Talk:Introduction to evolution/Archive 2

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This archive covers January - February 2007

Well Done

I just wanted to say that I realize that this article is a work in progress, but I admire it enormously. Good job. I hope that this particular article doesn't prove to be an evolutionary dead end, so to speak. I hope it remains what it claims to be an "introduction to evolution" that is short and readily comprehensible for nonspecialists. I'm a fairly smart guy with a bit of education, but find some of the technical jargon in the main article to be difficult to digest, for instance. Anyway, again, kudos to the authors.--Ggbroad 00:45, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Image placement

I shoved this image in there but it is probably in the wrong place. We could shove cuvier and the fossil picture together too I think.

In 1832, while traveling on the Beagle, naturalist Charles Darwin collected giant fossils in South America. On his return, he was informed in 1837 by Richard Owen that fragments of armor were from the gigantic extinct glyptodons, creatures related to the modern armadillos he had seen living nearby. The similarities between these two unusually scaly mammals and their geographic distribution provided Darwin with a clue that helped him develop his theory of how evolution occurs.[1]

--Filll 05:08, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Something about the term "child" and "children" does not work for me. It either places too much emphasis on humans in relation to evolution or perhaps worse; implies animals have 'children' which seems too Disney like. I had an image of Bambi for some reason. Was the term "offspring" too complicated? --Random Replicator 02:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC) oops wrong place.

New lead section

Well done Silence for a much improved introductory paragraph! I think it's great - but we must be careful not to let it slip into something too technical and complicated. I wonder, for example, whether it's a good idea to introduce the term "natural selection" at this point, or whether this should be left until a bit later - it crops up already under "Darwin's idea", and maybe could be expanded a bit there. Is there a danger of confusing readers by throwing natural selection at them too early. Maybe keep the introduction very simple. Evolution means the change in organisms over generations. Offspring differ from their parents and from each other. Some of these different traits confer advantages, and these offspring will survive better. Populations therefore change and adapt. Don't spring the terminology on the redader just yet. Just a thought, a question, a wondering... Snalwibma 22:16, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

The problem is that if we don't introduce natural selection, we can't really explain anything about evolution; common descent makes no sense if you don't already understand natural selection (i.e., that organisms change over time, and that beneficial traits become more common), because common descent without selective change would imply that everything today should be some microorganism or other. "Natural selection" and "common descent" are both about equally technical terms, anyway; and I expect that many times more people who read this page will already be familiar with "natural selection" than will be familiar with "common descent" (I was taught of the former in elementary school, whereas the latter was never mentioned to me in any level of public education). If we don't "spring" at least the extremely basic terminology on people early on, then people won't understand what we're talking about later (i.e., someone might read the intro and not see "natural selection", then skip down to a lower section and be completely confused by what we're talking about when we keep mentioning that). -Silence 22:32, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
I think we need to be specific about "change" in that first sentence. Organisms can change in a lot of ways. For instance, I've changed in the past ten years: I've gotten older, fatter, balder, grumpier. But not because I'm evolving.--Ggbroad 23:05, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
That's why the first sentence says "change over generations", not just "change". Your individual development is not change over generations. -Silence 00:06, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Here is my 2 cents: I would suggest an ultra elementary lead, then a slightly more technical introduction section and therefore we do both: easy lead PLUS give them content for later. I know it might not be standard format for WP, but chemistry does it and so does physics. They lead will be very much of a gentle overview, no technical requirements. If they get through that, we hit them with the introduction where they get common descent and natural selection. That way we preserve a very gentle lead, but still give them more content for later if you think that is what they need. I am ambivalent if they need it but I will bow to the experts. This sounds bad to argue violating WP formatting rules with an expert editor and administrator, but I dont mind if we break some rules here: I just want it accessible. Will that hurt the FA status of evolution itself? I am probably suggesting a no-no.--Filll 23:21, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

