Talk:Ravi Zacharias

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This article was last assessed in May 2012.
Good article Ravi Zacharias has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.


Citations[edit]

We have accumulated a lot of great citations on this discussion page. It would be great to incorporate these into the article, and think about creating some subheadings to organize things a bit better. We're off to a great start, so let's keep going. Kristamaranatha (talk) 21:42, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Kristamaranatha - I made changes to the citation for the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Despite the heading on their website, I think it's misleading to characterize this "appointment" in a way that might be construed as having been bestowed in some official way by the U.S. government. The task force is a privately funded organization created by the National Prayer Committee, not by the U.S. government. Also, with regard to subheadings, I would be in favor of creating those, but not one for "Criticism". Instead, I think criticism should be worked into the natural flow of the article. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any good sources. For instance, I'm sure that Zacharias had to come under heavy criticism from Evangelicals for speaking at the Mormon Tabernacle, but I can't find a source saying that. HokieRNB (talk) 16:34, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
There is a link on the bottom of the page to the Hindu American Foundation's response to something Ravi had said (a criticism). I know there was criticism about speaking at the Mormon temple, namely that he didn't directly point out everything wrong with Mormonism but only pointed to a proper understanding of Christ as the way the truth and the life, so that would be something to keep looking for. Also, is it noteworthy that infidels.org has all sorts of criticisms on him? Just do a search and you'll find all sorts of essays, including criticisms of some of his books and Paul Copan's response to one of these. These could be worked into a heading titled "Ministry" or something like that. Thanks for fixing the NDPTF reference. Kristamaranatha (talk) 16:30, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I think the criticism from the Hindu American Foundation should be worked into the text of the article, rather than being buried in the external links. I did find at least one source for criticism from Evangelicals. I also think that some of the criticism from Bud Press of the Christian Research Service (along with his follow-up questions), Steve Muse of the Eastern Regional Watch, and Rauni Higley, a former Mormon could be used to provide some balance. These are all nicely summarized here. However, we should make sure that we don't place WP:UNDUE weight on this one talk in his long and fruitful ministry. ("An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject, but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject.") HokieRNB (talk) 13:30, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Filling in the gaps[edit]

I noticed that someone nominated this article as a Good article. Great job everyone! Just wanted to neaten things up a bit before it gets reviewed. We really need to fill in the gaps between Ravi's ministry beginning in the 70's until the present time. This decade has been well covered, but everything in between needs to be discussed. Kristamaranatha (talk) 18:06, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

The article needs to be filled out a bit more, I think there's good information, but it just seems a bit dry. --Kraftlos (talk) 07:11, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Do you think it would be appropriate to do a bullet-list of ministry highlights in chronological order as a starting point? Kristamaranatha (talk 02:43, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
A bullet-list would be appropriate for this talk page, but should probably not be included in the article, for fear of turning into WP:PROSELINE. HokieRNB (talk) 13:38, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Zacharias was one of the keynote speakers at Urbana 93.[1] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ἀλήθεια (talkcontribs) 15:59, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Dave Currie completed his Masters thesis at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1998 on "The Apologetic Method of Ravi Zacharias: A Critical Appraisal And Evaluation". If someone could get access to this document, it could probably prove valuable in providing more depth of insight into the section on "Thought". Right now it seems kind of weak. HokieRNB (talk) 15:01, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Wow that dissertation would be really interesting to read. I found it at http://www.tren.com/search.cfm?oid=txRb4Lmzlq9jPuL4jun1VFJhtMJuTV4UcUxftphtiCXbVJcIDZ8w99MNTlXkn5I5&action=query&title=Zacharias Unfortunately you have to pay for it. I have not found it anywhere else on the internet. Kristamaranatha (talk) 20:57, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Good article nomination on hold[edit]

This article's Good Article promotion has been put on hold. During review, some issues were discovered that can be resolved without a major re-write. This is how the article, as of March 15, 2008, compares against the six good article criteria:

1. Well written?: Pass
2. Factually accurate?: Pass
3. Broad in coverage?: To be addressed
4. Neutral point of view?: To be addressed
5. Article stability? Pass
6. Images?: Pass


I see no reason why, with a little more effort, this article shouldn't meet the required criteria.

