Talk:The eclipse of Darwinism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject History of Science (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of the History of Science WikiProject, an attempt to improve and organize the history of science content on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, you can edit the article attached to this page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and/or contribute to the discussion. You can also help with the History of Science Collaboration of the Month.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 

Reason for article[edit]

This article was created as place to move detailed information from History of evolutionary thought as part of the effort to streamline that article per WP:Summary style.Rusty Cashman (talk) 07:47, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Theistic evolution[edit]

"By 1900 it had completely disappeared from mainstream scientific discussions, although it continued to be used as a way to reconcile religious belief with scientific discoveries among non-scientists." – why just non-scientists? The theistic evolution article includes Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Ronald Fisher and Theodosius Dobzhansky as examples. It also states that "In describing early proponents of this viewpoint, it is sometimes described as Christian Darwinism." – don't know to what extent TE was used as a term at that time. Anyway, useful article, thanks. . . dave souza, talk 08:08, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

This is a terminology issue. The article Theistic evolution is using a more expansive definition of that term than the historical definition used by the sources for this article. As used in this article the term refers to the idea that God at times directly intervenes, rather than leaving everything to natural law, in the evolutionary process in order to guide its direction. The view described in the theistic evolution article is a much broader concept that says that evolution is compatible with belief in God and/or a belief in the idea that the universe has a purpose even if the process of evolution is completely driven by natural law. The point made by this article is valid in the sense that only the first sense of the term has implications for scientific theory. The broader definition is just a way of saying that evolutionary biologists can be religious, but since the universe is assumed to operate by natural law, this idea isn't a subject for scientific debate the way the more narrow definition is. Rusty Cashman (talk) 05:10, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
As the term is being used in a different sense than our article on Theistic evolution, linking to that article from that section seems slightly misleading without an explanation that the term differs somewhat. Is there a good way we could mention in that paragraph that the term is used in a separate sense from how it is most commonly used in modern parlance? The very end seems like an idea place, where it talks about how the idea of theistic evolution continued into the 20th century (when, presumably, the term evolved, no pun intended). Kansan (talk) 18:40, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree with this. I've tried to add a clarification to address the problem. I don't know whether it works or whether it just reduces the readability of the paragraph. Aardvark92 (talk) 22:52, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

The eclipse of Darwin vs The eclipse of Darwinism[edit]

16:37, 18 July 2008 Orangemarlin (Talk | contribs) m (moved The eclipse of Darwinism to The eclipse of Darwin: Unfortunately, Darwinism is used in a historical context, which might be confusing to the casual reader.) -- is it serious? The Eclipse of Darwinism is a stable catch-phrase, nearly a meme. It served as a book title already. The lead paragraph should make it perfectly clear that the article deals with a historical phenomenon, that's enough. Darwinism is not in danger here. Alexei Kouprianov (talk) 00:24, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you completely. Unfortunately when the rename happened I was in the middle of trying to get history of evolutionary thought through FAC and I didn't want to be distracted by an argument about the name of a subsidary article. However, I would happily support an effort to get an admin to reverse the rename. Rusty Cashman (talk) 03:57, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Since I did it, how about a "no". OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 14:09, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Does that imply "no objections"? The original title does seem more appropriate and much clearer, as far as I'm concerned. . dave souza, talk 14:17, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
The opening sentence of the article should start with the article title in bold. The article appears to be about the phrase "The eclipse of Darwinism" - makes sense that this should be the article title. Given that there are objections to the move and it was not discussed previously, I see no reason why the move can not be reversed and a move request filed. --HighKing (talk) 14:31, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
We have to keep ourselves aware of the Creationist POV. Since the anti-science crowd considers Evolution=Darwinism, an article of this sort implies that Evolution has been eclipsed. In fact, it hasn't. And Rusty, I had to stand up to your wording on your article with regards to how Evolution and Darwinism is used (if you recall). We have to keep the Creationist POV at bay.OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:59, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I guess, we have to keep the creationist POV at bay, but by no means we should bow before them. If Huxley called this period "Eclipse of Darwinism", we should stand for it. I see no trouble in the original title. Alexei Kouprianov (talk) 21:47, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Based on comments here, I've returned the article to the previous title - there are too many objections to the move. Future moves requests should follow WP:RM. --HighKing (talk) 14:19, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

