From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

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

Four groups
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Many of these questions arise on frequently on the talk page concerning Creationism.

Information.svg To view an explanation to the answer, click the [show] link to the right of the question.

FAQ notes and references:

Former good article Creationism was one of the good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
January 22, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
September 29, 2006 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article
edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Creationism:
  • Add section on the differences/similarities/conflict between Intelligent Design and Creationism.
  • Add section on the beliefs creationists have on what the mainstream fields of science have to say on the origins of life and the universe.
Priority 2
IMPORTANT - If you wish to discuss or debate the validity of creationism please do so at or Debatepedia. This "Discussion" page is only for discussion on how to improve the Wikipedia article. Any attempts at trolling, using this page as a soapbox, or making personal attacks may be deleted at any time.

Removing OR, replacing with phrase supported by sources.[edit]

The phrase 'scientific conclusion' is not found in the original source (the dictionary). I don't know where it came from and must concluded it to be OR. It might be a logical addition, but its still OR.

The source I added indicates that natural processes are expected because Naturalism is the basis for understanding nature. So my change to the sentence is supported, logical, and quite clear. The reversions seem to have no logical basis. OtisDixon (talk) 16:46, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for discussing instead of reinstated your change. The lead summarizes the article. A section of the article supports this sentence and adds more details: Creationism#Scientific_criticism. In some cases for very contentious sentences it may be appropriate to still support the sentence with an additional citation, this is otherwise unnecessary; in this case it's supported by a dictionary entry (which as you say does not exactly use the same formulation, but that is not always a problem). I'll also let others comment. —PaleoNeonate – 16:58, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
As PaleoNeonate notes above, we currently have the OED online US version defining Creationism as "The belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account, rather than by natural processes such as evolution.(source)" but go from that to describing natural processes as a scientific conclusion.
OtisDixon has tried changing our wording from "scientific conclusion that they came about through natural processes" to "naturalistic position that they came about through natural processes", while adding a dead link to a source which better supports the original wording. Steven Schafersman, "Naturalism Is Today An Essential Part of Science" as archived in October 2002 supports the point that methodological naturalism is inherent in science, and has been since the 19th century when science was defined by Herschel and Whewell.
We could use that source, or another, but worth modifying the wording. Suggest "as opposed to scientific explanations that they came about through natural processes." . . . dave souza, talk 17:02, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

The Creationism#Scientific_criticism section does not state that natural processes is a conclusion of science either. So the sentence in the lead is not supported by a source nor by the article.

The phrase 'scientific explanations' has the same unsupported problem. You need to find a source that says that, else it is just OR. OtisDixon (talk) 17:21, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

Indeed, Methodological Naturalism is the foundation for scientific methodology. But Schafersman says that Metaphysical naturalism is a philosophy that maintains that nature operates by the laws of physics, i.e. natural processes, and Naturalism is a metaphysical philosophy opposed primarily by Biblical creationism. Thus it is Naturalism's point of view that nature operates by natural process and so science follows suit. And, Naturalism opposes Creationism therefore so does science based on Methodological Naturalism. So I believe that "naturalistic position that they came about through natural processes," is more accurate than the original statement. OtisDixon (talk) 17:52, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

This is a "sky is blue" thing. The scientific method looks at measurable things which, yes, occur in "nature" and the scientific method limits hypotheses to those that are testable via things you can measure. There are no big metaphysics here; it is practical thing. This article is not going to define "science". Creationists need to figure out what stances to take with regard to what science tells us - rejecting it or accommodating it, to various degrees. Most of the article is about that. Jytdog (talk) 18:01, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
re OtisDixon , from Schafersman; "Science, as I hoped everyone understood by now, requires at least methodological naturalism; supernatural explanations, therefore, are illegitimate .... there is at least one criterion of legitimate science that correctly identifies scientific creationism and all forms of supernatural explanation in science as pseudoscience. This is the criterion of testability. It dates from the beginning of the nineteenth century when scientists began to explicitly eschew supernatural explanations, and it was quickly recognized and identified in the work of the first philosopher of science, John Herschel, who is responsible for first explicating the hypothetico-deductive method of science." Also, "Because evolutionary scientists supposedly are caught up in a metaphysical viewpoint that rejects the possibility of a creator, creationists contend that evolutionists are unable to countenance evidence for supernatural intervention in the history of life. Actually, modern science has omitted the supernatural for methodological, not philosophical, reasons". That's directly contrary to your proposed "naturalistic position that they came about through natural processes" – as Schafersman says, "All theistic scientists adopt such methodological naturalism, as well as the 40-50% of the U.S. population who believe in science, evolution, and also in God, the view known as "theistic evolution". So, your wording doesn't work. . . dave souza, talk 18:17, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Interestingly I tend to see this argument a lot lately, that science could simply be reduced to philosophy. As Dave pointed out, in other words, it simply has to deal with what it can, which is the observable, the mesurable, etc. The success of this method is obvious through technology advancements and how sciences converge into multidisciplinary ones rather than sectarizing like traditions. This reminds me of those who accuse of pseudoskepticism those who investigate alleged spiritual phenomena scientifically and discover other means through which these illusions derive. They claim that they are refusing to "look at the spiritual evidence" or wait until it shows, which is simply not manifest to study... And we have such example at Wikipedia-famous WP:ARBPS: "Pseudoskepticism is the willfully blind deprecation of viable, and often truthful, scientific beliefs. Pseudoskepticism derives from a generally authoritarian ideology, and the scientific beliefs that pseudoskeptics blindly dismiss are consequentially usually the ones that are not supported by the current majority of academic authorities". Are physics "authoritarian"? The world doesn't bend to our wishful thinking, sure... Are those who understand that pseudoskeptics? How can scientific understanding be reduced to philosophy, ideology or politics alone? —PaleoNeonate – 18:50, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Yeah it is a funky kind of relativism jujutsu. Jytdog (talk) 22:09, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
I've struck the edits of a sockpuppet, see Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Allenroyboy/Archive. Doug Weller talk 10:12, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

