Talk:Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe

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Notice: Asmodeus and DrL are banned from editing this article.
The users specified have been indefinitely banned by the Arbitration committee from editing this article. The users are not prevented from discussing or proposing changes on this talk page.

Posted by Srikeit 17:22, 8 December 2006 (UTC) for the Arbitration committee. See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/ScienceApologist.

NPOV policy[edit]

Does this conform to the NPOV policy? ... I don't think so! =P --Cosmic girl 17:59, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

To the best of my knowledge, what's there is factually accurate. Notice that qualifiers like "Langan argues" and "holds Langan" appear every few sentences to indicate that we are describing the theory, rather than asserting it as truth. I admit, though, that the article could use a "Reception" section covering reactions to the theory and the nature of any criticism. I may write such a section eventually, but anyone who knows the subject is welcome to beat me to it! Tim Smith 19:10, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
It does smack of an advert, given the obscurity of the theory and the salesman-like way it's promoted by the initiating author. I made a few edits needed to differentiate Langan's claims about or related to his theory from any widely accepted view about or related to his theory. CaveBat
I think that this whole thing should be entirely rewritten. The CTMU is not a real scientific theory, and it is misleading to the reader who may not be clued up on these things to intimate that it might be. I have added a small "criticism" section, and links to pseudoscience and crackpot as an attempt to balance the scales a bit.--Byrgenwulf 13:36, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
The material has already been neutrally presented. In fact, it was revised to insure this. As the CTMU is a relatively new theory, criticism from verifiable sources is hard to come by. I would suggest holding off on a criticism section pending the availability of well-reasoned criticism from credible, reliable sources. DrL 22:05, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Another attempt for NPOV; I introduced a bit about the nature of the publication status of this theory, fully backed up with references borrowed from the ID page. I also removed "blue-collar" from "cosmologist" because one's social class it first, a matter of opinion, and second, should have no bearing on a scientific theory. Now, instead of reverting to previous versions, would people wishing to dispute this edit please place a "disputed" tag on the article and discuss this here? --Byrgenwulf 10:22, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

"Blue-collar" is more than a state of mind. It has to do with occupational status. DrL 15:05, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, if it has to do with occupational status why was my "lay" adjective removed? Because if he is not working as a professional cosmologist, then the article must say so, and not mislead or dress the truth up in euphemism.--Byrgenwulf 15:16, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I removed "lay" because it is redundant. If Langan is "blue-collar", then Langan works exclusively in a blue-collar field. Cosmology is clearly not a blue-collar field; those who pursue it professionally do so in offices and classrooms located within universities and research institutions. Therefore, Langan does not work as a cosmologist, as all of his publicity makes abundantly clear. You merely adjoined to an informative modifier a less-informative modifier which means essentially the same thing, but carries a hidden appeal to academic snobbery. Such "lossy" substitutions do not enhance the article, and arguably detract from it. Asmodeus 17:07, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, if Langan doesn't work as a cosmologist, then he isn't a cosmologist, is he? Is he qualified as one? Same as if I don't work as a surgeon, then I'm not a surgeon, am I? There's no such thing as a "blue-collar surgeon" (or a lay surgeon, for that matter), so why should the same not apply to cosmologists? What about "lay cosmologist who works in a blue-collar field"? Or even better, "amateur", because that is ultimately the nasty truth behind all of this, isn't it? How many papers has Langan published in cosmology? What makes him a cosmologist, other than his say-so?
Surgery is a hands-on field requiring extensive certification. Regardless of how much you learn about it from your readings, you cannot publicly present yourself that way, at least with the intent of performing surgery, without breaking the law. Cosmology is not that kind of field. Cosmologists are those who do cosmology; Langan does cosmology (in the PCID paper and elsewhere); therefore, Langan is a cosmologist. You need to understand that neither you, nor anyone in the university system, is the final arbiter of who is, and who is not, a cosmologist, or for that matter anything else not covered by legal strictures on professional labeling. Asmodeus 18:26, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Unverified Claims[edit]

Tim, first, there are no wikipedia pages on "axiomatizable" or "formalizable", so the links you provide go nowhere. That's why I changed them to relevant pages that do exist, axiom and formal.

Second, you need to consider the difference between talk about advanced mathematics and advanced mathematics. Nothing in Langan's postings or his paper constitute anything more than talk about abstract concepts, with a few symbolic expressions thrown in here and there. It is not even clear that the CTMU constitutes a valid theory under the mathematico-linguistic domain in which it purports to reside wherein a theory is defined as a set of statements that are closed under logical consequence. And were the CTMU that (and thereby axiomatizable and formalizable), it would be more widely published than only in the ISCID journal. CaveBat 18:06, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia convention allows—even encourages—red links to viable articles-to-be; it's a way to signal that those articles are missing and need to be created. "Axiomatizable" and "formalizable" are not just affixed derivatives of "axiom" and "formal"; they are important concepts in their own right, and not adequately covered in those articles. Better candidates would be axiomatization and formal system, but until they at least mention the terms in question, I'm hesitant to pipe or redirect. Similarly for dual-aspect monism: delinking is sweeping the problem under the rug.
As I noted above, qualifiers appear every few sentences to indicate that we are describing, not asserting, the theory. For example, instead of saying "reality takes the form of an SCSPL", we say "in the CTMU, reality takes the form of an SCSPL", thereby localizing the claim to the theory. Further qualification is unnecessary; we don't need to say "according to Langan, in the CTMU reality takes the form of an SCSPL". The extra qualifier is redundant.
If Langan has argued a point, "argues Langan" is more precise than "according to Langan". That cognition is a form of information processing is a standard view (our own article calls cognition "a facility for the intelligent processing of information"), and the "generalized cognitive" nature of reality is not a bald assertion, but a point he has argued, for example on page 19 of "A New Kind of Reality Theory".
On mathematics in the CTMU, Langan has said that "[a]ctually, it’s all mathematics, mainly advanced logic including a lot of model theory and algebra", and that he "can reduce that entire 56 page paper to variables and functional, operational and relational symbols". His public work is meant to be relatively accessible: "Rather than encumber you and others with strings of math symbols that you might not be able to decipher, I have chosen to convert these strings to verbal explanations in more or less plain language." We already acknowledge that Langan's public writings are relatively informal, but I see little reason to doubt the mathematical nature of the CTMU. (Whether the math is correct and proves what he says it does is, of course, another question.)
The CTMU has been published not only in PCID, but in the anthology Uncommon Dissent and in the journals of various high-IQ societies. It has also received extensive media coverage, including a description in Popular Science. That it has not appeared more widely in academic journals does not mean it is invalid. Academics tend to ignore outsiders with grandiose theories, dismissing them, often rightly, as cranks. Unfortunately, this blanket judgment puts more weight on incredulity that a nightclub bouncer could have proved the existence of God than on the need for a responsible assessment of his theory's validity. Tim Smith 18:52, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Process physics[edit]

Can anyone confirm if it related to process physics?

The CTMU was created in the mid-1980s and published in 1989/1990; it therefore predates process physics, which grew from a 1996 paper by Reginald Cahill and Christopher Klinger. There are similarities: both theories view time as an iterative process rather than as an ordinary linear dimension; both seek to model reality without assuming pre-existing objects or laws; both employ concepts of self-organization; both distribute over reality a form of self-awareness.
A major difference, though, is that whereas the CTMU reduces reality to infocognition and ultimately to telesis, process physics is not a reductionistic theory at all. Cahill writes, regarding the basic iterator by which his bootstrap model evolves:

It is important to note that process physics is a non-reductionist modelling of reality; the basic iterator (2) is premised on the general assumption that reality is sufficiently complex that self-referencing occurs, and that this has limitations. ["Process Physics: From Information Theory to Quantum Space and Matter", page 17]

So the basic iterator—which New Scientist in a 2000 article called "largely the child of educated guesswork"—relies on what Cahill admits is a foundational assumption. At this level, process physics leaves reality unexplained, simply taking for granted that it possesses the complexity needed for self-reference. If it turns out that such complexity does not come for free, but rather imposes constraints on the structure of reality, then those constraints will govern process physics.
The CTMU says that self-referential complexity does impose a constraint: that reality take the form of an algebraic structure Langan calls a Self-Configuring Self-Processing Language (SCSPL). Unlike process physics, the CTMU contains, according to Langan, no assumptions:

Because the CTMU is based on logic, i.e. logical tautologies, plus a small set of metalogical tautologies, it has been described as a "supertautology". No assumptions are necessary, only laws of mathematics.

So if Cahill's and Langan's models are to be reconciled, process physics must be embedded in, and must conform to, the deeper reality of SCSPL. The CTMU is therefore the more fundamental of the two theories.
By the way, you can sign your posts. Tim Smith 16:12, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

conspansion.com[edit]

The author of conspansion.com writes: "The Conspansion paradigm has haunted me since 1991." His version of conspansion is therefore predated by the CTMU, which was created in the mid-1980s and published in 1989/1990. It is also substantially less notable than the CTMU; nearly all Internet references to conspansion are to Langan's version. Because by the author's own admission, his interpretation of the concept differs from Langan's, links to conspansion.com are in my opinion of little use to readers of this article seeking to understand the CTMU. For more information about conspansion in the CTMU, see "A New Kind of Reality Theory", particularly pages 27–30. Tim Smith 16:13, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

(1) "...substantially less notable" is as objective an observation as "tastes a lot better." This is a meaningless justification for the edit.

[This is incorrect. Wikipedia, like all other encyclopedias, has a notability criterion. "conspansion.com", a relatively recent addition to the Internet which offers little in the way of theoretical content and nothing which even remotely establishes priority for any part of the CTMU or its terminology, is not sufficiently notable to qualify for inclusion in an encyclopedia. Moreover, its owner's definition of "conspansion" is not equivalent to CTMU conspansion. Asmodeus 7/01/06]

(2) Primacy is irrelevant. That two strangers developed/envisioned the paradigm independently is remarkable, and should be embraced by the originator(s) of this article.

[They are not the same paradigm. The CTMU concept is rooted in a mathematical structure called SCSPL; the "conspansion.com" concept appears to be some sort of physical shrinkage based on no supporting mathematical structure. Thus, we are not merely talking about terminological priority, which appears to belong to Langan, but also about the specificity of the definition and its underlying model. (As noted in Langan's papers, the shrinking matter concept belongs to Arthur Eddington at the latest, and cannot be claimed by the author of "conspansion.com".) Asmodeus 7/01/06]

(3) The link to conspansion.com was an unobstrusive (read: few bits) reference to more information. Without positing an ulterior motive, I cannot for the life of me speculate as to why anyone would want to remove such an unobtrusive reference to further, relevant information.

