Talk:Neil deGrasse Tyson/Archive 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5

George W Bush misquote

Twice today there has been an addition to this page about claims regarding Tyson misquoting public figures including members of Congress and George W. Bush. The first time it happened, an anonymous user did it, citing only a series of articles on The Federalist, all written by the same author. Dawn Bard quickly removed the changes saying, "I really think this is undue weight, no to mention OR/synth, reverting per BRD." Tonight Marteau re-inserted just a couple of sentences about a supposed misquote of George W. Bush by Tyson. The citation again used an article on The Federalist by the same author. I don't doubt the intentions of Marteau who I see is a seasoned editor. However, I am not convinced that this is an actual issue of concern nor am I sure that it actually happened. I could not find any reference to this being an issue outside of articles on The Federalist by the same author (all of which claim lack of evidence as proof) and posts on a variety of right-wing sites linking to the original Federalist posts. I am admittedly a new editor, but this feels like an attempt to gin up a controversy where one doesn't exist. Tyson's misquote and it being spread on the Internet is one thing, if it can be proven incorrect with citations. But the series of articles by the same author claiming a controversy where none seems to exist is pretty clearly OR, IMO. Axis42 (talk) 06:52, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Dawn Bard's valid complaint of original research was not aimed at The Federalist author. It was aimed at the anonymous editor here whose edits did seem to include some original research. WP:OR is something only a Wikipedia editor can be accused of... it is by definition not something an outside journalist can be accused of, in the way Wikipedia uses the term and in the way Dawn Bard was using it. I was therefore careful to just include cited material and not sythesize or do OR. These words of Tyson's belong in the "Politics" section of his article because he was clearly mocking Bush's presumed idiocy, and has gone so far as to include the YouTube video of him saying it on his blog on the Hayden Planetarium website ( ) where he is a director, thus making it more than just a trivial, passing statement. In addition, these words of Tyson's are being quoted many times on the internet, usually in the context of mocking Bush. It is true that one cannot prove a negative (one cannot prove that Bush did not say it) but I have cited The Federalist in saying that no evidence exists and that is not "original research" as the term is used on Wikipedia. Perhaps that phrasing can be tweaked, but the source does say no evidince exists that Bush said it. But these words of Tyson's, directly quoting Bush, and being as inflammatory as it is, and being that he has it on his Hayden Planitarium blog, and being that Tyson's actions are being widely quoted, should remain and not just simply be removed. Marteau (talk) 07:12, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
I just want to make sure I'm understanding this: Tyson quoted Bush once, and the quote may or may not have been accurate. Do I have this right? If so, I fail to see how this in any way, shape, or form manages to rise to the level of being something that warrants inclusion in an encyclopedia. JoelWhy?(talk) 12:27, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
This statement of Tyson's has for the past several years been widely quoted, and appears on a number of political blogs. It appears on WikiQuote. It is on his Hayden Planetarium blog where he serves as director. It does go towards his political views, which is why I put it under the "Views... Politics" section. Tyson stands up in public, resoundingly and proudly mocks an ex-president, blogs it on his professional blog. That is a political view. He says Bush purposely intended to highlight a division between "we" and "they" (Muslims) by saying a ludicrous thing, namely, that his God named the stars. That's a highly inflammatory public statement. There are already 1431 words under the "Views" section . The "Views" section has a sub-section about him doing a PSA for PETA. His views on Black History Month. Six paragraphs on his spiritual views. So yes, two sentences about him laying into Bush in public and with gusto belongs in the encyclopedia in the "Views...Politics" section. That's what the "Views" section is for... to document his "Views". Marteau (talk) 15:41, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
OK. Thanks for the clarification Marteau. I obviously misunderstood the meaning of OR. However, the statement and claim under discussion (and indeed all of the statements previously removed that were in the same vein) is relying on an attribution to a single source which appears to be a columnist at an outlet that I would not consider to be a reliable source per WP:RS because not all majority and specific minority voices are represented in it (specifically, Tyson's). As JoelWhy said, I don't see how this warrants inclusion in an encyclopedia. If there is a policy you can point me to that explains why all information about/actions by a person should be included on his/her page, I would appreciate it, as a new editor). More importantly, it seems that since this page is subject to WP:BLP, the source of a claim that its subject is "fabricating quotes" must be much more reliable than a columnist in one publication the subject fabricated quotes. Is that not a potentially libelous statement?Axis42 (talk) 15:06, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
"Reliable sources" are not required to be unbiased. As pointed out in WP:BIASED "Sometimes non-neutral sources are the best possible sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject." I am not proposing that Wikipedia say Tyson "fabricated" a quote which is unnecessarly inflammatory and implies a motive which is not ours to imply. I am proposing Wikipedia say no evidence for the quote exists, which is cited, and which is true. No evidence of Bush saying those words which Tyson so proudly held up for mockery has been presented. Marteau (talk) 15:59, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Understood. Thanks. So how about we say, "Tyson has claimed that following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, president George W. Bush said “Our God is the God who named the stars,” in order to “distinguish we from they (Muslims)”. The accuracy of his quote is questioned by a writer for" with appropriate citations to both the hayden blog and the federalist article? Axis42 (talk) 17:16, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Your effort to remain impartial, non-partisan and seeking compromise is admirable and refreshing. However, I have, as they say "seen this movie before" and no version of this event will be allowed into the article. I'm moving on. Marteau (talk) 02:14, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Marteau - your use of passive voice was confusing here! When I first read it, I assumed it meant "no version" would be allowed by you, but reading through everything again, I take it that you mean that no version will be allowed by other, pro-Tyson editors, and thus that you're giving up hope. I just wanted to clarify that. Korny O'Near (talk) 14:15, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
My apologies. Clarification. Based on my experience, it was my thinking that WP:NOTHERE editors would not allow any version of this event to remain in the encyclopedia and not being a masochist or a fool I was not going to waste my time with this. Marteau (talk) 16:52, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
This has now made it into the Washington Post. [1]. Is it notable enough now? (talk) 01:57, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

As a scientist and educator, I am bothered to no end by what Tyson has done in his talks. In fact, we have been "fact checking" his fabrications for some time now at Shodor in classes teaching students that you cannot believe most of what is "quoted" on the web or in "science for the public" lectures by so many science "popularists." While genius is still the art of cleverly disguising one's sources (don't remember where I got that from!) doing this on a repeated basis when so many REAL examples of math stupidity from ACTUAL headlines and articles could have been used by Tyson is just lazy. I am all for including a reference to this, which is rapidly becoming a controversy among scientists and science educators. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rpanoff (talkcontribs) 03:09, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

So why are these 3 cases different? & & (talk) 14:26, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

They are different because (1) they are well-researched and well-sourced and (2) they had significant impacts on the careers of the people in question. While The Federalist does point out several misquotes and misstatements that seem to reveal Tyson having a questionable relationship to the truth, the question is whether this rises to the level of notability and reliable sourcing. People who want this information here and now may complain that Wikipedia has a liberal bias, but, in fact, this is being kept off because Wikipedia is deeply conservative in the non-political meaning of the word: Things that do not cut it, policy- or guidelines-wise, are kept off, especially when they are controversial. Those complaining about the fact that the mini-scandal isn't yet reflected here don't understand how Wikipedia works, even if they might be correct about the motives of those working to keep it off. (However, assuming good faith means that this should not be the angle at which they attack this.)
Whether Tyson's words are lies is in some sense a judgment call, since he does not have the same standards as Wikipedia: He can say things without providing sources. It's hard to prove a negative, and, even if you could on these pages, that would be original research. That might sound maddening when someone as respected as Tyson can go unchallenged in Wikipedia, but the simple fact is that Wikipedia is not the place in which to challenge him; it is a place to document the challenge if and when it rises to the level of notability.
In summary, just give this time. This topic is starting to be covered on other media, and might eventually rise to a significance level that will be less ignorable. But unless it costs Tyson his career, comparisons to Blair and Glass are unfounded, and until it becomes a significant part of Tyson's life story, this is not the place for it. Calbaer (talk) 03:40, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Federalist links are now considered WP:COI

And here is my arguement. My goodness this article is crazy childish. Zero Serenity (talk - contributions) 16:19, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

