Talk:Common descent/Archive1

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This is an archive page, last updated 1 May 2016. Please do not make edits to this page.
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I've corrected some spelling on HG's stub. I've also removed the link to pseudoscience and added a link to The incontrovertible evidence of common descent. HG - go there and tell us where it's wrong - your Nobel Prize awaits!--Bob_M (talk) 02:20, 8 June 2007 (CDT)

Expelled: Leader's Guide links here[edit]

When the World's Stupidest Movie comes out, we will hopefully Front Page the article on Expelled: Leader's Guide. That article may become an entry portal for many to RW, and the articles we link to within RW from that article should be good. This one needs work, so we should expand it, or merge it with the TIEOCD article|? DogP 14:22, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

I think this should just be a redirect to The incontrovertible evidence of common descent which is already one of our best articles.--Bobbing up 15:37, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
I think I very much agree. But I think it should be the other way 'round, with the contents of that article here - this is the better article title, the other title is all opinion. Alternatively, just retitle that article. DogP 15:43, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
I agree (with one being a redirect), just pick a title, folks. I think this title is better, by the way. Can we figure out a way to use what little there is here when the other gets merged over? Thanks. humanUser talk:Human 15:46, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
Yesss.. But I remember when TM wrote (most) of it. He doesn't own it of course, but he thought long and hard about that title ...--Bobbing up 15:49, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
How about we just plonk the entire contents of this article at the very top, and just paste in the other article in a section titled TIEOCD? And then redirect TIEOCD to this? DogP 15:50, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
Better to copy this back over there, delete this, and then "move" IECD to CD - that way we keep the history of that article rather than this one here. Wait, hmm, changing that one to a redirect doesn't delete its history. You're right, just do it. And copy its talk page here as well. Let it be so? Oh, and the old longer title? Let's enshrine it as a centered fake "header" below the TOC in this article? humanUser talk:Human 16:31, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

Everything below here copied from the Talk page of "The incontrovertible truth about common descent", before the two articles were merged[edit]

Might want to change title, as "irrefutable" sounds a lot like "unfalsifiable".--PalMD-Talk 10:52, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

Suggestions? Tmtoulouse 10:53, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
Undeniable? (something along those lines) Airdish 10:56, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
Undeniable was the first thing that came to my head....I am going to go get lunch, maybe brilliance will strike in the Hospital Cafeteria, or I will just move it to undeniable. Tmtoulouse 10:57, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
Maybe since Andy's a lawyer he might like this one: "Common descent is beyond reasonable doubt" Airdish 11:00, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
Common descent is demonstrable. Common descent is easily demonstrable. Common descent is easy to demonstrate. Common descent can be readily proved. Common descent can be understood by a child of ten. (but he’s not in at the moment) The evidence for Common descent is overwhelming. The existence of common descent is undeniable.
I think maybe we should avoid words such as undeniable or irrefutable - unless this article is meant to be a parody of religious extremism. 13:12, 18 June 2007 (CDT)

incontrovertible evidence[edit]

I'll have to read this article. Will be back. HeartGold tx 12:27, 28 May 2007 (CDT)

Second Law of Thermodynamics[edit]

While interesting, does this really belong in an article on common descent?

No, but since creationists (ab)use it in their arguments it's has to be in here. MiddleMan

Mmmm, Might it not be better placed under a more general article on arguments against creationism which would include links to both Common Descent and the Second Law? I see that we have an article on Young Earth Creationism maybe a bit of editing would fit it in there?--Bob_M (talk) 13:50, 30 May 2007 (CDT)

debate rages[edit]

Check this out, it's a pretty hot topic even when seemingly level-headed people are involved (i.e. unlike those at RW and CP). Oh and the parent article has something about the creation museum crazies. αιρδισΗταλκ 17:05, 30 May 2007 (CDT)

Spam about CP's TOE article "popularity"[edit]

Is now here. One place is enough, okay? humanbe in 19:14, 8 August 2007 (CDT)

I am not even going to comment on your obession that some how search rank equals value, but your absolutely wrong about yahoo's rank, look here [1]. tmtoulouse harass 18:54, 8 August 2007 (CDT)

What does popularity on a search engine have to do with anything? --Kels 19:13, 8 August 2007 (CDT)

