Talk:Rodney Stark

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Alan Wolfe described Statk's The Victory of Reason as "the worst book by a social scientist I have ever read". The New Republic 16 Jan 2006 p.32

I think that Lofland and Stark tried to hide the identity of the group [1] I believe that they referred to a subgroup of the then not unified Unification Church. Andries 22:18, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

This article needs a criticism section. I just did a Google search and he has critics. It's a lot of work summarizing it thoughYou very nice place 08:15, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Mr Stark has offered many good ideas by intriducing sociological terms and methods to teh study of religion. Unfortunately the results and conclusions he draws, be it on the Growth of Christianity or the Secualarization of Society, are usually very wrong. Why? Because he is a covert religionist, and ultimatley a Christian Fundamentalist opposed to Darwin and evolution. As such his research always tries to prove that Religion is 'good', that it is flourishing even today in teh Secualred West, and ultiamtely, that Christinity is the best of the whole lot. For a more honest view of what he believes, see his article Fact, Fable and Darwin at, and now in the Wikipedia entry as a reference. This article appears in his own own CV. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:07, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't agree. Take his American Piety, for example. He throughoughly demonstrates that orthodoxy is negatively correlated with ethicalism, which I do not believe is a conclusion which a religionist would try to induce in his books. I have added the book to his bibliography as it is treated (at least where I'm studying) as a significant work of the sociology of religion. The definition is even paraphrased in depth by Furseth&Repstad in their introduction to the sociology of religion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Melpomenon (talkcontribs) 20:34, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Despite the description of him as a religious fundamentalist, in a recent interview he indicated that he was brought up as a Lutheran but is not sure of his faith but wishes he were.Alloco1 23:43, 27 October 2007 (UTC)


Many of the terms--"Fundamentalist" and "Attack" being two of the more striking--that I just removed from the article have no place in an NPOV description of a scholar's life and work--outside, perhaps, a direct quote. Furthermore, it's somewhat awkward to say what someone "said" in a written article, or speaking to what someone "believes" absent a direct first person quote on the topic. Jclemens (talk) 23:00, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

JClemens- As to the term fundamentalist being wrong when describing Stark's views on evolution, this is not true. Just look at the Wikipedia listing for creationism which clearly states: creationism is closely related with religious fundamentalists. In any case I have edited the phrase somewhat and added a quote and a reference. Juanholanda (talk) 22:19, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
If he calls himself a fundamentalist, that's one thing. If one of us conclude that he's a fundamentalist based on his criticisms of mandated Darwinian education, that's something else entirely. I'm not disputing that both terms accurately apply to some folks, but they're not one in the same. Please be especially careful when using potentially pejorative terms like fundamentalist--it's easier and more NPOV to describe what he's written, and let the readers judge the man's writings on their own merits. I will be going through and re-doing several of my NPOV cleanups, since all of that got reverted based on the copyright infringement I pointed out. (sigh) At any rate, if you believe any of my NPOV cleanups to be deleting supportable, documented facts, feel free to adjust them appropriately. Jclemens (talk) 06:56, 28 December 2007 (UTC)


The first paragraph of the article as it stands now appears to be lifted from without attribution. I see no tag on that page allowing for such use, so I'm going to at least add that as a reference. Jclemens (talk) 19:58, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

I have deleted revisions of the article since that material was added. Copying/pasting material from copyrighted sources is NOT acceptable. In the future, if you notice it, please either log the problem at Wikipedia:Copyright problems or revert to the last non-infringing version and ask an admin to wipe the history. --B (talk) 20:58, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I'd never run across something like that before--I'll handle it per the instructions in the future. I was reticent to revert all the way back because it seemed to have been entrenched in the article for so long and there were so many subsequent edits. I was (perhaps foolishly) hoping a less draconian solution would present itself. Jclemens (talk) 07:02, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

The large first paragraph is gone. Unclear why or when as I can not see it in the history. Was this the copyrighted page? I no longer see it in history to check it myself. (talk)

Juanholanda, I'm sorry about that. Please see An IP user had copied and pasted this text into the article and so the history from that point had to be wiped. Yes, that was the first paragraph. As for the rest, I don't know enough about this guy to offer much of a comment. But please be sure that anything you write is actually based on what the source says, not your own conclusions that you draw. In other words, if he self-identifies as a creationist and the sources call him a creationist, don't call him a fundamentalist or any other term because to call him that would be original research. Because this is a biography of a living person, it is tightly enforced that everything, particularly that which is negative, needs to be well-sourced or removed. --B (talk) 21:55, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
B. Thanks. I did not add that part myself. I am just curious why it does not even appear in the history... Curiosity is my middle nameJuanholanda (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 22:03, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
When revisions are deleted, they no longer appear in the history. --B (talk) 22:15, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
By the way, if you type four tildes - ~~~~ - it will automatically sign for you. --B (talk) 22:16, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks!!! Juanholanda (talk) 22:18, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Given the lack of sources (except for 1 of his books on evolution!), this guy does not seem to be an eminent scholar. I don't think this guy meets the notability guideline (if so, this article needs a lot of work).Jason (talk) 14:35, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Do not confuse inline cited sources with his body of work. Follow the link to his publications list if you want to take a closer look at him. So, yes, the article needs work. Jclemens (talk) 15:25, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