You did that without any fucking consensus? Just perfect. I think editors should know about your personal attacks against me too. It all fits. Now I have to figure out what to do about this harrassment. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 16:23, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
The original move was done with no discussion and no consensus for a move. Of the editors that commented on the move, all objected. While a move without discussion is fine for uncontentious moves, this move clearly has been objected to and is therefore not uncontentious. I moved the article back to the original pending your right to put in a move request in the appropriate way. Please WP:AGF - you should not start making wild accusations or use foul/abusive language. In the meantime, please allow the article to remain at the original title, and file a move request as per correct procedure - you can make you case and arguments during the move request. --HighKing (talk) 18:15, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
You have never edited this page. You never edited Syracuse University. Yet in both cases you found reason to harass me, despite my never meeting you before. As for "foul" language, I did not say "fuck you", I said, "fucking consensus." Wikipedia talk pages are not censored unless it's a personal attack, which it clearly wasn't. You, however, are attacking and harassing me. I would suggest that any further of either should be discussed in a forum that allows a neutral observer to find sufficient evidence to block you. I'm out of here, since you obviously take no concern about consensus or discussions of viewpoints. You even created a redirect on the moved page, effectively preventing me from reverting from the inappropriate page move. This, with your inappropriate 3RR claim adds up to a huge concern about this issue. So, close your sensitive eyes, because I'm going to say one thing: this is fucked up. Anyways, please quit harassing me. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:46, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Colleagues, if you move the discussion on the renaming issue elsewhere, please, put a link to it here. Alexei Kouprianov (talk) 19:50, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Given the response from Orangemarlin above, I would say that he has kindly agreed to leave the article in place for now, pending a potential move request filing in the future. --HighKing (talk) 20:32, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I have no knowledge of any ongoing dispute between OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions and HighKing but I will make two observations about the controversy on this page. The first is that someone doesn't have to have contributed to an article to have a valid opinion about what the name of that article should be, and the second is that this renaming of the article can in no way be considered less legitimate than the original renaming of the article, which was done without even the courtesy of asking the opinion of the article's creator. Rusty Cashman (talk) 02:02, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
It seems the phrase "eclipse of ..." was used by Julian Huxley in Evolution: The Modern Synthesis (1942), which I have been unable to access. A Google Scholar search for huxley "eclipse of darwin" "eclipse of darwinism" gives almost a page of hits for "eclipse of Darwinism" and only 1 for "eclipse of Darwin". I therefore suggest that, unless someone can cite J. Huxley's actual words, this article should be called "The eclipse of Darwinism". --Philcha (talk) 07:48, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
The title isn't optimal, since this article is not about the phrase, but instead about the period of history to which the phrase refers. This means that the whole of the introduction is spent explaining what the phrase means and its relevance to the subject - and consequently failing to summarise the article. It's like having the article on natural selection called "Survival of the fittest". What about a more pedestrian but accurate title such as "Evolutionary thought in the late 19th century." Tim Vickers (talk) 17:48, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
If this article and Modern evolutionary synthesis have their chronology right, the "eclipse" lasted until the late 1930s - or possibly a few years later, depending how long it took for the modern evolutionary synthesis to become consensus. "Evolutionary thought from the late 19th century to the early 20th century" is a rather long-winded title. History of evolutionary thought could mention the "eclipse" in the section "1859-1930s: ..." and link it as another "main" article.
Re "this article is not about the phrase", the article has to explain why anyone bothered to coin the phrase and why it became notable. --Philcha (talk) 23:12, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
"Evolutionary thought at the turn of the 20th century?" Tim Vickers (talk) 23:45, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

<ri> Possibly The Eclipse of Darwinism would be better allocated to a possible article about the book, and though the phrase is very resonant for anyone who knows its meaning and background, it's not informative for a newcomer to the history. Also, Darwinism had started as a banner for T H Huxley's use of evolution to overturn the establishment, even though he favoured saltationism over natural selection, and was adopted by various schools of thought which had carried on the argument from Vestiges. This later period relates to a time when Darwinism (or Neo-Darwinism) was a label for strict natural selectionism, and it seens illogical to break the article off before Genetic or Mendelian mutationist ideas became prevalent. Maybe Evolutionary thought 1880–1918 would suit an article going on to Mendel's influence, or Evolutionary thought 1880–1900 would suit the current scope of the article. . dave souza, talk 00:15, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Bowler 2003 page numbers[edit]

The article contains 7 citations to Bowler 2003 pages 196-253. This doesn't appear to match my copy of the 2003 (3rd) paperback edition which has Chapter 7 "The Eclipse of Darwinism" pp 224-273. Are there different printings? Have I missed something?

