Talk:Intelligent design/Archive 80

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Using Wikipedia's narrative voice

I've mentioned this several times in the past on this talk page.

I've revised the lead sentence to restore the more factual, neutral version we had a few weeks ago. It's one thing to state in Wikipedia's voice that "ID is a form of creationism". Few would argue that, except maybe from the fringes. But to dictate in Wikipedia's voice that "ID is a pseudoscientific theory" strikes me as inflammatory, closer to dictating a controversial sociopolitical opinion to the reader as fact. Yes, I know it's a fact. We have sources to show it. The point is, a Wikipedia article should not take a stand on a controversial issue in Wikipedia's voice.

Either call it what it is (creationism) or call it a theory, but leave the inflammatory and politically-loaded adjectives (pseudoscientific) out of it. ~Amatulić (talk) 16:51, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

I've reverted your edit. The wording is the result of extensive talk page discussion and it is based on WP:RS so there's no need to water it down. Regards. Gaba (talk) 16:58, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Honestly, I'm confused as to how creationism is less controversial than pseudoscience; for me, it's the other way around. And I think calling it a theory would violate WP:FRINGE. Instead, we need to make it known that it's presented as a scientific theory, but that the scientific community rejects this classification. The term pseudoscience seems to fit the bill perfectly, but I'm always open to suggestions. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 16:59, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
"Yes, I know it's a fact. We have sources to show it." The sources say its pseudoscience hence we call it that way. We do not dictate anything at wikipedia. We report what the sources say. And the reliable sources say its pseudoscience, and that is according to NPOV and WP:FRINGE. Also please present all the papers that show that ID has become a scientific theory. NathanWubs (talk) 17:13, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
The point, which keeps getting missed, is how Wikipedia's voice is being used. The narrative should properly attribute views that a large proportion of the general population consider controversial. The intended audience for this article is far broader than just scientists, for whom there is no controversy about such terms.
Yes, we report what sources say. But when reporting what they say, we must also report that they say it, not simply parrot the source and cite it. That's hardly in compliance with WP:NPOV. Wikipedia has no business taking positions on contentious issues, especially when loaded adjectives come into play, terms that may have precise meaning to scientists but not to a general audience.
I recall in the past, I advocated calling it a "notion" or "view" or "position", which I felt were perfectly accurate, and which no one would disagree with regardless of ideology. The proposal didn't get anywhere.
Again I reiterate, a Wikipedia article has no business stating loaded language found in sources in Wikipedia's own narrative voice. This is why so many people come here to complain that the article is biased. Simply saying it's a form of creationism, or stating "Intelligent design is the idea that..." and following with the rest of the paragraph that says what the scientific community thinks of it, should be sufficient. ~Amatulić (talk) 17:25, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Intelligent design isn't creationism, though: it's creationism dressed up in lies to make it appear to be scientific. You are right in the sense that Wikipedia generally shouldn't come out and say "your religion is false". We carefully avoid saying that. However, falsely claiming that a religion has scientific support comes under WP:FRINGE, and that's what intelligent design is: falsely claiming scientific support for a religious view.—Kww(talk) 17:41, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Furthermore, its proponents make a point that ID is not creationism. Surely Amatulic doesn't want the WP voice to counter that claim. See Point 7 at this DI webpage. Yopienso (talk) 17:58, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, you are correct, I'm guilty of inserting my own view in here: that it's common knowledge among the general population that ID==creationism in spite of proponents' denials. Gaba's reversion of my edit was justified, which is why I am not trying to restore my edit.
Once again, the point I'm trying to make is that the article makes improper use of Wikipedia's narrative voice. The way it's written comes across as a sociopolitical opinion being dictated to a general audience. As a scientifically-trained person myself, I agree with it, and it's the scientific consensus. However, the lead should not state it that way, using such loaded language. It should state, with proper attribution in the prose (not just the citations) what proponents say it is, and what the courts and scientific community says it is, in a detached way that doesn't give the appearance of Wikipedia taking a position.
Aside: I note with interest that an old 2007 version of the ID article on Conservapedia referred to ID as an "hypothesis", which was later changed to "theory" and now stands at "empirically testable theory" with a rather circular reference. ID is a "theory" in the layman's sense but not the scientific sense.
The most accurate, neutral, and non-controversial term that comes to my mind is "proposition". It isn't necessary to label ID as anything else, because the sentences that immediately follow the lead sentence provide the proper context quite well. ~Amatulić (talk) 18:19, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
I would consent to changing pseudoscientific theory to proposition so long as the connection to pseudoscience was made later. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 19:43, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Yes, that's what I'm proposing. Currently, the sentences in the lead paragraph consist of (a) brief descriptive statement, (b) proponent's position, (c) scientists and educators position.

I propose we move the "pseudoscience" term from sentence (a) to sentence (c), and use a more neutral term like "proposition" in sentence (a). Currently the (c) sentence doesn't mention pseudoscience, but there's no reason why it shouldn't. ~Amatulić (talk) 20:33, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

"Pseudoscience" is the NPOV term, per its use in reliable sources that discuss its relationship to evolutionary theory. If the lead said claptrap or hogwash that would be one thing, but it doesn't. It clearly states that intelligent design is pseudoscience, and that is what the lead should do.—Kww(talk) 22:27, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
The term "Pseudoscience" is often considered inherently pejorative, a version of 'fraud' or 'scam'. That would fail WP:NPOV guides to prefer nonjudgmental language, to avoid stating opinions as facts, and to indicate the relative prominence of opposing views. I believe that it would be more factually supported by cite to state the definition, then in separate phrase indicate 'generally considered creationism' or 'considered creationism by the scientific community'. The term 'pseudoscience' does not appear as prominent or common so I suppose to indicate the relative prominence one might add 'and a smaller group consider it pseudoscience'. Markbassett (talk) 00:16, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
That would contravene WP:FRINGE/PS. ID clearly comes under "Proposals which, while purporting to be scientific, are obviously bogus may be so labeled and categorized as such without more justification". It clearly is not an area where "a reasonable amount of academic debate still exists".—Kww(talk) 03:49, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
See, that's the problem. ID isn't obviously bogus to a large part of the population, perhaps even a majority. It's obviously bogus to the majority of those who have scientific training, and even then it isn't obviously bogus to some ID supporters who also have scientific credentials. This isn't your run of the mill fringe theory that the majority of the world's population knows well enough to reject. For that reason, it merits careful consideration of how the lead sentence presents it to a general audience, rather than slavishly applying a guideline that doesn't quite fit the subject perfectly. ~Amatulić (talk) 16:46, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Ah, but it does fit the subject perfectly, Amatulić. It's pseudoscience. That it's pseudoscience that the gullible are willing to believe promoted by a very skilled PR campaign doesn't elevate it, and, in fact, makes it even more important that we unambiguously state what it is without any kind of softening.—Kww(talk) 16:55, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
'Kww On the contrary WP:FRINGE/PS would push 'psuedoscience' down and not have it in the first line. The guide and examples perpetual motion and astrology seem clear that it remains WP:NPOV by putting the 'pseudoscience' statement later inside content so that it can fulfill *both* NPOV of stating the definition neutrally, factually, and fairly while still satisfying the context of scientific evaluation and showing relative prominence in a controlled and explicit manner. Markbassett (talk) 17:45, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Amatulic - Proposition seems wrong First, because it is still doing the choosing of labeling rather than simply having a basis in authoritative cite. Second, because the use in the cites from DI of "theory" is what causes the conflict -- if they had defined it as a 'criticism' or 'irony' it would not have been a potentially teachable alternative to Darwin. And third, the word 'proposition' defines as a statement of opinion (the proposition that all men are created equal) or a suggested plan of action in a business sense (detailed investment proposition). Meh. I still think this article is too biased to fix, but going for non-objectionable language does not seem more authentic or less biased. Markbassett (talk) 00:30, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
If "proposition" seems wrong, then choose something else that is neutral, factual, and which few would argue with. "Pseudoscience" ain't it, either. "Belief" perhaps? ~Amatulić (talk) 16:46, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
No editorial labelling at all: I have flagged the WP:OR nature of 'choosing' an adjective for part of the definition, to instead just stop inserting editorial labels over cite material and simply put in the concept as described by an originator cite, with second line having something about the relative prominence of view of 'generally considered creationism by the scientific community' and optionally 'minority say pseudoscience' supported by cites. That way is easily verifiable by significant cites and quickly clear about the conflict of concept defined versus judgement on source or scientific category the concept is then binned into. Markbassett (talk) 18:10, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
@Nathan Wubs. "The sources say its pseudoscience". Some sources use the word pseudoscience to describe one of the concepts referred to as Intelligent Design. But how does that tell us that we must put these words in the first sentence?
@Mister Dub. "I would consent to changing pseudoscientific theory to proposition so long as the connection to pseudoscience was made later." Why is the term so important to you, out of all terms used in all sources available? It is certainly not the most common way of describing any of the things called Intelligent Design as far as I can see. Give a reason if you want to convince people. Second point is that if we change "theory" to "proposition" you still are clearly not addressing the question of which sources we are using and whether they are even talking about the same thing. I agree with Mark Bassett on this.
The whole approach is wrong and too politicized, not even trying to be guided by sources. The terms "theory", "creationism" and "pseudoscience" are indeed all used in specific contexts and possibly useful to our article, but none of them are good for a first sentence because they are all have multiple meanings and are highly context sensitive and unclear when dropped out of the blue into an opening sentence. The discussions on this talk page show that we are NOT cutting and pasting these words because we are guided by analysis of the sources (such analysis never happens here), but because we are (as Amatulic says) synthesizing something original for WP to say its own voice.
Contrast with the OED definition which we are ironically currently citing in our opening sentence, even while this Wikipedia article is clearly not agreeing with the OED: "The belief that physical and biological systems observed in the universe result chiefly from purposeful design by an intelligent being rather than from chance and other undirected natural processes." Can Wikipedia have an article about that subject too?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:23, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
The purpose of a dictionary is to provide a definition. An encyclopedia aims to do more than that—"The lead should define the topic and summarize the body of the article with appropriate weight." Readers would be misled if they were told merely that ID is a certain belief (just like all other beliefs?). Johnuniq (talk) 07:22, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Of course we should go beyond the OED. I am questioning whether we should disagree with it (especially on a non-technical term where we claim to be simply delineating the article based on common usage!). Can you please explain what you mean by saying intelligent design is not just like all other beliefs? If this is an important point for the lead let's define it so we can say it more clearly.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:52, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
The Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience set out at the head of the page are clear. "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and its content on scientific and quasi-scientific topics will primarily reflect current mainstream scientific consensus." and "Obvious pseudoscience: Theories which, while purporting to be scientific, are obviously bogus may be so labeled and categorized as such." We are not in these case dealing with legitamate alternative views which each need to be given coverage. Moving "pseudoscientific" down the lead to be replaced with "proposal" would in this context be weasel wording, implying that ID is in some way a valid alternative. I oppose the change.--Charles (talk) 08:14, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Charles, we can not get every important idea into the first sentence. In particular, words which are highly context sensitive and have multiple meanings, need to be set-up in a context, and not dumped into an opening sentence. Your position would however make more sense if it could be made more clear that from the opening which meaning of "Intelligent Design" we are using in this article. Given that we are NOT using the OED dictionary meaning the potential for confusion is pretty obvious?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:22, 14 May 2014 (UTC) EDITED --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:58, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Just to avoid it being swamped and forgotten, I was asking why Johnuniq said that we can not call intelligent design a "belief". There is something I am missing there, and it might be helpful.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:18, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Andrew - I think WP goal is for the article of ID the concept. Partly this might be viewed as the most common association to the term in google count sense, and partly the content contains technical details of the concept and refutations. ID the belief would seem more a poll of what folks believe in this arena and belief is mentioned a bit, but factualy mentioning what folks believe seems less vital e.g. some belief that there is persecution of scientists who support it; some belief that it is a scam; etcetera could factually survey the opinions and we'd still have an 'opinions about what' question need to have 'ID the concept' article. Markbassett (talk) 18:25, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Having the article start out "Intelligent Design Theory is a term describing the concept that...." or something similar, wouldn't be a bad idea either. ~Amatulić (talk) 18:40, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Amatulić, I would oppose that exact phrasing. Saying that the subject, when written, constitutes a term is both obvious and unnecessary. I also strongly oppose renaming the article "Intelligent Design Theory," as this term is rarely used and the common name, by far, is intelligent design (or simply ID); intelligent design is the name of a purportedly scientific theory, from which the movement to promote the "theory" takes its name. Taking these arguments into consideration would leave us with a proposal I would support, "Intelligent design is the concept that...". -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 20:36, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
I was just throwing it out there as a suggestion. I didn't mean to recommend that exact phrasing. Someone else mentioned in this thread, or the one below, that sources on all sides use the term "Intelligent Design Theory" so I must have been thinking of that when I wrote the suggestion. In any case, "Intelligent design is the concept that...." is better, more succinct. Nobody could argue that it isn't a concept. The next two sentences would describe the proponents view and the scientific view including the fact that it is regarded as pseudoscience. ~Amatulić (talk) 23:56, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
I still see no reason for this, given that the proponents view has no weight. This whole effort seems to be attempting to provide credibility for a view that has none. Despite your protestations, WP:FRINGE/PS clearly applies.—Kww(talk) 04:10, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
@Markbassett, I do not understand the importance for our opening line of the distinction you are making between beliefs and concepts. Belief is just a simpler word, and the opening you propose is definitely not simple. I think all usages of the two word term Intelligent Design are of a concept which is either believed in or not believed in, because they relate to statements about reality, not pure abstraction.
@Mister Dub, you keep writing like there is a policy that we have to use the most common term, when we do not, and it would not even be possible to have a policy like that. Read the policy again please. You are also continually pretending that you do not know that this two word term does not always get used to refer to a "theory", and so you can not just count how often it is used, obviously. The cases where it is clearly being used to refer to a "theory" always also use that third word as well. (I accept the minor point that the word order is sometimes moved around, but our expert secondary sources tend to make a three word term. I grant that good secondary sources are a minority of the ones that google will hit, but they are more important for google policy. We are supposed to be guided by them.)
I would also like to repeat my question with why Intelligent Design, by any definition, is not a normal "belief". It seems important to Johnuniq.
I'll add a second question which is that if this article is not about that belief (which has a dictionary entry) then what title can a Wikipedia article about that subject have?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 05:37, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

@ Amatulić, agree that it's better to call ID a concept, and have changed the opening words to pseudoscientific concept. While that works well for me, I'm not inherently opposed to confining the wording to concept provided that the central pseudoscientific quality is explained early in the first paragraph. So, we can consider possible ways of achieving that. . dave souza, talk 09:52, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Just a quick note to say I have no big problem with concept versus belief, but still think it odd that belief is such an issue. I felt it might be relevant. Johnuniq seemed to feel there was something obvious and important about this, and Johnuniq and is a power player on this article. I would like to understand.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:14, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Open sourcing questions reminder

Very briefly. Can we get some justifications on record for the following please:

