Talk:Australia

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Featured articleAustralia is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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May 28, 2005Peer reviewReviewed
June 22, 2005Featured article candidatePromoted
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Current status: Featured article

Australia
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Aborigine population[edit]

The census figures do not include Aborigines. What percent are they? 37.99.48.111 (talk) 10:04, 8 June 2019 (UTC)

I think you will find what you're after in the fourth paragraph of the Demographics section. HiLo48 (talk) 10:49, 8 June 2019 (UTC)

Speculative Chinese Arrival[edit]

British naval officer and author Gavin Menzies argues that the Chinese, through naval voyages like those of Zheng He of the Ming dynasty, arrived on the shores of Australia in 1422.[1] British journalist Martin Jacques mentions this as well.[2][3] Moreover, to quote from The Age:

Zheng's vice-admirals, Hong Bao and Zhou Man, beat Cook by almost 350 years. The two men, both eunuchs (as was the custom for captains), arrived in Australia in 1422 - Hong on the west coast, Zhou on the east - and spent several months exploring, landing in several places. Their ships were massive - 122 metres long by 27 metres wide - not that much smaller than a modern aircraft carrier and absolute giants compared with those used by Columbus about 70 years later. The captains navigated by the stars. Each ship had up to 1000 sailors.[4]

Archaeological evidence suggesting early Chinese interaction has also been found, including Chinese coins and items imported from East Africa, other areas of Zheng He's voyages.[5] However this is contested.[citation needed] -- User:Alexkyoung —Preceding undated comment added 01:05, 13 June 2019 (UTC)


No need for non academic junk ....Historians have rejected these theories and assertions outright [6][7][8][9][10][11] and have categorised this amateur work as pseudohistory.[12][13][14] --Moxy 🍁 04:04, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
WP:FRINGE and WP:UNDUE. It's a non-mainstream theory so giving it an entire section in this article is way too much. It could possibly be mentioned in Prehistory of Australia#Contact outside Australia. Ivar the Boneful (talk) 05:19, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Why would we add Pseudohistory claim with ZERO proof or academic backing to a history article?--Moxy 🍁 06:28, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
These claims do not belong anywhere in Wikipedia's coverage of Australia's history, as they are WP:FRINGE theories not endorsed by any serious historian. Menzies also believes that Atlantis was real and visited North America... [1] Nick-D (talk) 08:41, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. And The Age article is being misrepresented in the selective quote used above. Nickm57 (talk) 09:10, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Menzies, Gavin. 1421: The Year China Discovered America.
  2. ^ Jacques, Martin (2012). When China Rules the World. Penguin Books. p. 502.
  3. ^ "Full text: Hu's speech". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  4. ^ "It's official: Admiral Zheng beat Cook to Australia". The Age. 2002-11-25. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  5. ^ "Did Chinese mariners reach Australia before the Europeans?".
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference reuters columbus was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ The 1421 myth exposed, archived from the original on 28 March 2007, retrieved 22 March 2007
  8. ^ Zheng He in the Americas and Other Unlikely Tales of Exploration and Discovery, archived from the original on 17 March 2007, retrieved 2007-03-22
  9. ^ 1421: The Year China Discovered the World by Gavin Menzies, archived from the original on 2003-07-05, retrieved 2007-03-22
  10. ^ Finlay 2004
  11. ^ Goodman, David S. G. (2006): "Mao and The Da Vinci Code: Conspiracy, Narrative and History", The Pacific Review, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 359–384 (367–372)
  12. ^ Fritze, Ronald H. (2011). Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions (Reprint ed.). Reaktion Books. pp. 12, 19. ISBN 978-1861898173.
  13. ^ Melleuish, Greg; Sheiko, Konstantin; Brown, Stephen (1 November 2009). "Pseudo History/Weird History: Nationalism and the Internet". History Compass. 7 (6): 1484–1495. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2009.00649.x.
  14. ^ Henige, David (July 2008). "The Alchemy of Turning Fiction into Truth" (PDF). Journal of Scholarly Publishing. 39 (4): 354–372. doi:10.3138/jsp.39.4.354. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
Martin Jacques thought it was worth mentioning, and he does not label Menzies with any of those strong weasel words, but simply reports what others have said. Same with The Age and the Washington Post. If Menzies is a 'pseudohistorian' then why would any sane person allow his book to be published and then marketed? His book is still on Amazon, and people still buy it. I personally may or may not agree with Menzies myself, but that does not matter, as the above passage is just reporting what others have said. However, it is still speculation, well-cited by sources, and the information should be published for the benefit future readers. One day, some historian or archaeologist may read this and decide to verify or refute these claims even further. It does not hurt to publish.
On the references Moxy used: 6 is missing, the reliability of 7 and 8 are questionable; after all why was the original website taken down? 9 is a book review, from a not so reputable source, and is invariably pov; 10 Finlay 2004 does not link anywhere, and specification is needed; these pseudosources are not worth including.
11-14 may be worth including in the above.
Please make an effort to educate yourself about WP policies - particularly some of those listed above by other editors. Just because you find Menzies theories interesting doesn’t mean it’s appropriate in this collaborative project - which has its own rules and policies. A personal blog is not a bad alternative if you want to write without a policy framework like this project has. Nickm57 (talk) 15:41, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
I have, but your points do not address any of the points I brought up. Please make an effort to educate yourself about how to make a constructive intellectual counterargument rather than personally attacking others. I am waiting for a response to these claims. According to the BRD cycle, I can make a new bold edit, especially if nobody has addressed these concerns.
Exactly where have I attacked you personally? I suggest a way forward is for you to a) use indenting b) sign all your posts c) put “your points” exactly as that - just points you wish to include to improve the article d) don’t jump off onto people’s talk pages. This is the place for your ideas. And e) Don’t keep adding great slabs of text here it’s so unwieldy.
and yes - you are going to have to wait for considered responses to your further ideas from other editors. Nickm57 (talk) 16:04, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

New proposal[edit]

British naval officer and author Gavin Menzies argues that the Chinese, through naval voyages like those of Zheng He of the Ming dynasty, arrived on the shores of Australia in 1422.[1] British journalist Martin Jacques mentions this as well.[2][3] Moreover, to quote from The Age:

Menzies claims Zheng's vice-admirals, Hong Bao and Zhou Man, beat Cook by almost 350 years. The two men, both eunuchs (as was the custom for captains), arrived in Australia in 1422 - Hong on the west coast, Zhou on the east - and spent several months exploring, landing in several places. Their ships were massive - 122 metres long by 27 metres wide - not that much smaller than a modern aircraft carrier and absolute giants compared with those used by Columbus about 70 years later. The captains navigated by the stars. Each ship had up to 1000 sailors.[4]

Archaeological evidence suggesting early Chinese interaction has also been found, including Chinese coins and items imported from East Africa, other areas of Zheng He's voyages.[5]

However this is contested, and some have rejected Menzies' claims.[6][7][8][9]

Alexkyoung (talk) 14:56, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

I think we should review other edits see if this is a problem in others areas. --Moxy 🍁 16:12, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
  • [I'm aware of the discussions elsewhere about Alex's editing patterns, but for completeness offer the following.]
Including the whole quote from The Age is undue weight. I haven't checked the sources, but wording below may be more accurate, based on what's been said above. Doubt it belongs in the main Australia article, Prehistory_of_Australia#Contact_outside_Australia would be more appropriate.
Author Gavin Menzies claimed that the Chinese, through naval voyages of Hong Bao and Zhou Man, arrived on the shores of Australia in 1422, a view that garnered media attention.[10][11][12][13] These claims have been rejected by historians.[14][15][16][17] Archaeological evidence suggesting early Chinese interaction has also been found, including Chinese coins and items imported from East Africa. These may have arrived via trade with South-East Asia.[18]
(Sorry for doubling-up the references, not sure if named ref's work with {{Reflist-talk}}?) — Pelagic (talk) 07:13, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • After reading some of Fritze (can't access the others), I don't think we should mention Menzies even as a proactive debunking exercise. The article at Gavin Menzies covers it well enough. —Pelagic (talk) 07:40, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Oops, I just realised that Moxy already spoke of the same location – Prehistory_of_Australia#Contact_outside_Australia – in the preceding section. Sorry to reiterate. —Pelagic (talk) 08:20, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Menzies, Gavin. 1421: The Year China Discovered America.
  2. ^ Jacques, Martin (2012). When China Rules the World. Penguin Books. p. 502.
  3. ^ "Full text: Hu's speech". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  4. ^ "It's official: Admiral Zheng beat Cook to Australia". The Age. 2002-11-25. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  5. ^ "Did Chinese mariners reach Australia before the Europeans?".
  6. ^ Goodman, David S. G. (2006): "Mao and The Da Vinci Code: Conspiracy, Narrative and History", The Pacific Review, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 359–384 (367–372)
  7. ^ Fritze, Ronald H. (2011). Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions (Reprint ed.). Reaktion Books. pp. 12, 19. ISBN 978-1861898173.
  8. ^ Melleuish, Greg; Sheiko, Konstantin; Brown, Stephen (1 November 2009). "Pseudo History/Weird History: Nationalism and the Internet". History Compass. 7 (6): 1484–1495. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2009.00649.x.
  9. ^ Henige, David (July 2008). "The Alchemy of Turning Fiction into Truth" (PDF). Journal of Scholarly Publishing. 39 (4): 354–372. doi:10.3138/jsp.39.4.354. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  10. ^ Menzies, Gavin. 1421: The Year China Discovered America.
  11. ^ Jacques, Martin (2012). When China Rules the World. Penguin Books. p. 502.
  12. ^ "Full text: Hu's speech". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2003-10-24. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  13. ^ "It's official: Admiral Zheng beat Cook to Australia". The Age. 2002-11-25. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  14. ^ Goodman, David S. G. (2006): "Mao and The Da Vinci Code: Conspiracy, Narrative and History", The Pacific Review, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 359–384 (367–372)
  15. ^ Fritze, Ronald H. (2011). Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions (Reprint ed.). Reaktion Books. pp. 12, 19. ISBN 978-1861898173.
  16. ^ Melleuish, Greg; Sheiko, Konstantin; Brown, Stephen (1 November 2009). "Pseudo History/Weird History: Nationalism and the Internet". History Compass. 7 (6): 1484–1495. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2009.00649.x.
  17. ^ Henige, David (July 2008). "The Alchemy of Turning Fiction into Truth" (PDF). Journal of Scholarly Publishing. 39 (4): 354–372. doi:10.3138/jsp.39.4.354. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  18. ^ "Did Chinese mariners reach Australia before the Europeans?".

Discussion on new proposal for Speculative Chinese arrival[edit]

Moreover, The Age says that Menzies' book was even a best-seller, stimulating heated academic debate over the issue. This is exactly the kind of stuff that needs to be put on wikipedia, in this case not whether Menzies is right or not but the fact that there is an academic controversy in the first place. The Altaic languages are also widely discredited by linguistic scholars, but it has a whole wikipedia article dedicated to it. Wikipedia is a place to promote these kinds of intellectual discussions and thoughts, not a place to tailor or edit history to one's own fantasies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexkyoung (talkcontribs) 15:06, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

The book and its controversy is already covered in detail at Gavin Menzies. The claims don't need to be reiterated at Australia, North America, Northeast Passage, or any of the other places he claimed were visited. — Pelagic (talk) 07:52, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

BRD cycle[edit]

According to the BRD cycle,

Cycle. To avoid bogging down in discussion, when you have a better understanding of the reverter's concerns, you may attempt a new edit that reasonably addresses some aspect of those concerns. You can try this even if the discussion has not reached an explicit conclusion.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexkyoung (talkcontribs) 15:37, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

While most editors try to follow most of WP:BRD, in practice if you continue to make edits to an article after your first edits have been opposed your actions will be more likely seen as edit-warring and there is a good chance you will end up blocked. See WP:EDITCONSENSUS. --AussieLegend () 17:37, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Just to add, edit warring in a high profile featured article like this one is taken particularly seriously, especially when there's also a clear consensus in a talk page discussion that the material should not be included. Wikilawyering about this make it that much worse again. Nick-D (talk) 09:57, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I've responded to your revised proposal above. Let the cycle (not) continue. —Pelagic (talk) 01:11, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Religion in Info Box[edit]

I note the articles for most countries have both religion and ethnicity in the main infobox/sidebar. Some of these are expanded by default while some are collapsed and you need to click on them to expand the list.

My preference is for neither religion or ethnicity (or ancestry for Australia, given this is the question in the Australian census) to be listed in the main infobox as they are relatively complex topics and I believe the infobox is for simpler statitics.

Nonetheless to be consistent, I believe the main infobox should either incorporate both the religion and ancestry figures down to 1% (see the demographics section where I have taken great trouble to include these in detailed form from the 2016 census) as collapsed (ie you must click on 'Religion' or 'Ancestry' to open the lists form OR neither should be present in the main infobox.

I would suggest having neither in the main infobox/sidebar and removing the existing relition data from the sidebar as it exists in the same form under the demographics section in the article. I hope there is no opposition to this?--StormcrowMithrandir (talk) 05:55, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

As there is no opposition expressed I will trial removing religion from the main infobox. Please advise if anyone opposes or wishes to discuss further.--StormcrowMithrandir (talk) 05:38, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
I've reverted your removal for now. This article doesn't see a lot of activity during the week and barely any on weekends. That, and giving people less than 24 hours to make up their minds is inappropriate. Notifying people on a Saturday afternoon and expecting them to reply by Sunday afternoon just doesn't cut it. 72 hrs is usually a good minimum. Remember, Wikipedia is not working to a deadline. Things don't have to be done yesterday. Give people a reasonable amount of time to weigh in and if there is no opposition, then you can make the change. --AussieLegend () 06:57, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
Quite right indeed, my apologies. I will leave it at least a week or two.--StormcrowMithrandir (talk) 07:53, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

The statistics provided by self-description in the Census seem dubious. For example, based on those figures, about 55% of Australians would be expected to believe in the existence of a personal God, an essential core belief of monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam. However, the National Church Life Survey in 2016 found only 24% of Australians held this belief. Jack N. Stock (talk) 04:43, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

