Talk:Ken Ham

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Scientific consensus wording[edit]

Whilst this is an interesting, nay fascinating debate, this is not the place for it

I've observed the editing back and forth for a while, and I don't see anything wrong with the proposed wording: "... is contradicted by the measurements of the age of the universe and the age of the Earth being billions of years."

The phrasing " contradicted by the scientific consensus that the age of the universe and the age of the Earth are on the order of billions of years" sounds a bit weasely to me. I.e. is there an "unscientific consensus"? Or some scientists do not agree about these measurements? What exactly is "on the order of billions"? (It may indeed be the case, if RS to this effect exist.)

In general, it seems that in an article related to the creationism topic, the language should be very straightforward, and if there's nothing majorly wrong with saying "contradicted by the measurements..." then I would support this version, as not open to the interpretations as I mentioned above.

Would like to hear some feedback on this. K.e.coffman (talk) 23:15, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

I agree completely. We don't say that "there is scientific consensus that 2+2=4", even if some people choose to dispute that. There is a certain level of accepted fact about the natural world where it's unnecessary, and even a bit misleading, to use "scientists say..." wording. Moreover, I don't understand the appeals to consensus that some of the people involved in this edit war are making (e.g. [1]). It looks to me, at a glance, like the last discussion on this subject favored omitting the "scientific consensus" wording and simply presenting facts as facts. MastCell Talk 23:20, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
@StAnselm: Could you please comment here? K.e.coffman (talk) 23:23, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes, the problem with using the word "measured" here is that it doesn't have the nuance that it might have in other articles. In Age of the universe, it says "The current measurement of the age of the universe is 13.799±0.021 billion years ((13.799±0.021)×109 years) within the Lambda-CDM concordance model." (emphasis mine) It is not "measured" in quite the same way that the "distance between New York and Chicago" is measured, and comparing it to 2+2=4 is a false analogy. StAnselm (talk) 23:50, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Now you are just parading your ignorance. It is measured using exactly the same kinds of reasoning as it used to measure the distance between New York and Chicago which is a measurement that depends on the accuracy of your geodetic model just as much as the age of the universe depends on the accuracy of your cosmological model. jps (talk) 00:28, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
How about "contradicted by the current estimate of the age of the universe being 13.799±0.021 billion years"? The source provided uses the word "estimated". Actually, Ham's sourced belief here is only relating to the age of the earth - I presume he believes the universe is the same age of the earth, but that belief would need a citation. StAnselm (talk) 00:00, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Prob should hear from I9Q79oL78KiL0QTFHgyc. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:03, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm not psyched about the "current estimate" wording, because it incorrectly implies that other estimates might be more in line with Ham's claims. I also think St. Anselm misunderstands the concepts of measurement and estimation. All measurements contain a degree of uncertainty, from the age of the universe, to the distance between Chicago and New York, to the mass of an electron. For the purposes of an in-depth discussion of measuring the age of the universe, it is appropriate to elaborate on the models and estimates used and their degrees of uncertainty. But when discussing someone who believes that the Earth is 6,000 years old, it is appropriate to simply say that the Earth's measured age is on the order of billions of years. This is, in itself, an estimate (the clue is the words "on the order of", and the lack of an exact number), and encompasses the entire range of plausible values and measurement error. I'm opposed to trying to find ways to water it down or equivocate, when this wording is entirely correct and accurate. MastCell Talk 00:25, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It's not an estimate. It's a precise measurement. The "estimated" aspect that Wright is referring to is on the basis of model uncertainties that are at most 10 to 20% (and most astronomers agree are not likely relevant post Planck). This is much like someone arguing that the distance between New York and Chicago is 1.5 feet instead of 713 miles and then complaining that the measured distance between the two cities "is only an estimate" because another geographer pointed out that the driving distance could be estimated to be 790 miles instead of the 713 mile great circle distance. jps (talk) 00:29, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

This version by MastCell is straightforward and will probably help avoid misunderstandings:
  • Ham believes, based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, that the universe is approximately 6,000 years old, whereas the measured ages of the universe and of the Earth are in the billions of years.
K.e.coffman (talk) 00:52, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
This is a fine version. Note that the numbers I used for the distance between New York and Chicago are proportioned exactly the same way Ken Ham proportions his belief in the age of the universe. The uncertainties on the distance are even of similar order, amusingly. Just underscores how precisely counterfactual the denial that Ken Ham engages in actually is. jps (talk) 00:57, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

The age of the Earth is based on several lines of evidence, with some inference, all giving pretty good consistency. They are not, however, direct measurements of the age of the entire Earth. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 01:07, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

And the distance between New York and Chicago is based on several lines of evidence, with some inference, all giving pretty good consistency. Your use of the adjective "entire" makes me think that you have your own pet ideas about where you think the inconsistencies may lie, but no matter. The facts remain facts regardless of what you (or I) think. The fact that Ham simply denies basic facts about the reality we all inhabit is really not up for debate and neither is the basic scale of the age of the Earth (which is nowhere near the scale claimed by Ham). jps (talk) 01:16, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
If you feel so strongly about this, then perhaps you should fix the article: Age of the Earth. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 01:18, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Nothing that I wrote here is contradicted by that article. Start with the first sentence, for example. Don't see any room for claims that the age of the Earth given there is anything but a measurement (whatever the hell you mean by "direct" I cannot say). jps (talk) 01:21, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
What the "hell" I mean? Making an inference about the age of the Earth, when none of us were there when the Earth first formed, is, yes, indirect. Not really the same as measuring the distance between two cities. If you want to insert the word "fact" into the lead of Age of the Earth, be my guest. I will be interested to see the reaction. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 01:24, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I think you have a reading comprehension problem. Go read the first sentence of Age of the Earth. Are you really attempting to use "Were you there?" as an argument here? jps (talk) 01:29, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Sir/Madam, you seem to be personalizing this. Please avoid this. I'm reading the article, Age of the Earth, yes. And I'm reading both the first and second sentence. Again, if you want to insert the word fact into one of those sentences, I would be interested to see the reaction. Thanks. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 01:32, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Please stick to the article at hand. We are talking about facts here. The age of the Earth is a fact. If you think it is important that the fact that the age of the Earth is on the order of billions of years show up in other articles, please talk about your desires at those other articles. For now, we are here talking about the facts here. jps (talk) 01:37, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
jps, it is true that the scientific majority believes the evolutionary age of the earth. The article reflected that fact. We don't need to change (and we should not) the article to satisfy your strong dislike for Ken Ham, AiG, and YEC. The wording if fine the way it is. --1990'sguy (talk) 01:25, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
The "scientific majority" is irrelevant. The fact that is relevant is the actual age. I LOVE Ken Ham, please stop saying otherwise, thank you very much. The wording is not fine as it is. The wording implies that these facts are only opinions in contravention of WP:ASSERT. jps (talk) 01:29, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
If I have misrepresented your feelings towards Ham, then I do apologize. But regardless, your edits are unnecessary, and I do think you have a strong bias against (different from dislike or hate) Ham and YEC. If you didn't, you would be OK with the current wording. The evolutionary age of the earth is an estimate (yes, it is). Why is it wrong then to describe it as such? --1990'sguy (talk) 01:42, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Apology accepted. Now we all have our biases and you wear yours on your sleeve. Just so. The goal of Wikipedia is to present facts as facts and opinions as opinions. Here, the fact at issue is the fact (NOT OPINION) that the Earth/universe is billions of years old. Wikipedia, wherever occasion to mention this fact comes up, is required per its policies and guidelines to make it clear that this is a fact and not an opinion. You are arguing that the age of the Earth/universe is an "estimate". Above, I have carefully outlined why this is hardly relevant to the point at hand (the point that Ham denies the fact of the age of the Earth/universe being on the order of billions of years). It is wrong to imply or insinuate that this is not a fact which is what the attribution to "scientific majority" or "evolutionary thinking" or "scientific consensus" does. Because, you see, these measurements are not just a bunch of people agreeing. These are measurements just like the distance between New York and Chicago (see above). Do you understand? jps (talk) 01:50, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I commented on the phrase " contradicted by the scientific consensus that the age of the universe and the age of the Earth are on the order of billions of years". I.e. is there an "unscientific consensus"? Or some scientists do not agree about these measurements?

