User talk:Professor marginalia/talk renames

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Current version Genesis creation narrative

Chronology of the various name changes:

Book of Genesis on 2 October 2001 and Creation on 06:23, 28 November 2001; the latter then forks to both:

A. Creation myth#Traditional creation myths of various cultures 14 May 2003

B. Creationism#The two creation stories in Genesis 22 September 2003 (note: before this there were a few other forks that went through a tangle of name changes, moves and double redirects: Creationism -> Creationism (theology) alternating with Creation (theology) and then Doctrine of Creation[1] [2]. All of this was soon unwound, returning back to Creationism (theology) [3] plus Creation (theology) and Creationist (theology) - all eventually merged back to Creationism [4])

Contents

Variously - Creation; Creation (theology); Creationism (theology); Abrahamic creationism; Doctrine of Creation; Creationist (theology)

Note: See Discussion related to split from Creationism to Creationism (theology) in onceuponatime Creation (theology) that was then moved to Abrahamic creationism [5] [6]

Note: See Discussion related to article creation for Creationism (theology)

Note: See Discussion throughout related to merging or keeping Creationism and Creationism (theology) separate

Note: Short life as Doctrine of Creation (no discussion found yet)

Note: See discussion surrounding creating/deleting/merging/splitting Creationism, Creation myth, Creationism (theology); Creationism (evolution); Creation beliefs

Note: See Deletion Discussion for Creation (theology)

Creation myth

Discussions over what to call Genesis creation in Creation myth

Iterations in in Fork A:

Title: Creationism#The two creation stories in Genesis

Creationism#The two creation stories in Genesis 22 September 2003

Discussion about Two Genesis creation accounts
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

NOT two Genesis creation accounts

Stating unequivocally that Genesis contains two creation accounts is POV. Most Christians I know believe that these "two accounts" are both the exact same story, with no contradictions. Things people see as "contradictions" we see as different details that were either focused on or left out. IMO, Genesis is a continuous narrative; the creation is described in general, then a summary statement is made and the author goes into more detail about the creation of man.

The list of events this article gives from the "two accounts" aren't contradictions. For example, the fact that the "first account" mentions the Sabbath and the second doesn't is not a contradiction; it just means that the author already mentioned it and saw no reason to repeat it at that point. The fact that the "second account" begins with the creation of man is not a contradiction; it means the author already described the creation of the universe and the earth and is now focusing in detail on the formation of man. (In fact, if you'll bother to read it, the supposed "second account," that uses YHWH Elohim begins in verse 4 by summarizing the creation of everything, describing the state of the world, and then digging in in more detail into the creation of man.)

Statements like "This is important because many people are not aware that the Book of Genesis contains two distinct versions of the story of creation," come off as saying, "Some people are so stupid that even though they read Genesis over and over again in their religious studies they've never noticed that there are contradictions." You just can't state as fact that there are two accounts here. You need to contextualize it by saying many people SEE it as two accounts.

Now that I've looked a little lower in the article, I see that it does talk about how these can be harmonized. But it still isn't right to begin with a "statement of fact" that there definitively ARE two accounts here; that is only somebody's opinion. And it's even worse to have the statement about "some people aren't aware of it." I'm fully aware that some people see this different from me; the fact is that I disagree with them, not that I am unaware.

Jdavidb 14:33, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Quite so, the statements in this regard should be NPOV. There is more general information on the proposition that there are two creation accounts in Genesis (specifically Gen. 1:1-2:3, "P," and then from 2:4-25, "J") at documentary hypothesis. Fire Star 15:33, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Titles disputes over "Myths", "Beliefs", "Stories" in the Creation myth stream

Creation myth#Bible-based beliefs 18 July 2003==
Creation beliefs#Bible-based beliefs 18 July 2003
Creation beliefs#The stories of Genesis - by 11 September 2004
Origins beliefs 8 April 2005
Origin belief 12 May 2005
back to Creation myth 27 December 2007
moved to List of Creation mythologies 26 September 2008
reverted back to Creation myth 27 September 2008
Multi-staged campaign: Creation myth article name is left intact as one-by-one the term "creation myth" is replaced with "cosmogony" in article body.[7] [8][9]. Creation myth#Middle East#Judaism and Christianity relocated to Cosmogonic beliefs from Middle East#Judaism and Christianity March 2010
reverted back to Creation myth#Middle East#Judaism and Christianity 30 Mar 2010
2nd attempt to Cosmogonic beliefs from Middle East#Judaism and Christianity 30 Mar 2010
restored as Creation myth#Middle East#Judaism and Christianity 30 Mar 2010
Discussions in Talk:Creation myth/Archive 1
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Creation "Myths"

The use of the word MYTH in describing creation, puts down God and religion, which the majority of the world adheres to. Most of the world believes that a supreme being had some hand in evolution or entirley bypassed evolution. Only 800 million athiests exist worldwide, which is less than 1/6 of the population of Earth. Therefore I am removing "Myths". A minority of scientists are no more right than 80 percent of the earth's population.

it is true that the majority of the world believes that existence was created by a God. However, these beliefs differ, and their is hardly a majority opinion as to which creation myth is most accurate.

Obviously Science and knowledge are not democratical and within the 800 million of athiests we will find a much more amount of cultivated people.

Should we place this at the bottom of the page, like on the Noah's Ark article?

NOTE: Categorising a story as a myth does not necessarily imply that it is untrue. Religion and mythology differ, but have overlapping aspects. Many English speakers understand the terms "myth" and "mythology" to mean fictitious or imaginary. However, according to many dictionary definitions, these terms can also mean a traditional story or narrative that embodies the belief or beliefs of a group of people, and this Wikipedia category should be understood in this sense only. The use of these terms in this category does not imply that any story so categorized is historically true or false or that any belief so embodied is itself either true or false.

Horse feathers! Saying something and putting it in a box doesn't make it so. The only difference between "myth" and "religon" is the 1st is on that the speaker might believe, or at least show some respect to, the 2nd, not. Yes, they are two different words, and people may use them in differnt ways, but to have WIKIPEDIA use the distinction in THIS way, is pure POV, racist, ethonocentic, small minded, and just plan crappy. 193.11.246.156 20:40, 7 January 2007 (UTC)


IMO, abiogenesis is just as much religion as the story of the creation. Both have to be accepted on faith as there is no proof for either. This article puts the two on unequal footing without any justification for doing so. I especially like how the subheading to the article says that if you want to read about scientific articles instead of this myth, go see abiogensis, et al. This is a horrible NPOV violation IMO. Of course, I'm probably wrong since I'm just a dumb theist, huh?  :) --Rcronk (talk) 18:55, 19 February 2008 (UTC)


Vote

Do you vote for

  1. Scientific Theories

or

  1. Science Based beliefs

In the section heading for the scientific view of creation?

Scientific Theories

  1. John D. Croft 17:15, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
  2. Samboy 03:03, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  3. 192.160.165.63 04:58, 22 November 2006 (UTC) unfortunately, Bible-based beliefs are not scientific, since science deals with empirical observations. Calling them science-based beliefs implies that they are non empirical observations, which would be POV
  4. Support the title Scientific theories. Beobach972 16:47, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
  5. Mike0001 15:48, 2 November 2007 (UTC) Science tends not to support religious beliefs of any kind.

Science-Based beliefs

  1. Philip J. Rayment 05:52, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC) "Belief" means "accepting as true"; it doesn't have to refer to something uncertain or unknowable. "Science-based beliefs" is a suitable parallel to "Bible-based beliefs". Referring to one as "scientific theories" implies that the other isn't scientific, which is POV.
Discussion

Belief = Theory... is there really a need to choose? the statement "bible based belifes not scientific" ??? Arnt there Cristian Scientists? I think there is a whole sect that is devoted to the integration of bible with sceince...As a page dedicated to "creation origins" i do not think we should vote on anything.. i feel all views should be expressed equally...--Maa-Kheru 03:52, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Christian Scientists? There were also National Socialists but they were neither national nor socialist. lol Mike0001 15:50, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Belief does not equate to theory, just read the article about theory and you would find that out. Beliefs are random whereas theories have to have evidence and be testable.



A creation myth is a specific type of myth? which tells how the Universe, the Earth, life, and/or humanity came into being. A myth is just a story for which there is no documentary or scientific proof.

Is there a way to revise this paragraph to indicate that a 'myth' usually dates from antiquity?

And that the authorship is always untraceable? I mean, it's too late for anyone to create any new myths, because the rest of us would know who wrote it -- or at least when.

If that were true, the Book of Mormon would not have had the success it has had.
The real problem in this opening paragraph is that the universe does not figure in creation myths, which describe the creation only of Earth, Sky (with its visible sun, moon and stars), and Sea. What is the 'life and/or humanity' here? Humanity always figures in any creation myth. Part of the definition of Creation myths must express the fact that they often include imaginary beings but never include dinosaurs or bacteria. User:Wetman
Yes, but that kind of detail should go into the myth article, not here. That's why I linked to it. :-) --Dmerrill

--Ed Poor








The term creation myth is used, generally disparagingly, for a story with deep explanatory or symbolic resonance... Why disparagingly? What's disparaging about 'creation myth'? People spend their whole careers studying them. Wetman 01:53, 29 Jan 2004 (UTC)

It implies that they are not true, which disparages those who believe them. Anthony DiPierro 02:22, 29 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I don't like that sentence ... I think that a lot of people use "myth" to refer to any belief of that particular sort, true or false. Besides, it's not quite disparaging to claim that some one believes something false. Could it be rephrased to "often implying that the beliefs are false" or something? Paullusmagnus 15:31, 24 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I myself don't consider the term "myth" to be disparaging. For mythologists, the essence of myth, what makes a story a myth, is not whether it has a factual basis in history or not. Rather it is a matter of how much meaning the story has for a given culture, whether in terms of explaining how or why some aspect of the world or the universe got to be the way it is, or in terms of describing an archtype for things or people that we encounter in life that one might (or might not) emulate, etc. In this sense, the term is simply descriptive, and not disparaging.
But that is just one meaning of "myth", and as far as I know its use in that sense tends to be limited to mythologists. In more popular usage the term "myth" is more commonly used to mean a "false belief" or something along those lines. In this sense the term probably is more or less disparaging, as when someone says "That's just a myth."
I think the article tries to make this distinction, but apparently it is not quite succeding? Or perhaps the "disparaging" phrase should be stripped out of that sentence and placed in proper context elsewhere in the article? Grizzly 22:27, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I tried expanding it a bit, but I could use some help with my wording. Anthony DiPierro 22:47, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Call the article Creation Beleifs or some thing. Man, some people just refuse to listen to reason. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Satv365 (talkcontribs) 13:13, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Page name

This page includes beliefs not only about creation but also about other origins, so it would be better titled origin belief. Either that or limit it only to those beliefs involving creation. Bensaccount 16:49, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Since you've renamed the page, could you please immediately fix the large number of old links and double redirects so they link directly to it. -- FP 03:58, Apr 9, 2005 (UTC)
Also, I'm not sure the "Origins beliefs" is an ideal page name; it seems clumsy. Any other opinions? -- FP 06:35, Apr 9, 2005 (UTC)

Apparently, the article creation linked here. It needs its own article (I will move some of the content of this page there). Bensaccount 15:42, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Origin vs Origins

Since JOke137 just changed all mentions of Origin to Origins, thought we should get on the same page. Is it origin? As in, the origin of species, the origin of life. Or is it origins, as in differing theories of origins. Writing this, it seems silly, of course it's origin. But I'd like consensus. -- Ec5618 22:14, May 16, 2005 (UTC)

In general, as described by, for example, NASA, it is correctly considered to be "origins" since there are a variety of origins for the phenomena we're interested in (the universe, life, humanity, etc.) Joshuaschroeder 22:16, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

Switch

I am new to wikipedia so correct me if I am overstepping my bounds. I would really like to rewrite a lot of this article. I think it needs to be either a hub article with lots of little articles or two articles, one about scientific creation beliefs and another about religious/mythical beliefs. My vote is make into two separate articles.

Would I be stepping on anyone's toes if I did this? hdstubbs

I vote no to splitting. This article is one that defines "origin belief" in general, and then goes on to briefly describe/refer the reader to more specific articles concerning origin beliefs. I'm talking about this now, too, at Talk:Human evolution.


Creation myths

I simply do not see this title as being NPOV - whatever the strict definition most readers will relate to myth as an untruth. I should like to retitle this section Creation stories which, though it still carries baggage, is somewhat more neutral. May I have views, please. BlueValour 05:33, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

I second this thought. "Creation stories" feels a lot more respectful towards those who hold them as more than "myths".

Do either of you find the terms "Norse Mythology", "Greek Mythology", "Egyptian Mythology" etc. disrespectful toward those cultures? These are special category of stories - they are myths in the academic sense of "a traditional story used to explain the worldview of a people". Read previous commentary on this in this talk page. It's been discussed. The correct term is "myth", though I could see using "mythology" also. *Spark* 00:29, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Even if I do not mind calling stories of Zeus as mythology, that should not matter. If someone who actively worships Zeus did not want me to call what he believes in as mythology, I would grant him that courtesy. Petercksun 01:03, 2 December 2006 (UTC)petercksun

Myth: a traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the world view of a people.[10] That is an accurate description of the issue at hand. If it offends you, you might do some "soul"-searching to determine why. In any case, it is the role of Wikipedia to be accurate, not inoffensive. You may also note: Christian mythology. — coelacan talk — 01:44, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Abrahamic - remove?

I'd suggest that either all creation myths should be included in this article, or the "Abrahamic" section should be removed to "Creation within belief systems". Otherwise the majority of this article is an advertisement for, essentially, Judeo-Christianity.

Personally, I think this article would be better served by replacing the Judeo-Christian section with a creation myth comparison section - say, highlighting similarities and differences between the creation myths of different people. The "Creation within belief systems" article is okay on its own, but comparison I think would look great on this page.

Yes/no?

Davidicke 20:48, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Do whatever you have to do to make this article not suck so much :) Triggtay 17:35, 28 February 2007 (UTC)


Suggested merge with Creation within belief systems

It is difficult to understand the basis on which Creation within belief systems has been given a separate article. It looks like a very ad hoc decision, including the rather strange title.

Several people above have also noted the scrappiness of the Origin beliefs article, and the unfairness inherent in the fact that Origin beliefs mentions Abrahamic religions but not others.

For that reason, I suggest that the article on Creation within belief systems should be merged into the article on Origin beliefs.

Bathrobe 01:13, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Having checked the history of the article, the split-off of Creation within belief systems was done by User:BlueValour on 26 November 2006. The split was not unmotivated as the original article was overly long and was crying out to be split up. No matter how well motivated it was, the actual split was done rather poorly. We now have two articles: the Origin belief article, which is now a mere rump of the original article and is undeniably biased and scrappy; and the Creation within belief systems, poorly named and without a decent general introduction.
Well, do we reintegrate the two articles? Or do we rewrite the Origin beliefs article to remove the current bias, and add a short summary on Creation stories that links to Creation within belief systems (the latter preferably renamed)?
Bathrobe 01:49, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I say we merge for the sake of simplicity. One subtopic, one resource. -- WolfieInu 08:12, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
  • support merge back into Origin belief no reason to have two. Chris 08:15, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

How about something like this? with Creation within belief systems being a redirect to this page. ornis 09:43, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Oppose merge back and support second option. It was a poorly executed split (I was a bit inexperienced in those days :-0) but merging back is simply going to resurrect the problem of length. Put together the article would be miles too long. It is quite normal, when you have a lot of material, to have a general article and then a list of specific instances, which is what we have here. BlueValour 15:51, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Pity ornis scratched his scratch page. I had a look before he did; it didn't seem too bad. It probably even addressed BlueValour's criticism that merging the two pages would have been too long. The only real problem with merging the two pages is that the sections on Abrahamic religions in the current Origin beliefs page would have to be deleted. This would be a pity as there is substantive material in there.
sorry bout that, just assumed there wasn't much interest in a merge.. I've moved it here. My view on the Judeo-christian section, is that really, those topics are covered elsewhere in much greater detail, and all that's needed here is a quick overview and link to their respective main articles. ornis 00:56, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Should never be hasty :) It takes a while for everyone to express their views. It's nice that you've suggested specific action rather than just expressing a view from the sidelines.
In fact, it might be an idea if interested parties could express their views on Ornis's suggested edit, including suggestions, problems, and points of concern.
Bathrobe 06:36, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Well OK, here is my view from the sidelines :) about ornis' idea. I think it's a good merge, and no elaboration on Judeo-Christian creationism is required since there are links to the main articles, as ornis said. We're discussing a Definitions of creationism article on Creationism's talk page, so keep in mind that if it goes through there may be implications for the Judeo-Christian (and others?) section. Perhaps we could move the material on Abrahamic religions in the current Origin beliefs article to a temporary page until Creationism has settled down. -- WolfieInu 10:07, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

And so it has come to nothing. Sad. -- WolfieInu 13:34, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. The topic doesn't seem to attract the same interest as Creationism. Should we let Ornis go ahead?
Bathrobe 12:02, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Just one question. If I do, what if anything should I do with the talk page of the other article?. ornis 03:30, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I'd have to check up on the procedures for merging article, which entails wading through About Wikipedia to find the guidelines. I'll try and get around it in a couple of days :)
Bathrobe 08:38, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Well I would make the other article a redirect so its history and talk are intact obviously, but I was wondering if i should perhaps leave a note there and copy over (relatively) new discussions from there to a subpage perhaps, of this talk page. ornis 10:59, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Wait, scratch that last bit, there are no recent discussions on that talk page. ornis 07:59, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Done now. creation within belief systems is now a redirect to this page. In terms of the length I think a lot of this should be farmed off to more appropriate sub articles, for instance, I notice there's nothing about creation myths of the ainu on the Ainu people page. 08:36, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Congrats! Now wait for the reaction (although I don't think there will be too much reaction, at least for a while)

Bathrobe 10:17, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

No I don't think so either, but I'll keep my asbestos long-johns handy none the less ;) Ornis (t) 10:22, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Creation Myth

Anyone searching for this article is going to search for "creation myth" not "origin beliefs". Compare results for the google search "origin belief" verus the result for "creation myth". Why does one return more results? Because that's the term that people actually use, in conversation as well as academic channels. This sort of semantic rubbish is exactly the reason people laugh when you use wikipedia as a reference. Furthermore, the word "myth" does not imply "false". I'm sorry if it offends people, but wikipedia is a collection of facts not an outline for a more PC world. If it is called "creation myth" THAT should be the name of the article. If you'd like that term to be retired, do it in the correct forums, not on wikipedia.

66.152.196.34 15:31, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Well argued, and important. Stellenbosch (talk) 13:35, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. I could see arguments for using 'origin' in place of 'creation' (since 'creation' implies volition, which might not be appropriate for everything here), but 'myth' is definitely the most appropriate word. 'Origin belief' is just clumsy and idiosyncratic. Ilkali (talk) 17:04, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Requested move: Creation myth

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was PAGE MOVED per discussion below. -GTBacchus(talk) 21:31, 27 December 2007 (UTC)


Hits on Google:

  • "Origin belief": 13,200 ([11])
  • "Creation myth": 245,000 ([12])

The latter is more familiar and more descriptive. Wikipedia shouldn't shy away from using the 'm' word to describe people's beliefs. At most, we should have a box explaining what the word does and doesn't mean, like on Christian mythology and Islamic mythology. Ilkali (talk) 19:42, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Origin myrh might be a useful compromise; but the cases in which it would apply (in which the world is portrayed as deeply continuous) are quite rare. Support as usage. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:59, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Support. Google scholar is worth looking at too. "Creation myth" with 6,160 hits vs. "Origin belief" with 112 hits. Ben 08:08, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Support. Creation myth is the common term, and there are no compelling reasons why it should not be used. EuroSong talk 01:31, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


It does not matter what people search for, the term "myth" is politically incorrect and offensive. --72.80.43.67 (talk) 15:19, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Please see WP:CENSOR. Ben (talk) 16:07, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Why does Wikipedia need to use the the loaded term Myth?

Why should Wikipedia use the derogatory term myth? Why is creationism necessarily an "invented story, idea, or concept"? Certainly much of it is, but to arrogantly assume that at *all* is myth (imaginary) is not NPOV. Why should ideas like singularities, big bang, and dark matter be treated in fair, neutral language, but creationism gets paternalistic discussions of themes, motifs and symbolism? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.88.121.36 (talk) 06:10, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

This article is not about any one creation myth, it's about creation myths in general. It seems to me you want to describe "much of it" as a myth, but not some of it, which is certainly not a NPOV. The term myth is not, in general, a derogatory term. Some people use it in a derogatory manner, but regardless, 'creation myth' is the commonly used term both colloquially and academically (see above). Some people do equate myth with imaginary, but some people also equate theory with conjecture or idea without evidence, yet I don't see any complaints of the use of the word 'theory' in the singularities, big bang, and dark matter articles you mentioned. In both the myth and theory cases the standard term is used, and Wikipedia can't choose to abandon standard usage because some people don't like it or other people use it in a derogatory manner. Ben (talk) 11:55, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Theory connotes positively as a part of intellectual exercise: it might be true. Myth connotes negatively as only a story that will always be just a story. Theory is in the pursuit of truth, myth isn't. The smart people use intellectual processes to understand the truth. Religionists just rely on voodoo stuff that somebody made up a long time ago. The scientific road is littered with some of most foolish ideas wreaked on the side. Yet it isn't typical to use religionist terms when describing science. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.88.121.36 (talk) 14:56, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
This article is about creation myths. If you don't like the words, it's the rest of the world you need to convince, not a few editors on a wikipedia talk page. Ben (talk) 15:19, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
So how many of these "creation myths" do you feel are getting unfair treatment? Let me take a guess. Is it the Christian story of creation that you don't like being lumped in with all those other heathen myths? Am I right? Well, if that's the case, I'm sorry, you have no basis for expecting your particular beliefs to be privileged over the creation stories of other religions or other traditions.
If you actually mean something else, please feel free to tell us about it.
Bathrobe (talk) 16:50, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

This article represents the beliefs of some, that everyone else's beleifs (that are not measured within emperical science) are wrong, and their belief in the measurable world is the only thing that isn't a myth. It's a highly subjective bias that definitely takes away from the integrity of Wikipedia.

I know for a fact that the actual traditional Christian (Catholic) 'creation' is much more of a teaching on humanity than it is an historical account. It wasn't just Maimonidies that said it shouldn't be taken literally, it's written in the Church doctrine. I don't want to know what other projections were made on different religions in this 'article' but I think that people should keep their biases to themselves and stay out of articles they know nothing about.

This article's title and content should be changed immediately. Black Slacks (talk) 18:04, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, well, I believe in leprechauns too, and I demand that the words Irish mythology should be taken off the article.
In fact, if the Christian account of creation is, as you say, "much more of a teaching on humanity than it is an historical account", why are you complaining about the use of the word "myth"? If it's not a historical account, please tell us what it is. A "story"? An "allegory"?
If you read the Wikipedia article on myth, you'll note that it says "In the academic fields of mythology, mythography, or folkloristics, a myth (mythos) is a sacred story concerning the origins of the world or how the world and the creatures in it came to be in their present form". It also says that "In saying that a myth is a sacred narrative, what is meant is that a myth is believed to be true by people who attach religious or spiritual significance to it. Use of the term by scholars does not imply that the narrative is either true or false." You are just touchy about it because you subscribe to the pejorative popular use of the term "myth" rather than the academic use.
Bathrobe (talk) 03:51, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Is an aspect of my faith a MYTH?

I'm sorry, but I am a practicing Church of England Christian, and have faith in the Genesis One passage, and to me, my faith shouldn't be put down in this way. It was actually quite offensive when I first read it. Myth definition:

a widely held but false belief

a fictitious person or thing. [13]

It isn't the role of Wikipedia to decide on my faith. St91 (talk) 19:57, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

With regards to the question asked in the section title: yes. Jefffire (talk) 20:13, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
And with regards to the rest of it...?
St91 (talk) 20:25, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
You are picking two definitions out of three on that page. How about the first one listed? "a traditional story concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, typically involving the supernatural"? Why aren't you considering that definition? — the Sidhekin (talk) 20:36, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't see a God-inspired passage as a " traditional story "
St91 (talk) 20:55, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
The greatest story ever told, not a story? Er... Sheffield Steeltalkstalk 22:15, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps he insists on a clear division between scripture and tradition? Though I don't think that kind of jargon will fly in a general-purpose encyclopædia. ;-) — the Sidhekin (talk) 22:22, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I too find the article title highly POV. It's not enought to note in the article that some people think that the term myth is pejorative. Just don't use the term: call it "Creation accounts" or maybe "Creation narratives." Yehoishophot Oliver (talk) 04:39, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
I find that Creation Narratives would be less controversial we have to remeber that the average user who looks at this page probobly hasn't sceen the wikipedia page on myth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jpc100 (talkcontribs) 01:55, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Is this NPOV?

This refers to Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, and other religions as myths... I believe there's a difference between a myth and a religious belief? -- HAYSON1991 11:15, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

No, it refers to certain beliefs of Christianity etc as myth. Slight difference.  :)
Religios beliefs might be referred to by many names. Dogma. Truths. Accounts. The fact that one name can be applied does not mean others cannot. The beliefs examined here are, I believe, traditional stories. Hence, the name of "myth" applies.
That does not mean the current version is fixed. Got any suggestions for change? I'll listen. — the Sidhekin (talk) 11:52, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I suggest "creation accounts" or "creation beliefs". Yehoishophot Oliver (talk) 03:22, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
What's the difference between "accounts" and "stories" (as previously suggested)? Per WP:NAME we should prefer the far more common "creation myths" or "creation stories", so I'm inclined to ignore "accounts" and instead consider "stories" as a possible replacement. (Of course, I'm not a native speaker of English, so I may be missing something here.)
Against "beliefs" I would hold the following, from the lead of our article: "creation myths need not be religious in nature, and they have secular analogues in modern cultures". In that respect, "beliefs" seems as NPOV as "myth". Oh, and far less common, too.
I guess that means I could get behind "Creation stories" as the NPOV alternative. Thoughts? — the Sidhekin (talk) 07:26, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Difference between "account" and story"
Account - a description of an event or experience
Story - an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment
source: http://www.askoxford.com/
St91 (talk) 15:31, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
The term "myth" has a blatant secularist POV derogatory tone, implying that the belief is about as legitimate as the tooth fairy. Some NPOV alternative must be found. I'll accept "creation story" or "creation belief." Yehoishophot Oliver (talk) 03:04, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
The distinction is made more in the minds of theists than atheists. You have no problem with describing elements of Roman or Egyptian religions as mythology, but demand special nomenclature for describing your own beliefs. "Creation myth" is the dominant term for the material listed on the page, as confirmed by searches with Google and Google Scholar, and 'myth' is not an inherently derogatory term. Ilkali (talk) 06:34, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

For goodness sake, just change it to "creation story". These thin-skinned Christians won't give it a rest until you remove any soupcon of a doubt that their sacred beliefs are true. The fact that they are prejudiced in favour of their own faith (and against others) doesn't matter. Just stop the constant and selective (as seen in the person who doesn't even know how to look up a dictionary properly) moaning. Next thing they'll be demanding that Christianity (and Christianity only) should be removed from the Portal:Mythology.

Bathrobe (talk) 08:16, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

"Myth" is the correct term. Why should we not use it? (Incidentally, wouldn't it be an NPOV violation to disparage the Tooth Fairy as Yehoishophot Oliver apparently did?) --Robert Stevens (talk) 08:40, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, as a believer in the tooth fairy I am deeply offended.
Bathrobe (talk) 09:23, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I find the word "Myth" highly POV. According to WP:WTA, the word Myth is not to be used. I would suggest "Accounts Of Creation". Shlomke (talk) 16:50, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Please re-read WP:WTA. That's not what it says. From a sociological perspective, the word "myth" is the correct one to use.--Ramdrake (talk) 17:00, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
From that very source: "Myth is perfectly valid in its technical sense, for example in an article about religious beliefs". Ilkali (talk) 19:35, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I still feel Myth has a negative connotation insinuating that the story's are not true. WP:Words to avoid does show that the word is problematic, even if not in every case. Can we use another word like "Creation Accounts" or "Accounts Of Creation"? - Shlomke (talk) 21:49, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Again, from WP:Words to avoid: "Myth is perfectly valid in its technical sense, for example in an article about religious beliefs" Since this is an article about religious beliefs, I guess that makes the answer a No.--Ramdrake (talk) 22:24, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I have added a {{myth box}} template to explain to readers the meaning of the word "myth." I believe that it is fairly well-established to use the word "myth" in reference to mythology on Wikipedia, rather than some other less precise term such as "account." So, I really don't see any reasonable precedent for changing the title of the article. Hopefully the template will resolve some of these issues. silly rabbit (talk) 22:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

New Title Suggestion

Perhaps we could change the name of this title to "Creation belief" rather than creation myth. While I have read the explanations above, the word "myth" sounds very negative and to me implies that it is a lie, which is how most people interpret it without any explanations. As a Born-Again Christian and a Young-Earth Creationist, I find the title offensive and biased. I feel that the term "belief" would be more NPOV and would not cause as much controversy or offense. SouthJerseyConservative (talk) 06:19, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

This has been discussed dozens of times now. If you want to start a new discussion, at least tackle the opposing arguments made before. Ilkali (talk) 07:40, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
Wiktionary defines myth as "A story of a great but unknown age which embodies a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; an ancient story of a god, a hero, the origin of a race, etc.; a wonder story of prehistoric origin." At first I thought the title was POV, but the based on this definition of the word "myth" I'm content with the title.--Urban Rose 23:36, 27 April 2008 (UTC)


Creation Beliefs

Using the word "myth" with the "broad description" used on the page is utter sophistry. The universally accepted definition of the word is a story or legend that is not *true*. I don't see why we simply can't change the article label to "Creation Beliefs", or "Creation Theories". The word "creation" is clearly evocative of religious beliefs in and of itself, we don't need to label it "myths" to insult the majority of our world's population.

Don't we want to be a 'pedia for everyone? Is changing the word to "beliefs" in *any* way changing the accuracy of the article? I simply don't see the need to be contentious by applying such a broad meaning of the word "myth". Lets not be coy, we all know what the word conjures up in our minds; read three of the four definitions of the word "myth" from dictionary(dot)com:

3. any invented story, idea, or concept: His account of the event is pure myth.
4. an imaginary or fictitious thing or person.
5. an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution.

We can be true to science and ethical in our treatment of the creation beliefs without stirring up rancor and insulting the majority of people who believe in God. I respect atheists who do not subscribe to a belief in a "god creation", and we're not attempting on the page to equate the creation beliefs with scientific theory. All we are asking for in naming the page, is that... respect. Wikipedia is already getting a really bad "rep" in the religious community for other reasons (for example, the Intelligent Design page), why should we further alienate persons who believe in God by applying the word "myth" to the title? This really isn't the place to bandy with "broad definitions". This simply lends credibility to the assertion that Wikipedia is "LiberalPedia". In my opinion, how we treat and/or respect those whom we disagree with defines our character. Thoughts? Supertheman (talk) 09:24, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

"I don't see why we simply can't change the article label to "Creation Beliefs", or "Creation Theories".". Then go back and look at the reasons previously given. Ilkali (talk) 09:48, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Also, and just for completeness, in the listing of definitions above you missed out the first (presumably most widely recognised) one:
1. a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, esp. one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.
Note that this doesn't cast judgement on the veracity of the myth. Anyway, as Ilkali notes, this has been thrashed out time and time again above. Please read this. Cheers, --Plumbago (talk) 10:24, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Thoughts? Well, for one, scientific explanations does not in any way mean the same thing as atheist. There are lots of theists who believe in the scientific creation theories. Actually, most theists probably do. Labeling something as what it is (eg. a myth, see countless explanations above that clearly defines what a myth is) isn't POV. Obviously Wikipedia isn't something an ID would recommend to other people, since their lies (seen from a scientific viewpoint, not necessary an atheist one) can't be upheld if someone actually checks them out (and wikipedia is a good place for learning more about anything, including unscientific myths). Wikipedia does not strive to become a censored puppy of fundamentalist Christianity, so obviously there is no reason to write factually incorrect things just to please some few fundamentalists. Ran4 (talk) 22:31, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Why not, "Creation stories"? --69.243.242.58 (talk) 19:22, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

This topic has been discussed dozens of times now. Go back and look. Ilkali (talk) 19:50, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Regarding all the controversy surrounding the phrase "myth"

Should we have a notice box at the top of the page to explain to everyone why exactly we chose "myth"? Because apparently the big box in the article explaining what Wikipedia's definition of "myth" isn't working. I don't particularly like the term, but I also think that explaining over and over why we chose the term myth is a huge waste of time, and this way the objectors won't have to search through the entire talk page. Honestly, it's been a little tiring hearing those same objections. --Sapphire Flame (talk) 16:19, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

I think the most democratic thing to do would be to change it back and forth between "belief" and "myth" every four or eight years like we Americans do to represent our contradictory culture in our presidency. That might happen organically here too, but at a much more rapid pace, and I think that would be within the spirit of Wikipedia. I am a lifelong athiest myself, but I don't really like the term "myth." I would vote to keep it, because it is clearly the accepted term, but it is unfortunately also a loaded one that is generally only applied to everyone *else's* myths, even when the definition being used could apply to your own as well. This may not be true among Wikipedians, but it is, in my experience, true among the populace. Blame language for being, once again, inadequate to convey human experience. You suck, language. My computer said love (talk) 20:46, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

It's only neutral to call something a myth when no known group seriously believes in it. Creation "stories" or "beliefs" would be much better. --69.243.242.58 (talk) 19:20, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

You are confusing being neutral with avoiding offense. Ilkali (talk) 19:50, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

-

Discussions in Talk:Creation myth/Archive 2
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


Not same as origin myth

When I search for "origin myth", I get redirected to this article. But "origin myth" is not equivalent to "creation myth", at least as the latter term is used in this article. This article seems to equate creation myths with cosmogonic myths. In other words, it limits the term "creation myth" to stories that describe the creation of the universe. But surely there are origin myths (for example, a myth that tells how a certain animal got its tail) that are narrated separately from the creation of the universe.

See this passage from Mircea Eliade: "Every mythical account of the origin of anything presupposes and continues the cosmogony. From the structural point of view, origin myths can be homologized with the cosmogonic myth. The creation of the World being the pre-eminent instance of creation, the cosmogony becomes the exemplary model for "creation" of every kind. This does not mean that the origin myth imitates or copies the cosmogonic model, for no concerted and systematic reflection is involved. But every new appearance—an animal, a plant, an institution—implies the existence of a World" (Mircea Eliade, Myth and Reality, Harper & Row, 1963, p. 21). I suppose this passage could be interpreted either as implying that origin myths are simply part of the cosmogonic myth or as implying that origin myths are distinct from the cosmogonic myth. However, I think it's fairly obvious that "origin myth" is here being used to refer to any story about the origin of something ("I call you Peter, and upon this rock I will found my church..."), whereas "cosmogonic myth" is being used to refer only to stories about the initial creation of the world ("In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...").

At any rate, either "origin myth" should not redirect here, or this article should treat cosmogonic myths and origin myths as distinct types of creation myth. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 03:57, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

This article isn't much more than a list at the moment, so any improvements will be most welcome. Cheers, Ben (talk) 04:21, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, I tried to fix things by creating a separate article for Origin myth. I also added a notice at the top of this article that gives a link to Origin myth. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 18:15, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Bias

I know this is likely not the first time it has been suggested, but as an open-minded person, I think myth here is a derog term. Negro is not defined as a derog term either, but how it is used can speak volumes. To most people, despite it's Webster's defenition, myth means B.S. So either do a better job of re-educating the general public or take some action. I suggest that the article be simply Creation. Perhaps even Creation theory. You will get less people up in arms, which, I assume, is what someone is trying to do.Wjmummert (KA-BOOOOM!!!!) 20:08, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Creation means lots of things (see the disambig page) and the words myth and theory both have specific, different, meanings in the context of an encyclopedia. This isn't the page to argue over the bias of a term (many, many pages use the term, and this page is not special in some way), so your best bet is to take it up at WP:NPOV or something if you think there is a bias problem. Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:52, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Ben, you are right, the word theory would not work. That's not what this article is about. I am not claiming to know what the proper title to this page is, but if you have to explain TWICE in the beginning of the article why it is not biased.... then it likely is biased. It's like saying "I am calling you a Wetback in the nicest possible way." It's crap. This article touches, as it should, on many different creation theories from many different orgins, but the title, Creation myth, is singular, meaning it only talks about one.... and the one most will assume is Christianity, which is covered in a seperate article. Again, I don't know the answer, but if it looks like a rat.... How about Creation mythologies? That would not be too specific. Wjmummert (KA-BOOOOM!!!!) 00:56, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Are you talking about the myth box on the top right? I don't think it's very encyclopedic, so if you remove it I won't object. I'm not sure what others will think though, since at best it does help some people understand why the article title is what it is. Maybe it should be incorporated into the notice at the top of this page or something. Anyway, the article title isn't biased since it uses the standard term, and Wikipedia guidelines suggest article titles should be singular (which makes sense - Book talks about all books), so Creation mythologies is out. If you're objecting to the title because you believe a particular creation myth, and take offence at your belief being labelled a myth, then you don't have a leg to stand on. Wikipedia isn't censored. Myth is the proper term, but as I said, if you feel it somehow violates a NPOV, then this is not the place to take up that problem since the term is used throughout the encyclopedia. Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:24, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
My beliefs, and yours, are moot on Wikipedia. I'm only struggling to find a word that will make everyone happy. That may not exist. I don't have a problem with the infobox, I simply have question that if the word myth were replaced with something more subtle, we will no longer need the infobox, becuase nobody will be offended. I understand your argument on singular verbage, but I think it's a bad fit for this article, and a few others. One example is the page Chicago Cubs futility theories, which tells of a few theories for the Cubs 99 year title drought. A singular term would not work there, and I think also not here. Thanks for you time. Wjmummert (KA-BOOOOM!!!!) 68.74.125.58 (talk) 16:09, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Absolutely nothing is wrong with the term myth. This is established terminology by far in the relevant academic fields. I have linked to Google scholar in support of this contention several times already on this very talk page, as well as to the Britannica article "Creation myth". The non-myth crowd continues to regurgitate the same tired arguments all thoughout this talk page. My response is: do a little research, please. Search for some scholarly precedent for calling cultural cosmogenic narratives something other than "creation myth" or "cosmogenic myth". Then we can discuss the merits for a name change on the basis of those sources, and the others weighing on the other side. Until that time, however, all of this discussion runs completely counter to WP:NPOV, which says that we should go with whatever the majority of sources use. And so far only pro-"myth" sources have been given. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 17:02, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

I would suggest you do a little research yourself. You are arguing something completely different than what I am. I'm not a religious zealot that is offended by the term myth. This article is not even really about the Genesis version of Creation, rather a list of different "myths." Notice there.... I did not writh "rather a list of different 'myth'." Why? Well, that would make no sense. Perhaps the proper title for this article is "List of Creation myths," since that is exactly what it is, whether YOU like it or not, you are wrong, and based on the tone of your reply you are CLEARLY biased. Two examples;
  • If you go to the Wiki article on Dialect it is a singular term, since it explains WHAT dialect actually is, which is in contrast the the article List of Chinese dialects, which explains many different subtopics all based on different dialects. Why use the plural term? Why does this (and all articles like it) not violate your sacred policies? Likely because it does not fit your PRE-Determined agenda. If you read Ben's comments further up this page, he, a supporter of the title as it currently is, admits that this page is actually only a list. Should this article only explain what a creation myth is then you may title it as is, but once you use this page as a forum to list the actual mythologies or beliefs in specific, it's no longer valid, unless it is an extremely minor subtopic, such as Burger King being a footnote in the article on Hamburger.
  • Have you been to the actual article on Myth. Not only does the article CLEARLY say that myth means falsehood (see the See also section), but it lists Mythology as a main article. So that makes the proper title of this page Creation Mythologies.Wjmummert (KA-BOOOOM!!!!) 20:21, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
I've started a discussion about this below. Cheers, Ben (talk) 14:50, 27 September 2008 (UTC)


"Myth"???

I don't understand the use of the word "myth". By definition, a myth is something which is untrue.

Exactly ... 123.255.38.129 (talk) 00:34, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

I just looked up the word "myth", and I see that it doesn't always imply falsehood or improbability. But that meaning of the word (a false historical story) is gaining strength, and I don't think the word "myth" should be used to describe things that might be true. I would much prefer a word like "theory", or some other similar word. "Creation Theories" would be a better name for this articles.--Caleb Murdock (talk) 09:25, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Hey Caleb, there is a note at the top of this page with some relevant info. Ben (talk) 09:35, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
If we need a notice to clarify the meaning, then why don't we just use a word that better reflects the intended meaning? Why not call the article "Creation Traditions" or something similar instead of "myth" that implies falsehood (even if unintentional)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 160.109.120.55 (talk) 15:04, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
The article uses well-established anthropological terminology. There are thousands of scholarly articles employing our current word-choice versus just a few hundred using "creation tradition". siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 15:11, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Anthropology is not exactly an ally of the Church. Bad argument Wjmummert (KA-BOOOOM!!!!) 20:42, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

I see that there is a note at the top of the page explaining the use of the word "myth" and that it does not automatically indicate falsehood, however, the word does tend to carry a negative connotation (see Myth#Popular usage). I therefore second Caleb Murdock's suggestion of "Creation Theory". Dansiman (talk|Contribs) 18:54, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Theory carries a conjectural connotation in popular culture too, but we don't let that get in the way of our scientific articles using standard terminology. Likewise, this article should use standard terminology. Ben (talk) 19:03, 23 August (UTC)
We cannot call it a "theory" - that would be confused with the scientific term "theory", which creation certainly doesn't fall under. "Myth" is fine; you're talking about an old story with no proof, and the guidelines state that the best word for such a case is "myth". 217.44.32.250 (talk) 11:50, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
Possible alternative: "stories"? Looking up and down the talk page, this one word "myth" seems to be the focal point of controversy in the entire article. Are we so attached to a word? I don't see any particular reason to take offense at "List of creation stories" or something of the like. Perhaps if this issue were resolved once and for all it would be possible to focus on improving other aspects of the article. »S0CO(talk|contribs) 00:40, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
So far, I have seen no compelling reason to change, except that certain folks take offense to the established terminology in the relevant field of anthropology. References aplenty have been provided to substantiate the choice of "myth", but no (or very few) rebutting references have surfaced. I vote no change until a good reason, firmly rooted in reliable academic sources, is given. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 01:55, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
This objection will probably continue to keep bobbing up as long as the article is not merely about defining "creation myth" but also includes a list of various beliefs that have been identified as creation myths. A sizable portion of the items in the list don't fit the definition as given in the lead (and the lead doesn't fit the EB definition cited). According to EB, a creation myth is religious and symbolic (among other things). Several of the listed items are not either, or at least are arguably not one or the other. A content fork could aid in clearing this up, at least in this article. Leave this article to lay out what a creation myth is, and fork the list into something else, which may or may not include "creation" or "myth" in the name. Editors can get on with making this a quality article. I know that renaming the article as a list has been suggested (and tried) but then the defining portion is as out of place as the list currently is. At least a fork will separate the contentious portion out and leave the rest to be developed without the ongoing disagreements.LowKey (talk) 14:00, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Anti religion?

Why do i get the impression that nearly every word in this from the opening title to what i have read is extremely anti religion?

The fact that it's called a "Myth" should be prove enough to overhaul not only the title, but the contents. The only area in witch i have read (Judo-Christan) is extremely inaccurate, and more or less calls it a lie.

List of changes i propose

- 2nd paragraph 1st sentence original "The second story reiterates the origin of humans."

proposed change "Starting on the 6th day, God makes clear the origins of mankind along with the land animals of the Earth"

Why it's important: It's a little more than a simple 'story' for those who believe it, it is much more neural as a story infers something else to many people as well as being accurate as God had made Humans during his week of creation, and it elaborates in greater detail.


2nd paragraph 3rd sentence. original " He puts him in a garden called Eden, and brings the created animals to Adam for him to name"

proposed change "And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Why it is important: God did not just put Adam in the garden, God designed it after he made Adam. It also explains it from the Bible itself taken a direct quote.


2nd paragraph 4th sentence. original "This task shows that none of them was a suitable companion."

proposed change "God then brought animals into Eden for Adam to name, when Adam had named all of the kinds of animals he realized their was none of his kind witch saddened him"


Why it is important: It was Adam who felt down because he had none of his kind, so God made Eve ( a Female Human) to be his companion.

2nd paragraph 8 sentence. original "God then expels them from the garden so they do not also eat from the Tree of Life and become immortal in their cursed state."

proposes change " God then expelled them from Eden for committing Sin, for God can not be in the presents of Sin and thus Adam and Eve where cursed with death and the whole of creation became in-perfect prone to disease mutation and overall unpleasant things"

Reason why it is important: I have never heard the tree of life be described as a literal tree with fruit, in everything i have read it was a metaphor of God himself. I believe this change would be a much better re-wording of it.

The last sentence and paragraph Original "Biblical commentators throughout the ages have remarked on the degree of literal authority that is granted to the accounts of Creation. Maimonidies, in particular, commented that the account of Creation should not be taken literally"

While this is true, it should also be noted that many scholars insist that it is to be taken literal (in particularly the Hebrew original wording, not tainted by translation into English) Ken Ham CEO of Answers in Geneis ministry and research teams is a staunch defender the literal interpretation of Genesis.

That is why i believe much of this needs to be re-written. I Would be glad to, although i have no idea how to go about it.

75.179.172.189 (talk) 22:36, 4 August 2008 (UTC) Jade Rat

I believe that the current wording is clearer and more straightforward than the proposed changes. As to your last point about the literal interpretation, that viewpoint should certainly be mentioned and cited. Plazak (talk) 13:32, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
No, no, no. The changes you propose are not ones which would make the article more encyclopedic - it would completely skew the article from being NPOV to a Christian point of view. It is not the job of an encyclopedia to propagate any religion. 217.44.32.250 (talk) 11:54, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. It's Wikipedia, not preachipedia.64.7.147.20 (talk) 14:18, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

How has this not been marked as politically biased?

The rabid cynicism is overtly present and needs to be adressed. Wikipedia is meant to be about the unbiased exchange of information, not the enforced beliefs of certain individuals. This page needs to be renamed to something less pejorative than "myths" and can somebody please explain what "allegories" can be found in any of these Creation stories? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 146.171.254.66 (talk) 01:53, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

As I pointed out above, there are thousands of articles available on Google scholar, showing that the terminology "creation myth" is well-established in its present sense throughout diverse fields of cultural anthropology and theology. There is even an encyclopedia Britannica article, which actually does somewhat of a better job of summarizing the philosophical aspects of creation doctrines. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 02:46, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Does that make it right? Because some people think so? Besides which why is that the section on the Big Bang keeps getting removed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.89.74.189 (talk) 12:23, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
In order to be consistent with reliable sources, Wikipedia should not, will not, and does not, invent its own terminology. As for the big bang section - why would you think it satisfies the definition of a creation myth? The suggestion you were given the last time you edited it in still applies - if you can't see the distinction then perhaps you shouldn't edit the article. Ben (talk) 12:33, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
I didn't ask that Wikipedia create it's own terminology, I suggested it use terminology that already exists, and don't even try to tell me "Creation Myth" is the only know or accepted term. But hey if that's what they are calling reliable these days then so be it. Apparently Wikipedia, what was meant to be a place for the open-mided discussion of facts, is under the charge of a select close-minded group who have simply accepted things like The Big Bang as irrevocable fact instead of looking at these things from a scientific or intellegent perspective. At the very least if "Myth" is to be the title of this article and "Myth" apparently does not imply that something is untrue then The Big Bang Theory, as an unverified theory, does belong on this page along with all the other "Myths" and should not be removed. How can that be disputed?
Wikipedia is "closed-minded" by design in that sense. It can only represent what reliable — usually academic, journalistic, or scholarly — sources say in proportion to the weight of those views. Our job here is not to right great wrongs, or to give all viewpoints an equal representation, but only to represent those published by reliable sources. Calling the big bang a "creation myth", while interesting, would need some fairly solid sources backing it up. In fact, if this is going to be here at all, it should have the form: "In the context of the creation-evolution debate So-and-So has drawn parallels between the adherence of the scientific community to the big bang hypothesis, and the fundamentalist cristian doctrine of biblical inerrancy." Or whatever. At any rate, in the scientific context the big bang hypothesis is not a dogma or myth, although it could be argued that it has taken on the status of a cultural myth (a view which I would endorse, provided the text can suitably distinguish between the scientific and mythological aspects of it). As a scientific theory, the big bang hypothesis has been repeatedly assailed by competing hypotheses (such as the steady state universe), and turns out to be the one which best supported the available evidence, in particular the cosmic microwave background radiation. Your proposed addition, as far as it goes, is facile and unencyclopedic. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 22:47, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, thank you, you have answered my question. I was mistaken in thinking this site was here to give all viewpoints and equal representation without bias. It was not a religious claim I assure you, more so a nihilistic claim that all theories on the Universes beginning remain entirely unproven, and that to refer to a group of peoples genuine, rational beliefs as nothing more than myth is close-minded and arrogant. That being said, I am satisfied and I graciously rescind my appeal —Preceding unsigned comment added by 122.56.5.180 (talk) 04:09, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Wrong, it doesn't have to give "all the viewpoints", it has to give correct information. Nothing more, nothing less. Stop trying to push religion into places it doesn't belong - this is an encyclopedia, not a religious text. 217.44.32.250 (talk) 11:59, 14 September 2008 (UTC)


Not a myth

Creation is not a myth so I'd like the title changed. If anything is a myth its evolution The C of E (talk) 06:15, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Are all the creation stories in the article non-mythical, or are you referring to one in particular? Plazak (talk) 20:10, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Evolution does not fit in this article or any dealing with creation as none of its postulates provide information for it, but rather changes in biochemical composition and its effects on populations. Bob is my Uncle (talk 20:50, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
The creation myths listed here are legends from various cultures, each equally implausible given modern scientific knowledge. Cosmology and the theory of evolution are hard science, backed by evidence. Bubbha (talk) 11:27, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
I think we can ignore this, it's some annoyed fanatic who doesn't like it when we don't take their rubbish as fact. Evolution isn't a myth, it's a fact, with evidence proving this, and a theory to explain it. Note that theory doesn't mean "guess" - it's explaining a proven phenomenon using the available evidence. Creation, on the other hand, is an old story with no proof: it's a myth. Wikipedia can't change the fact that it's a myth, and it's certainly not going to misrepresent it by calling it anything other than a myth. 217.44.32.250 (talk) 12:02, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Myth means false

It is obvious to anyone who reads the title of this article that “Myth” means false and that it is not written from a Neutral Point Of View. An NPOV would have the title as something like “Creation Stories”. The common usage of the term “myth” in the English language means false. You can say that it means something else but it does not mean anything else to at least 95% of the people who read it. If you don’t believe that then you are fooling yourselves. If you don’t believe in creation by a supreme being, that’s fine. Write whatever you want to. But don’t say that the “myth” in this title means anything other than false. If you do you’ll be lying. Personally, I don’t think you can have an entirely neutral point of view. But, if you say that Wiki has a NPOV and you are dedicated to that fact then you must change this title. Otherwise you’re just another bunch of hypocrites. I cannot even believe that you editors actually think this title is not derogatory and biased. You can have your little postings saying that isn’t what it means, but nobody (except maybe you) believes that. The fact that it hasn’t been changed speaks volumes about your real intent. You want to insult people and then tell them that you didn’t mean it that way. After the first few thousand people were insulted you should know that it is an insult whether you mean it that way or not. The fact that it remains demonstrates that you don’t have a NPOV and you think it is okay to insult millions of people. If that is what you want to do then that’s fine. Just don’t lie about it.Oceanberg6 (talk) 22:38, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Maybe call it "Creation lies", would that be better? After all one meaning of "story" is lie: "don't be storying now Johnny." I know rename it "Creation lies - 'cept one" ... and you know which "one" that is, no?
You might read WP:AGF and not be maligning all the good editors here by calling them liars, how 'bout WP:Civil. Vsmith (talk) 00:02, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

I think your response clearly demonstrates my point. You do not have a neutral point of view. I've read both of those links that you mentioned and I want to apologize if you truly believe that the "myth" in the title does not mean false. However, it seems from your response that is not the case. Also, if you do not believe that a large majority of the people that read this article understand it to mean false then I think you are lying to yourself. So, do you believe that the "myth" in the title means false? Do you believe that a large majority of readers believe that it means false?Oceanberg6 (talk) 19:11, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

The neutral point of view
The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting verifiable perspectives on a topic as evidenced by reliable sources. The policy requires that where multiple or conflicting perspectives exist within a topic each should be presented fairly. None of the views should be given undue weight or asserted as being judged as "the truth", in order that the various significant published viewpoints are made accessible to the reader, not just the most popular one. It should also not be asserted that the most popular view, or some sort of intermediate view among the different views, is the correct one to the extent that other views are mentioned only pejoratively. Readers should be allowed to form their own opinions. Wjmummert (KA-BOOOOM!!!!) 01:06, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Folks, please, the term myth has more than one meaning. The popular "myth => false" definition is clearly not the definition being used here, just like the popular "theory => conjecture" definition isn't used when using the word theory throughout the encyclopedia. Academia, not popular opinion, reigns supreme here. See WP:UNDUE if you want. Ben (talk) 01:33, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Who is Wikipedia for then? Is it for Academia? I don't think so, they don't need it. It's for normal everyday readers, right? If the huge majority of normal, everyday readers define "myth" as meaning false (and they do) then it means false. Your unwillingness to accept this fact is perplexing. If Wikipedia isn't an encyclopedia of the people and for the people, then what is it? If a word is commonly understood to mean something by a huge majority of people, then that's what it means. You can edit and say it doesn't, but it does! By leaving the title of this article as is you are saying that all of these stories and/or beliefs are false. That's what you are saying to virtually every reader that comes along. Is that Wikipedia's intent? If it is, just say so. If not, change the title to "Creation Beliefs". Thank you 64.73.243.90 (talk) 00:04, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

This discussion is in real danger of being archived on the basis of WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT if the anti-"myth" folks are just going to continue to rehash the same tired arguments without responding to the points that have been already been made. As I have said before in every other thread treating this topic, give sources for other terminology, and then the relative weight of those sources can be discussed. But without any sources, there is no discussion. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 00:10, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I do not need to give references for commonly understood terms. Do you dispute that 90% of the people that read this article understand that "myth" means false? If you dispute that then you do not know people. Your talk about sources of terminology, etc. is just a bunch of smoke that means you don't want to admit the obvious = the word "myth" in the title means false. I think the title is derogatory and it is meant to be derogatory. If that is your intent, then it worked. If not, change it. It's not a complex issue. If the title stays then the editors are aware that it means "Creation Falsehoods" or something like that and that is precisely what they intend it to mean. If that's what you want then that's fine. At least, admit that. Where I come from we have the guts to say what we mean. We do not insult people and then tell them that it wasn't an insult. Would you go out on the street and ask somebody which false religion they believe in? If you wanted to irritate them or you were crazy you would, but otherwise that is not an acceptable form of behavior. Why would the editors of Wiki allow this to happen here? It doesn't make sense and it is not right. Please change the title. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oceanberg6 (talkcontribs) 00:48, 23 September 2008 (UTC) Oceanberg6 (talk) 00:51, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I have already given many references on this very talk page that the nomenclature "creation myth" is broadly used in the relevant fields of anthropology, in addition to having enough currency for the Encyclopedia Britannica to have an article on the subject, by this name. It is true that you don't need references to have an opinion, but to have a voice in matters of content for an article on this encyclopedia, you need to adhere to the policies and guidelines that govern that content. One of those policies advocates that we should adopt a neutral point of view. The relevant part of this guideline as it applies to the present discussion is WP:WEIGHT. If a majority of relevant sources use the disputed terminology, then that is what the encyclopedia article should go with. So far zero references (let alone reliable sources) contesting the "myth" term have been provided. I do not object to a serious discussion in which all sides are presented (with references backing them up), but to engage in a debate on whether the term myth as it is used in cultural anthropology is or is not appropriate potentially runs afoul of the policy against original research. So, if you are making a point that has some textual support backing it up, please present the text. Otherwise, please stop filling up the talk page with the same old arguments. It is not going to get anywhere. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 01:17, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't want to waste my time digging up sources for what 95% of the people that read this article understand the term "myth" to mean. Either you are realistic about it or not. Either you insult people or you don't. It's obvious what your choice is. I was just hoping that being practical was something that those that edit Wiki would be. Obviously, that is not the case. I should have known better. I'm sorry I wasted my time.Oceanberg6 (talk) 02:03, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

As providing sources is one of the core policies at Wikipedia, I find your admitted aversion to doing so somewhat puzzling. Perhaps you should consider contributing to other projects, such as Conservapedia or the CreationWiki or similar project which does not require that you provide sources for your statements, rather than Wikipedia which does require sources. The fact is, no one has yet proposed any viable alternative to "creation myth" which is backed by good, reliable sources. As far as Wikipedia policy goes, that's the end of the story. Any other discussion is just noise. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 02:13, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Have you tried contributing to to these without sources? Have any of such contributions gone unchallenged? LowKey (talk) 02:51, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
While personally, I would call them myths, there are still millions if not billions of people who believe some of these creation myths to be literally true. This does create an issue regarding neutrality, since the term "myth" basically means falsehood or lie. A possible alternative would be "accounts of creation", which avoids the negativity associated with the term "myth". Accounts of creation is a phrase used in literature, for example
Shambalala (talk) 05:21, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Not that a google scholar search holds the ultimate authority on this, though it can give a good indication, but with 421 references with the term "creation myth" in the title, versus your 51, the indication (by a margin of nearly 9-1!) is that the article should stay where it is. I've lost count of how many times people have had to repeat that the word myth does not imply falsehood on this very page. Read the link at the top, read the info box on this articles page, read the talk page, read its archive, whatever, but just stop wasting everyone's time here by regurgitating the same ignorant crap. There is no neutrality issue because you don't like it (or think others might not) - I don't like a lot of things, but to ask for everyone else to be sensitive to this by working around my dislikes has got to be the height of arrogance. Grow up, read up, and lighten up. Stop wasting peoples time. This goes out to everyone in the IDONTLIKEIT crowd. Thanks for stopping by! Ben (talk) 07:09, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
If you have lost count of how many times your position has to be explained, you should maybe be thinking that it is because it is an unlikely position The fact "myth" and "lies" have been suggested as practically equivalent shows that even those who are ostensibly subscribing to this notion of "Myth does not equal untrue" actually apprehend myth to imply untruth. The info box etcetera are conveniences to justify retaining the word myth, and this retention is not because it is precise or accurate but because it implies falsity. It is bait switch, using a formal definition of one meaning but a common understanding of another. "Creation Accounts" would be prefectly acceptable to those wishing a NPOV article.LowKey (talk) 02:51, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Literally millions of people don't like it, not just one. It gets regurgitated because the title is ignorant crap. You can always justify anything in your own mind, but that doesn't make it right. And talk about being arrogant, you basically think that you have the right to tell everybody that doesn't agree with you (and there are billions of them) that they believe in "myths" because you are so smart and you know all of the answers about life. Boy, it must be nice to be so superior. I can see that being practical and realistic doesn't work here. That's too bad. It doesn't surprise me though.Oceanberg6 (talk) 19:48, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Folks, no need to get angry, these are just suggestions. The terms "creation account" or "accounts of creation" are essentially synonym s, though based on google scholar, creation myth is used more as a title. But creation account and its variations may ultimately be used just as commonly. What I do suspect is a bias in usage towards western religions. When referring to western religions the term 'creation account' and its variants are used. When referring to indigenous or tribal religions the term creation myth has been applied. The implication being that these tribal religions were somehow less credible and could be classified as myths even by people who were religious. Pascal Boyer refers to such biases in Religion Explained.Shambalala (talk) 19:52, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Shambalala (talk) 19:57, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Boyer's quote

Some Fang people [a present daytribe in Africa] say that witches have an animal-like extra internal organ that flies away at night and ruins other people’s crops or poisons their blood. It is also said that these witches sometimes get together for huge banquets where they devour their victims and plan future attacks. Many will tell you that a friend of a friend actually saw witches flying over the village at night, sitting on a banana leaf or throwing magical darts at various unsuspecting victims.

