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aSK talk:Rules and regulations

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All contributions, including photographs and edits to articles, essays, debates, and talk pages, are to be clean and family-friendly. So, no mentioning the Song of Solomon, certain parts of the book of Ezekiel, Lot's daughters date-raping their dad, or other smut? --Gulik 22:48, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Contents

Regulation 5

What template should be used to give warning of content as per regulation 5? Neveruse513 17:47, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I can make one, if one is wanted. o ListenerXTalkerX 17:49, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
I have made the template and put it here. o ListenerXTalkerX 18:14, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

What about the Old Testament? I'd hate to think of innocent children being exposed to that hideous morass of rape, slaughter, crime and general sin. --Gulik 17:03, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Regulation clarification

Moved from user talk:Philip J. Rayment.

Hi PJR. Your wiki is off to a good start!

I was wondering you could clarify regulation #5, which states that editors should avoid external links to sources that are inconsistent with aSK's views and provide a warning of content if they are absolutely necessary.

This came up in the Global flood article where a book about the feasibility of the flood which placed the flood 1000 years before the literalists' accepted date of creation (and some 3000 years before the accepted date of the flood) was cited. As this contradicts the accepted date of creation (5199-4004 BC - from the vulgate and septuagint, respectively...I think), should the source be removed or bear a warning? And if it should bear a warning, what should that warning look like? Thanks in advance! Neveruse513 22:40, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

I've added a comment to the {{Ext warn}} talk page, but it doesn't totally answer your question here.
This is one of those things that we will have to use judgment on a case-by-case basis. If the book definitely argues against the biblical date (your dates would probably be Septuagint and Masoretic texts respectively, and the Vulgate (Latin translation) was based on the Masoretic, and 4004 BC is one calculation from the Masoretic, although all such calculations are close), then I'd say a warning is appropriate. If the book is generally good but has a "wrong" date almost in passing, I wouldn't bother. Somewhere in between that, it's again a case of using our judgment.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 23:13, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. Yeah, I think it's going to have to be based on a case-by-case basis. Neveruse513 23:38, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Measurements

Should the site have a policy on which units of measurement are to be used? I know you don't want to be too draconian but I'd be happy to see an "Anyone using units other than SI will be hung, drawn and quartered".--Toffeeman 14:18, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

What do others think? I think it's best if, as far as possible, we provide both metric and non-metric (imperial & American?), although that can be awkward. Hang on, I have a feeling Semantic MediaWiki can help here. Perhaps that's not in the page text itself, though. And I'd think this is more a matte for the Style manual? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:24, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Alternatively the rule could be that you must quote SI units and, if you want, put Imperial measures aftwerwards in brackets. (Mixing the two might put you in the position I am in here in the UK: I buy litres of petrol for a car whose efficiency is measured in miles per gallon, buy pints of beer and litres of milk and cook a 3 kilo chicken for 20 minutes a pound.)--Toffeeman 14:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
I think SI units with alternatives in brackets. There will probably be a need to specificy British Imperial or US Imperial (and I love that term) as they are often different. Apparently a 200 litre drum will hold 44 gallons in Britain but 55 gallons in the US.BradleyF (LowKey) 23:18, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
I think we'll go with whatever editors want to use, or whatever is applicable for the situation. Many rail gauges, for example were designed in feet and inches, and although there is of course a metric equivalent, the metric versions don't really "feel" the same. For example 762mm seems rather arbitrary, but it makes more sense knowing that it's 2'6".
I also say this because further to my comments above about Semantic MediaWiki, I've found that if you put the measurements in with the right markup, you can hover the mouse over the value and a pop-up box will show you the value in other measurements. See here for an example. The article lists the size of Berlin as being 891.69 square kilometres, but hovering the mouse over the figure pops up a box that list the area as being 891,690,000 square metres(!), 89,169 hectares, and 344.283 square miles (and I guess acres could be added to that). Apart from printouts or people without Javascript (which I assume it uses), this seems better than listing dual (or even multiple) measurements.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:38, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Dates

Is there any preference between B.C./A.D. and BC/AD? I've been using the former, but I think the latter is more common.--MikeM 21:50, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Regulation 3 and the wiki question

Since I saw this popping up in the recent (now reverted - I think) edits to the CP article, here's a suggested amendment to the third regulation:

Try to link to primary material whenever it's feasible. Avoid links to wikis. If a wiki is the best/only source for the claim, try to link to a permalink.<ref>In MediaWiki systems such as Wikipedia, you can use the "Permanent link" option from the "toolbox" on the left side.</ref>

This should cover at least the more obvious bases, I think. --Sid 08:17, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Your second sentence was somewhat redundant given the existing rule, so I've left that out, despite realising that without it the regulation could be (mis)read by some as carte blanche to use Wikis as references. Thanks for the suggestion. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:11, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
Cool, thanks. :) --Sid 09:24, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Regulation 6 clarification

Vestigial organs isn't an an article about biology as a whole, but does deal with biology, an empirical science. It seems all references to to evolution and creation should be removed. And appendix too! And solar system. Sterile 02:43, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Regulation 6 allows for those matters being "discussed in topics about those views or in topics where they are specially relevant.". Does vestigial organ qualify? Frankly, I did wonder the same as you; whether it ought to be removed. On the other hand, vestigial organs are frequently used as an argument for evolution (see the external link in the article, for example), so I'm inclined to think it qualifies for the exemption. And the appendix is the "classic" (claimed) vestigial organ, so it should certainly be there.
As for solar system, I think I agree with you on that one.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:39, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
It seems that the removal of such material will lead to a rather bland encyclopedia, but I understand vestigial organs. Sterile 13:50, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
If by "bland" you mean "uncontroversial", then I'd consider that a good thing. If you mean "uninteresting", then I have to wonder why articles have to include evolutionary (or creationary) views for you to find them interesting.
An article about snakes, for example, should still be quite interesting in describing their habitats, toxins, anatomy, life cycle, and so forth. Simply omitting origins views is not going to make that much difference to how bland or otherwise articles are.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:25, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

I think the rule is silly. It is hard to understand aspects of biology without talking about some aspects that could be considered "evidence for" evolution. Is it kosher to talk about the similarity in genetic code from one species to another? You would claim that it's design evidence (and therefore evidence for creationism) and I would claim it's evolutionary evidence. Mostly, it just seems weird to omit it as it is fundamental information on biology. And ignoring the fossil record for mammoths because they may be a precursor to elephants seems bizarre as well if it helps someone to understand the biology of elephants better. I think it's a highly interpretable rule. Sterile 14:52, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