The problem is WP:weasel with this wording being subject to various interpretations. K.e.coffman (talk) 01:47, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

The problem is trying to assign the word "fact" to something that is an inference and mostly a statistical inference. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 01:52, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
All measurements are inference at some level. This would mean that no measurements are facts. It's also 100% false that it is mostly a statistical inference. Please stop. You are embarrassing yourself. jps (talk) 02:01, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
The wording describes the fact that there is a consensus among the majority of scientists that the evolutionary age of the earth is true. There are plenty of scientists who disagree. These two statements are facts. The wording does not violate WP:weasel. --1990'sguy (talk) 01:53, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
There are not plenty of scientists who disagree. There are essentially zero scientists who disagree. And the fact that you want to change the subject to a question of how many scientists disagrees is exactly the problem. This is not an opinion. This is a fact. jps (talk) 02:01, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

How about this variation on MastCell's text: Ham believes, based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, that the universe is approximately 6,000 years old, whereas the the universe and the Earth are billions of years old. Just stick to the facts without the "measured" red herring. On another point, it looks jps put a POV tag on the article—that is not a good idea because it encourages others to do the same whenever they don't like something. Johnuniq (talk) 01:57, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

You can feel free to remove the POV tag. I don't know what to do when there is a problem like this. Your version is fine with me. I just don't want to violate WP:ASSERT. jps (talk) 02:01, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
May work -- this avoids the whole "scientific consensus" debate. K.e.coffman (talk) 01:59, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I am fine with any agreed upon version, but may I ask why anyone would object to "scientific consensus"? This is the wording that is often use to calm down opposing sides and shows that not everyone agrees, but the current consensus is -whatever-. I am not sure why anyone would disagree with that wording on both sides of the discussion. Lipsquid (talk) 02:08, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Because the consensus of scientists is quite immaterial to the fact that the age of the Earth has been measured. It's like saying, "The scientific consensus is that the distance between New York and Chicago is 913 miles." That is an unencyclopedic way of reporting that fact. That is exactly why we have WP:YESPOV. The age of the Earth/universe isn't an opinion. It is a fact. jps (talk) 02:10, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I get it, I often edit pseudoscience articles so I get used to giving people leeway to express opinions when those opinions, however crazy, are backed by somewhat scientific sources. Lipsquid (talk) 02:17, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I disagree. We should have something more like: Ham believes, based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, that the universe is approximately 6,000 years old, whereas the the universe and the Earth are believed to be billions of years old according to the Theory of Evolution.
The age of the Earth and universe are estimates, not hard, solid, observed facts (whether you like it or not, that's the case). They seem to be very precise estimates, but they are still estimates. We shouldn't go beyond saying that here.
Better yet, lets just keep the "scientific consensus" wording. The wording is good the way it is. --1990'sguy (talk) 02:12, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I think this statement illustrates perfectly the problem. You are ignorant of the fact that the age of the Earth and universe are measurements and they are hard, observed facts just like any other measurement. I understand that you have been indoctrinated to think otherwise, but Wikipedia is based on mainstream understanding and not the understanding imparted by one's fundamentalist religion. The reason the wording is no good is because it obfuscates this fundamental fact about the reality we live in. It misleads the reader into thinking exactly the misconception you outline, that the age of the Earth/universe are not "hard, solid, observed facts" when, crucially, they actually are. I couldn't have asked for a better object lesson than this. We need to avoid any weaseling into the idea that these facts are actually opinions. jps (talk) 02:17, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Sir/Madam, please cease making derogatory comments about other editors. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 02:19, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
There is nothing at all derogatory about what I wrote. It is okay to be ignorant. It is even okay to be indoctrinated. There is nothing wrong with that. Such people are free to come here and help on any number of things which do not require someone who isn't so blinkered. However, when it comes to reporting such fundamental facts about reality such as the Age of the Earth or the Age of the universe, the opinions of those who have been indoctrinated to believe, for whatever reason, that the facts associated with those topics are not actually facts really do not belong influencing the content of the encyclopedia. It's a harsh reality, but it is not derogation of the fundamental human worth of the other people with whom we share this cyberspace. jps (talk) 02:23, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I am not ignorant or indoctrinated, contrary to what an "enlightened" person like you might think. I have been watching these pages for years, having to deal with numerous ignorant editors who try to make these pages conform to the views they have been indoctrinated with. It is common sense that the original wording is best and describes the section the best. The wording does not violate any Wikipedia ordinance. Please stop trying to change the wording. --1990'sguy (talk) 02:34, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
The words "scientific consensus" is fine, and it is not necessary or ideal to describe the evolutionary age of the Earth or universe as hard facts, as several other editors, who clearly are not ignorant or indoctrinated also think. --1990'sguy (talk) 02:36, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Well we are all indoctrinated, to differing degrees and on different subjects, and we all wear our own set of lenses that we view the world through. That said, I agree with you there is no controversy on the age of the universe. I self-reverted. Carry on and best to all! Lipsquid (talk) 02:40, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I agree, absolutely. The difference is that some people are indoctrinated in a way that supports the goals of the encyclopedia and some people are indoctrinated in ways that do not. To take a less hot-issue example, someone who is indoctrinated in a way that makes them want to correct spelling is an asset to Wikipedia, generally. Someone who is indoctrinated in a way that makes them want to reorder numerals wherever they see them is not. jps (talk) 02:45, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Your own writing has already betrayed your ignorance, sorry. The very fact that you think that the Age of the Universe is "believed" "according" to the Theory of Evolution is a whopper of a misconception. It would earn you a failing grade in my astronomy class, for example. The wording needs to be changed to comport with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. Pretending that there has been a long consensus in favor of this is disingenuous especially as it was you yourself who removed the wording that plainly identified these facts. You are the one who is on the losing side of consensus here. It's time to back off. If you want to learn why you are wrong, feel free to contact me separately. jps (talk) 02:42, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
You're completely wrong. Sorry to hear that I would fail your astronomy class because of my views on this subject, rather than something that's much more relevant to astronomy. --1990'sguy (talk) 01:34, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
SMH. Hint: The Theory of Evolution is irrelevant to the Age of the Universe. And obviously I'm not completely wrong because it really was you who changed the wording despite the consensus here, wasn't it? jps (talk) 04:36, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, that was my political correctness getting the better of me. Regardless, I do hope that I'll have an unbiased astronomy teacher. :) --1990'sguy (talk) 18:31, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution. For this reason, Creation Science and Intelligent Design are the first examples listed at Wikipedia:Fringe_theories#Examples. Whether God did it or not not is a philosophical/theological debate that generally is regarded as outside or even unrelated to science, but evolution, the big bang, and so forth, are established facts. There's still some debate room regarding the exact date, but all serious estimates fall within the range of billions of years. As such, we do not mention scientific consensus (because it creates artificial validity in the eyes of the science-rejecting YECers) and should even avoid mentioning measurement (if only to avoid redundancy, it not because mentioning measurement leaves open the question as to whether the measurement is right). The Earth article barely mentions measurement, it usually just says "it is this big" or "it is this old." Yes, it gives measurements, but it describes those measurements as facts.
    I'm OK with either Johnuniq's suggested wording or His belief, based on a literal interpretation of the Bible that the universe is approximately 6,000 years old, is contradicted by the the age of the universe and the age of the Earth being on the order of billions of years. Ian.thomson (talk) 02:38, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
    • Good point on the word "measurement". I think I agree with that. Of course, it makes me sad that this is the present state of rhetorical affairs as I think measurement is so wonderfully fundamental to science, but there I go showing my bias again. ;) jps (talk) 02:46, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
    • I'm happy with Ian.thomson's suggestion, though (a) "in" the order would be the more usual way of expressing it; and (b) we don't need both earth and universe here - if we do, we need a citation for Ham's view on the age of the universe. StAnselm (talk) 08:00, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
      • The most common way of discussing order of magnitude descriptions is indeed to say, "on the order of". Here is a source which identifies Ham's opposition to the age of the Universe: [2]. jps (talk) 12:41, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I like Ian.tomson's wording, as it makes sense, and doesn't give any doubt to science. ThePlatypusofDoom (Talk) 12:35, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm comfortable with a simple assertion, in Wikipedia's voice, that the earth and universe are billions of years old which, as jps points out, is how we generally treat propositions that enjoy this level of scientific consensus. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 16:20, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Can't say I like the simple assertion. The problem is that science can't prove that the universe is ___ years old; it can only say that the hypothesis that the universe is ___ years old is consistent with all available data. In the same way the statement that "the universe was created 5 minutes ago and all of us provided with ready-made memories" is not something that science can prove wrong. The current wording is not awful, and I'm OK (just barely though) with it staying, but I think using "scientific consensus" is better. For reference, many of the proposals in an RfC on genetically modified organisms [3] also use "scientific consensus". Banedon (talk) 05:38, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
That's making things a little unclearer than it really is. Scientists can look at the universe and say "if our measurements were correct and our math is right, and physics actually does consistently work the way we've observed it to work repeatedly, then the Earth is somewhere between X and Y years old and the Universe is somewhere between A and B years old." 4.5 billion years and 13.7 billion years are well any serious ranges of those figures, and other guesses are close enough (from our mortal perspective) that we can get away with saying "about" those figures. So, the scientific consensus is as close to a fact as we can get unless we just need to chuck out science as a whole. Ian.thomson (talk) 06:54, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
I agree with you up until "... chuck out science as a whole". Science can get pretty damn close to proving that the age of the Earth / Universe is ___ years, which is still a good accomplishment and so isn't something we should chuck out. But it can't actually prove that the age is that value, so it's not really correct to say that the Earth / Universe is ___ years old either. Another comparison: a scientist in the year 1850 might have said, if our measurements are correct and our math is right, and physics actually does consistently work the way we've observed it to work repeatedly, then Vulcan exists ... but it doesn't, does it? Banedon (talk) 07:22, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia is based on reliable sources. Those who know how to determine the age of the Earth have done so, and the results are reported at Age of the Earth. Who knows, perhaps the value will be revised by a few million years up or down, but the Earth is known to be billions of years old. The same scienctific principles than enable us to use computers and phones and the internet also apply to geology. Johnuniq (talk) 07:59, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
You and I clearly interpret scientific "knowledge" differently then. Banedon (talk) 08:43, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

