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

The source is the cited video itself. At 14:45 into the cited DVD, the viewer sees a closeup of the first page of the cited article by Gould, immediately followed by a sound bite of Roger DeHart explaining his reasons for handing out that article to his students. On camera, DeHart says, "Stephen Jay Gould wrote an article for Natural History saying that we need to let go of these drawings [Haeckel's embryo drawings], that basically they're not needed." The 10-second sound bite of DeHart is immediately followed by a 15-second rebuttal from Eugenie Scott of NCSE, casting doubt on DeHart's motives for using the handout. In the next frame, the viewer sees a closeup of the Skagit Valley Herald (May 28, 2000), with the headline, "School officials throw extra science materials out of class." Moulton 14:51, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Why the book biased review?

This article reads more like a crtitique of a book rather than actually about the book itself and I am very surprised to see that it has not been tagged with a Neutrality dispute. It reads like a book review written by a guy named Gishlick, like something I might see on a pro-evolutionist's blog or something. That and the fact that "Reception by the Scientific Community" is the largest part of the entire article and almost half of the article???

I think this article would reflect Wikipedia policies and standards better if it were comprised on only the Intro and the list of the Icons and maybe a few pictures. ;) Jmcdanal 17:49, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

ID and this book are an extreme minority view in the field in which they stake their claim, biology. Whereas the scientific community is the majority view there. And the scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected ID. Now Wikipedia's core content policy WP:NPOV says specifically "article[s] should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each. Now an important qualification: Articles that compare views should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views." Hence the reviews here are representative of its reception by the scientific community and in the proper proportion, given that its the majority view in the field. Odd nature 18:29, 11 September 2007 (UTC)




If refuting viewpoints are a must on this Wikipedia article about a book, then please tell me to what proportion of "scientists" rejected the notion of Intelligent Design even within the scope of evolution? I read somewhere above in the talk that its 99.9% but there is no reference provided. This article is extremely/heavily slanted and overly critical of the book. At what proportion have the editors of this article concluded that the proportion is accurate? Surely its not 100/0 as is implied by this article.

A 1997 poll by the American Men and Women in Science (1995 Directory and biography of roughly 120,000 American scientists) taken from a random selection of 1000 put the proportion at 55% reject the notion of ID.

Now ive even gone off topic. While I do agree that criticism of the book is warranted, obviously, this is not the place for a debate on ID and especially not the place for a one-sided line by line refute of the book by a guy named Gishlick. Should the article be primarily be concerned with the evolutionary viewpoints or viewpoints of the actual book?

Simplifying information and segregating criticism could do alot for this article. Also, expanding the Well's Icons section for sub-sections of each Icon (instead of just 2)would help for completeness. I mean seriously, its not even noted that TalkOrigins.com agrees with Wells on his assertion that Haeckel's embryo drawings have no place in textbooks. As is, this article isnt in shambles, but will never pass the B-Class WikiProject rating (NPOV problems) if assessment ever moves it from Start-Class.

For a good example of how this article (on a controversial book) should reflect and criticism see the Wiki on Ann Coulter's Godless:_The_Church_of_Liberalism. Jmcdanal 22:43, 11 September 2007 (UTC) <BR

I suspect the difference between the treatment of Icons & Godless is due to:
  1. the fact that nobody has bothered to perform such a detailed dissection of Coulter's claims. Scientists tend to be more thorough than political analysts; and
  2. the applicability of WP:UNDUE is more clear-cut on Icons than it is on Godless.
I would also note that Coulter spews Wells' Icons from Icons pretty much verbatim in Godless. All the more reason for an emphatic rebuttal of these fantasies at the source. Hrafn42 03:53, 12 September 2007 (UTC)



Hrafn42 - thank you for your response. It is discouraging to see that those participating in the edits of this article feel that a Wikipedia article on a book is the place to make sure the anyone reading the article leaves the page with their viewpoint. That said...

To those reading this Talk, let me try to get my point across a different way...
I challenge anyone who reads this post to do a quick preview of what this article would look like if you were to remove all of the bias, critque, rebuttals, criticism, and opponents viewpoints etc. What I found was that the article is left with roughly 8 paragraphs the longest of which contains a mere 3 sentences. The article as is written now is almost completely gone. Without the Biased portions of this article, a reader would leave its page with only the vaguest of an idea as to what the actual book was about.

Let me remind you that the subject of the article is the book. Books contain pages - pages of information. The Wikipedia article should provide an extended summary of what is included in those pages before it can simultaneously provide any criticism and opposition. No reader should have to deduce what the actual book is about by sifting through the criticism and viewpoints put forth by opponents of the points made in the book. A reader should not have to find out what Wells wrote about the Peppered Moths experiments from a reference that begins with "So many things are wrong with Wells's treatment of peppered moths....". Wow. Jmcdanal 22:26, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

The book claims to describe science. See NPOV: Pseudoscience, NPOV: Undue weight, NPOV: Making necessary assumptions and NPOV: Giving "equal validity". For more detail on what Wells wrote about the Peppered Moths experiments, see Peppered moth evolution#Criticism and controversy. Regarding moths on tree trunks, note from the Predation experiments section of that article that during an experiment in Cambridge over the seven years 2001-2007 Majerus noted the natural resting positions of the moths, and of the 135 moths examined over half were on tree branches, mostly on the lower half of the branch, 37% were on tree trunks, mostly on the north side, and only 12.6% were resting on or under twigs. Wells writes in Icons "biologists have known since the 1980's that the classical story has some serious flaws. The most serious is that peppered moths in the wild don't even rest on tree trunks." ..... dave souza, talk 23:34, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia articles are supposed to be written from secondary or tertiary sources. So we shouldn't actually report what the book says, we shouldn't summarise the book ourselves. But in this case, we don't need to. There are several detailed articles about the book - one of these being Gishlick's. A while ago I added detailed summaries of two "icons", working primarily from Gishlick's review. You are more than welcome to add sections about the remaining "icons". There are links to Gishlick's work, and to Nick Matzke's. Gishlik does a better job of summarising the chapters, Matzke tends to focus more on responding to the claims. The resources are there, all it takes is a little time commitment. Guettarda 03:24, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Matzke - excessive prominence? / External Links

I see it's been discussed previously whether Matzke's criticism is a Reliable Source (I think it is, as it only expresses his views and, though effectively self-published, is written by an author who has been published in a peer-reviewed publication on the same topic). I do think, though, that it is rather excessive prominence to deep-link, to sub-page anchors within the HTML review, next to the main listing for that chapter. This seems to suggest that Matzke's specific criticisms are the dominant thing to know about each chapter of the book.