That's probably because, contradictory though it sounds, if you ask the question "Do you believe there is a personal God?" (whatever 'personal' means in that context), there are a fair number of people who would say "No", even if, when asked "What is your religion?", they would answer "Christian", "Muslim" etc. From personal experience I know several members of my family who would put "Church of England", "Anglican", "Christian" etc. in the religion box on a census form or similar document, yet would answer "No" or "Probably not" to the direct "Is there a God" question. As I say, it's contradictory, but it's a real phenomenon, which is why you need to take great care when assessing surveys like this and consider exactly what was asked and its context. Incidentally, while I'm here, I'd leave religion and ethnicity out of the infobox - they are better discussed in the body, imo. -- Begoon 05:01, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that's what the Census and NCLS results seem to be saying. A "personal God" is a God who is a person, as opposed to an impersonal life force. For example, a couple might say "the universe brought us together" or someone might say "it was written in the stars", implying belief in some sort of influential spiritual force, but no conscious supreme being. Jack N. Stock (talk) 05:09, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Asking the obvious question, did the NCLS survey everyone in Australia? The census did so I'd trust those figures. You're always going to get a more accurate figure when you sample 100% than when you sample a tiny percentage. --AussieLegend () 06:53, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
I agree with the above few posts. Figures on religion in Australia are notoriously unreliable, and close to meaningless. It definitely doesn't belong in the Infobox, and I'd argue that most of what is in that text section of the article is misleading. The census question is optional, to start with, so drawing any conclusion is dangerous. HiLo48 (talk) 06:59, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
The question may be optional but that's captured in the "unstated/unclear" figure. I don't have an issue with including religion but I don't think we need to go down to 1%. The infobox is only supposed to be an overview, like the lede but even briefer. I personally don't believe that religion is significant but a lot of people do so I see no reason not to include it but as it's an overview it should be limited to the most significant information which is 52.2% Christianity, 8.6% others, 30.1 % Irreligious and 9.1% Unstated/unclear. None of the "other" religions is more than 2.6%, which is not significant enough to include in the infobox but it can still be included in the religion section. --AussieLegend () 07:11, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
We can perhaps include figures, but only if we include the precise wording of the question, and describe the responses accurately. The current wording doesn't do that IMHO. (It is better than it used to be.) For example. the wording "The remaining 9.6% of the population did not provide an adequate answer" presumably describes those who chose not to answer, PLUS those who stuffed up their response. Not a very helpful figure. It also concerns me that parents answering questions on behalf of their children will typically write their own religion in for their children. That delivers results that are simply wrong. HiLo48 (talk) 08:33, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
How about we keep the detail which I think is fundamental for the demographics section where it belongs as opposed to the infobox (and very important to a good proportion of the Australian and world population who may be reading) and if anything is less detailed than what you'd find in most country articles but simply keep it in the main body of text where it belongs and remove it from the infobox which is simply duplication and is always going to preclude any nuance given the position.--StormcrowMithrandir (talk) 08:59, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
We don't need the questions in the infobox. That's beyond the purpose of an infobox which is only supposed to include information in abbreviated form. If people need more information they go to the lede and if that doesn't cover what they need, then to the respective section in the body of the article. Or, they can go straight to the respective section. The 9.1% is not really useful but it gives a clear indication that 100% of the population has been captured. Essentially, nothing in the infobox is useful on its own and it's not supposed to be as it's just a bullet point summary, just usually without the bullets.
It also concerns me that parents answering questions on behalf of their children will typically write their own religion in for their children. - That's because, in the vast majority of cases, children share the religion of their parents and it's not wrong. Parents make a lot of decisions for their children, what clothes they wear, what food they eat, where they go to school and, yes, religion too.
remove it from the infobox which is simply duplication - By its very nature the entire infobox is duplication, as is the lede. Both are supposed to summarise significant aspects of the subject and they can't do that without duplicating some content. That's how we write articles. --AussieLegend () 09:24, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Philosophically, it's nonsensical to claim that a new born baby has a religion. HiLo48 (talk) 00:17, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
We're not talking philosophically, we're talking about cold hard data. --AussieLegend () 05:34, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
I'd call it very soft data. You cannot claim it is accurate or meaningful. HiLo48 (talk) 07:35, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm afraid that it's your claim that is soft. The data is compiled by the ABS, the authoritative source for collection of Australian statistics, it's sourced from everyone in Australia at one time and it's an offence to not complete your Census form accurately. It's the most accurate data that you're ever going to get whether you like it or not. --AussieLegend () 08:20, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
I removed the religion part from the infobox, anticipating that as the eventual outcome, If there is some agreeable way of compressing the relevant section to an data statement, that can be included. cygnis insignis 10:28, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
And did that again. There is no consensus for inclusion, never was, just restores and invitations to wax lyrical about its problems. It is an infobox, I recognise that I am arguably falling afoul of infobox sanctions, but the onus is on consensus for inclusion as a first principle. cygnis insignis 12:26, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
You now have 2 of the people who have opined in favour of removal reverting your premature action. Please respect the process and wait for consensus. "the onus is on consensus for inclusion as a first principle" is true when new material is added, not when retention is the status quo. There's absolutely no need to circumvent the discussion process, so please don't. Thank you. -- Begoon 12:40, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
The inclusion of a particular field in the infobox code is a clear implication that there is already consensus for its use. That the data has been in the infobox for so long implies consensus for its inclusion, per WP:SILENCE so the argument that there was never consensus for its inclusion in the first place doesn't fly. Most every infobox includes something that had no consensus for its initial inclusion so it's really silly to argue that as justification for arbitrary removal. What we need now is consensus not to continue including it. --AussieLegend () 13:08, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Australia/Popular_topics&action=historycygnis insignis 14:00, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
What's your point? --AussieLegend () 14:07, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
I searched the archives on infobox and that subsection turned up, I linked the revision history. The point is whatever anyone wants to make of that in the context on infoboxes, contentiousness and consensus, there was too many points for me to list and I've left it to others to reflect on that. In short, infoboxes suck. What was an option becomes compulsory, I don't think a deviation from encyclopedic presentation should be compulsory for what I think are obvious reasons. cygnis insignis 14:44, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
I still don't get it. What was the point of linking the revision history of that page? It's had 2 edits. How does that relate to a discussion on religion? If you look at the actual page, there are no religion discussions. As for infoboxes, whether or not you like them is irrelevant to the discussion. In any case, they are used in literally millions of articles and they're not going anywhere. --AussieLegend () 17:18, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Smile and walk slowly away, AL. It's for the best, trust me. -- Begoon 17:41, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
Cygnis, in answer to the question you removed, I meant that philosophical discussions about the merits or evils of infoboxes never go anywhere good, so let's stick to the simpler question of whether we have religion in this one. -- Begoon 17:57, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
I removed it for what I thought was a good reason, is replying to that helpful. If this was regular content I could fix any concern, it is not and any objection requires debating the matter extensively (no joke, six months and still going). Not how wikipedia works where it does work, it is as simple as that, we are not Wikidata. Infobox guidelines preclude the inclusion of contentious items without consensus, for obvious reasons to any editor of content proper. cygnis insignis 18:05, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
"for obvious reasons to any editor of content proper." ok. -- Begoon 18:10, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
To clarify my previous comments, my position is this is far too complicated to include in the infobox. In addition, some people might identify with a denomination but not identify as Christian (regardless of the denomination identifying as Christian), so aggregating 54.6% (or whatever) as "Christian" is inappropriate. Jack N. Stock (talk) 18:49, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
"I'm Catholic but I'm not Christian, I'm a pretzel." --AussieLegend () 19:17, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
The ABS does the adding up for total percentage of Christians, but puzzlingly, comes up with a different number from the one we have in the article - 52%, compared with our claim of 54.6%. See https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mediareleasesbyReleaseDate/7E65A144540551D7CA258148000E2B85 What's going on? HiLo48 (talk) 00:14, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
I didn't do the religion chart so I will look at the 2016 census Community Profile xls for Australia on the weekend and work it out.--StormcrowMithrandir (talk) 03:39, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Ahhh...... I now regret opening this can of worms. The discussion shouldn't be around whether these people actually believe in a God or whether parents are choosing for children, etc. This is official ABS census data from the entire population and whatever else anyone comes up with is not nearly as good. Every census, not just Australia does it this way (self description rather than some test of what they actually believe and with parents completing for minors). There is no question that the data which is a very important demographic statistic which exists in all country articles should be there and should include a figure for all major world religions including small ones like Judaism. The only question is whether it should be in the infobox as well as the relevant section in the article, to which I would say no (even ancestry/ethnicity doesn't appear in the infobox for the Australia article despite being in the infobox of basically all other country articles) so my position is that religion and other demographic statistics beyond population should not go in the infobox. In the event it is contentious though and there are people who feel strongly about keeping it, I feel there is no harm at all to keeping it there.--StormcrowMithrandir (talk) 03:36, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
StormcrowMithrandir, Well, I don't think that's really a fair reflection of the discussion. There's a fair consensus (5:1 if you want to "count votes") not to have it in the infobox, as it stands at the moment, as far as I read it. The fact that the conversation got "muddied" a bit by some of us going off on a tangent about the quality/interpretation of the data and another tangent about the pros and cons of infoboxes in general shouldn't be allowed to obscure that. You certainly shouldn't "regret" starting the discussion. -- Begoon 04:25, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────────────────────────There is no question that the data which is a very important demographic statistic - Being a very important demographic statistic justifies inclusion in the lede and the infobox. "The lead should stand on its own as a concise overview of the article's topic. It should identify the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points, including any prominent controversies."

There's a fair consensus (5:1 if you want to "count votes") - Except that we don't count votes, we look at the strength of the arguments and some of the exclude arguments amount to WP:IDONTLIKEIT while others are, as you said, going off on a tangent about the quality/interpretation of the data. This is an FA so we need a fairly strong consensus, maybe even an RfC. A weak "consensus" based on flawed arguments could result in loss of the FA status. Looking at other articles I see that United States (GA), United Kingdom and Canada, all prominent English speaking countries, include religion in the infobox, as do many other articles so why should Australia be inconsistent? --AussieLegend () 05:34, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

"This is an FA so we need a fairly strong consensus, maybe even an RfC. A weak "consensus" based on flawed arguments could result in loss of the FA status." - That argument would, of course, be a little stronger if, at the time of the last FA review: Wikipedia:Featured article review/Australia/archive1 (29 June 2010), the infobox had, in fact, contained religion - but as far as I can see it didn't... I've personally no objection to your turning this into an RFC if you think it's merited, though. -- Begoon 06:38, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
As there has been no further discussion I will do that. --AussieLegend () 20:32, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

RfC dated 23 June 2019 - Should religion be removed from the infobox?[edit]

Should religion be removed from the infobox? --AussieLegend () 20:33, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

  • No - As stated above by another editor,[2] religion is a significant statistic about a country so deserves to be mentioned in the lede and in the infobox, which serves as a bullet point type addition to the lede. MOS:LEDE says, "The lead should stand on its own as a concise overview of the article's topic. It should identify the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points, including any prominent controversies." Religion is generally included in infoboxes. See for example United States (GA), United Kingdom and Canada, all prominent English speaking countries, which include religion in the infobox, as do many other country articles. I'm not sure of the actual percentage but I have seen elswhere that 90% of readers don't go beyond the lede/infobox so removing it essentially hides the information from our readers or, at the very least, makes them have to search through the article for the information. There is no real reason to remove it in any case. --AussieLegend () 20:32, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  • yep cygnis insignis 20:41, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
  • As it stands currently, yes but a qualified yes only. I think they are a very important demographic statistic (one of the main three which will appear in any demographics section in world articles alongside language and ancestry/ethnicity, however all other prominent English speaking countries have both religion and ancestry/ethnicity in the infobox, so to be consistent if religion is there ancestry should be too in which case it would be a no - ie if we are going to include demographic statistics we could be more consistent about it - these would both have to be collapsible (as I believe religion is now) though because in order to include sufficient detail and not be misleading they would be include 8-15 items each and require collapsing not to be unwieldy.--StormcrowMithrandir (talk) 23:31, 22 June 2019 (UTC)
    The tune is familiar, can you whistle a few more bars :| cygnis insignis 07:45, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes. First, let's clear up a couple of things: the existence of a field in an infobox's code in no way mandates, or even suggests, its use on every article using the infobox. More importantly, the usage or non-usage of that field in other articles has no real bearing or influence on whether or not it should be included here. I might argue against inclusion at the other articles - I might not - that's immaterial because here we decide what is best for this article.

    A lot is made in the two comments before mine of how "important" religious statistics are, yet the article itself says: "Australia has one of the lowest levels of religious adherence in the world". indicating that this "importance" is perhaps not shared by the subjects of this article. In any event, nobody is suggesting that the information is removed, just that it is better conveyed by explanatory prose in the article, rather than a survey result in an infobox without any nuance. A brief glance at an infobox containing roughly 50% "Christianity" does the complex subject no justice. It's rightly mentioned that a high proportion of readers might "go away" after finding that statistic, in which case we have served them badly, or even misled them into believing that it is a clear-cut issue and that is all they need to know about it.

    Above this section the argument was made that "This is an FA so we need a fairly strong consensus, maybe even an RfC" to somehow suggest that we mustn't remove religion from the infobox - however, as I pointed out there, at the time this article was last reviewed for FA, religion was not in the infobox - suggesting that, actually, it should only have been added by very strong subsequent consensus or RFC, which I don't really see anywhere. Anyway, my position is that religion in Australia is too nuanced to be adequately conveyed by the infobox and is better discussed in the article body. I don't believe we are "forced" by either the alleged "importance", or by what some other articles may or may not do, and that it is best removed from the infobox here.

    I could, I suppose, at a pinch, concede one alternative: I'm not personally convinced that anyone actually looking for details on religion in Australia would fail to find its section, but if there is a true concern shared by many here that a reader might go away "without finding" what they are looking for because they "expect it to be" in the infobox and don't look anywhere else, then place a simple link to the section there. I don't advocate this, but it remains as an option if purely "finding" the information is a true concern. Personally I consider the risk of the reader "going away" after seeing a bare, unexplained, undiscussed survey result and thinking that is all they "need to know" about religion in Australia to be greater.