Age of Earth Opinion vs Fact[edit]

... and nor is this

There is clearly a difference of opinion of the age of the earth. The text of this article has to do with Ken Ham and not with another's beliefs or opinions. The article must maintain neutrality in wording. Claiming that "the Earth and the Universe are about 4.5 billion years and 13.7 billion years old respectively" is based upon references from those who believe that.

Such has nothing to do with the articles subject, nor is verifiable scientifically. It must be modified or removed for these reasons.

Starting an edit war is not a good way to handle a difference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by KitchM (talkcontribs) 16:32, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

The age of the earth is NOT a matter of belief, it is a scientific fact, as the references show. Theroadislong (talk) 16:42, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
Please see the section above titled #Scientific consensus wording. clpo13(talk) 17:03, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
What we need are true, unbiased facts here. First, the age of the earth as being billions of years old is based upon the evolutionary belief system rather than the creation belief system. Neither is based upon scientific fact. True science requires observable facts. Since no one was here even a million years ago to observe and record anything, there are no facts; only conjecture and hypothesis. That is why this article degrades to the point it is. One true believer does a "study" and writes his or her article about it and that article is used as proof of the same fact. Are you kidding? That is just sloppy research and unworthy of Wikipedia.
Further, the idea that the majority must be correct reminds me of that true scientist, Galileo, who stood alone against the majority, and was absolutely correct. This article needs to be corrected without interjection of one belief system over another based upon the writer's personal belief system of choice. This about the subject and his belief system; not anyone else's. All things contrary to the subject's own position needs immediate removal, simply from a position of fairness and neutrality, if not common sense. - KitchM (talk) 03:40, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
You've got your metaphor completely mixed up here. Young Earthers like Ken Ham are not like Galileo. Young Earthers are more like the people who argued that heliocentrism was just Galileo's heretical opinion -- but a few centuries after scientists had done the work and found out that gosh, the earth does indeed go around the sun.
Science is based on collected observation by individuals who are educated enough to know what they're looking at. Those individuals (i.e. scientists) have found that Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution. Wikipedia officially regards young earth creationism as pseudoscience. Our articles on evolution, natural selection, Abiogenesis, the Age of the Earth, the Age of the universe, and the Big Bang treat these subjects as facts because any real scientific work does so as well, because, again, Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.

Evolution is not a belief system, it is accepted by members of various religions, including the largest Christian denomination on the planet. If you continue operating under the delusion that evolution is a belief system (instead of what the nigh-totality of scientists in relevant fields has observed as being the most reliable explanation for how life on Earth works), then you are only going to waste everyone's time here. Ian.thomson (talk) 04:21, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
I'll try to be plain: Evolutionists are like the Catholic church that persecuted Galileo, for indeed that church based its position not on scientific evidence, but upon supposition and personal belief. Please never imply that evolutionists collect observations; they were never there. Your quoting of those questionable opinions does not prove anything at all. Further, acceptance of evolutionary theory by some religions (belief systems) does not prove it is not a belief system. Basing opinion upon numbers and circular logic makes one wonder just whom may be wasting the reader's time. - KitchM (talk) 05:05, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Everyone who has studied biology, including all the medical staff in major hospitals, knows that Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution. Yes, contrarians can be found who deny that, but contrarians said that smoking was good for you—there will always be outliers. It is a requirement at Wikipedia that editors follow reliable sources, and it would be a great benefit for anyone to know that life is more interesting than a simple story. All that is irrelevant for geology which is the science that finds minerals that non-scientists cannot detect, and the age of the Earth is primarily a subject for geology, not evolution. Johnuniq (talk) 05:25, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
That is a broad, unprovable argument with which you begin, and patently false. - KitchM (talk) 05:42, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Serious question: what does evolution have to do with the age of the Earth and / or Universe? Evolution deals with life, and the techniques used to establish the age of the Earth / Universe aren't related to life. Banedon (talk) 05:50, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