  1. The article is reasonably well-written, with no obvious problems in grammar or unpleasant stylistic tics.
  2. The prose corresponds to the sources cited, and it doesn't seem to be subject to edit-wars now that the concerns over notability have been addressed.
  3. The image used isn't of the best imaginable resolution, but is released under the GFDL.
  4. The sources are largely of the quality expected given the source of this individual's notability.
  5. Evangelists and apologists of Zacharias' prominence attract criticism, from both within and without the evangelical community. There isn't any in the article.
  • I note there's an external link to a letter from the Hindu American Foundation; I don't think that that's mainstream enough to be incorporated into the article, as suggested further up on this page. (I note by looking at the article page history that I, at some point in the past, actually removed it as an unsuitable external link! I was cleaning up a lot of ELs at the time, so I don't remember this particular case.) However, the mainstream Indian papers might be worth looking at for suitable op-eds that discuss his ministry, as a prominent convert is newsworthy there.
  • His decision to speak at the LDS pulpit was not without its detractors. A mention should be made of this. Here's one suitable source.
  • There was a small kerfuffle over his general editorship of Kingdom of the Cults. Here's a suitable source for that.
  1. Finally, the article needs to be expanded a little. It isn't quite thorough enough. The sections that cover the places that he has spoken are sufficient, and the list of his books is complete; however, there is only a line about the major arguments he makes. For someone who is a notable apologist, that isn't enough; a paragraph on his style and technique of apologetics sourced to secondary sources is essential.

I'm placing the review on hold for these simple changes to be made.

Please address these matters soon and then leave a note here showing how they have been resolved. After 48 hours the article should be reviewed again. If these issues are not addressed within 7 days, the article may be failed without further notice. Thank you for your work so far. Relata refero (talk) 19:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

I really appreciate you looking at this article and giving us some pointers on what still needs to be addressed. I'll be working on the article in the areas you have suggested over the next couple days. Thanks again! Kristamaranatha (talk) 03:33, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
I edited the article per your suggestions. We're reading for another look. Thanks! Kristamaranatha (talk) 22:39, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
per Wikipedia:Criticism, making separate sections with the title "Criticism" is discouraged. It should be edited into the flow of the article. HokieRNB (talk) 23:13, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Done. Moved criticism to Ministry section after the first mention of the Mormon Tabernacle event. Put Virginia Tech paragraph after that. Kristamaranatha (talk) 23:25, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) Although I wasn't explicitly looking for a source, I was looking for some specifics on who in the Evangelical community was critical of the decision, or at the very least a better idea of how many is "many". Is Bud Press, Director of the Christian Research Service considered a reliable source? Does he speak on behalf of "many Evangelicals"? Just checking. HokieRNB (talk) 01:50, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure how good of a source Bud Press is (i.e. how mainstream), seeing as he has never been answered by Ravi even after repeatedly sending letters. But he does present an example of criticism for Ravi's appearance at the Mormon Tabernacle. I had put up a source by David Cloud ( http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/evang-mormons-together.html ), who also seemed to present the arguments that Ravi answered in his response to his critics. It would be good to find a source of someone more well-known, but that was what I was able to find. I think the fact that Ravi had to publish a response (and a good lengthed one at that) shows that critics are out there - we just need to find them. Kristamaranatha (talk) 02:30, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Edit: I've found at least one source that references Dr. David Cloud's remarks (http://home.hiwaay.net/~contendr/2-2005.html). I think it would be safe to use him as a reliable reference of criticism for Ravi's appearance. Kristamaranatha (talk) 02:44, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
All of the sources seem to point to fundamentalists who are criticizing the decision. While they represent one part of the spectrum of evangelicals, I think we should either keep looking for something a little more mainstream or qualify the statement by saying "Some fundamentalist evangelicals criticized..." HokieRNB (talk) 04:40, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm hesitant to generalize all the objectors as fundamentalists - because we don't have any evidence that it was isolated to fundamentalists. Maybe we should word it simply "some" or "some Christians"? Or maybe just leave it as is - "evangelicals" is a good generalization of those who objected. Kristamaranatha (talk) 21:57, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
I was part of the notability debate for this article about 2 months ago, I like how the article is shaping up, but yea, it does seem a little premature to be considering it a good article. --Kraftlos (talk) 08:50, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
The good article nomination sure surprised me. I don't know the person who nominated it. But we received some good pointers, so now it looks like it meets the criteria. We'll see when someone else comes and takes a look. Thanks for your help in fending off the proposed deletion, your encouragement and your ongoing input to help improve the article. Kristamaranatha (talk) 01:51, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm satisfied with the changes, and am promoting the article. Its not the longest GA imaginable, but I believe that given the constraints of sourcing, it covers its subject adequately, fairly and well. Relata refero (talk) 12:26, 24 March 2008

