Talk:Pseudoscience/Archive 15

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Tenditious editors

I do not understand the proper approach for dealing with tenditious editors but will support the effort undertaken by those who know how to proceed. Jojalozzo 15:23, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

This has been a longstanding problem on this page and has caused me to abandon any attempt to improve the article. Xxanthippe (talk) 00:03, 29 May 2011 (UTC).
What is the longstanding problem on this page. Please don't delete a reliable peer-reviewed source on pseudoscience. Both sources are reliable, anyhow. Why did you delete the source that meets V policy. QuackGuru (talk) 22:39, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, a Tendentious editor

QG, you are mistaken to think that Jojalozzo is the only editor opposing the use of the reference. I began questioning it months ago based on the fact that the article is a proposal for original research and the pseudoscience statement is merely used to justify the research.

Others have also opposed the reference. Even if the reference were included in the article, it would be just a matter of time before someone comes along and notices that the reference is inappropriate for the point you are trying to make. This argument would begin again.

Obviously, there are many outspoken skeptics who will say exactly what you want to provide a good reference. Matute's used Wiseman and Watt as a source for his claim. Go find that source and use it if it supports your point.

And QG, WP:OR applies to you here. You are making a novel claim (pseudoscience is dangerous) and using a reference that is a proposal for original research. The article simply is not a reliable reference since the author is just citing claims others have made in support of a proposal of a novel theory which he wants to study. The danger of pseudoscience is not established in the article, only referenced. As I understand this discussion, the article has not actually been published, making it even less reliable as a source. You are supporting your OR with a reference which is unsubstantiated OR.

There are so many statements in just those two pages that support my point. For instance: "We suggest a different route. The proposal we put forward is that systematic cognitive illusions that occur in most people when exposed to certain situations are at the basis of pseudoscience beliefs." The author needs to establish the validity of the proposal, and as I understand the article, that has not been done. Tom Butler (talk) 17:23, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't see any specific objection based on Wikipedia policy. What is the policy violation? I agree with Tom Butler that the danger/threat of pseudoscience is referenced (in accordance with V policy). QuackGuru (talk) 18:24, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
You seem to hear what you want to hear. I said that you are violating OR and I will also say you are not using a reliable source. The material is not acceptable! Tom Butler (talk) 18:45, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
See WP:SOURCES: "Where available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources, such as in history, medicine, and science. But they are not the only reliable sources in such areas. Material from reliable non-academic sources may also be used, particularly if it appears in respected mainstream publications. Other reliable sources include university-level textbooks, books published by respected publishing houses, magazines, journals, and mainstream newspapers. Electronic media may also be used, subject to the same criteria."
A peer-reviewed source is considered one of the most reliable sources according to V policy. The source is peer-reviewed. You can say anything one like, but you must show not assert your view. You have not shown how the text violated OR policy or how the source is unreliable. QuackGuru (talk) 18:59, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
When I see a thread about tendentious editing, I think of a whole other editor around this article. Amusing.OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 04:42, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
I just read this article. It appears that a lot of sources are missing. Wekn reven i susej eht Talk• Follow 06:47, 6 June 2011 (UTC)


Quackguru put up an 'under development' userbox, which was cute and small but I replaced it with a proper template. QG, will you propose changes to the article on the talk page, please? Thanks, Ocaasi t | c 00:31, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