Creationism & pseudoscience[edit]

(Note: conversation belongs here, so I copy/pasted from my talk page. Jim1138 (talk) 22:33, 5 November 2017 (UTC))

I have so many questions about your edit. First of all, the page says "promoting belief in pseudoscience". Pseudoscience applies to many topics, such as phrenology, psychic powers, spiritual healing, etc. Does that mean creationists believe in all of the listed topics? If not, either a clarification should be made, or the wording should be altered. Secondly, why do you so insist in this particular wording? My rewording didn't change the factual content of the sentence and didn't alter the meaning in any way - in addition to being less ambiguous and grammatically correct (removal of the superfluous the comma). I would really like to know the reasons.OlJa 22:23, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

@Oldstone James: This sort of conversation is best made on the article's talk page talk:Creationism. When one states they are "using science to solve x" That doesn't mean they are using all science. Saying it's pseudoscience doesn't mean it covers the gamut. Jim1138 (talk) 22:33, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
@Jim1138: You seem to agree with me, yourself explaining why your edit is wrong. Saying it's pseudoscience does NOT mean it covers the gamut - which is why I wanted to change the wording to "and is widely regarded as pseudoscience in the scientific community" rather than "promoting belief in pseudoscience", because the latter does indeed imply they believe in all of pseudoscience.OlJa 22:35, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
@Jim1138: I've come up with another wording which literally has no effect on the article: "and instead promote pseudoscientific beliefs". OlJa 23:36, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Flat earthism[edit]

Oldstone James has insisted on adding a paragraph about "flat earth creationism" sourced to While some varieties of flat earthism can be described as a form of biblical literalism, this view is not particularly associated with creationism as discussed in this article. I'm not sure how well accepted as a reliable source, but it sources its statements about flat earth to a website that itself does not make any particular connection to creationism, so it seems likely that the writer of the article is conflating creationism with biblical literalism. The second part of the paragraph is sourced to a one-event twitter stream and does not appear to even mention Kyrie Irving. On Kyrie Irving the flat earth claim appears to have been withdrawn as "joking". In sum, I agree with Black Kite's removal. — jmcgnh(talk) (contribs) 00:25, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Maybe relevant could be [1] but it's mostly about the geocentric dome view. —PaleoNeonate – 00:48, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
I’ve reverted the bit sourced to, based on this discussion at the reliable source notice board. As I was poking away at this tablet, the bit about “pseudoscientific beliefs” vs. “believe in pseudoscience” also got reverted. If someone wants to put that part back, I won’t object. Just plain Bill (talk) 01:08, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
"1. One of the oldest associations of creationists is the Flat Earth Society ... Their view is that the earth is covered by a solid dome ... attempts to "prove" the earth is round are biased, politically driven propaganda."[1]
(as #1 in a list of 10 Christian Creationism types). —PaleoNeonate – 21:33, 10 November 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Encyclopedia of Anthropology. 1. Christian-Based Creationism: Sage publications. 2006. p. 588. 