No one has observed electricity (our only knowledge of it is indirect), yet here we are using computers and the internet. The place to raise doubts about whether the age of the Earth is a "fact" is at Age of the Earth. An alternative would be to enquire at WP:HELPDESK or WP:RSN or WP:NPOVN regarding whether an article can state that the Earth is billions of years old as a fact. Johnuniq (talk) 11:12, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

In general, Wikipedia's NPOV policy treats scientific consensus as fact on matters capable of scientific investigation. The ages of the Universe and the Earth, within the framework of modern scientific theories, are now well-known, and supported by mutually-consistent evidence from a wide range of scientific fields. -- The Anome (talk) 11:57, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

Be prepared to repeat this opinion repeatedly and indefinitely. I enjoy the positive side of WP, adding new information and improving the grammar and syntax of articles; but I also admit to a bit of schadenfreude here, watching Chronos worshipers continually defending their turf.--John Foxe (talk) 20:06, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
@John Foxe: Without commenting on the bulk of this discussion, which I find is not typically a productive use of my time on WP, let me encourage you, in the spirit of WP:CIVIL, not to insult editors who, based upon their comments here, appear to revere the Christian God by referring to them as "Chronos worshipers". I find it hard to believe there is any other purpose for such language than to degrade and/or insult them by insinuating that they worship a "deity" they would regard as an idol or false god. That kind of attack has no place in the purportedly civil discourse of Wikipedia. Thanks. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 14:36, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
@John Foxe: I agree with Acdixon. There have already been too many insults on this talk page. --1990'sguy (talk) 18:12, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
This discussion is absolute garbage, picking out one person because they got fed up with the absurdity is pretty disingenuous. Lipsquid (talk) 15:31, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
@Lipsquid: This talk page is being used for its intended purpose. Contrary to your assertion, the content of the discussion absolves no one from the constraints of policy, yourself included. My admonition to abide by WP:CIVIL is not improper. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 17:07, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes. With statements such as "Wikipedia's NPOV policy treats scientific consensus as fact on matters capable of scientific investigation" and "Wikipedia officially regards young earth creationism as pseudoscience" one can easily understand that honest skepticism has no place in Wikipedia. If enough people jump over a cliff, should we all do so as well?
I do not see scientific research as based upon writing, but rather upon observation and experimentation. Makes one wonder which is pseudoscience. - KitchM (talk) 04:52, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
YEC is based on writing, while the techniques used to establish the age of the Earth / Universe are based on observation and experimentation. Obviously the former is pseudoscience? Banedon (talk) 05:24, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Many people may not know what you mean by YEC, nor can I be sure. Please be clear for everyone's benefit. Thank you. - KitchM (talk) 05:48, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
YEC = "young earth creationism". Banedon (talk) 05:50, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
That's the pot calling the kettle black. Wikipedia's stances on evolution and YEC are based on reliable sources, which are in turn based on the collected observations of trained scientists. YEC is nothing but an attempt by non-scientists (or scientists in the wrong fields) to misrepresent bronze age poetry as scientific history. If someone tried to insist that we can't present heliocentrism as a fact because a botanist cited that Eddas' description of the world tree, would you believe them? Would you find them the least bit reasonable? How about if someone said we can't present the Germ theory of disease as fact because a nuclear physicist cited the Asakkū marṣūtu's belief that disease is caused by the Asakku? Or if someone said that we have to doubt General relativity because a neurologist cited the Enûma Eliš's belief that the world is made from the corpse of Tiamat? If you think that any of these are the least bit ridiculous, then your arguments here are totally hypocritical. I do not make these comparisons to deny any spiritual or philosophical truth of any particular religious text (I personally find plenty of enlightening ideas in Genesis, especially the first few chapters) but rather to oppose the degradation and debasement of those lofty spiritual truths by reducing their poetic mediums to crass, mechanical, soulless materialism. Ian.thomson (talk) 07:45, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
FWIW, I also read the first 11 chapters of Genesis a lot, and it is quite clear when reading it, especially after comparing it to other portions of the Bible, that it is a historical narrative, intended to be a historical narrative, rather than just poetry. Also, reading other sections of the Bible that mention Genesis 1-11, it is extremely clear that it is a historical narrative. So I don't see how you have to interpret Genesis as mere poetry to avoid degrading Genesis. Do you think we should take the Gospel figuratively as well in order to avoid the "degradation and debasement" of the spiritual truth there? --1990'sguy (talk) 06:32, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
(Was packing and traveling): The first two chapters start off as poetry and gradually transition toward mythic-history (mythic in the academic sense of "sacred narrative"). Judaism handles the first six and the next five chapters separately because those are distinct parts. The Genesis creation narrative is even more distinct. One might as well point to Leviticus and argue that the Torah is only law codes and no story. The Gospels are clearly a different genre. If YECers treated the prologue to the Gospel of John the way they treat Genesis, they would arrive at the reading that the world is only 2000 years old. The parallel for your argument would then be "chapters two and three concern miracles and arguments with Jewish authorities, so chapter one couldn't be Greek philosophy." Ian.thomson (talk) 11:38, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
There is nothing in the first two chapters of Genesis that makes it seem like poetry (other than, possibly, the obvious fact that it is not generally accepted as factual). Also, when one reads Exodus 20:11, it is quite clear that the first Genesis 1-2 were intended to be historical narrative. That's the plain reading, and I think it's clear the plain reading is the intended reading. As for John, nobody (including YECers) would think that John is saying the Earth is 2,000 years old. It is quite clear that John 1:1 refers to the very beginning. Later in John 1, it states that Christ, who was there from the beginning, came to Earth 2,000 years ago. But enough of this forum; it's quite clear that we have two completely different views of this topic. --1990'sguy (talk) 18:27, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