I note WP:EL#Points_to_remember 2 - 'External links should typically not be in the body of an article. Include them in an "External links" section at the end or in the appropriate location within an infobox' - and 3 - 'Avoid linking to multiple pages from the same website unless there is good reason to do so.' This section currently conflicts with both of these guidelines.

I think that the single link to the top of the docuent that is given when Matzke's review is mentioned is quite sufficient; and will mean that readers will know what the document is that they're going to and who wrote it, rather than simply that it is a "critique of Wells".

Thoughts? TSP (talk) 23:13, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Actually, having looked at WP:EL, I've Been Bold and moved all the external links from the text into the references (all articles referenced were already in the article's External Links section) and tried to turn the section below the chapter list into an encyclopedic overview of who published criticism of the book, rather than a collection of links. WP:EL seems pretty clear that external links belong in the External Links section, not in the article text, and I can't seen any particular reason that this article should be an exception. Obviously, say if you disagree. TSP (talk) 23:37, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Opening article

Let's get rid of all the talking points against the book that opens this article. Maybe below in a section called "Controversies" but not the opening of the article.

Just state WHAT the book is about and WHO wrote it to open the article.

Otherwise this is not an article. It's a sounding board for those that are offended by the book. Ok? Do this elsewhere but not at wikipedia. This kind of thing really degrades wikipedia and that is tragic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mikearion (talkcontribs)

Moved comments from the sub-page.
Nope, wikipedia reports the mainstream science's position on things, which is Icons of Evolution misrepresents what the "icons" actually mean. WLU (t) (c) (rules - simple rules) 16:28, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Sales figures?

Shouldn't the article tell something about the book's sales? Or else how can people judge its importance? Steve Dufour (talk) 04:03, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Sales figures give only a loose indication of importance (Icons most probably outsells The Creationists by a considerable margin, but the latter is clearly a more important work), are frequently not available with any degree of verifiability, and are subject to manipulation. I don't think it'd be a particularly useful addition. HrafnTalkStalk 04:36, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
As it is there is very little in the article which establishes the book's notability. Steve Dufour (talk) 05:08, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
It's notability is in the frequency with which his claims are cited by creationists, and wealth of scientific rebuttals. HrafnTalkStalk 05:13, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
How about mentioning those things in the article? Steve Dufour (talk) 05:24, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
The second point is already covered in 'Reception by the scientific community', the first is difficult to document without indulging in WP:OR (particularly as many creationists cite his 'Icons' without explicitly citing the book). HrafnTalkStalk 06:03, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Ten questions to ask your biology teacher about evolution

It is to Wells's credit that he has neatly summarized the main arguments of his book in the form of Ten questions to ask your biology teacher about evolution. Without such a summary it is very difficult to conduct a civilized discussion of Wells's book itself because of its length, and one is reduced to parading an endless array of witnesses for each side before the jury of Wikipedia readers trying to understand the core issues. With it, one can quickly come up to speed on each of Wells's main arguments, boil down the evidence pro and con one argument at a time, and draw one's own conclusions without feeling dragged down into the tarpit of primal rage of whichever lynch mob happens to be nearer at hand.

Wells presumably expected his younger disciples, particularly those actually taking biology classes, to print out his questions for ready reference whenever they felt the teacher's arguments to be getting the upper hand. There have been reports of students actually leaving printouts of the questions with their teacher, perhaps in the hope that the teacher would see the light. But Marxists and capitalists are rarely converted to each other's side overnight on the basis of one pamphlet, and no serious evolutionist or intelligent designer would expect differences about our origins to be any easier to settle than differences about our fiscal responsibilities.

In view of all this it is remarkable that Wells's commendable summary of the arguments in his book receives no mention whatsoever in either the article or this discussion page.

Wells brings up an excellent point with his eighth question, concerning mutant fruit flies with four wings instead of the usual two. These have been advanced in textbooks as an example where the offspring of an organism can differ from its parents in a dramatic way, contradicting the intuition that every species must breed true. The example shows that offspring can differ from their parents to the extent required by Darwin's theory of evolution, contrary to intuition and common sense. Wells makes the point that these examples do not serve their intended purpose because no such mutant fruit fly has ever found four wings beneficial, instead it has died because the wings hampered its survival.

Unfortunately for Wells his other nine questions are so easily answered as to lay bare the logical frailty of his entire book. They are answered clearly and concisely in many places on the web, for example on my own web page at Ten answers from your biology teacher. Perhaps Wells's book contains arguments that are stronger than any of those nine questions, but if so then he has shot himself in the foot by omitting them from his questions. As things stand, Wells has less than a foot to stand on, in fact effectively he has just one toe, his eighth question.

Unfortunately for that toe, Lenski's recent work at Cornell on populations of E. coli puts even it at great risk. Lenski has exhibited a population that evolved starting with E. coli that could not eat their citric acid growth media and eventually became able to do so. Since we aren't bacteria ourselves it's hard to fully appreciate the significance of this development without translating it into human terms: it would be like breeding a dynasty of humans that eventually became able to survive by eating and digesting the wooden floors they walked on in the manner of termites!

