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I am new on this site and I have posted four questions concerning the validity of the theory of evolution as far as macroevolution is concerned. Three of them were closed and they say:

Wait! Some of your past questions have not been well-received, and you're in danger of being blocked from asking any more.

Is questioning the validity of the theory of evolution virtually forbidden in this site? If that is the case, I think this site has a serious problem.

Just in case you are wondering, I am neither a theist, a creationist, nor an intelligent design advocate.

Here are the closed questions of mine.

How do you verify the theory of evolution as far as macroevolution is concerned? [closed] https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/40396/how-do-you-verify-the-theory-of-evolution-as-far-as-macroevolution-is-concerned

How does the modern synthesis theory explain the evolution of birds from dinosaurs? [closed] How does the modern synthesis theory explain the evolution of birds from dinosaurs?

Should the current explanation of how macroevolution occurred be revised if the hologenome theory is correct? [closed] https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/40388/should-the-current-explanation-of-how-macroevolution-occurred-be-revised-if-the

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Out of the claimed four questions there is only two on your profile at this time. One of those is a dupe - those are by definition always closed. Dupes are OK, they can be great questions, but they are closed and linked back to the original. No harm done.

On the other question: https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/40396/how-do-you-verify-the-theory-of-evolution-as-far-as-macroevolution-is-concerned. I was one of the close-voters. In the closure comments it reads Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.

FYI: I often use the "opinion-based" close-vote when I expect endless or futile discussions. If you see the amount of comments and discussion below your question (a lot) - that's exactly what I had predicted. Moreover, the one answer there now has received the infamous "Yes.. but..." from you. That is exactly why I close voted this question. To prevent endless discussions. And here we are...

That's my side of things.

Your side:

Is questioning the validity of the theory of evolution virtually forbidden in this site? If that is the case, I think this site has a serious problem.

Nope, not forbidden to ask anything. Before Remi.b's current top answer, his best scoring one was on... morning wood. It's ok! No no-go topics here. The point is, a question is a question, an answer an answer. If questions are asked that will result in discussions, they get closed. Your question is, as said many times by others, way too broad. Like, "We know how the brain works, but how can we prove it's neurons firing that make me think?". That's a question more in my line of expertise, which I could answer, but I won't. Without the proper backgrounds, framework, specification and limitation of the question premise, the only thing you will get back from OP is "Yes I know! But..." And that's exactly what happened in your case. Admittedly, I am not an expert in evolutionary bio, but I am an expert in hunting down opinion-based questions :)

As for the two other linked questions I can be short: They are too broad. How does the modern synthesis theory explain the evolution of birds from dinosaurs?: Close-voted by me for being too broad. What can I say? If you need a reference, you should use the reference-request tag. If you need the evolution explained in detail, the question is too broad. Libraries are filled on the topic. Further ..in detail with academic accuracy..is vague.

The other, deleted question I voted to close because it's too broad, because you pile up three theories in a few lines and ask for a synthesis of all three. Like asking, "Light is particles but also waves. Does the photon theory needs revision when the wave theory is correct?". Ermmmm.... Yeah.... Where to start?.... They exist alongside each other, with one you explain phenomenon A, the other explains B, yadiyadiyida.... - too broad. What can I say more than There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.?

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  • $\begingroup$ "FYI: I often use the "opinion-based" close-vote when I expect endless or futile discussions." I asked for a book or a paper which answers my question. I don't think this is your "opinion-based". $\endgroup$ Nov 22, 2015 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ @MakotoKato you should have a look at the tag wiki for book-recommendation (Not in reference to your questions but generally). Book recommendations or other kinds of reference requests have to be clear and precise. Also, you should present a clear background for your question and do some research before asking. $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Nov 23, 2015 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG I added the book recommendation and reference request tags to my questions. Still opinion based or too broad? $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2015 at 3:56
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    $\begingroup$ @MakotoKato It is not about the right tag. You need to provide enough details such that the question can be answered in a few lines. A book recommendation on a general topic generates opinion based answers because everyone has their favourite book. $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Nov 24, 2015 at 4:06
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG "A book recommendation on a general topic generates opinion based answers because everyone has their favourite book." Then what is the tag for? I don't think asking for a book recommendation should be banned as opinion based. $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2015 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ @MakotoKato biology.stackexchange.com/tags/book-recommendation/info. When you mouse over a tag you will see a box which has a link called info. That takes you to tag wiki. $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Nov 25, 2015 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ @MakotoKato This is an example of a Book Recommendation post that is specific, well thought out, follows the guidelines, and was not negatively received by the community. biology.stackexchange.com/questions/40807/… $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Nov 25, 2015 at 5:42
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These sorts of questions tend to bring out the worst in people - in comments and indiscriminate voting.

