The TalkOrigins Archive is a website that presents mainstream science perspectives on the antievolution claims of young-earth, old-earth, and "intelligent design" creationists. With sections on evolution, creationism, geology, astronomy and hominid evolution, the web site provides broad coverage of evolutionary biology and the socio-political antievolution movement.
The TalkOrigins Archive began in 1994 when Brett J. Vickers collected several separately posted FAQs from the talk.origins newsgroup and made them available from a single anonymous FTP site. In 1995, Vickers, then a computer science graduate student at the University of California at Irvine, created the TalkOrigins Archive web site. In 2001, Vickers transferred the TalkOrigins Archive to Wesley R. Elsberry, who organized a group of volunteers to handle the maintenance of the Archive.
In 2004, Kenneth Fair incorporated the TalkOrigins Foundation as a Texas 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.1 The Foundation's purposes include funding and maintaining the TalkOrigins Archive and holding copyrights to Archive articles, thereby simplifying the process of reprinting and updating those articles. The copyright issue has posed a particular problem since the FAQs started off as a small collection with little thought given to copyright but have since mushroomed. In 2005, the Foundation was granted tax-exempt status by the IRS.2
The FAQs and FRAs (Frequently Rebutted Assertions) on the TalkOrigins Archive cover a wide range of topics associated with evolutionary biology and creationism. These include Mark Isaak's Index to Creationist Claims, a list of creationist positions on various issues, rebuttals, and links to primary source material. The TalkDesign sister site fulfills a similar role with the Intelligent Design movement. Also hosted is Jim Foley's Fossil Hominids sub-site which studies the evidence for human evolution and has an extensive list of links to websites on both evolutionary biology and creationism. Lastly, the Quote Mine Project, examines the use of Quote mining – taking quotes out of context – by creationists. The feedback system collects reader comments and posts a compilation, along with responses, each month. The archive maintains a sister site which addresses Intelligent Design arguments.
Talkorigins.org has gained awards and recognition over the years:
- In 1999, The New York Times called TalkOrigins a "good antidote" to the plethora of creationist websites that had sprung up.3
- The webpages of the National Academy of Science, Smithsonian Institution,4 Leakey Foundation,5 the National Center for Science Education6 and other organizations recommend Talkorigins.org.
- In August 2002, Scientific American recognized Talkorigins.org for its "detailed discussions (some of which may be too sophisticated for casual readers) and bibliographies relating to virtually any objection to evolution that creationists might raise."7
The Archive is also referenced in college-level textbooks9non-primary source needed and has had material from the archive incorporated into over 20 college or university courses.10non-primary source needed
- "The TalkOrigins Foundation". The TalkOrigins Archive. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- "TALKORIGINS FOUNDATION INC". GuideStar. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
- Pollak, Michael (6 May 1999). "SCREEN GRAB; Exploring Neanderthal Lore on Line". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- Smithsonian Institution (Winter/Spring 1999-2000). "Teacher Resources: Human Evolution Websites". AnthroNotes 21 (2). Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- "The Leakey Foundation - Recommended Links". Archived from the original on 1 April 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- National Center for Science Education. "Critiques of Creationism: Links". Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 9 September 2009. "The main site for arguments refuting the "science" of creation science."
- Rennie, John (17 June 2002). "Other Resources for Defending Evolution". Scientific American. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- Damm, Tyra (7 October 2006). "WEB SITE OF THE WEEK". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 11 December 2006. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
- "Science Textbooks that Use the Archive". The Talk.Origins Archive. Retrieved 8 May 2007.
- "University and College Courses that Use the Archive". The Talk.Origins Archive. Retrieved 8 May 2007.