  • What excuse do we have apart from WP:SNYTH, for needing footnotes in our leads which contain large numbers of sources? I have seen cases in normal articles where highly disputed sentences eventually deserved 2 sources, but anything above 3 is normally a sign of an avoidable problem, and particularly to be avoided in leads. For example are we trying to say too much in each sentence?
  • Recent changes have made a big difference to the implied definition of what the subject of this article is. Previously the first sentence said ID was a type of argument from design. This was a highly debated point concerning sourcing. The new version says it is primarily pseudoscience. I think there has been no justification or discussion of a rationale for this, just a proposed edit, a straw poll, and the usual defensiveness against editors who have questions about it.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:37, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
I will only comment on your second point. Is what you are suggesting that you want pseudoscience back in the second paragraph instead of the first? After all pseudoscience has been in the lead since somewhere at the beginning of 2012. Before that there was at least a few mentions of pseudoscience in the article as well. the only recent change is the move to the first paragraph instead of the second. NathanWubs (talk) 10:18, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Hi NathanWubs, yes, I think that there is a clear change of emphasis in the new version of the lead, and I have never been concerned with the general use of the term pseudoscience. A first sentence is important.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:40, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
@ Andrew, re your first point, the lead has been contested over a long time and footnotes have developed to answer the various points. Your vague generalisation is not helpful, and your speculation is inaccurate. As for the second point, when did the first sentence say that ID was a type of argument from design? The point that ID is pseudoscience has two sources, I've proposed an alternative for one: see above. . . dave souza, talk 11:14, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Dave, that second bit is off the thread and note you've just ignored Andrews 'can we get some justifications on record' with what looks like demonstrating 'defensiveness against editors who have questions about it.' To the second point please next time maybe do a simple one-line response to summarize your recollection of why that was done and giving an archive link to | Talk Archive 79 instead as faster and maybe more heading towards good results. Markbassett (talk) 13:34, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Hi Dave, yes the lead was much discussed, and then suddenly changed with no discussion on the basis of a straw poll where no rationale was given for the very different emphasis now given by the lead. I am not talking about whether or not your two sources are enough to justify mentioning pseudoscience in some way in the article. I am saying that the way the lead is now written makes pseudoscience the primary defining notion concerning the article's subject matter. Such a thing requires more than a few vague scattered sources. The first sentence should reflect what we find in all or most sources, don't you think?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:40, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
As | Talk Archive 79 and discussion above shows, clear proposals were discussed and implemented. The first sentence reflects one of the defining characteristics of ID, that it's presented as science and is not science, but rather is pseudoscience. It's well sourced, not long ago you were complaining that the lead had too many sources! . . dave souza, talk 17:00, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
You are still avoiding the question totally. I do not deny that random angry sources use the word pseudoscience and I am not interested in whether we use it as well. I am talking about the fact that it is now being used as the primary defining mark of what this article is about. This major change of article definition was not discussed before the change was made (which was agreed by election) and reverses the results of previous rather long discussions concerning what this article is about. I understand that you and others refined your position at that time away from saying that this article is about the intelligent design movement (which has its own article) and towards saying that this article is about a type of argument from design presented as science. Do you deny this? So if we are unable to stick to that, and indeed I feel the sources we use are really about the IDM in most cases, why not merge this article with IDM (or make it the IDM article)? You seem to be unable to state a consistent position about this. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:32, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
Nope, this is about a form of creationist pseudoscience which uses as its positive argument the argument from design. It's a more specific topic than the general teleological argument, which has its own article, as we've discussed. The movement is covered in detail in the sub-article to this main article. . dave souza, talk 15:55, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
So the article is about the Intelligent Design Movement again, like I said, right? If not, what is the difference now? Please understand I am not trying to impose a position on you, just trying to get you to settle down on a single clear position. I think I have asked what the article is about 20 times and received 20 different answers from only a small number of active editors, mainly you and Mister Dub. (I thank you both for at least trying.) As a result, in recent months a fine distinction was being made between this article and Intelligent Design Movement, whereby you and others said that this article was actually about a type of argument from design (the one associated with the Movement, and associated with being presented as science). I take it that this position is now rejected. No problem but then the original question comes back, which is why this article is not entitled "Intelligent Design Movement". That would resolve a lot of confusion I think, because then many of the most contested wording and sourcing issues might become much easier to discuss.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:38, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

For the record I note that no one has even attempted to give an reply to my first request for explanation: why we are using >2 sources per sentence in our lead, and why we should not simply say that either we should delete some, or else there is synthesis? (I think that it is the second option, and I have looked at the sourcing.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:10, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

As above, the lead has been contested over a long time and references or footnotes have developed to answer the various specific points. Your vague generalisation is not helpful. . dave souza, talk 15:55, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
Why: Seems simple to me -- it's a bias insertion. Folks could not face providing the definition (from DI) without inserting a bit of piddling on it by 'creationism' (now 'psuedoscience'). I would think this is more WP:OR or rather simply advocacy of a position by phrasing rather than WP:SYNTH because this phrasing seems not a combination of sources nor does it seem the most common meaning in the WP goal sense, partly because the term 'pseudoscience' is less common use or partly that respected bodies seem unlikely to get that vehement. (Google shows 1.4M hits of ID; ID and creationism gives 700K; ID and pseudoscience is 127K it the most common in Google count terms.) That may reflect a practical matter for advocacy, outside of WP guidelines, that putting such phrasing in the initial WP sentence or relabeling ID as IDC is the only way to make sure that any google or extract will always have included the pseudoscience/creationism labeling. Meh. I've said it before - this article is unrecoverably biased, but it's clearly biased so that makes it less bad . Markbassett (talk) 20:41, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
Dave, I do not see you denying a problem, but you seem to be quite sure that no attempt should be made to look closer? Not sure how else to interpret it, but then again the answer is not apparently meant to be useful. Honestly, this is an amazingly hopeless answer? Has anyone else got a better one? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:29, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
It's standard operating procedure. See Shakespeare authorship question for another article dealing with a FRINGE topic in an entirely different area. It also has significant notes for statements in the lead, and for exactly the same reason. Readers and editors want details on the claims made, and some of the editors want to contest the claims. It is very helpful to present the situation clearly in the article. Does anyone have a proposal for improving the article? Johnuniq (talk) 07:01, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
WP:OTHERSTUFF is not a convincing justification, but also the article you mention does not contain footnotes in the lead which have more than 2 sources? So no, it is certainly not standard procedure, and I find your assertion and your comparison quite surprising.
Concerning your demand for proposals for improvement:
(a) Are we not discussing a concrete proposal? I suggested reducing sourcing per sentence down to a maximum of 2 or 3, and strip out all footnotes which contain many sources and no clear explanation of how the sources are specifically relevant to the sentences (often more than one, which is also very unusual) they are supposedly justifying.
(b) On a sensitive article like this, getting people's rationales clear is necessary in order get discussion about what proposals are possible. When I came to this article I started out making lots of proposals, but that was a waste of time. There is a lot of caution about proposals on this talk page, so it is clear that just holding elections all the time, avoiding discussions about real justifications for things, only keeps the article and the talk page working in circles, and keeps trust levels low. See WP:NOTDEM.
(c) I am also asking for more explanation about a change which was in effect never proposed. To me it seems we have recently switched this article back to it being more openly the main article about the Intelligent Design Movement. I start to think that this article can never really NOT be that, partly because our sources also do not clearly divide up the different things known as "Intelligent Design" and this thought does lead me to thoughts about proposals that could be made. Most obviously: should we make this article a dab? But note that I think such proposals need discussion, not snap elections.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:27, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
An answer was provided for your question, but you are not happy with the answer. That is not a reason to change the article. Johnuniq (talk) 07:58, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
I asked two questions at the top of this section. Concerning the first question, Dave souza's comments are not really on the same topic. But the discussion led to a third question about how we should distinguish this article from Intelligent Design Movement. This has also not been answered. Concerning the second question, about footnotes, your answer is not tenable for the reasons explained above. Concerning proposals to change the article, if I make proposals I will try to make sure the reasons are clear. The current proposal about reducing the synthetic footnotes in the lead (if no one can come up with a good reason not to) is clearly policy-based and not some personal preference of mine. These highly unusual footnotes do not allow verification, and as far as I can see they should not be necessary if there is no synthesis. WP:V and WP:NOR are core content policies on Wikipedia.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:18, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
No one here needs to be reminded about V and NOR—if there is some text in the article that contravenes those policies, please identify it. I am not aware of a policy that "synthetic footnotes in the lead" must be "reduced". Johnuniq (talk) 10:25, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
I think your reply can not have been carefully considered. Synthetic footnotes are not the only type of synthesis which we have a problem with on WP. I dare not remind you of the well-known link? Any single point which needs to be put together from 6 or 7 sources, is synthetic. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:38, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Like I said before, feel free to challenge the citations; I am confident they will hold up. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 14:51, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Show the world then, as per WP:BURDEN. If the sourcing holds up without synthesis, then delete the ones you do not need. Just leave one source per point being made in our text. Remove sources not relevant to our text. Should be possible right? Why is this request so problematic?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:51, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Delighted to... which claim(s) do you challenge? -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 21:19, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
Just to repeat, all of the ones which combine more than one source in order to synthesize one particular conclusion. You should start with the sentences which have the most sources being synthesized. I bet you won't though.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 05:55, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────There is no policy or guideline that "synthetic footnotes in the lead" must be "reduced", and once again the substance of my comment has not been addressed. Let me repeat, if there is some text in the article that contravenes those policies (V and NOR), please identify it. If there is a footnote that violates a policy, identify the wording that is in violation, and outline the part of the policy that it conflicts with. Johnuniq (talk) 08:16, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Andrew, I don't think you understand how this works. Like Johnuniq said, there are no requirements for so-called "synthetic" footnotes. But here, citation #4 list three sources to support the definition of ID as the claim that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." First source is the DI stating that "[t]he theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." Second source states "[i]ntelligent design is a scientific theory which holds that certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, and are not the result of an undirected, chance-based process such as Darwinian evolution." And, as the third source explains, "[t]he theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion that can be adequately explained by only natural causes."
All three sources exactly support the claim. No synthesis detected. Bullshit claims about synthesis disproven. Thank you. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 14:14, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
All synthesis, whether it is footnotes or the body of the text, is against Wikipedia core content policy. I am stunned to read that two experienced editors do not understand this. Your wall of words is talking past the issue. In cases where we have impregnable copses of sources there are two options, not one: one is synthesis, which is a no-no; and the other is that all the sources are saying the same thing, in which case we should trim back to one per point being made. Either way, I can not see any excuse for so aggressively defending such thickets as these clearly now make verification and indeed editing or talk page discussions very difficult. One almost have to wonder if that it the aim. If not, then why fight so hard against just fixing the problem?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:40, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
If you think it's such a problem, get off your ass and fix it! -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 14:52, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Andrew accusing other editors of "walls of words" is so deliciously ironic XD.
Andrew, I believe this is the millionth time (no hyperbole here) you've been told the same: propose a concise, precise and reliably sourced edit and it can be discussed. Everything else is your usual abuse of talk page. Regards. Gaba (talk) 16:57, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
@Mister Dub. Before I (or anyone else) attempt to fix anything Mister Dub, or discuss any specific example out of hundreds, I asked if there was any special reason we needed such highly special world record footnoting in the lead of this article. This is a very normal first step and would not normally be the type of question which would receive such aggressively defensive reactions. In summary then, the answer was apparently no. Right?
@Gaba P. Your own posts are, as I have mentioned many times, basically never on topic, and always in open conflict with community norms here. Mine were on topic. There might indeed be a tinge of irony when I use some words very often used by others on this talk page. But in all seriousness "wall of words" is an accusation which makes some sense when an answer is completely beside the point. My questions were perfectly clear and valid. The answers, i.e. that it is "standard practice", and that it is supposedly permitted, were obviously not ever intended to be relevant or constructive answers, just one more turn of the merry go round.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:08, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
This is not a forum so why post the above? For the third time, if there is some text in the article that contravenes those policies (V and NOR), please identify it. Johnuniq (talk) 07:17, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
I posted a response to others. If you are asking why I started the whole section, do you really want to understand? If you are working in good faith, just read the opening lines and read the most recent @Mister Dub response. How could it be more clear?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:57, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
The question here Andrew Lancaster is whether you are working in good faith. I have seen editors topic banned before for persistently reopening old discussions which have reached consensus, deliberately wasting the time of bonafide editors by creating walls of text that go nowhere.--Charles (talk) 08:31, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Actually Charles I do not think this is true. I think no one has made any serious or clear accusation against me, and neither have you. The best people can come up with is not assuming good faith enough (like you I suppose), and that I write too much. But I do not think any other editor of this talk page sticks to topic, sources, policy, as much as me. The main distractions are the ad hominem posts, like yours, and the constant questions I get asked to reply to and then criticized for replying to when I reply (often by the same editors who asked for the replies). It is difficult to avoid replying to some questionable posts (like now), because discussions are often being distorted in a way which makes mutual understanding difficult. It is not easy, but I am trying.
One of the reasons I decided to spend time on this article was that already before I arrived the talk page was already full of vague threats and accusations exactly like the one you have just made. The effect is to bully and obfuscate and effectively disable discussions. I am trying to avoid being distracted by such threats, and stick to policy and sources etc. And notably, but not surprisingly, after many months of watching, I have never seen one of these threats become concrete or even clear, neither to me nor anyone else. Such threats are of course a subject of quite a history of community consensus on Wikipedia. It is notable that this article has several influential and energetic editors who virtually ONLY post ad hominem posts on this talk page. Why don't you complain about them?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:58, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
And on cue, Johnuniq just placed a new threat on my talkpage. These threats are clearly just an attempt at argument through the use of (perceived) power rather than reason, and come from a small number of involved editors. I am pretty sure Johnuniq could not recite one opinion of mine with any accuracy, but he and Gaba P have been hounding me and others on this talk page for a long time in a highly aggressive manner. This is a long term problem on this article, going back back well before I arrived. Unlike my own posts, these threats show no understanding or interest in the subject of the on-topic discussions here, which I have been constructively involved in for months. How does this make the encylopedia better guys?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:36, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

And next on cue, after all this talk page discussion asking what possible purpose there can be to have so many footnotes, and then my demonstration below that the Mark Greener source, which is one of two sources in the middle of the first sentence backing the same term (pseudoscientific theory), does not even mention "pseudoscientific theory", Gaba P, who raised no objections here, has reverted my edit then just for good measure added 3 more into the middle of the sentence! Why? What purpose? Is this like a show of power?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:38, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

I understood you had expressed concerns about the sourcing of ID being pseudoscience so I added more sources to alleviate said concerns. I thought that you had removed the Harvard source along with the other (which is why my summary reads what it does) so I reverted, I apologize. It is true that one of those sources (the one you removed) does not mention "ID is pseudoscience" literally but quite clearly refer to it as such as the title demonstrates. I wouldn't necessarily oppose the removal of this particular source if other editors agreed though. Regards. Gaba (talk) 15:30, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
No Gaba, I have explicitly and repeatedly said I have no debate with the proposal that ID can be sourced as being pseudoscience. There are other concerns, such as whether we should really drop that into the opening words of the article without setting up the context, and whether recently doing this has changed the delineation of this article (or made its overlap with IDM just much more obvious). But my specific concern when I removed that ONE source, was twofold (a) unnecessary extra sourcing in the middle of a sentence and (b) the source I removed is not suitable for the purpose of describing ID as a "pseudoscientific theory" (a two word term) because it is actually an unusual case of a source which never calls it a theory. I am glad to hear there was an error involved, and very glad to see you admit it and apologize. Thanks. I still am perplexed though about why the number of footnotes is being seen as so important and sensitive on this article. This certainly is an interesting article to watch! --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:15, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
So it was by mistake that we ended up with 5 unnecessary footnotes in the middle of the opening sentence. Can we not remove at least 4 of them please, and preferably move the remaining one to the end of the sentence? And do ANY of them actually use the term "pseudoscientific theory" yet?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 05:19, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I prefer having them there since this is such a contentious issue for some. The ones I added all refer to ID as a pseudoscience, the requirement of having in them verbatim the phrase "pseudoscientific theory" to be able to source it is incorrect, otherwise WP would just be a carbon copy of published texte. Regards. Gaba (talk) 10:18, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
So by adding more and more sources which say "pseudoscience", something which no one debates that sources say, we increase the level of consensus and reassure editors that their other concerns can be forgotten? I put it to you that this is not going to be the effect. I do not believe this is the right approach, nor is it one typically advised or used on Wikipedia as far I have ever seen. Let's please make the sourcing as clean and orthodox as can be accepted. Then ALL discussions can be easier.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:27, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Nonsense on stilts

