The Fossil Wiki is a scientific wiki, and therefore, non-scientific papers, or to a lesser extent, papers not published in scientific journals, are scrutinized for their accuracy. Creationism, which in most cases, entails the belief that the formation of the earth was created by an omnipresent creator in seven days, is not subjected to the same scrutiny as scientific topics are. Fossil Wiki is a wiki centered around paleontology, and the fossil record as seen in terms of evolutionary biology and other scientific principles.
Fossils pose questions as soon as they’re discovered. This is as true now as it was when the very first were picked up, and no one knew what they were. The effort to answer questions posed by fossils and to develop better methods for investigating these questions, has been inextricably entwined with the development of science itself for centuries. Today, the number of fossils found and their accessibility through museums and the media create educational opportunities at every turn.
Paleontology is an evolutionary science, and while the study of evolution in the nation’s public schools is still under attack in the 21st century, paleontologists employ evolutionary science every day in the their work. Paleontology relies for its evidence on two different but historically related fields, biology and geology. Evolution is the central organizing principle of biology, understood as descent with modification. Evolution is equally basic to geology, because the patterns of rock formations, geomorphology, and fossil distributions in the world make no sense without the underlying process of change through time. Paleontologists may dispute, on the basis of the available evidence, the tempo and mode of evolution in a particular group at a particular time, but they do not argue about whether evolution took place: that is a fact. The policy of the Fossil Wiki regarding evolution is as follows:
- Evolution is fundamental to the teaching of good biology and geology, and the fossil record is an excellent set of examples of the patterns and processes of evolution through time. We therefore urge the teaching of evolution as the only possible reflection of our science. Any attempt to compromise the patterns and processes of evolution in science education, to treat them as less than robust explanations, or to admit "alternative" explanations not relying upon sound evolutionary observations and theory, misrepresents the state of our science and does a disservice to the public. Textbooks and other instructional materials should not indulge in such misrepresentation, educators should shun such materials for classroom use, and teachers should not be harassed or impeded from teaching vertebrate evolution as it is understood by its practitioners. The record of evolution is exciting, inspirational, instructive, and enjoyable, and it is our view that everyone should have the opportunity and the privilege to understand it as paleontologists do.
|Fossil Wiki policies and guidelines|