Propononents of Intelligent design have been having more difficulty with Lenski's experiments than any of the evidence that Wells's book claims to demolish. Their general reaction seems to be that, whatever is going on in Lenski's lab, it isn't evolution. Why not? Because evolution does not happen. Period. Scientific proof from the ID community. --Vaughan Pratt (talk) 07:17, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Judging from this, Wells only found one textbook making the alleged misuse of the fruit fly mutation, and had an anecdote about a lecturer he met once. It doesn't look to be a very good point anyway, as such gross morphological changes actually go against the minute variations from their parents set out in Darwin's theory of evolution. The significance of the four winged fruit fly experiment was that it helped to establish the developmental role of genes, and as a non-expert my suggestion for a more convincing example of beneficial major changes would be the subsequent work on the hedgehog signaling pathway and how it led to the discovery of sonic hedgehog, as ably set out in Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish pp. 52–53. Otherwise, well said. . dave souza, talk 09:36, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Also, it would appear to be an example of the potential for radical morphological changes from a single mutation, not a claim that all such radical changes were beneficial. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 09:45, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
We should mention Wells's 10 questions, and "10 Answers to Jonathan Wells's "10 Questions" | NCSE". Retrieved 2009-09-06. gives a useful secondary source with responses. . . dave souza, talk 09:58, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
More sources on the fruit fly issue,[3][4] and note that Wells presented his claims at the Kansas Evolution Hearings. . dave souza, talk 11:03, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Taking the point above, the Lenski dialog makes interesting reading, and the E. coli long-term evolution experiment found a neutral mutation being needed before a second mutation could provide a benefit to the population, in exactly the way that Behe et al think is too improbable. Unless, of course, The Designer was fiddling with the experiment, and Behe essentially makes that argument about the results,[link deleted on archiving sue to spam filter] as discussed at NS,[5] and PT.[6] The dialog was covered by Ars[7] and by RationalWiki, as well as being discussed from a legal viewpoint.[8] . . dave souza, talk 09:13, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Recent edits by Thalia14

I have deleted these edits because they misled the reader into thinking that evolution and Well's criticisms have equal validity. Thalia has issued malformed request for comment in response that did not link to this page. Auntie E. 00:26, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

A bot has deleted the request for comment, and your advice to Thalia14 to discuss it on this talk page is sound. Seems to be a failure to appreciate WP:GEVAL and WP:PSCI. . . dave souza, talk 08:38, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

BIAS!!!=

I need y'all to persuade Auntie E. to let me revise this article. The first sentence condemns the book as pseudoscientific, and if that isn't biased I'm a peppered moth. Also, the author of the article claims that every biologist endorses evolution. I hope I don't have to tell you that that isn't true -- not by a long shot. Auntie E. is the biased one here.

Anyone who reads the article can see that nearly everything is against the article. And Auntie E., where are you getting this junk that Intelligent Design advocates don't even compose close to a quarter of the scientific community? Answer me this, is science a vote? This is a yes or no question. Please answer me that. Silence means no. There are some big names in science that promote Intelligent Design. By the way, I don't think Galileo had a majority at first -- did that mean he was indisputably wrong?

When I read this article, I noticed one big problem: the article that purports to be ABOUT Icons of Evolution doesn't actually talk about what Wells says in the book! Under the heading about Darwin's finches, I added some text about what was said in the chapter. I was careful to point out that this was Wells talking, and that this wasn't to be taken for granted, even if I do agree with him. Auntie E. probably didn't even read it before she promptly deleted it under the pretense that it violated some neutrality rule! In fact, I doubt Auntie E. has read anything about this article seriously. All she's interested in is maintaining her own evolutionist views while obstructing anyone who points out that the articles she protects are anything but neutral. And if Auntie E. disagrees with what I just said, arguing that she believes nothing of the sort, I will remind her that her conduct is what sent the message to me, that if she herself wouldn't be so biased then we wouldn't have problems like this.

Auntie E., what are you more interested in? Promoting evolution in articles about non-evolution books or maintaining non-biased articles, regardless of whether the subject agrees with or contradicts your own position? --Thalia14 (talk) 20:40, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Please let's just focus on the article, not what you think my personal motivations might be. Our editing policy is to show good faith. I'm here to improve the wikipedia, and you need to start to assume that. Please stop calling me an "evolutionist" just because I have reviewed the evidence for common descent through natural selection and found it convincing like the vast majority of biologists. ID is a fringe view.
I and many others have asked you to review our pages on neutral point of view, fringe views and due weight. I am finding hard to accept that you have read these pages, as you still are not getting it. This is getting old. We cannot continue until I'm convinced you have understood these concepts.
Also you have again claimed I said something when I didn't. I never said that "Intelligent Design advocates don't even compose close to a quarter of the scientific community" so I don't know where you're getting that from. Please take more care in your reading of comments.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Aunt Entropy (talkcontribs) 00:18, 29 October 2009
Hi, Thalia14, been glued to any tree trunks lately? The article concerns science, even though the book's promoting a fringe religious view, and we don't argue the validity of evolution here. Our verification policy requires basing the article on reliable third party sources, not original research giving "equal validity" to this creationist text. If you want uncritical repetition of creationist lies, you're in the wrong place – I understand that Conservapedia is more amenable to that approach. . . dave souza, talk 00:37, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
This article isn't about Intelligent Design or evolution in general, it's specifically about the book Icons of Evolution. Therefore, most weight should be given to the arguments that are stated in the book, since the book is the subject of the article. I'm not saying that we should remove the criticism of the book, just that we should expand the description of the book's contents. --75.33.219.252 (talk) 01:58, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
No. That would violate both WP:NPOV & WP:PSTS, which require that "most weight" be given to what reliable WP:SECONDARY sources say about the book. The consensus of their opinions is that the book's contents are WP:complete bollocks, lacking any scientific or educational merit. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 02:20, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
So in an article about a book, it's biased to summarize the contents of said book? --70.250.209.105 (talk) 11:55, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
What is biased is to uncritically parrot the claims of the book. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:33, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

RFC

Icons of Evolution is a book by Jonathan Wells that deals with some commonly used evidence for evolution. I encourage you to read the article on it. Now, putting all personal beliefs aside, doesn't the article strike you as inordinately biased, even if you are an evolutionist? I have been trying to revise the article, to rid it of some unbacked sweeping claimes, such as that all biologists believe in evolution (even if you're an evolutionist, it should be pretty obvious that both sides of the argument have scientists backing them) and that Icons of Evolution is pseudoscientific. Again, all personal beliefs aside: it isn't right to condemn a book as false science in an encyclopedic article. BTW, the word pseudoscience was not used in a quote -- that would have been okay, as long as the quote was cited -- it was used in the first sentence of the article, stated as though no one would dispute it. There is almost nothing in the article besides criticism; cited criticism, at least, but still, nearly everything is criticism.