[Redacting the posting of personal information] Phil Kerpen (talk) 16:38, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
I am not discussing this with you anymore. Attempting to "shame" me on other websites will definitely not get change here on Wikipedia. Zero Serenity (talk - contributions) 16:54, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
It's hard to AGF when you WP:EW and when you make a tweet like that. To get AGF again I suggest you stop edit warring and also delete that tweet. The last thing I suggest is that you read the policies that you have cited yourself. . NathanWubs (talk) 16:56, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't know about COI, but that looks like a blog to me. I don't see any WP:RS dealing with this. -- Irn (talk) 17:08, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
The COi is basically the smear campaign that the site is trying to organize against Neil. With also attacking wikipedia for not letting their pov be blatantly inserted in the article. NathanWubs (talk) 17:11, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
It's not a "smear" campaign if the accusations are accurate. It is not Wikipedia editors' job to shield public figures they like from valid accusations of fabrication that are made in legitimate periodicals. If you don't like The Federalist, then you'd better prepare to scrub the site of all references to political news journals, from The Nation, to Mother Jones, to the Huffington Post, to National Review, and the Weekly Standard. Better you should focus on making sure the language reporting Tyson's fabrications is even-handed and objective. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
If a smear campaign means breaking the story while only presenting facts I suppose you would be correct. (talk) 17:43, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
"Facts" would be quite a stretch even under the most generous interpretation of the word. The fact that the author is terrible at fact-checking and has a massive hateboner for Mr. Tyson certainly doesn't help.
Please give an example of one fact that is incorrect. (talk) 19:44, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
The author apparently sucks at any research beyond the most cursory Google search. He spends time complaining about users, but if he had bothered to read the thread he linked, they found the source of the quote. The author's whole schtick is that paraphrasing=lying and trying to hamfistedly assert that science is a religion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:58, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
But that is lying if you are showing it as a quote in a slide right? Still waiting for an example. (talk) 20:36, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Breaking the story is not the job of wikipedia. If this becomes an enduring part of Tyson's reputation (as measured by seeing it in multiple reliable sources over a sustained period of time) then it will be appropriate for his article. Until then, its just "gotcha". Telling a funny anecdote with fudgy details to make a joke/point is not a controversy, its what public speakers do. Gaijin42 (talk) 19:08, 18 September 2014 (UTC) ─────────────────────────I want to remind everyone what WP:RS is. Zero Serenity (talk - contributions) 19:37, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Simple question: Did Tyson, in fact, misquote George W. Bush in order to attack him? Why the constant refrain that this 'appeared only in The Federalist, written by the same author'? That sounds an awful like like the Source Fallacy; 'no need to address the facts of the matter because of who said it, not an approved authority or source of information'. If, in fact, Tyson fabricated/misquoted Bush in order to launch an attack on him, this should be easily demonstrable.

1) "in order to launch an attack" is certainly an opinion, and therefore the source of that opinion is very relevant. 2) It doesn't matter if we can demonstrate it happened or not, many things happen in many people lives, we don't write each of them into every persons biography. We write the ones that are of lasting notability. When clinton said "I did not have sex with that woman" we write about it, because it comes up repeatedly, over decades, in newspaper articles, tv shows etc. So far only a handful of blogs have commented on this, and for a few days. Its a flash in the pan (for now). If a month from now, the NyTimes, Time, Newsweek, or someone is writing about this controversy, get back to us. Gaijin42 (talk) 20:48, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Why is no report about Tyson's fabrications being allowed? Why are Wikipedia editors assuming there is no interest in this, when obviously there is a lot of interest in this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:35, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Because a reliable source on the subject cannot be found. Zero Serenity (talk - contributions) 21:48, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Not sure what you mean by "reliable source". Is the video of NdGT giving the erroneous quote and a highly misleading interpretation not an adequately reliable source? Smithkl42 (talk) 22:27, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Even if the source was reliable (which is dubious at best) it's still (at this point) a non-issue. The article is childish and the writer is unapologetically's been reposted on several extreme-right websites and no one else of any note has taken this story up. If someone investigates this properly and publishes it as a source that we can use and the allegations prove true and notable...then it should be published in his article. Until then there is no reason to document someone on the fringe accusing him of a couple quote fabrications. --Shabidoo | Talk 23:11, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
I am amused by the sheer chutzpah of fact-stabbers who assume that no one else is capable of Googling. It took me all of five seconds to find a non-Federalist, non-"extreme-right" (are you sure you're not "unapologetically biased"? I think maybe you are...) source containing a link to the actual video of Tyson's speech in question. Tyson's serial fabulism may not yet approach Clintonesque levels at present, but it is definitely noteworthy when said lying involves a President.--Froglich (talk) 00:13, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
If that's so then a reliable and well written source will be published in the coming days. I am just as interested as you are to discover if these claims are true or not and if they were explicitly fabricated or mistakes. I hope they aren't but if they are and a source appears then it should be included in his article. --Shabidoo | Talk 03:13, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
In the text the following is wrong with the sources. Source 1 in that post does not exist. at least not when I copy the link. Source 2 is the federalist source which is not RS. Source 3 is a government source which probably makes it RS. 4. is Patheos which is also not RS last time I checked, as once again its a blog. Youtube can sometimes be used as a valid source, but it cannot be used to support WP:OR. Which you are now trying to do Froglich. I do not care if he made the mistake yes or no. What I care is it being backed by reliable sources. What also care about is if it will be notable. At the moment I am leaning towards no. Its only neil mis-quoting something which people do all the time. He only has to admit, I made a mistake and boom crisis over no one will care. But I think the fact will be that no mainstream media will care about this in the first place. But I will be delighted to see not just in the coming days, but in the coming weeks what reliable notable sources from the people that will want this in the article can bring forward. (( I will be more then willing to accept patheos if someone could guide me to the relevant RS discussion Same goes to the Federalist..)NathanWubs (talk) 04:28, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
There's now an article in the daily beast. "A third post by Davis then took apart an anecdote Tyson told about George W. Bush, showing it to be false." (talk) 14:20, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

I want to latch onto this one point made by an anon earlier: "but if he had bothered to read the thread he linked, they found the source of the quote." Can anybody verify this? Zero Serenity (talk - contributions) 13:07, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

I haven't been able to find what he was referring to. The only similar quote was found by Sean Davis' federalist article when Bush was giving a speech about the Columbia shuttle disaster. (talk) 14:13, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Searching for "star", the only thing was this: which links to a blog with two short Bush quotes and then goes on with its own text, which certainly doesn't mention star names. It's also near the end of the discussion, which reduces the chance that it existed at the time that anyone was reading it. -- SEWilco (talk) 19:17, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Biased sources and the WP:BIASED guidelines.

Complaints have been made about a source being "unapologetically biased" and that "extreme right-wing" sites have reposted the sources, and that only right-wing sites are talking about this. The implication is that such a bias disqualifies the source. This is misguided. Wikipedia allows biased sources as pointed out in WP:BIASED where it says, "Sometimes non-neutral sources are the best possible sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject". I mention this because I have added two sources (The Weekly Standard and the Tampa Tribune ) where both writers are obviously biased and I'm sure some of you will take offense to the tone of the writers. However, a source's motives and tone of voice are irrelevant to whether or not they can be considered reliable sources. We, as Wikipedia editors, are required to keep our writing and our encyclopedia unbiased. Our sources are not. Marteau (talk) 08:11, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

The sources that you add are ones which simply parrot the original blog post and they make even further ridiculous claims (the second one is yet another blog). Peer review? The weekly standard claims his views don't stand up to peer review? A blog entry is not peer review. The blog points out and backs up one inconsistency in Tysons quotes. That doesn't even approach peer review. That's one man noticing an inconsistency and then claiming Tyson is a quote fabricating factory. He doesn't back up his other claims of misquoting and he does nothing to support his claim that these quotes were wilfully manipulative and fabricated. Regardless of tone and intent...none of these sources would be acceptable for any topic on any article. --Shabidoo | Talk 14:39, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
You seem to be hung up on the marketing of these journalist's writings as "blogs" when they are in every sense of the term, functionally newspaper columns written by newspaper columnists. WP:NEWSBLOG states "Several newspapers, magazines, and other news organizations host columns on their web sites that they call blogs. These may be acceptable sources if the writers are professionals, but use them with caution because the blog may not be subject to the news organization's normal fact-checking process." The Tampa Bay citation is by a professional journalist and his work is citable under this guideline. Regarding The Weekly Standard, they claim independently Bush never said the line in question without "parroting" anyone else's work or citing any "blogs"... this particular point of contention is in this case attributable to the masthead itself is not attributed to any individual author and thus relies on the name and reputation of the magazine itself for it's veracity. Marteau (talk) 15:14, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
These sources could be the New Yorker or an academic journal and they would still not suffice. None of the sources so far shown demonstrate their claim that Tyson is a manipulative quote or newspaper or not. One inconsistency demonstrated in a quote does not justify their claim. It would be better to wait for a source that properly demonstrates this claim. --Shabidoo | Talk 16:16, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Looking at the linked articles, here is more than "One inconsistency". Look for "360 degrees", "jury" (the weight of a dime is 2.268 grams, making the versions of the story over that weight more dubious than the judge-juror interaction), which are two of the events mentioned in The Daily Beast. -- SEWilco (talk) 19:53, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Just as an aside: What I find as troubling as the apparent fabrication is Tyson's equating of "Arab" with "Muslim." Seems he hasn't heard that Arab Christians exist in this world. His casually coming off as if he's an expert theologian is also pretty sad ("they are the same god!"). Whatever. (talk) 00:28, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

It is generally accepted by theologicians that Muslims and Christians both worship the God of Abraham. Pope John Paul II said: “We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection,” in a speech to Muslims in Morocco in 1985. Of course, there are people that claim Catholics and Born-Again Christians worship different gods. In any case, you appear to be pushing a POV. Objective3000 (talk) 00:44, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Time for an RfC?