Pigliucci, Massimo (2010). Nonsense on stilts: how to tell science from bunk. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 160–186. ISBN 978-0226667867. Chapter 7, Science in the Courtroom, The Case against Intelligent Design is hosted online by the NCSE and gives a very useful assessment of how ID is pseudoscience, commenting on and supporting the Kitzmiller conclusions. Pigliucci presents as an excellent example of the distinction between science and pseudoscience the three points set out by Jones, that ID fails as science in that “(1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible com- plexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community.” Pigliucci notes that Robert Pennock and Barbara Forrest are, like himself, philosophers of science, and they made a significant contribution to Kitzmiller. So, this supports the description of ID as pseudoscience, and will be useful in more depth. . dave souza, talk 10:12, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Having added Pigliucci and Boudry as references, I felt that the following contributed less so have removed them:

They may still be useful elsewhere in the article. There are a lot of references describing ID as pseudoscience, but it's correct that we've got to be selective. . dave souza, talk 10:12, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

I am concerned that there is now a lot of verbiage about justifying the position that Intelligent Design as per the IDM is pseudoscience, which is a position no one was arguing. In the meantime the real concerns are distorted and buried? Indeed, concerning the oversourcing concern, there has been what almost looks like a "well take this" reaction, increasing the number of sources for no good reason.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:23, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
There's another source I added that got removed I believe mistakenly. The reference to the book Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism was first modified by an editor (Alan G. Archer) in a way I'm not sure I understand and later on incorrectly removed by Yopienso as if it were a book review. In case anyone was wondering why I added the book to source the word pseudoscientific, here's the text:
Regards. Gaba (talk) 11:06, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Gaba, you'd linked to an Amazon page, and in perhaps a misguided effort to improve the article, Alan G. Archer linked instead to a review of the book in a peer-reviewed journal. That wasn't greatly helpful so I removed it.
Dave souza has now cleaned up the large number of links. Not sure I would have done it that way, but it's unencyclopedic to have so many. I may gather up those removed sources and stick them in Q6 of the FAQs. Yopienso (talk) 17:01, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Yopienso indeed, I'd linked the book to its Amazon page. I could as well have used the Google books link for said book, but I don't think it makes any difference. Does it? Regards. Gaba (talk) 18:21, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Good question. Alan must think it matters. I personally prefer an open-access Google book over a vendor site, but don't know if there's a WP policy on this. I think Google books are equally accessible to all viewers, whereas people who have Amazon accounts can see more inside a book than those who don't. Yopienso (talk) 03:51, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
There is no policy that online links have to be provided at all, even though we consider it a Good Thing. Also, I'm confident that the feeling of people on forums like WP:RSN is that book reviews are not a proper substitute for the book itself if it is the content of the book being reported. Book reviews are not forbidden, however, especially if the reviewer is a recognised expert whose opinion is citable in its own right. McKay (talk) 04:47, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

First sentence compared to its sources

As requested an analysis of sourcing concerns, but for now just sticking to one importance sentence. The opening sentence currently refers to 5 sources.

1. The first source is the OED. But we have just got this source pasted in as a footnote on the title, with no way of understanding how we are using it. In fact, much discussion on this talk page shows that this article's "local consensus" is absolutely opposed to using a definition like this, which is of course a very big call, especially in an article about what the local consensus admit is being used as a "common term" (as opposed to a technical definition where the OED might not be appropriate).

PROPOSAL: Either we use it or loose it. I prefer using it, which means a change to the first sentence, and I think a lot of people would agree with this. This authoritative source is not in any clear disagreement with any of the wide range of published sources I know of, but it is in disagreement with our current article. While we are in disagreement with the OED we can expect this article to remain unstable and controversial. Also, I think Wikipedia should have an article about the term which the OED defines.

2. In mid-sentence, we have two sources attached to the term "pseudoscientific theory". I understand that they are here because it is known that including this term is controversial. However, examination of the two sources shows major problems with the way we are using it. For one thing, neither use the term.

  • The source by Mu not only never uses the term "pseudoscientific theory", but it mentions the word 14 times, 6 of which refer to Darwin's theory and the rest of which seem mix a casual acceptance of the fact that "ID theory" is the common term for what they are writing about (something Wikipedia editors here say is not true) with a position that in fact the term "theory", which implies an equivalence to Darwin's theory, is misleading. This would imply that this author would not use it in an opening, defining sentence like we do! The specific sentence we cite in the footnote contrasts strikingly with our use of it. It says "...for most members of the mainstream scientific community, ID is not a scientific theory, but a creationist pseudoscience."
CONCLUSION: We are twisting this source out of context. It is about what it accepts to be commonly known as "Intelligent design theory" and attempts no discussion of broader meanings of "Intelligent design" as a term. Secondly, it is quite simply not a source for the term "pseudoscientific theory".
PROPOSAL. Amongst other things, it would be a suitable source for a sentence saying "Intelligent design theory is not considered a scientific theory, by the mainstream scientific community, but a creationist pseudoscience." It is not suitable for its current purpose in our opening sentence.
  • The second article is a polemic piece (it opens with a sarcastic headline, with special graphics to make it look like a warning label) and uses the word "pseudoscience" ONCE (in the title), and the term "pseudoscientific theory" exactly ZERO times. It uses the word "theory" 18 times, and on EVERY occasion it is about evolutionary theory or Darwin's theory. This source is definitely worth removing.
CONCRETE PROPOSAL. Both sources should be removed, as should be the unsourced term "pseudoscientific theory" they are attached to. The first source actually helps explain why that term is problematic.

3. At the end of the sentence we have 3 sources in one footnote. (This is tame compared to the second sentence which has no less than 7 sources at the end!!) Two clear problems I see:

  • All of them say basically the same thing, and come from the same organization. Why not just use one?
  • All of them say that they are defining "Intelligent Design Theory" whereas we are cherry picking those words out and connecting them to something else!
CONCRETE PROPOSAL: Any Wikipedia article that starts with an opening sentence like this should be entitled "Intelligent Design Theory" because that is consistently the exact words these sources always use. And as shown concerning the Mu article, the term is also widely and consistently used by critics as a common term, especially when they want to make it specific that they are dealing with the recent movement to propose that Intelligent Design can be a "Theory" in the same way that Darwinian evolution theory can. (After many months of asking I have seen exactly zero sources agreeing with the idea on this talk page that the OED is wrong.) The article entitled "Intelligent design" should open in a broader way more like the OED definition. For an older discussion of more sources see here. It can home in on sub-meanings from there.

Have I made any mistakes in my analysis of the sources in the opening sentence?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:17, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

I can see one error! It is not the OED, but another dictionary. I know from past discussions that all or most dictionaries contain similar wordings, but it might be good to collect a few for ongoing discussion if anyone has a collection handy.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:08, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

  1. The source is supporting the abbreviation of intelligent design to ID. This is entirely unnecessary and should be removed.
  2. I consent to removing the term pseudoscientific theory as long we don't refer to it as a theory and the scientific rejection of ID is illustrated at some point in the lead.
  3. You are either being ignorant or dishonest if you are trying to say Intelligent Design Theory is a commonly used term. The only source that uses the term (of the three you examined here), does so far less than it does intelligent design (~4:1 ratio). As all of the sources listed make clear, the common name of this supposedly scientific theory is intelligent design. Full stop. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 15:46, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Mister Dub, that is not correct. Not only is "Intelligent Design Theory" a commonly used term, but it is actually the term being used in the sources which we are using to say what "Intelligent Design" is, i.e. the 4 sources backing up the direct quote which is the core of that opening sentence. Effectively you seem to have looked at two sources and found ONE which does not use the term (the short polemic one with the warning label)? Please correct me if I am wrong. Your count in the other article seems skewed to me too, because apparently you are only counting occasions when the three words (I D and T) are in that exact sequence? Look further throughout our article and the term keeps coming up. Is there any source we cite which does not use the term somewhere? Not many I bet. Note, I never said that it is a more common term than the broader term "Intelligent Design", and that is no need to debate that. As I think you know however, I am all for making it as clear as possible that IDT is NOT a theory in a the same way Darwin's is. I am sure this is possible in many ways though, and it is the same dilemma our sources face.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:01, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
No, Andrew, I did not look at the two sources discussing pseudoscience, as you now claim. I was specifically referring to the three sources that support the direct quote. It was #3 on your list, as it was mine (no accident!). You mentioned the three sources that support it, as did I. You can't really be confused by this... right? -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 16:07, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Sorry for any misunderstanding. If I understand you better now, then you are hanging everything on word order in those primary IDM sources and saying that "theory of intelligent design" is not "intelligent design theory". Our secondary sources however do at least help us on this and equate them in a clear way. Remember my point is that at least some of our secondary sources, which are important, do actually use IDM as something a "technical term" with a clear definition. That is important for editing Wikipedia. An article which says "intelligent design is theory" or "intelligent design is pseudoscience" is not necessarily attempting to define the term, or using the term as a fixed technical term.
Anyway, back to the question of sourcing concerns, the problem remains and your point is not actually relevant to it, but actually just complicates the issue. Sources say one thing and we say another.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:30, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Andrew, you said, "Any Wikipedia article that starts with an opening sentence like this should be entitled 'Intelligent Design Theory' because that is consistently the exact words these sources always use" (emphasis added). I proved that false. As for the overabundance of sources in the lead, I am fairly certain I've already expressed my approval with removing all but one or two sources for each claim likely to be challenged. If that is what you want, then do it! Quit falsely attributing these things to synthesis, get up off your ass, and do something!!! -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 16:42, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Please stop, Andrew. You wrote, "Any Wikipedia article that starts with an opening sentence like this should be entitled "Intelligent Design Theory" because that is consistently the exact words these sources always use." That is flatly untrue.
I generally oppose so much citation, which is the mark of a much-debated crowd-sourced article. But the five opening citations come from Harvard, Rutgers, UCLA, a peer-reviewed journal, and a popular magazine. I find that valuable in showing the mainstream view right off the bat.
The e/c makes my comment redundant, but also shows support for MisterDub's idea. Yopienso (talk) 16:48, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
@Yopienso and Mister Dub. Yes, I already accepted that the one sentence you are picking on is over-stated BECAUSE in fact these primary sources move the order around. How important is that? Not very. We are STILL using primary sources which say X = Y in order to write X = Z. It is just the Y gets written in more ways than one. So what? Furthermore, "intelligent design theory" is a common term which SECONDARY sources use, and Mister Dub is still wrong to say otherwise. You are focusing all attention on one sentence I wrote, but...
We still have inexplicable accretions of sources on sentences in the lead. No one will explain why this is necessary, but it impedes verifiability, sensible editing, sensible discussion, and readability. Why?
We still have an article which has been openly written to disagree with what for example dictionaries write, although we have no known rationale for doing so.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 05:15, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
So hung up about theory, when we're explaining that ID is essentially pseudoscience. Will discuss further below. . dave souza, talk 09:46, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I've removed the Matt Young and Taner Edis (2004) Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism, 2004, citation from the first line. I don't see that it adds much. It's just a book review, and this page has several comments about too many citations there. Yopienso (talk) 05:52, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Andrew, the Daily Beast article by Giberson (currently citation #4) explains why we wouldn't want to call ID a theory. He gives his view and also quotes Nelson's and Johnson's admissions that there is "no general theory of biological design." (The quotes are several years old, but afaik there is still no theory.) Yopienso (talk) 06:12, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Good point, the word "theory" has excess baggage and it's better to follow Boudry in describing it as a pseudoscientific concept. So, have done that, and taken up the point that there is no fully worked-out scientific theory. using Glibertson as a source. . dave souza, talk 09:46, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Yopienso, and Dave, I guess you do not realize it, but as a private individual with my own opinions I agree with you on this point. But we are not published authors, and anyway Dave we can not fit all that explanation in the opening sentence which you mention, so your comment leads to no practical proposal. What is important is published authors. What the primary source, which we quote directly, says, is also clear, and also must not be ignored. They clearly and insistently use the word theory, and they are FAMOUS for doing this. In fact for better or worse, their word usage is so well-known that even critics use it.
How do published authors, especially those NOT connected to the legal cases or the movement, solve this dilemma? That is what we must focus on more. Answer: Most of them, including just for example the Harvard cite being used for "pseudoscientific theory", keep the word theory but make it clear in various ways that they do not agree it is a theory in the same way Darwin's is. That is not impossible to do, and in fact in a ham-fisted way this is exactly what we are already doing. I would guess that the coining of the three word term "IDT" was probably partly done by authors of neutral secondary sources PRECISELY in order to make it clear that the term was being used as a term, and was not a claim about the type of theory it is.
I think as usual you guys also have to take a step back and ask yourself about some of the working assumptions you seem to be using. Just as I say that our readers are not going to get a chance to understand what we are saying with all these unclear words we are shoving in the first sentence, let's be honest: they also not going to be seeing the word "theory" and saying "oh look, they mean it is a modern scientific theory like Darwin's". We would have to write in a very screwed up way to give that impression, and no one is proposing that.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:10, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
"I think as usual you guys also have to take a step back and ask yourself about some of the working assumptions you seem to be using. " I suggest you do this one yourself as well. So that you can understand better where all other editors involved are coming from. Reading the archives including the ones that you are involved in will help as well. NathanWubs (talk) 14:03, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
But Andrew, you've already admitted--twice--there actually wasn't any "coining of the three word term 'IDT'."
The words frequently appear together on the same page, but not as a three-word term.
  • ""I accept the minor point that the word order is sometimes moved around . . ."
  • "Yes, I already accepted that the one sentence you are picking on is over-stated BECAUSE in fact these primary sources move the order around. How important is that? Not very." Yes, it is important; it's crucial to your claim of a three-word term. Please stop harping on this. Yopienso (talk) 00:01, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
I did explain more than that. Also:
  • The point remains true that what the movement itself (the primary source) calls it "theory of intelligent design" which is referred to by secondary sources commenting upon them as "intelligent design theory", whenever those secondary sources try to "disambiguate".
  • And the point remains true that we are combining sources which are not clearly all talking about the same thing. (We are especially using sources that are about the intelligent design movement, and it also remains true that we have another article about that subject already which substantially overlaps this one.)
  • And the point remains true that we are writing an article using the broadest term, "Intelligent Design", in a way which seems to both disagree with the major dictionaries, and also leave no room for an article about that subject which the dictionaries seem to think is the real common term, and nor (still) do we even really allow our readers to understand very clearly that there is a broader term.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:39, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
It also remains true that you have absolutely no support for what you propose and that you are beating a WP:DEADHORSE (again). As it usually happens with the sections you open, I propose we simply stop commenting on it since Andrew is clearly not willing to let it go. Regards. Gaba (talk) 12:50, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
Agree with this. At some point Andrew's ongoing deluge of unintelligible monologues about arrant nonsense will be seen for the disruptive behaviour it is. When the inevitable request for a topic ban eventuates it will get my complete support. Of course, Andrew could drop the stick and start to constructively engage with other editors instead, but I will not hold my breath waiting for that. - Nick Thorne talk 01:48, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
GABA -- I would say he has had support -- the cites and the common usage and my own posts favor just say Theory in definition and have conclusion in the second sentence, though I recognize the partisan want to never ever have ID without a derogatory insert as part of the sentence. So the article switched from OED to American Heritage and replaced all the cites a couple months ago when it said 'creationist' to ones of the 'pseudoscience' era ... is someone saying that those cites were more common or more important or was someone saying I want to put in pseudoscience so I'll pick different cites ? Best I can recall the talk it seemed about wording desires driving hunt for how to cite not best cites driving the wording. Since it is a change to the definition of article, does this make it a different article so there should be an ID (creationism) article ? Or maybe we can all just agree that good WPism is a bit hard to get done in the ID article ? Markbassett (talk) 04:24, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

MY "META" COMMENT. There are too many ad hominem posts on this article's talk page including many which are by editors who ONLY write ad hominem posts here. This article is not my obsession. Whenever I bother make a comment though, such as that having 5 footnotes in the middle of the first sentence is bad and not helping other discussions, I am asked, often very aggressively, to give more concrete details (as if this were necessary). And then, in the odd cases that I make the effort to respond in good faith there ensues a deluge of posts, some changing the subject, some literally telling editors not to discuss, and some are these strange ones that are apparently intended to imply that these editors are able to get me blocked for some crime they are never able to define. (Such posts trying to stop discussion, focused upon editors, and constantly trying to suggest that they can cause administrators to come and block you ARE against policy, the way I understand it. And they were common on this talk page before I arrived.) These same editors, who portray themselves as powerful and able to get people blocked, consistently whine that this article has been receiving complaints which my comments remind them of for many years. But my comments are not coming from any "side" and are mainly very simply based upon policies and sources. Use them how you want, but the way that some editors react is a message in itself. Mister Dub has already said that he thinks my point about the extreme overlap of the two articles is not a bad one. Other editors will of course do things like add more footnotes just to make a point, and others will post more threats.