    In any case, I favour removal of the percentage 'survey' figures from the infobox in favour of more detailed and nuanced treatment in the body. -- Begoon 00:28, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Yes. As per Begoon's very well considered comments above. Nickm57 (talk) 01:01, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Remove – Per Australia § Religion, "Australia has no state religion". While it is appropriate to discuss the demographics in the article, it does not belong in the infobox. Mitch Ames (talk) 01:17, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • No. This is important, basic population information, which is why it's on the census in the first place. I can't see any valid reason for not having it there.Mark Marathon (talk) 01:22, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
    Here's a sample of what's "on the census in the first place": https://www.abs.gov.au/browse?opendocument&ref=topBar Religion is there in that list, it's the third note under "People & Communities". I do think, though, we'd have a rather large, unwieldy and potentially unusable infobox if we took "inclusion in the census" as a criterion guaranteeing inclusion in the infobox, based on what's listed there. Again, nobody is arguing for exclusion of information, merely removal of the bare, unexplained percentage 'survey' figures from the infobox in favour of the more detailed and nuanced treatment in the body. -- Begoon 01:45, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
MarkMarathon, you are being a little rude in saying "I can't see any valid reason for not having it there". Several others have given reasons. You may disagree with their significance, but to call them invalid is unhelpful. And I shall expand on my reason to help you. The figures are misleading and inaccurate. We should not include misleading, inaccurate information in an Infobox. Fine in the text, if you want, where we can elaborate on issues such as it being a non-compulsory question, and parents presuming for their children. HiLo48 (talk) 03:00, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
This is important, ... which is why it's on the census... — It's not that important - it's the only question (other than Q60, permission to archive for 99 years) that is optional: 2016 sample census Mitch Ames (talk) 05:11, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • 'Yes as per Begoons detailed analysis, Also the article states Australia has no state religion and so therefore it's rather pointless and unhelpful to have in the infobox. –Davey2010Talk 21:12, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Replace with National religion; for countries that have no official national religion, indicate "none"; for countries that have one, indicate what it is. bd2412 T 21:55, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
    No, because this, still, is incomplete, and suffers from the issue mentioned above that a high proportion of readers might "go away" after finding that bare statement, in which case we have served them badly, or even misled them into believing that it is a clear-cut issue and that is all they need to know about it. -- Begoon 22:41, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, the religion should be removed from the infobox for the reasons discussed above. Simple percentages from an optional question in the Census are open to broad interpretation and could be misleading. Jack N. Stock (talk) 22:22, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep this is basic information about demographics that would be included in all reputable encyclopedias. It's certainly a thing that needs to be in the infobox and allows for a quick comparison to the demographics of other countries (e.g. Canada, Nigeria, France, India, etc...). Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 23:48, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
    "this is basic information about demographics that would be included in all reputable encyclopedias." - then thank goodness nobody has suggested it should be excluded. -- Begoon 00:02, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  • That's literally what the RFC is about. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 00:05, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
    I think you should read it again - the RFC is about presentation of information, not its inclusion or exclusion. It is suggested that the bare, unexplained percentage 'survey' figures be removed from the infobox in favour of the more detailed and nuanced treatment in the body. There are several detailed arguments as to why this better and more informatively presents the data to a reader, but none that I can see arguing for its exclusion from the article. The question could possibly have been better worded, but that, in itself, is probably a good example of why detailed content is often preferable to a brief, nuance-free bullet-point. -- Begoon 00:20, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
Summaries are important. And they are just as important in the case of Australia than it is in the case of Canada or Sudan or Russia or Bhutan or Brazil. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 01:06, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep The precise numbers are not important, but the relative significance is. The top three numbers are 52, 30, 2.6. Australia would look very different if these proportions were in a different order or were different religions, so this provides valuable information in the infobox. --Scott Davis Talk 00:59, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
How is it significant and valuable, in what way would Australia "look different" if the numbers were? What sources confirm the weight attributed to this factoid? cygnis insignis 05:39, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
The more people stress the "importance" and "significance" of this data the more convinced I become that including a bare, undiscussed, unexplained 'survey' result in the infobox is a real disservice to the reader. As has been pointed out, many readers may see this and "go away" deciding that is "all they need to know" about religion in Australia, never seeing the more nuanced explanation in the relevant section. If it's that important, surely we should do what we can to ensure that we convey a full, nuanced picture, rather than just a snippet which is open to all kinds of misinterpretation, such as those mentioned above with regards to the question being optional, with assumptions made for minors etc... Remember that nothing in this proposal suggests removing any information from the article, merely adjusting our presentation so that readers are more likely to find details of this "important" and "significant" topic and not just an incomplete 'snippet' or 'soundbyte' -- Begoon 06:08, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
The counter argument is "makes them have to search through the article for the information", I suppose when two men at the bar are about to come to blows we are doing a disservice in making them learn something instead. cygnis insignis 06:44, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm not personally convinced that readers coming to the article to read or find out about religion in Australia will be unable to find it, or even find it difficult, if it's not in the infobox - the table of contents is fairly prominent. However, in case there was a major, real concern among commenters here that that would be the case, I did touch on a possible solution to that in the fourth paragraph of my "Yes" comment above. I'm not convinced that should be necessary, but it's there to consider if there is substantial, genuine concern along those lines. -- Begoon 06:58, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
Every well-developed article about countries has religious demographics in the infobox. Why should Australia be the exception? Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 07:22, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
I don't know whether "Every well-developed article about countries has religious demographics in the infobox." or not - I haven't checked all of them (and I don't need to). I'll spare you the "otherstuff" link but, as I said above, what's in other articles has no real bearing or influence on whether or not it should be included here. Nobody is arguing for an 'exception' because there isn't any 'rule' to be 'excepted' from. I might argue against inclusion at the other articles - I might not - that's immaterial because here we decide what is best for this article. We did find out while talking about this that the featured article reviewers didn't note omission here as a problem, though, and they are quite big on "standards" and "consistency" I think... My arguments for leaving the bare survey results out of the infobox are all above, with those of others, so I won't repeat them again. Cheers. -- Begoon 07:32, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes - The data is crap, because it's an optional question. No-one in their right mind could claim that all those who tick a particular religion are actually believers in that faith's god. All Australians know of other Australians who describe themselves as "cultural Christians", or "lapsed Catholics", or similar. We have no idea how such people answered the question. Because it's only the Infobox, there is no way we can explain these problems with the data. As for other articles on countries having the item, I don't really care. Chances are the same problems exist there. Every time I see a claim in Wikipedia about numbers of believers in a faith, anywhere, my eyes glaze over, and I skip that bit. It's a disaster area for Wikipedia. And don't try to tell me about "reliable sources, etc. We must always assess the quality of sources. If they cannot possibly deliver accurate, meaningful data, they are not reliable. HiLo48 (talk) 07:51, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
Nobody cares what they actually believe in. I mean it is not for us to do an original research about this. We have an official census data and they have identified themselves as Christians, that's it. If we have another data that states different statistics we can put it in [note] next to the current official reliable census data. I think readers would want to see that information in the infobox.--SharabSalam (talk) 08:08, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
My point is that, despite being official census data, it's meaningless. Readers don't want meaningless data in the Infobox. (I'm a read, and I certainly don't.) And you know a lot of the respondents haven't just identified themselves as Christian. They have identified newborn babies as Christians, and that's simply wrong. Of what practical use is the data? HiLo48 (talk) 08:14, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
The ABS doesn't think it's meaningless. As I've said above, The data is compiled by the ABS, the authoritative source for collection of Australian statistics, it's sourced from everyone in Australia at one time and it's an offence to not complete your Census form accurately. It's the most accurate data that you're ever going to get whether you like it or not. --AussieLegend () 08:22, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
"it's an offence to not complete your Census form accurately" How exactly does that work for an optional question? I'm genuinely asking. It's ok to refuse to answer, but it's an offence to say you're a Buddhist if you're not - or to tick the "no religion" box if you actually have a belief? Religion is a choice, so surely I could choose to say I believe in any religion I like just for the time it takes me to tick the box? I'm not asking this just to be difficult - I'm genuinely confused as to how this "offence" could be assessed or enforced for the particular question at issue here. -- Begoon 08:30, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
Not really the forum for it, but almost everything on the census is a choice. I choose my sex, I choose how I go to work, I choose my charity involvement and so forth. It would be much harder to prove to a court that I drove my car to work on census day than to prove that I am an atheist. The latter is a matter of pubic record, the latter has no records. Ditto for my sex, my hobbies and so forth. Nonetheless it's an offence to answer any census question incorrectly. The chances of ever getting charged for answering a question incorrectly are neglible. You would need to loudly and publicly declare that you had done so, or encourage others to do so, to ever be charged. And that is exactly what these laws are likely meant to prevent. By making the act illegal, you also make it illegal to encourage others to do perform he act. Nonetheless this is the best information on the subject available. It's not our place as editors to decide that it is "crap".Mark Marathon (talk) 09:11, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
AussieLegend, what DOES the data mean? (And please stop copying and pasting your own replies.) HiLo48 (talk) 08:53, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
It means that that is the religion that the people in Australia identified as. Just as the ancestry question means that that is the ancestry they identified as, and the occupation question means that that is the occupation they identified as and so forth. People may be lying on any of those questions just as easily as on the religion question. It's all about self-identification. Nonetheless this is the best, most reliable data available on Australian population statistics. If we want to declare that all census data is crap, then we can begin that discussion. But your idea that the religion data alone is crap is the worst sort of argument from ignorance and special pleading.Mark Marathon (talk)
How exactly does that work for an optional question? - That part was aimed more at HiLo48's claims about the quality of the data, more specifically that it's meaningless. It doesn't matter that the questional is optional. For the 90.3% of people who have answered the question it's required that their answer is correct.
it's an offence to say you're a Buddhist if you're not - or to tick the "no religion" box if you actually have a belief? - That's pretty much the case, but it applies to every question.
I'm genuinely confused as to how this "offence" could be assessed or enforced for the particular question at issue here. - Like everything else on the census it would be hard to enforce it but results of the entire census are based on the assumption that people are generally honest in their answers. The ABS does periodically verify census results from random households.
please stop copying and pasting your own replies. - Don't act as if that's something that I've done more than once. If you bother to look at the edit history you'll see that I answered your sill statement in the section above.[3] I then realised you'd made a similar claim here to which the response was almost equally valid and there was no point completely rewriting the response. --AussieLegend () 11:11, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
When you say "It means that that is the religion that the people in Australia identified as", you have highlighted a fundamental problem. When they write an occupation for their children, they will not write the same as for for themselves. They will write "student", or whatever. They will probably tell the truth. But on religion, they write what they are, and it's a lie. This makes the data meaningless. HiLo48 (talk) 02:29, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
It's not (necessarily) a lie (a deliberate untruth). Most Christians practise infant baptism, by which the child is deemed - by the parents and the Church - to become a member of that Church/religion. It's no different to parents (who've immigrated from elsewhere) applying for citizenship on behalf of their infant child. Just because the child is not old enough to make a decision doesn't mean that parents' decision is not accepted by the Church/religion/community. The child may later choose to reject the religion, but until they do, they are deemed - by the religious community and the Bureau of Statistics - to be a member of that religion. Mitch Ames (talk) 03:56, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
Nah. The question on the census does not ask about whether someone is baptised or not. Many people who were baptised near birth, such as me, would have written "No religion". This isn't about baptism. And that's the problem. Figures in an Infobox are not explained. They can't be. That's the point. If they need explanation, they don't belong in the Infobox. HiLo48 (talk) 07:43, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
How you answered the question about yourself is irrelevant to the issue of whether a parent lies when answering on behalf of of someone else (their child). While it's true that the census question is not about baptism, my point stands. A baptised child - of whom there are likely to be a significant number - is considered by the parents and the Church community to be a Christian. You, I and Richard Dawkins may consider the parents delusional, but they are not lying. Mitch Ames (talk) 09:47, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
Stop accusing me of things I have never said. At no point did I call anyone delusional. You are becoming abusive, and misrepresenting me, and that never helps. Obviously the point about how I answer the question IS relevant. It highlights that being baptised has no clear relationship to how one answers the question. And obviously I am not alone. Baptism is a red herring, and again, simply highlights that the meaning of the data is unclear. HiLo48 (talk) 10:40, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
I retract any implication that you said or thought anyone was delusional. I maintain my original assertion that parents of baptised infants or young children are not lying when they answer for the child and declare the child to be Christian. Those parents' truthfulness, or otherwise, is independent of how you answered the question for yourself. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:01, 25 June 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── HiLo48, your argument is nonsense, if someone says support the Melbourne Football Club, they are a supporter. They don’t have to be a member, they don’t need to own a red and blue scarf, they don’t need to go to games, they don’t even need to watch the games on tv or listen on the radio, they may just like to hear that Melbourne are winning (as uncommon as that is). If someone says they are Catholic they don’t need to eat fish on Fridays or attend a church weekly to be such. The ABS data is some of the best in the world. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 07:13, 25 June 2019 (UTC)

Not nonsense at all. To start with, you have ignored my point about children. And there are two distinct levels of supporting. As well as what you describe, one can choose to be a Melbourne Football Club member. Now, those people can be counted, quite accurately. Religion is very different from that. HiLo48 (talk) 07:38, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
  • No. Keep the rough statistic. Similar arguments might be made against the census in other countries, but they are still good for rough approximations. Let those who are deeply interested read the article to learn about the special complexity of the question for Australians. Jzsj (talk) 09:22, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
Please see WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. And if we do have a "special complexity" that cannot be expressed in an Infobox, we must not include it. HiLo48 (talk) 02:32, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
  • No, religion says something about the history of a country, about its culture, international and national politics, beliefs and practices. I'd argue religion is that essential, that if you were to remove it you might just as well remove the entire infobox.--Farang Rak Tham (Talk) 13:49, 24 June 2019 (UTC)
Absolute nonsense. Everything else is more meaningful. HiLo48 (talk) 02:32, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
Says who? Do you really think date format is more important? Cavalryman V31 (talk) 07:13, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
Sorry. I don't know what you mean. HiLo48 (talk) 07:45, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
Then I suggest you actually look at the infobox that is the subject of this RfC. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 08:58, 25 June 2019 (UTC).
  • No, retain in the infobox, it gives the reader a good initial snapshot of beliefs of the country. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 18:38, 24 June 2019 (UTC).
No it doesn't. It's full of lies about all the children in Australia. HiLo48 (talk) 02:32, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
So who do you believe does speak for all the children in Australia? Cavalryman V31 (talk) 07:13, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
Nobody. HiLo48 (talk) 07:46, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
That is not an optional question on belief, it's The Wiggles. cygnis insignis 07:31, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
Remove in all country article as with ethnic groups and languages....really no need to have this data in most cases 3 times (we normally have prose and a chart) ..no need for a 3rd less accessible version.--Moxy 🍁 02:54, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
  • yes remove Australia is a secular state and people are free to practice any religion within the confines of Australian law[4] as per section 116 of the constitution therefore the inclusion in the info is misleading.. the infor should actually just say secular state and the demographics deal nuances. Gnangarra 11:43, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, remove per Gnangarra. This field suggests Australia has established religions or similar, when it doesn't. It also suggests that Australia is divided by religion, when there's lots of data which shows that most religious Australians are tolerant of other faiths and religion is generally not a major issue in Australian public life. Nick-D (talk) 11:46, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
  • No I have seen most of the arguments here that support removing the religion section in the infobox but I don't find them convencing, I'm sorry. The census data from Australian government is reliable and we should trust it. The argument that newborn babies religion is chosen by their parents is not a reason for removing the section. If we have reliable sources that explicitly state that the Australian census data about religion includes newborn babies who their parents choose their religion we can add it as a note in the section. That's a better solution than removing the section from the infobox. In my opinion the removal is the worst solution.
Moxy says that we should remove the religion section from all infoboxes of countries. Yea, that might be a good proposal but this RfC here isn't going to establish that. We can ask for this in template_talk:infobox country. However, I still think the religion section in the infobox is useful and benefits the reader. Again if there is a sourced controversy about the religion census data in Australia we can mention it in the infobox.--SharabSalam (talk) 12:11, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
"if there is a sourced controversy about the religion census data in Australia we can mention it in the infobox" How exactly do you propose we do that without making the entry in the infobox huge and unwieldy? I did mention above, and I'll repeat here, that if there is a true concern shared by many here that a reader might go away "without finding" what they are looking for because they "expect it to be" in the infobox and don't look anywhere else, then we could place a simple link to the Religion section there. I don't advocate this, but it remains as an option if purely "finding" the information is a true concern. Personally I consider the risk of the reader "going away" after seeing a bare, unexplained, undiscussed survey result and thinking that is all they "need to know" about religion in Australia to be greater. -- Begoon 12:25, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
... reliable sources that explicitly state that the Australian census data about religion includes newborn babies who their parents choose their religion — The ABS says

... rates of having no religion are highest for babies, but drop substantially for children aged 5 to 14. It is quite likely that children under 15 do not answer the question on religion for themselves, so these rates may reflect their parents' views.