"Obscure + largely discounted"? Who says? Prove it.[edit]

Calling something "Largely discounted" that's part of a subject that itself is largely discounted is like saying the kettle is blacker than the pot -- when the pot is already about as black as you can get. It's like the pot trying to appear less black by finding a scapegoat in the kettle. "Those fools who take geocentrism with their creationism are crazy, therefore I (who taketh my creationism without geocentrism) am not!"  :-)

But anyway, "Obscure + largely discounted" is not subject of the section. It's not even mentioned in the section, and not cited too. Rather, the fact of Geocentrism being sometimes included in Creationism is the subject. I renamed it "Geocentrism" for the time being. If someone want's to name it something else suitable, go ahead. But "Obscure + Largely Discounted" is out because it's an original analysis totally out of someone's back side. (talk) 09:02, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

This section also includes the Omphalos hypothesis however. —PaleoNeonate – 17:47, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Adding: while we can easily find sources about that they're discredited, it's very obvious, so this was not original research. —PaleoNeonate – 17:49, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
I think "Obscure and largely discounted beliefs" was presuming too much as a section title. I thought it better to simply break out the two beliefs being treated; each has its own article so all that was needed here was a very brief summary of what those other articles say. I think it's true that they are largely discounted, but geocentrism is not really obscure while omphalos is pretty obscure, at least by that name. I've done the split and hope that this is a satisfactory resolution. If not, more discussion will be needed. — jmcgnh(talk) (contribs) 19:27, 10 December 2017 (UTC)
Looks fine to me, thanks, —PaleoNeonate – 19:32, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

I'm pleased with it too. (talk) 19:53, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

Jehovah's Witnesses[edit]

I strongly object to this edit by Jeffro77. The edit had the summary, "clarify JW position", but the change in fact distorted the official position of the Jehovah's Witnesses, by prefacing it with the statement that the Jehovah's Witnesses "adhere to a form of day-age creationism". I find that edit and the reason given for it extremely disingenuous. In no sense does it "clarify" the position of the Jehovah's Witnesses to counter their clear official statement about what they believe with an editor's opinion based on two Jehovah's Witnesses' publications (Insight on the Scriptures and Was Life Created?). Doing so egregiously violates WP:NOR. I happen to have a copy of the publication Was Life Created? and it does not state that the Jehovah's Witnesses accept day-age creationism or any form of creationism. Jeffo77 thus unfortunately appears to have engaged in reprehensible misrepresentation and misuse of a source, by using Jehovah's Witnesses publications to try to suggest that their position is something other than what they say it is. I also deplore this edit by Jytdog, which removed outright the official position of the Jehovah's Witnesses about what they believe. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 01:21, 28 January 2018 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles are based on secondary sources; we are not a proxy for anybody's website and using primary sources this way is very suboptimal.
As an example, most catholics reject the church's teaching on birth control, and many reject the church's teaching on abortion. Trying to say "catholics reject birth control and abortion" sourced to the vatican website would be very bad editing. Secondary sources are essential for what we do here.
As this issue seems to be very important to you, can you please some independent secondary source that describes what most JW believe and what the official teaching is, and puts those together so you can avoid the SYN of doing the juxtaposition yourself? Accurately summarizing what high quality, independent secondary sources say, is the best way to get edits to stick. Jytdog (talk) 04:15, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
There is no requirement that Wikipedia use only secondary sources. It is perfectly reasonable to use the official website of the Jehovah's Witnesses as a source for what they say they believe. The material you removed makes it clear that we are concerned here with the official teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses as a religious body, so the comparison you try to make with Catholic views of abortion is incorrect. The language could be clarified further to prevent any possible misunderstanding, however. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 04:40, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
If this is an official long-standing should be no problem finding secondary sources.--Moxy (talk) 04:41, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
Unnecessary. There is no reason whatever why the official JW website cannot be used as a source for describing the official position of the Jehovah's Witnesses on any given topic, and that's what we are concerned with here, not with what individual Jehovah's Witnesses happen to believe. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 04:44, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
The Chryssides secondary source actually reflects their beliefs. The primary source magazine article denies the creationist label, claiming that it can only be used to describe young earth creationism (which is itself a false premise). I would not object to using this primary source to add that they deny the label claiming that it only pertains to YEC personally, but I agree that a secondary source should ideally be used instead. In any case, it should not replace the Chryssides source. Thanks, —PaleoNeonate – 17:48, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
I would just like to add: List of Watch Tower Society publications#Evolution vs creation. —PaleoNeonate – 15:43, 29 January 2018 (UTC)

"by using Jehovah's Witnesses publications"

Wait a minute. We are using sources affiliated to the organization as reliable sources? Per Wikipedia:Identifying and using independent sources (an essay), sources which are too closely affiliated with their subject may fail Wikipedia's requirements for independent or third-party sources. Dimadick (talk) 22:50, 28 January 2018 (UTC)

Indeed, thanks for the input, —PaleoNeonate – 15:43, 29 January 2018 (UTC)