  • Back to the original point: there are too many footnotes in the lead, and the lead appears to combine (masses of) sources discussing different shades of meaning of the term "intelligent design". This in turn seems to be quite openly a defensive thing, which in turn results at least partly from problems defining what the boundaries of this article are in contrast to other articles about things called "intelligent design" such as the intelligent design movement. (Which I think is a challenge on this article and should be admitted as such and discussed more constructively.) That is what I feel I have learned from the discussion anyway. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:46, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Coverage lacking

In the Reaction from the scientific community section it seems we should provide an example about how the "scientific community" often deals with other scientists who acknowledge the inherent and common design/theme in the universe and among life forms. Among the most definitive examples is a case that involved astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez. Back in 2007 Iowa State University (allegedly) denied tenure to Gonzalez because he co-author the book Privileged Planet (which I noticed exists in the Bibliography here) and despite the fact that he met or exceeded every standard for tenure approval. Amazingly he has since been granted tenure. Here are some sources that cover this affair. 1, 2, 3. Seems a summary of one such advent is in order. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:02, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

This content is probably more appropriately suited for the Intelligent design movement article, but I wouldn't reject a proposal for its inclusion here. More information regarding the debacle can be found on Guillermo Gonzalez's article. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 17:19, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree with the insertion, but would propose no more than a sentence or two with a link to the larger content on Gonzalez's Wiki page. I'm sure there are other examples of this (although none spring to mind) and we want to ensure that this kind of content doesn't take over the page. Nothing wrong with it - just don't want to see a section where people start dumping in truthful or alleged instances where prof's were "screwed over" simply because of their agreement with ID. Such a section could become a catch-all OR fest in a heartbeat... Ckruschke (talk) 17:48, 28 April 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
Not with unreliable fringe sources such as those provided by the OP. A big problem with situations like this is that it is often impossible for journalists to get both sides of the story as the university involved is not at liberty to divulge any information on the matter. Conservative Christians are busy manufacturing claims of "religious persecution" as part of their latest political campaign of portraying themselves as victims. In cases where the facts from both sides do surface, the story is a lot different than that portrayed by the Christian side. Claims of religious persecution in the United States and in Western countries as a whole should be treated with a huge measure of skepticism, especially when they come from apologetic and political "news" sources. The sourcing would have to be top-notch, not fringe political agitprop. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 18:05, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. The sources from Gwillhickers are primary sources from biased groups; better sources exist and should be used. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 18:37, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
Agreed to a point with Dominus Vobisdu. It's OR itself to state that "Conservative Christians are busy manufacturing claims of "religious persecution" as part of their latest political campaign of portraying themselves as victims" when there are actual instances like Gonzalez and others that are adequately sourced. Just because Gwillhickers notes a crappy ref, doesn't mean its not true. We need to maintain our NPOV - not insert our personal bias on the subject into the article... Ckruschke (talk) 18:59, 28 April 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
If you can find high quality sources, be my guest. And skepticism about sources is a vital component of our policies. Christian or not, sources are "guilty until proven innocent", especially with highly politicized topics such as this. Remember that the burden of proof rests solely on you if you wish to add this material. Other editors don't have to prove it's bullshit; you have to prove it's not. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 19:11, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
If he's been granted tenure, that's not clear from his Wikipedia bio: source needed. As for why he didn't get tenure at ISU, rs is cited that Gonzalez had no major grants during his seven years at ISU, had published no significant research during that time and had only one graduate student finish a dissertation. Another rs is quoted: "Iowa State has sponsored $22,661 in outside grant money for Gonzalez since July 2001, records show. In that same time period, Gonzalez's peers in physics and astronomy secured an average of $1.3 million by the time they were granted tenure." The sources Gwillhickers cites appear to be promotional or selfpub disco stuff. NPOV requires us to show mainstream context. . dave souza, talk 19:25, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
Trinity Law School is a "crappy source"? Let's remember also that bias by itself doesn't make a source unreliable or untruthful. e.g.most sources covering a given nation's history are written by historians who had/have a love or admiration for that nation, and vise versa. If we were to remove all sources that showed sings of bias, tens of thousands of sources would disappear from Wikipedia and we would see 'citation needed' tags all over the articles like ants at a picnic. Imo, a source is unreliable if it can be shown that it's coverage on a topic is less than truthful or blatantly distorted, for better or worse, and I didn't see that at all with the sources I provided. If we use the TLS source just to cite neutral statements (i.e.the affair involving Gonzalez v. Iowa State University and that Gonzales claimed he was discriminated for his ID views) I don't see the problem, though I am not against using other sources. Hope we're not going to see an effort to suppress information on the grounds that sources are "fringe" or "biased". And we could debate for ever what is "mainstream", so again, we should evaluate sources for the their factual content, or lack thereof, not by some superficial and opinionated claims of "mainstream" or "fringe". -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:39, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
If there are any questions or doubts about a particular source, one can visit the RS noticeboard; there is no need to debate that here. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 19:45, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
It appears to be a blog. By someone who muddles "were" and "where", but that's not significant. The school appears to be part of Trinity International University (TIU), an evangelical Christian institution of higher education operated by the Evangelical Free Church of America, so that may affect the blogger's impartiality but I don't know how significant that is. Main thing is it looks selfpublished by the unknown Matthew C. Statler, so WP:RSN is appropriate. . . . dave souza, talk 20:57, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Talk pages are indeed where sources, which will be used for article improvement, are debated. Also, frowning on a religious source to cite an issue that may involve religious issues is no different than frowning on a scientific source for the same reason. This is why we look at sources for their factual integrity and not judge them by their cover. Topics that touch on theory have been advanced by both religious and scientific sources, so here also, we scrutinize on a per source basis and not reject them simply because they may be religious or scientific in their orientation. And just a reminder, I'm not the one who began the debate about sources here, nor am I the one who put forth original research/guesswork by referring to them as "fringe", "agiprop", etc. Slater is an unknown, and the article is a blog and I can accept reservations on that note. I'm also open to other sources -- but let's not attack them with the sort of OR and hyper-opinionated tripe we're seeing shoveled around here by some editors. Is it the intention of some editors to scoff at any source that may have a religious association to it? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 22:13, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Gwillhickers, I meant no offense; I was merely providing a channel for anyone who wishes to challenge sourcing. Actually, I'm surprised that the article on the movement doesn't have anything on this subject. The article on the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed has some good information on Guillermo Gonzalez and other prominent cases of alleged discrimination against supporters of ID. Perhaps a summary of these cases would be appropriate here or in the movement's article... or both? -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 00:28, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
One other thing to remember is that 73% of the population of the US identify as being Christians, likely outnumbering those who identify as scientists or academia. Therefore, publications owned or operated by Christian people or entities may very well be considered as mainstream media and perspective for the US. When 73% of the population adhere to a particular belief system, then words like "extreme" or "fringe" don't really apply to their point of view. Cla68 (talk) 01:24, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
This ain't Conservapedia, Cla, and that argument is just plain ridiculous. Don't make yourself look silly. You're a veteran WP editor and should know better by now. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 01:54, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
DV, that's an ad hominem argument you just used. Cla68 (talk) 05:51, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Look up "ad hominem argument" in any philosophical dictionary, and you'll find it does not mean what you seem to think. This was not one. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 06:04, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Gilliwhickers, can you provide any sources that are reliable by WP standards? Forget about the sources you have provided. They are flat out useless and further discussion about their merits is pointless. The TLS site is a student blog, and the article is written by a random student as far as we can tell. It's not going to pass muster.
And playing the "you don't like my source because you hate Jesus" tune isn't going to work here. It's downright insulting. Of course religious sources are open to consideration, if they have a solid reputation for journalistic fact-checking and editorial oversight. Some religious sources do indeed fit that description.
However, the sources you've provided fail by a wide mile. You say you are "open to other sources". Great. Find some, religious or otherwise, and we can take them under consideration. That's your job, and don't try to foist it off on others. We are under no obligation to go off on a wild goose chase just to satisfy your fancy.
Claims of religious persecution in contemporary America are extraordinary claims indeed, and require extraordinary sources to back them up. Considering the ID movement's proven track record for downright dishonesty and blatant misrepresentation, we have good reason to be extremely suspicious of anything they report. We are under no obligation to give their sources the benefit of the doubt. Quite the opposite. Any sources from those quarters are going to be held up to heightened scrutiny. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 01:54, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Gwillhickers, sources like Christianity Today would probably be ok. If Trinity has published an article about this topic in any of its newsletters or journals, then those would probably be ok also. Blogs are usually not allowed, although they sometimes are, depending on the situation. Cla68 (talk) 06:01, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Christianity Today would be a good source. You may find this article interesting: Ironic, ain't it? Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 06:25, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I will also repeat it again, since it hasn't been effectively rebutted, that since Christianity is the dominant religion in the West with a vast majority of the population claiming to be followers, then the views by its adherents actually constitute the majority view on this and other theological topics and should be represented as such in this article. Therefore, tt could be argued, although I don't necessarily agree, that the POV of academia on religious philosophies like this one constitute a fringe viewpoint because there are far fewer people with this POV than the total number of Christian adherents. Cla68 (talk) 06:07, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Repeat it elsewhere. You are misusing the article talk page by doing so here. This isn't a forum. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 06:25, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I have to say I agree with DV on both points. This particular argument for what is fringe versus science is not convincing given that we have clear WP rules about how to define these things. We do not simply count beliefs in the population of one country to decide what is fringe and what is orthodox science. (So there is a short rebuttal Cla.) Secondly concerning the "point of order", the reply of DV which centres upon calling the argument ridiculous (and the arguer is only said to look silly because of the argument) is not "ad hominem" in the normal sense of the term. I suppose Cla means is that the reply is dismissive, not engaging ("hasn't been effectively rebutted"), and also critical of the person making the argument for making it. But that is not quite what ad hominem means. Whether the post is not WP:CIVIL, OTOH, depends upon whether DV is correct that the position of Cla is obviously wrong, and therefore an abuse of the talk page. I think DV has a case on that. (See point 1.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:07, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I have to agree here. Science is not a democracy and public opinion is entirely irrelevant to what the mainstream scientific view might be, on any particular subject, which is determined by its concordance with the available evidence. If public opinion differs from the mainstream scientific view, then perhaps that is an indication of where efforts in education might need to be directed. However, that is not relevant to what we are doing with Wikipedia: our job here is to reflect what the mainstream science sources actually say on scientific or allegedly scientific topics. Our job is definitely not to promote some view on the basis of its popularity. - Nick Thorne talk 08:48, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Back on topic... does anyone oppose inclusion of instances of alleged discrimination against ID supporters? I think a section about the pro-ID film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed would summarize these cases well, either here or in the Intelligent design movement article. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 14:55, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

MisterDub - Loosely Oppose - that's beyond the topic of what ID is, and into the topic of how it has been handled. But since the article already has whole Sections on Movement and Kitzmiller and Status outside the US, one more is just Meh a bit more messed .... Markbassett (talk) 18:21, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Markbassett, I stated previously that this content would be more appropriate in the Intelligent design movement article; my suggestion isn't necessarily for this article. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 19:07, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
We already have a section that mentions the movie. It it just called Film instead. I think there might a line or two that could be added about this situation. But of course after those lines that those claims were criticized by the scientific community and the other parties involved as well. NathanWubs (talk) 19:03, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, NathanWubs, I did not see that section before. I agree that the current section could use some expansion. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 19:32, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I think this discussion draw attention to the question of whether this WP article is about "science" or current affairs. At the moment, I think it is a mixture, right? So we need to consider different types of sourcing are needed for different parts of that mixture.
  • Basic rule is that for science questions, which are in fact not much discussed in this article, scientists are the experts. We do NOT have to be neutral about what scientists think concerning scientific questions. If this was the only concern on this article, all discussions could be handled quickly.
  • For questions of discrimination accusation, major news media would be good, and we have to try to present both sides. If we present one side, then no matter what individual editors would like to do, the policy of WP is very clear on what we must do.
  • For questions of where the boundaries of science lie, or indeed whether the word word science can have different meanings, a court of law only handles this in an extremely limited way, and indeed many scientists are also hopeless on this matter (although maybe not as witnesses in a court case). This is really a subject for philosophers of science.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:45, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Coverage lacking2