You wrote "Much better, and clearly where the bigger picture is. Writing with a focus on 'the source in your hand' is great for WP:V, but not for WP:NPOV. One quibble, can we edit out 'ontological claim', as I think the average encyclopedia reader won't know what to make of it? Ocaasi (talk) 12:16, 31 December 2010 (UTC)" Did I read your comment correctly? Do you support the original research by Ludwigs2? You seem to claim the text meets V. The editor replaced sourced text with OR. You seem to be presenting OR as verifiable fact. That is possibly pseudo-WP:OR. Will you explain the comment you made on the talk page that seems to support OR? The draft is complaint with core Wikipedia policies. What is your objection? QuackGuru (talk) 00:41, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
I like both of you guys, and I hope this doesn't end up in a battle. I'm going to agree with Ocaasi that any huge changes require discussion here. However, you have full support to revert anything Ludwigs added. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 00:52, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
I made this specific proposal. Most of the text was deleted by Ludwigs2. QuackGuru (talk) 01:03, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks OM, this was just about putting up an in-draft template so far, as I hadn't seen the proposal yet. QG, WP:V requires we evaluate quotes in the context of their source and sources in the context of the Wikipedia article where they are being used. WP:NPOV requires we balance sources proportionately and represent them without bias. Do you understand the reasons this source is not ideal? It's a brief sentence statement, made as an assumption rather than a conclusion, in a narrative paper, at the introduction of an article narrowly focused on one aspect of pseudoscience. If you want to use the source, we need to evaluate that. What would be a better source? One focused on all of pseudoscience not just medical quackery--or one which addressed aspects separately. Also, a source made its statement as a conclusion after reviewing or evaluating evidence. Or ideally a source which was not just a primary paper and which instead reviewed the literature on pseudoscience. So even though this quote is 'verified' in the narrowest sense, it is not ideal. Try and address those claims and come up with a suitable way to use or attribute this in a proper context--maybe this article isn't the place for it, but I'll take a look at whatever you propose. Ocaasi t | c 01:07, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Do you understand the reasons this source is ideal? The source is peer-reviewed and is about the topic Pseudoscience. This is an article called Pseudoscience. Do you agree the source must be restored and summarised? What would be a better source? You have not presented a better source than this peer-reviewed source. We have this mainstream source and there is no good reason to leave it out of the article.
Did you support the OR by Ludwigs2. Ludwigs2 did not have concerns with the source based on policy. It was a personal disagreememnt not based on Wikipedia policy. In-text attribution is a violation of NPOV when there is no serious dispute. I made this specific proposal but do you have a specific objection based on policy.
WP:ASF comes into play if there is a serious dispute. If you can't show there is a serious dispute then don't imply there is one. Undermining reliable sources by implying there is a serious dispute is representing the source as bias. Did you also support the mass NPOV rewrite against broad consensus by Ludwigs2. QuackGuru (talk) 01:42, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
There's more to a soure than a topic and a quote. Context matters, appropriateness and scope of the claim matter, corroboration from other sources matters when stating something as a plain fact. If you want to attribute it to the author and provide the context: 'X said that Pseudoscience is a public health threat in an article on medical quackery', then we can look at it. Otherwise, your interpretation of V and NPOV -- V requires looking at a source in its context and NPOV requires the source be fairly represented--won't make headway here. I didn't mention Ludwigs' proposal so I won't respond to that point. You might read Wikipedia:Fringe_theories#Sourcing_and_attribution for a thoughtful breakdown of the considerations in this area. Ocaasi t | c 02:35, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
The article is on the topic pseudoscience. You wrote in part "If you want to attribute it to the author and provide the context: 'X said that Pseudoscience is a public health threat in an article on medical quackery', then we can look at it." The source is about pseudoscience and it is against NPOV to attribute it to an author when no serious dispute has been presented. Undermining reliable sources to imply there is a dispute where there is none is against WP:ASF.
The proposal is not a quote and there is no need to put it in quotes when the text is not a quote. The peer-reviewed sources states pseudoscience issues "are a serious matter of public health." There are many examples of the pseudoscience issues. Do you agree the peer-reviewed source must be restored and summarised at this pseudoscience article.
Matute H, Yarritu I, Vadillo MA (2010). "Illusions of causality at the heart of pseudoscience". Br J Psychol. PMID 21092400. doi:10.1348/000712610X532210.  QuackGuru (talk) 22:24, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
I'm done with you for now QG, i'm sorry that you can't be more cooperative. Ocaasi, I am being cooperative. Please try to address the issues in accordance with Wikipedia policy. QuackGuru (talk) 23:21, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'm lost here guys. I keep clicking on QG's links, but they lead to other discussion topics previously beaten to death. What is it that you specifically want to do QG? Can you put the edit in blockquotes below? I kind of followed this a few weeks ago, but it seem to be just back and forth.OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 04:43, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