The way I view it is, in the professional world, one has summaries and executive summaries and abstracts and introductions etc. One article might have several different styles of "introductory" section, all at different levels, different lengths, for different purposes. So I dont mind if we do that here, as long as it doesnt hurt evolution's FA chances.--Filll 23:23, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that if we include too many introductions and re-introductions within the same article, we lose all conciseness and simplicity and thus make the overall page a lot less valuable. We will bore or confuse our readers if we reinterate the same information over and over again in lots of different ways, rather than presenting it only once or twice in the most clear and concise way possible.
You correctly point out that some articles, like Chemistry and Physics, have "Introduction" sections, but it must be remembered that those are not introduction articles! Articles like Introduction to quantum mechanics and Introduction to general relativity never include "Introduction"-type sections within them (beyond the least section, anyway), simply because doing so would be redundant; the entire article is supposed to be an introduction.
My recommendation is that we make the first paragraph of Introduction to evolution the sort of "ultra-elementary" thing you're talking about. Explain the basics of evolution in only 1-3 simple sentences, with no new terminology whatsoever introduced (other than "evolution" itself, of course). That will suffice for the sort of absolutely simple thing you seem to be talking about. Then, we can have the next 2-3 paragraphs of the lead section be a slightly more detailed intro, along the lines of the current introduction, which will introduce the most important basic terms involved--common descent, natural selection, trait, population, organism, etc.
This will allow the sort of progressive detail thing you're talking about, but without the sort of excessive and silly "Introductions within introductions" layering that would be involved in adding whole new sections just to further introduce the thing. We risk actually causing more confusion than we solve if we are so verbose and redundant in our attempts to present the topic in an ultra-simple way. We should instead strive to make the entire article simple, concise, and coherent, rather than re-explaining the same thing when it's already perfectly coherent. -Silence 00:06, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Ok well I am willing to provisionally try it. My two other main co-editors might need to say something too. But it is worth a try. It is not like it is set in stone or anything, and we wont hurt anything by trying it. I really have no idea how much traffic this page gets anyway. I would be very curious to know.--Filll 00:18, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Something about the term "child" and "children" does not work for me. It either places too much emphasis on humans in relation to evolution or perhaps worse; implies animals have 'children' which seems too Disney like. I had an image of Bambi for some reason. Was the term "offspring" too complicated? --Random Replicator 02:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

I didnt think so. I also am less than thrilled with excessive parenthese in text, but I am willing to see where it leads.--Filll 02:58, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Now I understand the sense of "ownership" I've accused the author's of the main page of suffering. I do not want to be guilty as well; as it is not in the spirit of Wikipedia.... lol .... at least someone cares enough to contribute .., so thanks Silence. I wish there was a way to determine traffic, it might serve as an inspiration to continue to edit or a good reason to turm off the computer and go watch Oprah. Oh well. Silence, unless you are deeply attached to the term child; please consider an alternative. Oh yea, Snalwibma, nice to see you are still out there! --Random Replicator 03:12, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

