Talk:Ancient astronauts

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Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

The Arbitration Committee has issued several principles which may be helpful to editors of this and other articles when dealing with subjects and categories related to "pseudoscience".

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WikiProject icon A version of this article was copy edited by Acalycine, a member of the Guild of Copy Editors, on 29th March, 2014. The Guild welcomes all editors with a good grasp of English and Wikipedia's policies and guidelines to help in the drive to improve articles. Visit our project page if you're interested in joining! If you have questions, please direct them to our talk page.


Calling this legitimate theory pseudoscience is very insulting. This should be changed. I Am A Sandwich (talk) 19:01, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

See my above response to POV. XFEM Skier (talk) 23:21, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
XFEM Skier, it should be removed, regardless of your personal opinion. Wikipedia is not a sandbox for your personal opinions. It is designed to simply state an amount of objectively viewed information without editors putting their beliefs into articles. Whether or not evidence actually supports the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis has no bearing on its position as simply a hypothesis. Hypotheses require no further evidence and are simply a guess. Theories must be backed up by valid evidence, and the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis is not a scientifically proven theory. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:CFDC:C940:71E2:4C66:CFE3:41E5 (talk) 02:25, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
No, a scientific hypothesis (which this claims to be) is neither "simply a guess" nor "an assumption (that) needs no proof". (Your proposed definition would mean there is no such thing as "pseudoscience".) A scientific hypothesis is testable. A pseudoscience evolves to avoid all tests. But this is all off-topic.
More to the point: This is Wikipedia. Independent reliable sources from relevant, mainstream academics call it a "pseudoscience". It is, therefore, a pseudoscience. - SummerPhD (talk) 03:44, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
"No, a scientific hypothesis (which this claims to be) is neither "simply a guess" nor "an assumption (that) needs no proof" I assume your PhD wasnt in a field of science, or researching anything as your claim of a "scientific hypothesis" is wrong..... You think a scientific hypothesis "Needs Proof"? Check out what proof means and compare to "scientific hypothesis, I would love to read your thesis! Oh no Did I upset you with reality again?
Hypothesis that "cannot be reliably tested" is..... pseudoscience? Ah no check the meaning of both words and see how they are used.

--Simon19801 (talk) 08:47, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Simon 19801 has been indefinitely blocked for disruption, personal attacks and WP:FORUM. - SummerPhDv2.0 13:48, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
I am not sure what part of me providing two sources that it is pseudoscience makes it my personal opinion. XFEM Skier (talk) 20:57, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

The sentence is sloppy and can be cleaned up.

By definition, hypotheses can not be pseudo-scientific. As a skeptic, I am not a proponent of either side of this issue. However, I do support the proper use of the English language and an objective presentation of the facts. It is my opinion that the misuse of the phrase pseudo-science in this context is illustrative of Wikipedia's institutional bias.

In fairness, there is a great load of garbage in the ancient astronaut community. Some of it is blatantly contrary to accepted notions of logic. However, the author of the sentence is overeager to debunk the subject and thereby does readers a disservice. The hypothesis is testable, the results are inconclusive. More troubling is the fact that many of the books proposing ancient astronauts rely on absurd conjecture. If the author would like to debunk, he should do so from within the guidelines of logic. Otherwise the article may fall prey to some of the same errors ancient astronaut proponents have made.

Historical narratives are always open to dispute. The hypothesis that the Roman empire declined due to monetary debasement has similar properties to ancient astronaut hypotheses in this regard. However, Wikipedia does not label the fields of economics or history as pseudoscience. Simply claiming adherence to Wikipedia's subjective guidelines may be sufficient for victorious bickering, but it is insufficient in the larger sense of composing high quality articles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:07, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia reflects the treatment of subjects by reliable sources. Not the other way around. It's considered a pseudoscience here because the scientific consensus considers it a pseudoscience. Period. Like I've said to someone else: neutrality means presenting the subject proportional to the views about them. You do not achieve neutrality by giving pro and con voices false equivalence merely by virtue of being on opposite sides of the spectrum. When something is overwhelmingly rejected as a pseudoscience by reliable source, neutrality dictates that Wikipedia must also reflect that.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 12:43, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Oh, and if you want the actual non-pseudoscientific hypothesis about this. We also have an article on that. It's called Panspermia. The difference between this and Panspermia, is that the latter does not claim ancient Egyptians gods were aliens, that the Nazca lines were landing signals, that drawings of ancient machinery were spaceships, or that Stonehenge was a beacon or something.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 12:48, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
"By definition, hypotheses can not be pseudo-scientific."
A hypothesis that "lacks supporting scientific evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status" would be, gulp, a pseudoscientific hypothesis. Reliable sources call this a pseudoscience. It is therefore verifiably a pseudoscience. - SummerPhD (talk) 18:20, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Does it mean that, for example, a story of Jesus Christ is a pseudoscientific hypothesis ? Because, according to the above, it is A hypothesis that "lacks supporting scientific evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status"... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:36, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

