Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard/Archive 49

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Hair whorl (horse)

OK everyone, here's one from me. I have way too much drama going on elsewhere to tackle this one solo (and deal with the inevitable tendentious debates likely to follow), but if anyone wants to give this article a clearer pseudoscience/fringe look, I'd be grateful. If there is anything at all scientifically rigorous on this, I'd be surprised, but if there is, you might find it; I can't. Montanabw(talk) 01:31, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Gag. I can look through my books: I believe I have an old Western Horseman issue with some stuff about scientists studying whorls on cattle in feedlots. White Arabian Filly (Neigh) 02:12, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Can a whorl really be fringe? Alexbrn (talk) 08:20, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Much of selective animal breeding becomes enmeshed in claims that are not rigorously vetted because no one cares. If I say that cocker spaniels are vicious or that poodles are intelligent, there's no scientific basis for this claim. On the other hand, if one surveyed dog breeders and found that breeders ascribed particular character traits to particular breeds, that's just a fact of what humans perceive, it doesn't necessarily say anything about the dogs themselves. Pointing out a correlation between the direction of hair-whorls and the perceived handedness that riders ascribe to a horse is a simple statement of attribution. It really isn't pseudoscience until someone starts to argue causation without evidence that there is a causal link. jps (talk) 15:08, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
jps is completely wrong here. People do care about such things and there IS mainstream scientific evidence about animal temperament. I am reluctant to even post such evidence on this noticeboard thereby inadvertently indicating it is fringe. For those interested in horse hair whorls, try typing "whorl temperament" into a google scholar search. Here is just one of the articles DrChrissy (talk) 16:02, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
It's like phrenology for animals - bonkers. And lo! the world gives us not only "whorlology" but also "whorl theory"[1] Alexbrn (talk) 16:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Although it seems you've either willfully or ignorantly misinterpreted my comment (I never said there wasn't any evidence for animal temperament), thanks for showing us that whorlology pseudoscience is a thing, @DrChrissy:. Of course, it doesn't look like any sane people have looked into it. jps (talk) 16:54, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
That is a personal attack.DrChrissy (talk) 16:57, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Just to note, jps has apologised on their talk page for their personal attack on me.DrChrissy (talk) 17:31, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
A very well crafted apology, if I may say so. -Roxy the dog™ woof 21:43, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I very much agree. Judging from his very extensive block log, jps has had plenty of opportunity to wordcraft his apologies.DrChrissy (talk) 21:53, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Why, are you a whorlologist? Alexbrn (talk) 16:58, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Alexbrn, chill it with the personal attacks. My question was if people can please look at the pseudoscience aspects of the article itself. Usually when I go after this stuff, I get accused of biting the newcomers and such, so I'd prefer more objective folks look at the article itself and help fix it. Montanabw(talk) 20:52, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
There are many superstitions/beliefs/legends/claims/whatever regarding what the color or type of an animal's fur means. In some cases there may be truth behind it. White is linked to many birth defects such as deafness--and interestingly, in Mexico there's a belief that white animals should not be eaten and are bad luck. The bad luck may stem from the fact that if you're breeding animals like goats to eat, getting offspring with a genetic defect means less meat in some cases. And also, people do care about breed temperaments and in many cases selectively breed for a tractable personality, at least in animals like horses and dogs that interact closely with humans. White Arabian Filly (Neigh) 17:14, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
It's quite a stretch, though it makes for fun armchair speculation. Not really encyclopedic quality, though. Fun for discussion pages, I guess. jps (talk) 17:22, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Do these people who think horse colour denotes character extend that thought to humans I wonder? Alexbrn (talk) 17:24, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I think that the temperament associated with hair/coat color has been around for a long time -- i.e. in humans, that redheads have hot tempers or that blondes are stupid. In horses, there are beliefs that the "redheads" (i.e. chestnuts) are also hot-tempered. But there is also legitimate science for things like albinism, which has significant health problems in humans and depigmentation genes in some animals are also problematic (i.e. lethal white syndrome in horses). So it's a mixed bag. Montanabw(talk) 20:52, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
White Arabian Filly, what you say about artificial selection of animals for behavioural tractability is very true - it is the very basis of our domestication of animals and can be found across many species.DrChrissy (talk) 17:43, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Of course, there are a lot of tall tales that come along for the ride when we talk about animal domestication and breeding. Hair whorls indicating temperament? That's a paddlin'. jps (talk) 17:50, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Indeed. But the two bits that I'd like some eyes on is if there have been any studies -- good, bad, or crappy on the temperament question, and 2) an assessment of the "study" that claimed that the direction of the hair whorls indicated left- or right-"footedness" preference. Horses, like people, have preferred sides, and that has a significant impact in horse training. So, if it's baloney (which I suspect it is), it's worth noting as baloney. If we are into helping the general public, I can assure you that the hair whorl thing is an urban legend (or perhaps a rural legend) out there and I've had some very aggravating and fruitless arguments with the true believers. Montanabw(talk) 20:52, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Some of you will have noticed that I have been editing the Hair whorl (horse) article. I have just edited the lead to state that there have been reports of "statistical relationships" between whorls and temperament/behaviour in horses. I have chosen the expression "statistical relationship" carefully. I have tried very hard not to indicate any causality or biological significance to these findings as I am as sceptical about them as you all are - but the reports are out there in mainstream science and therefore we should cover them.DrChrissy (talk) 22:02, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I did a little editing there as well: like in half the horse articles, the stuff about the Arabians looked to have been written by a kid. Alexbrn, what I was saying about the color white in animals being linked to health issues is true. See the lethal white article Montanabw linked; also, white cats with blue eyes are almost always deaf. In dogs, breeding of two merles creates white puppies that are blind, deaf or both. White Arabian Filly (Neigh) 23:42, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, my position is pretty much "if the advocates are going to keep trying to add it anyway, let's address it up front." Saves time and future edit wars. Montanabw(talk) 22:37, 15 January 2016 (UTC)


Editors are needed, see talk page GcMAF. prokaryotes (talk) 12:24, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

This noticeboard is starting to read like the contents list of a particularly bad issue of What Doctors Don't Tell You. Guy (Help!) 21:55, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the notice. I'll keep an eye on it too. Delta13C (talk) 12:27, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I rewrote the lead to something that I think is more neutral. The old version presumed that the claimed mode of action for the protein is valid. Roches (talk) 00:12, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Chiropractic - important discussion on talk page

Hi all, extra eyes and opinions from experienced editors requested in discussion on the chiropractic talk page [2]. There is a long and ongoing dispute about recent changes to the lede, mostly regarding claims of using OR and distinction between "pseudoscience" and "pseudomedicine." Delta13C (talk) 20:43, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Do you think there is WP:OR in the lede? QuackGuru (talk) 17:22, 21 January 2016 (UTC)


Kept at AfD, but no credible arguments for keeping the massive coatracks thrown atop the concept. Methinks it's time to gut it, without mercy, of all off-topic material. Note: Some may be better spun off than deleted; I could see meat paradox as a stub article - at least the sources for that section use that term. Adam Cuerden (talk) 08:53, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Commenced work. Ironically, after pulling out meat paradox - a separate subject - both articles are much tighter. Please bookmark; this topic seems very kudzu-ish, in that it keeps being pushed beyond any useful boundaries.
The coatracking and POV seems to me to be merely vegan propaganda to pathologize the eating of meat, in order to identify veganism as the "normal" and meat eaters as the "deviant wierdos". Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 19:33, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Animal Therapy

This looked like a WP:WALLEDGARDEN in which some very sweeping health claims are made (including benefits to autism and multiple sclerosis). Check out for example Therapeutic horseback riding#Benefits. Generally sourcing is eye-wateringly poor with heavy use made of primary sources, fringe-y journals and commercial sites. After any trimming, there may be scope for merging content. More eyes on these articles (or in finding more of the walled garden) welcome. Alexbrn (talk) 10:31, 28 December 2015 (UTC); amended 17:17, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

I took a quick glance at the equine/hippotherapy articles. It looks like hippotherapy and equine-assisted psychotherapy have a decent layout, but are mostly similar articles. I'd move them over to equine therapy as I'm not really seeing much worth keeping that's currently in the equine therapy article, and equine therapy seems to be the most non-jargony title. No idea if I'll get around to doing that myself today if someone else doesn't, but just my two cents at least. Kingofaces43 (talk) 15:49, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I'd be inclined to have an article called Equine-related therapy (taking a cue from PMID 24953870) which included all the horse stuff. I've taken a hatchet to some of these today; before they were pretty promotional for what appears to be ineffective, expensive woo. Alexbrn (talk) 16:14, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

───────────────────────── And now the push-back.[3] Alexbrn (talk) 18:10, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

I think there are WP:OWN issues going on here. jps (talk) 18:16, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
I would suggest that removing sourced material without discussion of the sources and replacing everything with an single reference to a mere metanalysis of 14 studies that was critical, and announcing that as a conclusion that these therapies do not work is pretty much just POV-pushing in the opposite direction. I would suggest a collaborative approach that locates the best materials on each side of the issue and work to improve these articles. I am not up on the cat and dog therapies, but I know that in the realm of equine therapy, in my view, one program (PATH) is vastly superior to the other (EAGALA). Montanabw(talk) 18:18, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
WP:GEVAL is a real danger here. I see that basically all the non-critical claims are sourced to very dubious items or not sourced at all. This is not the way we should be writing Wikipedia articles, IMHO. jps (talk) 18:20, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
BTW, I'd be OK with a single Equine therapy article and I agree that there is room for improvement. We can work on this; my concern is replacing one set of POV with another. Montanabw(talk) 18:22, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
a mere metanalysis of 14 studies ← you mean about the highest quality type of source available to us, MEDLINE-indexed systematic review. To say we need to locate material "on each side" is utterly to misunderstand the fundamentals of neutrality here. We shall faithfully reflect the accepted knowledge on this topic as reflected in the best sources. Alexbrn (talk) 18:22, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
How is this working on this? It's just straight up ownership, isn't it? jps (talk) 18:31, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it's aggressive reversion with the effect of fringe-pushing while singing a song about "collaboration". Alexbrn (talk) 18:32, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
And now this! Perhaps a trip to a drama board is in order? jps (talk) 18:33, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
You know what? I'm leaving town shortly with minimal online access for a couple days, and I have no interest in your ongoing drama, so you'll have a couple days to see if you can find your own balance. I only suggest that you take a look at the links I put in at your respective user page and the articles. You are not winning anyone over by calling a respected therapeutic model "bogus" and cherry-picking only the negative sources. There's certainly some stuff that is bogus (I personally have issues with the EAGALA model) but there is also a reasonable amount of decent research, particularly by PATH which has been doing the therapeutic riding stuff for decades and has moved cautiously into the mental health realm. So hold yourself to your own standards and take a fair look at what is there. Surprise me... Montanabw(talk) 18:58, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

─────────────────────────The links to some Google Scholar searches? I'm not sure what you expect we will find there (or why you assumed we haven't done that already). I am becoming more convinced that you haven't done the requisite research yourself to see what the reliable sources actually say. Please note that many sources which show up in Google Scholar are not what we would consider to be reliable according to Wikipedia standards. You still seem not to be able to grok WP:GEVAL, and your weak surrender in the direction of an upcoming trip (happy travels, incidentally) still strikes me -- as someone who is objecting to your drive-by reverts -- as indicative of ownership issues. jps (talk) 19:01, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

OK, try this: (Lentini ) literature review of 47 recent sources, explains what they all are, reviews conclusions and so on. Even the critical Anestis review of 14 studies (used by Alexbrn) concluded that the subject is worth further research; their concern was the problems with study design and though they stated, "Indeed, we believe that research concerning ERT and other experimental treatment modalities should continue,"and they even concluded that there was no evidence that it was harmful...("iatrogenic"). Anestis also exaggerated the costs involved, from what I can tell (without full text access to all the articles cited). The Lentini article took a wider look. Both the favorable and the unfavorable literature reviews agree that the existing studies have problems with their design and therefore the conclusions drawn are preliminary at best. But both also agree that this is a legitimate area for research and further study; basically, Lentini sees more favorable evidence than did Anestis. Montanabw(talk) 07:15, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
And do stop the "you don't understand" tone; I get it, and I know how many actual hours it takes to do actual research and read all this stuff -- more than any of us have, short of a research grant. I am simply asking you to actually look before you leap in with an unexamined anti-animal therapy POV that is as biased as that of the over-enthusiastic promoters. Saying things such as "no good evidence exists" is an exaggeration and overstatement. Also, confusing the physical health studies with the mental health studies is a problem too; there is a lot more literature out there on the physical health stuff. Let's try to set aside agendas and look at what we actually can cite to MEDRS sources and what had only preliminary study. I see no problem with describing the evidence. Montanabw(talk) 07:15, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
We don't say "more research is needed" (or the myriad variations on that theme) because it's a truism and also subtly misleading in lay language (the lay reader can take it to mean "they think it's promising" whereas it's more a term of art usually with more of a meaning of: keep funding my field!). This is why MOS:MED recommends against it. The Lentini source seems poor - by the looks of it not in PUBMED/MEDLINE and in a journal with an impact factor of ZERO. If you have personal objections to the Anestis article it shall have no effect on our use of it, as such personal objections are specifically discounted by WP:MEDRS. Alexbrn (talk) 07:22, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
At least one of these items was discussed here quite recently [4]. --Salimfadhley (talk) 19:46, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
The Lentini article is in a peer-reviewed journal under the auspices of the American Counseling Association. I found it cited in PUBMED here. According to this and NLM lists it here it was formerly known as the Journal of Psychotherapy in Independent Practice, (there appears to have been a gap in publication) and that journal was listed on PUBMED [5]. I accept the conclusions of Anestis as far as they go, but they only went through 14 articles and their focus was on study design problems. I do not disagree that they found study design problems. But there was a 2013 study (Selby and Smith-Osborne (2013)) that drew a more positive conclusion as well as the Lentini literature review. In short, reasonable minds differ. You need to accept that this is a situation in flux and as such we simply need to describe the flux. Montanabw(talk) 07:48, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
I don't believe the Lentini paper has a PMID, which is what I meant by being "in" PUBMED - correct me if I'm wrong. Generally, we don't use medical articles that aren't MEDLINE indexed and the zero impact factor is probably the final nail in that source's coffin. What every editor here "needs to accept" is that it's our task merely to convey accurately what knowledge is contained in the best sources. I am glad at least we have moved on from trying to use primary sources and commercial web sites as sources for claims about therapeutic value, although the insurance company document you have edit-warred[6] in to make claims about the effectiveness of hippotherapy remains a serious concern. Alexbrn (talk) 08:03, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
I was not the one who inserted it, I merely re-added it when you edit-warred by removing it. It would be better if someone would pull the peer-reviewed source from that article and cite to it. (Which you could do if you wanted to) But more to the point: Each of these articles contains a large number of sources that ARE peer-reviewed and legitimate material. Nothing stops you from looking at them (other than time and a need to have an open mind) I am concerned with your lack of good faith to consider that a relatively new field is going to mostly have preliminary studies; furthermore, the hippotherapy article isn't really about mental health stuff anyway, it's more about speech and occupational therapies; the mental health stuff should all be moved to Equine-assisted psychotherapy. Montanabw(talk) 09:21, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
The Lentini article came out in October, not sure how long it takes to get indexed, the doi=10.1080/15401383.2015.1023916 if that helps. But more to the point, it's a review of the peer-reviewed (and also the "gray") literature, so it's value is also in the many sources cited, I think they found pretty much everything that's come out in the last 5-6 years. And you also aren't looking at this, though Anestis was critical, it needs to be examined on its own merits. Montanabw(talk) 09:32, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

───────────────────────── The Lentini article is poor quality and not really usable. If PMID 22888815 has been referenced by Anestis then it's probably outdated, but may be worth further investigation: MEDRS directs us to use up-to-date sources. Discussing the merits of secondary sources is precisely the kind of conversation we should be having, and I'm happy for that. I'm not happy about using insurance company sites for sweeping health claims: since you restored it, despite knowing it was not WP:MEDRS, the responsibility falls to you for that. Alexbrn (talk) 15:50, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

As I have said, repeatedly, one of the uses of these articles is that they contain citations to the peer-reviewed literature. Lentini is a comprehensive literature review that backs the conclusions of Selby and Smith-Osborne that equine therapies are promising and worth further study; Anestis was more critical, but I think even MEDRS supports a section on the state of research on the topic and the conclusions drawn. I didn't add the Aetna article as a source, but I did restore it when someone else added it and you deleted it - eventually, the precise study cited therein is what the source needs to be, but I rather wish you would do some of the actual heavy lifting here, as opposed to finding one meta-analysis and posting the identical paragraph about its conclusions in three or more articles and then edit-warring to keep in everything including the typos. Given that you are the one who is insisting on the MEDRS sources and declaring yourself the sole abiter of what passes muster, it's really not worth adding meticulous sources if you are just going to delete everything anyone else adds only to restore your own POV. There are eight or so good peer-reviewed articles discussed in the Aetna piece, which is why I posted it; to save a bit of time and work (they do a good job of summarizing each article). Montanabw(talk) 20:36, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
There are outright falsehoods here: I have add several good sources (the first these articles have seen, so far as I can tell) not just Anestis, but also e.g. PMID 23892336, PMID 23124442 and the Souter source as well as initiating discussion of other good sources. You have been reverting to primary sources, commercial websites advertising these treatments, and insurance company documents. And now you are arguing for obviously weak sources (impact factor=zero; not MEDLINE-indexed). Our articles may be slowly getting better, but you have proved yourself an impediment to this progress in almost every conceivable way. Still, I think we're getting there despite your multi-pronged efforts to stand in the way. Alexbrn (talk) 20:51, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Alex, your personal attacks and biases are really interfering with a collaborative effort; behaving like an arrogant bully just shuts down any actual work getting done. It appears clear that you have an agenda to debunk this topic and attacking those who disagree with you only shows your own POV-pushing mindset. To actually READ these studies takes hours, to look at the content and design would need a grant; all of us here are volunteers, but in any case, one can't just skim abstacts, which is why the Aetna piece is useful; like wiki, it's a source that leads us to sources -- they did what we do on-wiki; review the literature and summarize it. Ditto Lentini; it's a very extensive literature review that explains what the various studies are, and using these can save us hours of independently going through page after page of search results in Wiley or wherever. In peer-review land, I have just gone over Selby/Smith-Osborne 2013 (Psychological Association 2013, Vol. 32, No. 4, 418–432 0278-6133/13/ doi:10.1037/a0029188) and though the Anestis study was critical of their work, the reality is that we have two perfectly decent analyses of what's out there, done a year apart, and producing a simple difference of opinion amongst experts; some think the use of horses as a complementary and adjunct intervention in various therapy is promising and existing studies are encouraging, while others think that the poor design of studies to date means "pull the plug and stop now" -- even while acknowledging that there appears to be no harmful effects. The additional benefit of the Lentini work is that one adds a look at the studies done since Anestis wrote and has a more comprehensive summary of what's out there (and, I must note, having actually read it, it pinpoints problems with a lot of the studies; it is not hagiographic by any means). Montanabw(talk) 21:00, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
There is no point in reading primary studies as we are in no position to use them (and doing so would constitute WP:OR). Also we don't use poor sources, like Lentini, to source content on Wikipedia, especially when strong sources are readily available. As to your talk of a "POV-pushing mindset", I suggest need to consider the page history and then take a long hard look in the mirror. Alexbrn (talk) 08:14, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Alex, as I said, reasonable minds can differ and your personal attacks are not helping produce a collaborative environment. Here, we have a 2013 analysis and a 2014 analysis; I honestly question if you've read more than the abstract of either of them (I have now read both, though I want to do a re-read and more thorough digestion) and they both pass MEDRS and they have some disagreement between them. Lentini is not quite as strong, but it is not "poor" -- it is self-decribed as a literature review and in turn points out some reasonable issues with Anestis plus looks at the most recent work (Primary source are not forbidden on WP, we merely have to use them sparingly and without SYNTH). We both agree there aren't enough peer-reviewed, meticulously-designed studies out there. That said, broad SYNTH statements are not the way we write Wikipedia, we review the sources, particularly the secondary sources, we go where they go, but not beyond that. Montanabw(talk) 08:15, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
I honestly question if you've read more than the abstract of either of them ← yeah, that evidently is how you roll (pompously playing the man, not the ball and - wrong, BTW). The Lentini source is poor: to repeat it is not indexed in MEDLINE and in a no-impact journal. We simply do not use those sources to support statements about therapeutic efficacy. We especially don't use weak sources to debunk stronger sources, as you appear to be proposing. Why would we use poor sources to build an article? Alexbrn (talk) 22:08, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Even peer-reviewed studies must not be taken uncritically. You are making a straw man argument here by dismissing an entire field of endeavor instead of doing a balanced analysis and weighing various viewpoints. Where you have an emerging field, as we do here, you need to look at what the available evidence is, and discuss its strengths and weaknesses. I was looking at some of the diet articles as a comparison, and I realize that there is an analogy here: Some diets are backed by scientific evidence and some are not; just because some diets have no scientific evidence to back them does not mean that all diets are nonsense. Likewise, a new diet may be difficult to assess because it hasn't had a lot of studies completed on it to determine if it's a good diet or a bad diet. Similarly, the animal therapies out there are relatively new, some of the experiments are clearly promising while others don't seem to have much impact. You can compare Animal-assisted therapies to things like Music therapy and other forms of expressive therapy; it's all cutting-edge and not well-studied. That does not mean that it is therefore "bogus." My point in all of this has been, essentially, to have true, not false balance. We have one critical systematic review; we have two favorable ones; there are now at least several dozen studies to look at, though flawed in various ways, but compared to real pseudoscience like kissing boo-boos. Montanabw(talk) 20:05, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