I tried to make a few changes. I eliminated the word pseudoscientific in the first sentence. I took out a couple of generalizations that are a little too sweeping for an encyclopedic article. I added, under the headings for each chapter in the book (each chapter deals with a separate "icon" of evolution, such as Darwin's finches) some information about what was said in the chapter, since none of that existed. Under the heading for Darwin's finches, the only text was a critical quote -- nothing about the chapter in the book. Maybe it's just me, but it seems to me that an article about a book, whatever the book may be about, should include something of what's actually in the book. This article contained nothing of the sort, and was almost exclusively criticism.
All my changes were reverted, on the pretense that they violated some neutrality rule. Hello? As if the current article isn't biased! Please contact Auntie E. and tell her to let me clean up this article a little bit. I'm not trying to delete the criticism -- it'll still be there when I'm done; I'm just trying to add what should be there already. --Thalia14 (talk) 23:54, 27 October 2009 (UTC)


  • Comment:
  • The overwhelming consensus of the WP:RSs is that this book, though purporting to be scientific in its basis, lacks any scientific (or educational) merit whatsoever. As such, it is clearly pseudoscientific and, per WP:PSCI can be labelled as such.
  • WP:PSTS requires us to rely mainly on WP:SECONDARY sources. This is particularly true when the WP:PRIMARY source falls under WP:V#Questionable sources, and so WP:SELFPUB (which explicitly prohibits "unduly self-serving" material and "claims about third parties") applies.
  • The article is "almost exclusively criticism", because the RSs are almost exclusively critical about it. Our WP:NPOV policy requires this. And no, neither Johnson (not a scientist at all, let alone a "prominent" one), Behe (who achieved no prominence whatsoever before abandoning science for pseuodscience) nor Kenyon (who is likewise undistinguished as a scientist, and likewise long since abandoned it for pseudoscience) count as reliable sources.
Please cease and desist harassing Auntie E. for simply enforcing Wikipedia policy. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 02:42, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, Thalia is ignoring our points. I've asked her to read the relevant policy pages. She continues as if she's never read them.
Thalia, the edits you added were not neutral. You intended to puff up the book by naming off those non-biologists as "prominent scientists" who where enamored of it, falsely attributing the acceptance of evolution to "some" biologists, then dismissed them as simply "evolutionists." So don't imply you are only adding info about the book. This article is weighted in line with our policies. Your arguments are not even taking our policies into consideration. Please read them. Please. Auntie E. 03:54, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
This article isn't about intelligent design in general, it's specifically about the book Icons of Evolution. While criticism of the book's claims should certainly be allowed, I hardly think it's biased to include the summary of a book's contents in an article about that book. ----J4\/4 <talk> 11:58, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
It is "biased" (and often outright impermissible, per WP:SELFPUB) when the book's discredited claims, particularly those that are "unduly self-serving" or "about third parties", are presented without scientific rebuttal. Given that very little of Wells' book is not making unduly self-serving claims about third parties (from Darwin and Haeckel through to modern biologists and textbook writers), we have little choice but to rely on what reliable third party sources have to say about his book. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 14:18, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Pseudoscientific book

I removed this description from the opening section. The argument for inclusion of this controversial insulting title was WP:GEVAL. However, the distance between the arguments for ID to the argument for flat earth is great (also, as I see it, ID only make life harder for evolution theory by indicating where simple mechanisms as this of natural selection seem not to be sufficient) and WP:GEVAL isn't applicable here. What more that I can't see how this label help to make this article of higher quality, to me it seem like a provocative one-and above all unnedded one. So if we want to avoid disputes and etc, we sure need to avoid such labels. I'm evolutionist myself, but for some reason I don't feel threatened by ID.--Gilisa (talk) 07:29, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

