Talk:Bates method/Archive 6

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Selection bias

The section on selection bias in the "claimed successes" section is currently labeled as "original research." I really don't think this is a valid tag, but I can see why it has been added. There is no source mentioned that discusses selection bias in relation to the Bates Method specifically. However, selection bias is a general concern that should apply to all "evidence" put forward to support the efficacy of a therapy. Selection bias always occurs and it is something that all experimenters should take into account. It is not "original research". It occurs in all studies of all purported therapies and is a perfectly valid statement without a citation attached to it. Thoughts? Famousdog (talk) 15:08, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

I placed that tag, but I wasn't sure if it was original research or not; the tag has a question mark. But I am fine with letting that paragraph stay in the article. And the tag can be removed if no one objects. PSWG1920 (talk) 15:39, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
I too think the paragraph is uncontroversial, and doesn't need the "original research" tag. And btw., good job with the edits everyone - especially you PSWG1920. Syd75 (talk) 21:10, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
It would be best if we had a source which made the point about selection bias in relation to the Bates method, and without one I think it technically meets the definition of original thought. But I also now think it should probably be allowed to go under the radar. I tagged it originally because I had just removed a rather bloated warning template from the top of the article (which has since been partially restored) and in its place I was individually tagging problematic parts. PSWG1920 (talk) 21:33, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
My thinking on this is pretty much the same as before, except I now think the tag should stay until a source is found for the idea, to illustrate why WP:OR is best not taken 100% literally in regards to this article. PSWG1920 (talk) 04:26, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

This was recently discussed below, but the thread was so mixed up in other things that I decided to bring the discussion back here. Perhaps rather than having that unsourced paragraph, we could put this template at the top of the section:

That would make the point that this concept applies here without presenting a synthesized exposition. PSWG1920 (talk) 21:32, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Tags, revisited

I think the tags apply and are being used correctly. --Ronz (talk) 16:19, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

See the above discussion as well as edit summaries from two weeks ago. PSWG1920 (talk) 16:49, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I have, thanks! --Ronz (talk) 17:37, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I guess I should have asked you this question in the first place: Why do you refuse to use the custom templates I have provided, which would clearly express the concerns you have raised regarding this article? PSWG1920 (talk) 17:47, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
ronz, i think what pswg is trying to say, is that it would be more helpful to other editors if you tagged specific prose within the article that you feel is non-neutral or otherwise inappropriate with direct and specific tags, or tagged specific areas where things need clarification. When there's just one tag at the top, it's hard to surmise anything more than, "Well something is wrong." we aren't mind readers, so placing tags closer to problem areas will help highlight them and allow collaborative work towards fixing the article. -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 10:02, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the custom templates: As I pointed out before, they caused confusion. --Ronz (talk) 17:28, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
NPOV applies to the whole article, specifically to the sources we're using. Currently, editors refuse to determine proper weight based upon our sources: "Keep in mind that in determining proper weight we consider a viewpoint's prevalence in reliable sources." --Ronz (talk) 17:28, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
please list in a new section (or link to a thread if you've already done this), the exact sources and prose which you feel make this article violate NPOV. -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 17:44, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
If you've read what I've written above, you should know that such a question cannot be answered due to the nature of the problems here. If I haven't made myself clear, please ask questions that can help me determine what isn't clear.
Again, the problem isn't with any section, but with the way references were added without regard to NPOV. --Ronz (talk) 17:25, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
How about if you copy the article into your userspace and bring that version into line with your interpretation of the policies. That should be a fairly simple project for you, since, from what you have said before, it would in all probability consist mostly of deletions. If you then linked to it from here, your perspective would speak for itself. PSWG1920 (talk) 18:50, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
"...the way references were added without regard to NPOV." i'm confused, so far, in your conversations with me you've stated the violations of NPOV had to do with a lack of references - "without independent, reliable sources, we're discussing viewpoints that should not be included at all." in conversations with others you seemed to suggest the only way to follow NPOV is to pool sources together first and have a big meeting on them - as it's been said, this isn't the way articles get written. articles are also often written by first writing the content, and then finding the sources the support it - it's not ideal, but if that is how an article came to be, it doesn't make it inherently "bad". I also gather that you feel all sources for an article must be neutral or representative of the mainstream view? if this is the case you need to seriously reread WP:FRINGE. We may use non-neutral material, just so long as it is presented neutrally here and is counter-balanced with opposing sources (or in the case of fringe theories - mainstream sources). -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 19:46, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Zappernapper I fully agree with you. By allowing non neutral material the article will become much clearer in the differences in point of view and less polarised. Ronz and PSWG being skeptic also involves to have an open mind ! From the skeptic point of view you can only make clearer it is all nonsense by countering the presented information. Seeyou (talk) 21:10, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Seeyou, please stop harassing editors, or you will be blocked once again. --Ronz (talk) 18:33, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
"I also gather that you feel all sources for an article must be neutral or representative of the mainstream view?" Why is this even being suggested? --Ronz (talk) 18:35, 16 January 2009 (UTC)


