Talk:List of topics characterized as pseudoscience

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Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

The Arbitration Committee has issued several principles which may be helpful to editors of this and other articles when dealing with subjects and categories related to "pseudoscience".

Four groups
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Alleging Contradictions[edit]

Sources must be cited. It is academically dishonest to attribute a claim to a party without sources, then assert that the party later "retracted" that claim, and provide references to a dozen denials. In this article, we have such a statement:

Dianetics ... purports to treat a hypothetical reactive mind by means of an E-meter. L. Ron Hubbard was later legally forced to admit it "does nothing".

An innocent reader could easily believe that at one time the E-meter was claimed to be an instrument of medical treatment and that Hubbard was caught in a lie and had to retract. But where is the source on the original claim? This statement should be removed until an original source for the original claim is found and cited (and not just a bald accusation by one of Hubbard's critics). Sfarney (talk) 17:48, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Neither of the Wikipedia articles, Dianetics nor E-Meter, allege that Dianetics purported to treat a reactive mind by means of an E-meter prior to Hubbard's (1966?) legal disclaimer. This unsourced statement will be removed in a day or two if no source is provided. Sfarney (talk) 00:28, 24 January 2015 (UTC)


(Moved from User talk:Sfarney)

I reverted your edit about Aryanism. Your comment was "Racial theories: There is no logical support for saying that the Nazis believed in Aryanism, hence Aryanism is a "primary motivator" for war crimes and atrocities." Do you really believe that Nazis didn't believe this? The article actually said "and hence a primary motivator for numerous war crimes and atrocities." Your edit left the article saying it "was one of the core tenets of Nazism, some proponents of which were found guilty of numerous war crimes and atrocities." Do you mean some proponents of Nazism, or Aryanism? Myrvin (talk) 19:09, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

The phrase "of which" always refers to the most recently used noun, in this case "Nazism." Sfarney (talk) 22:36, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Just making sure that was what you meant. The words "were found guilty" looked as if perhaps they didn't do it. Myrvin (talk) 23:43, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Hehe, the words "were found guilty" suggests they didn't do it?? Good grief! What would be suggested if they "were found not guilty"?? Meaning no harm, I laugh only at the terrible secondary growths that sprout on this thin crop of words, here on the Internet. Sfarney (talk) 06:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
As you say, we have to be very careful (exacting) with the language here. Phrases such as "were found guilty", rather than "were guilty", are what Holocaust deniers use. They would say that the Nazis weren't guilty of crimes, but the war crimes trials only found them guilty. See [1]. Careful language is what we all want. Myrvin (talk) 09:37, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
Careful to speak the truth we should be. Careful to avoid speaking the same truth that someone from the Dark Side might say is NOT the kind of careful anyone should care about. For it is well known that even the Devil can quote Scripture. :-) Sfarney (talk) 05:42, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps you are saying that there is no source that says that "Aryanism is a "primary motivator" for war crimes and atrocities." Myrvin (talk) 19:39, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

As originally worded, the statement was erroneous. I.e., Nazis believed X, hence X is a prime motivator for war crimes and atrocities. And yes, I am saying that it is ridiculous to assert that "Aryanism is a 'primary motivator' for war crimes and atrocities." No Nazi has claimed that Aryanism is the prime motivator for the War, the camps, or anything else. Aryanism is only one of many master-race doctrines in the world, and none of the other resulted in a Holocaust. Sfarney (talk) 22:36, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
It actually said it was "a core tenet". Saying "No Nazi has claimed that Aryanism is the prime motivator for the War, the camps, or anything else" is fightin' words. I hope you are absolutely sure of that. Myrvin (talk) 23:43, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
The source says that Aryanism was "seized upon by Hitler and the Nazis." But the current wording on the page asserts that "Aryanism ... was one of the core tenets of Nazism." This is a mischaracterizes of the source. Britannica makes clear that Hitler and the Nazis existed before they adopted Aryanism. The sequence clearly indicates that other things were the core tenets around which Nazism was formed, and Aryanism was adopted or grafted on to the existing movement. Therefore, Aryanism was not a "core tenet." The source says only that Aryanism was made the basis of a government policy. Sfarney (talk) 06:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
You left "core tenet" in your edit, so I thought you were OK with that. Perhaps we differ in what the phrase means. Hitler rants on about it a lot. Himmler took it to heart. Do you deny that it was a 'tenet', or that it was one of the ideas at the heart of Nazism?
I choose Door #2. My primary source on the "core tenets of Nazism" is Mein Kampf, which bases the race policies of Nazism on a) German nationalism, b) Germany for Germans, c) a laundry list of crimes by other races and nationalities, d) Eugenics and Evolution (social Darwinism). As the Britannica indicates, Aryanism (belief in a quasi-mythical white super-race) was grafted onto a body of Nazism that was already in existence. Sfarney (talk) 19:30, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Your "exacting" Aryan race article has "The ideology of Nazism was based upon the conception of the Aryan race being a master race." "Based upon" there, and "the basis of the German government policy ..." in EB, looks like a core tenet to me. Myrvin (talk) 07:49, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

uh, that article does not belong to me. I cited to the careful language in the intro, not the whole thing. In any case, as an ideology, Nazism existed before it took over the German government. EB says Aryanism was the basis of the German government policy. It is incorrect to use that source to argue that Aryanism was the core tenet of the Nazi ideology. Sfarney (talk) 19:30, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

I've added a citation and quote for the original words. Myrvin (talk) 20:50, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

I see that. The EB quote does not support the original words in the Wiki.Sfarney (talk) 19:30, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
It does matter what source said that -- many hysterical claims have been published about the Nazis, and Wikipedia has to be somewhat discriminating. For an exacting use of language, read the intro for Aryan race. Sfarney (talk) 22:36, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Can we move these arguments together down here?