First, it seems that you misunderstand the regulation. It says that "Information about origins...is not to be included". It doesn't say that facts that can be "considered" evidence for evolution can't be included. Therefore there is no problem with discussing similarity of genetic code, nor fossils, as long as the articles don't take the next step of calling it evidence for or against an origins view.
Second, although a number of scientists have claimed that biology can't be understood without evolution, a number of others have said the exact opposite, and both the existence of biology before evolution came to be accepted and the existence of creationary biologists today who can quite happily do their biology without reference to evolution support the idea that biology can be done without reference to evolution. This encyclopædia aims to prove that point by having good articles on a wide range of biological topics without referring to evolution.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 21:06, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the really amusing thing to me is that evolution really isn't an "origins" theory. Oh, sure, it presupposes some population of "simple" life form, but scientists don't claim to know how that population came to be with any certainly, although they have hypotheses. It's also not clear to me what is the cut-off between mutations and natural selection or genetic drift and what you consider evolution. I seem to recall the "speciation," at least within a kind, was accepted or acceptable here. Which speciations in the scientific literatures do the creationists dispute and which ones are "OK"? What's the difference between the cases? Sterile 00:39, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Not an "origins" theory? What was the title of Darwin's famous book, again?  :) Actually I agree with your statement, but my issue is with "theory" rather than "origins". As to what is or is not evolution (i.e. the evolution that creationists reject) we get back to the "information" discussion. A trend of "downhill" or "conservative" changes is 1) observed and 2) in keeping with Biblical descriptions, a trend of "uphill" or "creative" (avoiding other connotations for that word) changes is neither. That's truly a very brief summary, but hopefully is a sufficient "nutshell version". BradleyF (LowKey) 01:21, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
You are right in that it explains the "origin" of individual species of course insomuch as there is a starting point for an individual species. It would be silly for me to deny that, of course. I'm not really sure I understood the rest of your post. The word "changes" is a bit vague to me. Perhaps you've condensed a bit too far. Genetic changes? Morphological changes? (I promise I won't bring up information here, for now.) Sterile 02:09, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Genetic changes. Morphological changes would arise either through genetic change or environmental impacts on an individual (e.g. smaller adult size due to diet). Environmentally induced changes at the individual level would not be passed on. In other words generation 1 of some animal could have an adult mass of 10kg, but due to famine etc generation 2 only manages 6kg, while the adult mass of generation 3 could be 10kg again if the famine is over. Morphological change arising from genetic change is really genetic change for the purpose of "measuring" changes. For a rather frivolous example of "speciation" as understood by creationists; the makers of M&Ms here recently decided to package their colours individually, so instead of a bag of M&Ms in all the available colours, a bag contained only red, or only blue, or only yellow etc. M&M had become "speciated" without the creation of any new M&M colours. I don't want to strain the analogy too far, but notice that the new "Red M&M's" are not the same as the old "M&M's" but nothing was added. (BTW, it didn't stick and we're back to mixed colours). BradleyF (LowKey) 02:45, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure your analogy helped. Do you mean less genetic diversity? Is there a specific example in nature that I can go off of? Sterile 21:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Generally, yes. I know the term "kinds" gets backs up but it applies here. Cat "kind" would have been a very diverse population with genes for a wide variety of morphologies. Lions are a subgroup of cats that have speciated (lost genetic information for small size, colour variants). Tigers are another (again, no small size, and colour variations are limited to stripes). Domestic cats are yet another, but have lost less (i.e. they have more diversity); colour range (and range of variegation patterns) are wide, size range is wide (ever heard of Aussie "supercats"?). Buffalo, Bison, Cattle, Aurochs is another grouping to consider (the "Beef kind" perhaps?  :D) . Canids are another. BradleyF (LowKey) 23:43, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I posted a bit somewhere around here about salmonidae species that is relevant, too, but I can't recall where. It's laying about somewhere. Essentially, the broader kind speciated into the various freshwater only, oceanic only, and "migratory" species of salmon/trout. BradleyF (LowKey) 02:41, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Do, then, mutations (loosely defined: point, duplication, etc.) play any role in the creationist model? Sterile 21:13, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely. They are observed to occur, after all. Observed mutations have an overwhelming "downhill" trend, which is why creationists hold that they cannot be ascribed the overwhelming "uphill" role that (neo-)Darwinism requires. BradleyF (LowKey) 00:56, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to see your statistics of uphill vs. downhill mutational trends. Sterile 15:52, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I'll see what specific numbers I can find (Haldane's dilemma comes to mind, but I'll look further - it's more about the inadequacy of any uphill trend than arguing an actual downhill trend as such). Meanwhile, as evolution by mutation (i.e the uphill trend) is actually an evolutionist claim, it would be that claim that needs to be support. I would like to see what statistics support an uphill trend. BradleyF (LowKey) 22:52, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Uphill? Who said anything about uphill? That there is a direction and it is "toward" a goal is a misunderstanding of evolution, albeit a common one. The only thing that matters in evolution that a mutation leads to a higher probability for survival in a population. That the policy of this wiki is that natural selection is OK and mutations are OK implies that there can be beneficial mutations. Lenksi, antibiotic and pesticide resistance, nylon-eating bacteria.... Did the designer arrange for those? How are those not beneficial mutations? Certainly the genes that provide these charcteristics to their offspring are passed on. That's not to say there are no harmful mutations: sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, any genetic disorder. Those who have these mutations die off (typically) and do not pass the mutation on to their offspring (typically). Answers in Genesis even says that the argument that there are no beneficial mutations should not be made. Sterile 00:18, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