Don't you think it's time to get outside eyes involved here? - Lisa (talk - contribs) 13:34, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

On looking at the content following a highlight at the BLP board, I find the paragraph, ignoring whether or not we can include it, riddled with POV and Weight issues. I have proposed a reduced and amended version below. SPACKlick (talk) 14:28, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

In speeches Tyson has quoted then-President George W. Bush as saying, "Our God is the God who named the stars," in order to "distinguish we from they (Muslims)".[59] Several Journalists [62][63] have disputed that the quote exists.

I don't think from the sources I've read anything more can be included. And from how little can be included I'm not certain this warrants its own paragraph, is there any section this would fit better in? SPACKlick (talk) 14:28, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
It is not as if this issue is starving for attention from editors. There are plenty of eyes involved here. I have to assume you want to seek out further eyes because you simply are dissatisfied with what the current sets of eyes are seeing. Marteau (talk) 15:22, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, Marteau, I wanted to seek out further eyes because it seemed to me that no one was listening to your cogent points. But thanks for the AGF. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:23, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Lisa I apologize for being snarky towards you. That was uncalled for. Marteau (talk) 18:58, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I've recently made three edits to the paragraph and I'll ask Marteau to not blanket-revert without discussing.
1- an article in by an apparently anonymus writer "The Scrapbook" is not a WP:RS.
2- The article in that originated this was missing and I added it.
3- Saying "The most similar matching quote.." is blatant WP:OR unless we can source it to some article where precisely that is said.
Regards. Gaba (talk) 16:19, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
The Weekly Standard "Scrapbook" is a regular feature of the magazine which is dedicated to highligting what the magazine consideres particularly noteworthy actions of the political left, and is never accompanied with a by-line. It is a product of the Weekly Standard's editorial board and is considered the voice of the magazine itself and not one author. It's reliability is based upon and depends upon the reputation of the magazine itself and not the reputation of any individual journalist. Saying it is not "reliable" is in effect saying the Weekly Standard itself is not a reliable source which is not the concensus of Wikipedia editors throughout the years. Marteau (talk) 16:27, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Leaving aside whether TWS is a WP:RS or not, the statement "No evidence exists of Bush saying that" is by no means supported by the article used as a source. Second, that article, as the rest of the articles quoted in the section, are all echoes of the original piece in which is the one that should remain, if it is decided that enything about this "incident" should remain. Regards. Gaba (talk) 16:40, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Gaba I don't think we should "leave aside" the issue of TSW being WP:RS. You keep removing it as a source. It is a respected publication and is widely used here as a reliable source. The Weekly Standard says regarding this incident that "nothing about this anecdote is true". They say that independently of their discussion of the Federalist and it stands alone... it is their assertion which, although it coincides with The Federalist's opinion, it is not simply an "echo". Marteau (talk) 19:36, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
The story's broken out of the right-wing news ghetto: Daily Beast: "The Right’s War on Neil deGrasse Tyson" (The article is slanted, naturally, but it just states as fact that Tyson's quote of GWB has been shown to be false. Which, c'mon, it totally has.) A vote may not be necessary. Pretty soon people won't be able to convince themselves they can still hide the story.
Possible compromise: How about we just add [Category: Serial Fabulists] to the page? OH I WENT THERE -- Narsil (talk) 18:51, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't see the need for an RfC yet. I've seen quite a few references to Tyson's many gaffes in recent days, so it seems to be an unfolding story, and there is no need to rush. That said, we are taking it very slowly, and I see only one of the many gaffes in this article at the moment. Some outlets are picking up on the Wikipedia aspect of the story [Why Is Wikipedia Deleting All References To Neil Tyson’s Fabrication?], which unfortunately missed the point of the quote in the update section.)--S Philbrick(Talk) 19:36, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Just to be clear, the fact that some sites are taking potshots at the way this is handled is not offered as an argument to rush, but we should get it right.--S Philbrick(Talk) 19:46, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
This morning, I did not think an RfC was needed. I'm not so sure any more. This is becoming embarassing. The involvment of editors beyond those with an interest in this article, but with a concern for the interests of the encyclopedia in general may be warranted. Today, we have editors here who are advocating that ANY mention of this be COMPLETELY removed. That it does not even deserve so much as one paragraph, and should be moved out of "Views... Politics". My POV and my opinion, but this event is damaging Wikipedia and it's reputation. When the book is written about an alleged Wikipedia bias, this has all the makings of being in ChapterOone. Again, my POV and my opinion, but if this article were to be locked down at a moment where no mention of this event in place, THEN we will get our wish and see mention of it in the big time media with the likes of the Wall Street Journal and perhaps even some of the big name liberal sources. Marteau (talk) 19:56, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
An RfC would be warranted if this drags on for many days without resolution. While you might be discouraged that there has been some back and forth, I see only a couple days of discussion and one section. Hundreds of articles go through multiple sections and many days of debate, often then reaching a conclusion, thought sometimes not. I think a RfC is premature. For example, has anyone yet completed a summary of the gaffes that should be considered? I see discussion of the Bush quote, but nothing about the made up headline or the confusion between mean and median. Nothing about the 360 degree comment, which was either made up, or more likely liberal paraphrase of someone's comment. Has anyone attempted to compile the source that are discussing the Bush quote, or any of the others? If some of that legwork is done, it might make it clearer whether this is a minor issue not deserving of much coverage, or a bigger deal worth covering in more detail. "this has all the makings of being in ChapterOone". Let's not over-react. The book has been written, and there are many examples which dwarf this.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:12, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

The weight question

After sleeping on it, this still remains a huge problem with this entire discourse. So let me check through the bullet list of what is here.

  • If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts; (This is not true)
  • If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents; (I guess this could be true)
  • If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong in Wikipedia regardless of whether it is true or not and regardless of whether you can prove it or not, except perhaps in some ancillary article. (I do believe this is true)

Similarly, I don't think this particular incident is of such note in the article along side his other major accomplishments, deeds and events. Zero Serenity (talk - contributions) 16:36, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Seems to me that this issue does not pass the notability test, at least not yet. Perhaps it will at some point, but what I see is a blogger trying to attract attention and attempting to use Wikipedia as a "peg" to attract such attention. Not everything posted on every blog every week is of sufficient notability to warrant inclusion. Until this material gains more widespread notoriety I think we're on solid ground leaving it out. Mr. Swordfish (talk) 19:23, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Just a small matter of terminology; Notability is an article creation criteria, the word you are looking for is weight. Second Quantization (talk) 23:23, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
  • It seems undue to me if it's based on a singular source especially since the website is also relatively new (it appears to have launched last year) and does not have established reliability. Neil deGrasse Tyson would be expected to appear in a wide variety of sources since he is an established figure if there is a major controversy. We can wait and then weight new sources which emerge if this attracts wider attention from more reliable sources. Also see WP:NOTNEWS, Second Quantization (talk) 23:23, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Your assertion that this is "based on a singular source" is not correct. Notice the number of reliable sources in support. It isn't even the case that we have to weigh competing claims. I've only found one source so far that supports Tyson, and they don't even allege he is correct, they just think it is overblown. The next source that says Tyson was right and Bush wrong will be the first one I've seen. Have you seen any?--S Philbrick(Talk) 01:03, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
You have very limited sourcing at the moment in relatively minor papers, Second Quantization (talk) 15:21, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
What's important is that the "relatively major papers" you desperately wish you could rely upon right now aren't touching this because they know Tyson is BSing.--Froglich (talk) 15:33, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Or they simply aren't aware of it because it's not a major news story. Second Quantization (talk) 09:31, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Controversy over edits

Just for informational purposes, some sites picking up on the Wikipedia handing:

There are more.--S Philbrick(Talk) 19:53, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

