User talk:Vesal

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Definition tagged as a mathematics article[edit]

Hi, Definition was recently tagged as a mathematics article with this comment:

  • "Article needs a section on definitions in mathematics!"

There is a section for comments at Talk:Definition#definitions_in_mathematics. --Jtir 16:11, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

NSS[edit]

Hi Vesal, thanks for your comment. I just added one more ref for that sentence, where Robert Shapiro states that it has driven 1,000 companies into the ground. I'm not sure if it was other parts of the sentence that you wanted to source, though. As to how strict the sourcing needs to be, I might slightly disagree; I'm honestly not sure about the standards for clarifying which parts of a sentence are supported by a cite that's placed on the end, but I suppose I at least wouldn't recommend someone assume a source supports everything in the sentence.... I believe in some cases citations in the intro are even avoided, I presume since the intro features general statements that should be discussed and sourced more specifically below, and so maybe extensive cites in the lead go against that idea. That may be unavoidable by now, but it was basically where I was coming from. Regards, Mackan79 (talk)

Seems reasonable; will check your response on the page. Vesal (talk) 08:54, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Spoilers[edit]

Some potential minor tweaks notwithstanding, I fully agree with your edit here. Everyme 09:58, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Religion mix up[edit]

Thanks. Malcolm Schosha (talk) 14:14, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Physics and Freewill[edit]

Hey Vesal, I added to the discussion on Freewill in the physics redux section on Bohmian mechanics. I'll read more about what Bohm has to say :). My father used Bohm's book in college, so I have that to read here. He said that it was a very good quantum mechanics book in general. Should be interesting. Thanks for pointing that out. (WraithM (talk) 07:48, 11 November 2008 (UTC))

Discussion of topic ban[edit]

Since you contributed to the ANI discussion that led to this, you may wish to contribute to the topic ban discussion here: Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Proposed_topic_ban:_User:Pcarbonn_from_Cold_fusion_and_related_articles. Regards, SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 21:20, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Cold fusion[edit]

An Arbitration case in which you commented has been opened, and is located here. Please add any evidence you may wish the Arbitrators to consider to the evidence sub-page, Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Cold fusion/Evidence. Please submit your evidence within one week, if possible. You may also contribute to the case on the workshop sub-page, Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Cold fusion/Workshop.

On behalf of the Arbitration Committee, Tznkai (talk) 16:06, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

here's what underlies the thing[edit]

you reverted me. I guess you were right to. here's the question I need to ask. It regards, one, (oddly?) the content of the tags we put on pages like "need-concensus" and "disputed". esp. "disputed" in this case. and two, the content of the articles. what does it mean to say the factual accuracy of a philosophy article is disputed? does that mean it's more open to further abuse or less when it has that status? i think somebody put some nice citations in and it passed somebody's muster. I don't know if the articles improved. I don't know if it was messed up to begin with.

oops. looks like the tags are gone now. do you think that's justified? do you think that those tags, when first added, were added properly? aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, skip it. thanks anyway. 01:11, 10 June 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Headlikeawhole (talkcontribs)

oops. HeadsCanBeLargelyAkin2Wholes 01:20, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

rambling as incivility[edit]

Hi, thanks for your suggestion; however, I think some of the contributors on the talk page may not think it's wise to add. Would you mind raising it below the blue box, which is still under discussion as a proper codification of the elements of incivility? I'm soon to tweak the blue-box text to try to integrate a few issues raised by others. Your feedback would be appreciated. Tony (talk) 15:12, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Back to the proposal to recodify civility[edit]

Vesal, please consider revisiting and commenting on the remaining issues. Tony (talk) 02:02, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

An article you commented on in the past is at AfD[edit]

I noticed that you commented in a past AfD discussion of the article Nicholas Beale. After being deleted then, it has been reposted and is now back at AfD again, so you might be interested in commenting again (but you are under no obligation to). Thank you, rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 22:02, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

WP:AUTHOR[edit]

Sorry, I hadn't noticed your post below there; thanks for pointing it out. I've left you a response there.