(OD)Switch from uphill/downhill to more complex/less complex then, as that is what I am talking about. I have not argued that there are no beneficial mutations. For evolution to account for life on earth as we now know now it, there must be (or have been at least) a trend of mutations sufficiently beneficial for natural selection to "fix" them, with a trend of such mutations increasing the complexity of the genome, including the "addition" of coding fr novel structures, and all of this occurring quickly enough for the current diversity to have developed from the abiotic earth within the last X years ("X" being whatever timeframe is currently being claimed by evolutionists). Haldane said that at least for most-recent-pre-human to human it couldn't happen. I am asking for evidence of this occurring (the diversity life is not said evidence, as it is the phenomenon to be explained). BradleyF (LowKey) 01:00, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Teosinte to corn. (I don't remember the template name, but pro-evolutionary stuff here, obviously...) Sterile 01:07, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
That's a pretty good article, but it is dealing with artificial selection and intentional selective "breeding". It does little to support the hypothesis that the natural process is the same (only slower) as the "forced" process. Consider the eponymous teosinte, natural selection coul dreasonably be expected to work against plants producing big obvious cobs on a single stalk. It is only through the careful preservation (i.e. not eating) of kernels that such plants survived. It took intelligence, goal orientation, and intervention to get corn. The article iself says, "That plump ear of corn in the farmer's market is just as much a product of human engineering as an iPod." Also, nothing in the article discusses mutations (unless I missed it), but rather the whole article is about selection of existing traits. BradleyF (LowKey) 01:46, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
So the genetic mechanisms for natural selection and artificial selection are different? Did the teosinte breeders know the corn would be yellow at the outset? Sterile 02:34, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I want to take a step back here. The issue is uphill vs. downhill. More/less complex is just another way of saying the same thing. And neither is the issue artificial vs. natural selection.

The issue is not whether evolution has a goal of uphill or more complexity, but that evolution claims that things have gone uphill. Whether it was the result of a goal or not, evolution claims that life has developed from the first "simple" cell to the vast array or complex life that exists today, and this is a claim of uphill changes. Natural selection is observed, but needs the uphill changes to select from (if goo-to-you evolution is true). Mutations are observed, but all observations have been of neutral or downhill changes. Even some beneficial mutations have occurred, and natural selection has selected for these, but they are again downhill changes, so these (downhill) beneficial mutations don't explain the required uphill mutations. The corn example is an example of changes that were beneficial for people (but perhaps not for nature), but Bradley says there's no claims of the changes being uphill ones.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:56, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Having now had a quick read of the corn link, what struck me was that they are explicitly describing (what I would call) downhill changes. That is, they point out that the change is a loss of genetic information (in given breeds compared to their ancestors) just as described and illustrated in genetic information#Differentiation and speciation (except for it being artificial selection). The main criticism I would make of the article is that they refer to this as 'evolution' when it is entirely compatible with the creationary model and does not explain goo-to-you evolution. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:09, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure why you insist on intruding in Bradley and my conversation, Philip, (other than to gang up on me), but if you want to re-open the information discussion, I'd be happy to, although if and only if you define what you mean by information (and, for that matter, uphill, downhill, and/or more or less information). It has been, after all, a month and a half. (And the link most certainly does not support the view that species appeared out of thin air, like the creationists view says happened.) Sterile 12:33, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Sterile, I wouldn't call it intruding; I would call it wiki (or maybe "Shirley"). Actually when I saw Philip's posts in this thread I held off my own posts for two reasons. Firstly, I was consciously avoiding the "ganging up" impression (although to be fair the RWians gang up on us often enough). Secondly, as often happens I read Philip's post and apart from slightly different emphases and nuances it was substantially what I would have posted.
By "switching" from uphill/downhill to more/less complex I was saying that in my own the terms are interchangeable (and we are talking about genes, here). I was happy to go with the semantic distinction you seemed to be making, although I do not make the same distinction. I was avoiding the word "information" because I thought the discussion was actually moving forward and didn't want it to get stalled (sorry, Philip). I have found that using the word seems to generate the same kind of "screeching halt" to meaningful discourse with RWians that saying "Hitler" does (sorry, Sterile). My point was that in terms of complexity, various organisms are most certainly "uphill" or "downhill" from each each other and evolution posits that life started at the bottom of the hill. Due to this, if evolution is to account for life as we know it, it must account for a trend of uphill (increasing complexity) changes. It doesn't have to be oriented to this as a goal, but it has to achieve it nonetheless (hopefull the distinction there is clear).
The teosinte/corn article actually does describe speciation pretty much as creationists describe it. I only see two differences; the selection pressure is artificial, and the article calls it evolution. In my opinion, if "evolution" was changed to "speciation" throughout, the article would need very little additional editing to be at home on creation.com. Interestingly for both the corn and sunflowers (off the top of my head) the modern, engineered plant is actually a simpler plant than the wild stock (e.g. less robust and adaptable; flower/fruit on a single stalk). My original point about the article was that we were discussing mutations and as an example of evolution via mutation (I think), you invoked an article about speciation without mutation (which the article also called evolution). Pointing to examples of speciation without mutation to support "progressive" evolution by mutation is equivocation (& therefore logically invalid). It's like pointing out how water runs downhill to gather in lakes, seas etc, and then saying that you have explained how clouds form. Seas and clouds are both "collections" of water, but the processes involved are totally different.
I found your "out of thin air" comment a little odd, given that until now you seemed to be genuinely seeking to know what the creationary model is. BradleyF (LowKey) 23:52, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Sorry if I'm intruding, but nowhere have I insisted on intruding!
I have already explained "information" ad infinitum. As for the article and species, creationist do not say that species appeared out of thin air. You have that totally wrong. The creationary view is that species formed in essentially the way described in that article, which is due to a loss of genetic information.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:06, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
What exactly did God do on day five and six of creation week? Were the animals there already? And explain how your genetic mechanism is different than those observed by evolutionary biologists. And why they didn't work in the past. And why the genotypes in dogs are explained by mutations, not cutting off genotypes. (And if you ever address the outstanding questions on the (meaningful) information talk page, I'll be amazed.)Sterile 15:26, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
PS. And the quote about corn that is relevant is here:
If domestication involved the crippling of precisely tuned wild species, one might have expected domestication genes to have null or loss-of-function alleles. Rather, domestication has involved a mix of changes in protein function and gene expression. As a consequence of domestication, sh4 shows changes in protein function and expression level (2), qSH1 shows a change in the spatial pattern of its expression (3), tb1 shows increased expression (4), tga1 shows a change in protein stability or protein function (6), fw2.2 shows a heterochronic shift in its expression (5), and Q shows changes in protein function and gene expression (7). Given that the cultivated allele of not one of these six domestication genes is a null, a more appropriate model than “crippling” seems to be adaptation to a novel ecological niche—the cultivated field. Tinkering and not disassembling is the order of the day in domestication as in natural evolution, and Darwin’s use of domestication as a proxy for evolution under natural selection was, not surprisingly, right on the mark.