More eyes would be useful over at Equine-assisted therapy where everything has mostly been merged to. Both across the talk page and at this board, editors have pointed out issues with this review because a more recent review directly points out the previously study was flawed and cannot draw conclusions that the literature currently shows promise for the use of equine therapy for mental health as an "adjunct or complimentary" treatment. There's a new talk section Talk:Equine-assisted_therapy#Let.27s_settle_this that has just popped up as another iteration arguing against this even though the topic has been covered many times across the talk page and here. It would be nice if those familiar with this discussion could give the page a second look or if new eyes could give them a gander. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:35, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Horse merge

I preformed a complicated merge of horse therapy pages so proper WP:CFORKing can be done. The main article is now at Equine-assisted therapy and includes content from no less than four separate articles which are now redirects. Help cleaning up that article would be appreciated! jps (talk) 21:48, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

I restored some of the other articles, but left this new one there and made what I hope are constructive edits to it. I have proposed discussion on whether to merge all of them, but best that discussion is consolidated at Talk:Equine-assisted therapy. (You found one in there I don't think I even recall seeing though I apparently saw it once... it was in my watchlist). Anyway, though a bit bold, I'd say that, upon reflection. two of the four articles merged needed to be, and the content from the other two that's in the overview now is worth further work. I think we do need to discuss if the two riding-related articles should remain separate, be merged with each other, (with shorter summaries at the EAT article) or all be merged as you suggested. Montanabw(talk) 05:56, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

───────────────────────── This merge question might benefit from more eyes. The focus of discussion is now at Talk:Equine-assisted therapy. Alexbrn (talk) 19:55, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

WikiProject Alternative Views Article alerts

Wikipedia:WikiProject Alternative Views/Article alerts could do with general watchlisting, it usually has some AFDs/PRODs and RFCs in need of eyes - David Gerard (talk) 09:07, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Space Elevator

The space elevator is a science fictiony thing that is supposed to replace rockets. It had a lot of publicity a few years ago. There are some articles coming out now saying it is not a viable idea. I've tried to add a well referenced section on viability but it was deleted by a single purpose editor. The whole article has a promotional tone and is in need of some balance, but "single purpose editor" is making that difficult. (talk) 00:51, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Articles for deletion/Erika Schwartz

There is still a discussion regarding the AfD for Erika Schwartz, a medical doctor who makes her career selling and promoting bioidentical hormones. This seems to be a borderline notability issue for editors not familiar with WP:FRINGEBLP. Additional input requested. Delta13C (talk) 07:23, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Genesis creation myth


This kind of discussion as to whether the article should be moved to (in my opinion) a more appropriate title such as "Genesis creation myth" occurs about every year or so. I guess it's time again. Typical fringe arguments being leveled include such chestnuts as "even though the academic sources say it is a myth, millions if not billions of practicing Christians and Jews disagree!"

jps (talk) 12:42, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Discussion at RSN as to whether skeptical sources can be used

See WP:RSN#Skeptic and similar sources? Seems to be a discussion about some "Skeptic™" movement and whether we can use sources from this "movement". Doug Weller talk 13:20, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Its nothing to worry about, just marauding gangs of "TreeHuggers™" that escaped the reservation. You are not allowed to shoot them, trapping is permitted, if you have the correct authority. See WP:PAG -Roxy the dog™ woof 13:51, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Now is that WP:CIVIL to speak of your desire to shoot other editors, Roxy? I guess is considered ok if you speak of shooting other editors in a sufficiently indirect way. SageRad (talk) 14:08, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

───────────────────────── There is a documented Skeptic movement. SageRad (talk) 14:08, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

I chimed in there. If you have evidence that "skeptical" sources are not reliable, please share this with us. Delta13C (talk) 14:12, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Well yes, I have plenty of evidence as well as personal observations and reasoning, and I'll write more soon. I take it from your absence of comment on the incivility above that you implicitly think it's fine. I find that odious. How's it alright to speak in this way about other editors? That's the culture here. It's pretty nasty. I'll not be silenced by rudeness and bullying. The encyclopedia is too valuable to be intimidated even when people try to force their agenda. SageRad (talk) 14:22, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
When you make comments like "No, the Science-Based Medicine blog, and Skeptics™ in general are axe-grinding ideological sources." you will find very few people are willing to listen to your blather. Only in death does duty end (talk) 14:23, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh look. Someone calling my comments "blather". Oh, so civil. Good on ya. SageRad (talk) 14:26, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
In the section above, an admin accused me of being unable to identify RS, but when I asked for an example of this, being unable to provide one, instead he pretended to have already done so at some other time. And another user pretended that is an adequate response. This page is like a kindergarten playground, really. zzz (talk) 14:37, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Or you could stop advocating pseudoscience in violation of WP:FRINGE. up to you really. Guy (Help!) 18:50, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, there is a documented skeptical movement. It has included people like Carl Sagan and Martin Gardner, others still with us include Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Bob Park, Simon Singh and others. It is a movement, though, not a body: it's not like the climate denial machine, funded by industry and driven by ideology. While there's a strong overlap with secular humanism and many (though by no means all) are atheists, as far as I can tell the only dogma in skepticism is that the scientific method is the best way of separating truth from fiction.
Many skeptical sources are certainly very reliable indeed, they are often the only ones that will properly examine claims that are obviously batshit insane.
It does depend what you mean by a skeptical source though: in science, skepticism is the default position so in theory (though definitely not in practice) every scientific journal should be a skeptical source. Some skeptics publish in the scientific literature (e.g. Richard Wiseman, who has published extensively on the psychology behind the false belief in psychic phenomena both in books and in the academic press). Some skeptical organisations have achieved some stature in challenging nonsense. The National Center for Science Education, for example, has been a very important voice in challenging unconstitutional attempts to teach creationism in public schools. I suspect a decent proportion of publishing science communicators would self-identify as members of the skeptical movement.
So in terms of WP:RS we follow the usual rules: does it have an editorial board, ideally with peer review, is the author qualified or identified as an authority in the field, are facts referenced back to original measurements and experiments and so on. Guy (Help!) 16:08, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

A case in point: Michael Greger

This issue is exemplified by some recent goings on at the Michael Greger article. Alexbrn (talk) 18:53, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes. I think Michael Greger needs eyes. The view is that SBM is "not RS" and that criticism of Greger is at odds with BLP requirements (where have we heard that before?) Alexbrn (talk) 19:18, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

The essay Wikipedia:Lunatic charlatans provides some useful insight. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 19:06, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

In what way does it provide insight into the issues with the Greger article?Dialectric (talk) 19:48, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict)This concerns, in particular, the website, whose "editorial policy" is as follows:[7]

Anyone is welcome to submit content to, regardless of credentials. We’ll publish anything we think is interesting, appropriate, and scientifically accurate. The editorial staff looks at all promising submissions: an informal peer-review process. ... We have no firm style guidelines. Being a blog, there’s a lot of flexibility, and room for personality and humour. The main requirement is intellectual rigour: make a well-reasoned, science-based point about health care, and it has a good chance of being published. You’ll get extra points for good scholarship and referencing, but it’s not necessarily required, depending what you’re writing about. Most relevant posts that don’t make the cut are rejected for generally poor quality of writing and/or thinking.

I think this might be okay for pointing out the flaws in obvious bunkum like homeopathy, but the article cited there was in no way appropriate. It had numerous flaws, made straw-man arguments that attempted conflate Greger's actual statements with things he never said, conflated talking about a study with claiming that it is representative of medical consensus, framed its criticism of Greger in the context of a general screed against veganism which Greger had nothing to do with, cited anecdotal evidence (a guy the author knows who was B12 deficient), and a completely discredited paper by Davis as a general argument against veganism, indicating that whatever "standards" has were not applied here.
More troublingly, Alexbrn is framing Greger's views as pseudoscience without supporting this idea. Indeed, another source he included to criticize Greger, cited on the talk page, seemed to indicate just the opposite, saying " While there is some zealotry here, the studies that Dr. Greger enthusiastically talks about are from respected journals and merit our attention. I think his videos are worth watching, but keep in mind that there is some cherry picking of data. Of course that doesn’t mean the cherries he picks are rotten; they’re fine." Alexbrn wants to conflate having opinions with being fringe. Most problematically, the source is not included to dispute any particular "fringe" claim in the article - none actually appears there. It is included to discredit Greger himself.
This is a case of WP:PSCI being used as a bludgeon to enforce a particular point of view. --Sammy1339 (talk) 19:55, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Why do you say I invoked pseudoscience when I specifically said WP:PSCI was not specific to pseudoscience? This is a guy who claims that diet can prevent and reverse most serious disease (as we say, he wrote a book "How not to die" and he promotes tumeric as a cancer cure). You seem to want to expunge all criticism of him from the article. If you think the exact nature of his dubious claims needs to be clearer, then by all means expand the article. Don't use it as an excuse for whitewashing. Alexbrn (talk) 20:02, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't want to "expunge all criticism" - I want to expunge dubious criticism based on the source you provided which is deficient for the reasons I discussed above and whose use in this context is a BLP violation. Just because people describe themselves as "skeptical" does not make them reliable, particularly when they go on to cite garbage fringe theories (Davis). If you can find reputably published criticism of Greger, then by all means, add it. --Sammy1339 (talk) 20:38, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Please help me out by showing where in the scientific literature you will routinely see analysis and dissection of claims made by people promoting, say, food fads? This is, after all, why skeptical sources are used: a claim that is not made in the scientific literature (i.e. which is a novel synthesis from sources) will not be analysed in the scientific literature. Are we supposed to allow questionable claims to stand? I don't think we are. The issue is one of WP:PARITY. Greger has declared himself to be an authority, and has put himself about as such. Hall is an authority on bogus claims made by hucksters. There's no obvious problem with citing Hall here. Have you noticed how SCAM proponents often go for absolutes? "X causes cancer!" "Never eat Y!" and so on. Now read the language of Harriet Hall's writing. You will find it measured and balanced. Much more so than the claims she is analysing. Guy (Help!) 12:57, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
@JzG: Actually there is lots of research on diet, and Greger's work seems to be well grounded in legitimate research, at least according to the view of one physician who Alexbrn quoted as expressing skepticism of him. If you ask a specific question one of Greger's claims I can give a specific answer. I can also explain in detail why some of Hall's criticism is demonstrably nonsense.
Yes, legitimate scientific inquiry into diet exists. I am speaking specifically about food fads, fad diets, "nutribollocks" and the like. No scientific journal is going to bother publishing a paper looking into whether eating kale smoothies cures cancer by reducing your body's pH, because there is no question to answer: it doesn't affect pH and there's no evidence it would cure cancer even if it did, so the question is not even wrong and can't easily be addressed scientifically. Guy (Help!) 15:52, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
I am not a believer in fad diets, and am skeptical of these kinds of health claims. I swallow large quantities of aspartame on a daily basis. However, we shouldn't throw the label "pseudoscience" around - what I've seen of Greger's work since coming to this subject has given me the impression he is not promoting "fad diets", and his claims are qualified and seem accurate. For example, he will say "researchers found potential benefits of turmeric in studies X, Y, Z" but he will not say "turmeric will cure your cancer!" That's an important distinction, and I think certain people should stop presuming that he is a quack. --Sammy1339 (talk) 17:38, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

This is getting ridiculous. The 'standards' I've seen proposed here by which skeptical sources are deemed not to be reliable by some editors would render every news story and blog post ever written unsuitable for use on WP. Notably, if we applied the same standards to the sources used to support the claims skeptical sources are used to refute, then they too, would not be RS. I mean, the argument presented here is that a person's writings are not a reliable source for what that person has written, because that person has opinions. That's completely nonsensical. It only works if you're more focused on the conclusion (that skeptics aren't reliable sources) than the logic.
Add to that an editor who insists upon putting a trademark symbol next to his or her every use of the word skeptic and another editor who keeps seeing "skeptics are always right and totally infallable and should be used as sources in every controversial article!" in comments which don't even hint at anything like that, and it really looks like some serious agenda pushing is going on. I'm sorry if anyone is offended by that, I'm not trying to insult anyone. Everyone seems like a polite, mature and intelligent person here and I want to assume good faith, but this has gotten past the point where that ceases to make any sense. There's only one axe being ground here, and it's got "anti-skeptic" engraved in the handle. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 17:19, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

MjolnirPants The issue is WP:CONTEXTMATTERS. We shouldn't present sources which themselves are not scientifically rigorous as "debunking" the minority views of a scientist. In the case that WP:FRINGE applies, that's a different story - but when these sources are applied to basically say "this guy is a fraud", and it turns out that the criticism this is based on is itself insubstantial, ideologically motivated, or simply wrong and the source is published in a non-peer-reviewed blog with low or no editorial standards, that's a problem. --Sammy1339 (talk) 17:26, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
I have just looked at WP:FRINGE again and it contains this rather interesting statement "Care should be taken with journals that exist mainly to promote a particular viewpoint. Journals that are not peer reviewed by the wider academic community should not be considered reliable, except to show the views of the groups represented by those journals" - I think this works both ways.DrChrissy (talk) 17:42, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
In the context of SBM, of course, I have not seen any high-quality sources which dispute its reliability. I've seen a lot of pseudoscience-promoting outfits that dispute it, but they're not reliable sources. jps (talk) 18:40, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
What is SBM?DrChrissy (talk) 18:47, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
@DrChrissy: a website that promotes skepticism with regards to medicine. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 19:00, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification.DrChrissy (talk) 19:28, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
@Sammy1339: To put it succinctly: Diffs or GTFO (I don't mean that rudely, but comically :) ). I've heard the argument that journalistic sources don't refute scientific sources, and I agree. But I have yet to see a single example of journalistic sources being used to refute scientific ones. I've yet to see a single example of an editor arguing that skeptical blog or news sources trump scientific results which support non-consensus views. I don't see anything to suggest that your specific complaints about SBM have any merit whatsoever, let alone that published criticism of a public figure is not reliable because the author is critical of the public figure's views. In fact, I find that suggestion completely nonsensical. In short, I hear a lot of complaining (and not just from you) about a number of related problems, but I haven't seen any evidence at all that any of these problems exist. The longer this goes on, the more this implies bias, and the less it implies well-founded concern. If I may, I'd like to offer a bit of advice:
Find a couple of articles in which this pro-skeptical bias is evident. Two or three should be enough. Get diffs of changes to the page, showing where scientific sources and claims supported by them were removed by editors who promote skepticism, or where skeptical journalistic sources were inserted, supporting claims which directly refute claims supported by scientific sources, or where the latter were replacing the former. Put together a case and make it to me. Part of being a skeptic (which I am) means being open to the possibility of being wrong. I don't have any trouble imagining that WP has a bias towards skepticism, and I'm open to the possibility that this bent has gone over the line some times. I'll happily help you bring those articles in line with good research. But I am -and always will be- a skeptic. If you want my support, you need to show me the evidence. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 19:00, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
One small case in point would be a fervent need to represent the Katz/Meller paper's take on the Paleo diet in a more negative light than is warranted by the source. It's been edit-warred back when i've tried to balance it. SageRad (talk) 15:57, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Cryonics: advertising material from a cryonics organisation

@Tiddlypeep: is repeatedly adding advertising material from a cryonics organisation to Cryonics. Two other editors (me and @ComicsAreJustAllRight: have removed it so far. More eyes needed. Perhaps we're both wrong! - David Gerard (talk) 23:46, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Calling it "advertising material" is a biased view, in my opinion. Anyway, the point is that this new UK research network by prestigious scientists in Oxford, Cambridge and other institutions showcases that cryonics has some scientific acceptance. Basically, it demonstrates that reputed scientists support research into cryonics, even though I am aware that cryonics will not win any popularity contests. As such, I think it is relevant to the topic of the paragraph on whether cryonics is scientifically feasible. but if I'm mistaken then I'm happy to be proven wrong. Tiddlypeep (talk) 23:57, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
You need to take your "new research" to the article talk page and discuss why this research demonstrates "scientific acceptance." "Prestigious scientists" is a meaningless phrase, the research itself and its quality is what matters. Montanabw(talk) 02:29, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
@Montanabw: thanks for the suggestion, I have mentioned this issue in the article talk page. @David Gerard: @ComicsAreJustAllRight: Tiddlypeep (talk) 11:42, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
... where you continue to refuse to take "no" for an answer. How long do we spin this out for? Guy (Help!) 11:54, 26 January 2016 (UTC)


Brian Josephson who is well known for supporting pseudoscience and a couple of his friends on the talk-page of this article proposing to remove pseudoscience from the lead. (talk) 00:02, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

The walls of text make it difficult to understand what they are proposing, but they seem to be citing this clipping to argue that parapsychology has the support of 69% of "elite scientists". - LuckyLouie (talk)
This user has previously been blocked but doesn't look like he has learned anything, promoting the same sort of pseudoscience and irrational conspiracy theories about 'materialists' Wikipedians [8] (talk) 18:46, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Parapsychology is a pseudoscience. There are no reliable sources to claim otherwise. The lead of an article is intended to define and contextualize the subject, which means taking out any reference to pseudoscience would be against the MOS. Furthermore, it is a fringe topic, meaning such an act would be contrary to NPOV and UNDUE. And probably a half dozen other policies and guidelines. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 02:00, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Brian and the other IP on the talk-page just are not getting it. I can see this issue on-going amongst these fringe proponents. JuliaHunter (talk) 10:51, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
There is plenty of evidence to counter the claim that parapsychology is a pseudoscience (see one such example at However, rather than cherry-pick refs and toss them at each other, couldn't we acknowledge that negatively-defining a subject in the first sentence of the article runs counter to producing a neutral encyclopedia entry? Discussions of criticism and pseudoscience appear later in the article, and to this end, they should appear later in the lead. (talk) 19:33, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry to break it to you, but poorly sourced opinion articles published in a journal widely regarded as unreliable aren't evidence. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:38, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Weak Statistical Evidence?

