Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard

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This page is for requesting input on possible fringe theories. Post here to seek advice on whether a particular topic is fringe or mainstream, or whether undue weight is being given to fringe theories.
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  • The purpose of this board is not to remove any mention of fringe theories, but rather to ensure that neutrality is maintained.
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  • To aid in promoting constructive dialogue with advocates of a fringe theory, {{talk fringe|fringe theory name}} may be added to the top of the corresponding talk page.
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List of participants in the creation–evolution controversy[edit]

I've raised pov issues there about the length and content of some of the entries on this list, as well as the inclusion of some with no articles. I think it should be more like List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming. The lengthier entries are mainly those of those who oppose evolution and such. Dougweller (talk) 08:01, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Just the term "creation-evolution controversy" makes me a bit uncomfortable, TBH. I know we have other articles like MMR vaccine controversy, but in the specific case of evolution VS creationism, the term "controversy" is a classic creationist weasel word ("Teach the Controversy" etc) used to imply scientific controversy. Kolbasz (talk) 14:42, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
"debate" would be a more neutral term. I agree there is no "controversy". Bhny (talk) 15:49, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I'm convinced that "debate" is any different or better than "controversy". Both feel like they are giving too much weight to creationists. Beyond the fact that anything in science is technically up for debate, by mainstream standards, the debate between evolution and creationism happened over a hundred years ago, and the creationists lost. I think if anything I slightly prefer the "controversy" wording, since creationism is wrapped up in various legitimate political controversies about what will be taught to children in public schools and whether you can opt your children out of learning about evolution. I'm not even sure this is a significant controversy on the scale of the US, much less the whole English-speaking world, but at least there's a case to be made there. If this article is to be simply renamed, maybe we should consider dropping "evolution" and leaving it as "creationism controversy" or something of that nature, to indicate that it is very much a one-sided situation.0x0077BE [talk/contrib] 17:56, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
@Bhny: @0x0077BE: I would support "dispute". Gregkaye 15:34, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

There is a false dichotomy inherent in the proposition. Most creationist scientists now seem to acknowledge that evolution by natural selection occurs but dispute the robustness of it. If anything the "dispute" is over whether there is irreducible complexity of single- cell organisms, whether barriers to speciation can be demonstrated, and whether the existence of a non-evolved and uniquely homo sapien "soul" can be demonstrated. It is error, I think, to conflate these disputes under a single heading, tho. DeistCosmos (talk) 20:16, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Talk:Historicity of Jesus, again...[edit]

I know this was posted on less than a week ago (I actually saw that post here and went over there to help out).

But there's an uncomfortable number of users (at least two) suggesting we remove phrases like "most scholars" and "most historians". The fact is that 99.999999% of scholars in the relevant fields (New Testament studies, Historical Jesus research, etc.) consider a guy named Jesus to have at least existed. The majority of historians of other fields (Celtic studies, modern China, late-Heian period Japan, etc., etc.) have not stated an opinion on whether Jesus existed.

It's my opinion that non-specialist opinions from those in unrelated fields should not be taken into account in an encyclopedia article, per WP:WEIGHT, WP:NPOV, etc. This means that 99.999999% of scholars do indeed allow us to use phrase like "most scholars".

Thoughts?

Hijiri 88 (やや) 13:47, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

The relevant field is *history* (ancient history to be precise), not biblical scholarship, so Hijiri's argument does not apply. In addition, we have many sources both inside and outside historical scholarship that impeach the methodological soundness and impartiality of Historical Jesus research. (References supplied on the talk page). It is wrong to misrepresent HJ scholars as historians, quite independently of whether their conclusions agree with those of actual historians. And as it happens we already have authoritative quotations from actual historians that say yes, historians in general believe in the historicity of Jesus and do not take the Christ Myth Theory seriously, so we don't need any pretend-historians to make that statement for them. The views of biblical scholars remain notable of course, and deserve to be quoted, I don't think anyone is disputing that. They should just not be represented in Wikipedia voice. As for the CMT, we have several reliable sources who take it seriously, so whether Hijiri likes it or not, it is going to remain part of the page. I might add that running off to a noticeboard without notifying the editors on the page in question is bad form. This kind of attempted POV censorship needs to be slapped down and slapped down hard. Martijn Meijering (talk) 20:46, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Terms like "most" or "few" or "some" are a bit weasel-y and feature in WP:WTA. The real trick is to explain without begging the question Template:Whom. We have a few rules such as WP:ITA and WP:YESPOV which may provide some helpful guidelines on how to go about explaining what essentially is uncontroversial (the proposal that there was never any person as Jesus is a fringe hypothesis that borders on a conspiracy theory in the Dan-Brown-ish sense). I think the fringe hypothesis is worthy of at least discussion on the historicity of Jesus page, but it should be couched as such without appeal to who believes what necessarily. If I get a chance, I may take a crack at the wording to see if I can get to a point where this is less problematic. jps (talk) 13:58, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I agree completely. In fact it seems like the article itself exists to discuss the fringe conspiracy theory. But pointing out "there is virtually no independent, non-Christian evidence of Jesus' existence" (something that is indisputably true, and "the Testimonium Flavianum is a late Christian interpolation and Tacitus didn't actually talk about the person Jesus", while still fringe, is not quite on the level of "Jesus never existed" and is treated seriously by a number of scholars) and then not pointing out that 99.999999% of reputable scholars find the evidence for Jesus' existence fully convincing, gives the wrong impression to readers. Don't you think that if we have a huge number of reliable sources from the best scholars in the field that all say "virtually all scholars hold this view" we shouldn't go mincing their words and saying "some scholars present X, Y and Z evidence for this view"? Hijiri 88 (やや) 14:18, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
WP:WEASEL only applies when we say "most scholars say..." without providing a source. The fact is most scholars assume Jesus existed. The argument that most of these scholars are Christian or are descended from Christians is irrelevant. They base their arguments on facts, not their religious beliefs. Furthermore, scholarship does not exist in isolation. If one branch of scholarship is considered to use improper methology then it is not accepted by other branches. For example, pseudoscientific literature, even if accepted by fellow researchers, is not considered science by mainstream scholarship.
The argument for Jesus'; existence is that since numerous people with first or second-hand knowledge of him wrote about him, it is likely that they were writing about an actual person rather than inventing someone they knew never existed. That does not mean of course that the details of his life were accurate, and legends about him probably were invented and incorporated into writings about him.
TFD (talk) 17:16, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
What seems to be going on (and I confess that it's being a bit hard to follow due to the sheer volume of words) is that there's an attempt being made to suppress we-can-cite-this-with-a-page-number passages from the likes of Bart Ehrman and others of really unquestionable authority to speak for the field when they say that pretty much everyone in the field accepts that there was a historical Jesus (in the sense of there being a real person). As far as I can tell nobody has presented any conflicting authority on this, so I see no problem with leaving those statements in (with their citations). I cannot but conclude that there is some severe viewpoint-pushing going on but with the torrent of responses it's hard to get a handle on exactly what the point is. Mangoe (talk) 18:32, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
One editor said it was driven by Zeitgeist: The Movie, which ties together the creation of Jesus and 9/11, TFD (talk) 22:59, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