The second sentence says that parents are probably answering for their children, but the first sentence (and the remainder of that section of the page) suggests that at least some religious parents are not declaring that the child's religion is the same as their own. This is not definite enough to count as a non-OR RS, but it is interesting, given previous comments about parents choosing their children's religion. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:09, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
How exactly do you propose we do that without making the entry in the infobox huge and unwieldy? Notes, like the one that is in the infobox now and the notes we have for the the anthem, language and time zones. It's not rocket science. Note though, SharabSalam said "sourced" controversy. At the moment the only controversy is HiLo48's opinions and that doesn't constitute a source. --AussieLegend () 16:38, 25 June 2019 (UTC)
@Begoon: ...the risk of the reader "going away" after seeing a bare, unexplained, undiscussed survey result and thinking that is all they "need to know" about religion in Australia to be greater. I am having trouble imagining questions that I would think are satisfied by the infobox but really aren't. If I'm looking for details about religion, the infobox is not going to satisfy me, and it does not tell me details about anything else either. It's a quick overview in a standardised format of some key facts. If you have an issue with it displaying that 52.1% of Australians professed to be Christians in 2016, then raise a proposal that quantities in infoboxes should be to one significant figure (50%, i.e. about half) instead of three significant figures. The way certain politicians carry on about being taken over by Islam, the infobox stats either now or rounded to 1SF clearly would show that 50% Christian, 30% irreligious, 10% not stated, 3% Islam, 2% Buddhist, 2% Hindu show it has not happened, and one would need details of trend to see if it is happening (but it clearly has a long way to go). If the state infoboxes also had religion, it would be easy to see if there was sgnificant regional variation from the norm (e.g. Indonesia 87.2% Islam, 9.9% Christianity compared to West Papua (province) 53.77% Protestant, 38.4% Islam and 7.03% Catholic). --Scott Davis Talk 04:23, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
"If you have an issue with it displaying that 52.1% of Australians professed to be Christians in 2016..." I certainly do, and if you had been paying attention you would know what it is. It is simply not true to say that 52.1% of Australians professed to be Christians in 2016. Chances are that nobody under the age of ten "professed" to be anything. Someone else did the professing for them. If the number is the conclusion you drew from the raw numbers, it's wrong. Thank you for highlighting why it shouldn't be in the Infobox. HiLo48 (talk) 08:40, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
@HiLo48: The question is about "religion", not "faith". If the kid goes to church every Sunday, it is religious, whatever reason it had for going ("Mum wouldn't let me stay at home alone"). Australia being over 50% Christian and less than 3% Muslim means that on average, the country is quite different than Iran (Islam) or North Korea (no religion). It may also be different to the USA (73% Christian, 21% Unaffiliated and only 0.8% Muslim. If you want to argue that people under 14 are by definition irreligious, then you could argue for the age profile to be added to the infobox for the main article instead of finding that 17.75% of the population was aged 0-14 years in the text of a subsidiary page. I don't think the proportion of children would change the relative proportions of the religions by that much, which is what I expect to find from the infobox. --Scott Davis Talk 11:23, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
Yet again, the response I get involves considerable "interpretation", or maybe prespctive - religion vs faith, etc. You also suggest adding some clarification - adding the age profile. No. That's not what the Infobox is about. It should provide simple, accurate information at a glance, and for religion, it cannot. HiLo48 (talk) 11:30, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
The uncomplicated, no-interpretation version is to include the census figures to the sourced level of precision (3 significant figures) and cite it with no interpretation. It was you that brought up the idea that children might not have filled in their own forms honestly. Most of the alleged "complications" are attempts to find a compromise that you would accept. --Scott Davis Talk 12:26, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
Scott, I get the distinct impression you are mocking my comments, while also misrepresenting them. Completely unhelpful. When people disagreeing with me go down a path like that, I know I have made points they cannot refute logically and politely. Newborn babies simply do not fill in their own forms. Parents do it for them. And we cannot know what they write for their children's religion, but we can guess that in most cases it will be what the parents are. Whatever, it creates imprecise data. And any proposed "complication" is firstly, acknowledgment that I have a point, and secondly, a demonstration that it doesn't belong in an Infobox because it needs further explanation. HiLo48 (talk) 08:16, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Virtually everything in an infobox needs further explanation. Ask most people what Gini is and they'll probably ask you if she was in the Harry Potter movies. --AussieLegend () 13:28, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
OK. I'll come clean. I've thought for some time that most Infoboxes should be abolished entirely, and you've just helped to reinforce that view. HiLo48 (talk) 10:21, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Arguably misuse of a primary source. The debate on how a compromised version can be displayed in the infobox is not the question, that is "Should religion be removed from the infobox?", and is a perpetual hazard of the use of infoboxes: Inclusion is resolved by debate, not by the processes encyclopedic presentation of facts using sources and sentences. cygnis insignis 16:28, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
It looks like WP:PRIMARY specifically allows for us to report the uninterpreted results from the census, but that we have to have reliable secondary sources to interpret it such as determining whether children can have a religion, or exactly who filled in the forms. If you desperately require a secondary source to say that a bit over half of the Australian population self-identify as Christian, then perhaps The Guardian article on the results will satisfy you? If you use the same reference for a sentence elsewhere in the article that the proportion has declined from 88.2% in 1966, then anyone who clicked on the footnote marker will also see that the same reference is used elsewhere in the article and if they are interested enough, can easily click to see where. --Scott Davis Talk 03:58, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @SharabSalam: how more definitive can Section 116 of the Australian Constitution be, the infobox should have Secular with it linked directly to the appropriate section. Gnangarra 11:02, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
    • OK, who's going to bring up the Magna Carta? I assume that's next. --AussieLegend () 11:45, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Re Australia is a secular state if this is the issue, then have |state_religion=Secular or something. Or get infobox country to display "Religious makeup/composition" instead of simply "Religion". Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 15:30, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
Secularity is not a religion. Mitch Ames (talk) 00:24, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
My view is that a high proportion of Australians are actually Apatheists, and while I don't expect that to appear in the Infobox, maybe something else from the article should be there, the fact that "only 8.8% of Australians attended church on a weekly basis". HiLo48 (talk) 08:21, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
How is it that I did not know that term, it is a subject I'm very interested in. cygnis insignis 08:41, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes. A great word, isn't it? And naturally, we have an article on it. We should make more use of it. HiLo48 (talk) 09:38, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
I agree that many Australians are apatheists. They check "Christian" or "Catholic" on the census, but they don't own a Bible, only go to church if they are invited to a wedding, and may not believe there is a Creator. Jack N. Stock (talk) 15:42, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep, agree with Headbombs comment just above Atlantic306 (talk) 21:30, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
  • No I think this demographic statistic is germane. Chris Troutman (talk) 00:44, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
You're kidding, surely. Up above we have probably a dozen different interpretations of the data, and as many different suggestions on how to remove the obvious possible confusion for the reader. HiLo48 (talk) 10:19, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment So there was an RFC about religion in country infoboxes. Consensus determined the religion parameter is only to be included in this infobox [if and only if] that nation's government has an official, definite state religion. (It's from 2015, but as far as I know it hasn't been superseded.) Colin M (talk) 04:44, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
This looks like the winner. HiLo48 (talk) 05:20, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
Not really. The quote above is 24 words cherry-picked from a 500 word closing summary. --AussieLegend () 05:39, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
"Cherry-picked" makes the (rather uncharitable) implication that I'm coming at this with an agenda. I am not. I haven't !voted, because I'm personally undecided at this point. I chose those words because I thought they were the ones most relevant to this question. I could have also quoted the closer's first two sentences: Consensus in this request for comment has determined several things. Firstly, there is overwhelming agreement that the religion parameter is not to be used in {{infobox country}} if the only reasonable value for that parameter is "none", "atheist," "none official," "secular state," or variations thereof. Which basically communicates the same thing, but less pithily. If you have an interpretation of those 500 words such that they're consistent with keeping the religion parameter, I'd be genuinely interested in hearing it. Colin M (talk) 06:29, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
It is not clear for me what was the proposal of that RfC. Was it about the religion of the state itself? e.g "Yemen"="Muslim country", or is it about the demographic statistical data about the religion in the society of the State/Nation. It presents the argument of that if the individual religion in BLP article is atheist or none religious we should not give any value to the religion parameter, that makes me feel that the proposal was to remove the religion of the state itself if the state is secular/atheist or whatever. I always thought that the parameter |religion= in the infobox country is about the religion of the people of the state not about the state religion. The participants in that RfC seem to have interpreted the proposal in different ways.--SharabSalam (talk) 07:52, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm sorry if "cherry-picked" was taken the wrong way. It was used to point out that 24 words from the middle of a complex 500-word summary had been chosen. You really need to read the whole summary and the RfC along with the associated discussions to work out what was actually going on. Even then, it's as clear as mud as SharabSalam has indicated. --AussieLegend () 08:49, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
@AussieLegend: there is no right way to interpret an assertion of cherry-picking, at wikipedia (WP:Cherry picking) or anywhere else, be aware that it is an insulting thing to suggest. cygnis insignis 13:33, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
In my understanding, the question of the RfC was what should the value of the 'religion' parameter be for nations with no official religion. Pinging @Guy Macon and Ceradon: as nominator and closer, respectively, in case they want to chime in (though the latter seems to be inactive). Colin M (talk) 17:00, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
Just to let you know we have two other parameters under the religion parameter. These parameters suggest that the information there is about the demographic data not about the state religion.
|religion_year = <!--Year of religion data (if provided)-->
|religion_ref = <!--(for any ref/s to associate with religion data)-->
The words "data" and "year" make it feel that the parameter is about the demographic data not the state religion.
In some countries infobox the religion parameter value is the state religion and not the demographic data such as Yemen. I think the right thing to do is to make it clear what should the value of the religion parameter in template:infobox country be.--SharabSalam (talk) 23:36, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
  • No. It is taking up very little space. It can be "hidden" or "shown". When "shown", it contains useful information. Bus stop (talk) 01:04, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
How useful is it? Really? Up above you will see a discussion with a multitude of different interpretations of what it means. How useful is that? HiLo48 (talk) 01:50, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
It means that people identify with a particular religion, or in the case of 9.7% of respondents, do not identify with any religion at all. We do not assume that religion controls such a person's life, but only that an identity is stated when asked a probing question on the subject. Bus stop (talk) 04:29, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Probing? Nah. But perhaps you've highlighted a core problem with the data. It is raw data, from a primary source. It is survey results in response to a question on the census form, so we need tell readers what the question actually was, and that it was optional. HiLo48 (talk) 06:54, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
You write that "Philosophically, it's nonsensical to claim that a new born baby has a religion." Why? Why can't a newborn baby have a religion? Aren't you investing the word "religion" with more significance than is warranted? Bus stop (talk) 11:54, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Yes, perhaps, but the word is used as a heading in the Infobox (if we choose to include it). If people can't agree about what the word means, what is the point of putting raw data under such a heading in an Infobox? HiLo48 (talk) 22:48, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
It should be fairly obvious to a reader that a list of five religions with percentages is demographic data not state-mandated religions. Our readers are intelligent too. --Scott Davis Talk 23:07, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
That doesn't seem to be a response to what I wrote. HiLo48 (talk) 23:49, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
it was a response to what you wrote if people can't agree about what the word means was about whether the heading refers to state religion or population demographics. It missed if you meant that our readers don't know what religion is because the heading might refer to somethign else on Religion (disambiguation). --Scott Davis Talk 02:09, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Remove stats on religious adherence and simply state Australia's official position on religion (secular). - HappyWaldo (talk) 03:55, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
"Australia's official position on religion"? Who cares what Australia's official position on religion might be? I mean, that is of interest, but the whole country's official position on the one hand and individual religious identities on the other, are two different things, aren't they? And "adherence" is not even what we are discussing. It wouldn't matter an iota if every person professing a "religion" entertained serious doubts about the basis for that religion's core beliefs. We are passing along to readers' a population's stated religious identity—including an almost 10% segment with no stated or unclearly stated religion. Heck—we are not claiming everyone is a saint. Bus stop (talk) 04:20, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
"Who cares what Australia's official position on religion might be?" The infobox is about Australia, not the Australian people. That's why the infobox lists English as the national language, not English as the preferred language of 90 or whatever percent of the population. Holy hell, what a dumb debate. - HappyWaldo (talk) 08:01, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
The entire article is about Australia, not the Australian people. But you do realise that the Australian people are a fairly important part of Australia, right? By this argument, we need to remove the section on ancestry, because the article is about Australia, not the Australian people. And a whole slew of other information will also need to go. Of course most editors realise that an article about Australia-the-state necessarily includes information on Australians, Indeed I think that most readers would be trifle disappointed if an article on Australia was only about Australia-the-state, and contained no information on the Australian people. And if information on the Australian people is vital to an article on Australia-the-state, which most editors accept is true, then your argument that "The infobox is about Australia, not the Australian people" is a complete non-sequitur. Hell, if we are going to adopt this argument with any consistency, we can't have information on the currency, because "The infobox is about Australia, not the Australian currency". And then we drop the information on the system of government because "The infobox is about Australia, not the Australian government" and so ad infinitum. And once again, most editors realise that the currency and the system of government are important features that make up Australia-the-state, just as they realise that the people living in Australia are a somewhat important feature that makes up Australia-the-state. I agree with you, this is a dumb debate. I suspect we disagree agree on why.Mark Marathon (talk) 08:38, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
HappyWaldo see my latest edit in the infobox..I added the two missing parameters that are under the |religion= parameter in template:infobox country. These two parameters show that the religion parameter is about the population of Australia not about the government religion.--SharabSalam (talk) 08:45, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep. This is basic demographic data, and reasonably within the sphere of foremost information readers would want to know in a lead section. Now, I tend to agree that such figures lack the nuance to describe a nation's culture with regard to spirituality or religiosity vs. secular idealism, and I hope anyone here looking specifically for information about Australia's culture would read further and dig into the details. But that's always the calculus with regard to lead sections, infoboxes included, and I don't see outright omitting the general figures of self-identified religious adherence as the appropriate response. Frankly the arguments along the lines of "Well, they call themselves religious, but are they 'really'? [according to whatever subjective, idiosyncratic definition I have in my head as I pose this question]" is just pure WP:OR. The reader has to make their own assessments based on as much context as they are willing to study, experience, or marshal, before deciding how genuine/faithful/sincere/spiritual/whatever the religious character of any given nation or group of people is. But the best proxy we can give them in collecting our encyclopedic content (presented neutrally and without stamping our own perspective on that question with our editorial decisions) is what the people of those nations say that they are. It's really beyond our remit overlay our own ideas about how deep or honest they are being when they report on those facts, even through an act of omission. Again, I hope that our average reader is smart enough to know that, especially as regards religion, you can't know a character of a single person, let alone a massive grouping of people, based upon a label. But neither is that self-identification by any means irrelevant to understanding them. Viewed in that light, this is more or less a WP:SNOW call for me, given the alternative. Snow let's rap 05:21, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
If you genuinely believe that WP:SNOW applies then why didn't you close it as such? If you don't believe it then why invoke it? Obviously, "viewed in the light" of your own opinion and parameters, you are unanimous with yourself, but that's not an assessment of the arguments here, it's... well, I'm not sure what it is, but it's odd. -- Begoon 05:34, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Religious identities are not necessarily about religion. It would be incorrect to think that a member of a religious group believes in the tenets of the religion. And this is hardly a novel thought. This is more like a common understanding. Bus stop (talk) 05:52, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Is that supposed to be a reply to my question(s), because firstly I don't think you can answer for SnowRise without reading their mind, and, secondly, it's not an answer. I don't really disagree with what you said, I just don't know why you said it here... It seems like a complete non-sequitur. -- Begoon 05:56, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
I mean only that I think that, insofar as the alternative methodology is for our editors to use their own idiosyncratic analysis of whose faith is "genuine" enough for them to be counted as "real" Christians (or members of whatever faith), which would be a fairly blatant and paradigmatic example of WP:Original research, I consider that a non-starter argument, being inconsistent with community consensus as expressed in that and other of our most basic editorial policies. So, WP:SNOW in that regard, not in the sense that I believe I should close this discussion down a mere week after it has started and the consensus process is just getting under way. That would clearly be uncalled for and WP:disruptive. But if you have a more on-point rejection of some part of the substance of my argument--rather than an issue with my rhetorical invocation of WP:SNOW at the end--you'll have to be more specific as to what that. Because simply saying that you find my perspective "odd" does not really engage with the specifics of my perspective/!vote, let alone form the basis for a solid argument for ignoring our WP:OR in order to omit presentation of statistics for how people self-identify themselves, because those people "aren't really" X or Y. Because where would that kind of insertion of our personal perspectives on the subject matter going to stop, if we were comfortable enough to do it for a topic as major as religion?
Look, again, clearly only a fool would use census figures alone as a means for understanding the spiritual or cultural nature of a country full of people. But as editors here, our job is not to try to think better on the behalf of our readers: our job is to present them with the relevant information (and yes, large-scale demographic data most definitely is relevant and extremely useful information) and let them come to their own conclusions. Deciding for ourselves to be gatekeepers of this information and hide it simply because, from our own perspectives and epxeriences, it doesn't represent an accurate portrayal--that's just not our role here. Even for those in our editorial corps who have inside perspectives on the matter (even were those editors themselves Australian religious scholars/demographers!) that's still clearly beyond our role here as editors. Snow let's rap 06:17, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
I wasn't trying to "reject the substance of your argument". I disagree with your conclusion that the unexplained bare survey results should remain in the infobox, but you are as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine, and we've both laid them out at great length, although most of mine is further up the page. I had no intention to re-hash that again. I dislike "badgering" and try to keep my responses to things which I don't understand or feel need to be addressed as factually incorrect. Strength of argument and opinion is for the closer to address.

What I found "odd" was the way you invoked WP:SNOW, a thing usually done to indicate that a proposal should be closed because it could never possibly pass and to continue would be a bureaucratic waste of time - and you've tried to explain it as "rhetorical", for which explanation I thank you.

I would, though, mention that, far from suggesting we should "hide" anything or be "gatekeepers" I do outline, in my "Yes" comments above, a solution if that was a serious concern among many. I can speak only for myself, but I think, if you read all that I have said in this discussion you should see that my hope and aim here is for the reader to be better informed, not worse. -- Begoon 06:48, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

Fair enough on all points. I don't know how I feel about the alternative proposal (by which I assume you are meaning to reference the idea of perhaps replacing the figures with a link to the religion subsection). I think there are issues with essentially replacing infobox content with links that already will exist in the ToC. I assume this is part of why you are lukewarm on the idea yourself. But I don't want to dismiss the idea out of hand, so call me neutral on that for now and still favouring keeping the figures, incomplete a picture as they may present. Snow let's rap 06:51, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm "lukewarm" on it purely because I don't think it should be necessary. I'm not convinced there would be a major issue of people coming to the article to find out about religion and going away without finding the TOC. I'm not "lukewarm" because it would be a "non-standard" thing to do - I believe each article should have the best approach to presentation it can, and I don't subscribe to the philosophy that all articles need to be "cookie-cutter" clones in style and presentation.