—Doebley, John. "Unfallen Grains: How Ancient Farmers Turned Weeds into Crops" Science 312 (2 June 2006), pp 1318-1319.

PPS And more here, where the mutation in the Tb1 gene is described. Sterile 21:07, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I must confess I'm a little lost as to where we are, having taken a few days off from this. (Happy American Independence Day!) However, it does seem clear that I have to address Haldane's dilemma, issues of complexity, and maybe clear up some of this corn discussion. I must confess I've had the advantage of searching the scientific literature, which helps.

Haldane's dilemma is a mathematical model that says that beneficial mutations will be damped out of species as the breed and therefore never get fixed into a population. It doesn't take but a Google search to find all sorts of objections to the assumptions to Haldane's 1957 paper. Saying that evolution does not occur because of Haldane's paper is like saying that quantum mechanics is wrong because Bohr had a model of the atom.

Furthermore, we are in an age during which genetic sequences can be determined. Hence, scientists can observe the progress of a beneficial mutation being fixed into a population in real-time. Although a relatively new field, scientists have performed some experiments in the last few years.

One examples in bacteria are Herring and co-workers' paper in Nature Genetics.[1] The abstract of that paper is easy enough to understand:

We applied whole-genome resequencing of Escherichia coli to monitor the acquisition and fixation of mutations that conveyed a selective growth advantage during adaptation to a glycerol-based growth medium. We identified 13 different de novo mutations in five different E. coli strains and monitored their fixation over a 44-d period of adaptation. We obtained proof that the observed spontaneous mutations were responsible for improved fitness by creating single, double and triple site-directed mutants that had growth rates matching those of the evolved strains. The success of this new genome-scale approach indicates that real-time evolution studies will now be practical in a wide variety of contexts.

There are other examples of such studies, and I expect Richard Lenski's research group to sequence his citrate-eating bacteria. In bacteria, Haldane's dilemma is irrelevant as shown by data–no hypothetical model required (and no squabbles about which assumptions are true or false required as well).