[The link to "conspansion.com" led viewers to a page which not only has nothing to do with the topic of this article, but gratuitously insults the CTMU and its author. In short, it merely adds insult to irrelevance. Asmodeus 7/01/06]

The subject of this article is the CTMU. conspansion.com does not explain conspansion in the CTMU; rather, it describes the author's own version of the concept, which differs from Langan's. It is therefore, as I said, of little use to readers of this article seeking to understand the CTMU. Since "conspansion" in this article refers specifically to Langan's version, it is clearer to say "a process Langan calls conspansion" than "a process called conspansion".
At Wikipedia, notability is not a mere matter of taste, but a developed set of criteria used as an aid to deciding what belongs in the encyclopedia. The CTMU, having appeared in Popular Science, on 20/20, and elsewhere in the mainstream media, is clearly notable. conspansion.com is not.
So for lack of relevance to the CTMU and lack of notability in its own right, conspansion.com was removed from the body of this article. By the way, you can sign your posts. Tim Smith 05:49, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Criticism[edit]

By its nature, the Internet is an endless source of complaint and criticism. Some of the criticism is well-reasoned and cogent; considerably more of it is not. Four of the most reliable indicators that a given critique is worthless: it is vague, it is accompanied by contempt or denigration (e.g. "pseudoscience" and "crank"), it displays incomprehension regarding its target, and nobody is sufficiently confident of it to attach his or her real name to it and thus stake his or her personal and professional reputation on it.

Virtually all of the criticism thus far directed at the CTMU and its author has displayed at least three of these indicators, and most of it has displayed all four. In general, the existence of such criticism is uninteresting to all but the critics themselves, and therefore does not belong in an encyclopedia (even when accompanied by important-sounding terms like "rigor" and "the scientific method", which tend to be invoked at least as frequently by those who do not understand them as by those who do).

Recent changes to this article, particularly those by someone calling himself "Byrgenwulf", have been a case in point. Although Mr. Byrgenwulf (?) claims that he is trying to restore a NPOV, the tone and content of his edits tells another story entirely. It would be appreciated if Mr. Byrgenwulf, instead of using this encyclopedia to grind whatever philosophical axe he is evidently bent on grinding, would confine his attention to topics regarding which he is himself capable of maintaining neutrality. [Asmodeus 7/12/06]

OK, here's how I see things. I have studied the CTMU; I've read all of the papers and other matter pertaining to it that I could find on the Internet, and it seems that its originator, this Langan chap, follows the commendable policy of making his work freely available. So, in other words, it isn't as though there are volumes and volumes published about it which I am missing. What is more, I happen to work in the field of philosophy of physics, professionally, and I do know a thing or two about this subject.
Now, I agree that an encyclopaedia should maintain a neutral point of view. I also think that ideas like the CTMU have a right to be represented. However, despite the preachy, biased nature of the article on it, it is not an orthodox scientific theory. In fact, it is not scientific, it is metaphysical, by definition (and by Langan's admission). I feel that a reader of the encyclopaedia who looks up this article has the right to know this, and we who know a thing or two about the field have the duty to keep the reader informed.
I certainly understand the CTMU, such as it is something that can be understood. It is not mathematically or logically correct. For one thing, G\"odel's incompleteness theorem completely rips it to shreds...Langan's use of set theory is not, shall we say, rigorous. Moreover, it does not make use of the scientific method. It doesn't. It's that simple. No-one can claim that it does: where are the experiments to back it up? I don't have the time or the inclination to write a fifty page debunking of this idea at the moment, and besides, I do not believe that to be appropriate: the CTMU should be allowed to state its case in the article, with the criticism section kept to the minimum reasonable for the encyclopaedia to do its duty.
As for the "pseudonym" thing, this is normal for the Internet. It is a username I came up with to try to overcome the even more anonymous nature of an IP address. Does it say "Asmodeus" on your birth certificate, then? What a ridiculous and puerile assertion, that using a username on the Internet (like everyone else) renders what one says meaningless. And hypocritical to boot!
Now, why is it that the CTMU and its proponents are so terrified of criticism? Where are the peer-reviewed commentaries? I know that it was published in intelligent design journals, but if you read the entry for intelligent design, specifically under the heading for "peer-review", all the same comments that apply to that field also apply to CTMU. Why is it that these criticisms cannot be mentioned here?
In order to try to deal with this constructively, and prevent stupid "revert wars", why not talk over a reasoned set of modifications to the article here, including a small criticism section, and then we can post a final copy? --Byrgenwulf 08:33, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

His explanation notwithstanding, Byrgenwulf's criticisms of the CTMU still fail to qualify as nontrivial according to the reasonable criteria enumerated above by Asmodeus. The criticisms remain uninformative and overtly prejudicial, would add nothing of value to the article, and would probably convey the false impression that the criticisms are authoritative, despite what we already know to be their vagueness, derisiveness, anonymity and technical irrelevance, not to mention their total lack of credible citations.

Byrgenwulf privately (and still anonymously) claims to be a "professional philosopher of physics". However, I don't think we're in a position to take this on Byrgenwulf's say-so alone, particularly when it remains unclear whether Byrgenwulf understands the theory on any level beyond that required to generate vague and sanctimonious allusions to undecidability, rigor, and the scientific method. I myself have a PhD, know a bit about the philosophy of science, and do not agree with Byrgenwulf's sour assessment of the theory's integrity. Furthermore, this article has already been gone over with regard to NPOV and carefully reworded to conform to neutrality. All claims associated with the theory have been qualified as Langan's alone. Langan is, after all, free to make claims, and insofar as these claims are part of his theory and the theory has been deemed notable, they belong in the article.

As noted in the article, Langan is a "somebody" who has been the recipient of extensive media coverage. While he and his supporters are not allowed to use Wikipedia as an advertising medium, Langan and his theory are sufficiently notable that they belong there, complete with all associated claims. Langan's work is extensive, and as those who have read it are aware, he does make considerable effort to justify these claims. Such claims cannot be refuted without vastly more effort, and expertise, than have thus far been brought to bear against them.

Of course, Byrgenwulf is free to doubt the CTMU for his own personal reasons, on his own personal authority, in his own space, and on his own time. However, these personal doubts do not qualify for inclusion in an encyclopedia article. Having already tipped his hand, and shown us that neutrality is the farthest thing from his mind, he should not be allowed to misrepresent his opinion as factual, credible, or even worthy of mention. At such a time as Byrgenwulf becomes a personage in his own right, his own fans can then submit an article about him. Until then, his opinions are not sufficiently notable, or believable, for inclusion in Wikipedia. DrL 17:05, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

DrL, in what way does you claiming to have a PhD have anything to do with philosophy of science? I don't know what field you qualified in, but obviously not philosophy of science if you "know a bit about" it! Please let's let this whole anonymity thing drop: we're all using screen names here, not just me, and it is getting childish. In fact this entire thing is getting very childish indeed.
Now, most articles on philosophical matters have criticism sections in them. Why should this one be immune? I still dispute the NPOV of this article, while I do acknowledge that it is written with appropriate provisos such as "Langan argues" or the "CTMU says". However, this does not mean that criticisms of the theory, not of Langan or the article should not be included. And I have never disputed the right of the CTMU to be represented here, and given a fair shot at representing itself. That is precisely why I have not peppered the entire article with commentary where absurd claims and terminological howlers are made...I am not Hellbent on vandalising it, contrary to what you seem to be alleging.
But, here are some examples. The claim is made that the article references "advanced mathematics" such as category theory, model theory, etc. It does no such thing. Look at the bibliography for yourself. It just doesn't. An Encyclopaedia of Mathematics and Goedel's paper do not amount to this. I think the purpose of putting this statement in there is to awe and wow the layman into believing that it must be right.
Here's a quick proof that ought to settle the matter as to whether or not the entire theory is as watertight as some seem to think. Let S be the set of statements provable by the axiomatic system that governs the CTMU. Then, by Goedel, there is a statement which is true of reality which is not in the set S. Therefore, the CTMU is not a theory of everything. Simple. Not very advanced, but then it took all of ten seconds. And it would take a lot more than that to refute.
Moreover, it is simple to prove that Langan's idea of building the theory on tautologies is spurious. And coming from someone who uses quantum information (it from bit) in the supposed proof, this oversight is damning...it is not possible to draw out more information from a tautological statement than is already encoded in the premises. This is a mathematical fact. So, in essence, the only way a tautologous theory such as this could be "true" is if it says nothing. Otherwise it is adding information which is not proven.
Now, I don't want to right a paper on the inadequacies of the CTMU here. It could be done, and it wouldn't be difficult either. However, I hope that these two small, very superficial arguments show that a a criticism section is warranted. I can even admit I was perhaps too derogatory and scathing at first, but I am not going to back down on this. So, what say you?


In the hope of saving time for all concerned, I'll take a moment to address Byrgenwulf's "proof" that the CTMU is not "watertight":

"Let S be the set of statements provable by the axiomatic system that governs the CTMU. Then, by Goedel, there is a statement which is true of reality which is not in the set S. Therefore, the CTMU is not a theory of everything."

However, owing precisely to Goedel's theorems, a "theory of everything" can only be a comprehensive theory structured to accommodate all true statements regarding its universe, even the undecidable ones. In particular, it is not some sort of magical engine capable of deductively generating all true statements from a finite axiom set; rather, it is such that undecidable truths are not excluded, and can be consistently accommodated as they emerge. This is an explicit criterion of the CTMU, and its theoretical structure has been defined accordingly.

This leads us to Byrgenwulf's related misunderstanding of tautology and its place in the CTMU. In fact, a tautology can accommodate all kinds of information within its sentential variables. Such information need not be specifically implied by the tautology, but need merely be accommodated (regardless of how it is generated). For example:

Equation 1: X or not-X (This expression, called the Law of Excluded Middle, is a tautology because it is always true regardless of the truth value assigned to the arbitrary sentential variable X)

Let X = (Byrgenwulf is not a philosopher of science)

Then substituting and reducing,

Equation 2: (Byrgenwulf is not a philosopher of science) OR (Byrgenwulf is a philosopher of science)

Note that we did not deduce the informative statement "Byrgenwulf is not a philosopher of science", represented by the metavariable X, from the tautology "X or not-X". Instead, we inferred it from the quality of his discourse and inserted it therein. The key point: the tautology is still comprehensive, even if the information in its sentential variables is axiomatically undecidable. If the tautology were deductively limited to the statement we inserted, then obviously, it would not be comprehensive, since it is equally possible that Byrgenwulf is a philosopher of science, and that he is not (as equation 2 explicitly says).