Reading through the article, i do not immediately see what the "neutrality" tag is due to. Can someone here explain the neutrality problems in terms of content? I saw the discussion above about neutrality of sources, but how is the lack of neutrality mirrored here? Or has the article now neutralised this? Thanks!Yobmod (talk) 10:49, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

WP:UNDUE, WP:PSTS, and WP:FRINGE - The article does not give proper weight to the most notable aspects of Bates method, and relies too much on Bates own work as sources to discuss less notable aspects at extremely great lengths. --Ronz (talk) 15:09, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
Can you explain what you see as the "most notable aspects of the Bates method"? PSWG1920 (talk) 19:58, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
If you make a list of the independent sources that we're using, I think it will be very clear. Besides, that's how we address NPOV and related issues, by looking at what the sources say. --Ronz (talk) 20:03, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Here's a list of currently cited independent sources which appear to address the subject generally (excluding those which address only one specific point, such as Huxley's case, or a tangential topic like the See Clearly Method.)

  • Gardner Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. 1957
  • Pollack The Truth about Eye Exercises. 1956
  • Marg Flashes of clear vision and negative accommodation with reference to the Bates Method of visual training. 1952.
  • Boston Globe "Advocates see only benefits from eye exercises". 2003
  • WebMD "Natural Vision Correction: Does It Work? 2007
  • Grierson The Eye Book: Eyes and Eye Problems Explained. 2000
  • Time Exercise v. Eyeglasses" 1943
  • Leavitt "How to Save the World: Alternatives to Biomedical Research", Ethics in Biomedical Research: International Perspectives. 2007
  • Curtin The Myopias: Basic Science and Clinical Management. 1985

*Iowa Academy of Science 1947 not currently being used

*The Myopia Manual - Section Myopia Manual. 2006 - alternatively here for a complete PDF version of the book

    • Upon further review, this last one appears to be basically self-published. I'm not sure yet whether the author would qualify as an expert on the subject per WP:SPS.

PSWG1920 (talk) 21:18, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I see three things. Our sources could be better, they're overwhelmingly critical, and the better the source, the more likely it's critical. --Ronz (talk) 21:55, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
But the article does prominently report the major criticisms, and has been reworded in several places to reflect what the majority viewpoint is. Could you now be more specific about the "most notable aspects of the Bates method" which you believe are not being given proper weight? PSWG1920 (talk) 00:19, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
WP:FRINGE: "The notability of a fringe theory must be judged by statements from verifiable and reliable sources, not the proclamations of its adherents. "
WP:UNDUE: "NPOV says that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each. "
Judging by the references, the article should be mostly about criticisms. Otherwise we're not giving the criticisms proper weight. --Ronz (talk) 17:40, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
To understand the criticisms, you need to know what is being criticized. Moreover, an article on the Bates method would be untenable if we couldn't explain what the techniques are. PSWG1920 (talk) 17:59, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Not having ever heard of this theory (is it a US thing?), i easily understood from the article that this is a fringe theory that is not accepted by mainstream science. The description of the adherent's claims is of course necessary in order to refute them, and i see no problem with using the primary sources for that. But apart from the description of what it is, the article IS mostly criticism, isn't it? For example: the accomodation section had a line defining accomodation, a paragraph decribing Bates' beliefs, then 3 paragraphs refuting his claims. Is that not indicative of the sources weight? Making an article more critical would dilute it's usefulness, making it hard to find what is even claimed. when i read articles on fringe science, i want to know not only why they are rejected, but actually what is being rejected! :-)
Ronz, can you tell us how you think this section is NPOV or unduly weighted? and how you think it should be changed in order to fix that? You agree that the paragraph describing the method is needed, yes? Sp what is missing from the criticisms? They seem to reflect the sources. Also, the list of sources given above didn't seem to provoke the summing up of Bates' most important features, which you think the article ignores.....Yobmod (talk) 08:46, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm saying that we need to follow FRINGE and especially UNDUE. Not only do we need to make it clear that this is a fringe theory, but that the majority of the article should be specifically about criticisms - "NPOV says that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each." --Ronz (talk) 17:36, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