THE ARTICLE TALK PAGE DEFINITELY NEEDS MORE EYES. We've got at least one user trying (desperately...) to include the claim that the resurrection is a widely-accepted historical fact, and at least two users trying to change "most historians" to "a significant minority of historians" because (get this!) "most of the world's trained historians have not published an opinion on the historicity of Jesus". So far everyone here appears to agree with me, but right now it feels like I'm fighting a losing battle on the talk page itself. Can I ask a related question? How do we deal with editors who look like their trolling, asking the same question over and over again even though the page already has an FAQ that answers their question? Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:57, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Problems: It is true that exceedingly few people not writing about religion and religious history discuss Jesus at all. Christian scholars, amazingly enough, tend to regard the Resurrection as pretty much fact (with only a few exceptions), and Islamic scholars tend to go straight to the Ascension. I would state that the majority of historians who accept the historical existence of Jesus suggest his "mortal remains" (i.e. evidence of an actual death sans Ascension) do not exist. Is there a problem with such a position? Collect (talk) 13:05, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
We'd need a source that says that. Also so as not to prop up one religious view over another we'd need to point out that we don't have the mortal remains for just about any other 1st-century Galilean peasants either. Either way, discussion of the resurrection belongs in the other article. And it's technically not the case that Christian scholars assume the resurrection as a fact. Christians, by definition, believe Jesus was raised from the dead, but Christians who are also historians are not allowed use the resurrection as a historical explanation for the empty tomb, sightings by the apostles, sightings by Paul, etc. The reason is that historians are not allowed resort to miraculous explanations. Dale Martin teaches New Testament studies in Yale, he is a member of a liturgically conservative Episcopalian church, he believes that Jesus was resurrected, but as a historian he accepts the basic rule of his field that miracles are not valid historical explanations, since by definition miracles are the least probable occurrence, and history is defined as what probably happened in the past.
Christians who state that the resurrection is a historical fact are perfectly entitled to say that, but when they say that they are not doing history; they are doing theology. And there are apparently plenty of Christians who have degrees in history, but not tenured teaching positions, who publish books that claim to be historical studies but are in fact Christian apologetics. That's why we WP:WEIGH our articles based on reputable tertiary sources like widely-used undergraduate textbooks.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 14:14, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
While it is true that there are myths that Jesus left behind no mortal remains similar to Mary, Elijah, Rama, or even perhaps Enoch, these somewhat popular mythological claims don't belong in any historicity article -- inasmuch as they are generally considered ahistorical (I suppose that can be noted as it is a feature of higher criticism, but that's rather incidental to the major questions of historicity which involve what verifiable information about the past can be gleaned from a mythological text). That's about as far as we really should go. To claim that the mortal remains of a human who lived don't exist is a rather extraordinary claim, and we would require somewhat extraordinary evidence to isolate this as a relevant historical statement. jps (talk) 15:44, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
The fact that his mortal remains have not been identified does not mean they do not exist. They may well exist. Like the man said, "Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we make loam—and why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer barrel?". Paul B (talk) 17:03, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
The fact that Bigfoot's mortal remains have not been identified does not mean he does not exist. He may well exist. Like the man said, "The other night upon the stair/I saw a man who wasn't there..." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 103.23.134.190 (talkcontribs) 03:22, 14 September 2014
About Bigfoot we say "Most scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot and consider it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax". I'd love to see the reaction if we had the equivalent sentence in Jesus. HiLo48 (talk) 03:29, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
What an absurd analogy. We don't have the mortal remains of almost any notable person from antiquity (unless they were Egyptian of course). Hence the reference to Alexander. No remains. Virtually all Roman emperors. No remains. Re ""Most scientists...", we don't say those about Jesus, because that's exactly not what most scholar think. They think the opposite. Paul B (talk) 16:00, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Earthing Therapy[edit]