The structure in the original Hebrew follows the patterns for poetry of that era, with a Chiastic structure where the first day parallels the fourth, the second the fifth, and the third the sixth. Even Origen in the 2nd century and Augustine in the 4th criticized the literalist interpretation. Exodus 20:11 simply says that the seventh day is taken as a day of rest following the pattern given in Genesis, a reasoning rather founded upon symbolism (rather than denying symbolism). The "plain reading" of Psalms 90:4 (and its paraphrase in 2 Peter 3:8) would indicate that God's perception of time is not the same as our limited perspective (God is not ruled by "Chronos") but rather that what God regards as a day (or billions years) is in no way dependent upon what we perceive as the passage of time. Also, it's rather disingenuous to try and simultaneously get in the last word while following it with "not a forum." Ian.thomson (talk) 18:48, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Personally I'd be satisfied if the article prefaced its dogmatism about the age of the earth with the statement that these numbers are scientific consensus. No one doubts that, and you wouldn't have to police the article so often. But those numbers are so sacred that even mention of scientific consensus seems to degrade the nature of their absolute, unchanging truth, world without end, amen.--John Foxe (talk) 23:49, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
@John Foxe: I agree with you that we should, at least, add those words, but would you then please explain this and this? --1990'sguy (talk) 18:21, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
The French have a phrase, la politique du pire ("politics of the worst"), which roughly means encouraging things go further wrong in order eventually to make them right. The Chronos worshipers understood this immediately, reverting my edits with the comment that they were "pointy".--John Foxe (talk) 22:47, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
@John Foxe: What do you mean by "Chronos worshipers"? Are you referring to Christians who worship the Christian God of the Bible? If so, especially, you should, stop editing any articles of this topic. Me and another editor warned you to not to insult other editors and violate WP:CIVIL, yet you continue to do it. It is disgraceful for an editor like you to engage in such behavior. --1990'sguy (talk) 06:12, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
And if you had read WP:POINT, it says specifically not to do that. You're not going to get anywhere by being disruptive. clpo13(talk) 22:52, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
You're right, and I apologize for letting my annoyance get the better of me.--John Foxe (talk) 22:57, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Should we have to preface every statement of scientific fact with "this is scientific consensus"...? Should the article Sky say "During daylight, the sky appears to be blue according to scientific consensus"...? Ian.thomson (talk) 00:43, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Concur with Ian.thompson, and I believe this has already been discussed above: Talk:Ken_Ham#Scientific consensus wording. K.e.coffman (talk) 06:40, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Are you more confident that the sky is blue, or that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old? If you say the former (which you probably will) then that answers the question of whether we should preface every statement of scientific fact with "this is scientific consensus". Banedon (talk) 08:08, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I believe WP:Notaforum applies here. K.e.coffman (talk) 08:25, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
You have the numbers and can do as you choose—you're the ones that have to enforce the official dogma. But I thought it interesting how the "sky is blue" business got worded above: "the sky appears to be blue." Well, not when it's raining; but beyond that, can you imagine this article saying that the earth appears to be so many billions of years old?--John Foxe (talk) 13:52, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
So you belong to the "God faked it to appear that way" camp and not to the "it does not appear to!" camp? That's quite a minority position among creationists. See Omphalos hypothesis.
This has nothing to do with dogmatism. Wikipedia maps the knowledge of the world. What creationists say is not part of it. What they do is not part of science because they do not obey the rules of science. If you do not know what those are, inform yourself. You have here an encyclopedia for your perusal, which gives sources for what it says, which you can look up. We win not because we are more than you ("have the numbers") but because you are unarmed in a battle of reasoning. All you have is empty rhetoric and fake reasoning that doesn't hold water. Please stop that. --Hob Gadling (talk) 08:24, 6 July 2016 (UTC) (And please do not rip apart other people's contributions.)
Thanks for the fond remembrance of writing the Philip Henry Gosse article back in 2008.--John Foxe (talk) 17:59, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
By the way, Acdixon and 90s guy: Chronos is the Greek god of time, and John Foxe falsely believes that "Chronos worshipers" is a good epithet for people who - he thinks - replace "God did it" by "Time did it". Of course that is a gross misrepresentation of what evolutionary theory really says, a straw man, and it has been in the repertoire of creationist arguers for quite some time. --Hob Gadling (talk) 08:24, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
@Hob Gadling: If you are correct regarding @John Foxe: and his intentions, then it is still a violation of WP:CIVIL (albeit toward the other side of the debate) and it is maybe worse because it obfuscates what the editor is trying to say. This is a contentious enough discussion without folks having to read between the lines.
For what it is worth, I do tend to agree with John Foxe that wording which includes "scientific consensus" is less likely to draw the ire of new editors and spawn more iterations of this perpetual conversation, although obviously nothing will stop the cycle outright. The "scientific consensus" wording is also accurate, and does no disservice to the reader, imo. We have a whole article on scientific consensus that explains what it means, and the lead of that article actually notes that the term is used in conjunction with evolution. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 13:31, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Once again, I agree completely with Acdixon. There is absolutely no reason to not use the "scientific consensus" wording, and it is much better than the current wording. It is very irritating and even a bit sad that so many editors appear to use this article to confirm their evolutionary views rather than adhering to more encyclopedic and professional standards.
As for John Foxe, if I misunderstood your intentions and the context about the "Chronos worshipers" thing, then I apologize. That said, I do ask you to be clearer next time and also not to violate WP:CIVIL.
And as for Hob Gadling, thank you for your explanation on the "Chronos" stuff, but if you want to criticize creationists and say that they are "unarmed in a battle of reasoning", I advise you not to use Wikipedia for that. WP:NOTFORUM is violated too many times on this talk page (something that I'm not completely innocent of myself). --1990'sguy (talk) 14:39, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
We don't need to say scientific consensus. Let's not lose sight of the fact that creationism is widely cited as pseudoscience. Any claims made in scientific debate here, needs to have equal weight in criticism due to the majority of reliable sources on the subject and this article is rather criticism free as is, which is fine because it is a BLP. If you start making claims against science here, then equal weight says we should discuss the pseudoscientific nature of creationism. Why not leave it as a page about a person and leave the other specific pages to make the science arguments? The alternative is probably not a page that anyone would like. Lipsquid (talk) 17:28, 6 July 2016 (UTC)────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