  • And I have reverted you, per comments I made in the threads above. The level of scientific acceptance for ID is very close to that for a Flat Earth (i.e. as close to none at all as makes no difference). In any case, this book isn't about making a case for ID, but is Wells lying about evolution, and its treatment in textbooks. The title of one of the most prominent reviews, The Talented Mr. Wells is an allusion to a fictional pathological liar. The article is simply giving WP:DUE weight to the emphatic rebuttal & condemnation of the book in RSs. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 09:25, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
  • (ec) ID exactly meets the definition of pseudoscience. It makes no testable claims. It misuses "established terms in idiosyncratic ways", it "lacks self-correction", and its own terms and definitions are so vague as to be operationally useless (have you ever measured the "specified complexity" of a book? Is that of the War and Peace greater or less than that of a brick? A brick wall? The Chrysler building? A Space Shuttle? In particular, what you seem to consider "making life harder for evolution theory by indicating where simple mechanisms as this of natural selection seem not to be sufficient" is a simple argument from ignorance. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:27, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Stephan Schulz, I'm not going to fight over it as it's just not that important for me. Just tried to make the article about the book more natural at least for its editors. As for your assertion that my argument was argument from ignorance, well, maybe putting it in different wording would make it more understood for you: I do think that there is nothing wrong with ID's arguments for irreducible complexity. That is, I do believe that simple natural selection mechanisms cant explain in persuasive manner many biological systems (The brain, for instance, is such complicated organism) -but there I didn't assert that it mean that it's an evidence that evolution didn't take place. So, in other wording-ID make some irritating questions, but the questions themselvs are not pseudoscientific. As for the comparison you made between Tolstoy's book and protein (for instance) for instance-as it's protein is much simpler than the book as there are only 20 possible words in each protein and the length of the "text" itself is much shorter. However, protein must stand selective pressure and to fit with the entire organism-so all I', saying that these are interesting questions, not more.--Gilisa (talk) 13:03, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I did not claim your argument is an argument from ignorance, but that the core ID argument is. "We don't know how this has happened, therefore Godan intelligent designer did it" exactly fits the description. It's also wrong - any example of so-called "irreducible complexity" that scientists have looked at could be shown to indeed have plausible evolutionary pathways. For the Flagellum, see e.g. Ken Miller's rebuttal here. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:53, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I just noticed that you refer to Tolstoy's book in different connection than I thought first. So, as for his book and a brick-the complexity of a brick may be somehow matched to this of few amino acids (but in no way to this of Tolstoy's book- that's obvious to both of us). But the complexity of a building made of bricks in entirely different story. --Gilisa (talk) 13:35, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
You still somewhat miss the point of my argument. The problem is that "specified complexity" does not have an operational definition. Shannon's measures of information do have a clear definition, but IDists don't like it because a random generator can produce Shannon information. Specified complexity, on the other hand, is not a consistent concept. A short program can compute pi to an arbitrary number of digits. We have good reason to believe that pi is a normal number - if it is, it contains all of War and Peace, your genome, and the entire set of Michael Jackson videos in it decimal expansion. So what is its "specified complexity"? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:48, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
The notation of "complexity" is well defined within the scope of information theory - in at least 3 different (though somewhat similar) ways. As any other purely mathamatical theory, the question of applying it to a real system is one we should address ourself - the theory will not do that for us. In this case, the argument is that there is mutual dependence between different crucial components within the same system. So, the question is whether the entire organism could survive without this system and whether gradual development of this/these system/s could occur gradually without leading the organism to its death before transfering its genes to the next generation. Or, more specifically, whether an evolutionary mechanism which select single or small number of traits in each step is enough to make the stakes for the development of functional sophisticated systems always likely. --Gilisa (talk) 17:22, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
You confuse "specified complexity", an alleged measure of "information content", that, according to some IDists, can never grow by natural means, and "irreducible complexity" - a structural property of a composite system that loses its function if one of the components is missing. "Specified complexity" is complete gibberish for anybody who knows a bit of information theory. "Irreducible complexity" may well exist, but is not a problem for evolution, as there are evolutionary pathways that can produce irreducibly complex systems (the implicit ID assumption is that such systems have to be build with only one function in mind and all at once, while in reality a) systems that are irreducible complex for their current function may well have had a different function in a reduced state and b) irreducibly complex systems can evolve by simplification from more complex reducible systems (consider an arch - it depends on all its stones, but it can be easily build by erecting scaffolding that is later taken away)). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:41, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but I didn't confuse anything. Never before you used it ever I heard or used this term (not even now, for the last). So, as I value your knowledge I didn't feel comfortable to even ask what you mean by it-but indeed it confused me, but not in the way you thought it did. I was always refering to the idea of irriducible complexity, and not to any of the ID's concepts of information theory. As for your a and b, these are interesting assumptions that we all made-but we well find one complex (just complex, literally) system or two (or more) which do not obey to these sections (infact I do think it may well apply to the brain. But we can always dismiss it by assuming that specific structures had specific function during their development or that, as in the case of language, they appeared suddenly from functional systems with other roles which developed under selective pressure (and we don't know what they served).--Gilisa (talk) 17:57, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Gilisa: ID does not make "life harder for evolution", it makes it 'harder' for life to have evolved in ways that scientists know life did not evolve in. IDers substitute implausable strawman versions of evolution for plausible scientific hypotheses. Their 'too hard' arguments, such as Michael Behe's Irreducible complexity have been branded by scientists as 'arguments from ignorance' under the formal definition of that logical fallacy. If you repeat 'too hard' in an ID context, you should expect your argument to be similarly labelled. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 13:32, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
  • It strikes me as rather synthetic. The book has been described as using "pseudoscientific tactics", but it's mainly ID itself that has been widely condemned as pseudoscience. Thus, I think it's unhelpful to use the word in the opening sentence of this article on the book, but vital to use it in the "Rejection..." section. AlmostReadytoFly (talk) 09:42, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
AlmostReadytoFly, there is a difference between pseudoscience and bad or not up to dated science. Whether we like it or not the principle of irreducible complexity is based on logic and examples. I'm not an expert for ID's theories, and if the principle of irreduciblity was proven reducible-than it only turn this idea to be unvalid. The usage of the word "psuedoscience" for a book seems to be too hasty used here.--Gilisa (talk) 14:25, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
No. Irreducible complexity is based upon logical fallacies and misunderstood examples. Behe's 'examples' have been repeatedly trashed by experts in the fields he draws them from. The idea has long-since been dismissed as lacking any scientific merit whatsoever, as has ID. Both are simply religiously-motivated creationism dressed up in a lab coat. 14:44, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Indeed there is, and ID has been widely and reliably described as the former. But that's not quite the point, in my opinion. What bothered me was whether the book itself has been reliably described as pseudoscientific. AlmostReadytoFly (talk) 15:10, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
  • No synthesis needed -- just turned this up: "Libraries with larger budgets may want to purchase books that represent viewpoints at the extremes of this struggle, including such intelligent design tracts as … Jonathan Wells's Icons of Evolution … For example we may be obligated to our patrons to make available works that embody ideas fundamental to significant cultural undercurrents such as "intelligent design" but not to burden budgets and minds with every other form of pseudoscience." -- Library journal, Volume 131, Issues 12-15. 2006. p. 45. I think this pretty clearly states that ID, explicitly including this book is "pseudoscience". HrafnTalkStalk(P) 09:54, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Incidentally, what has irreducible complexity have to do with this article? This book is not about IC and (AFAIK) does not even mention the topic. The sole commonality between the two topics is that both this book & IC are about evolution-bashing. That does not however make IC relevant. Could we stay on-topic please. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 18:15, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Wells on Haeckel

A recent edit introduced:

In the chapter on Haeckel's embryos, Wells points out that the drawings shown are distorted compared to actual images. Half of the embryos chosen were mammalian. Out of the 7 orders, embryos were shown from only 5. The embryo chosen from the amphibians was a salamander, which in its embryonic state is quite different from other amphibians. Also, the embryos were drawn not at the beginning of development, like Haeckel claimed, but rather mid-development. When real images of the embryos are shown, the embryos look the most similar in the middle stage, but less so in the beginning and later stages. Wells argues that this does not align with the evolutionary prediction of the embryos appear similar early on, then diverging later.