A major goal of the CTMU, as I understand it, is to build tautology into the structure of reality to insure that all true statements can be consistently accommodated by it, or equivalently, so that the universe can consistently accommodate all of its own states, relationships and processes, never giving rise, by any means at its disposal, to anything that is not consistent with what has gone before and elsewhere. Prior to the CTMU, this had never been done, at least to my knowledge. It is done here by means of various "meta-axioms" as described in the introductory paper, which one can only suggest that interested parties take the time to read and understand.

As far as what the PCID paper explicitly references, in the body rather than merely the bibliography, I opened the .pdf and successfully ran a search on the terms "model theory" (page 1), "undecidability" (page 24), and "categories" (page 25). I find all three usages transparent and coherent, at least for those with a prior understanding of what these terms actually mean. They also occur elsewhere in Langan's writings, where their usages are no less meaningful and appropriate. That is, not only do these terms appear in the PCID paper and Langan's other writings; the concepts thereby labeled are there as well, usually figuring as points of departure for more advanced reasoning. So much for accuracy.

On a final note, the purpose of Wikipedia is to inform the public on what's out there so that they can undertake further research and come to their own informed conclusions. It is not about debating content. Wikipedia's verifiability policy dictates that any information introduced to a submission, critical or otherwise, must be verifiable, that is, must have been verifiably published in a reputable source. Anonymous critics and their misconceived "proofs" do not constitute verifiable sources, and therefore do not belong in this article. DrL 22:05, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

DrL, as your supposed criticism was obviously intended to be humorous but biting at the same time, I shall address it here: I know this isn't a debating forum, but you took me up on it, instead of accepting the point that criticisms do exist. Your "defence" is completely specious: it is not possible for a complete theory to be consistent. To put it differently, if all theorems derived from the axioms are true, and there are even some true propositions which are not theorems, then there will be inconsistencies in the theory. This is what Goedel's theorem means...perhaps you'd like to read up on it? I know that Langan refers to the actual paper in his bibliography! The CTMU must choose between completeness and consistency, it cannot have both (because as a theory of everything, one would hope it could account for at least arithmetic truths, and this is what Goedel's theorem deals with).
Moreover, you reiterated my point that tautologies are only as good as the information we put into them, you didn't refute it. And I know the paper talks about model theory etc. (believe it or not, I really did take the time to sit and work through it), but the word reference in this context normally refers to bibliographies, and there are no references to literature in these fields...so perhaps you would like to change the wording?
I would appreciate it if you refrain from ad hominems...I have not started attacking you personally, but I am warning you that if this ad hominem pseudo-argumentation continues, I shall not hold back. I don't quite know what Wikipedia's policy is on this sort of thing, but I shall be reading up on it. I really am trying to address this in a mature, reasonable manner: why won't you?
I think we may have a little confusion here. Byrgenwulf states that "The CTMU must choose between completeness and consistency," maintaining that Langan has failed to properly make this choice. But in fact, Langan has explicitly chosen consistency, and therefore rejects completeness in favor of another property, "comprehensiveness".
On page 4 of the PCID paper, Langan writes of "the development of a comprehensive explanation of reality." On page 13, he parenthetically defines "comprehensiveness" as the "non-exclusion of truth" (which happens to be the way it is used in DrL's last edit on this page). Again on page 13, Langan observes that sentential logic is comprehensive in this sense. On page 14, he asserts that comprehensiveness is the goal of reality theory. On the very next page (15), he distinguishes comprehensiveness from completeness, stating that comprehensiveness is "...less thorough but also less undecidable than completeness". Scrolling down that page, one learns how comprehensiveness is built into the CTMU: "The M=R principle, a tautological theoretical property that dissolves the distinction between theory and universe and thus identifies the real universe as a self-reifying theory, makes the syntax of this theory comprehensive by ensuring that nothing which can be cognitively or perceptually recognized as a part of reality is excluded for want of syntax." (He goes on to explain the principle in far greater detail.) And so on and so forth.
In other words, the notion that the CTMU is ruled out by undecidability is simply wrong. So is the notion that tautology lacks the power to informationally constrain a theory; tautologies can be expressively violated, e.g., "A and not-A", and the CTMU simply explains (among other things) why the universe never does this in the course of expressing itself. [Asmodeus 7/12/06]
Please see WP:NOR. Verify all claims from reliable sources, rather than justifying them with sophistry. Jefffire 15:36, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
I am not going to enter a debate on the value of the CTMU here, because this is an encyclopaedia (suffice it to say I still don't agree). But I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't an amusing divertissement in its own right! (By the way, I discussed my most recent edit at the top of this talk page)--Byrgenwulf 10:25, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Last sentence is unsupported in current edit. JKLevine 19:49, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Factual disputes[edit]

There are a number of factual-type claims made in this article which need references. Moreover, in some cases factual claims made are actually correct. For example, nowhere in the A New Kind of Reality paper is mention made of a "sum over futures" interpretation of quantum mechanics, and no citation is given as to where substantiation of this idea can be found. Are we to take peoples' word for things? Also, the article claims that the paper "references, and indeed includes" a whole lot of complex mathematical concepts, when it does no such thing, at least according to its own bibliography. Furthermore, if one reads Wikipedia's policy on valid sources for scientific articles, one finds that the popular media should not be included. I therefore think that information relying on these sources should be removed. Likewise, self-published sources are not valid, so these must also be removed. Additionally, this is an article about a scientific theory, and biographical information about Langan ought to be put under his biographical article. Finally, any further reverts over the edits performed here, which any reasonable person must admit are verifiable, balanced, and an attempt to make this article scholarly as opposed to an advertisement and exercise in glorification, will result in a request for the page being locked for editing. This infantile behaviour is not becoming.--Byrgenwulf 13:28, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Another thing...is the CTMU a scientific or a philosophical theory? It needs a category label, so that the reader does not get confused. Perhaps one of its ardent defenders would like to add this one, as they know what Langan thinks, presumably, judging from how they have worded the rest of the article.--Byrgenwulf 13:33, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

DrL, take note. You have now simply reverted my edit, instead of addressing my concerns in a proper fashion. If you do this twice more, according to Wikipedia's policy, you can have your account blocked. Once again, I appeal to you to try to deal with this like an adult.--Byrgenwulf 14:17, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

That's two, DrL. Once more. We discuss this here, on the talk page. Until then, I think the provisos must stay up. It is a fact that I am disputing it, and you cannot change that by reverting.

Byrgenwulf, you are misstating the Wikipedia three revert per day rule. Exceptions to this rule include spamming and vandalism, both of which I can argue for in this case. I will respond to your comments today, as I have time. I'm not sure exactly what you are disputing. The CTMU is a theory created by Langan. That is a fact. When I have time I will address more of your concerns (I have already addressed many). DrL 15:05, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

DrL, you are vandalising my entry. Now, it is a fact that I am disputing some of the statements in the article, and the purpose of these tags is precisely to let people know that there is a discussion like this one going on. That is what they are for. You have now removed them three times without dealing with the issues, as well as killed the entire, referenced, section I have included. I am contacting admin now.--Byrgenwulf 15:14, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
First, Byrgenwulf, let me clear up another evident point of confusion. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not an "amusing divertissement" for the personal entertainment of anonymous critics who have already been caught in serious substantive errors regarding the target of their critiques, whether they care to admit it or not (an "amusing divertissement" is what you called it at the bottom of this page). Secondly, most of the "Controvery" section fails to comply with Wikipedia policy, being irrelevant, unverifiable, and non-neutral. Specifically:
"For example, some people might feel that the lack of peer review is an impediment to taking the theory seriously"
[Irrelevant conjecture; arguably violates both verifiability and NPOV]
"while it has been published in Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design (PCID), the journal in question is published by the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, an intelligent design movement," and has come under fire for lacking impartiality and rigour [1], mostly because the editorial standards are seen by some to be compromised [2]."
[Irrelevant; Langan in fact embraces the concept of biological evolution. If you want to argue about PCID, ISCID, or ID in general, you must do so in the discussions for the articles addressing those topics]
I have concluded that if you actually know or understand anything about Langan's work, the knowledge is interspersed among various serious misconceptions regarding it. I now see that this may have something to do with your position on the ID controversy. Of course, I can understand this; many people have strong feelings regarding that debate. However, Langan makes it very clear that he accepts evolution, and is merely seeking an extended framework in which both sides can interpret their positions (a unique and potentially valuable approach, at least for some). It would therefore be best if you were to limit your desire to debate that issue to the appropriate fora.
Thanks. Asmodeus 16:20, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I never said that Langan does not believe in evolution. Do not put words in my mouth. I said that he chose to publish his theory in an intelligent design journal (which is true), and I mentioned, with impartial and verifiable references, some of the sentiments that have been expressed by the scientific community with regards to the journal and the general milieu in which Langan's work was published (which is appropriate to include). The reader has the right to know about that, and make up their own mind. Why are you so adamant that this theory be elevated above all criticism?
Furthermore, you are misrepresenting my comment at the bottom of this page. I used the term "amusing divertissement" to describe debating whether not the CTMU is a valid theory, and myself expressed that this is not the place to do it. I refused to enter into any more debate on it there. So, do not presume to tell me that I am misappropriating Wikipedia.
Next. I don't wish to get involved with the ID brouhaha, and that is not why I am wishing for this article to include a balanced point of view. My concern is with physical theories and ideas.
Finally. I have not deleted any of the pertinent information on the theory. I have rather, where I saw a problem, followed normal procedures and tagged the problematic aspects, referring to discussion here. I am reverting to the previous section on controversy with minor rewording, as substantiated in the first paragraph of my post here. If you wish to dispute it, you can tag the controversy section as "disputed" by putting that word between two braces, and refer the reader here. Remember, my sources are valid, after all. --Byrgenwulf 16:57, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Once again, there is a clear and substantive distinction between the content of this article - that would be the CTMU - and the journals in which cited source material has been published. If you want to criticize PCID or ISCID, you need to do so in the article(s) addressing those topics (if the other editors allow you to do so). After all, the CTMU article links directly to the Wikipedia entry on ISCID. Asmodeus 17:21, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes I understand the difference between the CTMU and the PCID, Asmodeus. However, the text of the article cites a paper that is published in the PCID as its evidence, not so? And therefore, it is relevant and important, as well as part of presenting both sides of the story, that the article also mentions the nature of the peer review and publication process the paper has undergone, surely?
I would also ask you to refrain from accusing me of making "serious substantive errors" with regards to the CTMU. I am well capable of demolishing it, but as we both seem to agree, this is not the venue for doing so. I have stopped criticising it on theoretical grounds, so you can stop with trying to dismiss my criticisms of it. And since this is the talk page, not the article, I don't need to provide a paper I have written on the subject here, either, because I am not including any claims in the article.--Byrgenwulf 18:02, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