I was mentioning these and other such exotica over dinner in a Cambridge college when one of our guests, a prominent Catholic theologian, turned to me and said: “This is what makes anthropology so fascinating and so difficult too. You have to explain how people can believe in such nonsense.” Which left me dumbfounded. The conversation had moved on before I could find a pertinent repartee—to do with kettles and pots. For the question: “How can people possibly believe all this?” is indeed pertinent, but it applies to beliefs of all hues and shades. The Fang too were quite amazed when first told that three persons really were one person while being three persons, or that all misfortune in this vale of tears stemmed from two ancestors eating exotic fruit in a garden.|}

Oceanberg6, please, my argument doesn't rest on what I think at all, and you know that. It rests on that fact that the term is the established standard term in the relevant literature. If that somehow makes me arrogant, then so be it, I really don't care. Shambalala, I don't disagree with anything you said, and I think it probably has a lot to do with the same old objections that appear on this page every now and again. But I don't see how this argues for a change in the article title? Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:49, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Of all these RS's that use "Creation Myth", how many do NOT treat the subject matter as inherently untrue or unsupported? The answer to that may be an indication of whether the term is POV or not. I assume that a signifanct number a dealing with accounts in a manner that would label them unfactual. If there are also a significant number that deal with accounts in a manner that labels them factual, then maybe the term may be considered NPOV.LowKey (talk) 02:51, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
The article title reflects the term used in majority of the reliable sources. If the reliable sources take position 'x' on the topic, then that is for the article content to reflect. Ben (talk) 04:46, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Then why does it disclaim exactly that reflection? It is bait and switch pure and simple. Under the radar POV; the common understanding is the "impact" desired, but the uncommon definition is pointed to when this is questioned.LowKey (talk) 00:36, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

I think the majority of these "reliable sources" view them as being false. That's why they use the term "myth". That's the problem. Just because the majority of articles on this subject are written by atheists or agnostics and they believe them all to be myths doesn't make it right to insult people about their personal beliefs. And that's what this title does. If you don't believe that then take a little personal survey and it will become clear to you that most people believe the title means false and is derogatory. Personally, I think that is the true intention of the title and I don't think it will be changed.Oceanberg6 (talk) 23:15, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

A suggestion, open an RFC with suggestions on possible names, alone with the current name. Shambalala (talk) 23:28, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I would rather see some kind of "internal" consensus check first, as RFC seems to bring in "drive by" comments by those who may or may not appreciate to-date discussion (and frankly probably don't wish to devote the time to reading through it all).LowKey (talk) 00:36, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, the internal consensus is to keep the present title. Unless there is some legitimate reason, backed by sources, to overrule the vast majority of sources in this matter. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 00:53, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Which is why I suggested to avoid the RFC for now. The legitimate reason is the cognitive dissonance of using "myth" based on sources that use "myth" to mean "untrue" and then have a box saying that myth DOES NOT imply untrue. Well, that's my reasoning anyway. You'll find the majority is not that vast, and that there is a systemic bias at work here. "Account" in the title is more neutral, but unlikely to ever actually happen.LowKey (talk) 01:04, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Myth seems neutral to me. How is the majority not that vast? Here is a google scholar search with over 6500 hits. Here is a scholar search with 451 title hits. Also, as I have repeatedly noted above, the Encyclopedia Britannica includes an entry on Creation myth. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 01:28, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Neutral to you, and probably to many others, but decidedly negative to many others and apparently to many sources (at least according to editors here). The fact that the search includes "myth" excludes results that don't use the term, which is what I was getting at regarding systemic bias. I can't offer a simple solution to that. But like I said, my problem was with the dissonance between the usages of "myth". I see you pulled the box, which takes care of that, at least as far as I am concerned.LowKey (talk) 02:25, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
The article Creation according to Genesis was initially titled Creation accounts in Genesis. If Wikipedia is to be consistent by the standard we apply here then the article should be "Genesis creation myth". That probably won't happen. This in my opinion is where we have consistency problems. Its acceptable to have a Sumerian creation myth but probably not acceptable to have "Genesis creation myth". Shambalala (talk) 03:44, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
"Account" instead of myth really should be acceptable for all of these, but I think is unlikely. Too many seem attached to the word "myth" in this context. I for one definitely do not believe the Sumerian creation account per your example to be factually true, but I have no trouble calling it an account. LowKey (talk) 04:36, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Myth means false section break

Neutral to you .. but decidedly negative to many others -- LowKey (talk) 02:25, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

I haven't seen anyone here argue that term is neutral to themselves as a reason to keep, the argument is to keep since it appears to be the neutral term with respect to the reliable sources. On the other hand, everyone here arguing that the term isn't neutral feels it is personally offensive (to themselves or others). Personal feelings or biases are no argument for or against using the term. Can everyone please read Wikipedia:Naming conflict before continuing? There are particular points worth noting:

  • Is the name in common usage in English? (check Google, other reference works, websites of media, government and international organisations; focus on reliable sources)
  • Subjective criteria (such as "moral rights" to a name) should not be used to determine usage. These include Is the use of the name politically unacceptable?
  • Do not invent names as a means of compromising between opposing points of view. Wikipedia describes current usage but cannot prescribe a particular usage or invent new names.

Cheers, Ben (talk) 06:11, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

You are not addressing the point that all of these "sources" are writing from the point of view that "myth" means false. That's what they say and that's what they mean. You will not find one article written about creation accounts by a Christian or Jew or Muslim that has "myth" in the title. So, of course, someone that believes all of these accounts to be false will label them as myths. So now what do you do? Just add them all up and see if there are more stories with myth in the title than stories about creation that don't have myth in the title? That's a popularity contest. Is that what Wiki is all about? It is obvious that anybody that wants to keep this title believes in the evolution of man. There are some who believe in that way but still think the title is biased and derogatory and believe that it should be changed. Thank you to those people. Then there are those who believe in some sort of God. 99% of those or more would take offense at the use of the term "myth" in the title. They see it for what it is and what it is meant to say. The title says that these are false beliefs and that is what the intent of the title means to say. A huge majority of people, except for some of you editors maybe, understands that this title means false creation accounts. The question then is does Wikipedia want to continue to say that there is no God and that everybody who believes in one is a fool. Because that's what this one word in the title implies. It's your choice. You can say that if you want to. But I want you to know that is what it says and nothing less. If you don't understand that then you are fooling yourselves and are very unaware. I've got to believe that most of you are very aware and thus you choose to make derogatory comments towards people that don't believe in atheism.Oceanberg6 (talk) 20:00, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

By the way, atheism is a religion or philosophy of life just as Christianity or Hinduism is. You just believe that we are here by accident and there is nothing beyond when your body dies. How do you find unselfish purpose in life? Or is there even any unselfish purpose in your life. If I believed that this was all there is then I don't think that I could be happy. It would be really depressing to think that my life amounts to nothing and when my body dies nobody except for a few people are going to know or care. Being a biological entity here on Planet Earth existing by accident is a very depressing thought. How do you deal with that? I guess maybe you write articles telling people that. I don't know.Oceanberg6 (talk) 20:19, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Oceanberg6, you're just repeating yourself, so I don't think you're going to get much of a response. Until you can address the arguments that have been put forward for keeping the title as is in terms of Wikipedia policy, and stop drivelling on about personal offence and atheism, this will be my last comment to you. Ben (talk) 14:56, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Ben, maybe the repetition is because nobody is addressing or apparently getting the point. You certainly don't seem to, as you have missed the point that Oceanberg6 (and others) have addressed the arguments, quite soundly and definitively. And being uncivil and insulting about discussion of atheism does not change the fact that it is relevant. Big Bang belongs in this artcile as much as any other account. Apparently it has been excluced on the basis either not being religious or not being myth. Of course it is always ironic to see how defensive and dogmatic atheists get when atheism is called religion.
To address the arguments (once again). The term "myth" is not neutral and does not appear neutral from RS because the sources that use it at all use it negatively. Those treating the subject neutrally or affirmatively do not use "myth" in their terminology. A google search of "creation myth" returns instances of the the term "creation myth" (well knowck me down with a feather!). The search term specifically excludes other usages such as "creation account". Finding a lot of articles with "myth" in the title or body indicates nothing about neutrality, it only indicates a lot of use of the term "myth", and therefore a lot disbelieving sources. But then this is not a neutral article, but at least it no longer specifically claims to be. "Myth" is only in common usage by those that disbelieve the accounts, and it's usage as the name of the article declares them to be false. "Creation Account" is not a WP invention, but is a term used by sources. Unfortunately they will generally not be considered reliable by most WP editors because they do not declare the accounts to be myths. Circular reasoning to be sure but that's life on WP.LowKey (talk) 03:29, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Defensive and dogmatic? I have no interest in defending atheism at all. Bash away. However, since my "beliefs" seem to have caught the eye of a few of you, let me list a few more of them for you, with respect to this article and Wikipedia's policies:
  • The Big Bang is not a creation myth and so does not belong in this article, since, among other more obvious reasons, no reliable sources can support that claim.
  • The majority of the reliable sources out there use the term "creation myth", and so should we per the Naming Conflict article I mentioned above.
  • Neutrality is described in detail at WP:NPOV, and I am certain that it does not claim "Neutral = LowKey likes it". For that reason, what you can show in terms of this article adhering to or violating WP:NPOV, and not your opinion on what is neutral and what is not, should influence this article and its title.
  • This talk page is not a forum, go whine about atheism and the big bang somewhere else.
  • No-one has used Wikipedia's policies, that everyone else must adhere to, to argue against using the current title. As I said earlier, your personal feelings on the matter have no bearing on this article, or any other. Until you start arguing in terms of what Wikipedia's policies have to say, there is no need for me to bother replying to you either, and so I believe I won't.
Cheers, Ben (talk) 04:36, 7 October 2008 (UTC).

This reminds me of government red tape. Virtually everybody knows what's going on and that it should be changed but a few people want to use regulations and pile up the paperwork to make a roadblock. You use "sources", naming conflict guidelines, and anything else to preserve this obviously biased title so that you can get your opinion prominently displayed. It is very clear to virtually everybody what is going on here. I can see that it probably isn't going to change and that's too bad. I hope that those of you, no matter what your personal beliefs are, that see this situation for what it really is will prevail in the end and the title will be changed. I appreciate your sense of fairness and that's all that I'm asking for from the others. This is one of those situations that no matter how you slice and dice it, the reality is clear to all. The title is derogatory and is meant to be so. You can say it is not, but it is and everybody knows it. You can do what is right, fair, and proper and you can change the title. Or you can be derogatory, arrogant, and unfair and leave the title as is. You can try to convince others that you are acting otherwise but it's pretty clear to virtually everyone who can read what your intent is. That doesn't make you a bad person in my book. You're just not willing to right a wrong. That's your choice. I hope you'll reconsider. Best regardsOceanberg6 (talk) 19:45, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

I think everyone involved in this discussion is acting in good faith and making thoughtful remarks but with respect i think this discussion is missing the point. While encyclopedia articles are written for a general audience, their purpose is to educate. That means articles should communicate in an accessible form the latest scholarship on particular topics. And when it comes to scholars - in classics, history, comparative religion, folklore, and anthropology - "myth" does not mean "false" it means that the story has a particular social function. And this indicates to us the real problem with this article: it des not draw on much scholarship. For many if not most of the myths summarized, I bet there are several articles if not books discussing when they were composed and what that reveals about the period in history in which they were composed, or what the social functions of the myth are or were. There could be structural analysis of the myth, symbolic analysis ... a whole library of scholarly works analyzing the myths and how they work as texts, and what they say about their context. If you have no idea what i mean, you can start by looking at Claude Levi-Strauss's four volume Mythologiques or his more recent and accessible The Story of Lynx. manhy of the myths he discusses are not creation myths, but believe me, for most creation myths documented, there is a body of scholarship on what the myth means, the artistry behind the myth, the symbolism, etc. Absent this scholarship, this article appears to be saying myth=false. But the problem is not that it is saying myths are false, it is that is is NOT saying what truths the myths really do express. And for us to know what those truths are, we would need to research the scholarship on each myth and the society it comes from, and start adding that informative, educational content into the article. Anyway, that is what i think is the real problem here. We would be spending our time better if instead of arguing over true versus false we started investigating the rich scholarly literature on what and how myths "mean." Slrubenstein | Talk 01:11, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I think the current argument isn't so much about content, but about the title of the article. Shambalala (talk) 01:13, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I mean that if the article were based on notable views from reliable sources, and built up an account of these myths based on how scholars study these myths, the title would be fine and non-controversial. The article would be a lesson not just on specific creation myths but on how scholars study myth, and thus, what scholars mean by myth. Slrubenstein | Talk 01:56, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree on that. At the moment the content is a random selection of various "creation myths" rather than a comprehensive and comparative study of creation mythologies. There has been a suggestion to listify the article. At the moment the crux of the matter is whether to rename the article, "creation stories", "theories of creation", "accounts of creation" or "creation accounts".Shambalala (talk) 02:07, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
think the wod we use should follow what most academic sources use - in comparative religion, anthropology, classics, history, and folklor. So we cannot resolve this until we know the main sources. To start with, Stith Thompson, Vladimir Propp, Alan Dundes, Levy Strauss, Frye, Gunkel, Joseph Campbell, Roland Barthes. Let's at least give an account of their definitions and methods and theories and then we can discuss the proper name, po=ssible reorganizaiton, and srtart drawign in more specialized research. Slrubenstein | Talk 02:16, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

When a errant christian comes on here and wants to change established terminology, it speaks volumes to their own personal doubts. They seek to persuade others so as to convince themselves. Their beliefs may in fact turn out to be correct. But they don't have any conclusive evidence that stands the test of scientific inquiry, so they must accept the common usage until they do.64.7.151.135 (talk) 12:22, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Do you actually have anything to add, or are you merely using this as a forum for your opinions about the beliefs and motives of others? Blog elsewhere, please. LowKey (talk) 02:30, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

I cannot speak for errant Christians, but I can tell you that I don’t have any personal doubts about my beliefs. The reason that I don’t like this title is because it is derogatory and unfair and I feel that is the intent of it as well. The writers/editors use smokescreens like counting reliable sources or some other roadblock to argue against changing it. But if you understand common usage of the English language you don’t need an English professor to explain to you that “myth” means false and it is meant to convey that message the way it is used in this title. To give solid proof of that try to find one article where the author is talking about their own personal belief and they call it a myth. Try to find one. Anyplace! A person only calls something a myth if they don’t believe it to be true. That’s the bottom line. This title should be changed or the article should come right out and say that these are false beliefs. Oceanberg6 (talk) 05:38, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

"Non-Religious" myths in Fantasy?

There are creation myths in Fantasy literature that are described in the article as "non-religious". The first two examples are Tolkien's middle earth, and Lewis's Narnia. Narnia's creation is openly religious, by the express design of the author. Tolkien's middle earth mythology has a personal creator bringing spiritual beings into existence, and then with them creating the world. One of the created spiritual beings rebels and corrupts others. The corrupted are expelled from the "blessed realm". I cannot see the justification for calling this non-religious. I don't know about the others, but by what criteria are they considered non-religious?LowKey (talk) 00:29, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Scratch that. I changed it.LowKey (talk) 02:51, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Creation myth vs. List of creation myths

This article was just moved to List of Creation mythologies, which I've undone for now. I don't have a lot of time to type much at the moment, but I thought it would be good to get a discussion going. I do think this article is pretty much a list at the moment, but, there should still exist a "creation myth" article discussing the concept in general. I think a list of creation myths would be good too, but it should be a separate article. Can I propose we split off the list stuff into its own article, and try and flesh out this article a bit more at the same time? We can borrow from the list of creation myths article as necessary to illustrate certain concepts. Cheers, Ben (talk) 14:49, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I disagree - the current version isn't a list. I don't consider there is a problem that needs fixing. PhilKnight (talk) 18:06, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps a move to Creation mythologies might be a way forward. Slrubinstein is discussing something in the above thread that also bothers me: that this article doesn't focus at all on the general cultural concept of a creation myth, but instead dedicates itself to cataloging various individual myths. To see an example of the contrast, see Britannica's article Creation myth. (Which I keep telling people to do, but no one seems to be listening.) siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 12:33, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
It bothers me too and I have been meaning to do something about it. I am sure I tried to check the Britannica article a while ago, but it wanted me to pay to look at it. I'll try again today from computers at uni. Ben (talk) 19:28, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm in favour of renaming myths to mythologies, not least because it should reduce the amount of "myth => untrue => POV" posts we see here. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 21:12, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Britannica Creation Myth.Shambalala (talk) 21:15, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
Ok, that link works fine here, so I'll read through that (probably today at some point). The additional reading section looks promising. Regarding using the term creation mythologies to reduce the number of complaints ... please tell me that is not a valid reason for change. I'd prefer to keep the article where is for two reasons. Firstly, mythologies is plural, and article names in plural form are generally frowned upon. That still leaves "creation mythology" I guess, but this article should be about the concept, not the branch of knowledge dealing with them (see MW). Consider "evolution" vs. "modern evolutionary synthesis" for instance. Maybe both articles will exist at some point in the future, but I think we should focus on this one before we worry about content forks. Ben (talk) 22:53, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

New post

When I reviewed evolutionist and theistic evolutionary backgrounds they were not considered myths. The oldest living book in the world recognizes creationalism. In fact, when we review the dates of early evolutionary biologists we find the creation theory outdates them by more than 1000 years. In most cases evolutionary theoretics follow the same course as its proceeding theory of creation. If creation is a myth then we must consider evolution to be a myth as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kduncan121a (talkcontribs) 02:22, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

While I agree with that last sentence (for reasons already discussed ad nauseum) it doesn't actually follow from what you wrote there. "Myth" is not being defined by when the explanation originated, but by qualities of the explanation itself. There is disagreement over the label, but there are modern "myths' in the article, so arguments regarding antiquity won't really add anything to the discussion IMO. LowKey (talk) 06:25, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Humans used to think the world was flat, but we know this to be false. So what you are saying is that since the idea that the world is flat is older than the idea that the world is round, then the earth being round is a myth. Your logic is quite flawed. 64.7.151.135 (talk) 12:10, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Good grief. The logic above is flawed, but so is this argument here. Sloppy logic, incorrect facts and "myth" not used in the sense of this very article. Please blog elsewhere.LowKey (talk) 02:38, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

-

Discussions from Talk:Creation myth/Archive 3
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


Religious Myths?

I'm curious, is this implying that religion like say Christianity's description of the creation of man and the universe not true? Things like this are hardly fictitious, they are unproven. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.51.41.46 (talk) 15:12, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Read the archives. Ilkali (talk) 15:51, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
... and the common dictionary definitions of myth. DVdm (talk) 19:20, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I have looked at the dictionary but the reason I asked this was because the definition has several different meanings. I was curious which one this one implies. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.51.41.46 (talk) 23:50, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

In a scholarly context, like an encyclopedia, the word myth is never assumed to mean 'not true'. The first definition in the link given by DVdm sounds reasonable. Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:25, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for clearing that up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.51.41.46 (talk) 01:32, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

"... I was curious which one this one implies." => all of them of course. That's the point of having more than one dictionary :-)
By the way, please don't forget to sign your talk page comments with 4 tildes (~~~~). Thanks, DVdm (talk) 16:37, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

But on that particular page, two of those definitions say the following:

"An invented story" "an unproven or false collective belief"

To say "Creation Myth" and to use all of those definitions would imply that the religious explanation for Creation was either invented or is fake.

My point is we don't know that. The only truth to the second one is that it is unproven.

I'll register. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.51.41.46 (talk)

I presume DVdm meant that all the dictionaries applied (the link given lists quite a few dictionaries, each with several definitions). Ben (talk) 05:41, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
To 68.51.41.46: Please sign your talk page comments with 4 tildes. Thank you, (DVdm (talk) 09:38, 11 January 2009 (UTC)).

That's what I presumed as well, but out of some of them, the same as the 2 I listed are used as a definition, which is why I am confused as to why all of them then, would be used.

If a Creation Myth defined by this article is a religious story or explanation to how we came to be, defining it as unproven and a collective belief by many people usually defined by many as fact would seem more appropriate than "a false collective belief or an invented story". 68.51.41.46 (talk) 23:47, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

You are "confused as to why all of them then, would be used"? ==> It goes as follows. One of your choice would be used by you. Perhaps another of my choice would be used by me. Probably yet another of Ben's choice would be used by Ben. In short, all of them would be used by all of us. That is how we deal with multiple definitions in multiple dictionaries. "Voor elk wat wils", as we say in Dutch. DVdm (talk) 18:06, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I suppose anyone can take it to mean what they want (with or without reference to a dictionary even), but as far as the encyclopaedia goes, please see Wikipedia:WTA#Myth_and_legend. Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:07, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I have a question...why is creation considered a myth, but evolution isn't?? Just curious... 99.168.95.49 (talk) 02:49, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Because creation falls under the definition of myth:"a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, esp. one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature."
Evolution per se is a scientific fact, the scientific theory of evolution explains how evolution, which is the change inherent in generations of life, happens. Aunt Entropy (talk) 03:53, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't say "scientific fact" as this can be argued in many senses of the word. It's still a theory with holes in it, not yet at the level of "fact". Too many people assume Evolution has been proven. However, you are right in the sense that Evolution isn't a myth. 68.51.41.46 (talk) 05:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

You may find Evolution as theory and fact interesting. Cheers, Ben (talk) 05:17, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I still wouldn't say it's absolute fact. There are too many holes and problems with the theory in itself which is why I don't believe it to be as such.

Thank you for the link, however. However, I still stand by my comment that people need to stop parading it as fact in a sense.68.51.41.46 (talk) 05:22, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

i agree with 68.51.41.46. all religions are based on faith, and until there is is undeniable proof (not "is is believed..." as usually given in some textbooks and artilces), then evolution is also a faith.216.118.231.66 (talk) 00:47, 26 January 2009 (UTC)faith

Evolution is a scientific theory as opposed to a religion. No matter, reliable sources would be required identifying a sacred narrative (myth) in evolution. Although there are mythological aspects (as far as perspectives in popular culture) to both evolution and the big bang theory, as yet no one has presented here any reliable scholarship on the matter. Until that point, arguments about whether or not these constitute "creation myths" are moot. We go with what the sources say. 02:01, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I assume you are selectively ignoring Big_bang_theory#Observational_evidence — raeky (talk | edits) 06:46, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Okay seriously, this article needs to renamed. Myth implies superstition. You might as well say that any idea about the origins of life is a myth. And in the origins of life article, there should be more info on the religious idea. There is much secular bias on wikipedia. I personally God is a God of religion and science, and im okay that not everyone believes that. However, I do not appreciate the fact that religion in general is tossed to the side as an 'alternate myth.' That is just kind of obnoxious. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.58.180.181 (talk) 23:02, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Read our article religion and mythology. --Andrewlp1991 (talk) 23:46, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Cite request

I have tagged the sentence "The term creation myth is sometimes used in a derogatory way to describe stories which are still believed today" as needing a cite. This is simply because I have never come across the combined term used in this way - "myth" has its own ambiguities, but "Creation Myth" is more specific.--FimusTauri (talk) 16:18, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Delete it imo. Ben (talk) 16:23, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, edit conflicts! Was about to say
Let me clarify that a bit. The term "myth" may be seen as derogatory, but the term "creation myth" is not. To use an analogy once presented to me: we would not talk about "the theory about relativity by Einstein", we talk about "the theory of relativity by Einstein". The word theory has its own connotations; "the theory of relativity" refers to a specific model about which we have no doubt. I am just wondering if the sentence I quoted above was inserted to meekly mollify those who simply object to the term "myth" but who do not recognise that "creation myth" is a phrase with its own, far more specific meaning.--FimusTauri (talk) 16:26, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Deleted. I changed "need" to "may" in the following sentence, which imo more than adequately covers the possibility that any one story just might be true - daft though that idea is, some people still believe it.--FimusTauri (talk) 16:41, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

This artical is a mockary of Wiki's nutrality!

This article is a utterly mockery of everything wiki stands for! Who on this Earth would say anything about this article is "neutral"? Calling every religion a "myth"? It's absurd! Its nothing but political propaganda.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.179.163.66 (talk) 22:05, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Just out of curiosity, which 1 religion would you rather we not label with the term myth? Rreagan007 (talk) 05:26, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Mine, of course. --KP Botany (talk) 05:59, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
No, MINE! DVdm (talk) 09:00, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
  • attempting to inject some reason into the patien- err- discussion

Myth need not mean false; it just so happens that it by default implies falsehood or fabrication in ordinary conversation. C.S. Lewis, an Oxford professor, toed the line between factuality and faith by calling Christianity 'the true myth'. Religion, almost by definition, is an attempt by self-aware beings to comprehend and fit into ultimate reality, not mere scientific reality. Hence, it is difficult to categorize any religion as either wholly fanciful or substantially credible without generating objection and controversy. WP is considered to be a database of knowledge, and knowledge is generally thought to be obtained through scientific and scholarly inquiry. Hence to be 'neutral' and address the 'default' mindset of the 'average' person, the scientific explanation of origins is treated as being fact-based, because an attempt to evaluate the factuality of every religion's claim would be variously impossible, absurd, or 'leading the reader' into conclusions they can reach on their own if they choose to do so.
Additionally, not all religious views are wholly unsupported by evidence, but at least as regards Cosmogony, no religious view can be said to be wholly 'scientific' because they all ultimately point to something beyond the scope of science; the supernatural.
I therefore propose that the article title be changed to Creation beliefs, because all myths were believed at some point, but not all beliefs are wholly mythical.
And if you have an opinion on something, at least spell it correctly.

HuntingTarg (talk) 04:03, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
The article should not try to judge which, if any, creation story has been determined to be in accord with current scientific thought. The title "myth" imples all to be mere fairytale. Grantmidnight (talk) 17:46, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
It is not judging, it is using the proper word for the implied meaning of a religious story with supernatural elements which describes the origins of the world. Look it up. Aunt Entropy (talk) 18:30, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Actually, no creation myth (at least none on this page) is in accord with current scientific though on the origins of the universe. But that isn't the purpose of this article anyway. Rreagan007 (talk) 19:31, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Rreagan007 is correct (although I think he means consensus instead of all *thought* (a 2nd misspelling; I trust these aren't attempts at trolling...) ), and although that discussion would make a roaring forum topic, such a discussion doesn't belong on Wikipedia.
The fact that the primary definition of 'myth' has nothing to say about the veracity of such stories does not negate the fact that the word carries the connotation by means of secondary definitions. This seems quite evident without consulting a dictionary, although the term belief is similarly problematic in that it implies the article is simply about current views on the origin of the world &/ universe.
*sigh* Having read the archives (as recommended in above sections), this problem seems to have degenerated into a semantic debate that is unlikely to satisfy both sides. What bothers me is that in light of well-posited points about the difficulty of the current title ('myth'), one side seems to have come to rest on the issue without any attmept at clarification.
While about Wikipedia (sec 2.5) readily admits that problems of this kind will inevitably occur, it seems simple and straightforward enough to follow the recommendation in NPOV (sec 2.1) of clarifying the title in the lead section. This should at least quell further discussion, since it does not appear that a 'perfect solution' exists. It would almost certainly be less troublesome than coming back to this page again and again to answer the same objection.
HuntingTarg (talk) 04:33, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, that seems like the most reasonable solution to me as well. Sventington the Second 12:53 A.M., 12 May 2009 —Preceding undated comment added 04:55, 12 May 2009 (UTC).
The mythology article, which is linked to in the first sentence, is for discussing definitions. Ben (talk) 05:49, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Judgemental

The label of "myth" has been discussed several times here and elsewhere in WK; resolution is still not achieved. Most dictionary definitions allow several meanings. For example Webster indicates a "traditional story" and says a myth has only an "imaginary or unverifiable existence". Myth certainly has a connotation of a fairytale to many people. Much better would be to call these Creation Stories: stories can be true or false or just traditional. It is vital that WK present a Neutral Point of View. The label of myth is not neutral: A judgement has been made by editors that these stories are not factual. Whether we agree with the stories or not, we must not cast judgement. This article needs to present a neutral discussion of these stories. Grantmidnight (talk) 15:28, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

"A judgement has been made by editors that these stories are not factual". Read the archives. Ilkali (talk) 16:29, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, some editors have tried to make that point. That violates the strict policy of neutraliy:NPOV. Grantmidnight (talk) 16:45, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Read the archives. Ilkali (talk) 16:51, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
The word myth, in a depth psychology sense, does not mean that it is objectively untrue, but rather that it is subjectively true (irrespective of its objective factuality). In other words, there is a difference between a myth and a tale. A tale doesn't need to have subjective meaning. It can be objectively true but subjectively meaningless. A myth does have subjective meaning. Creation stories, by their very nature, have subjective meaning. For this reason I do not object to the use of the word myth here. However, I do object to the use of Wikipedia as a connotative means of changing other people's belief system. Using "myth" for the purpose of expressing your own POV (i.e. this isn't factually true) is a violation of Wikipedia standards. The title of the article is correct. The motivations given by Ilkali, on the other hand, are not.EGMichaels (talk) 21:19, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Ilkali was quoting someone. Ben (talk) 21:35, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. I just came here to find out more about Ilkali, and I shouldn't have spoken up so soon anyway. Thanks for the correction. Dor what it's worth, I do approve of the current title.EGMichaels (talk) 21:39, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Aww what? Ilkali has a stalker? I'm jealous. Ben (talk) 21:42, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
LOL! Not quite! I was just asking him on another article what his motivation was, since his stated motivation didn't make any sense to me. He accused me of being two other people instead of answering my question, so I decided to figure out what made him tick. He's not answering questions here either. It's just "read the archives" and "I'm a one man consensus." Trying to figure out if I should reason with him or avoid him, and I'm thinking of the latter.EGMichaels (talk) 21:47, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
"Stories" is much too narrow. A story could have been created this morning. Myths are more like stories based on stories based on ..., for all practical purposes, ad infinitum. That is implied in Webster's optional "unverifiable existence". Myths still "can be true or false or just traditional". Those who don't fully understand Webster's phrase are free to use other dictionaries. And of course, since indeed like you say "most dictionary definitions allow several meanings", the usage of the word guarantees the very essence of neutrality - clearly orthogonal to judgementality. Read the (endless) archives. DVdm (talk) 19:37, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

It is clear from this discussion and the archives that neutrality, NPOV, has been debated and is far from resolved. The article is tagged to reflect this continuing problem. Resolution needs to be found to a less controversial title and judgement about the subject. Grantmidnight (talk) 20:37, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

http://www.answers.com/topic/myth Myth...A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the world view of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society: eg. the myth of Eros and Psyche; a creation myth. I fail to see why this is not neutral? TeapotgeorgeTalk 20:55, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
What is clear is that this page has seen dozens of people like you, with the same knee-jerk reaction and the same tendency to ignore consensus-driven decisions and guidelines. Ilkali (talk) 21:00, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Neutral point of view is a fundamental Wikimedia principle and a cornerstone of Wikipedia. This article currently takes various religious beliefs of creation and reduces them to "myth". This perjorative term is not neutral. Continuing interest in this issue makes it clear that it has never been resolved. The article needs to be tagged with NPOV. Grantmidnight (talk) 19:07, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Read.
The.
Archives. Ilkali (talk) 19:56, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Please honor the WK policy of not deleting a NPOV tag until the issue is resolved
Please read the archives: These show a continuing and unresolved debate about WP editors judging that religious beliefs about creation are mere myth. Grantmidnight (talk) 15:07, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
You haven't the slightest understanding of the position you're attacking, and with pages of archives clarifying it ad nauseum, you have no excuse for being so ignorant. There's no point arguing with you until you understand what you're arguing against and bring something new to the table. Otherwise there is no "until the issue is resolved". There is no issue. Ilkali (talk) 15:15, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Please stop the personal attacks. The issue is that the label of "myth" on religious beliefs is not impartial, is not objective, and prohibibs balance. Editors must not allow their personal judgements to dominate the requirement of objectivity. Grantmidnight (talk) 17:27, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

These aren't personal attacks. I'm not calling you stupid, I'm just saying that you haven't researched prior discussion and are consequently ignorant both of the opposing view and of the numerous and oft-repeated counterarguments made against your view. Bring something new to the discussion or expect to be ignored. Ilkali (talk) 22:48, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

This article is entitled "creation myths" because it is about creation myths ... end of story. Abtract (talk) 18:33, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Instead of just saying this article needs to be renamed, I have a suggestion. Why is this not called "Creation Theory". This implies that these theories could or could not be true and does not have the negative conotation that the word myth has. AS you can see here "theory", the definition of theory describes perfectly what everyone is trying to achieve.

On a seperate note there is several people saying that the concensus is to use "myth". Obviously this is not the case or we would not be having this discussion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Miarmyguy (talkcontribs) 04:11, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Should we also rename Mythology into Theoriology? Makes no sense to me. Who are those "everyone"? --Cubbi (talk) 13:43, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
"Creation myth" is a very specific term that lacks the ambiguities and potentially negative connotations of "myth" when used on its own. The lead of this article makes it abundantly clear what the term means. It is defining "Creation myth", not "myth". Apart from anything else, the various stories are all contradictary - at best only one of them could be true. By defining a creation myth as a story or (the even more generous) "explanation", there is no issue of neutrality here. If the lead said something like "A creation myth is a myth about creation" there might have been an issue because this would require a definition of "myth"; but it doesn't, so there isn't.--FimusTauri (talk) 14:30, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
I think that's an excellent point that only one of them could be completely true. Consequently, all the rest would have to be (at least partly) false. The term "creation myth" is an excellent term to express the fact that all (but possibly 1) traditional account of creation must contain at least some inaccuracies. And since we have no way of determining which 1 is (possibly) a completely accurate account of creation, they all have to be labeled as myths. To attempt to pick out which 1 is completely accurate would be POV. Rreagan007 (talk) 15:23, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

It is not an 'excellent' term unless this is intended for use exclusively by historians and scholars. Read below section.
HuntingTarg (talk) 04:09, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Creation Theory or Creation Story are much less judgemental. Myth indicates to many readers that WK has determined these stories to be false. Grantmidnight (talk) 17:46, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the editors stating that this has been discussed ad nauseum in the archives. The book of Genesis was orally transmitted for centuries before finally being penned at around 1000 BC (although 500 BC is generally more accepted) can't possibly be 100% accurate from the original eye-wittiness accounts, baring some sort of supernatural explanation. And it clearly includes supernatural elements in the story. Just because some people hold the religious belief that it is true doesn't make it any less of a traditional myth than does any of the other religious creation stories. The Genesis account of creation is a myth in the context of this article with all the other creation stories from other cultures and beliefs. Outside of that context a sub-set of people do believe it to be more then a myth. This article isn't about addressing what a sub-set of the population believes but is about all creation myths. I'm sure you'll find pages and pages of discussion on this topic in the archives, and any further discussion isn't likely to change the consensus of the primary editors of this article. — raeky (talk | edits) 13:37, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

The extensive archives and the continuing discussions make it very clear that a consensus has not been achieved. There is strong support of using more neutral language. Grantmidnight (talk) 21:34, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. I don't really understand the opposition to more neutral terms other than wanting to marginalize certain viewpoints. Sure, the dictionary may allow for multiple definitions, but myth clearly has connotations which suggest the story is false. I personally don't believe in any of the creation stories I've heard, but I'm not out to marginalize them. Creation stories, a title you've previously suggested, is the best suggestion I've seen thus far.
However, is it unacceptable to revisit an issue once wikipedia staff or whatever have stepped in and ruled on it? If so, then I guess we have to live with it. Nonetheless specific terms seem to detract from the NPOV aim, but I guess that's bound to happen at times. Sventington the Second (talk) 20:45, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
After reading WP:NPOV (and I'm assuming you have since you're quoting it) it's clear that the term in this context is perfectly neutral. Avoiding it would not be. Not liking it, either you personally or some group you're valiantly defending (because you don't believe these stories right?), means nothing. We're here to build an encyclopaedia, and concerning ourselves with how others feel about certain pieces of knowledge is contrary to that goal. It's that simple. Ben (talk) 21:09, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Maybe I misunderstand, but are you saying using a word like story as opposed to myth would be biased/not neutral? Or the practice of choosing certain words communicating similar things but specifically chosen not to offend is not neutral as it is designed to appease certain people? In reading over earlier comments I can understand the objection to using story instead of myth as myth seems to better bring out the cultural component, but were another word found which brought out the cultural component, would you be opposed to it? I'm not exactly a thesaurus so I don't have any other suggestions right now, but are you or other adament about stressing the word myth? Sventington the Second (talk) 23:06, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Well I don't know of a better word either, the word myth really is the right word. Perhaps there is an equivalent word, but stopping to think for a second, we're seriously discussing replacing a perfectly correct term here, and for what purpose? Because someone doesn't like it? That's hardly a compelling reason. More important than what you, me or someone else thinks is what terminology reliable sources on the topic use, and it's overwhelmingly myth - from specialised sources right down to common references like Encyclopedia Britannica. So on top of it being correct, it's a standard term. Avoiding such a well used and perfect term for the sake of the sensibilities of some group of readers is not neutral, far from professional and annoying for people who use anything more than Wikipedia to learn about these things. I hope that is a little clearer. Ben (talk) 03:19, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's perfectly clear. In fact, it seems like myth is the probably most appropriate word to use after all, regardless of if there are alternatives. I went and took a look at dictionary.reference.com and was given this definition:
a.A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society: the myth of Eros and Psyche; a creation myth.
which seems to be exactly what's being discussed/outlined in this article. In light of this I admit I was wrong to object, I guess it was just a knee-jerk reaction based on my understanding of the word. Sorry for wasting anyone's time! Sventington the Second (talk) 03:25, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
You didn't waste anyone's time - a few replies is completely reasonable. Editors who refuse to get the point after months of discussion (two such editors exist) are pro time wasters. Welcome to Wikipedia. Ben (talk) 03:29, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Dictionary definitions are more neutral than PC fads. --Cubbi (talk) 22:07, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Creation mythS, myths vs. natural science

The present title of the article is misleading: in opposite to the singular, the article is a long listing of diverse Creation mythS. Hence I suggest to rename this article using the plural.

Yet an other shortage of this long listing of diverse Creation mythS is, that the ATHEIST'S CREATION MYTH IS MISSING FROM THIS LONG LIST.

A warning at the top of this discussion page states, that "The article title adheres to this guideline, reflects the consensus among editors here and has been discussed several times in the past.". There in the guideline you can find "In the natural sciences and other academic fields, a theory is a coherent explanation that is consistent with available knowledge and that has passed multiple independent tests. Well-known examples are Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity and the modern evolutionary synthesis". Now going to this last link, you find "Evolutionary theory redirects here", namely to the modern evolutionary synthesis.

DO PLEASE UNDERSTAND THE ATHEISTIC MESSAGE ABOVE:

  • the evolutionary sythesis is modern, due to the title of the article
  • it is also a theory, due to the redirection
  • it has "a coherent explanation that is consistent with available knowledge and that has passed multiple independent tests", due to the Wikipedia:Words_to_avoid#Words_with_multiple_meanings guideline
  • it is in overall a modern, scientifically verified, reliable truth about the origin/creation of life!

The clue of the misleading atheistic propaganda above is the huge amount of philosophically undereducated natural scientists, and their atheistic interpretors.

I, as an extremely successful competitor in mathematics an physics, suffered a lot due to this strong fighting atheistic propaganda in the communist regime, BECAUSE THEY MADE ME BLIND TO SENSE THE POSSIBILITY OF SUPERNATURAL.

The more science I learned, and the more questions I put concerning the CORRECT NPOV FOUNDATION OF SCIENCES, I slowly understood, that the atheism is only one of the many diverse religious beliefs.

The clue of the error what even quite a few of the leading scientists make is that to identify the real world with any of the possible scientific models!

A model is usually tested only in the situations, which can be accessed and intentionally repeated. The behavior of a tested model in a NOT testified situation does not conlude, does not prove, that the reality behaves the same way in that NOT testified situation.

Big bang and evolution works well in the close environment of our present space-time position, but nobody was able to make any test far beyond the limits of our possibilities.

The question of origin is however far beyond the limits of the natural science.

Any kind of belief concerning our origin can be only a myth, including the atheistic approach.

Be careful, I met already well educated professors in philosophy, but some of them are not NPOV even when they speak in the name of NPOV science!

The NPOV version of the theory of knowledge does not justify the atheism, as a modern scientifically well based theory.

Atheism is in fact a religion. The big bang and the evolution, when it is not used restricted to scientific question, but is used to answer the question of our origin, it is simply a myth.

prohlep (talk) 22:51, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

As I wrote above, a myth is a (true or false) story with a point. What is the point (i.e. moral) of the atheistic story of human origins? And if there is a point, was the story itself constructed with that point in mind?EGMichaels (talk) 00:34, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Atheists have no "creation myth". Saying that the big bang and evolution somehow constitute a creation myth for atheists is just plain wrong. First of all, people who are atheists do not necessarily believe in modern science's best determination as to the origins of the universe and life. For example, some believe the universe has always existed the way it is, something similar to the steady state theory. Secondly, as time goes by, modern science is constantly learning and discovering new things about the origins of the universe, so if an "atheist creation myth" is a conglomeration of the best science of the day, then the creation myth is constantly changing. So the "atheist creation myth" in 1700 (and yes, there were atheists back then too) would be much different from an atheist from 1800, or 1900, or 2000, etc. Rreagan007 (talk) 01:13, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

To equate science or belief in scientific explanations as a "religion" is misleading and just false. Creationists like to make this argument because they don't want to feel picked on when it comes to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. To somehow equate science with religion, they feel that would somehow justify allowing supernatural explanations into classrooms. It is false, please read here and here. — raeky (talk | edits) 01:25, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

I think you guys are missing the point. The point is that there needs to be a point to a myth. I'm not sure there is a point to the scientific account. It's not designed to have one, and doesn't need one.EGMichaels (talk) 01:54, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
One of the key components of a myth is a supernatural component, this is absent from scientific abiogenesis, ergo it's not a myth and as a whole science isn't a religion. — raeky (talk | edits) 03:32, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

"Myth"

Lots of discussion (and seems to be emotional reaction) to the term myth to describe creation. I am fairly new here, but wanted to point out to other creationists like myself that this article is about multiple supernatural explanations of creation, thus myth is the appropriate term. There is already a section for specifics of each myth (i.e. Creation in Genesis) that disregards the term and is more specific. I personally might support a change to "creation mythology" just cause it doesn't seem to have AS strong of a connotation for some reason, but am not sure how that might change the structure of the article... Cmiych (talk) 18:13, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

The more emotional reactions here are based on the individuals not appreciating having THEIR OWN chosen creation myth represented here as a myth. --Kingoomieiii ♣ Talk 20:48, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I think Cmiych understands that, Kingoomieiii. His point (if I understand it correctly) is that people should not be upset at seeing their own chosen creation myths called "myths" in this article because "this article is about multiple supernatural explanations of creation, thus myth is the appropriate term". Also, by the way, when he wrote "section", I think he meant "article": "There is already an article for specifics of each myth (e.g. Creation according to Genesis) that disregards the term and is more specific." I don't see any disagreement between the two of you here. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 02:46, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you Phatius. I am still sorting out my terminology, and had not yet grasped the appropriate presentation of Creation according to Genesis. Your analysis of my comments was dead on. I was merely trying to help diffuse negative reactions to a title that is actually most appropriate, IMO. Thanks. Cmiych (talk) 20:56, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
And pardon my idiocy. e.g. was definitely the appropriate abbreviation. Thanks for pointing it out. Cmiych (talk) 20:59, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
No problem. I try to prevent misunderstandings wherever I can. (I think you're a bit hard on yourself with the "idiocy" remark; I used to use i.e. instead of e.g. all the time.) --Phatius McBluff (talk) 00:46, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

lead

The term "myth" is often used colloquially to refer to a false story;[4][5] however, the academic use of the term generally does not refer to truth or falsity.

That is what people who seriously write on the subject think, and that is what the article on mythology says. So, something along those lines should be in this article as well. 72.47.38.205 (talk) 04:07, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I've moved the following, which had been inserted as a final paragraph in the lead section, here for discussion

It must be mentioned that the term "myth" is often used colloquially to refer to false claims or false stories, while this article uses it in the academic sense, in which calling something a "myth" or not denote something as untrue or true.

I think the wording there is clumsy, particularly the closing phrase. I'll suggest one possible rewording which borrows from the lead section of the Mythology article.

The term myth is often used colloquially to refer to false claims or false stories. This article uses the term in an the academic sense, referring to a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form. The term myth as used in this article should not be construed as a claim about truth or falsity.

-- Boracay Bill (talk) 04:34, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
WP:ASR, WP:NDA, and the mythology article is the article to discuss usage of the term myth. This article is about a particular type of myth and it should stay focused on that. Ben (talk) 08:57, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
This is not a disclaimer. It is a correct statement of fact about what the academic literature describes 'creation myths' as. 72.47.38.205 (talk) 15:35, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree, it should be mentioned prominently. Sventington the Second (talk) 19:53, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Ben, your own sandbox states that that "myth" is not simply to be equated with "falsehood" — have become part of mainstream scholarship. 72.47.38.205 (talk) 15:38, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Hi Til. Ben (talk) 17:38, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Here is an idea, just move the article to Creation theory. It is a theory, and myth is avoided. That way there is no problem.--WillC 16:35, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Creation myths aren't really "theories" about how the universe was created. An article on "creation theories" would encompass things such as the big band, steady state theory, and intelligent design, which is not what this article is supposed to be about. I've thought long and hard to come up with an alternate title for this article, and the only possible alternative I can think of that might be acceptable is "Creation mythology", though I'm not sure "mythology" is any more acceptable of a term to people than "myth". Rreagan007 (talk) 16:54, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. --Kingoomieiii ♣ Talk 20:32, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Usually when you think creation theory you think of the Christianity theory. Seeing as no one knows how the universe was actually created, this article should include every theory/myth. The Big Bang is just as plausible as the Christianity belief in creation or anyother belief. None of them have been proven as fact yet, so in a sense, saying myth in this sense of creation in a religious stand-point but theory in a scientific stand-point when neither has been proven is not neutral in my point of view. Plus I'm not on here because I'm a Christian. Just on here to make sure everything is correct. I see alot of atheist on here that tend to ignore NPOV alot (not saying you do if you are an atheist, I don't even know you or come on articles like this alot. I just saw it on page protection and thought to see what was going on). Now I understand this article is mainly about religious beliefs, but why is it so? Instead of using myth in a maybe true or maybe false way, why not just rewrite the lead and say this is a list of creation theories. Expand the article! Otherwise, there is going to be alot of ips come on here being upset, because no matter how it is spun, the first thought that comes to mind for myth is untrue, false, etc. With theory, it is neutral and, well, true. I don't see mythology. Any word that tends to make people think it is false, will just cause trouble. I don't think that is netural.--WillC 17:08, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
A very common misconception; you've mistaken the colloquial meaning of "theory" ("just an idea someone came up with") with the SCIENTIFIC definition. A scientific theory is something with actual, real, observable evidence behind it. Which puts the Big Bang a couple pegs above any creation myth you care to name, in terms of plausibility. Referring to these myths as 'theories' alongside the big bang serves no purpose but to hurt their credibility, and would be irresponsible.--King ♣ Talk 19:18, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
This article is already very large under its current scope, and you want to expand it to include all plausable theories on the origin of the universe? Even assuming I agreed with you, which I don't, all creation myths are not plausible. There are creation myths in the article that nobody living on Earth today thinks are plausable theories of how the universe came about. You have some creation myths from religions that are no longer practiced by anyone and from cultures that no longer exist. And why not include the Flying Spaghetti Monster while we're at it. Rreagan007 (talk) 17:42, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
They are all possible. I know the FSM is supposed to just be a parody of religion and God which is childish for the person who came up with it, but they all have marit. The article could probably be cut down pretty well. When I took my first article to FAC, it was at 50 kilobytes. I thought I would never get it down below 40 nor did I think I would get anyother article of the same type below 40. But I've gotten articles to below 30. It just takes effort. Taking the easy way out doesn't help anything. A simple way to make sure all the articles are correct is better for the project.--WillC 17:54, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure you have good intentions, but frankly I'd rather just delete the whole article than do what you propose. Rreagan007 (talk) 17:58, 17 May 2009 (UTC)


After an extensive (and many would consider overly long) discussion, there is no WP:CONSENSUS that there is a NPOV issue or that the current article title is inappropriate or inaccurate.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I would like to apologise in advance for what I am about to say on the basis that I understand that I am not the first person to raise issue with the "creation myth" title applied to this article. Its just that I cannot see how this title reflects a neutral point of view and, as such, would like to propose the use of the title "account of creation". It seems to me that the conclusion that regards these "accounts of creation" as being representative of "creation myths" to may well be interpreted to be biased in its scepticism.

Can anyone prove that, for instance, A'akuluujjusi or Zamba were not actually involved in creation? Arguments can obviously be raised to propose alternative explanations of existence and some of these arguments may well be interpreted to be very convincing and yet, as a sceptic I'd like it to be proposed that they are no more than that, arguments.

It seems to be apparent that there are "accounts of creation" that relates to the creative activities of a wide range of "creators". There may well be strong arguments to say that these accounts are of a mythical nature and yet these arguments are, ultimately, inconclusive. It can be readily admitted that the creative contributions of A'akuluujjusi and Zamba cannot be proven and yet neither can they be disproven.

Can anyone prove that, for instance, A'akuluujjusi did not rig the physical evidence so as to suggest alternative explanations of existence? Can anyone prove that, from an alternative 'instant', that a Cartesian 'demon' did not feed the individual with a particular view of reality that was suggest of this form of apparent evidence. René Descartes opted to argue against this view through reasonings that were dependent on the conception of the existence of God and yet it may be interpreted that a God of the type conceived in Cartesian philosophy might choose to validate any particular creation myth of 'his' choosing. Can anyone disprove the concept represented in the idea of the Cartesian demon without calling on a higher authority? If someone can then this action would, in my view, generate a greatly valued contribution to philosophical understandings of existence.

The Wikipedia article on, 'Mythology' begins "Mythology is the study of myths and or of a body of myths". This definition, however, raises the question related to who it is that may decide whether a story has a mythical nature.

What is the nature of a particular story? It may be argued that there are two fundamental interpretations that people may take. Either it is true or it is untrue. People who believe a story to be true will, by definition, have interpreted that there was truth in the story. People who don't believe a story to be true will have interpreted the story to be untrue and may, classically, have regarded the story to possess a mythical nature. It may be argued that different people may come to differing opinions with regard to the nature of any particular story and it may even be agued that, within conceptions of freedom of thought, their liberty to do so should be protected.

Mythologists are at liberty to adopt their own interpretations with regard to the veracity of various stories and as such an outsiders view of mythology might regard it to be "the study of stories that are (widely/commonly/sometimes/on occasion/typically/often*) interpreted to be myths".

   * choose description to fit

In an adult world it may be regarded that each individual should be empowered to come to their own conclusions with regard to the veracity of any particular story and this light, and as someone who experiences no particular belief with the regard to the existence of any particular conception of any form of creative agency, the assertion of the mythical nature of certain stories isn't regarded to be welcome.

Based on the argument that a level playing field for debate should always be preserved and according to the view that a "neutral point of view" should always be adopted I propose that a title along the lines of "account of creation" be used in connection to this article.

Gregkaye (talk) 11:51, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

myth … 1 a : a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon[14]

As far as I can tell, all the 'Creation myths' in this article fall under this definition. Calling them 'accounts' would appear to violate WP:GEVAL by giving them equal validity to the results of historical and scientific research. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 14:08, 29 October 2009 (UTC)
Your (very long) argument gives me the impression that you haven't actually read through WP:NPOV. If that is true, you really should give it a read. You shouldn't get too far into it before you realise the 'neutral' word in the title of the policy is coupled to reliable sources, not to any particular editors or groups feelings on the matter. Ben (talk) 15:07, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition continues:

… b : parable, allegory  2 a : a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society <seduced by the American myth of individualism — Orde Coombs> b : an unfounded or false notion  3 : a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence  4 : the whole body of myths [15]

As far as I am able to reason, all the 'creation stories' in the article in question are likely to be myths - by any definition. The only trouble is, and its not for want of trying, I can't prove it.

accountnoun 1 a description of an event or experience. 2 a record of financial expenditure and receipts. 3 a service through a bank or similar organization by which funds are held on behalf of a client or goods or services are supplied on credit. 4 importance: money was of no account to her. [16]

I personally see no problem with the use of this word on the basis that an 'account' can be either interpreted to true or false. Who trusts an accountant? (edit: O.K. the word is suggestive of the existence of source material which may be taken to represent a lack of neutrality).

storynoun (pl. stories) 1 an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment. 2 an account of past events, experiences, etc. 3 an item of news. 4 a storyline. 5 informal a lie.
— ORIGIN Old French estorie, from Latin historia ‘history’. [17]

Despite its history this word has a less respectful (but remarkably similar) meaning as that presented by 'account' and yet is ready to be used.

