Talk:Theory of evolution/Archive 13

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Why is there nothing in this article about how the theory of evolution is applied in a medical context? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dancanm (talk)

Add it to the article if you want, but keep your expectations low. ATang 15:32, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
It's tough to add the null set. The only applications I know of evolution to medicine caused the needless deaths of many (e.g., tonsillectomies based on the false claim of vestigial organs), and have since been repudiated.--Aschlafly 15:35, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
Duncanm, we didn't do what you suggest because we could not provide any examples where macroevolution ever has shown itself to be useful to medical endeavors and you certainly haven't provided any which I find quite telling. Conservative 15:52, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
Is there not a great deal of application in the field of immunology, and is referred to repeatedly when talking of over-prescription of anti-biotics. Does that not count? --Revilo314 11:19, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
No, that does not count. What you describe is variation within a species. That is not the same as a bacterium suddenly becoming a paramecium or even an amoeba. That is what macroevolution would demand.--TerryHTalk 14:17, 6 September 2007 (EDT)
Not "suddenly", but otherwise, yes, that is correct. Philip J. Rayment 21:47, 6 September 2007 (EDT)

I liked Andy's comment that it's "tough to add the null set", but it's not a null set, and apart from the ban on more than minor changes to the article, I'd agree with the suggestion. Andy himself has mentioned one example, unwarranted tonsillectomies (which is not to suggest that all are unwarranted), and there are other examples where evolutionary ideas have been applied to medicine, with similar consequences.

(If anyone is surprised at me agreeing with the suggestion, I suggest that you reread Dancanm's suggestion and my reply more carefully. Dancanm's suggestion didn't say anything about useful applications!)

Philip J. Rayment 23:21, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Jonathan Sarfati Quote in the intro

I think the Sarfati quote in the intro represents some misunderstanding of the scientific method. The way that a theory works is that it is proposed (as a hypothesis) and then either affirmed or negated depending on the result of experimentation. Depending on the result of experimentation, the theory adapts over time to more accurately represent findings of experimentation. Calling this "bait and switch" is an unfair attack on evolution in particular, when the criticism is attacking the scientific method in general. I think that this entire paragraph should be removed from the intro. Bluecarrot16 15:55, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Bluecarrot, I notice you did not address the equivication issue. Not surprising.Conservative 15:57, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
Sorry, I misunderstood the statement. I guess what Mr. Sarfati is saying is that non-scientists who support evolutionary theory are commiting this fallacy, not actual scientists contributing to the changing theory. Correct me if I'm wrong, but does this mean that we should be allowed to point out fallacies of those supporting Creationism on its article as well? Bluecarrot16 17:02, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
No, Sarfati was talking about scientists, not non-scientists, but he wasn't talking about how the idea changes, but rather about how the scientists present evidence of one idea (such as a change in gene frequency) and use it as evidence of another (the supposed 'tree of life' of all living things developing from the original living thing). For more, see Definitions of evolution. Philip J. Rayment 23:26, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
In that case, how does my original criticism not hold? Sarfati is accusing them of doing experiments intended to test the General Theory of Evolution. Obviously you can't go back in time and watch particles evolve into humans. Remember that a scientific theory is never proven; it is continually tested and adjusted to correspond to results of the test. Attempting to test individual components of the theory is different from equivication. However, I'm not going to argue any further because there's not point in trying to change your mind about this. One suggestion to Conservapedia: Can we not lock the discussion pages? Locking articles to prevent vandalism is one thing, but when you go to the discussion page to discuss the article and MediaWiki tells you that "This page is locked, discuss unlocking on the discussion page or contact the locking sysop" and both the discussion page and the sysop's discussion page are blocked, it can get kinda frustrating. Anyways, good luck on the project. Peace. Bluecarrot16 15:17, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Your original criticism does not hold because it is assuming that Sarfati (a scientist who you accuse of not understanding the scientific method) is talking about something different to what he is actually talking about. He's not talking about experiments that they have done, but of arguments for evolution that produce evidence of one thing but present it as evidence of something else.
Thanks for the implied insult that I'm not willing to consider good argument. Why shouldn't I also accuse you of being unwilling to be convinced?
Talk pages are rarely locked. More likely, editing was turned off overnight (U.S. time), as you were advised here (linked to from the welcome notice on your talk page.)
Philip J. Rayment 00:57, 1 September 2007 (EDT)

Minor Grammatical and Spelling Mistake

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck developed a theory stating that traits developed during a lifetime could be passed on to the organisms offspring.