General information regarding PCID and ISCID belongs in the ISCID entry, not here. This is especially true because the footnotes appended to the Controversy section address "Creationism" and "Intelligent Design Creationism". Creationism has nothing to do with the CTMU, and the conflation of ID and Creationism is not factual, but highly controversial in its own right. These extraneous topics should not be smuggled into this article, either as content or in the form of footnotes and links. I've edited the Controversy section accordingly. DrL 18:09, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

While a citation has been added to (Langan 2002) for the "sum over futures" idea, searching the pdf for both that phrase and "interpretation of quantum mechanics" yielded no results. The citation is bogus. It has been marked accordingly.--Byrgenwulf 18:28, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

It is clearly there. Look at the text explicating Diagram 11 on page 28. Please refrain from labeling legitimate citations as bogus simply because you did not properly search for them. DrL 18:42, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Due apologies, I see that it is mentioned. Nonetheless, a label on a diagram cannot impartially be called an "interpretation of quantum mechanics". So, I am modifying the text of the article to be 100% truthful about this matter. Any changes you wish to make, please dispute here first.--Byrgenwulf 18:53, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

While I appreciate your more moderate tone, I have to wonder why you should be allowed to edit the page directly and I need to check with you first? :) Note: I removed the criticism of PCID and ask that if you have any criticisms of that journal, you note them in the ISCID or PCID article. DrL 19:03, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

DrL, I am only adding to the article, and those things I do not agree with, instead of just deleting, I put a dispute tag next to, so they can be discussed here. You simply delete what you do not agree with. That is the difference. And I reworded the point about the PCID so that it is about the papers in the PCID, of which the CTMU is one, and not the PCID itself.--Byrgenwulf 19:09, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I am going to replace "...and he claims that the CTMU constitutes a new interpretation of quantum mechanics called 'Sum Over Futures'" with "...and asserts that the CTMU constitutes a new interpretation of quantum mechanics called 'Sum Over Futures'". Although it is arguably irrelevant that this information appears in a diagram caption - the minute details of its location will obviously become apparent to anyone who bothers to read the source material - I'll leave it there for now. However, "claims" will be changed to "asserts" because this particular claim is not really open to doubt; anyone is free to interpret anything they like in any way they please. Because this article is about the CTMU, the way in which its author interprets it - as opposed to its interpretation by unverified, non-reputable sources - is highly relevant. Asmodeus 19:26, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
You chaps seem to be awfully confident about knowing how Langan sees his theory! I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't a "vanity" angle to this saga as well...anyway, I have no problem with "asserts" instead of "claims", it probably is better. The reason that the diagram label is important is because it shows just how rigorous and in-depth this "assertion" really is. Which can be juxtaposed with the article on interpretations of quantum mechanics.
So, in light of all these "assertions" made by Langan, I would like to see references for every single one of them. Every one, from an academic source, since that is how the theory is passing itself off. Otherwise the unreferenceable sentences must go. If this nonsense with removing the warning tags continues I'm nominating this article for deletion as unimportant (it has been resoundingly ignored by the scientific community), and I know this won't be the first time it has happened. So, don't remove the tags! Add some of your own for assertions I make that you don't agree with. You chaps are not the sole arbiters of what should be included in this article, as you seem to think.--Byrgenwulf 07:19, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
The CTMU is not passing itself off as an "academic" theory. It can't, because Langan is not a member of academia. But then again, a theory need not be academic to be notable. For example, print and television journalists and their readers and viewing audiences can deem things notable as well. Nor do academics have a monopoly on logical or factual correctness, scholarly integrity, or intellectual merit, except possibly in the well-indoctrinated minds of some academics themselves (and of course, their aspiring apprentices, whose eager anticipation of scholastic glory sometimes inflates their academic snobbery to blimpish proportions).
Byrgenwulf complains that "we chaps" are not the sole arbiters of what belongs in the article. This is correct. To his credit, he invites others to tag his assertions. However, this is a bit specious, for having belatedly come to the realization that he has no relevant, verifiable assertions to make, he is now specializing in challenging the assertions of others. Thus, we now find him imperiously and rather comically demanding that every one of Langan's assertions receive a separate citation, when this is flatly unnecessary because the source material in which those assertions are made is already directly linked to the article.
It is important for Byrgenwulf to understand that he has exactly the same burden of proof as his opponents. Not only must he provide a legitimate citation for anything he wishes to add to the article, but given that the article already links to ample source material, anything he wants to remove or qualify must be proven false, irrelevant, or non-neutral. Unfortunately, he hasn't yet been able to lock onto this signal. He still labors under the assumption that like some sort of Ultimate Bureaucrat, he can sit at his keyboard and demand an infinite amount of verification without verifying anything himself.
By now, everyone involved in this matter has come to a stark realization: neither Byrgenwulf, nor any of his tiny but dedicated band of confederates, HAS any citations or other sources of verification for their own accusations. They are merely using the article, which is faithful to the material it cites, to prosecute their philosophical bias against its topic, the CTMU, which was deemed notable and newsworthy by several international periodicals and news networks. They do not like what the CTMU says; the article on the CTMU reports on what the CTMU says, and what Langan and the press say about the CTMU; hence, they do not like the article on the CTMU.
This conflation of the article with the theory is reflected in Byrgenwulf's transparent strategy of attacking the theory through the article, attempting to dispose of the message by killing the messenger. Meanwhile, he seemingly fails to register the fact that he is himself in glaring violation of Wikipedia verifiability policy, and that his all-too-evident editorial bias is in massive violation of NPOV as well. Oozing contempt, Byrgenwulf has rumbled into the middle of the CTMU article with a load of summary demands, snide remarks, and self-righteous, factually worthless criticism...but not one relevant citation in hand! Nothing he says is verifiable; as we have now repeatedly seen, he cannot even be trusted on matters in which he claims to be an expert. This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to take his demands seriously. Asmodeus 06:27, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup[edit]

One of my concerns is that if we were to wikify all the terms in this article (which is the ideal state of affairs), the thing would be a sea of red. It uses way too much terminology, and once it is stripped to the bare essentials, it seems completely different. For example, the claim made under "mind" which ultimately boils down to rocks being able to think.--Byrgenwulf 15:34, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

This is an encyclopaedia, not a platform for Langan to tout his claims which are not contained in the paper. Consequently, I have removed claims which allude to more structure than is contained in the paper itself. If one day Langan deigns to publish a full formalisation of the theory, it may then be included in the encyclopaedia. Until then, it does not meet the criteria for notability, being speculation. I reiterate, it doesn't matter, for encyclopaedic purposes, what Langan claims, it matters what Langan published, as the article is not "Claims made by Christopher Langan". I also removed the explanations of what tautology is, etc., because by clicking on the link the reader can find this out for themselves. This is an article on the CTMU, not an introduction to epistemology. Since any work I have done has just been deleted without discussion, I am doing the same. As usual, disputes come here on the talk page, so we don't have revert wars.--Byrgenwulf 08:25, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

All material contained in this articles comes directly from Langan's published papers. DrL 13:16, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

So, in other words, if someone writes whatever is on their mind, promises they can back it up with actual argumentation, but doesn't, publishes it in a journal which has come under extreme criticism for lacking rigour, impartiality and standards, then they merit an encyclopaedia article about it, which is so slantedly written it makes it sound like their opinion is valid? --Byrgenwulf 13:34, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I removed the paragraph under "History" which talks about the theory in the popular press, because Wikipedia policy dictates that this is not important for scientific theories. This can go on his bio page, not the one dealing with this supposedly scientific theory.--Byrgenwulf 08:29, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I have removed the sentence about "topological inclusion", as it is not correct use of mathematical jargon. Once again, this is in accord with Wikipedia policy. --Byrgenwulf 08:36, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

References to Langan's IQ etc. are gone. The IQ of the creator has nothing to do with the theory, and can be included on Langan's bio page. Moreover, there really just is no such thing as a "blue-collar cosmologist", so once again it can be on the bio page. This article is about the theory, not about Langan.--Byrgenwulf 08:40, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Most articles will contain a little information about the credentials of the author(s). In this case, IQ is used as an informational credential. DrL 13:16, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

IQ is not a valid credential for a scientific theory.--Byrgenwulf 13:35, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

In the history section, I have removed the biographical info about Langan, which once again can go to his bio. Moreover, someone who is editing this article either is Langan, or must know him personally, making this a vanity article. The reason I say so is that there is reference to an "unpublished book". How would a member of the public know about what books Langan says he has written. Unpublished books don't deserve mention in a scientific article, as for all we know they don't exist other than in Langan's imagination: even if it is on paper, once it is published it can be included.--Byrgenwulf 08:45, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

The claim is made that the CTMU is based on logical tautologies. This needs proof, and not just a reference to the paper. Either formal proof, or "Langan says".