None of these sites pass WP:RS. Why should we care? Zero Serenity (talk - contributions) 20:04, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Because this entire episode is becoming an embarassment to the encyclopedia and is becoming national news. Marteau (talk) 20:07, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
It appears in some blogging places and you think that qualifies as national news. That certainly is a low bar, Second Quantization (talk) 23:25, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Second Quantization Mention of this edit war appeared in the Weekly Standard where it says, "Wikipedia editors have rigorously deleted anything less than flattering from Tyson’s bio". That is not a "low bar". Marteau (talk) 00:42, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not American so I don't generally read obscure American opinion sites, the wikipedia article on the Weekly standard says "The Weekly Standard is an American neoconservative opinion magazine". That doesn't sound like a neutral reliable news source by any standard, Second Quantization (talk) 09:58, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
We should care because if many sites are writing that we are mishandling an article, we would like to be in a position of having a solid response. At the moment we don't, other than the weak, "it sometimes take time to get it right". Which is true, but we ought to work on getting it right.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:19, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
One partial response is that the claim is misleading. While there have been some edits of one quote, it is in the article at the moment, so it is not correct to assert that all references have been removed or scrubbed.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:22, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
That's true. However when or if this article gets locked down in the future (and I betting it will), my fear is that it will be minutes after all references to the episode have been removed. I would hope any admin choosing to lock it down is particularly careful. Marteau (talk) 20:32, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
The article does look like it is being mishandled. If Tyson has been fabricating quotes, then that needs to be in the WP article.--TMD (talk) 20:42, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
This is now become blown all out of proportion on two levels. 1. The inclusion of a blogger and his unsuppoerted and exagerated claims. 2. Like minded sources claiming foul despite normal editing behaviour on wikipedia. I'm half expecting to see some blog publish: 3. A full out conspiracy orchestrated by Tyson himself to rewrite history by bribing wikipedia editors. --Shabidoo | Talk 20:47, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Maybe three levels, if we count your contribution. Which claims by the blogger are unsupported and exaggerated and make it in the article?--S Philbrick(Talk) 21:13, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
The blogger points out that the Bush quote cannot be found. From this he leaps to the conclusion that Tyson is a manipulative fabrication machine. The other two examples of quote fabrication are dubious and they are not supported. Again. One quote cannot be substantiated and two quotes may be incorrect...therefore Tyson has wilfully manipulated and fabricated quotes to further his agenda. Exagerated claim...parroted by a few more blogs and agencies. Non-notable. --Shabidoo | Talk 21:50, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I think you missed the point. The supposed quote of Bush cannot be found, because that is not what he said. If we were, say, talking about a quote of mine, the fact that you cannot find it may simply mean that you haven't looked in the right place, but there is no way that President Bush actually uttered a quote that Tyson heard, but no one else can track down. We know what Tyson referred to, because Bush did say, "The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today". We don;t need to take the word of some blogger, it is documented here. In other words, we do know what Bush said, and it isn't what Tyson claimed, unless you want to assert that Bush spoke at a public ceremony, and made a different comment about the creator naming the stars. If you can find that, I owe you an apology, but I'll bet dollars to donuts that if he actually said that when Tyson claimed he said it, someone would have found it by now. Tyson did manipulate the quote, to make a point that has nothing to do with the point Bush was making. (Or perhaps it wasn't Tyson, but some underling working for him.) We don't have to take the blogger's word for what Tyson said, it was videotaped. Have you watched the video? Do you think the video was photoshopped? --S Philbrick(Talk) 22:59, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
You said:
From this he leaps to the conclusion that Tyson is a manipulative fabrication machine.
I specifically asked for claims that are in the article. This is not in the article.--S Philbrick(Talk) 23:13, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
You said:
This is not in the article.
That's because I paraphrased. This was in the article:
I’m beginning to think this Neil deGrasse Tyson fellow is a serial fabricator of quotes.
That is hyperbole of a rotten kind. The quote may be incorrect...therefore Tyson willingly fabricates many quotes. That is an extreme conclusion to make because the original quote can't be found or the quote is incorrect.
You said:
I'll bet dollars to donuts that if he actually said that when Tyson claimed he said it, someone would have found it by now..
Total speculation. Just like the article.
From the article:
Now we have evidence of Tyson fabricating a quote in order to make George W. Bush look dumb.


Total speculation. As A quest for knowledge said...that's a pretty heavy claim from a dubious source. Why would we publish speculation and exaggerated conclusions from a dubious, unashamedly biased blog?
Non-issue. No weight. --Shabidoo | Talk 00:09, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Why are you going on about the "serial fabricator of quotes"? It isn't in the article.--S Philbrick(Talk) 15:07, 21 September 2014 (UTC) It's at the top of the page. Take a close look. --Shabidoo | Talk 15:34, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Sorry we are intercommunicating. Of course it is in the blog article. But it isn't in the Wikipedia article (though I think it may havce been briefly, not sure.) Why are you trying to challenge a statement that isn't in this article?--S Philbrick(Talk) 17:00, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
The article is locked Philbrick. Between you and me you are the only one who cacn make changes. The two quotes by the journalist clearly insinuate that Tyson has fabricated the quote. --Shabidoo | Talk 23:05, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
I am involved, so it would not be appropriate for me to make substantive changes, now that it is locked. (I did add a deadlink template to a dead link)--S Philbrick(Talk) 01:21, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────Yes, I agree, they do insinuate Tyson fabricated the quote. But it is clear that it is only THEIR opinion and no one else's. It certainly is not the encylopedia's opinion, per se...the encylopedia itself is implying no such thing. Our encyclopedia is not stating he fabricated anything. The quoted journalists are, and simply disagreeing with them is no basis for removing a properly cited quote about the matter. That would be OR and POV. Marteau (talk) 23:33, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

Why would we care about the speculation of a blogger and two journalists who parroted him? This is what the majority of users have been saying. Undue weight.--Shabidoo | Talk 00:34, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I could understand an argument to remove one of the quotes due to a weight issue. But to propose removal of ALL quotes and ALL references is a different matter would be an overcorrection. To answer your question "why would we care"... this issue deserves inclusion because it is a credible, cited, documented instance of a internationally renowned public speaker proudly mocking and quoting an incorrect quotation about a president. And doing it repeatedly. And leaving it on his Hayden Planitarium blog even now when I would bet his agent knows about this issue even if Tyson himself does not You have made it clear that you don't think that is worthy of so much as a paragraph here. I, and others disagree, and I suppose this will have to eventually come to a request for comments and a seeking of concensus. Marteau (talk) 00:46, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Can people please avoid controversies amongst unreliable sources. It is of no interest here. The topic lacks due weight. We can wait for sources which are more reliable to bring up the issue (The federalist is only 1 year old, and does not appear to have an established reputation), and then discuss it at that point. We should weight for sources of sufficient weight before adding it. For example, the piece in the same section is sourced to the NYT. Second Quantization (talk) 23:37, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

I have added as a source. The Weekly Standard is a well-established reliable source. Marteau (talk) 01:01, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
If you want to allege unreliable sources, make your case. The quote attributed to Tyson is both contained prominently on the Hayden Planetarium site, as well as clearly stated in the video hosted by the same site. The Tampa Tribune is preemptively an RS. If you want to start a debate as RSN to get it declared not reliable, be my guest, but you need to do that before declaring it is not an RS.--S Philbrick(Talk) 00:55, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
If the Federalist were the only one making the claim, and did so without supporting evidence, I would be with you in calling for and supporting the removal. But the claim is supported by multiple independent sources.--S Philbrick(Talk) 00:58, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Most of the sources are only talking about this in the context of it being a Wikipedia controversy. That does not make it notable for an article on Neil deGrasse Tyson; the fact that we are discussing it here at length on the talk page does not change the fact that it is not noteworthy enough to be included in his article. --Aquillion (talk) 06:12, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
@Aquillion: I think you missed the point I was trying to make. My selection of items wasn't a random sample of articles about the incident, it was a deliberate selection of sources talking about the Wikipedia aspect. So of course these sources talk about it being a Wikipedia controversy, that's how they were selected. There are many sources talking about the incident itself, without mentioning Wikipedia.--S Philbrick(Talk) 15:02, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
As it stands now, the topic does not have sufficient weight since its appearing in relatively minor sources. I think people are trying to make wikipedia the focus of a controversy by sticking undue attacks into a BLP. The federalist is a lower tier source than those such as say the NYT or the Guardian. We should wait for sources of a higher impact before making the addition, instead of the barrel scrapping that is occurring. That the more reliable sources discuss Benjamin Domenech of the Federalist as engaging in attacks against Tyson: (Physics Today) is also very problematic. You want us to host the attacks. Second Quantization (talk) 08:57, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Bush/ Tyson quote incident