I do, however, prefer it to what I think is the real possibility that readers will see the bare, unexplained survey results and potentially "go away" believing they have now found out "all they need to know". If that seems to be self-contradictory, it isn't - I design help systems and interfaces, and people will follow links or do minimal searching to find what they are looking for - however, they will also often stop that search as soon as they think they have found an "answer", even if it is, or might be, incomplete. I said all this above, so I've broken my "re-hash" rule, but there it is anyway. -- Begoon 07:11, 30 June 2019 (UTC)

I also do not have a problem with atypical solutions if they serve the needs of the article well. However, I would say that your proposed solution (directing the reader to the relevant subpage) begs the question on the original issue here: placing a link in the infobox, even if the editors here could be convinced to do something so at variance to how we typically format lead information, can be done regardless of whether we include the figures themselves, so it doesn't resolve the underlying advisability of presenting the demographic data in the infbox to begin with.
Personally I am somewhat neutral/leaning doubtful, as to the ultimate utility of placing a link to the subsection in the infobox (I agree with you--those looking to review the religiosity issue in that detail are likely to have little trouble finding it), if it is in addition to the figures themselves (as a kind of shortcut to clarifying content to give additional context for the demographic data). However, if the idea is to omit the data itself and instead present a link to the section alone, I think it's clear that sort of thing is the function of the ToC, not an infobox field, and the proposal begins to consequently look like a backdoor means of achieving the end of removing that content, and so becomes an argument that does not address the concerns raised here for why the figures are broadly useful information with no policy-consistent reason for omitting. And thus it is unlikely to be seen as a reasonable middle ground solution, but rather something likely to be rejected by those on both sides of the editorial divide here, albeit for different reasons. I think including both the figures and the link is perhaps something that could gain traction, but I can't imagine many people being won over to the idea of removing the figures so long as we replicate a ToC header in the infobox field. Snow let's rap 07:41, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Inaccurate information itself isnt and cant be considered broadly useful, the recommendation to link a more accurate, or nuanced detail isnt an end run around the issue. Australia is secular in such circumstances its inappropriate to represent it as anything else, the inclusion of poor simplistic statistics presents a false conclusion to the casual reader about the status of religion in the country and borders on original research by doing so. Gnangarra 10:54, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
There are a vast array of readers out there and they are unknowable to us. I think ScottDavis made a very good point—"The precise numbers are not important, but the relative significance is.". Bus stop (talk) 11:09, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Begoon—you say That's probably because, contradictory though it sounds, if you ask the question "Do you believe there is a personal God?" (whatever 'personal' means in that context), there are a fair number of people who would say "No", even if, when asked "What is your religion?", they would answer "Christian", "Muslim" etc. Correct me if I am wrong but aren't you assuming that "religion" equals "belief in God"? This is a crazy topic to be arguing over. The present Infobox field is collapsed by default. Some of you seem to be stepping on a cockroach after it has been run over by a steamroller. Leave the thing alone. Readers should be assumed to be smarter than us. We aren't here to prevent them from accidentally misunderstanding something. I don't accept your argument which seems to be saying that the "religion" Infobox field actually represent a potential pitfall for the unwary reader. In general an Infobox is a potential pitfall what with its brevity of presentation. I'm not calling for the removal of the Infobox. I consider this an unnecessary fuss with a more-than-sufficient number of editors supporting allowing the "religion" field to remain in the Infobox. Bus stop (talk) 11:24, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Australia is secular. Nobody is representing it as anything else. Australians are not secular. Nobody is representing them as anything else (although removing religion risks doing so). Mark Marathon (talk) 11:26, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Bus Stop: Erm, I was responding to this: "For example, based on those figures, about 55% of Australians would be expected to believe in the existence of a personal God, an essential core belief of monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam. However, the National Church Life Survey in 2016 found only 24% of Australians held this belief". from Jack N. Stock to try to explain the difference between two surveys he was quoting. It was a side discussion not really relevant to much else. The rest of your comment doesn't seem to have much to do with what I said. You do seem to be taking a lot of things out of context here today. -- Begoon 11:34, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
But you are asserting that there is something contradictory in a respondent affirming an identification with a religion and yet when separately questioned on belief in God, asserting non-belief. As I've been trying to point out, this is no big deal. We are discussing a subject with an inherently slippery slope. We aren't here to resolve all questions. Reasonably-valid information should be allowed to stand. Bus stop (talk) 11:43, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm not asserting anything of the sort. You have completely misunderstood the exchange. I'm explaining why two different surveys might seem to have contradictory results, when that apparent contradiction can be explained by context or wording of the question(s). I'm actually saying that it is not contradictory, although it might seem so (as it did, for example, to Jack, who I was replying to). Really. Read it again. And it's utterly irrelevant here. It was an aside. -- Begoon 11:47, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
"It was an aside" but it reveals the fundamental problem, which is believing that religion equates to belief in God, which is a commonly debunked belief. Why are we even arguing over this? It is not utterly unfounded that some of the people of Australia claim an affinity of one sort or another to one religion or another. We don't have to beat this question into the ground. It is a collapsed field in an Infobox, and Infoboxes themselves are notoriously problematic—nevertheless I think Infoboxes serve semi-valid purposes. Bus stop (talk) 12:05, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
"Why are we even arguing over this?" Erm, because you brought it up, out of context, doubled down when I explained it was out of context and you had misunderstood it anyway, and then tripled down when I explained both those things even more carefully. Quite frankly, if I wasn't an AGF kind of guy I'd probably just assume you were deliberately playing dumb when you didn't like an explanation or having your misunderstanding(s) corrected. Either way, I'm done responding to you - it appears utterly pointless. -- Begoon 12:23, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
When I say "why are we even arguing over this" I am referring to the whole RfC. Yes, anyone can question anything. But this is quite an involved discussion over what I perceive to be a minor point—a "religion" field in an Infobox for a country. It is doing no harm, in my opinion. Bus stop (talk) 12:26, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
And, as I said to Snow above, you are perfectly entitled to that opinion. What you're not entitled to do is to build a strawman out of one of my comments and then repeatedly try to keep putting it back together each time it's very clearly explained to you that that is what you are doing. I don't know if you were doing it to try and "win" some kind of debating point, out of genuine lack of understanding or you were just embarrassed at having read it wrongly, but either way it's a shoddy way to discuss things, particularly when your mistake has been clearly spelled out, repeatedly. -- Begoon 12:37, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Begoon—you were part of an exchange with Jacknstock. I'm sorry but when you interact with someone who has just asserted that The statistics provided by self-description in the Census seem dubious. For example, based on those figures, about 55% of Australians would be expected to believe in the existence of a personal God, an essential core belief of monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam. However, the National Church Life Survey in 2016 found only 24% of Australians held this belief" you are to some extent accepting the premise of what they just said. You did not for instance say that you do not accept that identification with a "religion" equates to belief that there is a superhuman being. Part of your reply was "it's contradictory, but it's a real phenomenon, which is why you need to take great care when assessing surveys like this and consider exactly what was asked and its context". Perhaps the reader needs to "take great care" but I don't think that is really our burden. Our readers are not known to be stupid people that need to be protected from possibly misleading information by wise editors like you and me. It is better to err on the side of considering our readers smarter than us; we can't trip them up. We provide them with valid facts and they know how to use those facts. And furthermore it is not "contradictory". Religions take on many forms, not all of which even mention a superhuman being. And those that do mention a superhuman being are often followed in name only. Bus stop (talk) 13:05, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Remove for simple style reasons. As it currently is, the infobox displays information about the nation state Australia. The infobox focuses on technical information about the state as a structure, such as GDP, governance, currency, time zone, occupied area, etc. As other people above already said: if there is a state position on religion, then include that, but keep demographics to the demographics section. Otherwise there is no reason not to include other demographic statistics, which would make the infobox incredibly overblown. Even more so than it already is. The religion statistic is already hidden for this exact reason. It takes up too much space and you cannot summarize it in any shorter form, like only mentioning the most popular position, without distorting the facts and giving the reader a false impression of reality. Hecato (talk) 15:42, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
  • "It takes up too much space" It is barely a sliver in its collapsed form. It is axiomatic that "a state position on religion" is an entirely different matter from the religion that people name when asked to check off a box for "religion" (or in 10% of cases "no religion"). Bus stop (talk) 15:53, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
The point I was trying to make was that I see it as a problem that it had to be collapsed in the first place. It is supposed to be a concise infobox, which provides a quick overview of technical stats that are shared by all nation states for quick comparison. If you have to open some collapsed forms to see the data, then you might as well jump to the relevant section in the article and get a proper chart and text outline. Would you be okay with including all other relevant demographics (ethnicity, political persuasion, languages abilities, education levels, etc.) in the infobox as collapsed forms? If not, why not? I would not because I see it as bad style. I agree that a state religion and demographic statistics about religious persuasion of the population are two different things. I am okay with including the former, I am not okay with including the latter unless the infobox is expanded to include other relevant demographic information as well. Which is a change I would also disagree with since it makes the infobox overblown. Therefore I am for removing it. Hecato (talk) 16:27, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
Ethnicity, political persuasion, languages abilities, education levels can be argued to be important but I think they enjoy lesser status than "religion" as a simple form of identity. I think it is its simplicity that is both the reason some of us favor its Infobox inclusion as well as the reason some of us oppose its Infobox inclusion, but I can't speak for others. It is in many cases a meaningless thing but occasionally it divides people, especially stupid people (just my opinion). It would take a different RfC to address the hypothetical question you are posing. Bus stop (talk) 18:36, 30 June 2019 (UTC)
I would argue that political ideologies and ethnic identities often had a similar impact in modern times as religious persuasions had. But I agree this question probably exceeds the scale of this RfC. Hecato (talk) 07:34, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
Let me ask you this—what do you see as the most important reason(s) Australia should not include this component of the Infobox when the Infoboxes of our articles on the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, all include this component of the Infobox? Bus stop (talk) 11:58, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
I suspect I don't have to remind you that "but we do it in other articles" is not a winning argument in its own right. HiLo48 (talk) 22:55, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't really have anything to add. I have explained it above. Those country articles also include ethnic groups and not just religion by the way. Hecato (talk) 15:34, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
You say "I have explained it above." You have explained above that "It takes up too much space". I am aware that other stuff exists but in the articles on the United States and United Kingdom the Infobox religion fields are uncollapsed whereas in the Australia article the Infobox religion field is collapsed by default, taking up very little space. And now you are arguing to remove the religion field entirely from the Infobox of the Australia article. I am assuming you perceive some distinction between the Australia article and the United States and United Kingdom articles vis-à-vis the religion field of the Infobox. If so, what would that distinction be? I am not meaning to be unnecessarily argumentative. I am just trying to understand the reasoning behind the initiative to remove the Infobox field under discussion. Bus stop (talk) 16:38, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
I hold the same opinion about those giant infoboxes on the US and UK articles. This RfC is about this article though, so I am talking about this article. Still, if an infobox needs to include demographic data, then it also needs to be consistent about it and not just include religion, unless there is some justified reason for doing so (and preferably some consensus). So in that regard I prefer the infoboxes of the US and UK articles, since they are at least more consistent about it. Though still I would want to know why these two demographics were picked and not others, what is the principle here? Regarding style, please take a look at the following policies, I happen to agree with them in particular. WP:RAWDATA: Statistics that lack context or explanation can reduce readability and may be confusing; accordingly, statistics should be placed in tables to enhance readability, and articles with statistics should include explanatory text providing context. There is a proper place for complex information like demographic data and it is the demographics section. In my opinion the infobox should just be for simple information that can be expressed as simple data points. Also look at MOS:TABLES#Size: On the other hand, overloading tables with too much detailed statistical data is against policy. Careful thought should be given to how a reader would use a table, and what level of detail is appropriate. And just hiding the bloat away in collapsible forms is not a proper fix in my opinion. I hope this cleared things up. Hecato (talk) 20:52, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
So the religion data in the infobox is a table (not flowing prose). and the article contains explanatory text for those who want to read it. It seems like this infobox content meets the requireents of WP:RAWDATA that you quoted. --Scott Davis Talk 23:07, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
Given the large number of interpretations above on both what the data means, and now, what the word "religion" itself means, there is clear potential for misleading readers with raw data in the Infobox. HiLo48 (talk) 23:52, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
We don't have to agree on what religion is to be able to report that the people of Australia described themselves as relating to particular religious labels. The table in the infobox has a footnote to indicate the source, and the article has a deeper discussion on it further down. The summary in the infobox is useful to many readers as an overview, even if it doesn't satisfy your need for details. --Scott Davis Talk 02:09, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
I submit that without the details, it is very likely to mislead some readers. This is especially true since there is no obvious definition of religion, and we don't tell readers what the question was. HiLo48 (talk) 05:57, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
HiLo48—the problem is that you believe that those who express an affinity to a particular religion believe in a superhuman being when that is not invariably the case. You write "No-one in their right mind could claim that all those who tick a particular religion are actually believers in that faith's god." Bus stop (talk) 02:35, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
I do not "believe that (all) those who express an affinity to a particular religion believe in a superhuman being". Your second sentence, quoting me directly, naturally explains my position better. And yet again, I have concerns with a word being used - affinity. The census question does not ask what religion a respondent has an affinity with. That is yet another interpretation of the responses. It's YOUR interpretation, and we have no idea if you are right, yet again showing how problematic this data is. HiLo48 (talk) 05:57, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
HiLo48—you are writing "there is no obvious definition of religion". I think anyone fluent in English is aware of the breadth of meanings associated with the word "religion". Bus stop (talk) 13:00, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I agree, but some are writing here as if there is one unarguable, universally agreed definition, meaning raw data will always be interpreted the same way. It won't, and that's why it's dangerous to include it. HiLo48 (talk) 23:49, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
It is a list, not a table. And the data in the list is an abridged version of the data in the actual table in the demographics section. But if it was a table, then that would open another can of worms. Since having another table nested inside of an already complex table is a horrible idea and in violation of that MOS:Tables section.
Regarding the WP:RAWDATA section, Statistics that lack context or explanation can reduce readability and may be confusing; is the important part of that section, because it provides the premise. From this follows statistics should be placed in tables to enhance readability and statististics should always be placed in their proper context with text explaining it as required. Taking the data of the table and removing it from its proper context is bound to mislead the reader. And there is no link to the demographics section which provides that context. The infobox is simply not the right place for any statistics beyond short one-liner summaries like population and HDI, overloading tables with too much detailed statistical data is against policy. Hecato (talk) 08:01, 2 July 2019 (UTC)

KEEP. It's a good overview for our readers reference. We also need to keep the conversation concrete and practical HiLo48 and the data is not problematic at all. That's nonsense. Merphee (talk) 09:26, 2 July 2019 (UTC)