It is also the case the mutations do play a role in the evolution of teosinte to corn (or maize, in the literature), as the paper by Wang et al.[2] demonstrates:

DNA sequence analysis of the SPB gene for the tga1-ems1 stock revealed it differs from its parental (W22) [wild-type] allele by a non-conservative amino acid substitution of a phenylalanine for a leucine at position 5 (Fig. 2b). This mutation in the tga1-ems1 allele confirms our conclusion from positional cloning that tga1 is the SBP gene, and demonstrates that a single amino acid substitution is sufficient to confer the difference between maize and teosinte phenotypes.

They compared the DNA sequence (and corresponding protein sequence) of wild-type teosinte taking into account its diversity and did not find the amino acid in corn. They also demonstrate the gene's importance in determining the morphology of corn. (See the long quote above.)

The other concern you seem to have is about complexity, another seemingly intuitive but enormously complicated issue to sort out with science. I recently looked at a book in Barnes and Noble (but didn't buy it yet–it was hard cover) called Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell. (It was prompted by the information discussion, in reality. Thanks Philip!) Not having the book in front of me makes it difficult, but what I remember is that there are different definitions of complexity, and genetic computer programs can demonstrate complexity increasing. Certainly, the changes are small at a time as one would expect, but they do occur. In addition, biological systems have the machinery to vary forms by changing a few developmental genes. The Hox genes are a great example where all animal forms have them and differ only by turning them on and off during development. It's not clear that a frog is more complex than a fly or a fish is more complex than a dog. Of course, there had to have been some increases in complexity: single-cell to multi-cell, and then differentiation of cell types. However, these are not huge changes. I expect scientists to have a better understanding of complexity in the coming years. In fact, the creationist "complexity cannot arise through genetic processes" is really "we don't understand how complexity arises from genetic processes," and really is an argument from lack of knowledge, which we all know here is fallacious.

In reality, given the genetic tools I would have expected the creationists to have made more progress in sorting animals into kinds than they have. Genetics does provide compelling evidence, after all. Sterile 22:53, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Sterile, I have copied the above here and given a cursory response for now.BradleyF (LowKey) 03:06, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
And caused me an edit conflict in the process! But fair enough; I'll put my response there also. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:23, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
 :) Well, at least that way your response didn't "miss the bus". BradleyF (LowKey) 03:40, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

artificial break

You are correct, Sterile, that Darwinian evolution (as distinct from "chemical evolution") is not an origin-of-life theory, but it is an origins-of-types-of-living-things theory hypothesis.
As for what is acceptable here, that can be determined by observation, to a fair extent, or by common agreement. That is, some speciation has been observed, and creationists and evolutionists agree that speciation occurs. Mutations and natural selection are also observed and are agreed. What is not observed and not agreed are things like bird evolving from dinosaurs or amphibians from fish.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:53, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, what is an example of speciation that would be acceptable here? Also, I'm assuming by "determined by observation" you mean in real-time and directly. Sterile 21:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Real-time and directly is best, but for speciation that's not too likely. However, you can have before and after observations which demonstrate speciation. See here for some examples of speciation and the basis for determining that it had occurred. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:29, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
And note also that I said "or by common agreement". If the evidence for speciation etc. is not directly observed, but creationists agree with evolutionists that the evidence is sufficient to conclude that it occurred, then there is also no problem. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:31, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure the hyperlinked page has any true "speciations" in it, or at least it's not clear to me that the offspring generations cannot breed with the original or other offspring generations. Sterile 21:15, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately the "no interbreeding" standard for separate species is often ignored (consider all the fertile hybridization that is possible). It makes "species" a somewhat arbitrary category. The new "species" from that page are recognised as such by mainstream researchers, so they "fit" the criteria as well as anything else. BradleyF (LowKey) 00:56, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

talk page references

  1. Herring, C.D. et al. "Comparative genome sequencing of Escherichia coli allows observation of bacterial evolution on a laboratory timescale." Nature Genetics Dec. 2006 (38): 1406-1412.
  2. Wang, H. et al. "The Origin of the Naked Grains of Corn." Nature 4 August 2005 (436): 714-719.

