Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard

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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".


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 (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)

Can you say, "Virtually all prominent atheist historians (in 'the relevant fields') agree..." No, you can't. So it's not fringe, then. zzz (talk) 01:25, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

Is the idea or academic belief/support that Jesus did not exist, fringe?[edit]

Is it considered a fringe idea or belief that Jesus was not a historical person that existed for the purposes of mention, with sources in the article: Historicity of Jesus? Are such theories and academics/scholars on the fringe?--Mark Miller (talk) 23:14, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

In the late 19th and early 20th century there was much more academic support for it than there is today. The Dutch radical school for instance supported it, and they included well-known and respected academics. Nowadays there is very little academic support for it, though a few articles arguing in favour of it have been published in academic magazines, at least one academic conference has been dedicated to it, and a handful of biblical scholars support it, consider it possible or at least worthy of further research. It's always been a highly controversial minority position, but it's not fringe. A lot of the material about it in the popular press might qualify as such however. Martijn Meijering (talk) 23:30, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Why would any serious, non-Christian academic bother with the question these days? As can be seen from the anger of the believers here, it would be a dangerous and thankless task. An absence of people studying an unsolved question does not make the question go away. HiLo48 (talk) 23:38, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Belief and opinion are also what supports in favor of there being an historic figure, but it is the consensus opinion. The minority opinion is important for balance if given due weight in an encyclopedic article.--Mark Miller (talk) 00:51, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
I'd say we'd need to make very careful distinctions here - it's not just whether he existed or not; it's also what can be confidently said about him. We can't say "consensus is that he did exist" and not qualify that with a much more detailed description of the consensus, which, from what I can tell, is something along the lines of "but the Bible account is almost certainly inaccurate on almost every point, to some extent or other". Honestly, this seems to be an academic argument - I mean, what does "exist" even mean in this kind of case, where we can't state a single fact confidently?
Now, of course, the consensus agreement is that stories of Jesus was probably based on a real person. And we should say that. But we should also make it clear exactly what that statement means, and make damn sure we're not promoting even fringier claims while saying it. Also, we do need to watch our evidence on this.
Finally, I don't think it's a fringe theory. It's merely a minority view. Adam Cuerden (talk) 01:19, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
...among those who care. There's several positions on this question. Those who, because of their religion, say he did exist. Those who don't have a religious position, and say that he (probably) existed. Those who say he probably didn't. Those from Christian cultures and background who don't strongly believe, or believe at all, and don't really care. Those from other faiths who don't really care. And those who have never heard of Jesus. Plus others, no doubt, I haven't thought of. Don't ask me to put numbers to these categories. That would only start another argument. So which position is a minority one is very debatable. HiLo48 (talk) 02:14, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Adam Cuerden is right though that many feel the stories of Jesus are based on a real person and there is some speculation (just as an example) that the stories were based on the Caesars. The article makes conclusions and seems to exclude all else from the article. The Jesus/Caesar theory may even be fringe but could be notable enough for mention.--Mark Miller (talk) 02:52, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
The main issue to be dealt with is the question of whether those who have recently studied the subject have used reasonable historical methodology in drawing their conclusions. Although some individuals who have studied the matter recently have used significantly different methodologies and have criticized those used by others, within the basically "historical" field of academia, it does seem to be the case that the active disbelief in the existence of Jesus in some form probably qualifies as fringe as per FRINGE. The lack of active belief in the historicity of the existence of Jesus probably does not qualify as fringe, but probably qualifies as minority, probably small minority, opinion. There is a recent book of conference papers on the issue which I intend to consult today or tomorrow, probably tomorrow given how I've spent time today, which probably addresses the issue more directly, and the New Encyclopedia of Unbelief, which is at another location, is a comparatively new reference source which probably says something about the issue as well. I think the statements in those reference works, and those in other recent reference sources, are probably the best sources to use regarding this matter. John Carter (talk) 20:40, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
There have recently been peer reviewed publications by serious academics and several serious scholars take the possibility seriously and encourage more research. I think that rules out the possibility the CMT should be considered fringe. Davies in particular has criticised Ehrman's attempts to label it as such. Martijn Meijering (talk) 20:49, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Some recent scholarly comments on the topic: Did Jesus Exist and Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jesus? Martijn Meijering (talk) 20:55, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
For Richard Carrier's list of academics who support the CMT or think its proponents have a reasonable case, see [1]. Martijn Meijering (talk) 20:59, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Part of the problem with the above is that the CMT in and of itself does not necessarily rule out thehistorical existence of Jesus in some form, unfortunately. The CMT and the existence of some sort of historical Jesus in some form are not so far as I have yet seen thought to be necessarily mutually exclusive ideas. John Carter (talk) 01:27, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm not at all certain that "fringe" applies to either side. From what I can see, more accurate assessment would be that very few non-Christian sources assert that the evidence is sufficient to reach a conclusion, and in that group, more assert that the evidence demonstrates that he probably did exist than that he probably did not. Still, the silence on the topic is somewhat deafening.—Kww(talk) 21:08, 11 October 2014 (UTC)