My last proposal was for the #Demographics section. QuackGuru (talk) 01:24, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Pseudoscience#Psychological explanations

I think that a summary of Matutue et al. could contribute a lot to Pseudoscience#Psychological explanations. It's not my area of expertise but I encourage anyone to make the attempt and will copy edit if needed. Jojalozzo 02:19, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Hurd ref

The lead must summarise the body. QuackGuru (talk) 01:24, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

@QG: Cryptic entries such as this don't make sense to me. Please explain in more detail. (Are you fluent in English or do I need to make allowances for language skill levels?) Jojalozzo 03:49, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
The text should be in the body and be summarised in the lead. I propose we use the ref for the body. QuackGuru (talk) 21:33, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
I still don't know what you want to do. What exactly is it you want to change? Jojalozzo 05:14, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
To summarise the source in the health and education section. Do you agree the source is reliable. QuackGuru (talk) 01:14, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
We're already using Hurd in other places. I'm open to using it in the health and education section. Give it a go. Jojalozzo 02:12, 23 June 2011 (UTC)


This was removed as 'OR'. It had a citation needed tag. Note that OR is not for verifiable claims that are missing a citation, but only for unverifiable claims. Diff: [2].

Here's the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

  • "Against Method explicitly drew the “epistemological anarchist” conclusion that there are no useful and exceptionless methodological rules governing the progress of science or the growth of knowledge. The history of science is so complex that if we insist on a general methodology which will not inhibit progress the only “rule” it will contain will be the useless suggestion: “anything goes”. In particular, logical empiricist methodologies and Popper's Critical Rationalism would inhibit scientific progress by enforcing restrictive conditions on new theories. The more sophisticated “methodology of scientific research programmes” developed by Lakatos either contains ungrounded value-judgements about what constitutes good science, or is reasonable only because it is epistemological anarchism in disguise. The phenomenon of incommensurability renders the standards which these “rationalists” use for comparing theories inapplicable. The book thus (understandably) had Feyerabend branded an “irrationalist”. At a time when Kuhn was downplaying the “irrationalist” implications of his own book, Feyerabend was perceived to be casting himself in the role others already saw as his for the taking."
  • "Feyerabend saw himself as having undermined the arguments for science's privileged position within culture, and much of his later work was a critique of the position of science within Western societies. Because there is no scientific method, we can't justify science as the best way of acquiring knowledge. And the results of science don't prove its excellence, since these results have often depended on the presence of non-scientific elements, science prevails only because “the show has been rigged in its favour” (SFS, p. 102), and other traditions, despite their achievements, have never been given a chance. The truth, he suggests, is that: 'science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. It is one of the many forms of thought that have been developed by man, and not necessarily the best. It is conspicuous, noisy, and impudent, but it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without ever having examined its advantages and its limits (AM, p. 295).'"
  • "In most of his work after Against Method, he emphasises what has come to be known as the “disunity of science”. Science, he insists, is a collage, not a system or a unified project. Not only does it include plenty of components derived from distinctly “non-scientific” disciplines, but these components are often vital parts of the “progress” science has made (using whatever criterion of progress you prefer). Science is a collection of theories, practices, research traditions and world-views whose range of application is not well-determined and whose merits vary to a great extent. All this can be summed up in his slogan: “Science is not one thing, it is many.”"
  • "Feyerabend came to be seen as a leading cultural relativist, not just because he stressed that some theories are incommensurable, but also because he defended relativism in politics as well as in epistemology. His denunciations of aggressive Western imperialism, his critique of science itself, his conclusion that “objectively” there may be nothing to choose between the claims of science and those of astrology, voodoo, and alternative medicine, as well as his concern for environmental issues ensured that he was a hero of the anti-technological counter-culture."