Actually, this whole thing is becoming very clumsy, with "Langan argues", "Langan claims" etc. every few sentences. I am revising the whole thing to give "claims made by the theory", and then a discussion of how the theory departs from mainstream science, as discussed on the Wikipedia Project Pseudoscience page. If anyone has a problem with this, I think we can start talking about it on the "articles for deletion page".--Byrgenwulf 08:51, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I have removed the reference to Noesis, because it is not an academic journal. Moreover, having now read a few copies of it, I am appalled at the racism I saw in it. And yes, I can provide a reference, but since this is the talk page it doesn't matter. Whatever the quality of Noesis, it is not a peer-reviewed scholarly journal (it doesn't even claim to be), and thus not suitable for a page on a supposedly scientific theory.--Byrgenwulf 09:09, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I am also cutting down a vast quantity of the content, because most of it is unintelligible to the general reader. It makes extensive use of terminology which is used either:

  • blatantly incorrectly
  • not as it is generally used
  • is made up by Langan himself,

all of which makes it rather jargon-riddled and obscure. Consequently, in the section detailing the claims made by the CTMU, I am taking information from the lay-person's Q&A on the website, and bulking it out with details from the paper where necessary. What's the story with image copyrights (seeing as a couple of my co-editors seem to have a direct line to Langan himself, if not his actual thoughts)? Can we include some of Langan's little diagram-thingies?--Byrgenwulf 09:46, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I think using a diagram or two would be fine. I would appreciate it if we could discuss changes before you swoop in for a wholesale edit. I am just trying to preserve the article that Tim Smith (a chap who I believe does not even know Langan) put up and keep it informative and a little entertaining (so yes, I think some of the bio info should stay, I removed part of it - let's discuss further edits, please!) DrL 13:28, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Tags at the top of the article[edit]

I have placed two tags at the top of this article: "totallydisputed" and "advert". "Totallydisputed" means that the article lacks a neutral point of view, and is written to promote this theory. "Advert" means that this really does seem to be a vanity article: all manner of claims are made on Langan's behalf, which means that either people are putting words into his mouth, which is unacceptable, or that Langan himself is editing this article and removing criticisms, which is also unacceptable. Moreover, the notability and importance of this "theory" are questionable, as is whether or not it should be included in an encyclopaedia. See my notes under "cleanup" below, for things which concern me and I am trying to fix. Anyone else is welcome to contribute, but let's not keep reverting to prior versions of this article. It needs serious help. It is jargon riddled, filled with made up terms, and not really intelligible to the lay reader, who will not have the critical knowledge to be able to evaluate the article in context.

These tags must stay until disputes are resolved.--Byrgenwulf 10:40, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

This article passed NPOV review already. You can't just keep putting the same tags up over and over. You need to give the mods time for review. The material in it comes from Langan's articles and media coverage. I will add sources and answer some of your questions. Please relax! DrL 13:10, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Request Moderation[edit]

Byrgenwulf - please leave the article as it is until we have some moderation. I don't know what axe you have to grind for Langan, but "get a life" springs to mind. You seem obsessed and personally involved. Please relax and wait for the moderators to come in and have a look. In the meantime, I will answer some of your latest comments. DrL 13:04, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

DrL, I don't have any axe to grind for Langan, I do however believe that an encyclopaedia exists to educate, not promote some minority group's opinions.

I am not personally involved; however, it seems that someone here is more personally involved than they are letting on, because how else they know about books that Langan has written but not published?

That was mentioned in at least two media interviews. DrL

Moreover, the article remaining static has nothing to do with you adding references. You can add them on top of the hard work I have already done. It's that simple. You already broke the "three revert" rule yesterday, in your frenzied efforts to stop anything "contrary" to the CTMU being expressed.

I did not revert 3 times yesterday (only twice) and you are allowed three reverts per day - particularly when someone is making major changes and not taking the time to discuss them! DrL

I am not vandalising this article, I am acting in good faith, even if you don't agree with it. Please refrain from accusing me of that.

Then try discussing your changes FIRST. DrL

This is not "your" article, DrL, that you have the final say on its content. And it is an empirical fact that I am disputing it. I have references for my claims, but you just delete them whenever I put them on.

It's not your article either. I am trying to keep it from being hijacked by a number of sources for other than informative purposes, that's all. DrL

I requested mediation yesterday but was ignored, so I'm not optimistic anything will happen now, but let us hope!

Yes, lets ... in the meantime let's discuss changes before making them! DrL

I'm really thinking of requesting deletion for this article (I know this isn't the first time it has happened), as it is not noteworthy, not peer-reviewed, and absolutely uneditable since any work done which might possibly detract from the unassailable intelligence, glory and wisdom of Langan is instantly reverted. Moreover, it really does just seem to exist to push this theory, not inform the public about it.

It is badly written, peppered as it is with "Langan says this" and "Langan says that". It's written like an essay, is filled with jargon incorrectly used, and a formidable piece for the lay reader to digest. This is doubly bad because it could "intimidate" them into getting the wrong impression about the scientific validity of the opinions stated in it.--Byrgenwulf 13:26, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Your are entitled to your opinion. Other people find it interesting on its own merit and as human interest as Langan is an autodidact. DrL 13:45, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Negotiate Changes[edit]

As moderation has been requested, it would be in the best interest of the process for people seeking to make changes to list them here for discussion. DrL 13:49, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I have placed a disputed tag until this is resolved.--The critic 14:17, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I am not seeing any concerns regarding factual accuracy that have not been addressed. Removed tag pending clarification of accuracy concerns. DrL 14:48, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Article badly written, claims are put forward as facts, general POV pushing language used, veriability policy not adhered to. Usual fringe article problems, I've dealt with a fair number before by this is quite a bad example. Jefffire 15:00, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Jefffire, please give an example of "pushing POV language". Your dismissive last sentence is not constructive. DrL 15:04, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

In the evolution section, telic recurrsion is presented as scientific fact, CTMU is called a theory throughout, when it is not, and the model is prented in places as tautological, when that is highly debatable. Jefffire 15:12, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I have taken your requists for citations and facts out as I feel these are unnecessary and have been well covered by the article in question, please refer to the links when considering an article. I do not agree with you that these are debatable as they are well proven in the High IQ Comunity.--IQ Prophet 15:30, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't care what the "high IQ community" considers well proven, these claims must be verified from reliable sources. You would do well to read wikipedia's core policies on these matters. WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V. These policies must be adhered to and sentences that violate them will be removed in short order. These policies are non-negotable. Find the citations, or the sentences will be removed. Jefffire 15:33, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
The sources cited in the article are, and always have been, reliable...ABC news, Popular Science, Esquire magazine, and so on. Anyone who thinks that these sources are not legitimate by Wikipedia standards has a severe reading comprehension problem. You are vandalizing a legitimate Wikipedia entry. I'm requesting that you desist. (By the way, that's non-negotiable.)
Um, Asmodeus, you're wrong. Please read Wikipedia's policy on reliable sources for science. Oh dear, I'd better duck and run, here comes another stream of argumenta ad hominem!--Byrgenwulf 17:30, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
I've read the policy, and I'm 100% right. (By the way, the CTMU is not a scientific theory, as has been repeatedly explained to you.) Asmodeus 06:35, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Popular media is not a reliable source of the claims made in this article, whether or not they are "scientific". Jefffire 14:08, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Confusion tag.[edit]

The article is exceptionaly poorly written, and there is an excess of waffle, hand waving, quasi-scientific language thoughout. The entire thing needs a comprehensive rewrite, using plain language thoughout. Jefffire 15:16, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Response This is not about some random pipsqueak's idea of good writing style. The CTMU article was in fact very well written, until half-baked, policy-violating critics biased against its content began changing the wording and hanging spurious tags all over it. Nor is this about your opinion of the content of the article or the CTMU itself. Take your unverifiable, non-neutral opinions to the men's room wall - they're irrelevant and I'm tired of reading them. Asmodeus 17:14, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Does the CTMU tautologicaly create rudeness? Please read our civility policies WP:Civility Jefffire 17:24, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

On "theories"[edit]

DrL changed "metaphysical concept" back to "metaphysical theory", on the grounds that a theory is a logically self-consistent framework. I think this should be reworded slightly, since whether or not the CTMU is logically self-consistent is POV. Byrgenwulf 13:08, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

I believe the use of the word "theory" in the first line is accurate. Please let me know what objections you have, Byrgenwulf? Read the Wiki entry on theory first. DrL 13:13, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

I read the article...it certainly would be POV to assert it is a scientific theory, but the meaning of a "metaphysical theory" isn't really clear. What's wrong with "construct"? I think it accurately reflects what the CTMU is attempting to do, and is a fairly neutral word. Byrgenwulf 13:17, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Far more neutral than "theory", but slightly unwieldy. Perhaps there is a better term. Jefffire 13:20, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I didn't see this category. I removed redundant header. Construct sounds better than model in regards to writing style, so it may be the closest for now. I will look for the usage of theory in a metaphysical sense to bolster my argument as I think this is the most accurate term. Btw, I thought the rocks paragraph was a helpful addition. DrL 13:26, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

I removed an unverified assumption on the part of Philosophus. The CTMU process called "conspansion" involves two phases, inner expansion and requantization. During requantization, space and time scales are adjusted in unision, so that everything is synchronously rescaled. That is, there is an inbuilt grammatical function such that the equation "action = energy x time" remains constant. The existence of this function has been empirically confirmed by the fact that Planck's constant is not observed to change over time. To verify the contrary assumption, on the other hand, one would have to demonstrate the impossibility of an observational model of the CTMU incorporating such a function. Even if one could execute such a proof, it couldn't be accepted from an unverified source. DrL 18:04, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

DrL (incidentally, is the "science related field" PhD in psychology?), I was thinking about your proposition on Jefffire's talk page regarding redoing the article. However, if this theory is going to use terms like "requantisation", which are scientific, then it becomes subject to scientific scrutiny. Moreover, using well-established scientific knowledge to show where a theory such as this diverges from the scientific mainstream is not original research. And even if Langan, or his fans, or members of his "high IQ club" don't see where the CTMU contradicts mainstream science, it is easily shown that it does (once again, remember that I never backed down on the discussion above, but merely said that this is not the place to do it). So, the way I see things, there are three options here:
(1) Strip this article right down, and divest it of its pretensions at scientific terminology (which are misplaced it if is philosophy), and make it intelligible to the lay reader.
(2) Allow the CTMU to have its say, unhindered, in terms of scientific concepts, but then include a section on how it diverges from mainstream scientific opinion, complete with the project pseudoscience infobox.
(3) Merge it with Chris Langan's bio, because it is unpublished, individual ramblings which are non-notable: the press articles are really about Langan, and I have reason to believe that the two most ardent proponents (yourself and Asmodeus) of this idea are perhaps not Langan himself, but at least people very close to him, and hence rather biased with regards to this whole affair (ironic, considering the foul accusations Asmodeus has made about me, none of which are true).
Anyway, I think these three options tie in fairly well with the following quote from Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, about theories like this[1]:

"I know little enough about physics that I can't say anything

meaningful about these particulars, but I would say

(a) if those are valid concepts about which we need an article, we should patch these up or rewrite them so they aren't nonsenese

(b) if those are *known* and *popular* crackpot ideas, then we should have an article about them, identifying them *as* ideas that are completely rejected by the consensus of leading scientists or NPOV verbiage to that effect

(c) if those are *individualized* crackpot ideas, i.e. stuff made up by one anonymous crank, then after some time on 'votes for deletion' they should just be deleted, not for being false, but for failing the

test of confirmability."