  • Talk pages are used to resolve disputes concerning the article's content, POV, sources used, etc, so any hounding of editors discussing this topic needs to stop. If proposed sources and sources in general are in dispute then they get discussed on the talk page, like they always have. Are we all new-bees around here? First we're told that we need to use "mainstream" sources, and when it's pointed out that the population is largely Christian we get the typical scoffing (ignore the message, shoot the messenger) by those who apparently want to suppress this information and can't do so along intellectual lines. As regards to the scientific community as a whole, they are certainly not on the same page when it comes to creation and evolution, as there are scores of scientists like Gonzales -- so we need to stop regarding scientists as if they are droids in lock-step with one singular opinion in this matter. The idea that all scientific ideas are above the idea of "fringe" is ludicrous. The argument that no one can scientifically prove the existence of a creator only carries so far, as science can not disprove such an existence. i.e.They have no grounds to claim there is no creator, or intelligent designer. In fact, scientists can't even explain the simple 'chicken or the egg' question, and they have yet to even define or explain gravity, so we need to stop looking at scientists as if they were some grand authority, or gods, in all maters of inquiry. In any case, from what I've seen above, it looks like any source that has any religious association to it will be scoffed at, rather than scrutinized for its factual content. That is no different than scoffing at a source with scientific associations in an article about religion or spirituality. Nonsense! This is intellectual delinquency and the talk page is no place for that sort of underhanded and dishonest behavior. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:53, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a soapbox. Please stick to suggestions on improving the article and remember WP:CIVIL. If you have a continuing problem how sources are used by Wikipedia then please visit the talk pages of the appropriate venues. NathanWubs (talk) 19:03, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Without presenting the idea as absolute fact, we can say in the article that ID scientists have claimed they have been discriminated against, and let the readers make any conclusions either way if they are so inclined. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:53, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Gwillhickers - I agree with your 2nd and 3rd point. It is not necessary to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that ID scientists claims of discrimination are true or not. Stating that this is what is being CLAIMED (along with a reference backing it up) is sufficient. You can then outline the Gonzalez issue and the AP source is suitable.
Regarding your first bullet. I'm not sure what you are tring to accomplish, but "spitting into the wind" isn't going to get you very far. Talk pages are not forums for what we think is unfair. Beyond that, its not the intent of this page to solve the issue of who is considered a true scientist or what theory is or isn't reputable. Please stay on target.Ckruschke (talk) 18:53, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
Sometimes certain points need to be made as these ideas often are what prompt some editors to make comments about "fringe", "mainstream", etc, -- topics that I did not initiate. In any case, thanks for you comments. Yes, the AP article seems to be a RS for purposes of giving this topic summary coverage in the section. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 18:59, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I seriously doubt that the allegedly AP article would survive an RS review. It only seems to have been published by the DI and Free Republic, neither of which can be considered RS for the purposes of determining why an academic was refused tenure. At most it could be used to source the DI's opinion of the reason, but that would not be germane to this article. - Nick Thorne talk 06:31, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Currently our article is very much based on sources connected to one legal case. How do you think they would go in an RSN discussion? Not too well, unless we say that this article is about that legal case, which it apparently is not. The question OTOH of whether this WP article is about current affairs or not is a long term confusion, and IMHO a source of many other problems. If we could clear up what the subject is, then we could find more neutral ways to discuss nearly every point of concern which comes along, simply based on following WP policy. Trying to work around those bigger questions though, the simple approach which WP policy tells us to follow is that if we give opinions of one side in a public debate, we should give opinions from the other side. Note that concerning discrimination accusations scientists have no special expertise status. If editors think that accusations of discrimination of weak, then find sourcing for that opinion. We are not supposed to be deliberately basing WP on our own judgement.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:34, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
"In fact, scientists can't even explain the simple 'chicken or the egg' question..." Ummm... I sincerely hope that is a joke. Diatribe aside, what are you asking here? There are many good sources we can use to relate this information, as I've explained before; I think we need to move on to a concrete proposal now. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 19:01, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Srsly, dave souza, talk 20:27, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Point of information: this issue is covered under Intelligent design#Film. If agreed by a consensus, we could rejig this as Claims of discrimination and move from mentioning that a number of ID proponents claim to have been discriminated against, to the current content which notes the Expelled publicising of these claims and the mainstream response. The detail of individual names and cases belongs in the sub article, it could be expanded a little in the Movement article. . . dave souza, talk 19:17, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, dave souza! I didn't even see that there! I'm not going to fuss over the title of the section, but I think it could use a bit more detail. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 19:28, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough, but I don't think we want this article to get into individual details such as the horrendous case of Egnor being persecuted by getting rude responses on the internets to his blog posting. Nor do we want to exaggerate by presenting just selected cases: the sub-article covers all 5 persecutees. . . dave souza, talk 19:52, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 20:03, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree as well, as kinda noted above. I would not mind even if the title of the section is changed. As has ID not made a plethora of smaller films? So a clear title would maybe be an improvement. NathanWubs (talk) 20:17, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
The article has a section titled Reaction from the scientific community and it needs to have one good definitive example. The Film section is about the film and offers no definitive example as we see with Gonzales, who, btw, is a major figurehead in the ID controversy. Sources: First we were told not to discuss sources, which is BS, as sources are discussed all the time on talk pages before the matter ever gets to the RS noticeboard, and only when it can't be resolved on the talk page. Then any source with a religious association was scoffed at, and now one editor has gone as far as to refer to the AP article as "the allegedly AP article" and would have us believe that the Discovery Institute manufactured the article, which is nonsense, as the DI would be sued by the AP if they did so. The DI wouldn't shoot themselves in the foot and ruin their own reputation with such a reckless stunt. News articles from mainstream media are used as sources all the time in WP. Now another editor wants to rename the section, no doubt to the effect that such an issue wouldn't be well placed there. This is an apparent attempt to keep the Gonzales issue out of the article entirely by what appears to be science advocates who are subtly trying to suppress such issues. Seems to me if scientists were so sure of their 'view' they wouldn't have to resort to this sort of behavior. At this stage we don't have to include the Gonzales story to make the point, all we have to do now is refer to this discussion. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:09, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a soapbox. NathanWubs (talk) 17:13, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
I have rightfully addressed this ongoing effort to snuff this issue, and I was being civil. Was that all you have to say? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 17:20, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Not a lot besides the suggestion to read WP:SOAP, Also me wanting to rename the section is just from film to something more noticeable. Like Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed Documentary. The WP:CIVIL was mostly just a reaction to your sarcastic jab at scientist and their "view". But I can remove that one for you. NathanWubs (talk) 17:39, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Back on-topic... again

The documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed sparked further controversy in 2008. Hosted by Ben Stein, the film contends that the mainstream science establishment suppresses academics who believe they see evidence of intelligent design in nature and criticize evidence supporting evolution and the modern evolutionary synthesis as a "scientific conspiracy to keep God out of the nation's laboratories and classrooms."[1][2] The film portrays intelligent design as motivated by science, rather than religion, though it does not give a detailed definition of the phrase or attempt to explain it on a scientific level. Other than briefly addressing issues of irreducible complexity, Expelled examines it as a political issue.[3][4] The scientific theory of evolution is portrayed by the film as contributing to fascism, the Holocaust, communism, atheism, and eugenics.[3][5]

The American Association for the Advancement of Science describes the film as dishonest and divisive propaganda aimed at introducing religious ideas into public school science classrooms.[6] The film includes interviews with scientists and academics who were misled into taking part by misrepresentation of the topic and title of the film. Michael Shermer describes his experience of being repeatedly asked the same question without context as "surreal." Review screenings were restricted to churches and Christian groups, and at a special pre-release showing, one of the interviewees, PZ Myers, was refused admission. The film has been used in private screenings to legislators as part of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaign for Academic Freedom bills.[7] The Anti-Defamation League denounced the film's allegation that evolutionary theory influenced the Holocaust.[8][9]

Above, you'll see a proposal to expand the section currently titled "Film." I have included content from the main article, but I'm sure further changes and/or clean-up are required. I figured this would be a good starting point and might actually get discussion back on topic. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 19:13, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

My suggestion: change the section heading to Allegations of discrimination against ID proponents, and reword the first sentence as "The Discovery Institute has publicized allegations that ID proponents have met discrimination, such as being refused tenure or being harshly criticized on the Internet. The documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed released in 2008 presented five such cases. Hosted by Ben Stein, the film contends that the mainstream science establishment, in a conspiracy to keep God out of science laboratories and classrooms, suppresses academics who believe they see evidence of intelligent design in nature or criticize evidence of evolution." Etc. . . dave souza, talk 20:10, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Sounds fine to me. The only change I would make (and have made) to your comment is capitalizing Internet. Thanks! -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 21:58, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, after waiting for additional comments/suggests, I've gone and made the change. Thanks, all! -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 14:44, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
I note that the change is effectively saying that these allegations of discrimination are ONLY coming from the DI machine. Do we have a real source for that accusation, or should we remove it? I do not think it changes much, but why embellish a story unless we have a clear source? In general, on WP any claim or implied strong claim about something being "only", "always" etc implies that there should be a suitably clear and strong source such as a review. Coming to independent conclusions about whole categories does not fit the WP mission.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:55, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
It does? I don't see that. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 14:28, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
You do not see that we are implying/stating this, or you do not see it in the diff I picked?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:08, 7 May 2014 (UTC)
I do not see that we are implying that these allegations come only from the DI. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 14:12, 7 May 2014 (UTC)
So presumably you are saying that the first sentence, or at least the mention of the DI in the first sentence, could be removed without changing the intended meaning of the section? Please confirm. That sentence currently says "The Discovery Institute has publicized allegations that ID proponents have met discrimination, including refusal of tenure and harsh criticism on the Internet". If mentioning the DI is not meant to imply that the only section is about their allegations only, then it is not clear what other purposes those words are intended to achieve. If it has another intended purpose, then please explain it so we can adjust the wording to achieve that purpose more clearly.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:27, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Andrew, you're fighting a strawman of your own creation: the sentence says that the DI has made these allegations. If others have made these allegations, then we can add the others when source[s] are shown supporting the change. . dave souza, talk 11:00, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Defensive? I am not fighting anything. Do you disagree with Mister Dub and you think that we really do want to make the stronger claim that only the DI has made these allegations? If so then what is our source for the fact that they are the only ones making allegations? (Strong claims need sourcing. We do not just imply such things lightly.) Or, just to remind, if we just want to say the DI made the allegations, and simply leave it open as to whether they are the only ones, then why not just remove them from the first sentence? They are already described as the source of allegations (which may or may not be the only ones) in the body of the section. Seems like we could remove all doubts about whether something is being implied without changing the meaning, so why not just do that (unless you really want to imply something between the lines that you have no source for)?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:29, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Andrew, I'm not sure if you were paying attention to my suggestions regarding the drafting of this section, but the current first sentence was not part of my original proposal. I think we probably could get rid of the mention of the DI and combine the first and two sentences to retain the information about publicizing allegations, but I don't see a problem with noting that the DI has done the same. You constantly ask me about having the term pseudoscience in the first sentence as well, and I'll again remind you that this was not something I've proposed. Consensus rarely produces your ideal, and we have to accept that: "Consensus is an ongoing process on Wikipedia; it is often better to accept a less-than-perfect compromise – with the understanding that the page is gradually improving – than to try to fight to implement a particular 'perfect' version immediately." Please do not ask me to justify content I did not propose. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 16:28, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
Yep, I proposed on 30 April that we refocus the section on such allegations, opening it with "The Discovery Institute has publicized allegations that ID proponents have met discrimination, such as being refused tenure or being harshly criticized on the Internet." Which is accurate: it does not say that these are the only claims of discrimination. What it does say is that sources show claims being publicised by the DI. Andrew is once again misreading a clear statement to come up with a strawman that's allegedly "between the lines". If others have publicised claims of discrimination, then sources should be available showing these claims. Of course Andrew can put forward his own proposals for wording, for discussion. . dave souza, talk 16:55, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Mister Dub I have not objected to all uses of the word pseudoscience in this article and that is not the subject of discussion here, at all. Please don't start distorting and digressing. I register that you accept that if you really are not making a claim between the lines, then the simple fix I provided will work. Is this correct? This being registered, why not now just make the change? It will fix a potential misreading which at least one idiot (me) can apparently make, and it will hurt no one. (Always saying "I don't see a problem" is a useless remark, if someone else does see a problem, and if you admit a proposed edit would not change meaning.) Why fight this, and in general why are supposedly meaning-neutral clarifying edits consistently so fiercely resisted on this talk page? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:54, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

So, Andrew, please state exactly what you're proposing. Note that the current wording covers the point that ID proponents have claimed they have been discriminated against, as requested by Gwillhickers in the comment of 17:53, 29 April 2014. . . dave souza, talk 15:49, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
It was proposed to adjust the first sentence in the way mentioned above. There must be thousands of ways to tweak it, most very simple. Here is a simple and very neutral example:
  • NOW: "The Discovery Institute has publicized allegations that ID proponents have met discrimination, such as being refused tenure or being harshly criticized on the Internet."
  • EXAMPLE: "There have been allegations that ID proponents have met discrimination, such as being refused tenure or being harshly criticized on the Internet."
Examples of who has made such allegations are within the body of the section. To remind of the simple and normal logic here: unless we have a special source to say that all such allegations come from one party, there should not be one party named (as if the only one) in the first sentence.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:40, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
Andrew, it seems you didn't really read what I wrote before, so let me reiterate: "Please do not ask me to justify content I did not propose." I've already stated that we could remove the mention of the DI, so I don't know what the **** else you want from me. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 14:56, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't know why you think I am writing to you personally in the above post. I was requested by Dave to propose a change, and I did. Anyone see a problem with it?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:20, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
In general, I don't see how a vague and muddy re-write of a sentence clarifies anything. If you can reference something other than the Discovery Institute as a source, add their name to the sentence and a ref to the source. "The Discovery Institute, Source B, and Source C allege" is far preferable to "There are allegations". If you can't source the allegations to anybody but the DI, then the sentence as it was is far more informative than "There are allegations" with no clue as to the sources of those allegations. --Wesley R. Elsberry (talk) 12:53, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
I guess my take on the sentence and its rewrite is that the only difference is to obscure the source of the allegations, and obsuring information seems to be counter to WP's mission. That the DI's credibility in making such allegations is, at best, disputable, seems to me to be the only reason to make such an obscuring change. Is there some alternative reason why obscuring a source is supposed to be an improvement? --Wesley R. Elsberry (talk) 13:05, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
We have moved on, but just for your information if we state in Wikipedia's voice that something is absolutely something, for example "always" or "never", the onus is on us to find a source which says that it is really is always or never. Always or never wording can be easily avoided if we have no such sources, so there is no excuse for it if we have no strong sources. This is just a basic method of encyclopedic and neutral style. Demanding that people worried about potential absolute "always or never" wording must find a source which says it is NOT always or never would be missing the point. We take the easy path.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:32, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
I hadn't looked at the article before making my previous comments, so those were premised entirely on the content of the sentences labeled "NOW" and "EXAMPLE". In the specific case in question in the article context, the rewording of the sentence works because the circumstances show both the DI and the "Expelled" movie producers make the allegations of discrimination, and it is beyond WP's role to demonstrate that there isn't enough room between the two to place a wedge. However, the general principle you invoked with the two sentences is wrong. Conveying a sourced existential statement is not tantamount to expressing a universal claim. I don't see your assertion paired with the sentences in question as being "simple and normal logic". It is in contravention of propositional logic, which treats existential and universal claims cleanly. If we have a good source that makes an existential claim, conveying that information accurately is the easy path, and it isn't the same thing as making a universal claim in WP voice. Nor would it be accurate to imply multiple entities making allegations if we do not have sources to support that, so again I don't see the assertion of "simple and normal logic" as holding true. WP needs to report the facts as they are. To borrow from Occam, we should not needlessly multiply allegators. --Wesley R. Elsberry (talk) 19:40, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Perceived bias of the article; Poll

Like many other newcomers to this article, I was initially offended by its anti-ID bias. However, I have found there is some basis for the stance: it reflects the hostile attitude of the scientific community toward ID. WP is supposed to reflect mainstream views. Much discussion would be avoided by a careful reading of the yellow box at the top of the talk page. I decided to follow that lead for the simple reason it is established here.

Otoh, WP:YESPOV (part of the core policy, WP:NPOV) does call for nonjudgmental language: "Prefer nonjudgmental language. A neutral point of view neither sympathizes with nor disparages its subject (or what reliable sources say about the subject), although this must sometimes be balanced against clarity. Present opinions and conflicting findings in a disinterested tone. Do not editorialize."

Example of hostile attitude in a tertiary source by Michael Ruse: "Scientifically Creationism is worthless, philosophically it is confused, and theologically it is blinkered beyond repair."
(This statement follows a discussion of whether or not IDT (nod to Andrew) is creationism.) We are all aware of the hostile attitude in primary and secondary sources in academia.

Example of NPOV: Notice how Thomas F. Glick in the Encyclopedia Britannica avoids the word pseudoscience: "Meanwhile, intelligent design appeared incapable of generating a scientific research program, which inevitably broadened the gap between it and the established norms of science."

My decided preference would be a dispassionate exposition of the concept set in the framework of the science of origins as seen in the Ency. Brit. treatment. Yopienso (talk) 18:32, 18 May 2014 (UTC)


Which model--Glick's or Ruse's--best adheres to WP standards?