I think we can either use IEP as a source, or if that's too tertiary we can go to the underlying writings. But Feyerabend's perspective is notable and should be put back. Ocaasi t | c 02:15, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

None of the above quotes mention pseudoscience at all. IRWolfie- (talk) 13:40, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
That's partly because Feyerabend thinks pseudoscience is not a meaningful distinction. He's a relativist in this area and his critique of science (bolded above) is part of the demarcation problem of defining what is or is not science. The key point is that Feyerabend thinks that distinction itself, the boundary of what science is, is a fuzzy one. Ocaasi t | c 13:54, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
I think that IRW's point is valid and that we need a source that interprets Feyerabend in the context of the pseudoscience debate. Otherwise the OR issue is likely to raise its head again. Jojalozzo 15:09, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
Feyerbend is being talked about in the context of the demarcation problem--what is and what is not science. He is talking about scientific method. He is talking about voodoo and other 'alternative' practices. Feyerabend is related to the demarcation problem and to pseudoscience insofar as it deals with a definition and categorization of science. The word 'pseudoscience' is not the only thing that would make it relevant. Please double-check the entire quotation to make sure you're examine its focus and bearing on the article section where it is currently used. Ocaasi t | c 22:50, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
I can see the connections and there is little opportunity for synthesis with so many direct quotes, but the SEP doesn't really connect the dots for us. Isn't there a reliable source that actually synthesizes this? Jojalozzo 02:40, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

The text is mass OR "Paul Feyerabend disputes whether any meaningful boundaries can be drawn between pseudoscience and mainstream science, arguing that science is a diverse pursuit which incorporates non-scientific elements while excluding others from the "myth" of scientific method.[59]" QuackGuru (talk) 21:26, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Can you compare that quote to the above citation. It is supported throughout. Please don't call edits you disagree with OR. If you have a suggested rephrasing based on the source, provide it please. Ocaasi t | c 22:45, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
The text is not supported by the ref. See WP:OR. QuackGuru (talk) 22:46, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
That's not correct, the text supports the ref. See the text, please. Ocaasi t | c 22:50, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
The ref does not support the text at all. QuackGuru (talk) 00:59, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard#Pseudoscience

Our discussion of Matute et al. has found its way onto the fringe theories noticeboard. Jojalozzo 02:48, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

The source is practically entirely on the topic of pseudoscience.

Editors seem to have a personal disagreement with the mainstream source.

The serious matters that are a threat to public health are:

"The ‘Keep libel laws out of science’ campaign was launched on 4 June 2009, in the UK. Simon Singh, a science writer who alerted the public about the lack of evidence supporting chiropractic treatments, was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association (Sense about Science, 2009). Similar examples can be found in almost any country. In Spain, another science writer, Luis Alfonso Ga´mez, was also sued after he alerted the public on the lack of evidence supporting the claims of a popular pseudoscientist (Ga´mez, 2007). In the USA, 54% of the population believes in psychic healing and 36% believe in telepathy (Newport & Strausberg, 2001). In Europe, the statistics are not too different. According to the Special Eurobarometer on Science and Technology (European Commission, 2005), and just to mention a few examples, a high percentage of Europeans consider homeopathy (34%) and horoscopes (13%) to be good science. Moreover, ‘the past decade has witnessed acceleration both in consumer interest in and use of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) practices and/or products. Surveys indicate that those with the most serious and debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, chronic pain, and HIV, tend to be the most frequent users of the CAM practices’ (White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, 2002, p. 15). Elements of the latest USA presidential campaign have also been frequently cited as examples of how superstitious beliefs of all types are still happily alive and promoted in our Western societies (e.g., Katz, 2008). On another, quite dramatic example, Science Magazine recently alerted about the increase in ‘stem cell tourism’, which consists of travelling to another country in the hope of finding a stem cell-based treatment for a disease when such a treatment has not yet been approved in one’s own country (Kiatpongsan & Sipp, 2009). This being the current state of affairs it is not easy to counteract the power and credibility of pseudoscience."

