Talk:Faith healing

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RfC about inserting content and category about pseudoscience[edit]

Should we include content and category describing Faith healing as a pseudoscience? Raymond3023 (talk) 18:25, 3 March 2018 (UTC)


  • Support - I had added it years ago[1] but my edits were quickly removed.[2] But the fact remains that when much older and sophisticated medical systems like Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese medicine, etc. are categorized and described in their articles as pseudoscience, then Faith healing is clearly not an exception. There are enough reliable sources[3][4][5][6][7][8] that describe Faith healing as pseudoscience, more often than those who call Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese medicine a pseudoscience. Raymond3023 (talk) 18:25, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support We have many sources that describe faith healing as a pseudoscience because it makes claims (many that cite specific diseases, such as cancer) to be medically effective. Note that mere faith in God isn't pseudoscience. But faith healing goes beyond that — and makes claims that following certain systems, practitioners, or procedures will produce scientific results. - LuckyLouie (talk) 18:57, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. The right question is, why does RS say? From a quick look it seems many sources say this is pseudoscience e.g.[9]. So, Wikipedia should mirror RS.
[Add, after being reminded of this at WT:MED: Kingofaces43 further makes a good point that policy says we must be prominent in our labeling of pseudoscience. The "counter-arguments" such as they are seem to rest on an assumption that a preponderance of sources need to label FH as pseudoscience for Wikipedia to do so, but this is wrong – it is akin to saying that we should not categorize table salt as a "sodium mineral" because only a small number of sources do so - most are concerned with culture and food. By the argument that a preponderance must exist before pseudoscience can be asserted, even canonical pseudoscience such as homeopathy would not be called pseudoscience, since the majority of literature on that topic discusses effectiveness, and not its classification as a knowledge system. This, in fact, is a frequent argument made by WP:PROFRINGE editors for altering our homeopathy article! What counts for our purposes are sources which consider the question of whether FH is pseudoscience, which appear to be both respectable and unanimous on the question]. Alexbrn (talk) 18:39, 3 March 2018 (UTC); amended 17:19, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Sources call it pseudoscience, so Wikipedia should call it pseudoscience. That it is based on magical thinking supports its classification as pseudoscience. Dimadick (talk) 20:21, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per User:WhatamIdoing in the last RfC: "There is a significant academic study of faith healing, and that academic study is almost entirely uninterested in pseudoscience." StAnselm (talk) 09:43, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
No, Wikipedia cannot pass exception to personal opinion of editor on this subject. We will have to report what WP:RS state. Find some sources that prove Faith healing is not a pseudoscience. Raymond3023 (talk) 10:52, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
No, in fact, you have made a positive assertion that it is pseudoscience with shaky evidence at best based on the personal opinion of some researchers cited as somehow authoritative when they are not. The study of a phenomenon is Not Pseudoscience. If it is, then study of Evolution, Anthropology, Psychology, and other fields are all pseudoscience. There is ZERO justification for this claim of pseudoscience except the shaky opinions of SOME researchers. desmay (talk) 06:32, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
User:StAnselm see Quackery#Criticism_of_quackery_in_academia and the conclusion of this review: "God may indeed exist and prayer may indeed heal; however, it appears that, for important theological and scientific reasons, randomized controlled studies cannot be applied to the study of the efficacy of prayer in healing. In fact, no form of scientific enquiry presently available can suitably address the subject. Therefore, the continuance of such research may result in the conducted studies finding place among other seemingly impeccable studies with seemingly absurd claims (Renckens et al.42 2002). Whereas we have attempted to be scientifically and politically correct in our critique, other authors, such as Dawkins,43 have been humorous, nay even scathing, in their criticism." Jytdog (talk) 15:22, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Arguments by supporters above are compelling, indeed it is surprising that the article is not an established and long serving member of Cat:Pseudoscience. -Roxy, the dog. barcus 11:12, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - You cannot state in Wikipedia's voice that "Faith healing is regarded as Pseudoscience." based on a couple of sources, and the other sources do not even support such a declarative statement. Faith healing is not pseudoscience for purposes of categorization any more than any other religious/spiritual/philosophical topic that professes certain beliefs. Pseudoscience is a claim, belief or practice which is incorrectly presented as scientific. Some faith healing claims may be pseudoscientific, but this subject as a whole is not. All of the participants from the last RfC should be notified of this one. That would not be canvassing. I can't help but notice that this was already advertised at FTN.- MrX 🖋 11:29, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
You cannot use Wikipedia for fringe POV pushing. Don't cherry pick because every source described faith healing as pseudoscience. Others can also read if they have supported. Raymond3023 (talk) 12:34, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm glad we agree on that. Do you want to revise your list of cherry-picked sources, and perhaps change your wording so as not to imply that four of the sources say something that they don't?- MrX 🖋 12:37, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
We need to follow sources yes. What we mustn't follow is own definition of pseudoscience and - particularly - our own ideas about how it applies in this case. Such an approach is not based on policy and so won't carry any weight. Approaching a select group of people with a predominantly known view would of course be very naughty. I must say I'm a little surprised that RS seems so clear on the matter; I live and learn! Alexbrn (talk) 13:04, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose. Looking at the sources above by Raymond3023, some describe this as pseudoscience. Others use qualified statements (e.g. "certain approaches to faith science are psuedoscientific"). Others do not make such a claim (e.g. [10] - where these appear near, but no direct tie-in). Casting a wider net - it seems many sources treat this as a divine belief or religious belief - e.g. Britannica or The Encyclopedia of Phobias, Fears, and Anxieties, Third Edition, [11]. The question shouldn't be whether we can find sources describing Faith Healing as a pseudoscience - but what the majority of sources say about faith healing. Representing religious beliefs as a pseudoscience is a very slippery slope... As such presentations may be found regarding more significant religious beliefs.Icewhiz (talk) 15:09, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Speedy Close This is simply a repetition of this RfC where the community answered the above questions in the negative. We don't keep voting on a given question until we get the desired result. -Ad Orientem (talk) 15:15, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Well clearly this view is gaining no traction. -Ad Orientem (talk) 19:28, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
A new RfC can be filed after every few months. The closure was problematic and the RfC was clearly not even popularized. See WP:STONEWALLING, WP:VERIFY, WP:NPOV and focus on content. Raymond3023 (talk) 16:05, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Filing RfC's on the same subject every few months would almost certainly be considered WP:TENDENTIOUS. As for the previous RfC it was extremely lengthy, and the close was reviewed and endorsed. -Ad Orientem (talk) 16:17, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
It was closed based on the reasoning that the sources did not support calling it pseudoscience. This is clearly not the case now. I don't know if the change is the result of new sources being published or the result of existing sources being discovered, but there is clearly justification for a new RfC. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:02, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
There is also the problem of this RfC failing to mention the previous one, which means it was not neutrally worded per RfC guidelines. StAnselm (talk) 19:20, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
No - Cogan's opinion should not be put into WP voice, and that is not enough for categorisation. StAnselm (talk) 19:20, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps something more basic Bill Leonard; Jill Y. Crainshaw (2013). Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the United States: A - L. ABC-CLIO. p. 625. ISBN 978-1-59884-867-0. .--Moxy (talk) 04:02, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, but that is talking about "certain approaches to faith healing..." StAnselm (talk) 04:04, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
like the ones in the article. Why can we mention them but not there position in society.--Moxy (talk) 04:23, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong support The most reliable sources frequently use faith-healing as a visible, easily understood and widely recognized example of pseudoscience, and there is no logically consistent argument against doing so. An applied science is just as subject to misrepresentation as a basic science. The fact that it is religious in nature is immaterial; faith healing is not faith, full stop. Faith healing is not a ritual, full stop. Faith healing is purported to actually make changes in the world which can supposedly be measured. But when investigators attempt to measure those changes, they find either that there is no change, or that other factors produced it. This has all of the "red flags" of psueodscience, as well: practitioners use it to make large amounts of money while denouncing materialism. Practitioners fake results and avoid scrutiny. Practitioners accuse their critics of being part of a conspiracy. Believers pay lots of money, often in an attempt to avoid paying more money for the "services" provided. Believers go out of their way to accuse mainstream science (which rejects it) of pushing a dogmatic view, while pushing a dogmatic view themselves.
The "problem" with it being religion is the assumption that, because it's a common thing, it's a natural outgrowth of religion. It is not. It is a pseudoscience which has attached itself to religion for the purpose of avoiding scientific scrutiny. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:09, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support: The vast majority of reliable sources say that if someone prays for God to heal them, that's religion, not pseudoscience, but if they claim that God responds and that they were healed, that's pseudoscience. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:30, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose: The article defines faith healing as basically any prayer, laying on of hands and/or belief that faith in God or God can effect healing. Therefore, if faith healing is categorized as pseudoscience without qualification essentially Wikipedia will be saying that all Christians who believe in divine healing are making scientific claims rather than religious claims. That is not how most Christians think of healings-i.e. as making provable scientific claims-for many people healing is simply a divine act that is mysterious. Ltwin (talk) 18:18, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
This contribution has no reference to sources or policy. Disregard. Alexbrn (talk) 19:01, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
The article says "Believers assert that the healing of disease and disability can be brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or other rituals" Ltwin characterizes this as "belief that faith in God or God can effect healing". The healing either happens more often than random chance would predict or it doesn't. There are no sources that establish that the healing happens more often than random chance would predict, so by definition it is pseudoscience. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:24, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
You are assuming that everyone who believes in faith healing also claims that prayer (etc.) will always result in healing. Most religious people do not claim that prayer must result in healing, only that it can. Also, most religious people would also believe in faith healing while also making use of modern medicine, so in many cases recovery gained through medical means would also be seen as an answer to prayer, thus faith healing. Are there some people out there who present faith healing in scientific terms? Yes, probably. But it would not be correct to say that all faith healing is pseudoscience. What ever happens, this distinction between different types of faith healing needs to be made clear. Simply believing that God performs miracles of healing (sometimes through means of prayer and other human actions) would not be psuedoscience. Ltwin (talk) 19:51, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Just looking closely at the sources linked at the start of this section: The Science Education link doesn't specifically identify faith healing as pseudoscience. Rather it lists a bunch of examples of pseudoscience like iridology and acupuncture and then goes on to identify faith healing as "based on paranormal beliefs." So, while faith healing presents many of the same problems as psuedoscientific treatments, the source identifies faith healing as paranormal not pseudoscience. The Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the United States says "Certain approaches to faith healing are also widely considered to be pseudoscientific" but it does not say all faith healing is pseudoscience. In Philosophy of Pseudoscience, faith healing is included in a longer list of concepts described as "either psuedosciences or at least lack the epistemic warrant to be taken seriously." Ltwin (talk) 20:27, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
By that measure Haruspex or witchcraft would be pseudoscience as well. Pseudoscience generally requires disciples claiming to follow scitentific methods (while engaging in quakery). Most faith healers do not present themselves as a scientific endeavor.Icewhiz (talk) 19:37, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Exactly. If this passes, as I say in the discussion section, then the pseudoscience language and category should also be placed on Wish. Faith healing is prayer, it's a wish. Nothing physical exists or is passed along in the process. The definition of 'Faith' should be taken into account in the close. Randy Kryn (talk) 20:04, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Nah -- I don't see any sources for that. Wishful thinking, though? Why not? jps (talk) 16:34, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong support Faith healing is making a testable claim, just as remote viewing, mediumship or Nessie. Clearly pseudoscience.Sgerbic (talk) 19:34, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, Alexbrn basically summed up my thoughts - it all depends on what the sources say. If it's mostly referred to as pseudoscience, why should we call it anything else? SEMMENDINGER (talk) 20:04, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support: Sources say: pseudoscience. Therefore Wikipedia says: pseudoscience. QED. --Hob Gadling (talk) 20:26, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. It's absolutely pseudoscience if one attributes the therapeutic effects to supernatural causes. There is, on the other hand, some sourcing to support that it is a scientifically real placebo effect, and that placebo effects have a legitimate place in health care. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:32, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. There are faith healers who make claims that their outcomes are empirically verifiable. However, upon investigation, no claims of any faith healers have been shown to be empirically verified. This is the sense in which faith healing stands as a kind of pseudoscience. Faith healing, of course, is a broad subject which can include aspects that are separate from pseudoscience. Many people who study faith healing may be uninterested in the pseudoscientific aspects of the subject. That does not mean the subject should not be categorized as pseudoscience. Since we have extremely reliable sources which identify the pseudoscientific aspects of faith healing, it seems reasonable to categorize it as pseudoscience in order to help the reader know where this lies in the epistemology of empirical claims. jps (talk) 20:35, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Sources peg it pretty squarely as pseudoscience as described above. An RfC really shouldn't have been needed for this. I know some people like to give some deference to religion and faith related subjects for avoiding the pseudoscience label as MrX pointed out above, but this is an empirical claim that falls under pseudoscience regardless of belief or not. Even talking about a potential placebo effect still puts this in the realm of pseudoscientific claims even if there's been academic study of the subject. The category is simply saying that the subject at least in part deals with pseudoscience. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:03, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
I did at bit more digging and I found a few more sources (unless I missed them being mentioned previously) that explicitly call out faith healing as pseudoscience.[12][13][14] At this point, trying to claim faith healing is not pseudoscience or removing that categorization is a violation of WP:PSCI policy, which needs to be enforced regardless of the outcome of this RfC. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:37, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Please do not mess up this RfC with threats like that - rather, the outcome of this RfC will be about whether WP:PSCI policy applies to this article. As far as the articles you cite go, (1) does not explicitly state FH is PS: it merely mentions in passing that "faith healing's effectiveness is unproven..." (2) mentions in passing one particular "ancient form of faith healing" (the Royal touch) which "has adopted a pseudoscientific veneeer"; (3) merely mentions FH in passing. StAnselm (talk) 02:49, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
WP:PSCI is policy, not "messing up" anything. Also please don't violate WP:PSCI by misrepresenting those sources. 1 talks about faith cures being "scientifically suspect", "based on fraud and deception", etc. in the context of pseudoscience, while 2 & 3 explicitly list faith healing as an example of pseudoscience. Otherwise, the threaded discussion where additional comments are appropriate rather than here is below. Kingofaces43 (talk) 15:43, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
I'll tack on a bit to my original comment here rather than edit the original. I've gone through the oppose !votes and found them to carry very little weight if one is correctly understanding pseudoscience. There's a lot of special pleading that faith healing isn't making any scientific claims when it is clearly making an empirical medical claim (do X and result is healing). You only need to make a statement of fact about the natural world (i.e., recovering from illness) not grounded in science (i.e., claims that God healed you are unfalisfiable) to make it a pseudoscientific claim. That kind of special pleading actually happens a lot in psedusocientific/fringe topics, especially in religion, so it would violate WP:PSCI to give such arguments significant weight. Special pleading about religion being involved still violates WP:PSCI and contradicts sources that specifically call it out as such for the practice itself. We can't accept arguments that are used in defending pseudoscience to say a subject isn't pseudoscientific.
The other is a claim I'm seeing is that most sources do not specifically say pseudoscience. This is another misunderstanding of pseudoscientific topics as while we usually do have sources calling it out in terms of WP:FRINGE, they do not always specifically use the word pseudoscience. There is a huge difference in terms of a fringe source calling a topic fringe/PS and having multiple sources say it is fringe with a subset specifically saying it is pseudoscience. WP:PARITY also applies in fringe subjects, so the closer has a lot to sort through here that's not really in line with policies and guidelines on fringe subjects. As it stands, WP:EVALFRINGE is clear in that when reliable sources claim something is pseudoscientific (and I have yet to see a source directly claiming it is not pseudoscience), we simply state that in Wikipedia's voice. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:47, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Here's a source that directly says that it's not, since you asked:
"Cures allegedly brought about by religious faith are, in turn, considered to be paranormal phenomena but the related religious practices and beliefs are not pseudoscientific since they usually have no scientific pretensions."
To be fair, most books that discuss faith healing don't care about this question at all, but there are at least a handful that directly disagree with the claim that religion can be pseudoscientific. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:39, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
I had already cited a source using that same line actually.[15] They label it as paranormal instead, which as discussed in other areas of this RfC, is the claim that the explanation for an empirical claim lies scientific explanation, a subset of pseudoscience (to which we have an excerpt from other source explaining here). The source you cite explains that the practice itself is not pseudoscience (e.g., the act of praying) but the pseudoscience/paranormal comes into play when you make the empirical claim of healing. In reality, the source is not saying faith healing isn't pseudoscience, so we need to be careful about that.
As for "most books", WP:PARITY has already been mentioned a few times. It's pretty clear that fringe/pseudoscience topics tend not to get as much critical attention because people don't take them seriously. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:54, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Adding on another source to my main comment, but it looks like the pseudoscience label may even go so far as to satisfy WP:RS/AC. We do have sources specifically stating that nearly all scientists and philosophers consider faith healing pseudoscience.[16]
  • are either pseudoscience or at least lack the epistemic warrant to be taken seriously ... That's less than helpful it seems to me, since much of this exact debate is whether it is a pseudoscience proper, or simply lacks the epistemic warrant to be taken seriously, while not being a bonafide pseudoscience. GMGtalk 14:44, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose calling religious activities any kind science, pseudo- or otherwise. This feels like the endless battle, which will never end until a couple of editors get a pejorative term into this article.
    It happens that I was reading a fun article about something similar the other day, in which a minister suffered from frequent migraines for years, did a prayer ceremony, and the migraines stopped immediately and permanently. Now he's an atheist and says the timing was coincidental. (Migraines sometimes do just stop. I know someone who claims that her migraines were cured by getting a divorce.) I don't even know how you would actually study that kind of claim scientifically.
    I think that the big problem is that editors aren't thinking about what the word pseudoscience actually means. Here's a sample of definitions that were discussed in the last RFC:
  1. a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.- Oxford Dictionary
  2. a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific- Merriam Webster
  3. Pseudoscience includes beliefs, theories, or practices that have been or are considered scientific, but have no basis in scientific fact. - Your Dictionary
  4. a discipline or approach that pretends to be or has a close resemblance to science - Collins Complete
  5. A pseudoscience is a belief or process which masquerades as science in an attempt to claim a legitimacy which it would not otherwise be able to achieve on its own terms-
  6. A pseudoscience is a set of ideas put forth as scientific when they are not scientific.- Skeptic's Dictionary
Note how different those definitions are from "anything that makes claims that could be measured empirically". I don't see anything in any high-quality sources that meets any of these definitions. If you've seen a reliable source writing, e.g.,
  1. that most people think religious activities are based on the scientific method,
  2. that faith healing is actually, but erroneously, regarded as scientific,
  3. that faith healing is generally regarded as scientific,
  4. that faith healing pretends to be or resembles science,
  5. that faith healing masquerades as real science, or
  6. that faith healing is put forward as a scientific activity,
then please share those sources, because I haven't seen any such sources, and I don't think that anyone else has, either. We've got a handful of sources that use the word sloppily, in a manner that is inconsistent with its definition, but I've seen none that make claims consistent with the actual definition. There is more to science than merely the ability to observe empirical facts.
On the question of WP:UNDUE, when a basically identical RFC happened a while ago (see /Archive 3), I checked a bunch of sources. Basically, >95% of books and scholarly articles that mention faith healing, even briefly, don't mention pseudoscience at all. "These faith healers are all ineffective frauds" may be a popular topic for certain skeptics, but people who write about faith healing as a primary subject seem entirely unconcerned with its (non-)relationship to scientific methods. For example, most medical professionals write about how religious beliefs like this affect patients' decisions (especially end-of-life decisions), but they don't say that these beliefs are mistakenly regarded as scientific and/or anything else that would match any definition of pseudoscience. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:16, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose - this seems to hinge on the definition of “pseudoscience”... as I see it, faith healing does not pretend to be science at all... thus is incorrect to categorize it as pseudoscience. Is it Fringe? Yes, absolutely. Is it Quackery? Sure. But is it pseudo-SCIENCE? No. Blueboar (talk) 23:50, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
[17], [18], explicitly claimed by believers writing in popular science mags e.g. [19]. Yup. There genuinely are people that deluded. Guy (Help!) 23:59, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
I note that neither of these pages mention "pseudoscience". StAnselm (talk) 00:38, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support because (a) we have reliable third party sources for the statement, which is the end of it really, and (b) those are based on the provable existence of pseudo-scientific studies seeking to validate faith healing despite the absence of any remotely plausible mechanism by which it could work. Guy (Help!) 23:56, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support given the current definitions of the terms "Faith healing" and "pseudoscience" in Wikipedia. "Faith healing" has two components which are plainly stated in its name: faith and healing. Faith healing is not just prayer; critically, it is "claimed to elicit divine intervention in spiritual and physical healing". That healing part is absolutely a testable claim, which falls within pseudoscience's scope of claims made to be "factual, in the absence of evidence".--Gronk Oz (talk) 02:40, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
The healing part may be testable, but the faith/divine part obviously isn't. StAnselm (talk) 02:54, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