(UTC)

Looks like it got rated as a good article! ^_^ --Kraftlos (talk) 05:59, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

A Philosopher?[edit]

I recently removed "Philosopher" from the list of Zacharias' occupations for the simple reason that the man is not one. From what I can see (after careful examination) Zacharias has no formal education in the subject, nor has he ever published a substantial work concerning any serious philosophical discipline. With regards to the comment that he deals with existential philosophical questions, I concede that he does, but then, so does Yancey, arguably in equal depth. Zacharias is, at best, a lay-philosopher and an accomplished theologian - no matter how much we appreciate his works (which i most certainly do), describing him otherwise would be lowering a bar that has fallen far enough in recent years. Dewey56 (talk) 20:34, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the change. I agree that "philosopher" was a bit of a vanity title. HokieRNB (talk) 20:45, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Ravi did study philosophy (see http://www.christianbook.com/html/authors/2761.html). Other sources also refer to him as a philosopher, for example http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=69525 . He does speak a lot about philosophical issues such as meaning. I think the title is justified. Kristamaranatha (talk) 23:04, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, he does speak a lot about philosophical issues, such as meaning. However, this qualifies him as a populariser of philosophical views, and little more. He has made precious few novel contributions to the field; as you said, most of his philosophically inclined matter concerns meaning - and the vast majority of his work on meaning is adapted from the works of Lewis and Schaeffer, albeit advocated from the basis of a refreshingly coherent structural apparatus. I guess the crux of the matter resides within our definition of "philosopher": whether he is someone who has made a significant contribution to the field, or someone who simply knows philosophy. Considering that readers will be inclined to assume that he is one of the former if the title is included as a vocation of his, i feel we should omit it from the article.(In addition, the source regarding his education in philosophy seems questionable to my mind. It constitutes an off-hand reference, the sort of comment that is made without out thorough investigation of possible evidential support. Corroborative evidence would be of use.)

Dewey56 (talk) 20:47, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

"Philosopher" should be defined. Does not wikipedia define it? If so, use the definition, measure its application to Mr. Zacharias and edit the entry accordingly. If not, ask Wikipedia to clarify the definition. Keep in mind, regarding "unique contributions" that this might be difficult to qualify since I think it was Alfred North Whitehead who said, "All (Western) Philosophy is a footnote to Plato" and, of course, Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun." Perhaps a better direction would be to cite prominent people who have referred to him as a philosopher. It is a good observation though, that having a philosohpy doesn't necessarily make one a philosopher.

Criticism of Evolution[edit]

This is not bad (IMO) for it's summary and even though the critique of Mr. Zacharias' critique here is off-base- it should apply to stars (which lose mass and energy) and also exempt them from the second law of thermo- which they are not- the critique obliquely shows us the issue. It is not a good citation because it is a single item more or less plucked out of the blue from all of his works. A (better) summary of his worldview should be in place or else the randomly selected item or two should be deleted, IMO.


A couple of nights back I added a section on Zacharias' criticism of evolution as violating the second law of thermodynamics. I didn't include a rebuttal of this in the article, but i'd like to point out that the second law of thermodynamics only applies to closed systems (of which the human body - or any living body, for that matter - is not one, due to natural consumption and excretion). Thus evolution does in no way contradict the second law. Surely Zacharias has noticed this,it is such a basic mistake. Am I alone in suspecting foul play? As much as i value his work, I can't help reaching the conclusion that he is being hopelessly disingenuous. Does anyone have anything to say on the matter? I would be glad to have the issue cleared up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dewey56 (talkcontribs) 20:58, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

