The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

Talk.Origins Jargon
Wesley R. Elsberry

[Compiled by: Wesley R. Elsberry]

Styled after the Jargon file of Eric S. Raymond and Guy Luc Steele, and also after "The Devil's Dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce, but without the polish and verve seen in those two documents.

This is a beta-test HTML version of Wesley R. Elsberry's Echo Jargon File and Biographica. The cross-references in the original text version of the files have been automatically converted into HTML hyperlinks. The process of conversion checks for dangling links, but there may be some links left dangling or pointing to the wrong place. If you think you've found a link error (other than the known dangling links for Herbert Spencer and Dmitri Kousnetsov), please send mail to Peter Lamb (

Some of the things that I think might improve the HTML file are:

Do you have any ideas?

Although it is the eventual intention that other documents can make references to definitions in the Jargon file, it is probably not advisable to do so until the issues of how best to divide the file up are resolved.

From here you can get to the main sections of the Jargon File:

  • The glossary; explanations of origins jargon.
  • Appendices to the jargon file; contributors, contact info, etc.
  • The Biographica.
  • Biographical information; about people involved in the debate.
  • Appendices to the biographica file; contributors, revision history, etc.
  • Jargon link names; for HTML authors who want to refer to the Jargon file and Biographica. Warning: for the moment this is really for test purposes until the file formats have been decided.
  • Purpose: This file is intended to be an informal glossary of terms and phrases often encountered in discussions found on the Usenet newsgroup and the FidoNet Evolution Echo. My personal outlook indicates that much of the debate stems from persons not understanding the relevant definitions of terms used in converse.

    To give folks an indication of what the others might be thinking, most words or phrases listed here will have at least two definitions. The approximation to denotation will be listed first, and the approximation to the commonly encountered connotation second or later. I will try to mark denotations and connotations where it may not be obvious as to which is which, along with the group responsible for so defining or misappropriating the term.

    If a FAQ is associated with the topic, that will be indicated by a [FAQ] (FAQ Available) at the start of the entry.

    If an entry is one upon which I am particularly shaky, it will be flagged with a "*". While I will gratefully accept and acknowledge additions and corrections for any entry, I will be especially appreciative of those who can give me more detail on asterisked items. Since I am firmly in the science camp, I expect the following glossary to be of more use/consonance to those who are similarly minded. If anyone can explain an entry from the TAE/SciCre viewpoint that promotes understanding and goodwill without being misleading, I'll be happy to add or amend entries to suit.

    If an entry is one that is currently in development, it will be marked with a leading "?". The reader may encounter two entries for the same word or phrase, both marked with "?". This indicates a situation where I haven't decided on which to prefer and keep.

    While the debate over secondary education consequences in the USA is very serious, participants should be able to appreciate humor and remember that all the other participants are human as well (at least, no known Loebner Prize contenders frequent either t.o. or the Evolution Echo). A basic enjoyment of keen debate should be at least a secondary motivation for participation in these discussions, so one should be prepared to follow a paraphrase of a common aphorism:

    One should not attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity, AND one should not attribute to stupidity what can be explained by ignorance.

    This, then, is intended to be a useful guide for the newcomer to the origins debate, and a semi-humorous diversion for the veteran trooper. Not all (intended to be) humorous entries are marked with emoticons. Without further pontification, here is the stuff.