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

This just popped up in the New Pages feed. Is this notable, or should it go straight to AfD? Kolbasz (talk) 22:33, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

There is a good example for why "indexed on PubMed" is necessary but not sufficient for being medically reliable. I have heard of this, and even heard of people selling devices based on the notion. Obviously the current article is completely unsuitable, but my gut says that a thorough search would turn up enough independent sourcing if someone is willing to wade through the Ground (electricity) confounders. A redirect to Electromagnetic therapy (alternative medicine) might work. - 2/0 (cont.) 22:58, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
I've heard of this before, but it seems all the commentary on it is either from fringe journals, new age websites/books, or skeptic blogs. Is that enough to write an article on the subject? Perhaps. jps (talk) 14:19, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Related to this is Stephen Sinatra and there is a section regarding "grounding" there. The following appear to be pop discussion in non-fringe sources: [1][2][3][4] Not sure about the reliability of Wikipedia purposes of ScienceBlogs.[5] - Location (talk) 16:26, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Just an observation: After looking at the article, I have no idea what this "therapy" even is. Is that intentional? Sławomir Biały (talk) 17:06, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
It's definitely been trimmed too much. An article that doesn't explain what it's about is useless. Kolbasz (talk) 13:51, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This looks ripe for AfD. The coverage is a single study with clear COI from a predatory publisher, an article in The Wall Street Journal, an article in Fox News Magazine and a Q&A by Andrew Weil. Not what I would consider substantial coverage to establish notability. - - MrBill3 (talk) 18:41, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Fringe theory[edit]

Actually, it would be more appropriate to file this at OR noticeboard, but since there are many fringe "experts/competents" following this board, their inputs will be valuable I guess. There seems no well established topic/concept of "fringe theory" in literature, other than wikipedia guideline WP:FRINGE. Neither other encyclopedias nor dictionaries have such entry in their databases. Google book search points either to a review (which means the book does not discuss such concept) or to wikipedia articles. The ones mentioning "fringe theory" seems as published after the birth of "fringe theory" topic/guideline/concept in wikipedia. Even encyclopedia.com does not have such an article. Per WP:TITLE, we/wikipedia should not manufacture topics/articles out of nothing, which would be either WP:OR or WP:SYNTH. If there is no source discussing such concept in a serious sense, then the most wise thing to do is to delete or rename the article pertaining to that concept. In addition to that, it would be better to rename WP:FRINGE guideline to "fringe views" or something similar, due to the scientific connotation of the term "theory". Logos (talk) 11:26, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

I tend to agree that fringe theory is WP:SYNTH. At the very least "theory" seems like it's not the correct word and we explain that in our guideline, in fact. jps (talk) 12:24, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
But, searching a little different brings more than thousand books. Despite the ones prior to 2000 prove might prove the existence of "fringe theory" concept before wikipedia, none of them seems non-trivial. Logos (talk) 16:55, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree, it should be nominated for deletion. TFD (talk) 20:02, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Nevertheless, this source might be a good start to find out who coined this term first. Logos (talk) 20:16, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't think so. We all know what a "fringe theory" means and might use it from time to time in polite conversation. That doesn't make it an encyclopedic topic. For comparison, look at this search for the term "foolhardy attempt". jps (talk) 12:13, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree with that, but if there is any recognised/established definition/description of "fringe theory" concept in "expert witnessing" area of legal systems, then this might be a grounds for inclusion. Logos (talk) 15:00, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
In US jurisprudence, the relevant standards to consider are the Frye standard and the Daubert standard, neither of which refer explicitly to "fringe theories". jps (talk) 16:56, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The article definitely needs work. Several of the citations are incomplete and additional citations are needed. I hope the article gets some much needed attention from the editors here. - - MrBill3 (talk) 18:47, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Fringe_theory 10 days is fair enough; noone seems hopeful about this article. Logos (talk) 15:23, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
  • "it would be better to rename WP:FRINGE guideline to "fringe views" or something similar, due to the scientific connotation of the term "theory"." That seems completely silly. It doesn't matter if an article exists on the topic or not in deciding whether to use the phrase as a term of art on wikipedia; the word doesn't have to satisfy the notability criteria of wikipedia for us to use it on wikipedia. I would be suprised if anyone even checked if it satisfied notability before using the phrase on wikipedia to describe subjects. What language we use does not depend on notability. Wikipedia has a certain amount of terminology we use, and fringe theory is one such example. We use the term more broadly than most sources do, because it's a term of art for use in wikipedia, Second Quantization (talk) 22:14, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
While posting I didn't think the two separate issues (one with fringe theory and the other with WP:FRINGE) I raised might be perceived as fully correlated/interrelated mistakenly, but it seems it might have been seen so. That is; deleting/renaming fringe theory would/should not have any consequence on WP:FRINGE. In fact, it was a little obvious from what I proposed as alternative: "fringe views" is not more notable than "fringe theories". Logos (talk) 23:50, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Dichotomous cosmology[edit]

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Dichotomous cosmology

Also look out for the author inserting this into other articles.