I guess my response is that this poll does not really do anything to really address this article. First, regarding NPOV, policies more or less state that regarding matters of science (and cosmology/cosmogony/creationism/intelligent design is more or less a matter of science, or so it would be perceived by those who are not religious) the predominant scientific opinion is the "neutral" one, and so far as I can see (as someone who is himself occasionally criticized as being maybe too Christian here) the scientific community has more or less overwhelmingly rejected ID, to the point that it qualifies as fringe as per WP:FRINGE. The sources I have seen recently have more or less taken the stand that ID is more a legalistic technique of misdirection than a scientific concept per se. Now, by saying this, I am not saying that the scientific view of creation is without flaws - it clearly isn't, and many scientists themselves would say that. But science is based on scientific evidence, and, unfortunately, the ID people are really forced to resort to raising "what if" scenarios as one of their primary arguments, and such arguments do not help address matters of science. Their only other basis is basically religious texts and the interpretation of them, and that isn't particularly scientific either. So basically, ID, which also has been called "creation science" and similar, more or less has produced little if any really scientifically acceptable evidence in support of its positions, and that places it on the fringe.
Honestly, the best sources for such contested topics are probably the most highly regarded academic/scientific reference sources or overviews in non-religious academic literature. (Yes, there is a question as to whether "scientific" journals are really objective about religious matters, but that is a different matter, and there is more or less universal agreement that religious journals aren't objective.) I think I know of a few reference works on the topic of "creationism", and some of the rest of you might find that if you consult WorldCat you might have some available to you as well. For contentious topics of this kind, I think at least first consulting the relevant most highly regarded reference sources is probably one of the best way to approach such topics. And, FWIW, I think that has already, to at least some extent, been done, and the copy as we have it is what was agreed upon after such consultation. John Carter (talk) 20:52, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Polling is evil! (am sure there's an essay about that somewhere) Thanks, John, for helpful thoughts. Regarding policy, as it says at the top of this page WP:PSCI policy applies: "The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such. An explanation of how scientists have received pseudoscientific theories should be prominently included. This helps us to describe differing views fairly." Thanks, Yopienso, for the Britannica link, but their statement cited above is anything but a clear description, and indeed the article as a whole is surprisingly poor. For example, "a federal court ruled that intelligent design was not clearly distinct from creationism and therefore should be excluded from the curriculum on the basis of earlier decisions" misrepresents the Kitzmiller findings, including "that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory". I had to check up the Britannica assertion that in American public schools, "instruction in any form of religion is constitutionally forbidden". A clearer formulation is that "religion may be taught where appropriate so long as it amounts to objective instruction about religion rather than indoctrination."[1] On the relationship of science to religion, generally religion and science co-exist and possible conflicts have been resolved. This isn't the case with some sects, in particular forms of creationism, but of course they have theological differences with other religious views. So, in summary, "The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such" and it's well established by the sources discussed above that ID is pseudoscience. . . dave souza, talk 21:42, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
Speaking of evil, here is the entire lede paragraph of Adolf Hitler:
Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] (Audio file "De-at-Adolf_Hitler.ogg " not found); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP); National Socialist German Workers Party). He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and dictator of Nazi Germany (as Führer und Reichskanzler) from 1934 to 1945. Hitler was at the centre of Nazi Germany, World War II in Europe, and the Holocaust.
It states factually who this evil person was, but nowhere in the first sentence is any negative or judgmental description made. In the second sentence, it says he was a "dictator", that's sorta negative. Lastly only in the third sentence is he associated, in factual and non-judgmental language with WWII and the Holocaust.
So how is it that ID is sooooo much more pseudoscientific than Hitler is evil, that ID must be identified as such in the very first sentence? You cannot credibly claim that this article "Prefer[s] nonjudgmental language. A neutral point of view neither sympathizes with nor disparages its subject..." It goes out of its way to depict ID in a negative manner from the very first sentence. It doesn't even make any appearance or tone of neutrality. It violates the second pillar of Wikipedia. (talk) 23:57, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree with Dave 100%, we shouldn't whitewash the facts especially hen we have abundant WP:RS to back the current wording. Not even going to comment on the IP argument on how apparently we believe "ID is sooooo much more pseudoscientific than Hitler is evil", not worth the effort wasted typing. Regards. Gaba (talk) 00:6, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
It's a question, and User:Gaba_p is evading it. The point is how one decidedly evil person in history is depicted dispassionately, accurately, and neutrally in one Wikipedia article, and a controversial topic is portrayed far more negatively than necessary in another Wikipedia article, Gaba's Argumentum ad lapidem notwithstanding. (talk) 00:21, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
ID is being depicted "dispassionately, accurately, and neutrally" as well. The term pseudoscience is factual, accurate, neutral and well sourced. IPS' red herring notwithstanding. Regards. Gaba (talk) 01:40, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
"ID is being depicted "dispassionately, accurately, and neutrally" as well." Just because someone writes this, doesn't mean that the claim is accurate. And Gaba still hasn't answered the question. Nor has even touched it. (talk) 18:37, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
"Just because someone writes this, doesn't mean that the claim is accurate", just because someone claims a claim is not accurate, doesn't mean that the claim is accurate. Should we continue with this "factual inception"? I haven't answered the question because I do not feel it necessitates an answer. What adheres to WP standards is using WP:RS to report from a WP:NPOV following WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE. The question is ill-posed as it simplifies the issue a great deal as if there was a simple choice between two approaches to be made. Regards. Gaba (talk) 18:48, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree with John Carter. Basically agree with Dave. (I supported inclusion of the word pseudoscience a week or so ago on logical grounds.) Disagree with you, though, that Glick misrepresented Kitzmiller; he just couched it in less disparaging words. Agree with the IP; the Hitler article is a prime example of objectivity without editorializing. Gaba, I'm hoping for responses that delineate the differences among "whitewash", "objectivity," and "disparagement."
Is the object of our article to inform or persuade? to describe ID and how it is unscientific, or to make sure the reader recognizes it as nonsense? Yopienso (talk) 01:11, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I guess the above can be criticised for not being about a concrete editing proposal but personally I applaud every effort to try to find common ground. I find the posts of Yopienso and John Carter quite reasonable, and very similar to my own thoughts even though their starting point is very different. I find Dave souza's position about the EB (which would equally apply to the way WP differs from other neutral sources such as dictionaries, online encyclopedias of philosophy, and so on), quite wrong and needing better discussion because I think it is defining a perennial point of debate which is part of why the lead keeps changing. (So I am positive about it. It is helpful.) My remarks on this: Not only do we not cover broader meanings of the term ID found in such sources but we also dump our readers much more quickly into one specialized meaning without giving them context found even in many quite polemic sources. There are many ways to skin a cat, but my own proposal which I believe would cover all concerns, would be to open with some context such as we could get from other encyclopedic sources, and then home in on what our local consensus wants this article to be about. Just for example, here is something to discuss, which uses the dictionary meaning that was recently deleted from the opening sentence:
Intelligent design, broadly understood, is a belief that nature's order results chiefly from "purposeful design by an intelligent being rather than from chance and other undirected natural processes".[cite dictionary] But more specifically intelligent design is the term used to refer not to traditional "arguments from design", but rather to pseudoscientific claims that this concept can be worked into "scientific theories", that should be considered valid alternative to mainstream scientific theories such as especially evolutionary theory.
When I arrived at this article there was a position often repeated which said that policies forbid us from mentioning broad and narrow meanings of an article's main name, but that was never true, and hopefully practical ideas like this can be more considered in good faith.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:17, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Yopienso -- neither is really WP norms Yes, Glick is not the bunch of judgemental adjectives from anti-ID Ruse, but neither has cites for verifiability or is really built like a WP article. Markbassett (talk) 00:52, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, if the question above had been phrased in such a way as to indicate the question was about whether the article should contain the word pseudoscience in its first sentence or paragraph, I would argue that the answer might well be "no." The reference source I quoted above did not use the word pseudoscience, or any clear synonym, in its ID article, and its article on "Creationism" is on a rather broad topic including theological creationism, etc. However, its short (3 sentence) article on "Creation Science," immediately after the "Creationism" article, does start with "Creation science is a science-styled activity...", and that phrasing clearly raises the issue of whether it is "science" or "science-styled," which is effectively a synonym for pseudoscience. I can and do see, perhaps, some valid reason to perhaps start discussion regarding how much weight to give pseudoscience and its synonyms in the lead, and maybe an RfC to that effect, but if a real RfC were to be started it would best follow more clearly the basic guidelines for such, with perhaps specific alternative phrasings being offered than a vague call to follow the style, lead, or model of others, as none of those terms really provide any solid indication of the exact phrasings or versions to be proposed. John Carter (talk) 01:21, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Request for comment

I guess RfC is the preferred term for a poll. The poll got paragraphs of input, but no one directly answered my question! I'll pose it again and request that responses be in this format:

  • Glick's, because . . .
  • Ruse's, because . . .

The question: Which model--Glick's or Ruse's--best adheres to WP standards?

This is not a request for a critique of either Glick's or Ruse's article, but a question about the proper tone of a WP article on intelligent design. Do we dispassionately explain the concept and the expert, mainstream view of it, or do we adopt the disparaging tone of the experts?
This is not an attempt to shut down the other discussion under "Poll," either. Yopienso (talk) 00:35, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

  • Glick's appears to be a more neutral, objective approach to explaining ID. I haven't read the Brittanica entry on ID in awhile, but from what I remember it is much more neutral than our WP article here. Cla68 (talk) 00:41, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, Cla68, but I know it's more objective. The question is whether his approach is more in line with WP's underlying philosophy than Ruse's? Or is Ruse's more the model of a proper WP article? Which is more valuable to the project in this case: objectivity, or speaking in the same voice as the experts? Which do the 5 pillars support? Yopienso (talk) 00:52, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Of course a more objective approach is more in line with WP's policies and guidelines. And by the way, the scientific viewpoint doesn't necessarily even represent the majority viewpoint on ID or other theistic science philosophies. The self-professed Christians in the West way outnumber the number of scientists. Cla68 (talk) 01:00, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
We go with the mainstream scientific, not popular, view. Yopienso (talk) 02:35, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
The NPOV policy states "All significant viewpoints in reliable sources" not "mainstream scientific." Cla68 (talk) 05:21, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
This isn't an WP:RFC. RfCs are meant to bring in outsiders. It's also badly worded - or rather the question is inappropriate as Yopienso is I believe saying. Dougweller (talk) 07:12, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
What's inappropriate about the question? Yopienso (talk) 08:26, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
It's relevance to the article isn't explicit. Even straw polls, which is what this is at the moment, need to be explicitly relevant. I could guess as to the relevance but I might find that I was wrong. I will also note that encyclopedias aren't the best sources - we normally try to use secondary sources, but that's another issue. I may have misunderstood you and if so I apologise. I don't know what the implications would be if either was favored. Dougweller (talk) 08:54, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Yopienso, also see my opening comment in my latest posts in the above section. I do not think Doug is being negative about your thoughts on this, but rather questioning how best to approach them. It is also partly a question of the WP jargon you used (RfC), which implies a very concrete proposal, that is known to reflect the opinions of editors who disagree. But a discussion of competing rationales is always a good first step, whether the aim is an RfC or something other approach. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:09, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. As you say, I was asking about the best way to approach this. And I put my comment in the wrong place, moved it now. Dougweller (talk) 12:07, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
I think it's more of a straw poll and probably should be relabeled as such. Cla68 (talk) 07:44, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Also if it is a straw poll then the questions should be clear proposals normally. I think Yopienso is asking for rationales, i.e. seeking consensus, which is exactly what we should be doing.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:12, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Cla68, if you go through those policy pages you will see that it is clear that "reliable sources" for the theory of evolution are mainstream scientific. At the moment, this article is basically entirely about the term "intelligent design" as it relates to the debate about teaching evolution, and while I think there are valid concerns about the dab issues that raises (because there are other meanings of the term, such as are found in dictionaries and encyclopedias), given that context, the policy is clear.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:17, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Yopienso, I have to agree with Dougweller about the ambiguity of this poll: I think everyone wants this article to be NPOV, objective, and encyclopaedic (i.e. no one wants to "adopt the disparaging tone" exemplified by a single section in Ruse's source), but without further context it's difficult to comment. I have no problem either dropping or retaining the label of pseudoscientific theory in the first sentence, if that's what we're discussing. I think we are all agreed that the sources illustrate that ID is pseudoscience, and, as dave souza noted, WP:PSCI states that "[t]he pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such." Does this require us to place it in the first sentence? No... but it doesn't preclude this placement either. Furthermore, I don't understand how including this designation in the first sentence is inherently POV, as some seem to claim; ID is pseudoscience regardless of where in the lead we make that connection. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 15:12, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
This poll is no better than the above section, because it seems to assume without evidence that the two choices presented are the only possible options, and that has not been demonstrated yet itself. I have a 2003 Encyclopedia of Science and Religion from Macmillan in front of me and on p. 463 of the 1st volume the very short article (3 sentences) on "Intelligent design" says "Intelligent design is the concept that some things - especially some life forms or parts of life forms - must have been assembled (at least for the first time) by the direct action of a non-natural agent." p. 190 of that same volume has a section of the "Creationism" article on "Intelligent design creationism" (5 sentence section) of which the first sentence is "The Intelligent Design movement is a recent entry into this arena of creationist perspectives on the character and role of divine action in effecting the assembly of new creaturely forms - especially new life forms - in the course of time." I think it might be reasonable to consider those other options as well. Both sentences seem to me personally to be maybe a bit long, and there is presumably a reasonable question whether the goals for first sentences in the articles of that source are the same as ours, but I believe that they at least establish that the either/or proposal being offered here is perhaps less than well founded. John Carter (talk) 20:14, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
John Carter, the points you are raising will presumably not seem relevant to Mister Dub because for Mister Dub it is clear that this article is about a specific usage of the term "Intelligent Design" whereby it is insistently presented as a normal type of scientific theory just like the theory of evolution which it disagrees with. Mister Dub believes this is the most common precise meaning of the term "Intelligent Design" (rather than the most common context in which it is discussed), while admitting that the term also has a broader sense such as found in dictionaries and encyclopedias that would seem to have aims similar to Wikipedia's. If you disagree with those primary assumption, as I do, you need to address them first or else you are "talking past" your interlocutor. For my own part I would say that even reading the sources which discuss ONLY the anti-Darwinian "theory" do not themselves use the term "Intelligent Design" in one way, nor as a technical term with a clear definition, but actually use the term to refer to both a movement, a "theory" and the same broad concept found in dictionaries, encyclopedias etc. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:29, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
I may well have gotten the formatting wrong. And, FWIW, the encyclopedia I used, which seems to me at least probably the best one dealing with "science and religion", probably also, like most encyclopedias, covers as many of the major concepts and groups/movements related to its field, as articles and subarticles, as possible. I tend to think they also might be among the best indicators for titles, as they tend to be written by some sort of academic experts in the field. You raise a point, possibly/probably a very good one, about whether the modern intelligent design movement is itself the most frequent usage of the phrase ID, and I honestly don't know the answer to that. And, FWIW, I've never seen anywhere around wikipedia that it is the case that the most common usage of a term by a proponent group is necessarily automatically accepted as a title. And, from what I remember, not having the copies I made of the articles from that encyclopedia with me here today at work, the ID movement is more or less considered in the ID articles/sections of the example in question, which is similar to a lot of other specialist "encyclopedias" devoted to narrow topics. I've found at least one "encyclopedic source" devoted to Thomas Merton, for instance.
The question here seems to be more about the idea of what is not only the best title for an article on the ID movement, which I'm fairly sure is notable enough in and of itself for a stand-alone article, but also for what would be the best title for an article on the belief system, or whatever, which the movement puts forward. Fron that source at least, the existing title would seem to be maybe best fitted to the belief, although, admittedly, the ID movement is maybe the most significant subtopic of that topic. With the millions of articles we have here today, and the sometimes overlapping content of them, I think this topic may be one of many where we are trying to determine what content goes in which article, and in those cases finding out how many articles we should have, and what they should cover, would seem to me to be one of the essential first steps. John Carter (talk) 14:43, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Well, I sure bombed on this one! But never mind; trying to patch up my question--which still seems clear and sensible to me--won't help anything. Excelsior! Yopienso (talk) 00:51, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Yopienso -- you didn't bomb out If nothing else, you showed bias is worse for ID than Hitler ;-). I do think pseudoscience is a vague derogatory label ('that's not real science'), and not 'neutral' (would that person accept 'Darwin is pseudoscience' as neutral?... has been flamed as interpretive rather than objective demonstrable mathematical Hard science and methinks the lady doth protest oer much ...) Markbassett (talk) 00:57, 20 May 2014 (UTC) p.s. Thanks for a meaningful use of Godwin's Law, now if we could only add a Star Trek tropism ...

