Talk Origins has an ax to grind

From: James Mahaffy <>
Date: Tue Aug 02 2005 - 11:53:10 EDT


In response to Hunter on a post of Mon, 01 Aug 2005 21:10:14 -0700 Pim
pulls all his refernces from Talk origins Faqs. Talk Origins is hardly
an unbiased source. I wish we could go more to the primary literature
or good secondary literature. This raises a red flag in my mind as much
as someone who sources his arguments all from Answers in Genesis. I
frankly don't trust arguments that only use talk origins as their
sources. If the arguments are good they can be found in peer reviewed
literature or in texts that survive the scrutiny of the college market.
I am not saying that good people and good arguments are not found on
Talk Origins. I am just saying their bias is strong enough to NOT
always show both sides or the messiness of the arguments. I just don't
think it is a balanced enough source.

I know in the past, one of the faqs written about algal evolution in
Talk Origins was very sloppy in using wrong names for algae. Notice I
said sloppy. The example might have been valid but anyone who had
phycology (study of algae) would have noticed the wrong nomenclature.

To give another example, I just relooked briefly at TO (talk origins)
and they have a whole faq on poor credentials of Creationists. While
they do admit that the degrees of Steve Austin and Kurt Wise are good,
they are definitely trying to paint the creationists crowd as poorly
credentialed. I don't like that type of argument that attempts to paint
guilt by association. While the bad apples have not helped the movement,
YEC's have been much more careful with credentials in the recent past.
Besides in my area of paleontology some of the best paleontologists have
been layfolks without degrees.

I did not look at Pim's recent TO faq's but I did a bit of digging on
Pim's source in another Post. Pim said:
> extensive data supporting common descent as documented by Douglas
> Theobalt
> Convergence is also not necessarily a problem for common descent. Nor
> are ORFans for instance. We should not let our ignorance lead us astray
> from the solid evidence in favor of common descent.

Doug theobalt's web page and professional bibliography at

show that he has no journal articles on common descent. He studies
proteins and yes is interested in their origin. His faq has a lot of
sources and may be valid, but we would be better to work from the
secondary or primary sources he cites. He is a young scientist writing
to less informed layity.

Perhaps we shuld read and respond to a standard test on evolution like
another one would be a better source.

James and Florence Mahaffy    712 722-0381 (Home)
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Received on Tue Aug 2 11:41:03 2005

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