Yheyma (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)

E.g. [6]

jps (talk) 23:46, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

Yup - no evidence that this theory has received any commentary whatsoever - and published in Progress in Physics, which seems to specialise in fringe material. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:26, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Specialise indeed - it's their stated mission, see http://www.ptep-online.com/index_files/rights.html, their "Declaration of Academic Freedom". Begoontalk 07:32, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Landrace[edit]

Despite reliable sources already cited in the article, from the lead on down, that formal breeding of livestock to conform to pre-established standards reduces genepools and introduces genetic risks and problems, one editor keeps insisting on inserting their original research and PoV that only conformation breeding for show purposes, not other purposes, can lead to genetic problems. (One of many such edits, and see the contorted reasoning at Talk:Landrace#Conformation/show breeding). As if genes magically know why they're being selected for, and are going to do bad things if judges and blue ribbons are involved. On the article's talk page, the POV-pusher goes on at some length about "designer breeding" and "weird" breeding, whatever that means, which have nothing to do with the article at all, and certainly nothing to do with the reliably sourced problems associated with breeding to defined standards (at all, not just for show) that the article is talking about as a general matter. Three other editors' source-based views are being reverted by this one, and it's already gone to the 3RR point. The idea is patently absurd and (of course) unsourced, meanwhile the editor keeps denying that the consensus view is sourced, when there are sources cited throughout; the very reason that landraces are of international preservation concern is that they are genetic storehouses against the genepool vigor problems of breeding to breed conformation standards! The sources already cited in the article directly contradict this unscientific "it's only show-breeding that causes problems" fringe nonsense.

It's part of a broader pattern by this and one other editor to cloud and undermine the idea that breed means anything more specific than "whatever some breeders say it means", a patently anti-scientific viewpoint. The landrace article has already been notably weakened in the last couple of months by the same editor (I haven't gone over all that yet). The editor does not like the general biology term "landrace" being applied to horses for some reason, and this seems to be the genesis of the campaign to skew these articles into fringe space. See previous falsification of what a source said about horse landraces by this editor at that same article. More eyes on this article, and on Breed would be valuable. This stuff is having fallout on horse articles where the same editor (sometimes the other one as well) strongly resists any differentiation between a landrace and the formal breed(s) derived from it, despite sources clearly distinguishing them, and often literally refuses to even read discussion about the matter and just goes on reverting, a WP:IDHT tactic frequently used at Landrace and specific horse landrace/breed articles.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:59, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Are there any published sources that refer to the eccentric or "fringe" view (use of the term 'show breeding' vs 'conformation breeding', or whatever it is)? If not, and it's merely an editor breaking 3RR to add their own unsourced opinion, then WP:AN/EW is the venue you want. - LuckyLouie (talk) 00:39, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure. And the editor is now being careful to bide their time just long enough to avoid 3RR. Here's a similar edit in the same vein: [7]. There are five sources for the sentences, three about genotypic and two about phenotypic genetic diversity, yet the editor is adding bogus {{citation needed}} tags, as if there's some magical third kind of genetic diversity not being accounted for here. Not really sure what to do about this at this point. Over the last month, the same editor has greatly weakened the article, removing all sorts of sourced material with bogus claims that it's not sourced well enough for her, and it's all geared at undermining the distinction between landraces and standardized breeds so she can stop people from applying the word "landrace" to horse landraces. There doesn't seem to be an organized view that conformation breeding is harmless except for show breeding; it seems to be a issue this one editor is advancing. The editor's intense focus on horse breed articles make me wonder whether she's a current or former professional horse breeder. The user's edits almost completely dominate our horse articles. It's mostly a lot of good work, but also a disturbing level of one-editor control, with some resulting biases that are proving very difficult to rectify. At any rate, there is a very common view that "irresponsible" breeding (insert any definition you want to make up here) is responsible for all sorts of problems, such as German Shepherd dog hip dysplasia, the agressiveness of certain breeds, etc., etc., but the entire point of conservation focus on landraces is that all breeding to standards dangerously reduces the gene pools of our domestic animals, and this is very well sourced at Landrace, so this constant string of disbelief edits has to stop. This kind of nonsense would not be tolerated if it were anti-vaxxers changing the Vaccination article to include anti-scientific, personal beliefs like these.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  01:46, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
3RR is a red line, but WP:GAMING the clock to avoid the redline is still editwarring and WP:ANEW can look into it. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 02:05, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Owlman[edit]

Owlman (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)
Despite being dismissed as semi-notable folklore [8], our article gives primary weight to fringy cryptozoology views. - LuckyLouie (talk) 00:28, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

I think I can help with this. I will try and improve it by next week. Goblin Face (talk) 19:05, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Carson Sink UFO incident[edit]

Resolved: redirected

Carson Sink UFO incident (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

This incident is attested to by Edward Ruppelt, but I'm not sure that this makes it particularly more notable than others listed in Project Blue Book.

jps (talk) 13:00, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

I'm not finding coverage in reliable sources independent of the subject. I would not object to a redirect. - Location (talk) 15:46, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

‪Exorcism of Roland Doe‬[edit]

Resolved: Remedied undue weight problems, unreliable sources removed

The article leans toward a Christian religious interpretation of events (supernatural type stuff occurred) and conclusions (exorcism is real) based on sources such as Paulist Press, and others. I brought up the issue on the article Talk page, but it looks like NPOV is being interpreted as "balance" between Christian views and "skeptics", so my changes have been subsequently reverted. Other eyes or opinions appreciated. - LuckyLouie (talk) 15:34, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