Could somebody explain to me why parapsychology is cited as an example of a field that relies on anecdotal/weak statistical evidence at WP:FRINGE/PS? Please take note of the fact the current President of the American Statistical Association regards the field of parapsychology to be a legitimate science ( stating: "Parapsychology is the scientific study of alleged abilities such as telepathy and clairvoyance, collectively called psi abilities. What sets parapsychology apart from science fiction and wild anecdotes is that the research is done under well-controlled conditions and generally uses statistical methods to compare the results to what would be expected by chance." Note that the link is to an article in the mainstream academic Journal of Statistics Education. I recommend that a better parenthetic example be found to illustrate the concept at WP:FRINGE/PS (talk) 19:45, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

The weak statistical evidence that is cited in parapsychology is a well-known feature of the discipline according to reliable independent sources -- that is those not connected with SRI or SSE, for example. The elephant in the room, if you are a true believer such as yourself (this has been pointed out by skeptics, to boot) is that many "mainstream" results in psychology have even weaker statistical evidence. Fortunately, we haven't had to face that issue head-on yet because most psychological claims based on such weak statistics are buried in primary source literature and don't see the light of day here at Wikipedia.
Ultimately, what makes parapsychology corrupt isn't so much its fundamental premise, but rather its lack of convincing results. It is closer to pathological science or cargo cult science when it gets down to the evaluation of what the "heavyweights" are doing.
jps (talk) 12:53, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
The publication I have cited is from a mainstream, peer-reviewed academic journal with a high impact factor. Since when has that not been adequate source material at Wikipedia? As for your "true believer" comment - you don't anything about me and your sweeping generalizations above are just as tenuous. (talk) 15:34, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
I have a pretty good idea of who you are, Your insistence that this puff piece is "peer-reviewed" is pretty amusing. Normally this kind of human-interest interview fluff is just given a nod from the editor-in-chief. It's not as if she's presenting any actual data or serious science. jps (talk) 15:48, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Having looked at the Journal's guidelines for authors, it states[9] Articles submitted to JSE that undergo a full review are peer-reviewed by an Associate Editor chosen from the JSE Editorial Board and (usually) two referees. The refereeing process is double-blind; authors and referees are anonymous to each other This looks absolutely standard for top quality journals including Nature.DrChrissy (talk) 16:10, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────You think they peer review interviews? jps (talk) 16:27, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

I am sure that it would not be published without being first reviewed by at least one member of the editorial team, who I would assume is a peer.DrChrissy (talk) 16:34, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
One member of the editorial team like Jessica Utts? Seriously, interviews are not scientific papers. This is, like, source recognition 101. We aren't talking about a piece that would ever undergo peer review. We're talking about journalism. jps (talk) 16:37, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
The interview would be a good source for 'What Jessica Utts believes'. Its not a good source for the subject of her beliefs. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:53, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
I read the interview. Most of what she says is entirely unobjectionable. She has a mainstream statistics background, and she applies that to claims of psychic phenomena. She's found that there is some statistical evidence for what appear to be supernatural phenomena, with small effect sizes.
The point that's being missed here is that she is defining legitimate parapsychology as research that uses well-controlled experiments and statistical analysis. That's different than saying parapsychology is any work that calls itself that. So if a paper is under discussion here that does not use well-controlled experiments, then that paper is not parapsychology as Utts defines it. It is wild anecdote, or science fiction, as Utts defines that. Roches (talk) 17:23, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, that's what Utts is trying to reposition for parapsychology discussions, but there is a broader point that parapsychology even as Utts champions in its purest form is accused of being pseudoscientific. The interview with Utts in no way negates this criticism. jps (talk) 20:30, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

New article

GMO conspiracy theory (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

I think it might be good to start a new article on this conspiracy theory. Help would be appreciated.

jps (talk) 16:01, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

It looks to me like a classic WP:POVFORK, which should be deleted, with coverage of any useful refs transferred and incorporated into the other GMO articles. --Nigelj (talk) 20:42, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Not so sure there's a POV to fork. There's the science that can go in the GMO articles, and there's the crackpot stuff which might live in such articles as the new one. If anything, the danger would be in conflating the two in articles to give the impression of some kind of equivalent weight to these two aspects. Alexbrn (talk) 20:55, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict)It could have potential, but I'd like to see more refs and content developed. Right now, most sources appear to be appropriate for WP:PARITY, but not strong enough sources yet that establish standalone notability. The public generally has poorer knowledge on this topic than climate change denial, so I'm not sure if it's received enough attention yet for a standalone article there either. I think we're at the point that most scientists just ignore various logical fallacies like argumentum ad monsantium[10] and other tactics found in climate change denial to ignore the consensus such as cherrypicking, moving goalposts, etc. That's opposed to climate change where there has been more movement to actively educate the public on climate change denial tactics.
I do think there is enough scattered out there to make an article section or paragraph putting the fringe aspect in perspective, but I'm trying to focus on other things right now. I'm interested to see what comes up even if this is just an initial proving ground for the article. Alexbrn summarizes the rest well. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:02, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Argumentum ad Monsantium should be added, but I think there might be better sources than skepticblog. jps (talk) 23:57, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I have to agree with Nigelj. There's already a page on the controversy about GMOs, which all of the information on this page fits neatly into. Now, if there comes a scientific consensus that GMOs are safe and all the mechanisms by which they were posited to be harmful don't work (which I think is eventually going to happen) and people keep arguing against them, then I think the controversy page should be merged into a conspiracy theory page. But until then, this looks like a POV fork, to me, too. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 22:54, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
The controversy article is way over-bloated so adding another section to that article seems to me to be problematic, and I'm not sure what you mean by the idea of the eventuality. What harmful mechanisms have been reasonably proposed? jps (talk) 23:55, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

What do people think tbis is a POV-fork of? POV-forks are usually forks that are made to rewrite an article to promote a particular POV. Is the idea that this article is promoting a particular POV about the GMO controversies? Because that's not what I see in the sources. I see a separate group of conspiracy theories in much the same way that there is a climate change controversy and climate change conspiracy theory. jps (talk) 23:55, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Because there is a legitimate controversy surrounding GMOs now (even if the evidence is piling up on only one side of the issue, it's still in the process of piling). Making an article on conspiracy theories surrounding GMOs puts a hell of a lot of weight on the pro-GMO side, as all of the conspiracies exist on the anti-GMO side. Right now, the article on the GMO controversy reads like a legitimate controversy with the anti-side being in the worse (and worsening) position, but not completely devoid of legitimacy. But, there's simply no way to make a GMO conspiracy theory article that doesn't imply that there's no legitimacy to the anti-GMO side, because there's no legitimacy to the conspiracy theories. I'm okay with the climate change article, because, frankly, there's no legitimacy to the climate change deniers' side. There was, back in the 70's and 80's, of course, and possibly into the 90's. But not anymore.
In a nutshell, what I'm saying is that it paints the anti-GMO side in a worse light than would be neutral. They're losing already, they don't need our help to nudge them off the cliff.
Also, while there are conspiracy theories surrounding GMOs, they're not really notable enough for their own article. Sure, PZ Myers commented on them, but I bet I could find PZed commenting on a hundred non-notable topics. Most conspiracy theories aren't notable. I could see putting this info in the GMO controversy article, with it's own section, and even duping it in the conspiracy theory article, but I just can't wrap my head around the idea that having a separate page is neutral. I think it's accurate, mind. I also think it's accurate to refer to people like Dr. Oz, Deepak Chopra and David Avacado Wolfe as bullshit artists, but that's not neutral, either. Finally, I don't really care that much. I'm giving my opinion, but if the consensus is to keep the article, I'm fine with that. It might be a loss for WP policy, but it's a gain for WP accuracy, so I see it as kind of a wash. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 00:22, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
It's an interesting perspective, but I'm having a hard time seeing the anti/pro angle here. While it is certainly true that only the anti-GMO activists promote conspiracy theories, I also don't think that this is the be-all and end-all of the controversy. That's similar to the global warming issue. There are some extreme arguments that get made that the scientific fact of global warming is really a conspiracy, but that isn't generally the tack taken by the denialists. They're tolerant of the idea, but most would reject the idea for wont of strong evidence. I think there is something similar going on in the GMO controversy situation. It's not that the controversy is between conspiracy theorists and scientists, but to pretend that the conspiracy theorists don't exist I think is to negate the sources that are documenting these views are more and more being promulgated.
I admit that there is some overlap with the water fluoridation conspiracy theory, to be sure. To some extent also with chemtrails. Maybe a broader article that covers all those kinds of "environmental conspiracy theories" is in order.
jps (talk) 00:30, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Maybe a broader article that covers all those kinds of "environmental conspiracy theories" is in order. That sounds like a wonderful idea. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 00:35, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, but I cannot really find any sources that do that connecting. WP:SYNTH would probably be violated. It's actually a study waiting to be written outside of Wikipedia, I imagine. jps (talk) 02:43, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I actually found an article which makes the point in an oblique way, but it is far more concerned with the ethical implications of conspiracy theory support than it is with documenting the particular whos, whats, wheres, whens, whys, and hows of the milieu. Still, good article and I used it as a source: [11]. jps (talk) 17:34, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

My point is that the rules and procedures to WP:SPLIT an article are well established and clear. We have a series of articles on GMO (and indeed on conspiracy theory). The way to enhance our coverage is to add to any of these whatever new material is relevant, in a NPOV way, and then to split out sections if doing so has made them too big. The SPLIT can of course be immediate. Saying, here's some stuff that others would never allow into any existing article, I'll put it into a new one... is wrong. --Nigelj (talk) 09:11, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

I'm sure this material can be added to the controversies article, but that article is already sprawling. Merging it back in is fine, but there is no requirement to add to an enormous article, I think. jps (talk) 10:17, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
In fact, I'm thinking of WP:CFORKing the controversies article. jps (talk) 13:03, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Freemen on the land

the formation of this article is a oneside propaganda view promoted by those dependent on a corrupted industry and profession and the article is false and supported by the biased hearsay and proffered obiter opinion of those engaged in for profit business of commercial law. I did offer of corrected and much more logically and factually supported viewpoint of the reality of the reasons the term was coined and is used to defame men and women. I am aware of and have been discriminated against by greedy corrupted tyrants of power historically observed to occupy positions on the bench or legal profession and promoting their positions of profit from the commercial law courts of the commonwealth. I as a minister of Christ was successful in having seven of these tyrants disqualified from the bench by the efforts of 5 witnesses and my complaint to the head judge...I am a first hand witness to the fraud and have many others bearing evidense of the same so either you promote the truth or support the fraud by ensuring the preponderance of evidense is relied upon in defiance of hearsay obiter dicta and gossip. I am minister Edward Jay Robin <removed> object to the intentional deceit being applied by the relentless false info poster presently removing my edits (talk) 08:58, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

you need to support your changes to the article with reliable sources. Until you do, they will not stand. -Roxy the dog™ woof 10:43, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, you could start by listing all the times when OPCA litigants have prevailed in court (currently zero, to the best of my knowledge). Guy (Help!) 11:15, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
That's already there Guy! -Roxy the dog™ woof 13:40, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Of course it is, I added it in 2014: [12] Guy (Help!) 16:19, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I literally stopped reading halfway through the first sentence of the opening post. If you can't even make it through one sentence without setting off every conspiracy theory red flag, you need to seriously re-evaluate your rhetoric. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 13:25, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Note, the OP already caught a 24 hour block for edit warring the article in question. I don't think any further discussion is really necessary with this person, per WP:DUCK. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 13:27, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
It did lead me to read this decision though, which is fascinating. Only in death does duty end (talk) 13:51, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I know! I'm halfway through it now (I'm at work, so I can't read straight through). I have family members who are (or rather, call themselves) Sovereign citizens, so this kinda strikes close to home for me. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 15:15, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
A quack I reported for violating the Cancer Act 1939 was prosecuted and chose to pull a FOTL defence. The magistrate was... unimpressed. Needless to say he was convicted and fined. Guy (Help!) 16:12, 3 February 2016 (UTC)


Even the article's creator says the sources are a mess, eg a freshman student at Cornell. It is apparently a real term although new to me. Doug Weller talk 12:53, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

It is a real term; more or less the neo-Nazi end of neoreaction. Got some play in the mainstream press with their favoured coinage "cuckservative" - David Gerard (talk) 13:19, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

White genocide conspiracy theory

Could use some eyes. A new editor has come along and added a number of block quotes from white nationalists, etc. Needs some balance, probably getting rid of the block quotes which are a bit of an eyesore, but I don't have time to work on it. Doug Weller talk 19:14, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

The lead is pretty well written right now. It sets you quite well up for the cascade of racist naval-gazing the block quotes provide, framing it as the kind of bullshit it really is. The cause section reads a bit rocky, though. I don't think the block quotes are a problem, as they distance WP from the views expressed in them (I would like to see more in the Cause section, honestly, rather than the summaries and in-line quotes currently used). I think the issue is just that the subject is so patently offensive, ludicrous and over-the-top that it's impossible for even a fairly neutral description like the article to portray it without setting off all of our bullshit alarms. There is one hard problem with it in my view: It badly needs a criticism section. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:24, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't have anything to add, other than that I love the term 'navel gazing'. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 23:52, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

It is reasonably well written and sourced for a FRINGE. Apart from the counterarguments section it could stay as such. Zezen (talk) 22:51, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Seems the white supremacists are out in force. jps (talk) 21:43, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Just reverted text in White nationalism lifted straight from Metapedia. Doug Weller talk 15:11, 5 February 2016 (UTC)


Seems largely a synthetic article at present. Is this a fringe area which is viable for an article I wonder? Alexbrn (talk) 19:03, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

There are some academic [13] and theological [14] references for the topic, however after the present article is cleaned of synthesis, all that's left will be a paragraph that could be merged and added to Potential cultural impact of extraterrestrial contact. - LuckyLouie (talk) 23:40, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Code biology

Code biology (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Anyone care to have a look at that? Just skimming it started setting off my fruitloopery alarms. Seems to be an offshoot of biosemiotics, which in turn seems to be in need of a Sokal paper. Kolbasz (talk) 00:03, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

It's at AfD: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Code biology

Discussion on how we discuss fringe content

There's an ongoing discussion at ANI where editors are claiming that describing topics and content as fringe, like climate-change denial, anti-vaccine sentiments, etc. when sourced are personal insults towards editors. This discussion could use more eyes from folks familiar with policies and guidelines related to fringe topics and how content discussion on those are handled. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:15, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

