A Conversation for Cladistics

To the sub-editor...

Post 1


I'm reading through the entry as it currently stands, and I'm rather concerned about the 'corrections' that have been made so far. I flatter myself that I'm an excellent proof-reader, and I have been through this entry several times with a fine tooth-comb. Everything in it is there for a reason, so any amendments are almost certain to be for the worse.

"archaeopteryx" should be "Archaeopteryx" - Latin genus names are always capitalised, and it certainly was in my original submission. The random list of taxa in the first paragraph - whales, snakes and mosses - initially read 'whales', 'snakes' and 'mosses' - and reading through the article now it is very apparent why I originally put those names in quotes. The way it reads without them, it sounds as if 'whales, snakes and mosses' is supposed to represent a taxon in itself - an impression I certainly do not wish to convey.

These are just two examples that have leapt out at me. I haven't been through the whole thing but I have also noticed that the conclusion has been drastically cut to the article's detriment (and with at least one typo thrown in). Now, perhaps all these things are going to be fixed, but I'd hate for an imperfect article to be published when I spent so much time getting it just right. So all I would like to know is: will I be given the opportunity to proof-read the article before it is finalised?

To the sub-editor...

Post 2

World Service Memoryshare team

Hi Artica,

Ashley's looking into this now - he'll be with you soon smiley - smiley


To the sub-editor...

Post 3


Hey Arctica,

Thanks for the feedback, I've made the changes to the entry and it should read as you originally intended. smiley - smiley

A few comments:

"'archaeopteryx' should be 'Archaeopteryx' - Latin genus names are always capitalised" - agreed. It has been corrected and it has also been put in italics to comply with our style guidelines.

"... that the conclusion has been drastically cut to the article's detriment" I've no idea what happened there; it has been reinstated.

You mention a typo in the final paragraph - neither Anna nor I can find it...

"So all I would like to know is: will I be given the opportunity to proof-read the article before it is finalised?" - That's what this forum is for. smiley - biggrin

Please have another read of the entry and point out any ammendments.

Cheers for now.

Ashley smiley - smiley

To the sub-editor...

Post 4


I've been through the article more thoroughly now, and I have come to realise that a real hatchet-job has been done on it. I am very upset, to say the least, and am seriously considering withdrawing the article. Here are some of the problems I have:

2nd paragraph:
Originally read: "Unfortunately, while Linnaeus’s system works pretty well most of the time, it is fundamentally flawed. For a long time scientists have been building up a good understanding of how all the different groups of organisms are related to one another..."
Now reads: "Taking the theory of evolution to be a fact, scientists have for a long time been building up an understanding of how all the different groups of organisms would be related to one another..."

'Taking the theory of evolution to be a fact'???? What is this, a concession to creationists?? Later on, there are many more of these.
Originally: "If birds are descended from reptiles..."
Now: "If birds were descended from reptiles..."
Originally: "...at what point did they stop belonging to the Reptilia..."
Now: "...at what point would have they stop belonging to Reptilia..."
(This doesn't even make sense!)
Originally: "...Archaeopteryx, which possessed as many reptile-like characteristics as bird-like ones..."
Now: "...Archaeopteryx, which was meant to possess as many reptile-like characteristics as bird-like ones..."
Originally: "...Reptilia, for example, does not include birds, which are descendants of members of that taxon..."
Now: "...Reptilia, for example, does not include birds which are viewed by those who believe in evolution as descendants of members of that taxon..."

And so it goes on. I am NOT writing a 'what if evolution were true?' article here. Evolution happens, it is a fact, and I am not interested in writing an article that gives any credence to the creationist viewpoint. Scientific papers on extinct animals don't use phrases like "if evolution were true" or "assuming the Earth is indeed billions of years old"... It's utterly ridiculous! If I were to write an article on Continental Drift would you insert "...it is thought by those who consider the Earth to be round and not flat..."??

I suggest you read Stephen Jay Gould's article on "Evolution as both fact and theory". ALL science is theory. It doesn't mean it is not factual!!

Please reinstate my original article as this monstrosity is quite frankly offensive to science.

To the sub-editor...

Post 5

World Service Memoryshare team

Hi Arctica,

Thanks for the feedback. I've looked into this further and we've reinstated your original entry. We've made some stylistic changes, and if you'd like to check over the entry, then we're happy to hear what you have to say smiley - smiley


To the sub-editor...

Post 6


I don't want to get into a debate about evolution but views are split on this point and I thought it would be better not state that evolution was true and a fact, as not everyone would state this as dogmatically as yourself smiley - silly

To the sub-editor...

Post 7


Thank you very much for changing it back - I can stop hyperventilating now smiley - smiley

Purple, you'll find that all the great writers on the subject of evolution - Gould, Dawkins, and so on - have absolutely no qualms about stating that evolution is a fact. And so it is. You may not want to debate the issue but in challenging my assertions that is exactly what you are inviting. I am quite prepared to fight my corner and I can do so very effectively as I have been debating creationists for a very long time. And far from being dogmatic about it, I can produce plenty of evidence to back up my argument.

I am quite sure that not everyone would state this as assuredly as myself, but not everyone is an authority on the subject! There is a great deal of ignorance out there on this topic, and when people bandy phrases about like "it's only a theory", I get very annoyed, because the majority of the public equates 'theory' with 'hypothesis' or 'guess'. Most people have no idea how strong a scientific theory has to be in order to be recognised as such. Continental drift has been measured, yet it remains a theory. Quantum mechanics has been demonstrated in numerous experiments, yet it remains a theory. A theory is the highest status accorded to a scientific proposition - and as such can often be considered to be fact.

I could go on, but I have to get home. Toodle-pip.

To the sub-editor...

Post 8


I have to register my agrreement on this one, of everyone qualified to have an opinion on the scientific validity of solutions to the question "does evolution happen", over 95% of them are absolutely certain that evolution is factual, and most of the rest believe it, but would not be quoted as being "absolutely" certain. There is one state in the US bible belt who has legislated that evolution must be tought as no more valid than the "creationists" theory, but all that has done is meant that people wishing employment in that field have to be educated outside that state, as any degree covering that subject area recieved in that state is considered professionally worthless.

Please don't try and "appease" everyone, thereby making lots of the content of h2g2 worthless.

To the sub-editor...

Post 9


Fact: some people believe evolution doesn't happen.

Fact: some people are creationists.

Fact: some people believe the holocaust was a good idea.

Fact: some people are neo-nazis.

Fact: some people just don't have a clue.

Theory: some people's opinions are not worth bothering with.

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