As for Beale, I didn't mean to suggest that you have an interest in him so I apologize if it came off that way. (In fact, if I remember correctly, didn't you also vote delete?) I had just been under the impression that you were making the edit solely because he had suggested it—an incorrect assumption, I see now. Apologies, rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 13:12, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

CMT poll[edit]

I'd like to encourage you to change your vote on the Christ myth theory page. While it's encouraging to see outside voices recognize the topic is fringe, there are a number of high-quality sources that call it pseudo-scholarship and make some unflattering comparisons. Here are a few:

  • "The pseudoscholarship of the early twentieth century calling in question the historical reality of Jesus was an ingenuous attempt to argue a preconceived position."
Gerard Stephen Sloyan [professorships at the Catholic University of America, Temple University, and guest lecturer at Georgetown University], The Crucifixion of Jesus: History, Myth, Faith (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995) p. 9
  • "An extreme instance of pseudo-history of this kind is the “explanation” of the whole story of Jesus as a myth."
Emil Brunner [professorships at the University of Zurich and Princeton Theological Seminary], The Mediator: A Study of the Central Doctrine of the Christian Faith, Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2002, p. 164
  • "While we do not have the fullness of biographical detail and the wealth of firsthand accounts that are available for recent public figures, such as Winston Churchill or Mother Teresa, we nonetheless have much more data on Jesus than we do for such ancient figures as Alexander the Great... Along with the scholarly and popular works, there is a good deal of pseudoscholarship on Jesus that finds its way into print. During the last two centuries more than a hundred books and articles have denied the historical existence of Jesus. Today innumerable websites carry the same message... Most scholars regard the arguments for Jesus' non-existence as unworthy of any response—on a par with claims that the Jewish Holocaust never occurred or that the Apollo moon landing took place in a Hollywood studio."
Michael James McClymond [professorship at Saint Louis University], Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004, pp. 8 & 23–24
  • "A phone call from the BBC’s flagship Today programme: would I go on air on Good Friday morning to debate with the aurthors of a new book, The Jesus Mysteries? The book claims (or so they told me) that everything in the Gospels reflects, because it was in fact borrowed from, much older pagan myths; that Jesus never existed; that the early church knew it was propagating a new version of an old myth, and that the developed church covered this up in the interests of its own power and control. The producer was friendly, and took my point when I said that this was like asking a professional astronomer to debate with the authors of a book claiming the moon was made of green cheese."
N. T. Wright [professorships at McGill University & Oxford University], "Jesus' Self Understanding", in Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, Gerald O’Collins, The Incarnation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) p. 48

It also might be helpful to know that more living professors (active or retired) deny the holocaust than deny the existence of Jesus. Eugene (talk) 20:42, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

CMT definition[edit]

In case you've already unwatched it, I've asked for clarification of what I think is an extremely apposite point. Anthony (talk) 13:04, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Hi Vesal, can you point me to roughly where in the very big Constantin Brunner he blames the rise of anti-semitism on the CMT? Anthony (talk) 15:39, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Hi Vesal, just so I don't look oversensitive and pathologically stubborn, I should point out that I didn't arc up at Verbal's first accusation of me "misleading", which, though somewhat aggressive, was the product of an error on his part. This blew up after I had made it patent, with diffs, that he was mistaken and he continued to call me that. I know it was petty, but it was insulting, and I've seen him do it to others many many times and, as Mr Adler said at my ANI, always get away with it. I believe it is that kind of low-level humiliation that makes editing controversial articles so difficult for reasonable editors, and thought I'd explore what happens when you call it. Apparently, not much! Anthony (talk) 09:45, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Reply from Vejlefjord[edit]

Vesal, a belated thanks for your 10 April 2010 encouraging note re my first Wikipedia try with “Theodicy and the Bible.” Your note and Nageh’s specific points motivated me to do a major rewriting that is posted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Vejlefjord with the title “Major rewriting of ‘Theodicy and the Bible’.” Would you be so kind as to look at the rewrite and tell me does it, in your opinion, to use your phrase, “comply with Wikipedia standards”? Thanks, Vejlefjord Vejlefjord (talk) 02:20, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Vesal and Nageh re your posts on User talk:Nageh which I appreciate. I’ll try to do better and get a response to Vesal’s edit ASAP — his edits evoked more issues than he probably expected. You both seem to be busy, so if either of you will point out specific changes you think needed, I will work on them (or tell you if I have questions them). I know the article no longer belongs to me, but using theological language appropriately can be difficult, and it may be that, after a lifetime working at it, I am better equipped to do rewriting. Vejlefjord (talk) 22:55, 30 August 2010 (UTC)


Hi Vesal. Your 30 August suggestion that I “expand the lead, so that it summarizes the article adequately” is precisely what I proposed after a lengthy recital of questions your rewriting raised. So I’ll happily try to do what you suggest. Also, I know the article will be subject to edit. I just don’t want it to be deleted or userfied at the outset because of something I should have done that I could have done if I had known that I should have done it. You mention what I “want.” What I want is to offer Wikipedia an article that is both intellectually sound and in conformity to Wikipedia rules.