As it happens, I really do honestly believe, having now done much more research on the CTMU, that the last option, deletion, applies. Moreover, if it occupies the "hitherto unheard of, groundbreaking field" which yourself and Asmodeus have characterised it as occupying, then because the role of an encyclopaedia is to reflect the commonly recognised knowledge of its day (not tout groundbreaking discoveries), it should remain outside of encyclopaediae until such time as the field is not so "groundbreaking" anymore. Which will no doubt happen one day if it has anything like the degree of merit which you and Asmodeus claim for it. And please try to spell my username correctly. Byrgenwulf 18:26, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
I think that presentation of the material is warranted since the material has certainly become part of the popular culture. I would agree that the editors of article should be careful about making scientific claims as it is not a theory of empirical science, it's a framework or a meta-theory, which is what makes it philosophical in nature ("philosophical in nature" is also true of many theories commonly considered to be scientific, btw).
Tim Smith's insertion of a Reception section may be a good idea. I don't want to see a pseudoscience tag because that's dismissive. Conflation with Creationism is the last thing I would want to see as I don't think that is at all what Langan intended with the CTMU, which supports a more Panentheistic worldview.
A lot of terms that may seem the domain of science are equally valid in discussions of philosopy of science, so also bear that in mind. If we all try to edit responsibly, maybe we can make some positive progress. DrL 20:16, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Clean-up[edit]

I removed a lot of gibberish that came across as advertising the theory rather than explaining it. This is an intelligent design posit that the universe has a teleology and a universal "mind" that conscious units tap into. It's really not all that revolutionary nor is it very clever. --ScienceApologist 20:26, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

We are working on editing the material here. Please just don't come in with massive deletes. That is not at all constructive. DrL 20:33, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
DrL, it really does seem like you wish to maintain sole control over the article, or at least leave the final decision to you, Asmodeus, or Mr Smith. Now, once again, you say "philosophy of science", but in actuality claims like "conspansion" are physical, not philosophical, otherwise most of cosmology becomes philosophy. While that may be a worthwhile and interesting debate in philosophy of science, this is not the place for it. If Langan wants to redefine a swathe of well-known terms (surjection), and draw boundaries as he sees fit which take no account of generally accepted norms (a "sum over futures" interpretation of QM is not physics), then he must be marked as the "fringe" thinker that he is. I would still love to know what that alleged PhD is in. In fact, since I've made explicit my interests here, I'm going to ask outright about yours. Are you a co-founder of the Mega Foundation? Is the qualification you claim you have in psychology, specifically neuropsychology? Byrgenwulf 21:09, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
LOL, please turn off the hot lamps! I am just a fellow Wikipedian interested in the quest for truth. As such, I do not think swooping in and massively deleting Tim Smith's hard work is a constructive edit. Btw, I don't know Tim Smith at all, so please don't think I am supporting him due to personal reasons. He's made many constructive edits to this article and I believe that he is, like me and others, trying to think of more ways to edit it to keep it out of the line of fire, maintain NPOV, clarity and an accurate description of Langan's work. DrL 21:20, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Culling the article in order to make it clearer is sometimes required in order to make the article accessible. There is no reason to get into the technical details of an idea that has received no coverage on the level of the technical details especially when there is coverage on the popular level of the details of the idea. We are here to provide verifiable reporting of ideas that are notable, not to promote a soapbox for proposals that have no meaningful criticism. If the CTMU article survives, it will survive in a form that will describe rather than promote the idea. The ridiculously long-winded version promoted by the group of MENSA-allies is not worthy of inclusion in this encyclopedia. --ScienceApologist 10:32, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I have added some details from the PopSci article, and mentioned how these ideas of Langan's diverge from mainstream scientific thought. I agree with ScienceApologist that we should be focusing on writing an article at the level of coverage the CTMU has received. And the previous form, even with the revisions made by Tim Smith and others is still grossly over-inflated and equally unintelligible, especially because if all the terminology used were to be wikified (the ideal state of affairs), the article would be a mass of red links, as most of it is "unique" to the CTMU. Byrgenwulf 12:35, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Massive Deletes[edit]

Please stop massive deletes. Will the editors please work with just ONE SECTION AT A TIME. No one person should influence an established Wikipedia article so heavily. I don't think Langan edits this article at all, btw. DrL 13:17, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, you removed both ScienceApologist's and my "hard work", so why not show a little bit of goodwill yourself by putting those additions back - it's quite possible to put them "on top" of Tim Smith's and your own work. And let's not start speculating about who might be editing this article, DrL, shall we? Byrgenwulf 13:28, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Okay - I will try. Please note that I have a full-time job and it is Monday morning where I am. In the meantime, the mediator has taken this case so please let's work together with him. DrL 13:31, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Since there was no attempt to deal with the objections listed above, I reverted the selection. --ScienceApologist 14:02, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
This page is under mediation. Please join the mediation by contacting User:SynergeticMaggot. I have asked him to contact you already. Please do not make further changes until you have joined the mediation process. Massive deletes are not helpful. DrL 14:08, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
That's three reverts, by my count, DrL. Byrgenwulf 14:12, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
DrL, You can discuss the edit on this talkpage right now. Just because the page is in mediation does not mean that your preferred version is the "correct" one. In fact, there is no "correct" one at all. We are trying to write an article that conforms to the style guidelines of Wikipedia. I have explained above why the version Byrgenwulf and myself are working from corresponds to this while the version you prefer does not. Yet I have seen nothing in the way from you in actually addressing the issues. --ScienceApologist 14:13, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree with ScienceApologist that mediation has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not the article can be changed. Indeed, this smacks of the prior tactic of removing POV and disputed tags just because you didn't want them dirtying the article, when it was empirically obvious that such disputes were happening. Byrgenwulf 14:17, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Aside from removing the clarifying edits, the two users engaged in POV-pushing on this page have removed the connections to intelligent design which are important, the connection to scholasticism, and the categorizations. I am asking them to please restore these points. I also note that DrL and Tim Smith use very similar vocabulary in their edit summaries and in their posts making me think that this may be a sockpuppet. "Massive deletion" is a pretty novel term. --ScienceApologist 14:25, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I also think it is pertinent to add that about three minutes after DrL hitting the 3RR limit, Tim Smith comes along and reverts. What a massive co-incidence. Byrgenwulf 14:27, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
The only reason Tim Smith beat me to the revert was that I had a power outage. Please note that when it comes to vandalism there is NO 3RR. I am complying with moderation and communicating with the mediator. Bergenwulf and ScienceApologist are not. DrL 15:27, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
You need to read up as to what vandalism is on Wikipedia. The edits I made were not vandalism. --ScienceApologist 15:31, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
As I noted on the mediator's page, I don't really want mediation here anymore, since this is an AfD. Things have changed quite a bit since last week. And I must concur that changes which don't reflect things the way DrL thinks they must be is not vandalism. I am trying, as I think is ScienceApologist, to make something salveable out of the mess that passes for an article here. Moreover, while this article isn't an "anti-ID" piece, it is pertinent to note that the only venue for publication of Langan's work is through the intelligent design organisation of which he is a fellow, and also to note what the scientific (and for that matter philosophy of science) mainstream view of that organisation and its scholarly integrity is. You can now be blocked, because you have now reverted for the fourth time today. Byrgenwulf 15:39, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Page is under Mediation[edit]

The article page is under mediation. Be sure to discuss major changes here or on the mediation page before making edits. DrL 15:34, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Restored Panentheism category. Do not think Intelligent Design category is appropriate because of the political overtones and controversy that are not relevant to the article. DrL 15:40, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
This was published in a journal dedicated to intelligent design. How is it inappropriate to categorize his teleological suppositions as such? --ScienceApologist 15:42, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
No, DrL, a page cannot be put under mediation. Users have to agree to mediation for it to be enforced. I informed the mediator I no longer wish mediation here, so the only person involved in the mediation process, at the moment, is you. Byrgenwulf 15:43, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I have reported DrL for violation of 3RR here. As a gesture of good faith, I request that he restore the contributions of the other editors or at least discuss them above. --ScienceApologist 15:46, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I also support mediation for this page. Tim Smith 18:17, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

While the page is under consideration for deletion, it might be appropriate to move slowly. Individuals wishing to make major changes should be the ones justifying their changes to the other editors and the mediator. See Wikipedia rules for clarification of mediation process. DrL 15:51, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

You keep making up requirements to get the page to look the way you want it to look. This is unacceptable. Editting a page proceeds whether there is mediation, a deletion request, etc. These external debates have nothing to do with the problematic content of this page. Your resistance to hearing the criticism and critique of other editors needs to be reevaluated. --ScienceApologist 15:53, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I have no resistance to hearing your POV, but please enter it on the mediation page. Will be happy to respond there. DrL 15:57, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines describes talkpages as "a forum to discuss how different points of view should be included in the article so that the end result is neutral." Thus, discussion here is entirely appropriate and should proceed. Mediation is fine, but it is not a substitute for discussing your edits. You do not get a free-pass just because mediation was requested. --ScienceApologist 16:01, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Please read the mediation page, DrL. That should put things in a little more perspective with reference to this situation. Byrgenwulf 16:05, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Where?[edit]

Where is the mediation page? There should be a link from this page? — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 17:33, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Here, at the mediation cabal, not the committee, which means it would have been much more free-form and loose anyway (I requested it directly after DrL's first 3RR violation). As it happens, I've told the moderator thanks but no thanks as a result of the deletable nature of this article as being completely irretrievable. There's no mediation. Byrgenwulf 17:38, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I support mediation for this page. Let's work together to improve the article. Tim Smith 18:17, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
It would be great if all parties would participate. DrL 14:46, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Massive deletion continues[edit]

The version to which Science Apologist, Philosophus, and Byrgenwulf are repeatedly reverting was introduced less than twenty-four hours ago, lacks consensus, and deletes an enormous amount of sourced, relevant information, much of which has been part of the article without objection since its creation in September 2005. Among the contents deleted are entire sections—in fact, nearly all of the sections—explaining the CTMU's structure, axioms, and relationship to origins, teleology, evolution, and mind, all sourced to Langan's papers and all carefully qualified for neutrality with provisos like "Langan claims" and "according to Langan".

Above, Byrgenwulf requests that as a goodwill gesture, DrL add changes from the truncated version on top of the comprehensive one. DrL agrees, and begins to do so. ScienceApologist reverts the effort.

Continuing the goodwill gesture, I then try a compromise by adding a few of their changes while restoring the huge amount of content they deleted. In response, Byrgenwulf immediately reverts on the grounds that "some very relevant comments were left out"—controversial comments introduced over the last few days. In contrast, the version to which he reverted leaves out not merely comments, but entire sections—indeed, the bulk of the article is missing!