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" [2]. I pointed out that graphology also had several peer-reviewed research studies in support of it. [3] 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 [4].

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. [5] 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”. [6] 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)

Hi! Here is a short list of reliable supporting research studies on the validity of graphology. I've only selected the ones in English.

Investimate (talk) 11:15, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Nothing recent then. That would be because this nonsense was debunked a while ago. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 12:31, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

I have quoted studies from the 70's, 80's and 90's. Please look up the supposedly "invalidating" studies. They are from the same time period if not earlier! Please do look up your sources before making such comments. Graphology certainly is no nonsense! Investimate (talk) 05:28, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

I request that graphology be made to come at least under the section of "Questionable Sciences" rather than "Pseudosciences" which it is not, as per Wikipedia's guidelines require. WP:FRINGE/PS

Investimate (talk) 14:00, 13 October 2014 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It's in Shermer:

which is a good RS for it being pseudoscience. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 14:11, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

Agree. Graphology is clearly a pseudoscience, and must be labeled as such according to our policies. It has failed to thrive and produce results that can be replicated and confirmed, and its predictions have no more proven value that wild, uneducated guessing. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 15:07, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

The pages mentioned in the Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudosciences is a very poor description of what graphology is. Graphology is NOT about saying that the letter 'k' deals with violence, 's' with money etc. That is simply outrageous. Yes, there are many pop-graphology books which make such claims written by "graphologists" with limited knowledge of the subject (just like there are pop-psych books). However, this not not what graphology is. Graphology involves analysis of the writing movement, form, distribution of space and analysis of the stroke in order to arrive at a conclusion regarding the personality of the writer. You cannot take the most extravagant claims made by some "graphologists" and credit all graphologists with it. Gordon Allport in "Studies in Expressive Movement (with Vernon, P. E. (1933) New York: Macmillan.)" said that handwriting was expressive behaviour along with Body Language reveals several aspects of the writer's personality. (Also see Riggio, R.E., Lippa, R., & Salinas, C. (1990). The display of personality in expressive movement. Journal of Research in Personality, 24, 16-31.) Allport gave handwriting a special place. He said that handwriting is a "crystallized form of gesture, an intricate but accessible prism which reflects many, if not all, of the inner consistencies of personality".

A few major misunderstanding in the Skeptic Encyclopedia:

"Traits have many meanings": A cough doesn't necessarily mean that the person has a viral infection in the respiratory tract. It could be caused by a number of other health problems. By taking all the symptoms into consideration, a medical practitioner can pinpoint the disease which has caused it. Similarly, the meaning of a graphic trait depends on the other graphic traits in the writing. That is why a trait may have many interpretations.

Environmental factors: Yes, environmental factors do affect handwriting, just as it does affect body language. For example: Crossing the arms in front of the body indicates defensiveness. However, the same gesture may be used by an individual in cold climate. Also, it would be erroneous to make a conclusion by observing the body language of a person in a crowded bus. Similarly, the environmental conditions do affect handwriting and an ideal sample to be analyzed is a sample written under normal conditions. If a person is sleepy or tired, yes the writing will slow down, but the writing will also show some other changes - low pressure, neglected forms, slack movement, change in slant and size etc. which point to the fact that the writing was not written in "normal" conditions but in a state of fatigue. Every knowledgeable graphologist is aware of this. A analysis is made by professional graphologists only after ruling out environmental causes.

An excellent book on graphology which clearly describes the environmental factors which affect handwriting is "Experiments with Handwriting" by Robert Saudek. Only if the author had taken the time to read that before making such comments.

If the author didn't know, graphology does have nationality considerations. Printed writing does not have to mean "constructed minded". Nationality of the writer is one of the things a graphologist must know about before interpreting the various handwriting elements and that is known by every knowledgeable graphologist.