The word 'myth' is defined by falacy and is far from neutral.

Perhaps 'accounts of creation' can be proven to be myths. Perhaps they may be proven to be legends and, if so, fine. In the meantime I consider that answers to the questions that I have raised may present valued contributions to the content of this discussion page.

Gregkaye (talk) 20:49, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

My advice above still stands. Ben (talk) 03:39, 30 October 2009 (UTC)


  1. I did not include the 'continuation' because the first MW definition is both the main, and clearly the most relevant, definition of "myth".
  2. "Myth" already contains "story" in its definition, "a usually traditional story…". Can you demonstrate that many (any?) of these 'stories' aren't traditional? "Myth" is the more precise term, and thus should be used.
  3. "Account" generally has an undertone of greater verifiability than "myth" or "story", either as a first person account of events witnessed, or as the account reconstructed as the result of research. As none of these 'traditional stories' are in any way verifiable (other than their existence within the appropriate religious or cultural tradition), I would suggest that "myth" (which is explicitly only "ostensibly historical") is far more appropriate.

HrafnTalkStalk(P) 04:08, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

 
I propose that the use of the word 'myth' in the use in its use in the title of this article, to canibalise the common phrase, be busted.

The use of this word is not neutral and perhaps a title such as "Creation story (Religion)" may be used. Alternatively it may be argued that a title such as "Creation story (Religion-Mythology)" might be used and yet it may be interpreted that the stories are typically of religion and interpreted within mythological studies.

The word 'myth' [18] [19] [20] can clearly be taken to presents its hearer with a concept of an untrue story. The words 'account' and 'story' don't do this.

The description of a "true account or story" can be clearly taken to describe an account or story that is claimed to be true. The description of an "untrue account or story" can be clearly taken to describe an account or story that is claimed to be untrue. This happens for the simple reason that these words both possess a notable degree of neutrality.

In contrast a description of a "true myth" can clearly be taken to describe a story that is certainly untrue. However, a description of an "untrue myth" can be taken to describe something that is not a myth. A simple mathematical equation can be taken to explain what's going on: +1 ✕ -1  =  -1. As such a description "untrue myth" may be take to be descriptive "non-fiction" and this can happen due to the clear definition of a myth as fiction.

No I can't demonstrate (prove) that any of the 'traditional stories' (as they have been perhaps fairly described) are not traditional. Moreover I would find it difficult to imagine that any orally recounted story of significant age would not have been affected by the influences of a transmitting society.

At the other extreme I cannot provide any conclusive proof that these stories have or haven't been based on a supposed true account of creation.

The particular difficulty in the current case is that the stories involved tend to call on supernatural agencies that may or may not include 'God'. This raises the question how might 'God' have done it. Indeed, it may be imagined that an entity with divine ability could do whatever he wanted and yet this statement does not cover the potential freedom. It could also be considered that she could have done whatever she liked as well. I would still tend to argue that there may be limits to divine freedom[21] but you get the point.

At the moment the article begins: A creation myth or cosmogonic myth is a supernatural story or explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, earth, life, and the universe (cosmogony),[1] often as a deliberate act by one or more deities.

Perhaps the article could begin: A creation story is an explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, earth, life, and the universe (cosmogony),[1] often through the deliberate action by one or more deities. {and then say something like:} These stories are widely regarded to be mythical in nature.[citation needed] Citations related to significant claims should, surely, always be needed.

I hope that this may conclude matters relating to the current issue but, if not, can anyone actually disprove the various creative claims related to the variously claimed creators of history (my divinism website contains a list)[22] and the previously mentioned questions?

Gregkaye (talk) 13:20, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

You're beating a dead horse here. This issue has been discussed discussed before in now-archived threads, and the overwhelming consensus has always been, as it is now, to keep the word "myth". Plazak (talk) 13:56, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Do not overstate your claimed consensus. There are strong arguments on both sides. We need to use common names in Wikipedia. The most common usage of myth is clearly a false fairytale: one accademic usage is broader. I could support a neutral title of "creation story" which does not judge the content. Grantmidnight (talk) 14:40, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
(i) You have not substantiated your claim that "The most common usage of myth is clearly a false fairytale" -- MW clearly thinks otherwise. (ii) Even if its most common meaning is "a false fairytale" it should be noted that (a) a "fairytale" is a traditional story about the supernatural (and thus a synonym of the 'academic' definition of myth) & (b) that the majority of the people in the world are not of a specific religion or culture, and so disbelieve that religion or culture's specific creation myth (and often even many adherents of the culture or religion that spawned it do not take them literally). (iii) I would suggest that (ii-b) is most probably how "myth" developed its metaphorical/colloquial meaning, making it even less unreasonable to use it in its literal/formal sense. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 15:01, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Hrafn, this amounts to a religious debate. According to the rules, the onus is on you to unsubstantiate his claims. --King Öomie 15:07, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Does that mean that I can simply declare 'my religion says that your religion is wrong' (and what religion doesn't say that in some shape or form) and flip the onus back onto him? >:) HrafnTalkStalk(P) 15:34, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
No, religion is a personal belief. Within reasonable limitations, we must allow other people to hold and to present their views, even if we disagree with them. Grantmidnight (talk) 15:56, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Demonstrably false- WP:GEVAL, WP:V, WP:PSEUDO. Wikipedia isn't here to reaffirm whatever garbage people already believe. --King Öomie 16:06, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I suppose at the end of the day, a "myth" (whichever the definition you choose) is something that 'other people believe', and that everybody has a knee-jerk dislike of finding themselves part of that 'other people'. However, Wikipedia is meant to be based upon what the experts say, not on knee-jerk dislikes. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 16:42, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

I think that we should all remember that this discussion does not relate to a popularity contest of ideas but to the single issue of what is right. Neutrality has been presented as the central issue in the debate. I have also raised a number of issues that I would not like to be forgotten.
(quick link to top of the section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Creation_myth#Neutral_point_of_view.3F)

However, at this stage I think it may be wise to get things in a historical perspective.

Scholars have always recognised the word myth as being derived from the Greek μῦθος (a tale; fiction ('myth')) [23] [24].

The Wikipedia article on Mythology speaks of Euhemerus (working late fourth century B.C.) as: interpreted myths as accounts of actual historical events,...
However, I am guessing that he did not actually use the word 'myth'.

The article continues: ... 19th-century theories framed myth as a failed or obsolete mode of thought ...
I'm guessing again and this my guess is that this amounts to a view that may have been widely considered in the eighteen hundreds that: we, as good Christians, are right and, even though we respect that Aristotle chap, what everyone else believes is a right load of conveniently dismissable tosh.

The sad thing is that anyone at any time could have stood up and said that we can't actually prove that the various events recounted in ancient stories did not actually happen. No one was able to effectively able to stand up for the rights of ancient beliefs to be regarded with neutrality and then it was suddenly to late. At some point someone, in effect, said, "I don't Adam and Eve it!" The biblical creation story became just as vulnerable to the wrongs of the myth interpretation as everything else. Well that's equality for you. Things are equal and yet they are not fair.

Consider the story of young Z. Z is well behaved, goes to school without problems, is relatively friendly and happens to share the same religious beliefs as his parents. There's no way to know how it started but one day the the other kids found out about what Z believed. Ha, ha, Z believes such and such. What's wrong with that? Its a myth. And there's no denying it. There's little chance for debate. No proof is offered as to why the belief is wrong and yet even the God damn encyclopedia says its a myth.

Gregkaye (talk) 19:46, 30 October 2009 (UTC) (all comments are of a non-biographical nature)

Please don't confuse neutrality for validity. Also, Burden of proof. We make fun of Z because he ignores the evidence in front of his face, not because we can't prove a negative. --King Öomie 19:50, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Additionally, I would hope that anyone with a scholarly background sufficient to readily recall the origin of the word 'Myth' would also have the mental faculties to see that the term is quite apt. --King Öomie 19:56, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

No Öomie I think that you will find that you make fun of Z because you are the kind of person who makes fun of people. Oh, and thanks for raising the burden of proof issue. And perhaps you can reread what I said about the definitions of 'account', story and myth. 90.193.209.169 (talk) 20:47, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Oppose a name change. As it is, the article neutrally presents ALL creation myths as MYTHS. I see absolutely no reason to raise their validity in such a blanket fashion, especially for religious sensibilities. And I think you'll find that I said "we". I don't appreciate your assumptions about my character. --King Öomie 21:33, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't want to detract from the ethical issues that are raised by the blanket description of every "supernatural story or explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, earth, life, and the universe" as being a myth and yet I still want raise this reminder of the burden of proof issue recently raised. I'd also recomend that people might refrain from the use of first person descriptions in their writing if perhaps they don't mean it. 90.193.209.169 (talk) 05:50, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

The MW definition clearly meets any "burden of proof issue" for the "blanket description". HrafnTalkStalk(P) 06:25, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

How? I am genuinely interested in the line of reasoning that has been applied in relation to the "blanket description". Gregkaye (talk) 07:12, 31 October 2009 (UTC) (still centrally interested in the neutrality and related issues)

  • Oppose name change. These stories have one thing in common, they are not based on scientific fact, theory or reasoning. Many of them were the stumbling attempts of early societies, without our current level of scientific knowledge, to explain how we came to be here, they may have some 'higher' spiritual meaning for certain groups of people, they may be useful allegories even today, but they are still myths. In my Collins English Dictionary a myth is "a story about superhuman beings of an earlier age, usually of how natural phenomena, social customs etc came into existence" ... an excellent description of all that is in this article. Note that nowhere in this definition is the word "untrue". Abtract (talk) 09:55, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is a wonderful thing. It offers an unrivaled range of digital information to absolutely anyone who has an appropriate web connection. This includes people with non-academic backgrounds.

This page begins with the statement:

"The term "myth" is often used colloquially to refer to a false story;"

and yet this is immediately qualified with the statement:

"however, the academic use of the term generally does not refer to truth or falsity.

That is what people who seriously write on the subject think, ..."

But what about people when they are not seriously writing on the subject? How do they use the word?

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22the+myth+of%22

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22its+a+myth%22

An initial Mirriam Webster dictionary definition has been quoted for the word and yet it may be noted that at least three of the five following definitions are clear in their presentation of variations of the "untrue story" definition.[25]

I also quoted Google[26] Oxford[27] and Wiktionary[28] and, in an open access site, I commend these definitions for future presentation simply due to the absence of words like ostensibly.

One thing is clear, The word myth has a range of meanings and yet, given an awareness of the full range of these meanings, the one conclusion can be reached. It's not neutral. The use use of this word makes a judgement in regard to the contents of the page before the typical reader will have got passed the title. Perhaps various of the editors of this page may interpret the word to be neutral enough so as to warrent its use and yet it surely won't surprise you when people disagree.
Gregkaye (talk) 12:36, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

No Greg, it is not "clear". The word myth has a well-defined primary and formal meaning, which is perfectly congruent with its usage here. Further, it has not been demonstrated that any of its lesser meanings conflict greatly with this usage. The usage is an accurate description of the traditional stories covered by this article. That such stories have lost their power in modern culture, and have become a metaphor with some negative connotations (and some positive as well -- 'mythic' is generally used positively) does not invalidate the primary and original meaning of the word. Nazi does not stop meaning a Germanic racist fascist, just because it is used as a metaphor in soup nazis, feminazis, etc, etc. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 13:01, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
Greg, nobody is denying that there is a colloquial definition of the term, and so your Google searches with colloquial phrasings are of no use to us. As Hrafn clearly points out, a colloquial definition is not a problem. In the case of 'myth', it's hardly a unique situation either: consider for instance the term theory vis-a-vis colloquial and academic definitions, and yet nobody bats an eyelid at general relativity being described (twice!) as a theory in the first line of that featured article. Since you've clearly not bothered to read and understand WP:NPOV, I'm not sure there is any point in giving you anything else to read, but here you go anyway:
  • Encyclopedia Britannica has its own creation myth article found here.
  • Oxford's Dictionary of the Bible (ISBN 978-0192116918) entry for 'myth' states that It ... covers those stories or narratives which describe the actions of the other-worldly in terms of this world, in both OT and NT. In Gen. the Creation and the Fall are myths ...
  • In Oxford University Press' The Illustrated Guide to the Bible (ISBN 9780195214628), a work clearly intended for a general audience: It is generally recognized today that myths and mythological concepts figure prominently in the Bible.
  • On Marcus Borg's website here, he tells us that David Strauss's claim that many of the gospel narratives are mythical in character, and that "myth" is not simply to be equated with "falsehood" — have become part of mainstream scholarship. The reliability of these two sources can be gauged from their respective Wikipedia entries (and so I've linked their names for you).
Of course, there are many more reliable sources available. Another link for you you to consider before you continue: WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. Cheers, Ben (talk) 13:42, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
Oppose name change. "Myth" is the proper term for this. We shouldn't dump a perfectly fitting term used in other encyclopedias and scholarly works just because of secondary connotations. Let's end this, please? Auntie E. 16:44, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Hrafn, you seem to have described the definitions of myth following its first entry in the MW dictionary as being lesser and I am wondering in what sense this was meant: in sequence in the dictionary; in academic opinion or in terms of the words actual usage in the English language.

Ben, I am pleased that nobody is denying that there is a colloquial definition of the term. Its just that I don't agree that this definition, in the context of an open access project, should regarded to be lesser.

I also understand any potential frustrations with my sticking with this issue and will admit to a refusal to except the 'point' made in several of the comments. I have, however, not stuck to one argument and have presented a number of views that are not represented on this discussion page so I would view the contributions to have been valid.

Auntie E, the problem is that the "secondary connotations" of the word, as you describe them, result in that it is not perfectly fitting. The word myth presents a meaning of untruth while other possible terms do not do this.

In my view a judgement is expressed in the use of this term and I find the notion pleasantly ironic that mythologists, of all people, can be interpreted to have adopted the role of playing God.

The stories of creation belong to the groups of people that came up with those stories. It may be argued that their views may be consulted with regard to the ways in which their stories are being portrayed.

I don't personally have anything new to currently add to this argument. All the same, any responses to the questions that I have raised will still be welcome here or on my talk page if preferred.

Gregkaye (talk) 09:09, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

OK, as Gregkaye has nothing more to add, I suggest we end this discussion now, with a decision not to change the title, and move on to more productive things. Abtract (talk) 09:23, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

I think archiving this thread will lead to productivity elsewhere ;) Ben (talk) 09:27, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Not yet. This is a topic that has two strong views, both with some validity. A year ago, this had some resolution by a statement in the lead section about which definition of "myth" was used in this article. That helped a lot. Let's reconsider a similar statement that says we are using an academic definition that does not suggest truth nor fable. If we burry this thread, it certainly will resurface. Grantmidnight (talk) 20:54, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
And what would you add which isn't already specified in the intro?--Ramdrake (talk) 21:00, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that one group of editors "knows" what a myth is and another group "knows" it to be something else. The solution is to clearly state what the meaning is in this article: This should be in the lead section. I am open to several options.
This one is based on words to avoid.
The term “myth” in this article is used to denote a story of forgotten or vague origin, religious or supernatural in nature, which seeks to explain or rationalise one or more aspects of the world or a society. All myths are, at some stage, actually believed to be true by the peoples of the societies that used or originated the myth.
Comments? Grantmidnight (talk) 21:38, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Hi Grantmidnight. That intro seems fine -- as long as you can find specific sources for it (or for the various parts of it). I have seen far too many cases of editors (in an effort to quell disputes such as this one) crafting very intelligent, well-intended, and tactfully worded definitions of "myth" that have the unfortunate drawback of having no actual citations whatsoever. If you want a great resource for actual sourced definitions, check out the Mythology article. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 05:11, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Also, check out Religion and mythology#Definitions. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 05:13, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
"All myths are, at some stage, actually believed to be true." True in what sense? Railway timetables are true (one hopes). My son's account of how he did his homework (one page when the teacher asked for five) is true, in a sense. Emperor Hirohito's report on the progress of the war against America ("events have unfolded not entirely to Japan's advantage") was completely true but less than complete, and might fairly be described as myth. My only advice is: Stay away from Webster-Miriam when looking for a definition of "myth." Go to scholarly sources instead. PiCo (talk) 08:14, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

In my ‘opinion’ the use of the word “myth” within a wide range of contexts throughout the historic use of the word has been conducted in an abusive way.

Having presented this opinion (which has been rightly presented as an opinion) perhaps I can move on to present some ‘facts’ that are considered to add substance to my interpretation of the history of the abusive use of myth related terminologies:

In 1755 Samuel Johnson published “A Dictionary of the English Language”. It was quite a dictionary. It really has the most beautiful typography considering its date. But here's a curious thing. While the "SJ" dictionary presented definitions of many terms related to the topic of myths, it didn’t directly present a definition for the word “myth” itself. Perhaps the reason for this is that the dictionarys “myth” related terminologies tended to make reference to fables instead.

I'll start with a presentation of the "SJ" definition of FA´BLE so as to prepare the ground for a contextualised understanding of the definitions of MY´THICAL/MY´THICK, MYTHO´GRAPHER, MYTHOLO´GICAL/MYTHOLO´GICK, MYTHOLO´GICALLY, MYTHO´GICIST, TO MYTHO´LOGIZE and MYTHO´LOGY. This presentation may lack the typographic flare of this remarkable text but is faithful to the content.

FA´BLE. n. s. [fable, Fr. fabula, Lat.]
1.  A feigned story intended to enforce some moral precepts.
Jotham’s fable of the trees is the oldest extant, and as beautiful as any made since. Addis. Spect.
VOL.II
2.  A fiction in general.
Triptolemus, so sung the nine,
Strew’d plenty from his cart divine ;
But, spite of all those fable makers,
he never sow’d on Almaign acres.   Dryden
Palladius coming to die somewhere in the north
part of Britain, may seem to give some kind of
countenance to those fables that make him to
have lived many years among the Scots.   Lloyd.
3. A vicious or foolish fiction.
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables.   1 Tim. iv. 7.
4. the series or contexture of events which constitute a poem epick or dramatick.
The moral is the first business of the poet : this being formed, he contrives such a design or fable as may be most suitable to the moral.   Dryden. Dufresnoy.
The first thing to be considered in an epick poem is the fable, which is perfect or imperfect, according as the action, which it relates, is more or so less   Addis. Spect.
5. A lie ; a vicious falsehood. This sense is merely familiar.
It would look like a fable to report that this gentleman gives away a great fortune by secret methods.   Addison.
...
MY´THICAL.* MY´THICK. } adj. [μυθικος, Greek.] Fabulous.
The account we have of them so far from being mythick or unintelligible, is most plainly written for our admonitions.   Shuckford on the Creation. (1753) Spect.
MYTHO´GRAPHER.* n. s. [μυθος, fable, and γράφος to write, Gr.] A writer of fables.
The statues of Mars and Venus I imagined had been copied from Fulgentius, Boccacio’s favourite mythographer.   Warton, Hist. E. P. add. ii. sign. e. 3.

MYTHOLO´GICAL.† MYTHOLO´GICK. } Adj. [from mytho- logy.] relating to the explication of a fabulous history.
The original of the conceit was probably hieroglyphical, which after became mythological and by tradition stole into a total verity, which was but partially true in its convert sense and morality.   Brown, Vulg. Err.
A relation, which her masters of the mythologick prosopopeia expressed, we may suppose, by giving them in marriage to each other. Coventry, Phil. to Hyd. Conv. 3.

MYTHOLO´GICALLY.† adv. [from mythological.] In a manner suitable to the system of fables.
The relating mythologically physical or moral truths concerning the origin and nature of things, was not perhaps, as modern writers too hastily imagine, the customary practice of Moses’ age, but rather began after his times.   Shuckford on the Creat. Pref. p. vii.

MYTHO´GICIST.† n. s. [from mythology.] A relater or expositor of the ancient fables of the heathens.
The grammarians and mythologists seem to be altogether unacquainted with his writings.   Creech.
It was celebrated problem among the ancient mythologists, What was the strongest thing, what the wisest, and what the greatest ?   Norris, Miscel.

TO MYTHO´LOGIZE.† v. n.  [from mythology; mythologiser. French. Cotgrave.] To relate of explain the fabulous history of the heathens.
He mythologises upon that fiction.   Fotherby, Atheom. (1622,) p.320.
They mythologised that five gods were now born, Osiris, Orus, Typho, Isis, and Nephte.   Shuckford on the Creat. Pref. p. x.

MYTHO´LOGY. n. s.   [μύθος and λόγος ; mythologie, French]   System of fables explication of the fabulous history of the gods of the heathen world.
The modesty of mythology deserves to be comended : the scenes there are laid at a distance ; it is once upon a time, in the days of yore, and in the land of Utopia.   Bentley.  
Samuel Johnson presented clear definitions of these words. He did not mince them. He did not present a definition of the word “myth” in a direct way and yet he can still be interpreted to have presented is meaning in a quite fabulous way. It had a phenomenal lack of neutrality. It was dismissive of people’s beliefs and its use, as far as I am concerned, was abusive. It still is.
 

Here's another thought. If the MW dictionary is considered unscholarly, then perhaps this will do. The most recent edition of the greatly influential Oxford English Dictionary published 1969, updated 1991 and most recently reprinted in 2001 has this to say:

myth ...
1. a. A purely fictitious narrative usually
involving supernatural persons, actions, or
events, and embodying some popular idea
concerning natural or historical phenomena.
...
b. in generalized use. Also, an untrue or
popular tale, a rumour (colloq.).
...
2. A fictitious or imaginary person or object.
...
 

The primary definition of the word “myth” presented in this most highly esteemed of dictionaries is of: “A purely fictitious narrative”.
It’s not presented as a lesser definition of the word.

The topic of the historic use of the word “myth” may be of great interest and this is content that I expect it might contain. The actual followers of a religious tradition who, it may be argued should have the right of description of their stories, may have considered their stories as being accounts of actual events and would be unlikely to describe them to myths. At the other extreme other people who have not had any strong belief in the factual content of the stories will have been most likely to dismiss the stories as “myths”.

The word “myth” is not neutral and I suspect that its meaning has been primarily developed by people who have lacked neutrality.  

Repeated and pointed mention has been made within this discussion of the WP:NPOV neutrality principle. I thought this might stop but, since it hasn’t, perhaps we can discuss the content.

Bias
Neutrality requires views to be represented without bias. All editors and all sources have biases (in other words, all editors and all sources have a point of view)—what matters is how we combine them to create a neutral article. Unbiased writing is the fair, analytical description of all relevant sides of a debate, including the mutual perspectives and the published evidence. Editorial bias toward one particular point of view should be removed or repaired.
A simple formulation
Assert facts, including facts about opinions—but do not assert the opinions themselves. ...
...
Article naming
...
A Wikipedia article must have one definitive name. ... If a genuine naming controversy exists, and is relevant to the subject matter of the article, the controversy should be covered in the article text and substantiated with reliable sources. ...
... Neutral titles encourage multiple viewpoints and responsible article writing.
...
Impartial tone
... A neutral characterization of disputes requires presenting viewpoints with a consistently impartial tone, otherwise articles end up as partisan commentaries even while presenting all relevant points of view.
 

These principles have not been fairly applied.

The current “Creation myth” article title demonstrates clear and present (as well as historically rooted) indications of fallacy which will be received by most readers before they will have begun to absorb the content.

Gregkaye (talk) 12:27, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Courtesy Break

So, is this a draft of a BOOK you're writing on this subject?
It's been established before that posting solely with walls of text makes you very difficult to respond to, and is typically disruptive. --King Öomie 13:55, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

No, King Öomie the dictionary texts were put together yesterday for the direct purpose to present them in this page. I also have in mind to use them on a website on themes related to the topic of Freedom of thought. I have enough to do and a different book to finish without thinking about any publication on this subject but thank you for the question.
My last posting was comprised of two sets of dictionary definitions, some quotations from the oft mentioned WP:NPOV principle and a few extra comments.
What's difficult to respond to?
Gregkaye (talk) 15:18, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

What I've seen from you in general is an idealistic appeal to a society (rather, a species) that does not exist. You will have significant trouble finding people that share your view that every religious (or pseudo-religious, or completely invented) belief system is just as reasonable as the next, AND that these beliefs truly are "reasonable". (You've sold me on the first one- the feasibility across the board is zero.) I see absolutely no point in pursuing notions of thought-crimes and persecution thereof, or any other hyperbolic sentiment. Let's just drop all that, shall we?
Stop trying to convince me on a philosophical level, because you won't. What would you have us replace "Myth" WITH? Why is it more appropriate, according to the lexicographic consensus on the meaning of the words? Leaving ENTIRELY aside the psychological effect on the believers, which truly, literally does not matter. And let's aim for 5 sentences or less. --King Öomie 15:34, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I really don't even want to get involved in this, because I tend to believe that "myth" is appropriately used in the title. BUT, I could suggest "Creation Lore" if anyone feels like discussing it. Cmiych (talk) 18:46, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
That's a reasonable suggestion, but it seems 'off' to me to use the term Lore to refer to more than one school of thought, especially since they're almost all mutually exclusive. Then again, I'm not a lexicographer. --King Öomie 18:56, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I would further suggest "creation lores" but I'm not sure "lores" is the correct form or use of the plural. But you're right, lore does seem to refer to the body of knowledge collectively, which may or may not be appropriate here. "Creation doctrines" might work as well. Again, I'm not passionately against "myth," but if it's going to be discussed again due to the connotations, I might as well throw out some options rather than simply insert myself into a slugfest. Cmiych (talk) 19:14, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
"Lore", unlike "myth", more commonly refers to 'knowledge' rather than to a 'narrative'. Traditional medicine would be better described as 'lore' than a 'creation myth' would. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 07:21, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Creation traditions?
  1. "Beliefs or customs taught by one generation to the next, often orally. For example, we can speak of the tradition of sending birth announcements."
  2. "A set of customs or practices. For example, we can speak of Christmas traditions."
  3. "A broad religious movement made up of religious denominations or church bodies that have a common history, customs, culture, and, to some extent, body of teachings. For example, one can speak of Islam's Sufi tradition or Christianity's Lutheran tradition."
Just my 2¢ TheresaWilson (talk) 13:09, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I just want to say that it is one thing to simply pick up a thesaurus and suggest alternatives, but an entirely different thing to offer a sound argument for why change is necessary and then for why one term is better than another. As far as I see it, I don't think a sound argument for change can co-exist with Wikipedia's policies: so long as reliable sources overwhelmingly use this terminology, it is not up to you, me or anyone else to start proscribing new terminology on Wikipedia (of all places). Not to discourage anyone though, feel free to get out there and change the reliable sources (as opposed to Wikipedia) if you want to right this great wrong; It's my understanding that Encyclopedia Britannica is now accepting 'updates' to their articles (subject to some form of scrutiny), so that might be a nice easy start for you. In the mean time though I don't want to sit here and think of reasons why not to use your pet terms for as long as you care to suggest them. Ben (talk) 14:13, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for the constructive sarcasm. Cmiych (talk) 15:53, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm really sorry for being so rude. I think I took it too far this time, so no justifications or anything, just a genuine apology. Ben (talk) 02:32, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
'Tradition' generally has the connotation that it is still being "taught", which is not true for many of these myths. It is even questionable whether it is a 'belief' as many Christians don't believe the literal truth of Genesis, and I would suspect the same is true of other creation myths. If an alternative is truly needed for 'myth' (which I dispute), then I would suggest that the best (if imperfect) alternative is 'narratives'. "Myths" 'nails it', "narratives" doesn't nail it, but at least doesn't seem clearly wrong. "Lores" and "traditions" are clear mis-fits. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 14:20, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you, Hrafn, I was just trying to pour some oil on troubled waters. TheresaWilson (talk) 14:28, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Can we start a pool (har har) on who's going to drop a match into it first? --King Öomie 15:57, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
"Myths" in my opinion (as stated above) does 'nail it' based on its definition. The issue for those questioning if there is any Wikipedia policy to support a change, is that "myth" could be considered weaselly based on its connotations. A similar situation often occurs with the word "manipulate" (I will elaborate if needed, but I feel it's relatively self explanatory). Cmiych (talk) 16:01, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Whether it's "weaselly" or not is a matter of context. Whilst I would likewise consider "manipulate" to be loaded in many contexts, I wouldn't in articles such as physiotherapy and industrial robots. Likewise, it should be clear from the context that 'myth' is being used here in its original, formal meaning (which is directly applicable to the subject matter), even if it might be used in an informal, and more loaded, context elsewhere (e.g. in Urban legends). HrafnTalkStalk(P) 16:12, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Titles, by their very nature, may be encountered within contexts that may be devoid of any form of expanation related to understandings of the meaning of the title. Titles, on the other hand, always always provide a context for a context that follows. When a title is used in relation to an article whose content may be interpreted in different ways, a neutral title needs to be applied. In the current case the words "story" or perhaps "account" may provide a simple introduction to the "creation stories" / "accounts of creation" that are mentioned within the article.
Gregkaye (talk) 10:17, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

I dispute the notion that the current title is biased in any way. --King Öomie 14:17, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, it isn't in the slightest. 98.168.192.162 (talk) 14:25, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

King Oomie, would you consider all the accounts in this article to be myths in the non-academic sense of the word? Cmiych (talk) 16:00, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

The term isn't usually used (colloquially) for things that people still believe, but on the whole, yes, the classification fits perfectly. --King Öomie 16:12, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Actually, let me be more clear. The term isn't used by people to refer to things that THEY believe, which again, is the root of this entire discussion. --King Öomie 16:14, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
That being the case, it does not surprise me that those who do not hold to any of the beliefs listed here insist on maintaining the term myth as it is 100% accurate connotations included, while those who might hold any of the beliefs are offended and wish it to be changed to something more "neutral". Just as a title should not give validity to a persons beliefs, it should also not present them as inherently false (especially when some of them are widely regarded to be true within certain groups). The comments discounting any individuals beliefs have not helped to reach consensus here. We should acknowledge that there is disagreement over whether the accuracy of the academic meaning of the word trumps the connotations and discuss the merits of such an argument without regard for one's own beliefs about the content of this article. In the process, we should attempt to find an equally accurate term that lacks the connotations altogether to hopefully avoid the continued rehashing of this issue. Just my opinion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cmiych (talkcontribs) 16:44, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Kind of like how the Chemtrail people can get offended at it being labeled a conspiracy theory, because of its pejorative connotation? Or how Intelligent Design supporters rail against the term Pseudoscience? Just like in those situations, I respectfully decline the drive to change accepted wording to suit interested parties. --King Öomie 17:03, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Words_to_avoid has a section relating to "myth" where it points out that context should reinforce that the term is not to be read informally. I'm not sure that a title has the ability to do that. It also read: "Some words may be used to label a group from an outside perspective, even though these words are used in accordance with a dictionary definition [...] Such terms, even when accurate, often convey to readers an implied viewpoint: that of an outsider looking in and labeling as they see it. The fact that a term is accepted "outside" but not "inside" is a good indicator that it may not be neutral." Based on these guidelines, I do not think that this situation is comparable to the ones you mentioned. This is not about calling a specific creation story a myth based on a reliable source, but rather collectively calling multiple beliefs a term that cannot be clarified within the title yet has strong informal connotations that may not present a neutral view of the subject matter. The issue, though discussed numerous times before, should not be glossed over. Sorry for the winded response. Cmiych (talk) 17:34, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I think you are misreading that section. It is strongly depreciating the use of "myth" in its informal sense, but emphatically supporting its use in its formal sense: "Formal use of the word is commonplace in scholarly works, and Wikipedia is no exception." This fully supports those of us here who have been arguing that it is its formal, not its informal, sense that should determine its use. Also on "context should reinforce…", it is less restrictive than your interpretation would suggest. What it in fact states is that "When using myth in a sentence in one of its formal senses, use the utmost care to word the sentence to avoid implying that it is being used informally…" This cannot be taken as suggesting that it should not be used, in its formal sense, in an article title. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:46, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
If I am misreading it I apologize. I was simply trying to point out that even wikipedia policy acknowledges that the term can be ambiguous to the point that it suggests certain measures to prevent it from being misinterpreted. I would again like to point out that I do not support a change at this point, but such an issue should not be blown off as a bunch of idiots getting their feelings hurt. If there is a better option it most definitely should be used to avoid confusion as supported by "Some words may be used to label a group from an outside perspective, even though these words are used in accordance with a dictionary definition [...] Such terms, even when accurate, often convey to readers an implied viewpoint: that of an outsider looking in and labeling as they see it. The fact that a term is accepted "outside" but not "inside" is a good indicator that it may not be neutral.". Cmiych (talk) 18:19, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think this is 'ambiguity' so much as stating that it is correct to use the word in its formal meaning and generally incorrect (with a very few specific exceptions) to use it in its informal sense. This is very similar to its treatment of 'theory' (formal 'scientific theory' acceptable, informal 'hypothesis' or similar not acceptable) -- which does not prevent (or even seek to prevent) the existence of the article Theory of relativity. WP:WTA is unequivocal in its opinion: use 'myth' in its formal sense, be as clear as possible that you're using it in the formal sense, and you have no problems. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 04:14, 6 November 2009 (UTC)


The word formal[[29]] is defined as:
1 done in accordance with rules of convention or etiquette; (but no mention is made as to whose rules of convention or etiquette should be applied) 2 officially recognized: a formal complaint. (with that, when official judgements are made, they had better be fair) 3 of or concerned with outward form rather than content. (words, quite obviously, form impressions due to the forms which they are variously perceived to have) 4. (of language) characterized by the use of studied grammatical structure and conservative vocabulary. (It can be of interest to note the use of language. As far as I understand it, conservation of language relates to the rejection of foreign words. I don't know whether conservation of language may also relate to the rejection of foreign meanings or whether this is a related issue. Never-the-less, it may be of as much interest to note the ways in which the meanings of words have been changed as it is to note who has changed them). 5 (especially of a garden) arranged in a precise or symmetrical manner. (Not necessarily of words and yet it may be considered that understandings of the word myth have branched out over time).

Perhaps we can remind ourselves of the initial definition of the word myth supplied by the Oxford OED:

1. a. A purely fictitious narrative usually involving supernatural persons, actions, or events, and embodying some popular idea concerning natural or historical phenomena.

It's a definition that provides a fundamental understanding of an initial definition of the word and here's how it works. People who believe in the veracity of a story (such as a creation story) don't use the word myth in the context of the story. Outsiders to such views who disbelieve in the veracity of such a story may describe the story to be a myth. A confusion may then occur. People who are uninformed of the fundamental meaning of the word and who see it to have been applied to a story that cannot be proven to be false think, somehow, that the word has changed its meaning and fall into this mistake.

This situation leaves us with two options. We can either use the word myth that enables a retention of clarity in regard to this aspect of the English language or we can allow the continued use of a non neutral term, allow understandings of the word myth to range wide and put up with the resulting 'ambiguity'.

Gregkaye (talk) 11:14, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Just to nitpick again, that phrase "Cannot be proven to be false" is entirely logically invalid, and a little insulting to my intelligence. It was, in fact, the reason I linked to Burden of Proof above. --King Öomie 15:24, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Actually, it can be proven that all-but-one of these stories are false -- via the argument from inconsistent revelations. Further, unless one of these stories isn't contradicted by the scientific evidence then all of them are "proven to be false". It would be nice if we could write 'Everybody agrees that all but one of these stories is a "a false fairytale", but cannot agree on which one is true -- apart from the scientists who believe that they're all "a false fairytales"' (to use Grantmidnight's turn of phrase) -- but somehow I doubt if we'd get that one past WP:NOR. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 16:06, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
You would just have to cite a reliable source that says it. Rreagan007 (talk) 16:15, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
But what if one of the religion's prophets announced that the reliable source given had been possessed by the devil at the time he wrote it? Surely you can't prove that isn't true. We must act as though it might be, because some people believe it! --King Öomie 16:38, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
O'course -- everybody knows that reliable sources (scientific journals, Biblical scholarship, etc, etc) are the work of the Devil. Why would you expect that this RS would be otherwise. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 17:26, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Bottom line: The term myth is formally accurate. If there's not an equally accurate term that lacks the connotations, then there's no sense in even having this discussion. What would you suggest Gregkaye? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cmiych (talkcontribs) 16:43, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Courtesy Break II

  • Compromise? How about adding a Wiktionary link as clarification for Wikipedia users who might misunderstand this word? Keahapana (talk) 20:48, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
I like that selection suggestion very much, actually. --King Öomie 20:59, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
    • The problem is that we all think we know what "myth" means. The answer is to clarify what it means in this article. There are many good dictionary definitions. Here in Wikipedia, we have it spelled out for us in words to avoid.
      • Myth has a range of formal meanings in different fields. It can be defined as a story of forgotten or vague origin, religious or supernatural in nature, which seeks to explain or rationalise one or more aspects of the world or a society. All myths are, at some stage, actually believed to be true by the peoples of the societies that used or originated the myth.
    • If you do not like it, change it there. We need to include the definition of myth we are using in the article. Grantmidnight (talk) 22:16, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
I disagree, in the sense that I don't think we need to include the definition of 'theory' we're using in scientific articles or the definition of 'number' we're using in mathematical articles. Including definitions of terms like this is to invite endless argument over the definition chosen - I have no doubt this is one of the major reasons we have entire articles discussing each of 'myth', 'theory' and 'number' as opposed to just piping people to wiktionary. So basically, I don't think it's this article's job to try and summarise mythology into a sentence or two. In fact I think it's impossible. Instead, I think we should just offer a wikilink to mythology and let that article do the explaining. After all, isn't that the point of the wiki software? Ben (talk) 02:27, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't think we should be defining 'myth' in isolation, but the article should certainly state what 'creation myth' means, and (per WP:WTA) should do so in a way that makes very clear that we're using 'myth' in its formal sense. I'd be tending toward something along the lines of 'A creation myth is a traditional story told by a culture or religion as the supernatural explanation for the existence of the universe and its contents.' The 'Modern' section may prove to be a bit problematic for this definition, and may require 'generally' to be inserted in front of 'traditional' & 'supernatural'. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 02:49, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Hello. I just wanted to pop in to remind everyone of the importance of citations. I think it's great that you guys are hammering out a definition of "myth" for this article. But the fact that the definition is being tailored specifically for the contents of this article does not remove the need for citations. For each and every distinct claim being made within a Wikipedia article, a citation must be provided. I have seen far too many cases of editors (in an effort to quell disputes such as this one) crafting very intelligent, well-intended, and tactfully worded definitions of "myth" that have the unfortunate drawback of having no actual citations whatsoever. If you want a great resource for actual sourced definitions, check out the Religion and mythology and Mythology articles. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 04:34, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Taking Phatius McBluff's comment on board, how about the following:

A creation myth is the narrative projection of a culture group's sense of its sacred past which describes the original ordering of the universe and the group's relationship to the powers of the universe. They use symbolic narrative to explain the beginning where the culture at one point lacked the information to give a scientific explanation. They also provide a metaphoric 'ultimate reality' conveying a culture's sense of its particular identity that transcends science.<ref>Leeming, David (1995). A Dictionary of Creation Myths. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195102754 page=vii Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). </ref>

This may be too close a paraphrase, and may need its language simplified, but provides a good basis for working up a sourced lead. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 05:11, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

After glancing at the relevant source, I suggest the following paraphrase of Hrafn's definition, which could be used in the article's lead:

A creation myth is a story that a culture uses to describe the original ordering of the universe. Like other myths, a creation myth expresses a culture's sense of its sacred past, its identity, and its relationship to the universe. In many cases, a creation myth acts as a symbolic model for a society's worldview and way of life.<ref>Leeming, David (1995). A Dictionary of Creation Myths. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195102754 page=vii Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). </ref>

Note that only the first sentence is actually a definition of the term "creation myth". The rest of the passage is a series of statements about creation myths, e.g., that they express their cultures' self-identities. I suggest avoiding the word "science" in the lead; to mention science in the lead is to ask for controversy. --Phatius McBluff (talk) 06:32, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Can I suggest we stick with the word 'group' used in Hrafn's version? Phatius' version might suggest a one-to-one correspondence between culture's and creation myths. Cheers, Ben (talk) 07:29, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Oops, I just re-read Hrafn's version and I missed the word culture is used in his too. I'm still a bit worried about using the word on its own though. Ben (talk) 07:33, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
My wording uses the more precise 'culture grouping' in the first usage, but thereafter uses 'culture' to cut down on verbosity. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 08:35, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I see no reason to omit science as (i) the source makes prominent mention of comparison to it & (ii) the relationship between creation myths and scientific explanations is an important one (we wouldn't have a Creation-evolution controversy if there wasn't). HrafnTalkStalk(P) 08:38, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Cmiych asked a question that was preceded by the statement: The term myth is formally accurate.

Me: Are you referring here to the OED definition of myth or to something else?

Cmiych continued: If there's not an equally accurate term that lacks the connotations, then there's no sense in even having this discussion. What would you suggest Gregkaye? —

I suggest that various editors admit to mentioned "connotations" and they admit that the term myth cannot be neutrally used in the context of an open access encyclopedia.
I also suggest that an immediate change be made to the way in which this talk page is introduced. The page currently begins: Important notice: The article title adheres to the Neutral Point of View policy ... This is not true. The article title does not adhere to the Neutral Point of View policy and I suggest that any claim to the contrary be dropped.

I suggest, if there are editors who propose to continue to use the work myth in connection with article, that they do so according to reasoned argument and not in reference to any unjustified claim to neutrality.

I suggest that specialist dictionaries be used with caution. They tend to provide definitions of words in the ways in which they are understood by specialist groups.

I finally suggest that one of the words: "story", "account" or "narrative" be used in connection to the main article.
The article currently begins: "A creation myth or cosmogonic myth is a supernatural story..."
(In effect the word "myth" is used three times prior to the explanation "is a supernatural story"). The Oxford, A Dictionary of Creation Myths states: A creation myth is the narrative projection...
and also:
A creation myth is a story...

My suggestion is simple. I suggest that the word "story" be used in conjunction to this article. But what kind of story is it? As a convenience we find that a clear decription is neatly provided in the title. It's a creation story. Its the kind of story that some people believe in and other people don't. It is described to be a creation story which says it all. Its very neat and the further convenience is then found that, there is no need to begin the article with an otherwise needed and unneccessarily complicated rational that might attempt to justify the use of such a word as myth. A level playing field would have been smoothly accessed and within this context the content information of the article might then be fairly presented.

I have answered all the questions with which I have been presented. It would be appreciated if my various questions might also be tackled.

Gregkaye (talk) 13:35, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

"Story" is not even close to "equally accurate", as it loses "myth"'s aspects of "sacred past" and cultural identity. A creation myth is not just another story. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 13:58, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

While I still dispute the use of the word myth in the current context, I cannot dispute the content of the last statement. "A creation myth is not just another story". Its a "creation story". Moreover its a "creation story" that that has a 'sacred past' but, more than that, in the eyes of many believers, they may additionally be regarded to have a 'sacred present' and it was for these reasons that I previously proposed the title 'Creation story (religion)'.

This is a title that, in every way, is respectful of cultural identity.
Gregkaye (talk) 08:02, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

I personally find "story" to be more offensive as well as less accurate Cmiych (talk) 19:47, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

The topic of creation envokes strong reaction and this page remains open for comments as to why such terms as "Creation story" might cause offense. On the same vain potential titles like "Account of creation" (previously discussed), "Creation narrative", "Creation doctrine" (a common favourite amongst people who believe in these stories) and others might also receive comment.

However, through our consideration of issues like of any offense that may be taken, we should remember that the issue in question is the topic of neutrality.

Gregkaye (talk) 06:54, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

This is the umpteenth time this issue has been raised. A list of alternative names
The trouble with 'myth' is that some religions may view creation stories from other religions as myths, whereas atheists believe all creation stories are myths. I don't have a preference on any term at the moment. Wapondaponda (talk) 12:52, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Thankyou. When you look at the results it becomes clear that the formal description that is most commonly applied to a creation narrative by people who actually have a belief in the content of the narrative is "account of creation".

Doctrine of creation is also mentioned quite a lot.

The Catholics have even been noted to speak in terms of "dogma".

Never-the-less, it can still be interpreted that all these terms have a greater degree of neutrality than "myth".

Gregkaye (talk) 21:31, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

The lead section of the mythology article says, in part,

The term "myth" is often used colloquially to refer to a false story;[Refs] however, the academic use of the term generally does not refer to truth or falsity.[Refs] In the study of folklore, a myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form.[Refs]

(look at that article for the refs). Given that, the question is whether Wikipedia (in general, and this article in particular) is speaking in a colloquial or an academic mode. I think the latter.
Also see Kevin Schilbrack (2002), "Chapter 4. Myth and Metaphysics", Thinking through myths: philosophical perspectives, Routledge, ISBN 9780415254618 .
How about adding a paragraph to the lead saying something like

The term myth is used in this article to refer to a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form. The term is used in this article in an academic rather than a colloquial sense and, as used here, carries no implication of either truth or falsity.</blickquote>

Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 23:54, 13 November 2009 (UTC)


First of all I would like to quickly mention, so as to add a follow up to the proposed terms that Wapondaponda and I have presented, that Creation myth has a comparatively low currency.
 
Thanks Bill for your valued reference to "Thinking through myths: philosophical perspectives", a clearly valuable source that may certainly inspire great content within Wikipedia articles. The section in the book that recieved the link was the section related to metaphysics[30], a word which, according to its etymology[31], labels the subject to concern issues "after physics". I merely mention this due to the fact that the branch of philosophy called metaphysics is assumed to contain ontology[32][33], an area of study that my, at least by definition, clearly related to the physical. I thus wanted to clarify the view that, when we are talking about metaphysics, we are talking about the study of non physical things - that are 'evidently' not, in every situation, always so easy to study.

The definitions of the word myth do not tend to directly refer to metaphysics but frequently refer to the supernatural which, I guess, indirectly refers back to certain aspects of metaphysical conjecture. Again it can be pointed out that the validity of the supernatural may rightfully be debated but it cannot be disproven and again it can be pointed out that the use of the word myth in the current context is unnecessary.

In his book Schibrack tactfully informs us that: (a friends) preferred approach to religious narratives is to read myths as an evocative form of fiction, ... p87. The word "them" could have easily have replaced the unnecessary mention of "myths".
 
On its first point of call the Wikipedia article on Colloquialism[34] indicates that: "Some examples of informal colloquialisms can include words (such as "y'all" or "gonna" or "wanna"), phrases (such as "ain't nothin'" and "graveyard dead"), ..." I "kind of" wonder whether various senses of the word myth may be used in circumstances beyond familiar conversation and whether they might even be used in the formal or perhaps even the literary context.
 
Again it should be noted that Wikipedia is an open access project and, as such, it can be argued that it should use terms in the ways in which they are generally used and understood.

The history of the word myth may be interpreted to have been a curious things and the result seems to be a situation in which dictionaries seem to have adopted the practise of first presenting a version of the historical - traditional definition and then to follow this up with versions of the untrue - popular tale type definition. You are welcome to conduct your own search (or wider research) enquiries so as to assess the validity of the priority that might be rightly applied to the various dictionary definitions of myth.

I've just been trying to set up a format of links to searches on "myth" through a variety of search engines so that one page would be produced of initial results while other pages would be produced of later results. The systems of Wikipedia, however, have a natural problem with the production of search urls that go further on than the initial results.

Searches with http://www.blackle.com/ http://www.google.com/ and http://www.yahoo.com/ can have &start=[insert number] added to the search urls while http://www.bing.com/ can have &first=[insert number] to request pages for up to the first 1000 results. That's not that much really considering that there are millions of results.

The first of the listed results will have a natural tendency to point towards encyclopedic and dictionary references related to the word myth while later results may have a greater tendency to indicate the ways in which the word myth may be used in general (but not always informal) life. The centrally fallacious definition of myth should be confirmed and it may be argued that this should rightfully be the primary definition of myth.

Gregkaye (talk) 12:17, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Third Edition 1995 and Online Edition 2008 present the following definitions of myth:

myth /mıθ/ n  1 [C,U] an idea or story that many people believe, but which is not true: the myth of male superiority | Most people think that bats are blind, but in fact this is a myth. | popular myth (=one that a lot of people believe) Contrary to popular myth, there is no evidence that long jail sentences really deter young offenders. | explode/dispel a myth (=prove that it is not true)  2 [C] an ancient story, especially one invented in order to explain natural or historical events: the myth of Orpheus  3 [U] this kind of ancient story in general: the giants of myth and fairy-tale.[35]

dictionary notes:

[C] = nouns that can be counted, usually as UNITs (dog, box), ...

[U] = uncountable nouns ... Examples: Sugar/love is sweet. [U] | He came by car. [U] | felt strong desire [U] | ...

The Longman Dictionary presents a sequence of definitions that confirms an understanding of myth that may easily be gained through any review of internet search results. The untrue idea idea / story definition rightly presents a primary definition of the word myth.

Gregkaye (talk) 09:47, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

This is feeling like dictionary-shopping now. Creation Myth is a professional, official term. This will be no sooner renamed than National Association for the Advancement of Colored People redirected to National Association for the Advancement of African Americans. --King Öomie 14:04, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

I am genuinely sorry that you feel that. The main point, that I had previously attempted to present, related to the simple fact that the untrue - popular tale type definition of myth has a notably high currency. This is something that can be easily confirmed by spending a little time on an internet search on the word myth. The reference to the Longman’s dictionary merely provided an external confirmation of information that anyone might easily access.

Gregkaye (talk) 10:53, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Courtesy Break III

There are phenomenally large numbers of religious people on our planet and as is clearly presented in the Wikipedia article on: Major religious groups. Many of these people hold their own sincere beliefs in regard to a variety of religious stories and creation stories may typically be included.

I do not see why “professional”, “official” or “formal” citations should be required for their positions to be considered and yet citations that fit these criteria are presented as follows:


ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA JERUSALEM

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
VOLUME 5 C-Dh

from p.col. 1059

CREATION AND COSMOGONY

IN THE BIBLE

The Hebrew Bible commences with a majestic cosmological account of the genesis of the universe. According to Genesis 1:1-2:4a (the P account according to the documentary hypothesis), God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day. ...

...

p.col. 1060

...

... Another story of creation, Genesis 2:4b-24 (the J account according to the documentary hypothesis), describes a much more anthropocentric version of the origin of life on earth: with the ground watered at first from a subterranean flow; the first man formed from the earth of the ground and animated by a breath blown into his nose, the first woman was created from a rib of the man and the two placed into the Garden of Eden. ...

...
p.col. 1070
IN MODERN THOUGHT

... For Kaplan the "creative life" is the essence of the creation story,

...

TORAH (Heb. תּוֹרָה).
The Term. Torah is derived from the root ירה which in the hifil conjunction means “to teach”. (cf. Lev. 10.11). The meaning of the word is therefore “teaching,” “doctrine,” or “instruction”; the commonly accepted “law” gives the wrong impression. …


The New Standard Jewish Encyclopaedia 1970 Pub: W. H. Allen
p.col. 494

COSMOGONY AND COSMOLOGY : Speculations dealing with the origin and structure of the world. JUDAISM has only one generally accepted dogma :  that God created the world. ...

Jewish Encyclopedia

Genesis is a historical work. Beginning with the creation of the world, it recounts the primal history of humanity and the early history of the people of Israel as exemplified in the lives of its patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their families. It contains the historical presupposition and basis of the national religious ideas and institutions of Israel, and serves as an introduction to its history and legislation.[36]


Catholic Encyclopedia

Creation (Lat. creatio).—I. DEFINITION. ... In technically theological and philosophical use it expresses the act whereby God brings the entire substance of a thing into existence from a state of non-existence—productio totius substantive ex nihilo sui et subjecti. words used: account, doctrine[37] [38] [39]

...

The contents of the Pentateuch are partly of an historical, partly of a legal character. They give us the history of the Chosen People from the creation of the world to the death of Moses, and acquaint us too with the civil and religious legislation of the Israelites during the life of their great lawgiver. Genesis may be considered as the introduction to the other four books; it contains the early history down to the preparation of Israel's exit from Egypt.[40]


A CATHOLIC DICTIONARY 1960

CREATION.  Making out of nothing. That God did so create out of nothing is the great doctrine which is expressed in the first verse of the Bible, and which became a cardinal doctrine of the Jewish and afterwards of the Christian faith.  The belief in creation is, indeed, a tenet peculiar to revealed religion. Heathen religions attributed the origin of the world to emanation, or else represented it as made out of pre-existing matter. The doctrine of the ancient philosophers is summed up in the familiar axiom "Nothing is made out of nothing." Ex nihilo nihil fit.


ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ISLAM 1986

E. J. Brill publisher
VOLUME V KHE-MAHI

p.col. 400

AL-ḲURĀN (A.), the Muslim scripture, containing the revelations recited by Muḥammed and preserved in a fixed written form.

...

It can further be noted that the words creation and myth are not both to be found on any web page via the following site specific searches.
creation myth site:www.hindupedia.com
creation myth site:thesikhencyclopedia.com
 


These references are only a starting point. It is hoped that a consideration of the substantial number of individuals who religiously believe in their doctrines of creation may be taken into account.

Gregkaye (talk) 11:54, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

This is honestly bottom-barrel apologetics. If it comes to a vote, I staunchly Oppose a name change. Until then, I have no interest in reading through the dissertation you've presented here on the rights of the deluded. --King Öomie 14:17, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Let's see, how many different policies does your above post violate? It is a large-scale cut and paste from a copyrighted source. It is soapboxing. It is using a talk page to discuss the topic itself rather than how to improve the article. I don't see any reason why it should not be reverted entirely. TechBear | Talk | Contributions 15:08, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
  • "I do not see why “professional”, “official” or “formal” citations should be required for their positions to be considered..."

You can consider whatever you want. The official, accepted terminology invariably trumps alternate wording suggested by interested parties. Much in the same way moonies tend to not use the term 'conspiracy theory'. --King Öomie 18:54, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Even if there was a problem regarding the copying of small passages of text, I still have my doubt whether any of the religious organisations involved would be that bothered about the way that the quotes have been put to use. Its also a nice thought that I might have been able to copy and paste anything approacing the majority of the texts.
This having been said my hope remains that we might get back to the central issue: the lack of neutrality within the current article title and the mockery that this makes of the Wikipedia policy regarding Neutral Point of View.

Gregkaye (talk) 19:01, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the link.

Wikipedia articles about religious topics should take care to use [Fundamentalism and Mythology] only in their formal senses in order to avoid causing unnecessary offense or misleading the reader. Conversely, editors should not avoid using terminology that has been established by the majority of the current reliable and notable sources on a topic out of sympathy for a particular point of view, or concern that readers may confuse the formal and informal meanings.

Looks fine to me. Also, to head off beancounting, Google tests#Neutrality. Scholarly experts certainly hold sway here. --King Öomie 19:08, 18 November 2009 (UTC)


A few points:

  1. There has been an enormous amount written on this issue, mainly by a single editor, with little indication that it is influencing the opinions of others.
  2. There is no indication to date that there is any significant movement on the local consensus, that it is appropriate to call these 'traditional stories of the supernatural origin of the universe' "creation myths".
  3. This local consensus would appear to be endorsed by a wider consensus on the use of the word "myth", as demonstrated in WP:WTA.
  4. Those opposing the use of the word have failed to demonstrate how its use, even in its informal sense, fails WP:NPOV. They have failed to present any evidence whatsoever that a majority of the relevant academic communities (or even the majority of the wider population) accepts the literal truth of any one (let alone a significant number) of the myths documented here.

Therefore there is neither evidence of a valid NPOV issue needing correction, nor a WP:CONSENSUS (nor any likelihood of one developing in the near future) for a change. I would therefore recommend giving this a a rest, and that this thread be either archived, or moved to a subpage where those interested in further debate on the subject can continue their argumentum ad nauseum without disturbing the rest of us. HrafnTalkStalk(P) 02:59, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

King Öomie correctly notes that when the NPOV policy enters its subsection on Religion it states, in relation to words such as mythology, that: Wikipedia articles about religious topics should take care to use these words only in their formal senses in order to avoid causing unnecessary offense or misleading the reader. There is, however, nothing mentioned so as to recommend the use of such terminologies in article titles.