I'm willing to discuss changes here, and encourage other editors to do so. Without talk-page consensus, repeated deletion of sourced, relevant, longstanding content is contrary to Wikipedia etiquette and guidelines, especially during a deletion debate in which newcomers may not realize that such content even existed. Tim Smith 16:00, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

You need to come to terms with the fact that there are three editors to this article that believe we need to start from scratch and build-up because the article has become belabored with jargon, obscure terminology, and generally prose that violates the spirit and the letter of WP:V. I encourage you to think about why we are advocating for the removal of such content. It is done in the spirit of presenting the subject not as a soapbox for promoting the idea but describing it in terms of its barest, essential ideas. Compare this article to other articles and notice how much more jargon it relies upon. This is unacceptable for readers. --ScienceApologist 16:04, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Frankly, I think that the shorter version of the article has a much better chance of surviving AfD than the longer version. --ScienceApologist 16:08, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't have any objection to a shortened version at all, if the contents are neutral and don't bring in the Creation-Evolution debate and the anti-pseudoscience hysteria (this is just silly). DrL 16:14, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
And yet instead of trying to reword those parts of the article you simply reverted the entire thing. This looks to me like you want to see all the content remain. --ScienceApologist 16:19, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

In a goodwill effort, Tim Smith and I have been trying to incorporate those changes. I don't believe the article is too long. It actually represents a succinct summary and a major section (on SCSPL) was already removed. I would have liked to see that stay, but am trying to compromise and hopefully a more succint section can be added later. Remember, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia (of sorts), not a dictionary. DrL 16:37, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

As an encyclopedia, we describe ideas based on a style guide which encourages us to avoid jargon and needlessly wordy articles when simple statements will do. This is the problem. Lagan believes in a universal mind and the teleological argument. It's not that complicated to state this plainly, but the prose you celebrate does not explain this clearly at all. It is neither clear nor straightforward. Start from the version the majority of editors here are working on and start to include clarifications as they are needed. --ScienceApologist 17:44, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
SA, this page is being mediated. Can you please have a little respect for this Wikipedia process? DrL 14:48, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

The "Reception" Sham: POV![edit]

I'm not going to change anything on this article right now, but just read the first paragraph of the "reception" section. Note that the implication is that people who disagree with Langan necessarily do so by pouring scorn and invectives on him. Note also how the fact that his theory has not been criticised in a peer reviewed journal is distorted: it makes it seem as though there have articles which corroborate it. That, coupled with the continual removal of doubts about the scholarly integrity of the "journal" in which the CTMU was published, makes for a sorry show of an attempt at NPOV indeed. Which leads me to think that if there is not outright vanity here, there is least an "idolisation" angle...does Wikipedia have a policy on idolisation? If not, why not? Byrgenwulf 17:01, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

There are a few: WP:V, WP:Notability, WP:BIO, WP:Vanity, and WP:NPOV (in particular WP:NPOV/FAQ#Pseudoscience) come to mind. --ScienceApologist 17:27, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for discussing your concerns here, Byrgenwulf. I've tried to address these issues in my latest edit. Let's work together to improve the article. Tim Smith 17:54, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, your comments on the talkpage compared to your activity in article space do not match up. Compare this diff to see what I mean. What we are saying is that this article needs to be trashed as it presents the idea from a perspective that it is a novel, brilliant proposal that is marginalized and underappreciated by the establishment. It is, as it currently stands, a decidedly pro-Lagan article and not at all in the spirit of WP:NPOV. Starting from the earlier version would allow us to develop the article on NPOV lines rather than promoting the idea, the previous version describes it. --ScienceApologist 18:00, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Virtually the entire current text of this article needs to be deleted as gibberish. It should be replaced with a concise version written (I can't stress enough) in plain English. Jefffire 18:15, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree entirely. Byrgenwulf 18:29, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
OK, but let's make the article more readable piece by piece, agreeing on changes before we make them. I don't think the article need be especially concise, as long as it's readable. Although the current text may not be perfectly accessible, it does have the virtue of being an accurate description of its subject. I spent a long time on the wording and citations, and tried for neutrality with provisos like "Langan claims" or "according to Langan". If we start from scratch, we'll be wasting that effort. Let's try to gradually reword the article for readability while preserving its accuracy with respect to the theory. Tim Smith 19:06, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Gradualism is unacceptable when most of the article appears to be in a horrendous state. Let's start from the ground up rather than trying to repair an ediface that's ready to collapse. --ScienceApologist 19:10, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
By the way, NPOV does not happen just by adding in simple "provisos". It happens by working with editors to reach a consensus on NPOV. --ScienceApologist 19:11, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Moreover, the article on transcendental idealism, for example, is not a synopsis of Kant's Critique of pure reason. While the previous article may be an accurate reflection of what Langan wrote in his essay, there is no need for a synopsis here, merely a mention of the key points which he makes. Byrgenwulf 19:14, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Categories[edit]

Currently, this article is listed as "metaphysical cosmology"...however, once again, the original paper by Langan makes a number of claims of a nature which really seem to insinuate that the theory is intended to be a scientific theory. Moreover, the previous article (which was deleted) seems to have said that the CTMU may be called a "unified field theory" because it "incorporates all the different fields of science and blurs the lines between them" (I kid you not). This is clearly trying very hard to be science, and unfortunately, while there are Wikipedia categories for science of dubious repute, there don't seem to be any for philosophy: which is just as scholarly and rigorous as science when it is practiced properly (well, that's my opinion anyway: sophistry is to philosophy as pseudoscience is to science). What categories should this article have attached to it? It concerns me that it is currently making a number of assertions about science but hedging the issue by being classed as "metaphysical cosmology". Byrgenwulf 18:29, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

We certainly can categorize it under pseudoscience because of its association with intelligent design. It should also be categorized under intelligent design. If Lagan doesn't think it is intelligent design, then he shouldn't associate himself with the group. --ScienceApologist 18:43, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Langan doesn't claim the CTMU to be a unified field theory, and the deleted article is not to be trusted. He says the CTMU is about science, but not that it is science. In fact, he says that "no general theory of reality can ever be constructed by the standard empirical methods of science" (Langan 2002, p. 12), so I don't see the CTMU being portrayed as science. That it appeared in a journal which publishes papers that do claim to be science doesn't mean that this particular paper claims to be science. It's best to be conservative with categories because we can't qualify them or footnote them like we can the text. I'd say just Category:Metaphysics and Category:Metaphysical cosmology, which both include other topics lacking mainstream acceptance. I'm uncomfortable with Category:Panentheism because although CTMU theology resembles panentheism, they are not identical. Panentheism might go in a "See Also" section. Tim Smith 21:42, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Slow down![edit]

Woah, everyone—slow down with the edits! Byrgenwulf has the right idea: if your edit might be controversial, or if you want to remove longstanding material, please discuss it here. Let's try to reach agreement first, then make the changes. Tim Smith 18:40, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Practice what you preach, Tim. Above I made a careful explanation of my edits which you and DrL reverted without comment. No attempt was made by you to discuss. It takes two to have a discussion. Calling for discussion is fine, but you might want to lead by example lest it look like you are dragging your feet in order to promote a status quo that offends many. --ScienceApologist 18:45, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
What Tim said is not what I said. I have in fact repeatedly expressed my opinion that much of the "longstanding material" must go. It is unintelligible to the layperson, makes incorrect use of some pretty hefty terminology, coins too many terms, and generally misleads and obscures with respect to the actual content of the theory. Byrgenwulf 18:46, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Objections to "massive deletions"[edit]

There is a version of this article which is much cleaner, didactic, and makes use of better phrasing and terminology than the current one. I am speaking of this version. I think it addresses many of the concerns all but two of the editors here have expressed with regards to this subject. Are there any objections to starting from this version and working towards adding pieces rather than starting from the hefty current version and trying to edit and cull for accuracy? --ScienceApologist 18:54, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm happy with that version. Assuming all this effort is even worth it. Byrgenwulf 18:57, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
We'd be much better off starting with the current version and gradually rewording it for readability and neutrality. The virtue of the current text is that it is accurate with respect to the theory: I spent a long time on that. The version above removes nearly all the content, and loses much of the accuracy. For example, that version says:

Similar to the teleological argument he believes that "something" outside of reality has created it, and is relevant to reality.

That's the opposite of Langan's position. Langan argues that if something outside of reality created it, then that something would be relevant to reality and therefore inside reality, contradicting the initial assumption that the something was outside of reality. Therefore, he concludes, reality cannot have been created by something outside of it.
It's easy to mispresent the CTMU. That's why we need to gradually make the old version more readable and preserve its accuracy, instead of trying to start from scratch. Tim Smith 19:20, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
In short, to me, the old version seems readable, but apparently to those unfamiliar with the theory it is not. And to you, the new version seems accurate, but to those familiar with the theory it is not. A useful editing dynamic, I think, would be for me (and other CTMU aficionados) to help you with accuracy with respect to the theory, and for you to help us with readability and neutrality. That way we can write an article everyone likes. Tim Smith 19:41, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Fine with me. I'm willing to modify the statement you disliked.

Similar to the teleological argument he believes that "something" has created reality, and unlike deist suppositions is directly relevant to it.