Here's what Gishlick had to say about this:

In the figures of embryos (Wells, 2000:95,

especially stage 4, “gastrulation”), Wells’s illustrator resorts to a number of graphic tricks in order to make the embryos appear more different than they are. First, the embryos are not shown from the same rotational angles. The chicken is shown in a different position than the other “Haeckel’s first stage” embryos. Second, they are not all scaled the same. In the figure showing the neural crest infolding, the turtle and chicken are shown at a large scale, neglecting the large yolk they sit on, while the human is shown as part of the whole developing ovum, so that the germinal disc and primitive streak formation are shown differently, even though it is shared by all amniotes (Schaunislaund, 1903; Nelson, 1953; Cruz, 1997; Schoenwolf, 1997; Figure 9). Also pictured is a frog embryo, despite its indirect development, which is very different from that of the other vertebrates pictured. Many of the general “differences” in early embryo development that Wells mentions are a result of organization due to the yolk size rather than being specific differences in the basic body-plan of the embryo (Arendt and Nübler-Jung, 1999).

For any textbook to show Haeckel’s

drawings themselves as unqualified statements of developmental anatomy or to advocate “recapitulation” in a Haeckelian sense would be inexcusable, but none of the textbooks reviewed by Wells appear to do so. Wells gleefully excoriates Futuyma for using Haeckel’s drawings (Figure 10a), but apparently in his fit of righteous indignation, he forgot to read the text, in which the drawings are discussed in a historical context — stating why Haeckel is wrong — and Futuyma has an entire chapter devoted to development and evolution. Guttman (Figure 10b) uses them in an explicitly historical context as well. Wells states that books use “Haeckel’s drawings, or redrawn versions of them” (Wells, 2000:255), but this is not true. Figures 10a–j show Haeckel’s drawings compared to the drawings in the textbooks reviewed by Wells. It can be clearly seen that a majority of the drawings are not “redrawn.” Some textbooks show more accurate drawings (Miller and Levine, Johnson, Biggs, Kapicka and Lundgren; Figures 10f,g,h); some use photos (Campbell, Reese and Mitchell, Mader; Figures 10i,j); only Starr and Taggart (Figure 10c), Raven and Johnson in their development chapter along with accurate drawings and photos; (Figure 10d), and Schraer and Stolze (but redrawn and corrected; Figure 10e) use what could be considered embryos “redrawn” from Haeckel. No textbook discusses embryology in any way that could be considered strongly “recapitulationist.” In most textbooks, embryology is presented in just one or two paragraphs, making it hard to discuss all the complexities of development. At a high school level, the aim of the book is to convey some basic concepts of biology, not to confuse students with the complexity of a subject.

The grading scheme employed by Wells

is designed for failure. This is because Wells assumes all drawings to be “redrawn” from Haeckel and gives any book with a drawing an F (Figure 11). Wells does not explain how one would determine whether they are simply redrawn from Haeckel; in any case none of the books appear to contain mindlessly redrawn figures (Figure 10a–j). Using more accurate pictures only earns a book a D. In order to earn a C or higher, a book must not use “misleading drawings or photos.” This amounts to complaining that textbooks shouldn’t allow students to be misled by reality! Wells does not specify what kind of drawings or photos would not be misleading. Thus Wells apparently thinks that all visual presentations of embryos are misleading, whether they are accurate or not. Wasn’t Wells the one complaining about selective use of data? He actually attacks Mader and Campbell, Reese, and Mitchell, for using “misleading photos” because they show embryos of a chick and a human, which he says “just happen” to have a stronger resemblance than would embryos from any other “classes” of vertebrate. Wells is wrong: a chick embryo at that stage looks much more like an alligator embryo than a mammal embryo (comparisons made from Nelson, 1953, Schaunisland, 1903, and Reese, 1915). This is in accordance with the predictions of evolutionary theory, because an alligator and a chicken share a more recent ancestor with each other than they do with a mammal, and thus should have more similar a developmental program. Wells also chides Mader for saying that embryos “have many features in common” (Wells, 2000:103–104). Does Wells assert that they have no features in common? If so, he should document it. Having failed to do this, Wells merely labels anything he does not like “misleading.” Wells also takes exception to the colloquial term “gill slits,” which is a commonly used non-technical term for pharyngeal pouches. Wells implies that by using this term, biologists and textbooks are saying that all animals’ embryos have gills. This is patently false. No textbook reviewed even implies the presence of gills in embryos. The question is what these structures are and what they become, not what they are called. Using the terms “gill slits” automatically results in a C even if the textbook contains no images, and regardless of its content. Campbell, Reese, and Mitchell, and Guttman both contain entire chapters devoted to developmental biology in which they do discuss some of the “early stage differences” that Wells suggests they do not. They receive no credit for these extensive treatments (Figure 11).