To this point a number of neutrality centred arguments have been presented in relation to the current debate. Other issues may also be raised.

Some issues may even go beyond the topic of neutrality. For instance the universally applicable law of priority clearly indicates that the original terms applied to a topic stand. The law of priority presents the common sense rational for the renaming of Brontosaurus as Apatosaurus and adds a further justification of the renaming of Leningrad as St Petersburg.

I don't imagine that the people who originally may have held to communicated accounts of the activities of creators such as A'akuluujjusi or Zamba would have described these accounts to be myths. There is no doubt that presented information in relation to a subject may be criticised and yet the information itself should be faithfully represented. The creation myth title does not do this.

A lack of a current WP:CONSENSUS has been noted and yet the fact that there are two sides of an issue that don't agree is no reason to archive the debate. It is already protected by a readily apparent important notice that makes the bold statement that: "The article title adheres to the Neutral Point of View policy ..."

It has been fairly noted that little indication has thus far been presented that this issue is of influence on the opinions of others. Is this information really required? One of the arguments presented is that the title "Creation myth" restricts freedom of thought. Whether intended or not, it presents a judgement at the initial point of the article in relation to the content of the article that then follows.

Gregkaye (talk) 08:44, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

NPOV

Creation "myth?" Seriously? How can a article with the title "Creation myth" ever be NPOV? Some of these apparent "myths" could never be disproven short of someone creating a time machine and going back to see exactly what the heck happened. Regardless of how many references and citations are available, it's only the opinion of some people and should not be presented as fact, unless of course we can cite opposers of the evolution theory and present their views as fact. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 02:16, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Did you read this article? The mythology article? The notice at the top of this page? The talk page archives? WP:NPOV? WP:WTA? Cheers, Ben (talk) 02:23, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but I still don't consider it NPOV to classify any widely accepted theory to be a myth. Some people consider Darwin's evolution by chance theory to be mythology. It's generally considered acceptable to classify something as mythology if it's something that's no longer significantly followed, but it gets controversial when we tag theories such as the Genesis theory as a myth. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 02:32, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I'm having a hard time trying to find the section of WP:NPOV that supports you. Can you please help me out by quoting the relevant sections? Cheers, Ben (talk) 02:39, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia:NPOV#Bias PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 02:44, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Great, now which view is it you think we're biased against? Ben (talk) 02:51, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
I second that question. Right now all the creations stories are treated equally in the article, why shouldn't it be the case ? --McSly (talk) 02:55, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
It's a gray area. If one is to look at it that way however, we should look at evolution (a theory I actually kind of believe in along with creation) with the same uncertainty. Afterall, science once said Pluto was a planet like Mars and Jupiter. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 03:14, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
(e/c)I believe it's biased against the creationist view. This is basically a list of different creation accounts if you read the article. Granted, many of these ancient accounts are widely considered to be mythology, but there are also many of these that are taken seriously by large populations around the world. NPOV would be to move this to something like List of religious accounts of creation. This doesn't mean that there can be no references to mythology here, it simply means we shouldn't be classifying currently popular religious beliefs as mythology as it tends to alienate believers. I've seen people who have complained about the coverage of articles related to creationism, evolution, and atheism. Want to be politically correct? Forget about saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, we need to write creation/evolution articles that are neutral. Also, how can one say that evolution theories are "fact" when every science teacher I've ever met has said that science is dynamic? Furthermore, no editor here is NPOV on the issue; editors either believe in creation or they don't. Same thing with evolution. I personally believe in creation and evolution. PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 03:08, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

(←) So your argument is essentially that this articles contents should depend on what the general population believe. Doesn't that clearly satisfy the definition of bias? That is, we would be biasing this article in favour of a groups beliefs? And what about this section of the NPOV policy: WP:GEVAL. Should we just ignore it? Ben (talk) 03:18, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. 'Creation myth' is also the 'normal' phrase used for the stories in the article. Dougweller (talk) 06:16, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Several points for PCHS.
  1. I've seen an absolutely incredible amount of material called 'biased against creationism'. It's a meaningless phrase at this point. I've come to the conclusion, myself, that reality is biased against supernatural explanations. The manual of style is very specific on the issue you bring up- when there is an established terminology, DO NOT avoid it simply to avoid hurting one group's feelings.
  2. Common misconception. No one (knowledgeable) is calling evolution theories fact. In a nutshell, the fact or law of evolution explains THAT evolution occurs, and the various theories try to explain WHY. This is similar to the state of research into gravity- everyone knows that gravity is real, but we're still a little in the dark as to WHY it exists, and how, specifically, it works. See also, Evolution as theory and fact.
  3. Proving a negative is a logical impossibility, so claiming that "No one can DISprove" a story in any way increases the likelihood of it being true is a fallacy. I'm not sure where you're going in pointing out how science updates its textbooks occasionally. --King Öomie 14:03, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining your opinion. It often helps in NPOV discussions when all users willing to state their own POV.
However, I don't think that your POV ought to be the viewpoint of the article. We should rather describe both your viewpoint (i.e., that reality is biased against supernatural explanations) as one of the common views; identify what authors have expressed this POV and what arguments and evidence they advance to support it AND the viewpoint that reality consists of both a natural and a supernatural world.
Scientists who study the physical world tend to express the confidence that they can find a physical cause for all phenomena, but there are also religious believers who assume (or place faith in) a supernatural cause. My question is whether we should write about cosmogony or creation accounts with a bias that favors "science" and materialism, or with a bias that favors religion and faith?
I daresay NPOV urges us to pick neither bias but merely to state that there are two viewpoints, and to point out that scientists are more likely to adopt a standpoint of methodological naturalism while religious believers are more likely to choose a faith-based Creationist idea. --Uncle Ed (talk) 02:33, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

I must ask - what does the objector to the use of "myth" prefer we use in it's place? A myth is defined by the OED as a "traditional narrative usually involving supernatural or imaginary persons and embodying popular ideas on natural or social phenomena" There is no suggestion of falsehood there, though the possibility remains. In contrast, a story is defined as "account of imaginary or past events; narrative, tale, or anecdote". A story is not necessarily false either, but the implication is actually more pronounced than with the word myth. Theory has been suggested in the past, but the scholarly definition of it does not even remotely apply to this situation - "Exposition of the principles of a science". Narrative - "spoken or written account of connected events in order of happening" - fits pretty well, but I can't really see it as a fitting descriptor for all of these different accounts. And as for the word account - "narration or description". It's not really descriptive enough either, nor truly applicable to all. Myth seems to be the only truly fitting descriptor and the pov is only seen by those who don't seem to understand what it really means, which isn't our problem. (though they often like to try and make it ours)Farsight001 (talk) 13:40, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Not being the original objector, I can't speak for him or her, but I too object to the use of the term "myth" on NPOV grounds. "Myth" can be interpreted as an invented story, imaginary or fictitious event, or false collective belief. Instead of using the word "myth", does anyone object to the use of the words "belief" or "doctrine" instead? 69.245.90.210 (talk) 09:22, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
The notice at the top of this page says the article title is consistent with WP:NPOV, yet you tell us it is not. There are then three possibilities.
  1. The notice at the top of this page is incorrect, in which case you should identify what part of the NPOV policy is being infringed and how it is being infringed;
  2. You are incorrect, in which case the likely reason for this is that you have not read or failed to understand the policy; or
  3. Both you and the notice are correct, in which case the NPOV policy contradicts itself.
Please help us work this out by giving us a little more than a vague reference to the NPOV policy and no accompanying explanation. Cheers, Ben (talk) 09:58, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

After reading the exceptionally long discussion and rationalisation around the term "Myth" I must still object strongly to it's use in reference to my beliefs. You are welcome to use a number of other words, for example and in order of preference: Creation beliefs, Creation doctrine, Creation philosophies, Creation stories, Creation rationale, non scientific creation viewpoints, Creation points of view, Creation world views, Creation allegory, Creation accounts, Creation faiths. It should not be difficult to find an alternative, even having a redirect from a "Creation Myth" page will be acceptable. Jpvosloo (talk) 19:39, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Definition of creation myth from Oxford Dictionary of Creation Myths: "A creation myth is a myth that describes the original ordering of the universe. A myth is a story that expresses a cultural group's sense of its sacred past. Virtually all cultures have creation myths. A creation myth expresses a society's sense of its identity and relationship to the universe. It acts as a symbolic model for the society's worldview and way of life." (Leeming, David (1995). A Dictionary of Creation Myths.) Note the word "sacred" - creation myths involve gods or other supernatural beings and agencies. To put that another way, sacredness, not truth, defines a creation myth. PiCo (talk) 22:26, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
You can strongly object all you want, Jpvosloo, but as per the manual of style, the established, scholarly terminology will not be avoided out of sympathy for a particular group. We "are welcome" to use the term Creation Myth, and will continue to do so. --King Öomie 14:25, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Having this debate every 2 weeks adds a great deal of stability and regularity to my life. Thanks. Side note: Did anyone actually followup on changing this to "List of creation myths" as mentioned at some point? Cmiych (talk) 19:18, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
The regularity of this debate should itself evidence that there is a problem that needs to be addressed - namely that there is a group of people who feel that the article is biased against them. May I introduce several obvious points that I think all people in both camps can agree with:
  1. The majority opinion of the scientific community is that the theory of Evolution, or some variation of it, represents truth.
  2. There are a large number of people, including a small minority of scientists, who today believe that the theory of Evolution is false.
  3. Both groups pose questions to the other, which they themselves believe the other cannot adequately answer.
  4. Therefore, regardless of any of our personal beliefs, there is undeniably controversy on this topic in our time, with a large number of people on either side, albeit more on one side than the other.
  5. If the NPOV policy is to be of any value whatsoever, then it should be apparent that it applies utmost when there is a current controversy in play.
  6. One of the meanings of myth is (according to wiktionary) "A commonly-held but false belief, a common misconception; a fictitious or imaginary person or thing..."
  7. Irrespective of whether wikipedia chooses to narrow the definition of the word 'myth' to exclude falsification, most visitors to the site will not have read the wikipedia policy on the word.
  8. It should therefore come to no surprise that those who take a creation position should feel that the term 'myth' is non-neutral and bias against their beliefs.
Now, if indeed the current title is in compliance with the letter of NPOV and WTA, then perhaps those policies are also in need of adjustment, because NPOV is not currently evident here. Or, have these policies become immutable documents of rule to which all must submit without questioning? :) As to alternate suggestions, I don't think either party would object to 'Creation Belief'. It may also be worth organizing the topic into two sections: one for currently held beliefs, and one for beliefs that have been long abandoned by all and can truly be called myths in all senses of the words. PKA —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.171.48.213 (talk) 07:56, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Clearly there has been heated discussion on the neutrality of the title of this article. It seems to me there are plenty of definitions that support the neutrality of the title. Because of this, those arguing that the title is neutral are correct if you use the definitions that do not define myths as "false". As it has been clearly stated, the word myth is not being used to mean "false". This being the case, I think we should all be in agreement that another word could be used in it's place. We can all see that the word myth has created significant controversy because of it's connotation and other possible definitions, so unless someone is using the word myth to mean "false" then we should all be in agreement that a title such as "Creation Accounts" would be a suitable title. As we are all clearly trying to eliminate the controversy of this title (and the word "Myth" has obviously caused it) , I see no reason that anyone would object to changing the title. --Isaaclill (talk) 03:20, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Alternatives to "myth"

I believe that Cosmogony is a rather obscure word, so I'd prefer to see Creation account as it connotes neither validity nor falsehood.

Furthermore, a Creation account can include both religious accounts (as in Creationism, a view clearly deriving from faith and theological belief) and scientific ideas such as the Big Bang Theory which is based only on physical science. --Uncle Ed (talk) 02:38, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

An explanation of the word is available right there on it's linked article for those who don't know what it means. Falcon8765 (talk) 02:47, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that the common, ordinary use of the word "myth" is so dominant in societal thinking, all the way back to the days of our bedtime stories, that it's only reasonable for the reader to assume that he/she certainly already knows what that simple four-letter word means. Therefore, how reasonable is it even to suspect that any reader might reason that they don't know what "myth" means, with or without the "creation" prefix? Is this line of reasoning by Wiki's fictitious "ordinary reader" logical for any of us to even imagine:
IS THE FOLLOWING A LIKELY SCENARIO??
"Hm, 'myth'. That's something that is imaginary or not true. It's fictional like the Santa Claus myth or 'Peter and the Wolf' and the Loch Ness monster and urban legends. But just in case 'they' are thinking of some other kind of myth (though I don't think there IS any other kind), maybe I'd better look it up by clicking on the light-blue Wikilink." Hogwash!
From umpteen years teaching in university classrooms, and almost as many years as a student, I know that people are loathe to look something up if they think it's somehow beneath their dignity on the basis that "I already know that. When we read the word "myth," unless we are among "the few and the proud" who are specifically schooled in a technical/academic/literary genre, highly atypical usage of the word, our kneejerk response is to run with the MOST familiar definition we've had of that word throughout our lifetime. And that's going to be an untruth that has been whitewashed as truth.
May I illustrate from the Wall Street Journal's use of the word myth, and the connotation they clearly expect from readers:
  • Jun 20, 2009 . "A Doctor's View of Obama's Healthcare Plans: The Myth of Prevention."
  • Feb 20, 2010. "The Myth of the Techno-Utopia." The complete sentence: "It's fashionable to hold up the Internet as the road to democracy and liberty in countries like Iran, but it can also be a very effective tool for quashing freedom. Evgeny Morozov on the myth of the techno-utopia."
  • Apr 24, 2009: "...the Treasury for getting only 66 cents in value for every TARP dollar spent. This accusation would be troubling if true, but the 66 cent claim is a myth. The 66 cent conclusion is no more sound than a subprime mortgage."
  • November 20, 2009: Lies, Myths, and Yellow Journalism. "Because this editorial is based on deception (or, more charitably, bad journalism), it's not surprising that harmful myths about education reform are also woven in. The myth that spending more money on poor and minority kids is a waste ("some of the worst school districts in the country spend the most money on students"), the myth that vouchers help kids from low-income communities (they haven't worked, which is why they're off the table), the myth that strict accountability will close the achievement gap (it won't, although accountability with clear standards, and with more capacity to meet those standards will), and the myth that teachers' unions are the enemy (they have problems, but reformers need to work with, not against them).
An ordinary Google search of Wall St. Journal + "myth" turned up these and many more. Please try the search for yourself on any of your favorite printed sources that contain OpEd's. We can continue to play ostrich and bury our heads in the sand, or we can stop trying to force "myth" with all its shades of gray down people's throats.
None of us were around when the term "creation myth" was spawned by a group of the intelligencia who probably had at least a couple of years of Greek, so the choice of words isn't our fault. But we do have other terms that are not ambiguous, even terms that no less prestigious an agency than NASA has chosen, such as cosmogony. True, it's not well known, but since it isn't, that's the type of word that most of us WILL click on if it's blue. (I also like the suggestions that start with 'creation' and are followed by narrative or account or whatever. Thanks. ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 05:19, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
And Wikipedia should favor one term or another (despite the sources) because...? This sounds like expert-shopping more than anything. You know what the word means, are you just worried that OTHER people won't? It's explained everywhere it appears. This sounds like the complaints at Talk:Muhammad/Images. --King Öomie 13:58, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Creation myth/Cosmogony/Cosmology/Cosmogeny

This article has used the term cosmogony throughout-more than it does "creation myth". The cosmogony article and this one (which do not agree with each other) are now so hopelessly confusing that I can't tell what either one of them are trying to say. Professor marginalia (talk) 17:44, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Is this flurry of words an attempt to bury the word myth? Professor marginalia (talk) 17:46, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Of course it is. Ben (talk) 02:52, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Thought so. These articles are just a mess. Professor marginalia (talk) 03:36, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
And the source given in the opening sentence doesn't even use the term "creation myth" once. Professor marginalia (talk) 03:55, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

I've started a user subpage with descriptions of these articles here. All are welcome to edit my subpage! :-) --Uncle Ed (talk) 16:11, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Using the word Myth is NPOV

Myth might means mythology but it is a loaded word, and it is argumentative that evolution is taken as fact but the creation story is taken as myth. Very subjective stuff, since more people agree on a creator than people who believe in random Darwinian theory. Another name is needed to reflect a Neutrality to the subject. Cuz most humans believe in this "myth" so must have some truth to it.--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 15:33, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

This has been argued to death; please review previous discussion and the archives. Let's not start flogging that horse again. TechBear | Talk | Contributions 16:06, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
i SAW that after the fact. I guess i am not alone.--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 16:08, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Alone? Definitely not. Wrong? Absolutely. --King Öomie 15:30, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
See WP:TALK
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
"Most people believe it, so it must be at least partly true"? Within the last two thousand years, hundreds of little tidbits of cultural knowledge have been completely rejected. Diseases aren't caused by magic (or sin), the sun doesn't rotate around the Earth, flies don't pop into being on rotting meat. All of these things, at one time or another, were a given. EVERYONE believed them. Now look at those and tell me that popular ideas MUST be true. --King Öomie 15:35, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I am curious have the evolutionist yet proved that man evolved from apes? That to me also should be called a scientific myth. That randomist over a 100000 years produces life in all its diversity. Does that not also sound like the magical myths you listed?--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 17:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
You could have saved time and said "Fields of science I don't understand must be wrong". Suffice it to say that scientific evidence points to Common descent of Apes AND man from a "cousin" race that no longer exists (except in fossil evidence). It would sound like a myth if it were presented without evidence, but in fact, the evidence for the real-world versions of your straw-man points is comprehensive and irrefutable. You can find much of it here, but I suspect that you will not, and will instead consider yourself to be completely correct. --King Öomie 21:47, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I wish i could get into this but i have to humor you. It is not that i do not understand, it is that is disagree with the conclusion. If GOD (scary word isnt it) is an artist, i would expect a certain commanality across creation. Some call it direct evolution, i think more like direct creation. All subjective. Who created the big bang is identical to who created God (so we are stuck in the same place).The original Porsche model and the new Porsche model are related but not by direct mechanism of evolution. i.e. the old Porsche car didn't growing new lights and new alloys and become the new 911.--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 15:49, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Reminder - this talk page isn't a public messageboard to debate God, logic, evolution, automotive design, the Big Bang, or anything else. Please review WP:TALK. If it continues down this vein, I'll refactor the comments. Professor marginalia (talk) 16:53, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

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Discussions from Talk:Creation myth/Archive 4
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Outside observer on titles

Cosmogonic beliefs (here_ is not an improvement over creation myths, and Genesis creation narrative (@Genesis creation narrative) is not an improvement over Genesis creation myth. That said, if the decision has been made to go "Cosmogonic beliefs" (far more impenetrable than "creation myth" but would not be the first time WP scares away readers), then Genesis creation narrative needs to be retitled "Cosmogonic beliefs in the Judeo-Christian tradition" or similar. Since "narrative" is not used for similar other articles, it is inappropriate there; and since other articles speak to geography and not specific scriptures, then the use of "Genesis" (specific named scripture in the title) is also inappropriate unless you organize along the lines of:

  • Cosmogonic beliefs in the Book of Genesis
  • Cosmonogic beliefs in the Bhagavad-Gita

et al. including any similar article using "creation myth" regarding specific accounts. So why, exactly, has "Creation myths" not been renamed to "Cosmogonic belief narratives?" I have to ask, has anyone thought of the reader here, lately? PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 18:36, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

The name changes to "cosmogonic beliefs" was very poorly considered and short-lived. I think that proposal is completely dead now-and it never had much support in the first place. Professor marginalia (talk) 18:48, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm utterly confused. Where was the decision made to call creation myths, "cosmogonic belief narratives"?Griswaldo (talk) 18:50, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm reading the notice at top as stating content being split out into a series of "Cosmogonic beliefs...". It that's dead, it needs to be removed. PЄTЄRS J VЄСRUМВА TALK 18:52, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
No, it's dead :). It's probably not helpful to dig for the old bones of that "phase", but I'm sure they're in the talk page archives somewhere. I don't see the notice there now but if it's there please do remove it. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:03, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Using the word Myth is NOT NPOV

":This has been argued to death; please review previous discussion and the archives. Let's not start flogging that horse again. " Too bad.

If there is no proof and it is presented as factual, then it is mythological. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.246.233.232 (talk) 02:50, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't have a dog in this race; I'm not religious and am pretty hard to offend anyway. Still, I don't see what harm would come from renaming the article to 'Religious accounts of Creation', or 'Creation (religion)' or some such thing. Is there a reason that 'Creation myth' is a better title for the article than these? Bdrasin (talk) 22:17, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

I'll add to this that Wikipedia itself uses "myth" to mean a type of ahistorical fiction; for example the article Christ myth theory. 'Myth' isn't a precise synonym of 'fiction' but certainly myths are a subset of fictions; otherwise the title of that article is nonsense because Christ would be a myth weather historical or not. There actually is a case to be made that the religious accounts of creation are objectively false according to RS and therefore it is NPOV to describe them as fiction, but no one seems to want to argue this way.Bdrasin (talk) 14:07, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Well I am sorry but I argue the word Myth is very biased, the word "Account" is more appropriate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Paul Lewison (talkcontribs) 01:46, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

From Merriam-Webster:

myth n. 1 a : a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon b : parable, allegory 2 a : a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society

This has been discussed ad nauseam. In the context of this article's topic, the word "myth" is correct. TechBear | Talk | Contributions 03:08, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree and what's more important so does Mr Collins in his concise dictionary "a story about superhuman beings of an earlier age, usually of how natural phenomena, social customs etc came into being". Abtract (talk) 07:44, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

There seems to be some dispute as to whether "creation myth" is a neutral term.

I googled it, and here's what I read at Amazon about the first book that came up in my serch:

  • Evolution and Religious Creation Myths seeks to educate and arm the public on the differences between myth and science, fiction and theory.

It seems the word "myth" connotes "fiction", while "theory" refers to a finding of science. I don't see, therefore, how myth could mean anything other than false, made up nonsense. --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:29, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

That's because you're preferentially putting more stock in a definition you already agree with, above that of any of the others available defining a 'Creation Myth' as a supernatural explanation of creation, absent any judgement of truth or falsehood, perfectly neutral. --King Öomie 15:37, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
And you're also setting up a counter-argument yourself, using the colloquial definition of 'myth' alongside the technical definition of 'theory'. The colloquial definition of 'theory' isn't far from that of 'hypothesis'- unproven, and laughable to accept at face value. "It's just a theory!" --King Öomie 15:38, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
There may be an argument for renaming articles with titles such as Enûma Eliš - Enûma Eliš creation myth. But there is no reason at all to change the title of this one. Creation myths are a real life category - offensive to some or not we're not reinventing the English language here at wikipedia. The extreme oversensitivity about using this term in this article is absolutely 100% unjustifiable. Professor marginalia (talk) 15:44, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't own any stock in either viewpoint; I'm a longtime fan of NPOV. I'm just going along with what Evolution and Religious Creation Myths says: i.e., that there are differences between myth and science just as there are differences between fiction and theory. But the authors of that book also argue that evolution and creationism are not both valid theories and that they don't deserve equal attention.

I wouldn't want our use of myth in an article title to make the reader think that every "myth" is likely to be a "fiction". --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:59, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

The argument then is to those in the real world that termed this category of stories "creation myths". It's probably been the proper usage for couple thousand years beginning with the Greeks-and it's certainly the name given in the overwhelming majority of reliable sources today.Professor marginalia (talk) 16:12, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Apparently contributors feel a need to distinguish between (A) scientific cosmology, i.e., scientific theories of creation (cosmogony) and (B) religious cosmology. I'm sure we can come up with terminology that suits all parties. --Uncle Ed (talk) 16:49, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure Mr. Lurquin will be surprised to learn his text has become the leading authority on religious scholarship. Again, the term Creation Myth does not assign truth or falsehood to the story it represents. It merely states that a group of people believe/believed that it is/was literally how we/the earth/the universe came to be. --King Öomie 17:34, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Side note-not all "creation myths" involve supernatural beings or forces either. The introduction to this article is terrible, imho, but I'm currently pulling together a body of good sources to use there. Many of the best known of the creation myths come from peoples who had no concept of separate realms between nature and supernature. Their creation myths describe beginnings initiated and guided by what they viewed as natural or "innate" properties and forces. Professor marginalia (talk) 17:56, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I disagree these words have loaded meaning, Myth in language might as well mean fiction. And Supernatural sounds like something on the X-files. Esp the abbreviated for of Myth. If there is so much disagreement CHANGE IT. isn't that how Wikipedia works. clearly it is a problematic word.--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 17:06, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
VERY PROBLEMATIC. In no way is it neutral, nor can it be when the most prominent meaning of "myth" is fiction, hence untrue fantasy. Do a Google search on "myth" on any major newspaper in English. There will be many hits, and I have yet to find even one that implies truth. Why do these writers and editors use "myth" so often in their headlines and titles? It's straightforward when one glances at the article. The editor or writer is claiming something this being misrepresented or falsified, hence is a myth. They don't have to worry about any technical understanding of myth occurring to even a single reader.
In no way is the definition "myth" not neutral. Seeing how the con provides no counter definition and the only definition within this conversation derives from the Merriam-Webster, we should use that definition. Even if popular culture (X-files) or google may offer a contradictory definition, you fail to provide any warrants why that definition should be used. In fact, It would seem as if these definitions fashioned by popular belief or google were "supposed" to be incorrect. "A usually traditional story..." is not something that MUST be fiction, "A popular belief or tradition" is not something that MUST be untrue. To put this in perspective, all Abraham religions can be placed into these general parameters but nothing tells us that they are fiction. Remember that the purpose of wikipedia should be to educate people in this case, end the misconception that myth means fiction. The fact that popular belief tells people that myths are anything but real should give us more incentive to make the line between such definitions bolder. 216.101.109.137 (talk) 02:39, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

LONDON TIMES:

  • January 3, 2010 "What an anti-climax: G-spot is a myth"
  • January 2, 2010 "Over 7000 women a year get false breast cancer alert. We debunk the myth behind the headlines...."
  • April 20, 2010 "Exhibition explores the myths behind artist Paul Gauguin. They will depict a strikingly modern artist: a monstrous, exploitative, lying self-publicist and instead focus on “the tendency towards myth-making, in his work and his presentation of himself”.

L.A. TIMES: April 5, 2010. "Myth-busting polls: Tea Party members are average Americans, 41% are Democrats, independents." "It has nothing to do with the myth of left and right. It has to do with democracy versus corporatocracy (formerly known as plutocracy)." ...and the list goes on and on this way. Absolutely no one is going to FIRST think of "Symbolic narrative of the creation and organization of the world as understood in a particular tradition" when they see "Genesis" and "Myth" together in the same phrase. It defies reasonable expectation, particularly in view of the fact that there are many who believe Genesis or even the whole Bible is "a fictitious narrative presented as historical but without any basis of fact"─which was, by the way, a recent SAT's "correct answer" for the definition of "myth." ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 21:35, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Because the first thing I think of when I think "Wikipedia" is "Atheist plot". Well, after "Illuminati". --King Öomie 21:41, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
The most prominent meaning of "creation myth" is not "untrue fantasy". (This article hasn't done a good job of saying what it does mean yet, but I've got it in the queue to make improvements in that area.) The long and short of it is this: it's a real topic, well known and well covered from a variety of domains, from children's books, ancient history, anthropology, mythography, classical scholarship-themes from myth also frequently appear in art, sculpture, cinema and architecture, and real encyclopedias do not reinvent, they describe. Encyclopedias such as Britannica and Grolier do it, and wikipedia does too. Professor marginalia (talk) 05:19, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
For the love of...Creation Myth is neutral. It's an accepted and official scolarly term used to describe a specific type of story found in various cultures. Each entry on this list meets the criteria to be described as such. Using the term is not a violation of NPOV standards, avoiding it simply to defend people's sensibilities would, however, be such a violation. And let's be honest here, that is why the change is being proposed as noted by the very phrasing of the arguments for change, including "Other people might not be aware that myth doesn't imply falsehood in this context" and the repeated reference to the creation, strongly indicating that the objection is not so much to the term (which again is an official scholarly term for these kinds of stories, applied to those of both modern and past religions) as it is the fact that their belief is being grouped with them. The request to change it is as ludicrous as suggesting that the title of Atomic Theory be changed because the colloquial usage of "Theory" denotes a uncertainty. The request doesn't work at all. 74.240.68.101 (talk) 15:19, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
The problem is there is a problem. How do we know? because look at the energy going into this debate. Solution: Work on a solution. U have a point, I have a point. But they are pointing in opposite directions. Myth is a problem, as the above writer says. Language changes, and technical terms and terms in common usage do not always marry up. look what happened to feeling gay.--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 15:41, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Your point is bunk. Let me put it this way, there was a lot of time and energy put into the Galileo Affair, that doesn't mean that there was good cause for labelling heliocentrism heretical. A lot of time and effort is put into holocaust denial and claiming that the moon landing was a hoax, that doesn't mean that there's any validity in either claim. What matters here are the facts. And the fact of the matter is that at the end of the day the usage of the phrase "Creation Myth" is not a POV issue because that's the term used in scholarly discourse, and in fact the insistence that it should be viewed as such because so-and-so doesn't like seeing the word anywhere near their own belief is far more of a POV issue as it insists that we ignore the official terminology purely for the sake of appeasing certain individuals (read: Favoring a point of view to the extent that we ignore facts). The term "Creation Myth" is accurate for the subject matter, and that's the long and short of it and the only thing that matters in encylclopedic entries. 74.240.68.171 (talk) 19:37, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Well said. The term is accurate, anything else is almost certainly going to be pov pandering to various interests.
So the scholarly discourse out weights the religious discourse? Because i think most humans subscribe to it not being a myth. Either way what you are saying is that as long as a minority of scholars (clearly not religious scholars) use the term it is valid. Finito. The "discovery" myth i.e. Columbus discovered the Americas is still used in most school systems around the world. SO i guess we just go with the majority on that one to. republish a lie because some Oxford scholar and friends use the word. Wikipedia NPOV rules apply outside of what so-called scholars say. Myth in english means fiction. --Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 16:20, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Scholarly discourse does outweigh colloquial discourse. That's the term they overwhelmingly use for this and thus the most accurate. Your inability to understand how the term is used means less than nothing, especially considering that the facts that a) that in scholarly discourse the term is used to describe the story type rather than it's validty and b) you've acknowledged as much in the history of the discussion and then started arguing that the article be renamed because of the colloqual usage of the word "myth". Again, what you're suggesting is akin to renaming Atomic Theory because the colloquialization of "theory" denotes far more uncertainty than is attributable to the model. You don't like it? Deal with it. The reality of the situation is that the term Creation Myth is used to describe the type of story, not the validity thereof. Your lack of research into the matter does not change this fact, nor does your dislike of the term 'myth' have any bearing whatsoever on it. Here's a piece of advice: Look up how scholars use the term myth before you do anything else. This would be a good place to start. 74.240.68.95 (talk) 20:23, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
My research shows that scholars of religion are far more numerous than your so-called scholars. unless scholar means secular scientific. Prove the point with sources showing that scholars (in the broad sense of the word) agree that it is myth. Encarta has rules, wiki has rules. If Encarta trends are valid then delete the page and just redirect to the likes of Encarta. Consensus over rules your claims of weight. I wonder if I look at all the religious schools in Islam, Judaism, and Christianity if the word Myth is used to describe creation. Now all of these schools have scholars. Because I have just glanced at the Iranian school for religious studies and I didnt see the term Myth in use. So unless you want to change the definition of scholars you have home work to do. --Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 20:55, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
You and I both know that you've done no such research. What you're referring to here is your presumption that the world agrees with you when the actuality is that you have done little to nothing to learn about the subject matter, as is overwhelmingly evident by your ignorance on how the term "myth" is used by religious scholars, as explained in the link above, in the Encyclopedia Britanica link in the introduction of the page we're discussing, repeatedly cited multiple times on the page about Mythology from multiple sources there, though if you'd prefer more, I could also cite the introduction here and this right here. Incidentally, I am using the term scholars correctly. The difference between your usage of the term and mine is that I refer to theologians, who use the term myth without the ire or presumption you're attributing to it. 74.240.68.95 (talk) 06:19, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
74.240.68.95: I can understand why you choose to remain an anynomous IP user. That's apparently so you can hide in a cowardly manner and be rude, crude, and ignore any intelligent discussion of User:Halaqah's attempt at logical and informed discourse. Disappointing from someone supposedly intelligent, scholarly and civil!─AFA Prof01 (talk) 21:00, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
So wait, let me get this straight...all of the edits attributed to me are on this page, over three responses (well, four including this one) over a period of less than 24 hours and because I dared to say that Halaqah was arguing a point based on his own ignorance of a term's usage, you declare that I am rude, crude and don't have an account because I'm a coward (which honestly makes no sense as so long as I sign an edit I'm ostensibly just as open to public criticism) instead of adopting the more rational and actually supportable belief that I lack an account because I don't do a lot of wiki-editing? Incidentally, while I'll fully admit to being prone to bluntness, how you managed to get "crude" in that personal attack is beyond me (with rude additionally being subjective, though far easier to understand where you're coming from). Frankly, after a quick review of your history I'm rather distressed that you're so quick to jump to conclusions. 74.240.68.95 (talk) 06:19, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Comment This is a completely unproductive conversation and someone should put it in an archive so no one has to be subjected to it anymore. Lexically "myth" is a homonym. Like any homonym, or indeed any word in actuality, meaning is dependent on context. There is absolutely no reason to believe that people are reading this entry and assuming that it covers "untrue stories about creation" as opposed to "sacred stories about creation." Anyone who does so fails basic English reading comprehension and I'm sorry but we can't do anything about that. Might someone who has not encountered mythology yet read the title only and wonder if it isn't about "untrue stories about creation"? I suppose that is a distinct possibility but as an encyclopedia our job is to help them learn what "creation myths" actually are. I will also note that none of Afaprof's examples above actually utilize the term "creation myth". And yes I'm sure there are some hard core atheists who have published books or articles in which "creation myth" is utilized in a way to also mean "untrue" but let's face it those examples make up 0.0001% of usages in mass culture. When someone does encounter the term "creation myth", as they will pretty much anytime this general subject matter is broached they should be able to turn to an encyclopedia to read more about it. This title is in line with common use across social fields -- the media, scholarship, everyday speech, etc. There is NO proof to the contrary. Please do us all a favor stop this silliness. It is this type of absurdity that makes otherwise neutral editors weary about supporting a different title at Genesis creation myth where common use actually warrants one. You all are doing those types of discussions a huge disservice and what you suggest for this entry is completely unencyclopedic. Please give it a rest.Griswaldo (talk) 12:22, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

The topic would be better served if you would be CIVIL and contribute to the debate or stay out of it. and use proper indents to address the issues at hand. Silly is not defined as "what you do not agree with". Edit the topic and not the editors.--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 12:40, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
There is nothing uncivil about what I said and I have not attacked anyone. This discussion is not helping the content of this entry in the least. If you want to have a serious conversation about the title bring in some real evidence from scholarship, mass culture etc. None exists on this talk page. The use of "creation myth" in any of those contexts is entirely consistent with this title. The presentation of this type of content in any of those contexts is also consistent with this title, with a few minor exceptions -- see for instance the discussion at Genesis creation myth. However those specific exceptions should be dealt with on a case by case basis. My very point here is that ironically your arguments here hurt even those specific cases because of the atmosphere of distrust they drum up. People have a hard time believing that genuine arguments based on policies and guidelines are being made as opposed to just "I don't like that phrase personally". I will not answer you again. I suggest, once more that you find something to back up your argument or stop making it. Best regards.Griswaldo (talk) 12:49, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Halqh, instead of choosing a random number of spaces to indent your comments, use one more colon than the comment you're replying to. --King Öomie 13:18, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Anyone that seriously thinks myth is a pejorative term needs to go read some Joseph Campbell and get an education. Torchiest (talk | contribs) 13:21, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

It can only be pejorative in contexts where people are obsessed with the truth value of stories. There certainly are people who use it specifically to mean "untrue" in relation to religious stories. Everyone isn't Joseph Campbell. But those people are in the vast minority, at least in the real world. One of the problems here, unfortunately, is that people on both sides of "truth value of (religious) stories" argument are uncommonly many in contexts like Wikipedia. They feed off of each other as well. What you get is a hostile environment in which rational discussion based on sound research is drowned out by ideological defensiveness. Personally I wish these people would find their way back to chat rooms and blogs, where their types of argument belong.Griswaldo (talk) 13:38, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Both the use of the word myth in its original meaning and with the meaning that its untrue is appropriate for Wikipedia IMO. Wikipedia should not be the place for people to spread their misinformed views about the origins of this planet. Let me quote Larry David : "I wasnt making fun of his religion, and even if I was, so what, you know, its a comedy. Religion should be made fun of, its quite ridiculous, isnt it? Just think how people spend their lives; they have no idea, they go around as if this is a fact. Its so insane, you know. If I really believed in this I'd keep it to myself."Wims (talk) 16:51, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

This is not only incorrect, but unhelpful. The purpose of this article is not to mock religion, and you inflame the (misplaced) anger of its detractors by claiming that it is. --King Öomie 17:47, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
The base of this problem is that Wikipedia should not be putting politeness and political correctness above truth. For example, would you describe Thor's Hammer as a myth or a theory? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.55.192.119 (talk) 04:54, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Basically what it comes down to is that religious people, those who believe these stories literally, don't realize that the stories are fiction and only allegorical representations and thus have a tough time accepting that some may view the word "myth" as fiction, even though it is. Let's stick to reality of what we know and not entertain magical thinkers. Tolerance should only extend so far before it becomes detrimental to being able to discover a clear cosmological view. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 143.81.18.138 (talk) 11:38, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Eliminated as its own section [41] Aug 2010 and referred to only via wikilink to main article since Aug 2010.

Main Article

Discussions about what to call Genesis Creation after Creationism split and Stand alone main article is created about Genesis Creation

Fork B becomes current main article:

Split off to current main article then called Creation accounts in Genesis 29 October 2004
reverted back to Creationism 30 October 2004
restored as Creation accounts in Genesis 31 October 2004
then Creation account(s) in Genesis 31 October 2004
Creation accounts in Genesis 31 October 2004
Creation according to Genesis by 7 Nov 2004
Genesis creation myth 5 February 2010
Creation according to Genesis 14 February 2010
Genesis creation myth 14 February 2010
Creation according to Genesis 14 February 2010
Genesis creation myth 14 February 2010
Genesis creation narrative 28 April 2010

Discussions to change from Creation accounts/(s) in Genesis

Discussions from Talk:Genesis creation narrative/Archive 1
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

PROPOSAL

A more accurate title of this article would be "Modern philosophers' opinions concerning Creation account(s) in Genesis". There is precious little about the creation account in this article, what it says, how it fits within the ancient Hebrew Weltanschauung, his concept of history, how to know God (if there is such). It lacks even a linguistic analysis and historical literary comparisons. If I didn't have some ideas about these question from other sources, I would be ignorant of them from this article.

From another perspective, why does this article exist at all? Most of it just rehashes what was covered in greater detail in other articles, in particular, that concerning Form Criticism. If it were up to me, I would flag this article for deletion, not because of NPOV problems, but because it has almost nothing original (not part of other wikipekia articles) to say. In short, it appears to be a waste of wikipedia bandwidth.

Melamed 18 Jan 2005

what would you place on this page? Ungtss 14:10, 19 Jan 2005 (UTC)i would place this question. is there a limited amount of space ? there just isnt room on i dont know what to call it ?hello hello can any body here me ?

First I would remove all the discussion about the JEPD theory and Formkritik, referring people to the articles in Wikipedia that discuss these themes in greater detail. Further, I'd remove the question of Mosaic authorship as that is irrelevant to the story of creation, better handled under the Wikipedia article on Genesis. I would also edit out repetitious elements in the article, which make up a large portion of what remains. That leaves us with an article about one third the size or less. And it still does not address how the Genesis account of creation fits within the larger picture of ancient Hebrew beliefs nor its literary style.

If I were to write this article, I'd first have a description of the ideas included in the text itself, showing the literary style that indicates that chapter 1 - 2:4 are one document, then 2:5 - 5:2 the second document, according to an ancient literary style that went out of use 1500 - 1800 BC.

Further, I’d show how the Genesis account of creation resonated in later Jewish writings, such as Exodus 20 where it serves as the reason for the seven day week and the Sabbath.

Only then would I mention modern interpretations of the Genesis creation, how modern people view the text and the message it conveys. This can afford to be fairly short, with extensive hyperlinks to the other articles which cover those issues in greater detail.

Melamed 28 Jan 2005

I think I like what you are proposing, but for such a wholesale change, it's probably best to wait for some more people agreeing.
Also, I am wary of your comments about "an ancient literary style", as I subscribe to the view that the Genesis actually is composed of separate original documents (i.e. as per, or similar to, Wiseman), not just having a style that makes it look that way, which is how I read your comments above.
Philip J. Rayment 09:20, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
all these sound like good ideas to me -- feel free to take a stab at your ideas, melamed -- we'll follow things where they go:). Ungtss 14:12, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Melamed. I came to this article looking for information about the creation story of Genesis and instead have an article about the Theories of Interpretation of the Creation Myth of Genesis. While it is an interesting article it doesn't really help a person who doesn't already know the Creation story. Think the title of this article should be changed. hdstubbs November 3, 2005
I agree that this article is currently dominated by a giant debate over the source criticism of Genesis 1-2 and Mosaic authorship. If there is a way to edit down those sections, while referring readers to other places that deal with them (e.g. the Genesis article) I'm all for it. The rest sounds like it would be difficult to do within an NPOV —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Demmeis (talkcontribs) 03:05, 11 April 2007 (UTC).

old proposals

i would like to change the name of this article to "Creation account(s) in Genesis," because there is a dispute as to whether there is one more more accounts in the text. I would also like to replace the text in this article with the text in Creation account(s) in Genesis, which describes both POVs with regard to the text in a more evenhanded, NPOV fashion. Any thoughts? Ungtss 23:56, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

alright. any opinions, cheesedreams? Ungtss 00:45, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC) the new article, incidentally, is a thorough edit of the old one, and not a new article. i copied, pasted, and edited.

You should either (a) edit the original article, or (b) copy paste and edit in your sandbox and append the page to your user page for discussion, linking from the talk page of the original article.
This is the article, not your page, and the neutrality of this article is all I am willing to discuss. If you dispute the neutrality of this article, then either change it, or complain in this talk page.
I am probably not the only person with any kind of interest in this proposed title change, and you should wait 48 hours at least to see if anyone who lives in another timezone, or is out tonight, or something, makes comment. CheeseDreams 00:54, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

---

Let's see. :) The problem seems to be that the page title "Creation accounts in Genesis" implies the POV that there are two different accounts in Genesis. And some people say that there is only ONE account in Genesis. Is that right? ---Rednblu | Talk 01:11, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

that about sums it up, i think:). any thoughts about how to resolve the issue? Ungtss 04:03, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I suggest that we open the discussion on the Creationism page where the master ToDo list is discussed and maintained. Creationism is the highest level page in this series. I'll open the question--if you did not already open it there. ;) ---Rednblu | Talk 05:57, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Merged From: Talk:Creation account in Genesis

The Existance of this page This page was recently created by someone for POV reasons. It entirely duplicates the Creation accounts in Genesis page. It is now a candidate for deletion, for NPOV reasons. User:CheeseDreams

I don't see why this should have been merged (I can't see much relevance), but it was tagged for merging -- I guess it might be of use to someone, so here you have it. Robinoke 21:50, 12 May 2005 (UTC)


Discussions to change from Creation according to Genesis

Discussion from Talk:Genesis creation narrative/Archive 1
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Proposing split

I propose to split this page in to Creation according to Judaism, Creation according Christianity, etc. As both understand Genesis totally differently and have very different ideas.

Judaism holds the Hebrew grammatically correct translation the first verse is: "In the beginning of God's creating the heavens and the earth." Rashi refutes the reading of the verse as "In the beginning [of everything] God created the heavens and the earth", as it is illogical, due to the fact that, in the next verse, water is mentioned before having been created. Indeed, water is never said to be created in the Genesis account of creation. The Jewish understanding of Genesis has no similarities and is incompatible with the Christian understanding.

I propose this split because the viewpoints have no similarities. ems (not to be confused with the nonexistant pre-dating account by the same name) 10:15, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Survey

3/6/0 (for/against/neutral)

  • Support ems (not to be confused with the nonexistant pre-dating account by the same name) 10:15, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Against The etcetera is an open ended call for adding multiple versions; furthermore this may result in a fractioned representation of the topic with much redundancy. I agree some attention should be piad though. I think a section 'difference between interpretations' should be sufficient to capture these issues. Arnoutf 11:01, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
    • Comment actually there wont be any redundancy. Jewish and Christian understanding of Genesis are totally different and these major deference starts from the very first verse. There are no similarities at all. I proposed this split because they are incompatible and have no similarities. ems (not to be confused with the nonexistant pre-dating account by the same name) 11:12, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
      • It's pretty drastic, and also pretty inaccurate, to say that there are no similarities at all. --InShaneee 23:01, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Against : Agree with Arnoutf that this will just frationate the topic. By all means introduce material to discuss distinctions being drawn by different interpretations though (the distinctions seem minor to me; but I'm fairly ignorant). If it were to split, presumably we'd have to introduce further splits to represent Islam and different flavours of Judaism or Christianity. Probably best to avoid that. --Plumbago 11:15, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
    • Comment why would you need splits of similar and compatible views? Here I ask for a split because the views have no similarities and are incompatible. ems (not to be confused with the nonexistant pre-dating account by the same name) 11:21, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
      • Comment My objection is that it's not at all clear to me that they really "have no similarities and are incompatible". I'm sure that there are differences in detail, but do they differ radically in the overarching scheme of things? If so, the case for this needs to be made better. At the moment, it just sounds like another familiar creationist interpretation. Cheers, --Plumbago 12:36, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Against Agree with Arnoutf; fractioned representation will ensue and the issue can be adequately represented in a single topic. --Davril2020 11:51, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Support The present article is a hopeless mismash of theories and opinions, more about Bible criticism in general than the creation story. The "Story" section itself is filled with interjections that are not in the text: "Light is the most important element for life to exist". I think it would be more interesting to read clear descriptions of coherent positions that one could then compare. --agr 13:59, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Against differences both within Christianity and within Jewish thought (rather than between them) differ far more than differences between different versions of the book Genesis. WAS 4.250 17:25, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
    • Comment do you say such a thing because you do not know the Jewish thought? Their differences have no simillarities. ems (not to be confused with the nonexistant pre-dating account by the same name) 18:51, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
      • Comment They have many similarities. They both have some commentators who were historically willing to accept less literal interpretations and others who were not. They both now have adherents who range from YEC to TE. Don't accuse WAS of ignorance simply because you disagree with him. JoshuaZ 19:01, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Support As per ems. --PinchasC | £€åV€ m€ å m€§§åg€ 17:58, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Against Was and Arnouft put it well. Also note that this is part of a general set of POV pushing by ems to deemphasize creationism in judaism. He is trying to do it also in Creation-evolution controversy. JoshuaZ 18:47, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Against All that needs to be done is to sort the article by viewpoint. It's the same genesis that's being read, so that part will be consistent, then both interpritations can be presented. --InShaneee 22:00, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • My mistake. Either way, are you really saying that every last detail on this page is disputed by the vast majority of Jewish scholars? If so, significant evidence would be needed to back up that assertion, and again, if it just amounts to 'significant differences', then it can be covered in its own section here. --InShaneee 00:10, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
    • Yes. Ramban says the lateral translation of "vayehi ever vayehi borck'r" is "and there was caos and there calmness" not "and there was evening and there was morning." Likewise, Rashi states But Scripture did not come to teach the sequence of the Creation, to say that these came first, for if it came to teach this, it should have written:“At first He created the heavens and the earth,” (Hebrew: בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה) for there is no רֵאשִׁית in Scripture that is not connected to the following word... ems (not to be confused with the nonexistant pre-dating account by the same name) 09:21, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
      • You keep citing two scholars. Do you have any evidence that their translation is widely accepted, and not just their opinion? --InShaneee 17:49, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
        • I actually am quoting 3 scholars. Rashi, Ramban and Rambam. There are many more but them three are most popular Jewish commentators. Rashi being the most popular of them. ems (not to be confused with the nonexistant pre-dating account by the same name) 06:33, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
        • I think the above comment underlines the need for a separate article on the Jewish interpretation of the Genesis story. It's not just that Jews have a different translation, the entire approach to understanding the Bible is different. There are thousands of years of writings that have to be considered. The text of Genesis itself, the Talmud, Mediaeval commentators (of whom Rashi and Maimonidies/Rambam, Nachmonidies/Ramban are preeminent names, on the level of Newton, Maxwell and Einstein in Physics), Midrash, Halacha, Kabbalah, Chasidus, Reform, Conservative and more. The end point is not an accurate, once and forever translation, but increased understanding at multiple levels. When such an article is written, we can discuss more meaningfully how much overlap there is between the views different religious traditions.--agr 18:17, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I can't see why. The jewish perspective should just be put in its own section, without a need to touch the rest of the article for the most part. --InShaneee 16:29, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Against - let's see first a sub-section on this page with something like 'Jewish views of this verse' explaining all the differences. If it really becomes clear that this is so different, then consider a split. Brusselsshrek 08:45, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Comments

Read an excellent and recent book, philosophical and theological, in French : Jean-Marc Rouvière "Breves meditations sur la creation du monde" Ed. L'Harmattan Paris 2006

I would just like to add, being a Christian, that the initial information is all wrong. God created the light on day one,the oceans and sky on day two, The land and plants on day three, the sun and moon and stars on day four, the fish and birds on day five, land animals and people (in His image) on day six, NOT all these other things claimed to be made. (Caves, Magic staffs, (which was God, not "Magic") the rainbow, (Noah was thousands of years after creation, He was the only righteous man left)and other absurd things this article talks about.)On the seventh day He rested. I just wanted to clarify.

    • If you need to talk to someone, call toll-free 1-800-633-3446 Please don't hesitate.**
It's a legitimate complaint. The article is a mish-mash of differing traditions. I tried to edit the stories so they stick more closely to the text and clearly identify the dusk of the sixth day material as part of the Jewish tradition.--agr 15:52, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Bible by Chapter

Has anyone ever proposed having an article for Genesis 1, Genesis 2, Genesis 3, and on and on throughout the entire bible? It might seem extreme, but such an important document should be looked at as closely as possible. Someone please direct me to the page on wikipedia where this matter is being discussed. - ShadowyCabal 19:22, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

You are welcome to start. If others see them as unnessisary they might put them up for deletion. But there is nothing to stop you starting. There is no page to discuss new article proposals - you just start writing. --Michael Johnson 05:12, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I support your idea. Let me call to your attention two parallel projects, although neither may be responsive to your interests: There is an article on Genesis 1:1, and see the discussion page there at Talk:Genesis 1:1. But see the discussion of the related discussion of including the text as such at Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Whole bible chapter text. And there are articles on each of the 54 portions of the first five books in the Bible that are read in Synagogues on a weekly basis. These tend to be three or four chapters each. For example, see Bereishit (parsha), Noach (parsha), and the rest cited at the bottom of each of those pages.--Dauster 08:01, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Discussion from Talk:Genesis creation narrative/Archive 3
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


Myth vs. Account

The change to include the assertion that the Genesis account is a "creation myth", first made a part of the visible text in the opening description of the topic at 22:37 on 26 NOV 2008, is a dogmatic assertion of a non-neutral point of view. The fact that most scholars consider it to be mythical should be established in the body of the article, but not dogmatically asserted in the opening. There are many Bible scholars who consider the Genesis account of creation to be factual and not mythical. While they are clearly in the minority, they are not an insignificant or fringe group. To be sure, there are some scholars who consider anyone who believes the creation account of Genesis to be factual to be unworthy of recognition as scholar, but that is a point of view, too. The battle between those who consider Genesis 1&2 to be mythical and those who consider it to be factual is truly a war of words, with some on each side calling their opponents fools. I suggest that the opening be returned to a neutral description of the topic. WP ought not take sides.RDavS (talk) 15:50, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Just because it is what scholars call a myth doesn't mean it's false. See the definition of myth. Only in casual meaning does it imply a value judgment. It's rather like the difference between the scientific and casual meaning of the word "theory". In casual use, it means "guess" or "idea". In science, it means, solid and well-supported concept. Two totally different implications of the same word. Aunt Entropy (talk) 00:34, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
What if you changed the first sentence to read "Creation according to Genesis is the creation story or creation myth (in the academic sense)..."? LovesMacs (talk) 00:44, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Then we would be obligated to do this for every word that had different formal and colloquial usage, and let's face it, there are many such words in the English language. For all such words, context is important. This is an encyclopedia, and since it is generally assumed that an encyclopedia would be using words in a formal sense, this hardly seems warranted. Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:58, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Would we really have to do all that? I thought that this article was controversial enough to let it be the exception rather than the rule, in order to add some explanation that may not be needed with less hot-button topics. LovesMacs (talk) 01:08, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
The article isn't controversial, in fact it's not special in any way, so giving it special treatment just opens the floodgates as I explained above. I will admit the article is a POV pusher magnet though, and since you're likely still watching the Noah's Ark talk page, you know that's all RDavS is here for - he wants language that is sympathetic to his beliefs, not neutrality. Pandering to him/her isn't going to do the article any good. If, however, you genuinely want Wikipedia to avoid using the term or to have parentheticals explain what sense we use it in, then that is a discussion for WP:NPOV or WP:MOS or something, not one articles talk page. Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:30, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
(I just wanted to explain that when I said this article isn't controversial, I meant mainstream controversy - I don't tend to count fringe groups and pov pushers as adding controversy to a topic. Ben (talk))

Taken over from Talk:Creation#Creation myth vs. Creation account:

Summary of principal meanings of "Myth" as found on dictionary.reference.com, with emphasis illustrating the neutrality of the word in the context of the first book of the Bible, Genesis:

  • from Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1):
"A traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, esp. one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature."
  • from American Heritage Dictionary:
"A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society: the myth of Eros and Psyche; a creation myth."
  • from Online Etymology Dictionary:
"Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." (J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254)"
  • from Wordnet:
"A traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the world view of a people"
  • from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:
"A story of great but unknown age which originally embodied a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; an ancient legend of a god, a hero, the origin of a race, etc.; a wonder story of prehistoric origin; a popular fable which is, or has been, received as historical."

Looks like the word was specially created for this. - DVdm (talk) 07:41, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Discussion from Talk:Genesis creation narrative/Archive 4
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Calling Genesis a "myth" is a point of view

This point of view can appear in the article, but per WP:NPOV policy, it must be attributed, and sources establishing that other points of view exist must also be mentioned. We are talking about taking such cases to arbcom. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:41, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

that's nonsense. please read creation myth, and look up "myth" in a dictionary. Plus, nobody is "calling Genesis a myth". Genesis is a lengthy Hebrew text containing various material. This article is concerned with the first two chapters of Genesis only, which happen to contain the narrative of the Hebrew creation myth(s). If there are any npov problems here, it would be the WP:UNDUE length of the "Biblical literalism" section. I do accept that Christian fundamentaism and Biblical literalism could get a mention in this article, but seeing that this topic is an Iron Age text, not recent events in Christian sectarianism, such a mention should be kept brief indeed. --dab (𒁳) 17:54, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

I have read dictionaries, and "myth" is not a "neutral" term to describe a contemporary and widespread belief.. It's not even a well defined term by scholars, and all of the nine potential definitions are subjective. There are not only many editors and readers, but millions of people, and plenty of reliable sources who definitely do not consider Genesis a "myth". It's an opinion of some, being falsely presented as if nobody disagreed. You may call it nonsense, but this issue won't go away until it gets to arbcom. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:53, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Til, did you miss the reference to Oxford's Dictionary of the Bible? Ben (talk) 17:51, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Til, you are wrong, and just repeating your claim does not make it any truer. this issue won't go away until it gets to arbcom isn't a healthy approach, but good look taking a trivial matter such as this to arbitration after all of two talkpage posts on your part. Purely assertive posts without any presentation of references at that. But sure, feel free to drop this now and leave the article in peace until you get an arbcom injunction. --dab (𒁳) 17:57, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

This issue is longstanding and not unique to this article, and I have got a whole collection of reliable sources establishing that alterative povs really do exist. It's far from trivial, there are many books entirely discussing the tactic of defining "myth" to include the Bible, and these views are significant. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:02, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Again, taken over from Talk:Creation#Creation myth vs. Creation account and form recent archive:

Summary of principal meanings of "Myth" as found on dictionary.reference.com, with emphasis illustrating the neutrality of the word in the context of the first book of the Bible, Genesis:

  • from Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1):
"A traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, esp. one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature."
  • from American Heritage Dictionary:
"A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society: the myth of Eros and Psyche; a creation myth."
  • from Online Etymology Dictionary:
"Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." (J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254)"
  • from Wordnet:
"A traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the world view of a people"
  • from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:
"A story of great but unknown age which originally embodied a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; an ancient legend of a god, a hero, the origin of a race, etc.; a wonder story of prehistoric origin; a popular fable which is, or has been, received as historical."