I've checked the first edition (1984) where the pages are 233-265. I haven't access to the 2nd 1989 edition. I looked at the History pages of History of evolutionary thought article but it seems that the references have always been to the 2003 edition. Aa77zz (talk) 14:29, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

The references in this article to Bowler (2003) match the material that was referenced in the creation of the article. This happens to start before the chapter labeled "Eclipse of Darwinism" in the book. Rather it starts with page 196 where the section "The Debate Over Natural Selection" begins, because some of that material was used for this article and therefor must be included in the citation. Similarly the last few pages of the "Eclipse of Darwinism" chapter are not included in the cited reference because they go into detail on Germ plasm theory and other later developments that are not referred to by this article. The point here is that citations and references are to inform the reader what sources provided the information used in the article (see (WP:CITE) NOT to list every possible source that might have information on the topic. That is what further reading sections are for. Please do not add references unless you are adding facts to the article or you think that there is an un-referenced fact in the article that requires a citation for support. Thank you. Rusty Cashman (talk) 08:14, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Rusty. Thanks for your reply. I was well aware of the possibility that an editor had deliberately not just cited the chapter - that is why I didn't change the numbers and instead asked on this talk page. I'm also well aware of the role of inline citations and references. Very rarely with short articles I add a key reference with the intention of citing it later - but I don't think I did that here. Cheers Aa77zz (talk) 10:21, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Julian Hux ref[edit]

The text of Huxley's Evolution the modern synthesis is as follows:

The eclipse of Darwinism
"The death of Darwinism has been proclaimed not only from the pulpit, but from the biological laboratory; but, as in the case of Mark Twain, the reports seem to have been greatly exaggerated, since today Darwinism is very much alive." (p22; section continues to p28).

Macdonald-ross (talk) 16:11, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Reasons for alternatives[edit]