Matute H, Yarritu I, Vadillo MA (2010). "Illusions of causality at the heart of pseudoscience". Br J Psychol. PMID 21092400. doi:10.1348/000712610X532210. 

The threat to public health is a statement made as a conclusion rather than an assumption. This is indeed about the topic psedoscience according to the source. For example, "This being the current state of affairs it is not easy to counteract the power and credibility of pseudoscience."

One of the main pseudoscience points from full text is: "As preoccupied and active as many governmental and sceptical organizations are in their fight against pseudoscience, quackery, superstitions and related problems, their efforts in making the public understand the scientific facts required to make good and informed decisions are not always as effective as they should be. Pseudoscience can be defined as any belief or practice that pretends to be scientific but lacks supporting evidence. Quackery is a particular type of pseudoscience that refers to medical treatments. Superstitions are irrational beliefs that normally involve cause–effect relations that are not real, as those found in pseudoscience and quackery. These are a serious matter of public health and educational policy in which many variables are involved."

The authors summarised the public health issue in the abstract. According to the source pseudoscience is a serious matter that threatens public health. It is OR if we don't summarise the main pseudoscience points because it would be taking the source out of context.

From abstract: "Pseudoscience, superstitions, and quackery are serious problems that threaten public health and in which many variables are involved."

Matute H, Yarritu I, Vadillo MA (2010). "Illusions of causality at the heart of pseudoscience". Br J Psychol. PMID 21092400. doi:10.1348/000712610X532210.  The WP:V compliant source must be restored and sumarised at Pseudoscience.

The Matute reference does not need to be a MEDRS qualifying review of pseudoscience literature. The text meets WP:SOURCES. It would be a violation of NPOV to imply a serious dispute where there is none. Therefore it should not be attributed and when the Matute reference is reletively new and peer-reviewed it must be given dueweight. Do you agree the source can be restored and summarised at pseudoscience. The reference was not withdrawn and there is no evidence the source was not published. You comment suggests you have a personal disagreemnt with the source when you claim "there are no published plans to include it in a future issue" when there is no evidence the source was withdrawn. QuackGuru (talk) 01:00, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

What is this longwinded bit doing here? The purpose of this section is to let folks know there is a discussion in the fringe noticeboard. You appear to have taken that as license to begin another seemingly endless discussion about Matute et al. In my view you have consumed sufficient space here for this matter. Perhaps you should take a break lest administrators begin to notice your persistent disruption of the editing community for this article. Jojalozzo 01:46, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Trick or Treatment

I removed the text that is not about pseudoscience. QuackGuru (talk) 21:08, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Let's not perpetuate the common mistake of using "pseudoscience" to mean just quackery

It is clear to me that Matute et al. do not mean to include all of pseudoscience in their claims for health risks. Clearly they (and many others) use the term loosely to refer only to one particular form of pseudoscience, e.g. medical pseudoscience or quackery. Since their paper is about the psychology of pseudoscience and they understandably want to promote the importance of their research, they have painted the wider category with the brush of quackery. It is absurd to interpret their words otherwise and it would be a mistake for Wikipedia to perpetuate their inaccuracy.