This idiocy needs to stop. We call it fringe because it's fringe. Getting all offended because it's fringe is pointless: it's not Wikipedia's problem to fix, it's the real world that makes it fringe, not us. Guy (Help!) 19:22, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Please point out the specific diff where an editor claims that describing anti-vaccine sentiments as fringe is a personal insult.Dialectric (talk) 21:10, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Who said anything about anti-vaccine sentiments? I can show you the diff where someone claims comparing anti-GMO arguments to climate change denial arguments is an insult. Or, I can show you the diff where someone claims using the word 'fringe' is insulting. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:19, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
There was some discussion relating to this at WT:FRINGE a few months ago. I think the key point is to explain that "fringe" is a term of art used when a subject meets the specific technical definition described at WP:FRINGE. It might be a good idea to write an essay on this. Also, personally I'd be open to proposals for alternative terminology as long as they're accurate. Sunrise (talk) 23:00, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I could get behind alternate terminology as well, but I don't see that as solving the issue. The issue seems to me that some people are offended that things they believe are being called [insert synonym for fringe here] and they feel this constitutes a personal attack. Changing the words won't really change that, but it's worth a shot, subject to the same caveat you mentioned. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 23:08, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I've thought about a potential change as well, but fringe is much less harsh than saying pseudoscientific, which is usually what's going on in controversial topics at least. I doubt whatever we call it will ever be "good enough" to not be considered offensive by some. It could be worthwhile to add something to the fringe guideline related to WP:NOTCENSORED policy in that classifying topics and particular arguments used by sources is not a personal attack. We do this for pseudoscience over at WP:LABEL, so it could be worth explaining in the guideline. Something for a later time though. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:19, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
It is quite reasonable to expect people to take issue with inquisition types of behavior, with witch-hunting, and with McCarthyist-style campaigns against "undesirable" ideas, even if it's dressed up as being pro-science. I am very pro-science, and yet i take serious issue with the kind of language being used, because it reflects the kind of thought being used, which is prejudicial and poisoning of the well so often that real discourse becomes impossible. SageRad (talk) 21:39, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────See also: Euphemism treadmill. I'm happy to change words too, but I am unclear why people dislike "fringe". I like fringe on my tapestries, for example. A good fringe can make or break it in terms of aesthetics. This is similar to academic thought, in my opinion. jps (talk) 19:25, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Fringe theory, "The term is commonly used in a narrower sense as a pejorative roughly synonymous with pseudo-scholarship." The problem is, it is used here to frame editors or science, without providing evidence. The term is variously thrown around, most of the time without providing evidence for actual pseudo science. Unless there is a consensus which clearly identifies a practise, or theory as pseudo science, the term should not be used. Even less so for framing groups of editors. In the discussion about GMO consensus you need to differentiate and account for all opinions, even if you don't like them, i.e. WHO states there cannot be made general statements on GMO food safety. Additional, framing (social sciences) hints that it is better to be critical of a technology or new findings, for various reasons. And the history of mankind is full of examples where to much optimizen, and resulting carelessness led to a disaster. Hence, why we have the precautionary principle. -- prokaryotes (talk) 19:35, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
I broadly agree (minus the speculation about framing and skepticism). I think we ought to go the other way on the euphemism treadmill. Pseudoscience should be called pseudoscience, and "fringe", per the definitions at WP:FRINGE refers to theories of a similar caliber. Usually this policy is invoked against the worst of the worst garbage, including climate change skepticism and some of the anti-GMO paranoia; but you're mistaken if you think it can't be abused. --Sammy1339 (talk) 19:38, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
We're talking about fringe theories on Wikipedia. This is different. Meanwhile, GMOs are subject to more safety tests than almost all other foods. Concerns over safety are more often than not so half-baked as to be unintelligible. The best that people have offered is unintentional protein allergens which tend to be exactly what is tested against. jps (talk) 19:40, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Notice that basically a scientist is a skeptic (at least he should), there is a lot of skepticism in climate science, maybe best reflected in the rather conservative IPCC estimates. Climate deniers instead use often fabricated data, and claim they would be skeptic (It's the Sun, unscientific base lines, its a money scheme, its a NWO conspiracy, is HAARP etc). Additional to much caution leads to underestimation, i.e. record sea ice decline. But ironically the so called self branded denier-skeptics never used this valid point - which hints to their special interests motives, and that they are not credible. Deniers also cherry pick, which means in climate science denialism, that they use observations like record colds to claim global warming is a hoax, when instead studies had projected such instances all along, and are in agreement with observations (weakening of the jet stream).prokaryotes (talk) 19:42, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
@jps, the problem with GMO testing is that often tests which were conducted by the industry itself were not made public, but positive results were. Or standards for evaluating safety may be be not good enough. This lack of transparency is one of the reasons why everybody should be a skeptic when it comes to GMOs. In my opinion there are good and bad GMOs, hence why i support the WHO statement, for testing on a case per case basis. And since last year we know more about glyphosate, maybe the most worrying circumstance with GMOs. This is reflected by state decisions to label glyphosate accordingly, or in a ban entirely. It doesn't matter that it overlaps with non GMOs, because GMOs require such pesticides. These recent developments on a state level underline why you cannot brand someone fringe who is concerned about GMO food safety. Same for many countries which ban GMO crops.prokaryotes (talk) 20:01, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
The pseudoscience issue as it relates to GMO paranoia is much more basic than that. You can complain about industry financing of food science departments all you want, but the narrative doesn't make a whole lot of sense. We are talking about introducing a product to market. This isn't the kind of tobacco industry techniques of taking concerns about an already at-market product and finding opposition research to pay off. We're talking about an incentive to identify dangers before market. The question is, what does the GMO paranoiac fear explicitly about GMOs? I think it's merely that they were genetically modified. That's it. The argument against big agribusiness and pesticides can be made in a different way, but it turns out that by playing on the Frankenfood fears, the activists found a way to connect their imagined fear to a gullible public. That is why I'm very down on that whole game -- it's especially sad because there are good points to be made which are buried in the hype. The US intellectual property laws as they apply to genetic material are ridiculous, for example. But this real issue takes a back burner to people's fears that are based around an idea that genetic modification in a lab must be intrinsically more dangerous than genetic modification in normal agricultural practices. It is that fundamental disconnect where the pseudoscience starts. This is the same way as a climate science denier arguing that the greenhouse effect doesn't exist, for example. It's a very basic point. jps (talk) 20:10, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I think it's worth pointing out that the WHO statement that broad statements about the safety of GMO foods cannot be made does not make the case for anti-GMO activists. It applies to both negative and positive statements about the safety of GMO foods. In addition, in my own (admittedly amateur) review of the scientific information, I have yet to see a well-formed hypothesis about how GMO foods could be harmful that doesn't rely on the assumption that normal food safety standards would somehow not apply to GMO foods. (For example, I've seen a well-formed hypothesis about how a modified venom-producing gene might be used to make fruit pest-resistant by producing trace elements of the venom, then mutates into a full bore venom-producing gene, but for that to hit the market, the company producing it would have to not test that food for the single most predictable problem.) MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:31, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
  • An obvious problem with pretty much all the discussion above is that almost everyone is confusing the general discussion about how WP:FRINGE should be applied with particular, politically-charged issues of current interest. This is obscuring the policy question, and really clearly illustrates the potential for pitfalls in mis-appplying this policy. --Sammy1339 (talk) 20:51, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
It's impossible to separate the subjects (GMO's, parapsychology, etc) from the issue (what is Fringe?) because the nature of the former decides the latter. If GMO dangers or psi phenomenon were well established but controversial, they wouldn't be fringe, they'd be political. Besides, all this (for want of a better word, and that includes more politically correct ones) butthurt about the word "Fringe" conveniently forgets that fringe subjects sometimes get promoted to mainstream subjects, and not all fringe subjects are pseudoscientific (though all pseudosciences are fringe subjects). See Loop Quantum Gravity for a reputable, fringe subject. This problem has an extremely simple solution: Grow a thicker skin, and learn to embrace your lot if you support fringe topics. Hell, I'm a skeptical, left-handed, red-headed atheist. If you call me a cynical, backwards ginger heathen, I'll grin and say "Damn skippy!" I wouldn't have it any other way. (There's also the issue of you guys being subject to the same biases you accuse us having, but that's a human problem, not a 'fringe' one). MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:20, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
LQG is absolutely and extremely not-fringe, and the idea that you would try to apply WP:FRINGE to LQG demonstrates the problem brilliantly. WP:FRINGE does not apply to respectable minority scientific theories - it applies to crankery. --Sammy1339 (talk) 21:29, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
I did not apply WP:FRINGE to it. The usage of the word on WP is slightly different than the usage of the word in relation to scientific subject, which is slightly different from it's usage in lay circles, and throughout all of those, it's slightly different from individual to individual. It's a word without a strict, formal definition. One would think that the fact that I explcitly contrasted it with psuedoscience would have clued you in, but you don't seem very willing to understand any cogent point that doesn't explicitly agree with you. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 22:04, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
There is a pre-judging going on that then colors the dialog that should be about sources and content, and instead becomes framing of some editors as "fringe" for having a certain point of view that some editors have pre-decided is "fringe". Let the sources speak for themselves. Let the content work itself out according to policies like WP:RS and WP:NPOV. And in some cases, you might be wrong. In some cases, you might find that something you classified as "fringe" is actually supported by science, at least partially. If you pre-decide everything and sort it all into "fringe" and "acceptable" bins then you'll miss the finer granularity and the nuances. SageRad (talk) 21:42, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
I have trouble with this term "Fringe" too. Despite being a scientist for 20+ years, it was not a term I had encountered in the scientific literature before I started editing WP. I am still unsure what it means exactly. For instance, in my own area of animal behaviour, there are are several hypotheses about why zebras have stripes. I would venture to say that the mainstream hypothesis is that this aids their camouflage (I am sure others would disagree with this). However, there are alternative hypotheses such as thermoregulation and insect deterrents. I have never seen these alternative hypotheses described as "fringe". How do we decide as editors what is fringe and what is not? We are not experts in the area - or at least we should not be acting in such a way. Perhaps we should fall back on verifiability - we should provide RS that a subject area is deemed to be "fringe".DrChrissy (talk) 21:50, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Of course not, fringe material rarely makes it to the journals and people will know a view is fringe anyway. It's not necessary to have a cite to Nature calling it fringe, for us to be able to simply identify the fact that something is fringe. Guy (Help!) 23:58, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
@JzG: Many people here don't share your view that fringe material "rarely makes it to the journals" - see below where people are calling loop quantum gravity "fringe". There is a problem with how many editors are interpreting this guideline. --Sammy1339 (talk) 00:01, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Exactly right Sammy. The LQG article indicates that 30 research groups are active in the area. How would a non-specialist editor such as myself possibly come to the conclusion that it is "fringe"?DrChrissy (talk) 00:07, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

I'm just going to repeat myself from earlier: Get over it. If you don't like being called a fringe supporter, don't support fringe subjects. If you think those subject shouldn't be called fringe, well, Wikipedia is not the place for you to fix that (that last phrase is two links). MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 22:04, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

That is not the way it is. You do not get to call people a "fringe supporter" on Wikipedia as that is uncivil. It also places your judgment above another person's in an unacceptable way, by grouping them into a labeled group. That is exactly why this conversation is needed, and we need to sort this out once and for all.
You may be right 90% of the time about what's real and what's fluffy fantasy. However, you are not the expert here as nobody is. We are editors who use sources. You can argue about content using sources as much as you like. If you're troubled by what you see as fluff or false statements anywhere on Wikipedia, then go and address it, in a civil and reasoned way.
I wish i could get people who speak like this to look in the mirror and see that yes, indeed, Wikipedia is not the place to soapbox about your personal pet issues, so please stop doing so. Yes, it's not the place to "right great wrongs" to use that hackneyed phrase. So stop doing that. Get to the nitty-gritty and use sources with integrity. And accept when others are right and you're wrong, sometimes, as well. I've accepted when i'm wrong sometimes.
It's unacceptable to call someone an "industry apologist" in a talk page about a chemical, right? Well, it's also unacceptable to call someone an "activist" with the meaning that they're pushing a falsity for an agenda. Comments on overall behaviors can be made at behavioral boards. (I only wish those boards would actually work.) But it's unacceptable to argue by ad hominem and that's what you're advocating by saying it's ok to call someone a "fringe supporter". You place yourself in a position of judgment, essentially saying you know what's real and you can categorize people into "good" and "inferior" categories. That's a position of arrogance and it's harmful to Wikipedia. SageRad (talk) 07:07, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I think a good characterization is this from fringe theory: "A fringe theory is neither a majority opinion nor that of a respected minority." In other words, your examples are not fringe theories because they continue to receive serious consideration by respected scientists. Some people want to apply the term overly-broadly, to describe almost all minority views. Often this seems to be done selectively. Worst of all, some use the term to malign individuals. --Sammy1339 (talk) 22:07, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Please see the characterization that is used in the guidelines: WP:FRINGE. jps (talk) 22:12, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Sammy, I honestly believe that it's pointless to try to explain anything to you, and that you are utterly incapable of admitting you're wrong about anything less definite than mathematics. I really couldn't care less what you think about anything anymore. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 22:14, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments, MjolnirPants. --Sammy1339 (talk) 22:19, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
@I9Q79oL78KiL0QTFHgyc: Yes, of course I have read the policy. The problem, however, is that the guidelines are vague and are prone to misapplication, as when MjolnirPants erroneously suggests that loop quantum gravity is a "fringe theory" which might be covered by this policy. --Sammy1339 (talk) 22:21, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Stop pinging me. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 22:22, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Loop quantum gravity is a fringe theory covered by the guidelines. jps (talk) 22:57, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
LQG has received a tremendous amount of attention in thousands of reputably published papers, often in top journals, and has been studied by some of the top physicists in the world. How can you possibly believe it is FRINGE? --Sammy1339 (talk) 23:11, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
The LQG article is well out of my sphere of expertise. So, if I was to consider editing it, how would I know that it is labeled as "fringe". The article and from what I have seen of the Talk page, give no hint of this. It would be useful for editors to know this fringe status considering labels such as "pro-fringe", "fringe POV-pusher" etc are being thrown about. I might simply wish to walk away from articles if it is clear they are "fringe".DrChrissy (talk) 23:39, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
@DrChrissy: My point was that the word "fringe" is a broad one, that can be applied to legitimate science which is on the fringes of the mainstream, all the way to clearly outrageous pseudoscience such as the flat earth theory. People taking offense at being labeled "pro-fringe" or "fringe pushers" are being too sensitive. If people stop saying "fringe" because it's offensive, then they will start saying something else. For argument's sake, let's say we start calling it "groble". What will inevitably happen (and I do mean inevitably) is that the moment most people on WP understands what "groble" refers to, people will start complaining about being insulted by being called "groble pushers". Do you understand what I'm saying? Changing the word won't help.
So let's say it's not the word. It's the implications that people find offensive. Well, what exactly do you propose we do about that? Should WP stop using only reliable sources? Should all fringe theories get equal weight? No, that won't work. Should we ban people from characterizing others in any way, for fear the other might find it offensive? No, that won't work, either. Should we ban people from characterizing others using terms which can be interpreted as insulting? No, that won't work either. Trying to implement the first would fundamentally ruin WP. Trying to implement either of those last two would be absolutely crippling to discourse. It's essentially telling editors that we're not allowed to disagree. So what solutions are there? I've seen a little bit of legitimate concern (SageRad brought up a good example of a skeptical bias hurting an article and you can check my edit history to see that I took that example seriously, and worked to fix it), a lot of complaining, and no small amount of plain-ole butthurt (by which I mean getting upset due to other people arguing with one's claims and complaints). But I've yet to see any possible remedy that wouldn't make WP worse. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 00:36, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
You acknowledge that the use on wikipedia of the term fringe is broad. The problem is that it is overbroad - it makes no sense to use the same term for both (a)scientific viewpoints supported by a legitimate, scholarly minority and (b) outright quackery by non-scientists, and it is reasonable for people writing about the views of a group covered by (a) to be concerned about being lumped with (b).Dialectric (talk) 00:44, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict)The problem is that you are using a term which, in common English, refers to theories which have no support among respectable scientists or experts and cut against the mainstream consensus, and this word is often used pejoratively as a synonym of crankery or bunkum, and there is a policy guideline, WP:FRINGE which is designed to allow special measures to exclude or refute crankery and bunkum, and you are then applying both this term and this guideline much more broadly than you should, and you are engaging in incivil behavior toward editors who believe in what you call "fringe" theories, which by your excessively (and inaccurately) broad definitions, should hardly be cause for shame. --Sammy1339 (talk) 00:46, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────This is a perennial discussion. No, it's not overbroad. Yes, one can apply the same scrutiny to LQG as one does to Last Thursdayism. No, it does not mean the ideas are comparable. No, it does not mean the application of the guideline will look the same when applied to LQG as when it is applied to the weirdest idea you can imagine. But, fringe simply means outside the mainstream, which is not a value statement, just a statement of context.

One problem we often run into is that someone's pet theory (say, I don't know, GMO paranoia) is considered more legitimate than some other idea (say, I don't know, global warming denialism). This POV is immaterial to the guideline. Whether you think it more legitimate or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is the way the sources treat it and the level of mainstream acceptance those sources which argue in favor of it have received.

jps (talk) 01:39, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

@jps: Exactly. And an editor who goes to the Gravity article and starts adding postulates of LQG as facts to that article is just as wrong as a climate change denier adding material about a supposed conspiracy of scientists trying to scam the world by making it appear we're heating the globe up. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 02:03, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
@Dialectric: Let's say, for argument's sake, that you're right. What do you propose we do about it? We can't stop identifying fringe subjects as fringe without giving them undue weight, and we can't stop talking about them without crippling discourse. The whole point of these discussions is to find solutions, and I don't see anyone making even the slightest effort to solve this problem. All I see is endless whining about it. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 02:10, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
This is cuts against the spirit and the letter of WP:FRINGE, which reads in part "For example, fringe theories in science depart significantly from mainstream science and have little or no scientific support." --Sammy1339 (talk) 02:14, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Loop quantum gravity has very little support in the grand scheme of things and does depart significantly from the quantum gravity schemes that have been interrogated in the last fifty years. That's not to say that it's wrong. However, it is fringe. It isn't fringe in the same way as flat earth cosmology is fringe, but the whole point is that this guideline covers a lot of ground. jps (talk) 11:11, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

───────────────────────── What we have is essentially an Archie Bunker figure saying "That's all a load of bunkum!" when we get into some editors labeling some things as "fringe" and then proceeding to demand special rules and to argue from ad hominem while pretending they're "defending Wikipedia" from an imaginary onslaught of misguided people who want to insert their pet agendas everywhere. I understand there's a problem with Wikipedia in that people come to it with little knowledge of the policies, and with ideas about how they will "change the world" by changing knowledge. Articles get edited badly every single day, and they get reverted generally. It's a lot of work, and i do it just like others here. On the other hand, a new editor just might have an edit that improves and article, and they might even have a good source. And it might even contradict something that you as an established editor thought you knew. You have to keep your mind open, and rely on sourcing and good reasoned dialogue. You might think that a chemical is safe whereas it might have certain dangers to it that have recently been discovered, and are well-documented by good sources. If you're pre-disposed to consider everyone who edits that article with any eye toward risks to be "fringe pushers" then you might just push them away, and the article will never receive the edit which would make it more accurate. If you think you know everything, then you are bound to be wrong sometimes. That's the problem i see here. I see a pushy group of people who think they know everything, and who wish to be the gatekeepers of Wikipedia in a way that feels McCarthyist. "Have you ever been a member of the Fringe Party? Answer the question!" I want us to treat each other as human beings without prejudice. SageRad (talk) 07:17, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

I think this just reinforces MjolnirPants's point: we need less waffle and concrete proposals (if there are any). Alexbrn (talk) 07:20, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
What is the meaning/insinuation/implication of your comment here?
If you want a concrete proposal, it's "Don't be McCarthyist, don't label people as fringe supporters and treat them with prejudice, don't group articles into fringe and approved bins, and rely on sources and dialogue and policy." SageRad (talk) 07:37, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
If you have a proposal to change a WP:PAG, then make it. If other editors have behaved badly, raise it at WP:AIN. But for the Love of God, please stop waffling on to no purpose. Of course articles which treat fringe topics need to have their fringe content considered in the light of WP:FRINGE: that springs from our requirement for neutrality which is a non-negotiable pillar of this Project. Alexbrn (talk) 08:42, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I am speaking my true thoughts, and i reject your characterization of such as "waffling" and i find it unfriendly. If you don't agree with me, then speak substantively if you like, or else hold your tongue, but stop casting these aspersions with silencing intent, for the same love of God to which you appeal. SageRad (talk) 14:29, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I find it interesting that in one comment an editor accuses those who disagree with him of McCarthyism, and in his next comment enjoins others from casting aspersions. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 15:31, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Proposed solution

One solution is to use more inline attribution for subjects which are borderline fringe. This avoid the need for a black and white classification as fringe/not fringe. We must always be careful to use neutral langiuage though.

We can write, for example, 'opponents of anthropogenic climate change say...', (rather than 'climate change denialists say..') or vegan sources say...'. Of course there are things that, according to the vast majority, are fringe and we should call them so.