By that logic, the lives of Walter White, Thor, or -- for that matter -- Georgia O'Keeffe would count as "pseudoscientific hypothesies", since they lack "scientific status". You're making a category error, since the term "pseudoscience " covers -- you know -- science and scientific theories,hypothesies, and conjectures, not biographies. --Calton | Talk 08:11, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Instead of just undoing any corrections, please elaborate and explain why this hypothesis is "pseudoscientific" ? As Wiki states - it's a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. What else is the theory of ancient astronauts if not exactly that? The article sets the "mood" of a pseudoscience from the very beginning and I think it's unnecessarily biased towards the "pseudoscience". Easy to laugh it off - much harder to explain? There are millions of other hypotheses that aren't called "pseudo" by wiki gestapo... ~The fact that someone doesn't agree with the hypothesis doesn't automatically mean it's pseudoscientific. For example - martian canals were thought to be artificial until proved wrong. It wasn't pseudoscientific hypothesis, it was a hypothesis based on observations and interpretation... Exactly like Ancient Astronauts. Which is NOT pseudoscientific - it's just a hypothesis, that's all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
We don't make that type of analysis, we rely on sources, and the source for that sentence calls it pseudoscience. Doug Weller (talk) 17:09, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

"A hypothesis that "lacks supporting scientific evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status" would be, gulp, a pseudoscientific hypothesis"

How can a lack of evidence mean that a hypothesis is pseudoscientific? Isn't the process of looking for and obtaining evidence part of science? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:36, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

A couple of weeks ago, I had a civil disagreement with another user regarding this subject. I wanted the hypothesis not to be called pseudoscientific, and my argument was as follows:

The deletion of the removed word does not qualify as an addition of "commentary or [my] own personal analysis" to the page's lead section. Also, the presence of the word "pseudoscientific" is no less objective or encyclopedic than the absence of it, as this word (and its derivatives) are inherently pejorative. A truly neutral account would be one which informed readers that the ancient astronaut hypothesis is widely regarded as, or generally considered to be, pseudoscientific.

An advocate of the "pseudoscience" label would argue it is proper because Wikipedia is supposed to summarize scholarly sentiment in a way proportional with the specifics of scholarly opinion itself; even accounting for this principle, however, there is no reason it is necessary for the very first sentence to declare the hypothesis a pseudoscience (as though the hypothesis is objectively so). A truly neutral rendering, as said before, would be one in which the lead section informed readers that the theory is widely regarded as a pseudoscience. No encyclopedic article should begin its lead section describing the subject with an adjective that starts with "pseudo-". That prefix is, uncontroversially and without exception, pejorative. The pro-"pseudoscientific" crowd may state, rightfully, that Wikipedia is not a sandbox for personal opinion - but the very fact that they provide this argument is ironic. AndrewOne (talk) 04:11, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

WP content reflects what the sources state. - - MrBill3 (talk) 06:39, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
I said to Andrew the following: "Pseudoscience includes any theory that starts from the answer and then looks for evidence to support it, rather than looking at all the evidence and figuring out the answer based on that evidence. Another aspect of pseudoscience is the belief in theories that cannot be tested. The ancient astronaut theory is exactly pseudoscience." We must continue to say right off the bat that this theory is pseudoscience. Binksternet (talk) 14:37, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
What Binksternet said. Guy (Help!) 22:05, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

I also noticed the loud and loaded way the first sentence was written and naively removed the uncited "pseudo-scientific" adjective. I was promptly reverted. I left a note to that editor's talk page that reverting a good faith effort is not the best we can do as a community. However, being accommodating, I reedited the opening paragraph by removing the adjective, but moving to the front of the paragraph the statement that there is little respect in the scientific community for this hypothesis (the sentence is much longer and peacocky than that). The paragraph lost a healthy 140+characters in the process. I also moved Carl Sagan's contribution to its chronological place among the sources of this idea. User:Grayfell quickly reverted the edit, and left an edit summary that makes me think he or she did not see I had made those last two changes. I, like many reasonable editors before me, give up, for I do not have time to argue with editors that seem all too involved in watching this page, and seem willing to ignore the many complains found in this page that their blind fervour on labelling this hypothesis unscientific at-the-earliest-possible-moment is not helping the quality of the article ARosa (talk) 00:54, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