    The Glossary -- the jargon of the origins debate

  • Abiogenesis
  • Ada
  • Ad hominem argument
  • Agnostic
  • Allele
  • Antarctica
  • Argument from Authority
  • Argument from Design
  • Argument from Ignorance
  • Argument from Infinite Digression
  • Argumentum ad Assertion Allopecia
  • Argumentum ad Assertion Repetitio ad Nauseam
  • Argumentum ad CAPSLOCK
  • Astronomer
  • Atheist
  • Apatheist
  • Asexual reproduction
  • Bad quotation
  • Balesian inference
  • Bandwidth Vampire
  • Bird's Eye Frozen Foods Division
  • Brackets
  • BSA
  • Bullfrog
  • C-decay
  • Carbon-14
  • Catastrophism
  • Censorship
  • Chance
  • Cladistics
  • Coalescent Theory
  • Conservation of Angular Momentum
  • Context
  • Creation
  • Creationism
  • Creationist
  • Creation Science Research Center
  • Crossover
  • CRS
  • CSC
  • CSRC
  • Cumulative selection
  • Darian
  • Dariosity
  • Darwinian
  • Day-Age theory
  • Degree
  • Dendrochronology
  • Diploid
  • Dogma
  • Dogmatic
  • Electro-magnetic Forces
  • Ellipses
  • EMT
  • Entropy
  • Evidence
  • Evilution
  • Evilutionist
  • Evolution
  • Evolutionary Mechanism Theory
  • Evolutionism
  • Evolutionist
  • Fallacy
  • False dichotomy
  • Falsifiable
  • FAQ
  • Fedfil
  • Felt Effect of Gravity
  • FGU
  • FIF
  • Flame
  • Flame
  • Flood
  • Flood, The
  • ForTun
  • FQA
  • FRA
  • Gametes
  • Gap theory
  • Gene
  • Genetic Algorithms
  • Genetic drift
  • Genetics
  • Genotype
  • God Of The Gaps
  • Gosse Assertion, The
  • Gosse Hypothesis, The
  • Haploid
  • Hopeful Monster
  • HTE
  • Hypocrisy
  • Hypothesis
  • ICR
  • Ice core
  • Inimitable One, The
  • Institute for Creation Research
  • Inversion
  • Invisible Pink Unicorn, The
  • IPU
  • Irrefutable truth
  • Isochron dating
  • Kalki
  • Kalki Syndrome, The
  • Kind
  • Kind
  • Last-Thursdayism
  • Liar
  • Literalism
  • Literally
  • Locus
  • Loki Points
  • Macroevolution
  • Macrogravity
  • Meiosis
  • Misquotation
  • Misquotation by fabrication
  • Misquotation by omission
  • Misquotation by omission of context
  • Misquotation by patchwork
  • Misquotation by selection of strawmen
  • Mitosis
  • Microevolution
  • Microgravity
  • Morlanization
  • Mutation
  • Natural selection
  • NCSE
  • Nebraska Man
  • Nebraska man
  • Neutralist hypothesis
  • Non sequitur
  • Old-Earth
  • Omission
  • Ontogeny
  • Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny
  • Paluxy River
  • Pedant points
  • Peking man
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Piltdown Man
  • Piltdown man
  • Po-haloes
  • Politeness through sarcastic aggression
  • Polonium haloes
  • Progressive creationism
  • Proof
  • Punctuated equilibria
  • Quick Frozen Mammoths
  • Quotation
  • Recombination
  • Reference
  • RTFF
  • SciCre
  • Scientific Creationism
  • Scientific cretinism
  • Scientific storkism
  • Second Law of Thermodynamics
  • Selfish gene
  • Sex
  • Sexual reproduction
  • Shooting oneself in the foot
  • Special creation
  • Species
  • Strawman Argument
  • TAE
  • Taoistic Creationism
  • Tautology
  • Theistic Anti-Evolutionist
  • Theistic Evolutionist
  • Theory
  • Theory of Abrupt Appearance
  • Theory of Creation(ism)
  • Tierra
  • TOC
  • t.o. home game
  • t.o. Regulars, The (aka The t.o. Irregulars)
  • True Science
  • Truism
  • Tunicate
  • U. of E.
  • Uniformitarian
  • Uniformitarian BS
  • University of Ediacara
  • Varve
  • Vestigial
  • Watchmaker Analogy
  • Ybloc Sirhc
  • Young-Earth
  • Appendices to the jargon file

    Appendices to the Glossary


    Futuyma, Douglas J. 1979. Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates.

    Suzuki, Griffiths, Miller and Lewontin. 1989. An Introduction to Genetic Analysis, 4th Edition.


    Contributor list (thanks, y'all!)

      Brinkman, Matt
      Colby, Chris
      Cox, Ken
      Fargher, Rob
      Harter, Richard
      Isaak, Mark
      Jefferys, William H.
      Kettenring, Thomas
      Lippard, James
      Morlan, Joe
      Otto, Jeff
      Peters, Andy
      Scharle, Tom
      Scott, Alan
      Stassen, Chris
      Vickers, Brett J.
      Vonroeschlaub, W. Kurt
      Watson, Bradley S.
      Watson, Stephen
      Wiener, Matthew P.
    My thanks to Jeff Otto for the Suzuki reference and excerpts.


    \n":".*":"          { return 1; }
    \n                  { return 2; }
    .                   { return 3; }
      This program must be run through flex or lex, then the resulting   lex.yy.c
    or lexyy.c file must be compiled using cc or gcc.   Name the resulting
    executable 'jargonx'.
    /* string to uppercase */
    void strup(char *s) {
      short int ii;
      for (ii = 0; ii  argc) {
          fprintf(stderr,"Usage: jargonx word 


    List of suggested new entries, feel free to submit denotations and connotations for these

    Intellectual honesty
    Transformed cladist


    Matt Brinkman maintains a list of FAQs for Contact him at

    Andy Peters maintains the Welcome FAQ. Contact him at

    FAQs may be obtained by anonymous ftp to : /pub/origins. (IP address, or through email. Send a letter to "" containing the world "help" in the text.