The reference provided out of his book The Real Face of Atheism lays out what he views as a contradiction between the different scientific disciplines (which is the topic of the chapter). It is not foul play according to Wikipedia's standards to simply lay out a person's position. Besides that, this article is not the place to discuss differences in our views of the theory of evolution and thermodynamics and all that. Kristamaranatha (talk) 00:08, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

WP:INDIA Banner/Delhi Addition[edit]

Note: {{WP India}} Project Banner with Delhi workgroup parameters was added to this article talk page because the article falls under Category:Delhi or its subcategories. Should you feel this addition is inappropriate , please undo my changes and update/remove the relavent categories to the article -- Amartyabag TALK2ME 03:40, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

/* Thought */ 2nd law of thermodynamics applies to closed systems only[edit]

Zarachias appears to be a proponent of the creationist bogus argument according to which evolution contradicts the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Calling this wrong is not a matter of point of view, it is a simple scientific fact. The earth is not a closed system, all biological processes are powered by the sun. This is not a matter of opinion, therefore any reference to WP:NPOV in this edit is not warranted. Unless of course, we also allow the factuality of gravity to be called a matter of opinion... --Johannes Rohr (talk) 17:18, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

I think it's inappropriate for a Wikipedia article to pass judgement about the validity of an argument made by a religious leader. Saying his "argument has no validity" is too strong of a statement to make. We should simply provide the facts without giving away our bias. I can think of a few ways to further defend his claims. E.g., "The galaxy is essentially a closed system, but it contains life; it's conceivably even *full* of life. How can this be?" Anyways, an argument such as this could go back and forth, but it would be inappropriate for inclusion in this article.Jwesley78 20:36, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Why is it inappropriate? If a religious leader talks BS, we can call it what it is. Why does being an evangelist give him a right to special treatment? How does it qualify him to judge the veracity of the theory of evolution? His reasoning about Evolution and the 2nd law of thermodynamics shows exceptional scientific illiteracy. It must be wilful ignorance, because this has been pointed out countless times. It is not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of what is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and what is easily debunked as nonsense.
If life would have developed on earth without an external energy source, this would of course be a miracle. But we perfectly know that this is not the case. Again: That Zacharias' (and his fellow creationists') idea is nonsensical is not a matter of opinion, where each opinion is somehow equally valid, but it is a matter of very basic scientific facts.
Your question about the galaxy: first this is speculation, we do not know. second: so what? At some point all the energy in the galaxy will have been converted to entropy and all planets bearing life will eventually have ceased to exist, so everything is perfectly coherent with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The fact that our galaxy can for the moment sustain at least one planet bearing life does not contradict that. Even though it is beyond our imagination, the conditions which exist today will not last forever. At some point in the future, neither life nor stars nor even matter in its present form will be able to exist.
Well, that's a bit off topic, but anyways, you say we should simply provide the fact. And the fact is that Zacharias is woefully wrong about the 2nd law of thermodynamics. He is talking BS. --Johannes Rohr (talk) 21:04, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
The point of that section of the article is to explain *his* thoughts on these issues. There are enough wikilinks in that section for any reasonably motivated reader to discover the truth for himself. There's little need to blatantly disparage his thoughts when the article should simply explain them. And the wikilinks are there for a reason. Jwesley78 21:18, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • OK. I made a few more changes. It's not explicitly saying his point is "invalid", but it says that the argument, as it's presented here, does not address the fact that the 2nd law of thermodynamics cannot be applied to the Earth (a non-closed system). I've not checked the cited source (i.e, his book "The Real Face of Atheism"), so I don't know specifically how he made his argument, or whether he considered this (obvious) problem with applying the "2nd law" to Earth. Jwesley78 22:11, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

I think a relevant point to be made at this stage of the discussion is the tendancy of Wikipedia articles to deride Christian worldviews and opinion with backhanded remarks that are assumed to be authoritative without any substantiation, which, by the way, is exactly the criticism being levied on the Christian worldview. Articles on any other topic are not treated with the same hostility that infects articles addressing Christianity. This article is NOT about the validity of Zacharias' views, but should be a fair, respectful and unopinionated expressing of those views. Lighten up, Wikipedia. You are not the Idea Police. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.240.189.31 (talk) 04:45, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