Looks like the word was specially created for this. - DVdm (talk) 19:38, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

That's because you're only giving half of the definition, and using only those sources that agree with your POV. Neutrality means telling both sides. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 19:43, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
These definitions cover every possible POV, so the word is perfect for the job. DVdm (talk) 20:20, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Til hasn't backed up anything he said, so I've removed the tag. Until he can present a case backed by reliable sources, and get some sort of consensus here, it should stay that way. Cheers, Ben (talk) 20:09, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

I have backed up everything I have said with copious references, you're just pretending you haven't seen any references. I have said before and I will say again: If you don't believe there really is a "significant point of view" in numerous published sources, actively disputing the opinion that Genesis is in any way a "myth", or that the definition of "myth" should include Genesis, than we can get clarification from WP:RS/N, because you seem to be havig trouble understanding WP:RS and WP:NPOV. If there are conflicting, sourced, significant points of view, WP:NPOV requires that we don't present only one view as correct, factual and undisputed, and pretend we haven't seen any dispute or other POVs as if they didn't exist. Rather, we are required to give ALL points of view and attribute them in our wording. Policy is being consistently ignored on multiple articles, so I predict arbcom action will eventually be required. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 20:28, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
According to what we find in 5 top-dictionaries, Genesis being a "myth" is clearly not in any way a point a view. It is a fact - by definition. It seems to me that the only point of view here is yours, namely that there is something wrong with a particular word because you attach a special meaning to it. I get the impression that you hold the opinion that your religion is the only "correct" one. Perhaps that is the reason why you have some difficulty keeping a neutral stance regarding this subject. A friendly piece of advice: take some time to closely look at those definitions, and try to appreciate the sense of neutrality of those who listed these definitions. DVdm (talk) 21:45, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Once again: You are only giving part of the definition. The various and contradictory definitions of myth have been greatly argued over for decades for precisely this reason, and this debate exists in literature to the tune of many megabytes. There is nothing I as a mere editor can argue, that one of the published reliable and scholarly sources hasn't already said, directly in opposition to the supposed appropriateness of the label "myth". It comes down to a question of, are you blindly going to ignore those significant sources and pretend they don't count. For which, if WP:RS/N is not sufficient, there is arb com. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:13, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Words are used one definition at a time. And "myth" is a neutral term and used properly here. I'm sorry that the common meaning is more prominent in your mind than the standard scholarly one, but that's not the fault of the first definition. Aunt Entropy (talk) 00:13, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Once again, this isn't really about what's "prominent in my mind". This is about a ton of published sources, a significant viewpoint you are turning a blind eye to, all saying for various reasons, "we disagree that Genesis is a myth", or "this definition is disputed". Policy very clearly dictates that we take these into account and attribute the notion that it is a myth, as well as the notion that it is not. What you or I or any editor thinks personally about this is quite irrelevant, once you have all possible spectrums of the debate well represented in print (and I assure you this is a massive and significant debate) Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:29, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
In response to your phrases "...only giving part of the definition" and "... the notion that it is a myth, as well as the notion that it is not" => According to the full definitions in 5 top-dictionaries it is de-facto a myth and, apart from the authors of the dictionaries, there is nothing anyone can do about that. See also the article on mythology. You confuse your personal and obviously biased notion with a notable notion (no pun intended). Perhaps you are a bit too much emotionally involved. Emotions might provide good and valuable guidance for essay writing, but they are bad news for encyclopedia writing. Some time off from this hobby might do you good - cheer up, DVdm (talk) 09:39, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not ignoring anything; you are. Once again: this has nothing to do with what I may or may not think, feel, or believe; I'm just an editor, and those thing don't matter and are perfectly irrelevant to the published debate. There are numerous reliable sources establishing that "Genesis = myth" is a hugely contested POV, and not an indisputed, uncontested "fact" as you pretend. Now you can either acknowledge that other significant POVs (beside your own) really do exist, and are easily attested, on this very question, or this can go to mediation. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:06, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Til, there is nothing wrong with thinking you're right. There is a big problem with thinking you can't be wrong. Think about it for a second, either there is a wiki-conspiracy to work against you over this matter, or you're simply wrong. It's good to see you finally read that the arbcom doesn't deal with content disputes, and that your threats of action are now about mediation. Unfortunately, I don't think mediation is going to help you out either - it requires all parties to agree to it. I don't know how others here will react if you ever go through with your threat, but I'm inclined to refuse. I've already spent countless hours going through mediation with you at Noah's Ark and discussions on policy pages, and now it looks like you're intent on taking every page using the term through the same process. It seems little more than disruptive behaviour to me, and frankly, I've got better things to do than entertain it. Cheers, Ben (talk) 14:28, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Once again: This has to do with the views of a huge number of authors who disagree with your POV. This is a huge debate, and it does no good for wikipedia to hide its head in the sand and ignore it. The reliable sources will not go away. This is not about my personal views, as desperate as you seem to be at this point to make this about me personally, it just isn't. Nice try though. Unless perhaps you think all of those scholars from Gunkel up to the present day, who are on the record as saying things like "Genesis does not meet any definition of myth, and myth should not be purposefully redefined so as to include scriptures" are all really my various pen names. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 14:40, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

This is going in circles. Til has been doing this for years, and is probably not going to see the point anytime soon. Fortunately, WP:CONSENSUS does not mean "absolutely unanimous", or Wikipedia would be doomed, because there will always be someone with listening difficulties. Our own mythology gives a perfectly satisfactory definition from OED, the foremost dictionary of the English language.

"A traditional story, typically involving supernatural beings or forces or creatures, which embodies and provides an explanation, aetiology, or justification for something such as the early history of a society, a religious belief or ritual, or a natural phenomenon"

This is meaning 1a, i.e. the primary meaning. In the compound creation myth, we intend meaning 1a. Yes, there is a secondary meaning, "A widespread but untrue or erroneous story or belief", which is why Til is making all this noise. This is not the meaning intended here. How difficult can it be to understand and accept that we are using a term in its primary dictionary meaning? Genesis 1-2 is A traditional story (traditional indeed for most of Europe and Western Asia for two millennia!), involving supernatural beings or forces or creatures (you bet the Elohim are supernatural!) which provides an aetiology for a natural phenomenon (in this case, the Universe itself, which I daresay is a natural phenomenon). This isn't any sort of "redefinition" of the term "myth", it is its core meaning. So if we can please leave it at that and stop the sophistry and hand-waving. Calling a story a "myth" is actually admitting it is important. A "story" is something you read for entertainment. A myth is something that holds significance to people's lives. --dab (𒁳) 16:40, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

It's also a lie to pretend that "scholars are unanimous in describing Genesis as a myth". Scholars are NOT unanimous on that, there is wide disagreement among the sources, and policy requires us to reflect that they disagree on that point. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 16:54, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
So you have reliable sources that say that Genesis is NOT a "traditional story, typically involving supernatural beings or forces or creatures, which embodies and provides an explanation, aetiology, or justification for something such as the early history of a society, a religious belief or ritual, or a natural phenomenon"? Because that is the definition we are talking about. Aunt Entropy (talk) 17:07, 22 February 2009 (UTC)


Others have suggested that the Genesis narratives are "myths". But "myth" is a slippery term, witness the fact that scholars use at least nine different definitions of "myth". According to McCartney and Clayton, "the common meaning of the term myth in popular parlance is 'a fabulous and untrue story'." This denotation, they say, makes the term "myth" totally inadequate for Genesis, for "biblical history is not myth, but a true story, told with theological purpose and vantage-point. It may use the images and linguistic forms of its environment, but slipping in the term myth by redefinition really results in a reduction of the uniqueness of biblical history. Moreover, the Genesis narratives demythologize pagan mythologies. Surely the label of "myth" is inappropriate for narratives that demythologize pagan mythologies. -- Sydney Greidanus
Those are not my words, but just one example of the massive amount of evidence from numerous scholars that other significant viewpoints exist. Specifically, the viewpoint that Christian scholars and various religious bodies hold of their own canon, is quite significant to an article on that topic, and it is a violation of neutrality to rely solely on, or give precedence to, one-sided sources and definitions that would dictate to Christians how they must interpret their own scripture. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:33, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
A non-notable (so it seems after a little research, feel free to correct me) faculty member of Calvin Theological Seminary who wrote a non-notable (I found two reviews - one an authorless word document - but again, feel free to correct me) book about preaching. We should consider this opinion because .. ? Ben (talk) 18:58, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I am truly amazed that Greidanus' words "...biblical history is not myth, but a true story..." are taken seriously here by someone to make a point. People, this is an encyclopedia, not Speaker's Corner. DVdm (talk) 19:26, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I am already aware of your POV that Christians are not entitled to have their POV on their own Scriptures represented. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 19:43, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
That Christians are not entitled to have their POV on their own Scriptures represented, is not a point of view of mine. That is a serious strawman you are pulling there. It is however a point of view of mine, and much more importantly, of the founders of this encyclopedia, that no-one here is entitled to impose their POV about the veracity of their own Scriptures upon the community, in order to represent them as factual. DVdm (talk) 20:50, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
The problem is you are arguing against representing Chrstian & Jewish viewpoints on their own scriptures fairly. By presenting only the view of some scholars that Genesis is a myth, without acknowledging that there is an opposing viewpoint. WP:NPOV is very clear that when you have two opposing and significant viewpoints, both sould be presented and attributed in neutral language, not just one. And no, I have never suggested representing anyone's scriptures as "factual". That right there is a strawman. I just want the article to reflect the reality that not everyone agrees this is a "myth". Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:40, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Way to misrepresent other people's comments. It seem this is another recurring problem of yours. Ben (talk) 19:57, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
If I am mistaken or have misunderstood, then on what grounds precisely do you presume to disqualify Greidanus' scholarship? Guess what: You aren't the arbiter of what is or isn't a scholarly, widespread or significant POV to the topic, for purposes of being represented fairly in accordance with WP:NPOV. We also have a procedure to help determine that very thing, if there is any question about it. See WP:RS/N. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 20:47, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
The view that the bible contains mythical elements (like this article's topic) is near universal among recognised experts on the topic. This is easily backed up, for instance, Marcus Borg notes here that
David Strauss's claim that many of the gospel narratives are mythical in character, and that "myth" is not simply to be equated with "falsehood" — have become part of mainstream scholarship.
This is a recognised expert describing scholarship on the topic Til. Scrounging around the web and finding a few quotes that seem to support your misconception of scholarship on this topic will not do - anyone can find quotes supporting any argument they like. The classic example is evolution. Expert opinion in near universal, but there is a lot of background noise coming from people who really don't know what they're talking about or have some agenda to push. As someone said earlier, you probably need to take a break from this. You're in real danger of WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. Cheers, Ben (talk) 17:19, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
You are only accepting one side of the scholarly debate, that is the classic violation of NPOV, and I have found many scholars who came after Strauss who contest his defining the Gospels as myth. You are claiming a monopoly on scholarly thought that doesn't exist, and you are pretending you didn't hear all of the scholars who disagree with your POV. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:31, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Despite the "official definition" hinting the word 'myth' may be acceptable, the general interpretation of the word is that is a made up, fake story. This interpretation is what most to all people use when they first see the word 'myth' typed here in the article. Perhaps whe word legend would be better suited. I am not signing my IP address on Wikipedia, I respect my privacy.

"The point", and a clearer proposal

Let's get back to the point, which is the first two chapters of Genesis. Til, if you don't think they can be called myth, what would you call them? PiCo (talk) 23:46, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

There are many interpretations of Genesis. For this article to start by defining the subject as "myth" sets the tone for the entire article and does not present a neutral point of view. The creation accounts in Genesis might be called "story" which some take literally while other take figuratively, allegorically, or even as myth. Rlsheehan (talk) 00:01, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
No, that's not the point, PiCo. It doesn't matter at all what I would call them. I might even call them "myths" for all it matters to the real point, which is what do Reliable Sources say. Some scholars call them "myth". Others specifically do not, and in researching this I have seen many other attempts to categorize the genre epistemologically. The term that seems to be most commonly used by those scholars who dissent that it is a "myth" is "scripture" as a distinct genre. But actually, what I am proposing is not to replace "myth" with another term, but rather, instead of saying "it is a myth", we should say something like "it is a myth according to most Bible scholars (including x, y, and z), while a few modern theologians such as Robert Jenson, and contemporary sources such as International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1994 ed), the Holman Christian Standard Bible and the New Living Translation specifically disagree with this categorisation." Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:10, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Oh here we go. Til, can you please explain to me Jenson's views on this? Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:32, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
He is only one of several scholars who are drawing distinctions between Genesis and the polytheistic myths of Israel's neighbours, by noting what characteristics would obviously separate them into a distinct category (other than just polytheism itself, which was sufficient for Gunkel and those who follow his school of thought to the present). He makes the same point that several scholars have made: while stories traditionally called "myths" (polytheistic accounts) have their setting in a timeless frame, the monotheistic account in Genesis is connected with a definite view of history, as Israel saw it; one that begins with creation, not before it, and is part of a continuous narrative of time that continues to the days of Persia and later. This, he and the others argue, is more than sufficient to qualify it as a totally different genre that distinctly presents itself in contrast to the other stories believed in ancient times that are agreed to be "myths". Several scholars also argue that the Israelites actually took pagan myths and "demythologized" them, turning them into something else, monotheistic accounts that ought to go by a different name because they are so vastly different, not part of any nature-religion. By the way, some scholars of Hinduism have made a very similar argument that Hindu texts are not "myths" for a very similar reason: Because they clearly present themselves within the framework of history, quite unlike the primeval accounts of the Greeks, Egyptians or Babylonians. Thus they are versions of history - possibly inaccurate ones, but versions of history nonetheless. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 01:00, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
While I recognise that some scholars associate myth with polytheism (an association few maintain today, as I showed you earlier - if anyone else is curious I'm happy to discuss this historical association), it is news to me that Jenson shared this view. Can you point us to a passage or something where we can verify this? Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:19, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I think I misread your paragraph, but upon rereading it I think you're saying Jenson is looking for other (i.e., not polytheism) distinguishing attributes of biblical narratives, in this case an historical perspective. Fair enough. This naturally leads to a new set of questions. Is this distinction so notable that we should avoid, or perhaps use with qualifiers, the term myth in this article. If not, and I feel this is the case, does a discussion of this distinction merit a note in every article that uses the term myth, or should we restrict the discussion to a broader article, say Genesis, Christian mythology or mythology? Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:29, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
This particular school of thought (which is far wider than just Jenson, but I mentioned him as a representative example because he has a big wp article, and because he specifically mentions Creation according to Genesis as his example) is only the tip of the iceberg; actually a vast number of RSS and theologians have cried foul at the newer, broadened use of "myth" by other academics, for a variety of reasons. But please note that I am not suggesting that we "avoid the term myth in this article", I am suggesting that we attribute it, and the opposing view, in our wording per NPOV policy; since it is by no means a unanimous or uncontested view among theologians. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 01:38, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
This is the crux of the matter though. You simply assert a vast number this or significant debate that again and again. You must establish, not assert. Pulling quotes of people dismissing the term myth simply will not do. We don't sit here and run up a tally of how many people use x or y. Instead, if there really is significant debate, or whatever you want to assert, then the reliable sources must say so, right? I claim there is not significant debate and I think I have established this by citing discussions like Borg's above. I'm happy for you to prove me wrong, so prove it, don't assert it. Cheers, Ben (talk) 01:56, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Just to be clear, by doing this, you're answering the first of the natural questions I mentioned above about notability. I'm not asking you to run in circles or anything. Cheers, Ben (talk) 02:01, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Raising the bar yet again, I see. A few months ago, you were telling me there was nothing in print anywhere disputing that Genesis is a myth, and therefore it was my OR and I made the whole objection up myself[43]. Then as soon as I came up with sources, who'd have guessed, they weren't good enough for you. No number of verified theologians explicitly saying "we don't agree with those who say it's a myth" will ever be enough for you, Ben. Luckly it's not up to you, it's up to policy. I'm sorry, but you have no right to hold me to a standard that is unreasonably higher than that set by WP:RS. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 02:08, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
And by telling you there was nothing in print, you mean I was asking you to present some reliable sources. And by that OR quote you just gave I was talking about the proposal to use the wording Regarded as myth by all but some fundamentalist Christians who believe it to be true which is not just OR, but utter junk. Your continued misrepresentation of peoples comments is fucked up Til, and if I knew of something I could do about it I would. You're free to ignore my request to establish your claims, but you'll just to have to deal with sitting on the talk pages for the rest of your days. Have fun with that. Ben (talk) 02:34, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Til's point is a rather subtle one, and I'll begin by restating it: scholars of mythology characterise "myth" as stories concerning the gods, set in a timeless frame; Genesis 1-2 differs from the myths of surrounding peoples in being set within a timeframe, a very definite and unmistakable one, which means it merges with history, a separate genre of which the ancients were quite aware (Herodotus quotes Persian historians - he wasn't, in fact, the inventor of history). For this reason mythologists DON't call Genesis 1-2 "myth": they call it "mythic history". Ben, this is a fact of scholarship - Til's right. PiCo (talk) 11:23, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

I just sat down to read through Til's sources, unconvinced of his claim that there is significant debate on whether we can apply the term myth to Genesis 1-2. The third, Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth, seemed to make the strongest claim - all biblical scholars. Shit, the passage he quotes is on defining 'myth vs. myths'. It has nothing to do with this discussion. In fact, the book discusses extensively the role of myth in the bible, went to great lengths to offer varying definitions of the term and gives views from a range of different academic disciplines. Til isn't right and doesn't have a subtle point, he doesn't even read the stuff he pastes here - it just looks like it supports his cause so he just pastes it. That doesn't mean he is wrong, I'm more than happy to admit I'm wrong, but I'm sick of doing his homework to establish that. Your comment above is so utterly non-constructive, as is and in light of all the previous discussion we have had (that included you), that I'm not even going to bother discussing it. I give up. I wash my hands of this mess. Do what you want. Ben (talk) 11:48, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
What a display of bad faith, Ben... Of course I have read all of these sources thoroughly; I'm not just pasting them. The third quote (Rogerson) as you say, discusses all the varying definitions and views, and how they contradict one another. That is what true scholarship does. Shoddy scholarship pretends there is only one view, and that the others don't exist. It doesn't matter so much which side of the debate Rogerson himself comes on. You asked for evidence that there exists more than just one unanimous, monolithic view agreeing with you on this question, and I provided it. Take Rogerson away, and the other sources are still more than sufficient to establish that this is a matter of intense and continuing debate among theologians, not a matter of agreement.
Those who argue that we should cite scientists on theological articles instead of theologians, are kind of like those who think we ought to cite theologians on science articles, instead of scientists. But then, I don't wade into science articles and demand that theologians be cited there instead of scientists. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 12:33, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Sources stating it is a significant debate

  • "Many scholars would be content to interpret the Creation story or the Fall as neither history nor myth. It is not history, according to them, in the sense that Gen. 1-2 or Gen. 3 describes past events that actually happened. But neither are they myths, at least in the historical-philosophical definition of myth. The truth is that scholars disagree about the definition of the word. One recent writer (G. B. Caird) has isolated nine definitions of myth and another [J. W. Rogerson] documents twelve aspects of myth. This proliferation of definitions of myth is the reason why one scholar would look at Gen. 1-11 and say it is free of myth, while another scholar would look at Gen 1-11 and pronounce it entirely mythical." -- The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17 (part of The New International Commentary on the Old Testament) by Victor P. Hamilton, 1990, p. 56-58.
  • Also please read God Who Speaks and Shows: Preliminary Considerations by theologian Carl F. H. Henry, 1999, Chapter 3 in its entirety. He peer-reviews at least eight other theologians (including G. Ernest Wright and J. I. Packer) who assert that no part of the Bible fits the definition of myth. "Many scholars deplore the ascription of mythical language to Scripture as entirely unjustifiable and arbitrary."
  • "How to define "myth" is another matter altogether. While most, if not all biblical scholars would agree that the word myth may denote what produces myths, or may mean the understanding of the world that is contained in them, agreement would end as soon as these generalizations were made more specific." -- J.W. Rogerson, "Slippery Words:Myth" in Sacred Narrative: Readings in the Theory of Myth
  • "In using the terms myth and mythical in relation to Genesis, we encounter greater misgivings. Not only do the terms have unsavory connotations in popular usage, but an impressive array of biblical scholars have argued that both myth and mythical modes of thought are absent from the Bible. - another good chapter to read, in The Meaning of Creation by Conrad Hyers, 1984, p. 99. By the way, he does not totally share this view, but at least he is scholarly enough to acknowledge it exists, citing the Gunkel - Wright school of thought in opposition to the notorious Strauss-Bultmann school of thought.
Amazing. You could have just given these three months ago you know. Time for bed for me, but I'll be sure to read over them when I wake up. Ben (talk) 02:35, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
No, actually I couldn't have given these three months ago; but over the course of our discussions, and the many requests for sources, I have educated myself by reading up on all sides of the great modern mythology debate among scholars and theologians. Three months ago, I probably couldn't even have told you who Levi-Strauss was. But I certainly would have given these refs to you, if I had known then everything I do now. Anyway, this doesn't really matter. Happy reading. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 03:01, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

A compelling bottom line on the "myth" issue

Concerning Til Eulenspiegel's phrase "By presenting only the view of some scholars that Genesis is a myth..." and 76 variations thereof:

The bottom line is that only some Christians might disagree that Genesis is myth. Understandable as it may be, we call that "bias" around here. Look at the principal dictionary entries listed above: THEY COVER ALL VIEWPOINTS and that is what we need in an encyplodedia. This really is not open for debate. Is this so hard to swallow? DVdm (talk) 17:22, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

I have established, with reliable sources, that there is a significant debate. If you are going to continue to insist that only one side of this debate needs to be presented, we shall proceed toward arbitration. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 17:46, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
There is nothing to debate. You are just banging your head against a wall. DVdm (talk) 18:21, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Right, I will be pursuing due process of mediation in the near future. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:34, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Wrong. There is nothing to mediate. You are figthing a concrete wall of dictionaries. DVdm (talk) 18:43, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Are you seriously suggesting that I have no right to pursue due process according to WP:DISPUTE? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 18:47, , 23 February 2009 (UTC)
I am not in any way, let alone seriously, suggesting that you have no right to pursue whatever it is that you feel compelled to pursue. Another strawman. I am at most suggesting that you might be in the process of hurting yourself. DVdm (talk) 21:44, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Hurting myself? Please explain. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:00, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, if the issue were really as clear-cut as you seem to think, you'd have nothing to fear in appealing this to the mediation process. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you're not actually trying to stifle the process out of fear of the result. Editors just can't make up rules as they go along; these things are governed by policies which, IMO, have not been followed here. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:20, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for giving me a benefit, but I'm afraid there is nothing to mediate to begin with. Dictionaries are quite rigid - THEY COVER ALL VIEWPOINTS. I can't help that. Cheers, DVdm (talk) 21:44, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I will be preparing my case in the near future. NPOV policy is quite rigid: when the existence of a widespread and significant viewpoint about a topic can be verified, we are required to cover it in the article. Not cover it up. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:00, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Define "myth" in article

Since "creation myth" is apparently being relentlessly forced into this article by its proponents, it needs to be done with some modicum of integrity to include explanation of this particular definition for the uninitiated, like this PhD, who grew up associating myths with Aesop's Fables, Greek Mythology, mythical beasts like the gryphon, dragon, unicorn, pegasus, phoenix, gargoyle and so on. It has no integrity to drop a proverbial bomb into the first sentence with the surface appearance of attempting to bias the reader to the most common connotation of "myth." If it is so important to so identify this article, then it is deserving of a clear explanation of intent.Afaprof01 (talk) 04:07, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

The creation myth article is the place to discuss definitions. Ben (talk) 05:31, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
As someone who has vehemently opposed the insertion of "myth" into articles, some editors may be surprised that I am happy with "Creation myth". To clarify: the word "myth" is tied to the phrase "Creation myth", which is wikilinked. In this context, the term "myth" is qualified by the phrase that it is found in and so the question of neutrality is bound to the term "Creation myth", rather than just "myth". Given this, the correct place to argue about the neutrality of the term is at Talk:Creation myth--FimusTauri (talk) 14:04, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree that "creation myth" belongs in the lead of this article. There are other articles where it's unnecessary; I think Noah's ark is one, for instance. In this one, though, that's the entire topic of the article, and it really makes no sense not to include the term -- and of course the academic meaning that is intended should be clearly defined in the wikilinked article. Agathman (talk) 22:30, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

According to Genesis is the topic

I am new to this group and would like to clarify that this page is intended to describe creation according to Genesis, and not whether the source (bible) or information is mythical. Please remove the word "myth" so that the students using Wikipedia can trust this resource. Fighting about creation and use of the word myth does not promote education. Students seeking information regarding creation according to Genesis deserve only the facts and should not have to read the entire book of Genesis for a summary of creation according to Genesis. Honestly777 (talk) 00:05, 21 March 2009 (UTC)Honestly

Have a look at a few dictionaries and at the articles Myth, Mythology and their talk pages. DVdm (talk) 09:42, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree. Myth has no place here. It is seen to be derogatory and only a dozen or so people on wikipedia are fighting for it. Over the last year, many more people have asked against it, but these POV pushers keep reverting. then then warm you on your talk page for doing the very thing that they are doing. myth is ambiguous. narrative is recognized by all. let's switch. in fact, it was switch, but they've reverted again. revert, revert, revert. look at their contributions, the revert key is the only one they use! 76.249.22.141 (talk) 00:26, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Why do you hate the dictionary? Aunt Entropy (talk) 00:34, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
There is no such thing as "the" dictionary. There are myriad dictionaries and therefore variant definitions. It is intellectually dishonest to pick and choose to leave a particular POV.Afaprof01 (talk) 04:33, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
It is not intellectually dishonest to use the very first listed definition of the word in a matter perfectly suited for it. Aunt Entropy (talk) 04:45, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Is there a continuum from 'fact' to 'myth'?

Sure, in about the same way that there is a continuum from "dog" to "toaster". We are using "myth" in this article, as elsewhere in wikipedia dealing with religion, in its religious sense -- see my quote from Hyers above. To use Hyers' quote of EHW Meyerstein, "Myth is my tongue, which means not that I cheat, but stagger in a light too great to bear." Myth and fact aren't points on a line; they fall on entirely different axes. One may understand the Genesis 1 and 2 myths as absolutely historically accurate, and miss their symbolic import; one might see them as historical truth and also see the symbolic import; one might see them as historically inaccurate and devoid of symbolic import; or one might see them as historically inaccurate and symbolically important. The range of interpretations of Genesis 1 and 2, as for any myth, is huge, and not to be captured in a sentence. Agathman (talk) 17:14, 20 April 2009 (UTC)


oh, but it can be captured in a sentence. in fact, that's the point of an encyclopedia. besides, who really cares about this myth-fact continuum. (Which by the way is very, very common in scholarly journals, news media, and everyday speech, and you would have to live on a different planet not to know this): But I don't care and that's not the point here -- the point is, is that some people take creation in genesis to be REAL, FACT. and Some take it to be MADE UP, FICTITIOUS. And there is this grand continuum in between. Swift as an Eagle (talk) 17:18, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
But my point is, many people take it to be things that are not either of those two alternatives, nor any point in between, but something else entirely. And the fact that the popular press fosters a binary "us vs. them" view of this issue is not a reason that it should be endorsed in what is attempting to be a scholarly article. I'm happy with a statement that interpretations vary, just not with one that represents all of them as falling on the line you describe. Agathman (talk) 17:31, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
you do realize that I do not support a fact vs. myth mentality in the opening right? as far as i am concerned, there needs to be no discussion about fact vs. myth here Swift as an Eagle (talk) 17:39, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
and yes, I'm happy too with a statement that interpretations vary -- but a literal interpretation and a "this is complete made-up" interpretation seem to me to be the two extremes, with the majority falling somewhere in between. No? Swift as an Eagle (talk) 17:53, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
No. There are many facets to it. And the reference you attached to the statement in the article does not support the statement. I have the reference in front of me. Can someone else please remove the statement. Ben (talk) 17:58, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
NO. I disagree completely. This is a very good summary statement. if there are "many facets" (as you say) to it, then add a section underneath and describe them. but this fits really well in the intro. just deal with it. Swift as an Eagle (talk) 19:07, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
User:Swift as an Eagle, I think you're now in violation of WP:3RR on this issue. Ben and I have tried repeatedly to explain our objection to the sentence, and you don't seem to get it. I'm not going to revert your latest attempt -- I'll leave it up to other editors. Agathman (talk) 19:26, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
thanks for seeing that. i have replaced your version. i personally don't think this was breaking 3RR because the first clause had "myth" (which was your problem), and this second one did not. but in good faith to this i reverted. but i have not conceded :) Swift as an Eagle (talk) 19:33, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

You need to be careful since WP:3RR doesn't distinguish between partial and 'letter for letter' reverts. The point is, don't edit war. WP:BRD is worth reading too. The problem with your edit is that you're trying to build a relationship between a classification and varying levels of interpretation that doesn't exist in the literature. Creation according to Genesis is a creation myth, people interpret it differently, but the concepts are not related. If you're using a definition of the word 'myth' that isn't appropriate for an article on a religious topic then you may argue the point, but this is an article on a religious topic so we'll stick to the relevant definition. Cheers, Ben (talk) 19:46, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

I put in a definition that every person can understand. the story is either interpreted as real or fake. yes, the lead paragraph can almost spell it out as black and white as that. it is especially appropriate (indeed, required!) in the lead considering that the details are fleshed out later in the article under "5" —Preceding unsigned comment added by Swift as an Eagle (talkcontribs)
Then we can work on, and gain consensus for, a sentence that explains there are varying interpretations. We don't need to invent a continuum concept to do that. Cheers, Ben (talk) 19:57, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
To some huge majority of people, there IS a continuum from 'fact' to 'myth.' I suggest that those who don't see it as a continuum are in a growing but relatively small minority of Wiki readers. Being a professor, I appreciate Swift as an Eagle's respect for teaching/learning. In our very first sentence, it is absurd to force "myth" on everyone. How many are going to click on the WikiLink? Why would they even suspect that "myth" might have a scholarly meaning far beyond the common vernacular? Be honest...how many of us click on a wikiLink when we think we already know what it means? I am not opposed to Creation Myth being used so long as this article gives some hint that it is not the common connotation of myth. The dictionaries being referenced DO make that point, and DO acknowledge that Creation Myth is a relatively new use of the word "myth" in this specific context. The theologians already know that; the everyday Wiki reader (including school kids) don't have a clue. They walk away with their understanding from bedtime stories that "It's just a myth, like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. Why must we disrespect a time-honored Judeo-Christian concept by forcing this in the very first sentence? How can that NOT be an NPOV issue?
Even the dictionaries cited by some proponents of myth are intellectually honest and start out by saying it's the "story" or "account" or "record," etc. There are numerous examples of that, even online. These scholars apparently don't have an axe to grind like some of our editors seem to have. This is not good teaching at all. And it lack integrity. It's killing a gnat with sledge hammer.
If we use another commonly accepted term in Sentence #1 and then somewhere say it is a.k.a. called a "Creation Myth" in scholarly circles, that would have integrity and serve as education to millions who don't know about this "high" definition of myth--rather than the understanding that all of us grew up with. As has been pointed out before, there are likely thousands who read Sentence #1 and go "Click."
Why are we so afraid of getting them further down our article and teach them something? If we show some ordinary courtesy and even sensitivity about not deliberately offending so many readers, while still informing them without assuming a universal understanding of this higher definition, aren't we showing greater maturity and judgment and care and respect for everyone, not just the intellectually-informed on this particular word? Thank you.Afaprof01 (talk) 05:00, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
Nobody is deliberately offending anyone, and can you stop inventing unrealistic 'readers' to try and make a point? Over a thousand people view the page daily, so if such readers existed we would see reams of complaints on this talk page about the article calling their belief imaginary. A quick peruse of the talk page and its archives show that the most complaint comes from people defending this imaginary reader, and even then it's a tiny proportion of the archives. The fact you consider the term a mark of disrespect to "a time-honored Judeo-Christian concept" suggests to me you're not here to improve the article, you're here to distinguish your own beliefs from all the others - a clear violation of WP:NPOV. Can I suggest you focus your time here on articles you're a little less passionate about? Ben (talk) 05:26, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
See Forster, Roger; Marston, Dr Paul (1999), "Genesis Through History", Reason Science and Faith (Ivy Cottage : E-Books ed.), Chester, England: Monarch Books, ISBN 1-85424-441-8, retrieved 2009-03-24 . For a large part of the tradition, Genesis as myth was much more important than as fact, which was taken for granted but not necessarily in a literal way. See also Bowler, Peter J. (2003). Evolution: the history of an idea. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 27–31. ISBN 0-520-23693-9. . Genesis as fact is a product of the Protestant reformation, and many Protestants dispute literalistic interpretations of the bible.[44][45] . . . dave souza, talk 07:31, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
That's a useful book you've given us dave souza. I think we can use it to help re-write and expand the "theology and interpretation" section. I note that Philo (a very important figure in the development of Christian ideas about the Trinity) believed that Genesis 1-3 was both literally true (i.e., this was really how the world came into being, and Adam and Eve were real people) and more than literal, in that the story was filled with hidden meanings for the initiated (it took God 6 days to create the world, for example, not because he couldn't do it in 5, but because the number 6 signifies completion). I don't think a simple dichotomy between myth (fiction)/fact (history) can capture this adequately. PiCo (talk) 08:37, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

First sentence

I'm suggesting this for the first sentence: Creation according to Genesis is the Hebrew Bible's sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form.

This avoids the word "myth" while still using the academic definition of myth. Given the popular interpretation of "myth" as "fiction", I think this is desirable.

Rossnixon in a recent edit changed it to this: Creation according to Genesis is the Hebrew Bible's narrative explaining how the universe, world and life on earth came into existence. My problem with this is: (a) it's definitely a sacred narrative, as it puts God at the centre of the story; and (b) the idea of "universe" is a modern one - lots of planets and solar systems and galaxies whirling through space. That's not what the ancients thought of at all. Oh, I'll add (c): the Genesis story concentrates not just on how the world came into existence - it could stop at day 6 if it did that - but on how the new creation related to God: a day of rest and marriage. It's not just a story, it's a story with a message. PiCo (talk) 04:25, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

No, it's not desirable. In fact it's in violation of the NPOV policy, in particular WP: RNPOV. I ask that you please review this section. Avoiding the term myth for the reason you've indicated is as silly as avoiding the term theory in scientific articles. Having said that, I prefer:
''Creation according to Genesis refers to the creation myth found in the first book of the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Genesis.
Or something along those lines. Obviously the creation myth article is highly relevant and should be included as such. Ben (talk) 09:25, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
If we just say "myth" it tends to raise hackles and people react without thinking. On the other hand I have no problem with an embedded link to the article on creation myths. How about an embedded link: Creation according to Genesis is the Hebrew Bible's sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form. PiCo (talk) 11:09, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
We're an encyclopedia, and as such I think your suggestion goes against some pretty hefty principles that any good encyclopedia should stand for. I don't care about some heckler on a talk page anywhere near as much as I care that an article is presenting knowledge completely indifferently to said heckler. In fact, an attitude of ooh, well this knowledge tends to raise hackles, so lets censor, hide or otherwise obfuscate it in some way is, in my mind, offensive, and as far as Wikipedia is concerned, non-neutral. My suggestion is unchanged from above. Ben (talk) 16:52, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Ben Tillman says on his Talk page that he is an atheist. I say on my Talk page that I am a Christian. Obviously, we both are committed to our respective views, meaning that it may take extra effort to not allow our worldview paradigms affect our edit views. I know that to be true for me. Numerous times I have had to forcefully lay aside my personal convictions to edit an article that contained views to which I am sympathetic, but which were not NPOV. I'm sure that's true of all good Wiki editors. But forcing the word "myth"—as if everyone knows that we are using a much lesser-known definition of the term, and it they don't, it's high time that they learn it!—doesn't seem to equate to NPOV. I guess Encyclopedia Brittanica must not know about the "pretty hefty principles that any good encyclopedia should stand for. " Many scholarly articles and books on this subject very successfully avoid "myth. " User PiCo has, IMO, skillfully avoided it in our article.
In Talk:Creation–evolution controversy, I have already provided a reputable source that points out how the word "myth" predisposes many readers of Judeao-Christian persuasion to be on the defensive before they read on. One reviewer (Justin Topp, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9038) has written of the book, Evolution and Religious Creation Myths: How Scientists Respond.: "The authors[1] describe creationism and intelligent design as myth and unscientific.... Reducing, if not misrepresenting, ID (Intelligent Design) in such a manner makes it easier for the authors to argue against ID, but it clearly does a disservice to the movement and diminishes the integrity of the book for ASAers.... The issues noted and the other capable offerings available make it difficult to recommend this book."[2]
Knowing that "myth" riles many readers and starts them off with a negative predisposition, why must "myth" appear in the very first sentence? Why in the very first paragraph? A matter of one editor's principle is insufficient justification. Should we trade liberal or atheistic preference for true neutrality in a really good article that we want people to be able to read with an open mind? Or to ask it another way: will anyone not continue reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica article just because the word "myth" does not appear in the first few sentences, nor anywhere in the article??? "Myth" in the lede biases many potential readers who are neither hecklers nor hicks: "Warning: if the writers of this article label not only "creation" but Genesis—and probably, then, the whole Bible—to be a "myth," there's no need to waste my time trying to sort out creation vs evolution. I can see from the start where "they" are headed. And if they knew that the strongest proponent of "myth upfront" approach so disrespectfully labels a fellow editor "some heckler on a talk page," not exactly in the finest tradition of Wikipedia etiquette, would that make them any more likely to trust the article's neutrality?
I strongly oppose the use of the word "Myth", since is this purely a POV, we all know that there at least two schools of thoughts regarding creation, so this article should identify the various rejections, but keep in mind that the topic again is "Creation according to Genesis"

We can just easily have "Creation according to Darwin" --Paul Lewison (talk) 03:56, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

I strongly support PiCo's edits. I disagree that his edits "censor, hide or otherwise obfuscate it in some way." He just doesn't wave the red flag in the face of the bull. Afaprof01 (talk) 18:48, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Negative book reviews of a book that considers intelligent design a myth (nonsense, though it clearly has its roots in one) and unscientific (completely true) have no weight here what-so-ever. I've already cited Oxford's Dictionary of the Bible, and our policy WP:RNPOV. The WP:WEIGHT requirements of RNPOV are satisfied by the following:
David Strauss's claim that many of the gospel narratives are mythical in character, and that "myth" is not simply to be equated with "falsehood" — have become part of mainstream scholarship. -- Marcus Borg here.
As such, this matter is completely resolved by our policies and those accompanying reliable sources (more reliable sources can be provided, but unless you have a good reason for demanding more I doubt I'll go out of my way). Given that, I'll now restore the first sentence and ask you to note that the onus is on you to present a solid argument for it's removal that doesn't involve petty edit warring. Cheers, Ben (talk) 21:32, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm trying to figure out what Afaprof01 just did, he seems to have refactored other people's contributions in the edits just before Ben's above, or have I missed something? Dougweller (talk) 21:55, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I think he just put a space in between my indent colons and replies, which may have confused the wiki a bit. I don't see any obvious changes in content so I don't think it's a problem. Cheers, Ben (talk) 22:05, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm a Christian but I recognize that the formal definition of myth does not imply an untruth. (Should the article link to that definition?) Also, I would like to point Ben's attention to WP:WTA#Myth_and_legend: the language used surrounding the term "myth" should make it obvious that we use it in a formal sense, not the informal meaning of "a false belief".
-Garrett W. { } 22:53, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Not to mention that the Creation Myth article to which the words link is well written and serves to broaden the subject from a cross-cultural viewpoint. Removing said words and link in the name of making one creation myth sound more "true" than the other creation myths would not do this article any justice and only spur further POV and Bias arguements. Nefariousski (talk) 23:25, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree strongly with this. It should stay as myth. I'm sorry if it seems a red flag in front of a bull to some people but is no more that than removing SWT etc because of WP:MOSISLAM which also offends some Muslims. Dougweller (talk) 06:50, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
That seems to be the "Bible is myth" crowd's fallback argument, the one "Bible is myth" folks keep falling back on when all else fails, but I still fail to understand it. It sounds like some kind of emotional argument, or fallacy coming from your POV. Can you please elucidate further, so that others who don't share your point of view, might also understand it? How exactly is it comparable to removing SWT from Muhammad's name? It seems more directly analogous to the principle that we don't use offensive racial epithets to describe different races here. If you're ging to introduce a slippery slope argument, where do you draw the line? It's not a case of going extra miles out of our way or bending over backwards either to show respect (SWT) or disrespect (racial epithets, or calling widespread religious beliefs you don't share "myths"). It's a choice between picking a less offensive synonym, or a more offensive, POV-laden, and ambiguous one. It seems to me that a few editors preferring the more offensive and disputed term for whatever reason, is more a case of going out of our way to offend. The fallacy here seems to add up to "It just wouldn't be neutral not to offend, so instead we ought to go out of our way to offend - now that is neutrality." 71.253.143.203 (talk) 12:25, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Are you editing logged out by mistake? I presume you are, and are aware of WP:AGF. And, by the way, neutrality is not what we aim for, it is WP:NPOV. Dougweller (talk) 12:42, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm just trying to get an explanation of your logic here, and I'm struggling to understand how you can possibly describe your point-of-view as a "neutral" one. It doesn't seem at all like logic, seems like a complete throwback to a less tolerant era. Perhaps the fact that the offensiveness concerns other people's beliefs, rather than their ethnicity, is clouding your perspective. Try it like this: "People from Slobovia say they are offended by the term 'Slow-boes'. But they ARE Slow-boes, and that's what we should call them, because that's what they really are. Look, we have fifteen books that all agree that they ARE Slow-boes and that this is not offensive, and OUR books are right, while all the books that say this term is offensive, are just plain wrong, and were probably written by Slow-boe lovers anyway. So despite the fact that they don't like being called Slow-boes, wikipedia should definitely use this term, because it just wouldn't be at all NPOV to accede to their POV and call them Slobovians." 71.253.143.203 (talk) 13:23, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
That's where you're right dear IP editor, we are falling back on "The bible is a myth" because that's how all creation stories are listed and identified on Wikipedia. And from an encyclopedic point of view it is a myth, just like the Norse myth of creation and the Hindu and the ancient Egyptian. It helps maintain NPOV that none of the creation myths are categorized differently from one another. So whether you believe the earth was vomited up by a giant turtle or hatched from a interstellar egg or was conjured up by a wizard in the clouds is irrelevant because an encyclopedia doesn't take sides or opinions nor should it cater to one group's religious ideologies or sensitivities over anothers. Nefariousski (talk) 22:40, 14 January 2010 (UTC)
Refering to the Genesis narrative as a "myth" in the first sentence is definitely POV and a failure to maintain an impartial tone. Though there is a definition of myth where this is an accurate statement, one could say the same to justify opening the Bill Clinton article saying, "Bill Clinton was born a bastard on August 19,1946." Most readers will believe that calling the narrative a myth in the opening sentence is making an assertion that the narrative is false, because the most common usage of "myth" suggests falsehood. Certainly, at later points in the text, the term "myth" can be used if it is properly identified as an attributed point of view. See: WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV. When using "myth" to describe a religious narrative, it must be clear that it is being used in the formal sense. Usage in the opening sentence is ambiguous, and thus prohibited by the WP:NPOV policy.Michael Courtney (talk) 14:54, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

I would call attention to Wikipedia:Words_to_avoid#Words_that_label which would seem to apply here. In particular, it suggests the following test: 'The fact that a term is accepted "outside" but not "inside" is a good indicator that it may not be neutral.' --agr (talk) 15:33, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

The issue shouldn't be one of what this article labels the "creation myth" but with the creation myth article itself. If the term is deemed inappropriate then the creation myth article should be changed. Calling the biblical account a "Creation Narrative" while other faiths' accounts are called "Creation Myths" is where your WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV truly comes into play. When the "Creation Narrative" words link to "Creation Myth" article it defeats the purpose entirely. Go to Creation Myth and get that name changed first.Nefariousski (talk) 22:07, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

"Defeats the purpose" - What purpose - you mean to deliberately enflame and offend with an "outside word"? When there are clearly more NPOV alternatives? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:11, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
The purpose is to truly be neutral. Wikipedia does not view the bible story as a narrative while viewing the Koran as a myth or the nordic version as a myth etc... The article Creation Myth contains all of the various cultures stories regarding creation and to hold one above the others by labelling it a "narrative" on the surface while it still links to the creation myth article is dishonest at best and only masks your concern about the "myth" labeling. Articles link to other articles and should do so in the most transparent manner possible, your personal opinions and sensitivities aside. While I agree with you that "Myth" isn't necessarily the best word to use it is currently the article to which the link redirects and should clearly show as so. Users who are obviously skewed towards a religious belief (per their user profiles) only contribute to the systemic bias that is so common in bible related articles in english Wikipedia and as such their contributions and opinions tend to push POV. The only truly neutral solution is to label references to the article by the article's name and if the article's name is poorly worded then that article should be changed.Nefariousski (talk) 22:32, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps you could give examples of these other articles where you say the scriptures of other major world faiths (such as the Quran) are defined as "myths". There's a good chance I'd oppose that usage just as strongly on those articles, because in most cases there is a good deal of opposition on the record against having the scriptures of any given religion labeled as "myth". Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:36, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

how about the creation myths page?Nefariousski (talk) 22:41, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Hmm... i wonder how many users would feel more comfortable if that page were renamed "creation narratives"? Sounds far more NPOV, I'd say... Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:49, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Your colloquial examples of the word "myth" on your user page do not trump the formal meanings adopted by Wikipedia as a matter of agreed upon policy (once again feel free to read WP:WTA#Myth_and_Legend). If you want to change the usage of the word "myth" do so at the source article and not the articles that reference said source.Nefariousski (talk) 22:47, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Says you. Somehow I don't think it's going to be that easy or clear-cut. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 22:49, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Says Me? How about Says Wikipedia Policy. I'm not pushing my opinion here, I'm just trying to make the article comply with already long debated and agreed upon policy. Nefariousski (talk) 23:06, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Are you saying there is "consensus"? Where? I'm confused - do you mean 'consensus' as some kind of doublespeak, or 'consensus' in the English language sense of "no significant opposition"? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 23:13, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I mean "consensus" as in there is an already accepted Wikipedia guideline that clearly supports the use of the word "myth" in the case of creation myth. Feel free to read it here WP:WTA#Myth_and_Legend. If you're not interested in reading through the article I'll quote it for you:
"Formal use of the word (Myth) commonplace in scholarly works, and Wikipedia is no exception. However, except in rare cases, informal use of the word should be avoided, and should not be assumed....
Furthermore, be consistent; referring to "Christian beliefs" and "Hindu myths" in a similar context may give the impression that the word myth is being used informally."
So to clarify, we can't call all other faith's beliefs about the origin of the world "Myths" and not the Judeo-Christian brand. It clearly says we need to be consistent and since the article creation myth is what we are linking to and it is a catalogue of all creation myths we need to be consistent. I hope you understand that this isn't a POV attack on any belief but an attempt to make this article more encyclopedic and increase it's quality per Wikipedia's standards. If you feel this is an affront or still do not understand the reasoning feel free to try and change the creation myth article's title or try editing a more judeo-christian centric creation narrative article of your own at Conservipedia. Nefariousski (talk) 00:42, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

(undent)This subject comes up over and over again. From what I recall, it usually is resolved by turning to the Reliable Sources. Theologians, scholars, etc use myth the same way that we are using it here. Whether or not a word is offensive is entirely subjective, and is an unreliable marker. In a collaborative project like this one, there have to be ways to resolve these sort of disputes, and resorting to reliable sources is one of the best ways that wikipedia has to do it.