By that reasoning, this article should be recast as Criticisms of the Bates method. And then readers would be left wondering what exactly this "Bates method" is. PSWG1920 (talk) 01:50, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
We all know what the guidelines say, we need to know what specific parts you think do not follow them. The article does show this to be a fringe theory, and the criticisms are in due weight. I showed with the section above that this article is mostly criticism. Which specfiic parts or that section do you disgree with? If you cannot point out anything specific, then i don't see any reason not to remove the NPOV tag. You seem to be the only one disputing the neutrality, and yet you wont say what needs to be included or excluded, except in vague terms that seem to already have been met: If you believe there to be too many probems to discuss at once, let's do it one section at a time, starting with the accomodation section.Yobmod (talk) 09:19, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with your assessment. I don't believe we've properly followed NPOV, hence I think the tag should remain.
I've removed the final paragraph from the Accomodation section as completely improper, and a great example of the problems we have here: editors try to undercut all criticism in the section by introducing doubt at the very end. --Ronz (talk) 15:52, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
The final paragraph from the Accommodation section is essential and needs to be reinstated. Modern Bates method books are unanimous in abandoning Bates' insistence that the ciliary muscle plays no part in accommodation. The purpose of Wikipedia articles is neither to criticise nor to "undercut criticism"; it is to inform our readers, accurately and fairly, leaving them to form their own opinions (that's what NPOV means). To omit this paragraph would be as dishonest and misleading as to write about Polygamy and the Latter Day Saint movement without making it clear that the LDS church now forbids polygamy. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 16:53, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree, SamuelTheGhost. That was independently sourced and in fact discussed in some detail by Elwin Marg. It would only be problematic if it were not independently sourced, as was the case previously. PSWG1920 (talk) 17:44, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
What page/section of Marg?
Even if we can source it, it's improper to introduce it as we've done to end a section that discusses Bates' views and why he was wrong. --Ronz (talk) 20:09, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
See the discussion of Price on page 3, Huxley's referenced statement on page 4, and Lancaster's statement on page 5-6. For convenience, here's an html version. Although now that I read this again I suppose the deleted reference could be tweaked for accuracy, but it certainly belongs. PSWG1920 (talk) 20:32, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I have moved that discussion to the "After Bates" section. PSWG1920 (talk) 00:24, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Contextual issue

While we're concentrating on this section, there appears to be some problems with contextual issues. For example, "However, various cycloplegic agents such as atropine can temporarily prevent accommodation by paralyzing the ciliary muscle." Seems very confusing to me because it's missing context. --Ronz (talk) 15:52, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Regarding the contextual issue you raised, that's referring to the ciliary muscle as opposed to the extraocular muscles, the latter which Bates believed change the shape of the eye and thereby control accommodation. I do agree though that the way it is currently stated is a bit confusing, and I've been trying to think of a better way to articulate it without being overly repetitive or misleading regarding something else. PSWG1920 (talk) 17:57, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I haven't read the sources in a while, but if I remember correctly Bates used atropine to try to test his claims and that others pointed out that he most likely didn't use it properly. --Ronz (talk) 20:05, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Hopefully this addition provides more clear continuity for the point you raised above. PSWG1920 (talk) 00:32, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

How to Proceed

If past discussion is any indication, I expect it will be most difficult to reach any semblance of agreement on the "Bates' treatments" section. I therefore suggest that we skip that for now and see if we can come to an agreement regarding the rest of the article. If we can, the tags could then be moved to the Treatments section which we could then get back to. Even if we couldn't agree there, the tags might not be such a turn-off for a Good Article review. PSWG1920 (talk) 18:57, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Now that we've gotten rid of one problematic ending paragraph, moved another down to a perhaps more appropriate location in the article, and clarified a train of thought, are there any more issues with the Bates' ideas section? PSWG1920 (talk) 20:45, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
I think we should give up on the idea of being able to fix the problems until new editors get involved. --Ronz (talk) 22:54, 26 October 2008 (UTC)