I agree. It often appears that the "christian worldview" is the only worldview of which it is politically correct to be intolerant. It is Wikipedia policy that articles maintain a neutral point of view. However, Zacharias is using science (i.e., the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics) to dispute evolution. His application of this principle is obviously flawed. Since he is talking about science (and not Christianity, theology or even philosophy), I think his "scientific argument" against evolution can be commented on while still being neutral. Jwesley78 14:55, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

I think there is also a disproportionate amout of criticism of his view on the 2nd Law. In his book, "A Shattered Visage" Mr Zacharias spends 2 pages out of 193 addressing the problem of evolution contradicting the law which irrefutably will result in the eventual heat-death of our universe. It is also primarily used as an arguement regarding first cause, and secondarily an argument against macro-evolution.

There are plenty of articles where readers can learn whats wrong and right about evolution and creation. Just because someone has alternative views on the world that perhaps do not conform to the scientific consensus does not mean that they should not be tolerated. And I agree about the anti-Christian bias. Portillo (talk) 00:42, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Thermodynamics[edit]

Of the persons cited in [31], which was published by the Institute for Creation Research, I can find no individual with strong scientific credentials and broad influence in the sciences who is actually endorsing the view Zacharias expounds. This is not a matter of controversy within the sciences, and efforts to suggest that it is are, in my view, unambiguously incompatible with WP:NPOV. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:23, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Absent a clear, reliable example of advocacy of this position in a major peer-reviewed journal, I think it reasonable to note that the subject's view is not shared by people with expertise in thermodynamics. This does have the disadvantage of being an argument ex silentio. The alternative, I suppose, would be to cite the creationist essay previously cited here and observe that none of the supporters cited there are notable scientists, but this seems circuitous for the reader and unkind to the people who happened to be cited there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by MarkBernstein (talkcontribs) 22:48, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

We're again seeing requests to delete the lack of support from scientists about this opinion on science, which will doubtless be followed by attempts to restore links to supportive views from creationists. To the extent that the subject holds the opinions ascribed to him here, it should be made clear that he has essentially no support for those opinions from experts on the subject. Is there, for example, a single member of an Ivy League physics department who believes that evolution is incompatible with the second law of thermodynamics? MarkBernstein (talk) 07:36, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

I have not done all my homework on the Ivy League, but below is a list of faculty members of American universities (mostly public) who think evolution does violate the second law of thermodynamics.

(1) Dr. Donald Kobe, professor of Physics at the University of North Texas in Denton. (2) Dr. David Keller, associate professor of Chemistry at the University of New Mexico. (3) Dr. Gordon Mills, professor emeritus of Biochemistry at the University of Texas. (4) Dr. Thomas Saleska, professor of Biology at Concordia University (Wisconsin). (5) Dr. Charles Bell, professor emeritus of Biological Sciences at San Jose State University. (6) Dr. Norman Schmidt, professor of Chemistry at Georgia Southern University. (7) Dr. Fred Skiff, professor of Physics at the University of Iowa. (8) Dr. Robert Smith, professor of Chemistry at the University of Nebraska. (9) Dr. Michael Strauss, associate professor of Physics at the University of Oklahoma. (10) Dr. Frank Cheng, associate professor of Chemistry at the University of Idaho. (11) Dr. C. Stephen Murphee, professor of Biology at Belmont University. (12) Dr. Glen Needham, associate professor of Entomology at The Ohio State University. (13) Dr. L. Whit Marks, professor emeritus of Physics at the University of Central Oklahoma. (14) Dr. Wayne Linn, professor emeritus of Biology at Southern Oregon University. (15) Dr. John Roden, associate professor of Biology at Southern Oregon University. (16) Dr. Donald Kangas, professor of Biology at Truman State University. Wpete510 (talk) 00:51, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

The Ivy League universities include Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Penn, Columbia, and Cornell. We might expand this list to include Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech. Few of your citations come anywhere in the neighborhood. Fred Skiff advocates intelligent design; if he has published a paper that claims evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics, (a) nobody told the internet, and (b) I'll eat my hat. None of Donald Kobe's publications, going back at least to 1995, appear to address the question. Those are your two physicists. MarkBernstein (talk) 01:30, 26 November 2013 (UTC)