I would like to comment here that Hob Gadling is quite correct when he says that creationists are 'unarmed in a battle of reasoning.' -Roxy the dog™ woof 17:34, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

True, I can hardly manage the keyboard these days because of my many years of troglodyte knuckle dragging.--John Foxe (talk) 17:59, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
I said "in a battle of reasoning". I didn't say "in a battle of wits". No creationist has any good scientific reasons for his beliefs. I never heard a single one in spite of having asked them for decades. All they have are the same few hundred soundbites based on rumors, misrepresentations, selective quoting and faulty logic. See here.
Believing something without good reason is ok for religious opinions, but not for something that is supposed to be science. Stay in the churches, don't claim to do science when you aren't, and we scientists will not need to defend our turf.
But enough of that off-topic stuff. There is no reason for pretending the young-earthers have any leg to stand on. The earth is as billion-years-old as it is round. Using the word "consensus" is simply not needed for things that are doubted only by people as far away from real science as YECs are. --Hob Gadling (talk) 21:21, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Like I said above, an overwhelming number of scientists agree with you; that's what scientific consensus is all about. But telling lies in the name of religion should be no more acceptable to you than telling lies in the name of science. You'll go far wrong if you think religious beliefs can be confined to churches, mosques, or science classrooms. As Richard M. Weaver famously wrote Ideas Have Consequences.--John Foxe (talk) 01:48, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
As others have remarked, this page is not a forum. Please stop using it as one.
On the substantive point, whether simply to assert fact or to add the mention that scientific consensus backs it, I have no strong feelings, but I'd probably leave the simple assertion. Richard Keatinge (talk) 08:36, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
"You'll go far wrong if you think religious beliefs can be confined to churches" Of course I don't think that. I just said if you don't, science will keep defending itself against you. You folks lost the scientific debate one and a half centuries ago, and the article should keep reflecting that. I think everything that should be said has been said. --Hob Gadling (talk) 10:52, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
More than everything.--John Foxe (talk) 01:33, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
It is my opinion that this article has a gross violation of neutrality. I would say that the sheer vagueness of the claim that something is a fact, though it can only be narrowed down to a hundred million years, would disqualify it from being considered a "fact" on Wikipedia. There are many things related to history that Wikipedia shouldn't treat as facts simply because no source can rightfully report on events, and the beginnings of the Universe and Earth are two of those. I would suggest that the following wording be used for example in the lead: "Ham advocates Biblical literalism, believing the Book of Genesis to be historical fact and the universe to be approximately 6,000 years old, in contrast to the current scientific community's consensus that the Earth and the Universe are about 4.5 billion years and 13.7 billion years old respectively." --AmaryllisGardener talk 01:12, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
How would you advocate other articles be written? Would Age of the Earth suggest that the age is not a fact, but is merely a consensus? And every statement at Atom and Universe should be qualified to make it clear that it is not a fact but merely a consensus? There is no NPOV problem with letting readers know that the Earth is in fact billions of years old. Arguing that nothing is ever a fact because situations can change is a semantic smokescreen—for one thing, the same point applies to the 6,000 year view. Wikipedia describes the sum of human knowledge based on reliable sources, and the Earth is billions of years old. Johnuniq (talk) 01:38, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, yes. The majority of the world, a little more than 70% of the population, belong to a religion that claims that a being created the Universe. Therefore, the world population consensus (that includes me) is that a God exists. The scientific community's consensus is that God doesn't exist, and that no one created the world. So, if Wikipedia used the populist consensus, God's existence would be put down as a fact. If Wikipedia used an elitist consensus system, we would put down the scientists' consensus as fact, as we do now. What I'd simply suggest would fit with Wikipedia's policies is that we balance these two consensuses. --AmaryllisGardener talk 01:49, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
None of those assertions are related to this article, and WP:NPOV does not suggest that information in articles should be settled by populist vote. An additional source of puzzlement is the fact that we are using high technology to communicate, and all that technology is built using the same scientific principles that have determined the age of the Earth. Science works, and that is the reason reliable sources are used to determine facts, and not populism. Johnuniq (talk) 03:09, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
I said balance between populism and elitism. --AmaryllisGardener talk 05:07, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
As I've stated many times already, proposals like AmaryllisGardener's are very modest and beneficial. But some editors, who seem unable to tolerate anything that does not even seem to portray evolution as solid, undisputed fact oppose any such changes. FWIW, many editors have supported making such a change to the wording in the past, including some who openly believe in evolution as fact. This dispute has been going on for years, seemingly nonstop, with experienced, good faith editors on both sides. I think it clear we need to do something differently here. --1990'sguy (talk) 07:43, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
As mentioned earlier, evolution has nothing to do with the age of the Earth. If there is any evidence showing doubt about the age of the Earth or the fact of evolution, please raise it at the respective articles. Why is there a problem letting readers (which may include young people with little background knowledge) know what reliable sources say about the age of the Earth? Johnuniq (talk) 08:09, 9 July 2016 (UTC)
The commonly accepted age of the earth and evolution are very closely related. There is virtually no one who believes one and not the other. That is why I mention evolution here. I'm not going to turn this into a WP:NOTFORUM debate about YEC/evolution. To answer your question, I will direct you to Acdixon's comment above. --1990'sguy (talk) 16:49, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Populism has no place in scientific subjects. There should be no balance between it and science. Majority votes not only do not determine by themselves what is true, they are not taken into account at all when truth values are determined. Any compromise between science on the one hand and ignorance (motivated by religion or anything else) on the other is not "neutral", it's Half-Way to Crazy Town. Please read WP:Lunatic charlatans. --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:01, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
TBH, it sometimes seems like your comments on this talk page are more intended for commenting on/criticising YEC or promoting evolution rather than for article improvement. It really wasn't necessary to mention that the Roman Catholic Church endorses theistic evolution. But if you'll mention that, I will add that there are many Christians who believe that the RCC is far off on a number of doctrines. YEC and a plain reading of Genesis is a much larger theological position than you might think. --1990'sguy (talk) 16:59, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Why do you only say NOTAFORUM when someone disagrees with you? You didn't bring that up with AmaryllisGardenerNow. Ian.thomson (talk) 18:52, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Well Ken Ham is a very vocal critic of theistic evolution and he certain doesn't believe that the story of Adam and Eve is allegory, he says it is absolutely literal fact. So your argument, even though it is more logical, doesn't apply to Ham. He is absolutely anti-science and anti-evolution. In this article, 'God vs, Science' is very real because that is the exact path Ham chooses for his arguments. "If any of the Bible is not true, including the fact that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, none of it is true" - Ken Ham. You can't argue with crazy. Lipsquid (talk) 14:55, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
I wasn't arguing with Ham so much as AmaryllisGardener's claims that "The scientific community's consensus is that God doesn't exist." Ham doesn't represent either mainstream science or religion, so "70% of the world believes in God" in no way validates Ham's neo-Gnosticism. Ian.thomson (talk) 15:15, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Ah, I understand and agree with your point. Religion and science are two different forms of inquiry. Thank you for responding and clarifying. I misconstrued your position. Best! Lipsquid (talk) 16:21, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 7 July 2016[edit]

This article presents an approximated age of the Earth immediately after stating the subject's belief. It does not meet the standards of an encyclopedia, and offers nothing about the subject of the article. It seems a but out of place — Preceding unsigned comment added by JAP2018 (talkcontribs) 19:57, 7 July 2016 (UTC)