We do need to take a tougher line over medical claims because encouraging people to use bogus cures (even if the 'cure' does no harm itself0 are positively dangerous in that they can stop a person from getting effective conventional treatment. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:17, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Obviously problem is that these labels are just as contentious as any others. E.g. "opponents of anthropogenic climate change" is basically anyone who opposes the status quo when it comes to carbon dioxide pollution. I don't think it is in Wikipedia's best interest to try to discriminate between which claims are worthy of kid glove treatment and which ones need to be treated more harshly. The best thing to do is to use the sources that exist and see how much we should pay attention to fringe proposals and what the treatment of them is contextualized as. jps (talk) 11:36, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for writing a concrete proposal, Martin. I think the more topic-specific language would go some way to avoiding the sort of incrimination-by-association that is causing so much conflict at ANI right now. While such language could still be contentious, it is not 'just as contentious' as the use of 'fringe', as it avoids the negative baggage that the word fringe has and the association issue. For the medical claim issue, MEDRS already is quite tough on bogus cures. Can you think of an example where MEDRS is falling short in presenting bogus cures as bogus?Dialectric (talk) 14:15, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, the continuous feeling of the need to classify things as "fringe" or "not fringe" is a problem. A single subject may have aspects that are fringe and aspects that are supported by reliable sources. This binary classification is harmful to Wikipedia, and he word "fringe" has taken on a similar baggage that "communist" had during the era of McCarthyism, and dialog has been affected as it was during that time, with overtones of fear and intimidation and lack of ability to delve into the complexity of things. SageRad (talk) 14:29, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Jps, it is not 'kid glove treatment to use terms which are strictly factual. It saves us the problem of having to categorise everything as fringe/non-fringe.
Using a strictly factual description does not prevent us from stating the (well sourced) facts about the issue, as for example 'X% of climate scientists agree that there is anthropogenic global warming'.
Dialectric, I thing 'strictly factual' is a better description of what we want than 'topic specific, but the two are similar.
You might want to look at the lead of Veganism where there has been a discussion about medical claims made for veganism. The problem is basically this. There is no generally accepted medical opinion that a well-planned vegan diet is any more healthy than an omniverous diet (a badly planned vegan diet can be positively harmful). There are a few reliable sources that show some minor benefits of a vegan diet relating to specific conditions, and sources showing minor negative health effects of veganism.
There are many, very unreliable, sources making outrageous and dangerous claims for a vegan diet, such that they can cure cancer. The problem is that, in the lead, the article makes claims of health benefits for the diet (using reliable sources), without mention of the negative effects. This can easily be seen by our readers as supporting the bogus health claims made elsewhere. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:13, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree that it's not "kid gloves" to stick to the content and not argue from prejudged grouping. It's the way we can function best. As to vegetarian or vegan diets, i do find reliable sources like Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics position paper that says It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. I'm not an advocate for veganism but can see there are good sources as to health benefits. Similarly, a poorly-planned omnivorous diet can lead to poor health outcomes just as much as a poorly-planned vegan diet. These are examples of the nuance that can become evident when we get into the details and speak with good sources. SageRad (talk) 15:33, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
SageRad, one source saying 'may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases' is not general agreement that there are overall health benefits. There are some very minor benefits of a well-planned vegan diet and some very minor negative effects of such a diet described in reliable sources. Overall, there is no general agreement that a well-planned (with supplements) vegan diet is either better or worse for you than an omniverous diet and the article should not suggest that.
It is much easier to have dietary deficiencies following a vegan diet than an omniverous diet unless you are aware of potential problems with a vegan diet and how to deal with them. The general advice from nearly all reliable sources is that a balanced mixed diet is the best way to stay healthy. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:52, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I have just looked at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics web site and I am not sure that I would call them a reliable source. The seem to be a commercial organisation charging for dietary advice, or have I got it wrong. Martin Hogbin (talk)
Martin Hogbin The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is about the most reliable source you could ask for. Also, while I was surprised to find this, SageRad has a point about serious scientific inquiries suggesting health benefits of the Paleo diet (which is pretty much diametrically opposed to the vegan diet). Multiple highly-cited papers on the subject have been published in Nature, yet this is being treated as "fringe" just because MEDRS-compliant sources have not clearly established the health benefits of the Paleo diet. This illustrates how people will doubt even the most respectable sources when they perceive that something is "fringe". --Sammy1339 (talk) 17:11, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
OK, their WP article seems to indicate that they should be reliable. However 'may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases' is still not general agreement that there are overall health benefits. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:33, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Martin, the terms plainly aren't "strictly factual". Saying someone is an "opponent of anthropogenic climate change" is not the same thing as saying that a person is a "climate change denier". In fact, in many cases, it means exactly the opposite. jps (talk) 16:01, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
As far as the comparison to WP:MEDRS goes, I'm happy that set of guidelines exist, but when we tried to implement WP:SCIRS, the pushback we got from fringe POV-pushers prevented implementation. We're stuck with WP:FRINGE until such time as we can get a quorum to enact a proposal that has the teeth of WP:MEDRS for all the articles that the guideline covers that fall outside the purview of WP:MEDRS. And, to be clear, WP:SCIRS even if adopted wouldn't solve all the problems since there are also articles on history, literature, politics, and religion which are helped by WP:FRINGE. jps (talk) 16:04, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
My suggestion "opponent of anthropogenic climate change" was badly worded but I thought that the intent was clear; that we should use factual and strictly neutrally worded terminology. Maybe 'people who believe that human activity is not causing climate change' would be clearer. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:40, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
How about 'people who reject the established scientific consensus that human activity is causing climate change'? --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:46, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Striking my suggestion per jps below. I'm not well-versed enough to comment, and I don't want to reproduce arguments that have already been hashed out elsewhere. The essence of my suggestion, though, was that we shouldn't omit mention of the scientific consensus, as Martin Hogbin seemed to be suggesting. --Sammy1339 (talk) 17:51, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Both of those and all such "compromises" run afoul Wikipedia's policy against making stuff up. JbhTalk 16:50, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Precisely. I appreciate the brainstorming, but please believe me that we've all been through this before. In articlespace, the only solution is to use the terminology, vocabulary, and style that is employed in reliable sources. That often rubs people who are on the "fringe" side the wrong way, but Wikipedia is not here to make these people feel better about the state of discourse in the world. If we're talking about outside of articlespace, it's pretty much not the nature of this website to accommodate prohibitions on using one or another turn of phrase that aren't unambiguously personal attacks or, for example, entirely vulgar. Believe me, I'm well aware where the neighborhood where the line between acceptable and unacceptable lies when it comes to talk and wp spaces and it is nowhere near "climate change denier". WP:FOC can be appealed to, but at the end of the day leeway is generally given when it comes to matters of content and we are generally trying to decide matters of content when we label a particular discussant or attempted contribution as a "climate change denier". It's shorthand for "that which contradicts the prevailing scientific consensus on climate change in one way or another", but some of us prefer the simplicity and succinctness of smaller labels. My suggestion is that people learn to live with a certain degree of insensitivity in discussions. Tolerance should come in both directions (those who, like myself, are perceived to be rude should work on being more tolerant of those to whom they are rude and those who, like those who oppose me, think I am being rude to them should work on being more tolerant of me -- that is the essence of WP:AGF). jps (talk) 17:45, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

They are not 'compromises' they are plain language. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:50, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Arguably, "climate change denier" is also plain language. jps (talk) 17:59, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, they are simply speaking about content in a civil way. That's not a compromise, and it does not stop good articles from being edited. From my experience, there is no tolerance given when someone says that an editor seems to be editing in an industry-aligned way, or in an establishment way to an overbearing degree, but then you want completely free reign to call anyone or anything "fringe" while opposition to this has been clearly voiced by many. The pushers of the "fringe" label are acting like they have the truth, and that those who oppose it are fools with no evidence or reason to back their strong opinions. I advocate that people be civil and use the policies. We do not need to categorize people we disagree with as "fringe". We also need to recognize that there is a gravitational bias to the concept of "mainstream" that is often a bias in itself which needs to be countered (the opposite of the rationale behind WP:FRINGE though not codified as a guideline, perhaps it's needed). I find it objectionable to categorize people with pejorative labels. With climate change denial, that's not even needed, as everything can be said with reference to content and sources. It's not needed anywhere. It's a problem and many people have voices their opposition to it -- and not because we are "fringe pushers" but because we're editors with thoughts and experience. So, let us stop privileging one point of view over others so completely. SageRad (talk) 17:55, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Civility is in the eye of the beholder. No one has 100% access to the truth, and you are free to take umbrage with someone here on Wikipedia and explain why you think they are not being civil, but if you fail to gain traction with your claims it behooves you to drop it. The fact of the matter is that Wikipedia does privilege certain points of view over others. That's the whole point of WP:WEIGHT. jps (talk) 17:59, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I think it's plain to see that many others agree with the way i'm seeing it here. I'm not just a lone voice, not just an outlier. Yes, of course i realize that some voices are privileged over others, in terms of sources. On the other hand, it's not supposed to be that way in terms of editors. In each new dialogue, we each are supposed to have the opportunity to speak to that topic on the basis of our words alone, and not have the well poisoned as so often happens, with impunity. SageRad (talk) 18:05, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I can remember a time when the creationists outnumbered those who accepted the facts of evolution. There is limited safety in numbers in that you haven't yet been run out on a rail, but in the long run you will find your position, as I've seen you outline here, basically not tolerated. There is not an "equality of editors". When editors lack WP:COMPETENCE, for example, they tend to find their stays here cut short or made to be so unpleasant that they show themselves the door. jps (talk) 18:36, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
  • The only "solution" that will be accepted by those who oppose use of the term fringe, is to falsely represent fringe views as legitimate or mainstream. Me, I prefer to call a spade a spade: most of these fringe views are simply bullshit. But I'm OK with the term fringe. Guy (Help!) 18:01, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
    • It's true: "Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it." Next up, a proposal to rename WP:FRINGE to WP:BULLSHIT. jps (talk) 18:03, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
      • In fact, i do call the McCarthyist usage of "fringe" bullshit. SageRad (talk) 18:06, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
        • In this, I speak only for myself, but to be clear this does not bother me. If you want to call me a McCarthyist, go ahead. I've been called much worse (Grand Inquisitor, stormtrooper, shiva destroyer of worlds, etc.). I think you're being entirely ignorant and laughably wrongheaded if that's what you think is going on, but it is better for you to be honest about what you think is happening than it is for you to beat around the bush in the name of "civility", in my opinion. jps (talk) 18:15, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I would ask that you move the above comment to respect the time order of the dialogue. If so then you may delete this comment of mine. As for what you wrote, i stand by what i wrote. That fact that you call me "entirely ignorant and laughably wrongheaded" speaks to your own level of dialogue here. We can be honest but civil. SageRad (talk) 19:48, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think we need to move the discussion around. I was responding directly to your comment and got an edit conflict. There are lots of ways to handle the poor threading capabilities of the software, and I prefer the insertion over the pile-on-the-back technique. YMMV. In any case, I'm not sure what you want in terms of "level of dialogue". If I see an editor saying ridiculous things, I tell them. jps (talk) 20:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Regardless of the outcome of this specific issue (which I'm remaining officially neutral on, pleading ignorance) I have to strongly agree with SageRad on the need to avoid pejoratively labeling editors who support, or who are perceived to support, minority views. Simply put, these FRINGE discussions frequently devolve into ad hominem. The comment by JzG above is a symptom of this. I'm doing my best to deal with these issues neutrally and in good faith, which has led me to support fair treatment of views I personally disagree with. If you approach the debate from the point of view that anyone who disagrees with you is biased, it's no wonder it devolves into this sort of mess. --Sammy1339 (talk) 18:07, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Sammy... when you suggest 'people who reject the established scientific consensus that human activity is causing climate change', where do you draw the line? Do you include those who don't reject scientific consensus outright - but do question it, or who question aspects of it?
I ask because there is actually fringe pushing on the other side of the climate change issue... Sadly, there is a fringe element within the scientific community who (for lack of a better term) I will call "climate change zealots". These are people who go beyond simply accepting the current scientific consensus, they insist on it, and reject anything that even remotely calls that consensus into question. These zealots treat climate change issues with a religious fervor... they act as if the current scientific consensus were "divinely revealed Truth", never to be questioned... and they over-use use the label "Denier" the way religious zealots over-use the word heretic. To the zealot, all heretics must be driven away (or better yet burned at the stake), lest they corrupt the faithful. Note that I am not accusing you (nor any other specific Wikipeidan) of being one of these zealots... I simply note that this fringe attitude is out there, and caution that we must guard against it here on Wikipedia. Blueboar (talk) 18:10, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Can you give an example to support your claim for "religious fervor" of "climate change zealots"? prokaryotes (talk) 18:15, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Blueboar, the fringe on the other side is not someone who argues that the consensus is bulletproof. The fringe are those who believe the IPCC is systematically UNDER-estimating the degree and effects of climate change. These poor folks get the real short shrift here. jps (talk) 19:12, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
(e.c.) But pejorative labels are also in the eye of the beholder. If you support a minority position, you should be comfortable having someone identify you as supporting that position. I don't care if you're doing it out of a sense of fair play, tolerance, or trolling, when you support the fringe position you are supporting the fringe position. You are promoting the fringe POV. Etc. Etc. If you don't want to be identified as doing this, don't support the fringe position! jps (talk) 18:11, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I have been accused of holding positions I explicitly don't hold, and accused of POV pushing for calmly discussing policy. --Sammy1339 (talk) 18:12, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm sure you have been. This is the internet, kiddo. You start preferentially sticking up for people on one side of a conflict and you're going to find yourself lumped in with them whether you agree with their positions or not. The best you can hope for is to calmly explain why you shouldn't be so lumped and move on.jps (talk) 18:22, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
This is not just "the internet". It is Wikipedia where we have all agreed to act according to Policies and Guidelines that do not exist on other internet sites. WP:Civil is one of those.DrChrissy (talk) 18:28, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
WP:CIVIL nowhere implies that we aren't allowed to call someone else's edits "crap". jps (talk) 18:32, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Are you sure? It states - Avoid appearing to ridicule another editor's comment.DrChrissy (talk) 18:40, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm sure. The civility policy is notorious for being very poorly written, and it probably should be pared down to something closer to its original version, but in practice no one has ever been sanctioned for ridiculing someone else's comment. Policy at Wikipedia is all about implementation when it comes to implication. See WP:IAR for a perfect example of this. :) jps (talk) 18:45, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
JPS, fringe is much stronger wording than minority. Not all climate scientists accept Anthropogenic Global Warming, see List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming. Yes, is the consensus position but it is far from universally accepted. As another editor pointed out, the mere fact that we need a consensus shows that it is still not solid science. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:19, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry. You got that one 100% wrong. Switch "climate change" with "evolution" and see why. The consensus on anthropogenic climate change is 100% solid science. It's only the the political machinations of non-scientists and scientists-for-hire which have muddied the waters. jps (talk) 18:24, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

All fields of study have fringe studies to the mainstream area of study. This includes the arts, literature as well as the scientifically driven areas. Wikipedia supports the more mainstream views which is logical given how far content could go in describing every nuance of a topic or subject. Thus we have weight a generally consensus driven way of determining how much of any view is included in an article. The concerns arise when fringe is used as a hammer to label both content and those who even suggest that such content be looked at. Often, at some nebulous point, the fringe is determined and at that point civility is tossed away, in favour of personal accusation. This is allowable by some since fringe has been labelled as "bad" rather than merely another aspect of human seeking. Certainly there are areas of human knowledge that are falsely driven for profit or personal aggrandization, but there are many areas that are in their infancy in terms of study. Noting that this is so, does not mean that this kind of content should have place in an article . What it does mean is that we as editors must view all such information with detachment on Wikipedia whatever our personal beliefs are. The automatic dismissal of information is not a neutral way of dealing with content nor are the incivilities that we allow ourselves when we feel knowledge is false or personally driven somehow. In fact such actions sadly remind me of fundamentalism and the closed minded way knowledge can be viewed. The mainstream view at one time was that the earth was flat. Had we been writing an encyclopedia at that time we could NOT have included round earth theory into our articles; it wasn't a mainstream view. However, anyone who attacked those supporting a round earth theory would look pretty ignorant eventually. The problem is not that we have content that is potentially fringe to the mainstream but that we use "fringe" in cliche driven ways, and allow ourselves the self indulgence of venting our personal and often emotional views on that fringe material. While many of us have reason to not trust either the fringe or the mainstream this does not give us the right to attack anyone. The problem on an collaborative project is not the inanimate content; its the people who create the content. The fix is the people and how they behave not the content itself. ~End of rant~(Littleolive oil (talk) 18:41, 30 January 2016 (UTC))

Ideas that are truly in their infancy actually aren't given any WP:WEIGHT as there are usually not enough reliable sources written about them. As for your flat earth parallel, the idea that we keepers of the mainstream may turn out to look foolish when we say that the claims of the Maharishi are pseudoscientific nonsense will look foolish in the future is just about the only thing you can hang your hat on. Wikipedia, however, doesn't care about that and, to be clear, neither do I. If I turn out to be wrong about something, I will be excited to admit it! jps (talk) 18:51, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Did I make it clear that ideas in their infancy are not necessarily given weight? I hope so. Whether you look foolish or not is not my concern, and you miss my point. That editors think they have a right to attack others is my concern. Further you have proved my point rather well. This has nothing to do with Maharishi anything but you play that record again and again. In fact the most recent concern is the way in which an article dealt with Pilates a mainstream physical method for dancers of improving core strength but on Wikipedia its made to look like some strange fringe practice. The fact is when you're editing an article I don't care what personal opinion you have on anything; I care about the toxic environments that are created when people think its OK to attack other people for any reason. WP is losing editors and this is one reason why. It has nothing to do with fringe it has to do with editors allowing fringe to act as a cover for venting their personal views, opinions, and hurts. This isn't the place. But I've said that and the response is to use this as a way to attack, as I have suggested happens. (Littleolive oil (talk) 19:08, 30 January 2016 (UTC))
You have, in the past, falsely accused people of attacking editors when they were instead trying to enforce good editing practices. This is the biggest problem as I see it. There are lots of people who claim that attacks are occurring when, for example, they are reverted or someone identifies their edits as being in favor of a particular marginalized position. This tactic works because occasionally (and this was true more in the past) there are others including a few admins who think that saying, "this climate change denying editor is disrupting the article" is indicative of a personal attack when it often is simply describing their edits. Then we get into a big argument as above as to how one would "civilly" describe such edits/editors or what have you. It is manifestly a waste of time. To be clear, the reason pilates is made to look like a strange fringe practice on Wikipedia is because the people who promote it make specific claims that are simply not backed up by evidence. That's really the currency of reference works. If pilates was just a bunch of movements like Positions of the feet in ballet, there would be no fringe issues. But it's not. The advocates explicitly claim health benefits and pain alleviation properties for pilates that do not hold water. I find your ongoing promotion of fringe health practices to be problematic, yes. jps (talk) 20:20, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I simply don't think that warnings, blocks, and bans for attacking ideas will help with editor retention. At the moment, controversial areas are fairly toxic, yes, but part of that is because the proponents of fringe theories have organised, and actively seek to drive people of other opinions off certain pages, and there's not enough people able to deal with that kind of tactic without getting annoyed, saying something rude, then having the entire group swoop down and insist they be banned. This would give these people even less support. Adam Cuerden (talk) 19:13, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
True. Or we could all just behave ourselves. The remedy is not and never has been in punishment; it has been in treating each other with respect and dignity. And thank you for articulating so clearly what happens on many controversial articles. Many including arbs don't understand or see those tactics.(Littleolive oil (talk) 19:16, 30 January 2016 (UTC))
Amen to Littleolive oil's amazingly insightful long initial comment, and this one above. Full support.
Reply to Adam Cuerden: There is a real way that we can achieve the goal of good, solid articles based on good, sound sources, and treat all editors with more respect. Toxic editing environments are not required. It can be more fruitful to lead people to understanding the goals of editing here, in regard to neutrality. It's actually counterproductive to polarize things by labeling editors as "fringe pushers" or get mean and nasty toward them. Note that it's evident that all that you allege about "fringe pushers" is certainly done by the self-appointed anti-fringe vigilantes. They have organized and they indeed actively seek to drive people of other opinions off certain pages. That is a problem. Who is "correct" here? In some cases, the "anti-fringe" people are actually less correct than someone they've labeled "fringe". I have seen it. I have seen "anti-fringe" people actually blocking very sound science that concluded something opposed to their pre-decided position. I would support initially guiding people to understand the policies of WP:RS and WP:NPOV, and secondly, a culture of kindness in which people are not pre-judged and called names at every opportunity and through every rhetorical means available (sneaky subtle put-downs are rife on such pages). All in all, we all need to be good to each other, and rely on sources and good dialogue. SageRad (talk) 20:00, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Some of the comments further above notwithstanding, we are not here to classify editors as fringe or not fringe. To the extent that we are here to classify content or contributions as fringe or not, we do not use our personal opinions, but sources, sources, sources. I have seen too many cases where, once self-appointed content police have decided that a contributor (or indeed the subject of a biography) is fringe, there is no limit to the bile and invective that they feel justified in spewing on Talk pages and in edit summaries. This is never acceptable. --Nigelj (talk) 20:18, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────No editor is "fringe" because the guideline is explicitly about ideas. When an editor adopts a fringe POV, we should not be forbidden from discussing it. jps (talk) 20:21, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