Less than 700 views for this article! Might I suggest having more than 25 footnotes and relying less on TalkOrigins![edit]

Less than 700 views for this article! Might I suggest having more than 25 footnotes and relying less on TalkOrigins! Newton 19:22, 8 August 2007 (CDT)

Do you have ANY IDEA at all about search engine optimization? Foot notes are 99 percent meaningless. Anyway, enough of that, do you have a response to the actual content? tmtoulouse harass 19:24, 8 August 2007 (CDT)
Might I suggest (1) that we don't really care about pageviews, and (2), you learn to come up with header text that is not your entire comment? I thought you were an experienced wiki person? humanbe in 19:26, 8 August 2007 (CDT)
tmtoulouse, I defer to the search engine optimization experts at RationalWiki who made the site as successful as it is (By the way, your main page has received significantly less views that the theory of evolution article at Conservapedia). :) Newton 19:33, 8 August 2007 (CDT)
Tenia solium scolex.jpg
Do Not Feed the Intestinal Parasite,
for you will only make it stronger.

Get back to us if you want to talk content, otherwise go back to CP and circle jerk there. tmtoulouse harass 19:34, 8 August 2007 (CDT)

tmtoulouse, I noticed the fossil section of the article was exceedingly thin. Is that because the fossil porridge is so exceedingly thin/absent in regards to the theory of evolution that even Oliver Twist would not ask for more? Newton 19:41, 8 August 2007 (CDT)
This is a collaborative work, and its far from finished, I didn't write the fossil section it was added later. Try the ERV section or pseudogene section. tmtoulouse harass 19:44, 8 August 2007 (CDT)
Yeah, at least Ken reminded us to get back to work on that. Our biologist (TimS) is MIA. He's not a fossil guy tho. --PalMD-Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice! 20:41, 8 August 2007 (CDT)

Wow, "Newton" seems obsessed with our pageviews! Will he help us "get them up"? By linking to RW from the website where he is an admin?[edit]

Wow, "Newton" seems obsessed with our pageviews! Will he help us "get them up"? By linking to RW from the website where he is an admin? humanbe in 22:21, 8 August 2007 (CDT)

"broken" image...[edit]

In this article, the thumbnail of Retrovirus.gif appears to be broken. Yet, by clicking on the "broken" image's link, I arrive at the Retrovirus.gif page, and there it is! Does anyone else have this problem? I've looked at the wikicode to see if anything was wrong with it, but could find no error... ŖєuĻєReuleauxTriangle.pnguxsay wнäτ? 21:00, 13 January 2008 (EST)

Hmm, looks fine to me. humanUser talk:Human 03:27, 14 January 2008 (EST)
Damn, its as I suspected. ŖєuĻєReuleauxTriangle.pnguxsay wнäτ? 16:41, 14 January 2008 (EST)
The same thing happened for me! However, I have found that gifs respond a differently than say jpgs and bmps so I took out the thumnail size parameter and it appears to be OK now. Jollyfish.gifGenghis Marauding 14:35, 22 February 2008 (EST)

Ignorance of Science[edit]

I wonder if we couldn't fit something in here (or elsewhere) about how while most fundamentalists (indeed, most Americans), would gladly admit they do not understand quantum mechanics, and would not feel qualified to make a judgement about whether the theory is true or not, they hav no such qualms when it comes to the Theory of Evolution. I would suggest that the Theory of Evolution, while fairly simple on the surface (as taught in high school), is just as complex as quantum mechanics when you consider the vast body of different kinds of evidence that add up to a powerful proof of its validity. Yet fundamentalists and many others seem to feel that they are qualified to decide based on a gut-level feeling (or "evidence" in the bible), that the theory must be invalid. PoorEd 14:20, 22 February 2008 (EST)

You shouldn't have to rewrite what you just wrote very much to add it in ;) humanUser talk:Human 14:28, 22 February 2008 (EST)


"The site is frighteningly anti-christian, they have an article which is named "Incontrovertible Proof of Common Descent". I have examined it and it has convincing evidence, thugh I have found good rebuttals to them on this site. If anyone other then myself would look at them it would be most helpful." [2]. Well, we're getting out there. Susanpurrrrr 22:52, 2 March 2008 (EST)