Dr. Marc Seifer in his book "The Definitive Book of Handwriting Analysis: The Complete Guide to Interpreting Personalities, Detecting Forgeries, and Revealing Brain Activity Through the Science of Graphology", extrapolating from Dr. Rudolph Pophal , Dr. Alexander Luria and Dr. Werner Wolff wonderfully describes the neuropsychology of handwriting (Part 2 of the book). He talks about how the five major areas (cerebral cortex, limbic system, basal ganglia, cerebellum and the spinal cord are involved in the process of writing and how handwriting can accurately reveal mental, emotional and physical states of the writer at the time of writing. A must read for skeptics.

Investimate (talk) 03:15, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Well it's helpful linking to a number of fringey articles here which badly need attention/deletion! Look, for any pseudoscience there may be devotees who write about it, advocate it, believe in it, love it, and make their living from it. The long-settled mainstream rational view of graphology from outside that bubble however is that it's pseudoscientific rubbish. To be neutral, Wikipedia shall reflect that mainstream view. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 03:50, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

It seems as if you have no knowledge of the subject nor about Allport, Luria or Saudek. Obviously facts cannot convince highly biased individuals. Have you read a word of what I have written? Apparently not! Nor does it seem that you have read the Wikipedia guidelines for differentiating a pseudoscience and a questionable science....

Investimate (talk) 04:08, 14 October 2014 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── And here's a current psychology textbook which flat-out refers to "the pseudoscience of graphology" and uses it as the basis of an exercise for students to exlore bogus claims and hone their critical thinking:

When something is labelled as a canonical example of pseudoscience even within its own field then you've got about as clear a case as you could hope for. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 04:32, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Alexbrn, in many European countries graphology is widely accepted and used by psychologists (Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary etc.) and in some, it is even recognized by the Education Ministry [7]. The science is more advanced and researched there. It is mainly in the US that one sees this kind of skepticism, mainly due to the large number of incompetent graphologists who have made several false claims regarding what graphology can reveal and what a graphologist studies. The fault is not with the science but with the practitioners.

Investimate (talk) 06:37, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, but according to this study it is a "myth" propagated by the graphology industry that it's widely used in Europe, which has the damaging effect of permitting a "tolerant attitude" for practice for which there is "overwhelming scientific evidence of its lack of validity". So Wikipedia won't be buying into that particular piece of spin either. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 06:55, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

No. Its not a myth. Here are studies and articles which testify to that. That too, the studies mentioned were done by skeptics!

1) Marilou Bruchon-Schweitzer et Dominique Ferrieux, « Les méthodes d'évaluation du personnel utilisées pour le recrutement en France », in "L'orientation scolaire et professionnelle", 1991, 20, n°1. This study says that 93% of French companies use to select their candidates for employment , 55% do so on a regular basis .

2) Marilou Bruchon-Schweitzer, « La graphologie, un mal français », dans Pour la science, février 2000, n° 268. This trend was confirmed in 1999 when a survey of 62 French firms found that 95 % use graphology , 50% on a regular basis. These numbers have reduced but it is still used In other European countries, these numbers go from 2-12%.

Here are two articles I found. The first one does not support graphology but admits that it is used extensively especially in France and Belgium.[8] This one came a few months back. It is a supporting article.[9] Sources are not mentioned in both the above articles.

Investimate (talk) 13:30, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Well, you're contradicting what a reliable source tells us. Your sources are two old studies and some weaker (magazine) sources rather likely to be propagating the very "myth" that our strong source informs us of. Unless some new strong sources can be produced I think this matter is now settled: there is no reason to doubt the pseudoscience categorization of graphology that RS carries. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 13:47, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree. And Investimate, you asked for opinions here and received several. The matter has been clearly explained to you, so there is no point in beating a dead horse. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 14:01, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Your second paper title translates as :"Graphology, a French disease". Unless there's something very strange about that title, the author is complaining that French employers are using graphology. I have seen this discussed in Le Monde, not least because it contradicts equal opportunities policies that demand that recruitment be based on relevant criteria. Itsmejudith (talk) 17:58, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
According to psychologist David Lester, Ph.D., "... a majority of the studies support the validity of graphology and the accuracy of graphologists. Furthermore, as long as there is a fair number of studies that demonstrate the success of graphological judgments about people, and there does appear to be a fair number, we must accept that graphological judgments can be valid. "(The Psychological Basis of Handwriting Analysis, The Relationship of Handwriting to Personality and Psychotherapy, David Lester, Ph.D., Nelson Hall, Chicago, 1981, page 53). While there are reasonable explanations for the invalidating" studies, which include faulty analytical methods and lack of knowledge about the subject itself, there have been no good explanation as to why many studies have shown that graphology is valid and reliable.