This article must continue to say that the topic is pseudoscience, for several reasons. The hypothesis is unprovable, which is a characteristic of some kinds of pseudoscience, and the conclusion is drawn first, with evidence selected to support the conclusion, which is backwards from the scientific method. Evidence must be weighed to see what conclusions can be drawn, especially evidence which contradicts the thesis. Binksternet (talk) 09:12, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
Before stating what the article "must" say, provide a link to the Wikipedia:Fringe theories policy to allow other editors to read it. Remember that not all Wikipedia editors are familiar with its long list of policies and rules. The relevant segments are:
  • "Pseudoscience: Proposals that, while purporting to be scientific, are obviously bogus may be so labeled and categorized as such without more justification. For example, since the universal scientific view is that perpetual motion is impossible, any purported perpetual motion mechanism (e.g. Stanley Meyer's water fuel cell) may be treated as pseudoscience. Proposals which are generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community, such as astrology, may properly contain that information and may be categorized as pseudoscience."
  • "Questionable science: Hypotheses which have a substantial following but which critics describe as pseudoscience, may contain information to that effect; however it should not be described as unambiguously pseudoscientific while a reasonable amount of academic debate still exists on this point." Dimadick (talk) 16:47, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

@Arosa, Binksternet, and Dimadick: hope you all don't mind, but as the post that ARosa responded to says basically further discussion of pseudoscience belongs here, I've moved it here. It might be useful to read all of this section. Doug Weller talk 17:21, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

As far as I can see, this hypothesis is pseudoscience because it claims evidence which is vague and for which there are alternative (and less fantastic) hypotheses, and because it is not falsifiable. That Sagan might have speculated about it does not change this. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 00:08, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

And per the policy quoted by Dimadick, it is "generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community," and there is not "a reasonable amount of academic debate." Indiana Jones Channel be damned, it has negligible acceptance (if that much) within the relevant academic fields.
Although a year in the past, trying to tie stories with pseudoscience is a category error: the writers of Breaking Bad didn't pretend it was a scientific hypothesis -- it wasn't science to begin with, so a lack of scientific status fails to render it pseudoscience. Ian.thomson (talk) 00:38, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

"Pseudo-scientific hypothesis" is bordering on an oxymoron. The cries of reliable source could be used for all kinds of poor phraseology, and do not help make a better encyclopaedia. An hypothesis can exist within a pseudo-science, it is pseudo-science because evidence against hypotheses is ignored; alternatively a proposition might never have been an hypothesis in the first place if it wasn't testable, wasn't the starting point for investigation. Those editors who rightly damn the subject as pseudo-science, also damn language with their zealotry.

The article's title using the word hypothesis is the root of this problem, as that which is being examined is not simply the hypothesis, but the belief in ancient astronauts, its proponents, their works, methods, etc. But I am not a dedicated enough editor to set this right against those that care less about language than me, or are not subtle enough to even see this as a problem.--Mongreilf (talk) 09:05, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