I agree you did not bomb out Yopienso. You might not have set up a clear poll yet, but you raised some of the issues in a way which is probably a necessary first step anyway.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:29, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

We all agree that the Ruse technique is not appropriate here, but it is worth considering that the reason Ruse can use extreme language with what we would call weasel words is that Ruse signs the article as the author—like all the other text in the article, "Creationism is worthless" is the opinion of its author. It may be argued that Ruse's language is unhelpful for various reasons, but it is clearly Ruse's language and the reader understands that "worthless" is the opinion of the author. By contrast, an article here has no particular author, so a word like "worthless" would be meaningless as it would merely show the attitude of some editor unknown to the reader. The Glick article is much more subtle but again far too weasly, in the opposite direction. Glick does a good job of presenting the ID view of itself, but such an approach is unworkable at Wikipedia—should cold fusion be written from the point of view of its proponents (an exciting breakthrough that any day now will provide unlimited and virtually free energy)? The fact that cold fusion is totally bogus would be relegated to a paragraph at the end of the article? Johnuniq (talk) 11:33, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

I think that in order to be able to write on Wikipedia one needs to be able to distinguish between describing someone's opinions (even if they are universally agreed to be wrong) and putting those opinions into Wikipedia's voice. One is demanded by WP policy, and the other is against WP policy. Editors on this talkpage seem to sometimes willfully confuse the two, and that is really unhelpful. I am not closely familiar with Glick but at first sight I see no sign at all that Glick is confused by this distinction, which is so important for writing in an encyclopedic style (the style demanded by WP policy), and indeed his editors would not have allowed it, and our policies clearly tell us to trust such authorities, and not our own personal feelings. Let's be honest: there is no worthwhile argument to be had about what mainstream science says about evolution versus the intelligent design movement, but equally so there is no real argument in published sources about what the movement believe. We can and should report both things somehow, and the only discussion is about the details? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:45, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Considering Johnuniq's post makes me realize that maybe Yopienso's question was more important than I thought. Just to state what I thought was obvious: Glick's style is encyclopedic or at least the EB is pretty much the most well-known example of such a source, and is certainly subject to quite some checking. So unless his article in EB is a very odd one, WP policy tells us to write like that. Ruse's style is not encylcopedic and is of a style that WP policy clears tells us not to use. So actually there is no poll necessary on at least this question. The answer is clear and if there is serious disagreement on that then I think this particular point is better handled on a community noticeboard somewhere because it concerns interpretation of core content policy, not local editing preferences.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:53, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Wholehearted agreement with the substance of what Andrew Lancaster says above. While I myself have some questions about EB in some particular cases, I agree that it is almost certainly more NPOV than the other. Reference books intended to be used by the general audience, including significantly focused reference works, like, for instance, an encyclopedia of Hindu mythology, would probably also be among the better choices, depending on the reviews of such works and, in some particular cases, the content of specific articles. There are cases I know of in some religion encyclopedias where the only living person to have significantly addressed a topic in other works, other than perhaps some reviews of his work questioning his methodology, writes an encyclopedic article in which which he also put forward some rather, uh, new and unique (aka woo) interpretations of the topic, and seems to promote them in his enyclopedia articles. In cases like this, I would think the NPOV noticeboard might be the best one to go to if one were to choose a specific noticeboard. John Carter (talk) 14:52, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
General kudos : this is getting good and substantive discussion, and also basis explanations seem generally helpful towards ability to reach consensus on some things... Markbassett (talk) 02:55, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Delineating the subject matter of this article

Per WP:NOTFORUM. Please post any actionable proposals in a new section. See WP:TPG.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

--Charles (talk) 09:40, 5 June 2014 (UTC) I am not sure if this should be called an RfC because I am asking about the current/historic thinking behind this article, amongst the specific group of editors who have dominated it. I am not proposing any specific change. If others think this should be called an RfC please feel free to call it that.

I will try to keep this short and simple. It is very fundamental and regards something which would normally be very clear and public in any Wikipedia article, but it is not clear here, at least to some people like myself who apparently thereby cause great annoyance to those in the know. But there seems to be a group of editors who persistently present themselves as a unified position about this, and seem to think it is clear. I just request clarity from them. The question:-

  • My best guess about how sources are delineated as being relevant to this current article (as opposed to other subjects that might sometimes be called "intelligent design") is that any source talking about "intelligent design" in the context of the intelligent design movement (the one involved in arguing that a supposedly scientific theory of intelligent design should be taught in schools etc) is deemed to be about the subject of this article. Am I right or is there another criterium being used?

Note: it is possible to answer this with a simple "yes". If there is a clear consensus, then I think that new clarity would be helpful in trying to reduce the amount of silliness on this talk page. If the answer is "no", then of course that requires a secondary explanation as per the last sentence.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:55, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Andrew, let me be completely blunt. Nobody cares. You make unintelligible rambling posts about who knows what, then get all bent out of shape because no one wants to dance to your tune. You have been given good advice, especially by MisterDub and Johnuniq, heed it. - Nick Thorne talk 12:46, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
What tune Nick? What dance? May I not discuss the article on this talk page? If you find discussion confusing or frustrating just ignore it please. You've expressed your feelings enough now, surely? The talk page does have a purpose, and it is not me who set that purpose.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:03, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
You know Andrew, you're right, this talk page does have a purpose and neither did you set that purpose, you just ignore it. Ad nauseum. - Nick Thorne talk 16:03, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes! Any reliable source talking about "intelligent design" in the context of the intelligent design movement is relevant to this article. Yopienso (talk) 17:32, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Andrew Lancaster - it appears that you are 1) saying there is a cabal on this Talk page stifling relevant-to-the-page open discussion in general or your threads/ideas specifically and 2) that you are trying to define what the Talk page is SUPPOSED TO BE about so that you can then have a "free-pass" to refer back to should you be accused of being off topic. Considering I don't think #1 is true, #2 then seems to be a non-issue or just a POV that you hold so I'm unsure what you are driving at...
If you truly think your opinion/input is being squelched by editors on this page, then I would suggest you explore dispute resolution. However, from what little I've seen from the Talk threads that I've participated in, Nick Thorne's point about advice that you have been given is correct. Ckruschke (talk) 18:13, 4 June 2014 (UTC)Ckruschke
An once again, another attempt by Andrew to lump ID and the ID movement article into a single thing. He just won't WP:DROPTHESTICK. Given his own statement above (ie: I am not proposing any specific change) I am almost decided to close this as per WP:NOTFORUM. If any other editor agrees, please do so. Regards. Gaba (talk) 19:50, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
And also again, Gaba, you (and the other editors that control the page) are denying the point (so the horse ain't dead). ID ≠ DI. ID ≠ IDM. age(ID) >> age(IDM). age(ID) >> age(DI). They're just not the same thing. And insisting on equating the two or three concepts is dishonest.
And Nick, ID is not identical to pseudoscience, and yes, some people here seriously contest that assertion and on the same basis that some of us might contest materialism, physicalism? Dualism is not pseudoscience either and this ID article is like saying in the first sentence of the dualism article that "Dualism is the pseudoscientific view that ...". They're philosophies. As is materialism. If you're a materialist, the scientific method is the only method the only epistemology that matters. But if you're not a materialist, then the assumptions of materialism do not always apply. If we are all materialists, then the bias that is obvious in the article would be obscured. But we're not all materialists, so the appearance of bias also violates the Second Pillar of Wikipedia.
This article is biased in tone and in content. But the biased editors who insist on increasing the level of bias are not sufficiently open-minded about their own POV that they presumptuously (and erroneously) think their own POV is the NPOV.
Why can't we just state what ID is, from it's original historic origin, and state what various people, organizations, professions, and courts say about it. It's fine to state, even in the lead paragraph, that the "scientific community" as represented by various specific scientists and organizations, state that ID is psuedoscience. That statement is both salient and true. Why do we have to dishonestly associate the ontology and philosophy of ID with the dishonest Discovery Institute or Intelligent design movement when ID existed (and had a meaningful definition) long before either DI or IDM existed.
It's a dishonest and blatently biased article and makes little attempt with hiding that shame. (talk) 04:32, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
75, perhaps you might try reading the text at the top of this talk page. In particular you should follow and the links to WP:PSCI and WP:UNDUE. BTW, I did not say ID is identical to pseudoscience, I said it IS pseudoscience, but that does not mean that all pseudoscience is ID. Pseudoscience includes many other forms of woo beside ID. - Nick Thorne talk 04:57, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

I count one on-topic attempt reply to my original post. Thank you Yopienso, for making an effort to work in good faith. It seems clear however that Gaba P, Johnuniq, and Nick Thorne are indeed seeing it as their single mission on this page to make it impossible for me to participate. I am not really interested in them, but at the very least I do not accept their right to collapse and/or delete and/or distort my talk page posts, which to the best of my efforts are on topic (unlike their own posts). I shall continue to revert efforts to do that.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:05, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Andrew, this article is about the Intelligent Design view that the Intelligent Design movement has developed over the last 30 years. What really distinguishes it from design views in the past is that they really do believe they are doing science as they say in their writings. So, the opposition your are getting, is because this article really does a good job of summarizing their views and putting it into context. I hope that helps. I am One of Many (talk) 07:23, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Proposal for the opening words: for discussion

In the recent discussions about the lead I gave a proposal for opening lines which I think has none of the various issues that various editors seem to have with not only the current one, but all the many constantly changing ones of the past. I know of no clear problem with the proposal and certainly no conflict with sources or policies. Here it is:

Intelligent design, broadly understood, is a belief that nature's order results chiefly from "purposeful design by an intelligent being rather than from chance and other undirected natural processes".[cite dictionary] But more specifically intelligent design is the term used to refer not to traditional "arguments from design", but rather to pseudoscientific claims that this concept can be worked into "scientific theories", that should be considered valid alternative to mainstream scientific theories such as especially evolutionary theory.

Did anyone else spot any problems with it? It makes it clear that there is a broader meaning, but it also makes it clear that there is a specific meaning which is frequently referred to as pseudoscientific. There are many ways to skin a cat of course, but no recent versions of the lead have done this. Please note I am not asking for an election, but rationales. Elections on this article consistently attract editors who are not following the details of such discussions, and can not therefore lead to a stable lead. Hence my less ambitious question to start with: is there anything clearly wrong with this proposal? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:57, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Why "broadly understood"? Is that because ID is being defined in a more general manner than the term in common use? It appears that once again the central issue being raised is whether this article is focused on a centuries-old form of argument, or on the modern ID movement. If the former, then a general dictionary might be a suitable source for the definition, while if the latter, the existing wording (straight from the horse's mouth) is best. The proposed second sentence is unnecessarily complex because it is based on what ID is not. Johnuniq (talk) 09:56, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Johnuniq, actually I personally do not mind so much what the article is about (unlike most editors of this article). But we do know that the term ID has a confusing range of uses, and therefore my concern is disambiguating. This is not just a random interest of mine, but a concern based on looking at the long term pattern of debates and edits to the opening lines, which all seem to be trying to avoid confronting this relatively simple issue. If we know that our article uses a term in a way different from many or most similar respectable tertiary sources, then we know we should be careful.
My understanding of the current local consensus is that the article is mainly aiming to be about a narrow meaning, not the broad meaning. (This means Wikipedia takes an approach quite different to most tertiary sources with similar encyclopedic aims, but this is not my main concern.)
But note that it also seems quite clear that we our local consensus is trying to do something very difficult for a committee of editors, because none of our sources really seem to stick to strict narrow meanings of "intelligent design" like a technical term, but rather there is a spectrum of meanings which (I think) can not all be well-understood without understanding other parts of the "spectrum" which are nearly always discussed in the same contexts. So we can not simply say that we have a simple choice between one meaning and another. We can not simply isolate out a new definition, unless we want to allow originality.
Here is a new wording to consider:

Intelligent design, broadly understood, is a belief that nature's order results chiefly from "purposeful design by an intelligent being rather than from chance and other undirected natural processes".[cite dictionary] But more specifically, intelligent design is associated with controversial claims that such purposeful design can be the basis of valid "scientific theories", that give competing alternatives to mainstream science, such as especially evolutionary theory in biology.

Does this fix the problems? Create any new ones? Not sure which one I prefer. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:27, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I have two problems with this. (1) "Controversial" may give the impression that there is a scientific controversy. And "controversial" is, well, I wish I could be more diplomatic about it, but ... "controversial" is a WP:Weasel word, or else a contentious WP:Label. (2) Others may differ, but the wording about "basis of ... theories" and "competing alternatives" to me may suggest that ID does not only claim that there is a basis or alternative, but that ID describes a basis or alternative. Most readers would think that claiming that something exists entails a description of what it is that exists. TomS TDotO (talk) 12:59, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
The suggested rewrite does not fit the rest of the article. When I think of pseudoscience, ID is the paradigm. I think the current wording is fine and based on sources. --I am One of Many (talk) 18:20, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Another attempt to turn the article topic into the generic argument from design, rather than this specific topic, an issue well covered by the disambiguation header. The basis is a tertiary source, one particular dictionary definition which lacks the detail and clarification expected from a secondary source, and doesn't say anything about "broadly understood". The same dictionary seems to lack a definition for argument from design or teleological argument, so it looks inadequate as a source on the topic, and there's no reason for us to quote it without attribution. As Johnuniq says, the definition currently quoted is the one specific to this topic area. The remaining wording is confusing or muddled: "that should be considered valid alternative" is misleading. So, I don't think these suggestions work as an introductory sentence. With better sourcing something could work later in the lead when clarifying the relationship of ID to the generic design argument, though note that ID includes other arguments. . dave souza, talk 18:27, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
More or less agree with Dave souza regarding the proposed change in wording proposed. There is, maybe, at least theoretically, a question as to whether there might be some form of inherent systemic bias in assuming a description from within the scientific establishment of the West, which often has, at least implicitly, a tendency toward Scientism which might itself be considered a bias. This might particularly be the case in issues relating to the broad field of the interaction between science and religion (or science and worldviews which differ from those of the often broadly Western scientific establishment). And there is, at least to me as someone who hasn't studied the field extensively, a possibility that in a sense both the possibly "scientism"-biased scientific community may at times make errors of inclusion or exclusion in what is or is not ID for purposes of proselytization, and, maybe, incidents when some proponents of broadly pseudoscientific ideas perhaps misrepresent themselves as ID for some purposes of their own. That sort of thing is known to happen in what might be broadly called the area of Christianity as well.
Having said all that, I don't know exactly which sources would be free of such potential bias. Having gone to WorldCat just now, and looked in their topic "intelligent design (teleology), I find Culture wars: an encyclopedia of issues, viewpoints, and voices, M. E. Sharpe, 2010, Science, religion, and society: an encyclopedia of history, culture, and controversy, M. E. Sharpe, 2007, Icons of evolution: an encyclopedia of people, evidence, and controversies, Greenwood, 2008, and Evolution, creationism, and intelligent design, Greenwood, 2010, which maybe along with the Encyclopedia of Science and Religion seem to me to be maybe the closest things to what might (maybe, I haven't checked reviews) be most likely to come at the issue of ID from neither a pro-religious nor pro-scientism approach. Maybe it might be useful to check them, and the reviews of them? I dunno, and I'll stop butting in now. John Carter (talk) 17:15, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Individuals are free to disagree with me here, but I get the (possibly unfounded) impression that maybe the best way to go regarding the first few sentences regarding a topic at the interaction of science and religion might be to use language similar to that of the only reference work I know of which so far as I can tell seems to explicitly try to be NPOV between the two, the Encyclopedia of Religion and Science. Here are the beginning sentences of their relevant articles. I would of course agree that it would make perfect sense in perhaps maybe the 3rd or 4th sentence to say something to the effect that it tries to present itself in a scientific light, despite the fact that the specialists in the relevant branches of science who do not seem to have some sort of investment in what might broadly be called religious beliefs lend very little, if any, credence to the supposed science of these proposals. I think it might also be relevant to check the Wikipedia:WikiProject Skepticism/Encyclopedic articles, which doesn't have a specific article regarding ID but does have one regarding "Creation science" and see if it offers any sort of definition of the term ID. There are other reference sources which presumably deal with this topic in both pro-religious and pro-science (sometimes specifically agnostic/atheistic science) reference books, and to me anyway the best way to determine what definition we use is to look at the existing academic reference sources and look to see what sort of definitions they use. John Carter (talk) 21:53, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Basically no, we shouldn't start a sentence with anything as fuzzy as 'broadly understood' or a reference a dic def. "Broadly understood"? By whom? Not to mention that such a lead would fail to do the purpose of a lead, which is to summarise the article. Guettarda (talk) 22:49, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