There surely is reason to doubt the categorization of graphology as a pseudoscience. Investimate (talk) 14:05, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Dominus Vobisdu, "The matter has been clearly explained to you"? The only thing that has been clearly explained is that some people are not able to accept and consider any viewpoint other than their own. Ignoring a large number of reliable supporting studies, you are saying that graphology is ipso facto a pseudoscience because it has to be a pseudoscience. Investimate (talk) 14:15, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

An AfD to contemplate[edit]

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Marc Seifer has now begun. jps (talk) 14:35, 15 October 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)

That's a good candidate for AfD. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 03:54, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I get a handful of hits in the Google News Archives: [10]. An argument could be made for a redirect to Astral projection as a plausible search term. - Location (talk) 04:26, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I'd have to say AfD is the way to go. The existing sources are mostly self published, the article reads like an essay. The above search only gave me one result, with no substantial coverage, barely a passing mention. If an argument for redirect is made at AfD it can be evaluated.
Alice Bailey and Lucis Trust might also need a once over the latter in particular. - - MrBill3 (talk) 08:02, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Homeopathists are upset[edit]

... about Wikipedia's article, and have signed an open letter to Jimbo written by Dana Ullman and published in HuffPo.[11]. The article here may need more than normal monitoring. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 05:33, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Lovely... Thanks for the notification. It's already bad enough with our likely sock puppet trolling the talk page. -- Brangifer (talk) 05:51, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Alexbrn, please notify the editors at Talk:Homeopathy about this. It is the last part of the article ("Practical Solutions...") which we need to address. -- Brangifer (talk) 06:07, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Lockerbie conspiracy theory[edit]

See WP:RSN#Is Patrick Haseldine a reliable source for a statement linking the Lockerbie bombing to the Rössing uranium mine?. Dougweller (talk) 16:28, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

"Egonivism" versus " Moralistic therapeutic deism"[edit]

Might I have a mighty eye (or two) to this issue? IP editor twice now has added an "Egonivism" section to Moralistic therapeutic deism (itself already a fringe topic) (diff, diff) claiming it to be "commonly referred to with the term egonovism" -- and then describing "egonovism" as something decidedly distinct (more like some kind of Omnism). The sources asserted as supporting as such are either unreliable sources or simply fail to draw the claimed connection between the phrases "Moralistic therapeutic deism" and "Egonovism". DeistCosmos (talk) 17:12, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

Assassination of John F. Kennedy[edit]

In Talk:Assassination of John F. Kennedy#Alternative but non-conspiracy theories, an editor seeks additional opinions regarding the suitability of adding material from Mortal Error to the conspiracy section in Assassination of John F. Kennedy. - Location (talk) 19:51, 13 October 2014 (UTC)


The "Christian support" section of this article currently reads

James David Manning has endorsed aspects of Kahane's ideology.[1]

  1. ^ Yonah, Tamar (December 21, 2009). "Audio: Reverend Manning Talks About American Black-Jewish Relations". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved December 13, 2010. 

If the only example anyone can find of Christian support is a statement by one minister (made famous because he called Obama's mother "white trash"), then including this section in the article might be giving undue weight to a fringe point of view. Gouncbeatduke (talk) 22:13, 13 October 2014 (UTC)


Related to the graphology discussion above:

The (lack of) sourcing does not look promising ... Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 07:25, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

The Entrancing Flame[edit]

The Entrancing Flame (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Undue weight on a non notable book promoting a fringe theory of spontaneous human combustion should probably be redirected to John E. Heymer. - LuckyLouie (talk) 14:22, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Biodynamic massage[edit]

Biodynamic massage (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

This is a newly-accepted article which needs more attention. It definitely qualifies as a fringe therapy. -- Brangifer (talk) 16:31, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Project Mogul[edit]

Some recent activity editing material related to Project Mogul's relation to the Roswell UFO incident. More eyes, as always, helpful. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 17:26, 14 October 2014 (UTC)


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

Just in time for Halloween, an article loaded with extensive detail regarding a supposedly haunted Wisconsin house. Except there's little to no coverage on the subject by reliable independent sources. - LuckyLouie (talk) 18:22, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Now Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Summerwind. And HuffPo being argued as a reliable source of fact [12]. - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:53, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Astral projection[edit]

I just wanted to maybe have some fringe-theory-minded people double check my edit at Astral projection here. The gist is that a user had deleted a sourced lede paragraph about there being no scientific evidence for astral projection and replaced it with an unsourced bit about how science isn't a good tool for evaluating the phenomenon; I reverted that edit and restored the sourced version. My thinking was first of all that sourced content is pretty much always (or actually always) better than unsourced, and secondly that the lede should summarize the article, which has a section on the lack of scientific evidence for AP.