I did remove the book but it's used on the article 5 times. I think it should be removed altogether. Goblin Face (talk) 19:24, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I do not know if that is a fair assessment of the book. It is written by two professors and AFAICT does not say exorcism is real. While the authors may be persuaded that the facts indicate it was a true exorcism, what determines reliability is whether we can reasonably expect those authors to report the facts accurately. TFD (talk) 04:55, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
Two professors who believe "Although they are not frequent, exorcisms are necessary for casting out the demonic" and "Cases of genuine possession cannot be explained by psychiatry" etc. [9] No journal would print this stuff, it's not about accuracy of fact, it's about religious belief, published by a religious press. - LuckyLouie (talk) 13:50, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Yuck! There are also related issues with William S. Bowdern, Raymond J. Bishop, Walter Halloran, Edward Hughes (exorcist). jps (talk) 15:43, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Graphology[edit]

Some new editors attempting to say that Graphology is somehow mainstream science. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 23:52, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Dean Ornish So many medical claims so little evidence[edit]

Dean Ornish is a physician who promotes a lifestyle-driven approach, to cure practically everything is seems. I may work on it, but I would also welcome other editors assistance. VVikingTalkEdits 08:56, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Graphology[edit]

Hi! A few days back, I tried to edit the Wikipedia article on Graphology. The edit was reverted as it was described to be "non-neutral" and I was advised to take it to the talk page. I did start a discussion under the title "Need to Revise the Article" [10]. I pointed out that graphology also had several peer-reviewed research studies in support of it. [11] In the edit, I mentioned both invalidating and validating studies and I believe that this is a more neutral article. The NPOV article says that "Editing from a neutral point of view (NPOV) means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic". However, the present article ignores the many reliable and verifiable studies [12].

Graphology is significantly different from pseudosciences. The Wikipedia article on Fringe Theories gives guidelines for differentiating between psedusciences and questionable science WP:FRINGE/PS . Now, does graphology have a substantial following? Definitely. Does Graphology have supporting research? Yes, it has experimental and clinical studies supporting it. The link is given above. Does graphology involve proposing changes in the basic laws of nature to allow some phenomenon which the supporters want to believe occurs? Absolutely not! There is nothing mystical about graphology. Handwriting has been clearly described as expressive behaviour by Allport. Modern graphology is founded on empirical research by Abbe Michon (not on sympathetic magic as Beyerstein claims!) Hence, according to the Wikipedia guidelines itself, Graphology fits better under Questionable sciences rather than Pseudosciences and according to the same article, it cannot be described as a pseudoscience.

Graphology is well respected in several countries and in countries like Italy, Hungary and Argentina, graphology is recognized by the ministry of education and it is well supported by psychologists in France, Germany, Switzerland. [13] There are currently four universities in Europe which offer an accredited degree in graphology (The Wikipedia article points that out). As you can see, graphology is different from pseudosciences and should not be classified as one. I have mentioned the above points on the talk page but some editors stick adamantly to their preconceived viewpoint. They also don't seem to have any knowledge of the subject. I edited the article to include both viewpoints as Wikipedia says “The neutral point of view policy requires that all majority and significant-minority positions be included in an article”. [14] Remember that I did not present graphology as a well validated science. However, that too was reverted by some editors. The current article ignores many validating studies.

Once again, Graphology is different from pseudosciences - Taught in accredited universities and has several supporting studies. I hope something can be done about this. I'll be more than happy to answer any more questions you may have on the subject. (If you are going to point out to Beyerstein, I highly recommend that you read the book "The Beyerstein Book: A Critical Examination" by an excellent questioned document examiner and graphologist, Marcel Matley. It points out to the misconceptions and lack of understanding Beyerstein had about the subject and the major flaws in his claims). Thanks for reading!

Investimate (talk) 10:53, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Edits rise and fall on the merits of the sources. I already see that your claim that there are "several peer-reviewed research studies in support of it" falls rather flat when evaluating the source you cite. Laundry lists that include master's theses and pop psychology articles some of which do not explicitly indicate that this is anything more than pseudoscientific wishful thinking are not a good way to make your case. The other leg of your contention, that graphology is taught in accredited universities, is also not a convincing argument. Most pseudosciences find a home in some university somewhere, you might be surprised to find. Rather, graphology shares the characteristics with other pseudosciences that we discuss on Wikipedia.
If you want to make your case stronger, you will need to pay close attention to WP:FRIND and find sources that are independent of the major individuals and groups who involve themselves in graphology. Rather than posting a laundry list of sources or protestations about university courses, find the best article you can on the subject and show how it has been cited widely as confirmatory even by independent evaluators. I don't see that present yet.
jps (talk) 11:21, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
My HRM teacher said that graphology as a workforce selection tool is very reliable, but it is invalid. Tgeorgescu (talk) 13:23, 25 September 2014 (UTC)


While I compile a lost of supporting studies by independent sources, I would like to say this. Sure, independent sources have done allegedly "invalidating" studies on the subject, but the fact is that this is done at the cost of ignorance. Many of these studies are done by those without any knowledge of the subject. For example, I was reading a study ("Handwriting as a Correlate of Extraversion" in the Journal of Personality Assessment) done to examine graphologists' claim that extraversion could be measured using handwriting analysis. In this study three handwriting measures, line slope (alignment?), letter slant, and letter width were chosen, and the relationship between these measures and extraversion as measured by the Eysenck Personality Inventory was studied. At the end of the study, they say that "No significant correlations between the handwriting measures and extraversion were found, nor were there significant intercorrelations between the three handwriting measures."