I wrote the following lengthy response to your edit partly for my learning and partly because I wanted my questions about what you did to be based on something more than my ideas. Though probably no longer needed, I am sending it on to you because I think that at least some of it will be of interest to you.




To Vesal re editing lead. Thanks gain for investing your time in editing my rewrite of “Theodicy and the Bible”: an investment that must be beyond your Wikipedia administrative duties.

Your editing evoked several questions that partly accounts for the length of my response. The other part of what follows is my reflection on how I see the task of writing such an article in a way that maintains intellectual integrity and also fulfills Wikipedia rules.

Here are my questions about your revised lead.

You replaced my opening American Heritage Dictionary definition of theodicy with an oddly-worded definition because you say (i) that dictionary definitions “annoy” you and (ii) that they “signal *essay*, rather than a review of secondary literature.” I suppose you used the link to Theodicy for the citation required by Wikipedia’s rules. But Theodicy is now only one page about (i) the origin of the word, (ii) an encyclopedia definition, (iii) three dictionary definitions including the one I had used, (iv) a disputed, but unresolved, statement, and (v) a long quote from The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913) article about “Theodicy” with another definition from a philosophical perspective — very different than my article’s biblical and theological perspective.

(a) I don’t understand why the “Theodicy” article with its many dictionary definitions does not annoy you.

(b) I don’t understand why dictionary definitions annoy you. WP:LEAD’s section “Opening paragraph” says that “the first paragraph should define the topic....” The word “define” is linked to WP-DICTIONARY which says that “encyclopedia articles should begin with a good definition and description of one topic or a few highly related topics” (condensed quote). Also sub-section “Format of the first sentence” says that “most commonly, the article's subject is stated as early as possible in the first sentence, and placed in boldface.” I had seen articles that conformed to these rules, so I thought I had followed the rules on these things. That’s why I don’t understand the grounds of your annoyance.

(c) I don’t understand why you say that “maybe more general sections should be in the theodicy article.” Except for the definitions, the former content of Theodicy has been moved to the Problem of Evil whose Discussion/talk beginning in 2003 has raised dozens of problematic issues without resolution until the discussions ended in 2008 (a prevalent pattern).

(d) I don’t understand why, in your mind, dictionary definitions “signal *essay*, rather than a review of secondary literature.” Dictionaries are very much secondary literature. In fact, the way they are written parallels Wikipedia rules for articles. Dictionary staffs survey how a word is used by “experts” such as in magazines, journals, and books. Where there is a consensus, there is only definition; where the “experts” use the words in various ways the dictionary gives various definitions.

(e) I don’t understand why you tie the article to the “philosophy of religion” and “Western philosophy.” Theodicy is, of course, a topic often addressed in philosophy, but a philosophical theodicy is fundamentally different than a biblically-based theological theodicy. One definition of philosophical theology is “studying theological topics largely without use of the Bible, but using the tools and methods of philosophical reasoning and what can be known about God from observing the universe” (Grudem). In contrast, a biblically-based (systematic) theology’s “focus is on the collection and then the summary of the teaching of all the biblical passages on a particular subject” (Grudem). Also see the last sentence in the lead to Wikipedia article “Problem of evil.” The interactions between philosophy and theology are varied, complex, and the subject of books. My question is simply that, given the fundamental difference between the two disciplines and given the biblical grounding of my article, I don’t understand your rationale for tying the article to the “philosophy of religion.” I may have mislead you by identifying Griffin as a “philosopher-theologian”— true but irrelevant and it will be deleted.

(f) You included in your overview of topics “such as justifications rooted in Christ's suffering.” This topic was in the old “Userfied” version, but it is not in the “rewrite” version. What version are you commenting on?