If MarkBernstein could cite your source, and change your wording to "contrary to the position of respected scientist, so-and-so, which states ...", then we could avoid an edit war.Wpete510 (talk) 21:45, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

An edit war you single-handedly launched today, ignoring months of discussion here and already violating the 3RR rule. MarkBernstein (talk) 19:23, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Scientific Community Defined[edit]

An IP poster asks that we define "scientific community" and demonstrate consensus against the subject’s position. The test described above is informal but convincing. The scientific community is not limited to leading US universities, but I think it’s safe to say that members of the Departments of Physics of Ivy League universities are members of the scientific community. None of them -- not one -- believes that evolution is incompatible with the second law of thermodynamics. The textbooks used in the Statistical Mechanics course in every one of these institutions -- every one -- includes the second law of thermodynamics. MarkBernstein (talk) 13:27, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

The term "scientific community" will not work so long as there is an extensive list of respected scientists who oppose evolution. Please see http://creation.com/creation-scientists and http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=660. Wpete510 (talk) 21:47, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

And the list of respected scientists who "oppose evolution" is listed here, above my signature.

Robert McClenon (talk) 02:26, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

First, the reference to scientists who "oppose evolution" is absurd. Either evolution happens, and it is not useful to oppose it (e.g., by voting against it), or it does not happen. Second, I haven't seen the respected scientists who dispute the theory. The subject of this article is not a scientist. He is a theologian or religious philosopher who knows enough science to be able to state plausible errors. Robert McClenon (talk) 02:26, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

The editor who initiated or revived an edit war on this topic today has been promptly blocked and admonished.MarkBernstein (talk) 02:58, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Rationale in Article[edit]

One IP editor summarized (one of) the obvious objections to the subject's reasoning on evolution and thermodynamics, which another IP editor deleted as off-topic. The explanation might be useful here as justifying the reservation that the scientific community rejects the argument that the subject proposes. And that's essential to any understanding of the position the subject holds on evolution and science. MarkBernstein (talk) 13:00, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Scientific Community[edit]

One editor has recently insisted on deleting language pointing out that the subject's interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics is not, in fact, shared wildly (or at all) by experts in thermodynamics. For example, not one member of an Ivy League physics department subscribes to Zacharias' critique. This has been extensively discussed on this page, and the compromise language formerly in the article, and which I shall replace, arose from extensive discussion here. That language is:

He believes that evolution irreconcilably contradicts the second law of thermodynamics,[1] an opinion dismissed by the scientific community since the second law of thermodynamics only applies to isolated systems. MarkBernstein (talk) 23:56, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

A list of people within the scientific community that disagrees with your assessment is listed above in the "Thermodynamics" section. In seeking to follow Wikipedia's POV policy, I propose that the wording be changed to "...an opinion dismissed by most members of the scientific community."Wpete510 (talk) 01:09, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Is there a single member of this list who holds a tenure-track position in a department of physics at any Ivy League university, or at a university of similar standing, anywhere in the world? Are there two? Is there a physics course at any of these institutions that teaches that the second law of thermodynamics in incompatible with evolution? This is mere axe grinding, seeking to insert a fringe interpretation under the cloak of NPOV. MarkBernstein (talk) 01:17, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

To your questions, yes, several of the names mentioned are tenured professors at prestigious universities. Yes, at least some of them that include the idea that the second law of thermodynamics in incompatible with evolution (at least Dr. Saleska, Dr. Skiff, and Dr. Marks before he stopped teaching full-time). No, none of the names mentioned currently teach at an Ivy League school. However, there are more than 10 living Ph.D. graduates from Princeton University alone who have espoused their disbelief in evolution including Raymond Mjolsness (Physics), John Cannon (Organic Chemistry), William Purcell (Physical Chemistry), and Richard Mann (Physical Chemistry). Wpete510 (talk) 04:02, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

None of the universities in your list, with the possible exceptions of Iowa and Texas, are top research institutions. That some ex-scientists from Princeton disbelieve evolution is irrelevant; no Princeton physicist disbelieves evolution because oif it's imagined conflict with the 2nd law. Nor do the physicists you allege agree with Zacharias's; at least, no reliable sources have been proposed. MarkBernstein (talk) 04:27, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Wpete510, please note that pushing pseudoscience on Wikipedia, which arguing that evolution contradicts the laws of thermodynamics or pushing anti-evolution principles generally falls under, is prohibited under a number of policies and guidelines, including WP:FRINGE. Please desist, or else you may be subject to sanctions under Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience#Discretionary sanctions. NW (Talk) 07:35, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Thermodynamics[edit]