You will have noticed that I altered the wording to fit the EB.

Yes. Thank you. Can you tell me where you get the assertion that Aryanism was a "core tenet" of Nazism? Your source (EB) does not support that statement. Sfarney (talk) 05:42, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

We do differ on what "a core tenet" means (a, not the). It does not mean it has to be there at the start of Nazism - although it might well have been. It does not mean it had to be invented by Nazis. It means that it was one of the most important concepts of Nazism, wherever it came from. Chambers: "tenet Any opinion, principle or doctrine which a person holds or maintains as true." "core 2.The innermost or most essential part of something". Myrvin (talk) 21:22, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Chambers makes my point: "most essential" is exactly the problem. If X is the "most essential part of" Y, without X you cannot have Y. Eggs are the most essential ingredient of an omelet because without eggs, you don't have an omelet. But Aryanism was obviously not the most essential part of Nazism, because, as the EB indicates, Nazism existed before it seized on Aryanism. Wikipedia needs a source to say that Aryanism was a core tenet of Nazism, or we should remove the statement. Sfarney (talk) 05:42, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
So you are really only objecting to the word "core", but you are happy with the word "tenet"? Would you accept something like "an important tenet"? Myrvin (talk) 09:18, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
That would be totally correct and fully supported by the sources. Thank you for your careful work for Wikipedia. Sfarney (talk) 05:05, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Referring to "Mein Kampf". Hitler did write: "The question as to the ground reasons for the predominant importance of Aryanism can be answered by pointing out that it is not so much that the Aryans are endowed with a stronger instinct for self-preservation, but rather that this manifests itself in a way which is peculiar to themselves.". He also used the word "Aryan" many times, as in "This very fact fully justifies the conclusion that it was the Aryan alone who founded a superior type of humanity; therefore he represents the architype of what we understand by the term: MAN." Do you really think that "Aryanism (belief in a quasi-mythical white super-race) was grafted onto a body of Nazism" after Mein Kampf? It seems to me that Hitler was a believer in the Aryanism nonsense from very early on, and used it as the philosophical and pseudo-scientific basis of his poisonous rhetoric. Myrvin (talk) 09:25, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Alright, I stand corrected. Apparently, the EB was mistaken in saying that Hitler and the Nazis "adopted" Aryanism. But as a Wikipedia editor, I must bow to the sources, and all I have ever requested was a source on the statement. We must find a source for the Wiki assertion, or modify the assertion so that it conforms to the sources. And apparently we cannot use an original source (such as Mein Kampf for the facts you cite here) as a source, though I disagree with that Wiki policy in principle.
If you read wp:psts, you'll see that it is not a blanket ban on primary sources. It's the interpretation we need to worry about. Myrvin (talk) 07:39, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
In Aryan race, an editor has added this [2] for this. Any good? Myrvin (talk) 16:06, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
I'll grant you that it is interesting. I don't know exactly how you would use it, though. I suggest that you stick with "important tenet" as you suggest above. Sfarney (talk) 05:05, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

Paranormal and Ufology[edit]

The current text reads:

"Animal mutilations – cases of animals, primarily domestic livestock, with seemingly inexplicable wounds. These wounds have been said to be caused by natural predation ..."

Can any of the editors on this page explain why it's pseudoscientific to claim that "animal mutilation" might have been caused by "natural predation"? I personally have hauled the front half of a hooked fish out of the ocean because (presumably) the latter half was eaten by a small shark, a seal, or something else after the whole fish swallowed the hook. Am I being pseudoscientific in this presumption? Help me out here, folks. Do we have a credible source that says no natural predator ever mutilates its prey? Sfarney (talk) 06:50, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

Take a look at it now. That sentence was awkwardly worded. It should be clearer now. -- Brangifer (talk) 17:22, 25 January 2015 (UTC)
Much better. I don't totally agree with the statement, but at least now it doesn't beg for the blue pill, where bunny rabbits are never mutilated by raptorial near misses from. ;-) Sfarney (talk) 06:35, 26 January 2015 (UTC)


This article apparently classifies the subject of brainwashing as a pseudoscience. If so, the editors who wrote this need to come to grips with other literature on the subject. I suggest perusing the sources cited in Anti-cult movement. Either the secular anti-cult movement is itself operating on pseudoscience, or the editors of this page have got just a tad too aggressive. Sfarney (talk) 07:18, 26 January 2015 (UTC)