We are all still here, and rightly proud of this little article. I would estimate that probably 75% of the contributions at least were due to Random Replicator, and another 20% from Snalwibma. I just provided some cheerleading and formatting really. But I still think it is beautiful, nevertheless. I would put it in my 10 favorite articles I have helped with.--Filll 03:16, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Also, I would expect it gets a fair amount of traffic. Evolution is one of the most heavily visited pages on the web and the link sits above the lead there. Also for probably 95% of the people using Wikipedia, they will be lost at the evolution article, so they would come here. So I bet we get a lot of traffic. I used Wikipedia very extensively for a few years before I ever considered writing anything in it. I bet for every person writing, there 100 or 1000 reading.--Filll 03:19, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I used the terms "child" and "parent" solely for the sake of simplicity. If someone thought that the term "natural selection" was too complicated for us to use in the intro, then I figured we were dealing with an elementary-school education (or at least vocabulary) level, so I tried to use the simplest terms possible and explain all of the ones that weren't as simple. I have no problem with changing the words to more non-basic, academic ones if that's the preference. And if the vocabulary level is higher than I expected, then I can remove some of the parentheses too, like the ones defining words like "trait", "population", and "organism", thus killing two birds with one stone. -Silence 03:24, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I think the newest version, with a very short intro paragraph containing the basic idea, followed by two slightly more complex paragraphs - introducing terms like natural selection, gene, adapt, species, and showing how they come together to form "evolution" - works very well. My objection (not really an objection, just a question) was not that "natural selection" is too complicated or technical, but rather that we are catering for a reader who wants "the basics" on evolution, and we do not want that reader to give up at the second sentence with the thought "all I wanted was a brief explanation of evolution, I didn't want to be confused by all these other concepts." I think there must be a brief take-home message ("evolution means xxx") in the very fist sentence or two, and then a more detailed explanation. I think the present text has it just about right! Snalwibma 09:12, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I see silence has already changed some of the terminology back but I would like to chime in and encourage that approach. I think if we raise the bar high, but not too high, then we encourage learning. I agree this should be aimed at schools but I think kids need to realise very early on that understanding terminology is important. As written, i don't think there is anything here that is unapproachable (great credit to the authors). David D. (Talk) 16:04, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

The current version of the lead looks pretty good to me.--Filll 16:26, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Me too. --Random Replicator 23:27, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Request for sentence revision

Minor consideration:


In this way, differences accumulate and can eventually lead to major changes in a population of organisms.

Suggested Rewrite:

In this way, differences that accumulate over time can lead to major changes in a population of organisms.

Logic: Eliminate the possible contradiction: the term "can" implies it might while the term "eventually" may be perceived as it will. Also "time" is a good word to squeeze in when discussing evolution.--Random Replicator 15:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Also, did a couple of very minor rewordings in intro related to structure (not content), several have worked on that section so feel free to review and edit as you see fit. Have you notice that the most reworked section in a Wiki article is the intro? This one seems to be melding well.--Random Replicator 15:24, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Well the intro is the most important part, since most people by far will only read the intro and go no further. I like what you did above to that sentence.--Filll 15:29, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I love the way the table of content and the tree line up on my screen. Please make a note Filll, maybe we can keep it that way as future edits occur. I have yet to invest time in formating skills ... my planning period ... here I sit staring at that stack of papers :(--Random Replicator 15:34, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Replicator, eventually implies an unspecified duration of time, not a certainty. Indeed, the secondary (somewhat archaic) meaning of "eventually" is "a contingent event; something that will only happen if another, uncertain thing happens first". I don't think anyone will interpret it as denoting necessity. "I may go to the movies eventually, or I may not" doesn't sound strange to people, because saying that something is "eventual" doesn't mean that it's certain or definite or required. -Silence 15:38, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
True, I guess I was thinking in reference to the 'slang' use of the word. Perhaps indicative of my southern roots. When will you get to it? ... "eventually". Certainly in an unspecified amount of time ... but it will get done. As I said, a minor consideration. What is your take on the over-all intro? I'll quit 'tweaking' it if it works for you. Since you are in the writing mode ... consider squeezing LaMarck and his misconceptions into the article... I would do it but my brain hurts from reading Fillls battle of words on the various discussion pages. --Random Replicator 15:54, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, I don't think that's a "slang" meaning, I think it's just that "eventually", like all words, implies "will happen" rather than "may happen" in any context except one where words like "may" or "can" are actually used. For example, if you ask someone "When will you get to it?" and they respond "Sometime" or "Tomorrow", that doesn't preclude you from saying things like "I may get to it sometime" or "Maybe I'll do it tomorrow". For the same reason, "eventually" only means that something is actually going to happen if nothing in the sentence suggests otherwise. If you asked the question "Is it possible that you're ever going to get to it?" and I respond "Eventually", that doesn't mean that I'll definitely get to it eventually; from context, it is clear that it means that it's possible that I'll get to it eventually, because that's what question is being answered. So "can eventually do" doesn't mean must eventually do. -Silence 16:02, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Haha...I do get into some tussles. And you probably dont know them all. But it helps me to understand what the "other side" is thinking and to sharpen my arguments. I do wonder about the modern suggestion that there are some Lamarckian processes going on. What is the formal word for that? It is probably too advanced for this introductory article.--Filll 15:58, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Ok ... I take that as a no go on the sentence revision :) --Random Replicator 16:35, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, I'm OK with revising the sentence if it can be made clearer or simpler; I just don't see a benefit to revising it to avoid ambiguity with "eventually" that few, if any, will be confused by. For example, a change like "In this way, differences can accumulate and eventually lead to major changes in a population of organisms." might be better, or even better "In this way, differences can accumulate over time and lead to major changes in a population." I don't like the specific rewrite you suggested only because the "that" makes the sentence structure unnecessarily complex, and we're trying to make the first paragraph of the lead section as simple as possible. -Silence 17:25, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