TheGreatIncognito, apparently a single-purpose account or perhaps a sock, has repeatedly removed long-standing consensus language regarding the subject's views of the second law of thermodynamics. This language has been extensively discussed in this page and its archives, and has been retained in various forms for years. Many sound reasons for this brief disclaimer may be adduced, and many have been adduced above, If we must call this into question, let us remember BRT and discuss it here. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:18, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

For reference, the relevant portion of WP:FRINGE reads: "Articles which cover controversial, disputed, or discounted ideas in detail should document (with reliable sources) the current level of their acceptance among the relevant academic community. If proper attribution cannot be found among reliable sources of an idea's standing, it should be assumed that the idea has not received consideration or acceptance; ideas should not be portrayed as accepted unless such claims can be documented in reliable sources. However, a lack of consideration or acceptance does not necessarily imply rejection, either; ideas should not be portrayed as rejected or labeled with pejoratives such as pseudoscience unless such claims can be documented in reliable sources."

It would be easy, of course, to document that the subject's position has been rejected by the scientific community since it was popularized by pseudoscientific tracts in the 1960s. http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=441 , John W. Patterson, "Thermodynamics and Evolution," in Laurie R. Godfrey, ed., Scientists Confront Creationism, W. W. Norton, New York, 1983, pg. 99-116. We could, for example, enumerate every author used in every thermodynamics textbook assigned in Ivy League physics departments. This would not place the subject in a better light, I think, than the simple statement that the author's argument has won no support.

Alternatively, it might be kinder to the subject to remove any reference to his views on evolution. As I understand the subject's body of work, his opinions on evolution are not central. His biographer will eventually need to consider whether this particular stance is simply a blunder or a deliberate misstatement, but perhaps we tactfully should avert our eyes and pass over the matter in silence. MarkBernstein (talk)

I've file a WP/ANI notice at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/Incidents#Ravi_Zacharias . I believe there's an appropriate template for this, but can't seem to locate it; feel free to replace this notice with the correct one if you know how. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:44, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

TheGreatIncognito's additions are clearly out of place here. The subject's views on evolution are currently sourced to a primary source. In the absence of secondary discussion of his views I am indifferent as to their inclusion, but if secondary sources do discuss his views on evolution I believe they should be included. Let the sources tell us what to do here.— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 17:10, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Views on evolution; to include or not[edit]

It seems that Zacharias's views on evolution are not a huge part of his thought. There's a lot of primary sourcing for his idea that evolution fails to explain the existence of human morality, but in secondary discussions of his work this aspect is barely mentioned. Thus, as I said above, I'm indifferent as to whether the article includes the material at all.— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 17:23, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Little or no support[edit]

Regarding this diff. It's uncited either way whether it's received "little support" or "no support." I don't see the harm in the change that TheGreatIncognito is proposing here. Although I have no doubt that it's possible to find any number of scientists who don't support the view, I do doubt that it's possible to find a reliable source which states explicitly that the view has received "no support." If there is such a source, by all means, let's say "no." If there's a source that says "little," let's say that. In the absence of a secondary source which explicitly says how little, if any, support there is, I think that "little" is a better option.— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 20:02, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