Any good graphologist knows that these three graphic elements alone cannot evaluate extraversion. Writing speed, dimensions of the three zones, left/right trends, spatial arrangement (margins, word and letter spacing etc.), connective forms (garlands, arcades, angles, threads etc.) are have to be considered in relation to each other in order to get a proper picture about the tendencies of extraversion of the writer. About the intercorrelation among these three elements, it is very often that one comes across a handwriting with a left slant and wide middle zone letters. It usually points to conflicts within the writer. It would be foolish to think that there must be an intercorrelation among these features. Graphology is not just about saying that "the writer is extroverted"; rather, it can identify in what situations the writer may be very extroverted and in what situations, his/her extraversion is limited and by what. It is not about just identifying individual traits but rather about giving a whole dynamic picture of the character of the writer, handwriting being expressive movement.

I can't put this better than Victor Clark, a member of the American Psychological Association, Division 24 and a certified graphologist by the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation (AHAF), does.

"The validity for graphology has been demonstrated in both clinical (Cronje & Roets, 2013) and experimental research (Binet, 1905?) with statistical methods that preserve the individual wholeness of the subject in a psychobiologically dynamic model of development (Magnusson & Torestad, 1993; Murphy, 2011; Stern). In contrast, when clinical and experimental subjects’ individual wholeness is fragmented by psychometric inferences made from rating individual differences against a group mean (Allport, 1924) verification of graphology cannot be validated because of low statistical correlation scores resulting from this classical test theory method of validity verification.

These low correlations between graphological judgments against the ranking of personality traits is simply a psychometric error in the inferences made when interpreting this type of data analysis: Statistical inferences at the population level of group analysis cannot logically have explanatory value at the individual level of analysis (Lamiell, 2003).In other words, rating scales of individual differences in personality traits that analyze personality differences at the group or population level with personality trait testing methods do not directly correspond (correlate) when compared with the analysis of dynamic patterns in expressive movement of handwriting at the individual level of character evaluation using graphology (Allport & Vernon, 1933).

Low correlations between graphology judgement and personality rating simply confirms the distinction between a graphological analysis at the individual level contrasted with analysis of personality test scores at the group or population level."

Investimate (talk) 15:04, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

If it is true that, as you intimate, independent sources aren't doing the necessary work to make fair or high-quality evaluations of graphology, that's a situation for which there is no remedy here. We cannot right such great wrongs. We report what the sources say when they meet the standards outlined in WP:RS. jps (talk) 12:32, 28 September 2014 (UTC)


I understand your point and it certainly is sad that nothing can be done about it. The tagging as a "pseudoscience" has, in my experience, turned many away from this fascinating field with great potential. Many assume that it is just another pseudoscience and think that it is like phrenology and astrology. Anyways, there are some supporting studies by independent sources, most in German. Let me see if I can find them. Scientific graphology was founded and developed in Europe. I think this is the reason why it is well accepted there. In America, just as there are many pop-psych books, there are umpteen number of books written by authors with minimal knowledge of the subject. Many are highly oversimplified versions and they make extravagant claims. Anyone who reads a book on the subject can call himself/herself a graphologist. If I remember correctly, in Israel, in order to become a member of the Scientific Society for Graphology in Israel (SSGI), one needs to have at lease a bachelors degree in psychology. This is also true in a few other countries. Investimate (talk) 14:14, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

The best thing that can be done by you is to convince some high quality sources to publish supporting materials about the subject. Flagship journals, in particular, would be the standard that we would look for as WP:REDFLAG would have us want to evaluate carefully any claims that would run contrary to the criticism which seems to come from more than a few big names and prominent organizations. jps (talk) 01:33, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

New route for fringe groups to "fix" their articles[edit]

So I've had the Generation Rescue article on my watchlist for a while and it's been fairly stable. Until this. It seems that GR went straight to OTRS and got substantial parts of the article that portrayed GR in a negative light removed. The only line in the article commenting on their fringe views is now "its point of view has been disputed by some of the medical community". Errr, some? That's it? Since this is done as an OTRS action, there is no real discussion allowed on this - see the talk page discussion. And of course, the OTRS volunteer is in contact with GR and they are "preparing a draft which will be submitted". So GR will be allowed to rewrite the article with an OTRS stamp of approval. Should be fun as more groups adopt this approach! Ravensfire (talk) 14:57, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Something similar at Daniel Amen recently, with an OTRS volunteer saying edits countering theirs now needed to be "cleared" before being made. Thing is though, I don't believe there is any policy basis for this and it's an OTRS volunteer overreach. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 15:14, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Surprise, surprise. It's the same OTRS volunteer on that article as well. Ravensfire (talk) 15:30, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
I would presume this is a case for the Administrator's noticeboard - that OTRS volunteer needs to lose their powers. Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:05, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Very interesting! The current discussion at Talk:Generation Rescue describes what's happening there. Please investigate to see where else this is happening. We need a lot more eyes on this. "Overreach" is true, but that's putting it mildly. -- Brangifer (talk) 16:08, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

