Talk:B. Alan Wallace

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Focusing on a typo?[edit]

The first quote in the Novella source is from Wallace who mentions "vacuum state of consciousness". Later Novella says,

Notice in the first quote above he refers to the “vaccum state of consciousness.”

Of course "vaccum" is just a typo. Novella is referring to "vacuum state of consciousness", obviously. I am at a loss to understand attaching any significance at all to "vaccum" apart from denoting "vacuum", as this edit comment does (wherein "vaccuum" isn't even the right typo). The edit may not even be meant seriously. Novella refers to "vacuum state of consciousness" being pseudoscience (even if he does so imperfectly with a typo), and we reflect the source by reporting that. Manul ~ talk 15:35, 5 November 2016 (UTC)

Insisting that by putting "ongoing" there we stop reflecting the source accurately (when in fact this is what Wallace said) is on the same level as attaching significance to a typo. I'm not sure how you could manage to misunderstand my meaning, given the "let's not be completely moronic" part and the fact that the edit did nothing about "vacuum"/"vaccum". Chilton (talk) 16:10, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
It's not about what Wallace said; it's about what Novella said. Novella didn't say "ongoing" when making the connection to pseudoscience, so neither do we. It's just a small mistake that I corrected, but it's a mistake nonetheless. It is not "moronic" to ensure that the article reports only what the source says. This is the third time I have explained the issue; do you understand it now? Manul ~ talk 17:37, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I understand you very well from the beginning and I find your question very patronizing. It doesn't make any difference whether or not Novella included the word "ongoing" in the relevant sentence. If he writes that by employing the phrase "vacuum state of consciousness" (which appears in the bigger phrase "ongoing vacuum state of consciousness" in the specific text Novella is discussing) Wallace is "using the language of quantum mechanics without applying its meaning", then clearly Wallace is doing the same thing when we add the missing "ongoing" in front (and I think there's no room for confusion as to whether Novella specifically means the "ongoing" part). On the other hand, by deleting "ongoing" we slightly misrepresent what Wallace said - which I would say is important to avoid in an article about Wallace. Chilton (talk) 19:12, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
But it does make a difference. By saying that "ongoing vacuum state of consciousness" is identified as pseudoscientific, (1) we imply that "ongoing" may be a necessary part of the pseudoscientificness, and (2) we misrepresent what Novella said, which incidentally is against policy. It seems absurd to suggest that Wallace is misrepresented without the "ongoing", especially considering that he doesn't say "ongoing vacuum state" in any of his books (of the many that are in Google, anyway). Above you are making inferences that boil down to original research. Let's just WP:STICKTOTHESOURCE, OK? It's policy, and it's the way editors steer clear of needless disputes like this one. Manul ~ talk 21:01, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Ad 1 - I don't think most people would be confused as to which one of "ongoing", "vacuum state" (or "consciousness" for that matter - are you uneasy about that also?) is identified as a term borrowed from quantum mechanics. Still, they can always check - it is not the point of the article. Ad 2 - we do not, as Novella was writing in the context of Wallace's statements and about them. It is not original research, this is simply the logic of the language. The change I introduced doesn't go against WP:STICKTOTHESOURCE.
Also, is the article about Wallace or is it a painstaking presentation of a Novella blog post with an almost autistic attention to unimportant detail? It's really strange that you had no problem with reintroducing claims about Wallace's statements on substrate consciousness while sourcing them with statements about something else (primordial consciousness), but you have a problem with something as trivial as that.
You can always rephrase the sentence to pedantically mention both Wallace's original phrasing and the exact statement by Novella, but of course it would add nothing. Chilton (talk) 21:47, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Enough, please. Novella identifies "vacuum state of consciousness" as pseudoscience, and that's what Wikipedia has to report. I have explained why your addition is against Wikipedia policies. Manul ~ talk 22:25, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
"Enough, please"? Really? That's not the way one should conduct discussions. But I am happy that you at least stopped reintroducing the BS about substrate consciousness. Chilton (talk) 22:35, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Chilton is absolutely right, Manul. Read Wikipedia:COATRACK Criticism and praise should be included if they can be sourced to reliable secondary sources, so long as the material is presented responsibly, conservatively, and in a disinterested tone. Do not give disproportionate space to particular viewpoints; the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all.  !!!! I'm willing to report this to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons/Noticeboard if you continue. Cuvtixo (talk) 16:39, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Recent reversions[edit]

  • The change from "neuroscientific understanding" to "traditional neuroscientific understanding" suggests there is some new understanding, but there isn't, at least according to our sources. The same goes for the change from "neuroscientists" to "current neuroscientists".
  • Re "pioneers", "unique position to build the bridge" -- promotional and unencyclopedic.
  • "...This very notion that the mind..." -- a fringey blurb without a mainstream reception required by WP:PSCI.
  • I don't see the purpose of removing Novella's title as neurologist.
  • No external links to youtube or similar, please. (WP:YOUTUBE)