"Little" is misleading; it implies that there is some debate in the scientific community. There is none, just as there is no support for the existence of perpetual motion machines or the efficacy of astrology. Secondary sources indicating this include every thermodynamics textbook used at respectable institutions, none of which indicates that evolution is incompatible with the second law of thermodynamics.
One alternative would be a sentence indicating that, in this passage, Zacharias made a common blunder and was either incredibly sloppy in his research (refutations of this myth are readily found) or was intentionally mendacious. I don't think that's preferable, but it is better than using the encyclopedia to suggest that this falsehood has any credence whatsoever.
Another alternative would be to marshall a list of twenty or thirty sources that contradict Zacharias's interpretation. A single source would be inadequate, of course, because it would suggest the matter was controversial. That would, I think, give undue weight to the matter, but it is better than using wikipedia as a platform for the promotion of pseudoscience.
A fourth alternative, which you suggest above, is to delete the entire passage. But our friends the creationists will insist on restoring it, in order to marshall more apparent support and to insert the suggestion that some scientist somewhere thinks this argument is sound. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:21, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, we can't enumerate thermodynamics textbooks in support of using the word "no," because that would be original research. The same with marshalling lists of sources. I am certain that we can't state that there's "no" support unless we have a source that says that there's no support. I don't want to say that he was sloppy in his thinking without a source stating that. The problem is that even though there's a lot of discussion of his views on various things in the secondary sources, no one seems to care much what he thinks about evolution. He's just not a major creationist. Perhaps I'll take it out and see what happens.— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 22:36, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm sensitive to the OR problem and not opposed to simply passing over the issue in silence. A reasonable resolution....though I doubt it will hold. MarkBernstein (talk) 02:06, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Views on homosexuality sourced to YouTube video of him talking about it[edit]

CurtisNaito, I know that primary sources are "allowed," but this would be a case where they're not sufficient given that this is a living person and homosexuality is a hot-button issue, so we wouldn't want our interpretation of his video to be attributed to him. That being said, I have no objection to the material being in there if it can be sourced reliably. If you do have secondary sources, it would be better to drop the youtube source altogether. If you don't, the youtube source isn't sufficient and the material should go.— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 18:45, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Not to mention the fact that there's almost certainly no such thing as "straightforward, descriptive statements of facts" when it comes to summarizing someone's views on homosexuality in a WP:BLP. Just sayin'...— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 18:49, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

I already added a secondary source when I reposted the relevant material. Even so, I recommend we keep the additional primary source because I think it would be reasonable to have one source on this issue in his own words in addition to one in other people's words. Without the additional primary source we are leaving it to other people exclusively to represent the point of view on this matter which Zacharias has himself spoken and written about copiously. Note also that this article is already full of primary sources to Zacharias' own writings and yet that didn't stop it from getting good article status.CurtisNaito (talk) 18:54, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Your secondary source doesn't support the statement cited to it. It says: During the question and answer session, one audience member asked Zacharias about his opinion on homosexuality. Zacharias did not give a direct answer. “I am not your judge, God is your judge,” he said. In his books, Zacharias says that he does not support homosexuality. That's not even close to the material in the article it's supposed to support, which is Zacharias also believes that in Christianity homosexual acts are an aberration and violation of human sexuality and that though some people may have a homosexual disposition, they are not justified in expressing that disposition.. I have no objection to leaving a link to the YouTube video in the article, but I think it should go in the external links section, since any interpretation editors here might make from it regarding his views on homosexuality, unless they are directly quoted, are likely to fall afoul of our BLP policy. Would you like to try to rewrite the material to conform to the secondary source or should I have a go at it? Also, the GA stuff is a red herring.— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 19:03, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
All the quoted material comes directly from the primary source. The secondary source is there to give indication that his views on this matter as expressed in the primary source are notable outside of it. One of the protestors cited in that secondary source article directly quotes parts of the statement that Zacharias made in the primary source. I truly don't understand what reason you might have to change the wording of the text, though I suppose if you insist we could just change it to something like "Zacharias is a strong opponent of homosexuality." I had thought that just this statement was fairly undescriptive of a matter Zacharias has said so much on, but if you want to keep it short then at least this statement could be equally confirmed by both sources.CurtisNaito (talk) 19:11, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
There's no quoted material in there now. If some of that stuff is a direct quote from the YouTube video it should have quote marks around it. That would solve all my problems with the material. If it doesn't have quote marks around it and the only two sources are the video and a secondary source that doesn't support it, it looks like we're interpreting the video and explaining it in the voice of the encyclopedia. That's bad. Maybe you can just put quote marks around the parts that come straight from the video?— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 19:15, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Excellent. Thanks for your work. How this mess ever made GA will remain a mystery to me... but what do I know?— alf laylah wa laylah (talk) 19:36, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Zacharias, Ravi (2004). The Real Face of Atheism. Baker Books. pp. 45–47. ISBN 0-8010-6511-9.