So write an article about faith alone and it won't be pseudo-science. But this article says "Believers assert that the healing of disease and disability can be brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or other rituals." Any time the proponents of something "assert that the healing of disease and disability can be brought about by X", that isn't a matter of faith, it's a matter of evidence. --Gronk Oz (talk) 14:37, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Gronk Oz, I think your very partial quote of the lead sentence is misleading. The whole thing says, "Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that are claimed to be scientific and factual, in the absence of evidence gathered and constrained by appropriate scientific methods". That's "claimed to be scientific AND factual", not just "factual" alone. Not all claimed facts are claimed to be scientific. You are setting up a definition in which every error of fact is pseudoscience. Let's say that I claim your real-world name is John. That claim is "factual, in the absence of evidence" (well, the absence of any evidence that I know about, anyway). Are you going to say that my claim is pseudoscience if I'm wrong (but maybe "science" if I'm correct)? I don't think so. But that's what you're arguing for here: "He claims that faith heals some people, and he's wrong, so that's pseudoscience". The logic is exactly the same as "She claims that X, and she's wrong, so that's pseudoscience".
(Also, Wikipedia isn't a reliable source, so quoting six words out of a Wikipedia article isn't the best we can do for figuring out what a word means.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:28, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
It's just not our job to select definitions we favour and crudely spin out an argument based on what we (mere Wikipedia editors) personally reckon about how it might apply. It is our job to get an expert source (i.e. from a philosopher of science who specializes in the demarcation problem) and see what that source says about pseudoscience and how it applies to faith healing. One such is Raimo Tuomela in: Tuomela R (1987). Pitt JC, Pera M, eds. Science, Protoscience and Pseudoscience. Rational Changes in Science: Essays on Scientific Reasoning. Springer. pp. 83–102. ISBN 978-94-009-3779-6.  — According to this faith healing is an obvious pseudoscience. Alexbrn (talk) 16:59, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
It actually is the job – the primary job – of editors to use words accurately, so that readers correctly understand the subject. We could certainly support a sentence that says "Alice Expert says that it is pseudoscience", but if we say, in Wikipedia's voice, "This is pseudoscience", then it's very important for that use of the word to correspond with standard definitions and uses of the term. What we don't want is for a reader to read "This is pseudoscience", to go look up that word in a dictionary, and then to say, "Ah, according to my dictionaries, Wikipedia is saying that faith healing is based on the scientific method and has a close resemblance to science! I learned something new today!" WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:50, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
What if we say......"certain approaches to faith healing have been classified as a pseudoscience"Bill Leonard; Jill Y. Crainshaw (2013). Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the United States: A - L. ABC-CLIO. p. 625. ISBN 978-1-59884-867-0. .--Moxy (talk) 17:59, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
The point is the demarcation problem is more complicated than can be solved with a cookie-cutter use of dictionary definitions by inexpert Wikipedia editors - which is why we need to follow how real experts address the exact question that is being posed here in reputable sources. Editors who really should know better are advancing their own views over those of relevant sources, and it won't do. Alexbrn (talk) 18:06, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
RFCs are for getting comments about how to improve articles, which includes finding ways around needlessly binary initial questions. I think we can improve this article without merely saying "Yes, this is 100% pseudoscience" or "No, it's not at all". WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:08, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
@Moxy: I'm happy with putting that in the article. I suspect most of us feel the RfC is really about whether to call FH a PS in WP voice. (In this way, this RfC isn't nearly as well-worded as the previous one.) I certainly think we could mention pseudoscience, and your quote is an excellent one. StAnselm (talk) 19:06, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Moxy, I could support a sentence that "certain approaches to faith healing have been classified as pseudoscientific" (although it might attract a [by whom?] tag). I gather from the article that it would be equally valid to write "certain approaches to faith healing have been classified as bad theology", and I'd be happy to say that, too (with suitable sources, etc.). On a related point, the "Scientific investigations" and "Criticism" sections should probably be re-worked thematically. Maybe it should be organized approximately as ==Results== (apparently poor for objective conditions/there's a reason that people think a "miraculous" outcome isn't an everyday thing), ==Relationship to science and medicine== (mostly none, but it affects medical practice and patient decisions), ==Theology and philosophy==, anything else? WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:08, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
I like these two pages from the source it explains a bit science vs non scientific vs pseudo. Massimo Pigliucci; Maarten Boudry (2013). Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-0-226-05182-6. .--Moxy (talk) 21:21, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, and it is Pigliucci - another expert on demarcation - who has said there is no simple "litmus test" for identifying pseudoscience. Nevertheless he says there is "remarkable agreement among virtually all philosophers that fields like ... faith healing ... are either pseudoscience or at least lack the epistemic warrant to be taken seriously". Which is why our article shall be clear on this matter. Alexbrn (talk) 21:58, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support This is a hoary old chestnut. I comment below in the threaded discussion JonRichfield (talk) 05:16, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose but for a lack of alternative. I don't know that faith healing practitioners regard themselves as doing scientific work. While definitely not science, it doesn't seem to belong in the pseudo-science category. I think it belongs in theological categories. Elmmapleoakpine (talk)
  • Strong Oppose largely per WhatamIdoing. In order to assign such an obviously negative descriptor in wiki voice to a subject as widely discussed as Faith Healing we would need evidence that this is not just an opinion cited in one or a handful of RS sources, but a consensus view. In other words we need to be able to say that it is the mainstream opinion, reflected by clear use of that language in a majority or at least preponderance of the reliable secondary sources that faith healing is a specie of pseudo-science. Otherwise this is UNDUE at the least, and perilously close to POV pushing. That said, I do think it would be acceptable and well supported to say that FH is highly controversial and has been described by some as a form of pseudo-science. But we can't label it in those terms using wiki-voice. Nor can we assign that category to it unless we can honestly say that this is clearly the consensus view in RS sources, which I do not believe to be the case. -Ad Orientem (talk) 19:45, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose Per WhatamIdoing and Ad Orientem who have provided the convincing arguments. The support arguments, I feel, are weak (I carefully considered them all in detail). Faith healing does not pretend to be scientific, nor does it claim to provide repeatable results (the scientific method); instead people simply pray to God in a group, almost always whilst embracing mainstream medicine as treatment at the same time. Praying and hoping for a divine intervention, either directly from God to the person or from God acting through doctors is a religious hope or belief - not a pseudoscience. Certainly there are, unfortunately, quacks and personality disordered people who present themselves as Christian and scientific for financial gain or the power of exploiting the vulnerable, who use pseudoscience to exploit the weak and vulnerable - such conmen exist everywhere. Only a tiny minority of faith healers actually present their practices in a scientific fashion that could be seen to be pseudoscience. The vast majority of sources, more than 95 percent of experts, do not consider faith healing to be a pseudoscience. For us to categorise faith healing would be a gross misrepresentation of the sources, by inflating a minority academic opinion to a majority viewpoint. In fact, the viewpoint that faith healing is regarded as a pseudoscience by experts could be argued (if we are to split hairs) a pseudoscience because the large majority of experts do not class faith healing as pseudoscience. It does seem to me that labelling faith healing as a pseudoscience is WP:POV pushing and gives excessive WP:UNDUE weight to minority academic viewpoints.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 23:56, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Could you comment on the book above we are talking about quote ""Despite the lack of generally accepted demarcation criteria, we find remarkable agreement among virtually all philosophers and scientists that fields like astrology, creationism, homeopathy, dowsing, psychokinesis, faith healing, clairvoyance, or ufology are either pseudosciences or at least lack the epistemic warrant to be taken seriously".....--Moxy (talk) 00:22, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, the source does not state whether most experts consider it a pseudoscience or lacks credibility to be taken seriously. The source gives two descriptors, one as pseudoscience and the other as not pseudoscience per se and does not state which one applies to faith healing. Certainly the large majority of experts believe that convincing evidence, in support of faith healing being effective, is lacking. For such a widely written about subject, the fact that there are no existing good quality sources that specifically states in black and white that most experts class faith healing as a pseudoscience, makes me think that the support argument is weak. Moxy, you can't use a vague/unspecific statement to then, using the voice of Wikipedia, to authoritatively state - as fact - that faith healing is pseudoscience.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 00:39, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
I would be mildly surprised if there were not thousands of discussions of FH in reliable secondary sources. There is no way we can attach a label like pseudo-science in wiki voice w/o strong evidence that this is a mainstream opinion, reflected by far more than the handful of cited sources. When Fidel Castro died there was a huge debate over whether he should be labeled a dictator in wiki voice. The community concluded that despite being so labeled in scores of reliable sources, that we could not do so w/o near unanimity. I'm not sure we need near unanimity, but a handful of cited sources out of likely thousands does not even come close to meeting the bar. -Ad Orientem (talk) 01:08, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
I do like the oppnion of User:Literaturegeek. But I would ask why don't we explain that the academic community has difference views on this. I am simply not a fan of omission when we clearly have multiple sources describing the situation. Let's tell the our readers about the situation with sources so they can do more research on the this is the whole point of the project to guide our reader's to usable reliable sources.--Moxy (talk) 02:54, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that the fact that some academics view faith healing as pseudoscience and others have not reached this conclusion should be mentioned in the article. If you like my opinion and feel the alternative is to acknowledge that the academic community have differing views then I think you need to switch your vote from support to oppose.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 03:15, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
I also agree that the very controversial nature of FH needs to be mentioned. Nor, as I wrote above, do I object to mentioning that some have called it a form of pseudo-science. All of that is emphatically true and accurate, attested to in reliable sources. My strenuous objection is to any attempt to label FH as pseudo-science in wiki voice and to categorizing it as such which is effectively the same thing. There is nowhere near a consensus among RS sources to that effect. -Ad Orientem (talk) 03:44, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Ad Orientem, you are correct that faith healing is mentioned in thousands of potentially reliable sources, and >95% of them don't mention pseudoscience at all. 23:35, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Had a little flick through the sources in this article, specifically clicking on the ones of a more skeptical bent. They generally don't use the word "pseudoscience" to describe it. Also per WhatamIdoing, it's not claimign to be science to be pseudoscience in the first place. Not everything in the world has to be framed in terms of some kind of grand rational skepticism Wikipedia battle all the time. Brustopher (talk) 09:52, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose - This again ? Do not be silly, this does not meet the category definition “claim or appear to be scientific”, or seePseudoscientific. As long as faith healing credits faith as the means then it is not claiming to be science. Claims that it works or submitting to a study does not change that laying on hands and calling on Jesus is not the scientific method. Markbassett (talk) 05:33, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
p.s. It also is contrary to WP:PSCI as WP:UNDUE. When the vast majority of sources on the topic say no such thing, then it should not be in the article. Rare uses by someone that does have a noted prominence in discussions or gives detailed explanation may serve as a minority POV ... but random hits findable only by deep Google filters should tell you it is not DUE mention, and if you see it as a vague peroration and not detailed explanation or have to do interpretation instead of finding the word is just going to be OR. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 12:16, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, but as pseudoscientific, not as a pseudoscience; it's not "a" anything; this is a catch-all term for a wide range of not-medical practice.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:13, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, there is no claim of science or scientific method, as "faith" gives it a religious or spiritual meaning. Randy Kryn (talk) 14:13, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Have you actually read the article, and looked at the studies it cites? The fact that purportedly scientific studies have been conducted in order to attempt to validate the effects of faith healing absolutely refutes your point. Not everybody claims it to be science, but enough do that it has been credibly identified by multiple independent sources as a source of pseudoscience. Guy (Help!) 14:34, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose as a category error. We can say that scientific trials have failed to demonstrate that it "works", but it is inaccruate to claim that it has pretensions to science in the first place. Mangoe (talk) 22:25, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.--Moxy (talk) 00:42, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Then, Moxy and others, if this passes you're going to have to put the same language and category onto both the Christian Science page and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures page. Are you going to put Wikipedia, as an institution, in that position? Christian Science is a religion, not a scientific organization, and Wikipedia should treat religions as such and refrain from sticking other-than-religion descriptors onto our articles. Randy Kryn (talk) 01:33, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Both those articles are clear that the belief system replaces most medical techniques, thus it's clear so no need to say more. We should be linking sources for our readers that cover this topic. To me it's simple....don't leave our readers in the dark. Omission of every source discuss this is not doing right by our readers. This is not some fringe topic it's simply a debate in the academic community as to its classification. So far a couple of proposals for the wording have been made and I think they're both good..... they're good because they link information for our readers. I would agree to any wording that gets our readers to academic sources.-Moxy (talk) 01:49, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Then such language could be added here in the Christian Science section if it's not already, and as you say, there would be no need to add more. I don't know why the content and category asked for in this discussion wouldn't be added to the Christian Science and book page if this "passes". Labeling a religious practice as widespread as faith healing (the belief in prayer and mental processing of reality-creation) with the psedo-science descriptor must first assume that religious-based faith healing is passing itself off as a science in the conventional sense. Randy Kryn (talk) 02:22, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Mary Baker Eddy's theories are extremely fringe and are unrepresentative of the most aggressive promoters of faith healing within evangelical/pentecostal Protestantism. Our article on Christian Science makes clear in the first sentence that she really doesn't have anything to do with mainstream Christianity no matter how broadly it is drawn. It is wildly WP:UNDUE to appeal to her notions. Mangoe (talk) 02:51, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Not everyone claims it to be science, but there are enough people who do that there is a non-trivial literature of pseudoscientific studies of faith healing. Which is why independent sources identify it as such. Faith healing is not in and of itself pseudoscience, but the study of it, its use in medical practice, and its promotion in quackademic medicine, absolutely are. Guy (Help!) 14:34, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
I think that the editors opposed to this proposal are strongly agreeing with you that "Faith healing is not in and of itself pseudoscience". The proposal is to "include content and category describing Faith healing as a pseudoscience". The proposal is not as nuanced as your statement here, which indicates that it's not inherently pseudoscientific, even though it attracts nonsense/fraud/quacks/pseudoscholarship/whatever. I think that a lot of the opponents to this rather sweeping, oversimplified proposal would be satisfied by a more precise statement about "some, but not all". WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:39, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Include content rather obviously (it is a problem that as of this writing, the word "pseudoscience" does not appear in the body of the article when that viewpoint is readily verifiable); meh on the categorization. Raymond3023 linked a number of RSs that characterize the subject as pseudoscience, so per WP:DUE, inclusion of content that discusses that viewpoint is not subject to editorial discretion - it is within the scope of this article. Some here seem to be making the argument that the mainstream view is not unambiguous to meet WP:PSCI regarding the categorization; that seems a stretch to me but there is at least room for discussion there. VQuakr (talk) 02:53, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose Praying for healing is not pseudoscience and it is inflammatory that this suggestion is even being made. Perhaps the article needs more, but we have Peer reviewed literature to support faith healing being effective in many areas, and credible eyewitness medical accounts that cannot be written off as hysteria per credible sources. If you must be a Materialist you can write it off as placebo effect plus random chance if you like, but the documented effect is real. But even then you are taking an ideological position to assert this. There is nothing scientific about any such assertion or belief. Furthermore, anecdotal reports of Faith healing failing are just that: anecdotal. There are anecdotal reports of failure and worse with all sorts of drugs, as well as documented negative effects of same. There is no scientific, or logical, or factual basis on which to declare this pseudoscience. Such an assertion is purely ideological and purely a matter of subjective opinion. desmay (talk) 06:25, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
@Desmay: multiple sources have been presented that do classify faith healing as an example of pseudoscience, and per WP:DUE we are required to cover all significant viewpoints. Wikipedia is not censored, so whether content is inflammatory is not relevant. VQuakr (talk) 06:55, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Enough sources call it pseudoscience (mentioned above) that it would violate our NPOV policy to not mention it and categorise it as such. AIRcorn (talk) 10:37, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
    No, there are not enough sources calling it pseudo-science. I doubt that the number of sources using that language would amount to even 1% of the RS coverage of this subject. Assigning such a negative term and category based on this level of opinion is UNDUE at best and POV pushing at worst. To label something as pseudo-science we need a strong consensus among reliable sources backing that language. We are not even close to that. -Ad Orientem (talk)
    It is not the number of reliable sources that use psuedoscience overall that matter, but the number of reliable sources that use psuedoscience relative to those that describe this practice as effective or non-psuedoscience. AIRcorn (talk) 19:45, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. To the degree a claim is falsifiable, it is scientific. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 20:16, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Err, no. That is not anything like the dictionary definition of pseudoscience. Pseudo means resembling or masquerading as science or scientifically proven, when it is not. How does faith healing resemble or masquerade as science? Just because something lacks rigorous scientific evidence does not make it pseudoscientific.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 05:33, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Bearing in mind that the vast majority of people who engage in prayer for healing embrace mainstream medicine at the same time. Praying with the hope that God will heal or help doctors to heal them is hardly pretending to be scientific. Faith healing could be labelled as a form of complimentary medicine that lacks scientific proof.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 05:47, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
The definition of faith healing, from Wikipedia's page: "It can involve prayer, a visit to a religious shrine, or simply a strong belief in a supreme being" Where in that definition is science, or any use of or claim of medicine? No matter how many sources this issue may have, it's still silly for the encyclopedia to brand the topic with the pseudo science or medicine label. There is no medicine! There is no science! And look at the other pages branded with the label, their entire lead paragraphs are covered with negative bias, totally destroying the topic's image and credibility in the minds of the reading public right up front. This source-used-to-blast good faith technique has also been extensively used on the pages of vegetarian and vegan diets and doctors, at times to an almost jaw-dropping degree (jaw-dropped in good faith of course). Is this what's in store for this page? Destroy-in-good-faith the concept in the lead paragraph? Again from the page, faith healing "can involve prayer, a visit to a religious shrine, or simply a strong belief in a supreme being". Please point out the claims to science or medicine in these mental techniques: "prayer" and "believing". If someone or something is well-sourced to be financially or emotionally exploitive of the people who believe in faith healing, then that aspect of a sham should be pointed out. But the term "faith healing" itself does not include the con-artists. It is a mental or emotion activity on par with making a wish. And, as I point out above, the first nine-word sentence of Wish sums up the concept better than the entire lead paragraph of this page. Randy Kryn (talk)
This is the survey section so I'll keep it short, but for Where in that definition is science, or any use of or claim of medicine?, it looks like you forgot to also quote the sentence stating an empirical medical claim before the one you quoted, which essentially answers your own question. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:32, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support High quality sources state it is pseudoscience, and it presents falsifiable theories. Ignoring the proven fact that it does not work makes it pseudoscience, even if some sources do not call it that. Carl Fredrik talk 12:07, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
    • User:CFCF, what exactly is the "falsifiable theory" here? How do you scientifically prove that a supernatural being doesn't exist and didn't ever have any effect on any person's health? Read this story from a hematologist (and an atheist). How exactly do you falsify the patient's hypothesis that the only long-term second remission known to medicine is a miracle? (Typical survival with best medical treatment is 18 months. This patient – and only this patient – has survived 40 years so far.) I know that most people in this discussion are a lot more comfortable labeling that situation a "spontaneous remission" rather than a "miracle", and that most of us would simply say that she's wrong, but I cannot figure out how you would actually, properly falsify that claim that her (undisputed) healing came from a divine being. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:23, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
      • Because in order to have a working hypothesis you need to have a mechanism which the term miracle contains as an abrogation of the way events occur in nature. I will take it for granted that the null hypothesis is preferred, so if we formulate the "miracle" hypothesis into a working explanatory framework, it would have to fit into our understanding of how the universe works. Maybe that would entail arguing on behalf of the existence of a fifth force intervening in the world that preferentially saves one outlier due to the precise interactions between the neural firings amongst the patient and the patient's family and friends and the etiology of the condition. Fantastic. Can we entertain such a thing? Nope. That's where the falsification happens. At the level of being unable to explain the rest of what we understand. Since null hypotheses remain when your convoluted alternative fails, that's what whence the falsification occurs. jps (talk) 00:52, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
        • User:CFCF, if you use the falsifiable theory analogy (which is actually original research on your part because that is not the definition of pseudoscience), then the whole human condition of hope where there is no hope can be claimed to be pseudoscience. For example, an atheist or even a religious person or a doctor who advocates that positive thinking can work in a situation where it can be proven it doesn't, does this make them pseudoscientists? Of course it doesn't because they are not trying to back their claim up with bad or false science. It just means they are 'wrong' not 'pseudoscientific'. Something has to be dressed up as science to call it pseudoscience. The tiny minority of sources found to label Christian prayer as a form of pseudoscience therefore suck and are making demonstrably poor quality sloppy claims.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 08:53, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
          • In fact there is quite a lot of pseudoscience around "positive thinking" and illness.[20]. When we have got the the point where scholarly, reputably published works are being rejected because they apparently "suck", we've got to the point of absurdity. Alexbrn (talk) 08:57, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