Oh dear Merphee, I have been trying to avoid playing where you play. Your problem with me is clear from the fact that you explicitly named me in that comment. I recommend you stick to discussing the issues, rather than me, responding sensibly to all the concerns raised, not just by me, AND BLOODY WELL LEARN HOW THESE PAGES WORK!!! You have posted in entirely the wrong place. (One reason I gave up trying to be where you go is that you seem unable to learn.) So, don't mention me again please. HiLo48 (talk) 10:12, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
Note: I have moved your comments to the right indentation. I hope you two don't mind. Hecato (talk) 10:25, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
I do a little bit. It hides part of the reasons for my comment above. I tried for months to educate Merphee about correct practices here on Wikipedia, then gave up after being taken to ANI by him for my efforts, and it's depressing that he has learnt so little in his time here as an editor. And anyone interested in the issue can look at the History. HiLo48 (talk) 10:34, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't mind at all Hecato and cheers for being respectful about it. That's totally cool. I'm not up my own arse like HilO48 seems to be. You have no idea HilO48 what policy means. None. Your arguments here on our country article make no sense at all. Please watch your big mouth with me. Anyone can take a good look at your appalling editing history HiLo48. It is a complete mess. You've been blocked countless times and for very good reason. Anyone who disagrees with your POV gets attacked like you've done again here. What a joke! LOL!!! Merphee (talk) 13:32, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
Just to clarify for other editors, Merphee hates me because I dared to assist him as a new editor by pointing out that The Australian was not going to universally accepted as a balanced source on Australian political matters. He actually didn't know that, being part of the Murdoch stable, it is widely perceived as being somewhat on the political right. I was not alone in my attempts. He argued for months that he was right, including taking me and others to ANI, with no success of course. He is still fighting the left/right media battle elsewhere. I suspect he came here to attack my position because I recently dared to post on a discussion where he wants The Guardian declared a hard left journal. I did not mention him in my comment there, and this is hopefully the last I will mention him here. HiLo48 (talk) 23:45, 2 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't think I have met any editor over the past 2 years which loathes Wikipedia and the hard working Wikipedia admins and is more narcissistic and delusional than you. You were almost BANNED, not just blocked from Wikipedia altogether as you know on two occasions as many editors wanted. Nobody came here to attack you HiLo48. That is ridiculous and typical of the true narcissist. Just because so many editors here disagreed with your POV on this religious tag in the infobox, don't go sulking and attacking other editors. That's very childish. Your gibberish here and complete and utter lies shows how little respect you have for Wikipedia. Your view on the above matter makes no sense. Please learn or policies. It is not all about you. Grow up! Merphee (talk) 00:26, 3 July 2019 (UTC)  
Oh yea I remember what happened in that article. And I was wondering where did I see your usernames before... Anyway, this RfC is already full of comments. The last thing we need is personal attacks. Please stay on the topic. Thanks.--SharabSalam (talk) 04:16, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Upon reflection apologies for using further space here on the article talk page by retaliating to HiLo48's personal attacks. Should not have taken his bait. Merphee (talk) 08:31, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes At the very least, if kept, it needs to state there is no official religion. Oman for instance just lists Islam under religion. SportingFlyer T·C 16:58, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
That sounds like a reasonable ask to me. Personally I feel that if you have statistics like that, it's pretty clear that you are talking about demographics and not an official state religion (I mean, there's no such thing as a state entity that's defined as a "'52.1% Christian/30.1% Non-religious/2.6% Muslim/2.4% Buddhist/1.9% Hindu/1.3% Other/9.7% Not stated or unclear' state", in the same way another nation might call itself an Islamic Republic or some such. But to the extent that other editors think there is likely to be confusion about the issuee, I really don't see what possible harm could be done by including a brief statement explicitly saying that Australia has no state religion. I mean, I don't know that anyone is not assuming that to begin with, but what are a few extra words in that field really going to hurt? Personally, I wouldn't oppose adding it now, before we even resolve the issue of whether or not to remove the demographic info. Snow let's rap 03:11, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
  • No religion is a significant statistic about a country--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 17:13, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
So you would support including the figure of 8% for regular church attendance? This discussion should not be only about those ABS figures with the multiple interpretations. HiLo48 (talk) 23:23, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Of course it is about the ABS stats and what the reliable sources HiLo48. Merphee (talk) 23:38, 4 July 2019 (UTC)
Mostly, but there was a little discussion a few days ago about the figure I mentioned. HiLo48 (talk) 02:25, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes its about the ABS data, and the fact that there are very significant issues with how its collected and presented. When you take into account the issues the information box is not the place to present those as it causes a misrepresentation. When one considers religion as a whole nationally and constitutionally we are a secular society, as per the other examples where the box carries information its about a national religion not demographics. Gnangarra 09:49, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
"we are a secular society" That only means that religion is not mandated. It does not mean there is no religion. In a secular society inevitably there are religions as religions are a common feature found amongst human beings. I doubt that Australia is different from other societies in this regard. Bus stop (talk) 13:30, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
I can't imagine where we could ever find comparative figures for different countries, but I suspect Australia would be at the extreme apatheistic end of the scale when it comes to people answering the census question with a religion, but in fact not being believers or practising any religion at all. (Confessed OR based on working in church based schools.) HiLo48 (talk) 03:59, 6 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, remove The "religion" parameter is intended to signify a state religion. An RFC established consensus that for states with no official religion, the "religion" parameter should be left blank. Maybe there would be consensus to overturn that RfC, or to add new "religious demographics" parameters to the infobox, but it would have to be determined at a wider venue than the talk page of this particular article. Aside from stare decisis considerations, I'm neutral. I see value in the arguments that it's an important piece of information that readers might want at a glance, but I also think there's a reasonable argument that the table is too verbose (and lacking necessary context) to be appropriate for an infobox. Colin M (talk) 21:52, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
"An RFC established consensus that for states with no official religion, the "religion" parameter should be left blank." Ehhh, I'd say you've conflated two very different issues here by not looking as closely as perhaps you should have at the actual discussion of the RfC, and thus mischaracerized it as applying to the issue we're discussing here. As the RfC prompt and the vast majority of the !votes that supported that consensus make clear, the issues there was both of a different and a more narrow nature: if the state itself is expressly atheistic/irreligious by nature, should "atheistic" be listed as the official state religion, or should the parameter just be omitted altogether, absent any other use for the field (consensus found for the latter). The RfC had nothing to do with if (or when) to provide demographic information about religion in the lead, the issue we are asked to address here--although admittedly, the way the closer phrased the consensus was ambiguous to this point, so if one read only that part, I can see where the confusion would arise--still the community !votes that form the consensus themselves make it abundantly clear: they were addressing a very different issue than is presented here.
"Maybe there would be consensus to overturn that RfC, or to add new "religious demographics" parameters to the infobox, but it would have to be determined at a wider venue than the talk page of this particular article." Actually, the process works in exactly the opposite fashion on this project: so long as the parameter remains in the infobox, WP:LOCALCONSENUS here can override whatever general principal/advice was established on the template talk page: talk page RfCs that touch upon an issue applicable to multiple articles function as WP:ADVICEPAGES to groups of local editors working on individual articles, and the local consensus on an article is always free to completely reject the general advice if they feel a different approach would better suit the needs of the article. In order for the outcome of the RfC to become controlling over all articles, such that the suggested approach must generally always be followed my editors accross all articles, the rule must go through a WP:PROPOSAL process and be codified in a WP:guideline or WP:policy page (or, at a minimum, the WP:MoS, though MoS guidance remains subject to veto by local consensus, albeit with a higher burden of proof) as formal community consensus that have been vetted by a more rigorous process (which has to take place in a central community space or on the talk page of the policy being altered. So, the conclusion of the template talk RfC is advisory guidance, not a default role that cannot be deviated from (since you're familiar with legal terminology, consider it dicta, or guidance from a non-controlling source: we can look to it for an indication of possible approaches to the issue, but a local consensus is free to reject, in whole or in part, any general advice in the outcome if it doesn't suit the needs of a particular article or best resolve a particular issue). Now, if we wanted to remove the religion parameter from the infobox altogether or (as you contemplate above) add a "religious demographics" parameter, that would need to take place at the template talk page, because those are issues which are within the purview of that talk page's local consensus.
Anyway, that second paragraph is largely academic and for the purpose of clarifying a point of community process: as I said in the first paragraph, I don't think the outcome of that particular RfC even addresses the issue we're talking about here to begin with, even if it was controlling over local consensus on this page--which it's not. :) Snow let's rap 03:57, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I was mostly going by the closer's summary, which says among other things Therefore, the religion parameter is only to be included in this infobox iff that nation's government has an official, definite state religion. Looking at the question and skimming the !votes, it doesn't seem like that's a misrepresentation of the consensus. There was discussion of what to do with countries with explicitly anti-religious policies, but also lots of discussion of cases like this one, where the country lacks a state religion, and is also not officially anti-religious or atheist.
I do appreciate the clarification on consensus 'power-levels'. The direction of my !vote still stands in that, I still think the advice of the RfC is a fine tie-breaker given compelling arguments for and against the parameter. But I guess it's a little less strong now. :) Colin M (talk) 04:35, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Fair enough: a reasonable interpretation of the close, if one I personally happen to disagree with. My feeling is that the closer merely spoke imprecisely there and did not mean to suggest that the consensus was for the field to be omitted whenever a state that controls a nation's affairs is irreligious in character, regardless of whether there are other possible uses for the parameter (such as demographic figures): rather I believe the point of the consensus was that, when a state has an expressly irreligious character, the field should not be used to place the description "Religion: Atheist" in that field, but rather if the state is irreligious there is no point in describing its religious character at all, and therefore, if there is not other purpose for that paramater (such as demographics) it should just be omitted. Of course, no offense intended to the closer, as they were not contemplating our present discussion and thus would not have thought to have made it clear as to the issues we are grappling with. Nevertheless, numerous of the !votes do make clear the narrower context upon which they meant the principal to apply, so I have to feel that the consensus reflects as much implicitly, whatever the deficiencies of the language of the good-faith close. But I concede that it is a very nuanced question upon which reasonable people could easily disagree, so there you have it! Snow let's rap 05:55, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Australia is explicitly neutral about religion, the state neither having nor opposing any religion. Section 116 of the Constitution says "The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, ..." Mitch Ames (talk) 10:59, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm aware of all of that. Actually its rather a cornerstone of the distinction being made in the above few messages. Snow let's rap 23:19, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
Colin M The editor who introduced that RfC said it is not clear what was the proposal of that RfC Special:Diff/904093702 so I don't think it is a valid reason to support removing the religion census data. The religion parameter is not about the state religion but about the demographic data. See what I said above. I don't want to repeat what I said Special:Diff/904095154--SharabSalam (talk)
Not exactly. Guy Macon's edit summary said "Maybe not as clear cut as I claimed. Need to think about this some more." Which doesn't imply the RfC itself was unclear. They could be saying e.g. the present situation is not as clear cut as they had thought. I saw your comments about the religion_year and religion_ref params. I agree, they provide some evidence for a shift in the intended semantics of the "religion" parameter. However the 2015 RfC on the religion parameter was vigorously discussed by many users. If the new parameters/descriptions were "snuck in" without discussion, I wouldn't assign their existence much weight. (Maybe they weren't though. If there is a record of the change being discussed, I'd be interested to see it.) Colin M (talk) 06:27, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Colin M please see this discussion Template talk: infobox#Pre-RfC Question: Religion in infoboxes. The RfC proposal was not clear or didn't include the case when the religion parameter value is the census data not the state religion.--SharabSalam (talk) 06:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • No, keep but round to nearest 1% (or show "<1%" if appropriate). It's useful summary information. Readers can tell it's demographic and they can find the detail section; they're not stupid. Conflating religion with faith or belief to claim that the numbers are somehow "wrong" is just a distraction. The fact that other countries with secular constitutions have the religion data in their infoboxes is de facto evidence that the 2015 RFC might not have full weight for that situation. Although there is an essay that says someothercontent is not a good argument, I would counter that lotsofothercontent can be an indicator of current accepted practice. Sure, a lot of Aussies couldn't give a rat's about religion, but that's not in itself a good enough reason to suppress the information. —Pelagic (talk) 12:12, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
You're right that "a lot of Aussies couldn't give a rat's about religion", so what do the numbers actually mean? I asked this above, multiple times, and got multiple, extremely diverse answers. So we we are forcing readers to interpret the numbers, and we know they will interpret them to mean many different things. I see little point to that. HiLo48 (talk) 23:16, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
"You're right that "a lot of Aussies couldn't give a rat's about religion", so what do the numbers actually mean?" It's not our place to even be asking that question here, and reaching conclusion about what the content should look like based on our own idiosyncratic notions about how meaningful the labels other people choose for themselves are.
"So we we are forcing readers to interpret the numbers..." We're not "forcing" anyone to do anything, we're doing exactly what we are expected to do in this situation, under all relevant policy: present the relevant information, along with the sources for the reader to investigate in further detail if they are so inclined, and then allow them to decide what those figures mean in context.
"...and we know they will interpret them to mean many different things" Which is pretty much the opposite of a problem and more an indication that we are presenting the situation neutrally. Of course people are going to reach different conclusions about what those figures mean. That is thoroughly unavoidable for the vast majority of topics discussed on this project, and not a problem in any remote sense. We're not here to chaperon people's thoughts, or to hide useful content because we're afraid people will reach the "wrong" conclusions when compared against what conclusion we'd want them to reach about how "genuine" a people's belief is. We're here to empower people by giving them all relevant information and understanding that certain editors will weigh certain facts differently, and pay different levels of scrutiny. You and I as individuals may very well find some of the conclusions some editors reach as a consequence to be mistakes by our own standards, but we can't constrain content to try to isolate the reader from opinions than don't suit our own interpretations.
Respectfully, this is the second time I've seen you in a discussion professing to be in a position speak for how all Australians think with regard to a major aspect of their culture--and, to also speak bluntly, not only are you (as with any one individual) just not in a position to do that as a realistic general rhetorical matter, that's also exactly why we have an WP:original research policy on this project to bar such arguments as regards filtering the content on this project through our own ideological lenses. There are many, many profoundly religious Australians, I assure you, and we can't, as editors, sit here and debate the sincerity of the beliefs of millions of people, and pretend like that's anything but original research in a particularly unadulterated, highly problematic form. We need to present the demographics and understand that most of our readers are adults, and not nitwits, and understand that such figures are only one factor among many in trying to understand something as complex as the religiosity of an entire society. But that doesn't mean that information is irrelevant by any means. Nor can we hide useful information from everybody because we are worried a minority will arrive at opinions that we would find simplifications. Snow let's rap 23:19, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
Absolute bullshit. I am doing precisely the opposite of "professing to be in a position speak for how all Australians think". I am pointing out that the evidence above shows that we cannot know how they will think, and they will, in fact, come up with widely divergent views on what the numbers mean, just as the editors here have. (And they are presumably mostly Australians.) This demonstrates that the figures are not useful. Please discuss what I write, rather than me. HiLo48 (talk) 00:29, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
"I am doing precisely the opposite of 'professing to be in a position speak for how all Australians think [about an aspect of their culture they self-identify with]'" You're really not. You've said repeatedly here (clearly advancing it as an editorial argument) that we can't add this simple demographic data because you, from your personal experience, feel confident in assuming that Australians are just checking the "Christian" box (or other box indicating religious faith), but their beliefs aren't really deep enough for them to be considered "truly" religious. And I'm sorry, but that's definitely, without question, some of the purist WP:OR I've ever seen advanced in an editorial discussion on this project.
"I am pointing out that the evidence above, shows that..." (emphasis added) I'm sorry, but that's even more firmly within our definition of original research: we cannot use the perspectives on Australian culture of our own editors to determine what content is accurate. We don't have a "What do we, the here assembled editors know is true about this subject?" standard on Wikipedia, we have a "What perspectives do reliable sources give on this subject?" standard--which was expressly designed to avoid the bias of the first question, with editors bootstrapping content they like or suppressing content they don't like because it does or doesn't match their own idiosyncratic notions on the topic. Look, I'm genuinely not trying to be harsh or antagonistic here, but this is a very basic principle of how we determine content on this project and as you are an experienced editor I don't understand how you don't see that the argument you are advancing in this case tears straight through that principle without a pause to look backwards.
"...we cannot know how they will think, and they will, in fact, come up with widely divergent views on what the numbers mean, just as the editors here have." Yes, as with just about every single fact listed on every single Wikipedia page, people will assimilate the information through their own personal lens and subject to their own experiences, biases, personal knowledge, expertise, ect. We cannot prevent that, so it's a good thing we're not here to prevent that! We're here precisely with the purpose of presenting the reader with with the relevant information to reach their own conclusions--all of the relevant information, insofar as is possible within the format. It's not our objective (and not properly our place) to preferentially present information (or not present it) because we are concerned the reader will otherwise arrive at conclusions we personally disagree with.
"(And they are presumably mostly Australians.)" I'm not sure whether or not that's true, but it should be irrelevant, and the fact that you've presented it here as evidence of anything that should reach to our content underscores what you are missing about how original research operates here. Any Australian editors participating in this discussion should not be doing so as Australians: this is not an Australian issue, it's an editorial one. Anyone responding to it (Australian or otherwise) should be doing so using only the sources and general Wikipedia policies and methodology. They should be checking any of their personal knowledge at the door and trying, insofar as is possible, to keep their own perspectives out of the matter and address the editorial question with fresh eyes just based on the sources--nevermind that their own personal knowledge on the matter may be second nature to them and achieved from a lifetime of experience. Ideally, if they are approaching the issue as a Wikipedian should, you'd not be able to tell the difference between an Australian editor here and a non-Austrlian editor, because neither will have raised their own personal experience into the discussion and certainly will not be comparing the sources (or any statements sourced from them) for conformity with their own lifelong personal observations.
Indeed, sometimes on Wikipedia, it is the topics which one is most familiar with (or which are most personally relevant to an editor's own experience) that present the biggest problems for an editor--whether it's nationality, ethnicity, religion, professional experience/knowledge, connection to a movement, or any other form of personal connection to the subject matter, it can be difficult to set aside hard-won understanding to focus just on what w are allowed to work with from the sourcing. It is exactly in these contexts that policy, as a codification of community consensus, expects editors to exercise a maximum of self restraint in not judging content on the basis of firsthand knowledge, but rather to pull back and look merely at what the sources say and how policy requires us to apply it--no matter that this sometimes results in outcomes that seem "wrong" to us as individuals. I run into this problem semi-frequently in some MEDRS areas. I know it's not easy and sometimes I have to live with outcomes that really bother me as a factual matter, but I trust that, in the aggregate, the system that removes our personal OR from the process results in better content overall--and is, in any event, the only manner in which the project can proceed without constant fights over the "truth" of content.
"This demonstrates that the figures are not useful." No, it doesn't. It demonstrates that people draw different conclusions from the same information, and that's simply life. It doesn't prove that the details of a nation-wide census are irrelevant to giving a reader an understanding of the demographics of that nation. That is very useful information.
"Please discuss what I write, rather than me. I believe that is exactly what I have done in all instances here. I'm not attacking you or your motive (I genuinely believe you are advancing the argument which results in the most reliable article for our readers), merely the arguments you are advancing. Perhaps I should not have clouded the issue by mentioning I feel you've done this before, but I was (and am) just trying to highlight why we can't deconstruct a statement from an RS for conformity with personal observations/OR--not even when the "original research" in question is actually a lifetime of personal experience spent within the nation in question, with all the inside knowledge and personal perspectives that implies. Indeed, per the above, it is especially in those circumstances that we can't do so. Snow let's rap 21:07, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
That comment contains huge misrepresentations and exaggerations of what I actually wrote. Please don't do that. It won't help constructive discussion. HiLo48 (talk) 22:59, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm sorry that you feel that way: I promise you that it's not my intention to misrepresent your positions but rather to respond to your arguments as I've perceived them. But I did quote you directly rather than paraphrasing your position, so I'm not sure where I would have had opportunity to present your view in a false light. If you'd like to be more specific about where you think I was uncharitable towards your perspectives or exaggerated them, I'll own up to it if I find I genuinely misunderstood your position. Snow let's rap 08:13, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Had you left it at direct quotations, all would have been fine, but you seemed to feel the need to paraphrase as well, and then argued against your paraphrasings. Your post became a straw man one. I really can't be bothered detailing every instance. HiLo48 (talk) 03:44, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't see where I paraphrased you for even one clause of a single sentence: whenever I referenced any statement of yours, I quoted you directly. The rest of the post relates to my own responses to those positions. In any event, if you're declining to be more specific about where I've mistaken your position, I'm afraid I have to stand by my analysis of the WP:original research issues that I feel are inherently raised by the approach you advocate for and the arguments that underpin it. But fair enough: we can't always have a meeting of the minds on everything. Let's just see where community input goes from here. Snow let's rap 22:59, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I really can't be bothered trying any harder. Either your understanding of the English language or your logic is not the same as mine. HiLo48 (talk) 10:04, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
You seem very fond of the phrase "I can't be bothered"; the problem with that kind of attitude is that if you express it often enough, you'll find that other people can't be bothered enough to give you the benefit of the doubt that your opinions are coming from a scrupulous and considered application of policy, rather than an WP:IDONTLIKEIT rationale. And for a certainty, I can't be bothered to take your assertion that I have misrepresented your position seriously, if you can't be bothered to be more specific about how I did that. Snow let's rap 02:41, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Just read all that you wrote again, carefully, and see if it's at all possible that anything YOU wrote about what I think and said could just possibly not be true. HiLo48 (talk) 02:53, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
HiLo48—you are already conceding that your rationale is based on original research when you say "I can't imagine where we could ever find comparative figures for different countries, but I suspect Australia would be at the extreme apatheistic end of the scale when it comes to people answering the census question with a religion, but in fact not being believers or practising any religion at all. (Confessed OR based on working in church based schools.) Yes, you worked at church based schools in Australia, but have you worked at church based schools in other countries? Bus stop (talk) 00:23, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Actually, one decimal place is better, especially when we have Islam and Buddhism at 2.6% and 2.4%. Pelagic (talk) 12:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep- As a reader I would expect an infobox to have something about a country’s religion. If a statistical fact is important enough to go in the body, then its important enough to be summarized in the infobox. How that information is actually presented in the infobox is all that should be up to editorial consensus. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 07:25, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
There are a lot of statistics in the body that aren't in the Infobox, and never will be. HiLo48 (talk) 07:46, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Seriously HiLo48 would you stop jumping in here every time someone votes to keep it in the infobox. It's so f....ing annoying. You've voted already. No one cares any further than that about your point of view! This is an RFC not a discussion. Stop trying to influence things and intimidate other editors. Jeez! Merphee (talk) 09:03, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Please discuss the topic, which isn't me. HiLo48 (talk) 22:56, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
@HiLo48: How many of those other statistics are as important as religion? We could also use the CIA World Facebook as another reference. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 02:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Trying to answer that would probably open another can of worms. My comment was simply a response to the claim of "If a statistical fact is important enough to go in the body, then its important enough to be summarized in the infobox". HiLo48 (talk) 03:37, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
given religion isnt important in the australian context, even the ABS says its an optional question in census where every question has to be answered and those that dont are fined its totally irrelevant in a one size fits all infobox. Gnangarra 13:18, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
Gnangarra—further up this page you say "we are a secular society". But that only means that religion is not mandated. It does not mean that there is no religion. In a secular society almost inevitably there are religions. That is a common feature found around the world. Human beings tend to gravitate towards religions. This is not to say that there are not many people in a society who are decidedly nonreligious, and many of them may be assembled in this discussion. Wikipedia may self-select for the nonreligious component of a society. (I cannot prove that.) I doubt that Australia is different from other societies regarding the spectrum of the range of religiosity, including those who have no interest in the subject whatsoever. The argument to omit a simple graph produced by a presumably competent government agency posits that Australia is different from the many other countries that have this in their article's Info-box. Isn't the government of Australia trying to produce a document that is useful rather than riddled with flaws as some of you seem to be trying to argue? Bus stop (talk) 00:12, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Simple question - What DOES the data mean? HiLo48 (talk) 04:46, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
It means exactly what it says. Obviously. Merphee (talk) 05:42, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