All that said, I'm here because I think the other user is likely acting in good faith, and I understand, even if I largely disagree with, their point about a science vs pseudoscience debate not being useful in (what they describe as) a religious article. Thoughts? Cheers, Dawn Bard (talk) 20:38, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Astral projection is a term that is usually not used within organized religions and it certainly is not only found in the provenance of religions. Rather, it is a term that has been adopted by paranormal enthusiasts for a type of story that shares remarkable similarities to Near death experience stories. It is also used within certain strains of spiritualism, but there isn't any consistency to what is meant when someone invokes the term. New Age religions do not have the benefit of heavy independent scholarship being invested into how their claims were developed unlike, for example, Christian dogma of the Holy Trinity. The subject needs to be treated as a group of claims by those who believe in a kind of enchanted reality for which there is no scientific evidence, and the fact that independent commentators have felt it necessary to explain how and why there scientific evidence for it is part of the notability of the claim. jps (talk) 14:57, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
The talk page indicates that someone thinks that astral projection is beyond the realm of scientific investigations and explanations, and so refutations of the claims should not be mentioned. I imagine the argument goes like this: "Astral projections exists." "Prove it." "It is outside the realm of proof." -Location (talk) 16:27, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Attacked by UFOs![edit]

Robert Taylor incident (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

Does being the only UFO incident that was subject to a criminal investigation make this particular incident notable? I'm not convinced, but maybe there is another argument for notability.

jps (talk) 14:49, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

There really isn't any non-sensational coverage available. But the "criminal investigation" aspect is overblown and misrepresented. The police weren't investigating the possibility he was attacked by aliens from a UFO. He apparently came back from the woods with scratches and his wife called the police to report he had been assaulted. [13]. Notability is questionable. - LuckyLouie (talk) 15:52, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Have since located stories in the Economist and Telegraph so it may be notable. Article could still use a good cleanup of all the credulous claims sourced to ufologists. - LuckyLouie (talk) 14:44, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. Without corroborating witnesses for any of the details, ALL the claims of Taylor need to be prefaced with "He said..." or "He reported..." or even "He claimed..." There is very little in his story that can simply assumed to be true (e.g. "Taylor, who was at the time working for the Livingston Development Corporation, parked his pickup truck at the side of a road just off the M8 motorway with the intention of examining the progress of some saplings in the forest." should be "Taylor, who was at the time working for the Livingston Development Corporation, said he parked his pickup truck at the side of a road just off the M8 motorway with the intention of examining the progress of some saplings in the forest."). - Location (talk) 15:36, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Good points. Nice work! bobrayner (talk) 17:48, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Further cleaned up [14]. - LuckyLouie (talk) 14:22, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Looks good! - Location (talk) 20:16, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Ayurveda and modern medical terminology[edit]

There is an editor on the Ayurveda article who believes that ancient Sanskrit ayurveda terms can be "translated" with the names of modern allopathic mecical disciplines, such as:

Śālākya-tantra = Otorhinolaryngology and Ophthalmology
Bhuta-vidya = Psychiatry

Note that these are ancient Sanskrit terms, not modern Hindi medical terms.

I believe this violates WP:FRINGE, WP:PSCI and most of all WP:GEVAL because this gives a patina of legitimacy to this fringe topic and gives the impression that Ayurveda is a developed modern science. Opinions would be appreciated. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 03:47, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

  • I believe this oversimplifies the comments made by multiple editors. The discussion is here(Littleolive oil (talk) 04:06, 18 October 2014 (UTC))
Not only translating into modern equivalents, but also wikilinking to the articles on pediatrics for example. The implication of equivalence is imho outrageous. -Roxy the dog™ (resonate) 07:31, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
I note that DV has been given a 48 hour block for WP:BATTLE behaviour around this subject. This has had a chilling effect. I am gobsmacked by Blades misrepresentation of the discussion above (eg 6/6) and his WP:CANVASSING. -Roxy the dog™ (resonate) 12:13, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
We should not imply equivalence between modern medicine and old folk-tales. It is wrong to say that "Translation are never Wikipedia:FRINGE". I think that links might be acceptable if we can give them some context, to avoid misleading readers. bobrayner (talk) 13:29, 19 October 2014 (UTC)
Those aren't the right translations, but cut a bit of slack in case there are editors who don't have English as their first language. Instead of "ophthalmology" we should prefer "treatments relating to the eyes", but not everyone immediately understands the kudos that Latin confers in Western Europe and North America. Itsmejudith (talk) 18:41, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Dream telepathy[edit]