No. You started well, but it is not possible (without mind reading equipment) to identify an editor's POV. The job is to look after the POV balance of the final, overall article content. --Nigelj (talk) 20:34, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Nigelj, you make such a good point. I often edit pages related to animal welfare. I am a bunny-hugger animal scientist, meaning I expect welfare standards to be as high as possible. That is my POV - I am not ashamed to admit that. However, if I come across an article which perhaps needs content on e.g. the benefits of animals used in a particularly painful laboratory test, I might add these. It does not mean I am advocating the test or I have a pro-cruelty POV. I am simply trying to add RS content to the encyclopaedia for the education of the reader.DrChrissy (talk) 21:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
@Nigelj: So if I come across an editor who's contribution page is 60% advocating for removing all negative information about Creationism, adding negative information about Evolution, 35% arguing on talk pages that WP is biased against Christians, and 5% useful stuff, you're of the opinion that it would be illogical of me to assume this guy is a Christian fundamentalist? I'm sorry, but that's just a dumb suggestion. We absolutely can't read minds, but what people say and do is right out there for the rest of us to see, and it absolutely speaks to their beliefs. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:58, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
My point is that divining other editors' personal beliefs, mental states, and motivations is not what we're here to do. We simply look at the content, and the sources, and try to help each other develop neutral and balanced content. Classifying fellow editors, even in our mind's eye, as Christian fundamentalists, industry shills, or very clever people, just leads us to make assumptions that are very rarely helpful in judging edits and helping to create balanced coverage with due weight. --Nigelj (talk) 22:50, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Judging others' personal beliefs, mental states and motivations is an absolutely necessary and inescapable part of social interactions. Wikispace and talkspace are places for social interaction (towards a specific goal, but no less for that). Our assumptions about others are quite literally absolutely necessary for us to interact, find agreements and communicate. These are basic fundamentals of psychology (I'm not suggesting you're unaware of them, but you don't seem to be taking them into consideration when you respond). MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 23:04, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't give a rat's ass what a person's personal views are. I only care about the effects of their editing. If the effects of their editing is to push a fringe POV, they are an editor that pushes fringe POVs. I will not pussyfoot around this just in case it hurts someone's feelings. Sorry. jps (talk) 23:55, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
But you can sometimes be wrong, as well as other people, right? Or are you always right? If you're always right, then forgive me. But if you're ever possibly sometimes wrong, then there is something wrong with being pushy and abusive toward other people because you believe them to be wrong. I still say, it comes down to sources and good dialogue. No other substitute for those two things. How can you place yourself above other people in knowing what's correct about everything? If you pigeonhole someone and place them in your mental "fringe" category to the point of not hearing them when they actually have good sources and may actually be right, then you've sabotaged the process, and your own ability to listen. You may also hurt others in the process and hurt the articles. If you think someone's wrong then simply say so, and say why, specifically, not "because you're a fringe pusher" -- that is the easy way out and it leads to a simplistic duality. For instance, the Paleolithic diet has some genuine theoretical and evidentiary support, and it also contains a lot of falsities. So let's discern among those things, but not label the whole thing "fringe" and then attack it. That leads to bad outcomes for the article and for the editors involved. SageRad (talk) 00:43, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
If I'm wrong about something being fringe, by all means explain to me that I'm wrong. But if you fail to provide a good explanation, I'm not going to pretend that you've been successful. Claiming that the "paleo diet" has evidentiary support, for example, is a little weird. Do you meant that there is evidentiary support that what most people call the paleolithic diet is actually the paleolithic diet? On second thought, never mind. I don't really care what you think, but it's that kind of muddled argumentation which causes problems on talkpages. jps (talk) 02:16, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Regarding the paleo diet: It's still fringe, and will remain so unless and until the medical/dietary/scientific consensus is that it's recommended as a normal diet to a large portion of the population. Being fringe is not necessarily a bad things. It's just a useful category. Regarding the language used; it's not pushy and abrasive, it's honest and open. You're just too easily offended. Honestly, you're quite literally complaining about people saying mean things about you. When my son complained about that, I told him to ignore them, or to chant "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me." Are you seriously less capable of dealing with harsh language than a 7 year old? Before you respond, understand that the things seven-year-olds say about each other are far worse than "fringe" or "POV pusher", and my son handles it quite well these days. Seven-year-olds also say mean things for the express purpose of causing offense. Most of us don't use the term as an insult, even when we look down on fringe proponents. It's just a category. Yes, it has negative connotations, but so does "Republican," "Liberal," "Headbanger," "Gansta," or "Wikipedian". MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 01:36, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @Martin Hogbin: No we can't write "opponents of climate change" instead of climate change denialists, because it's bullshit. The reality-based community are entirely opposed to climate change, but are prevented from doing anything about it by the political influence of the climate change denial machine. And yes there is an entirely robust consensus, with every single scientific body of national or international standing supporting the consensus view, and Powell's 2013 survey found that of 9,136 authors publishing in the year to December 2013, exactly one author, i.e. 0.01% of all actively publishing authors on climate, rejected anthropogenic global warming. Denial is the correct term, technically and according to external sources. Successive publications clearly show that rejection of both the existence of climate change and human activity as its main cause, have been in decline for a long time and are now down to the point where rejection is more than just fringe, it's wilful contrarianism. There is, as near as makes no difference, no significant informed dissent any more: dissenters are like phlogiston advocates post-Lavoisier. Guy (Help!) 23:17, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Here's a proposed solution. I'll put a notice up on my user page that any fringe supporter who feels they are being repressed (don't read anything insulting in that link, I just adore MP) when they have reliable sources to support the content they want to add can ask me for my support. If I feel their sources are reliable, and their proposed content an accurate summary, I'll show up at the article talk page, waving my huge skeptic penis around, and happily bludgeon into submission with sheer tenacity, creative "we-can't-prove-he's-being-incivil" insults and the overwhelming mass of my ego any overly zealous skeptics blocking them. I'll even make a template out of it, and a wikispace directory of editors using it so that other skeptics who take skepticism serious can join in. Note: I'm being hyperbolic about my behavior. I don't actually intend to insult anyone, do anything with my genitalia (on WP, anyways) or pretend to have a larger ego than I actually do. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Intelligent civil discussion RIP. Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:57, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Useful suggestion, you mean. Certainly, it's better than suggesting we stop thinking like human beings. Seriously though, I made an earnest offer to take any specific complaints about this issue affecting content seriously and to work with the fringe pushers to curb any overreaches of over zealous skeptical editors, and your only response is to complain about my tone? This is pretty much the defining quality of whining: I offer to help, but you'd rather keep complaining. Yet you wonder why you aren't taken seriously... MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 02:30, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: The actual origin of this futile pot stirring exercise that Kingofaces43 has initiated is a dispute concerning the wording of a scientific consensus statement on the safety of GM foods. Editors commenting here should be aware of this and understand that this is the context in which any discussion of fringe policy (as it applies to GMO articles) should take place. If editors start ignoring that there are broader issues to be discussed in the GMO subject space (and that valid critical discourse is perfectly valid in other areas) and begin normalising the use of association fallacies to silence dissent, we are heading down the wrong path. Please note a 4.1.5 core principal of the GMO arbitration decision that was passed recently (which applies to all related articles). Semitransgenic talk. 19:58, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
    • At the end of the day, it is the content that matters. How the sausage is made sometimes concerns arbcom and other "social networking Wikipedians", but we should be far more concerned that the content is not skewed than we should be about avoiding association fallacies on talk pages or hurting editors' feelings. It is true that there are situations where incivility is so disruptive that it prevents content from being created or improved, but that should be the gold standard for when things go sour. Right now there are a lot of people complaining that their support of pseudoscientific sources surrounding genetic engineering of food for human consumption is being wrongfully maligned. I think that people should be maligned for choosing bad sources on Wikipedia. In fact, arguably, this is the worst thing that an editor can do -- it's even worse than just writing unsourced content which can be quickly reverted. jps (talk) 16:18, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Michael Greger again

Dr. Greger has received praise and endorsements from many physicians, scientists, and leaders in health and wellness.

... we're told; criticism has been removed; the smell of socks may be in the air. More eyes from fringe-savvy editors welcome. Alexbrn (talk) 17:28, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

  • Socks or not, there is one WP:SPA who needs to be removed from that article. Guy (Help!) 00:25, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Why are you posting this here instead of ANI? Or better yet, on the talk pages of the "socks"? --Sammy1339 (talk) 01:17, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Because this is the place where the discussion started. Feel free to bring it up in other venues if you like. Guy (Help!) 16:39, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Family Constellations

Got a new (?) account editing here and querying the quantum quackery characterisation. Could use eyes. Alexbrn (talk) 18:19, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

It looks good as things stand (Guy has been quite vigilant!), but I'll watch it. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:08, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Levelland UFO Case

Levelland UFO Case (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

This in-depth article seems to have a lot of text that is sourced uncritically to primary source documents and credulous reports. Help cleaning it up would be appreciated.

jps (talk) 15:48, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Given that nearly all of the citations in the article are from UFO skeptics such as Dr. Donald Menzel and Curtis Peebles, and scientists such as Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a former Chair of Astronomy at Northwestern University who was also a scientific consultant for Project Blue Book, I'm not sure what "credulous reports" you're seeing here. I mean, if you can't trust two strong UFO skeptics in their research, what qualifies as a "credible source"? I also don't get the sense that the article is pro-UFO, as it extensively discusses the skeptical view of the incident. We have far more credulous, pro-UFO articles than this one. At least it extensively discusses the skeptical, plausible explanation. What kind of "cleaning up" do you believe needs to happen, and what sources need to be removed? 2602:304:691E:5A29:15FD:803:DD59:37A2 (talk) 16:16, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I should add that I do see the silly TV interview piece at the bottom of the article; it could certainly be deleted, and the weather research by a (very) obscure ufologist is also questionable in terms of reliability. However, the rest of the sources appear to be good ones. 2602:304:691E:5A29:15FD:803:DD59:37A2 (talk) 16:25, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
The WP:GEVAL problem fixed, some of the more obscure ufology sources removed and a general cleanup done: [15]. - LuckyLouie (talk) 21:16, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Bioavailable glutathione

Bioavailable glutathione (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

So I came across this new article today that talks about glutathione supplements. There are a number of scientific studies listed as refs and further reading, but initially there were a number of spamlinks in the ELs (retailers of supplements)... which kind of raised my hackles. I cut those, but something just doesn't pass my sniff test. Perhaps someone more into this side of things might want to look at this article and see whether anything can be done to improve it. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 04:59, 14 February 2016 (UTC)

I took a look, and the whole article looks like a write up that serves only to establish that there is an issue one might require supplements to correct. It reeks of quackery and advertisement. Of course, I'm not a big biomedical guy, so there could be more to it I'm not aware of. WebMD doesn't cover it (it has articles about glutathione interactions with other drugs, but doesn't give any special attention to it's bioavailability), and the vast majority of search results are from supplement sellers or advocates of this as a cure-all. I think the whole article should be nominated for deletion on notability grounds. Maybe even speedy deletion. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 15:35, 14 February 2016 (UTC)
I've redirected to Glutathione. There was no real topic here, just attempted scene-setting for bigging-up supplements it seems. Probably the redirect could be deleted but it's harmless enough as is. Alexbrn (talk) 16:01, 14 February 2016 (UTC)
Many thanks! —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 18:31, 14 February 2016 (UTC)
The history shows a WP:SPA with - ahem - suspicions of not really being the brand-new user xe pretends to be. Guy (Help!) 22:36, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Yeah. Note this has spread to Oleuropein now. Alexbrn (talk) 05:24, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

There is long-running tension at this article over an aspect I believe is covered by WP:FRINGE. In America, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) has in nearly all respects become a completely respectable qualification on a par with M.D. However, it is essentially distinguished from M.D. (only, I think) by including in its training some instruction that is a throw-back to its cult-like roots, whereby the inventor - Andrew Taylor Still - believed that dextrous manual manipulations was the key to all human health: a set of treatments collectively called Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment which encompasses the dubious (e.g. myofascial release) to extreme quackery (e.g. cranial manipulation).
Not surprisingly on this page (which seems well watched by D.O.s, D.O. establishments and friends of D.O.s) There is continued pushback about this training being described as pseudoscience/pseudomedicine, and particularly about such wording being in the lede. It is the only criticism contained in the entire article.
For more general background on this see Mark Crislip's piece here.
Anyway - my question here is: is this due/correct. The weight of editing against me makes me think I'm off-base and should abandon this page to those who'd want it to be uncritical. Yet would this be neutral? Eyes/comments welcome ... Alexbrn (talk) 07:15, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

Can you tell us what difference it makes in the article? TFD (talk) 07:26, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
The most recent edit dispute is whether the treatments in question should be characterized as "pseudomedicine" in the lede: but it runs deeper than this which is why I wanted to step back and get a wider view of the question of what's due. Alexbrn (talk) 07:31, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
"One notable difference between D.O. and M.D. training is that D.O. training adds 300 – 500 hours studying pseudomedical techniques for hands-on manipulation of the human musculoskeletal system, which feature little in modern practice."
That sentence already included in the article seems fine to me and is weighted alright. I do believe that pseudomedical is an appropriate and necessary term to use when describing the one fringe piece in the field. And it's very low-key regardless, so I don't really see the issue with the inclusion, even from proponents of the field. SilverserenC 08:53, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
The history is clear on DOs: they mostly abandoned their pseudoscientific treatments (pseudomedicine) in favor of joining the ranks of actual physicians and surgeons. This story is outlined nicely in The D.O.'s by Norman Gevitz. Delta13C (talk) 09:35, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Except for this one part, as noted by the OP. SilverserenC 11:27, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Most have even abandoned that element. TylerDurden8823 (talk) 18:09, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
If it's still a part of the training curriculum, then it's still a part of the field. SilverserenC 19:10, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
I didn't say otherwise. I said most practicing DOs have abandoned it. TylerDurden8823 (talk) 19:18, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
That's right. Osteopathic manipulation is still taught, even if briefly, and the impression I have is that very few DOs actually practice it. Delta13C (talk) 10:12, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Is it really 300 – 500 hours? That's quite a lot isn't it? Alexbrn (talk) 10:18, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Not as high as you'd think. I think it's a four year degree, so, even presuming only 40 weeks a year are spent in university, that's only 2-3 hours a week on average. That's probably about the minimum you could include without it not being called Osteopathy anymore Adam Cuerden (talk) 05:49, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
No, that is still a lot. Nearly half a day a week of formal instruction is not a small thing. We're talking here about perhaps 5-10% of the credits for a professional doctorate, which is far from insignificant - and that's assuming they mean study hours, not contact hours. If it's contact hours then it is a major chunk of the instructional curriculum. Guy (Help!) 09:51, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Whether it's a "lot" or not is subjective. I'm curious how you came up with your 5-10% estimate, Guy (as well as what your subjective cutoff is for "a lot"). Can you show your work/how you arrived at this estimate please? And Adam, medical school is indeed four years in the United States. TylerDurden8823 (talk) 05:34, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
"For the restricted-scope form of alternative medicine practice, mostly outside of North America, see Osteopathy." seems wrong, but I'm not quite sure why. We should probably make the fact that this article only applies to the degree as awarded in the United States, and that any other degree of the same name from anywhere else is going to be different, absolutely clear.
Adam, can you expand on what seems incorrect to you? I'm not sure I understand. TylerDurden8823 (talk) 06:13, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Quantum anthropology

This was probably inevitable: Quantum anthropology. Geogene (talk) 02:25, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

Y'know, we really need a Template:Quantumwoo. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:30, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Quantum anthropology (2nd nomination) jps (talk) 12:58, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

It's not surprising that the article mentions wave-particle duality and the ominous sounding "wave function collapse". But what the bleep is an eigenvector!? I've never been a fan of math-free quantum mechanics. Voted to delete. Roches (talk) 06:44, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

Existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence

This article is... er... something. Not sure what. WP:OR? Conspiracist wibble? Guy (Help!) 09:29, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

I think it's certainly got some paranoia in it, and maybe a touch of conspiracy wingnuttery from watching to many scifi movies, but other than usual article maintenance (copy editing the language, checking appropriate reference use, etc) it seems mostly ok. --Rocksanddirt (talk) 21:10, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
The subject is one that resonates with a bunch of woo fanatics, but that doesn't make it woo. Hell, I'm pretty sure it's not even fringe as it's a common device in fiction, it's been discussed by a number of notable people (Asimov and Hawkins being two of the biggest) and it's not really controversial at all (by which I mean there aren't a lot of a notable people calling concerns about it unfounded and dismissing it). I haven't done a comprehensive reading of the article, but in skimming it, it looks alright to me. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 22:09, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
It's been heavily discussed by science fiction writers (because it is) and scientists who aren't working AI researchers. There's a heavy woo element pushed by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. Who have had enough press to be notable, and got this particular issue enough press to be notable. But it's going to be a plague pit of OR and enthusiasts who don't understand WP:RS, and needs a close axe-wielding review by an outsider - David Gerard (talk) 12:16, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you're not at all right about AI researchers not discussing it. One of the most popular textbooks on AI in current use discusses it. I can show you videos of comp sci graduate students discussing it. In reading academic works on the subject (of which there are plenty) I've seen commentary on the issue by names like Marvin Minsky and even Alan Turing (whose discussions significantly predate the organization you blamed for it). All you have to do is go to the references section of the page to see that there are many good sources, more-or-less accurately represented.
Does the article need work? Absolutely. It paints a picture of an impending doomsday scenario that science is frantically warning us about while simultaneously pushing us towards. That's not even remotely the case. But it's not an issue confined to the fringes of science, it's an issue deeply and fundamentally embedded in computer science. The problem is the article itself, not the subject. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 15:12, 19 February 2016 (UTC)
Agree with Mjolnir on the above. There are plenty of mainstream scientists and active engineers on AI who have discussed the various issues. It was standard 10 years ago when I did courses on AI to discuss some of what is mentioned in the article. The reason its good fodder for Sci-Fi is that the creation of artificial intelligence has a number of core issues RE decision making that involve ethics, morals etc. Azimov, Banks, Cameron and so on explore this in media not because its fringe 'out there' material, but because its a basic and fundamental outgrowth of engineering code that thinks for itself. Once it does, what is it going to do? Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:47, 19 February 2016 (UTC)
FYI: This is an interesting commentary on the broad reach of this idea, and its somewhat disturbing connection with another fringey idea, "effective altruism". I agree that cleaning all of this up will be a monstrous task, as both these fields are dominated by computer nerds, who have even created a Transhumanism Portal. (The Wikipedia kind, not the teleportation kind.) --Sammy1339 (talk) 19:15, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
That EA article in Vox is actually pretty good and talks about the big problem in EA of the sci-fi vs. mosquito nets dialectic. Effective altruism is a noteworthy idea, but that article too is plagued with OR and enthusiasts who don't understand WP:RS and have bitterly resisted having it pulled up to standard in the past - David Gerard (talk) 14:45, 19 February 2016 (UTC)