'In this way, differences can accumulate over time, leading to major changes in a population.' ????--Random Replicator 18:47, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Went with this one as you suggest ..... "that" ..... be gone now. As always, change as you see fit. --Random Replicator 04:13, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Fair Use attack on our images

I went to the place where I obtained them and they are still in those articles. If there was a real fair use challenge, they would not be in any WP articles and they would not be available in the data base. So restored them.--Filll 04:22, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Rather excited about the moth pictures since the peppered moth is used in every text book in the country as an example of natural selection. Came from Wiki commons so the the copyright police can keep their clickers off of them. I am not pleased with my formating. The text that follows Hardy Weinberg looks good up to the point that examples a) .... and b)..... drop down and shift to the left. It works for now. --Random Replicator 00:41, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Wow nice moths. Some creationists attack those moth pictures as forgeries. I thought about rearranging them or cementing the two pictures together, but I didnt want to make a mess. They look pretty good.--Filll 00:49, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Not to be too off-topic, but how exactly were those pictures taken originally then? Homestarmy 02:56, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

What do you mean? They were taken with a camera of course. --Filll 03:43, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I mean how were they set up and all, and is the Creationist thing about those moths not normally sitting on trees like that during that time of day true and whatnot. Homestarmy

Well that appears to be correct, but it is basically irrelevant for the purposes of this article. Sorry.--Filll 04:28, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

See Peppered moth evolution for more information. -Silence 04:39, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Ditto See Peppered moth evolution for more information. Covers the contoversey in detail. But as Filll points out, there is no reference to Industrial melanism in this article; just serves as an example for gene frequencies. I'm actually more concerned about Haeckel's photograph. We mention the incorrectness of the theory of recapitulation; should we point out that the picture was the one accused of misguiding? I looked for a more accurate depiction of embryology in Wiki commons, but found none. --Random Replicator 15:12, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Just remove the Haeckel image. It's inaccurate and out of date. -Silence 16:42, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I removed the Haeckel image. i agree it is inaccurate. Definitely a case of conformation bias for the idea of “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. While this might be an interesting historical aspect of evolution a link to that is enough for this article. David D. (Talk) 16:59, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Creationism and ID

The article states "Some religious persons and groups object to evolution on religious grounds, and propose Creationism as an alternative view of the origin of the species on earth. A variation of such beliefs called Intelligent design claims that the variety of life forms that is observed on earth is the result of the actions of an outside intelligent agent, such as extraterrestrial intelligent beings or a God or set of gods."

As I understand it creationism is different from ID in that creationism doesn't state any process but that species were created fully in-tact. ID says that evolution did occur but that it was directed and not via natural selection. So I don't know that it is correct that ID is a variation on creationism, but a seperate idea.

Creationists believe in a young universe, but ID proponents do not.