I would suggest that to imply that Wells is 'pointing out' facts, when he is in fact making misrepresentations, is not WP:NPOV. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 13:48, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

See Haeckel's embryos. The scientific consensus is that the embryos were faked, therefore his claim that the embryos were faked is valid, albeit irrelevant to evolution. ----J4\/4 <talk> 20:10, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a reliable source, and that article doesn't support your assertion anyway. There's a continuing historical analysis as to what extent Haeckel made valid extrapolations or simplifications in teaching illustrations, and to what extent he was over-zealous: the issue is in process of being revised in the Ernst Haeckel article, with some interesting sources. Calling them "faked" is an exaggeration used by anti-evolution campaigners at several times over the years. In a different issue, Haeckel was wrong to disregard Darwin's view that the similarity was between embryos of different species at specific stages, and instead to revive the pre-Darwinian idea that he wittily renamed "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". That was shown to be incorrect around 1900, but Wells fails to describe it properly. . dave souza, talk 22:35, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
I wasn't citing Wikipedia. However, as you'll see on that page, reliable sources are provide which state that Haeckel's embryos were most likely faked and that they are irrelevant to evolution. ----J4\/4 <talk> 00:23, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
J4V4 misses a major point -- the images used in the textbooks generally are not Haeckel's drawings, but rather "accurate pictures" or even photographs. One exception did use Haeckel's drawings, but only in explicit historical discussion of Haeckel's error. Wells' claim is WP:complete bollocks and repeating it without challenge is a MASSIVE violation of WP:NPOV. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 01:29, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Wells vs Gishlick on finches

Proposed edit paraphrasing Wells:

In the chapter on Darwin's finches, Wells claims that Darwin hardly looked at the finches, and that some of the notes he did jot down were incorrect. Wells further claims that the finches did little or nothing to influence Darwin's thinking. Wells writes that ornithologist David Lack is more to be credited with the popular finches, and that it was Lack who paraded the finches and claimed that they were instrumental in Darwin's theories. Wells argues that, even if the finches were not examined minutely by Darwin, they do not present evidence of evolution through slow and small steps. The finches did show oscillation between large and small beaks; as weather conditions and the availability and certain foods varied, large-beaked and small-beaked finches were alternately favored. The prevalence of one or the other would shift with the environment. However, Wells claims that no permanent changes were ever made, and the interbreeding between different finch species has led to some speculation as to the actual number of species present. Wells argues that, rather than evolving, the finch species may be "merging", combining from multiple species into a single species rather than diverging from a single species into multiple species. The widely accepted definition if species as "a group of animals that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring" contradicts this, so Wells argues that the thirteen species may actually be less than previously thought.

Gishlick:

Wells apparently feels the need to

attack the finches largely because they are an “icon” in need of destruction; the chapter on the finches is perhaps the most poorly conceived section in the book. Wells initially focuses on the “biological urban legend” that the finches inspired Darwin to compose his theory of evolution. Of course this has nothing to do with whether or not the finches are a good example of an adaptive radiation. Therefore, his “requirement” that textbooks specifically mention that the finches “played no role” in Darwin’s formulation of natural selection is irrelevant, only serving Wells’s efforts to portray evolutionary biologists as people who just “make things up.” This is like saying that because Betsy Ross did not really sew the U.S. flag, the flag does not actually exist. Wells even goes so far as to brand the finches a “legend” — what is he trying to imply? Finally, Wells’s assertion that Darwin was not inspired by the finches is not exactly correct. Although Darwin did not realize the significance of the finches until after Gould pointed it out to him in 1837, he then noted that the different species of finches were island-specific like the other Galápagos animals and suggested that they too were descendants of a mainland ancestor. Darwin made extensive notes about the finches in his diaries (Desmond and Moore, 1991). The finches, then, did play a role in the formulation of Darwin’s theory and they became an important part of his evidence for the role of natural selection in evolution; they were not a “speculative

afterthought” as Wells claims.

After branding the finches a “legend,” Wells switches gears and discusses the finches themselves, acknowledging the strength of the evidence for an adaptive radiation, given the similarities of the different species. Wells almost seems to accept that the finches are descended from a common ancestor; at least, he does not argue explicitly against it. But he demands that there be direct evidence for speciation by natural selection; in his attempt to explain how this demand could be met, the remainder of the chapter degenerates into a series of non sequiturs. This is particularly apparent in Wells’s discussion of what would constitute “direct” evidence.

Suggesting that the work of Grant and Grant claimed to be that direct evidence, he discusses their experimental work on finch beak variation. The most detailed selection work on the finches was done by the husband and wife team of Peter and Rosemary Grant. For over two decades, the Grants and their students have monitored the sizes of the beaks of some of the finches on one small island (Grant, 1999). They have documented that the size of the finch beaks is correlated to the relative rainfall on the island, and thus to the abundance and hardness of the food. During dry years larger beak size is selected for, while during wet years the beak size is more varied. Wells acknowledges that the beaks vary and that this shows natural selection. He seems to accept that the changes in beak shape are caused by natural selection in reaction to drought-caused changes in the food supply. These data are some of the most compelling for natural selection in the wild — something that even Wells has a hard time denying. However, he then contends that because the beak shape returns to a pre-drought size distribution, that no “net” evolution has occurred. But this is a mysterious contention. Natural selection occurred. If the droughts had continued, larger beak sizes would continue to be selected for, but the droughts did not. Evolutionary theory would predict that if climate oscillates, morphology would oscillate as well. The finches fit the predicted pattern. Speciation would require selection to be more constant than a couple of years here or there. It is not unreasonable to extrapolate that if just a couple of years of drought can have that significant an effect on beak size, then extended droughts could cause such variations to become fixed in a population, and lead to speciation. This is no different than extrapolations of unknown orbits. When a new comet is discovered, its orbit is calculated based on a few short-term observations. We assume that the forces acting on the comet are constant and thus we can predict its position in 10, 20, 100, etc. years. If gravity varied, then these extrapolations would be in doubt. In the case of the finches, climate varied and the extrapolations changed. Does Wells not allow scientists to make reasonable extrapolations based on data and observations? If so, physicists must be up next for Wells’s scorn. Perhaps what is most interesting about Wells’s discussion of this “icon,” however, is that in chapter 7 on the peppered moths, he denies natural selection entirely, when he could have made the same argument — that “no net evolution occurred” because the distribution of dark and light forms of the moths returned to pre-industrial levels just as the finch beaks return to predrought levels. For finches he accepts natural selection, but for the peppered moths he does not.