Other discussions about religion in country infoboxes[edit]

A.k.a. "a brief history"

[To keep the sequence together for readability, please respond below the sig line rather than interspersing comments.]

  • Oct-Nov 2013, discussion about adding State religion by User:Kwamikagami, User:Danlaycock (TDL), User:Frietjes. TDL points to a September 2013 diff where the Religion field was first added.
  • Nov-Dec 2013, Religion again. Discussion about using religion field just for "official" state religion. "%ages" is mentioned, so presumably some articles did have the demographc breakdown. User:Chipmunkdavis (CMD), User:Kwamikagami (kwami), User:Kaldari.
  • Oct 2014 User:Erp raised question about single official state religion versus multiple religions but was unanswered. Religion (again).
  • June 2015 RfC: Religion in infoboxes of nations. Long discussion mostly focuses on omitting entries like "Religion=None" or Religion=Atheist" for countries that are explicitly atheist, secular, or just have no state-mandated religion. There was not much focus on the use of the field for religious demographics.
    • Closer User:Ceradon does say "Another suggestion brought up by several people is whether there should be a "religious demographics" parameter that would lay out the particular demographics in a country. There is no consensus for this either, but is also a reasonable point."
    • Towards the end of the discussion, proposer User:Guy Macon writes "I haven't touched any infoboxes that say things like "20% atheist, 40% Roman Catholic...". that seems like it is outside of the scope of the RfCs."
  • January 2016 RFC at Template talk:Infobox
  • March 2017, User:Wrath X asks (unanswered) about Greece and Iran having state religion versus Australia and United States having demographics. Religion field.
  • June 2017, Year field for religion demographics? User:Rob984 requests a year field for Religion similar to that for Ethnic Groups, implemented by User:Frietjes.
    • Note the opening phrase "The religion field is now often being used for demographics..."
  • Aug 2017, Official religion. User:Ernio48 proposes removing (demographic) Religion parameter and User:Thomas.W (Tom) counters "many readers are interested in which religions are the major ones in each country". Additional comments by User:Redrose64, User:Rob984.

I'll try to flesh this out as I find more items. — Pelagic (talk) 07:38, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Thank you! This is really excellent research. If you have the link handy, perhaps you could edit the timeline to link to that January 2016 RFC? I briefly tried looking for it, but there's a lot of archived discussion on that template. Colin M (talk) 23:39, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Pre-colonial history[edit]

Yesterday Moxy removed the {{which}} tag from the "pre-colonial history section,[5] which seems reasonable given that at least 2 of the 3 references directly support the claim that "Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago." The first reference says that that the first arrivals occurred "perhaps 65,000 years ago" while the 3rd says "some 70,000 years ago". The reality is that nobody actually knows when this happened and 65,000-70,000 is the best estimate that experts currently have. Mark Marathon restored the tag but I removed it stating the above in my edit summary.[6] Mark Marathon again restored the tag, this time with the edit summary "The issue isn't the preciseness of the date range. The issue is that something can't have begun "around" a range that is ~10% of the value. Either it's around one end of that range, or it's between those dates.".[7] I'm really not sure what he hopes to achieve with the tag based on the summary. As I said, nobody actually knows when this happened so nothing is going to be resolved until experts have a better idea. The only resolution I see is to replace the date ranges with something like "over 60,000 years ago" but that's not likely to sit well with some editors. --AussieLegend () 08:13, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

'Human habitation of the continent is at least (or greater than) [figure].' Last I read, that figure is 65k. Without looking at who said what here, is it any more complicated than that? cygnis insignis 09:02, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
All we can do is regurgitate what the sources and its clear the sources give a range. Does Mark have some other source? --Moxy 🍁 10:59, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
There are two problems which I thought were rather obvious. The first is that it's bad grammar resulting in a redundancy. 65 is about 70. It's redundant to say "About 65-70": it's either between 65 and 70, it's about 65 or it's about 70. You are talking about a discrepancy of less than 10% between the high and low figures: the high is already about the low and vice versa. You wouldn't say that a plumber earns about 65 to 70 dollars an hour or that a car has a top speed of about 65 to 70 kph. I;ts redundancy because the extremes are already about each other. The second issue is that it is implying a level of accuracy that simply isn't warranted. By saying "about" a <10% range you are implying that the precision of our estimates is <10%. That's what "about" means when you provide a high and low end measure. It's a statement of confidence about that range. Of course our confidence is nowhere near 10%. The highest estimates by reliable sources is >100, 00 years and the lowest <40, 000. For the sake of grammar and honesty you need to make up your mind. Is it between 65 and 70, or is it about 70 or about 65? Or are you honestly contending that those years are so precise that we can contend that the true figure is about that range, no less than 62 and no more that 76? Mark Marathon (talk) 11:10, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
We are not here to make up our mind or do our own calculations... all we do is say what the sources say in the manner they say them. You may find the math abit off but its not our job to pic the date we like best. How can we word it to make YOU happy yet still represent the sources that have been here for years? Ranges like this is the norm in the field as most are aware of like... Recent African origin of modern humans "H. sapiens most likely developed in the Horn of Africa between 300,000 and 200,000 years ago."--Moxy 🍁 11:18, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
"How can we word it to make YOU happy yet still represent the sources that have been here for years?" If only I'd addressed that in my previous post. Oh hang on, I did. ;) Make up your mind. Is it between 65 and 70, or is it about 70 or about 65?. It's not hard. Read the sources and either quote them verbatim, or decide whether they are saying between 65 and 70, or about 70 or about 65. Nobody is asking you to pick the date you like best. I am asking that you present the figures in a manner that is not redundant and doesn't misinterpret the sources through implying a level of confidence that I will bet even the sources don't have. "About, approximately, around, within the bounds of, near to 65.37 and 66.96 years ago" is a mess of tautology and redundancy and I will wager that no source ever used such clumsy and unpleasing wording/implied such precision. Mark Marathon (talk) 11:46, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Mark Marathon, I don't find the language anywhere near as problematic as you seem to. These figures are not in the slightest bit certain. They are best current estimates, based on recent research findings, from multiple people. They have changed dramatically over my lifetime. They are quite likely to change again in the future. Those researchers know that too. That the language is not as precise as you would like is hardly a major issue. That the numbers are not as precise as you would like is hardly a major issue. And actually, you haven't addressed how YOU would like to see it worded. You somewhat aggressively criticised what's there now, but didn't really suggest an alternative. Could you try that now please? HiLo48 (talk) 11:56, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
"That the language is not as precise as you would like is hardly a major issue." Are you joking? I just spent the last three posts pointing out that it is too precise. Far more precise than the sources themselves would ever suggest I suspect. I have to ask, did you actually read what I wrote? Because I specifically said "are you honestly contending that those years are so precise that we can contend that the true figure is about that range?" and "I am asking that you present the figures in a manner that [doesn't imply] a level of confidence that... even the sources don't have". And your response is "That the language is not as precise as you would like is hardly a major issue". It's like you are responding to someone who has the exact opposite position to what i have clearly written. ::puzzled::
"You somewhat aggressively criticised what's there now, but didn't really suggest an alternative. Could you try that now please?" This must be another joke. For the third time:Make up your mind. Is it between 65 and 70, or is it about 70 or about 65?. It's not hard. Read the sources and either quote them verbatim, or decide whether they are saying between 65 and 70, or about 70 or about 65. How is that not an alternative? How is that not clearly stated.
Let me make it even clearer: part of my issue with his the figures are far more precise than I would like, and I will bet they are far more precise than the authors being referenced ever implied. The other part of the problem is that "about a range of <10%" is a redundant, tautological, inelegant, misleading mess. You have in no way at all addressed either concern. You have addressed the concerns of someone who has exactly the opposite concerns quite well. Mark Marathon (talk) 12:07, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
How is it now? cygnis insignis 12:21, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you (and to Pabsoluterince). Much clearer and what I'd expect from a featured article. Mark Marathon (talk) 10:04, 9 July 2019 (UTC)

120k years[edit]

  • The lead section has been updated, but the "Pre-colonial history" section has not yet been updated. Mitch Ames (talk) 09:47, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • That article does quote Bowler as saying "If correct, that would double the time of human occupation. That is a big jump to make. It will not be widely accepted until the evidence is definitive", and other statements indicating the early date will have trouble finding acceptance. It's also possible that the inhabitants of 40–60 kya were not descended from those of 120 kya. Such an early date would have implications for the Out of Africa theory. Did Homo erectus, Denisovans, or other S.E. Asian hominins use fire? Could they have reached as far as Victoria? Or did an early wave of H. sapiens get much farther than previously thought? It would be great if there were other dating methods that backed up the thermal luminescence findings.
When I see terms like "Indigenous Australians", to me they signify direct ancestry to modern Aboriginal people. But there's no evidence yet of continuous habitation from 120k to 60k years ago.
Can we agree to some wording like "Indigenous Australians inhabited the continent for about 65,000 years prior to European discovery, with research suggesting human habitation as early as 120,000 years ago."?
— Cheers! Pelagic (talk) 10:02, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I have removed 120k....for a better understanding pls review Australian archaeology as 120k is so far removed its funny.--Moxy 🍁 11:13, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Its 11 years of research, backed with very detailed scientific information thats been reviewed and meets all the criteria of WP:V, please revert Gnangarra 11:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The only funny sad thing is how many want to hold onto the 30 year old sources rather than upto date sources Gnangarra 11:29, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Pls review Clarkson 2017 Clarkson, Chris; et al. (2017). "Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago". Nature. 547 (7663): 306–310. Bibcode:2017Natur.547..306C. doi:10.1038/nature22968. PMID 28726833. ...Anyone familiar with this topic is aware of theses claims and they have been dismissed for years ..pls review Recent African origin of modern humans#South-Asia and Australia as 65k is considered old with 120k out to lunch. Lets quote the source "120,000 years ago. If correct, that would double the time of human occupation. That is a big jump to make. It will not be widely accepted until the evidence is definitive." --Moxy 🍁 11:30, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
amended comment broke discussion see diff[8] Gnangarra 12:00, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think that we'd need evidence of this being generally accepted by experts in the field to warrant inclusion in this high profile article, especially using the proposed text. The research article discussed by the news story seems to be considerably more cautious in interpreting the evidence than is stated in the news story, with it stating it's only "marginally" more likely that the evidence indicates human settlement than non-human causes. The Royal Society of Victoria's media release on the presentation takes a similar approach [9]. The proposed text seems to jump the gun, as even the scientists who conducted this study aren't saying that "Recent research indicates Indigenous Australians inhabited the continent for over 120,000 years prior to European discovery" - their view is that this appears to be the case, but it needs further investigation. Nick-D (talk) 11:38, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Even the article you refer to has sites older than 65,000. few more quotes This dating at 120,000 years may sound astonishing but consider here that there has been growing evidence of a much earlier habitation period, including the discovery of tools at Madjedbebe, Arnhem Land (northern Australia) which produced dates of 65 – 80 thousand years. then theres Thermal luminescence dating techniques used on the blackened stones provided ages in the range of 100-130 thousand years, consistent with independent stratigraphic evidence and contemporaneous with the age of the surface in which they lie. that means the evidence they found is soild laid down 100-130,000 years ago. And there evn more Two largely overlooked environmental studies had previously detected strong evidence of firestick farming used to deforest land at two sites almost 130,000 years ago. The first site is at Lake George, New South Wales and the second at the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. The controversial early dating for a human presence suggested in both these studies was largely ignored. The depth of aboriginal inhabitation has long been a thorny political issue in modern Australia. Just to clinch all of this look who is behind the this information and find The new research findings have been presented to the Royal Society of Victoria by a group of highly respected academics including Prof Jim Bowler, famous for his discovery of the oldest well-dated human remains on the continent, Mungo Lady and Mungo Man (42,000 years old).. Kind of hard to laugh off this. Since you wont and the sources are multiple studies by impeccable researchers I revert, unless you can find sources that discredit both the findings, and the people who made them. Gnangarra 11:45, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
As stated by your source further investigation and research is need for a definitive conclusion if its even human activity. So best to stick with a number that is wildly excepted....you need to understand that 65k is a new number that many think is to old. --Moxy 🍁 11:57, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Please don't edit war this back in. I have no interest in laughing off the findings - quite the opposite in fact. They are fascinating and could quite well be another major leap forward in dating the human presence in Australia. But not even the scientists responsible for the research are drawing this conclusion yet. Nick-D (talk) 12:00, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
multiple researchers & multiple sites say upto 130,000 years, 65 is unacceptable. I'll accept only if there is at least a statement that clearly shows that 65k years is at least half of what scientific evidence is now indicating. This started as argument over 65-70 being within 10% now sources present show that it's 100% the range should be increased to show that shift, I'd accept 65-100k which is the lower end of their estimates, it covers the period as per the other article mentioned along with Gnangarra 12:10, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Definitely not adding made up range or giving the same weight of the POV of the so called 10% (another made up number). Perhaps best we get some source to show all.--Moxy 🍁 12:15, 10 July 2019 (UTC) - this comment was added to after the initial post diff Gnangarra 13:46, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Already got sources Gnangarra 12:20, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Sorry I was not more clear ...sources to show what the norm is....Stephen Oppenheimer (2012). Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World. Little, Brown Book Group. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-78033-753-1. We also have to put evidence of occupation 60,000 years ago into another context: there is evidence of shell middens from some of the ... The first datable evidence in north-west Australia following a lowstand entry 65,000 years ago would....Bruce Pascoe (2018). Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture, New Edition. Magabala Books. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-925768-95-4. the generally accepted figure of 60,000–65,000 years ago for Aboriginal occupation of Australia..--Moxy 🍁 13:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Sentence improve[edit]