    FAQs may be obtained by direct dialup to Central Neural System BBS at 409-737-5222, and downloading from the SCI file section.

    A subset of FAQs is available via email from me. Drop an email note to me at for the list, which includes most of the Chris Stassen dating FAQs and some others that are not yet in the ftp site.


    Contributions, corrections, etc. can be sent to

    Wesley R. Elsberry,,   4160 Pirates' Beach      Galveston, TX 77554
    Flames may be sent to /dev/null. If you don't, I will.

    "A work of art is never finished, only abandoned." -- (name that source)

    Biographica, version 0.52, 941026

    A summary of dramatis personae of the online biology/creationism debate.

    Compiled by Wesley R. Elsberry

    The following text gives a brief description ('terse' might be more accurate) of various and sundry names that one encounters in online discussion of biological topics and abiogenesis where these cross with religiously motivated anti-science partisans. Some of the people mentioned are participants, others would not be caught dead or otherwise near a computer keyboard, and others are mentioned because of historical interest (i.e., if they were near a computer keyboard, they would still be dead).

    The descriptions are intended to allow the new participant to get some picture of the associations others have with a particular name without having to waste bandwidth in asking, "Who is this Stephen Jay Gould fellow, anyway?"

    General notes

    Names appear between colons. The software listed in the Jargon File will also work to extract entries from Biographica.

    The date field is enclosed in square brackets. A question mark at the start indicates that the compiler doesn't know/hasn't looked up/hasn't been informed of the date of birth of the person named in the name field. A question mark at the end indicates that the compiler is pretty sure that the person named is, indeed, dead, but didn't have at hand the year of death. No question mark and no date at the end means that the person named is probably still alive at the date of the version's compilation.

    Primary categories of association come next. Persons will be identified as to either their most recent profession or their stance on the creation/evolution debate, or both.

    Further information concerning the named person follows. This is intended to include basic items of interest to people involved in the creation/evolution online discussions, but may exclude otherwise important biographical data. The training and educational background of online discussion participants is considered of interest.


    If you wish to contribute a description to Biographica, format the complete entry as current entries are formatted. Send the resulting text via email to with a subject line that includes "Biography Update". Items sent unformatted or without the indicated subject line will not necessarily even be noticed, much less included in future versions of Biographica. This file has proved to be more work than I had thought possible, and it isn't anywhere near complete yet. Your help and consideration in making changes easier to make will make it possible for me to go through more revisions faster, which should make the final product that much more useful.


    :Name: [Year-of-birth - (Year-of-death)] Profession(s) and/or position on creation/evolution debate. If an online participant, which forum or fora, past education or training, associations such as CWACK or U. of E. faculty. Authorship of FAQs or publications relevant to the online debate. Any memorable contribution or involvement in controversy which garners current references.