The incident involving Tyson and Bush was inserted and removed a few times on the 17th, but has been reasonably stable until someone just removed it a few minutes ago. Let's discuss if you think the sourcing is weak, but I see a quote sourced to the Hayden Planetarium, where Tyson is director. No one has questioned the authenticity of the quote by Tyson, as distinct from the claim that Tyson incorrect quotes Bush. The Hayden Planetarium is hardly a weak source. While a blogger is always a question, the claims are all sourced to good sources, so unless someone makes a compelling case that someone has doctored video or hacked the planetarium site, removal on the grounds that they are weak sources isn't valid. We can debate WEIGHT issues, but let's debate them, not preemptively assume an answer.--S Philbrick(Talk) 00:51, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Correct me if I'm wrong but so far users JoelWhy, Calbaer, ZeroSerenity, myself, Nathanwubs, Gaijin42, Axis42, Mr. Swordfish, Second Quantization and TRPod have all leaned towards or outright said this is a non-issue and/or is non-notable and/or not weighty enough as it stands. would you defend the "weight" of Tysons alleged quote fabrication? --Shabidoo | Talk 01:45, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
It isn't the count of editors, it is the weight of the argument. Has a single editor said that the quote wasn't uttered by Tyson? If it is granted that a very notable figure publicly made fun of the President of the United States, can you explain why this is a non-issue? It was not a throw-away comment said in some casual way, it is part of his prepared remarks, used in multiple occasions, and memorialized on the website of the Hayden Planetarium. It has been discussed by many, including many reliable sources. The burden is on you to explain why this highly discussed event, involving two highly notable individuals, is a non-issue.--S Philbrick(Talk) 02:07, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Its a WP:WEIGHT issue, and I say this as a pretty well known "right wing nut job" on the wiki. However, I will say that the story is gaining momentum and being discussed in more reliable sources, and If that pattern continues, I certainly would not be surprised if my !vote changes in the next few days. Many notable people say snarky things about other notable people, we don't cover them in their respective biographies, unless it becomes part of their persistent reputation and is covered by more than just the "Oh snap!" sources. Gaijin42 (talk) 02:14, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree that if this was some minor issue, one of the recent Biden gaffe arising from letting his tongue get ahead of his brain, and speaking off the cuff in a way he often needs to retract, it wouldn't be worth mentioning. However, this incident is no off-the-cuff remark. It has been used multiple times, and it is setup in a very orchestrated way. The fact that it is featured on the Planetarium website suggests that someone is actually proud of it. --S Philbrick(Talk) 02:23, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Have you actually watched the video? This is not some minor point. He takes four minutes, sets up the audience, invokes personal photos of the 9/11 disaster (which turns out to have nothing to do with what Bush said), makes a point of checking his computer to make sure he is getting his quote right, and accuses the President of the united States of being clueless about Muslims, all as part of a presentation on how clueless people are about science. Now, I happen to think many people, including many members of Congress are clueless about science, but there's a lot of low-hanging fruit out there if you want to make the point. To use an emotional speech used in honor of our seven fallen astronauts to try to make the President look like a doofus would be bad enough if it were true, but Tyson gets his dates wrong, his quotes wrong, his location wrong, and makes a point that is totally not supported by the evidence. This is a man going on tour trying to talk about how to get things right, and he is getting so many things wrong. I am happy to see that no one is actually trying to defend the quote, the attempt is "simply" to minimize it as if it were unimportant, which it would be if it were some marginally notable person talking about some nobody. Bush make enough gaffes, if someone wants to use one in a speech, there's a lot to choose from, no need to make stuff up.--S Philbrick(Talk) 02:19, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
No doubt, it was a douchy thing for him to do when there were plenty of other anecdotes he could have told. But its the same thing Stewart, Letterman, Leno, SNL, Limbaugh and hundreds of others do. Twist things that makes someone they don't like look bad or to make a point. He was making a humorous lesson to a general non technical audience - fudging things to their level is par for the course. See any TED talk for more examples. We only cover these things when they become more than just the story of the week. If people are bringing this type of thing up in general articles about Tyson a month from now, it will be an entirely different ball of wax. Gaijin42 (talk) 02:26, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
The fact that the clip of him going on about what a dullard and a bigot Bush purportedly is remains on his professional blog at the Hayden Planetarium web site, a scientific institution where he is director, gives weight towards including it in his "Views" section here. A desire for linkage between this issue and his person is invited by and demonstrated by the man himself. Marteau (talk) 02:40, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Several users have explained in several different ways, Sphilbrick, why this non-issue as it stands doesn't have weight. This is on top of the other multiple problems with this non story. I'm sure a lot of users would change their mind if and when things develop further as would I. --Shabidoo | Talk 02:58, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
It does not need to become a major issue. His political view is that Bush II is a dope and a bigot. He has made that clear and it seems (to me) that he is proud of it. He blogged about it on his Hayden Planitarium site. He repeated his view multiple times in his lectures... last time was a week or so ago. It is clearly a political view which is widely quoted on the internet and the fact that he has so widely and so publicly demonstrated contempt for Bush is reason enough for it to be in his "Views... Politics". That it turns out that the basis for his contempt (at least in this instance) has become controversial in some circles is simply an additional reason for it's inclusion here, not the only reason. Marteau (talk) 03:12, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
"It is clearly a political view". He's on record as saying republicans are more pro-science than democrats because they spend more money on science, so I'm curious what politics you think it is, Second Quantization (talk) 08:48, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I am beginning to think putting mention of this in the "Views... Politics" section was incorrect, and that this issue belongs in the "Career" section. A scientist, Tyson also is a professional communicator and educator who spends much of his time performing lectures and speeches for various audiences. His renown as a speaker and educator is significant. I'm thinking this issue is more related to his conduct as a speaker and the content and quality of his lectures than it's relation to politics. Marteau (talk) 08:59, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Also, your counting and listing of editors who have, it your estimation, supported exclusion of this issue is a meaningless metric. It does not include editors reading this page who feel their POV has been adequately covered herer and do not feel compelled to chime in just to say "I agree!". It may include editors whose POV may have changed. When and if this becomes a more formal "Support" or "Oppose" thing, THEN it will be time to do a tally. Marteau (talk) 04:21, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I think that, for someone who is not notable for their political views, they do need to become a "major issue" to warrant any detail (beyond maybe a category at best). He's neither a politician nor primarily famous for his political work, so by default his political views (and comments related to them) deserve no more attention in the article than his favorite foods. Additionally, I agree with the people above that repeating what's basically the flavor-of-the-month rumor going around on blogs amounts to a BLP violation, since there's not really any indication yet that any of this is noteworthy to his overall story. For now, the appropriate thing to do is remove the entire section, then come back in a month or so and see if anyone is still talking about it. --Aquillion (talk) 06:07, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Tyson is notable for a number of things, one of which is for being an educator and a speaker. The incident in question is part of his lecture tour... he talks about it often as part of his speeches given and intended not only to entertain but to educate and enlighten. The fact that some of his lecture material appears to be incorrect is absolutely germane to what makes the man notable and pertinent to what he is notable for, which includes his significant efforts at reaching out and imparting his knowledge and opinions to people, opinions which, evidently, include political matters. The quality and the content of the information he provides as a public speaker and educator is absolutely relevant to who the man is and what the man does... it is not trivia such as his "favorite food" as you suggest. Perhaps this issue belongs under another heading, maybe about his career as a speaker... I'll give you that. But the information is pertinent to the man and his work, and should be included in his bio. But saying that information regarding the quality, content and purport of his speeches is irrelevant and should be removed is ludicrous. Marteau (talk) 06:32, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
@Gaijin42: The fact that professional comedians twist things to make a joke isn't an apt comparison. Tyson isn't on the standup tour, his day job is a science communicator. A major portion of his life is talking to groups for the purpose of education, and his theme is that many are clueless about science issues. That position carries with it a responsibility to get his facts right. We aren't talking about an athlete who makes a blunder about some science fact, or even a member of Congress who worries that Guam might tip over, he is talking about education issues. As such, this story, which fails on several levels, is notable.--S Philbrick(Talk) 12:37, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

─────────────────────────This is absolutely a "non-incident" that begun as an article in a conservative quite obscure web-page and spreaded to a few other right-wing sites mostly. At this point I'd favour removing it from the article until (if) it becomes news WP:NOTABLE enough to warrant an inclusion. It's funny that the person (S Davis) who authored the original piece has now published another one (mentioned above by Marteau) where he says:

  • [UPDATE: Early this morning, in a discussion thread about whether references to Neil deGrasse Tyson's history of quote fabrication should be added to Tyson's Wikipedia page, an editor stated that "no version of this event will be allowed into the article."]