I seem to see them lumped together all the time and I think there it reflects a bias in that a creationist is happy to reject scientific evidence but ID does not. It simply interprets it differently (sure it's unpopular and widely condemned in the scientific community, but it's still different then creationism). Personally I think ID is interesting but darwinistic evolution may be correct or directed evolution may be correct...of course the reason people argue over this is not over the theory but over a battle concerning a theistic vs. atheistic world view.

IMO, theists waste their time making a big deal about it because it's really irrelevant. I find the evidence of cosmology and the nature of consciousness far more compelling in putting forward a theistic argument then the details of evolutionary process. At the same time I find atheists reject any criticism with religious vigor.

Anyway, I want to propose that ID not be characterized as a "variation" of creationism, because if you fairly look at them (even if you think both are a complete joke) you will see they are not the same at all.

A second thing I want to ask about in the "misconceptions" section it says:

"Evolution does not imply any "progress" towards an ultimate goal. In fact, evolution is not goal driven. Organisms are merely the outcome of random mutations that succeed or fail, dependent upon the environmental conditions at that time."

I think that evolution does have a goal, it's "goal" is to transmit genetic information between organisms. That's a minor point but I wanted to throw it out there. - AbstractClass 00:25, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

"As I understand it creationism is different from ID in that creationism doesn't state any process but that species were created fully in-tact." - That's a bit of an overgeneralization. Many forms of creationism do assert processes of various sorts, and many forms of creationism are rather long-term, like progressive creationism.
"ID says that evolution did occur but that it was directed and not via natural selection." - Depends on the form of ID. IDers disagree on which aspects of evolution did and didn't occur (though they all agree that God is the intelligent designer, and they all agree that evolutionary theory is fundamentally flawed, which are the main two factors necessary to qualify as creationism in general usage). Some IDers, like many creationists, claim that "microevolution" occurs, but not "macroevolution". Others are like theistic evolutionists, in that they accept that evolution occurred, but claim that an intelligence must have guided the process (often on the erroneous basis that only an intelligence could increase a system's order, or generate new information). But since theistic evolution is sometimes considered a form of creationism, that wouldn't make ID non-creationistic, it would just make them a different form of creationism. Specifically, most experts consider ID to be the dominant form of neocreationism, a descendent of Creation Science.
"So I don't know that it is correct that ID is a variation on creationism, but a seperate idea." - All non-ID sources I've ever read on the matter have described ID as a form of creationism; I think it would violate WP:NOR for us to try to relabel ID here.
"Creationists believe in a young universe, but ID proponents do not." - That is quite incorrect. Read the Creationism article. A majority of Creationists believe in an old universe. These are typified by Old Earth creationists.
"I seem to see them lumped together all the time and I think there it reflects a bias in that a creationist is happy to reject scientific evidence but ID does not." - I think you'll find that this is incorrect. I've never read an ID website in my life that didn't reject scientific evidence left and right. IDers, like all sophisticated creationists (see for example Answers in Genesis, a Christian apologetics site which uses dozens of the same arguments as intelligent design), are very careful to ignore 99% of the scientific evidence, and to fixate on cherry-picked, often misleading outliers as though they were the norm. Intelligent design, indeed, has demonstrated a profound disrespect for the scientific method, and a disregard for scientific evidence; no ID organization sponsors scientific research, no IDers have performed tests or made scientific predictions or explanations, etc. In fact, there seems to be near-unanimous consensus in experts in ID (and U.S. court cases have agreed thus far) that ID is no less religious, and no more scientific, than other forms of creationism. The only real difference is that their rhetoric is scientific; they use "sciencey" words and make fewer references to the Bible to justify their views. But their actual beliefs are for the most part the same as Old-Earth creationists and Creation Scientists, albeit more generalized and abstract.
"Personally I think ID is interesting but darwinistic evolution may be correct or directed evolution may be correct." - Personally, I think ID is interesting too. For the same reason that I think creationism is interesting: it's an interesting theological and religious view. (Specifically, ID has been equated in some cases with the theological argument from design.) It's just not science.
"I think that evolution does have a goal, it's "goal" is to transmit genetic information between organisms." - That is not a goal, because goals imply intent or purpose or desire. It is just as misleading to describe evolution as having a "goal" as it is to describe gravity as having a "goal"; saying that evolution's "goal" is to transmit genetic information between organisms is like saying that gravity's "goal" is to make heavy objects attract lighter ones. That's not a "goal", that's the description of how the process of gravity/evolution works. -Silence 01:15, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