Means it should actually be completed.....lots of "coming soon". tmtoulouse harass 23:23, 2 March 2008 (EST)
Sad that simple mainstream science would be considered "frighteningly anti-christian." How did some versions of christianity stray so far from the simple concepts of mercy and forgiveness, and come to concentrate on such irrelevant crackpot ideas as the a 6,000-year-old earth? PoorEd 09:05, 3 March 2008 (EST)

cover story nominee[edit]

Please do not archive this section. The article is very good and is very informative but it lacks the wit of what I like about Rational Wiki. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Yes, pretty good. Let me reveiw it before I "vote". humanUser talk:Human 01:10, 15 March 2008 (EDT)
Why isn't this a cover story yet.-αmεσ (soldier) 17:13, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

Yes, it should be now. I vote yes. DogP 17:25, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

It does still have a few "Section in progress" markers.--Bobbing up 17:28, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
Yup, and the intro got mangled in the merge, because the old CD article was written a bit clumsily. As far as those sections, we can either fill them out, or just delete them, perhaps noting what they were here for future inspiration. humanUser talk:Human 19:16, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
As there isn't much further progress in the last few months, I'd vote yes. But only once those "section in progress" bits are gone. I'll at least put some stub info on them and then we can come back and have a look at it again. ArmondikoVpathetic 13:37, 2 December 2008 (EST)
Bring discussion back here. It sure wasn't ready one edit ago, with that random pasted-in section at the top. Please for a few people to go through the whole thing making sure it's clear and smart, and if you (sterile, timmy too loose?) report back with positive findings, I'll gruel through and copyedit it all for commas, etc. I think that after those three editing processes we'll have a new cover story to promote. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:08, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

It's a bit wordy, but a glass of wine is helping. Sterile card game 02:37, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

... I think I'm done for now. There's a bit of weirdness in that some of the concise summaries provide different or even more information then the sections below (especially the ERV part), but it's getting there. Sterile card game 03:50, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
OK, I'll take a hack at proofreading tomorrow. And I'll see if I can make more sense of the construction of summaries issue too? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:16, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
What I'll probably do is get rid of that section entirely, and move any stuff that matters into the sections, and fix the lead correspondingly. There's no need for a "double" TOC, really, is there? Maybe I'll merge some of that section into the lead if I can figure out a smooth way to do it. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:18, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
That sounds good. This has certainly been a long-evolving article from back when HoG was among us. (Shudders.) Sterile card game 04:21, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
The value of those little summaries is that it makes a great cheat sheet for quick reference. I agree its redundant in this article but it shouldn't be lost. It should find a new home. 04:26, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Having looked it over, I think I'll just leave that section. It would be too hard to incorporate what small unique things there are in it into the longer ones. I am two steps away from agreeing that this is CS-ready. One is just to sit down and read the whole thing chasing typos and stuff, no big deal. The other is that the lead is, to put it charitably, really lightweight. What about shortening it to the two or three "real" things it says, and ditching the header over the first section, so the overview section becomes the lead? ħumanUser talk:Human 00:25, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

OK, I merged the overview with the lead, but I'm still not happy with all the lead. Can anyone figure out a way to turn that first paragraph into two or three snappy, clear sentences? I hate the worm/fish/tree thing, but I suppose it serves a purpose - any way to say it better? ħumanUser talk:Human 01:47, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

__NOTOC__? Sterile card game 02:05, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm, probably not, there are other sections that aren't in the links in the intro. TOCRIGHT? Unlink sections in intro? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:43, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Sterile, I think it's ready. You? (I cleaned out some stale tripe, and did the TOC right thing). ħumanUser talk:Human 03:01, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Abso-smurf-ly. There can be some edits later if nec. Sterile card game 03:03, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Done. Nice work on spiffing it up, by the way. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:40, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Copied into Common descent article[edit]

I've copied the entire article and merged it into Common descent, which a number of use (see CD talk page) felt was a better way to arrange things as many of us feel this should be a Front Page article. The body of it now lives in a section of that article entitled "The incontrovertible evidence of common descent". If you think this is appropriate, we should eventually remove this article and redirect to CD. And obviously move this Talk page as well. DogP 16:07, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

I am all for making them into one article with this being a redirect. That said, since this one probably has a longer history, to do the final step, CD should be merged into this one, then deleted then this title moved to that one - that way the history of IECD will be saved. I also say, do this anytime, sooner is better. humanUser talk:Human 16:22, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
Ooh, can you do that? It sounds like you have a clear plan, and if I screw it up I'll have intelligently designed egg all over my face. DogP 16:31, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