The editor who said that was precisely Marteau and he said it in the context that he thought this was a war not worth fighting (I'd say he has changed his mind since 2 days ago, seeing his involvement here). This line was used by Davis as a statement implying WP would not allow any mention of this into the article. Now, one can WP:AGF about Davis and presume he is just that incompetent and can't read basic English. I have my doubts. Regards. Gaba (talk) 13:02, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

Why is it relevant that it started in a conservative site? Does that make it a "non-incident"? --S Philbrick(Talk) 13:28, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I'd say that the site being quite obscure and the fact that the author of the original piece would fail a basic reading comprehension test make it a "non-issue", along with the fact that no major news outlet has picked up on this, at least yet. The site being conservative is just another piece of information. Gaba (talk) 13:39, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Gaba_p , I fail to see how a direct insult against the person who created this bit on thefederalist is in need of a direct or indirect insult against his reading and comprehension abilities....... (talk) 14:02, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
The most relevant adjective is obscure, although the fact that it is an ideologically driven site is also relevant. Agree that which side of the spectrum it comes from should not be relevant. Let's review:
  • An obscure ideologically-driven blog makes some accusations that may or may not pan out
  • One of its readers runs to Wikipedia to "tell the world about it"
  • Wikipedia editors exercise their judgement that the material does not meet standards, especially for a BLP, and remove it
  • The original author of the blog post cries censorship and attempts to give the story legs by making it a story about Wikipedia and censorship rather than about the material itself
  • And here we are, basically forced from a public-relations standpoint to leave in material that by the usual standards should not be in the article.
My take is that every ideologically-driven smear campaign posted in the blogosphere - even in blogs much more widely read than the one that published this attack - does not automatically meet notability and weight requirements for inclusion. If they did, our articles would be so long as to be useless and unreadable. But we may have to leave this up for a few days until S Davis drops his "censorship" campaign. Mr. Swordfish (talk) 14:04, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
We should never leave any bad content up just to satisfy highly biased outside attackers. This isn't Conservapedia, and anyone who demands it act as their mouthpiece for ignorant political attacks should be told to go away and leave the encyclopedia writing business to grown ups. DreamGuy (talk) 14:18, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
We should never leave any bad content up just to satisfy highly biased outside attackers. But it appears in this case that's exactly what we are doing. (BTW, my statement above was meant to be descriptive, not advocacy.) Mr. Swordfish (talk) 15:40, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
By definition We should never leave bad content up period. To satisfy anyone. —    Bill W.    (Talk)  (Contrib)  (User:Wtwilson3)  — 13:32, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

My main problem with the article is that there is a political views section that is not really about his political views but attempts from partisan sources to make him look bad, for reasons that are unclear (seems like part of their long running attack on the science demonstrating climate change, as far as I can tell, though some have wondered if it's a racist thing along the lines of "how dare a black man act like he knows more than us white men"). Any political views section should contain an unbiased summary of his actual political views. As far as the supposed errors made go, I would think that it would be fair to use a reliable source from a non fringe non political hack job site to demonstrate the fact that there are conservatives attacking him and why, assuming it rises to high enough notability to even mention in this article at all. At this point I think it's WP:UNDUE weight to give any mention of it at all, though if mainstream news sources cover it in a nontrivial way I would change my mind. If it is mentioned it cannot be phrased in such a way as to be "ha ha ha, this guy said stuff that is wrong, what a loser, scientists/liberals/black men are dumb" which is essentially what the partisan voices who added the current section seem to be trying to say. DreamGuy (talk) 14:18, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

I'll second that this has nothing to do with his political views. Tyson is actually making a point of how the Islamic world used to be at the forefront of scientific discovery until Al-Ghazali. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:30, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I think that is an interesting point worth making. If he had simply made that point, we wouldn't be having this discussion. The problem is he made it by suggesting that Bush was too dumb to know this. In fact, we have no idea whether Bush was aware of this or not, and I don't exactly know why we should care whether Bush knows this. It was Tyson who brought Bush into the story.--S Philbrick(Talk) 21:38, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
@Sphilbrick: Actually, he does make this perfectly clear. I watched the entire 1 hour and 20 minute lecture earlier today and this is nothing more than an anecdote to begin a segment on how society's views can impede the progress of science, with Islamic world being the example given (the Jewish world being the counter example). So, he's not making a point about Bush, he's making a point about the lost opportunity of 1.3 billion people not contributing to the advancement of human knowledge. I strongly recommend that you (well, everyone) watch the entire speech. But if you don't have time to watch the entire thing, this particular segment starts at about 48:30 and ends at about 57:08. Here's the link to the whole speech.[2] You can skip ahead to 48:30, but again I recommend watching the whole thing. Your brain will thank you afterwards. :) A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 22:42, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

─────────────────────────@A Quest For Knowledge: I have seen several pieces of his speech before, but had not watched the whole speech. I agree with you that it is well worth watching.

The horoscope test might be useful, if I run into a believer. The down pillow example was funny. The shot at the medical profession "one system" was odd, but no big deal. The way to do levitation is one I had seen before. I agree with his point about the 13th floor, not so much about the negative floor numbers. The point about scientists on money was interesting. I loved the periodic table color coding. Both jury duty stories fell flat for me. He is wrong in the schools below average anecdote, let's discuss that separately if you care. His assessment of the subprime lending fiasco is partially insightful, but mostly flawed. Not a big deal, though. His explanation of the rise and fall of the influence of the Islamic world in science was quite interesting. He should have obscured the license plate in his Intelligent Design slide. His intelligent design discussion was entertaining. His atheism comments were thought-provoking.

One of his comments, very relevant to this place, came early:

If an argument lasts more than five minutes, both sides are wrong.

I haven't challenged the notion that his goal in the George W. Bush anecdote, was to point out the number of stars with Arabic names. I get that he wouldn't be effective if he simply recited some dry facts; he is an effective and entertaining speaker, and he often used "hooks", in the same way DYK uses hooks, to make something more interesting. But in the same way a DYK hook, even if quite clever, is dropped if it cannot be verified, his Bush story fails the verification test. Note that it is not an accident that he invokes Bush's name. The segment title isn't "Names of the Stars", it is "George W. Bush". He gets an audience laugh before he says word one after the slide. His story isn't the story of the names of the stars, it is the story of a President of the United States so clueless he has no idea that so many stars have Arabic names. And to make that point, he invokes a make-up quote, invokes the emotion of the Twin Towers burning which has absolutely nothing to do with Bush's actual speech, claims Bush was distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims, when he was doing no such thing. Add to that the fact that Bush's actual quote wasn't some minor statement, but a highly emotional tribute to the fallen seven astronauts, and the whole incident is reprehensible. He ought to remove it from his stock speech, and apologize. I am happy to see that no one in this discussion has claimed (unless I missed it), that Tyson was right. The arguments are on different grounds.--S Philbrick(Talk) 14:56, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

I had initially though this belonged in his "Views... Politics" section but after some consideration and reading some of the opinions here, I am now thinking it belongs under "Career". Tyson, an educator, communicator and lecturer, is a big name and a big draw in the lecture circuit and it is a big part of his career. This issue is more pertenent to his paid lectures and speeches and is directly related to the quality and content of his speeches. Marteau (talk) 21:52, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

I was intrigued by the allegation that one of the sources is a "quite obscure" web-page". I decided to check the Alexa rank (US if supplied, global if not US value supplied) of some of thr sources. I didn't bother to check the New York Times. I am not a regular user of Alexa, so if someone more familiar with it sees an error in my approach please correct me.

My understanding is that the Alexa rank is the ranking of the site in terms of popularity, with lower numbers being getter (so, for example is #1). I am not suggesting that popularity is the sole determinant of reliability. (Wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy, we could shut down RSN and replace it with a link to Alexa.) However, when the allegation is that it is an obscure site, Alexa rank of traffic is a relevant metric.

I started though some of the early references used in this article, and recorded the Alexa rank:

  • 9,423,175
  • 175,871
  • 445
  • 73,157
  • 8,694,285
  • 1,822,665
  • (The Astrophysical Journal) 40,649
  • 5,152

The numbers suggests that every reference I checked, other than NYT, Youtube and, are more "obscure" than, and in most cases, by a considerable margin. I haven't seen any challenges raised to any of these other references on the basis that they are too obscure to be used. My guess is that upwards of 90% of all references in Wikipedia are sourced to site with a higher Alexa rank than 5,000 and I trust no one is suggesting that we should be pruning those.