My responses to AbstractClass:

  1. Some good points about creationism and ID. Yes, they are probably more distinct than the text of the article suggests - but this article is absolutely not the place to get bogged down in the niceties of the distinctions. No doubt it could be written a bit more clearly, so let's have a go. On the other hand, in defence of the existing text, it only says that ID is a variation on "such beliefs", leaving it pretty vague as to precisely which beliefs it's a variation of. In essence, all we need to say in this article is that there are other (religious) interpretations, such as creationism and ID, and provide links to the relevant articles. I suggest a simple change (highlighted here): Some religious persons and groups object to evolution on religious grounds, and propose Creationism as an alternative view of the origin of the species on earth. Another belief system called Intelligent Design claims that the variety of life forms that is observed on earth is the result of the actions of an outside intelligent agent, such as extraterrestrial intelligent beings or a God or set of gods.
  2. I agree with Silence about the goal issue. The text is about right. Note also that it says "ultimate goal" - an important part of the point is that there is no apex, no pinnacle, nothing (humans, for example) at the top of the heap, no point at which you can say "that's it, evolution has now done its work."

Snalwibma 09:01, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Creationism and ID are not more distinct than the text of the article suggests, because ID is a type of creationism. The problem isn't that the article is conflating two distinct things, but rather that AbstractClass is defining "creationism" too narrowly. He assumes that Young Earth creationism is the only form of creationism, when in fact there are dozens of varieties, including neocreationism, which encompasses ID and similar views. Your proposed change, Snalwibma, is absolutely unacceptable because it explicitly states that ID is not creationism, which would be deceiving and lying to our readers. ID is, according to experts in the area, neocreationism.
Your point is correct in that the article does say "ultimate" goal. Even if one wishes to mischaracterize the occurrence of evolution as goal-based, it is indisputable that there is no "ultimate goal" for evolution. -Silence 16:28, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
A couple of quotes from the Intelligent Design Article in Wikipedia suggesting ID is a form of Creationsim. Our statement is merely a link for additional information; however, our phrasing is 100% supported by that document. --Random Replicator 22:44, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

"The intelligent design movement arose out of an organized neocreationist campaign directed by the Discovery Institute to promote a religious agenda.."

"Intelligent design arguments are formulated in secular terms and intentionally avoid identifying the intelligent agent they posit. Although they do not state that God is the designer, the designer is often implicitly hypothesized to have intervened in a way that only a god could intervene."

"The predominant modern use of the term began after the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard (1987), ruled that creationism is unconstitutional in public school science curricula. Stephen C. Meyer, cofounder of the Discovery Institute and vice president of the Center for Science and Culture, reports that the term came up in 1988 at a conference he attended in Tacoma, Washington, called Sources of Information Content in DNA.[36] He attributes the phrase to Charles Thaxton, editor of Of Pandas and People. In drafts of the book Of Pandas and People, the word 'creationism' was subsequently changed, almost without exception, to intelligent design. The book was published in 1989 and is considered to be the first intelligent design book.