            • Source does not mention pseudoscience, unless my browser keyword search failed me. Positive thinking is often a nonsense which that source on a cursory glance seems to agree but that does not make it a pseudoscience.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 09:12, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
            • Many people who are voting support produce an argument that seems to run along the lines of confusing 'unscientific' and 'pseudoscientific' but often these RfCs are a numbers game and the facts don't matter, lol..--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 09:56, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
              • To accuse people who in good faith are reflecting what sources describe as "pseudoscience" as being "confused" is problematic. You should read more on the subject before making such categorical declarations. See [21]. jps (talk) 16:34, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
        • Josh, it doesn't work that way, and I'm actually disappointed that you'd even say that. If the rule were actually "it doesn't fit into our understanding of how the universe works", then a good deal of Einstein's work on physics should have been called "pseudoscience" when he first proposed it. And the germ theory of disease. And evolution. And quite a lot of what we now accept as perfectly good scientific information that just happened to overturn the then-prevalent understanding of how the universe works. You falsify something by testing it – not by saying that it doesn't match our current knowledge and beliefs. You determine that something is falsifiable by actually designing a test that could disprove it – not by just saying that you're sure any test would fail, because it doesn't line up with your worldview. If you want to say that the existence of miracles is a falsifiable claim, then you have to actually figure out how to disprove it. So far, all you've done is say that you don't believe in miracles, which isn't the same as being able to prove anything. (You can certainly deny grant applications based on current beliefs, though. That's done perfectly routine.  ;-) WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:59, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
          • The point that miracles don't fit into our understanding of how the universe works is one that corresponds to the point that the miracles which have up to now been claimed directly contradict observed features of our universe. This is not GR or evolution which explained the features of the universe already known, resolved outstanding problems, and made further predictions that were subsequently verified. This is talking about the way we observe the universe to work and what phenomena are explained. jps (talk) 15:10, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
            • The point is that you don't falsify an idea by saying that it doesn't fit your worldview. So we have an observed feature of our universe: with the best current medicine, there are no long-term survivors of relapsed AML. We have an explanation: AML sucks. And we have an unexplained, but still observed feature of our universe: exactly one person, who happened to engage in faith healing, has lived 40 years with this situation. Now I don't think this necessarily proves anything: coincidences happen, a lot of cancer patients pray, and it could be that the long-term survival rate happens to be on the order of one in a million, so there will be a second survivor if we just wait long enough. That would add evidence to the "it just happens sometimes" hypothesis (assuming that this second survivor didn't also report engaging in faith healing activities). But I don't know how to actually test the claim that she's making, and I don't really see any way around that. The claim made depends upon claim idea that some non-natural/supernatural thing exists. The existence of a supernatural being cannot – by definition – by falsified through observations of the natural world (i.e., in the way that Karl Popper meant when he said that scientific claims should be falsifiable). Religion is not falsifiable. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:53, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
              • The question is: Can we formulate her claim into an empirical argument? I say we can. We can ask whether the existence of this outlier is surprising in a statistical sense. Now she might balk at such a suggestion, but as soon as someone make a truth claim it is up to others to decide how to evaluate it. Otherwise, we might as well accept the pontifications of those who believe the world is flat (and I don't mention this to be rude to the believer in miracles -- these points are complementary and need to be addressed). One can argue that a worldview that eschews a generalized empirical or scientific slant should be accepted on its own terms, but there is no categorical imperative to do this. So we need to see whether a scientific evaluation of the claim is possible. Since it clearly is (I can point to plenty of papers which look at this sort of thing rather plainly), it cannot just be a full-stop "no" on the question of whether science has anything to say about it. jps (talk) 15:39, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
              • In short, to say "Religion is not falsifiable" is making a blanket and unwarranted universalist claim about all religion in a highly problematic way. If someone says that their religion tells them the world is flat and therefore the world really is flat, the predicate of their argument is clearly a truth statement that we can falsify whether the believer thinks we should be able to or not. jps (talk) 15:42, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support We follow the sources, not draw our own conclusions. Sources say pseudoscience: so should Wikipedia. --RexxS (talk) 21:05, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • support We follow the sources. Jytdog (talk) 15:24, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
  • support per last 5 editors above--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 02:51, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - (Apologies for length.) Much of the substantive counter argument seems to be that at some level of unsophistication, a thing stops being un-scientific and starts being a-scientific. There are undoubtedly things that rise to the level of being a-scientific. Many of these lie at the depths of existential thought, questions like whether or not we (or rather I) have really been in the Matrix all along. In religion, probably also the more theologically nuanced opinions on the nature of the soul, or the fundamental and otherwise unqualified existence of a supreme being. But these are a-scientific because of their sophistication and not because of their simplicity. They are... somehow... defined in such as was so as to make them in some key fashion outside of our "collective non-fiction comic book universe" for the purposes of science.
Having said that, I find it hard to believe we would be having an equally nuanced discussion if the question were whether the laying on of hands could fix your car, and whether we should consider that un-mechanical (as practiced by pseudo-mechanics) or a-mechanical in a way that is distinct from and complementary to the dogmas of wrench wielding automotive skeptics. The central question there would be whether it was being preached, practiced and investigated as if it were a legitimate form of vehicle maintenance when it wasn't. Certainly we can tick lots of boxes here with regard to faith healing as a form of "medicine" which makes medical claims of fact that are either supported or unsupported by the best available medical evidence, and then modified accordingly, or maintained in-tact despite what we've learned.
The argument that it is offensive is irrelevant. The argument that it does not claim to provide repeatable results is demonstrably false, albeit with all the accouterments of modern apologetics. The argument from a man-in-the-street majority view is a bald faced appeal to popularity. The argument that there is no consensus in RS has potential, but I don't think is convincing once you discount the weight given to it by people who are themselves proponents of fairly wildly inaccurate claims regarding medical efficacy. These are not RS for the purposes of determining pseudo-scientific-ness. Whether faith healing is actually, but erroneously, regarded as scientific is self evident if you instead ask whether it is actually, but erroneously regarded as effective medical treatment which it clearly is by a great many. Medicine is a science, and pseudo-medicine is pseudo-science, as it would be if we were talking about quarts crystals. That one comes with uncomfortable theological dilemmas and the other doesn't is immaterial. Plenty of people have found a way to make peace with it, and it doesn't change the basic assertions of fact. Maybe it's all true and we've just been doing it wrong. That's something empirical inquiry can investigate, but for the time being, if it's an effective medical treatment, we haven't figured that bit out yet, but that hasn't stopped its proponents from marketing it like we have, and that's the part that makes it pseudoscience. GMGtalk 14:24, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Some problems with this analogy: There is an important difference between pseudoscience and religious faith/hope which I will explain as I feel you are missing this point in your post. Except for the occasional fringe preacher or scam conman faith healer, mainstream Christianity (and other religions) do not promote prayer for healing as a medicine in the sense that it can produce predictable/expected results the way science based medical treatments do. Instead, they teach quite the opposite of pseudoscience in that God is not like a magic wishing well who is under your command to answer prayers (produce predictable results [scientific method]), but that God will sometimes choose to answer prayers of the faithful (by the grace of God). Another problem is there is no attempt by mainstream religions who advocate prayer for healing to engage in pseudoscience in academic literature the way transcendental meditation folk do. An example of a pseudoscientific religious organisation and practice would be transcendental meditation technique because they actually do infiltrate the academic literature with biased studies and widely promote their religion to the public as being scientifically proven, etc. Christians who say a prayer for healing do not engage in this behaviour because they have a faith/hope that God can and will sometimes unpredictably answer a prayer for a sick person to get better without any attempt to dress their belief up falsely as scientifically proven with expected/humanly predictable results. This is why they use terminology such as the miracle(unpredictability lack of science) of prayer and not predictability(pseudoscience) of prayer. Therefore, there is no resemblance or attempt to resemble science - so prayer and worship of God for healing is not a pseudoscience, per the actual dictionary definition of pseudoscience. If prayer is labelled a pseudoscience, the whole human condition of hope can be labelled a pseudoscience and where does it end. For example, if an atheist (or a religious person for that matter) believes and states that positive thinking can help effect change in a situation (e.g. illness) where it can't, does this mean they are pseudoscientists?--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 08:33, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
The question is not whether "prayer" is a pseudoscience, it's whether faith healing is. Alexbrn (talk) 08:48, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, my message mentioned 'healing' from prayer which is by far the most common form of faith healing practised by perhaps a billion or more people to varying degrees. Obviously I am not talking about people who prayed for non-health issues like praying someone wins or loses an election.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 09:08, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
Maybe a couple of points for context, since it seems like we're approaching things with some different base assumptions. I live in Appalachia, and I was raised Pentecostal. When someone who is Pentecostal (at around 300 million worldwide) talks about the laying on of hands, they're literally talking about cancers being pulled from your body. Now, I'll be the first to admit that the communal practice itself may have many positive benefits, but when I talk of faith healing, I'm not exactly talking about Lutherans doing the equivalent of a form of meditation and sending well wishes that the chemo goes favorably; I'm talking about people like Oral Roberts healing a girl in front of a crowd at a revival, and that kind of spectacle still goes on, a lot. You might argue that that's not mainstream Christianity, and I might be inclined to agree, but... it's a thing... a significant thing in the US, and I don't think you can dismiss it out of hand as "the occasional fringe preacher or scam conman faith healer". I think it's probably more like "a substantial minority of Protestants". GMGtalk 10:52, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
Ok, so you are talking about a minority of Protestants, there lies the problem - this article is talking about all forms of faith healing; including the mainstream saying a simple prayer for a sick friend or relative or for people affected by a natural disaster. I watched the YouTube video and it does not look, to the trained or untrained eye, anything like science, so it can't reasonably be labelled a pseudoscience. A substantial minority is still a minority so it would be inappropriate to use a wide sweeping brush to label all faith healing according to what a minority do. I remain concerned that people voting support are thinking only of a small minority form of faith healing and are additionally confused what the definition of 'pseudoscience' is versus perhaps a more appropriate term 'unscientific'.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 07:44, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Template:Tq"... including the mainstream saying a simple prayer for a sick friend or relative ..." <- actually it's not about that, although you keep trying to argue the point. That is why our distinct Intercession article exists and is not merged in here. We probably need a hatnote here to point people off to that if they're after "simple prayer" type stuff. Alexbrn (talk) 07:52, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Mainstream prayer for healing of those affected by famine, a sick loved one, any healing prayer is faith healing per several mainstream dictionary definitions per this diff. Err an intercessory prayer, by definition, means praying for the benefit of someone else, so faith healing prayer is a form of intercessory prayer unless you are praying for one's own personal health. Lots of people voting support don't seem to have a good grasp of what relevant English language words actually mean, ugh.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 08:29, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Ugh. One could say that this is a tu quoque point. No one is claiming that faith healing is not a form of intercessory prayer. We are saying that the claim that faith healing == intercessory prayer is incorrect. "Faith healing" is a compound term as it is used in many of the sources that are discussing it in toto. Now, you are furthermore claiming that since intercessory prayer is practiced by more people than those who believe in faith healing (as I am describing it), therefore it is only right and good and proper to claim that faith healing == intercessory prayer. No dice. Return to the books written on the subject. They discuss it as the thing you assert (without evidence) is practiced only by a minority of Christians. I return to the question of what do the best sources describe faith healing as. I further ask, do these sources ascribe to it qualities of pseudoscience as described, broadly, in the best sources we have which deal with the question of what pseudoscience is. Until you are ready to have that conversation, I find your claims about the seeming lack of English language abilities of those who oppose you to be a case of WP:KETTLE. jps (talk) 18:00, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I think this is a key point. "Faith healing" seems to overlap with "intercessory prayer" enough to make it important to define what we're talking about. Is this article supposed to encompass theatrics on television but not the nun who thinks she was healed by praying to the former pope? Or the other way around? Or both?
(And if the answer is money-grubbing television shows but not the nun, then is "pseudoscience" the most important word, or should we be using words like "unconscionable fraud perpetrated upon vulnerable people"?) WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:06, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
I think demarcating what is or is not faith healing absolutely can only be done by reference to sources. We can try to come up with a straightforward means to say yea or nay, but ultimately, there is no one thing you can point to which says one thing is faith healing while another is merely wishful thinking, or meditations on niceties, or sincerely held conviction that makes no further claims on empirical reality, or etc.... So I don't think your question has an answer we can point to cleanly, but that doesn't mean that faith healing is therefore inoculated against the pseudoscience charge. Things are complicated and we ultimately need to decide how they are discussed in sources. I do not buy the claim that faith healing is generally separated from pseudoscience. Intercessory prayer may be, but faith healing is another beast. C.f. the book search. jps (talk) 15:48, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support and either split or refocus the article. This root of the problem is that this article covers three different topics: faith healing, intercessory prayer, and healing narratives in religious texts (I'll just say "Biblical narratives," from now on, but this article would ideally include narratives from the Quran and Hadith if the Islam section was more developed).
Regarding Biblical healing narratives: whether or how Jesus healed people 2000 years ago is inconsequential to this discussion. You can call it a matter of faith, mythical, both, or whatever, but the stories of the healing miracles were historically studied both literally and symbolically. That material needs to be on its own page, covering all major historical interpretations, instead of presenting only one interpretation as being possible.
Regarding intercessory prayer: asking God to ensure success with science-based medicine (i.e. medicine based on the Natural Laws that He instituted) is a fairly mainstream theological position. Material about that position more properly belongs in the Intercession article.
Regarding what this article should focus on: when someone these days refuses to give their kid real medical treatment because "God will heal them," they are operating from at one or both of the following positions:
-that miracles are as consistent and reliable as scientific law
-that physical healing (perhaps other material benefit) ultimately comes from spiritual faith, not physical science
In the first case, even going with Aquinas's definition of miracles that includes "what is wont to be done by the operation of nature, but without the operation of the natural principles," faith healing is still unnatural (i.e. against natural law, or as it's now more commonly known, science). Both theology and science agree that miracles are not scientific and do not operate in a scientific fashion. In the second case, one would only make faith healing their primary care method if they believed that science-based medicine is unnecessary or even antagonistic to healing. Even if, as modern followers of Christian Science do, the faith healer adherent allows for science-based medical care as complimentary to faith healing, they are still saying that it's unnecessary on some level. Those who outright refuse treatment have been taught and teach that science-based medicine is somehow poisonous. Now, they're entitled to their beliefs and also to interpret the Biblical healing narratives as justification for their beliefs -- but we need not treat their interpretation as the only one. In either case, they are making false claims about the scientific reliability of their belief, or they are making false claims about the reliability of science. Ian.thomson (talk) 19:23, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
As a talk page discussion about faith grows longer, the chances of linking to Aquinas approach 1. GMGtalk 19:32, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
And by a Baptist, no less! Ian.thomson (talk) 19:37, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This should be a no-brainer. Faith healing as a practice makes no scientific claims. Faith healers don't claim to be doing science either. Even if some sources happen to mention "faith healing" in the same breath as a sentence about pseudoscience, I would say that calls into question the reliability of the source more than it suggests faith healing is a pseudoscience. It's a religious practice, plain and simple. As an analogy, you can find all sorts of sources that claim connections between quantum mechanics and ancient (or new-age) religions. Just because a source attempts to put a veneer of science over a religion doesn't suddenly cause the religion to qualify as psuedoscience. ~Anachronist (talk) 20:42, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
    It not sources which just "mention in the same breath", it's sources which directly and explicitly say FH is pseudoscience. You argument appears to be that your personal view should take precedence over sources - that's not how Wikipedia works and I'm sure you can see why! Possibly you're confusing faith healing with intercession? Alexbrn (talk) 21:04, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
    Not at all. WP:UNDUE takes precedence. That is how Wikipedia works, as I am sure you know. Most reliable sources on the topic don't characterize faith healing as pseudoscience. The fact that a rare source can be found here and there that does isn't relevant; using them as a reason for Wikipedia to characterize faith healing as pseudoscience violate WP:UNDUE. It's a minority viewpoint. I stand by my opposition. ~Anachronist (talk) 21:11, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
    There are strong on-point sources. Your undue argument is not right, as has been explained multiple times by multiple editors already. Alexbrn (talk) 21:19, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
    My undue argument is not wrong. "Strong" sources? Where? Is there a consensus among reliable sources? No one has demonstrated this in the discussion above, as far as I can tell. Simply put, there are insufficient reliable sources calling it pseudoscience. As I said initially, this should be a no-brainer. ~Anachronist (talk) 23:47, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
    Yes, there is consensus among reliable sources. Alexbrn (talk) 08:31, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose adding the pseudoscience tag to the article, Support including language about whether it is pseudoscience. Faith healing comprises such a wide variety of practices that categorizing them all as pseudoscience doesn't make sense, but there seem to be enough sources to say that some types of faith healing, or faith healing practiced under certain circumstances, are a type of quackery or pseudoscience. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 13:59, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose too many of the sources are using language that implies that FH is a-scientific, un-scientific or extra-scientific, all of which claims are fairly self-evident anyhow and which tend to work against it being pseudo-(ie falsely)-scientific. As others have said, certain practices and practicioners may be pseudo-scientific and there should be no objection to including text which identifies who, why and what has been so described. Religious faith is not inherently a 'fake' scientific view of the material world any more than conventional scientific wisdom is a 'fake' religion, dependent on belief rather than evidence. They are chalk and cheese. Do some 'healers' exploit the sick and vulnerable? Sure! But that does not make the whole subject p-s, not every conman is a pseudo-scientist, if they never claim a scientific basis to their actions in the first place. Also, as others have said, many people are going to approach FH in a spirit of "please God, make the medicine work" - which isn't fundamentally different from 'positive thinking'. Pincrete (talk) 09:46, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
This is actually a good example of the special pleading that makes faith healing pseudoscientific, even for claiming that praying to God cured an illness. Claiming to be "extra-scientific" or outside the realms of human explanation due to supernatural forces in order to explain an occurrence in the natural world (i.e., getting better) is pseudoscience. It doens't need to be the more egregious cases of cons and fraud. One only needs to make a claim that a supernatural entity or force not able to be measured by science caused an observable effect in the natural world. Kingofaces43 (talk) 14:21, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Nope, because Pincrete is not trying to prove its effectiveness scientifically or otherwise. Your definition of pseudoscience is your personal definition Kingofaces - reliable sources, including dictionaries define it differently. You are confusing 'unscientific' with 'pseudoscientific' it seems.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 14:53, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
According to your definition of pseudoscience, my three-year-old niece is a pseudoscientist because she holds a firm belief (that she tells everybody) that Santa Claus comes down the chimney to give her presents once per year and the Easter Bunny is going to plant chocolate eggs for her at Easter. It can be falsified by planting cameras to show it is her parents doing it. Certainly her innocent beliefs are unscientific and can be falsified but belief in Santa and the Easter bunny is absolutely not pseudoscience (looks like or pretending to be scientific). A paranoid delusion by a schizophrenic can be falsified by scientific testing but their belief is not pseudoscience (unless it resembled science which is unlikely in most cases).--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 15:07, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Please do not misrepresent my comments, especially in an area under discretionary sanctions. Sources already discuss how the appeal to the supernatural to explain natural phenomena falls under pseudoscience as mentioned previously. Kingofaces43 (talk) 17:12, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
There's no special pleading on my part because the article states explicitly that there is zero scientific evidence of effectivenes - as it should. In order to put 'p-s' in WPVOICE, there should be near universal agreement in sources that not only is it almost certainly ineffective (or only placebo-like in its effectiveness) - but also that it presents itself as having scientific credentials which are actually fake - ordinarily, or commonly ones that seek to discredit or displace established science. AFAI can see, 'f-h' fails the 'near universal' criterion, probably because it fails the 'fake science credentials' criterion. I would support including content as to who and why describe it as 'pseudo', I would also support inclusion of which specific practices etc. have been so characterised - and why. Such text would not only be more balanced than simply attaching the 'label' - it would also be a great deal more informative. Pincrete (talk) 23:30, 20 March 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────but also that it presents itself as having scientific credentials which are actually fake - ordinarily, or commonly ones that seek to discredit or displace established science This is, as far as I can tell, a standard of your own invention. We have WP:PSCI which is Wikipedia's form of demarcation. Nowhere is "fake credentials" or the proposal that pseudoscience must "seek to discredit or displace" mentioned. More than that, we have plenty of sources which show that (1) faith healing is considered pseudoscience and (2) this is not the only possible definition of "pseudoscience". jps (talk) 16:50, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