Manul ~ talk 13:03, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

  • "our sources" say there's no new understanding? Cite please.
  • Reinstating Novella's title as a neurologist is acceptable. Since he has made a new career as an author and "debunker", this was difficult to determine from your cite; his blog
  • replaced "current neuroscientists" and also "traditional neuroscientific" cite "our sources" please! These adjectives realistically take into account that future neuroscientists may have a different view. Wallace himself contends that future scientists will come to a new understanding, and that isn't pseudoscience, it's a feature of all science. His own words are being referred to with "current". While you may be of the opinion that alternative views are "fringe", they exist. WP:PSCI says inclusion of pseudoscientific views should not give them UNDUE WEIGHT, not that they shouldn't be included. Again you don't seem to understand that although Novella is of the opinion it is pseudoscience, Wallace is very careful not to venture far from science, having a BS in Physics and Philosophy of Science from Amherst. Try reading his writings instead of Novella's criticism. This is about Wallace's views and work and he quite definitely believes in them, and carefully presents them with contemporary science (particularly Behaviorism, not physics- the majority of his writings refer to Psychology) He doesn't insist his views are scientifically proven. Many of these theories are traditional Tibetan Buddhist views by the way. You might as well edit the articles on Buddhism for being unscientific. Reread WP:PSCI "pseudoscience may in some cases be significant to an article"
  • "This very notion that the mind..." That is a quote from Wallace not a blurb, and not requiring mainstream reception
  • youtube link removed
  • The last quote shows exactly how his thinking ISN'T pseudoscience. Do you keep taking it down because it doesn't fit your preconceptions?
Cuvtixo (talk) 03:39, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Please review WP:FRINGE as a whole. This will provide a broad overview of the reasons behind the changes I made.
  • Regarding the in-text attribution of Novella, please see WP:ITA: Care should be taken not to mislead the reader by implying that, because the claim is actively disputed by only a few, it is otherwise supported.
  • Wikipedia is a tertiary source. This especially important when it comes to fringe subjects. Please see WP:FRIND: the relative space that an article devotes to different aspects of a fringe theory should follow from consideration primarily of the independent sources. Points that are not discussed in independent sources should not be given any space in articles. Independent sources are also necessary to determine the relationship of a fringe theory to mainstream scholarly discourse.
  • WP:CRYSTALBALL addresses some of the issues with "current neuroscientists". Nobody is claiming that fringe ideas cannot be included. The point of WP:PSCI is that, if they are included, they must be presented in context with mainstream views. You would need an independent source about this oncoming revolution that would upend the current neuroscience.
  • You are guessing about my opinion, and based on what you said, you would surely be surprised if I told you. However my opinion is totally irrelevant and I suggest you steer far clear of that line of argumentation.
Manul ~ talk 13:03, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
Correct, your opinion is totally irrelevant. But is your suggestion a veiled threat? Pseudoscience can be avoided by not mentioning it at all. You are dwelling on a minor point one blogger made of one of his books. You don't like the "pseudoscience"? Then don't bring it up.

"the relative space that an article devotes to different aspects of a fringe theory should follow from consideration primarily of the independent sources." Indeed. Novella's blog is not a notable independent source. In fact no critique of Wallace is, he's barely notable as an author himself, truth be told. Problem solved by not devoting ANY space to it. Cuvtixo (talk) 22:51, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

Recent Changes[edit]

Recent changes have focused content on the Wallace and broaden the information regarding his scholarly and scientific contributions. Clarifications regarding the current understanding of consciousness have also been made. The page currently lacks other important details regarding Wallace. Furthermore, beyond the discussion of Novella's critique, it doesn't clearly assess his work within the broader scholarly, scientific, and religious communities. Neuroscientist 221 (talk) 18:11, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

Thank you Neuroscientist. I'd rather replace the quote I have from him regarding the state of mainstream neuroscience, but it is getting a little too personal between me and Manul, and I'm afraid it would just be a target for deletion.Cuvtixo (talk) 22:56, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Regarding the combined changes from both editors:

  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, meaning that it is a tertiary source, meaning that its content should be largely based upon reliable third-party sources (WP:SOURCES).
  • Considering, among other things, the Salon interview, Wallace is putting himself out there as a contrarian to mainstream neuroscience, and he himself acknowledges -- even embraces -- this. The WP:PSCI policy pertains directly to this situation. Please read the policy. I don't see how one can argue that this is a non-notable view that he holds.
  • It is not accurate to introduce the wording that "many" neuroscientists oppose Wallace, suggesting that there is some kind of debate. Again, Wallace himself acknowledges that he is in opposition to neuroscientists as a whole. See the Salon interview: Q: So your hypothesis is just the reverse from what all the neuroscientists think. A: Precisely.
  • The insertion of Yet, the neuroscientific community has not come to a consensus... is a textbook case of WP:original research, as the source doesn't mention Wallace. Furthermore, it's not even a WP:reliable source.
  • Wikipedia is not a CV hosting service. Relevant papers are those which have garnered independent attention.

Manul ~ talk 12:39, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

and yet you're presenting a kind of "anti-CV". Please show any independent attention outside of the one blog. It seems to me that you're being more of a religious bigot than anything else. Cuvtixo (talk) 16:59, 22 May 2017 (UTC)


Is it not relevant to include a small portion of his scientific work and to mention that he has published in this regard? Neuroscientist 221 (talk) 18:55, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

A. It's not scientific work, it's commentary on present state of science in contrast to practices and philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism. Wallace puts himself forth as an expert in Buddhism and meditation, not science. Furthermore, his work is specifically about meditation and "Tibetan Dream yoga." It is a gross misrepresentation to present his presentation of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy as "pseudoscience." Just as presenting the Dalai Lama's (for whom Wallace served as a translator) views as pseudoscience would not be appropriate- Note one of his major works is: "Consciousness at the Crossroads: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Brain-science and Buddhism". Edited by B. Alan Wallace, Zara Houshmand & David Livingston. Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1999

Another title of his specifically references that he is taking a Buddhist view of science: "Choosing Reality: A Buddhist View of Physics and the Mind." Cuvtixo (talk) 16:56, 22 May 2017 (UTC) Read through the titles here. The dualist philosophical views he presents has nothing to do with a false or misleading presentation of science as a scientist. Cuvtixo (talk) 17:14, 22 May 2017 (UTC)