To me it seems that the reason for alternatives is more substantiated in the underdevelopment of mathematical models (the modern synthesis) that would make phyletic gradualism — more than natural selection — look more feasible; infinitesimal inheritable variation as the raw material for slow, gradual, natural selection. This is argued to some extent on the "mutationism"/mendelianism article. I don't really know, but I'd think that by then, the bulk of scientists would oppose "darwinism" more for scientific reasons than perceived "immorality" or incompatibility with religion. That's the impression I have, at least. I don't recall of many scientists raising such religious/moral objections; even Asa Gray, author of Darwiniana can be considered a "darwinist", more than something else.Furthermore, the main contenders, "mutationism" and "saltationism" were not "theistic mutationism" or "theistic saltationism" (and I think that probably not substantially less gruesome/"immoral" as they do not exclude natural selection altogether; perhaps, even more, as the high mortality of excess offspring would be "more in vain", "useless", with most of the evolutionary change depending on something more like sporadic and lucky "hopeful monsters" being selected). Even orthogenesis is not necessarily theistic evolution, and it also seems to me that most of the time it wasn't being argued in this sense.Quoting the modern synthesis' article: "the synthesis was produced over about a decade (1936–1947), and the development of population genetics (1918–1932) was the stimulus. This showed that Mendelian genetics was consistent with natural selection and gradual evolution". --Extremophile (talk) 00:50, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Some how I missed this comment that was made more than a year ago. It is true that Asa Gray did not object to natural selection, even though he felt that a role must be left for divine guidance, which he suggested might come into play as the source of the variations (what we would now call mutations). A better example of theistic evolutionist who opposed natural selection would be St. George Jackson Mivart. I think I will be expanding an revising the section to avoid confusion. However, it is important to understand that many people in the late 19th century were uncomfortable with the idea that natural selection was the driving force behind evolutionary change. Some of them objected on grounds that were largely religious (like Samuel Butler (novelist) though even he phrased his objections more in moral than in religious terms), but some like Ernst Haeckel and especially Edwin Drinker Cope felt strongly that evolution was a inherently progressive process and that led them to favor neo-Lamarckism over natural selection which many people in the 19th century considered to not be sufficiently progressive (the philosopher John Herschel called it the law of higgledy pigglety). Their arguments were scientific and materialistic (as the article points out supernatural mechanisms became less and less acceptable in scientific discussions as time went on), but that doesn't mean they were not motivated by moral considerations. This is all quite well established by historians of science such as the cited sources (Peter J. Bowler and Edward Larson). You have to remember that at that time there was little experimental or observational evidence (just some statistical analysis by Walter Frank Raphael Weldon of crab populations responding to increasing levels of silt in rivers) to support natural selection, and the fossil record was much sparser than it is today, not to mention the lack of any solid well supported theories on inheritance. With so little evidence to interpret it was inevitable that ideology would strongly influence how people thought. Also the 1880s-1890s was only a few decades beyond the time that natural theology dominated natural history, especially in the English speaking world, and the idea that the natural world should have a purpose was still very strong.Rusty Cashman (talk) 21:02, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Interesting issue. One minor point, Herschel's alleged comment was earlier than the others, in December 1859 Darwin "heard by round about channel that Herschel says my Book 'is the law of higgledy-pigglety'.— What this exactly means I do not know", but was somewhat relieved in May 1861 to read Herschel's more conciliatory printed view that "with some demur as to the genesis of man, we are far from disposed to repudiate the view taken of this mysterious subject in Mr. Darwin’s work." The 1861 publication pp. 11–12 clearly shows Herschel favouring directed theistic evolution, but keeping the option open for designed laws rather than miraculous interventions. Obviously predating the "eclipse" period, but shows the complex attitude of a very significant philosopher of science in 1861. . dave souza, talk 22:24, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Reasons for downgrade?[edit]

This article was recently downgraded from class B to class C. I am not saying I think that was inappropriate, but it would be nice if the editor who made the downgrade would leave a brief comment about what about the article did not meet class B criteria, as it would help with improving the article. Rusty Cashman (talk) 19:09, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