It's actually a theory, not a hypothesis, which is a term that receives more than its share of misuse. Kortoso (talk) 16:47, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Looks like a hypothesis to me, and in any case reliable sources use the term: Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum ...[1] "Proponents of the ancient astronaut hypothesis" Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the ... p] "disagreement with the ancient astronaut hypothesis" The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience: Volume One - Page 18 [2] "The source for this audacious suggestion— essentially the ancient astronaut hypothesis" Doug Weller talk 18:31, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
It's definitely not a theory, in the scientific sense of the term (and "theory" receives even more - much more - misuse than "hypothesis" out in the non-technical wild, where wikipedia lurks). - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:37, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
It's an hypothesis upon which is based a pseudo-science, rather than an hypothesis which leads to a theory. But this is besides the point. The point is an hypothesis cannot be pseudo-scientific, only the associated development of that hypothesis can become pseudo-scientific. It's as absurd as calling a theory pseudo-scientific, rather than calling it not a theory.
The article itself is about more than the hypothesis, it is about the pseudoscience. The page should be retitled.--Mongreilf (talk) 14:14, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
User:Mongreilf go ahead and suggest a new title, showing that it meets the criteria at WP:COMMONNAME. Doug Weller talk 14:19, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
The common name is already the one in use, but is a misnomer, this is the problem. Wikipedia's policies are not bold enough to improve this situation.--Mongreilf (talk) 00:14, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure anybody else has been convinced that it's a misnomer or a problem. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 01:29, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
Several editors in this section state that it is a problem, others point out the definition of an hypothesis (which this article clearly goes beyond) so your comment is incorrect. --Mongreilf (talk) 06:22, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
Since you more or less admit that policy doesn't support you, why are you continuing this discussion? It's fine to discuss the definition of a hypothesis, but we don't use WP:Original research to make editorial decisions, we use policy. Doug Weller talk 08:50, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
You've fundamentally misunderstood the problem if you think it is one of original research, unless of course you think the choice of language we use in an article is always OR.
The definition of hypothesis is not in dispute.
That the writings on what is known as "the ancient astronaut hypothesis" (the common name for what we are discussing) goes much further than simply making an hypothesis is clear.
The conflict is not even between what the common name means by virtue of the words within it, and what the common name has come to mean by its usage. A classic prescriptivism/descriptivism dispute. The conflict is in the spillover from the the common name's poor choice of the word hypothesis into the text of the article.
I am glad to see the article currently has addressed all these problems. I am happy with its current form.Mongreilf (talk) 21:29, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

The basic hypothesis in itself is not pseudoscientific (I suspect the reaction against it is based on fear, not reason). Instead, the dubious interpretation of various artefacts is what is pseudoscientific. Given the vast sea of time behind us, as a species and as a world, if contact with humans has happened it is more likely in the remote past, when we were more primitive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:19, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

Peter Kolosimo[edit]

This article needs more on Kolosimo. He popularised this idea in a big way long before Von Däniken. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:10, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

Removal of pseudoscience assertion[edit]

The opening line of the article asserts the ancient astronaut theory is pseudoscience. This is in violation of the NPOV. From WP:NPOV

"Avoid stating opinions as facts. Usually, articles will contain information about the significant opinions that have been expressed about their subjects. However, these opinions should not be stated in Wikipedia's voice. Rather, they should be attributed in the text to particular sources, or where justified, described as widespread views, etc. For example, an article should not state that "genocide is an evil action", but it may state that "genocide has been described by John X as the epitome of human evil."

I personally believing this theory is ludicrous and is non-scientific but I believe in the NPOV Apollo The Logician (talk) 21:23, 3 December 2016 (UTC) Apollo The Logician (talk) 21:23, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

If sufficient relevant sources say that it is pseudoscience, then Wikipedia can say that it is pseudoscience. That is neutrality at its best. See WP:PSCI, from the same policy: "The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such." - DVdm (talk) 22:34, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
According to WP:ASSERT, "It's considered a pseudoscience by the vast majority of academics." means for Wikipedia "It is pseudoscience." So, the shorter text is ok, see the reply from DVdm. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:43, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
Which is a direct violation of NPOV, as quoted above. It should say the vast majority say it is pseudoscience. What is so hard to understand? Apollo The Logician (talk) 23:00, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
Form WP:ASSERT: "This essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline." - DVdm (talk) 23:08, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
What section does it say that? Even if that is true, it still shouldn't assert that it's psuedoscience for reasons listed above.The purpose of wikipedia is not to push your agenda. Apollo The Logician (talk) 23:11, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
The agenda being pushed is a reflection of the consensus of reliable sources, which it always has been. Simply saying it's pseudoscience is plain language, clearer writing, and is more concise at getting across the same idea. Wikipedia doesn't treat the academic consensus as an opinion. From NPOV (a policy): The pseudoscientific view should be clearly described as such. From WP:FRINGE (a guideline): Ideas that have been rejected, are widely considered to be absurd or pseudoscientific, only of historical interest, or primarily the realm of science fiction, should be documented as such, using reliable sources. Seems clear enough to me. Grayfell (talk) 23:29, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
Way to completely misinterprete what is actually being said. Nowhere does it say assert that it's psuedoscience. All it says is if something is widely rejected make sure its known that it's widely rejected. Clearly it wasn't clear enough for you. Apollo The Logician (talk) 23:34, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
This battleground approach isn't going to get very far. I can't think of any simpler way to convey that it's been rejected by the vast majority of experts as pseudoscience. Just saying it " a pseudoscientific concept..." accomplishing that perfectly well. There's no reason to bend-over backwards to accommodate the fringe. That's not neutral, it's equivocating. Grayfell (talk) 23:50, 3 December 2016 (UTC)
Do you actually understand the difference between stating something as a fact and stating something as an opinion? Apollo The Logician (talk) 08:38, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
If sufficient relevant sources state it as a fact, then Wikipedia can state it as a fact—per policy. Changing what is exactly said here, goes by wp:consensus. You have not established a consensus to make the change, and, per the policy outlined at wp:NOCONSENSUS, "a lack of consensus commonly results in retaining the version of the article as it was prior to the proposal or bold edit". - DVdm (talk) 09:05, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
What policy are you refering to in the first line? Apollo The Logician (talk) 09:10, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
The policy outlined in Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#Fringe theories and pseudoscience:

*Avoid stating facts as opinions. Uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources should normally be directly stated in Wikipedia's voice. Unless a topic specifically deals with a disagreement over otherwise uncontested information, there is no need for specific attribution for the assertion, although it is helpful to add a reference link to the source in support of verifiability. Further, the passage should not be worded in any way that makes it appear to be contested.

- DVdm (talk) 09:19, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
The ancient astronaut theory isn't uncontroversial and uncontested. Apollo The Logician (talk) 10:03, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Then you'll be able to provide a few reliable sources, preferably ones with at least some level of scientific credibility, which state that ancient astronauts exist. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 10:21, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
There's a list of people who believe in the theory in the article. Apollo The Logician (talk) 16:30, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
That's not relevant for Wikipedia's purposes. Please review our basic editorial principles, notably WP:V; our articles are based on what has been published in reliable sources. To quote WP:FRINGE, Ideas that have been rejected, are widely considered to be absurd or pseudoscientific, only of historical interest, or primarily the realm of science fiction, should be documented as such, using reliable sources. This article amply documents and sources why this theory is considered to be pseudoscientific. That some people believe something which is scientifically untrue is interesting, but not relevant to our description of it as pseudoscience. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 18:57, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Already addressed this, see above. Apollo The Logician (talk) 19:01, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
You haven't addressed it, because you don't seem to understand it. You have produced no evidence that the idea is controversial or contested within the scientific community. Thus, both policy and editorial consensus support the current wording. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 19:08, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
I don't think you actually understood what you wrote.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Apollo The Logician (talkcontribs)
Even the Flat Earth has a following. But Wikipedia clearly dismisses it as rubbish (in the present-day science). Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:15, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm well aware of that, thanks. Apollo The Logician (talk) 22:18, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Flat Earth, ancient astronauts and creation science are labelled pseudoscience because the experts (scientists) are virtually unanimous that these are pseudoscience. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:21, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm not repeating myself. Apollo The Logician (talk) 22:24, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Great. Then I think we are done here. --McSly (talk) 22:28, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Guess so. Some people would rather push their own agenda then follow wikipedia policy. Apollo The Logician (talk) 22:35, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps I should repeat it here: Wikipedia is WP:NOTNEUTRAL. Tgeorgescu (talk) 23:18, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

What part of the recent summary change do you object to?[edit]

@Dmol:, What objections do you have to my recent changes? Were there problems with grammar; tone; POV? BorkBorkGoesTheCode (talk) 04:32, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

You changed if from pseudoscience to something that is "frequently considered" pseudoscience. Almost the entire talk page of this article is on this discussion, and comments should continue there.--Dmol (talk) 04:54, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

Science fiction topic vs Non scientific hypothesis vs Pseudoscientific hypothesis[edit]

Pseudoscience means the topic looks like scientific but actually not scientific and is false science. Pseudoscientific hypothesis or pseudoscientifc concept means the hypothesis or concept look scientific but actually not.

We would not say Harry Potter as pseudoscience because it is not classified as science, and it is clearly not look like any science.

Ancient astronaut clearly not like a science, and not like a valid science hypothesis or concept. It is clearly a science fiction topic or a non scientific hypothesis.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

That's not what von Däniken says. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:29, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
I mean, who would mistake New arrivals, old encounters for science/history? The ancient astronauts narrative is predicated as based upon really existing archaeological evidence, it isn't predicated as fiction. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:00, 3 April 2017 (UTC)