Questions about the evidence for evolution can be valid topics for the site, but think carefully about how you phrase such questions. Take your time, gather the evidence your question is based upon, target your question so that it's possible it can be reasonably answered in a few paragraphs, and read through your question a couple times before posting. If you do these things, you are much more likely to get a useful answer.

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It is not wrong, unscientific or unethical to question an existing theory. After all that is how science has progressed. However, if you do have doubts about the scientific validity of the theory then it is expected that:

  1. You should have studied the theory in detail
  2. You provide enough background to support your doubts

Also, it is important to know that many phenomena cannot be directly observed and their existence has to be confirmed by extrapolation of some observations. Evolution is a gradual process and changes in macroscopic features are difficult to observe in lifetimes of a single person. However, there have been attempts to study those too.

Some of your questions can be edited such that they use more appropriate words and provide sufficient background.

  1. How do you verify the theory of evolution as far as macroevolution is concerned? Rephrase the title to something like: "Has there been any laboratory experiments to observe and carry out macroevolution? If not how to conduct such an experiment..?" To ask how to conduct such experiments, again you should add some details (an idea at least) because there are many ways to carry out such experiments.
  2. How does the modern synthesis theory explain the evolution of birds from dinosaurs? In this case you should write something about what you know about modern synthesis theory and phylogenetic linkage between birds and dinosaurs, and then ask if the evolution can be explained by a certain model. In short, you should provide some background research. That not only adds weight to your question but also makes it precise and clear. Your statement — "However, it seems to me that wings were not selectively advantageous for dinosaurs.", is just a random idea and not even a calculated opinion. You should at least rationalize your opinion. As it is right now, the question is just like asking how does quantum theory explain the formation of atoms (you can write an entire chapter on that).
  3. Should the current explanation of how macroevolution occurred be revised if the hologenome theory is correct? The question statement itself sounds as if you are asking for opinions. The better way to investigate such possibility is to ask about specific limitations of a certain model that can be addressed by another model and vice-versa. It is not a good question to ask which one is better. As George E Box puts it "All models are wrong. Some are useful."

Final note: Evolution is a fact. We know that it happens. We also know that it is undirected per se. This has even been proved in the laboratory. There are different environmental phenomena that provide a sort of direction to it and there are models to explain how these phenomena occur and affect the population. To question a model, you should have studied it properly in the first place.

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  • $\begingroup$ "You should have studied the theory in detail" I studied the theory in detail. "You provide enough background to support your doubts" I just asked the questions. I am not disagreeing with the theory. $\endgroup$ Nov 24, 2015 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ @MakotoKato I said it is okay even if you disagree. In any case you should do some background research and add details of what you already know. By doing this you would narrow down your question. $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Nov 25, 2015 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ "In any case you should do some background research and add details of what you already know." I did some background research. Here is one of my questions. What kind of details should I add to it? "The current theory of evolution claims that evolution can be completely explained by mutation, genetic drift, gene flow(migration) and natural selection. However, you cannot observe macroevolution(for example the evolution of birds from dinosaurs) real time or experiment on it. So how do you verify the claim as far as macroevolution is concerned?" $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2015 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ @MakotoKato Have you read about phylogenetics? These inferences are made using phylogenetics; by comparing DNA sequences. It would have taken millions of years for the evolution of birds as we see it. What you were expected to do here is read something about phylogenetics and palaeontological evidences. $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Nov 25, 2015 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ "Have you read about phylogenetics? These inferences are made using phylogenetics; by comparing DNA sequences." You seem to misunderstand me. I take it for granted that birds evolved from dinosaurs. I'm asking about the mechanisms of the evolution. How do you verify the mechanisms? $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2015 at 5:33
  • $\begingroup$ @MakotoKato I told you. You cannot do such an experiment in the lab. You just use DNA sequences to infer that. Laboratory evolution has been used in microorganisms though. And macroevolution is just a long series of microevolutions. If you prove a few steps then by induction you can say that the entire process works that way. If you want to have further discussion on this then please use the chat. Comments are not for extended discussion. $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Nov 25, 2015 at 5:37
  • $\begingroup$ We are discussing the matter in the following chat room. Any user is welcome to join the discussion. chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/32144/… $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2015 at 15:41
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It has been pointed out to you on several occasions that your understanding of evolutionary theory is incomplete and when suggestions have been made that you need to review in order to constructively rephrase questions or before raising another question, you have been combative and denied there was a problem.