OK, done. Hope I did it right. DogP 17:07, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

I'm sure you did. This talk is where it belongs, and the article is merged, I'm sure all is well. Thanks! (PS, I think my "clear plan" was, this time at least, overly complicated) humanUser talk:Human 19:19, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

Sections in progress[edit]

I am going to try really hard to get myself in gear and finish up this article. The reason these sections were not completed is that they are not in my strongest background. I am much more comfortable in the world of genes then anatomy. But I will try and get to this really soon. tmtoulouse harass 23:53, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

Again anatomy is really not my strong suit.............any other takers? tmtoulouse harass 14:29, 11 April 2008 (EDT)

It's not mine either but I do know enough to realise that the bit on RNA code doesn't really belong with the Anatomical homologues. I've thus split it off into a list item of its own and added an 'In progress' section further down. I might possibly be able to come up with something for this bit at some point. It's a long time since I've written anything of that nature though so don't hold your breath :-) Weirdbeard 06:45, 27 July 2008 (EDT)

citation error[edit]

I'm getting this at the bottom: ↑ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bmc. I understand that this page is under construction, so this may be expected. Alecwh 01:17, 10 February 2009 (EST) sig broke due to unclosed tag. ħumanUser talk:Human 23:46, 9 February 2009 (EST)
Gah, I thought I was logged in. Alecwh 01:17, 10 February 2009 (EST)
Thanks. Still would have broken, of course ;) ħumanUser talk:Human 01:51, 10 February 2009 (EST)

Anatomical homologies (in section "Powerful evidence for common descent")[edit]

Does this section require rewrite regarding species/mutants having more than 5 digits? You know the creationists are so asking for an explanation for that (once you mention species less than 5 digits). [[User:K61824|]][[User_talk:K61824|]] 17:50, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

The anatomical homologies section should be expanded considerably, there is literally volumes of information that could be used. We should distill a couple of the best examples and include them with some illustrations. Beyond that I think all the sections have at least been stubbed. I would say lets move this to a cover story now? tmtoulouse 23:08, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
If you still say "we should", let's do that first. But I think it's close. Do I have to add more commas since earlier today? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:01, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Lots of commas. Sterile card game 03:50, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Some, probably. But you tend to use them. Trent's keyboard (the one that runs this wiki!) is missing the key under "<", amusingly enough. Luckily, his ";" still works. Just not grammatically. ħumanUser talk:Human 04:00, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm... control-C, control-V is how I gets the thingies I can't find. But I know TMT doesn't pause that much. Sterile card game 04:08, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Second Law[edit]

As per the discussion above, I'm going to remove the second law of thermodynamics section, as it has nothing to do with common descent, at least as it is currently in the article. If it does belong, please revert it expand the section to explain its relevance. (I could be mistaken!) Sterile card game 03:20, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Yeah delete it. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:23, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm...[edit] which came first? These Yahoo answers articles or teen forums or us? Have we been plagiarized or does this come from somewhere else predominately? Sterile card game 04:37, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Probably both? Are there any duplicate phrases? Because this topic is not exactly "new" with us, is it? We're just trying to do a good job of pulling it all together into a readable article. Speaking of which, I may "re-sort" the order of topics to push the sci-jargon down a bit (from my brief perusals, there's a lot of jargon in some sections)? ħumanUser talk:Human 04:46, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
A large amount of this article came from what I wrote, which I was all my original work. There has of course been many other people that contributed to this over time, expanding, editing, changing, etc. But if you go back and look at the very first iteration you will see the "summary" section as I wrote it. tmtoulouse 06:35, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
The original history with the original TM article is here The incontrovertible evidence of common descent. It got merged into common descent - which I thought was a bad idea.--Bobbing up 07:40, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

It would help...[edit]

... if there were more examples of each concept. I tried putting a few in, but anyone else who wants to look will make my day. Sterile card game 02:47, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Time for another hair-splitting argument[edit]