I see no need great need to edit. I don't think we are laying bait for controversey. Not to be apologetic, but, I would prefer if we minimized inflamatory statements. Not seeing one here. Thoughts? --Random Replicator 22:44, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree. We have very little to worry about. We mainly acknowledge the controversy exists, and redirect people to the right place. And ID was determined by US Federal courts to be a form of creationism. And that is good enough for me. --Filll 22:50, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
OK - you (Silence, Random, Filllll) are right and I was wrong. On reflection, yes of course ID is (merely) a flavour of creationism. I completely retract my suggestion (but you will note that I floated it as a suggestion here rather than insert it into the article). It sank - and that's fine with me. Must learn to be less accommodating in future... Snalwibma 17:01, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I think you need a mentor. I hear raspor (talk · contribs) has time on his hands. :) David D. (Talk) 17:57, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Don't be too hard on yourself. Your and AbstractClass's confusion was completely understandable; most intelligent design advocates claim that they are not creationists, so it's natural to assume that they're (a) honest and (b) well-informed about their own movement. But all the evidence indicates that ID is a form of creationism, or at the very least an offshoot of creationism with only a few differences from mainstream creationism. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck... -Silence 18:08, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

vestigal modification

Prior edit of vestigal, although accurate, forces an expansion of the introduction with excessive detail. Vestigal is discussed later in the document. If need be modifications and improvements can occur there. Seemed simplier to me (and for the reader) to drop the reference to vesitgal in the intro sentence as it is not critical to setting up the following passages. Thus avoiding the need define in such detail. Nothing lost as I can see by simply referring to genetic and anatomical comparisons in a general sort of way. If this makes no sense ... you would need to compare recent edits in "history". If it still makes no sense it is because I am indeed clueless: In fact let me go back agrab the sentence. --Random Replicator 01:31, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Before: Current species also provide evidence, with the many genetic and anatomical similarities that exist between them, and any vestigial structures they carry. These structures no longer serve the main function they served in previous generations, although they may still serve a function.

After: In addition, studies involving anatomical and genetic comparisons between present day species serve as evidence for evolution.

Rework or revert as you see fit. --Random Replicator 01:34, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Another great "quote"

Gilbert and Sullivan put it, 'Darwinian man though well behaved is really but a monkey shaved!' I am wondering about a page of evolution quotes, with some explanatory material as well and historical context so it is just not a list of quotes.--Filll 16:38, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


I just read that the species on opposite sides of the great wall of China have diverged because there is a barrier. Comments?--Filll 16:44, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

New section

Not sure it should remain, but it amuses me.--Filll 18:19, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Firt day of the new semester --- several things to contemplate. Bees, which I hope to have my students read soon for your feedback and this little addition. I'm not sure. It is amusing and I'm not opposed. I suggest we let it sit awhile and see if it generates any excitment. If it could be moved to below the misconceptions or alternative views section so that it is not in between the heavier material; it might flow better. Creationism followed by tongue in cheek works better for me than Dawkins followed by shaving apes. You crack me up! --Random Replicator 23:41, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Ok I moved it to just above the summary. I do not know if in the main body we should mention where these well known one-liners are from or not. But oh well, lets see if anyone notices.--Filll 23:59, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Why did the dinosaur cross the road? A: Chickens hadn't evolved yet. This one and several others you shared in prior discussion? :) --Random Replicator 01:13, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes I did. I have put a bunch more on Wikiquote. I have some doozies I found I might use in some of my other articles--Filll 01:22, 25 January 2007 (UTC)


Our scientist keep disappearing???? Yet they remain on the main entries within Wikipedia. I am not all that up on rights of use; what am I missing here? Is it at Admin -thing where you delete without explanation... sort of omni-potent. --Random Replicator 00:17, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Well here is what I found out. I went to look at the Theodosius Dobzhansky's picture, and it said that WP did not have permission to use the picture except on that one article, his home article at Theodosius Dobzhansky. Then I did some searching, and there are a few other pictures that exist on the web, with a variety of copyrights to museums etc. I presume that the same is true of our other missing picture to Gould. What we presumably have to do is to sit down and write emails to the copyright holders to give us rights to use the pictures on our website here. I had to do it for a physics article, so I know what the letter has to look like. I guess I should do it for Gould and Theodosius Dobzhansky and clear this up once and for all, if I can. I presume we could get them to release the pictures into the public domain, or at least for our use. At least it is worth a try. So that is where we stand at the moment, at least in my estimation. I wish the guy who has been nuking the pictures had stopped to tell us WHY he was taking them down, because until I looked, I did not know.--Filll 00:23, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