There may well be concerns about the site, but I suggest that "quite obscure" is not one of the issues.--S Philbrick(Talk) 21:36, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

First, Alexa is by no means a way to determine the "obscurity" of a site, which you of course already know. Second, if we were to use it as a ranking system we should be comparing sites that are related in the topic they cover. Comparing with is not meaningful by any standard. Third, the mere fact that (40.649) ranks way lower than for example (383) tells you just how ludicrous this system ranking is for the purposes of WP WP:RSs notability evaluation. Fourth, is indeed an obscure media site compared with the rest of the media sites one is accustomed to use as standard WP:RS; we can discuss about its reliability at WP:RSN is you'd like. Regards. Gaba (talk) 14:38, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I don't know why Alexa is "by no means" useful for judging obscurity,. I'm not suggesting it is perfect, but it seems useful. What are the major flaws as opposed to nitpicks which preclude it from being a perfect method?
"Comparing with is not meaningful by any standard." Why not? I take from the rankings that is a highly trafficked location, while is much less trafficked. What is wrong with that conclusion?--S Philbrick(Talk) 18:38, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
You said:
Third, the mere fact that (40.649) ranks way lower than for example (383) tells you just how ludicrus this system ranking is for the purposes of WP WP:RSs evalutaion.
You may have missed that I wasn't suggesting that Alexa is helpful for Reliability. If that wasn't clear, I'll try again. If Alexa ranking were useful for RS, we would be linking a lot more YouTube videos. which would be ludicrous. I was trying to respond you your specific point about obscurity, which is almost orthogonal to RelativityReliability. Perhaps I would have been off just challenging the use of "obscurity" as an argument. Is that mentioned in any of the policies as a rationale for exclusion?--S Philbrick(Talk) 18:46, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
I've used "reliable" above as a synonym for "notable" in this context. "Notable" and "obscure", in the sense of sources usable in WP, are antonyms (BTW, I believe you meant "Reliability" and not "Relativity" above) or orthogonal if you'd like, since if no one's heard of an on-line source it can hardly be said to be notable; specially for sourcing contentious material on a WP:BLP where extreme caution should be exercised. In that sense Alexa is not useful at all given that, if we followed what it said, we could come to the conclusion that is far more "obscure" than i.e. and thus less "notable", which is indeed ludicrous. Furthermore, comparing sites that have nothing to do with each other only adds more noise to the equation. WP:ALEXA has some more on why Alexa's ranking should not be used to establish sources' notability. Regards. Gaba (talk) 22:42, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Reliability is not a synonym for notable. The Onion' is notable, it isn't very reliable.--S Philbrick(Talk) 01:12, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
There, fixed. Summing up: see WP:ALEXA, is an obscure media site and Alexa is useless to evaluate its notability/obscureness. Regards. Gaba (talk) 02:19, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
You and I have a different opinion about the obscurity of the site, but the more important question, if I may be so blunt, is "So"? When we have to make the sometimes tough call about whether an article should exist, we examine the notability of the subject. Because that determination is so omnipresent, on occasion we see the phrase being used in other discussions, either about the including of an incident, or more rarely about a reference. That use is flawed. We use standards such as WEIGHT for incidents, we use standards such as RELIABILITY for sources. Using "obscurity" as a metric for a source would only be relevant if we were debating an article about the source, not the use of the source. My bad for exatending that discussion here. I should have taken it to your talk page, but I was facinated that you could call such a heavily trafficked site "oscure" and I was curious how you reached that conclusion. Unless you can find a policy reason for the relevance, I suggest that if you wish to discuss this further, we take it elsewhere.--S Philbrick(Talk) 12:58, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I never debated the use of that particular source, but the quality of it. Being an obscure site, thus not notable, reduces its quality. That was the extent of my comment on that source. As for the "heavily trafficked" argument, see WP:ALEXA.
As far as the bigger issue here goes, I favour, as I've stated before, the removal of this "incident" from the article since I don't see it as WP:NOTABLE enough to warrant its inclusion in a WP:BLP. Regards. Gaba (talk) 14:03, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

No evidence exists that Bush said that <-- Failed verification

I see that Marteau added back the following statement in the Neil_deGrasse_Tyson#Politics section:

  • No evidence exists that Bush said that.[3][4]

As far as I can see neither source support this (which I had explained earlier). Marteau: please explain why/how you think either source backs the above sentence. Regards. Gaba (talk) 14:00, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

That line is quite aggressive and inappropriate for an encyclopedia. If the topic is going to be covered at all (and I don't think it should, as it is WP:UNDUE weight to address random attacks from partisans that have no traction) we should not use language that has Wikipedia become the mouthpiece of a side. DreamGuy (talk) 14:05, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
It's not given undue weight -- there's no section-heading, no "Controversy", blah-blah. Just a non-boldfaced paragraph. As far as evidence goes, be aware of how logic works, in particular the negative-proof fallacy.--Froglich (talk) 14:30, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Weight is not the issue with the statement here, the failed verification status is. Marteau: please explain your reasoning and what makes you think any of those sources back that statement. Gaba (talk) 16:47, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Evidence is defined by Wikipedia as "anything presented in support of an assertion". The word "presented" is key. Until a fact is presented (in a public forum in this case) there IS no evidence. Facts may exist, but until someone takes those facts and presents them, evidence does not in fact exist. This is, as I have found in my research and I am sure you have found in yours, indeed the case. No blogger, journalist (respected or otherwise) or Tyson himself has presented a speech where Bush said what Tyson has claimed he said. No presentment = no evidence. However, it is true that neither source says that precisely but instead simply says some version of Bush never said it, or that Tyson is wrong, or that say his assertion is false. To me, at the time, that was the same thing as saying there is no evidence Bush said that, but I concede that is imprecise and I will support removing the term "evidence" from the article in favor of a phrase connoting their assertion that the statement is "false". Marteau (talk) 17:06, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Marteau. Could you please present here a re-phrased statement supported by either or both sources so we can discuss a replacement for the current sentence? Gaba (talk) 18:05, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
"In the last three days since a blogger has pointed out an inconsistency in the quote, no one has yet been able to find the original source of that quote or reconcile the differences between the quote cited by Tyson and a version available online. Based on this several bloggers have accused Tyson of blatant quote fabrication". We could reword it like this if this absolutely must be in the article. --Shabidoo | Talk 18:19, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Shabidoo you really do seem to be clinging to the term "blogger" and using it to disparage the citations. In addition, using it as you propose would be incorrect. The Weekly Standard is not a "blogger". Gaba_p I am not ignoring your request I am simply not being hasty and am letting the issue steep. Marteau (talk) 18:42, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
No Marteau. That it's a blogger bothers me. What bothers me the most (and the far majority of editors here) is the undue weight. It's a non-issue. That's just ontop of the many many problems with this paragraph. --Shabidoo | Talk 19:08, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
When a professional speaker and communicator is accused of manufacturing quotes he uses during his lecture, that is a very big issue. For someone who is not a pop icon such an allegation is so serious as to result often in the death of a career and loss of credibility. It is a VERY big deal to be accused of for a lecturer, communicator and speaker, and your insistance that it is a "non-issue" to a man whose performs such roles is bizarre. Marteau (talk) 19:58, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Marteau...did you just call my opinion (and that of the majority of editors here) bizarre? Is that really how you feel? --Shabidoo | Talk 20:58, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Saying that the veracity, content and quality of a lecturers quotes is a "non-issue" to the biography of a professional speaker and a lecturer is bizarre to me. Marteau (talk) 21:02, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
That's disappointing. --Shabidoo | Talk 21:10, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
Given the position of the speaker (NGT) and the person (GWB) that the quote is attributed to by said speaker, it is an issue. There is no need to defend Tyson here, in the end the truth will be his defense, if it exists. Arzel (talk) 00:38, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Gaba_p I propose the line about "evidence" be replaced by: "Sean Davis of asserts the quote is "blatantly false"' The Weekly Standard says, 'nothing about this anecdote is true. " Marteau (talk) 17:37, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Marteau I propose that if any mention about this remains in the article (which is still under debate and I personally oppose) the second sentence should read:
  • Sean Davis of claimed the quote is "blatantly false"[5]. Basing on the article by Davis, Hemant Mehta called this "the most serious example of Tyson’s alleged quotation negligence"[6] while Tom Jackson of the Tampa Tribune called it "a vicious, gratuitous slander."[7]
Without attribution ("The Scrapbook" is not a proper attribution) and verging on being a non-WP:RS, the quote from The Weekly Standard should not be used in a WP:BLP. Regards. Gaba (talk) 18:46, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
It is attributable to the Weekly Standard itsef. The Weekly Standard 'Scrapbook' is effectively an editorial. Editorials in newspapers and magazines typically do not have an attribution to an individual, but speak for the periodical itself. This is a very common standard in the industry. As I said previously, "The Weekly Standard 'Scrapbook' is a regular feature of the magazine which is dedicated to highligting what the magazine consideres particularly noteworthy actions of the political left, and is never accompanied with a by-line. It is a product of the Weekly Standard's editorial board and is considered the voice of the magazine itself and not one author. It's reliability is based upon and depends upon the reputation of the magazine itself and not the reputation of any individual journalist. Saying it is not 'reliable' is in effect saying the Weekly Standard itself is not a reliable source which is not the concensus of Wikipedia editors throughout the years." Marteau (talk) 19:07, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Furthermore, in the WP:RS guidelines, there is this sentence: "Reliable sources may be published materials with a reliable publication process, authors who are regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject, or both." The work in question here is a "published material" by the Weekly Standard, a reliable source as per concensus here Marteau (talk) 20:22, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
I disagree on TWS being a WP:RS (a 4+ years old discussion with < 10 participants can hardly be said to establish WP consensus), I disagree on "The Scrapbook" being an appropriate attributable entity and I disagree that any mention of this belongs in WP at all. Regards. Gaba (talk) 22:51, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