  • Support The latest source found by Kingofaces clinches it [22]. If this can't be called pseudoscience then nothing can. zzz (talk) 15:13, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
The source doesn't actually clinch it, it would be great if it did because I could pack up and go home, so to speak. The source states the following: "we find remarkable agreement that..... fields like astrology, creationism, homeopathy, dowsing, psychokinesis, faith healing, clairvoyance, or ufology are either pseudosciences or at least lack the epistemic warrant to be taken seriously" Therefore source does not state whether most experts consider it a pseudoscience or instead consider that it lacks credibility to be taken seriously. So the source gives two descriptors, one as pseudoscience and the other as not pseudoscience but lacking credibility and does not state which one applies to faith healing. Since almost all sources do not mention pseudoscience when describing faith healing I would assume it is the latter "lacks credibility to be taken seriously" that the author was applying, rather than pseudoscience because there is little expert support and few sources for calling all forms of faith healing pseudoscience. So it is a poor source to assert that faith healing is a pseudoscience because it is unclear and vague leaving the reader trying to guess which applies to which. Certainly faith healing lacks an evidence base and fails evidence-based medicine standards badly. Is this really the best source we have to assert and categorise faith healing as pseudoscience (which reliable sources show includes simple health orientated prayer that their mainstream medical care will be effective) that over a billion people practice?--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 16:22, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
The full sentence is "Despite the lack of generally accepted demarcation criteria, we find remarkable agreement among virtually all philosophers and scientists that fields like astrology, creationism, homeopathy, dowsing, psychokinesis, faith healing, clairvoyance, or ufology are either pseudosciences or at least lack the epistemic warrant to be taken seriously." That is about as conclusive as you are going to get for any prospective pseudoscience. zzz (talk) 16:29, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Actually, the Tuolema source (mentioned above) is even more definitive: "Such examples of pseudoscience as the theory of biorhythms, astrology, dianetics, creationism, faith healing may seem too obvious examples of pseudoscience for academic readers ...". There really is no dispute in RS. Alexbrn (talk) 16:56, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose categorization but support discussion and inclusion of the sources cited that do categorize some faith healing as pseudoscience. The primary issue is that many of the sources quoted so far (properly) recognize the tremendous diversity of beliefs around and in this topic and only classify some of them as pseudoscience. I also find the arguments that many faith healing believers make no pretensions toward or about science persuasive. So it does not seem advisable to categorize this entire subject, to the extent that it can be considered one subject, as pseudoscience. However, there are definitely enough sources addressing this topic that it must be discussed in the article. ElKevbo (talk) 04:59, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - There seems to be sufficient sources to include this statement. Seanbonner (talk) 07:53, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - As long as faith healing claims to be something other than a result of the Placebo effect, it will be a pseudoscience. Beyond My Ken (talk) 15:31, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Faith healing is non-scientific, not pseudoscientific. There are no scientific claims made, which would be necessary for something to be defined as pseudoscience. Natureium (talk) 18:28, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Medicine is a science. zzz (talk) 19:00, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Saying a simple prayer that mainstream healthcare will be effective (the most commonly practiced form of faith healing practiced today) is not science or a pseudoscience, it is a form of religious faith, hope and comfort.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 19:20, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Who are you talking to? Keep your random WP:FORUM-style opinions to yourself, thanks. zzz (talk) 20:35, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
I was replying to you and my point was that faith healing nowadays is not performed as a medicine nor an alternative to medicine as your message suggested. Please be civil, I have as much right to express an opinion as you do.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 20:47, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
(ec) Do you have sources for this claim? Because the following source say faith healing is one of the most prolific and dangerous forms of alternative medicine.Hoyle Leigh -Dean of Medicine (2012). Biopsychosocial Approaches in Primary Care: State of the Art and Challenges for the 21st Century. Springer Science. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-4615-5957-3. ..--Moxy (talk) 22:43, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Moxy, this diff by ltwin shows sources that define that simple prayer for healing is faith healing (which could then include up to a billion people), it does not have to be from a faith leader. Going by those sources that define simple prayer for healing as faith healing I am aware of no evidence that any significant percent of the up to a billion people who practice a simple prayer reject mainstream medical care. However, your source separates intercessory prayer (simple prayer for another sick person) from faith healing which they appear to define as being performed by a fringe type of religious leader, other sources do not do this. I think this is a major locus of the dispute because different sources define faith healing differently, very differently - some incorporate all forms of prayer for healing whereas others only the faith healer who claims to have the special power to heal (often instantly) through invoking a divine power. Personally, I am very sceptical of faith healing and have never seen one, in the sense of how that book defines a faith healer - I always resort to science and mainstream medicine for illness. I agree that the extreme forms of religious faith healing belief, often by a cult like leader or charlatan, are a dangerous form of alternative medicine, especially when they encourage rejection of mainstream medical care; and this article quite rightly points this danger out where deaths have occurred. I wouldn't be surprised if another RFC is requested six months from now in how to use the different sources and apply them to this article. Perhaps some compromise or solution to these different definitions reliable sources express can be found soon.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 23:30, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support. Since faith healing claims to have observable, measurable, real-world effects, it's within the domain of science. --Calton | Talk 06:26, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The problem here is pre-labeling all Faith healing under pseudoscience. It is usually a poor idea to negatively subjectively "label" concepts, places or people. Should we label Bill Clinton as a person who used his office for sex? How about labeling "Philosophy" as Secular Theology? Angola is not exactly a tourist magnet. How about labeling it as a "s**thole"? It seems more encyclopedic to label each objectively. "Clinton"="President of the US"; "Philosophy" = "School of Thought." "Angola"="Country in Africa." The fact that there are so many people arguing here seems to suggest that there should be a main section that deals with criticism that Faith healing is a pseudoscience. But no pre-labeling of data that might be added later. An encyclopedia is not supposed to be trying to brainwash readers, but to inform them so they can make their own choices/write their own papers. Student7 (talk) 17:05, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose - Think I agree with User:WhatamIdoing and User:Natureium's lines of reason. Strikes that me that faith healing just doesn't meet the classical definition for a pseudoscience. In my mind, for something to be a pseudoscience, there has to be a claim or impression that it's based on scientific method. I don't think many adherents of faith healing would make that claim. Yes, there appear to be a few sources which do use the word "pseudoscience" in association with faith health, but it's not clear to me that we're not just cherry-picking those sources. I think it's reasonable that a bunch of folks do feel we ought to call it a pseudoscience, but if a subject doesn't fit comfortably within a category, why use the category at all? NickCT (talk) 20:01, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose, for the reasons stated by Blueboar, MrX and others. François Robere (talk) 17:30, 20 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support per HammerTrousers. L3X1 ◊distænt write◊ 18:25, 20 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support – multiple reliable sources describe faith healing as pseudoscience, so this article should as well. (Summoned by bot)MBL talk 11:48, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose as per Blueboar; for it to be a pseudoscience it would first need to purport to be scientific. Chetsford (talk) 05:03, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Support - Adding the category is valid even if only some of faith healing can be classified as pseudoscience, and adding content which shows some (or all, but that seems unlikely) of it to be pseudoscience is clearly justified if reliable sources exist... and they appear to. For example, something like "Faith healing can be classified as a spiritual, supernatural, or paranormal event, and, in some cases, belief in faith healing can be classified as magical thinking or pseudoscience" might be what you end with. --tronvillain (talk) 15:41, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