(g) WP:LEAD “in a nutshell” says that “the lead should define the topic and summarize the body of the article with appropriate weight.” I get the need for this in my lead and I will be glad to work on it. But before spending more time (at my age I don’t have much more to spend) on Wikipedia, would you please say a word about the whole “rewrite” article. I don’t want to waste time on it if the “rewrite” article is still a candidate for deletion or userfication. I know that in the Wikipedia world the article will always be subject to revision or even to nomination for deletion.

I appreciate your saying about the article (the rewrite version?), “I think the article has potential and it would be a shame if it couldn't be used.” That encourages me to continue working on it. I know from my student days and from my teaching days that using theological language appropriately can be difficult (as in your rewrite of the lead), so it may be that, after a lifetime working at it, I am better equipped to do rewriting. If given specific places that need editing, I will be glad to work at it (or raise questions if I don’t understand the rationale for change).

In view of the above, my current thinking about the lead is to edit the original version by (a) deleting “philosopher-theologian” and (b) write “an overview of the entire article.” OK?

Skip what follows if you like, but I thought you might be interested in the mind of a beginning contributor.

One reason I have delayed responding is that I did some reading in “Wikipedia:About” to ascertain how much volunteer time I wanted to invest in it. I also did more reading in the volumes about how to write in Wikipedia style and format. That led to reflecting on how I see the task of writing such an article in a way that maintains intellectual integrity and also fulfills Wikipedia rules. Wikipedia rules and the many discussions (arguments and applications) thereof, remind me of the volumes written in Rabbinic Judaism interpreting and applying biblical laws: many words but few resolutions.

Given the myriad rules, I came to perceive my task like this: Somewhere in Wikipedia there is an admonition against “personal essays that state your particular feelings about a topic (rather than the consensus of experts).” I tried to heed this admonition. I put my own positions out of mind and tried for a factual article. Unlike many topics, in my article the only facts are what experts say about the topics. So I used what I think represents a fair cross-section of experts that I had read or that I read anew for the article. But stating a “consensus of experts” was impossible because there is no over-all consensus,

If I had read and cited only a few experts who agree with each other, I could find consensus. But that would not have been a fair cross-section and it would presented a distorted picture. The fact is that there is virtually no over-all consensus about my article’s topics: no over-all consensus about which version of the Bible should be used, no over-all consensus about the authority and interpretation of the Bible, no over-all consensus about the validity of any particular theodicy or even the validity of the theodic enterprise. In fact, I find little over-all consensus about anything in the whole field of religion, even if limited to the western Judeo-Christian tradition. So I tried to cut through thousands of pages by a cross-section of experts dealing with demanding subjects and present a factual picture of differing expert positions as simply as I could without losing intellectual integrity by distorted simplification.

I have taught and written on the subject of theodicy and the Bible, but I tried to leave my thinking out of the article. Therefore, I worked at using the quoted words of experts as much as possible, always with precise citations. Quotations are not required by Wikipedia, but not even the fairest paraphrase cannot precisely replicate the expert’s thoughts because the expert’s words have been filtered through the paraphraser’s brain and because different words carry different connotations. So I follow the University of Pittsburgh guidelines re “When do you QUOTE instead of paraphrasing?” one of which is when “You want to be accurate; a paraphrase will distort the meaning of the original.” (http://www.englishlit.pitt.edu/lit_plagiarism.html) This style of writing is very different than the way the “Problem of evil” article is written. E.g., the section on “Augustinian Theodicy” is mostly the editor’s summary without citation. Also, the summary seems to conflate and confuse two of the four positions that Augustine held at different times (if I remember correctly). Vejlefjord (talk) 21:35, 31 August 2010 (UTC)


Vesal, if I read you correctly, you have given up on trying to make me an OK Wikipedia editor/writer. Thanks for giving it a try and all the best. Vejlefjord Vejlefjord (talk) 23:50, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the good news. See my reply on Nageh’s talk. Vejlefjord (talk) 22:11, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

An RfC on 'standard argument against free will'[edit]

You originated the redirect from standard argument against free will to dilemma of determinism in 2011. An RfC to reconsider this approach might interest you. Your comment at the time was that this terminology was peculiar to Doyle, but this situation may have changed a bit, and in any case, a treatment of the syllogism itself is not critically dependent upon what it is called. Please consider commenting upon this matter. Brews ohare (talk) 16:20, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Request for comment on moral responsibility[edit]

You may be interested to comment upon this RfC about moral responsibility. Brews ohare (talk) 22:00, 23 February 2014 (UTC)