"... organism's offspring."

Grasse pointed out that bacteria which are the subject of study of many geneticists and molecular biologists and are organisms which produce the most mutants are considered to have "stabilized a billion years ago!".[23]

Comma would've added clarity (at first I thought there was an extra "and"). "Grasse pointed out that bacteria, which are the subject of study of many geneticists and molecular biologists and are organisms which produce the most mutants, are considered to have "stabilized a billion years ago!".[23]"

Dr. Stephen Meyer published a article favoring intelligent design in a peer reviewed science journal which had traditionally only published material advocating the evolutionary position.

"... published an article ..."

Also, according to Dr. Batten, in 1994 the following occured in regard to Gould's stance on the fossil record:

"... the following occurred ..."

Paleoanthropology is a interdisciplinary branch of anthropology ...

"Paleoanthropology is an interdisciplinary branch of anthropology ..."

"Creationist scientists concur with Dr. Pilbeam regarding the speculative nature of the field of paleoantropology and assert there is no compelling evidence in the field of paleoanthropology for the theory of evolution.[100][101][102]"

Misspelled the first paleoanthropology.

According to the American Museum of Natural History the theory of Puntuated Equilibrium...


Dawkins called the theory of punctuated equilibrium a "an interesting but minor wrinkle on the surface of Neo-Darwinism theory"

Extra "a".

According to creationist scientists community, there is widespread discrimination against creationist scientists.[158]

Try: "According to the creationist scientist community..." or "creationist scientists' community".

For example, until the 1970's the scientific communities consensus on how lions killed their prey was in error and the Bible turned out to be right in this matter.[169]

"...scientific community's consensus..."

A individuals view regarding the theory of evolution or creationism may also effect one's view regarding homosexuality.

"An individual's view ... may also affect one's view ..."

Sorry about this; if the page wasn't locked I'd have made these changes directly (and without bothering any sys-ops!) ATang 16:24, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Atang, thanks for the help. I likely agree with you that the above Grasse sentence was too long. However, I don't think that commas are the best solution in order to organize the material given. Therefore, I made the Grasse sentence above into two sentences. Conservative 17:06, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
I fixed a couple that Conservative missed, and a few apostrophied(?) years. I've never liked the term "creationist scientist", especially when used as an adjective, such as in "creationist scientist community". I don't like to change others' wording on this, but I much prefer to use the uncommon-but-perfectly-correct "creationary", as in "creationary scientist".
I also wondered whether this article could be left unlocked for non-sysops to make corrections like this, but still of course with the ban on it being changed account the Panel's decision. Then I realised that I was dreaming!
Philip J. Rayment 23:14, 30 August 2007 (EDT)
Thanks guys. ATang 11:32, 31 August 2007 (EDT)



--şŷŝôρ-₮KṢρёаќǃ 19:48, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Yes, yet more evidence of the wonderfully complicated world that God created for us. And yet more evidence of things undreamed of by the evolutionists. CalebRookwood 13:21, 6 September 2007 (EDT)

Coherency and structure needed!

This article badly needs some major editing to improve readability and flow. There is no apparent structure which the several sections of the article conform to, while disparate facts and quotes are drawn into the narrative structure before the terms are even properly defined.

The main problem seems to be an eagerness to engage in critical appraisal immediately, instead of refraining until the main concepts have been sufficiently developed. The reader is left with the distinct impression that contributors are more concerned with registering objections to the theory of evolution than actually educating them about it. If this is to serve as an encyclopaedic resource for laypersons, the actual underpinnings of the theory of evolution should be outlined comprehensibly before they are attacked.

Even the article summary labours to criticise the theory, while providing insufficient detail to inform readers. A little restraint would lend far more authority to the article, and the criticisms when they are later introduced. I suggest that, as a start to escaping this piecemeal nature, the article be restructured thus:

  • The majority of criticism of the theory and its origins should be migrated out of the summary and into appropriate sections the article, save perhaps a final paragraph summarising the main objections.
  • Complete sections describing the history, content, reception and applications of the theory be included. These should be mostly free of critical content.
  • Criticisms are presented clearly and articulately, preferably in subsections or in a section devoted to it.
  • The current controversy should be cogently and thoughtfully presented (including summaries and links to cases such as that in Dover).