Threaded discussion[edit]

  • Do they claim it is science or just faith?Slatersteven (talk) 18:31, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
    • Almost all claim empirically verifiable outcomes. That is a scientific claim. jps (talk) 03:51, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
      • Source for this statement? The article includes sourced statements from believers that people may not be healed. Ltwin (talk) 20:32, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
      • The question about the claim of faith healers is significant. From following the linked notations in this survey (thanks for the ease of access and clarity of your message), many do view it as pseudoscience. To strengthen the article, I believe it could serve well if the claims of empirically verifiable outcomes were as clearly notated. Thanks to all and happy editing.Horst59 (talk) 05:32, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
      • Jps's statement is wrong. Many things are empirically verifiable but not scientific. Example: Jps has changed his username several times over the years (nothing wrong with that, and, personally, I like the current Sinhalese script better than the previous random character string). The history of the username changes is an empirically verifiable fact (especially if you hang out at the username change boards), but "Josh has changed his username several times" is not actually a scientific claim. Empiricism is an important concept for science, but it is not the whole of science. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:27, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
        • In the context of faith healing, the empirical claims are the purview of scientific evaluation. To parse this otherwise is sophistry. My name is not a scientific fact. Whether I have a malady is. jps (talk) 03:47, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
          • AIUI the claim made isn't whether you have a malady (although you do). The claim seems to be whether the (sometimes verifiable) disappearance of a malady was due to natural or supernatural causes. Or – the claim isn't that this one lady survived a relapse of AML for 40 years. Everyone's agreed on that part. The "faith healing" part comes in because that's her personal explanation for her survival.
            My point, though, was that there are a lot of "empirically verifiable outcomes" in this world that are not scientific claims. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:20, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment: This is a rather dubious RfC - it really ought to have mentioned right at the start that this very question was discussed in an RfC a couple of years ago: Talk:Faith healing/Archive 3#RfC: Is faith healing a form of pseudoscience and should it be labeled as such either in the article or by assignment of category pseudoscience? It was a long discussion with a close that was reviewed and endorsed. The consensus was against Faith healing being labled as pseudoscience or being placed in the pseudoscience category. Although consensus can change, it would need a thorough-going consensus here to overturn the previous one. Also, all participants of the previous discussion should be notified. StAnselm (talk) 09:36, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
    • It was rather more than two years ago (Oct 2015). WP:CCC and the previous consensus does not influence this one. Contacting the previous RfC participants would probably be WP:CANVASSING. Alexbrn (talk) 10:57, 4 March 2018 (UTC); amended 06:43, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Canvassing? Nonsense. As long as they are all contacted and there is no cherry picking it is simply a courtesy notification to editors who have shown an interest in the subject. That aside, this should be closed. We have been down this path and we don't keep voting on issues until we get the right outcome. -Ad Orientem (talk) 15:19, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Indeed. I am completely puzzled as to why I keep seeing editors making claims about canvassing that directly contradict what WP:CANVASSING actually says. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:30, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Yup, my mistake: I see there's an exemption for editors who have take part in previous similar discussions. Alexbrn (talk) 06:43, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
I think it is certainly "appropriate notification" per the guidelines, and I will take the bull by the horns and ping all the editors in the previous discussion: @Ad Orientem, Brustopher, ZuluPapa5, Jerodlycett, Ozzie10aaaa, JzG, WhatamIdoing, RockMagnetist, SPACKlick, Markbassett, Immortal Horrors or Everlasting Splendors, BoBoMisiu, Maproom, Martin Hogbin, MrX, Kingofaces43, JonRichfield, Richard27182, John Carter, and Count Iblis:, with closer User:AlbinoFerret. StAnselm (talk) 19:17, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I have posted courtesy notifications at WP:FTN and a number of wikiprojects that are likely to have an interest in this discussion. -Ad Orientem (talk) 16:18, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
I think you are using a different definition of canvassing. Notifying people who voted before, and posting on Wiki-projects that show interest in this topic would not be canvassing.Sgerbic (talk) 19:33, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
    • There is no use pinging retired editors. For example User:AlbinoFerret has not made a single edit since 2016. Dimadick (talk) 18:38, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment: The whole matter is a hoary old chestnut and weary, weary nonsense. FH has long been established as PS, and meets all the criteria of a range of pseudoscientific attitudes and activities, whether for purposes of quackery or superstition or prejudice or plain malice. Those who claim in good faith that it meets the definitions of a "science" don't understand the concepts of science and in particular of experiment conception, design, interpretation, and performance. Even if some competent experimental or philosophical work has been done nominally in the field, that does not make it "a science" any more than scientific investigation of pigments makes "art" a "science". What it would take to justify calling it "a faith" is another question, but we can ignore that for the present. JonRichfield (talk) 05:22, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Hang on - who's calling it "science"? I had the impression that everyone opposing the proposal is doing so on the basis that FH is a religious belief/activity. StAnselm (talk) 05:34, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Forget it mate! It is whatever the most recent apologist wants to make of it until his next foray, which can be the opposite or both in the same breath! If you destroy the "science" argument, FH is religion and you are evil; if you point out that it is blasphemous and materialistic, then they try to say it is science because someone claimed to have tried something, which makes it an experiment, and experiments are science, aren't they? The purest, typical quackery. JonRichfield (talk) 15:05, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
I would be ok if the article notes specific forms of faith healing that have been identified as pseudoscience. My issue is labeling all faith healing (which includes simple prayer for healing, without any scientific claims) as pseudoscience. Some religions present faith healing as simple request for divine intervention; some religions present it as science. Ltwin (talk) 18:35, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
While I generally see a disconnect between the Peter Popoff-style of faith healing and the act of praying for well-being during illness, and while I agree with you that the former is pseudoscience while the latter is not, the literature generally does not draw this distinction. I'd be quite happy to follow this suggestion, but I just don't see how we could. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 04:55, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment: Looking at Google Books, the most significant academic work on faith healing appears to be Shawn Peters, When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law (Oxford University Press, 2007), and it doesn't say anything about faith healing being pseudoscience. StAnselm (talk) 03:36, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Well, with only 47 cites, I would say that it doesn't really compare to Marc Galanter's Cults: Faith, Healing and Coercion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), which has 465 cites, and which explicitly refers to Deepak Chopra's claims about faith healing as "pseudoscience" on page 192. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:51, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Article is not on Deepak Chopra, so that one is not relevant. PS is not the term commonly used with faith healing, the label “faith” seems to be felt clear enough. Markbassett (talk) 04:39, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
The book is on faith healing, as was the subject Deepak was "explaining" when the author decided to call it pseudoscience. I gave a book link that you can click on and read what he actually says. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 04:42, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Question Out of curiosity: has anyone encountered a source that actually makes the argument that faith healing is not pseudoscience? ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 05:39, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
    Not outside of religious works. I've seen some claims for a psychological/placebo effect; i.e. that the relief brought by being believed to have been subjected to healing "energies" is a stress reduction, and less stress promotes better and faster healing a little. I haven't even seen anything like that in serious literature in a long time, but I also haven't gone looking for it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  12:10, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
    The Placebo Effect is already settled science. The question is whether faith healing shows results in a Double-blind experiment. It does not. --Guy Macon (talk) 12:20, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
No, that's not the question at all. Few FH adherents would believe that it would necessarily show results in a double blind experiment. They would say that FH is not science and the Holy Spirit doesn't work that way. "The kind of healers who are the subject of this book mostly reject such studies; their approaches are too spiritual for quantitative proof." "The problem with studying religion scientifically is that you do violence to the phenomenon by reducing it to basic elements that can be quantified, and that makes for bad science and bad religion." StAnselm (talk) 22:15, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
My personal opinion is that the real pseudoscience are the double-blind studies on intercessory prayer. StAnselm (talk) 22:19, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
This personal opinion should disqualify you from writing anything that relates to science whatsoever. jps (talk) 18:02, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Really? Maybe we should just call it "stupid" then. Think about it from their own POV: The typical proponents are claiming an all-knowing, all-powerful being, but they think that they can somehow trick it into healing some people, but not others, by randomly assigning them to different groups, and then asking that all-knowing, all-powerful being to heal some of them. And not one of these proponents is smart enough to think that this all-powerful being could, I dunno, maybe control how the dice fall and therefore who is in which group? Or reject their little game and ignore them all? (This reminds me of the "poof of logic" scene in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:28, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
"Belief in faith healing causes people to refuse science-based medical treatment and die sooner and more painfully than they would by taking medical treatment.Christopher H. Whittle (2003). On Learning Science and Pseudoscience from Prime-Time Television Programming. Universal-Publishers. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-61233-943-6. --Moxy (talk) 12:49, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • The whole thing is a category error. When people are saying that prayer and such can be answered through miraculous cures, this is not a scientific claim: the whole notion of the miraculous relies upon a belief in the natural order upon which science also depends. If you have faith in a natural order which forbids such exceptions, well, that faith is not science itself, and any basic study of philosophy will say so. It is sufficient to say that scientific inquiry fails to ratify the efficacy of prayer, and leave it at that. Mangoe (talk) 22:22, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
    I agree, Mangoe. In the middle of the "votes", there's a discussion about whether it might be reasonable to back off from maximalist statements ("everything religious about healing is always pseudoscience") and come up with an accurate description that everyone could live with, such as "Some types of faith healing have been called pseudoscience".
    Also, while I'm in this section, User:MjolnirPants, you'll want to look above for the book I just linked above, which directly says faith healing is considered a paranormal activity but not pseudoscientific. (Search for "paranormal" to find it; the term hasn't come up very many times on the page.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:47, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Comment and question, If Wikipedia uses language and categories to label this page pseudoscience, how about Wish? It's the same context. "Faith healing" is a shared wish. Nothing is being transferred, because it is solely a belief system. A belief, a wish, in prayer or whatever name each individual calls it. Again, there is no "science" or "pseudoscience" involved. Randy Kryn (talk) 19:54, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
@Randy Kryn: WP:OTHERCONTENT. That article should discuss mainstream interpretation of wishes as pseudoscience, in rough proportion to the number of sources that characterize it as such. Which sources identify wishing as pseudoscience? VQuakr (talk) 20:36, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Probably none, because as your edit summary says, "Silly". And no matter how many sources label faith healing as a pseudoscience, even though the first sentence of Wish sums up - in nine words - the lead paragraph of Faith healing, putting that label on this page is just as silly. Randy Kryn (talk) 20:42, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
A number of RSs identify faith healing as pseudoscience. None have been presented that say the same for wishing. We follow the sources. VQuakr (talk) 20:48, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Is there anyone who actually believes that wishing for things makes them happen? I am sure that some exist, but I suspect that they use a different term instead of calling what they do "wishing". On the other hand, there are many, many people who actually believe that faith healing actually works. They even claim that their favorite miracle monger has documentation of miraculous healings, but are never actually able to supply said documentation. And that's what makes it pseudoscience.
Free tip for identifying fake faith healers on TV: If you gather any random collection of people in wheelchairs, you will see a lot of customization. Some have leather pouches on the back. Some are in custom racing wheelchairs. Some are motorized. Some have custom paint jobs, and most have custom seat cushions. On some televised "healing services" you see a bunch of people in identical low-cost wheelchairs. Then you see the faith healer tell them to stand up, which they do. What they don't tell you is that they were offered wheelchairs and a seat up front when they came in with a cane. There are videos of these faith healers loading up a truck with wheelchairs after the healing service. For an especially egregious example, see our article on Peter Popoff. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:09, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
And none of those faith healers claim to be doing science, or even doing anything remotely scientific. Therefore, it's nonsensical to apply the term "pseudoscience" to their activities. ~Anachronist (talk) 23:58, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Try reading the SEP entry on science and pseudoscience and then come back and see whether your categorical demarcation is fair. [24]. We'll wait. jps (talk) 17:50, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
That is not an official definition and source does not appear to be peer reviewed.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 18:01, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
(1) It is peer-reviewed. (2) There is no "official definition". A perfect storm of incorrectitude. jps (talk) 18:05, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Peer reviewed by who? A university who don't specialise in matters of pseudoscience? Who were the experts who peer reviewed it? WhatamIdoing in her vote provided excellent high quality accepted mainstream definitions. Why is this one better? It seems to change the definition of the word 'pseudo' and open the path that everything that does not agree with science is pseudoscience.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 18:16, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This is how peer review happens. To claim that Stanford University is unable to provide experts on this subject is, to put it mildly, startling. The article is merely pointing out how the term is used. It isn't arguing for any point. You can disagree with this direction, but that's not an argument to litigate here. This is the status quo, I'm sorry to say. You and WhatamIdoing don't get to thumb your noses at it just because you are sticklers for how you think such demarcation should happen. (And I happen to know that the author of said piece is personally none too happy that the definition of pseudoscience has morphed into the monster that it is today, but acknowledges that this is a fight to fight in another venue). jps (talk) 18:24, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