Opinions properly ascribed as such are a specific category where editorial opinions may be used in a BLP. In the case at hand, the "Alexa rank" is useless, the only criterion is whether the source is sufficiently notable for editorial opinions - and at this point the argument "it is conservative, therefore can not be used" is risible. As is the claim that somehow only favoured sources may be used for editorial opinions. I also find the comment "we do not have proof Bush never said such a thing" to also fail - if no evidence is found that the quote properly reflects a findable statement of Bush, and a third party so states, that is sufficient for us to state "(third party) states that the quote is wrong" s that is what that source states. Collect (talk) 13:37, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Uh? Who said "it is conservative, therefore can not be used"? Also "if no evidence is found" <-- see WP:OR. We don't track down or produce evidence, we let WP:RS do that and comment on it. Gaba (talk) 14:07, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
This is absolutely a "non-incident" that begun as an article in a conservative quite obscure web-page and spreaded to a few other right-wing sites mostly seems pretty clear to most readers. Cheers. By the way, such argumentation does not fit proper use of article talk pages. Collect (talk) 14:17, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Where in that sentence does it say "it is conservative, therefore can not be used"? Friendly advice: you might want to be very careful putting words in other editors' mouths. It's pretty easy to spot, it makes you look quite incompetent, and it could rightly put you at the end of a block/ban. Regards. Gaba (talk) 15:12, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Despite the fact that people have been arguing about this quote for a week now, not a single person has produced any evidence that George W. Bush said in a speech after 9/11, "Our God is the God who named the stars." On the flip side, a number of influential and credible people have stated that zero evidence exists that the quote exists. For example, every 9/11 speechwriter for President Bush has said they have no memory of the president ever saying that line. [8] Those individuals are all quoted by name. Even if you think the website that contacted them is biased, it doesn't change the fact that the president's 9/11 speechwriters and his 9/11 press secretary have said on the record that no such speech or quote exists. Is Neil Tyson, who to date is the only person who claims to have witnessed this quote, more of an expert on the topic of presidential speeches than the people who actually write them?

Several WH correspondents for mainstream news outlets have also stated that the Bush quote does not exist. Robert Draper of the New York Times wrote that Tyson "hallucinated" the non-existent quote. [9] Terry Moran of ABC News, who covered the White House after 9/11, also said he has no memory of that quote being said by Bush. [10] Moran actually says that Bush regularly said the exact opposite of what Tyson claimed.

The Washington Post also weighed in this morning and noted that "no one can seem to find" any evidence of the quote being said by the president. [11]

So in addition to The Federalist, the Washington Post, Daily Beast, ABC News, New York Times, Weekly Standard, and National Review have also verified that no record of the quote exists anywhere.

But let's back up for a moment: for obvious reasons, the burden should not be on proving the quote doesn't exist. When a public figure makes an assertion, it is up to that person to prove that it is a fact. If you believe an event happened, it is up to you to demonstrate it happened. If you think that Bush actually said that quote, then provide the evidence. It is Kafka-esque to merely assume that the quote must exist because Neil Tyson said it exists. Quite simply: there is zero evidence to support Neil Tyson's assertion that Bush said in a speech shortly after 9/11, "Our God is the God who named the stars."

FactCheckerEsq (talk) 17:15, 22 September 2014 (UTC)FactCheckerESQ

For what it's worth, The Federalist just used the exact phrase " evidence exists that Bush ever said..." I do, of course, realize that the reliability status of this site is disputed. Marteau (talk) 15:13, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Marteau the probability that Davis used that phrase with the premeditated intent that it be used here is 1000000%. The article you presented above is all the evidence necessary to discount as a WP:RS from here to eternity. Regards. Gaba (talk) 17:59, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree, and said in the RfC below that I have come to agree that should not be considered a reliable source. Marteau (talk) 18:34, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
If you disagree that "no evidence exists" to support Tyson's assertion, then produce the evidence that the quote exists. Why is it that no one here can produce a single URL supporting Tyson's assertion? It's not like presidential speeches are secret. Produce the evidence.
FactCheckerEsq (talk) 19:04, 23 September 2014 (UTC)FactCheckerEsq
Our saying "No evidence exists" without a citation would be considered original research (WP:OR which is Wikipedia policy) and is prohibited. In order to say that, we need a reliable source that says that. I agree that it seems obvious, but drawing such a conclusion, no matter how obvious, is not ours to make. Marteau (talk) 19:12, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
FactCheckerEsq, Please don't mark new comments as Minor edits: Help:Minor_edit#When_not_to_mark_an_edit_as_a_minor_edit. This probably isn't the best place to jump into Wikipedia, Biographies of living persons are subject to the strictest and most complicated rules of Wikipedia. Attempting to argue the accusations against Tyson are True won't work here, or anywhere on Wikipedia. Many people find it surprising, but trying to argue Truth on Wikipedia is useless at best. Note the comment from Marteau above. He's a lead proponent of having this material in the article, and even he's telling you that your argument conflicts with a core policy against Original Research. I hope you do join us in building a bigger better encyclopedia, I'm just saying that a contentious issue on a Biography of a living person is a really bad place to start. I'm commenting here rather than your userpage for the benefit of other people new to Wikipedia. Jump in, join us, I just strongly suggest not trying to do that in the middle of complicated policy analysis on someone's Biographical article. Alsee (talk) 22:27, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Edit request on: No evidence exists

  • Change "No evidence exists that Bush said that." to "Sean Davis of asserts Tyson butchered the quote."

We shouldn't be asserting that "No evidence exists" based upon the current sourcing.

The source says "Tyson butchered the quote." Alsee (talk) 16:04, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

I think it is a valid inference to assume that if a recent president of the United States said something in a public forum someone would be able to find it easily and if they have not probably didn't happen. That said, I understand the objection and think the proposed rewording would be a good idea. I'd prefer to let someone else make the change, if a consensus agrees--S Philbrick(Talk) 17:05, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
Your request omits the Weekly Standard also saying "nothing about this anecdote is true." and thus is an incomplete representation of the state of the issue. There are complaints that The Federalist is not a reliable source (of which I do not agree, but those complaints are reason to also include The Weekly Standard. The Weekly Standard is a reliable as per Wikipedia concensus). I propose the fix read: "Sean Davis of asserts the quote is "blatantly false"' The Weekly Standard says, 'nothing about this anecdote is true. " along with the citations of course. Marteau (talk) 17:26, 21 September 2014 (UTC)
We must follow the refs, thus Marteau's proposal seems best. Capitalismojo (talk) 21:40, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I've removed the edit request template as per:

  • Edit requests to fully protected pages should only be used for edits that are either uncontroversial or supported by consensus. If the proposed edit might be controversial, discuss it on the protected page's talk page before using this template.

I mentioned in a previous section (Talk:Neil_deGrasse_Tyson#No_evidence_exists_that_Bush_said_that_.3C--_Failed_verification) that the sentence fails verification and should at the very least be changed immediately or removed entirely (remember this is a WP:BLP). Saying "it is a valid inference to assume" does not override the fact that a source should reflect clearly whatever statement it is being used upon which does not happen in this case. The Weekly Standard saying "nothing about this anecdote is true" is absolutely not a source that can be used simply because it does not say what the statement says (leaving aside the WP:RS status of TWS which I challenge) As I stated above, my proposal is:

which is similar to Alsee's initial proposal and to Marteau's proposal above but doesn't include TWS's article. Also note that the section currently includes two more comments on this issue which are properly sourced and attributed, unlike what happens with TWS statement, which is more than enough commentary on this. Regards. Gaba (talk) 23:03, 21 September 2014 (UTC)

  • I concur with Marteau's proposal above - the community has deemed TWS a reliable source in the past. Kelly hi! 14:43, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
I also concur with Marteau's proposal above.--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 20:17, 22 September 2014 (UTC)