So can we go back to the simpler version now? --ScienceApologist 22:23, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
First, that sentence is a grammatical mess. It has "similar to the teleological argument" modifying "he", instead of his argument, and it calls "deist suppositions" irrelevant to reality, instead of the subject (God) of those suppositions. (This is the same user who called my prose "gibberish". I thought you were going to help me with readability!)
Second, according to our article, the essence of deism is that reason and logic should be the basis of belief in God. It is therefore misleading and non-neutral to call deistic beliefs "suppositions", implying conjecture.
Third, although Langan does not support the clockmaker hypothesis, the essence of deism—that reason and logic should be the basis of belief in God—is shared by the CTMU; in that sense, it is not "unlike" deism.
Fourth, the sentence confuses relevance to reality with ongoing intervention in reality; it is the latter of these that classical deists deny.
Fifth, deism is too narrow a contrast; Langan is arguing against any external creator, not just one who does not subsequently intervene in reality.
Sixth, Langan's argument here is not similar to the teleological argument, which is based on design; it's closer to the cosmological argument, though that comparison would need qualification.
Seventh, although the sentence tries to compare Langan's argument to the teleological argument, it mentions only his belief, and the reader is told nothing about how Langan's argument resembles the teleological argument, or even what Langan's argument is.
Eighth, the sentence omits entirely the logic of the argument, which can be summarized very briefly, as above.
Ninth, the sentence fails to state the conclusion to the argument (that reality cannot have been created by something outside of it), instead stating Langan's belief in the conclusion of a different argument (that reality must have a cause), leaving a premise of the first argument (that a creator of reality is relevant to reality) dangling with no conclusion to support.
As I said, the CTMU is easily misunderstood and easily misrepresented. Rewriting the article from scratch would be a tremendous effort. Fortunately, there's no need for that; we can just rewrite the old article for readability while preserving its accuracy.
Let's look at a paragraph from the current article:

The question of why reality exists is sometimes taken to be unanswerable or meaningless: reality "just exists", it is held, and no further explanation can be given. Alternatively, it is sometimes held that reality exists because it was created by something outside of it. Langan opposes both views, arguing that were reality to lack an explanation, it would be acausal and could not sustain itself, whereas were something outside of reality to have created it, it would be relevant to reality and therefore inside reality by definition. (Langan 2002, p. 21)

We're not asserting these arguments, but describing them, so let's not debate their validity here. But does the paragraph convey to the reader what Langan is arguing? If not, how can it be improved? Tim Smith 02:19, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
The current sentence in the article is awful as it doesn't declare who is making the claims. "Sometimes taken"? By whom is this taken? Reality "just exists" it is held? Whose opinion is that? "No further explanation can be given? Why not? This paragraph you wrote is terrible.
In any case, we've proven that we can work with the material I put forth and since there haven't been any substantive objections to working from the simpler version, I'm going to revert back. If people want to make a claim that the longer version preserves accuracy, they should make it paragraph-by-paragraph, claim-by-claim. Your proposal that this current paragraph is somehow a better written and clearer point than the single sentence we were dealing with above is ridiculous. --ScienceApologist 14:05, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
I advice everyone to stick to SA's version. If you wish to reinsert information then rewrite it in plain english and verify it from reliable source (ie. not ctmu.com or the like). Jefffire 14:10, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

By the way, Tim, you haven't made it clear that the reader needs to know the points you put forth regarding Lagan's ideas. And also, you've taken a very narrow view of the teleological argument if you think that positing a teleology that proves the existence of God isn't the teleological argument. Your attempts to claim that the version isn't clear mark a rather obscure and unclear version that makes bold claims without reference nor substance. The revert to the previous version is justified. --ScienceApologist 14:11, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

From what I understand, Langan's idea in a nutshell is roughly thus. Like Parmenides, he holds that everything that can exist, does exist (that's the tautology part, in brief). Mind equates with reality, and thus God can be regarded as the ultimate mind, or the whole of reality (that's the "metalogic" bit and the role of God in all this), because reality as an entirety is necessarily all powerful. Then, reality is teleological in nature, in that it is 'crystallising' towards an ultimate and inevitable "end" (the teleology bit). Because reality is the God-Mind thingummy, a form of Intelligent Design holds because everything that exists is necessarily sanctioned by and formed by the rules of this Entity. There are also some claims about "conspansion" and "sum over futures" interpretations of quantum mechanics, which arise as a side effect of the principles listed above. Is that at all accurate, Mr Smith?
Other than that little summary, I agree that by far the best strategy is to start building up from the version ScienceApologist created, and that information should come from neutral, third-party sources. Byrgenwulf 14:36, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Tim Smith is a neutral source and he has a good description and synopsis. I am preparing a little paragraph that addresses the worldview in the CTMU (panentheistic) and will present it to the other editors in a little bit. I appreciate the (somewhat) constuctive efforts and hope we can continue to improve the article (rather than massive or global) deletes. DrL 14:41, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Please only insert text written in plain English, otherwise it will be removed. Jefffire 14:49, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

The Criticism section[edit]

I have just reintroduced a chunk from the criticism section which was deleted by JKLevine. This (new) user disputes that Langan fails to take account of the literature on the logical and categorial foundations of physics. Welcome, JKLevine: could you maybe express your concerns in more detail here than in the rather cryptic sentence you wrote above? Thanks. Byrgenwulf 20:27, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I made slight changes to the criticism section to promote a more NPOV. I think the current wording of paragraph one is realistic and hope that everyone can live with it, although I still don't feel that the rant against ID is appropriate here. This is my attempt at a compromise, everyone, so please read it and think about it before offering a reaction.
Regarding the second paragraph, there is actually material that Langan has published that speaks to at least one or two of these issues. I am researching the material and think that I can change it slightly to offer a more accurate assessment. It may take a day or so to find the citations. DrL 05:54, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

This article and notability[edit]

This theory was in fact published in a journal:

  • Paper Published September 2002 in Progress in Complexity, Information and Design, the journal of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design.
Also, you can use this web site found here to source the article. Main websites may in fact be used. I hope this helps out. SynergeticMaggot 02:16, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Wow I just noticed all of the citations :) Good work everyone. SynergeticMaggot 02:22, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

It's called symbiosis. Langan is a fellow of ISCID/PCID (parts of the same organization), and ISCIDPCID has a "genius" who agrees with them about Creationism. Helloooo?

Well, thanks for your encouragement, SM! :) DrL 05:53, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

The journal does not appear to have an impact factor (which is the standard measure of notability/reliability), the web link is to the home CTMU website. Neither of these are good links. Jefffire 12:36, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

SNAFU[edit]

Asmodeus, I must confess that your latest additions made me laugh: in particular, "snafus". Surely there's a better word? And the tragic story of Galois is such poignant counterpoint to Langan's situation. I don't quite think this can be classed as "NPOV", though. Byrgenwulf 18:21, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

There's no such thing as "critics of the CTMU"[edit]

DrL keeps editting in phraseology that uses "critics of the CTMU". There are no "critics of the CTMU". The CTMU isn't notable enough to have critics who comment on it. All we can do is comment on CTMU itself. Also, removal of the analysis of ID is irresponsible editting. We report critical analysis here at Wikipedia. Since Lagan freely associated his theory with Intelligent design and included it in a book that was opposed to "Darwinism", it is important for our readers to be let known what the opinions on this subject are by the scientific community. --ScienceApologist 19:41, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Did you read Langan's entry in that anthology? It strongly supports Darwinism. I think you are getting (and giving) the wrong impression of what Langan's work is all about. Please move the creationism junk somewhere else. DrL 19:45, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Lagan may or may not support Darwinism, that's not really the issue here. He freely associates himself with a thinktank that opposes Darwinism and included his ideas in a book that lauds itself on opposing Darwinism. This is all verifiable and accurate. Like it or not, his association with intelligent design plunges him directly into the controversy surrounding intelligent design. Dembski and Wells saw fit to include Lagan in their group for whatever reason and Lagan's theistic conceits are enough for reasonable people to conclude they aren't just titilated by his notoriety. The association stands. If and when Lagan moves away from ID promotions, then we can say otherwise but right now he has all the duck-attributes required for the critiques to be leveled. --ScienceApologist 20:02, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
So guilt by association ... oh, please - don't be so simplistic! These are complex questions and you can't neatly fit people into one group or the other. Before you get so excited, try to read and understand what Langan says about evolution and ID and how these concepts fit into the CTMU framework. DrL 20:11, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
There is no reason to "read and understand" what Lagan says about a particular subject. Intelligent design and the creation-evolution controversy are about more than evolution, anyway. This is much more than the guilt by association informal fallacy. It's not just that Lagan is friends with the ID proponents or attends the same church or has the same publisher, it's that he actually engages his ideas in the context of their advocacy. Now he might be trying to just "use" them to his own ends and may disagree with them "as a matter of fact", but that's not a decent reason for claiming that it is a fallacious association. We have only the evidence of what Lagan writes and who advocates his writing to go on. As far as I can tell, there is verifiable evidence that Lagan's ideas match the philosophies of certain Intelligent Design proponents and that Lagan has freely associated his ideas with the ideas of these proponents. This is not an irrelevant relationship: CTMU gets a lot of exposure in the ID press. --ScienceApologist 20:20, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Response Interestingly, although scienceopologist has admittedly never "read and understood" what Langan says about particular subjects related to the CTMU (since he sees no reason for it), he nevertheless presumes to include his irrelevant personal opinions about what Langan believes about particular subjects related to the CTMU. As anyone familiar with the controversy is well aware, no ID proponent has a theory identical or even similar to evolutionist Langan's. (If one does, we'd need verification for that, preferably by some one who has actually read Langan's work.) Regarding guilt by association: Immanuel Velikovsky was associated with Einstein through voluminous correspondence. Are we therefore to note that Einstein was associated with people now widely regarded as cranks, and that his theories need to be reconsidered in this light? I think not. Asmodeus 21:26, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I have done the research and have backed up the points with citations. Meanwhile there are some enthusiasts who want to claim that I'm not "understanding" what Lagan is saying. Except that we don't need to "understand" what Lagan is saying to see that he freely associates himself with an Intelligent Design organization, published in a book that had a stated purpose of discreditting "Darwinism", and his theory contains theistic assertions appealing enough to the ID-proponents to have been made a fellow in the organization in question. All these statements are verifiable facts -- none of them are my opinion. --ScienceApologist 21:43, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Response I have no doubt that your citations are based on fact. But these facts, and the associated citations, are not directly relevant to what the CTMU actually says, and therefore cannot be included on that basis. Rather, they are relevant to Intelligent Design, and/or ISCID, and/or the ID-evolution controversy, and should be included (if at all) in those entries. PCID apparently published the CTMU paper despite its clear affirmation of evolution because ISCID is tired of being accused of having a "Creationist" agenda and therefore wishes to display open-mindedness. Presumably, this is also why Langan was invited to be a Fellow of that organization. Whether or not those who rule over ISCID have a Creationist agenda is not the issue here; all that matters is that (1) they say they don't, which means that Langan is not embracing Creationism by being an ISCID Fellow; and (2) that the CTMU in fact accommodates evolution, as Langan has repeatedly stated. Therefore, the CTMU cannot be labeled as Creationism or identified with the views typically promoted by Creationist organizations. Asmodeus 22:51, 18 July 2006 (UTC)


not directly relevant to what the CTMU actually says --> as long as this is an article is titled "CTMU" and not "What CTMU actually says", the places and ways it is advocated are relevant. --ScienceApologist 00:40, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
I personaly don't give two hoots what the CTMU is and what it espouses. All I care about the the article being written neutraly and in plain English, so people can actually understand the article. That last point seems to be getting overlook at lot. An article which can't be understood is worse than useless. Jefffire 11:08, 19 July 2006 (UTC)