I posted this on my talk page, but I'll copy/paste it here as well.
Well, here's the B-class criteria. There were a couple things that caught my eye. Primarily, the citations stood out to me. A B-class article needs to be "suitably referenced", which generally implies more than 10 citations from 5 authors. The citations should also be more specific; I see the article usually cites one to two references per paragraph, usually at the end. Ideally, refs should specifically refer to the exact page or excerpt which applies to the content, so having the references interspersed within the paragraphs would often be appropriate. The citations should also be more diverse; The article has 9 paragraphs, 6 of which are cited by ref (2) and (7) alone. Aside from the refs, there are a couple things which could perhaps be improved (or at least looked into). The article is missing supporting materials, a see also section, {{main article}} templates for the sections, internal links for some terms, and so on. Those aren't generally required until GA, but they're worth doing. As a result of some of the sourcing, and due to a bit of the chosen wording, I'm a bit dubious about the neutrality or verifiability of some parts of the article. For instance, the [citation needed] tag I added to the article earlier was for a sentence which appeared to be making a point about the "immorality of Evolution". A large reason for that is that the sentence uses weasel words ("many naturalists... In addition, some felt"). Those sorts of statements really should be attributed. On top of that, the article should provide a summary of current Evolutionary thought, even if only a sentence or two with links to the appropriate articles. Looking the article over again, it now seems to me that it was written with the intent of being neutral, but doesn't give a balanced overview of the topic, purely by omission. Anyway, I have to run now... but if I have the time later, I might even look into these issues on my own. All the best,   — Jess· Δ 23:55, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
I think our main disagreement is about the sourcing. It is not uncommon for FA class articles to cite just one or 2 sources per paragraph. See for example the history of evolutionary thought article from which this article was split off because of length during the FA process. Also appropriate sourcing is dependent on the nature of the material and the sources. It is true that this article heavily follows 2 sources, Bowler (2003) and Larson (2004), but those are pretty much definitive sources for the history of evolutionary theory. Bowler in particular is the standard text for most history of evolutionary thought courses. Also the material is not contentious in nature. The history of evolutionary theory during the period covered by this article (1880-1920) is well studied and there is a clear consensus among historians of science about what transpired during that period. For instance the idea that it was discomfort with the moral implications of natural selection that motivated the search for alternatives is not a contentious idea (not at least among historians of science) and I could have cited many different sources for it. This quote is from Quammen (2006) p. 216: "Discomfort with natural selection, working crosswise to the general acceptance of evolution, pushed biologists during the late 19th century toward alternate explanatory mechanisms." On page 210 Quammen says: "...at the time of Darwin's death, and for two generations afterward, his explanatory mechanism was severely doubted, resisted, and then generally rejected, while evolutionists groped for less repellent alternatives." But citing Quammen would add nothing in terms of information because he clearly states that he is following a book called The Eclipse of Darwism written by Bowler in 1983. So I think sourcing for that material is adequate. I do think that particular section needs some expansion and rewording to make it more clear based on your comments and others on this talk page. I also think many of your other comments have merit. Though I believe you are misusing the "main article" template. That template is for cases where a section contains a summary of material found in another article and is usually only used when one article is split off from another. For example the section on "Alternatives to natural selection" in history of evolutionary thought points to this article as its main article. In cases where an article just has some additional relevant information the "see also" template is more appropriate. I will attempt to make some edits to the article to address some of your other comments presently. Rusty Cashman (talk) 17:57, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
I have completed a set of edits inspired by your comments. I brought in a new high quality source in Mayr and Provine (1998), and made a little better use of some of the sources already cited, especially Quammen (2006), however, the much of the text still heavily follows 2 sources, Bowler (2003) and Larson (2004). As I said in the previous account I don't consider this a weakness of the article, because they are both high quality histories of evolutionary theory, and Peter J. Bowler in particular is not only considered an authority on the history of evolutionary theory, but to have particular expertise on this period of time (because of his 1983 book The Eclipse of Darwinism). I think the real root of your concerns were a couple of artifacts of the fact that this article was created by snipping a section out of History of evolutionary thought and dropping it here to address length concerns during that article's FAC. The first problem was that, as you noted, the story had no ending, because there was no real effort to relate the developments of this period to what followed and that made the article seem unbalanced. The second problem was that, because of length concerns in the parent article, some of the material was too concise without sufficient explanation and supporting detail. I believe the article is now much better in both these areas thanks too your comments and edits. If you believe there are still serious problems, I would appreciate knowing what they are. Thanks. Rusty Cashman (talk) 02:04, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
I have finished another set of edits to expand and clarify the article. I think it more than meets the class B criteria. I will wait a little while for further comments, but if none are forthcoming I will reclassify the article back to class B. Rusty Cashman (talk) 18:51, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for all this work, Rusty. Will aim to read it through carefully and think of any improvements, which of course will be subject to agreement. In particular, the theistic evolution section could perhaps be clarified using references from Bowler's 1983 work with the same title as our article, which I have to hand. A minor issue which is rather tedious but I'd appreciate it if the 9 references to Bowler 2003, pp. 196–253, and the 7 references to Larson 2004, pp. 105–129, could be divided up to refer to more specific pages. Will try to assist, have been rather short of time and energy of late but will aim to put some effort in pretty soon. . dave souza, talk 19:43, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
No objections at all. Thanks for the work! I've reclassified the article as B, per your recent changes. (I also replied to you on my talk page in much the same vein, FYI). :) All the best!   — Jess· Δ 23:18, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Dave has a point about the theistic evolutions section. It is probably the weakest now. I will work on making the citations to Bowler (2003) and Larson (2004) more specific, and thanks again to Jess for motivating me to take a hard look at an article I had largely forgotten. Rusty Cashman (talk) 05:34, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

Am currently drafting a drastic revamp of the TE section, so no need to update the citations in that particular section. . . dave souza, talk 13:07, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Ok, that's done now, as at least a first draft. . . dave souza, talk 16:06, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

5th alternative[edit]

Aren't we missing vitalism? Chiswick Chap (talk) 21:01, 29 April 2017 (UTC)