  • I just want to highlight the oppose arguments here. I've seen three, feel free to correct me if I'm missing some.
  1. Most of the sources don't refer to faith healing as pseudoscience, only a minority do. That makes the claim that it's pseudoscience a minority view.
    That's not true. What would make it a minority view is if the majority claimed it were not pseudoscience. In order to make even the case that calling it pseudoscience is controversial, one would need to show at a minimum that an equally sizeable minority argue that it is not pseudoscience. In fact, no sources have been presented thus far which argue that it is not pseudoscience. I refer editors to the argument I made below. Only a minority of the sources used in the article Red claim that red is CMYK(0,99,100,0). But we can tell it is by both comparing CMYK(0,99,100,0) to other shades of red (read: comparing faith healing to other varieties of pseudoscience) and by noting that there are no sources at all which argue that CMYK(0,99,100,0) is not red.
  2. It is a category error to apply scientifically-oriented terminology to a religious practice such as this.
    No, it is not. Not to be too succinct, but anything which can be measured is science. Healing can absolutely be measured. Just because the healing is claimed to be miraculous doesn't mean we can't check to see if the healing really happened, and if so, to what degree. Sure, the claim that a person "miraculously" converted to Christianity is an unscientific claim, and it would be improper to call that pseudoscience (although I'm sure some psychiatrist will disagree, I still contend that matters of the heart are inherently unscientific). But that's because we can't measure a person's belief. It's an ephemeral and subjective thing.
  3. It's not pseudoscience to pray/wish for healing when one is sick.
    No, it is not. But this article is not titled "People who pray for healing." While that's a variety of this phenomenon, and it is clearly not pseudoscientific, that's not the entirety of this phenomenon. People who pray for healing while acknowledging that "the answer to their prayers might be no," and seeking medical care anyways because "God helps those who help themselves," are not pseudoscientists. (More or less) Rational religious faith is not pseudoscientific, and yes: some practices of that do fall under the purview of this subject. But that does not mean that Peter Popoff was not presenting those pseudoscientific claims, the debunking of which helped make James Randi famous. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:45, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Nailed it. --Guy Macon (talk) 21:32, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Peter Popoff could be described a pseudoscientist, with a loose definition of pseudoscience, because of his continuous psychopathic, fraudulent actions that he presented as able to produce repeatable results (much like the scientific method), but only a microscopic minority of people who pray for healing are like him.
Yes, agree on point 1: I concede that a pretty big weakness to the oppose votes is that we do not have reliable sources that say it is not a pseudoscience. I don't think it has ever been studied by a panel of experts whether it meets the technical definitions of pseudoscience before. Like I and others have said, whether faith healing is a pseudoscience is an area academics mostly seem disinterested in. Not convinced by point two: WhatamIdoing provided good arguments against this. In point 3, you give strong support to the oppose argument because you accept that rational religious people who pray for healing, but who understand the answer might very well be no and embrace mainstream medicine, is not pseudoscience because the overwhelming majority of faith healing is just that. The reality is, the vast majority - almost every person who prays for healing/faith healing and in fact most faith healers - are the 'rational religious' people, as you put it. This article does not focus on religious healing frauds and scams, it includes the topic pertinent to perhaps a billion or more ordinary people and ordinary honest religious leaders praying for the wellbeing and healing of sick people.
James Randi is a great guy for exposing and stopping the psychopathic behaviour of Peter Popoff and his wife. I have seen that James Randi exposè and love his work exposing frauds and charletans, watched many of his videos.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 02:57, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Electrochemistry is a branch of physics. A huge proportion of electrochemical reactions in the world is the neurological activity of living organisms, which is a branch of biochemistry. Does that then make electrochemistry a branch of biochemistry? No, of course not. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 02:51, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
"people who pray for healing but understand the answer might very well be no and embrace mainstream medicine is not pseudoscience, because the overwhelming majority of faith healing is just that" <- where is the RS for this? Isn't this just "prayer"? The definitions of faith healing I'm seeing don't gel with this assertion. A person having a quiet prayer is not normally said to be a "faith healing" or engaged in "faith healing" are they? Alexbrn (talk) 02:54, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't need a high quality reliable source to say the sky is blue and this is a talk page RfC discussion, so do not need to reference everything. I am of course referring to the general public. A large percentage of the population pray when they are faced with a major health crisis. Are you then suggesting large chunks of society would not call an ambulance if they were having a heart attack or refuse medicine because they went to church and said a prayer? Do you have a reliable source to argue the sky is not blue? Works both ways.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 03:08, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
What is the difference between praying and hoping God will intervene and heal and faith healing? I thought they are the same thing? Unless I am mistaken Alex... I dunno.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 03:13, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Huh? "A large percentage of the population pray when they are faced with a major health crisis" -- sure. But that doesn't make them a "faith healer", they're just praying. Faith healing is the (purported) application of a method to treat disease (maybe "alleged healing through the power to cause a cure or recovery from an illness or injury without the aid of conventional medical treatment. The healer is believed to have been given that power by a supernatural force" - Mosby's Medical Dictionary). This has quite specific aspects apart from just common-or-garden "praying". Alexbrn (talk) 03:19, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
That's more or less my point. A lot of the oppose arguments here are claiming that simply praying for healing is not pseudoscience, with the implication that it's a form of faith healing. Well, technically, yeah, it is. But it's a subset that has very different characteristics than any other kind of faith healing. It's an odd duck. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:56, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I think there is an issue with exactly how we are defining faith healing. It could be simple prayer. It could be ritual (anointing of the sick, laying on of hands, etc.), it could involve belief in a charismatic healer, and it could but doesn't have to include rejection of medical treatment. Some definitions pulled from]:
  • "sundry types of prayer-based efforts to alter the disease course" (Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary)
  • "The treatment of disease by means of prayer or faith in divine power" (The American Heritage Medical Dictionary)
  • "alleged healing through the power to cause a cure or recovery from an illness or injury without the aid of conventional medical treatment. The healer is believed to have been given that power by a supernatural force" (Mosby's Medical Dictionary)
  • "An alternative form of healthcare in which therapy consists of entrusting the healing process to a “higher” (God in the Judeo-Christian construct) or other power(s) through prayer. In faith healing, active medical or surgical interventions are generally not administered, and if the patient deteriorates or dies, it may be viewed as the will of God" (Segen's Medical Dictionary)
  • "Therapy involving prayer and manual interventions" (Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing)
  • "An attempt to cure disease or to improve the condition of a patient by the exercise of spiritual powers or by the influence of the personality of the healer. An important factor in determining the outcome of an illness is belief, or faith, in the probability of recovery, but ‘miracles’ attributed to faith healing are presumed to be due to some natural process. The psychological effect of such rituals can be powerful, and unjustified hopes for miraculous cures are commonly aroused" (Collins Dictionary of Medicine)
  • Brittanica offers this introduction to its faith healing article: "Faith healing, recourse to divine power to cure mental or physical disabilities, either in conjunction with orthodox medical care or in place of it. Often an intermediary is involved, whose intercession may be all-important in effecting the desired cure. Sometimes the faith may reside in a particular place, which then becomes the focus of pilgrimages for the sufferers."
It is not necessary that there be a "intermediary" such as a charismatic healer involved. If you are sick and you pray to get well, you are engaging in faith healing. While some sources say a healer must be involved, others offer a more general definition--essentially any attempts to get well through prayer or religious belief. It would also include things like pilgrimage to Catholic shrines. Ltwin (talk) 03:27, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
So by all those definitions it is more than just a "quiet prayer", often a lot more. Alexbrn (talk) 03:39, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I think we need to steer clear of only applying the term to stereotypical types of healing prayer. Sure, Benny Hinn is a faith healer, but what about the Catholic priest or Methodist minister or Episcopal rector who "quietly" prays for healing? What about the family who gathers around a loved one to quietly pray for healing? What differentiates Benny Hinn from these other cases? The article as it stands does not distinguish between these different types. It lumps all prayer for healing into the faith healing category. We have sections for "New Testament", Catholic, Pentecostal, Christian Science, Mormon, Islamic and Scientologist healing practices all in the same article. Ltwin (talk) 03:58, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Several of those definitions include what would be defined as a quiet prayer because you are praying to alter a disease course.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 03:47, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I have to agree here. Quietly praying for healing would fall under the first or second definition there, quite obviously. The second one notably, because it doesn't specify that it be the only treatment used. But this just reinforces my point: You have to find something that is, by far the most rational thing that could be considered faith healing to present as an example of how it's not pseudoscience. Simple prayer may be the most commonly practiced method, but it's just one particular method among a rather long list. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:56, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Ltwin brings up the case of the Roman Catholic priest who prays for healing, and this page has three categories that mention Catholicism, so I decided to look up the official RC position on this. It is here:[25]
The specific passages that demonstrate that the official RC position is pseudoscience include "In the course of the Church's history there have been holy miracle-workers who have performed wondrous healings" and "There is abundant witness throughout the Church's history to healings connected with places of prayer (sanctuaries, in the presence of the relics of martyrs or other saints, etc.)". --Guy Macon (talk) 05:52, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
@Guy Macon:, essentially your argument is the following:
  • if you believe in a god and you believe in prayer and other ways to invoke that God's aid
  • and if you believe that prayer and other ways of invoking that god actually work
  • then you believe in psuedoscience?
  • so if you believe in a god and that prayer, etc. to that God does not work you believe in religion?
  • Sorry, I don't understand how we are taking "believing that prayer works and that miracles happen" to "mistakenly regarding prayer, etc. as being based on scientific method." By your definition, all people who actually believe that god or a god or whatever actually works are engaging in pseudoscience, but I think most people would categorize that as simple religious belief. Ltwin (talk) 13:21, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Guy, I am afraid that is a religious claim on the Catholic website. Pseudoscience is something along the lines of academic fraud or quackery dressed up as science, for example, through misquoting scientific sources, falsifying test results or using scientific jargon to try to prove something is scientific when it is not. I don't know much of Catholic views, I have never set foot in a Catholic church in my life, but I do know that, for whatever reason, you appear to not know what pseudoscience actually is or means. I suggest you open up a dictionary, otherwise we are going to go around in endless circles.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 13:38, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Transcendental Meditation technique is a good example of a pseudoscience because the religious organisation behind it has conducted, for many years, a well orchestrated campaign, with some success, to produce biased pseudoscientific papers written by their own staff and get them published in peer reviewed journals. They do this to promote their religious yoga as scientifically proven for an array of conditions and symptoms.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 15:06, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Claiming a belief in God is not pseudoscience. Claiming that God can -in principle- affect the world is not pseudoscience. Claiming that God has affected the world in a measurable way as a direct result of actions one has taken and in direct contradiction to published empirical data on similar claims is pseudoscience, even if you invoked God and frame it as a belief or ritual. As I said in my !vote: faith healing (in general) is not an aspect of religion that has made itself a pseudoscience, but a pseudoscience that has wormed its way into religion. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:36, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
But we have editors claiming that going to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes because you believe the water could miraculously (not scientifically) heal you is a pseudoscience. If that is what pseudoscience is, then all religion is pseudoscience. Essentially, what I hear you saying is if you think something miraculous happened to you because you invoked a deity then you are by definition advocating pseudoscience. I disagree. You are advocating for the existence of a miracle (God stepping outside of natural laws to intervene). Just claiming that the miracle is true doesn't make it pseudoscience. It could of course be complete nonsense, but that is not the same as pseudoscience. To simply state it, I think many religious people see faith healing as simply belief in miracles. There is no attempt in many cases to create a scientific or scientific-like explanation. Now, obviously, cases like Christian Science would be different; it is psuedoscientific. But the Catholic Church? No, they just believe in miracles. Ltwin (talk)
And there are many people who believe that acupuncture is a matter of faith. And your claim about there not being a scientific-like explanation is pure imagination: Any assertion of a physical phenomenon is a scientific claim, and any methodology applied (such as : go to the sanctuary, immerse yourself in the waters and pray) is a scientific method. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:58, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
No, it is not. "Go to Lourdes and you might be touched by God" is not science, and no one claims that it is. "God healed me of an incurable disease" is not a scientific claim. It is a miraculous claim. Now, if I said (as Christian Scientists do), that sickness is a mental error and that by following universal spiritual laws you and everyone else can be cured that could be classified as pseudoscience. Ltwin (talk) 23:27, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, it is. I've explained it already. I'm not going to get into a "Yes, it is!" "No, it isn't!" back and forth with you. Either address what I've said, stop arguing, or be ignored. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 23:31, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Edit break[edit]

Dr. Douglas Duncan University of Colorado seems to define things well as an academic vs the dictionary and editor definitions we have above. Common Elements of Pseudoscience .--Moxy (talk) 06:48, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Yeah, and it talks about written works that are pseudoscientific but masquerade as scientific works and how to spot them - exactly how I think of pseudoscience. That link favours the oppose voters. I'm not seeing the relationship to praying for a loved one, not at all. Sorry.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 07:09, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps best we go back and quote all the sources...

How to tell if something is Pseudoscience. Beware if it…

  • Is based on Post-diction, not Pre-diction (story is made up after the fact)
  • Explains things people care about that may not have other explanations (avoids the scientific response, “We don’t know,” which people often find unsatisfactory)
  • Uses scientific-sounding language and jargon (often incorrectly; e.g. “energy flows”)
  • Does NOT use the scientific method of clearly stating the hypothesis and then making a test
  • Usually has an explanation even when the idea fails (e.g. “astrology is only a tendency,” “the faith-healing treatment must have been started too late,” etc.)
  • If it contradicts known scientific principles or is not generally accepted, the originator of the theory claims to be “persecuted by the scientific (or other) establishment,” is not recognized because “the jealous establishment,” etc.

. --Moxy (talk) 07:20, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Many people who say a prayer do use the 'don't know' approach. Lots of people pray and then say: 'I don't know if God answered my prayers or I was lucky in my response to medical treatment..... but I am grateful to be alive and recovered from e.g. cancer.' People who say a prayer do not use scientific jargon because, wait for it, hold on to your seat firmly, they are not pretending to be scientific! Also, typical Joe Bloggs (or even a typical church minister) saying a prayer for his sick wife does not attack and blame scientific establishments when someone's prayer isn't answered.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 07:33, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Sorry not sure I understand your POV and the relevance to the source....your talking about prayer that is its own article.--Moxy (talk) 07:48, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
As for the part in your source that does talk about faith healing being pseudoscience: Yes, some faith healers definitely can be and are pseudoscientists and meet the criteria for being pseudoscientific. I agree with that source that if a practitioner of faith healing adopts a position like as follows: the faith-healing treatment must have been started too late,” then they are pseudoscientific because they are not considering other possibilities and are believing that faith healin if timed right can produce definite/repeatable results (the scientific method). The problem is that most people who say a prayer do not think or behave like this. But you are trying to say that this is evidence that all forms and actions of faith healing meet the criteria of pseudoscience? I assume this because your vote is still registered as 'support'.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 07:59, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Moxy, if you scroll up ltwin has posted a list of dictionary sources and it is clear that prayer is faith healing if the prayer is aimed at treating a disease or illness, physical or psychological. Prayer is the most commonly practiced form of faith healing, almost all faith healing would fall under prayer.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 08:03, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I take it you missed the conversation about the source and wording I proposed above. [26].--Moxy (talk) 08:05, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
OK, yeah, I missed it. Is the editing break meant to relate this? Not sure what editing break is for. Assumed it was to discuss a source in relation to faith healing being pseudoscience.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 08:23, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Sorry edit break was simply to help with scrolling..--Moxy (talk) 08:32, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
  • WP:STICKTOTHESOURCE If the specific word is used as the common and technical category it fits, in DUE WP:WEIGHT — and if not it does not. Please cease trying to WP:OR argue the language fits or showing a 20-year old (skeptics org) article exists. Markbassett (talk) 12:45, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Possible wording[edit]

Let's suppose there the RfC closes as consensus to "include content" about pseudoscience. For those who oppose the RfC, is there any wording that would be acceptable that does not state that Faith Healing is Pseudoscience in WP voice? E.g. "It has been characterised as pseudoscience on the basis that it..." Would this be acceptable to those who support the RfC? Does anyone have wording to finish off the sentence (i.e. why it's pseudoscience) and a suitable citation. Help me out; I'm looking for a compromise position here, folks. StAnselm (talk) 03:27, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Well, first of all, we can't have this discussion without knowing what the proposed sources are, because we cannot engage in original research when proposing content for an article.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 06:23, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Per the RfC it should categorized as pseudoscience. It should also be WP:ASSERTed to be pseudoscience, since there is no serious dispute (i.e. in WP:RS) over that. Alexbrn (talk) 16:36, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Some questions for the oppose !votes (or "do we need to split the article?")[edit]

Of the sources that almost entirely uninterested in pseudoscience, are those sources about Biblical healing miracle narratives, or the rather mainstream theological view that it's safe to ask God for assistance with science-based medicine (i.e. medicine rooted in the Natural Laws instituted by God), or are they about New Thought derived claims that physical healing comes from prayer (and that science-based medicine is either unnecessary or antagonistic to this healing)? These are different things.

Of the sources studying the claim that prayer renders medicine useless, are they studying the efficacy of that claim, or are they studying the anthropological relationships and sociological implications of the communities that accept this idea? Because, again, these are distinct concepts. The anthropological and sociological approaches, while completely legitimate on their own grounds and approaches, belong to the humanities department and are useless as WP:MEDRSs.

And how, exactly, is "If you follow my religion, you will not need science-based medicine to recover from physical ailments" not a scientifically testable claim? Per 1 John 4:1, I would implore any fellow Christians to not leave that claim untested.

And if a religious claim plainly contradicts proven science, and there are sources that label the claim as pseudoscience, why should it not be called it pseudoscience? What about charlatans who disguise their quackery with religious trappings? While I do not suggest that all (or even many) faith healers are necessarily not earnest, should those who knowingly lie be excused if any of their victims believed the faith healing to be real? Per Deuteronomy 18:20, I would hope that fellow Christians would not enable charlatans.

And will additional sources change your answers to these questions? Because this issue isn't just what the article has been but what it can be.

Again, I see three topics in the article:

1) Biblical healing miracle narratives - I totally agree that it's inappropriate to call this pseudoscience
2) Asking God for assistance with medicine - I'm inclined to agree that it's hasty to immediately label this as pseudoscience, as it can be fairly nuanced
3) The claim that healing comes from prayer and that science-based medicine is either unnecessary or antagonistic to healing - I'm failing to see why this couldn't be called pseudoscience assuming sufficient sourcing was present

We already have Miracles of Jesus and other articles for the stuff in 1, the stuff in 2 would be better off in Intercession, and that would leave this article to focus on the stuff in 3.

Ian.thomson (talk) 23:49, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

I agree that the main source of the dispute is trying to label all of #2 as pseudoscience, without nuance or limitation.
Your #3 doesn't feel right. People put all kinds of religious-based limits on medical care, and nobody calls their decisions and beliefs "pseudoscientific". If you decide to pray about your heart attack instead of calling for an ambulance, that's probably ineffective and foolish, but it's not pseudoscience.
I'm not sure that "If you follow my religion, you will not need science-based medicine" is actually the relevant claim. I think the relevant claim might be more like "Divine miracles sometimes happen", and I really don't see how that could be disproven (or proven) scientifically. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:05, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
Are antivaxxers not peddling pseudoscience? Because there's a good deal of overlap between the #3 position and antivaxxers. While their reasoning may be theological, this leads them to pseudoscientific or even antiscientific positions. Modern Astrology is also another point of comparison: its origins were ultimately theological, and some of its advocates still tie it to theology. But it still looks science in the eye and says "you're lying!" Creation science and Intelligent design are also cases where we look at religious beliefs that balk at science and label them pseudoscientific as such. We can and do label religious beliefs, no matter how pious or earnest, that make scientifically disproven claims and respond to this with by arguing that science is wrong.
"Divine miracles sometimes happen" would overlap 2 and 3. There are those in position 3 who would insist that if your faith is strong enough, then the miracle must happen and that if it didn't happen, it's because you're not believing hard enough. Ian.thomson (talk) 19:34, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
That is different because antivaxxers often misrepresent science and present a biased distorted cherry picked scientific evidence to debunk evidence based science. For example, they will commonly correctly point out very rare serious side effects from vaccines but will fail to explain that, for example, the flu itself causes the same adverse effects but more frequently and many more serious adverse health outcomes including death meaning the risk benefit ratio very much favours influenza vaccine. Personally, I briefly bought into anti-vaccine theories many years ago until reading the actual evidence - I now take my yearly flu jab because I know the risk-benefit ratio favours vaccination, very much so. Faith healers (including the traditional Church minister offering a prayer for the sick) and practitioners of faith healing do not run about the place presenting fake or distorted science, they instead talk in theological terms, such as 'I believe God can answer prayers.', 'I believe in the power of prayer,..... in miracles and/or God will help the doctors heal' etc., so the comparison with intelligent design and creation science is not a good comparison. It can be perfectly scientific to say (and some scientists do say): "I believe God created the laws of physics but I accept science cannot prove or disprove this and science does not yet have a definite answer (to the origin of the laws of physics)." It would be pseudoscientific to misrepresent scientific research to claim that say the world is only 6,000 years old, or that science proves the existence of God, although if talking in theological terms without framing it with science it could be described as religious belief.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 10:27, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
You seem to be under the belief that practitioners of faith healing are not making any comparisons to medicine or scientifically verifiable results. I cannot find substantiation for this. In most contexts when claimed healing is mentioned by faith healers, it is explicitly claimed that the healing is done miraculously and often with hyperbolic terms such as "cannot be explained by science". e.g. jps (talk) 17:41, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

For the love of G-- (or science)[edit]

PLEASE try and keep the discussion as concise as possible. Make your points, cite policy and or guidelines where possible and above all BE BRIEF! When you have made your point... move on. This RfC is already deep into what most people would label as WP:TLDR territory and some unlucky admin is going to have read through it and try to make enough sense to close it. -Ad Orientem (talk) 00:03, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

I take your meaning, but I think this discussion is somewhat important in its free-form. We have to come up with a way to referee the boundaries between different epistemic communities and this article is right there straddling the border. That religious/religion/philosophy editors are clashing with science/fringe/medicine editors is an object lesson in the messiness that is a catch-all project like Wikipedia. We need to have this discussion and we need to figure out how to deal with these issues moving forward because they're going to come up again and again. jps (talk) 15:33, 21 March 2018 (UTC)

Suggest moving the Pseudo-Science Panel to the bottom.[edit]

I don't recall seeing a category panel in the top right corner of an article before. I think this should be moved to the bottom so long as the article remains in the pseudo-science category. Elmmapleoakpine (talk) 18:43, 5 March 2018 (UTC) I would do it myself, but I am not sure how. I will leave it to someone else. Elmmapleoakpine (talk) 18:46, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

The WP:SIDEBAR, Template:Alternative medicine sidebar? Those are normally at top-right. VQuakr (talk) 06:59, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
You will need to get consensus on the template's talk page for that. Raymond3023 (talk) 11:40, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
User:Elmmapleoakpine The panel was only added somewhat recently, 31 May 2017 by OccultZone without mention in the TALK. You could revert it as a non-consensus action, but I would suggest pinging them here for some explanation of it being in the article. The location if included does not seem open to change. Cheers. Markbassett (talk) 13:02, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

D/S template[edit]

Why we are edit warring over a template[27]? Template says "The use of discretionary sanctions has been authorized by the Arbitration Committee for pages related to pseudoscience and fringe science, including this article. Please consult the awareness criteria and edit carefully."