A more logical structure will better educate readers, improve readability and lend authority to the article.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jordan (talk)

As you will note at the top of this talk page, the Conservapedia Panel, the ultimate decision-making body for Conservapedia, has decreed that the article is to remain essentially as it is. Perhaps, though, they will read your comments. Philip J. Rayment 22:28, 10 September 2007 (EDT)
Thank you, Philip. I think that the changes I propose above will add both value and credibility to the article, and so would be valuable to its development into good encyclopaedic content.--Jordan 18:42, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
Jordan, There are no actual underpinnings of the theory of evolution as the theory of evolution article demonstrates. As far as the charge that the article doesn't develop its concepts enough before criticizing the theory of evolution that is a charge you fail to support via examples. Next, given the work of Ernst Haeckel and other embarrassing moments of the theory of evolution in regards to speculation and fraud I can understand why an apparent evolutionist such as yourself would want that left out of the history of evolution. In regards to the charge that the article has insufficient detail, you didn't provide enough detail for us to evaluate your criticism. Lastly, in regards to the application of the theory of evolution, given the meritlessness of the macroevolutionary theory that was understandably left out. Conservative 22:49, 10 September 2007 (EDT)
Thank you for responding, Conservative.
Underpinnings refer to foundations, or the basis for a claim. The theory of evolution was developed to explain observational evidence such as similarities across various species and incremental development in fossils, and is supplemented by Mendelian inheritance and mechanisms such as natural selection are based on a beautiful mathematical framework (see, for example, Fischer's fundamental theorem of natural selection; I studied mathematical biology at university). There are problems with these observations, and they should be exposed—but if the article is to maintain an encyclopaedic tone, the theoretical basis shuold be described fully before it is demolished. To put it succinctly, whether or not you agree with the truth of the theory's underpinnings does not remove the need for a good article to first describe them properly before demolishing them.
You requested some examples of instances in which aspects of the theory are impugned before being fully outlined. I previously left this as an exercise to the reader, which I thought was reasonable, but at your solicitation here are a couple from the summary:
The theory of evolution posits a process of self-transformation from simple life forms to more complex life forms, which has never been observed or duplicated in a laboratory.[2][3] Swedish geneticist, Dr. Heribert Nilsson, Professor of Botany at the University of Lund in Sweden, stated: "My attempts to demonstrate Evolution by an experiment carried on for more than 40 years have completely failed. At least, I should hardly be accused of having started from a preconceived antievolutionary standpoint."[4]
This is in the first paragraph, at a point when the concept of "self-transformation" has not been adequately explained or developed, nor are the supposed methods by which such transitions are wrought explained. Dr Nilsson's criticism is deployed too early for a reader to adequately assess its relevance; if the paragraph stopped after the first quoted sentence and presented Nilsson's assessment at a more opportune time, the reader would feel far more edified.
Critics of the theory of evolution state that many of today's proponents of the theory of evolution have diluted the meaning of the term "evolution" to the point where it defined as or the definition includes change over time in the gene pool of a population over time through such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.
How are mutation, natural selection or genetic drift related to evolution? What do these concepts even mean? Are they considered to be entirely responsible for evolutionary processes, or are there other factors? Neither mutation nor genetic drift have been defined, and natural selection receives a single sentence of explanation at this point, which is hardly enough to understand how or why such equivocation is possible, nor to appreciate Safarti's quote. At this point in the article, an intelligent but uneducated reader is no better informed about them than she was before she embarked upon reading it. So criticism of how evolution is presented in public discussion should wait until our reader can at least benefit from an examination of what these terms actually mean.
If one were describing the theology of a particular religion, in an encyclopaedic context, one would expect a full development of the subject before its historicity or relevance are discussed, but in this article it is hard to find a factual statement about the "theology" of evolution which is not immediately criticised. The upshot of this is that the article, instead of providing a coherent, smooth development which naturally leads into critical appraisal, has more of a back-and-forth, antagonistic tone, leading the reader from pillar to post without ever stopping to wonder how effectively it has communicated the "theology" of evolution.
To summarise this point, if an encyclopaedia describes Mormon theology in a matter-of-fact tone, reserving criticism of its historicity and doctrinal validity until a later point, this does not constitute implicit support of Mormonism. It does, however, demonstrate a willingness to educate readers about the substance of a topic, from which vantage point they will be in a much better position to follow criticism.
Finally, you make two particular deductions about my beliefs and intentions which are incorrect. First, you assume that I am an evolutionist. This is not the case. Second, you assume that I want criticism to be hidden from view. Again, you misunderstand me. I want readers to walk away from the article with an improved understanding of the theory of evolution, and I want the criticisms of the theory to be better presented, and at a more opportune time, than is currently the case.--Jordan 18:42, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