If you are not willing to take the recommendations of experienced members with a high degree of training in the subject, it shows an unwillingness to evaluate the information they are providing. That is not the model that the site wants to take.

If your only reason is to post to advance your way of thinking and have no intention of learning from the answers that people are providing, then your questions are wasting the time of the community and are overshadowing legitimate questions from people who are looking for answers that they can learn from.

You have also been asked to provide sources for your questions, which you then do not. When someone, especially a moderator asks you for a reference, go back and find it and provide it. There is often a good reason to ask for it. It can help people trying to answer your question clarify what you are asking and address the answer in the context of the information you are basing your question off of.

Where did you hear it? – Chris♦ Nov 14 at 10:42

@Chris I forgot. Maybe a book or an article on the web. – Makoto Kato Nov 14 at 10:44

While this example is for a rather elementary question, it outlines how a question can be well structured, providing relevant information and how the OP was thinking through their understanding. It allows those answering the question a framework to understand where the confusion was coming from and address the points that would help to clarify the problem for the OP. The only change I would have suggested, though I let it slide, was that a book and author citation should have been provided for the quote.

Edit

Here is an excellent example of a somewhat speculative question on Evolution and Natural Selection that provided an excellent opportunity to provide an outstanding answer. Your questions did not live up to this kind of standard and unlike Viziionary, you handled yourself in a way that did not show that you had an interest in hearing what others had to say on the subject.


Transcript of Comments

"It has been pointed out to you on several occasions that your understanding of evolutionary theory is incomplete" I think a question should be evaluated only by the content of it. It is absurd to delete a question just because the questioner is an amateur in biology. – Makoto Kato 1 hour ago

"You have also been asked to provide sources for your questions, which you then do not." I edited the question and included a source for my question. However, I don't think a lack of a source can be a proper reason for the closure of a question as long as it is a valid question. – Makoto Kato 1 hour ago

You are only continuing to prove the point that you are combative and unwilling to take constructive criticism. There is plenty of room and patience on this board for 'novice' experience. But you have demonstrated no intention of actually learning from your questions or the answers given, and for that, rightly so, the community has decide for that there is no room. This is a volunteer run site where you decide to either become a part of the community and abide by the rules or face being ostracized. The people who gave you the warning make the rules. If you continue to fight, then goodbye. – AMR 52 mins ago

You provided it after 8 days, only after your other questions were closed and after I pointed out to you that you had not done it. You had more time to post this argument than to provide the reference first. If you were serious, you would have taken care of all the criticisms leveled before you ever wrote a meta post. And you deleted your comment to Chris, so as to make it seem like you were only just getting around to it. – AMR 46 mins ago

"You are only continuing to prove the point that you are combative and unwilling to take constructive criticism." You seem to misunderstand me. I think mutation and natural selection are important factors of evolution. However, there might be other unknown important factors. Who knows? In any case, a question should be judged only by its content. Whether the questioner is an amateur or not should not affect the judgment. – Makoto Kato 35 mins ago

Biology is an objective fact based science, and "well I think" questions/answers fall under philosophy, even if the subject is biology. The only thing that actually helps is to formulate a hypothesis, then test it experimentally, if it is not generally accepted fact. Otherwise "what-ifs" and "who knows" are not productive, especially here. If you have an idea that you think can be verified by the experiment, then go formulate the hypothesis, do the experiment, and if you have exceptional data, then prove it. Plenty of top caliber scientist have tried to disprove Evolution and failed. – AMR 19 mins ago

StackExchange Philosophy is to limit subjective questions and based on the estimation of the community, your questions do not live up to the standards that allow for outstanding subjective questions that are rarely, but sometimes welcomed. blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective – AMR 16 mins ago

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    $\begingroup$ "It has been pointed out to you on several occasions that your understanding of evolutionary theory is incomplete" I think a question should be evaluated only by the content of it. It is absurd to delete a question just because the questioner is an amateur in biology. $\endgroup$ Nov 22, 2015 at 4:57
  • $\begingroup$ "You have also been asked to provide sources for your questions, which you then do not." I edited the question and included a source for my question. However, I don't think a lack of a source can be a proper reason for the closure of a question as long as it is a valid question. $\endgroup$ Nov 22, 2015 at 5:05
  • $\begingroup$ "You are only continuing to prove the point that you are combative and unwilling to take constructive criticism." You seem to misunderstand me. I think mutation and natural selection are important factors of evolution. However, there might be other unknown important factors. Who knows? In any case, a question should be judged only by its content. Whether the questioner is an amateur or not should not affect the judgment. $\endgroup$ Nov 22, 2015 at 5:30

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