I and many other editors agree, but there are several editors who strongly oppose such a modest change, unfortunately. --1990'sguy (talk) 06:33, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
It absolutely has its place. Ham says the universe is 6000 years old, while the evidence says it's 13.7 billion years old. That wide contrast is necessary to understanding Ham's particular belief system. clpo13(talk) 22:59, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
I think it would be good to have a formal RfC on the wording, by the way. It has been changed so many times, both within and outside of discussions, that it is impossible to tell what the "consensus" version is. We can't very well say that there is "no consensus to change" when, in fact, it is constantly changing. This was a relatively stable version, but then there was a long discussion last month and it got changed - but it's changed three or four times since then. StAnselm (talk) 03:19, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Constant barrage of insisting there is a scientific controversy where there isn't one. You would think it is some sort of campaign of ignorance going on. Oh wait, Teach_the_Controversy.. Pesky scientists with their silly facts. Lipsquid (talk) 03:36, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
And how does saying there is scientific consensus (as the relatively stable version StAnselm pointed to does) imply that there is scientific controversy? Isn't that pretty much the opposite of scientific consensus, per our article on the subject? Acdixon (talk · contribs) 14:00, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Going from previous discussions, there appear to be two objections. Firstly, consensus (like Wikipedia consensus) isn't well defined. It could be 100% in favour of something or it could be 51%. In this case, of course, it is ~100%. Because "Scientific consensus" leads people to think "a majority of scientists", this gives an impression that there is a doubt about it. Secondly, appears to be an objection to citing demonstrable facts with "scientific consensus" in the manner of "there is scientific consensus that Pythagoras' Theorem is correct" - that would be silly. Laura Jamieson (talk) 14:44, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
(ec) Well, for those who might be confused about what "scientific consensus" means, we have this whole helpful little article on the subject, and actually, by what it says, I don't think 51% would qualify. I would think the percentage would have to be far higher to be considered "general agreement" and represent the "collective judgment" of the community of scientists. I don't see how anyone who bothered to click through could be left with any other impression.
As for the second objection, I would think the fact that the "scientific consensus" version was relatively stable, in comparison to the edit wars and endless discussion and name-calling that resulted from the current version, would argue that the "scientific consensus" version is better for Wikipedia logistically, concerns about what sounds "silly" to some aside. I would further argue that most of the sources I've encountered – left, right, and center – do not simply state the age of the Earth or the universe as fact, but include some kind of qualifier about "the majority of scientists", "mainstream science", or something of that ilk, so maybe it doesn't sound as silly to most folks as it is being represented here.
I agree with StAnselm that no discussion on this or related talk pages seems to have reached a discernible consensus on how to deal with this wording. It's more or less just been one group or the other enforcing their collective will through multiple reversions, and when those reversions actually lead to discussion on the talk page, it quickly disintegrates into the mess Black Kite just collapsed above. (Both sides have been guilty, to one degree or another, and if I reviewed everything that's been written, I'm probably not exempt either, so I'm not trying to engage in finger-pointing, which wouldn't be productive.) I'm warming to the idea of an RfC, but I don't envy the poor admin who has to close the thing. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 15:19, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
This article is about Ken Ham, and, by extension, his beliefs. In my view it is appropriate to point out that the YEC facet of Biblical literalism stands in contradiction to the preponderance of evidence, or scientific consensus. The relatively stable version linked above does that. In this context, it is not appropriate to use Wikipedia's voice to cast scientific consensus as simple fact. That seems too heavy-handed and polemical, in that it says something like "here is what Ham believes, and he is wrong." That isn't Wikipedia's job. Yes, there is controversy surrounding Biblical literalism, but it is rhetorical, not scientific.
(Obviously it would be silly to call the Pythagorean theorem a matter of scientific consensus, but that is a much simpler assertion, provable within the framework of Euclidean geometry. Evidence for deep time is a bit more extensive than a single geometric theorem, and its exposition calls for a lot of preliminary background study.) Just plain Bill (talk) 15:14, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
It is also silly to believe that the question of if the universe is older than 6,000 years is a matter of scientific consensus. There are the same level of proofs as there are for the Pythagorean theorem. People just want to weasel in the words scientific consensus to imply a controversy. Implying controversy where there is none is stated as there primary goal in discounting science. It is called the Wedge Strategy for those new to this game. Never ending Teach the Controversy.. Sad Lipsquid (talk) 16:53, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Concur with Lipsquid & already discussed above: Talk:Ken_Ham#Scientific_consensus_wording. K.e.coffman (talk) 17:00, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
There is no controversy to be taught, and kindly do not frame my comments as favoring that in any way. The evidence for an ancient universe is overwhelming, but it is not congruent (pun intended) with one of the simpler geometric proofs. In this matter, scientific consensus is robust, long-standing, and in my untutored estimation unlikely to change significantly in any of our lifetimes. How is mentioning it weaselly, again? Just plain Bill (talk) 18:01, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
K.e.coffman, that discussion has been collapsed, which I assume means there is no relevant WP consensus arising from it. This has been discussed lots of times, but I can't for the life of me figure out what we've agreed on. StAnselm (talk) 18:56, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  • The New York Times says Ham's views are derided "by most scientists and educators"
  • MSNBC says the Creation Museum rejects "modern scientific consensus"
  • ABC News says Ham rejects "mainstream science"
How is this any different from Wikipedia saying Ham's views are counter to the scientific consensus? Are they part of the "Teach the Controversy" crowd? Acdixon (talk · contribs) 18:06, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Here I will add some more for you:
  • [4] "The universe is 13.73 billion years old, give or take 120 million years, astronomers said last week." Wow, specific number no "scientific consensus"..
  • [5] "The latest age estimate — 13 billion to 14 billion years — is consistent with the conclusions reached using other methods." They gave a specific range and didn't say "scientific consensus". What gives?
  • [6] "At least 12.5 billion years old, give or take a few billion years, according to new research published in the science journal Nature Wednesday." OMG, yet again they didn't say "scientific consensus".
It must be a conspiracy out of the six articles, only one said "scientific consensus" and they had zero mentions of scientists who believe the earth is 6,000 years old. Some brains are obviously immune to the nonsense pushed by the "Teach the Controversy" crowd. I wish more of them were here. Lipsquid (talk) 18:36, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Here's the difference – the articles I cited are discussing Ham, AiG, and related projects. The articles you cited from the same sources are not. What this tells us is that, when discussing YEC-related concepts, mainstream centrist and even left-of-center sources did not consider it improper to mention terms like "scientific consensus", "mainstream science", and "most scientists" rather than simply asserting the scientific consensus as fact. That is the point I am trying to make here. And once again, I feel it necessary to point out WP:CIVIL. Your wishes about the brains of other editors are best kept out of the discussion. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 19:41, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
There was nothing uncivil about it unless you are a brainless Teach the Controversy mimic. All three of the articles you mentioned made it clear that Ham is a crackpot. Lipsquid (talk) 19:55, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
It's even simpler than that. This is an encyclopedia, not a social media discussion. All it needs to do is say, very simply, "X believes this, even though their beliefs are incorrect". There is nothing wrong with doing that, it's simple fact. Laura Jamieson (talk) 21:05, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
There's also nothing wrong with saying "X believes this, but most scientists/mainstream scientists/scientific consensus says otherwise", as many reliable sources do. That wording does no harm to the text (apparently, the editorial boards for MSNBC, the NYT, and ABC concur), and if fewer editors find this language objectionable, we get less edit warring and less time having this same discussion over and over again. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 21:19, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Bad wording is objectionable. If you would stop trying to interject controversy where there is none, we could all go do other things. We don't say scientific consensus says water freezes at 32 degrees or the scientific consensus is that the sun is the center of the solar system, we don't say trees according to scientific consensus are plants. We don't need to do anything about the beliefs of a guy who says the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that men walked with dinosaurs, other than laugh at him. Lipsquid (talk) 21:43, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
"Bad wording" is subjective, but apparently, the people who write for a living at the NYT, MSNBC, and others do not consider this "bad wording". I also highly doubt that they have an agenda to inject controversy into this issue. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 13:32, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Here's a simple example. The rapper B.o.B's article contains the following line; "In January 2016, B.o.B incited widespread ridicule for claiming that the earth is flat." Does this line need to be "In January 2016, B.o.B incited widespread ridicule for claiming that the earth is flat, although scientific consensus is that the earth is near-spherical"? Seriously? Laura Jamieson (talk) 18:49, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
If B.o.B's article were modeled after Ham's article, it would read something like "In January 2016, B.o.B incited widespread ridicule for claiming that the earth is flat, even though the Earth is clearly spherical." The way this fact is presented in B.o.B.'s article now is just fine. Ham's article should be modeled after B.o.B.'s article and, at least, use the scientific consensus wording (even though I would rather remove the entire section about the accepted Earth and universe ages). --1990'sguy (talk) 17:15, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
If that means we can use sources that ridicule Ham's beliefs instead, like in the B.o.B. article, I am all for it. I think ridicule is much more effective at swaying casual readers that a simple statement of fact as a response to an irrational assertion. We have young kids who read these articles. They expect and deserve to hear what sane people think about crackpots like Mr. Ham. Lipsquid (talk) 17:26, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
The opinions of "sane people" would belong in the "Reception" section of the article. Doing anything to this article to "sway casual readers" would be a clear and blatant violation of WP:NPOV, regardless of the popularity of the article's subject or his beliefs. --1990'sguy (talk) 17:36, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Ummm, no it wouldn't be a violation of anything. I said sway and I did mean sway. Per WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE, Pseudoscience topics do not require neutral POV. This article already gives creationism too much leeway as a completely fringe view. Lipsquid (talk) 17:51, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE states that "An explanation of how scientists have reacted to pseudoscientific theories should be prominently included." It is clear that the scientific consensus is that the commonly accepted ages of the Earth and universe are true and that Ham is not. So, per WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE, we should include the "scientific consensus" wording. --1990'sguy (talk) 17:58, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Exactly, and this same argument has been brought up twice before. Maybe we should fill the article with sources that ridicule Ham's beliefs. Lord knows how easy that will be. I made a funny :) You try to be reasonable and, well on some topics, reason gets you nowhere. Lipsquid (talk) 19:05, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
You can either add "scientific consensus" or keep explaining indefinitely why you won't. (I was thinking about the Parable of the Unjust Judge, where the magistrate doesn't give a hoot about the widow but gives her what she wants so she'll stop bothering him.) But then maybe you get as much enjoyment out of flouting WP:NOTFORUM as I get watching you do it.--John Foxe (talk) 00:30, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Or not.. I was thinking of the proverb "A quarrelsome editor is like the dripping of a leaky roof" or how about this one "An editor that lacks competency is like a gold ring in a swine's snout" Good, huh? Lipsquid (talk) 01:44, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Great. Both those guys, and their cousins and their aunts, are headed your way. Enjoy.--John Foxe (talk) 13:39, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Regarding repeatedly bothering everyone, see WP:REHASH. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:05, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Conditionally agree with this. The only reason I didn't point it out is because I thought maybe John Foxe was referring to the new editors (like the one who started this thread) who frequently pop by to argue this point. Without a consensus to point to, they just start this whole mess again. However, if John Foxe was communicating an intent to keep bringing up this issue himself, that's clearly not a productive way forward. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 14:47, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I also thought he was talking about new editors. StAnselm (talk) 19:15, 13 July 2016 (UTC)