    Who's who in the online origins debate

  • Aardsma, Gerald
  • Acker, James G.
  • Adams, Douglas
  • Agassiz, Louis
  • Agney, Michael
  • Alter, Walter
  • Amundson, Ronald A.
  • Arandia, Joel
  • Ashlock, Daniel A.
  • Asimov, Isaac
  • Ault, Thomas Galen
  • Austin, Steve
  • Ayala, Francisco
  • Baalke, Ron
  • Bales, Bob
  • Barnes, Thomas
  • Battin, Laurence Gene
  • Baugh, Carl
  • Bertsche, Kirk
  • Bethell, Tom
  • Biele, Arthur
  • Bishop, Sue
  • Bliss, Richard B.
  • Botha, Stephen
  • Boxhorn, Joseph E.
  • Boyden, Aaron
  • Bradley, Seth J.
  • Brannan, Jack
  • Brasfield, Barbara
  • Brawley, John
  • Brinkman, Matt
  • Broughton, Wayne
  • Brown, Michael Rogero
  • Brown, Walter
  • Bryan, William Jennings
  • Burdick, Clifford
  • Cardona, Dwardu
  • Carroll, Corey
  • Chick, Jack
  • Christensen, Jens Peter Reus
  • Clausen, Aaron
  • Clippingdale, Simon
  • Cochran, Keith
  • Cochrane, Everett "Ev"
  • Colby, Chris
  • Conner, Bill
  • Cook, Suzanne
  • Cox, Ken
  • Cranford, Michael
  • Crick, Francis
  • Cumming, Kenneth B.
  • Cummins, Andrew
  • Cuvier, Georges Baron de
  • Darrow, Clarence
  • Darwin, Charles
  • Das, Anil
  • Dasa, Anadi
  • Dasa, Kalki
  • Dasa, Sadaputa
  • Davis, Lawrence Drew
  • Dawkins, Richard
  • Day, Robert P.J.
  • Dehner, Benjamin
  • Denton, Michael
  • DeYoung, Donald B.
  • Derrick, Robert
  • Dobzhansky, Theodosius Grigorievich
  • Dodson, Edward Ottway
  • Dodson, Peter
  • Donnelly, Ignatius
  • Doyle, Keith
  • Dr Pepper
  • Drory, Alon
  • Dunn, Brendan
  • Durden, Glenn
  • Eldredge, Niles
  • Ellenberger, Leroy
  • Ellington, A.D.
  • Elsberry, Wesley R.
  • Englin, Dennis L.
  • Fargher, Robert
  • Farrar, Paul D.
  • Faust, Scott
  • Feuerbacher, Alan M.
  • Fisher, Sir Ronald Aylmer
  • Fliermans, Carl B.
  • Floryan, Thad
  • Fox, Rich
  • Franks, Robert H.
  • Frog, Crunchy
  • Futuyma, Douglas
  • Gaitonde, Dinesh D.
  • Garwood, Bob
  • Ginenthal, Charles
  • Gish, Duane
  • Glenn, Steve
  • Godowski, John
  • Goldschmidt, Richard
  • Goltz, Pat
  • Gould, Stephen Jay
  • Gonda, David
  • Gosse, Philip Henry
  • Graf, Claus
  • Grahm, Mats
  • Grasse, Pierre
  • Grubaugh, Bob
  • Grumbine, Robert
  • Hahn, Karl
  • Hall, John Calvin
  • Ham, Kenneth A.
  • Hamilton, Bill
  • Hanes, Joel
  • Harper, Brian D.
  • Hart, Jim
  • Harter, Richard
  • Hartman, Brian
  • Hastings, Ron
  • Hatunen, David W.
  • Hausmann, Maddi
  • Heiny, Chris
  • Henley, J.P.
  • Hennig, Willi
  • Henry, David R.
  • Hilman, Harlan
  • Ho-Stuart, Chris
  • Holden, Ted
  • Holland, John
  • Hooker, Joseph
  • Horn, Dave
  • Hoyle, Sir Fred
  • Humphries, D. Russell
  • Hunt, Kathleen
  • Huston, Herb
  • Huxley, Julian
  • Huxley, Thomas Henry
  • Hyde, Bill
  • Ijaz, Tahir
  • Isaak, Mark
  • Jackson, Michael
  • Jefferys, Bill
  • Johnson, Mark Arvid
  • Johnson, Phillip E.
  • Johnston, Eddie
  • Jones, Davey
  • Jones, David M.
  • Kaufmann, Stuart
  • Kazmeier, Bill
  • Keck, Paul
  • Kelvin, Lord William Thomson Baron
  • Kemere, Caleb Tilo
  • Kettenring, Thomas
  • Kitcher, Phillip
  • Kjinnly, Leif Magnar
  • Kluge, Karl
  • Knapp, Dave
  • Koestler, Arthur
  • Krasel, Cornelius
  • Kroger, Seth L.
  • Krueger, Ted
  • Laird, Cameron
  • Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de
  • Lamb, Peter
  • Lecointe, Darius A.
  • Leipzig, Marty
  • Lerner, Asia Z.
  • LeRoy, Merlyn
  • Lester, Lane
  • Levchenko, Vladimir F.
  • Lilje, Anneliese
  • Limbaugh, Rush
  • Lindsey, George D.
  • Linneaus, Carolus (Latin form of Carl Von Linne)
  • Lippard, James J.
  • Liu, Q.P.
  • Loucks, Jim
  • Lumsden, Richard D.
  • Lyell, Sir Charles
  • Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich
  • Maier, Chuck
  • MacRae, Andrew
  • Malthus, Thomas
  • Margulis, Lynn
  • Marlowe, Thomas
  • Matheson, Stephen
  • Mayr, Ernst
  • Mazumder, Bobby
  • McCulloch, Michael
  • McGowan, Christopher
  • McIver, Tom
  • Mendel, Gregor
  • Meritt, Jim
  • Meyer, John R.
  • Meyer, Mark
  • Mims, Forrest M. III.
  • Moran, L.A.
  • Morlan, Joe
  • Morgan, Alan
  • Morgan, Elaine
  • Morris, Henry Madison
  • Morris, John
  • Morton, Glenn
  • Mullins, Scott H.
  • Munch, John
  • Nanson, Paul
  • Nedin, Chris
  • Neff, John
  • Nicholls, Philip A.
  • Nicoll, James Davis
  • Numbers, Ronald L.
  • O'Rear, Greg
  • Ogden, C.
  • Osborn, Henry Fairfield
  • Osborne, Chris D.
  • Otto, Jeff
  • Overton, William
  • Owen, Richard
  • Paley, William
  • Patterson, Colin
  • Paul-Jones, Russ
  • Parker, Gary E.
  • Payne, Vick
  • Pepke, Eric
  • Peters, Andy
  • Peterson, Andrew J.
  • Petrich, Loren I.
  • Popper, Sir Karl Raimund
  • Poropudas, Hannu K.J.
  • Potter, Mr
  • Price, George Macready
  • Prigogine, Ilya
  • Publius
  • Raup, David M.
  • Rawlins, Bill
  • Ray, Tom
  • Regen, Joel H.
  • Reinoso, Ivan Ordonez
  • Rice, David
  • Rice, Robert
  • Rogers, Alan R.
  • Rose, Lynn
  • Ross, Hugh
  • Rowe, Mickey
  • Rupright, Mark
  • Ruse, Michael
  • Sagan, Carl
  • Salem, Bruce
  • Sand, Tero
  • Sarfatti, Jack
  • Schaffner, Stephen F.
  • Scharle, Tom
  • Schnitzius, Mark
  • Schumacher, Richard A.
  • Scopes, John Thomas
  • Scott, Alan
  • Scott, Bruce D.
  • Sedgwick, Adam
  • Segraves, Kelly
  • Sellin, Erik D.
  • Setterfield, Barry
  • Seymour, Burch
  • Sharpe, Richard
  • Shaw, Henry
  • Siemon, Michael
  • Siivonen, Antti
  • Sikkema, Henry
  • Silver, Yehuda
  • Silverio, C.J.
  • Smith, Walter
  • Solovay, Andrew
  • Stassen, Chris
  • Talbott, David
  • Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre
  • Thomas, Julie
  • Thompson, John
  • Thompson, Timothy J.
  • Throop, Wayne
  • Timm, Steven
  • Toumey, Christopher
  • Trigo, Gerard
  • Trott, Richard
  • Tun, Lionel
  • Tyler, Tim
  • Ussher, James
  • Vardiman, Larry
  • Varughese, T.V.
  • Velikovsky, Immanuel
  • Vickers, Brett J.
  • Vonroeschlaub, Warren
  • Wallace, Alfred Russel
  • Watson, James D.
  • Watson, Seanna
  • Watson, Stephen
  • Webb, Max
  • Wegener, Alfred Lothar
  • Whitcomb, John Clement
  • Wickramasinghe, Nalin Chandra
  • Wiener, Matthew P.
  • Wilder-Smith, Arthur Ernest
  • Williams, Tom
  • Willis, Bruce
  • Wilson, Carl
  • Wise, Kurt
  • Woodward, Chris
  • Wright, David
  • Wright, Sewall
  • Zuber, Robert
  • Biographica Appendices