Now, if life comes out spontaneously at different location in a convergent fashion (so the resulting primitive cells are the same, but arised from different identical molecules at different location) and descends into different organisms, does it still count as "a" common ancestor? Or do we need to rewrite it as "Common descent is the theory that all organisms descended from a common ancestors which is sufficiently convergent that will be regarded as if they are identical." or something like that? [[User:K61824|]][[User_talk:K61824|]] 00:52, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that would be even remotely falsifiable, so CD sticks to the simpler assumption of a single ancestor. And of course, that ancestor was not just a "cell", but a far simpler precursor - at one point it was probably just a molecule complex enough to be able to make more of itself out of its surroundings. Of course, "life as we know it" could have descended from multiple such molecules that joined teams with each other when they met ;) ħumanUser talk:Human 01:41, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
If you read Carl Zimmer's book on evolution, bacteria swap out sections of DNA all the time and in the early eons of life, the "roots" of the tree get all tangled. Zimmer calls it "a mangrove" of life instead of a "tree of life." See here and particularly here. Also, strictly speaking, it's descent from a last common ancestral population. (Standard proviso: I'm not an expert, just somewhat scientifically literate.) Sterile card game 01:59, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
I always thought that you could get multiple sources of life from the same essential conditions but several sources have said that identical dna was unlikely to have developed so all life that now survives should have had the same ancestors at some point. Hamster (talk) 02:25, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
On our planet, we appear to have common descent. I can quite easily imagine a plant with several unconnected "trees" of life, IE, "several descents". Could be a strange place... ħumanUser talk:Human 02:56, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

To do[edit]

To complete the awesomeness of this article:

  • Revise the lead paragraph to make it snappier, per above.
  • Revise the end paragraph, probably.
  • More examples useful, although not necessary.
  • Decide on TOC and/or linking at the top.
  • It might be nice to assess the evidence given in terms of how it fits with creationism explicitly in a different section. Or not.

Sterile card game 02:11, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, making the intro really good is important to get it on the front page. What are your thoughts on the TOC thing? I think the linking might just have to go, and perhaps we stick the TOC to the right? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:34, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Right will work. Sterile card game 02:58, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Virus details[edit]

This section:
While many viruses use DNA to store genetic information, retroviruses use RNA. As infected cells will only replicate the retrovirus's genes if they are also DNA, the virus must rely on reverse transcriptase to transcribe its RNA into DNA and then insert it into the host genome.
Is completely wrong. Most non-retroviral viruses just have a single strand of RNA, which gets copied and translated by the host cell into the capsid and antigen proteins, and the virus then buds off taking some of the host cell's phospholipid bilayer with it. Retroviruses only need to utilise reverse transcriptase to convert their viral mRNA into DNA to be integrated into the host DNA by DNA Integrase. The genes are then transcribed back into mRNA for translation and budding. So the whole section above needs rewording. I'll do it when I get time if no-one objects? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 16:00, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, please fix... ħumanUser talk:Human 18:17, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Please. I probably "fixed" TMT's original language and made it worse. Being a chemist doesn't help. Sterile card game 20:37, 8 July 2009 (UTC)


I just wanna thank you so much, everybody has been working on this site! Its good to see a rational site who only writes the truth of science and not gets corrupted by sad little ridicoulus fairytales and male sky god myths! I applaud everyone who has contributed to this site and its creator(s)! Thank you and keep on the good work! — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

You're welcome. . . . WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:33, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
I think you'll find it is me that should be thanked. I am the backbone of this site and its most respected member. Acei9 23:44, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah, sorry, I farted.
This page has been
gas attacked by SuperJosh.

And of course my presence has kept everyone wondering how they coped without fart jokes for two years without me. SJ Debaser 23:47, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

I'd like to dedicate this award to my mother. And to Jesus. And to all those people who said I'd never amount to anything, I say this: fuck you, you sorry sons of bitches. WëäŝëïöïďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:58, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
This award is my god now!! rationalhay 01:34, 18 June 2010 (UTC)


Love the tumbleweeds for the evidence against evolution. :D — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

We aim to please. - π 07:30, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Human common ancestor[edit]

Should we mention the idea of the most recent human that all people alive can trace their ancestry back to? Often referred to as the most recent common ancestor. It would seem to fit in the article quite well. - JamesAU (talk) 12:08, 17 August 2011 (UTC)


It seems to me that this is a hypothesis, rather than a theory.Fdof (talk) 03:09, 18 August 2012 (UTC)