One person can override consensus? QuackGuru (talk) 16:11, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Article_whitewashed.3B_when_reverted.2C_the_whitewashing_happens_again_as_a_supposedly_official_.22OTRS_action.22_that_must_not_be_reverted_.22without_permission.22
This appears to have been backed off from, after it got a bit of sunshine on it. I suspect the OTRS volunteer thought they were acting in good faith, but were rather reckless and didn't bother to actually check what they were told by the fringe organization, which is exceptionally reckless if you're going to then drop the "must not revert me!" claim. The ANI discussion continues; if there's any other examples of this, I'd bring it up there.
Last year there was a similar kind of incident[15] at Deepak Chopra where an OTRS volunteer was essentially enacting edits requested by Chopra via an OTRS correspondent, against NPOV. Eventually it turned out this correspondent (also a pov-pushing editor of the article) was connected to Chopra.[16] This suggests to me we have a systemic problem here where probably well-intentioned volunteers with a shaky grasp of neutrality policy are being somehow led to believe they have super-editor powers allowing them to insist on content. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 01:13, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Please check the previous version of Deepak Chopra. Part of the article was gutted and whitewashed. QuackGuru (talk) 02:31, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The only way to avoid this problem in the future is to demand that the rules forbid OTRS volunteers from themselves making the edits, unless they are clearly and unequivocally BLP issues. Their job is to relay concerns and let other editors deal with it in the normal manner, and they should act like any other COI editor....just use the talk page to give guidance. They should never use OTRS as a means to intimidate editors and stifle normal editing, as was done here. They are not above our policies and guidelines. Using vague OTRS and WMF concerns as an excuse to make disputed edits is wrong on so many levels. -- Brangifer (talk) 03:28, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Concur with Brangifer. This is a serious issue that needs clear guidelines put in place. No intimidation, false claims of authority or involvement with editing directed by COI "secret" correspondence. Clear rationale based in policy with examination of existing sources and new ones to propose changes on talk pages should be established as policy, except in clear BLP cases. No involved editing, no hand waving references to confidential off wiki communications, no assertions of authority just following policy and guidelines in particular COI, NPOV, RS etc. - - MrBill3 (talk) 10:45, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
  • As an OTRS volunteer, I have made a number of edits. I am after all just as entitled as any other WPedian to edit an article on request from a user. If its simple, or hard to explain what to ask for, or in my speciality, I just do it. I routinely deal on wiki with COI editors and corporate articles, and that's what I deal with at OTRS also. What I can not do is claim superior authority in doing so,and that seems to be what's at question here. What I might sometimes need do, but have never actually had occasion to, is to make an edit on the basis of private identifying information, as is done by those OTRS volunteers working with copyright permission. If I say an edit is due to BLP considerations as an OTTS response, it's the same as any such warning I might give as an admin for something I see on-wiki. There are quite a number of OTRS volunteers, and any of us is capable of checking each others, just as admins are--though not all OTRS volunteers are admins, the actual qualifications and quality of vetting is considerable higher than for adminship. I am aware of a number of fellow admins I consider reckless, and I look at their work from time to time: I gave this as my reason for getting the mop in the first place. At OTRS, I have relatively less experience than many others, and I don;t currently do that. I am, however, aware of efforts being made to give additional training to ORTS volunteers, and to keep a watch on what goes on there. But any abuse will be obvious, and can be dealt with on wiki--the actual editing is not a secret process like oversight, not even a semi-secret process like speedy deletion. The only part which is private is knowing whom the correspondents are. DGG ( talk ) 19:32, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, in that case, DGG, you fulfil the role, as I would have expected, correctly and responsibly. However, in this case we have an OTRS editor who clearly did not, and, to date, I don't think has acknowledged that. To quote MrBill3, there was "intimidation, false claims of authority", and "hand waving references to confidential off wiki communications". As far as I can see, he took the word of the (COI) correspondent and blanket removed sourced "negative" details. When called on this, he eventually backed down, a little, after the foregoing events. I believe this was the second occasion, at least. What do you think should happen, both in this case, and to prevent future recurrences? Begoontalk 19:46, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
I gave my view of this specific case at the ANI discussion (to summarize, removal of the material was in my opinion correct, though I would have argued it purely on the merits. For why it was correct, see my discussion there. Even sourced material defending the truth can be prejudicial overkill. Insisting on including it is promotionalism , albeit promotionalism of a good cause. I think, in fact, that OTTS acted, just as it should, to prevent prejudicial edits, though I would have worded things differently, and responded differently had I run into opposition. But, fuller training for OTRS agents in how to respond, and how to intervene, has long been needed, and is forthcoming. DGG ( talk ) 23:42, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
You did comment at the ANI, I missed that, my apologies for asking you to repeat it. I think your comment "though I would have argued it purely on the merits" is probably central. Perception is all, and when an editor breezes into a contentious article and makes changes with basically the rationale "secret squirrel - I know stuff you don't - don't alter my important action without 'clearing' it with me", then it gets folks backs up. From that point things are never going to go well. I'm sure, DGG, had you handled this, it would have gone very differently - even if there was not universal agreement for your actions. Regular editors need to see the rationale behind these actions, and there should have been no problem being transparent here. Nothing I can see required the "I can't tell you why I'm doing this" approach. That will result, rightly or wrongly, in a fear that COI edits are being made by proxy without proper process or consensus, via a "back-door". I'm encouraged by your comments about training. Notwithstanding any of that, I can fully understand why folks here want to see some acknowledgement of the errors in approach at least, to be reassured that these concerns are understood and addressed. Begoontalk 07:25, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
First I want to say I have a great deal of respect for DGG as an editor and believe they probably have a solid grasp of policy and it's application. I am still left with a question concerning "as entitled as any other WPedian to edit an article on request from a user". It is my understanding of COI that if one is editing on request from a user with a COI that is COI editing and the guideline should be followed. As Begoon said I think if performed by DGG there would likely have been little or no problem as any edit "argued purely on the merits" on talk is in policy editing. I do remain concerned with "If its simple, or hard to explain what to ask for, or in my speciality, I just do it." I don't see the harm in mentioning the issue on talk and stating the rationale for an edit and that it originated from a party with a COI. This creates transparency, follows policy, allows for comment and likely provides initial rationale for the edit. I can see not waiting on low traffic talk pages, but to create a section to allow for discussion and consensus when making an edit based on input from outside the community (the exact input not being visible, interactive discussion not being possible, clear identification of the motivation for the edit not possible). Individual editors with a history of edits, articles edited, subject area covered, comments on talk pages, disclosure on user page etc. allow the community to interact with known (but anonymous) entities whose behavior, point of view etc. can be reasonably evaluated. An OTRS agent acting on behalf of an undisclosed party (likely with a COI, undoubtedly with a POV, motivation, etc.) eliminates this element of community and consensus. Good OTRS agents with a solid grasp of policy ameliorates this to some extent but it is still a concern. - - MrBill3 (talk) 04:35, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Possible invasion by ISHAR on Wikipedia articles[edit]