  • "At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies"

It is awkwardly phrased, seemingly accommodating incongruent notions of sophistication but scrabbling about for food. Shall I find a better phrasing from a different source, or does anyone see another solution? cygnis insignis 12:33, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Seems very clear to me.... they were not Farmers but yet had a complex society involving a hierarchy and a trade network with other similar groups around them. I'm not sure how much more we can dumb it down.--Moxy 🍁 22:04, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I prefer that it is accurate, "not farmers" is misleading and I don't think that reflects current sources and would be seen as an anachronistic viewpoint, virtually myths, that collapsed when evidence to the contrary was examined and synthesised. The sentence and restating merely describes the unusual situation, the verifiable facts accommodating the short-lived notions about pre-colonial and modern land management (or lack thereof). cygnis insignis 22:32, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Not sure what your saying....no myths here...but this wording in the norm across many articles. What do you suggest. .Jared Diamond (4 January 2011). Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 307–. ISBN 978-1-101-50200-6.--Moxy 🍁 23:05, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
A more recent source I'd like to see the article make use of is Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe. (Sorry, not near a copy right now so I can't provide publisher/ISBN etc.) This book uses the writings of early explorers and white settlers to demonstrate that in much of the country the Aboriginal people weren't hunter gathers in the traditionally perceived sense at all. They were farmers, with permanent buildings and settlements. A seemingly radical view, but the sourcing of the book is excellent. HiLo48 (talk) 08:15, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Yet seems to clearly violate WP:FRINGE. That one writer believes that They were farmers, with permanent buildings and settlements doesn't allow us to include it in Wikipedia. More especially in an article on the sovereign nation of Australia, which came into existence <250 years ago. This article could possibly use a little more material on the basis upon which Australia was founded, but it is an article on a state, not a continent. As such it's not the article for lengthy exposition on what happened before the state existed. It certainly can't justifiably include fringe theories, since to balance them out to meet WP:DUE would require at least 100 times the length devoted to the mainstream beliefs. IOW one sentence on Pascoe's theories would require several hundred words on the mainstream views of nomadic HGs. Articles on other countries should provide guidance here. Articles on France, Italy or the USA, for example, devote ~1% of their length to what a happened before the sate existed, even in cases where we have copious historical records about the nations and personalities that existed on that land before the modern state arose. This article is already at or above that limit already despite no pre-European records. I could see some justification for a little more material on the prehistory, but never enough to allow us to devote space to marginal fringe theories without blatantly violating WP:DUE. Mark Marathon (talk) 10:46, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
In alleging that it is fringe you seem to have missed this bit - "This book uses the writings of early explorers and white settlers..." HiLo48 (talk) 23:27, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
What is the evidence for an assertion of fringe, the premise that it is one writer's belief? cygnis insignis 11:30, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
The fact that every other source I have ever seen, including this very encylopaedia, states that they were nomadic, and that is the only source that claims they had permanent buildings and settlement? We'll start there. This is all rather academic until someone actually tries to add the material to Wikipedia somewhere, and then we can do some actual work to see how many sources share this viewpoint and how many believe they were nomadic. That shouldn't be very difficult. Google scholar searches on [australian aborigines/aboriginals nomads/nomadic] returns several million hits from journal's, universities and so forth. A search on [australian aborigines/aboriginals settlements] returns ~10, 000 hits, most of them being of the kind "Modern outstations and settlements", "Unlike aborigines, group X had settlements" or "no evidence for permanent settlements" or "misleading impression of settlements" and a smattering of "seasonal settlements" and similar referring to sites of fish trapping in southern Victoria. That's obviously not high quality scholarship, but it does point to this being a truly fringe idea. Mark Marathon (talk) 12:17, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
When someone says permanent buildings, I think of empty churches, over-populated jails and structures that partition notions of private property. It might be clarified how an author addresses a definition of that term, starting with abodes I suppose. cygnis insignis 12:50, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Dark Emu is a new book. It does present a new perspective, though not a new opinion. There's very little opinion in it at all about what happened in the past. As I wrote above, "This book uses the writings of early explorers and white settlers..." HiLo48 (talk) 23:27, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
Regardless of whether it violates WP:FRINGE I definitely do not support an inclusion in the article that they had permanent buildings and were farmers. We really do need to be guided by what the major reliable sources tell us and over an extended period of time. Merphee (talk) 02:35, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Do you think those sources include the journals of explorers such as Major Thomas Mitchell. Dark Emu draws heavily on his writings. And surely, in saying you "do not support an inclusion in the article that they had permanent buildings and were farmers", you are pre-empting what the sources may say and expressing a personal POV. HiLo48 (talk) 02:51, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Merphee, until other sources (and archeological evidence) follows this should not be included. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 03:06, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment, what is the definition of a “complex economy”? I think “complex societies and networks of trade” sounds less clunky. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 03:06, 10 July 2019 (UTC).
I am supportive of improvement to the section in question but definitely not the POV inclusion of the words "farmers" and "permanent buildings" that another editor has tried to push here. Merphee (talk) 03:11, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Merphee - Have you read Dark Emu? HiLo48 (talk) 03:31, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
We really need to guided by policy Hilo48 and what you want us to put in the article is just not what major reliable sources say. If you want to include "farmers" and "permanent buildings" please provide some other high quality reliable sources which state exactly those words. Merphee (talk) 03:58, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Merphee - Have you read Dark Emu? HiLo48 (talk) 04:04, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
There is a copy in any local library, it notes its sources, some of which may also be found in the library or interweb. cygnis insignis 04:07, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
No consensus to include a sentence stating that the Aboriginal people were "farmers, with permanent buildings and settlements" Most reliable sources contradict this assertion. Merphee (talk) 04:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Merphee - There is a new book out, written by a very well regarded author, which is effectively a literature review of what was actually observed and recorded by many of our early explorers and settlers, also well regarded people. Research on Aboriginal history is a rapidly evolving area of study, and to stick with old sources alone would be a mistake. It's obvious you haven't read the book, and don't want to, which is a shame. It's a good read. All good libraries have it. Not expensive to buy either. Condemning its findings in wilful ignorance, because that's what you are effectively doing, is not evidence of a lack of consensus here. It effectively nullifies your opinion on what it is saying. My position is not one of pushing an opinion. I am drawing the attention of editors who haven't seen it to a wonderful new source and resource on this topic. It would clearly be wrong for us to ignore what this book has found. And, sorry to say, you seem determined to do that. Now, please read what I have written carefully before you attack me in your usual way. (It's probably important for me to just say to other editors that Merphee has not been a fan of mine since I embarrassed him somewhat in his early days as an editor here.) HiLo48 (talk) 05:12, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Just more of your banal and pathetic personal attacks on other editors who disagree with your POV pushing. I have actually read it. But look HiLo48 there just isn't any consensus for your edits you want to make. Okay. Please move on. Please also try and learn our policies, particularly on how you should edit here. You don't seem to even grasp the very basics. This is exactly the type of thing that very nearly got you completely BANNED from Wikipedia twice. Not just blocked but BANNED as so many editors thought you should have been. Merphee (talk) 06:42, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Threatening people with bans who dont agree with you is not the way we build consensus. On the issue of the terminology hunter gather isnt a fair descriptive for society that had complex cultural systems, built structures, manufactured items for domestic use, deliberate farming process both agriculture and aquaculture, astronomical sciences. Gnangarra 07:15, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Gnangarra. We just had an Edit conflict, but not to worry, I'll still stick my post here.....
Merphee, I shall leave it to other editors to judge the value of the more recent contributions from each of us. And await the next discussion I'm involved in where you "surprisingly" turn up and disagree with me. HiLo48 (talk) 07:18, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
HiLo48. no one cares! Don't you get it. We are here to edit articles, not bicker between ourselves. Lots of editors very very often disagree with your edits and argument and your aggressive belittling of any editors who disagree with your point of view. There is simply no consensus for including the sentence you want pushed into our Australian article stating that the Aboriginal people were "farmers, with permanent buildings and settlements" No consensus means it's not going in the article. Please try and focus on content only hiLo48. It's quite tedious having to deal with your points of view which are not supported by the majority of reliable sources. It has absolutely nothing to do with subjective opinion as myself and so very many other editors have tried to tell you before on other article talk pages. You don't seem to listen. As for you being very nearly BANNED from Wikipedia in the past it is simply a statement of fact Gnangarra, although I do realise you and HiLo are good friends and cohorts here blindly backing each other up no matter what. Merphee (talk) 08:07, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@Gnangarra: "hunter gather isnt a fair descriptive for society that had complex cultural systems, ... " — A hunter-gatherer is "a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging...", so deliberate farming process is relevant, but complex cultural systems, built structures, manufactured items ... astronomical sciences have no bearing on whether or not they were hunter-gatherers. Mitch Ames (talk) 09:56, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@Mitch Ames: http://theconversation.com/the-detective-work-behind-the-budj-bim-eel-traps-world-heritage-bid-71800 These large-scale fishing facilities and associated aquaculture ponds rupture traditional representations of Aboriginal people as simply hunter gatherers. As for the other parts it is in response to early issues raised about the wording about being "hunter gatherer" is inconsistent with the later part of the sentence. Hunter gather was a label of convenience, and the current research information has already moved past that label becuase it wasnt true reflection that complex societies(some call the civilized) existed pre cooks discovery. When you add to that trading between countries and the islands to the north, northwest the label isnt appropriate. Gnangarra 10:09, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@Gnangarra: How widespread was aquaculture and through what period of the year? Are you saying that hunting and gathering weren't the primary means of producing food (generalized across the whole continent), Gnangarra? —Pelagic (talk) 10:31, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
My point is that "hunter-gatherers" is not inconsistent with "complex economies and societies" - a society can be both, so the sentence that triggered this discussion is not "incongruent" or inconsistent. If we want to discuss whether or not they were hunter-gatherers we should stick to aspects related to the definition of hunter-gatherers, and not introduce aspects of society that are independent of that definition. Mitch Ames (talk) 11:29, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
The sources are saying what they say, go and read them. cygnis insignis 10:34, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure how that comment is helpful. The linked article doesn't say whether the eel traps/farms were seasonal or not. And I don't have immediate access to Dark Emu. —Pelagic (talk) 11:22, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
A general comment on the comments, at what I hoped was the end of thread. Your comments are more solution orientated, I can give page numbers and sources in Dark Emu or other related texts (but only if I can complain about people debating things they heard about today by making things up and being contrary). cygnis insignis 11:54, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@Mitch Ames: I was about to say something along the same lines, Mitch. —Pelagic (talk) 10:31, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Yep, The source clearly states These large-scale fishing facilities and associated aquaculture ponds rupture traditional representations of Aboriginal people as simply hunter gatherers. Gnangarra 10:45, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Just because the Gunditjmara at Lake Condah were practicing aquaculture doesn't mean the peoples in arid areas weren't out hunting 'roos. You're over-generalizing. The sentence in question does say "most", leaving some wiggle room for other means of obtaining food. As to the "simply hunter gatherers" quote, I don't think hunting would be particularly simple. —Pelagic (talk) 11:22, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

- axes arrived in Europe 10000 years with agriculture, in the Kimberley that was 40-45,000 years ago, in Japan it 35,000 years http://www.news.uwa.edu.au/201605118629/international/archaeologists-find-worlds-oldest-axe-was-kimberley the are hundreds of sources that support all manner of activities, providing you can out away the Howard repropagation of 1800's to 1960's sources during the early 2000's. Simply put source before 2015-16 are clearly out of date with conventional research discoveries and should be treated as such. Gnangarra 10:52, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

Yet at least one of these 'newer' sources, Dark Emu, itself depends on sources (original exploration logs and diaries) that predate most of our current sources. This is a complex area. HiLo48 (talk) 11:04, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
@cygnis: Hunting and gathering shouldn't necessarily create mental images of scrabbling about for food. For the opposite, I picture the Amazon or PNG highlands where forest foods are presumably abundant and some hunter-gatherer tribes still live. Maybe they do scrabble, I don't know. @Cavalryman: "complex societies and networks of trade" sounds good to me. Were the trade networks that complex? Maybe "networks of trade and complex societies". —Pelagic (talk) 11:00, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
What I'm trying to say, Cygnis, is that "hunter-gatherer" in that sentence doesn't mean "bad" or "backward" to me. But if you can suggest a better phrase, please do. —Pelagic (talk) 11:07, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
<ec>trade networks include sea trading with Indonesian archipelago, PNG, Tiwi and Torres Islands, additional ochre mined in WA was traded as far as NSW which is not just between neighbouring countries but across many kind of like China to Italy. There's also indications that trade from Australia was reaching Sicily in the 13th Century https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/how-did-a-cockatoo-reach-13th-century-sicily I'd call that extensive. Gnangarra 11:18, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, "extensive" is good: "complex societies and extensive networks of trade". Thanks. —Pelagic (talk) 11:26, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I like this too. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 12:21, 10 July 2019 (UTC).
What exactly is meant by the term "complex societies"? Complex society in the academic sense (doesn't appear to meet that definition), complex relative to other world societies, or complex relative to previous understandings of pre-colonial society? I'm assuming it's the last of those, and in that case I'm not sure it's necessary to apply this label, or there's a better way of getting that point across. Ivar the Boneful (talk) 13:44, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
there is a division of labour, there is trade of excess, purposeful collection of materials for trade, and there is hierarchical structure both in knowledge and leadership, there is defined countries. Gnangarra 14:12, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
add to that there was restrictions about crossing borders, where to do so required first permission to travel Gnangarra 14:14, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Because there was numerous societies using technologies convenient and appropriate to a myriad of habitat requiring unique forms of land management practices, cuisine that required sophisticated processing to remove the toxins, and a bunch of organisms that would joyfully kill an intruder. You needed a passport. cygnis insignis 14:30, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Hans Löfgren; Evelyne de Leeuw; Michael Leahy (2011). Democratizing Health: Consumer Groups in the Policy Process. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-85793-181-8. Before colonization Australian Aboriginal people lived in a complex society, with high levels of self-determination in all aspects of their lives, including ceremony, spiritual practices, .....--Moxy 🍁 15:05, 10 July 2019 (UTC)