Illustrating a point

We need a regulation similar to this guideline on Wikipedia. --OscarJ 19:17, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Actually, we need guidelines for "criticism" or "lack of accuracy" sections that are better than "the creationists always win." We also need regulations on weasel words,making necessary assumptions, and undue weight. Sterile 22:22, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
It is fine to cherry-pick policy from WP (or elsewhere) – indeed it makes good sense - as long as we put some thought into how it actually works in practice.
I think that we should include something on these (except for two) in Editing etiquette (or maybe the style manual in a couple of cases) rather than Rules and regulations. I am generally in favour of keeping the actual rules and regulations to a minimum. The two exceptions are the first and last (point making and undue weight), but for two very different reasons.
Disruptive point-making is essentially vandalism (an editor intentionally making a post which they consider inappropriate) and this should be stated clearly in the regulations. It is not the same as surf-by vandalism however. Rather it is something an editor will escalate into, so our sanction policy (when finalised) should take that into account.
An “undue weight” regulation or guideline creates new problems and solves none. Instead of discussing why they consider certain statements to give undue weight, editors wind up simply declaring that the statements do give undue weight and invoking UNDUE! to silence discussion or justify a revert. Also WP’s guideline on this is simply sanctioning argumentum ad populum as official policy. The guideline specifies due weight as determined by popularity and specifically discounts validity (although I am pretty sure that WP’s astrology articles do not treat astrology as valid, despite the popularity of that view). The WP guideline itself also does not address facts but only deals with views, and I think that several of the “undue weight” type discussions here have been about whether facts and/or incidents are being given undue weight. Determining what content gives undue weight to what propositions in what articles is more complex than WP has been able to effectively deal with. BradleyF (LowKey) 01:19, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I still think we need etiquette guidelines or rules for criticism pages, as it's bound to continue to be an issue. (I agree that undue weight is rather subjective.) Sterile 01:55, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I was agreeing on that one :) . Actually "criticisms" was the one that I was thinking could be appropriate in the style manual if not the etiquette guidelines. BTW, I did think of an undue weight regulation: "This elevator has a carrying capacity of 1150kg." BradleyF (LowKey) 02:21, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Importing Wikipedia policies without a proper bureaucracy to implement them is probably not a good idea; while on Wikipedia these matters are addressed in Wiki-courts, on these smaller Wikis, where such a formal process is not possible, it is not very far from a policy of "WP:POINT is not allowed" to banhammering users for "evolutionist trolling." o ListenerXTalkerX 02:29, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting that people should be blocked for it, merely that if an addition to an article is clearly intended just to make a point, it should be removed without an explanation. The problem is that some editors have a tendency of dishonestly defending their edit as if it had some kind of validity. If I try answer their arguments then I'm conceding that their addition is valid. If I simply revert them, they deliberately try to make it appear as if I'm "censoring" valid viewpoints. The only solution I can see is having a clear rule against this kind of behavior. --OscarJ 05:31, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
A better standard in that case is not whether the edit was intended to make a point, but whether it actually contributes to the article in question; most disruptive point-making edits do not flow well into the article to which they are added. o ListenerXTalkerX 05:43, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
...and when reverted the defence begins as OscarJ has pointed out. There is a qualitative difference between a content edit of disputed merit and a post intended to make some editor's point about content or practice that they don't like. We should make it plain that point-makers (the posts, not the posters) have no standing. BradleyF (LowKey) 05:53, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh, come on boys. Let's call a spade a spade. Are poorly written criticism sections, such as the one currently in the Richard Dawkins article, site policy for "evolutionists" only, or are we allowed to include them in other biographical pages also? --Horace 09:27, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
This is a collaborative project, so if you think that an article is poorly written, perhaps you should improve it. Criticism sections are supposed to report actual criticism, so if you can cite sources that are critical of someone, I'm sure you can add such a section in his article. There is currently a criticism section in the Michael Behe article though I'm not sure whether he's considered an evolutionist. --OscarJ 10:41, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Without proper caveats, it is just implementing double standards - but perhaps that's the intention. DiEb 06:21, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Horace, DiEB, knock it off. Everyone else here is trying to actually achieve something workable and consistent, rather than complaining that it won't be (or isn't). The two major points to come up here concern point-making and criticism sections, both issues that continue to plague WP. We are here trying to establish a reasonable practice.BradleyF (LowKey) 00:50, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Dilemma, dilemma: I'm trying to achieve something consistent by complaining that the proposed workable solution would add to what I perceive as already existing double standards... DiEb 05:58, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Nope. You offerred no examples of "proper caveats" and you implied that double standards are a goal. BradleyF (LowKey) 06:22, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't think that the a rather small wiki like aSK (36 active editors, averaging 70 edits per day over the last quarter of a year) needs the same policies like wikipedia (148,000 active editors, more than 180,000 edits per day).
  • wikipedia has proper caveats, and it can do so, as it is big enough. I object the whole proposal for this wiki, and I don't think that proper caveats - as existing at wikipedia - can be implemented here.
  • whether double standards are a goal or not: this policy would add to them...
DiEb 06:51, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree, and have said so before, and said so above.
  • You still have not explained what proper caveats you are talking about, and WP's current policies and rules are a total mess so I am not able to derive what you are talking about from your reference to WP.
  • How? BradleyF (LowKey) 09:08, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
How? For instance, it would bolster the policy of different standards for the articles on secular scientists and proponents of creationism. DiEb 09:34, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
What "policy of different standards"? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:11, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
May I hint you to Talk:Michael Behe and Talk:Richard Dawkins? DiEb 16:13, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
No, rather than hint, you should be clear. The Michael Behe page is not on my watchlist, and I hadn't seen the discussion. There seems to be a very simplistic argument here (and there) that if one person on one side of the fence is criticised, then it's legitimate to criticise someone on the other side of the fence, regardless of the relative merit of the criticisms. That is not logical. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 21:08, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