End of reality point theory

I can not find any reliable sources describing this 'theory'. Any ideas? Terrible article. JuliaHunter (talk) 02:06, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

Looks like somebody's unpublished (or self-pubbed) opinion. I put a Db-invented speedy delete on it, maybe it will stick. Geogene (talk) 02:29, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

Firearms policy in the United Kingdom

The same editor who previously tried to include claims that firearms ownership in the UK is at record levels at Firearms policy in the United Kingdom (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views), where previous consensus went solidly against him, has begun re-inserting the claim, based on the same BBC article which is an interview with gun advocates. As per the previous discussion, the source does not establish anything very much as - however much this user wants gun ownership to be a hot political issue in the UK - the absolute level of gun ownership is very low and the proportion of the population owning guns is well below its highest historical levels. Guy (Help!) 11:22, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

I was reading that news story this morning. The relevant part would be "In fact, there are currently more than 700,000 private gun owners in England and Wales and 1.8 million firearms - the most since records began - according to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)" which is less than a 10th of the population of London. If you take into account all the farmers who own firearms for non-sporting reasons, the actual amount of recreational firearms is tiny as a % of the population. Still, it is true it is the highest amount since records started. It will probably be higher next week. Admittedly it took a dip when this guy was caught, but the vast majority of his weapons were illegal. Pretty sure not many anti-tank missiles in private ownerhip. Hopefully. (Just to clarify, the BBC article is a good source to confirm the amount of registered firearms currently in the UK, no more, no less) Only in death does duty end (talk) 11:30, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
  • It may be the most since records began — when did records begin? — but I bet the proportion of firearms owners was way higher in the mid- and late 17th century, including civilian owners. When I was researching the Great Fire of London (1666), I read a claim that one of the reasons the city fire became so devastating was that so many London households still kept the guns and the stores of gunpowder that they had laid in for the civil war 1642–1651, and the gunpowder fed and spread the flames. (Those muskets and powder horns were more precautionary than what you'd call recreational, I suppose. Still, no king dared to try to make any "policy" to disarm the Londoners.) Bishonen | talk 12:15, 23 February 2016 (UTC).


A user with an - ahem - idiosyncratic view of WP:NPOV and WP:RS, has returned, after an absence, to continue adding contentious fringe content to Psychokinesis (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views). More eyes needed, please. Guy (Help!) 23:54, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

I reverted to the last "clean" version which appears to be that of jps. If I was over-bold in reverting, no worries about cleaning up my mess and mea culpa if I trashed a couple good edit in the process. Montanabw(talk) 02:31, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
There seems to be a repeating loop of WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT and WP:REHASH by a user who insists that a minimally notable parapsychologist is actually a respected academic whose fringe opinion deserves prime space in the article. I'm done engaging, he's worn me out. - LuckyLouie (talk) 03:01, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
  • "Actually a respected academic": professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland, written several books on the subject, dozens of articles published in academic journals. Yes, that sounds exactly like a respected academic.
  • "Prime space in the article": actually, one paragraph in the appropriate section.

User:Montanabw, maybe you should state a reason for your revert. No one has done so yet, other than WP:IDONTLIKEIT. This is under discussion at Talk:Psychokinesis#Stephen_E._Braude. zzz (talk) 03:24, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

I'll grant you he's respected among fringe proponents. - LuckyLouie (talk) 04:15, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
This is a typical "response" from you. You just claimed that he's not a respected academic, which he clearly is. So, you are wrong, then, yes? Or are you going to pretend you were saying something else? Like [here], at the talk discussion, when you pretended you hadn't just claimed that Noûs is an "obscure" publication, which it clearly isn't. zzz (talk) 04:41, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Not my circus, but Signedzzz, you really don't understand that a philosopher is not the same as a scientist... two different fields. Respected academics in one field can still be crackpots in another. Montanabw(talk) 04:51, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

Montanabw, the connection is philosophy of science. You can't claim on the one hand that PK is purely scientific, and unconnected with philosophy, and at the same time that it is completely unscientific ("pseudoscience"). This respected philosopher is making no scientific (or pseudoscientific) claims, he is looking at PK from a philosophical perspective - his field of expertise. And this positive review[1], in a respected peer-reviewed journal, of a book he wrote on PK demonstrates that he is not regarded as a "crackpot". zzz (talk) 05:04, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
  1. ^ Patrick Grim (March 1989). "Reviewed Work: The Limits of Influence: Psychokinesis and the Philosophy Of Science. by Stephen E. Braude". Noûs Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 126-136. JSTOR 2215837. Missing or empty |url= (help)
So far, the only policy-based reason to exclude this has been User:LuckyLouie asserting that it is an "obscure" publication (which he later seemed to have changed his mind about anyway), when in fact it is plainly obvious that it is a WP:reliable source. zzz (talk) 05:29, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Also, could the admin User:JzG (Guy) please explain exactly how my view of what is or is not a WP:reliable source is "ahem - idiosyncratic"? See, I am claiming that this peer-reviewed academic journal is in fact a WP:reliable source. If that is wrong, please explain here why you think that. If you don't think I'm wrong, then what did you mean? zzz (talk) 05:35, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
I could explain again, but I doubt you'd listen this time either. You are in a minority of one. Guy (Help!) 09:13, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
What a surprise: you cannot back up your personal attack. You have not explained how this peer-reviewed academic journal is not an RS, and to suggest otherwise is obviously a lie. This kind of crap is what I would expect from a troll or vandal. I find it worrying that it is an admin casting aspersions and then lying about it. zzz (talk) 11:27, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
WP:STICK. And stop digging. Guy (Help!) 21:55, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT too! jps (talk) 03:32, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I removed a bit of vandalism from Stephen E. Braude that included the word "ignorami" (sic). The word is from the Latin ignoramus "we do not know." The English plural is "ignoramuses." Roches (talk) 00:57, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I wish that people would speak plainly without citing numerous essays all the time. What's the journal in question, and what are the positions on why it's not reliable or why it is? SageRad (talk) 15:14, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

The journal in question is Noûs (see the ref, above). Because it's a peer-reviewed academic journal, I believe it is an RS. However, User:LuckyLouie has stated on Talk:Psychokinesis that it is "obscure". JzG/Guy is apparently also claiming here that it's not reliable (but hasn't explained why). For about a month now, a handful of users have been insisting that the "Belief" section of the article should describe in detail stage magicians, fraudulent mediums, and the like, but not mention this (apparently) respected academic who has published articles and several books on the subject (one of which is reviewed in the journal in question). zzz (talk) 15:34, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
This is a lot more complicated than either side is letting on. No journal is "reliable", full stop, without qualification. The answer to the question "Is X reliable?" must always be "For what?" Then, if we establish that the journal is reliable for some particular statement, we need to figure out whether that statement merits inclusion in the context of the article. It would be helpful if there were a clear, concise statement of the wording that the reference is meant to support. The Traveling Boris (talk) 02:19, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
2nd paragraph of this section. Please note the context of the article, which goes on to devote a paragraph each to over a dozen stage magicians and the like. The paragraph has the cite to Nous and to another book about psychokinesis by the same author that discusses Carl Jung's theory of synchronicity. zzz (talk) 03:23, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
OK, that is helpful. I think the argument reduces to WP:WEIGHT: is Baude sufficiently prominent in the field for his views to merit inclusion? This could go either way. What is clearer is that any such mention needs to be qualified by stating that Baude's writings are held in very low regard by other academics. For example a review of one of his books states "I would be surprised if any reader with the slightest tendency towards critical thinking would find the evidence for psi presented in this slim volume to be anywhere near compelling." As I said before, this is complicated. The Traveling Boris (talk) 03:56, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into it. The reviewer in Nous describes Braude as "the most philosophically sophisticated among clear advocates of the paranormal" and states that "this book - like Braude's work in general - [is] well worth attending to." I would agree with adding more criticism. zzz (talk) 04:18, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
What they basically mean is that while he may be a crank, he is not an obvious loon. His views do not change the scientific consensus that PK is bollocks, and we do not, for obvious reasons which you nonetheless seem to have difficulty grasping, "balance" mainstream scientific consensus with the opinion of lone cranks. See WP:PARITY / WP:WEIGHT. Guy (Help!) 13:38, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────My apologies for the vulgarity and the able-ist language, but "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." That's the extent of the praise Braude is getting. It's much like saying, "Russell Humphreys is the most sophisticated young-Earth creationist who claims to rectify his faith with the observed age of the universe." One might even say that Humphreys ideas are "well worth attending to" if for no other reason than to see what the high-water mark for sophistication is so that when you encounter creationists you can dispatch their claims with relative ease. This, however, is not justification necessarily for including Humphrey's ideas on pages about religious cosmology for example because Wikipedia's remit is to explain the notably WP:MAINSTREAM treatments of human knowledge. That means you have to find reliable independent sources that show that his ideas are seriously connected to the larger subject, keeping in mind such principles as WP:PARITY, WP:ONEWAY, and WP:NFRINGE. jps (talk) 13:36, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

I don't buy your interpretation. If you read the review, it's clear that it means what it says - not "if for no other reason..." The same journal has published work by Braude, in any case, thereby confirming the reviewer's evaluation. And it is also quite clear that it's a reliable independent source, as required by WP:PARITY and WP:ONEWAY, since it's a peer-reviewed academic journal. WP:NFRINGE is about whether a fringe theory is notable enough to qualify for a separate article, so not relevant. Except where it states: "Theories of Booth's escape – The page on John Wilkes Booth includes descriptions of conspiracy theories contending that Booth eluded his pursuers and escaped. However, they are not notable enough for a dedicated article." The same principle should apply here. zzz (talk) 17:18, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm not interested in pretending that psychokinesis is real or worthy of serious consideration. WP:MAINSTREAM. jps (talk) 12:31, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Leaving aside your personal interests, which part of that essay are you referring to? Presumably not the part that supports what I've been saying: "Wikipedia gives the most space and prominence to descriptions of a subject that conform to the expert understanding while marginalizing in space and prominence the minority understanding, or even excluding some descriptions or issues that have no reliable sources." zzz (talk) 12:47, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────It is simply a fact that psychokinesis does not exist. Wikipedia will represent this fact plainly in our article on the subject and will not be distracted by cranks. jps (talk) 14:45, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

So according to you, the professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland is "a crank", and as such, must not be mentioned. I think you should leave your personal opinions about respected academics aside when judging what can and cannot be mentioned in articles. As a side-issue, User:JzG, please refrain from editing my comments. zzz (talk) 15:02, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Anyone who advocates PK as if it were real, is, by definition, a crank. And as noted by several others, we do not "balance" scientific consensus with individual people whose contrary views we happen to like. This is not restricted to PK or other fringe topics, it applies everywhere. It's called false balance and it's a failure of WP:NPOV. And any editing of your comments was entirely accidental. Guy (Help!) 16:05, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
The article describes in detail over a dozen stage magicians etc who have "advocated PK as if it were real". Since that is the case, the only reason I can see to exclude the views of this respected academic is because his views are more difficult to ridicule. In other words, to use Wikipedia to promote your skeptic POV, against policy. zzz (talk) 16:15, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Assuming there's no answer to this forthcoming, I'm going to go ahead and delete the Psychokinesis#Belief section, as per Talk:Psychokinesis#Remove_.22Belief.22_section. zzz (talk) 18:04, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Your argument makes no sense. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that you believe psychokinesis is real and are offended by those of us who point out that such is a cranky belief to which equal validity will not be extended at Wikipedia. Do you believe that psychokinesis is real? Just curious. In any case, I see you've already been reverted by another. jps (talk) 18:19, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, someone has removed the POV tag, apparently because Template:POV#When_to_remove doesn't apply here. I believe in correcting obvious bias in articles, and obviously I find it somewhat offensive when users revert my corrections and refuse to address the problem. I repeat: The article describes in detail over a dozen stage magicians etc who have "advocated PK as if it were real". Since that is the case, the only reason I can see to exclude the views of this respected academic is because his views are more difficult to ridicule. In other words, to use Wikipedia to promote your skeptic POV, against policy. Would you agree with this, and if not then explain. zzz (talk) 18:24, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Repeating your poorly argued statement does not make it more convincing. No one agrees with you because the argument makes no sense. I'm sure I can find many people who believe in psychokinesis. That does not mean we need to use the page as a soapbox for the peculiar views of a marginalized academic who believes likewise. jps (talk) 18:37, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

It's a question, not a statement. What is the reason to exclude the views of a respected academic who "advocates PK as if it were real" from Psychokinesis#Belief when the section describes in detail over a dozen stage magicians etc who have "advocated PK as if it were real"? I have indicated the obvious answer, above. Your refusal to address the question is revealing. zzz (talk) 18:44, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
The answer to your question is that reliable sources identify stage magicians as pretending as though psychokinesis is real. Reliable sources do not identify this marginalized academic as having a prominent opinion on this topic. jps (talk) 19:09, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Not only has this "marginalised" long-standing professor of philosophy at a major university been published in dozens of reliable sources, but the reference above in a peer-reviewed academic journal - ie. a reliable source - identifies him as "the most philosophically sophisticated among clear advocates of the paranormal" and states that "this book - like Braude's work in general - [is] well worth attending to." So how is that less "prominent" than the examples currently in the article, which begin with, for one example, a long paragraph about Angelique Cottin (ca. 1846) known as the "Electric Girl" of France (who is not notable - "prominent" - enough for a Wikipedia article)? In other words, your reply is obviously wrong. But thanks for at least pretending to reply. If only to confirm the blatantly obvious, that you are indeed intent on abusing Wikipedia's policies to promote your skeptic POV. zzz (talk) 19:20, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
To be clear, your claim can only be that the source mentioning Braude's nonsense makes him prominent (self-citations don't count). Others, including myself, have indicated why this isn't the case. Find a better source that indicated Braude is a prominent source for explaining belief in psychokinesis. Until you do, you're going to be drummed out by the rest of us. You can complain that about the "skeptics" winning this argument as much as you want, but it's not a convincing whinge. jps (talk) 20:00, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
@jps Please treat other editors with respect and civility: your comment above does not do that.DrChrissy (talk) 20:18, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
@DrChrissy, your documented promotion of pseudoscience in the past makes me inclined to ignore your protestations. If you prefer, you can form a cabal with zzz and attempt to sway Wikipedia policy towards credulity. I doubt you'll be successful. jps (talk) 20:25, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
If this is documented, then you will be able to provide diffs. Please do so, or otherwise stop casting aspersions. I also suggest you read WP:FOC.DrChrissy (talk) 20:31, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
It is documented (with diffs) in the GMO case that you supported the pseudoscience of GMO paranoia. If you didn't want people focusing on your problematic behavior, you shouldn't have started the discussion in such a fashion. No one asked you to be the standard bearer for your warped sense of what civility entails. jps (talk) 20:47, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
As I expected, you have not been able to provide diffs supporting your spurious accusations. I thought your comment regarding my "warped sense of what civility entails" was rather ironic considering you have a large list of blocks for reasons including incivility.DrChrissy (talk) 20:59, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
The diffs are beautifully lined up in the arbcomm case. If you think my block record is relevant, we could remind the peanut gallery that only one of us is topic banned. jps (talk) 22:16, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Your block record for incivility is most definitely relevant. I asked you above to remain respectful and civil when addressing other editors. I remind you of this.DrChrissy (talk) 22:40, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Is your topic ban from GMOs relevant? After all, it was given because you support pseudoscience and here you are trying to insert yourself into a discussion supporting pseudoscience. I see a pattern where you just seem to love to support pseudoscience. jps (talk) 12:21, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Quick note... Philosophy is not the proper field to be considered an expert on psychokinesis. Neurology would be the most applicable field. If a respected philosophy professor supports psychokinesis as a real phenomenon, then with regards to neurology, that professor is indeed a crank. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 19:27, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Quick reply: Philosophy of science is indeed the "proper field" to address this issue. As this particular professor of philosophy also clearly believes, as well as others in the field. If you disagree, you need to get your opinion published in a peer-reviewed philosophy journal. zzz (talk) 19:32, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Um. No, "philosophy of science" answers no questions as to whether psychokinesis has been demonstrated. You have lost, zzz, and will continue to be reverted until you give up and move on. jps (talk) 20:00, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
  • So, a couple of skeptic Wikipedia editors are now authorities on philosophy of science, and actual philosophers and philosophy books and journals will be ignored on the subject on Wikipedia. Oh, and I've been warned not to edit the page, so your POV is now de facto official Wikipedia policy, in place of WP:RS, WP:NPOV etc. So, you're right, I have lost - congratulations.zzz (talk) 20:14, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
  • This is not what is happening, but if it makes you feel more comfortable with the situation and encourages you to stop disrupting the page, feel free to angrilycomplain about this off of Wikipedia. I hear that the Huffington Post entertains such rhetoric from time to time. jps (talk) 20:25, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
@Signedzzz:Quick reply: Philosophy of science is indeed the "proper field" to address this issue. No, it isn't. A Philosopher of Science is not the same thing as a Scientist. WP:RS makes it clear that the expert cited needs to be speaking to their field of expertise. It takes science to answer such questions, and even if you were correct and this person were eminently qualified: They're still making claims which do not reflect the scientific consensus. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:51, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
User:MjolnirPants, I obviously need to explain the relevance of philosophy of science. Braude is not disputing the scientific consensus, which is that no scientific evidence has been found. If laboratory experiments find no evidence of something, does that mean that anyone who says they have seen compelling evidence outside a laboratory on many occasions, for example Carl Jung, is either delusional or lying? Science doesn't address that question. According to Braude, it's a philosophical question about the limits of science. But currently the consensus for this article is to keep it simple and follow the "skeptic" approach by just describing such "prominent" individuals as Angelique Cottin (ca. 1846) known as the "Electric Girl" of France and James Hydrick, an American martial arts expert, etc, etc so that's my last comment. zzz (talk) 01:19, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
@Signedzzz: Whether or not psychokinesis is a real phenomenon is an empirical, not a philosophicalquestion. Questioning the limits of the scientific method is the job of a philosopher of science. Questioning the results of science is either science (such as if the questioner is qualified and asks specific questions that have not already been answered, and can be answered) or crankiness (such as if the questioner is not asking scientific questions, but philosophical questions intended to undermine the validity of the science's results). What you described clearly falls into the latter category. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 01:47, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
I can't tell if you're being serious or not. Please read my comment again (I specifically mentioned: "Braude is not disputing the scientific consensus"). Questioning the results of science - which "results of science" is Braude questioning, in your opinion? I know I didn't just describe any! 02:23, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
This example of a reply being casually ignored or misrepresented is depressingly familiar at this point - it seems as though it is a deliberate strategy. Braude is a professor of philosophy who writes about philosophy, including books about the philosophy of science with respect to PK: Wikipedia's Skeptic users don't like his philosophy and don't want it mentioned in the PK article, I get it, but endlessly repeating that you don't like it and calling him a "crank", achieves nothing. Although, I don't know, perhaps this also is a deliberate strategy, intended as a smokescreen. Whatever, its a massive waste of time and energy. zzz (talk) 13:53, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
::sigh:: Okay, let me explain this to you, because you seem confused about what you're saying, in addition to what I'm saying. I'll admit that I wasn't making everything completely clear, but I really thought it wasn't necessary. I thought you had thought through the implications of your own argument, but you apparently haven't. So I will lay it out for you. I'm sorry if this is very long, but you really seem to need me to explain everything.
  • Until there is evidence for it, we must assume it does not exist according to the principles of empiricism.
  • The scientific method is the best method we have for finding evidence of any phenomenon.
  • Many people have searched for evidence of it using the scientific method, and found nothing.
  • People who believe anyways have proposed conditions that might have explained why no evidence was previously found.
  • New tests -again using the scientific method- have been done to see if those proposals had any merit, only to find that they did not.
  • Many natural explanations have been proposed which would explain the non-scientific evidence which has been proposed.
  • All of those natural explanations have been shown to be valid, applicable, and likely.
  • The scientific consensus has thus been not that there is no evidence of psychokinesis, but that there is no evidence, there is no theoretical framework, all evidence and theories thus far proposed are best explained by human error, and there is no reason to suspect that there will ever be evidence or a sound theoretical framework.
  • If this person is making any argument whatsoever that this phenomenon is real, they are contradicting the scientific consensus. (Note, I have perused their work since I first saw you mention this, and I know for a fact that this is the case.)
  • If this person is making any argument whatsoever that science isn't a valid way to answer this question, then they are both demonstrably wrong, and a crank (in their own field, no less).
  • If this person is not making the argument that psychokinesis is real, then bringing them up is completely irrelevant.
Do you understand now? Either this person is is conflict with science (making them a crank), or you are bringing them up as a red herring. Your belief that it is possible to dispute an empirical claim with nothing but reasoning is, itself, a hallmark of crankiness. No offense intended, I'm just telling you what you sound like. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 18:22, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────I explained why this professor of philosophy believes philosophy of science is relevant, per WP:Reliable Sources. Your response is to state your opinion that this philosopher is a bad philosopher, and that philosophy is actually not relevant. However, you are not qualified to offer an opinion, and even if you were, that would be WP:Original Research, and therefore still irrelevant. The other fundamental error is that a Wikipedia user is actually describing their own beliefs when describe those of someone else. I have stated all of this several times, but nevertheless every editor opposed to including this has repeatedly made exactly the same basic, fundamental errors. Yet still no one has answered my question about WP:Weight, how the disputed material is less relevant or "prominent" than the material currently in the article about Angelique Cottin (ca. 1846) known as the "Electric Girl" of France and James Hydrick, an American martial arts expert, and a dozen others like them. I have asked this several times also. I have to accept that I'm not going to get an answer, and that the same fundamental errors will continue. I said I wouldn't comment further, but I think it's worth pointing out that, regardless of the rights and wrongs of including the disputed material, which isn't going to be discussed anyway, the success of this "discussion" strategy makes a total mockery of Wikipedia's model of WP:Consensus. zzz (talk) 14:53, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