For those who do not like the use of the word myth and would prefer something like "account" or "sacred narrative", it's up to you to go out, spend the 8 to 50 years it takes to become a recognised scholar in the appropriate field, publish texts (essays, papers, books, etc) that can be reviewed and critiqued by the relevant community, and then have someone use your text as a Reliable Source here, have it be discussed, let the community arrive at a consensus that, yes, the appropriate community has shifted from using "myth" to using your prefered term, and voila, there's your change.Quietmarc (talk) 23:43, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Hogwash. Readers are going to continue to openly rebel against this POV travesty being foisted by a few opinionated editors who are full of their own offensive POV. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 23:56, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Please remain civil Til, and mind WP:AGF. Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:19, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
I cannot AGF when it is already perfectly clear that some editors have an interest in using wikipedia to attempt to discredit the scriptures of a living religion, which is hardly NPOV, and more like POV pushing. As if all people who try to live by these various scriptures of world faiths, are going to be persuaded by the say-so of these opinionated wikipedians that they believe in "myths". Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 00:41, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
User Nefariousski seems to be taking some things slightly out of context in quoting the Wiki style manual, which first says, "it ('myth') may be used to refer to a false belief or a fictitious story, person or thing." It also talks about referring to "Christian beliefs" and "Hindu myths" in a similar context. Nowhere in this article does that happen. As editors of this particular article, we are not responsible for what other articles say unless we are editing them, or come across something that talks about one religion's beliefs and another religion's myths. At such point we may feel we have a duty to correct it. Please keep in mind that Wiki policy is not deemed as dogma. We found that out when the policy on "Saint" honoraries came out and some editors of the various apostles' articles "consensus-ed" that they didn't want to change it. The ruling from Admin level, to my surprise, was that it did not have to be uniform─that matters of style were not dictated.
User Quietmarc's "8 to 50 years" digressive sarcasm is typical of the mentality being expressed by the "myth" proponents. With few exceptions, the editors so passionately pushing "myth" seem to understand consensus to mean "Do it my way. I really don't care who is offended by this characterization in the very first few words of the article. Don't give me any reasons. My mind is made up. I'll do whatever it takes to keep "myth" exactly where it is. I'm not even open to moving down lower in the article than in the very first sentence!" There is no room for consensus because that would mean, "Come, let's reason together. Let's negotiate." Many of the earlier comments on this page indicate this is a closed-minded slam dunk. Bringing up the Creation myth article as a reason is only the latest ploy. It has no direct bearing on this article. The very fact that WP:WTA#Myth_and_Legend acknowledges "'myth' may be used to refer to a false belief or a fictitious story, person or thing" is precisely the point. Afaprof01 (talk) 01:21, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Now now, lets not take anything out of context. The full sentence from WP:WTA#Myth and Legendstates "In less formal contexts, it may be used to refer to a false belief or a fictitious story, person or thing." the operative words being "In less formal contexts" which this article does not do. The example from WTA of "less formal contexts" is "For instance, avoid using the word to refer to propaganda or to mean something that is commonly believed but untrue." None of which this article does. It simply references another article which very formally defines the term and the context in which it is used. If you don't like it then go try and get the creation myth article changed. Additionally you'll see that Creation Myth is a widely accepted term that has an actual definition[46][47][48][49][50] When I googled Define "Creation Narrative" there were no definitions or specific articles regarding the concept of "Creation Narrative" and a handful of the hits that came back on the first page specifically defined the term Creation Myth and used the words "Creation Narrative" in the discussion of the definition or encyclopedic article (not wiki) on Creation Myth. The burden of evidence is HUGE. We use creation myth because it is a real and accepted term to describe different belief system's versions of how the world was created.Nefariousski (talk) 01:58, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
I apologize for being a bit sarcastic, but while I'm not a theologian myself, I've spent years in the company of many people from a variety of faiths who have been. My own mother is a minister. I can go to her bookshelf and pull any number of texts that use "myth" exactly as it's used in this article (and next time I visit her, I may do just that so that I can add something more substantial to the discussion). My "8 to 50 years" point is that experts use certain words for a reason, and they dedicate a considerable part of their lives to the study of their chosen subjects. To arbitrarily decide to disregard their work and effort just to avoid being offensive to those who haven't bothered to do the research strikes me as wrong and careless.
I think any collaborative project has to set some sort of standard for inclusion. I'm certain that there are publications where it's been decided that the technical jargon is either too dense or offensive for their readers, and so they make editorial decisions that reflect that. Here on wikipedia, though, we've chosen to rely on what the sources say. In this case, the sources use "myth", so we should (in my opinion) use "myth".Quietmarc (talk) 19:50, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Why can you not be honest with yourself enough to admit the truth - that theologians and sources actually do disagree on whether or not any given part of the Bible meets any of the definitions of "myth"? That is, instead of blithely ignoring or rejecting all of those sources that don't match the circular-reasoning litmus test of your POV? If you are going to appeal to "theologians" for your logic, you have be honest and concede all that those authors who disagree are theologians just as well as YOUR theologians - no side has a monopoly, nor has any "agreement" been enforced, and it's pure cynicism to pretend there is agreement or consensus among theological sources. When sources disagree significantly, NPOV policy calls on us to outline each of the sourced POVs in neutral language, not to side outside with one set of sources based on their POV and share their hostility for another set of sources. Where exactly is your logic in calling that "neutral"? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 20:46, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree that within the academic circles there will be disagreement, but at the end of the day certain sources are going to be given greater weight than others. You seem to be arguing something like the fallacy of the false middle, where if person A says one thing and person B says the other, then the truth must be in the middle. That is not necessarily true. We have a situation here where the majority of experts are using one term in a certain way, and we have several users who have provided several lines of evidence (google matches, reliable sources, etc) of this. NPOV policy does not over-ride Undue Weight. I have no doubt that there are lots of sources that use other terms, but we need to give those sources appropriate weight. We can't just throw in what every Scholar X says, we need to evaluate the sources in the context of the scholarly community as a whole.
As I've already said, I myself am not an expert. I'm intrigued enough by this discussion that I'm actually going to go out and look at sources, including (but certainly not limitted to) my mom's bookshelf. I'm prepared to be convinced differently, and if you have suggestions of places I can start, I'm all ears. I'm not cynical, I'm pragmatic: even if the community is deeply divided, we need to use a term, and we need to evaluate which of the available terms is the best. Right now, based on what I've seen in wiki and according to my interpretation of wiki policy, Myth is the best. If my assessment changes, you can be sure I'll add that to the discussion. Quietmarc (talk) 21:26, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
While you're at it, be sure to read everything carefully on User:Til Eulenspiegel/Religious narratives as sacred canon. Contrary to the way they were summarily and off-handedly characterized by Nefariousski, most of the prominent theologians quoted on that page are specifically talking about academic (not colloquial) usage of the term "myth" - and why they feel it is still inappropriate for any part of the Hebrew Scriptures, by any definition. It's a fallacy to pretend there is artificial agreement, where there is no agreement. And it would be more in line with policy to describe each of the positions fairly, without endorsing any one set of opinions over another, as is currently being done. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:42, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
I propose beginning the article with a sentence that everyone agrees with. There an easy solution! Everyone agrees that Genesis is an ancient text/story/narrative. After that we can say that most scholars refer to this as one of many creations myths, or similar statement. rossnixon 01:53, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Excellent suggestion, Ross. Afaprof01 (talk) 01:56, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
I disagree with this. It's an attempt to try and polarize the article. X is Y, but scholars say X is Z. No thanks. This article is talking about the creation myth found in Genesis, scholars and associated reliable sources agree, and as such this article reflects that in the interest of neutrality. Ben (talk) 02:03, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
That suggestion is akin to putting (Most scholars refer to this as one of many religions) next to the word Christianity or (Most scholars refer to this as an element) next to the word Oxygen. The term creation myth isn't up for debate. It exists, is universally used (even in theological circles) and is the proper phrase for a supernatural or religious story or explanation about the beginning of life/humanity/earth etc... The point of Wikipedia isn't to pacify everyone who gets upset about something that offends their personal views.Nefariousski (talk) 02:05, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
What could be up for reasonable discussion is WHERE the term goes. There is no rule, except in some people's dictates, that it absolutely positively must go early in the very first sentence. No one has explained that. Afaprof01 (talk) 02:40, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
While I think it's a little counter-intuitive to move the definition / categorization of a topic in the introduction I don't see any problem with moving it as long as it doesn't make the article more confusing. Why not put a few sentences regarding what the formal definition of creation myth so that we clear up all possible misinterp / contextual issues of using the phrase right from the start so that those of us who for some reason are dogmatically opposed to using the word are pacified that we're not using "myth" in the informal sense and the rest of us get to maintain the integrity of the link / formal meaning of the term in the article? I'd personally rather clarify the confusion rather than hide it further down the article or obfuscate it by changing the formal term creation myth into a made up term.Nefariousski (talk) 18:02, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Well this is NEVER going to end just because you keep telling it to end, so long as a pushy minority of POV editors purposefully choose to go the offensive route. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 19:27, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Reality isn't predicated on whether you are offended or not. Creation myth is an actual defined term that exists outside of this article. Here's the top results from a google search on Define "Creation Myth"[51][52][53][54][55]
If the word "Dinosaurs" offends somebodies religion they can't change any article that references them to "Jesus Horses" because that is not the academic term. The WP:Google test supports this unquestionably (feel free to check for yourself or read my above comments). The defined term "Creation Narrative" doesn't exist in academia, as a theological concept or in any appreciable sources that I was able to find nor does it have an article to reference nor does it serve the purpose of making the bible's account sounding more true since Narratives are often defined as possibly being fictional or unverifiable, similar to storytelling. 20:56, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
From my view to take a neutral point that creation cannot be fully proved or disproved as a myth, I think the word myth shoud be replaced with belief as a compromise. The C of E. God Save The Queen! (talk) 21:06, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion from Talk:Genesis creation narrative/Archive 5
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Bad writing

I'd like to ask a different question: why is the current lede: "Creation according to Genesis refers to the creation myth found in the first book of the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Genesis" better thant the version that was fairly stable in the article for a long time: "Creation according to Genesis is the account of the creation of the world and of the first man and woman as found in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible."? The older version is direct, accurate, neutral and conveys more information about the subject. The new version is vague, using the phrase "refers to", and is redundant, like saying "Shakespearean history refers to historical dramas written by William Shakespeare. Explaining a term by employing jargon that means pretty much the same thing is just bad writing. The term "creation myth" can be introduced later in a proper context. It's hard for me to see the lede change as an improvement. --agr (talk) 11:41, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Because Creation according to Genesis refers to a whole lot more than the creation of the world and of the first man and woman. Whereas the current intro concisely and precisely explains what the topic is about - a creation myth. This conveys a lot of useful information straight up, but in the event someone is unsure of the term a wikilink to an entire article devoted to the topic that this article is a representative of is given. Finer details, including an explicit mention of the creation of the world and of the first man and woman that you like, are given in the text following. Ben (talk) 12:02, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't agree that the term "creation myth" should be introduced later. That would be like deferring the term "state" in the lead of France. However, I do agree that the first sentence is a bit clumsy. In trying to solve this, the fact that we needn't actually use the article's title literally might help. See WP:LEAD#First sentence: "However, if the article title is merely descriptive—such as Electrical characteristics of dynamic loudspeakers—the title does not need to appear verbatim in the main text." Hans Adler 12:29, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
WP:LEAD#First sentence gives clear guidance here: "In general, specialized terminology and symbols should be avoided in an introduction." It also says "If its subject is amenable to definition, then the first sentence should give a concise definition: where possible, one that puts the article in context for the nonspecialist." Anyone who knows what the term "Creation myth" means learns nothing from the current version. Someone who doesn't is diverted to another article, which is bad style and completely unnecessary. Ben is of course correct that there is more than one way to structure the introductory paragraph, but that cuts both ways. The specialist term "creation myth" can be introduce later and placed in its proper, neutral context, thereby avoiding all this drama. --agr (talk) 12:34, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
No, "creation myth" is clearly not specialised terminology on this Wikipedia. You might have more success with such a claim over at Simple English Wikipedia, though. The German word for creation myth is Schöpfungsmythos, and the first of the 2600 Google hits that come up for that combined with Religionsunterricht (religious education) make it very clear that this is standard material in religious education in Germany, covered already in 5th form (age approximately 11). For background: Religious education in Germany is payed for by the state, but choice of teachers and control over content lies with the churches. So there is no infiltration by evil atheists going on. Hans Adler 13:11, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
What the German state does is beside the point here. History2007 (talk) 13:19, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Correct. But the fact that in major Western country teaching units on creation myths are standard starting from the fifth form is very relevant to the claim that it's "specialised terminology". Hans Adler 13:30, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
No, a term such as light year has a special meaning as a measure of distance, but most people, including Joan Baez (listen to diamonds and rust) and NY Times articles think it is a measure of time. Those technical terms mean little to the public. History2007 (talk) 13:33, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
So are you trying to say that because some people lack basic science education and might be confused we should go edit the article on light year to include a section regarding it's colloquial use as a measurement of time and it's incorrect usage in folk music? The size of the FAIL in your arguements can be seen a light year away. This isn't Conservapedia, we don't sacrifice truth and accuracy in order to write articles that cater to the lowest common denominator. Nefariousski (talk) 17:28, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Are you sure you made this comment on the right page? It does not seem to be related to anything else. Hans Adler 13:38, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
One could ask the same question about your discussion of the German educational system. In an important part of the English speaking work, the United States, religious instruction is not permitted in public schools. In any case, we do not write our articles on the assumption that everything our readers learned in school is still familiar to them. "Creation myth" is clearly a specialized term. --agr (talk) 14:37, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
And yet, policy. There's a forum to argue its merits, and it's not this talk page. --King Öomie 14:45, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

"Creation myth" as a formal term is specialized terminology and should be avoided in the lede, in favor of a term whose colloquial sense is less likely to be interpreted as implying falsehood. It is contradictory to claim "It's a formal term, so it does not imply falsehood or POV" and "It's not a specialized term." I work in a top institution of higher learning where respect for various religious viewpoints is an important priority. Outside of an obvious formal scholarly discussion, referring to texts that are central to anyone's faith as a "myth" would be a quick ticket to trying to find a new job.Michael Courtney (talk) 15:01, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

I think you'll find that academia and Wikipedia policy have many disparate policy points. The relevant texts are available for your perusal- WP:NPOV and WP:DUE amongst them. WP:RNPOV in particular addresses this issue. As mentioned above several times, "Theory" is a specialized term when used professionally, and this definition is abused day in and day out ("It's just a theory!!!"). Yet, the term remains in articles without an explicit in-line definition, because that's policy. To treat religious issues substantially differently would be inherently biased, wouldn't it? --King Öomie 15:19, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
And to your other point, it's not Wikipedia's business to respect or disrespect various viewpoints. The relative span of reliable coverage determines the sentiment in the article, within reason (again, WP:DUE). If we were limiting ourselves to politically correct speech, there would be no images at Muhammad.
"Outside of an obvious formal scholarly discussion,"... Well, that's what this is. There's a lot of stuff here that's not conversational material. Try reading the article Nigger out loud at your next family gathering. --King Öomie 15:25, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

There is nothing in the other policies King Öomie mentions that contradicts LEDE's imperative that the intro to articles should be written for non specialists. I don't think anyone is arguing that the term "creation myth" should not appear in this article. The question I raised is why the current first sentence is better than what was there before: "Creation according to Genesis refers to the creation myth found in the first book of the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Genesis" vs. "Creation according to Genesis is the account of the creation of the world and of the first man and woman as found in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible." The current sentence defines the subject in terms of a specialized term (which could be inferred from the title), the second defines the subject in plain English with a brief summary of the content of the story. That's just better writing. I'd also point out that the current version isn't even accurate. Many, but not all, scholars say the there are two distinct creation myths in Genesis, not one. The plain English version introduces that possibility without taking a position. Again, better writing.--agr (talk) 17:21, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. But writing is one thing, agenda is another. The agenda of the non-believers vs believers is to shape the minds of the innocent who read this article. The rest is decorative reasoning phrased in terms of Wikipedia policies. History2007 (talk) 17:26, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the innocent. There's an appeal to emotion if I've ever seen one. I've maintained a single argument that has yet to be even ADDRESSED without strawmen- the opposition has been bouncing from argument to argument. --King Öomie 18:05, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

It seems that we have some simple statements here:

  1. Myth as intended here is a technical term, which policy says should be avoided in the lede.
  2. Policy also says that the word myth should be avoided to avoid confusion with the informal sense, which is perjorative.
  3. There is no evidence to indicate that myth is preferred usage when the Genesis story is being written about in a non-technical way.

What conclusions do we reach? DJ Clayworth (talk) 17:37, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Off of your 1. myth is not being used here, Creation Myth is being used here. They mean two different things much like college and Electoral College. Policy clearly states in wp:WTA#Myth and Legend that even if we were using the term "myth" all by itself it would be acceptable as long as it's used in the formal sense and as long as it is universally used across faiths which the article on Creation Myths accomplishes.
Off of your 2. The policy clearly states that context is key in the usage of the word "myth" and with a link to the article Creation Myth and a multitude of sources that provide formal definitions on the term that context is provided and due diligence is done to avoid violating WP:RNPOV and WP:WTA
Off of your 3. There is an astounding amount of evidence to indicate that Creation Myth is the appropriate term used far and wide to describe a faith based or supernatural account of how it all began as seen in the half dozen Google Tests and dozens of reliably sourced definitions and articles already posted above. Nefariousski (talk) 17:58, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I see no evidence that a discouraged word should suddenly be encouraged because it is paired with another word. A creation myth is simply a myth about creation, and I know of no other definition. An electoral college has a specific definition (in the US at least) and is more than just a college that is about elections. That's why it's a special case.
In what way do you believe that the context changes the meaning of myth as we write here?
Someone above claimed that the Google test favoured myth. When I tested it the results were the opposite of what was claimed. (See my posts above). I see no explanation of the discrepancy. DJ Clayworth (talk) 18:03, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
That's where you're wrong, as cited dozens of times above there are formal definitions of Creation Myth that go into far more detail than defining the words seperately (see college vs Electoral College example. Additionally the google test regarding definitions was against definitions. This is done by typing Define "Creation Myth" and comparing the results against Define "Creation Narrative" or whatever other substitute. The results show that as a distinct and meaningful term Creation Myth is a defined, well recognized and widely used term while the others are not. I don't want to re-iterate the same thing over and over but if you scroll up and look for my posts with all the citations you'll see the google test results. Nefariousski (talk) 21:16, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
The word is not discouraged. Here are the relevant sentences: "However, except in rare cases, informal use of the word should be avoided, and should not be assumed. For instance, avoid using the word to refer to propaganda or to mean something that is commonly believed but untrue. When using myth in a sentence in one of its formal senses, use care to word the sentence to avoid implying that it is being used informally, for instance by establishing the context of sociology, mythology or religion. Furthermore, be consistent; referring to "Christian beliefs" and "Hindu myths" in a similar context may give the impression that the word myth is being used informally."
This says very clearly that:
  • we must not use "myth" in its informal sense (we don't)
  • when using it in a formal sense we need to make clear that we don't mean the informal sense, e.g. through one of the following means:
    • setting a mythology context (we do, since we say "creation myth", not just "myth")
    • setting a religion context (we do, since the first sentence makes it clear that this article is about a religious topic).
Hans Adler 20:15, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
"Setting a religion context" is the first good argument for keeping myth that I've seen. However I don't think we establish the context of the word strongly enough. The word is used before we mention religion, and its existence in an article about religious scripture is not enough, given that many take the document as also being a scientific one. However I could be persuaded that a footnote would be sufficient additional context. DJ Clayworth (talk) 20:47, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I see no need to make the religion context even stronger than it already is, because the words "creation myth", in this combination, refer (almost?) exclusively to the literary genre of which the book of Genesis is probably the most notable representative. But there is nothing wrong with rephrasing the first sentence and removing the schematic language ("[Title] refers to"), which we don't actually need because as I explained above we don't actually need to repeat the descriptive title in the first sentence. Instead we could have something like this: "The Book of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible, begins with an influential[citation needed] creation myth." (I am sure this wording can be improved.) Hans Adler 21:18, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Tying this off.

I'm sorry to start another thread, but I need to ask a couple of quesitons:

  1. Is there any valid objection to archiving the threads about the introductory sentence? The discussion seems to have reached a point of no return - the way "C.C" parts his hair - so I don't think leaving them open is going to be constructive at all.
  2. Are we agreed there is consensus for the term creation myth in the opening sentence? If so, I suggest we create an FAQ at the top of this page outlining the "creation myth" question with a link to the previous discussion in the archives.

Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:05, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

There is ABSOLUTELY no agreement on the term creation myth in the opening sentence. Not even a nice try, but there is no agreement at all. Indeed the discussion has just started, e.g. why is Shiva not a myth? No one even tried to answer that yet. History2007 (talk) 00:38, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

We may have overlooked what appears to be a very well-thought out compromise. User:Tonicthebrown, an evolutionist by self-description above. I hereby propose that User:Tonicthebrown's suggested wording become the first paragraph of the article.

Creation according to Genesis refers to the text found in the opening two chapters of the book of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible. This text is regarded as a creation myth by scholars,[4] and as a religious account of creation by Christians and Jews."

— User:Tonicthebrown, "seconded" by User:AFAprof01
Rationale: It is not what I would write if I owned the article, but it's something I agree to live with since it deals with all major objections except for
  • (a) omitting myth altogether, which I don't think is going to happen; and
  • (b) putting myth immediately after the article title, which is the most objectionable possible place to put it. There is no practical way to move it any closer to the top, the place of greatest emphasis, viability, and notability.
Nothing is going to be either perfect or totally pleasing to everyone. One practical definition of a consensus is "a proposal we can all live with." As has been pointed out, there is a lot of rather obvious insisting on getting one's own way, and an accompanying unwillingness to negotiate or compromise. There is suggestion that some are using this as a form of amusement to insult and belittle others both personally and ideologically, not unlike the truculence that might accompany one who "picks wings off of flies." In society we honor competent, productive people of good sense, folks who understand that for a society to thrive, its people need to care for and cooperate with each other. Should the duty of Wiki editors be any less?
Respectfully, User:AFAprof01
Seeing as someone has brought up my earlier proposal, here's a small modification of it that may be more acceptable to the majority:

Creation according to Genesis refers to the text found in the opening two chapters of the book of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible. This text has been identified as a creation myth by scholars,[3] and has religious significance for Christians and Jews."

(By the way, I would not identify myself as an evolutionist. I am neither a young earth creationist or a theistic evolutionist.)
I think Afaprof has made a helpful comment, namely that none of us should behave as if we have ownership of this article. It would appear to me, having read much of the interaction above, that certain editors who support the existing lead are behaving in this way. Tonicthebrown (talk) 05:07, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
It has not been overlooked since I replied to that proposal above. Honesty really does seem like a foreign concept to you Afaprof01. Anyway, I'm not going to repeat myself here, so if you want to reply to my comments above then do so, and I will reply there also. Ben (talk) 05:26, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
For sure there's no consensus on using the term "creation myth" in the first line. I remember predicting that this would happen, so it's just as well I'm not the sort to say I told you so. Though I did. But I'm not saying it. As for Tonic's suggestion, it's not really a starter I'm afraid - "Creation according to Genesis refers to the text found in the opening two chapters of the book of Genesis"? It doesn't refer to those chapters, it is those chapters. This isn't a definition, it's a tautology. PiCo (talk) 08:38, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Pico and I would observe that whenever Ben feels pressured, he insults people, as he insulted Afaprof01 just here.... He will make an interesting subject for psychoanalysis. I wonder if he fears that I will pray for him... some people fear that... Anyway, who wants to "own" this article? Not me.... it is in a neighborhood with too many insulting people. But I think if you are to propose that Afaprof the order must certainly change, namely: "This text is regarded as a religious account of creation by Christians and Jews and as creation myth by some scholars." Since we can not be sure that all scholars agree. Pico, would you like to rewrite that since you know how? Thanks. History2007 (talk) 08:42, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the vote of confidence History2007, but I'd rather stay out of this hornet's nest - like you, I don't like to hang around unpleasant people. (And just for the record, I'm a secularist and an evolutionist) PiCo (talk) 08:51, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Copying the above proposed paragraph into the article. It's the closest we have to consensus. AFAprof01 19:51, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
I think the current intro has consensus sans minor wording changes that have been discussed above (Hans comments come to mind, for instance). Changes like this one that go against policy, as I've explained above, will be reverted on sight. Ben (talk) 20:06, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Tonic's revision directly above seems acceptable. Bugs et al., to say that some people here insist on referring to the Biblical account as "fairy tales" sounds a bit like WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. The point has been made here countless times that the term "creation myth", based on the real definition of the term, implies no such thing. Additionally, saying lots of people might think "untruth" when they see it might be overlooking the possibility that readers might exercise due diligence and check the linked meaning of the term before assuming what it means. Those opposing "creation myth" should notice that the rest of us are not saying those words should necessarily appear unqualified; indeed, the fact that those words link to a definition of the term (which explains that the idea of "untruth" is not intended) completely removes any apprehensions I might have had as a Christian. As such, I hereby state my support for the term "creation myth". As it applies to me personally, I wouldn't care if it were called a narrative/story/account/whatever, since I do believe it to be factual – but the term "creation myth", as defined here on WP, is not incompatible with my beliefs, since it sounds plenty neutral to me. And that's all I have to say.
-Garrett W. { } 04:43, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I disagree with Ben. He has been on the verge of an edit war for long. History2007 (talk) 20:40, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Ben has an obsession with characterizing the Old Testament texts as fairy tales. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:22, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Unanswered questions & unbalanced treatment of topic

I have several questions to which no answer has even been attempted. As a start, again, why does Shiva not have a scientific label "myth" attached to it? How about the Qur'an. It seems clear to me that Genesis is singled out here, perhaps due to specific agendas. In any case, this issue goes to the heart of unbalanced treatment of the topic. History2007 (talk) 13:19, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Dude, each one of those articles has their own talk page. You've wandered so far into irrelevant territory that I'm not even going to bother replying to your comments any more unless they're directly relevant to this article and in line with this projects policies. Ben (talk) 20:09, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for pointing out the obvious, as usual. But the question is highly relevant. History2007 (talk) 20:39, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Ben doesn't care about the other religions. His need to call religions a fairy tale is limited to the Bible - as he demonstrated many months ago. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:21, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
They're all listed under the Creation Myth article as Creation Myths Genesis is not being singled out. On the contrary not listing it as a Creation Myth does single this article out and thus violate WP:WTA#myth and legend. This has been explained over and over and over. Nefariousski (talk) 17:43, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Please do not discuss other article here. See: WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. And Bugs, please focus on the topic, not the editors. Auntie E. (talk) 22:26, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, but you must not be aware that Ben has been pushing this viewpoint in a number of related articles, for quite awhile now. This article does not exist in a vacuum. This is a common theme across multiple articles. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:31, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
If you're calling this a viewpoint, then I can only assume you're ignorant of the topic at hand- that is, the scholarly acceptance of the term "Creation Myth". --King Öomie 00:26, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
You know Mr King, regarding the insult you handed Baseball_Bugs now by calling him ignorant, there is an old saying/joke in legal circles: "If the facts are against you argue the law, if the law is against you argue the fact, if both the facts and the law are against you, call the other guy a schmuck". So I guess both the facts and the policies must be against you to keep calling people ignorant. History2007 (talk) 00:32, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Ignorant \Ig"no*rant\, a. Unacquainted with; unconscious or unaware. If I'd meant to insult him, I would have kept typing and called him an ignoramus. But I didn't, so I didn't. Stop trying to stir up trouble. --King Öomie 00:37, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
While I'm talking about Bugs- If you're only here to talk about other editors, and have no actual input for this discussion, I'll ask you to... discontinue that activity. History2007 has that ground covered. --King Öomie 00:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I think you have disinvited me from this page more often than it has rained in Seattle. But no thanks. History2007 (talk) 01:18, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
At last count, once. --King Öomie 01:23, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

resolving the larger issue once and for all instead of piecemeal

Seems to me this same "myth" argument already happened at Creationism. Some of you here are well aware of that because you participated in that discussion as well. This can go one of two ways: We can have the same arguments and edit wars again and again across every page related to creationism, complete with blocks and page protections being handed out left and right until ArbCom gets involved and there is a months long WP:TLDR discussion and half of the involved users quit Wikipedia in disgust, or ya'll could have one, centralized discussion on this topic, establish a consensus for what descriptive word is to be used in all creationism-related articles, and abide by that decision whether you agree with it or not. The choice is before you now to take the high road, or the road that leads to ArbCom. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:24, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Creation myth is the proper description by reliable sources, and some don't like it because they feel the connotation is negative. Since WP:CENSOR is policy, and there is no WP:OFFEND to point to, these discussions end with the M-word being accepted by consensus. So that idea may not be acceptable to some. The minority will wish to replay the argument again and again. See Talk:Muhammad/Images. (It's a page I watchlist, and I couldn't reasonably refute those anti-image people's arguments while simultaneously accepting the anti-"myth" ones.) Auntie E. (talk) 22:41, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
You and Ben are hiding behind one technical definition of "myth" to promote the point of view that the Bible is a collection of fairy tales, as that's what the general readership understands when they see the word "myth". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:27, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Nope. I don't consider the Bible to be fairy tales, not at all. I consider it's truth to be undeterminable. Which is what the definition of myth means. Auntie E. (talk) 00:46, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
No, the general public knows that "myth" means "fairy tale". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:20, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
WP:RNPOV. Dictionary be damned, they know what it means. --King Öomie 01:27, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
The primary usage of "myth" by the general public equates to an untrue story. Wikipedia is not written for "scholars", it's written for the general public. And when the first sentence says "the Bible is a lie", it's going to reinforce the perception that wikipedia has a liberal bias. That does not serve the interests of either the public or wikipedia well. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:35, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
This + this is a massive failure of WP:NPOV. Ben (talk) 02:01, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
And for the 40th time this debate, someone argues against policy HERE, rather than at the policy page. Bugs, are you seriously debating that it is improper to use scholarly language relevant to the topic at hand? I think you're looking for Simple Wiki. --King Öomie 02:04, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a "scholarly" encyclopedia, it's an encyclopedia written by and for the public. And insisting in the first sentence, that the subject of the article is a lie, is not a good start. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:08, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
No one is doing that. Per RNPOV, worries about how many people know the technical definition of a term are irrelevant. If you disagree, argue there. --King Öomie 02:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm also wondering why they (Bugs in this case) never apply exactly the same logic to the term theory? As soon as you consider how the logic applies to other terms in the English language it's patently clear that it's a non-argument, and very likely the reason this is mentioned in the WP:NPOV policy. Ben (talk) 02:11, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
It is not appropriate to use the very first sentence of the article to label the Bible stories as lies, fairy tales, folk tales, whatever. That's a POV. The first sentence as it reads right now is totally neutral and totally factual. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:15, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I implore you to look up the definition of "creation myth". Please.
"It's a lie! A farse! Fiction, I tell you!" <- This isn't it. Stop presenting it like it is. We're only talking about Genesis, which contains the judeo-christian creation myth. Which is what scholars call it. And thus, so do we. --King Öomie 02:17, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
The article already covers the "creation myth" scenario in spades. The problem is that you want to ram it down the readers' throats, in the very first sentence, that the Bible is a pack of lies. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:45, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Just like Theory of evolution jams the same sentiment down reader's throats, right? I mean, everyone KNOWS that's what Theory means. I guess Wikipedia has a conservative bias? --King Öomie 02:56, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
"Theory of evolution" is a well known expression. Calling the Bible a myth is the same thing as calling it a lie. It's a POV-push. The first sentence should stay the way it is, as it's the only neutral way to present the facts. And FYI, since you accuse me of bias, you don't have a clue as to what my true opinion is on the subject. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:59, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
No, don't deflect. "Theory of evolution" is well-known, but not its meaning. MANY people (typically southern Americans) think "It's just a theory!" is a legitimate argument, because they have no idea what the word means in a scientific context. This is the same issue, despite your protest. --King Öomie 03:05, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I think the statement that I consider it's truth to be indeterminable is the first logical statement I have heard from the opposition here. The Wikipedia page on Indeterminacy is alas poorly written, but a statement along those lines may start to bring logic into this discussion, although the introduction of the term indeterminable into the article may be too much. I could type 20 page son indeterminacy, but maybe not today. However, as a member of the general public I had never considered myth and indeterminable as equivalent, and my understanding of myth was what Bugs stated, i.e. a fake and untrue story used to achieve a goal. But then maybe I am just an ignoramus scientist anyway and everyone else is smarter than me .... History2007 (talk) 01:48, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Lead text

Currently it reads "Creation according to Genesis refers to the text found in the opening two chapters of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible. This text is regarded as a religious account of creation by Christians and Jews and as a creation myth by scholars." To me, this is worded perfectly. The first sentence describes in totally factual and NPOV terms what it is. The second sentence describes how it's regarded by true believers and scholars. It is neither necessary nor appropriate to push the "myth" POV in the first sentence. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:49, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

This article is talking about a creation myth, and as such should state this in the lead sentence. It's really that simple, and no valid argument has been presented against doing so. Ben (talk) 23:59, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
That's funny, the definition of Creation Myth is a religious or supernatural account of creation. Aren't we being redundant? Nefariousski (talk) 17:50, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
No, the article is about the start of the Bible. As the second sentence makes clear, the "myth" part is a matter of opinion, not fact. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:04, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
It is a fact, and there exist citations for this fact (and the mainstream acceptance of this fact) in the text above. Ben (talk) 00:09, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I do not agree with Ben at all. Simply stating it is a fact 1000 times achieves nothing. And I do not see the big deal here. In fact, I think BeebleBrox's comments were very much to the point. And I think BaseballBugs has said the right things again and again. However, if Arbcom needs to settle the matter so be it. I am ready for the long haul. Moreover, I think the reasonable comments BeebleBrox made to Ben on Ben's talk page were a good piece of the lecture Ben needed. A fee more such lectures by Admins will be in order. History2007 (talk) 00:20, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I did more than simply state something, I referenced this fact and the fact that the mainstream consider it so. Ben (talk) 00:31, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
History2007: Baseball Bugs has ignored the arguments to discuss the motivations of the editors "again and again." Not surprising you may think that is good argumentation, since you engaged in the same thing above.
I think using the term "creation myth" with a bit of a definition is infinitely preferrable to the inline attribution of "Scholars consider" which actually gives the wrong idea about the definition of the term. Many Jews and Christians also consider it a creation myth because they aren't ignorant of the definitions of the term. So Bugs' lede is not accurate. Auntie E. (talk) 00:54, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
It's already thoroughly covered. But Ben's not satisfied with that. He wants to insist, in the first sentence, that it's a fairy tale. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:19, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, "Insist" would be an appropriate middle name here my friend. And he also insisted that he was not close to the 3revert line. But we all learn... some sooner than others.... History2007 (talk) 01:30, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I think Auntie E. makes a good point. Saying "Scholars consider" kind of makes it sound like scholars don't believe in the story of creation, but christian and jews do.Chhe (talk) 03:24, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that's a point. It's saying that only the ignorant consider the Bible to be "true". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:27, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Bugs, it's not OK that you also engage in this disruption now. There may be parts of the Bible whose literary genre is that of a fairy tale, but I doubt it. (I guess I would know about them.) The literary genre of this particular part is that of a creation myth, and there is no reason to censor this fact, just like there is no reason to censor the fact that communism is an ideology or beer is an alcoholic beverage. Hans Adler 13:42, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Well, infinitely preferrable is an interesting term, but involves someone who does the preferring, of course. Hence a point of view. As I have said above much of the discussion here is decorative reasoning used to achieve an agenda (by both sides). Until that is accepted Arbcom is at the end of this tunnel. However, I think your point about "not all Jews and Christians" is valid and a modifier of some type may be in order. AfaProf is probably the person to craft the modifier. History2007 (talk) 01:21, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm with Auntie E and King Öomie on this. ArbCom doesn't decide content issues, by the way. Dougweller (talk) 06:32, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

The word "myth" has at least two meanings. First, the formal academic one, is "a religious account explaining how the world came to be as it was". The other, informal and colloquial, is "a false story". That means that the text This text is regarded as a religious account of creation by Christians and Jews and as a creation myth by scholars is to be interpreted as either

This text is regarded as a religious account of creation by Christians and Jews and as a religious account of creation by scholars.

or as

This text is regarded as a religious account of creation by Christians and Jews and as a false story by scholars.

The first interpretation is repetitive. The latter interpretation is outright false. Scholars do certainly not consider the creation account to be false. Geologists/biologists/Catholics/etc. say the Genesis shouldn't be interpreted as being literally true, but that doesn't mean that they say it is false. Either way you chose to interpret the word "myth", that sentence is horribly misleading. Gabbe (talk) 09:21, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

At last some logic. Thank you. History2007 (talk) 13:30, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

(ec) The second sentence of the current, protected version is not acceptable at all. Fact is that the text is regarded as both a religious account of creation and a creation myth by almost everybody, including Christians, Jews and scholars. Let's look a bit closer:

  • What does "religious account of creation" mean?
  1. Mainstream reading: It is a religious story about the origin of the world. No particular claims are made about whether the "truth" of the story is to be found on a literal or a more metaphorical level.
  2. Minority (creationist) reading: It is a historically and scientifically accurate description of the origins of the world.
With the mainstream reading, saying without further qualifications that "Christians and Jews" regard it that way is accurate but misleading, because so does almost everybody else including scholars. And the continuation of the sentence suggest that scholars contradict. With the minority reading, saying that "Christians and Jews" regard it that way is seriously misleading as it implicitly states that most Christians and Jews are creationists, which is simply not true. Cheap rhetorical tricks such as playing with the two possible readings of a phrase to promote a fringe theory have no place in Wikipedia.
  • What does "creation myth" mean?
  1. Normal reading: It's a literary genre, see creation myth.
  2. Minority reading: It's a myth in the colloquial sense that talks about creation, thus roughly a synonym for "creationist myth".
With the normal reading of "creation myth" most Christians and Jews actually agree with the scholars that Genesis starts with a creation myth. (As I explained previously, putting the creation myth in Genesis into the context of contemporaneous creation myths is standard material in Christian religious education at least in Germany.) The opposition Christians/Jews think vs. scholars think, however, suggests the second reading. But this is not at all OK according to WP:WTA#Myth and legend: We are not supposed to use "myth" in this sense at all. We only use it in a technical sense, and then we must make it clear that we mean the technical sense, no go out of our way to suggest the non-technical sense.

Hans Adler 13:35, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

So the long and short of it Hans? How will you say that some Christians think X and Scholars think Y. The opposing sentence wants just the scholars and no mention of Christian and Jews. So suggest 3 sentences please. History2007 (talk) 13:53, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I prefer the single sentence as it stands. --King Öomie 14:01, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
My question was to Hans. I know what the "Ben and the King" duo wants. I would like to hear from other editors now, e.g. Hans and Aunt Entropy if they want to come up with suggestions. I would suggest that each suggestion have two components X and Y that address the religious and scholarly issues. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 16:42, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
It's not OK at all to say that "some Christians think X and Scholars think Y". First we present the facts, and then we mention the creationist fringe view. Hans Adler 08:49, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Break

Let me try to recap the above debate, if I may. I think most of us agree that:

  1. The word "myth" could mean both "false story", and "sacred narrative explaining how the world came to be". Lets, for the sake of clarity, call the first meaning myth¹ (="false story") and the latter myth² (="sacred narrative").
  2. Christians, Jews and scholars all agree that Genesis is a creation myth².
  3. WP:WTA#Myth and legend suggests that we should not use the word myth¹ at all, but that we may use the word myth² when appropriate.
  4. Describing Genesis as a myth¹ in this article is inappropriate.
  5. The question is: When we say "Genesis is a creation myth", will casual readers of this article interpret this as
  1. the offensive "Genesis is a myth¹", or
  2. the truthful "Genesis is a creation myth²"?

Am I right so far? If so, isn't there some way we can use the word "myth" in the article's lede to clarify that we mean to say that it's a myth² without saying it's a myth¹? Gabbe (talk) 15:57, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, pretty much. Our point is that WP:RNPOV specifically states that the final question you posit is irrelevant, and that the formal meaning (myth²) is ALWAYS to be used. --King Öomie 16:02, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
"...editors should not avoid using terminology that has been established by the majority of the current reliable and notable sources on a topic out of sympathy for a particular point of view, or concern that readers may confuse the formal and informal meanings." --King Öomie 16:03, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, and that if they disagree with that reasoning, that WT:NPOV is the forum for that discussion, NOT this page. --King Öomie 16:13, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I think Gabbe has a logical train of thought. However, as I stated above, I would like to hear what other opposing editors beside "Ben and the King" (whose views are well known) suggest as two sentences X and Y each addressing the religious and scholarly issues. It would be best if we just get their suggestions first, sans endless debate, then see where that leads. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 16:47, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Making a false distinction is not encyclopedic. The sentence that has been fully protected in the page is absolutely inaccurate, and even worse than leaving out the words CM all together. I will accept an in-line definition of "creation myth." Let's take this opportunity to enlighten those on the meaning of this phrase instead of demanding they stay ignorant. (On Muhammad, we give the opportunity for viewers to turn off the images. We don't delete them, no matter how many times those offended beg, plead and threaten.) Auntie E. (talk) 16:51, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Apart from debate, I was asking you to suggest a new lead and different lead on your own. Then we see what happens. It will cost nothing to suggest. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 16:57, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Except time, copious amounts of which have been wasted by you rehashing the same arguments. The lead, as it was, had no issues.Two statements are not needed to deliver the same information- the sentence there now is unambiguous pandering to Christian sensibilities. All christians and jews see Genesis as a creation myth- the term does not imply falsity. To present it otherwise is purely disinformation. --King Öomie 17:06, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I think you meant "pure disinformation". History2007 (talk) 17:26, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the lead did have style issues. "[Long descriptive title] refers to ..." is not a good format for a lead at all. It's Wikipedia-speak of the worst kind. But it should be possible to fix this issue without giving in to creationist POV pushing. Hans Adler 17:13, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I mean that it wasn't the sneaky, horrible atheistic conspiracy that's been presented. --King Öomie 17:17, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Of course it isn't. And I am quite surprised by the strategy that is being tried here. So far I have only heard of repeating "[Those guys who are really on our side but not extreme enough] are far, far on the other side and shouldn't be allowed to continue because they are so extreme!!!" as a strategy of the US right wing. It's the first time I see this thoroughly unethical strategy applied on a talk page. Hans Adler 17:27, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'm getting more annoying at the tactic of completely glossing over points they can't refute, and instead focusing on a separate issue that hasn't turned against them yet.

  • "It's offensive!" Not so much.
  • "Policy is against it!" Demonstrably not so.
  • "....Let's all post suggestions for changes to the sentence with no problems!" --King Öomie 17:57, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Hans Adler: Unfortunately the wording "refers to" is necessary unless we take the drastic step of changing the title to actually put in the noun that is currently missing in between the words "creation" and "according." Auntie E. (talk) 01:42, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

I have pointed to it before, but I am not sure that anyone is listening:
"If the page title is descriptive it does not need to appear verbatim in the main text, and even if it does it should not be in boldface. So, for example, Electrical characteristics of dynamic loudspeakers begins with:

A dynamic loudspeaker driver's chief electrical characteristic is its electrical impedance versus frequency.

Simple descriptions such as “History of the United States” or “Timeline of prehistoric Scotland” should be bold."
This is straight from WP:LEAD. The present title is somewhere in between the "descriptive" and "simple descriptions" examples, so it would be OK to simply not repeat the title literally in the first sentence. Hans Adler 08:48, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
(→ Auntie E.) Alternatively to biblical creation myth or Genesis creation myth, as used in books like the award winning Tree of souls: the mythology of Judaism and many many other sources. This would actually let us completely disambiguate the term creation myth in the opening sentence, for instance, The biblical creation myth is the (some favoured expansion of the term creation myth here) contained in the first two chapters of the first book of the Hebrew bible, the book of Genesis. It would also be consistent with most other pages on creation myths on Wikipedia (Chinese creation myth, Sumerian creation myth, etc., and the countless X mythology pages). Ben (talk) 11:17, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Works for me and looks like a good compromise. Hans Adler 11:36, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Request for suggestions

I would like to ask willing opposing editors to provide a different suggestion each for the lead, to see what happens. Please provide your "suggested lead" without debate just as a paragraph. That will cost nothing, and it will be best to just obtain ideas first to hear what people think on their own. Please use a different suggestion each to get your own thoughts into the picture. Please just provide what you would like to see, regardless of the justifications. Thank you. History2007 (talk) 17:33, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I have made such a suggestion. Not sure why it was ignored. You are free to copy it here. Hans Adler 17:47, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I am sorry this page is so long I am not sure where it is. Could you please just type it here, remove my comment and yours and just leave it here as a starting item for a list. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 17:49, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
"regardless of the justifications."
This is counter-productive. --King Öomie 18:12, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

List of suggested paragraphs

* 2 Creation according to Genesis refers to the account of creation found in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis, the Hebrew Bible. For Jews and Christians the text is highly esteemed with religious authority, though interpreted in a wide variety of ways. Scholars frequently refer to the account as an example of creation myth in their attempts to pinpoint its proper literary genre, though the commonalities and differences with other creation myths are much disputed. ─AFAprof01 19:29, 25 January 2010 (UTC) Replaced below:
  • 2 Creation according to Genesis refers to the account of creation found in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. Scholars frequently refer it by its literary genre, creation myth─a neutral term that takes no position on accuracy or inspiration. Jews and Christians in varying degrees esteem the text as religious authority while interpreting it in a wide variety of ways. ─AFAprof01 (talk) 20:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  • 4. Creation according to Genesis refers to the creation narrative (formally 'myth') as found in the first two chapters of the Hebrew Bible. rossnixon 01:50, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Creation according to Genesis is a narrative found in the opening two chapters of the first book of the Hebrew Bible. This creation myth is regarded by some Christians and Jews as a literal and authoritative account of the creation of the world and of the first man and woman. (redacted, see below) Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 03:37, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • 6. The biblical creation myth is the (some favoured expansion of the term creation myth here) contained in the first two chapters of the first book of the Hebrew bible, the book of Genesis. Ben (talk) 00:41, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  • 8. Creation according to Genesis refers to the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Christian Bible and the first book of the Pentateuch. Handed down from ancient Judaism and preserved through oral kerygma, this creation account is shared by both Judaism and Christianity. Most Biblical scholars refer to Genesis as a creation myth with the underlying message of an God that is a part of all things. However, there are Scholars that would maintain a literal translation of the text. CapHammer (talk) 07:56, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
List of suggested paragraphs with comments
  • Comment- Barring stylistic changes to the presentation of the article title, but the back half of the statement is perfectly fine. --King Öomie 17:59, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Creation according to Genesis refers to the account of creation found in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis, the Hebrew Bible. For Jews and Christians the text is highly esteemed with religious authority, though interpreted in a wide variety of ways. Scholars frequently refer to the account as an example of creation myth in their attempts to pinpoint its proper literary genre, though the commonalities and differences with other creation myths are much disputed. ─AFAprof01 19:29, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  • You can't be serious. --King Öomie 19:38, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment Firstly Creation Myth Isn't a literary genre and what are the disputes over commonalities and differences? Isn't the Biblical Creation Myth a religious or supernatural story about how everything was created? I'm pretty sure there's universal agreement by all parties on that one. Nefariousski (talk) 19:53, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  • You can't be serious. It is really tedious to have to keep explaining the notion of "myth" and "creation myth" to people who couldn't be bothered to look it up on their own. --dab (𒁳) 20:25, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Dab, that debate has taken place, N times on this page, with N growing rapidly. Now I am just gathering paragraphs from different users to show the wide range of opinions. Please let users suggest paragraphs for a day or two, just to see what they "like to see". That may just provide a better idea of user perspectives, which are obviously diverse. History2007 (talk)
No more policy discussion? Done with literary deconstruction? We're down to OPINIONS now? Irrelevant. I find it absolutely HILARIOUS that you're presenting this debate as continuing ad nauseum. --King Öomie 20:35, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Policy and other discussions can take place all over this page of course. This list can grow in parallel - no extra charge. History2007 (talk) 20:42, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Some references to contemporary theologians, specifically supporting Afaprof01's version: <ref>''The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17'' (part of ''The New International Commentary on the Old Testament'') by Victor P. Hamilton, 1990, p. 56-58.</ref><ref>P. Grelot, ''Le Couple humain dans l'Ecriture'', 1964, quoted in ''Creation Theology'', Jose Morales, 2001, p. 161</ref><ref>"The Phenomenology of Symbol: Genesis I and II" by Frank Flinn, in ''Phenomenology in Practice and Theory: Essays for Herbert Spiegelberg'', William S. Hamrick, 1985 p. 235</ref><ref>''[[International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]]'', article entry "MYTH", 1994 edition.</ref><ref>''Systematic Theology'', [[Robert Jenson]], 1997, p. 11</ref><ref>Richard E Averbeck, "Sumer, The Bible and Comparative Method" in ''Mesopotamia and the Bible: Comparative Evaluations'', 2003, p. 109.</ref>. But, I suppose these do not qualify as "theologians" by the "only those who agree with us are the true theologians" litmus test. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:39, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Comment - I don't think those are poor references at all but do have one issue with their relevence to the topic at hand. Their writings are not regarding the concept of creation as an interfaith topic. Nobody is disputing that Christians or any faith for that matter think their Creation Myth is holy, sacred, beyond reproach etc... I have a hard time seeing the justification or need to say that Christians believe in and hold in high esteem stories in a book that chronicle their beliefs. That's much akin to saying that fans of Star Trek hold the Star Trek series of TV shows and movies in high esteem. Furthermore, The concept of the differences and similarities to other Creation Myths is out of place in the intro but would make an excellent section in the article and surely those sources you found would provide for a lot of interesting comparisons between the Abrahamic Religions and the rest of the assorted faiths out there. Nefariousski (talk) 22:01, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
In my view this one makes the most sense of the five listed so far. Gabbe (talk) 08:16, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Creation according to Genesis is a narrative found in the opening two chapters of the first book of the Hebrew Bible. This creation myth is regarded by some Christians and Jews as a literal and authoritative account of the creation of the world and of the first man and woman.
    If all that really matters on one side of the argument is that the word "myth" is not in the first sentence, and all that really maters on the other side is that the word "myth" not be relegated to some sort of marginalized scholarly opinion, why can't the first sentence avoid the word, and the second sentence start with the fact that the article refers to a creation myth? Everybody knows that Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, but it's not mentioned until the second sentence. Is this really that difficult? Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 03:37, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Half-way there. The 2nd part is to define creation myth as a literary genre not implying fiction or fantasy. Can you propose a way to do that as well? ─AFAprof01 (talk) 03:51, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, see creation myth. Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 03:53, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
The Michael Jackson article is about "an American singer, dancer, and entertainer", this article is about a creation myth. Ben (talk) 03:55, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
And by that you suggest that it is not about a narrative, nor is it found in the opening two chapters? No one is trying to take away your precious myth descriptor. (Well, at least at this point I assume they're not.) All that is being asked is that it is introduced after the first sentence. Is that too much of a concession to make? Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 04:04, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
This article is about a creation myth, and you're asking that the article not tell readers this in the first sentence. Would you ask that the Michael Jackson article not tell readers that he was "an American singer, dancer, and entertainer" until the second sentence? Please tell me you see how silly this request is. Ben (talk) 04:11, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Why is "creation myth" the only apt descriptor that you can conjure for this topic? Why not "sacred narrative"? Why not "historical account"? Why not "ancient story"? Why not "religious teaching"? All fit the bill. There are plenty of verifiable things that the reader is not told in the first sentence. And the first sentence makes perfect sense without any of them. Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 04:39, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
If the relevant experts refer to this articles topic as a creation myth why would we not? I'm not looking for information on any other terms, I would just like to know why we would not keep in line with the relevant experts? Cheers, Ben (talk) 04:45, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
In case you failed to read the actual suggestion, it doesn't propose to eliminate the phrase "creation myth". It seeks merely to move it into the second sentence to assuage the (by my rough count on this page alone) ten or so editors who agree that it's out of place as an unqualified term in the opening sentence. My math may be slightly off, but it seems that your horn of "the only place the term can go is immediately after the title" is only being tooted by 3 or 4 editors. Wouldn't you think a reasonable compromise would be to leave the term unqualified, but move it to the second sentence? It's still a highly relevant term if introduced 16 words later. The only significant qualifiers before it in my suggestion are "narrative" and "Hebrew Bible". Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 04:53, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
This doesn't answer the question. Let me rephrase: This article is about a creation myth (per relevant experts), why would we not introduce the article as such? Ben (talk) 04:57, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Your question is invalid. My suggestion includes the use of "creation myth". Therefore, we do introduce it as such. My question still exists. Why are you unwilling to allow the use of that word in the second sentence rather than the first? Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 05:50, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
My question is valid. You introduce the article's topic and only after that do you use the term creation myth. My question is centred around looking for a valid reason to do that. And I answered your question already: relevant experts describe this article's topic as a creation myth, and we should introduce the topic as such. Alternate terminology can be introduced later (after the introductory sentence) if the need arises. Cheers, Ben (talk) 06:49, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
By it's very definition this article describes a Creation Myth. "Sacred Narrative" or any of your other suggestions are not formal terms nor do they have academic definitions that apply to this article. There is no valid reason to shift it down or minimalize it. Nefariousski (talk) 00:40, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
In my view, the big problem with this suggestion is that it puts the view that Genesis is "a literal and authoritative account" in the second sentence. This is a viewpoint held by a very small minority, not only in natural science but in Christianity, Judaism and general biblical scholarship as well. While this view might deserve mention somewhere in the article, bluntly putting it in the lead paragraph would go against WP:DUE, WP:GEVAL, etc. Gabbe (talk) 08:16, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Here is why I think a different version merits consideration: In general, a good definition should not use the word being defined. Therefore, to start an article on the Fall of Man stating that it is a story about man's fall from a perfect state would be poor writing. In the same way, defining "Creation according to Genesis" as a creation myth... is redundant. That's why I proposed restating it to begin the second sentence. A good definition requires a classifier and a differentiator. The classifier tells the reader which bucket it's in, and the differentiator tells the reader how it's unlike the others in the bucket. It should avoid the use of "refers to", if possible. Therefore, Creation according to Genesis is a narrative [classifier], found in the opening two chapters of the first book of the Hebrew Bible [differentiator]. Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 00:19, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
In this case the Classifier is Creation Myth which shouldn't sound redundant with the title of the article because it's actually referring to the story of Genesis 1-2 not "Creation according to Genesis" as some well used formal term. The differentiator is the Hebrew Bible which makes it a unique Creation Myth. I do see your point about being redundant in definitions but I don't see Creation and Myth as seperate entities in the sentance but as one term. Much in the same way I wouldn't oppose an article on "Electoral process in the United States" having the term Electoral College in it's opening paragraph or part of a definition. If the title of the article was "Creation Myths of Genesis" then I think your point would be 100% valid. Nefariousski (talk) 00:28, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. Maher-shalal-hashbaz, did you see my suggestion above about the article title that would then allow us to accommodate both of our preferences? Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:38, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Point taken. I would like to (A) recant my statement about numbers of editors favoring the opposing sides of this issue, and (B) offer another possible compromise. It appears after careful study of the page that there are slightly more editors favoring the unqualified use of the term "creation myth" in the opening sentence of the lead paragraph. However, there are still a significant number of editors who oppose this term. While some may wish the term banned completely, the majority seem only to wish it qualified/defined, or desire to have it introduced later in the lead paragraph. I would like to propose the following, which simply moves the term further within the first sentence, so that it is not the absolute first term the reader encounters. Perhaps this will pass muster:
  • Creation according to Genesis is a narrative found in the opening two chapters of the first book of the Hebrew Bible, comprising one or more creation myths describing the origins of the universe and life from a Judeo-Christian perspective. Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 03:57, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
    To me, that sounds like it would satisfy both sides of this discussion. Very well written, I think.
    -Garrett W. { } 04:09, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Genesis contains more than one creation myth? If this is a way of implying "there's at least a creation myth (=formal term) in it, there might be a myth (=informal term) in there as well" then that would be against WP:WTA#Myth and legend. We're not supposed to use this informal meaning of the word "myth". Gabbe (talk) 09:33, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I would really like a definition template on the article that one can click to after the words "creation myth" (in fact, I remember a compromise of the sort used in a situation like this) rather than the inline definition, but I think the definition should be on the page. Our goal should be to enlighten our readers. More information is a good thing. Auntie E. (talk) 18:13, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree. While I tend to not be a fan of inline definitions after a formal term that is wikilinked to the article for said formal term (seems redundant to define something that can be clicked on and read for more detail) something additional seems to be required to reach consensus. Also along the lines of following previous compromises why not add a FAQ section to the talk page that addresses any possible points of confusion? Nefariousski (talk) 18:51, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Nef: How about selecting something additional from the list of items that are already agreed upon. I will start such a list below. Thanks for suggesting it. History2007 (talk) 21:25, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
FAQ sections on talk pages (even edit notices) only stop users capable of stopping to read. If you have WT:SIG watchlisted, you might notice that that isn't many. --King Öomie 19:27, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • The biblical creation myth is the (some favoured expansion of the term creation myth here) contained in the first two chapters of the first book of the Hebrew bible, the book of Genesis. Ben (talk) 00:41, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Ben's suggestion makes a lot of sense. It's bold, but accurate. It has the potential to appease all sides of the debate (depending on the wording you left out in the paranthesis). It's clearly in line with WP:WTA#Myth and legend, WP:RNPOV, and other policies. It was suggested more than 15 hours ago and nobody has (yet) said they thought it was a bad idea. Gabbe (talk) 02:31, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Creation according to Genesis refers to the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Christian Bible and the first book of the Pentateuch. Handed down from ancient Judaism and preserved through oral kerygma, this creation account is shared by both Judaism and Christianity. Most Biblical scholars refer to Genesis as a creation myth with the underlying message of an God that is a part of all things. However, there are scholars that would maintain a literal translation of the text. CapHammer (talk) 07:56, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm open to comments. I have no agenda, just an interest in the area.I'm happy to add as many references as people would like.CapHammer (talk) 07:56, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Like with the redacted suggestion above, the big problem with this is that it brings up the literalist interpretation crowd in the final sentence. This is a very small minority. It would be like saying "However, there are scholars that would maintain that Genesis was written by the lizard people from outer space". It's WP:UNDUE. Also, the ones calling Genesis a creation myth is not limited to Biblical scholars, but includes anthropologists, philosophers of religion, etc. How about changing "Most Biblical scholars" to "Academics"? Gabbe (talk) 09:18, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply Gabbe! Re- Changing "Most Biblical scholars" to "Academics" - That's a great idea! I should have thought of that. The broader term does encompass the larger group of disciplines that see it as important mythologically. I agree with you observation. I do see your point about creationists, but creationism using Genesis as a basis is still a very real belief. Maybe we could concede the point by saying "A minority of scholars would maintain a literal translation of the text"? or "There are a small number of people..." From a perspective of a sociological hermeneutic, there are a number of laity as well as clergy who still teach Genesis as literal. Maybe this article should reflect that, as disagreeable as that may sound. Open to ideas! CapHammer (talk) 09:47, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  • 2 (revised) Creation according to Genesis refers to the account of creation found in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. Scholars frequently refer it by its literary genre, creation myth─a neutral term that takes no position on accuracy or inspiration. Jews and Christians in varying degrees esteem the text as religious authority while interpreting it in a wide variety of ways. ─AFAprof01 (talk) 20:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
This makes a lot more sense than your previous version. However, I still find parts of it problematic. First of all, articles generally don't start off with "scholars frequently refer it by [...]" with no contrasting opinion. See WP:V: This kind of in-line attribution is what we typically do when the sources themselves are in conflict. If there's no conflict among reliable sources, we don't attribute - we just say. The wording you've suggested implies that there's something wrong or iffy with the term "creation myth". Now, I know that you feel that there is, but if you want to include this in the article (even by way of a vague implication) this needs to be substantiated by reliable sources. Do you have sources specifically saying that a notable amount of academics are opposed to labelling the Genesis account by the term "creation myth"?
The lead should say something about how the religions themselves view the creation account. But since opinions about "creation" really run the gamut there isn't much we can say except that it is interpreteted in a whole lot of ways, and listing the most prominent examples. I think your last sentence could be improved to clarify this point. Gabbe (talk) 07:10, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I very much appreciate this feedback, Gabbe. Thanks for taking the time to critique but also provide constructive suggestions. I have incorporated some in the proposal below. ─AFAprof01 (talk) 22:32, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

This article is about a creation myth and also about a myth that is untrue

This is an article about the creation myth contained within the Book of Genesis. I do not understand why anyone would dispute this. In the arguments above and archived, all I see from those opposed to calling a spade a spade is that they are afraid that someone coming to this article and reading that the creation story in Genesis is a creation myth will think that Wikipedia is saying that the creation story in Genesis is untrue - even though that's not what the text "the creation story in Genesis is a creation myth" actually says. However, the creation story in Genesis is both a myth and untrue. So even the unintended consequences are okay. If someone comes away thinking that creation according to Genesis did not actually happen that way, that's good because there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that the natural history of the Earth or the universe corresponds to this myth. So what's the controversy about?