Forgive me if this has already been raised but there is a new project by a bunch of fringe proponents looking to create an alternative to wikipedia [17]. Basically they are annoyed their "evidence" for alternative medicine is ignored. All fine I guess they can do what they want. But the owner of the group has turned up on the James Randi foundation forum and has admitted that he and his team are going to insert a load of sources into Wikipedia [18] he also claims "We do not seek to change Wikipedia's rules, but operate within them" which is nonsense of course as all he and his team want to do is insert a load of fringe papers on Wikipedia, he also writes "The primary & secondary sources referenced on ISHAR are peer-reviewed or the academic equivalent (depending on discipline), and anything we contribute to any Wikipedia articles will only be high-quality, peer-reviewed sources." Please keep an eye on this, I don't know who all the ISHAR members are (apparently Deepak is involved) but be sure to expect fringe material being added into alternative medicine related articles possibly soon. Goblin Face (talk) 21:37, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Yup - a clear announcement of off-Wikipedia collaboration aimed at promoting their website (amongst other things). A clear COI, and one that needs watching. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:25, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
I recognize many of the people on the board. The thing is that they are not altogether honest with themselves about how their ideas are perceived outside of a groupthink of mind-is-not-body true believers. Whether this goes by the euphemism "consciousness studies" or "quantum mysticism" or what have you, nearly forty-odd-years of putting together libraries of their own thoughts without outside consideration won't lead to a library that Wikipedia is liable to take seriously. My hope is that they will use ISHAR, if it gets off the ground, as a rallying point to try to clean up and clarify their beliefs internally. We may see users come by from time-to-time arguing that the resource should be used here, but WP:FRIND will take care of whether or not this is the case. Will they archive skeptical WP:PARITY to their claims? I somehow doubt it. jps (talk) 12:38, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Lonnie Zamora incident[edit]

Lonnie Zamora incident (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Since March, this article has been tagged for improvement. Is it improvable?

Incidentally, part of the reason that New Mexico ranks so highly as a UFO hotspot is because there are two scientific ballooning facilities in its vicinity, one in the eastern part of the state and one just east of the state in Palestine, TX. The high atmospheric winds run east to west.

jps (talk) 12:14, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

At first glance, the article gives massively undue weight to a credulous book written by non-notable ufologist Ray Stanford and huge (possibly copyvio) copypasted quotes ostensibly from Zamora. There's some OR sections that emphasize the idea that the UFOs speed and acceleration, local weather conditions, and "fused sand" rule out any conventional explanations. (I love the small section where conventional explanations are rebutted and dismissed in Wikipedia's voice) There may possibly be independent sources to construct an objective article from, but I haven't found any. - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:17, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I found various news reports regarding the allegations; a bit in Popular Science. There are some other sources that might squeeze by. My own view is that there is enough to form a reliable sourced article, but I think we would need to raze what we have here. - Location (talk) 17:34, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
So that interested editors can be made aware, I've brought it up on the Talk page. - LuckyLouie (talk) 19:24, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

David E. Kaiser[edit]

David E. Kaiser (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

An extra set of eyes on the section pertaining to the conspiracy book, The Road to Dallas might be helpful. An editor with a COI has been removing material that is critical of the book. Additional opinions might be necessary to ensure stability of the article. - Location (talk) 16:20, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Illuminati symbolism[edit]

New article that needs a lot of attention. It seems to be a hodge-podge of conspiracy theory stuff pretending to be a legitimate article. There may be a legitimate article under all the Fringe conspiracy stuff ... but if so, I can't find it. Blueboar (talk) 02:09, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Silver cord[edit]

Same concerns as the poster above me, just for a different article. I have no idea what this whole nonsense about a "silver cord" is but it sounds like a hodgepodge of new wave religious terms. The article claims that "metaphysical studies" (whatever that means) has extensively poured over the idea of astral bodies being connected to plain, earthly ones. I know of no major university philosophy department that regards any of this as anything more than new wave religion. The series of articles linked to it need some extensive clean up in terms of style. Blurpeace 09:03, 1 October 2014 (UTC)