Resolved: I fixed the problem

Content added by an IP:

"However, Alcock did not provide an analysis for his assertion, whereas Sherwood and Roe conducted a meta-analysis that found significant support for dream ESP.(Source - Sherwood, S. J., & Roe, C. A. (2003). A review of dream ESP studies conducted since the Maimonides dream ESP programme. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 10(6,7), 85-109.</ref> A recent study further supported their claim (Source - Watt, C. (2014). Precognitive dreaming: Investigating anomalous cognition and psychological factors. Journal of Parapsychology, 78, 115-125.)"

The Journal of parapsychology is not a reliable journal. Have a look at the other source though. Should this be included? Goblin Face (talk) 17:17, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

I just noticed James Alcock has actually responded to Roe and Sherwood in his article "Give the Null Hypothesis a Chance: Reasons to Remain Doubtful about the Existence of Psi"... so I will cover this. Goblin Face (talk) 17:27, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Shaken baby syndrome[edit]

This needs more eyes. A bunch of crap has been dumped there. I just removed an EL to a convicted baby killer (his own child) and a fringe MD. Read my edit summary and then start culling poor sources and external links. -- Brangifer (talk) 18:30, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Hmm, there are many issues in the article as I see it. As with many claims in forensic "science", diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome on the sole basis of the triad is not as surefooted as was touted in the 80s and 90s. [18] There are plenty of good sources we can use to document this (certainly a personal blog is not such a thing), but I think the article doesn't really do justice to the subject. jps (talk) 00:56, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Mainstream scientific assessment of climate change[edit]

Opinions of neutral uninvolved eds eagerly sought!
We have a

Discussion of the latter article is often chaotic, as many editors talk about diverse issues in the same breath. However, the issue I'm trying to present is laser-focused on the leads of the two articles.
The lead of the main article tries to summarize the mainstream scientific perspective. To comply with WP:FRINGE's requirement to establish the context for fringe statements, the lead of the latter article does that too. However, for a long time they have been out-of-synch, using overlapping but different text and sources. A poll question has been posted asking

Given that the mainstream assessment is summarized on the basis of the RSs with greatest WP:WEIGHT at the main article "Scientific opinion on climate change", would a neutral uninvolved editor reasonably expect the same sources to be used to present the same summary [at the sub-article "List of scientists opposing..."] unless there was a really good RS-based reason to do something different?

Please offer your thoughts in the thread located at the subarticle via this link. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:02, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Without looking at these articles, here is a view: in general good material should be in sync. across Wikipedia articles. Per WP:PSCI I'd expect the mainstream view of climate change to be prominent in the list article, and would be suspicious of arguments that it shouldn't be. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 12:14, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks... I only intended this as a pointer Please consider repeating your comment at the subarticle linked above.NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 12:50, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Interesting variety of forums you adress your case, NewsAndEventsGuy. As long the scientific opinion includes the major "known unknowns" stated by leading IPCC players, I agree with the approach. There is however a difference between the current "science mainstream" and the IPCC approach, as the IPCC assessement reports naturally a) lag behind the science edge and b) the IPCC mandate limitations on current human impact on global climate. The IPCC covers only a part of the actual research, with regard on current and past natural climate change and studies with a more regional focus. However thats being possibly covered by additional articles. Serten (talk) 05:24, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Consciousness after death[edit]

This article has been a constant battle of edit warring between users and IP addresses, and is in a mess. New material is occasionally added/deleted. Any suggestions welcome. Goblin Face (talk) 17:00, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Request page protection? Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 17:02, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Articles for Deletion[edit]

I have added an Articles for Deletion for Dr. Steven Willey and bundled the deletion with Willey Exertion Scale the AFD can be found here. VVikingTalkEdits 21:37, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

WP:BALASPS policy content[edit]

I'm seeking more input at Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view#Must all "fringe articles" now be weighted so as to implicitly "oppose" the fringe topic? --Francis Schonken (talk) 12:01, 23 October 2014 (UTC)