      Ken Cox
      Bill Jefferys
      Thomas Kettenring
      James J. Lippard
      Steven Price
      Tero Sand
      Tom Scharle
      Richard Trott
      Matthew P. Wiener

    Requested Biographies


    Version History

    Version 0.52 notes

    Thanks to other contributors (list at end of file) for helping to correct my errors.

    I've made a pass through the Vickers site file list, and hope that I've accurately stated associations between authors and files. "Author" referencing files can mean a single author, or a co -author.

    Version 0.51 notes

    Many thanks to James Lippard and Tero Sand, who provided early reviews and additional information for the file.

    Most of the date fields are filled only with question marks. This initial version seeks to get some platform for further contribution out into the open. I assume that many people offended by my poor scholarship in not knowing the birth and death years of various and sundry entries will write to let me know what they are. Many of the same people will no doubt expand upon entries of their favorite famous/infamous notable persons. Fine, I like it that way.

    I have tried to give some commentary on all names of people associated with a TAE or SciCre stance. I have not done so for most other names of online participants in this list. If your name appears without a description, and you resent the oversight, please send your own autobiographical description for inclusion in future versions of Biographica.

    Future versions will have numbered descriptions, where the first entry under a name of an online participant will be an autobiographical account, edited for consistency of format. Secondary and further entries will be biographical information from the compiler or other contributors.

    A relatively easy set of additions which I nevertheless have not yet made is to use the t.o. FAQ filelist to fill out entries of contributors.


    Please make corrections by extracting the offending entry, correcting it, and emailing the corrected complete entry to with a subject line of "Biography Update".

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