I much prefer this version. It reads better and gets rid of the completely awkward brackets. --NeilN talk to me 15:46, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

I am fine with it, I am just sick of 1990sguy edit warring instead of discussing changes first. Put it back if you like, I won't revert. I agree the brackets are ugly/clunky. Lipsquid (talk) 15:54, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
I made a compromise edit, we have had long discussions with people adamantly against using the words "scientific consensus" in front of scientific facts, which I agree with personally. Trying for good faith compromise....Lipsquid (talk) 16:11, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
FWIW, we've had, basically, a continuous discussion about the wording for years already. Is it really necessary to go to the talk page again to propose and edit like this again? And besides, many of the discussions on this talk page end up going off-topic and becoming emotionalistic (from both sides). I was following WP:BRD, which hopefully is a better method of reaching a consensus.
Thanks for you compromise edit, but (as I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear) I disagree with that edit because it is just another way of phrasing the previous wording that I changed. Using the words "scientific consensus" is much better, and many several (if not more) other articles concerning creationism/ID or climate change use the same wording. --1990'sguy (talk) 22:09, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
I'd just remind everyone that this article does fall (for obvious reasons) under the Pseudoscience discretionary sanctions and that persistently edit-warring on this can result in being reported at WP:AE. Black Kite (talk) 22:11, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
The current compromise wording is fine. I strongly oppose "scientific consensus" wording. K.e.coffman (talk) 22:45, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm very happy with the current wording, and is probably the best I've seen. If anyone objects to it, I would suggest starting an RfC so we can put this issue to rest once and for all. StAnselm (talk) 00:12, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
@K.e.coffman: May I ask you, why do you strongly oppose using the words "scientific consensus"? --1990'sguy (talk) 01:22, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Pls see Talk:Ken_Ham#Scientific_consensus_wording -- the threat that started it for me :-). K.e.coffman (talk) 02:07, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

Adding a phrase like "the scientific consensus that" to every scientific fact opposed by any anti-science group would unnecessarily bloat articles. "Measurement" is a more precise term than "consensus". There is no reason to pander to the sensibilities of science deniers: we map what the reliable sources say, not a version thereof filtered through an ideology that opposes those sources. --Hob Gadling (talk) 12:25, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
How would it bloat these articles? Pretty much every reliable news article that I have read about stuff like Ham, AiG, Ark Encounter, etc. actually use very similar wording. Do you really think that the writers of those articles are "science deniers"? --1990'sguy (talk) 13:15, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
But this is an encyclopedia NOT a news article. Theroadislong (talk) 13:29, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Of course it's not. But does that mean we cannot follow NPOV for such a controversial figure like the RS's written about Ham, AiG, etc. do? Just a question. --1990'sguy (talk) 13:38, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
The news doesn't follow WP:GEVAL like we do. When there's a story on Flat Earthers or Geocentrists, they treat it as "them vs scientists, you decide" to "present both sides," because they're more concerned with maintaining viewership than presenting reliably sourced information. Should we not follow reliable sources in describing the age of the earth and universe because of populist pablum written by non-experts? Ian.thomson (talk) 13:42, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
WP:GEVAL just says we should not "unduly legitimize" fringe theories. Presenting them as clearly opposed to scientific consensus does no such thing. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 13:46, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Most YECers think that "scientific consensus" is just the opinion of only some scientists, not a fact that's accepted by most of the world. They'll admit themselves that most scientists "believe in" evolution. Presenting it short of "these are the facts" does legitimize it for them. Ian.thomson (talk) 13:53, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Exactly. The main difference between the "consensus" wording and the "measurement" wording is that the first leaves the evolution deniers the logical loophole "it's just an opinion", which would be not in accordance with the facts. It's not an opinion, it's a measurement, and the "consensus" wording would water that fact down. A lot of pseudoscience PR is painting the words in the desired color. --Hob Gadling (talk) 14:15, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
So the scientific consensus wording does not unduly legitimize a fringe viewpoint for the general reader, but because it potentially allows those who already hold the viewpoint to create a logical loophole in their own minds, it is a violation of policy? That's the argument I'm seeing here. If a person believes that the Word of God is in conflict with the measured age of the universe or the theory of evolution, I doubt there is anything you can do to de-legitimize that for them, least of all a wording change on Wikipedia. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 15:36, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
I do not see where you get the violation of policy bit. I am saying that the measurement wording is clearer and closer to the facts, and I have yet to see a good reason against it. For me, that is enough to decide in favor of it. Not every suboptimal wording has to violate policies. --Hob Gadling (talk) 15:47, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Ian.thompson asserted that the wording violated WP:GEVAL. This was a response to you both. "Suboptimal wording" is a matter of opinion, and as 1990sguy pointed out above, most of the reliable sources that I've seen discussing Ham, AiG, etc. use some variant of the "scientific consensus" wording. They do not appear to find it suboptimal. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 16:39, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Most of those sources are talking about Ham's views in general (i.e. creationism) rather than the actual age of the earth. I do not see why we have to continue to pander to one or two editors who wish to force their personal POVs on reality onto everyone else. Either start an RfC or drop this waste of everyone's time. Laura Jamieson (talk) 16:57, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
This NBC article states: "...which means the Earth would be only about 6,000 years as opposed to the roughly 4.5 billion years estimated by scientists." This wording it quite close to the "scientific consensus" wording (i.e. "as opposed to" or "estimated by scientists"). As for the "pov pusher" accusation, if I really were a "pov pusher", the sentence we're debating over would read quite differently. :) Just saying. --1990'sguy (talk) 18:13, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
If a person believes that the Word of God is in conflict with the measured age of the universe or the theory of evolution, then they have a personal religious issue and their confusion should not be reflected in Wikipedia for those of us not confused. It is a measurement, not an opinion. We say "The boiling temperature of water is about 212 degrees." not "The boiling temperature of water is about 212 degrees per scientific consensus." Lipsquid (talk) 17:03, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Exactly, if people are unhappy with the wording, please start an RfC. Otherwise, this is going in circles. K.e.coffman (talk) 17:13, 26 July 2016 (UTC)