I checked on the Gould picture and it is under a copyleft not a copyright, and free to use as long as it is attributed to where it is from, which you will see if you click on his picture. So I replaced it. I will see about T.D.--Filll 00:30, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Trouble with Dog and pigeon pictures

I think we have a problem with spacing. I tried to fix it without much success. We need an expert and more fiddling I am afraid.--Filll 02:33, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Removing origin of life from misconceptions

I removed

  • Evolution is silent about the process which created life on earth, known as abiogenesis.

from the misconceptions section because:

  • It is wrong. A major hypothesis for the origin of life is that of molecules and protobionts evolved, by natural selection, toward stable, reproducing prokaryotes.
  • It is unclear. "is silent about"; use of abiogenesis instead of "origin of life"

Pcu123456789 05:51, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Sorry this is not part of biological evolution. It might be a major theory, but it is not part of evolution. Evolution is about the ORIGIN OF SPECIES. Ever hear that phrase? This is also an introductory article, and a lot of the changes you made made it hard to understand. If you want a complicated article and more accurate article, go to evolution--Filll 00:23, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Recent storm of changes

I have watched in the last day a large number of changes take place. Some I think improved the text. Some made it harder to read. Some did not improve the English. Some I think introduced mistakes. I thought it was best to let them continue and then see what looked best. I might wait for another short while and see if this continues, or if it settles down again, except for maybe what appears to me to be an egregious error or two.--Filll 13:57, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

The edits were indeed numerous, more than we have seen since its inception; however, I have no objections to Pcu123456789 contributions, they seem to increase both accuracy and readability. In fact, I am glad someone has shown an interest. All minor edits, with one exception which was addressed on the discussion page. A fresh set of eyes is perhaps needed. --Random Replicator 04:48, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Elmerglues contributions; however, do not share the "spirit" of the project! --Random Replicator 04:54, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
How do bees know that a drunk is a repeat offender???? Ummmm ...a question posed by one of my students when I shared your story .... I had not an answer but I refered them to your entry Filll. Not the page to discuss this issue, but I will be getting back with you on the bees with other puzzling questions raised by my students. --Random Replicator 04:54, 5 February 2007 (UTC)


A newly added sentence.

Coevolution may involve symbiosis, where two species live in close association, or an evolutionary arms race, for example.

In the spirit of simplicity, is this too much information? or Can it be incorporated it into the paragraph in a way that it is more clearly "self-defining". The symbiosis "where two species live in close association" seems to work ok. But the "evolutionary arms race" seems to be dangling there. --Random Replicator 05:04, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

I would advocate making it as simple as possible. We have a more advanced article for more advanced ideas.--Filll 05:11, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Filll, I am going to drop the sentence, it has merit; yet maybe more info than needed in an intro article and I can think of no way to simplify the arms race without extending the passage. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Random Replicator (talkcontribs) 15:11, 7 February 2007 (UTC).


Could some one add the definition of "viable" as a foot note. It appears in the definition of species... offspring that are viable and fertile. From my encounters as a teacher, its meaning is not always understood. Personally, I would rather leave the term in the text and foot note it than get too wordy with species definition. I would do it myself, but I would likely create formating issues. Thanks--Random Replicator 01:32, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

I wikilinked it. You want more? --Filll 04:03, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
That works, Thanks--Random Replicator 14:55, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
    • ^ Desmond, Adrian (1991). Darwin. London: Michael Joseph, the Penguin Group. ISBN 0-7181-3430-3.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help), [1] Darwin, C. R. ed. 1840. Fossil Mammalia Part 1 No. 4 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. By Richard Owen. P. 106]