I completely oppose the proposed rewording of the beginning of the lead. ID is pseudoscience, does anyone here seriously contest that statement and if so, on what basis? Therefore the article needs to state that fact right up front. The proposed rewordings introduces weasel words, gives opportunity for uninformed readers to get entirely the wrong idea about the acceptance of ID in the scientific community and veers way too far into WP:UNDUE territory. I am tired of the relentless campaign being waged by a few editors here that appear to be trying to water down any perceived criticism of ID and who seem to want to give it way more credence than it deserves. It is time to stop this. - Nick Thorne talk 01:10, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

I echo every word in Nick Thorne's comment above, especially the last part: It is time to stop this. Regards. Gaba (talk) 05:05, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
@Gaba P and Nick Thorne, your posts on this article are consistently inappropriate in a straightforward way. If you are annoyed by this type of discussion take a break. Please cease posting off topic ad hominem posts here which are purely designed to block discussion.
@Guettarda, the distinction between broad and narrow definitions is clearly not "fuzzy", but rather simple. If you are saying that this distinction is not found in our sources, that raises the issues of whether any sources clearly define distinct the narrow meaning WP uses, as opposed to the clear broad meaning we can find in things like dictionaries. I am trying to find a solution that Wikipedia can handle, but there are several ways to skin a cat, and I have pointed out before that there really is a strong case for saying that this article will never be able to distinguish itself, clearly from being the article about the intelligent design movement. (Unless we use original research.) I'll put it another way: if the problem with my proposal is that it assumes there is a narrow meaning and a broad meaning, then this has to logically be a problem with the whole way the current version of the article is made.
@TomS TDotO. The word controversial is in only one of the above two drafts. I think it is optional. I do not understand your second concern.
@Dave. With all due respect your last sentence shows that you understand that I am not trying to change the topic which means you know that your first sentence is misleading. You are clearly (as usual) distorting me and the sources and the discussions above. Can you please stop that? Searching for something concrete in your post I only find insinuations about side issues. We know, for example, that the broad definition is not only found in that one dictionary. I have already suggested in recent discussion that we should collect a few tertiary definitions in order to see what is really a "common term" (not order to use them as sources for details). And you say a sentence is misleading without explaining why. Also see my reply to Guettarda.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:00, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
"It is time to stop this" seems about right. The opening paragraph appears to have been rather well crafted, from the mainstream scientific pov as required, and I am perplexed as to the need for any change at all, let alone a total rewrite. No justification for such a thing. -Roxy the dog (resonate) 08:28, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes it is time to stop this. There is clear consensus for the existing lead which needs no further tinkering with.--Charles (talk) 09:12, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
First of all, I agree with "it's time to stop this". I am only responding to a request for clarification. ID is the claim that there is a theory. (In mathematical jargon, it is an existence statement, like there is a solution to this equation, without providing a solution. This is different from a constructive statement thus-and-so is a solution to this equation.) I believe that layman may construe the ID claim that there is a theory as, rather, "ID is a theory, which is not the case. (I believe that all careful writers follow.) TomS TDotO (talk) 10:39, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree that ID is not a theory it merely a view. That is one reason it has no testable predictions that can be derived from it. I am One of Many (talk) 16:35, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
TomS TDotO, so doesn't the first version cover both your concerns?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:10, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I also agree with "it's time to stop this". There is no sound argument that a change is needed in the lead. The proposed leads change the meaning of the lead in ways that are not consistent with the article. There is clear consensus that no change is needed in the lead for now, so I think we are done here. I am One of Many (talk) 16:35, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
All of the posts since my reply seem blissfully unaware of what they are replying to. Why would that be? I think it is obvious that one of the biggest problems this article has is lazy talk page posts, which confuse and distort and waste space. Please everyone wake up: not every criticism of this article is a questioning of mainstream science. Please read what you are replying to or else do not post here.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:24, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
No, I think that all of the posts since your previous one are saying words to the effect that "We don't agree with you, Andrew, please move on." -Roxy the dog (resonate) 12:08, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
No, we know what is going on. And most of the people here have already decided to ignore any of your posts. Its time to move on Andrew. I appreciate your contributions to many other sections of wikipedia. But Intelligent Design and the Teleological argument are not those sectors. I suggest you indeed move on from these subjects. NathanWubs (talk) 13:18, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
^ Yep. Regards. Gaba (talk) 17:13, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Please let it go. Johnuniq (talk) 23:34, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
"We know what is going on". What then? I would like to know. Apparently I did not get the memo. :) Some possible misunderstandings:
  • While it is being claimed that there is a clear conclusion above, once again there is none. There is stunning lack of any clear conclusions here except by straw polls (a problem which goes back long before I arrived in the discussion).
  • It seems to be assumed that I must be promoting some particular position, because it is assumed everyone on this article is doing this. But actually I would be happy to see ANY CLEAR ARGUMENT/RATIONALE which "wins" and becomes clear. Without this, editors here are constantly attacking each other and misunderstanding each other. With better rationales on record, we should have a more stable article, and easier editing.
  • Just to remind you all, the lead changes in major ways every few months, the talk page is a long term disaster covered in warning signs, and the main active editors struggle to even define the details of what this article is about in a clear and consistent way (for example to define how and why this article is not the same subject as covered in Intelligent Design Movement). Is that not something worth trying to avoid in the future?
  • As far as I see it, but it has always been open to discussion, the biggest problem the article has is unclear boundaries concerning what it is about, and how to tell which sentences in which sources are relevant to that subject as opposed to related subjects (intelligent design movement, argument from design, etc).
As I have pointed out in other discussions, if we can not resolve that, then maybe the most practical alternative is to merge this article to Intelligent Design Movement, which effectively now cites the same sources and says the same things and has many of the same editors. (Such a decision would normally be better made by a broader part of the WP community.) I have not really seen anyone grappling with this point, and I have doubts that anyone understands the point I was making yet. This makes me reluctant to give up on this article.
  • A question. My best guess about how sources are delineated as being relevant to this current article (as opposed to other subjects that might sometimes be called "intelligent design") is that any source talking about the intelligent design movement (the one involved in arguing that a supposedly scientific theory of intelligent design should be taught in schools etc) is deemed to be about the subject of this article. Am I right or is there another criterium being used?
If a good answer can at least be put on record, I think it would help this article? Please treat my question in good faith. :) --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:06, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Andrew, once again TLDR. You would be well advised to re read the posts made by the other editors before your last seemingly unending tome. Drop the stick. Now.

You are perfectly entitled to have whatever opinion you choose, just as we are perfectly entitled to ignore it. You would be far more persuasive if you kept your posts to a much shorter length. Please stop apparently trying to overwhelm the conversation by sheer weight of words. - Nick Thorne talk 10:18, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

What stick are you talking about, which opinion of mine do you say people disagree with? I asked a question about a rationale. Indeed, why spend so much effort trying to bury and distort?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:20, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Andrew, I'm not interested in playing games with you. Please just take the hint that quite a few editors here have given you. Go and find some other corner of Wikipedia to work on where you can do something constructive. Your posts on this talk page are becoming disruptive, they continue to rake over the coals of things that have already been discussed, sometimes multiple times, and your dissatisfaction with the results of those discussions does not give you the right to endlessly go on about it. Accept that the consensus is against you and if you can't do that here and begin to cooperate with others on this page then maybe the ID page is not for you. I can't put it any plainer than that. - Nick Thorne talk 15:33, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I register your refusal and/or inability to explain what you meant, and to answer my question. I read your series of posts as saying you see no need to be convincing, right? But editors express annoyance with each of us on Wikipedia all the time, and none of us can pay attention to all of them, or else Wikipedia would be a disaster. It is obvious that there are waves of different editors expressing emotions periodically on this particular talk page, because they see it is as connected to current affairs they feel strongly about, right? And in all good faith the aggressive and personal editors who post on this talk page are also the ones who show no evidence of knowledge or interest in the on-topic discussions. What do any of us do when confronted with such editors? Does every such complaint count as a vote and force us to obey? I do not think so.
I am asking a clear good faith and on-topic question above, which I hope can help future discussion, and I kindly request that it is treated in a good faith manner. Why not? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:14, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Andrew, please take the recent comments you received from multiple editors into consideration. You've been harping on the same issue for several months now, and received little-to-no support. We're tired of reading walls of text that say the exact same thing over and over and over and over and over and over again. We all know what you want and... we don't agree with you. You may even be correct, but Wikipedia is not the place to right great wrongs. You have not gained consensus, and at a certain point you have to drop the stick. Please listen to your fellow editors: "The community's rejection of your idea is not proof that they have failed to hear you. Stop writing, listen, and consider what the other editors are telling you." I think at this point, further disruptions will have to be reported. -- MisterDub (talk | contribs) 21:40, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
More posts about me. More posts which refer to mysterious un-defined understandings. Why not return to topic?
Not only am I trying to listen Mister Dub, I am now simply asking you guys (you apparently identify as a group with a united but to me unclear position) to explain your own position. I asked a very fundamental question about how you as a group delineate the relevant sources for this article, because it seems to be an important point to you. Why not just answer it? As far as I can see it is a new, clear, fundamental and un-answered question. Getting down to basics seems to be just what is called for in the situation you describe? Give me and other editors something meaningful to "listen" to and understand?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:21, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Is there a proposal to improve the article? The proposal in the OP has no consensus, so why are we still discussing who-knows-what? Johnuniq (talk) 07:53, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
It seems obvious that where it is not clear how different editors delineate what an article is about you will get problems much like the ones this article has: people talking past each other. Let's work together to break that circle.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:22, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
In this section, one editor has made a proposal and twelve have opposed it. One of the twelve has been partially supportive of some kind of rewording, but the other eleven show no concern with the text currently in the article. Perhaps we are all wrong. Nevertheless there is a clear consensus and since this is a collaborative community the only responsible action would be to drop the matter and find other pages requiring attention. There is an alternative—use a sandbox to prepare an RfC to determine whether there is any support for your proposal in the wider community, then make a single post of the RfC to this page and let the community decide. However, the time for "Let's work together to break that circle" is well past—you have over 1000 edits to this talk page since August 2013 (averaging 3.6 edits per day), and it is time to agree that whatever the problem is, there should be no further commentary. Johnuniq (talk) 09:37, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Indeed, I can start a new section in order to avoid my new question being swamped.
  • An RfC would be appropriate if I had some kind of clear proposal such as if it really seems there is no practical reason not to merge this article with the Intelligent Design Movement article. But I am trying to keep an open mind.
  • I think your edit count comments are useless throw-away remarks, either thoughtless, or else deliberately misleading. In either case disruptive. I have discussed lots of ideas on this talk page, and many have been accepted or at least got widely varying reactions. It is silly to try to caricature every post I made as being driven by some sort of un-definable single aim as per the "we know what is going on" comments above. It comes across as silly that no one can define it. Furthermore there is no clear position opposed to anything I say, but rather waves of rent-a-crowd folk who show no sign of following the discussion. It would be good to have ANY clear coherent position, in public. And 3.6 comments per day is not a lot, and what if it was?
  • I think what people rejected is Dave souza's distortion of my SECOND draft, which was made in reaction to your post, which was the only reaction to my first draft, but was not an outright rejection. I do not believe anyone clearly rejected the first draft? If they did, my request is that we get the reasoning out into public and clear. What's wrong with that?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:39, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Andrew, what's wrong with your first or second draft is that it is not sufficiently biased. In order to qualify as the lede for this article, it must immediately conflate the philosophy of ID (which has existed with that name in the 19th century) with the current political mess and the Discovery Institute. And it must denigrate the idea at every place possible. It must not simply state what it is in the lede, but must inject a value statement regarding it as early as the fifth word of the article. If you make it sufficiently politically correct (in the minds of those who control the article) and biased, it will be indistinguishable from what exists now, so then why bother? (talk) 15:48, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Andrew - Your second proposal seems the better one based on the ID concept having controversy and theory phrasing being more commonly seen as key factors. But I'm still thinking there is WP:OR going on for header here, which has been making issues with cite and article consistency and good WPism harder to get, so this may be as good as it gets. Meh, at least the issues seem fairly obvious to readers. Markbassett (talk) 01:53, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^ Cornelia Dean (September 27, 2007). "Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life's Origin". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  2. ^ Lesley Burbridge-Bates (2007-08-22). "Expelled Press Release" (PDF). Premise Media. Retrieved 2007-09-29. External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ a b Dan Whipple (December 16, 2007). "Colorado Confidential: Science Sunday: Intelligent Design Goes to the Movies". Colorado Confidential. Archived from the original on 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  4. ^ "Ben Stein: No argument allowed". Chicago Sun-Times. One spokesman comes close to articulating a thought about Intelligent Design: "If you define evolution precisely, though, to mean the common descent of all life on earth from a single ancestor via undirected mutation and natural selection -- that's a textbook definition of neo-Darwinism -- biologists of the first rank have real questions... "Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as a result of intelligence. line feed character in |quote= at position 78 (help)
  5. ^ Jeannette Catsoulis (April 18, 2008). "Resentment Over Darwin Evolves Into a Documentary". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
  6. ^ "New AAAS Statement Decries "Profound Dishonesty" of Intelligent Design Movie". American Association for the Advancement of Science. April 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
  7. ^ Stephanie Simon (May 2, 2008). "Evolution's Critics Shift Tactics With Schools". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  8. ^ Frankowski, Nathan (Director) (2008). Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Motion picture). Premise Media Corporation; Rampant Films. OCLC 233721412.
  9. ^ Mosher, Dave (April 3, 2008). "New Anti-Evolution Film Stirs Controversy". LiveScience. New York: Space Holdings Corp. Retrieved 2014-02-28.