You would be better served in your goals by encouraging high-quality outside sources to take Braude's work seriously. Get someone who isn't a believer in psychokinesis to publish a laudatory evaluation that frames his work as equally valid. As it is, right now we have no indication that his work is anything but too marginal to include anywhere but on his own page. jps (talk) 15:43, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
The book review referenced above evaluates the philosophy as valid, though "deeply unpopular". You could be right about weight, it's hard to say, and maybe not that important. zzz (talk) 20:00, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
@Signedzzz: Your response is to state your opinion that this philosopher is a bad philosopher No, that was not my response. You are misinterpreting what I said. However, given the facility with which you've read everything else I wrote, I am neither surprised nor inclined to correct you. I don't think you're capable of understanding why you're wrong. Suffice it to say that it's clear you're arguing against consensus. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:15, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
No, my summary was accurate. zzz (talk) 21:05, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Stage magicians have shown up many academics in the area of skepticism. Per WP:REDFLAG and WP:FRIND, we take a dim view of fringe journals like JSE. jps (talk) 15:56, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
No, I'm talking about the dozen or so people in who are described in the Psychokinesis#Belief section of the article because they have claimed that PK exists. Presumably you are claiming that all of them are clearly more notable than Braude. I don't see how you would come to this conclusion. For example: "Angelique Cottin (ca. 1846) known as the "Electric Girl" of France" - no Wikipedia article. zzz (talk) 18:45, 19 February 2016 (UTC)
Drop the stick, the horse is dead. This is becoming disruptive. I say becoming, the only reason I have not asked for a topic ban before now is because you said you were leaving the article alone. Guy (Help!) 23:51, 19 February 2016 (UTC)
My last comment here was replied to by someone who didn't understand what I'd said, so I clarified it. If you insist that only stage magician frauds should be in the article, then so be it - you're not forced to justify it. No one even asked you to reply. zzz (talk) 00:54, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Stage magician frauds? Reads like the last, best, desperate lashing out of a believer sufficiently debunked. jps (talk) 13:04, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Intelligent haunting

Intelligent haunting (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Should this article exist?

jps (talk) 12:59, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Only the third source uses the phrase "intelligent hauntings" and it doesn't define it. But, it fits extremely well into the sort of categorization that ghost hunters tend to use, so I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that it's a real thing, and notable within that context. I say tag the page for sources and see if it gets fixed. If no-one bothers to fix it after a month or two, nominate it for deletion on notability grounds. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 16:05, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
No, it shouldn't. It gives the bogus impression that there's something, if not scientific, then at least taxonomically valid, about the distinction between "intelligent haunting" and its companion residual haunting (an article which incidentally does not exist, other than as a redirect to Stone Tape). The article presents intelligent haunting as part of the terminology of ghost hunting, an article which does not however mention either intelligent or residual haunting. The concept is referenced to a book edited by James Houran, Rense Lange, Gertrude R. Schmeidler, and John Beloff, Hauntings and Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (2007). A search of that in Google books shows six instances where "intelligent" and "haunting" are shown on the same page, but no instance of the words used together, as a term or phrase.[16] Of the authors, only John Beloff (1920 – 2006) has a (not very flattering) Wikipedia article. Intelligent haunting is miles from being a notable concept IMO. I say prod, though I don't doubt it would be promptly removed by the true believers. Bishonen | talk 16:40, 23 February 2016 (UTC).
  • I should just point out that a google search shows that it is widely used online, and with a consistent meaning (a ghost that interacts with living people). The article is probably unnecessary, and if kept, should certainly be re-written to make it clear it's an aspect of a very fringe subject, but be prepared to see a bunch of links from that search show up in the AfD. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 18:01, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Biogenetic structuralism

Biogenetic structuralism (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

I am not an anthropologist, but this looks like an essay that is mostly original research at best and may contain some fringe theories.

jps (talk) 15:47, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Not sure if it is fringe or merely a neologism with no significant currency; the term was coined by one Charles Laughlin, and this article was written by user:Charles D. Laughlin. Google shows numerous other user-edited sites where an identically named user has promoted this term. I have AfD'd it. Guy (Help!) 23:03, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
Charles Laughlin has an article here on Wikipedia as well, and there looks to be a number of other associated articles on this person's ideas:
jps (talk) 23:27, 23 February 2016 (UTC)


Pyriproxyfen (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

There is a claim being spread by conspiracy site Natural News that the insecticide Pyriproxyfen is the cause of microcephaly in South America and not the Zika virus. A number of similar conspiracy sites have been spreading the article and it looks like two SPAs have already tried to insert the information into this article (and in the other articles mentioned) using said sources. In addition to them not being reliable sources, the claim also runs foul of WP:MEDRS and will need even stronger than normal sourcing due to that.

More attention on all the relevant articles for such attempted additions would be appreciated. SilverserenC 23:59, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

From what I know, right now Zika is the only real suspect, though there's still some doubt about that. A number of reputable science news outlets have painted the picture that investigating scientists are moving away from believing Zika to be the cause, but right now I don't know if this is accurate, or just helps them write a better story. So it's best to keep an open mind. That being said, if the source isn't MEDRS, we should not be stating it as fact, and if it's particularly contentious or poorly sourced (such as this seems to be) we shouldn't even be giving the claimants a voice. It's certainly not notable enough to document it as a rumor or conspiracy theory. I'll watch the page and help keep an eye on it. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 01:47, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, for this sort of claim, we'll really need some actual scientific evidence, reliably published, and not just news story claims. Though, the conspiracy is weird anyways, because Natural News is trying to then link the insecticide to Monsanto (since they seem to try to link everything to Monsanto), when the insecticide has to do with a Japanese company and the only state-side company that that company has direct ties to is Syngenta, not Monsanto. SilverserenC 04:00, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, for this sort of claim, we'll really need some actual scientific evidence, reliably published, and not just news story claims. Absolutely. It's certainly a conspiracy theory, but it's one that might resemble the truth, if you look at it in low light with foggy glasses and don't stare too long.
And get drunk first. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:01, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
  • George Takei just posted an article about this very conspiracy theory to Facebook with a message of tacit acceptance (the article is from a new-agey web site, and it reports on a statement by a special interest group advocating this conspiracy theory) while mischaracterizing the statement within as a 'study'. Gird your loins, all those who watch this page. The flood is coming. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 02:45, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
  • The difficult part is determining which article they will be going after, since this involves a number of topics. SilverserenC 05:45, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

Just a comment, in doing some (original) research on this chemical, I found that it's a major active ingredient in topical flea and tick treatments for pets. So there's a group of people in the US who've had greater exposure to this chemical than the people of Brazil, over a longer period of time. That's bound to pop up in the inevitable debunkings (given the popularity of this story), so it's something editors of this article might want to keep their eye out for. Obviously, I won't be adding this to the article. But it's a good refutation of the claim that it's responsible for the microcephaly cases. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 14:18, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

@MjolnirPants: Thanks for the tip. Also, I have to say that the accounts trying to add in these claims are interesting. Rather than a bunch of new accounts as one would normally expect, a lot of them seem to have been accounts that were dormant and haven't edited for months. I wonder what that means. SilverserenC 21:16, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
Check their histories and I bet you'll find that they generally only edit to push new-agey conspiracy theories or alt-med woo. I know someone like that, and he has a wiki account he only uses for that purpose. Needless to say, I watch him closely. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:19, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Check out this edit I'm not sure if this is appropriate or not. It correctly states that this is alleged, and by whom, but I'm not sure if the sources are good enough for that. I'm torn because it might help inform people who come here to vet the conspiracy theory that it's just alleged, and not proven. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:26, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
  • @MjolnirPants: I'm willing to allow it if we also add in a summary of what is stated at the end of the Fox News article, namely the statement made by Health Minister Marcelo Castro and the statement by the manufacturer Sumitomo Chemical. Basically, the allegation is fine so long as we note that actual scientific people stating that the allegation is scientifically bogus. SilverserenC 21:39, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
  • @MjolnirPants: Sorry for butting up against your edits there. Do you think that all in the article covers what we can do for now? Until we get more sources, at least. SilverserenC 22:16, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
@Silver seren: I think it looks good for now, as of you removing that synth claim. It was mostly the IP that was tweaking grammar. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 22:20, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
  • @MjolnirPants: Another sleeper account popped up to add in more nonsense, completely unsourced this time. I'm at 3R though. :/ SilverserenC 00:16, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Great jobs, guys/gals! Yesterday I created the stub WHOPES and linked it from Zika virus outbreak (2015–present) as I expected rumors would creep up there, though the misinformation actually went to the article about Pyriproxyfen. Thanks a lot for the oversight. Should this incident be reported in the article about the outbreak? Please weigh in at Talk:Zika_virus_outbreak_(2015–present)#Larvicide. Thanks. fgnievinski (talk) 01:01, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
  • "Currently, pyriproxyfen is used in California to control pests in apples, citrus, cotton, nuts, pears, and stone and pome fruits." ([17]) Yet, there are no reports of microcephaly there. Also, pyriproxyfen is a hormone analog and an insect growth regulator, yet microcephaly is not a feature of congenital growth hormone deficiency or insensitivity.([18]). BatteryIncluded (talk) 01:20, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
  • "Teratogenic" and "endocrine disrupting" were removed. These terms cannot be used unsupported in Wikipedia's voice. They would require an independent WP:MEDRS source stating clearly that the compound is teratogenic. Instead I stated that Abrasco was demanding an end to the use of growth inhibitors without saying why, except to say that the organization alleges that it is inappropriate in the context of the outbreak of fetal malformations. Roches (talk) 15:01, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

Jiří Vacek

Has newly appeared, apparently translated from the Czech. Seems a purveyor of new-age stuff, not sure about notabilty. Anybody know more? Alexbrn (talk) 14:29, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

This article is perilously close to spam so I moved it to Draft:Jiří Vacek (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs). Guy (Help!) 13:42, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

The Governor-General as Australia's Head of State

There is a discussion going on at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Politics#Who is Australia's Head of state? which revolves around whether this idea (explained at Australian head of state dispute) is a fringe theory. Interested editors are most welcome to contribute. StAnselm (talk) 19:21, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

Wash. Post conspiracy-mongering on Scalia's death affecting/creating several articles

Here's the article: "Justice Scalia spent his last hours with members of this secretive society of elite hunters", and here are the affected articles, so far:

There was a brief foray into Scalia's own article but it was rebuffed, though I presume there will be another try. Scalia's perfectly unremarkable death from old age and ill health has turned into another paranoia focus due to the political ramifications—or maybe just because everything these days is the focus of crazy thinking. From what I can see the Wash. Post article is completely irresponsible tinfoil hat crap. Anyway, these need to be looked into. Mangoe (talk) 20:18, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

Faith healing

There sources are on the talk page that describe the topic as pseudoscience. See Talk:Faith_healing#Comments_after_closure. After the closure the editor who closed the thread is arguing against using sources that I think are obviously reliable. Thoughts? QuackGuru (talk) 17:55, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Thoughts? How about WP:STICK. For a change. Guy (Help!) 00:30, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Is there reason to believe that consensus has changed since the RfC? Content decisions require more than simply finding a few sources that support a particular viewpoint.- MrX 00:41, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Exclusion of reliable sources while ignoring WP:PARITY seems to be the current flavor of the month for POV-pushers. Consensus cannot trump core content principles. E.g. If creationists outnumbered all other editors 10 to 1, Wikipedia should not slant in their direction. In this case, it seems that many of the people arguing against including straightforward and perfectly reliable sources are people who seem to hold credence to the idea that faith healing is a legitimate healthcare modality. Very suspicious. jps (talk) 13:31, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Where is the best place to discuss the reliability of the sources for outside opinion? QuackGuru (talk) 03:40, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

  • Comment Yes, it purports to accomplish medicine via a fake system that doesn't actually work, and medicine is a branch of applied science. But it doesn't claim to be scientific. It claims to be magical or divine (which is really just another flavor of magical). The issue really seems to revolve around that technicality. I think it would be better to refer to it as a magic system, but good luck finding reliable sources to support that, when 'pseudoscience' is a much more broadly understood term that is is fairly good fit, if not a perfect one. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:10, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
See the sources presented by User:QuackGuru, last RFC was not populated and half still supported inclusion of the category and material, saying that its pseudoscience. Raymond3023 (talk) 05:55, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
I've seen them, and they do an admiral job of evincing the fact that reputable sources call it pseudoscience. But Wikipedians are not automatons, as much as we might be sticklers for details. We are capable of reading the definition of pseudoscience and seeing that it conflicts with the nature of faith healing. We are also capable of understanding why people would refer to it as pseudoscience, as I mentioned above. While the sources may make a case for it according to WP policy, it does so in direct violation of what we know to be true, so we vote not to call it pseudoscience because we know the rules aren't immutable. Personally, I agree with this, because faith healing is significantly less than pseudoscience. Pseudoscientists at least pays lip service to the methods of science, whereas faith healers don't even bother to do that. If I had to choose between faith healing and acupuncture, I'd take acupuncture any day. I understand the desire to label it as something most people would identify as synonymous with "worthless", but I think there are other, more accurate, ways to do that. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 15:16, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Swine flu

I've sent a stale draft to MfD about Swine flu. Comments appreciated on the MfD. Legacypac (talk) 16:33, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Psi Intelligent Control

Anyone know what this is? Deeply confusing. No decent references mention it. JuliaHunter (talk) 17:52, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

It is obviously a very fringe subject, apparently covered in a single paper in a fee-based open access journal. Nominated for deletion.- MrX 20:24, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

Joshua Axe

The article seems very promotional. QuackGuru (talk) 18:27, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

  • Mostly doesn't seem that bad to me, but the sources about athletes don't mention him, so that should be fixed. Everymorning (talk) 21:05, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
    • Are you going to leave in the blogs? QuackGuru (talk) 21:07, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
      • Fair enough, I have removed them except the blog post Axe wrote himself which seems to comply with WP:BLPSELFPUB. Everymorning (talk) 21:19, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
        • Is the first source pointing to the Palmer College of Chiropractic unreliable? QuackGuru (talk) 21:21, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
          • If you mean this, then no, but the blog post I removed, being a blog post, was IMO unreliable. Everymorning (talk) 21:32, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

Colin Fry

Last November a user supportive of Fry deleted any negative or sceptical secondary sources and complained on the talk-page they are biased against Fry, and completely re-wrote the article using Fry's own biography. I have just had to re-write the article (mostly a revert to what was before). I think this will be controversial and this article will be a magnet for fringe supporters. JuliaHunter (talk) 04:34, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

I watched the page to help keep tabs on any future shenanigans. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 14:51, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

RATE project

I was wondering if anyone thought there was a problem with the relatively newly created article RATE project about a fringe young earth creationist "research project" that claims to have proven the earth is 6k years old. I don't think the article as currently written violates WP:UNDUE or WP:FRINGE, but I was wondering if others thought it did, or were unsure of whether it was notable, so I am posting here. Everymorning (talk) 00:58, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

I am not sure it passes GNG, (key word is 'general' in that) however the RATE project was unusual for fringe theories/pseudo science in that it prompted a real response/rebuttal from scientists (when usually with such things they just tend to brush it off). As written the article is quite neutral, although the last paragraph could probably be trimmed a bit. Only in death does duty end (talk) 08:49, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I think this is a good candidate for AfD. I will look for some better sources before I come around to nominating it. The cited sources are mostly self-published, and one looks self-published but is cited as a journal article. Delta13C (talk) 21:15, 1 March 2016 (UTC)