Jordan, the article discusses mutations in regards to the theory of evolution and we cite articles on mutation, genetic drift, and homology. The current article rightly points to the following:
Evolution - A Fairy Tale For Grownups
Conservative 18:55, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
That's a comic, not an encyclopedia article, User:Conservative. IMO, Jordan's right on point. You have to describe evolution before you debunk it. Otherwise you're only debunking yourself. Ungtss 18:57, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
The theory of evolution article shows the folly and fraud of the theory of evolution and gives numerous examples and citations for further study. The atttempts to revive the theory of evolution at this talk page remind me of the Monty Python skit where a shopkeeper denies the parrot he sold a man is dead: "C: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.O: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue...What's,uh...What's wrong with it? C: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it! O: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting. C: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now. O: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage! C: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead. O: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!"[2] In short, the current defenders of evolutionary nonsense at this talk page deserve derision and little more. Conservative 19:06, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
Again, you seem to presume that I'm defending evolution—which I have not done at any point on this page—and that I am not genuinely interested in improving the article. Have I said something in particular which makes it hard to accept accept my suggestions in good faith? I don't understand why you have misapprehended my intentions so badly.--Jordan 20:59, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
(Responding to Conservative's earlier reply to me.)
Thank you again for your response, Conservative.
You mention that the article cites articles for the mentioned topics. I was going to pre-empt this response, so I'll say now what I refrained from then: it is not sufficient to merely link to these articles, or provide only a cursory inspection of these topics, since they are deeply central to the theory of evolution. It is especially critical to explain the topics fully if they are later invoked for arraignment, which is the one of the points you asked me to expand upon subsequent to my initial observations.
Also, you seem to have missed my central objection to the current state of the article: it does not provide readers with any information about the theory of evolution. Indulge me a little as I illustrate the need for this detail. Through my experience with software engineering, one of the most commonly-used techniques to appropriately design and evaluate a feature is its usecase. Here is an example of a usecase for this article. A high-school student is asked to prepare an oral presentation as an assignment for his biology class. He will start by expounding upon the fundamentals of a particular aspect of biology (digestion, the nervous system, photosynthesis), and then outline a particular aspect of it which they consider interesting. Finally, they will field a few questions from other students and their teacher. Our student finds this article on Google, and decides to talk about evolution, focusing on the paucity of evidence for the modern synthesis.
To get high marks, the student needs to first demonstrate an in-depth and accurate grasp of important concepts in the subject, as well as being able to present arguments and observations persuasively and confidently. A good encyclopaedia should definitely provide the basis for the former, and an excellent one will in addition help with the latter. So the question (our pass criterion for this usecase) is: after reading this article, would our student understand the theory of evolution well enough to deliver an outstanding presentation?
As it stands, and by my judgement, the article does not develop the origins, content and basis of the theory of evolution in sufficient depth for our student to deliver a clear, confident exposition. It launches into criticism in the first paragraph, and continues to do so in nearly every paragraph after providing even the barest details; thus, unless our student backs these criticisms up with significant background research from more informative texts, he will be left unable to present a lucid exposition. Finally, his ability to confidently respond to any questions raised (and there are bound to be plenty) is seriously doubtful—unless, again, he resorts to studying other articles with a more solid grounding.
It may be clear to you that the theory of evolution is fallacious and incorrect. However, you already have the benefit of having learned about it. An article which is useful only to those with significant advanced knowledge of the particular subject is not a good candidate for an encyclopaedia. Someone could leave this article, and in a debate explain that "there is little consensus [regarding] macroevolution". But what if they were asked to define macroevolution? Could they do that based solely on this article? No; they would need to read a cross-referenced article first. But understanding macroevolution is predicated on understanding the principles of evolution, which are not well explained by this article.
Finally, I'd like to appeal to pride, for which I hope you'll forgive me. :) A good encyclopedia article will leave the reader better-informed about the subject than a bad one. It seems to me that a pro-evolutionist, relying mostly on the Wikipedia article, would have a good chance of stymieing a YEC whose understanding was predicated largely upon this one, by simple expedient of asking fundamental questions such as, "what is genetic drift?" Certainly, our Conservapedia reader would be able to raise advanced criticisms of the theory, but the article does not properly equip her to appreciate or expand upon these theories because it fails to adequately present the theoretical underpinnings (or "theology") of evolution. Which is why I entreat whomever has the capacity to improve this article to do so forthwith.--Jordan 20:59, 11 September 2007 (EDT)