ScienceApologist (talk) 21:47, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Welcome to the side of this debate with a foot to stand on. --King Öomie 21:53, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
It's already hard enough to get certain editors to understand concepts like Proper Nouns, Wikipedia Policy, the concept of "context" and that sometimes words mean different things when combined with other words. While I appriciate and value additional comments let's try not to make too many inflammatory remarks. This pot does not need further sirring. Nefariousski (talk) 21:56, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
To wit, I've been staying away from the Science side, myself, as it's really not needed, and only serves to fuel the debate (as one more thing to misinterpret). As with any creation myth, science doesn't need to disprove it for it to BE a creation myth. --King Öomie 21:57, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Per WP:FRINGE#Evaluating claims, we should not focus on the scientific inaccuracies in Genesis at all. However, what I'm saying is that the unintended consequences of not knowing what the definition of a term is and instead using a different definition align with the fact that the story contained in Genesis lacks basis in empirical fact (similar to the creation myths from other cultures and religions). So it seems to me that, perhaps unique among these sorts of arguments, the unintended consequence of calling this story a "creation myth" is actually a positive outcome in view of our goal to write an accurate and verifiable encyclopedia. Huzzah! ScienceApologist (talk) 22:48, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, Nefariousski, which part of my remarks are inflammatory exactly? ScienceApologist (talk) 22:35, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
The question at hand isn't one of "truth" since there is no doubt that this article will ever state that the story in Genesis is undenyably false (that's not the intent of the article). In fact the article shouldn't make any judgement regarding whether this particular (or any) Creation Myth is true or false. I just don't want this to turn into a proxy debate for evolution v. creationism since those articles do the job just fine on their own. The goal here is trying to reason with everyone to gain consensus that accurately describes the story in Genesis by its proper term as a Creation Myth and further polarizing the debate only pushes us further from that goal. Nefariousski (talk) 22:53, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
While I agree that the lack of scientific support for this particular creation myth is incidental to the article itself, the fact that the unintended consequence that those opposed to calling this story a "creation myth" are citing is actually in line with the self-same lack of scientific support should be viewed as a positive feature rather than a problem. I'm actually proposing that the people arguing against you are in fact giving another argument supporting plain language description of this story as a creation myth. I don't think that this is particularly inflammatory. Though I will admit that some people find facts to be upsetting, I don't think that pointing out those facts is inflammatory. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:00, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
My apologies for being less than clear. I personally don't find your words inflammatory but I guarantee that there are those who will only further intrench and drag this out because they do. Furthermore we've done a good job of holding true to WP:RNPOV by expressly not making a judgement or veracity call one way or the other regarding this or any other Creation Myth and classifying them all the same as opposed to on their individual merits. Nefariousski (talk) 23:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Don't you mean "no chance" instead of "no doubt"? Just checkin.
-Garrett W. { } 23:25, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Hmm, I do not read WP:RNPOV as saying that we should not make any judgment or veracity call in Wikipedia. In fact, treating any topic that ways flies in the face of neutrality (see WP:ASF). I do, however, agree that the simple fact that the literal account outlined in the mythology of Genesis is contradicted by scientific evidence is not all that relevant to an article trying to describe the mythology of Genesis since the intention of the ancient authors and many, if not a significant majority, of the religious adherents was/is not to align their account of creation mythology to modern scientific evidence. It seems to me that those arguing against a plain categorical statement that this topic is a creation myth are arguing from the perspective of a "protected belief" in the literal veracity of the account since we often use the term "myth" in a colloquial sense to distinguish empirical reality from imaginative storytelling. But that's just it, the very protected belief that these people are arguing we must consider is itself contradicted by plain facts. Thus, we have a very problematic current version of the lede using a completely indefensible particular attribution of the term "creation myth" to "scholars" when, in fact, there are no reliable sources on the subject of Genesis 1 and 2 contradicting that categorization. While the article itself may not necessarily touch on the veracity or lack thereof associated with particular features of these myths, to point out that the stories are false is simply another data point in the discussion and shouldn't be avoided just because some wrong-headed editor might become "entrenched" in an indefensible editorial position. Either we're writing a serious encyclopedia or we're not. I'm not going to pussyfoot around uncomfortable facts just to accommodate people who believe things that can be demonstrably shown to be untrue, especially not when the fact that those beliefs are false is directly relevant to arguments the other side presents. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:33, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

If you'd like to create a section on the criticisms of Genesis then feel free to WP:BEBOLD and do so. The only thing I ask is that we focus on one outstanding issue at a time and not muddy the waters. Seemingly simple logical arguements are confounding some of our editors here and they're taking offense where absolutely none exists. I'm not advocating pussyfooting around or placating anyone but on the other hand consensus is the cost of doing business around these parts and there's no IQ test or other prerequisite requirement that has to be passed before taking part in building said consensus so lets keep this simple, linear and deal with one outstanding issue at a time before moving on to more. Nefariousski (talk) 23:45, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't agree with criticism sections as a general rule. The waters, in my opinion, have been muddied by people trying to accommodate people who have demonstrable agendas which run counter to the goal of writing a verifiable, neutral, and well-sourced encyclopedia. Look at it this way: a bunch of editors are complaining that calling Genesis a "creation myth" without particular attribution might make readers think that Wikipedia is asserting that the literal account of Genesis is not true. The question I have is, "why is that a bad thing?" I'm not saying that this is automatically the interpretation one must take, but even considering these opponents at their word leads us to outcomes that we should be happy to have at a reliable, verifiable, and neutral encyclopedia like Wikipedia. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:49, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Trust me on this one, there has been no accomodation, the edits to the current language were completely unilateral just prior to page protection. Nefariousski (talk) 00:07, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Fascinating discussion. By the way, my simple mind has a problem digesting the Wikipedia article on Falsifiability which relates to here in the context of your esteemed use of the words "true" and "false" in a two valued sense. And being an ignoramus, I also need help in cleaning up this article on Indeterminacy, which other esteemed scientific colleagues here have previously spelled as undeteminacy - but what do I know. Any help in clarifying things for my simple mind will be appreciated, since I still seem to have a problem here. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 00:42, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

A creation myth is by definition unfalsifiable. Science doesn't enter into it at all. So this is a pointless digression. Auntie E. (talk) 01:34, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Amen and thank you. History2007 (talk) 01:36, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
As a means for clarification for History2007, if someone says, "the Moon was formed after the Earth's oceans", that statement is false. If someone says, "the Earth's oceans formed after the Moon", that statement is true. Creation myths as a concept are unfalsifiable since the truth-value of the myth is not necessarily the interpretive value of the story. However, many literal statements about about natural history derived from this creation myth are false. There is no debate in the reliable sources over this fact. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:55, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, but I am not as dumb as I would like to be. I know all that. History2007 (talk) 01:57, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Cool. Then I guess you are now convinced that since there are giant aspects of the story which are prima facie false, we shouldn't worry about readers coming away from the article with that impression. ScienceApologist (talk) 04:24, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
WP:RNPOV very specifically states that we aren't to worry about people mistaking the formal meaning of a word for its colloquial meaning, so even outside the science argument, you are right the hell on. --King Öomie 19:31, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

ScienceApologist raises a really good point. A creation myth has no truth value, but in the event a reader comes to this article and interprets the term creation myth as assigning a scientific truth value to the claims made in the myth, well, this interpretation is unintended, but it is still correct. Why worry about the unintended interpretation then unless you're trying to hide an scientifically obvious fact? Ben (talk) 02:30, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Would that be "a scientific fact" or "an scientific" fact? But, logically speaking, it does have a truth value, although said value may not be in the set {true, false}. But don't let me get started on Multi-valued logic now... I could write predicates for ever... As an aside, the value it gets does not need to come from a three valued logic and just be "unknown" for there are multiple shades of decidability, indeterminacy, etc...., If you like, after all this is done, I can provide a correspondence course in formal logic for those interested.... But the long and short of it is: Auntie is right. Let us drop this. History2007 (talk) 02:38, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
It's not feasible to scientifically disprove an unscientific, unfalsifiable claim. Thus, such ventures are fruitless. Nevertheless, the current weight of scientific evidence and thought stands diametrically opposed to the notion of a supernatural creator of ANY religion. --King Öomie 02:52, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
I think the right word would be "possible" rather than feasible, given the rest of your sentence. History2007 (talk) 02:55, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
There's functionally no difference, unless you're of the opinion that the latter word grants more credibility to the religious standpoint (an opinion I soundly and firmly reject). --King Öomie 06:01, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually your majesty, they are not equivalent, in that "not feasible" includes the possibility of being possible, while "not possible" excludes the possibility of being feasible. And I think you meant "no functional difference" in the above since again, as I pointed out before, the use of an adverbs there was less than proper. By the way, is functional difference a new linguistic construct I need to learn about? Or did you mean "semantically equivalent"? Thank you and Long Live the King. History2007 (talk) 14:18, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
There is nothing indeterminate about the fact, for example, that the Moon formed before the oceans. If people come away from this article thinking that the order of creation as described in the first few verses of Genesis is not true (which, I agree, is not the same thing as false, but then, the truth-value for a myth is actually "not true" rather than "false") then we've done them no disservice. ScienceApologist (talk) 04:24, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually the calculus of multi-valued truth values does not work that way. You are still thinking in a two valued format..... I guess the details will have to be provided later in my correspondence course on formal logic mentioned above..... Or you could read a book about it beforehand.... History2007 (talk) 08:01, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Your red herring about "multi-valued truth values" (which surely wins an award from the Department of Redundancy Department) does not have any bearing on the facts I pointed out. ScienceApologist (talk) 15:19, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
The unfalsifiable claim I refer to is the notion of a supernatural being creating the heavens and earth over a period of a week. Obviously the specifics are open to scientific interpretation. --King Öomie 06:01, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
In a dumb Omphalos hypothesis sense, I guess that claim is unfalsifiable. But it certainly violates Ockham's razor, or, at the very least, is a Russell's teapot idealization that can be dismissed as a fairy tale in any case. Of course, there is plenty of scientific evidence that the heaven and earth did not come into existence over the period of a week. In that sense, the hypothesis can be falsified. But this is pure digression at this point. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:39, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually the evidence for the cosmos not having been created in a week can be dismissed using the same mechanisms with which all conspiracy theories dismiss facts. We only need to assume that an omnipotent being planted fake evidence to confuse us. (Sorry, I couldn't refrain from adding to this digression.) Hans Adler 23:47, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, that's the point of Omphalos, certainly. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:56, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Is that a "God did it to test our faith", "The devil did it to tempt us", or a "God works in mysterious ways"? I never could understand which canned rebuttal applied where. Nefariousski (talk) 00:10, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Philip Henry Gosse, it seems, thought that the natural world just worked better with the appearance of age. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:32, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

A myth is not "untrue", a myth is a myth. Falsehood only begins to creep in when misguided individuals try to defend a myth as an account aiming at factuality. A myth states what is "true" as opposed to the merely factual. If you believe truth and factuality are the same, you should perhaps read the truth article. Truth is an innate human emotional or moral judgement. Factuality is the materialist attempt to detach the exterior world from emotional and moral judgement. You cannot blame a bit of Iron Age Hebrew mythology for the stupidity of some modern interpreters, the Iron Age mythological text remains what it is, an Iron Age mythological text. --dab (𒁳) 10:04, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

^This. Science-minded individuals had little interest in arguing against religious stories before their supporters began to shoehorn the religion into the science. --King Öomie 13:45, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Here are some 'popular' definitions of 'myth' according to Google and Bing:
  • an unproved or false collective belief
  • any invented story
  • an imaginary or fictitious thing or person.
  • fiction, fantasy, talltale
  • e.g., urban myth
It surely is incorrect to say A myth is not "untrue". Some reasons why labeling a Bible passage that way without defining "myth" is so offensive to those for whom the Bible is sacred (like me). As a scientist and as a follower of Jesus Christ, I've never found the two incompatible. There are many interpretations of Genesis 1-2 besides literal.
Sadly, some who make such a sport out of guffawing a Creator God and his son Jesus Christ (who believed the Genesis Creation account) may find it a bit awkward to meet their Maker in a time of judgment. That's certainly a time one cannot say, "Get outta my way. YOU didn't make ME!" Even if you don't believe in and honor/respect the Creator God, why work so hard to offend those who do? Let's don't play games: that is what is going on here. In this life, it's each person's human right to decide for themselves what they believe. It's really sad when scoffers, some in the name of being "apologists," are so uncouth in making fun of believers, their personal faith, their Creator, and their Bible.
To label the Creation narratives "myth" without explanation is essentially saying the whole Bible is "myth," because the Genesis narratives are reaffirmed throughout the entire Bible—both Old and New Testaments. Just for the record, they are affirmed by Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew[19:4] and Mark,[10:6]. Was he delusional? Those narratives are also affirmed in Gen 14:19; 14:22; Deut 32:6; Eccl 12:1; Isaiah 27:11, 40:28, 43:15; Rom 1:25; Col 3:10; 1 Pet 4:19, and others. —AFAprof01 (talk) 01:02, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
How about you try the exact same search with "Creation Myth" and come back to us with the definitions and citiations... Nobody is using the stand alone word "myth". Nor are we using it out of context or in a way that patently leads people to belive we're using it informally. Feel free to read my "The Electoral College is not an institute of higher learning just because it contains the word College" arguement above. Proper nouns have distinct definitions apart from their component nouns. As a "Scientist" I would expect you to understand that concept.
I seriously doubt "Divine Retribution" is a valid arguement against using the phrase Creation Myth. This is not the place to preach. You'll have much better luck here. Nefariousski (talk) 01:13, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually Afaprof, I think you are not going to get people on the other side of the table to change their minds by quoting from the New Testament. As for "why work so hard" they all have different reasons, but given that people are so passionate about it on both sides of the table means that the reasons are deeply buried in the respective mindsets and are unlikely to change. History2007 (talk) 02:20, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

What is actually being disputed here?

First off, does anyone here actually dispute the fact that contained within the first part of Genesis is a "creation myth" as formally defined? I'd like a show of hands. As far as I can see, and please correct me if I'm wrong, this is an established fact not in dispute. Auntie E. (talk) 01:34, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Hello Auntie E.I do not object to "creation myth" being in the article—provided (a) that it is not placed in such a prominent place as the 3rd/4th words after the title; and (b) some explanation of what "creation myth" means as a literary genre, rather than allowing an assumption or suggestion that the use of "myth" implies a fantasy or fable. I've attempted to do that in my proposed first paragraph. —AFAprof01 (talk) 03:33, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
How is this creation myth not a fantasy or a fable exactly? Please provide a reliable source which shows that creation as accounted in Genesis is not a fantasy or fable. ScienceApologist (talk) 04:26, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I propose a trade: 7 suggestions for a lead paragraph, then I will say what I think. That is a promise. History2007 (talk) 01:40, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Say what you think? Have you been holding back? --King Öomie 02:52, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • History2007, please, this is a serious conversation. Your sarcasm and cutesy terms in referring to others seem designed to provoke, and it's becoming difficult to take you seriously. Do you honestly wish for me to make seven suggestions for a lead sentence before you even tell me what you consider the facts to be? Really? I did add one proposed lead sentence which I thought I had added before (but didn't), with commentary. If you object, please tell me why, but in a straight man style. Auntie E. (talk) 18:34, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I was not asking you for 7 suggestions Auntie, but asked the general public, namely the 20,000 people a month who click on this page.[56] And it did help generate more suggestions. As for my being lectured on being cutesy, is it not unfair that you do not lecture those who use words like fool, crazy people and voodoo? That might suggest that you prefer some nephews to others. Is that not the definition of Nepotism in fact? In any case, thanks for making a suggestion. My initial proposed trade now just needs 3 more suggestions. Cheers. History2007 (talk) 21:36, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
(sorta off topic) That's not exactly 20k people per month – only that many visits. Also, by your reckoning, one could argue that only 2,000 people have actually been to this page this month (and even less the month before).[57] Face-wink.svg
-Garrett W. { } 04:30, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Sure, I agree with your statement. Ben (talk) 02:04, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Agree wholeheartedly. --King Öomie 02:53, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • King agrees with Ben? I am in shock! History2007 (talk) 03:00, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • ^This. I'm sick of it, History2007. Ben and I agree because we've both read and understood the policy. Perhaps you can join us? --King Öomie 04:29, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Is this an invitation for me to join the team of "Ben and the King"? Alas, I think we have fundamental differences on your use of adverbs to modify nouns (as pointed out in the posts above), so I would probably not fit into your team. Add to that my differing views on muli-valued truth values discussed above and I doubt we could have a fit. But I do thank you, your majesty, and Long Live the King. History2007 (talk) 15:17, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
  • I'll ask you to stop nit-picking my writing style. We aren't on terms anywhere NEAR good enough for me not to take that as harassment. --King Öomie 19:34, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Might I suggest a way forward? Everybody agrees that Genesis is a "creation myth" (at least when careful to note the word's non-colloquial meaning). Afaprof01, History007, et al. disagree with using the term creation myth in the lead without commentary, but they don't disagree with the appropriateness of the word itself as a description of the article subject. Given that, I see a handful of ways in which this debate might (realistically) end:

  1. Describing Genesis as a creation myth in the lead, with no further commentary (other than a wikilink). This seems to result in perennial edit-wars.
  2. Describing Genesis as a creation myth in the lead, with an explanation of the meaning of "creation myth" provided in a footnote. I suggested this above, but my suggestion did not seem to have met wide acceptance.
  3. Describing Genesis as a creation myth in the lead, with an in-line explanation of the meaning of "creation myth".

The latter has been suggested by Auntie E and Nefariousski above. I know that Afaprof01/History007/etc. would prefer to have the article not use the word "creation myth" in the lead at all, but I think that is an unrealistic ambition. I believe they could agree with #3, depending on how the in-line explanation is phrased. Similarly, ScienceApologist, I know that you think #1 is a good idea, I assume you're OK with #2 as well. But would #3 be acceptable with you, per WP:JARGON?

If so, then this discussion is really about how to provide the in-line explanation of the term "creation myth" without bloating the lead. Gabbe (talk) 07:27, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Gabbe, I do not know about AfaProf's preference but what I wonder is "why the lead has to be so telegraphic". Is there a shortage of keystrokes to expand it? Given the extreme brevity of this talk page, maybe... But more seriously, why can there be no statement in the lead that says what Jews and Christians have taught for centuries? That is a well referenced fact and clearly relevant to the book. Jewish and Christian "teachings" have included specific items about the Book of Genesis. The words to express that can be selected later, but why can there be no mention of that in the telegram, excuse me, I mean the lead? Would you like to make a suggestion to that effect Gabbe in the list above? Thanks. History2007 (talk) 07:51, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
You ask "why can there be no statement in the lead that says what Jews and Christians have taught for centuries?" Short answer is: Depending on what you mean by "what Jews and Christians have taught", that viewpoint might not be notable enough to warrant mention in this article's lead section. Gabbe (talk) 08:34, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with including an explanation of the term "creation myth", so long as it's short, unobtrusive and subtle. Making sure we don't offend creationist readers unnecessarily is OK. Doing it in an obvious way is not OK because it would give undue weight to creationism (and thereby offend readers who are not creationists). To quote from WP:UNDUE:
"Wikipedia should not present a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserved as much attention overall as the majority view. Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views. To give undue weight to the view of a significant minority, or to include that of a tiny minority, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation in reliable sources on the subject."
The subject in this case is the biblical creation myth as a text. Creationism is significant enough in this context to get its own section, but not enough to shape the first lead of the article in any significant way other than by its being mentioned. Hans Adler 08:16, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually Hans, I was not referring to the modern concept of creationism as defined in Wikipedia. I was referring to centuries of Jewish and Christian "teachings" before creationism became well defined as a "side" in the debate against science. Creationism seems to include specific rejections of biology etc. while said teachings existed before biology was defined as a branch of science. History2007 (talk) 08:25, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Why is it relevant that these "teachings" that you vaguely refer to predate biology as a branch of science? Gabbe (talk) 08:34, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
I am fully aware of the fact that until some time in the 19th century most western scientists took the biblical creation myth for granted as a historical account. This is just one of countless misconceptions that were once current in the academic community and have been revised. These obsolete misconceptions don't shape how reliable sources write about these subjects now, and they don't shape how Wikipedia writes about these subjects. E.g. the anachronistic proponents of humorism have no influence at all on the lead of myocardial infarction, as you can easily verify. Hans Adler 09:00, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
History2007 refers to the medieval scholarly mainstream. Medieval scholarship is indeed a venerable encyclopedic topic in its own right, but Wikipedia does not accept medieval scholarship as expert opinion to be juxtaposed controversially with modern scholarship. --dab (𒁳) 09:50, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually dab my goal was not to encourage medieval scholarship, but to reduce the "contempt for religion" tone that permeates this talk page (e.g. via the use of words and phrases such as "crazy people", "voodoo", "nonsense", etc.) The Captain & Tennille team has used the word "fool" to refer to a humble soul like myself more than once, and the local representative of the German state seems to like the word "crazy people". This has then been reflected in the attempts to craft a lead that in the name of scholarship denigrates the Book of Genesis. The decorative reasoning provided quotes science, policy, etc. They have not used global warning as an excuse yet, but give them time.... But the tone is unmistakable. If you have a solution, please make a suggestion in the list of suggested paragraphs above. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 15:29, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Please stop blanking the default section-linked edit summary when you post. This page is close 150k- it's extremely inconvenient to not even be able to tell what SECTION you're posting in. I brought this up on your talk page, but you opted instead to blank the section with no response. --King Öomie 15:45, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Correction- closer to 250k. --King Öomie 15:47, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
To your comment: WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. Creation Myth is NOT a value judgement, so there is NO 'denigration'. The issue here is that you're intent on replacing a neutral value-statement with a POSITIVE one, in the name of "npov". Kind of reminds me of the attitude over at Conservapedia- if it doesn't actively promote Jesus, it might as well be satanism. --King Öomie 15:50, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
it may imply a value judgement. As in, a high value, as opposed to, say, "Creation according to Genesis is an item of US Bible Belt folklore". --dab (𒁳) 20:24, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
to History2007, you appear to think that the current lead section "denigrates the Book of Genesis". If you wish us to take this for anything other than an idle personal sentiment, please substantiate this opinion, preferably based on quotable sources. In my opinion, the 25 centuries old Hebrew text is denigrated by people who attempt to abuse it for petty squabbles of religious ideology of the 21st century. This is a venerable, encyclopedic piece of Iron Age literature and I resent the attempt to smuggle items of current affairs into its discussion. --dab (𒁳) 20:34, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Please see my suggestion above that allows your third suggestion to happen in a stylistically reasonable way. Cheers, Ben (talk) 11:30, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

What is actually agreed upon here?

Nef made a good comment above that made me think of the positive version of the section above. Namely, what is actually agreed upon here. I see a few items, and please suggest others. Wordings are secondary here, so those can change later:

  • This article is about the the text found in the first two chapters of a specific book. I think that is obviously true. That book is Genesis.
  • Most (if not almost all) modern scholars label it with the technical term "creation myth". I think that is not 100% agreed upon, but is probably true (although I have not done a survey of all scholars) and is certainly well referenced.
  • Several people have agreed to include a definition of "creation myth" along with a hyperlink.
  • As Auntie first stated and many others agreed thereafter, creation myths are in general not falsifiable. That is logically true and also agreed upon above.
  • Some IP will come out of nowhere in 18 months and change a lot of this anyway.

Are there other items here that are generally agreed upon? Thanks. History2007 (talk) 21:48, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

  • People other than scholars label this story as a creation myth as well including some people who profess belief in the story.
  • Commentators generally acknowledge that there are two distinct myths that can be distinguished from close analysis of the ancient Hebrew text.
  • There are parallels and distinctions that can be made between this creation myth and others written in similar time periods in nearby locations.
  • Certain claims derived from literal interpretations of the text (for example, the claim that the oceans were formed before the Moon) are directly contradicted by scientific evidence. However, this fact may not necessarily be relevant to the lead section.

ScienceApologist (talk) 22:22, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

I'd like to think that after all this time, it can be agreed upon that the term creation myth (wherever it first appears in the lead paragraph) can stand unqualified (so long as it is wikilinked). Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 00:21, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps I should make it clear that I meant "what has been agreed upon here so far". So whatever may be debated and agreed upon separately in the future is another issue. E.g. I am not sure oceans have been discussed at length here. I am trying to make a list of items that already have consensus among those debating here. I still see these items as the ones I started with. Are there any others that have clear consensus among the editors here? History2007 (talk) 00:41, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
If you have issues with any of the statements I think are uncontroversial and I think generally have consensus, please let them be known. Otherwise, I'm going to assume you agree with them. According to our consensus ideals, it is not necessary to have an endless debate to establish consensus. Some proposals are simply things that are uncontroversial enough that the consensus of reasonable editors is to agree with them. I believe my proposed additions to the list are perfectly fine in that regard and I submit they all represent clear and unambiguous consensus. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:27, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually I did not see any items that "I" would call error prone in most of your list Apologist, but I do not see some of them discussed here. But I do see some of your items as diving into way too much detail right now. My goal was to come up with a list of top level items which would form the basis of a consensus. Adding detail will make the debate go into 2012. History2007 (talk) 02:05, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
If there is nothing you disagree with in my list, then I think we're okay. Let's wait for someone to object for real rather than just as a hypothetical exercise. ScienceApologist (talk) 04:30, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I would not rubber stamp it, but as I said it has too much detail, and there are a couple of things I do not agree on, but not big deals. History2007 (talk) 04:52, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Again, if you're not willing to point out the specific details with which you disagree, then there is no actionable objection to the list and we have consensus. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:24, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Whether you call this a "creation myth" has nothing to do with whether you are a Christian or Jew, but whether you happen to understand the concept of creation myth. The people driving this "discussion" consistently fail to make clear what they think is the problem. The current reading of the lead, "This text is regarded as a religious account of creation by Christians and Jews and as a creation myth by scholars" is utter nonsense and flies in the face of the established revision. Everybody considers this "a religious account of creation", that is what a creation myth is for crying out loud. The suggestion that there is a dichotomy between Christians and Jews on one hand and scholars on the other is uttrerly ridiculous. The implication being that you cannot be educated and religious at the same time. The suggestion that there is a dichotomy between "religious account of creation" and "creation myth" is even more ridiculous. This entire exercise is a disgrace. --dab (𒁳) 12:15, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Current agreements/options and move to consensus

It seems that now the differing views have been expressed in multiple forms in this list and a set of stable elements has emerged from which a consensus may be crafted. There are 8 suggested leading paragraphs now and they overlap enough that they just leave 2 main options with a secondary variation as follows.

First, the agreements:

  • Agreement1: Everyone agrees (reluctantly or otherwise) with the use of the term creation myth. There is no longer the need for "any debate" on that.
  • Agreement2: Everyone agrees that this article is about (or refers to, etc.) the Book of Genesis. There is no longer the need for "any debate" on that.

Next, the variations:

  • Option1: The lead first mentions the term creation myth, then the Book of Genesis.
  • Option2: The lead first mentions the Book of Genesis, then the term creation myth.

Next, the definition variation:

  • Some people prefer a definition of the term creation myth within the lead, others prefer not to have it.

There seems to be some support for a discussion of Jewish/Christian views, although most editors here seem to prefer to skip that.

To a newcomer to the scene this would look very close to consensus and further debate would be much ado about nothing. I think the key issue is the selection of Option1 vs Option2. Technically, these are semantically equivalent, i.e. "A and B" is the same as "B and A". But I think people on different sides of the table will argue for Option 1 vs Option2 based on the impact on the reader in that seeing the word creation myth first may have a different effect than seeing it later. But apart from wording that seems to be the only point of contention. If that issue can be resolved, then there is consensus.

Furthermore, some of the items from the second list of "agreed upon items" may find their way into the top section, and in fact "give and take" on that will probably lead to consensus. Comments will be appreciated. History2007 (talk) 14:01, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

History2007, this is a very well-done analysis and systhesis. I for one appreciate it. —AFAprof01 (talk) 19:13, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
At this point, I think the correct thing to do is revert back to the version that this page had before the December edit wars and then move forward with proposed revisions rather than trying to decie between different options. That's the easiest way forward. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:28, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
That would almost certainly restart the February edit wars. Why avoid a discussion of consensus? History2007 (talk) 14:31, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
After your warring to the current revision, and subsequent protection request, I find your protest disingenuous. --King Öomie 14:50, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually I have only done 3 edits to this article ever, one of which was a typo fix. So I have edited this article only twice, a few days apart. But I would like to add art later. History2007 (talk) 14:58, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
We can ask an administrator to enforce an article parole on this page to prevent the edit wars. It shouldn't be too hard. I really encourage rolling back to the last stable version and moving forward slowly. ScienceApologist (talk) 15:08, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Ok, so you have made your preference clear. Let us see why anyone else wants or does not want to achieve or discuss consensus. History2007 (talk) 15:14, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion can continue, but in the absence of the threat of an edit war, this page shouldn't be full-protected. I'd suggest downgrading to semi-protection. --King Öomie 15:21, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Apart from ScienceApologist, the suggestion to unprotect is put forward by Dbachmann (talk · contribs) and myself above. For what it's worth, he and I are both administrators, though I'm unsure whether everyone here would count us as "uninvolved" considering we've been discussing here on this talk page. Anyway, we could try unprotecting the page and putting it on WP:1RR for about a week or so, to see what happens. If chaos breaks out anyway, we could always protect the page again. As I've said, I'm all for consensus-building, but continuing with these endless walls of text on this talk page won't build any more consensus than we already have. Gabbe (talk) 15:37, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

You've been fairly impartial. dab has spoken up. Personally, as long as they're backed by policy, I don't care how involved an admin is when they take action. Obviously there are exceptions, like wikistalking to find an excuse to block someone they disagree with. Alright, so, backed by policy and abiding by WP:DICK :P --King Öomie 15:55, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I was the editor who originally complained about the edit warring and 3RR violation here, which resulted in the current page protection. I'd support unprotect and 1RR at this point. I'm also an admin, but I've been active in the talk page discussion. Since unprotected is the preferred stautus and 1RR is still quite restrictive, I think it would be acceptable for one of you to make the change after notifying the original admin who protected the page.--agr (talk) 16:03, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Additionally I'd like to ask that we consider adding a FAQ box to the top of this talk page So that we don't end up having to rehash this whole discussion every couple of weeks when a new group of editors come across the page. Nefariousski (talk) 17:26, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
An ounce of prevention, certainly- but as I said above, it would likely not have much of an affect. WT:SIG is a testament to people ignoring the hell out of edit notices- and people will ignore just about anything to stay offended when religion is in play. Nonetheless, draft it and post it, you'll receive no complaint from me. --King Öomie 17:39, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not assuming it's going to quell anyone's feelings of righteous indignation. I'd just rather have it available so when responding to tired arguements editors can just post "Read the FAQ, section blah blah blah". Not to mention those more biblically learned cound contribute to the FAQ regarding the actual topic of Genesis so that the FAQ could benefit those actually coming to this article to read about the Creation Myth and it's various interpretations and messages. Nefariousski (talk) 18:31, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I disagree with reverting the article backward to anything. Let's work with what we have.
Recommend that we do not remove protection until we have selected a single paragraph which a clear majority accept. It's unlikely that unanimity is possible. Then, let's ask an uninvolved SysOp to substitute that paragraph in the article and then change to semi-protection (registered users only). —AFAprof01 (talk) 19:13, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the AfaProf strategy. Going backwards would only result in an attempt to remake an online version of Back to the Future. I think there have been enough remakes of that movie. History2007 (talk) 19:26, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
"What we have" is a logic rubiks cube. Let's NOT work with that. Either you read it, understand the meaning and become confused as to why anyone would phrase it that way, or you DON'T understand they're the same and get the wrong impression of religious people, scholars, or both.
"A bicycle, known to riders as a two-wheeled transportation device[1][2][3], and to engineers as a transportation device with two wheels[4][5][6][7], is a self-propelled vehicle utilizing two wheels for locomotion[8]." Yes, surely this is the best starting point. --King Öomie 19:27, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

We can't give Undue weight to terms or phrases that don't have formal definitions. Colloquial terms used by a single group of people don't warrant equal footing to broadly used formal academic terms. We don't put the word "Jesus Horse" in the article about Dinosaurs just because some people believe that Dinosaurs existed along side mankind[58] and are offended at stating the fact that they went extinct millions of years before mankind came to be[59]. Nefariousski (talk) 20:18, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  • A revision of earlier #2, taking into account some suggestions and criticism:
2 Creation according to Genesis refers to the account of creation found in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. Scholars frequently refer it by its literary genre, creation myth—a neutral term that takes no position on accuracy or inspiration. Jews and Christians in varying degrees esteem the text as religious authority while interpreting it in a wide variety of ways. —AFAprof01 (talk) 20:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
As has been pointed out, 'myth' to some implies inaccuracy and uninspired by a divinity. The literal—allegorical controversy among adherents represents a huge chasm. IMO, we are doing a great service to the large remainder of the article to make it "perfectly clear" (with apologies to R. Nixon) that the article is committed to neutrality, that myth doesn't imply real or imaginary, that the article takes no position on the wide range of interpretations of the passage. Hopefully, then, it will be accepted without defensiveness on anyone's part. The fact that we (collectively) have worked VERY hard to desensitize the lede is "proof pudding" that we editors are committed to go out of our way, when necessary, to "stick to just the facts" (another apology to the original Dragnet).
PERSONAL NOTE: To the extent that I have offended some of you personally, I humbly apologize. One of my many human frailties is that when I perceive personal attack, I get defensive. That's not appropriate here. I sincerely regret my errors. —AFAprof01 (talk) 20:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
"As has been pointed out, 'myth' to some implies inaccuracy and uninspired by a divinity."
WP:RNPOV makes it clear that we are to completely ignore this. As a general request to you, Bugs, History, Til, etc, PLEASE stop bringing this issue up. A wikilink should be sufficient to point confused readers on their way- your inline definition (or disclaimer, from the look of it) is superfluous. To wit, WP:NDA. --King Öomie 20:54, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

In my view, the fact that the current debate has this form simply confirms that going backwards will be an attempt to remake Back to the Future. And I think that will then start a secondary debate on who will play Marty McFly, and that will also be a long debate. So we should try to resolve things now. History2007 (talk) 20:48, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Here's a resolution- change it back to the way it was before this mess started, because the complaints of those involved are entirely unfounded. To continue your analogy, this is the equivalent of four editors becoming VERY incensed that Marty McFly doesn't make it clear the character was played by Martin Sheen- and attempting to reach a compromise in which the lede states that Michael J Fox quite resembles Martin Sheen, but is in fact a different person. (At least one, and possibly two of those editors are still convinced that Mr. Sheen played the character, but they have tired of the debate). --King Öomie 20:54, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Consensus proposal (moving forward)

I submit that there is a consensus to remove protection, revert back to this version, and proceed slowly with 1RR and [{WP:BRD]]. I submit that User:Dbachman, User:Gabbe, User:Nefariousski, User:Kingoomieiii, User:Ben Tillman, User:Hans Adler, User:Aunt Entropy, and myself all agree with this idea (though I'd like to reconfirm). I submit that User:Afaprof01 and User:History2007 disagree with this approach. However, consensus is not unanimity and 8 in favor with 2 opposed is pretty good.

ScienceApologist (talk) 20:45, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Not so fast - the discussion has taken place for a very short period of time and still continues. History2007 (talk) 20:49, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
We can continue to discuss even while we remove protection, revert, institute 1RR, and follow WP:BRD. These are not mutually exclusive events, but it is clear to me you and Afaprof01 are in the minority and, sadly, sometimes the minority must get out of the way so that we can move on. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:52, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I endorse this motion with the fiery approval of a million suns. --King Öomie 21:00, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
King, I got from you the idea of reworking my proposed paragraph (above). I would appreciate feedback on New Option 2 before we unprotect. ─AFAprof01 (talk) 22:49, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Too wordy. The long 'myth' explanation could be covered by "(formally myth)" as per my suggestion option 4. rossnixon 01:25, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Prof, I bet you a nickle to a doughnut they will not buy that. History2007 (talk) 23:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

(←) I'm not opposed. Ben (talk) 00:16, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't think anyone is opposed to civil discourse and feedback on any of the proposals. Nefariousski (talk) 00:28, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Just reconfirming per the first comment. Ben (talk) 00:46, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Whoa there, are you sure that's the right version you are linking to? I'm not going to agree to a version that censors the words "creation myth". I think the clear majority find this edition closer to the mark. Auntie E. (talk) 00:55, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I second that. Although I would personally prefer one of the early January versions that doesn't have the comparison to the Koran in the second sentance since it seems a little misplaced in an intro. Nefariousski (talk) 01:03, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm just echoing what dab suggested. I figured after we restored the new version we could work in new versions of the lead. I'm fine with Auntie E.'s version or with Nefariousski's version, so don't let me stand in your way! ScienceApologist (talk) 03:03, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with this version, and not with this version. I would very strongly oppose the latter. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 04:28, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
So being that pretty clear consensus has been built around what revision to start with has been established without any dissent for the past day why don't we roll back to said version already? Nefariousski (talk) 01:00, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"Oh, no! Not AFAprof01 again!" Sorry, 'tis I. I am concerned about roll back to &oldid=337109226. That's where it was before the huge debate and debacle. Although I wrote the present version, I wrote it based on what seemed to be consensual attitudes on that day. It reflects some of the thinking and compromise that came through the blood, sweat and tears. Starting with where it was before "the war" is not unlike erasing the 38th parallel. Canadian Christian theologian, apologist and author Clark Pinnock writes:

While most biblical scholars would likely advocate a literary reading of Genesis, as opposed to a literal one, the characterization of Genesis 1-3 as a “mythic” text can make some people uneasy. This is largely due to the fact that in our American culture, “myth” has become synonymous with “not true”. ...But to suggest that Genesis is both a mythic text as well as the “inerrant Word of God” may require a leap of faith for some.

I'm surprised that neither I nor anyone else thought to call attention to the Wiki article Christ myth theory (sometimes called the Christ myth, Jesus myth, or nonexistence hypothesis). Its lede defines it as the contention that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist as a historical person. Since there is major precedence for using the word "myth" in such a negative manner, is it little wonder that the term is so offensive to many of us? Is it so completely implausible that the word "myth" with the "Creation" prefix is prone to conjure up visions of fable, fairy story, and superstition?

Today, taking into account many of the objections and suggestions that have been raised, I would write it something like this as an amendment to my proposals:

Creation according to Genesis refers to the account of creation found in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. It is often termed a “creation myth” without implying fictionality. Jews and Christians consider the text religious authority in varying degrees, and interpretations range from figurative or metaphorical to it being reliably literal.

AFAprof01 (talk) 22:32, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

The Pinnock quotes is interesting, and in my view could be included somewhere in the article, perhaps even in the lead. The comparison between "Genesis creation myth" and "Christ myth theory" merits a lengthier response. I think the most meaningful difference is the level of acceptance among experts. While most historians are in a consensus opinion that Jesus was a historical person with an actual, literal existance (with a slight minority of the opinion that he was merely a literary character), the opinion among experts regarding the creation account in Genesis is the opposite. With Genesis, most are of the opinion that it is a not a literal account of an historical phenomenon, but a literary device meant to explain how the world came about. What I mean to say is, it would be undue weight for us to claim that Jesus did not literally exist, but it would not be undue weight to imply that Genesis is not to be read literally. The latter is not the same as saying that "Genesis is false".
The term "Christ myth theory" is used to describe the theory that Christ is a mere literary character, rather than a literally existing factual and historical individual. This theory is not widely held to be true. The term "Genesis creation myth" is used to describe an account that is widely regarded (among scientists, theologians, biblical scholars, etc.) to be more literary than literal. Gabbe (talk) 09:35, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
I wrote it based on what seemed to be consensual attitudes on that day. - Afaprof01 Laughable at best, and in more ways than one. Anyway, since ScienceApologist's original post seems consistent with the responses here, I'll put in a request that this be carried through. Cheers, Ben (talk) 22:58, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

{{editprotected}} Restoration to this version and unprotection so we can move forward per the above discussion. Cheers, Ben (talk) 23:01, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Version restored. For the sake of a few hours I don't think it's worth removing the protection. Please continue to discuss things on the talk page after the protection expires. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 23:08, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
Not a problem. Cheers, Ben (talk) 23:10, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

I see no ongoing discussion. I just see User:History2007 making coy remarks all over the place in violation of WP:TALK. We need to restore the last stable version of this article. If anybody wants to set off a bona fide discussion after that, they are certainly most welcome to do that. --dab (𒁳) 21:43, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

  • What is wrong with this version? It includes both sides, is neutral in tone and reliably referenced. Why the POV pushing for including only a "myth" lede? 140.247.38.208 (talk) 20:53, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I think that "creation myth" is the best wording for two reasons. First, because it is the literary genre of the work, and thus is important for the same reason that it's important that Stranger in a Strange Land is identified in the lede as as science fiction novel. And the reason I think that's important (besides clearly locating the work within its genre) is that it allows for the link to our article on Creation myths, so readers can link to similar works from other traditions- that will be very useful for readers using this article for research or curiosity. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 20:56, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. There have been about 3 pages written so far about why it is inappropriate to split scholars and the religious on this issue, as there is no real separation. --King Öomie 21:31, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
First, it does not have to parallel science fiction novel. It has been pointed out many times that the characterization of Genesis 1-3 as a “mythic” text can make some people uneasy. This is largely due to the fact that in our American culture, “myth” has become synonymous with “not true,” according to theologian, apologist and author Clark Pinnock. We should have two objectives here: 1) be NPOV, 2) state facts correctly. It has been pointed out that Wiki is not seeking "truth," but "facts." What does it hurt to use a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, à la Mary Poppins? ─AFAprof01 (talk) 22:32, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Both of your points, 1 and 2, are already satisfied. You're asking us to bias this article in favour of American culture, but that is greatly frowned upon. Ben (talk) 22:43, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
In any case, 'myth' means the same thing in the US. My middle-school students have some of the same questions when I talk about creation myths, and I tell them, "a myth is a story that people somewhere, sometime, believed was true, and that tries to explain why the world is the way it is. Whether it's true or not is not even important." My 12-year-old students understand this, and so do most Christian and Jewish people- even in America. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 23:14, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Afaprof01: I think you are absolutely correct in that using the term "creation myth" we are bound to make some people uneasy, just like Pinnock says. And I also think Pinnock could be an appropriate and academic source for citing something in the article (perhaps even in the lead) to the effect "usage of the term myth makes some uneasy" or something more properly worded. But that is not, by itself, a sufficient justification for not using the term. WP:RNPOV (part of WP:NPOV) expliticly says that "editors should not avoid using terminology that has been established by the majority of the current reliable and notable sources on a topic out of sympathy for a particular point of view, or concern that readers may confuse the formal and informal meanings." Gabbe (talk) 00:01, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Afa, I have, personally, just me, quoted that portion of RNPOV directly at your text digestion apparatus AT LEAST five times. It specifically outlines why your concerns are irrelevant. Why do you continue to bring them up? I would point you to WP:ICANTHEARYOU. --King Öomie 00:34, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
One person's spoonful of sugar is another person's spoonful of crap. Using kiddie gloves to touch the subject of Genesis while using the sometimes harsh gloves of reality for all other faiths makes the adherents of Christianity and Judaism warm and fuzzy and just riles everyone else. That's the whole point of WP:WTA#Myth and Legend and WP:RNPOV. That's not to use the old adage "You can't please everyone all the time but you sure can piss them all off at once" but more along the lines of not taking a particular stance that favors any one belief over another in the interest of maintaining integrity. We (editors of Wikipedia) have policies and guidelines to refer to in the case of disputes such as this and we have to err on the side of policy, that's just the cost of doing business here. Nefariousski (talk) 00:44, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Brilliant, you got it. The approach suggested plays no favorites - treats Christians, Jews, Egyptians, you name it, the same way... Brilliant. Reminds me of: [60]..... History2007 (talk) 01:00, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Break #993,840

The full quote from RNPOV reads: "Wikipedia articles about religious topics should take care to use these words only in their formal senses in order to avoid causing unnecessary offense or misleading the reader. Conversely, editors should not avoid using terminology that has been established by the majority of the current reliable and notable sources on a topic out of sympathy for a particular point of view, or concern that readers may confuse the formal and informal meanings. Details about some particular terms can be found at words to avoid." The "words to avoid" link goes on to say "When using myth in a sentence in one of its formal senses, use care to word the sentence to avoid implying that it is being used informally, for instance by establishing the context of sociology, mythology or religion." No one is saying the term "creation myth" should not be used. Indeed the version of the article from the January 3, before all this drama started, uses the term five times. The argument is about making clear that the term is used by academics as a neutral term, not in its ordinary negative meaning. Why there is such strong objection to making the context clear, as our policy and guidelines suggest, is beyond me.--agr (talk)

The problem is that is an encyclopedia for 'ordinary' people; not for academia. You should "write for your intended audience", therefore the common usage/meaning of words is normally expected. rossnixon 01:27, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Entirely wrong. Everything in that statement goes against policy. You're talking about a complete rewrite of something like a dozen policies and style guides. Coming back to the OTHER oft-repeated, oft-ignored point- if you disagree with policy, THERE ALREADY EXISTS A FORUM TO VOICE YOUR CONCERNS- and it is not this page. --King Öomie 01:37, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Can I please bring Book of Genesis and its recent edit history to the attention of editors here. Sorry for the off topic comment, but I figure most people here are already familiar with the issue. Cheers, Ben (talk) 02:50, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

On the contrary, ross is entirely correct. Here for example is WP:PCR: Wikipedia is an international encyclopedia. People who read Wikipedia have different backgrounds, education and worldviews. Make your article accessible and understandable for as many readers as possible. Assume readers are reading the article to learn. It is possible that the reader knows nothing about the subject: the article needs to explain the subject fully. Avoid using jargon whenever possible. Consider the reader. An article entitled "Use of chromatic scales in early Baroque music" is likely to be read by musicians, and technical details and metalanguage, linked to articles explaining the metalanguage, are appropriate. An article entitled "Baroque music" is likely to be read by laypersons who want a brief and plainly written overview, with links to available detailed information. When jargon is used in an article, a brief explanation should be given within the article. Aim for a balance between comprehensibility and detail so that readers can gain information from the article. --agr (talk) 03:59, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

This is irrelevant here - the term creation myth is not jargon. Ben (talk) 04:03, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Regardless of whether it is jargon, and I submit it plainly is, the guideline says "Make your article accessible and understandable for as many readers as possible." That means explaining terms they may be unfamiliar with, or worse, may misunderstand as pejorative when they are not. "It is possible that the reader knows nothing about the subject: the article needs to explain the subject fully." Why are you so resistant to clarifying the meaning of creation myth when it is first used?--agr (talk) 05:25, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, clarifying what "creation myth" means in the lead sentence is part of the proposal Ben made above. Gabbe (talk) 10:33, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
"...may misunderstand as perjorat-" RNPOV says "Be quiet". I'm tired of this debunked argument. --King Öomie 13:25, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
RNPOV says the exact opposite: "Wikipedia articles about religious topics should take care to use these words only in their formal senses in order to avoid causing unnecessary offense or misleading the reader." Words to avoid, which RNPOV links to, goes on to say "When using myth in a sentence in one of its formal senses, use care to word the sentence to avoid implying that it is being used informally..." All I am saying is that we should word the introduction to make it clear that creation myth is being used in a non-pejorative sense. If others can agree to that perhaps we can move on and end this drama.--agr (talk) 14:21, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
And what kind of introduction do you suggest? --King Öomie 15:07, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Arnold, do you not agree that establishing a religious context makes it clear that the term creation myth is being used in a non-pejorative sense and that this establishment then satisfies RNPOV? In the same way that establishing a scientific context makes it clear how the term theory is being used in any number of articles? I'm not opposed to making it clear what the term means by establishing context, and I believe the current intro does this, I'm just opposed to making it clear what the term means by forcing a dictionary definition where it doesn't belong (for the record, I would oppose the same technique to disambiguate theory). After all, there is a little bit more to writing well than being unambiguous, and repetition for the sake of disambiguating something that is already unambiguous in a religious context is not.
If a dictionary definition can be naturally introduced into the lead then I'm all for it. As Gabbe noted, I've offered a suggestion on how this can be done in the first sentence. I don't know of any other way this can be done in the first sentence, but to echo King Öomie, suggestions are welcomed. Cheers, Ben (talk) 15:35, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't agree that establishing a religious context makes it clear that the term creation myth is being used in a non-pejorative sense. More care is needed as evidenced by the month-long argument on this talk page. I think "theory" is a good model here. In situations where there is potential controversy, our articles make an effort to provide context. Special relativity uses the term "physical theory," which it links to theoretical physics. Evolution avoids the word entirely until the fourth paragraph, and then introduces it in a carefully explained context. I would start the article with a short, neutral and accurate summary of what the first two chapters say. (The present text is wrong on the chapter division and no one seems to have picked up on the POV "sanctity of marriage" bit.) I would then introduce the term "creation myth" in the context of the question of one vs two, something like, "Many Bible scholars claim the Genesis account combines two distinct creation myths." This introduces the term in the context of Bible scholarship while providing new information to the reader. Other wordings are possible, of course.--agr (talk) 16:28, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Nitpicking- Evolution is a special case, as it's not necessarily a 'theory', until you start talking about the 'theory of evolution'. See Evolution as theory and fact. So it's not really fair to say it 'avoids' the term until the fourth paragraph. Sort of like claiming that Bible skirts around its connection to Jesus until the sixth paragraph- while a significant part, that's not all the book is about. --King Öomie 16:42, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Sanctity of marriage nonsense removed. --King Öomie 16:50, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) C'mon Arnold, you must see the parallel here.
I don't agree that establishing a scientific context makes it clear that the term physical theory is being used in a non-pejorative sense.
I think "myth" is a good model here. In situations where there is potential controversy, our articles make an effort to provide context. Creation according to Genesis uses the term "creation myth," which it links to creation myth.
If that reasoning was given by an editor of special relativity in the hopes of shuffling off the highly relevant term theory to later parts of the intro, even though it was preceded by the the word physical, would you be convinced? And the evolution article isn't about a theory, so that term doesn't belong in the introductory sentence. I stand by what I've been saying all along: The article should begin with a declarative sentence, answering two questions for the nonspecialist reader: "What (or who) is the subject?" and "Why is this subject notable?". In our case, the subject is a creation myth, and it's notable since it's a part of the Hebrew Bible. Cheers, Ben (talk) 16:53, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
My point was that Special Relativity attempts to put the word theory in context by adding additional text, it doesn't just link to theory, which would be the parallel to our treatment of creation myth. And evolution, as discussed in our article, is certainly a theory. Earlier versions said so in the second sentence for many years. e.g. "Often the word evolution is used as a shorthand for the modern theory of evolution of species based upon Darwin's theory of natural selection." Evolution then evolved. In any case, I made a suggestion as requested. I'd really appreciate comments on that.--agr (talk) 17:39, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
The Theory of Evolution is a theory. Evolution is not. It has been shown beyond all reasonable doubt that life undergoes iterative changes. Said theory is an attempt to explain WHY and HOW. Compare and contrast Gravity (elementary knowledge), and the Theory of Gravity (theoretical physics).
Your suggestion doesn't actually posit a new lede. What happens to the first sentence when we move Creation Myth away? We go back to calling the subject an 'account'? --King Öomie 19:07, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I'd suggest something like "The first two chapters of the Book of Genesis, the first book in the Hebrew Bible, describe the creation of the world and the first man and woman. Many modern Bible scholars say the text combines two distinct creation myths, while more traditional interpreters dispute this." (I'd drop the summary paragraph in the intro, by the way. I fixed the chapter division stuff after King deleted the sanctity of marriage sentence, so it's better, but I still find it too interpretive and unnecessary. We have a summary in the body of the article and the original text is only a couple of pages.)--19:43, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Discussion from Talk:Genesis creation narrative/Archive 6
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


Due Diligence

Considering that the main argument against the usage of the term "Creation myth" is one of people getting upset because they think it's being used informally and that policy after policy state that when using such words it's important to make sure that formal context and usage is established the following IMO meets that burden. We have a wikilink to the actual Creation Myth article which clarifies the context, I've just added a FAQ to further explain and we have a novella's worth of repetitive clarification. Anyone that still has issues or thinks that people are going to be confused should probably visit WP:ICANTHEARYOU. Have a little faith in your fellows, any reasonably intelligent person should get that we're not using the pejorative "myth" considering all that has been done. If they don't then they're likely the type of person that is just looking for an excuse to be offended. Nefariousski (talk) 17:10, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Supposed to leave typos alone... can't... do it... argh! Spellcheck > self-restraint --King Öomie 17:16, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Nefariousski. Cheers, Ben (talk) 17:18, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, it's early and the coffee is still brewing. You have full permission to fix any of my typos :) Nefariousski (talk) 17:30, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Myth vs Story vs Account

I can see how some Christians might take offense at the word "myth". On the other hand, I think the word "account" is not quite right either. I vote for "story" as a middle ground.
Trelawnie (talk) 03:05, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Have you read the archived discussion at Talk:Creationism#Seeking consensus to change "myth" to "story"? Gabbe (talk) 03:14, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Or any of the 300KB of text above? Ship has sailed more often than a Carnival cruise. --King Öomie 13:22, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, changing "creation myth" to "creation account" makes it real. That is the religionists' purpose. CUSH 06:37, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of the term "religionist". It rings with the same "I don't like these people, but I have no valid arguments" that "Evolutionist" or "Darwinist" has.
Which isn't to say that I wouldn't appreciate having access to a simple, plural word meaning "one of religious persuasion". I'm tired of having to say "The religious". --King Öomie 14:17, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, it is the religious who term everyone -ists to demean them, to imply a similarly uncompromizing adherence to ideology as they themselves hold. Religionists are those folks who believe to possess all the answers. Exactly those who think that Genesis *is* an account (i.e. a description of actual events) and not some myth (some made-up stuff). CUSH 14:28, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
While you're entitled to your opinion, this is not helpful. This is one more thing people can point at and say "we're being persecuted, they have an agenda". Please don't be that. --King Öomie 15:01, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I do in fact not care if folks feel persecuted because they cannot proselytize as much as they would like to. And of course I have an agenda. Its name is "accuracy on Wikipedia". The creation stuff in Genesis is a myth as any other myth about creation all throughout history. Why treat it differently by making it appear real? Giving an account is not the same as telling a myth. CUSH 19:34, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
'Creation Myth' is a scholarly term that does not assign truth value, as outlined in the FAQ above. THAT is why we're proposing it rather than the less-formal 'account' or 'story'. We're not here to smack the poor believers around. But given your... dislike for the religious people here, I'd think you'd avoid giving them ammo. Cut it out. --King Öomie 20:24, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I preserve neutrality in articles but certainly not on talk pages. I am sick beyond description of religiously non-neutral language being introduced into articles that touch religious issues. I would certainly like to move "Yahweh" to "Yahweh (mythology)" just as other articles on deities are presented. NPOV is key. THAT's the reason we are removing language that seeks to present religious claims as reality. CUSH 20:37, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────You were not involved in the quite sizeable debate above. Please don't hijack this for your own purposes. Wikipedia does not declare any religions 'false', and it is not NPOV to assert that it should. --King Öomie 20:43, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Christian and Jewish fundamentalists have been hijacking countless articles that refer to issues that touch religious doctrine, especially articles about certain events and periods in ancient Middle Eastern history. Wikipedia is not a platform for spreading doctrine for any particular faith. Hence we use neutral language and we use reliable sources that have critically analyzed the claims made by the teachings of the faith at issue. I am content with "myth" or "story", although I think that myth is not a piece of writing. CUSH 23:09, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm not disputing that there are some editors who try to push their POV with fanatical fury but reacting in an emotional way doesn't do anything but turn the editing process into a tit for tat, us vs. them bitch session. When they make an edit to "Creation Fact" and justify it on the basis of the bible being 100% literally true and then you change the edit to "Creation Bullshit" and justify it on the basis of the bible being a complete lie nobody has gained higher ground and both sides end up looking like petulant children. POV hijack type edits can be fixed without asserting opposite POV, policy is on your side. It's easy to get emotional on both sides of the fence regarding these articles but in the end cooler heads prevail. Nefariousski (talk) 23:42, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Problem with footnote 1

Footnote 1 gives a link to a subscription-only website (Oxford Reference online). Nothing wrong with the reliability of the site, but being subscription-only means it isn't readily confirmable by the average user, which is something all wiki-refs are supposed to be. I suggest someone who thinks this is important takes the definition or whatever it is you think important from that site and paste it into the footnote - the link itself should stay, of course. PiCo (talk) 23:49, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

I find that very hard to believe. After all, the link to the online version of the book is simply an added convenience - physical copies of the book are likely "readily available" in most academic and decent public libraries. Do you have a reference to some policy or guideline that defines "readily confirmable" and that "all wiki-refs are supposed to be [readily confirmable]"? Nevertheless, how much of quote are you looking for exactly? The most relevant sentence is probably:
"In Gen. the Creation and the Fall are myths, and are markedly similar to the creation stories of Israel's Near Eastern neighbours."
I hope that helps, but please reply re: policy/guidelines. Cheers, Ben (talk) 23:00, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Please see WP:PAYWALL. This is not considered a burden on editors, any more than if you had to go out and buy a book to check a reference. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 00:01, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying. Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:32, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Requested move (as a way to resolve every reasonable concern)

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Page moved to Genesis creation myth. Ucucha 16:32, 5 February 2010 (UTC)



Creation according to GenesisBiblical creation myth — A quick Google scholar search shows this term is the more common method to refer to this article's subject (151 vs. 120 hits, not mention an additional 72 hits for "Genesis creation myth"). This also has the benefit of bringing this article into line with other similar articles of ours, Sumerian creation myth, Chinese creation myth, etc, and again not to mention to countless "X mythology" articles that give an overview of a creation myth as part of the article. It is also perfectly in line with our WP:RNPOV policy and WP:WTA#Myth_and_legend guideline. But perhaps the biggest benefit for everyone here is that it allows us to completely resolve the above issues, namely, the complete disambiguation of the term creation myth in the lead sentence to everyone's satisfaction without resorting to a parenthetical or explanatory footnote to do so.

The biblical creation myth (or Genesis creation myth) is the (some favoured expansion of the term creation myth here) contained in the first two chapters of the first book of the Hebrew bible, the Book of Genesis.