I think that this is fairly clear evidence that Wells' version should not be presented at face value. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 13:58, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Note that the article repeatedly uses phrases such as "Wells claims" or "Wells argues" to indicate that his claims don't represent scientific consensus. ----J4\/4 <talk> 20:08, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
The edit which I've reverted is phrased in a way that incorrectly gives equal validity to the misrepresentations by Wells. Darwin's finches clearly influenced Darwin's thinking, even though Darwin didn't appreciate their importance until Gould revealed in 1837 that what seemed completely different kinds of birds, from gross-beak to blackbird to wren, were all species of finches. The term Darwin's Finches was first applied by Percy Lowe in 1936, and popularised in 1947 by David Lack in his book Darwin's Finches which examined ecological implications. Wells appears to conflate the distinct species of finches with the studies by Peter and Rosemary Grant on rapid fluctuations in beak size of one species, as described in The Beak of the Finch. So, a better description of the errors Wells puts forward can be taken from secondary sources, but repeating his misdescriptions is not acceptable. . dave souza, talk 22:51, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
First, you have to at least state the claims in order to refute them (I'm not saying that the refutation should be removed, as you apparently think). Furthermore, the content I added is a mere summary of the content of that chapter (even with every sentence preceded with a phrase such as "Wells claims" or "Wells argues" to demonstrate that the majority of scientists disagree with his statements). If a an article about a book isn't even allowed to say what's in the book, then Wikipedia is officially dead. ----J4\/4 <talk> 00:26, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
"Wells argues" does NOT demonstrate the majority of scientists disagree. If you want to go into so much detail, you will have to go into extensive detail in rebuttal. If you wish to limit this down a bit instead of shoving a huge paragraph that someone else wrote in there, maybe we can get somewhere. But the paragraphs cannot go in whole and unqualified. You are not going to get your way edit-warring. You will just end up getting blocked again for a longer time. Auntie E. 01:02, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
As you can see, my most recent edit drastically cut down the amount of pro-ID material in the section on Darwin's finches, so that in fact there were only a few sentences. ----J4\/4 <talk> 01:27, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
The Wisker quote only gives a brief general rebuttal to Wells' claims. If details of his claims are to be included, then WP:DUE weight to the details of the scientific rebuttal of those claims needs to be included. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 01:40, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree that someone should add those rebuttals. However, I don't know where I would find additional scientific rebuttals to Wells's claims, so I can't add that. ----J4\/4 <talk> 01:44, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Icons of Evolution#Critical of 'Icons of Evolution' is a good, and perfectly obvious, place to start. It in turn links to TOA's Icons of Evolution FAQs which contains another, prominently featured, "Other links" list, including to "Gishlick's detailed and illustrated debunking for the National Center for Science Education." (quoted extensively above) "I don't know where I would find" would appear to eqaute to 'I didn't look'.
I added sources from there, so that, like the sections on Miller-Urey and the tree of life, the section consisted of a small amount of summary and a large amount of reliably-sourced rebuttal, but it still got reverted. ----J4\/4 <talk> 20:07, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but as you failed to either make that point in an edit summary, or here, it was fairly easy to overlook the scientific criticism embedded within the Wells material, particularly given your previous frequent insertions of solely-Wells material. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 04:00, 31 October 2009 (UTC)


Vitriol and Bias

soapboxing
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


this is a shorter post than before......so blanking it out because you see it as "soapboxing" would be disrespectful and very convenient, in order to dodge the actual specific points.

(to dave souza and Mann jess)

my edits were GOOD FAITH... And were accurate and neutral.

NO VALID REASON TO KEEP REVERTING IT, IN FAVOR OF SOMETHING SO BLATANTLY POV AND BIASED, IN THE LEAD.

The article is not a MySpace blog, but it's supposed to be an Encyclopedic article that is supposed to have at least a semblance of neutral tone.

Saying "pseudoscience" especially right off the bat in the lead is anything but "neutral".

I simply re-worded it with a more neutral unbiased and factual tone. With no pro or con either way.


Ok, so anyway,

I shortened the points here, (and on the talk page of the article), a lot more, if that makes you happy...

because you don't like what's being said you call it ranting and soap-boxing, and blank the whole thing basically.

try addressing the points instead of whining about the length or whatever.... Anyway, I made it a lot shorter... With less "soap-boxing" or whatever you saw it as.

The basic point I was making is that my edits were good-faith AND SHOWED NO BIAS EITHER WAY.


So why revert that, unless it's to keep a biased and vitriolic agenda going, to prejudice the reader RIGHT OFF THE BAT, in the intro?

I simply made the intro more neutral, with no bias EITHER WAY....in any direction. As WP Policy says should be.


If a Young Earther came on and made the intro pro-Wells, I WOULD REMOVE THAT TOO. And my point is that NPOV is the main pillar of WP. And it's being arguably violated on this article, especially in the intro.


"Pseudoscience" should NOT be stated dogmatically in the intro, as if WP itself agreed with that, but should be stated that OTHERS say that, as it is a little later on. With references. But not right in the very opening, with no neutral tone, to poison the well right off the bat.

(I'm not the only one obviously who thinks that for a first-sentence intro, the wording currently is blatantly biased with no neutrality whatsoever. Which is against WP policy.)

"Majority view" is the cop-out, because NEUTRALITY IN WORDING takes precedence even over that, especially in the lead. In a supposedly Encyclopedic article. Plus it can be stated a little later that the "majority of scientists" reject the book as "pseudoscience", as it was later on anyway. But NOT that WP itself necessarily takes that biased view. That's against NPOV summarized in WP:NPOV and WP:YESPOV


That was my basic point. Try addressing that specifically. Thank you.


68.237.215.48 (talk) 19:39, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

This is not discussing your edits. This is ranting about how WP is biased. Please point to a specific section of the text, explain why it violates WP policy (I'd suggest reading WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:FRINGE first), and suggest a specific textual change to that section. Let's take this one piece at a time. Reliable sources would help. (You also might want to check out WP:PA) Jesstalk|edits 19:25, 9 October 2010 (UTC)