I have to ask, but Conservative, have you fallen into the trap of liberal behavior? Point #17 is "Over-reliance by liberals on mockery rather than logical argument." Quoting Monty Python is not one of the techniques I learned back in debate club. --Rutm 19:45, 11 September 2007 (EDT)

Sorry, no overeliance. As I stated above the theory of evolution article shows the folly and fraud of the theory of evolution and gives numerous examples and citations for further study.Conservative 19:50, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
it does not show evolution's folly. On the contrary, it makes us look foolish, because it actively misrepresents evolution. You don't have to misrepresent evolution to debunk it. Fully explain it and it debunks itself. Ungtss 20:02, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
Thank you for your unsubtantiated remark Ungtss about the article misrepresenting the theory of evolution. Conservative 21:01, 11 September 2007 (EDT)
How would substantiation help? Jordan substantiated his concerns above and you responded with corny comics, Monty Python references, and a summary dismissal. Nevertheless, I'll just point to the first sentence in the article: "The theory of evolution is a naturalistic theory of the history of life on earth (this refers to the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism and is commonly taught in public schools and universities)." Yet just a few sentences later, you note that most people who believe in evolution believe it was guided by God. Clearly there is nothing inherently naturalistic about the theory of evolution -- most people who believe it believe it is supernaturally orchestrated! Yet you've (incorrectly) defined the theory of evolution as inherently materialistic, and defined the "theory of evolution" as different from theistic evolution. You've lost credibility with your first sentence:(. Ungtss 00:27, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Responses to two posts:

  • First, Jordan said, "The theory of evolution was developed to explain observational evidence such as similarities across various species and incremental development in fossils".

Before I reply, I recognise that Jordan's main point was the way the article is written, not whether or not evolution is true, so this response is to an incidental point.

Even if there was a perceived need to explain those observations, the explanation went far beyond the observations, so it's debatable that one could legitimately claim that that's what it was doing. Furthermore, Darwin's motive, according to a couple of evolutionists, wasn't to explain observations, but to eliminate God from the explanation.

  • Ungtss said, "Clearly there is nothing inherently naturalistic about the theory of evolution -- most people who believe it believe it is supernaturally orchestrated!".

As I've just said in reply to Jordan, it was intended to be a naturalistic explanation. The fact that many Christians (in many cases blindly accepting what atheistic scientists claim) try to add God to an idea that was designed to explain how He wasn't required, doesn't mean that the idea is not therefore naturalistic.