Considering most of the suggestions for a new lead above already attempt to disambiguate creation myth, filing in the above parenthetical should be something everyone here can work on together to each others satisfaction and with some editorial style. Is this a reasonable way forward? Does this solve all of the above concerns? Or am I missing something? Cheers, —Ben (talk) 10:34, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Biblical creation myth is arguable, as the term will mostly refer to Genesis. But it is important to note that the bible has passages pertaining to creation also outside of Genesis. This includes various allusions to cosmology in Psalms and other parts of the OT, as well as some passages in the NT, especially the beginning of John. Fwiiw, I see nothing wrong with the current title. --dab (𒁳) 12:10, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  • The suggestion is a non-starter and can not work at all since the New Testament also refers to creation, so lumping the Jewish views with the purely Christian views is not possible. In any case, suggestion should be discussed after the resolution of current debate, for it will even lengthen the debate. My prediction: suggestion will fail anyway after much wasted time. History2007 (talk) 13:31, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Could you sketch out the main differences between the Christian creation myth and the Jewish creation myth? I was not aware of any distinction between them. Gabbe (talk) 14:03, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
In a variety of Christian theologies, the second and third persons of the Trinity play important roles in creation. This is obviously not the case for Jewish theology. Creation theology that relies on such ideas often focuses on the first chapter of the book of John. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:17, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that is right. And in fact reminds me of a topic for later attention, namely art. The art in this article needs help, and one of the items not shown is that well into the 14th century Jesus was depicted creating the world within Christian Bibles, given the assumed restrictions of Exodus 33:20 and John 1:18. But that is another issue. History2007 (talk) 14:21, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Just to clarify at this point: if a reader wanted an overview of creation from a Christian theology perspective, which article should give them that? Ben (talk) 14:59, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
We used to have an article entitled Creation (theology), but it attracted too much cruft and was deleted. ScienceApologist (talk) 15:03, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
I think a section on New Testament or Christian only perspectives or something like that may be added. If people are not clear here on this, that means the article needs help. I am personally not that clear on all the differences anyway, so it will help me too. History2007 (talk) 15:03, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Ok, is it reasonable to say that an article renaming is going to make it a lot easier to talk about the details mentioned in this section? The opening chapters of Genesis are a great influence when it comes to Judeo-Christian thought on creation, but the fact that there are passages related to creation and that these too have influenced thought on creation should be mentioned. If we widen the scope of this article just a bit, then with this article acting as a top-level article on Judeo-Christian thought on creation we are easily able to fork off information into sub-articles as the need arises. I think this strategy is preferable to trying to build multiple articles in parallel (creation (theology) for instance) that necessarily have significant overlap. Cheers, Ben (talk) 14:11, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
with the opening sentence being: The Genesis creation myth is a narrative found in the first two chapters of the Hebrew Bible, describing the origins of the universe and life from a Judeo-Christian perspective. Maher-shalal-hashbaz (talk) 02:41, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Question: does anyone have any arguments why we should title this article in a fundamentally different manner from the way other articles in Category:Creation myths are titled? I mean, apart from the fact that the adherents of Genesis are more numerous than the adherents of Völuspá. Gabbe (talk) 09:31, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Apart from the base argument against it pointed out above by Dab, Apologist and myself that it is "flatly inconsistent" from a theological view anyway, you have correctly observed that it is also a totally inconsistent naming convention. From a cynical perspective, which of course none of us here is an adherent of, that would telegraph the word myth much sooner to the reader. But I am absolutely sure that Ben has no intention of doing that, of course. History2007 (talk) 12:42, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't think any of what you just wrote makes sense, but I will defend myself. If it was simply my intention to force a term down peoples throats without clarification, against what you and Afaprof01 want, then leaving the article title as is better serves that purpose. That is not my intention, but I do want this article to be consistent with our other articles, our policies and guidelines, and by extension relevant reliable sources. I do think that if the article was renamed we both get what we want, and I have explained this above. Cheers, Ben (talk) 14:11, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I did say it was not your intention, of course. History2007 (talk) 14:23, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Honestly? It seems obvious to me that was what you were implying, albeit in a sardonic kind of way. Gabbe (talk) 14:36, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are other creation accounts in the Bible - Job, Proverbs, Isaiah, Psalms, etc. Plus, it doesn't seem that the move is ideologically neutral. StAnselm (talk) 03:54, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Your first concern would be assuaged by using the term "Genesis creation myth", would it not? By your second concern, do you mean to say that you're assuming bad faith? Gabbe (talk) 09:09, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
1) Yes. 2) Not at all - but the term "myth" carries all sorts of baggage. It would be a move from a more neutral-sounding title to a less neutral-sounding one. StAnselm (talk) 11:30, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with St Anselm. And again, it is also a non standard naming convention, as above. But dear saint, be prepared for long debates on this page, and as a friendly piece of advice, please recall what Dante said: Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Neutral has many meanings on this page. History2007 (talk) 11:43, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
StAnselm: You're saying it would be in the interest of neutrality to have articles titled Ancient Egyptian creation myths, Mesoamerican creation myths, Earth-maker myth, Pelasgian creation myth and Sumerian creation myth, but not an article titled "Genesis creation myth"? Gabbe (talk) 13:22, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Genesis creation myth instead of biblical creation myth per the above notes. Cheers, Ben (talk) 22:41, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Myth is unsourced

"Myth" is unsourced. "Genesis" is an account of creation. If we wish to portray Genesis as a "myth" in our article we would need a source to support the use of the word myth.

"Myth" puts a particular "spin" on the narrative of creation that is provided in Genesis. The FAQ explains that it (myth) is used by "academics and scholars," but we don't know that — because no source is provided.

Furthermore minority views should not be vaulted up to the level of majority views. WP:NEUTRAL requires the representation of "all significant views." Bus stop (talk) 15:33, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

I see the reference was removed by 76.253.99.32 (talk) so I've readded it. Also, the relevant policy/guidelines are at WP:WTA#Myth and legend and WP:RNPOV. Gabbe (talk) 15:44, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I think you're confused. Creation Myth is the term that is used / sourced and there's an entire FAQ to clear this up for you. Feel free to scroll up to the top of this talk page and check it out. Nefariousski (talk) 22:38, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

somebody should add the evolution myth on this page. --Templeknight (talk) 23:52, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

... what? You might need to clarify your question. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 00:38, 13 February 2010 (UTC)


This text is accepted as a true documentation by many people. It is ok to write that many others have accepted another idea as their truth. But to judge the truth by using the word myth is not a NPOV ! --Templeknight (talk) 23:49, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Please see the earlier discussions. Whether some people consider it truth or not is irrelevant to the fact: no one witnessed any of the events described, and there is no evidence to support it. Just like Greco-Roman or Norse mythology, the story of Genesis is accurately described by scholars as mythology. Doesn't make it true or false to call it a myth. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 00:36, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
This is Wikipedia. Not a religionist platform. And there is no such thing as personal truth. Either you have reliable sources that feature solid evidence to show that Genesis is a "documentation" or you leave the article alone. Creation Myths exist in many religions, including Judaism and its offshoots. And the Jewish creation myth is not special or more "true" that any other, especially as we know that most of it is stolen from various Mesopotamian traditions anyways. CUSH 00:45, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
The word myth is a POV judgement about the quality of this documentation. wikipedi should only publish NPOV. It is a fact that it is a documentation. And it is a fact that this documentation has never been proven wrong. The fact that it scientificaly hasnt proven right either is not important in this case it should be described as documentation and nothing else. --Templeknight (talk) 10:34, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
So here we go with stereotypical creationist rant. This is an encyclopedia with rules. You are not exempt from providing reliable sources for what you seek to write into an article. You may write that certain fringe religious groupings view Genesis as literally true, because that can be easily sourced, but you may not write that Genesis is in fact literally true, because that - as we all know - cannot be sourced at all. The creation as described in Genesis is a myth as is that of any other religious group. It is not any more special than that of the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Maya, the Inca, the Mesopotamians, the Chinese, or that of anybody else. It is clearly a religious story and not one describing actual events in the formation of the universe, the solar system, or the earth with its features. CUSH 11:03, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I did not say it should be written that it is true .... I said it is a documentation. It is ok to mention that this documentation is been considered false by some and considered true by others. But wikipedia is not the place to judge who is right. --Templeknight (talk) 11:08, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Talking about the "Genesis creation myth" is not the same thing as saying that Genesis is false. See the FAQ above. Gabbe (talk) 11:15, 13 February 2010 (UTC)


Truth is not a matter of personal consideration. Documentation means the description of something that actually happened, which is clearly not so. Otherwise there would be indications for that. You may write that some hold on to the myth and others don't.
But we do not open a separate section for the sheeple of Ken Ham and Kent Hovind. CUSH 11:22, 13 February 2010 (UTC)


At GABBE: Ask 20 Persons on the street if they believe that a MYTH is something true or just an old story and you will understand the problem with using this word. It doesnt matter what some english teacher might think about its meaning if the rest of the world uses the word different.

At Cush: you dont have a NPOV ...... There are many scientific proofs about the Genesis documentation ... but again we should not discuss here if this is true or not we should just take care that we have NPOV. --Templeknight (talk) 12:21, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

If there is proofs, you should not have trouble finding reliable publications elaborating on them, should you? CUSH 12:38, 13 February 2010 (UTC)


thats right but we dont need them here since this is not a discussion about if this is true or not.

But for your private Information some scinetific proofs: Big_Bang Mendelian_inheritance --Templeknight (talk) 12:59, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

The fact that formal meaning of the word "myth" differs from the informal meaning is no argument against using the word "myth" in a formal setting. See WP:WTA#Myth and legend: "Formal use of the word is commonplace in scholarly works, and Wikipedia is no exception." Gabbe (talk) 13:35, 13 February 2010 (UTC)


But it looks like informal use. And WP:WTA#Myth and legend tells us to not use it this way. --Templeknight (talk) 14:27, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

What leads you to conclude that the word is used informally? Gabbe (talk) 15:40, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Its the typical impression most people get. --Templeknight (talk) 20:51, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
You are not most people.
Oh, and please stop messing up the indentation. CUSH 21:13, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Templeknight: How do you know that its the typical impression most people get? Gabbe (talk) 21:24, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
We already went through why this is a useless line of reasoning: The encyclopedia isn't written according to "typical impressions", otherwise scientific articles wouldn't use the word theory, the universe article would contain significant discussion of geocentrism as a current model, the evolution article would talk about how wrong the concept is, all but the most basic topics would be empty or non-existent pages, etc. The purpose of this encyclopedia is to give short expositions of topics that are consistent with experts and reliable sources on the topic. Consistency with "typical impressions" is not even on the radar. If that's your cup of tea though and you just want to be told what you already know, I suggest Conservapedia. I also think this be added to the FAQ. Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:45, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Genesis creation account

Just like any other article on any other subject this article is subject to Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy. The article is on the subject of the Genesis creation myth, but it (Genesis) is considered the "living word of God" by some people. It is highly disingenuous to foist upon the general reader the untenable notion that "myth" does not mean "myth." Whether used "formally" or "informally" a similar notion is conveyed. Scholars and academics do not just happen to choose a term that conveys "falsehood" in its "informal" application. This is by design, because "scholars and academics" examine a multiplicity of religious and pseudo-religious explanations for the origin of existence. These explanations are at odds with one another, and none of them hold up to scientific scrutiny. The term "myth" fulfills the needs in this context just as it fulfills similar requirements in so-called "informal" contexts. Neutral point of view calls for the representation of all significant countervailing views. Thus the veracity and literal factuality of Genesis warrants a place in this article. Though the title may be the Genesis creation myth, elsewhere in the article reference should be made to for instance the "Genesis creation account." The "account" of creation according to Genesis represents a neutral point of view. It neither attributes "falsehood" to itself nor does it assert that it is unambiguously the final word on the subject of "creation." Bus stop (talk) 05:23, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

A word of encouragement. Thanks, Bus stop, for joining this debate. I happen to completely agree with you, and you state it very well. Please don't get discouraged and give up. Just know you are not alone in this! Thanks. ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 22:41, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
You are perfectly correct when you say "[j]ust like any other article on any other subject this article is subject to Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy," but the rest of your post indicates that it's likely you haven't read, or properly understood, what you're quoting. The word neutral here doesn't mean "it sounds good to group X", it means neutral with respect to reliable sources. That is, we write articles that are consistent with and in proportion to reliable sources on a given topic. What you, me, or anyone else likes is irrelevant. Finally, please read the FAQ at the top of this page. Cheers, Ben (talk)
Bus stop: The WP:NPOV policy contains a portion specifically dealing with religion: WP:RNPOV. Have you read it? Gabbe (talk) 08:13, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

The argument in favour of using the phrase "creation myth" is basically this: Wikipedia articles follow what academics and other experts on their respective topic do (see WP:SOURCES). We don't try to best them by "improving" their terminology. The fact that terms they use may be offensive to readers is not an argument against using such terms, since Wikipedia is not censored (see WP:CENSOR). Therefore, the word "account" is not neutral, but the term "creation myth" is. And finally, the view that Genesis is not only true but literally true is held by only a very small minority. Not only among scholars and scientists, but even within Christianity and Judaism. Because of this, the "Genesis is literally true" viewpoint might not deserve mention in this article at all, per WP:DUE. But that is irrelevant, since this article doesn't say or imply that Genesis is not to be taken literally. Gabbe (talk) 08:45, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

What you say is not true because 1 130 000 000 members of the roman catholic church share the catholic truth which believe the creation documentation is literaly true (CIC Can. 750 -§ 1). So this realy should be mentioned. --Templeknight (talk) 11:40, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Oh please. Roman Catholicism holds Genesis to be religiously true, not literally. And the number of Catholic adherents who do hold the creation in Genesis to be literally true is fringe.
BTW I was raised a Roman Catholic. CUSH 11:54, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Templeknight: Roman Catholics are among those Christians that almost exclusively assert that Genesis is not to be interpreted literally. See for example The Gift of Scripture. Gabbe (talk) 12:40, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

This is not true. It is the law of church that orers to take bible literaly and everybody that doesnt is been considered a heretic. And related to your link just have a look at Dei_Verbum. And I guess wikipedia is not the place to judge how many catholics realy believe in the catholic teaching. And even this discussion is unnecessary since it is a fact that 1 1300 000 000 people are members of a church that publicly teaches that the bible is literaly true. For this reason it should not be said that this is a believe of a small group and doesnt deserve to be mentioned --Templeknight (talk) 14:32, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't know what "orers" are, but Dei Verbum explicitly requires that "the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended", paying attention to such things as literary forms, historical context, and overall message. As a relevant examples, the Catholic Church has for a quite a while now accepted evolution as true and compatible with Genesis. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:50, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Dont mix things up right now .... ofcourse catholic church accepts the scientific research about the creation and the evolotion theory took its main parts out of creation science: Mendelian_inheritance and Big_Bang --Templeknight (talk) 21:41, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
There may be legitimacy for the term "myth" in this context. But you are using it to hit people over the head with it, figuratively speaking. It needs to be placed in its context so that the reader is presented with a full and evenhanded picture of extant approaches to the entity called "Genesis." It is a literary work that provides a cornerstone of religions. There is no need to endorse falseness or veracity in relation to that entity. And it is not educational to present material without explanation. One should not have to look to the "FAQ" to comprehend the article. There is a place in the article for the verbose spelling out of the academic usage of the term "myth," as well as any distinctions that may be deemed necessary between any "formal" and "informal" use of the term "myth." All of this should be sourced and all of this should be in plain English right in article space. No reader of the article should need a familiarity with WP:RNPOV to comprehend the article. WP:RNPOV exists to spell out problems that have been encountered and how to approach them. But the article itself should not be cryptic, relying on a circumlocutious path to the FAQ and to WP:RNPOV. The article is supposed to elucidate. The article is not supposed to muddy the issue or pull the wool over anyone's eyes. The word "myth" is the same word in the two usages in which you are claiming it is used. It is therefore incumbent on you, the editor, to explain the apparent contradiction in the two meanings, or at least the two usages, of the word. This should be thoroughly done in article space. Bus stop (talk) 15:33, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Uh huh. So do you advocate as in depth a discussion of the term theory in every scientific article that uses the term? Or do you think a wikilink to an article that discusses the term theory should suffice in the event a reader is curious? Cheers, Ben (talk) 15:41, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

As soon as a theory is prooven it is not longer called a theory so this question doesnt hit reality. --Templeknight (talk) 16:19, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Scientific theories are never proven, but we're way off topic here. Cheers, Ben (talk) 16:42, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
@Templeknight: Ok, this last comment disqualified you from the discussion. You are scientifically illiterate. Either come up with substantial sources or leave this article and its discussion alone. CUSH 16:45, 14 February 2010 (UTC)


I dont need to bring sources for this because this is not the topic of our discussion...... and you are leading us far away ..... --Templeknight (talk) 21:01, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

If you claim that Genesis is an actual account, you are the one to present the sources that feature the evidence for it. Otherwise it remains what it is: a myth. Both in academic terms as well as in common vernacular. CUSH 21:31, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Right now you gave the proof we needed ..... so you call it myth because you dont think its true ! This is your POV and has not to be used in a wikipedia article ! Do we realy need to discuss this more ? Its very obvious now isnt it ? --Templeknight (talk) 21:43, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
CUSH is speaking for himself and is not necessarily representing Wikipedia in general. Gabbe (talk) 21:53, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes thats right but it is a very good example that shows how many people take it ! So can you give me any reason why this should be used ? --Templeknight (talk) 22:02, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and should treat topics the way standard works of reference do. Take the New Catholic Study Bible, for example. This is what they have to say regarding "myth" and "Genesis":

The first eleven chapters of Genesis are much closer to mythical forms of writing. Myth, in this case, must not be understood to mean that the events told were fictional or untrue. A myth is a profoundly true statement which speaks to universal aspects of life and reality. It is a statement whose meaning rises above time and space. Although biblical myths were influenced by other mythical statements of the ancient world, they are used by the biblical writers to express history's relationship to God. They point to history's origins at the moment of the world's creation. They speak of the beginnings where history touches eternity, and, therefore, to moments which cannot be historically described. Myth is thus essential to biblical faith. We do the Scriptures a serious injustice if we read myth as though it were history. Such a tendency must be resisted along with the opposite tendency to read biblical history as though it were mythical. By reading the early chapters of Genesis with sensitivity to poetic symbol and imagery, we can easily avoid such temptations.

— New Catholic Study Bible, Saint Jerome Edition, Literary Forms of the Bible, pages 1360-61
Wikipedia puts "Genesis" and "creation myth" in the same sentence because that's what reliable sources do. Gabbe (talk) 22:16, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Gabbe, I believe you once suggested putting into the lead some scholarly description of "myth" in this context. Yours is certainly scholarly, and there's more below in my Hyers quote. Do you think we might draft something "scholarly" now for the lead? ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 22:34, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

This sentence "The first eleven chapters of Genesis are much closer to mythical forms of writing" states very clearly without any doubt that it is not a myth. So this supports my argumentation. --Templeknight (talk) 22:25, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

It supports your WHAT??? ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 22:34, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Templeknight: If by "myth" you mean "false story", then I agree. The text I quoted doesn't say that Genesis is a "myth". But neither does this Wikipedia article. The text I quoted, just like this article, uses the word "myth" in a different context. Gabbe (talk) 23:04, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
According to |Dr. Conrad Hyers, professor of comparative mythology and the history of religions:

Unfortunately, myth today has come to have negative connotations which are the complete opposite of its meaning in a religious context. A myth is often spoken of as being the equivalent of superstition and deletion, a fabrication, even a form of propaganda. We refer to the Nazi myth of Aryan supremacy or the male chauvinist myth of masculine superiority or the medical myth of Laetrile. Myths are falsehoods which need to be dispelled, and the dispeller is usually understood to be scientific and historical truth. If religion is associated with myth, it is the mission of the scientific and historical method to rid the world of its fantasies and fallacies. ─Conrad Hyers, PhD. The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science.’’ Atlanta, John Knox, 1984. ISBN 978-0804201254

The old adage says, "Perception is in the eye of the beholder." Here is a well-respected theologian-author whose expertise extends to comparative mythology and the history of religions. If anyone should know what connotations are conjured up by the term "myth" (and he's writing about creation myth), it would be someone with his credentials. And he claims what many of us have been claiming on these Talk pages: "myth" is offensive to adherents of Christianity and Judaism who revere Genesis, and the many other places in the Bible that affirm the Genesis creation account, as somehow sacred.
We label the outside of some shipping containers with the words, "Please Handle with Care." That's all most of us are asking in this and similar articles. Please Handle with Care. Call it a creation myth, but do so with literary awe rather than arrogance, with deference rather than disdain. There is tremendous precedence for introducing the article(s) as "the biblical accounts of creation in Genesis." "Account" is neutral. Next, it literary class or genre is called a "creation myth." Then, in deference to those possibly "poor ignoramus illiterates" who have a conditioned knee-jerk response to the word "myth" as always connoting fantasy and fiction and who are now flushed with indignation and want to change channels, we gently explain that it is a technical term without implication of accuracy or error.
Please remember that many of our readers approach this article with a predisposition of biblical inerrancy and biblical infallibility. According to that "unimpeachable resource" Wikipedia, "the term 'inerrancy' is often used by conservative theologians in all religions: in Judaism to refer to the Torah; in Christianity to refer to the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, also known to Christians as the Old and New Testaments; in Islam to refer to the Qur'an, and in other religions to refer to their own holy books."
Through the pages and pages of this Talk page, no one has ever given a sensible reason why the lead cannot (or must not) explain to the uninitiated that "creation myth" does not imply falsity.
  • The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article.
  • It should summarize the most important points—including any notable controversies
  • The lead should not "tease" the reader by hinting at—but not explaining—important facts that will appear later in the article.
  • It should create interest in reading the whole article (not run a significant risk of offending those who revere the Bible as holy and sacred, incidentally which does not necessarily address the dimension of literal or figurative.
Thank you for your re-consideration of this most important point that obviously concerns many. ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 22:29, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
"Please remember that many of our readers approach this article with a predisposition of biblical inerrancy and biblical infallibility." I doubt that. This is the English Wikipedia, which serves as the international Wikipedia. The number of people who maintain biblical inerrancy and biblical infallibility is restricted to the far right adherents of Protestant churches in the US and a handful of Catholics around the world. The official position of the major Christian churches, namely orthodoxy (Catholicism and Eastern orthodox churches, making up two thirds of Christianity), does not build on literal interpretations of the Creation story. Beliefs in strict biblical inerrancy and biblical infallibility are almost solely US American phenomena. CUSH 22:57, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Afaprof01: The question of whether the phrase "creation myth" is offensive or not might not be as relevant as you claim, since Wikipedia is not censored (WP:CENSOR). There have been countless discussions elsewhere about whether or not we should feature pictures of Muhammad in relevant articles here, which (arguably) is more offensive to millions of Muslims than the phrase "creation myth" is to millions of Christians. I can't remember there ever being riots and violence regarding the phrase "creation myth", for example. But trying to fit things in a spectrum of offence isn't going to get us anywhere. Anyway, in the Muhammad case, the consensus has long been that the usability of said images overrides the offence that they might cause among readers. The term "creation myth" is useful, since it connects with similar documents from other religions. And offensiveness issues aside, that it is an otherwise apt description does not seem to be in dispute. Why should we act differently in this case, and cater to the readers' possible sense of offence?

I think the "readers might not understand what we're trying to say" argument could be worthy of further discussion, so that we might reach a lead that not only exemplifies the highest standards of accuracy and concision but informativeness as well. But the whole "this is offensive" argument really is a dead end in my view. If we set out to not offend anyone, writing Wikipedia would become impossible. Gabbe (talk) 23:04, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

As always, I truly appreciate your rebuttal and the considerate and scholarly way you write it. Would you consider joining in an effort to address the "readers might not understand what we're trying to say" issue? That's very valid and is backed up by both your recent citation and mine. There are others out there that are saying the same thing. The reason for the offense is incomplete or improper understanding of the technical definition. But it should be addressed from this perspective:

Further, there are things of which the mind understands one part, but remains ignorant of the other; and when man is one is [sic] able to comprehend certain things, it does not follow that he must be able to comprehend everything.─Maimonides

AFA Prof01 (talk) 23:46, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
I support this within reason. There is no reason we can't offer a more or less complete expansion of the term creation myth in the very first sentence now. On the one hand the article title allows us to remain accurate and consistent with reliable sources while on the other hand the expansion of the term completely disambiguates it. Ben (talk) 00:04, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
I think that debates on this page have gone through more circles than a whirling dervish. Honestly, I think we're in WP:BRD country now, as long as people remember that the "D" in "BRD" is not referring to edit summaries. Gabbe (talk) 16:11, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

-

Discussions to change from Genesis creation myth

Discussion from Talk:Genesis creation narrative/Archive 6
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


Genesis creation account

Just like any other article on any other subject this article is subject to Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy. The article is on the subject of the Genesis creation myth, but it (Genesis) is considered the "living word of God" by some people. It is highly disingenuous to foist upon the general reader the untenable notion that "myth" does not mean "myth." Whether used "formally" or "informally" a similar notion is conveyed. Scholars and academics do not just happen to choose a term that conveys "falsehood" in its "informal" application. This is by design, because "scholars and academics" examine a multiplicity of religious and pseudo-religious explanations for the origin of existence. These explanations are at odds with one another, and none of them hold up to scientific scrutiny. The term "myth" fulfills the needs in this context just as it fulfills similar requirements in so-called "informal" contexts. Neutral point of view calls for the representation of all significant countervailing views. Thus the veracity and literal factuality of Genesis warrants a place in this article. Though the title may be the Genesis creation myth, elsewhere in the article reference should be made to for instance the "Genesis creation account." The "account" of creation according to Genesis represents a neutral point of view. It neither attributes "falsehood" to itself nor does it assert that it is unambiguously the final word on the subject of "creation." Bus stop (talk) 05:23, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

A word of encouragement. Thanks, Bus stop, for joining this debate. I happen to completely agree with you, and you state it very well. Please don't get discouraged and give up. Just know you are not alone in this! Thanks. ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 22:41, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
You are perfectly correct when you say "[j]ust like any other article on any other subject this article is subject to Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy," but the rest of your post indicates that it's likely you haven't read, or properly understood, what you're quoting. The word neutral here doesn't mean "it sounds good to group X", it means neutral with respect to reliable sources. That is, we write articles that are consistent with and in proportion to reliable sources on a given topic. What you, me, or anyone else likes is irrelevant. Finally, please read the FAQ at the top of this page. Cheers, Ben (talk)
Bus stop: The WP:NPOV policy contains a portion specifically dealing with religion: WP:RNPOV. Have you read it? Gabbe (talk) 08:13, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

The argument in favour of using the phrase "creation myth" is basically this: Wikipedia articles follow what academics and other experts on their respective topic do (see WP:SOURCES). We don't try to best them by "improving" their terminology. The fact that terms they use may be offensive to readers is not an argument against using such terms, since Wikipedia is not censored (see WP:CENSOR). Therefore, the word "account" is not neutral, but the term "creation myth" is. And finally, the view that Genesis is not only true but literally true is held by only a very small minority. Not only among scholars and scientists, but even within Christianity and Judaism. Because of this, the "Genesis is literally true" viewpoint might not deserve mention in this article at all, per WP:DUE. But that is irrelevant, since this article doesn't say or imply that Genesis is not to be taken literally. Gabbe (talk) 08:45, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

What you say is not true because 1 130 000 000 members of the roman catholic church share the catholic truth which believe the creation documentation is literaly true (CIC Can. 750 -§ 1). So this realy should be mentioned. --Templeknight (talk) 11:40, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Oh please. Roman Catholicism holds Genesis to be religiously true, not literally. And the number of Catholic adherents who do hold the creation in Genesis to be literally true is fringe.
BTW I was raised a Roman Catholic. CUSH 11:54, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Templeknight: Roman Catholics are among those Christians that almost exclusively assert that Genesis is not to be interpreted literally. See for example The Gift of Scripture. Gabbe (talk) 12:40, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

This is not true. It is the law of church that orers to take bible literaly and everybody that doesnt is been considered a heretic. And related to your link just have a look at Dei_Verbum. And I guess wikipedia is not the place to judge how many catholics realy believe in the catholic teaching. And even this discussion is unnecessary since it is a fact that 1 1300 000 000 people are members of a church that publicly teaches that the bible is literaly true. For this reason it should not be said that this is a believe of a small group and doesnt deserve to be mentioned --Templeknight (talk) 14:32, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't know what "orers" are, but Dei Verbum explicitly requires that "the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended", paying attention to such things as literary forms, historical context, and overall message. As a relevant examples, the Catholic Church has for a quite a while now accepted evolution as true and compatible with Genesis. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:50, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Dont mix things up right now .... ofcourse catholic church accepts the scientific research about the creation and the evolotion theory took its main parts out of creation science: Mendelian_inheritance and Big_Bang --Templeknight (talk) 21:41, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
There may be legitimacy for the term "myth" in this context. But you are using it to hit people over the head with it, figuratively speaking. It needs to be placed in its context so that the reader is presented with a full and evenhanded picture of extant approaches to the entity called "Genesis." It is a literary work that provides a cornerstone of religions. There is no need to endorse falseness or veracity in relation to that entity. And it is not educational to present material without explanation. One should not have to look to the "FAQ" to comprehend the article. There is a place in the article for the verbose spelling out of the academic usage of the term "myth," as well as any distinctions that may be deemed necessary between any "formal" and "informal" use of the term "myth." All of this should be sourced and all of this should be in plain English right in article space. No reader of the article should need a familiarity with WP:RNPOV to comprehend the article. WP:RNPOV exists to spell out problems that have been encountered and how to approach them. But the article itself should not be cryptic, relying on a circumlocutious path to the FAQ and to WP:RNPOV. The article is supposed to elucidate. The article is not supposed to muddy the issue or pull the wool over anyone's eyes. The word "myth" is the same word in the two usages in which you are claiming it is used. It is therefore incumbent on you, the editor, to explain the apparent contradiction in the two meanings, or at least the two usages, of the word. This should be thoroughly done in article space. Bus stop (talk) 15:33, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Uh huh. So do you advocate as in depth a discussion of the term theory in every scientific article that uses the term? Or do you think a wikilink to an article that discusses the term theory should suffice in the event a reader is curious? Cheers, Ben (talk) 15:41, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

As soon as a theory is prooven it is not longer called a theory so this question doesnt hit reality. --Templeknight (talk) 16:19, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Scientific theories are never proven, but we're way off topic here. Cheers, Ben (talk) 16:42, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
@Templeknight: Ok, this last comment disqualified you from the discussion. You are scientifically illiterate. Either come up with substantial sources or leave this article and its discussion alone. CUSH 16:45, 14 February 2010 (UTC)


I dont need to bring sources for this because this is not the topic of our discussion...... and you are leading us far away ..... --Templeknight (talk) 21:01, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

If you claim that Genesis is an actual account, you are the one to present the sources that feature the evidence for it. Otherwise it remains what it is: a myth. Both in academic terms as well as in common vernacular. CUSH 21:31, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Right now you gave the proof we needed ..... so you call it myth because you dont think its true ! This is your POV and has not to be used in a wikipedia article ! Do we realy need to discuss this more ? Its very obvious now isnt it ? --Templeknight (talk) 21:43, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
CUSH is speaking for himself and is not necessarily representing Wikipedia in general. Gabbe (talk) 21:53, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes thats right but it is a very good example that shows how many people take it ! So can you give me any reason why this should be used ? --Templeknight (talk) 22:02, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and should treat topics the way standard works of reference do. Take the New Catholic Study Bible, for example. This is what they have to say regarding "myth" and "Genesis":

The first eleven chapters of Genesis are much closer to mythical forms of writing. Myth, in this case, must not be understood to mean that the events told were fictional or untrue. A myth is a profoundly true statement which speaks to universal aspects of life and reality. It is a statement whose meaning rises above time and space. Although biblical myths were influenced by other mythical statements of the ancient world, they are used by the biblical writers to express history's relationship to God. They point to history's origins at the moment of the world's creation. They speak of the beginnings where history touches eternity, and, therefore, to moments which cannot be historically described. Myth is thus essential to biblical faith. We do the Scriptures a serious injustice if we read myth as though it were history. Such a tendency must be resisted along with the opposite tendency to read biblical history as though it were mythical. By reading the early chapters of Genesis with sensitivity to poetic symbol and imagery, we can easily avoid such temptations.

— New Catholic Study Bible, Saint Jerome Edition, Literary Forms of the Bible, pages 1360-61
Wikipedia puts "Genesis" and "creation myth" in the same sentence because that's what reliable sources do. Gabbe (talk) 22:16, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Gabbe, I believe you once suggested putting into the lead some scholarly description of "myth" in this context. Yours is certainly scholarly, and there's more below in my Hyers quote. Do you think we might draft something "scholarly" now for the lead? ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 22:34, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

This sentence "The first eleven chapters of Genesis are much closer to mythical forms of writing" states very clearly without any doubt that it is not a myth. So this supports my argumentation. --Templeknight (talk) 22:25, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

It supports your WHAT??? ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 22:34, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Templeknight: If by "myth" you mean "false story", then I agree. The text I quoted doesn't say that Genesis is a "myth". But neither does this Wikipedia article. The text I quoted, just like this article, uses the word "myth" in a different context. Gabbe (talk) 23:04, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
According to |Dr. Conrad Hyers, professor of comparative mythology and the history of religions:

Unfortunately, myth today has come to have negative connotations which are the complete opposite of its meaning in a religious context. A myth is often spoken of as being the equivalent of superstition and deletion, a fabrication, even a form of propaganda. We refer to the Nazi myth of Aryan supremacy or the male chauvinist myth of masculine superiority or the medical myth of Laetrile. Myths are falsehoods which need to be dispelled, and the dispeller is usually understood to be scientific and historical truth. If religion is associated with myth, it is the mission of the scientific and historical method to rid the world of its fantasies and fallacies. ─Conrad Hyers, PhD. The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science.’’ Atlanta, John Knox, 1984. ISBN 978-0804201254

The old adage says, "Perception is in the eye of the beholder." Here is a well-respected theologian-author whose expertise extends to comparative mythology and the history of religions. If anyone should know what connotations are conjured up by the term "myth" (and he's writing about creation myth), it would be someone with his credentials. And he claims what many of us have been claiming on these Talk pages: "myth" is offensive to adherents of Christianity and Judaism who revere Genesis, and the many other places in the Bible that affirm the Genesis creation account, as somehow sacred.
We label the outside of some shipping containers with the words, "Please Handle with Care." That's all most of us are asking in this and similar articles. Please Handle with Care. Call it a creation myth, but do so with literary awe rather than arrogance, with deference rather than disdain. There is tremendous precedence for introducing the article(s) as "the biblical accounts of creation in Genesis." "Account" is neutral. Next, it literary class or genre is called a "creation myth." Then, in deference to those possibly "poor ignoramus illiterates" who have a conditioned knee-jerk response to the word "myth" as always connoting fantasy and fiction and who are now flushed with indignation and want to change channels, we gently explain that it is a technical term without implication of accuracy or error.
Please remember that many of our readers approach this article with a predisposition of biblical inerrancy and biblical infallibility. According to that "unimpeachable resource" Wikipedia, "the term 'inerrancy' is often used by conservative theologians in all religions: in Judaism to refer to the Torah; in Christianity to refer to the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, also known to Christians as the Old and New Testaments; in Islam to refer to the Qur'an, and in other religions to refer to their own holy books."
Through the pages and pages of this Talk page, no one has ever given a sensible reason why the lead cannot (or must not) explain to the uninitiated that "creation myth" does not imply falsity.
  • The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article.
  • It should summarize the most important points—including any notable controversies
  • The lead should not "tease" the reader by hinting at—but not explaining—important facts that will appear later in the article.
  • It should create interest in reading the whole article (not run a significant risk of offending those who revere the Bible as holy and sacred, incidentally which does not necessarily address the dimension of literal or figurative.
Thank you for your re-consideration of this most important point that obviously concerns many. ─AFA Prof01 (talk) 22:29, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
"Please remember that many of our readers approach this article with a predisposition of biblical inerrancy and biblical infallibility." I doubt that. This is the English Wikipedia, which serves as the international Wikipedia. The number of people who maintain biblical inerrancy and biblical infallibility is restricted to the far right adherents of Protestant churches in the US and a handful of Catholics around the world. The official position of the major Christian churches, namely orthodoxy (Catholicism and Eastern orthodox churches, making up two thirds of Christianity), does not build on literal interpretations of the Creation story. Beliefs in strict biblical inerrancy and biblical infallibility are almost solely US American phenomena. CUSH 22:57, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Afaprof01: The question of whether the phrase "creation myth" is offensive or not might not be as relevant as you claim, since Wikipedia is not censored (WP:CENSOR). There have been countless discussions elsewhere about whether or not we should feature pictures of Muhammad in relevant articles here, which (arguably) is more offensive to millions of Muslims than the phrase "creation myth" is to millions of Christians. I can't remember there ever being riots and violence regarding the phrase "creation myth", for example. But trying to fit things in a spectrum of offence isn't going to get us anywhere. Anyway, in the Muhammad case, the consensus has long been that the usability of said images overrides the offence that they might cause among readers. The term "creation myth" is useful, since it connects with similar documents from other religions. And offensiveness issues aside, that it is an otherwise apt description does not seem to be in dispute. Why should we act differently in this case, and cater to the readers' possible sense of offence?

I think the "readers might not understand what we're trying to say" argument could be worthy of further discussion, so that we might reach a lead that not only exemplifies the highest standards of accuracy and concision but informativeness as well. But the whole "this is offensive" argument really is a dead end in my view. If we set out to not offend anyone, writing Wikipedia would become impossible. Gabbe (talk) 23:04, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

As always, I truly appreciate your rebuttal and the considerate and scholarly way you write it. Would you consider joining in an effort to address the "readers might not understand what we're trying to say" issue? That's very valid and is backed up by both your recent citation and mine. There are others out there that are saying the same thing. The reason for the offense is incomplete or improper understanding of the technical definition. But it should be addressed from this perspective:

Further, there are things of which the mind understands one part, but remains ignorant of the other; and when man is one is [sic] able to comprehend certain things, it does not follow that he must be able to comprehend everything.─Maimonides

AFA Prof01 (talk) 23:46, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
I support this within reason. There is no reason we can't offer a more or less complete expansion of the term creation myth in the very first sentence now. On the one hand the article title allows us to remain accurate and consistent with reliable sources while on the other hand the expansion of the term completely disambiguates it. Ben (talk) 00:04, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
I think that debates on this page have gone through more circles than a whirling dervish. Honestly, I think we're in WP:BRD country now, as long as people remember that the "D" in "BRD" is not referring to edit summaries. Gabbe (talk) 16:11, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Creation according to Genesis

For most of its history, this article was called "Creation according to Genesis". This is a NPOV title. Calling it by a POV title and slapping on a FAQ that notes that this POV is shared among academics who share that POV is not the Wikipedia way. Wikipedia is not a science textbook. --Dweller (talk) 09:58, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

I think both "Creation according to Genesis" and "Genesis creation myth" are reasonably NPOV. I reflexively lean to support the "myth" variant, mostly because the arguments against it are so crappy. But I really think the old title is clearer and preferable (if only slightly). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 10:11, 15 February 2010 (UTC)


Yes "Creation according to Genesis" is NPOV so we should change it back. --Templeknight (talk) 10:25, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Both titles are fine, and frankly synonymous. However, the apposition "Genesis creation myth" strikes me as less than elegant English. Of course, another problem is that "Genesis" itself means "creation", the book's Greek name being taken from the fact that it contains the creation story. A more erudite title would be something like "Cosmogony narratives in Genesis" or "Creation stories in Genesis or similar.

I do appreciate that this isn't a honest debate about the best article title, but an ideologically fuelled dispute surrounding the interpretation of the term "myth". This is unfortunate, but as always, Wikipedia needs to make do with such contributions as it gets. --dab (𒁳) 12:22, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Chinese creation myth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Sumerian creation myth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Ancient Egyptian creation myths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Mesoamerican creation myths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Pelasgian creation myth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Tongan creation myth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
While I'm aware of WP:OTHERSTUFF, I fail to see what's NPOV about using the term 'Creation Myth' for every other specific article about these subjects, and then ousting it for the sake of a few editors who, weeks later, still can't pick up a dictionary. --King Öomie 13:51, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

King Öomie — This is the English Wikipedia. Most of those articles that you have suggested above would find their native language to involve other than English. And their cultures are not generally speaking the cultures associated with the English speaking component of the world's population. There is is an impropriety in naming any of them as "myths" as doing so fails to represent the minority views that one can assume are probably found in at least a few reliable sources. It is a self-centered impetus that causes one to impose a view on other cultures and belief systems and NPOV is there to prevent this. NPOV allows for the representation of all significant views. The proper place for the addressing of perhaps conflicting views is in the body of the article proper. The title cannot possibly adequately address divergent views. And the first sentence of an article also cannot possibly adequately address a variety of perspectives that might exist concerning these creation narratives. "Genesis" is indeed native to the segment of the human population that the English Wikipedia addresses. But reliable sources show that a variety of views exist relative to its creation narrative. They deserve thorough treatment in the main body of the article. The word "myth" is the same word used in two different ways. This nuance has to be addressed in a way that apprises the reader of the knottiness of the issue we are tackling here. This is not an issue for the wise minds of the Wikipedia editors to resolve "behind closed doors." A contradiction is found in the two different uses of the word "myth." That ambiguity or contradiction disqualifies that word from appearing in either the title or even the introductory sentences of this article. If the reader is to be brought up to speed on the issue, it has to have a thorough airing out in the body of the article. There is no reason to promote one view at the expense of another and to do so inappropriately. That is colloquially referred to as point of view pushing. It serves no one's needs. The reader needs information. The reader doesn't need to be told what to think. Bus stop (talk) 14:22, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
90% of your comment is rendered null and void by the difference between 'Myth' (used here) and 'Creation Myth' (and the same goes for a really sad amount of comments on this page). The reader is not being told what to think. The reader is being presented reliable literary analysis courtesy of biblical scholars. --King Öomie 14:47, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
King Oomie, there are equally, many thousands of "biblical scholars" who would seek to refute the notion that Creation is a "myth". Choosing which group of scholars is "correct" is not Wikipedia's role - it's POV. --Dweller (talk) 19:35, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Would you care to name any of them? Gabbe (talk) 19:39, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
"Genesis" does not state that Genesis is a myth. Genesis contains no words that convey that it is to be viewed figuratively, for instance. What it states, it states in an entirely straightforward manner. The source for the literal interpretation of Genesis is Genesis itself. Therefore the title should be agnostic on the issue of whether Genesis is literally true or only to be considered for instance as a metaphor for something else. Yes, you would be correct that there exists a school of thought out there that the narrative contained in Genesis might not be 100% accurate. But that is subject matter that should be taken up somewhere within the body of the article. That would be the proper place to introduce what may be a valid and reliably sourced notion of a "creation myth," as perhaps found in academic circles. But this should not be taken up in the title where its placement represents a peremptory negating of the subject matter of the article. Bus stop (talk) 20:57, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Look at the comment immediately below this one. Your comment has no bearing on the topic at hand. We are in no way dealing with, or even referring to, whether or not Genesis is true, and I'm tired of explaining that 4-5 times to the SAME EDITORS. --King Öomie 21:39, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Bus stop: The view that Genesis should be interpreted literally is held by only a small minority, not only among Christians and Jews, but among Biblical scholars (both secular and religious), theologians, and other relevant sources. As such, detailing this "Genesis is literally true" viewpoint in this article could risk violating WP:UNDUE and other policies and guidelines. This article should focus on what mainstream scholars and experts think about the content of the first chapters of Genesis. We certainly don't have to remain "agnostic on whether Genesis is literally true" as that would go against WP:GEVAL. It's perfectly neutral for this article to say that Genesis is not literally true, just as it is completely neutral for the article "Earth" to say that the Earth is several billions years old, even though a lot of biblical literalists will disagree with that. Gabbe (talk) 21:44, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
We're not seeking consensus to call Genesis a book of myths (he clarified for the 8,000th time). We're seeking consensus that Creation Myth is a widely-used, neutral, scholarly term for a supernatural story of the creation of the earth and/or life. --King Öomie 20:10, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
David Strauss's claim that many of the gospel narratives are mythical in character, and that "myth" is not simply to be equated with "falsehood" — have become part of mainstream scholarship.--Marcus Borg here + countless other reliable refs already cited on this page (including Oxford's Dictionary of the Bible) characterising this articles topic as myth. Consistency with the mainstream is Wikipedia's role - it's WP:WEIGHT. Cheers, Ben (talk) 20:22, 15 February 2010 (UTC)


I support moving the title back to its original: "Creation According to Genesis." I cannot believe how quickly (and underhandedly) it was moved to this new title. The discussion is minimal, the voters are not a clear consensus. Move it back. 76.253.103.218 (talk) 22:04, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Move back to Original: Yes 76.253.103.218 (talk) 22:06, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

You posted this both here and below. Are you formally proposing to move this article? If so, you should at least keep the discussion in one place, and probably follow the procedure listed at WP:RM. Gabbe (talk) 23:03, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Creation according to Genesis

For most of its history, this article was called "Creation according to Genesis". This is a NPOV title. Calling it by a POV title and slapping on a FAQ that notes that this POV is shared among academics who share that POV is not the Wikipedia way. Wikipedia is not a science textbook. --Dweller (talk) 09:58, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

I think both "Creation according to Genesis" and "Genesis creation myth" are reasonably NPOV. I reflexively lean to support the "myth" variant, mostly because the arguments against it are so crappy. But I really think the old title is clearer and preferable (if only slightly). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 10:11, 15 February 2010 (UTC)


Yes "Creation according to Genesis" is NPOV so we should change it back. --Templeknight (talk) 10:25, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Both titles are fine, and frankly synonymous. However, the apposition "Genesis creation myth" strikes me as less than elegant English. Of course, another problem is that "Genesis" itself means "creation", the book's Greek name being taken from the fact that it contains the creation story. A more erudite title would be something like "Cosmogony narratives in Genesis" or "Creation stories in Genesis or similar.

I do appreciate that this isn't a honest debate about the best article title, but an ideologically fuelled dispute surrounding the interpretation of the term "myth". This is unfortunate, but as always, Wikipedia needs to make do with such contributions as it gets. --dab (𒁳) 12:22, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Chinese creation myth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Sumerian creation myth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Ancient Egyptian creation myths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Mesoamerican creation myths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Pelasgian creation myth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
Tongan creation myth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
While I'm aware of WP:OTHERSTUFF, I fail to see what's NPOV about using the term 'Creation Myth' for every other specific article about these subjects, and then ousting it for the sake of a few editors who, weeks later, still can't pick up a dictionary. --King Öomie 13:51, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

King Öomie — This is the English Wikipedia. Most of those articles that you have suggested above would find their native language to involve other than English. And their cultures are not generally speaking the cultures associated with the English speaking component of the world's population. There is is an impropriety in naming any of them as "myths" as doing so fails to represent the minority views that one can assume are probably found in at least a few reliable sources. It is a self-centered impetus that causes one to impose a view on other cultures and belief systems and NPOV is there to prevent this. NPOV allows for the representation of all significant views. The proper place for the addressing of perhaps conflicting views is in the body of the article proper. The title cannot possibly adequately address divergent views. And the first sentence of an article also cannot possibly adequately address a variety of perspectives that might exist concerning these creation narratives. "Genesis" is indeed native to the segment of the human population that the English Wikipedia addresses. But reliable sources show that a variety of views exist relative to its creation narrative. They deserve thorough treatment in the main body of the article. The word "myth" is the same word used in two different ways. This nuance has to be addressed in a way that apprises the reader of the knottiness of the issue we are tackling here. This is not an issue for the wise minds of the Wikipedia editors to resolve "behind closed doors." A contradiction is found in the two different uses of the word "myth." That ambiguity or contradiction disqualifies that word from appearing in either the title or even the introductory sentences of this article. If the reader is to be brought up to speed on the issue, it has to have a thorough airing out in the body of the article. There is no reason to promote one view at the expense of another and to do so inappropriately. That is colloquially referred to as point of view pushing. It serves no one's needs. The reader needs information. The reader doesn't need to be told what to think. Bus stop (talk) 14:22, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
90% of your comment is rendered null and void by the difference between 'Myth' (used here) and 'Creation Myth' (and the same goes for a really sad amount of comments on this page). The reader is not being told what to think. The reader is being presented reliable literary analysis courtesy of biblical scholars. --King Öomie 14:47, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
King Oomie, there are equally, many thousands of "biblical scholars" who would seek to refute the notion that Creation is a "myth". Choosing which group of scholars is "correct" is not Wikipedia's role - it's POV. --Dweller (talk) 19:35, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Would you care to name any of them? Gabbe (talk) 19:39, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
"Genesis" does not state that Genesis is a myth. Genesis contains no words that convey that it is to be viewed figuratively, for instance. What it states, it states in an entirely straightforward manner. The source for the literal interpretation of Genesis is Genesis itself. Therefore the title should be agnostic on the issue of whether Genesis is literally true or only to be considered for instance as a metaphor for something else. Yes, you would be correct that there exists a school of thought out there that the narrative contained in Genesis might not be 100% accurate. But that is subject matter that should be taken up somewhere within the body of the article. That would be the proper place to introduce what may be a valid and reliably sourced notion of a "creation myth," as perhaps found in academic circles. But this should not be taken up in the title where its placement represents a peremptory negating of the subject matter of the article. Bus stop (talk) 20:57, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Look at the comment immediately below this one. Your comment has no bearing on the topic at hand. We are in no way dealing with, or even referring to, whether or not Genesis is true, and I'm tired of explaining that 4-5 times to the SAME EDITORS. --King Öomie 21:39, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Bus stop: The view that Genesis should be interpreted literally is held by only a small minority, not only among Christians and Jews, but among Biblical scholars (both secular and religious), theologians, and other relevant sources. As such, detailing this "Genesis is literally true" viewpoint in this article could risk violating WP:UNDUE and other policies and guidelines. This article should focus on what mainstream scholars and experts think about the content of the first chapters of Genesis. We certainly don't have to remain "agnostic on whether Genesis is literally true" as that would go against WP:GEVAL. It's perfectly neutral for this article to say that Genesis is not literally true, just as it is completely neutral for the article "Earth" to say that the Earth is several billions years old, even though a lot of biblical literalists will disagree with that. Gabbe (talk) 21:44, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
We're not seeking consensus to call Genesis a book of myths (he clarified for the 8,000th time). We're seeking consensus that Creation Myth is a widely-used, neutral, scholarly term for a supernatural story of the creation of the earth and/or life. --King Öomie 20:10, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
David Strauss's claim that many of the gospel narratives are mythical in character, and that "myth" is not simply to be equated with "falsehood" — have become part of mainstream scholarship.--Marcus Borg here + countless other reliable refs already cited on this page (including Oxford's Dictionary of the Bible) characterising this articles topic as myth. Consistency with the mainstream is Wikipedia's role - it's WP:WEIGHT. Cheers, Ben (talk) 20:22, 15 February 2010 (UTC)


I support moving the title back to its original: "Creation According to Genesis." I cannot believe how quickly (and underhandedly) it was moved to this new title. The discussion is minimal, the voters are not a clear consensus. Move it back. 76.253.103.218 (talk) 22:04, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Move back to Original: Yes 76.253.103.218 (talk) 22:06, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

You posted this both here and below. Are you formally proposing to move this article? If so, you should at least keep the discussion in one place, and probably follow the procedure listed at WP:RM. Gabbe (talk) 23:03, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Myth/myth moved from User Talk page space

Moving this here; no need to discuss this article on my User Talk page Bus stop (talk) 12:44, 15 February 2010 (UTC)


Genesis creation myth

Regarding this edit, have you seen Talk:Genesis creation myth, in particular the FAQ on top of that page? Gabbe (talk) 13:22, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

February 2010

Information.svg Welcome to Wikipedia. I notice that you removed content from Book of Genesis. However, Wikipedia is not censored to remove content that might be considered objectionable. Please do not remove or censor information that is relevant to the article. You have the option to configure Wikipedia to hide images that you may find offensive. Take a look at the welcome page to learn more about contributing to this encyclopedia. Thank you. Ben (talk) 13:26, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

I see Tillman has resumed his relentless POV-pushing on this subject. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:32, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Some handy links for Bugs: WP:NPA, wiktionary:resume and wiktionary:relent. Cheers, Ben (talk) 13:51, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
We've been through this many times. Tillman knows the most common use of "myth" is "fairy tale" and that's the POV he's pushing, under the guise of "scholarly". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:54, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
POV-pushing, guise... so sinister. It might behoove you to read ANY of the policies we've linked in the numerous debates. The most common, colloquial definition doesn't matter. --King Öomie 14:36, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Please stop the 'pov-pushing' comments, BB. Kingoomieeiii is correct. Dougweller (talk) 15:53, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
This particular article makes no allowance for neutral point of view. Is the Book of Genesis not considered as anything other than a "myth" or is that its only designation? Bus stop (talk) 16:45, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I support a neutral first sentence and Tillman does not. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:53, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

To answer your question: If you're asking whether Genesis is considered a "myth", in the informal sense of "a false story", then the answer is no, at least not on Wikipedia. But this informal usage of the word "myth" is generally discouraged in articles. If you're asking whether part of Genesis is considered a "creation myth", in the formal sense of "a sacred narrative providing an account of how the world was created and came to be in its present form", then the answer is yes, this is what almost all Christians, theologians and biblical scholars consider the literary genre of Genesis to be. Talking about the Genesis creation myth in this sense is perfectly neutral, as we do the same thing to other creation myths, such as the Sumerian creation myth or the Ancient Egyptian creation myths. Treating Genesis differently from other religions would not, however, be neutral. Gabbe (talk) 18:45, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

The problem with the creation story article is that the creation myth information was already mentioned in the second sentence of the lead, but that wasn't good enough for Tillman, he wanted it in the first sentence, in order to bludgeon the user with the viewpoint that Genesis is a fairy tale. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:52, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
If you keep repeating that "fairy tale" line, you may start to believe that's actually what Creation myth means. Be careful. --King Öomie 18:56, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
That is what it means, to the average reader, as you and Tillman well know. You're wanting to hammer the reader over the head that that is the only viewpoitn. Tell me how that passes the neutrality standard? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:58, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
With all the cranium violence in your metaphors, you'd think there'd be more traffic over at Migraine. It doesn't MATTER what the 'average reader' thinks it means[citation needed]. Just as we don't use "penultimate" instead of "ultimate", despite what people think they know. Words and phrases have definitions. It would be starkly biased to choose whichever one the Christians like best over the one that actually fits, according to the people who know what they're talking about. --King Öomie 19:05, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
You're saying the same thing as Tillman, that you don't care what your readers think, because your POV is more important. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:42, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Allow me to rephrase. I don't care what the reader's PRECONCEPTION is, and the scholarly definition is what will be presented, courtesy of WP:DUE. --King Öomie 20:15, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Wikpedia is an encyclopedia by the people for the people. You want a "scholarly" work, go work for Britannica or something. The first sentence saying it's strictly a myth is a biased viewpoint. Saying it's the narrative in the book of Genesis is an unbiased viewpoint. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:23, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
No. If you think that Wikipedia does not aim for academic accuracy you are mistaken. This is not a place to reflect or promote any people's gut feelings. The biblical Creation Myth is in no way different than that of the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Maya, or anybody else. Wikipedia does not give preference to any particular religion over other religions, contemporary or extinct. There is no special treatment for the Bible just because some folks currently adhere to it. CUSH 19:20, 15 February 2010 (UTC)


I'm a person. Ben (talk) 23:24, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Stop splitting "creation" and "myth". It's one phrase. You change the meaning when you do that, and instantly start arguing a strawman. --King Öomie 20:28, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
WP:VERIFY says that "the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth." Any religious source (for instance) that asserts that the Book of Genesis is literally true provides a "significant view," and consequently is deserving of consideration for inclusion. That is in accordance with WP:NEUTRAL. Bus stop (talk) 20:40, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Read through Talk:Genesis creation myth. And also, WP:RNPOV. --King Öomie 20:45, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
A source that asserts that Genesis is literally true is not necessarily a "significant view". For a view to be significant it has to be asserted by a fair number of experts on the topic. For example, polls conducted by Gallup have found that about 16% of Germans, 18% of Americans and 19% of Britons believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. [61] That alone does not make geocentrism a "significant view", since very few astronomers hold it to be true. Gabbe (talk) 21:51, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

But the truth is nothing that can be decided by counting the amount of people that think this way or that way .... "Such a tendency must be resisted along with the opposite tendency to read biblical history as though it were mythical. " – New Catholic Study Bible, Saint Jerome Edition, Literary Forms of the Bible, pages 1360-61 So can anybody explain me now why this word should be used since its very obvious wrong to use it this way ? --Templeknight (talk) 22:31, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

All completely irrelevant! We're not calling bible stories myths. We're using the term "Creation Myth" to refer to said creation myth in the book of genesis. Once again, don't split 'crea