I find civility offensive

I suggest that the civility rule be scrapped. In the past it has been used to punish editors for expressing entirely legitimate viewpoints. I remember one occasion when an editor was punished under the civility rule for referring to Jonathan Sarfati as a dolt or a moron or an idiot or something of that nature. It seems to me that a person could legitimately hold such a view. Further, a person should be able to express such a view on a talk page. I agree, however, that it is doubtful that it would be an appropriate piece of information to include in an article. It is not as if Mr. Sarfati edits here :( He is a public figure in relation to whom people have opinions. Some think he is a fool or a numbskull or possibly a "tool" while others quite admire him. My view is that genuine opinions on public figures do not amount to uncivil remarks which should be punishable. Furthermore, a bit of incivility is every anonymous internet editor's God given right. What do you say? Let's scrap that rule! --Horace 08:12, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

No. Every wiki has some sort of civility rule. If we did that, insults on people, not genuine criticisms of them would follow. People (especially from RW) would feel more obliged to swear when the Site Owner has already specifically said that behavior is completely inappropriate on this site. In other words, completely scrapping the civility rule would create more problems than it would solve.--Colonel Sanders 11:04, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I think we have to make a clear distinction between expressing our disagreement with other people's ideas, and calling them names. You can disagree with Sarfati's ideas all you want (several of his ideas I disagree with very strongly). But I don't think it is right to call him names, like "idiot" or "moron". I think incivility is the cancer of the Internet, let's stop it from metastasising to here too. Maratrean 11:38, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
In the past it has been used to punish editors for expressing entirely legitimate viewpoints. Evidence please.
I remember one occasion when an editor was punished under the civility rule for referring to Jonathan Sarfati as a dolt or a moron or an idiot or something of that nature. It seems to me that a person could legitimately hold such a view. If the person really was a dolt or a moron or an idiot or something of that nature. But simply holding the view does not make it a legitimate viewpoint.
Further, a person should be able to express such a view on a talk page. Why should they? And why should they be able to express the view as though it was a fact rather than a subjective viewpoint?
It is not as if Mr. Sarfati edits here How does that make it more acceptable? If anything, it's less acceptable, as he's not around to defend himself.
My view is that genuine opinions on public figures do not amount to uncivil remarks which should be punishable. Define "genuine opinion". How does an anticreationist having a view that a PhD scientist is an "idiot" because he's a creationist a "genuine opinion" rather than, say, bigotry? Isn't that really a case of trying to justify name-calling?
Furthermore, a bit of incivility is every anonymous internet editor's God given right. Oh? Chapter and verse, please. You don't need to quote the verse itself, because, as you're probably aware, the software will automatically show the verse when hovering over it, as here: 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:53, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Policy Committee formation and convention

This should happen. It's unhealthy for a wiki community to not have a say in matters. Steriledepraved mind! 12:12, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

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