Philip J. Rayment 09:40, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Hello again, Philip!
I'm glad you recognised that I was hoping to help sculpt a better-written article, and not spur a debate about evolution. In keeping with this, I think that motivations for believing and developing the theory should be explored, but in a section devoted to this topic and with lower precedence than describing the theory itself. Readers will then he able to "walk before they run," insofar as criticism is concerned.
Concerning Darwin's motives, I'm not sure what evolutionists you are referring to, but they are strongly contradicted by Darwin's own words in his seminal work:
"To admit this view is, as it seems to me, to reject a real for an unreal, or at least for an unknown, cause. It makes the works of God a mere mockery and deception; I would almost as soon believe with the old and ignorant cosmogonists, that fossil shells had never lived, but had been created in stone so as to mock the shells now living on the sea-shore."—Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, chapter 5: "Laws of Variation"
I can only comment from my own reading of Darwin's published works, but if memory serves, at no point did he indicate a desire to eliminate God, and I think he would probably consider this slander on their part. However, I concede that it is possible that they have access to texts which I do not (e.g. unpublished letters, first-hand accounts) from which they derive their accusations.
All of these points, raised by Ungtss, Conservative and yourself, need to be addressed—but not at the expense of developing in readers a solid grasp of the concepts they came here to learn about. I hope you agree.--Jordan 11:15, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
Darwin was there arguing against a particular idea that he thought creationists might propose, so his reference to God was simply addressing the argument within their framework. It's like saying, "If God did do it, He wouldn't do it that way". He's not actually saying there that he believes God is responsible.
I'm referring to Stephen J. Gould and Michael Ruse. Ruse said, "Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity." See here for Gould's observations, which did, by the way, include access to unpublished papers.
The other thing to keep in mind is that when Darwin wrote, most(?) people (in England) were Christians, and he would need to be careful how outspoken he was. He copped enough flak as it was without incurring more by explicitly claiming that God was thereby eliminated.
If the article was not set in stone by the Panel, there are changes I would like to make to it too.
Philip J. Rayment 11:47, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
Out of curiosity, is User:Conservative acting at the direction of the panel in his many edits to this page? Ungtss 13:37, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
Philip -- thanks for your comments. I think there are three issues here -- Jordan hits the first two on the head --
  1. This is an encyclopedia article, not a polemic, and we need to thoroughly describe before we criticize;
  2. While Darwin certainly challenges the historicity of Genesis, he never advocated for materialism that I'm aware of -- he always credited the initial creation to God.
  3. Imagine if we wrote an article about TNT, and started it with "TNT is used to mine the Earth for minerals." True, that's what it was initially intended for -- but today, it is used for an enormous number of things, including bombs. So the article should start with "TNT is an explosive, and can be used for many things, including mining and making bombs." Now imagine if the article started with "TNT is used to make bombs." What would a reader think? They'd think, "Man -- these people don't understand TNT at all! TNT is used for all sorts of things, but all this article wants to do is show that it's a Bad Thing." There's nothing wrong with saying TNT is used for making bombs. But when you define the term that narrowly right up front, you come off as afraid. Ungtss 11:23, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
I suggest if any of the recent posters are not well informed in regards to Charles Darwin's religious/philosophical views that they look at the Charles Darwin article since Conservapedia is a online encyclopedia. I also have no wish to wrangle with people who like to throw out armchair criticisms of the theory of evolution article but have not demonstrated that they can write useful content at Conservapedia that generates public interest. I would, however, enjoy communicatiing privately with to Mr. Rayment about the theory of evolution article since I know he has actually contributed useful content to Conservapedia that people find interesting.Conservative 17:30, 12 September 2007 (EDT)
You're avoiding the issues again, Conservative. Your response does not even bother to touch anything Jordan or I said. Ad hominem doesn't mean anything, Conservative, except that the person using it has run out of other things to say. Ungtss 17:55, 12 September 2007 (EDT)

Hello Conservative,
Thank you for pointing me to that article. I was particularly interested to read this extract from his autobiography; it was most illuminating with regards to Darwin's religious beliefs, and I stand corrected.
One thing which has consistently surprised me in this exchange is your tone. Have I been ungracious at any point? My suggestions are intended to add value and quality to the article; what have I done to earn such derision? Since it is evinced from your initial response onwards, I can only guess that it must be something in my initial proposal which elicited this, although I confess that (after reading it again) I cannot tell what.
Finally, you question my ability to write "useful content". First, I was not aware that prior recommendations are required to make suggestions on this wiki, even after reading the Commandments and Guidelines! Have I missed something? Second, I think that the quality of my prose in this discussion page should be evidence that I am a good writer; if you would like, I could draft better content for the article for you, or another similarly-privileged user, to integrate. Does that seem reasonable? My knowledge of the topic of evolution is significantly better than that of the average layman, so I am confident that I can provide a quality exposition.--Jordan 18:35, 12 September 2007 (EDT)