Doesn't matter what will be the outcome of the above RfC, the template will remain. Raymond3023 (talk) 10:23, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

The current consensus of the community is that this article does not deal with pseudoscience or fringe science. That may or may not change depending on the outcome of the current RfC. Until then the previous one remains in effect. Why are people placing a template claiming that DS applies to an article that it doesn't? -Ad Orientem (talk) 10:30, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
I have gone ahead and undone the inappropriate removal of the DS template. Those DS are imposed completely independent of the RfC by ArbCom. Pseudoscience is obviously being discussed on this talk page, and sources are also obviously discussing pseudoscience (even moreso the fringe science aspect) in relation to faith healing. The template informs readers that pseudoscience and fringe science discretionary sanctions are in effect because of that and no more. An article directly described in mainspace as a series on "Alternative and pseudo‑medicine" is also going to be under DS. If someone wants the ArbCom decision reversed, they'll need to take that up there instead. As it stands, the template will remain regardless of the RfC outcome since fringe and pseudoscience has become an area of major discussion. Kingofaces43 (talk) 15:48, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Ad Orientem is right and you are wrong. If someone on the article talk page calls the Germ theory of disease pseudoscience you would keep re-adding a pseudoscience DS template? That one also has sources discussing pseudoscience; see Germ theory denialism for a list. We do not tag an article with a pseudoscience discretionary sanctions template until there is a consensus that the article is indeed pseudoscience. ---Guy Macon (talk) 16:39, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
If pseudoscience is being legitimately discussed in the context of the article, then it falls under such DS. The DS make no claim that the subject itself is pseudoscience, which is a different situation than the current RfC. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:19, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
No. You do not get to decide whether an article falls under DS. The consensus of the community decides that, and that decision has been made by RfC -- at least until another RfC demonstrates a new consensus. An exception to the "community decides" rule is when Arbcom specifically puts an article under DS, but Arbcom has never ruled that faith healing is or is not pseudoscience. To be blunt, you are ignoring Wikipedia policy on WP:CONSENSUS here. You are free to argue in favor of ignoring policy, but if you continue to edit the article to reflect your POV you are very likely to end up blocked. Please wait until the current RfC is closed. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:03, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
You're right, I don't get to decide. That application of the DS was already automatically determined when sources started talking about it an editors brought the topic up for discussion. Again, there is no reason to wait for the RfC to close as it has no bearing on whether the DS apply to this topic. We theoretically can leave this open for awhile in case someone believes they can claim they don't apply, but at this point, no one can realistically claim there isn't discussion of pseudoscience going on at this page or in sources. It's a bit of a WP:SNOW situation in terms of consensus policy. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:22, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
You also don't get to decide that "that application of the DS was already automatically determined when sources started talking about it an editors brought the topic up for discussion" No Arbcom ruling says or even implies that. You just made it up. This has been explained to you by multiple people in this discussion. Please stop repeating your unfounded assertions while ignoring calls for evidence that back up your claims. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:33, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I have removed it again. If we have consensus to include it, fine - otherwise, it should be taken up with ArbCom. StAnselm (talk) 18:45, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Again, if you do not like that this article falls at least in part under the pseudoscience and fringe DS, it is your burden ask ArbCom to overturn it. However, please undo the your edit warring removing the template notifying editors of those DS. You've made others plenty aware you do not think this subject is pseudoscience, but regardless of the result of the RfC, the DS are still in effect for subjects that involve pseudoscience and fringe discussion to at least some degree. Kingofaces43 (talk) 19:02, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
It does not fall at least in part under pseudo-science etc. because the community expressly rejected that here. Unless/until that is expressly overturned it is the last word on the subject. For now re-adding the DS template is editing against community consensus and is disruptive. This needs to stop. -Ad Orientem (talk) 22:45, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Nothing in that RfC contradicts ArbCom's DS designation in topics related to fringe and pseudoscience (nor can it really). If anything, it validates that the subject of pseudoscience comes up in this subject more than just currently, and the DS apply when discussing pseudoscience/fringe aspects. You seem to be confusing the category comment in that RfC with pseudoscience/fringe DS (nor does it say pseudoscience does not come up in this topic). People could have RfCs every month saying faith healing is not pseudoscience and the DS would still apply. Besides that, the reality also is that sources still regularly discuss faith healing in a fringe aspect with respect to the empirical claims (i.e., healing), with some of those sources referring to it specifically as pseudoscience. There's no getting around that DS apply in that regard and previous discussions, so the only way to make them not apply is to have ArbCom overturn the case decision. Kingofaces43 (talk) 23:07, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Kingofaces43, the template was never there until you added it a few days ago. AFAIK, ArbCom has never made a decision about this particular article. StAnselm (talk) 00:02, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
No one ever claimed any of that. ArbCom decided that topics where pseudoscience or fringe science come up (something you've been discussing extensively even) are under DS. There's no avoiding that pseudoscience is a topic that falls under discussion in this topic by editors and sources (separate from saying the topic itself is pseudoscience). The only way to remove those DS are to get ArbCom to amend the PS/fringe case. If an editor is making arguments the DS shouldn't be applied because of the separate RfC issue of actually classifying faith healing itself as pseudoscience with the category (an essential WP:WEIGHT issue in the context of WP:FRINGE), that can safety be ignored in order to comply with WP:CON policy for missing the distinction. Kingofaces43 (talk) 01:22, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Evidence, please. Please cite the exact place where you believe that "ArbCom decided that topics where pseudoscience or fringe science come up (something you've been discussing extensively even) are under DS". --Guy Macon (talk) 01:40, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Hey you know what's really great for answering that question? The template that you're opposed to including. If you click on it, it takes you to the case decision, namely the DS remedy, which states, Standard discretionary sanctions are authorised for all pages relating to pseudoscience and fringe science, broadly interpreted. Any uninvolved administrator may levy restrictions as an arbitration enforcement action on users editing in this topic area, after an initial warning. Both pseudoscience and fringe are directly topics of discussion on this talk page and by sources. No claim by ArbCom that the subject itself is pseudoscience, a subject only need have some connection. We arguably wouldn't even need the broadly construed section for this subject, but since it is, there's really no question that discussions about pseduoscientific claims fall under the pseudoscience DS. Kingofaces43 (talk) 03:13, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
"All pages relating to pseudoscience and fringe science, broadly interpreted". This page isn't related to pseudoscience or fringe science. That was settled by the previous RfC. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:24, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Guy, we can't confound processes, which ends up inadvertently misconstruing my comments (hence me continuing to try to clarify here at this point even though it's no molehill I intend to die on). That RfC said nothing of the sort. For one, it only addressed pseudoscience, not fringe to which the DS also apply. Even for pseudoscience, it doesn't matter the outcome of either RfC. Pseudoscience was still the topic of discussion there and in sources, and that makes the page related (in addition to fringe that was untouched by the RfC). The DS simply say fringe or pseudoscience come up in this topic, and for the nth time, it is not a label or category on the topic itself that would contradict the last RfC. We can't go outside the scope of an RfC to essentially make claims pseudoscience or fringe don't come up under this topic by removing the template (as opposed to saying if there was sufficient weight to call the subject itself pseudoscience per the last RfC). Kingofaces43 (talk) 14:53, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Please don't write things like "the template will remain regardless of the RfC outcome since fringe and pseudoscience has become an area of major discussion." and "sources still regularly discuss faith healing in a fringe aspect" then complain when you get replies addressing fringe.
You have failed to cite the exact place where "ArbCom decided that topics where pseudoscience or fringe science come up are under DS." All you have done is asserted that they said that, but you have no evidence that they actually did. As far as I am concerned, this discussion is closed. Feel free to ask Arbcom for a ruling at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests#Requests for clarification and amendment but until you do that please stop trying to apply Arbcom rulings that you made up out of whole cloth. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:28, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Again, please do not misrepresent my comments. I linked you directly to the remedy imposing DS on pages relating to fringe and pseudoscience, broadly construed. If it's still somehow not clear how the fringe/pseudoscience DS apply to discussions of fringe and pseudoscience, you already provided the link for where to do that. Until then, the DS are going to apply regardless of the template being there or not. As Alexbrn mentioned below, we'll just end up notifying editors individually on their talk page when needed instead of giving editors that come to this talk page a heads up about the DS before posting in pseudoscience related discussions (of which the RfC is one). Why anyone wouldn't appreciate prior notice is beyond me though. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:27, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Guys: You realize that the RfC is heading for a very clear "support" close, right? There's 21 "Supports" and only 12 "Opposes" and the supporters have presented RSes to support their claim, while the best the opposers have done is point out that it's not unanimous among the RSes. Just relax. We're not in a big hurry. We don't need the D/S notice right now. It will end up on there eventually. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:27, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
See WP:NOTAVOTE. If this gets labeled as pseudo-science based on opinions expressed in less than 1% (probably a lot less) of the RS sources that address the subject, then we have a much bigger problem than a misplaced DS template. -Ad Orientem (talk) 15:41, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
See my comments below. I bet you that significantly less than 1% of sources used at red identify it as CMYK(0,99,100,0), yet there's no controversy there. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:21, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
That's because Red's CMYK is actually not controversial, whereas assigning a highly prejudicial descriptor to one of the more widely discussed subjects out there most definitely is. Unfortunately this seems to be rather a good example of the depth of argument thrown out by the supports. -Ad Orientem (talk) 18:35, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
The categorization of FH as pseudoscience as pseudoscience is not controversial. There is literally no decent "contra" voice to the assertion that has been found. The only opposition seems to be from a few Wikipedia editors here, and for consensus purposes that doesn't count as arguments need to be rooted in sources and the WP:PAGs. Alexbrn (talk) 18:39, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
    • I cast one of those support !votes. Nonetheless, until this RfC closes the consensus is, by definition, the result of the previous RfC. This is an important issue. We cannot allow Kingofaces43 to behave as if his actions are supported by consensus prior to the current RfC closing. Until it closes, the result of the previous RfC is the consensus. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:24, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Well, I'm not here to "disallow" anyone to do anything. I'm just pointing out that the D/S notice is going to end up on this page eventually, so there's no point in arguing about it now. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 06:47, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Agreed. That template must not be used until the previous consensus is changed. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 06:42, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Agree with BullRangifer. One of the basic features of the Wikipedia system -- a feature that stops us from descending into endless bickering -- is that an RfC settles a content dispute. You can challenge the close, and you can wait an appropriate amount of time (usually at least six months) and post a new RfC, but you must accept the result of an RfC until it it overturned. This is how we settle disputes and move on. This is important. That's why I insist that we abide by the previous RfC until the new RfC closes even though I !voted to overturn it. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:59, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
15 opposes actually, presumably you missed the two opposes that are not bolded and the vote to include content describing it as pseudoscience but meh to the categorisation of it as pseudoscience. It could still go to no consensus because support arguments are poor.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 03:44, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Fixed the lack of bolding per WP:TPOC. I get 21 supports, 14 opposes, and one Meh. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:11, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Good job Guy Macon fixing that. I calculate the same.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 17:04, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
You say the support arguments are poor, but the support arguments include "there are RSes asserting it is," and the oppose arguments pointedly do not include "there are RSes asserting it's not." I saw one argument saying "the most-cited source doesn't call it pseudoscience" and when I checked it out, I found a source with 10x as many citations that does. In short, the opposes are arguing for a position that literally no RSes take, and which a number of RSes disagree. How strong of an argument can that possibly be? ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:21, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
The oppose arguments are essentially 50 shades of WP:IDONTLIKEIT. On the DS question, regardless of whether FH is pseudoscience or not, it is most certainly fringe medicine, so DS's apply on that basis. Alexbrn (talk) 17:29, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, but as I said above: they're going to end up on this page anyways. I don't see a ton of D/S violating edits occurring while this discussion is ongoing, so there's no rush. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 17:31, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. And in actual fact it's not a terribly useful template anyway, since individual editors need to be alerted to DS's before they can be applied to that editor. Alexbrn (talk) 17:32, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
To answer your question to me above: No sources specifically state that it is a majority academic viewpoint, that faith healing is a pseudoscience; this is what's needed for a strong argument. It is a very heavily written about subject matter, so it is not surprising that a small number of reliable sources are available that sloppily state that it is pseudoscience. A few authors have used that term loosely without thinking carefully about what that actually means. Let me be very clear, there is no opposition from me for the inclusion of the descriptive term pseudoscience in the article body sourced to reliable sources. I am opposed to faith healing being categorised as a pseudoscience because there is no evidence at all of a consensus by experts that this is a pseudoscience and the vast majority of sources are uninterested in whether it is a pseudoscience, probably because most authors know the actual dictionary definition of pseudoscience and know faith healing is not pseudoscience. The support votes probably will win on numbers, but yes, their arguments in my view are weak. I just think it is silly for Wikipedia to state, Jack prayed for a miracle that his beloved Jill would get better and that her chemotherapy would work and help her aggressive cancer go away - and categorise hope, belief or faith as 'pretending to be scientific' or 'resembles but is not science'. I am not opposing the label pseudo-medicine for example, because, although negative, I can at least understand the logic behind it being classed as pseudo-medicine and alternative medicine, because research has not shown a proven benefit from faith healing. At the end of the day, I don't give a big care whether some pseudoscience category wiki link at the bottom of the list exists, most readers won't even see it or think/care about it. I have an opinion and I am enjoying the intellectual debate and mild drama, whatever the outcome. I do think there are some people here who think it is cool to attach an inaccurate negative label to people who believe in prayer, and don't care what the actual definition of pseudoscience is. Pseudoscience is a word, it's definition is straight forward and the oppose votes are heavily influenced by the actual definition of pseudoscience; this is one of several reasons why our arguments are stronger. Dictionary definitions are neutral, no bias and in this instance seriously weaken the support votes.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 17:56, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
I do think there are some people here who think it is cool to attach an inaccurate negative label to people who believe in prayer I think that's the heart of the matter. See my breakdown of the oppose arguments above regarding this. Yes, you could classify praying for healing as faith healing, and praying for healing is not pseudoscience. But the rest of the activities that fall under this heading do constitute pseudoscience. Acupuncture practitioners sometimes sterilize their needles. Since sterilization of any instrument used in a medical procedure is clearly not pseudo-medicine, does that make acupuncture not pseudo-medicine? No, I don't think so. I think this is a proposal which rankles because (I agree) it implies something derogatory about religious people. But while I agree that's unfortunate (despite being an atheist, I have a great deal of respect for a large number of religious people, and would never argue that religion is necessarily bad, or religious people necessarily stupid or anything like that), that's just an unfortunate effect of having an encyclopedia. I also thin kit's unfortunate that we can't state "Donald Trump is the most racist president in modern history," and that we have to state "Religious people have been found to give more to charity than secular people," in the relevant articles, but I'm not going to change them because, as unfortunate as highlighting those things might be, they're true. Just like the claim that a televangelist can pray really hard and cure someone's cancer is pseudoscience. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:16, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
No sources specifically state that it is a majority academic viewpoint <- this is the bit where you're making up policy. There is no requirement for sources talking about "a majority academic viewpoint", though that is the requirement for WP:RS/AC. By your argument, literally nothing in Wikipedia would be categorized at pseudoscience. We have impeccable RS which considers the exact question of whether FH is pseudoscience, it says it is, and so Wikipedia shall too. That's neutrality, folks! Alexbrn (talk) 18:32, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Just a quick note since this off-shoot is off-topic for this section and more related to the above RfC, but do read WP:PARITY (namely the 3rd paragraph) with respect to sources being "not interested". That fringe subjects tend not to get as much scrutiny in some cases is something already dealt with in the fringe guidelines. Kingofaces43 (talk) 18:37, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Depressingly, the arguments (note plural!) are about several different topics mingled without discrimination. Until that is resolved, this wall of text is largely futile, if it isn't futile anyway. Some say faith healing is not science, therefore it is (or therefore is not) pseudoscience; some say it is not scientific, therefore it is (or therefore is not) pseudoscience. Some say it is prayer, therefore it is not science, therefore it is (or is not) pseudoscience. The fact is that not only do different people have different definitions, both for science and pseudoscience, but they instance different examples with different aspects. Some rightly point out that FH makes factual claims, and that science is concerned with subject matter that is subject to factual (or anyway, to material) investigation, not noting that the fact that it makes testable claims does not make it either science or pseudoscience. (Note that pseudoscience does not have to be some kind of clear, logical item-by-item opposite of science; it commonly is simply incoherent, but with some of the supporters claiming scientific merit or justification for the practice or term in question or aspects thereof.) Some say no, it isn't anything to do with science or pseudoscience; it is just people coming together to pray or do rain dances to heal people who need healing; actually it is both less than that and more: faith healing as she is spoke or practised is incoherent; not only do definitions differ, but the definitions generally are internally inconsistent and individual people are self-inconsistent in the definitions they use from time to time or in the same breath. For example, some say they are just praying, but add that it heals (placebo-schmacebo!) and some accordingly charge for it or for products that promote or support it, which makes it pretty clearly quackery, pseudoscientific or not. If you wish to discriminate definitively between quackery and pseudoscience, then by all means change the term used to "quackery", but no one has usefully made that distinction yet in any practical context. As I said, it is a hoary chestnut and won't go away because it keeps propagating; wishful thinking Trumps other thinking time after time in each generation. JonRichfield (talk) 06:03, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
    • Here on Wikipedia we have a solution to the "some say this, some say that" problem. We post an RfC, and uninvolved editor writes up a summary, and then we all abide by the result of the RfC until it is superseded by another RfC or a successful RfC challenge. Conflict resolved, everybody moves on. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:21, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
      • Sounds like a good idea. Conflict resolved, they move on do they? Like in the foregoing? Great stuff! Should patent it. JonRichfield (talk) 18:15, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
        • We allow a bit of leeway for editors who are not willing to abide by an RfC (or in this case not willing to abide by a previous RfC while waiting for the current RfC to close), but if they are too persistent we report them at ANI, with the typical result being a warning, and if they still persist, a series of blocks with escalating durations. The system really does work. Abiding by the result of an RfC is not optional, even if we do allow a bit of complaining. And of course some RfCs do get overturned, so the complaining may very well have merit. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:28, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Either way, this discussion of RfC results is off-topic from this section and belongs in the threaded discussion of the RfC. Kingofaces43 (talk) 21:39, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Major lead sentence change without discussion[edit]