To Do[edit]

Now that I've redone a bunch of the work that was unfortunately but necessarily clobbered due to the copyrighted text insertion, it's clear to me we need a bit of a reorganization. To that end, I propose that 1) the issues about Stark's personal views be moved into their own section, and 2) More explanation of his recent arguments be made. In support of 2, he's gotten to be a rather prolific author in the past half-decade, and has written a number of thought provoking things which could be appropriately summarized here, as his work on Christianity from the mid-90's is. Right now, the article seems to give too much weight to his own personal views rather than his professional work; adding more about his professional work seems the most productive way to remedy that. Comments? Jclemens (talk) 08:45, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Too much focus on his views on evolution[edit]

This article focuses too much on his views on evolution. He is a notable sociologist of reliigion, not a biologist or archeologist. When reading the article I get the feeling that it has become the victim of the war between Wikipedia creationists and evolutionists. Andries (talk) 05:42, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

I quite agree. It's better than it was before I edited them for NPOV, but I haven't had time to include other bits of his work. Jclemens (talk) 23:29, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

I quite disagree: If one scholar is writing about religion, it is very relevant to know that he or she is against evolution. Only if one knows that the scholar has religous fundamentalist views, as creeationism undoubtedly is, will readers understand why his or her books are written the way they are. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:37, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Speaking of that, is The American Enterprise (the venue cited) the same as American Enterprise Institute? Based on a secondary source, the URL was but that whole site is down right now. Tijfo098 (talk) 15:00, 10 November 2010 (UTC) gives American Enterprise Institute as owner of the domain. Tijfo098 (talk) 15:14, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Rather than keeping separate articles for all of Stark's notable books, I'd rather merge The Rise of Christianity into this article. Why?

  • Stark's arguments, while centered in that book, appear in other works as well.
  • Adding notable theories that Stark has advanced seems to be the most encyclopedic way to expand this asrticle.
  • I'd rather see one large comprehensive page than a bunch of overlapping little pages. Jclemens (talk) 14:00, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
    • True, but the problem is that he is not famous just for this book. His earlier work is more influential. Andries (talk) 17:37, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
    • Yes, which is why I'd rather his article eventually cover each of his notable theories--not just this one, but this is the only one that has its (de facto) own article. Think of this as a proposal for a starting point, not an end state. Plus, while his earlier work may be more influential, this book obtained the most notable award (Pulitzer) that he's won to date. It makes his notability obvious to any educated layman, and we just had another editor comment that his notability was non-obvious from the article as it stands. Jclemens (talk) 02:03, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Stark has written many books. His book on Christianity is but one of them. They should all be merged, or none. This is especially so becasue his book on the rise of Chrostinity may have won a pulitzer prize, but is not influential among early chrsitianity scholars adn indeed has many critics who accuse him of ending this book as 'theology '-see for example the review of his book by the leaing roman historian Michael Grant. Stark's 'sociological' theories with Bainbridge, however, are: growth of sects via social networks, or the Mormon expnential growth numbers. It is these tehories that should be in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:42, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

^^Insane Comment^^ No rational thinking person would ever argue that a Pulitzer-Prize winning should not be included in an encyclopedic entry about its author. Ergo,'s comment is that of a crackpot, an utter nut. -- (talk) 03:33, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

A couple of book article I looked at are merely stubs. I support a merge, only because this article looks silly with major chunks of his work missing. If someone is willing to expand the articles on his books with reception etc., by all means, spin them separately and use a {{main}} to point to them. Tijfo098 (talk) 15:02, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Proposed addition[edit]

"Mr. Stark is an open enemy of Evolutionary Theory, (see below) and as such his views on all subjects must be interpreted with his religionist position in mind."

Juanholanda added that 3x, and I removed it 3x as NPOV. Really, though, there's more to it than just that:

  1. What is "an open enemy of Evolutionary Theory?" Has a WP:RS called Stark this, or is that WP:OR? Remember, even analysis that an editor finds intuitive can be original research. It's not any of our place to label Stark an enemy of anything, but if a reliable source does, we can and should report that.
  2. Is it the place of an encyclopedia to tell the reader how to interpret an author? No. The article quotes Stark's own words to illustrate his position on evolution, as it should, in true WP:NPOV fashion. Anything beyond that should be left to the reader. Jclemens (talk) 22:57, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree 100% It's like automatically assuming an atheist/agnostic is a complete supporter of evolution (I've known at least one athiest that called evolution "rubbish"). (talk) 19:32, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

I've updated the part on Stark's opinion about Evolution from his article, since it seems to have been quote mined to make it sound like he was a creationist. In the article he doesn't say that creationism is right or even that Evolution is wrong. He is complaining that any criticism by anyone -- even evolutionists -- is portrayed as an attack on science. The updates: 1. Removed the comment that he "criticized Darwin" in the article -- he isn't critical of Darwin per se 2. Removed the second quote about "creationist caricatures" -- this doesn't reflect his views on evolution or creation 3. Added a comment to represent the thrust of his article -- how criticisms of evolution (even by evolutionists) are portrayed as "science and religion".

The updates have been made to reflect the contents of the article being referred to. GDon (talk) 07:25, 29 November 2009 (UTC) Gdon