The lead sentence, which has been stable, has been changed without discussion from "Faith healing is the practice of prayer and gestures (such as laying on of hands) that are claimed to elicit divine intervention in spiritual and physical healing, especially the Christian practice." to "Faith healing is a form of alternative medicine in which the treatment of illness is meant to be effected by supernatural powers." I'll change it back and then editors can actually discuss such a major shift of emphasis. Thanks. Randy Kryn (talk) 13:13, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

Agree with the revert. While faith healing is something that can be viewed through the lens of alternative medicine, the vast majority of sources do not define it or deal with it in such terms. Sources tend to discuss it as a religious practice. It's very rarely framed as something making a medical or scientific claim. Not everything in the entire world, is about rational skepticism all the time. Imagine the article on transubtantiation started "Transubstantiation is a scientifically impossible pseudoscientific process that religious numptys claim occurs during mass (they are wrong)." That's what this reads like. We should 100% point out the scientific studies demonstrating this stuff doesn't work, but this is merely a PART of the article, not the main focus, as the reliable sources do not treat it as the main focus. Brustopher (talk) 18:40, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Err, so why are we citing some random religious website when we have relatively recent academic textbooks published by university presses available? Seems a bit POV-pushy. A review of WP:RS might be helpful ... Alexbrn (talk) 19:17, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Umm, the "random" website (please consult a dictionary for the proper use of the word "random") cites The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion. Is there some reason that that source is not deemed reliable for content about a religious subject?- MrX 🖋 19:57, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, because we don't know whether this website is accurately representing the supposedly good source. If there is a RS book, find it and cite it. But - we have an academic reference book from OUP in 2006. I suggest we cite a respectable scholarly reference, and not a web site (an unreliable tertiary source in this case). Alexbrn (talk) 15:52, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Association of Religion Data Archives is an academic association funded by several universities. There's no reason whatsoever to believe that they can't accurately cite sources. I'm not sure what source you are referring to, or why it should be given prominence over this one, but I would be happy to take a look.- MrX 🖋 17:27, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
It has no evidence of editorial oversight, is not scholarly and is a tertiary source built on submitted work by anonymous "investigators". It is even odder this is promoted as the "sole" definition and is not cited anywhere outside the lede. To be very clear, are you seriously saying you prefer this web site to a secondary scholarly source such as the one Randy Kryn removed? (that is the point of this discussion). Alexbrn (talk) 18:10, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── FYI, this is now being discussed[28] at FT/N. Alexbrn (talk) 18:32, 12 March 2018 (UTC) harkens back to a time when people were desperate to get stuff online that wasn't online. It was a pet project and is of interest for historical purposes, but is no longer the high-quality we would demand of reliable sources. My library does not have a copy of HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion and I question why we would rely on a single source that is 20 years out of date. jps (talk) 18:48, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

If you doubt the reliability of the source, or the source that they cite, take it to WP:RSN. WP:NOTINMYLIBRARY and WP:SOURCETOOOLD are not Wikipedia guidelines.- MrX 🖋 19:38, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
If you can't understand basic editorial arguments, maybe butt out? jps (talk) 21:21, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
See WP:PSTS and WP:V. This is already at one noticeboard and I notice nobody seems to share your enthusiasm for We should favour scholarly secondary sources per the WP:PAGs. In any event we are going to need a bigger "Definition" section and then the lede can sync with the body as it is meant to. Alexbrn (talk) 19:42, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
I was not saying that the cite and words shouldn't be used, but you removed the entire first sentence, replaced it with yours, and thus changed the entire tone and direction of the article. The stable tone of the first sentences should be kept, and not discredited (the topics that should be discredited are those people who make prey of "believers" and fleece them in direct cons). The main emphasis of this page is the topic of faith in prayer, a hope for recovery that some people have for themselves or their loved ones. That this is "alternate medicine" (although no medicine is involved?) is certainly not the primary lead topic, which you made it. That could be focused on later in the lead or body of the article. Randy Kryn (talk) 20:00, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Whatever we have, we need to follow the WP:PAGs. What you restored goes against a load of them. Alexbrn (talk) 20:03, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm pretty familiar with our policies. Perhaps this snippet from WP:PSTS escaped your notice: ""Reliable tertiary sources can be helpful in providing broad summaries of topics that involve many primary and secondary sources, and may be helpful in evaluating due weight, especially when primary or secondary sources contradict each other." - MrX 🖋 21:10, 12 March 2018 (UTC) is not a reliable source; the underlying tertiary source may be - but nobody knows exactly what it says. Alexbrn (talk) 21:27, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Why can't we have both? Seriously, they both speak to different aspects of the topic. We need MORE sources rather than arguing about which single source to use. jps (talk) 21:21, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

I didn't suggest that we should only have one source, or even that the current lead sentence was ideal. I objected to removing the only source.- MrX 🖋 21:38, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
I object to relying on a source (the HarperCollins encyclopedia) which no Wikipedia editor has read. I think it's intellectually dishonest. Alexbrn (talk) 21:41, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
But we're not citing that source.- MrX 🖋 21:54, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
But your defense of was that it was using that source! Are you now saying the authorless, editorless website is an RS itself? (and in that case why do we have this weird "citing" bit in the reference?). This is also intellectually dishonest. Alexbrn (talk) 22:09, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
I gave valid reasons for trusting the source. That doesn't mean that their source has to also be verified by us. What specifically in the first sentence do you believe is not factual or not verifiable?

Faith healing is the practice of prayer and gestures (such as laying on of hands) that are claimed can elicit divine intervention in spiritual and physical healing, especially the Christian practice.

- MrX 🖋 22:18, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Can someone just WP:Resource Request the page? It's obviously fair use. jps (talk) 22:13, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Actually, if a load of definitions have been copy-pasted out of a source (which is possible) there may be a copyvio/copylink problem here too. Our text isn't even supported by anyway ("gestures"?). I have raised at RS/N. Alexbrn (talk) 22:22, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Why don't we do some good writing and blend the two. After reading the lead to Medicine I'm more inclined to say that medicine applies. I was under the impression that the definition of medicine refers only to liquids and pills and other physical well-defined objects. Seems it extends to stuff like prayer. So let's blend the two concepts into an acceptable sentence or two that the participants of this discussion can all agree on (a true consensus means everyone agrees, which I wish - a form of prayer if done right - was used more on Wikipedia). And in a perfect world I'd personally add right in the lead paragraph something like "Hustlers and con artists, who prey on and take monetary advantage of believers in faith healing, should be dragged across the coals", if it is well-sourced of course. Randy Kryn (talk) 22:32, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Seems like a plan to me. Someone want to try out a lede sentence? Incidentally, citations in the lede are typically a bad idea anyway. We should be summarizing the article and the sources should be in the body. jps (talk) 22:35, 12 March 2018 (UTC)


(List will grow)

  • Galanter, Marc. Cults : Faith, Healing and Coercion, Oxford University Press, 1999:

Most often, we apply the term faith healing to treatments used in cultures whose fundamental beliefs are alien to the contemporary values of scientific medicine.

Alexbrn (talk) 22:46, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

When fraud is not involved, faith healing is a cooperative form of magical thinking involving a healer and a patient in which (a) both healer and patient believe in the healing power of spirits or other mysterious healing mechanisms; (b) the healer consciously or unconsciously manipulates the patient into believing he or she has cured the patient's ailment by prayer, hand movements (to unblock, remove, restore, etc. some intangible "energy"), or by some other unconventional ritual or product; and (c) the patient validates the healing by giving signs that the healing has worked, such as walking without a brace for a short period, breathing freely, feeling relief from pain, or simply thanking the healer for the "miraculous cure."

jps (talk) 22:50, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Faith healing, recourse to divine power to cure mental or physical disabilities, either in conjunction with orthodox medical care or in place of it.


Okay - I think something like "Faith healing is a form of attempted medical treatment which invokes divine or supernatural power with the claim it can cure illness or infirmity" ? Alexbrn (talk) 07:56, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Alex, I would incorporate the third reference and say this: "Faith healing is a form of attempted medical treatment, used in conjunction with mainstream medical care or rarely in the place of, which invokes divine or supernatural power with the claim it can cure illness or infirmity."--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 15:35, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
"Rarely" is original research. jps (talk) 15:46, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I know, I wrote in my edit summary for that post that a source is needed regarding frequency of refusal of medical care during faith healing.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 15:50, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
So, until we know what the frequency is (compared to what, exactly?), I would object strenuously to the inclusion of any modifier about how often faith healing, when it is used, is used in place of medical treatment. Just remove the modifier. jps (talk) 16:25, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree. Probably I shouldn't have put it forward as a suggestion without first having a source. Good point about compared to what; would be problematic if a source were found, for example, talking about a fringe form of faith healing or followers of a certain cult figure who had high frequency in the 1950's for rejecting medical care. Your suggestion of just removing the modifier might well be the best suggestion.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 18:09, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────There are plenty of examples where faith healers argue that their flock should seek out medical care. One can ask whether this is to shield them from possible lawsuits or accusations of practicing medicine without a license. Of course, the reason for that is because some faith healers have been exposed to such legal action. To that end, it would be irresponsible for us not to mention that faith healing can be done in either way, but we need to leave the details of how, when, and why to the body of the article. jps (talk) 18:14, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Faith healing is not intercessory prayer and it is not just claimed miracles[edit]

I'm surprised that this hasn't been made more clear. "Faith healing" is a compound term and when it is treated as such it is referring specifically to a kind of practice that takes dead aim at a particular disease or affliction in a particular individual. It is not the same thing as when a person attributes their recovery to a miracle. Faith healing involves a practitioner who claims to work either with the benefits of on behalf of a divine magical power. The malady is identified ahead of time and the healing is claimed. It is often done in the context of a religious service. jps (talk) 13:57, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

You are wrong. See this post. A simple prayer for a sick loved one is faith healing too.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 19:14, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
There is a rather wide difference between the mainstream theological position that it's fine to ask God for success with science-based medicine, and the New Thought derived position that healing comes from prayer (and that science-based medicine is either unnecessary or even antagonistic to this). Lumping them together, as this article does, makes about as much sense as treating Theistic evolution and Young Earth Creationism as the same thing. Ian.thomson (talk) 19:24, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm serious here, what term do we use for "God, please let Grandma's chemo work" and what term do we use for this? The skeptical literature I've read generally refers to this as "faith healing" and "God, please let Grandma's chemo work" as just "prayer." Ian.thomson (talk) 19:43, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
It can be mainstream religion too to believe healing can come from prayer alone on rare (miraculous) occasions. What is not mainstream is to say healing will likely or definitely come from prayer alone, so don't go to your doctor and don't take medication. I am serious too, I see no evidence of pseudoscience in that Benny Hinn video - instead I saw theatre, placebo, mass hysteria, evidence suggesting either he is a con man or a crank and it is clear he is practicing a bizarre form of faith healing that would be rejected by all mainstream religions. Now to the pseudoscience bit: if someone were to suggest that Benny Hinn's bizarre rituals and theatre show could or does - to the untrained or unsuspicious eye - resemble science and could be mistaken for science by an untrained eye is crankism in and of itself. Faith healing is actually unscientific rather than pseudoscientific, because of the lack of a convincing evidence base and because it does not resemble or pretend to be scientific.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 07:14, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
To answer your question about 'grandma' and 'Benny Hinn' - both are faith healing per several dictionary definitions and thus are both the subject of this article. One would be mainstream because you are requesting an intervention of God whilst the other is taking command of God and instructing God to behave a certain predictable way under the command of a man as if by magic which would not be mainstream religious thought and maybe the latter could then, with a very big stretch of the definition of pseudoscience, be labelled pseudoscience. The problem is is that faith healing does not generally present itself as scientific (produce repeatable predictable results nor try to use scientific jargon or falsified/misrepresented evidence in scientific journals or websites) so pseudoscience is the wrong label. Maybe 'unscientific' is better term because of the lack of convincing evidence.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 08:14, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
With regard to the title of this section: an intercessory prayer is, by definition, a prayer for the benefit of someone else. Therefore, someone praying for the healing of someone else (faith healing) is an intercessory prayer. A repeated problem I keep seeing again and again is that people voting support have a poor grasp on English language definitions of key words in this discussion (key words definitions commonly misinterpreted by support voters: pseudoscience versus unscientific, intercessory and of course faith healing itself). I don't like to be offensive, but it is what it is.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 08:49, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I think you have a poor grasp of the history of ideas. That linguists would see fit to shoehorn faith healing with prayer is not surprising. But there are entire books written about faith healing [29] which conform to what I'm saying in this section. jps (talk) 11:48, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I know full well that, for obvious reasons, books focus on fringe anti-science/anti-medicine faith healing cultic and con man faith healers and a small number of these books have then used the word 'pseudoscience' without carefully thinking of the implications of use of such a term. That does not change the fact that the vast majority (like 99% I guess) of faith healing is indeed normal - at home or at church - simple mainstream prayer for a sick wife, disaster or famine relief because multiple dictionary definition of faith healing includes this defintion. Of course there are books that define their topic focus on aspects that are of public interest, but this does not change the English language definition or meaning of a word and thus what this Wikipedia article includes and covers and should cover.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 12:23, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Just because you want faith healing to be treated that way in the reliable sources doesn't mean that's how it is treated. There is a more academic term for creationism too, but it is drowned out by the reliable sources who use the term to describe pseudoscientific evolution denial. We go by the sources, not by the wishes of the editors. jps (talk) 13:00, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
We go by sources indeed, and dictionary definitions and scholarly definitions of pseudoscience can help us weed out unreliable sources that 'support voters' are misusing. My argument is support voters refuse point blank to acknowledge how reliable sources define the meaning of pseudoscience and it is like talking to a brick wall.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 13:36, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
That's because we go by how sources address the question of how pseudoscience applies to FH, not by what some editors think. Get your thoughts published by a university press, then they might have some relevance to this discussion. Alexbrn (talk) 14:24, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I think the 'oppose voters' are missing WP:DICDEF. I didn't start this game of insulting the intelligence of the other users, but if we're going to go down that route, I'll point out that there seems to be a lot of thoughtful and intelligent editors who are supporting the lean in towards looking at the pseudoscientific aspects of this topic. When I pointed out that the plurality if not majority of books deal with what we all acknowledge to be the aspects of faith healing that are most in tuned with opposition to medical science, I am dismissed because someone looked up a definition in Merriam Webster's. Yeah, that's the level of discourse right now. jps (talk) 15:01, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Free Advice[edit]

User:Literaturegeek, you may find my essay at WP:1AM to be helpful at this point. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:31, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Nice essay. Good job writing it, thanks for sharing.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 18:56, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Non Christian faith healing and overlap with other practices[edit]

Does anyone else feel that the article, by concentrating so extensively on certain Christian practices fails to deal with other forms of faith healing which often have overlap with Shamanism or other aspects of spiritualism? See for example these sources [30] [31] [32] [33] [34]. As shown by some of those sources, even when major religions like Islam come into it, overlap with more traditional practices can occur, and they can go in the other direction too. See for example, this which originated from a protestant Christian [35].

I'm not saying we should include all aspects of these, some of them could be called more "magic" than "faith", nor everything someone calls faith healing. But a number of these clearly include aspects of divine or supernatural intervention so I think there should be at least some mention with links to other relevant articles where appropriate. I'm also not saying the Christian part isn't important, heck while researching this I found several refs which claim quie a large percentage of Christian converts in China arise at least in part due to faith healing.

But we also shouldn't be stuck in the trap of only covering Christian or major religions because the others aren't "real faiths". I appreciate finding sources for this may be difficult. (I looked at the talk history but couldn't find that much relevant discussion. I was suprised about how much of it is dedicate to whether or not faith healing is a pseudoscience.)

Nil Einne (talk) 14:28, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

I am also concerned with the lede identifying faith healing as a primarily Christian practice. It's older than Christianity and practiced by many, many groups of people (and there are lots of Christians who think it's no good). I think "for example, Christians" or "such as Christians" would be more appropriate than "especially Christians." Darkfrog24 (talk) 22:03, 15 March 2018 (UTC)