This is not a problem just with this one paper. We need be careful in all cases that the term is being used in the sense that we intend for this article. It might help avoid future disputes if we formalized this in some way. Jojalozzo 18:06, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the term is being used as a brand to represent every subject not endorsed by mainstream science. If there is any value in the term, this serve no one. I deal with people doing good science-based research on frontier subjects, and at the same time, people who approach the same subject from a popular wisdom or faith-based viewpoint. As pseudoscience is defined in the purest sense, the work of the first group does not qualify as pseudoscience while it clearly applies to the second group ... except they usually do not claim doing science. (The "yeah but" to this is that both are involved with a subject that is considered impossible by mainstream and is therefore, impossible; ergo, it is all pseudoscience.)
To keep it from being Scientism, the application of the term should be tightened up to apply to subjects that are not supported by science as a methodology and not as an ideal. I agree with the concept, but I fear it has turned into the stuff witch hunts and book burnings are made of.
An example of this is how the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines subtle energy involved in energy modalities of healing. See Energy medicine:
putative, therapies predicated on theorized forms of "energy" (that is, forms of energy of which scientific investigation has not confirmed the existence)
veritable, therapies which rely on known forms of energy (that is, forms of energy such as electromagnetism)
With that in the lead, all of the modalities discussed in the article are clearly branded by innuendo as false. It is the "that is, forms of energy of which scientific investigation has not confirmed the existence" that makes the article biased ... and I suppose the NCCAM. A solution is to distinguish the proper noun: Mainstream Science and the noun: science.
Kind of on the same subject, have we lost the actual words in the Chines and Sagan references here? Tom Butler (talk) 23:28, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
The health concerns in Matute are only stated in the introductory prose, not cited, not discussed and really not worth much of anything on the topic.IMHO
I fear illusions of causality are at the heart of the confusion for some researchers on the topic (and maybe one editor). That was fun. Hi guys. ArtifexMayhem (talk) 01:34, 10 July 2011 (UTC)


The Matute text and reference seems to have been inserted against consensus again. DigitalC (talk) 03:48, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

In accordance with consensus here and on the Fringe theories noticeboard, I reverted the instances where Matute et al. was used as a source for public health risks of pseudoscience. Even where the paper is offered as an appropriate source it seems to be tenditiously over-referenced. Jojalozzo 03:13, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

There is verification on your talk page. I also explained this to Tom. QuackGuru (talk) 03:18, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I have asked you here and on my talk page several times to keep this discussion on the article talk page. This is not a personal dispute between you and me. It should be conducted here in full view of the editing community on this page. Your not-hearing behavior is getting tiresome regarding both the Matute et al. paper and your repetitive, redundant and tenditious posts on my talk page. I have asked for help with the later and we may soon be seeking remedies to your disrespect for consensus in this article. Jojalozzo 04:13, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
How does "Our research proves that developing evidence-based educational programmes should be effective in helping people detect and reduce their own illusions." support "...are a critical matter that involves public health" et al. And yes I did read it and I did read the talk page archives. - ArtifexMayhem (talk) 04:22, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
If you don't understand the text is sourced then I suggest you read WP:V policy. The abstract provides a summary and the full text explains the matter in more detail. Do you agree the full text says "These are a serious matter of public health...."? QuackGuru (talk) 04:39, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I understand there is one sentence in the full text that says: "These are a serious matter of public health and educational policy in which many variables are involved." Do you agree that the cite at the end of that paragraph is not "WHO Report on Pseudoscience: A critical matter of Public Health" but is in fact "Wiseman, R., & Watt, C. (2006). Belief in psychic ability and the misattribution hypothesis: A qualitative review."? If the cite was something along the lines of the former then we'd be cooking with gas, unfortunately it is not. The paper provides no research findings or citations on pseudoscience and matters health. Those claims require data if they are to be entered here. - ArtifexMayhem (talk) 05:32, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Do you acknowledge the text is sourced per V when you know the abstract and full text discuss the "serious matter of public health". Do understand "These are a serious matter of public health...." refers to the previous text in the full text. Your missing the point. The source provides examples of pseudoscience on the serious matters of public health.
"Moreover, ‘the past decade has witnessed acceleration both in consumer interest in and use of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) practices and/or products. Surveys indicate that those with the most serious and debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, chronic pain, and HIV, tend to be the most frequent users of the CAM practices’ (White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, 2002, p. 15). Elements of the latest USA presidential campaign have also been frequently cited as examples of how superstitious beliefs of all types are still happily alive and promoted in our Western societies (e.g., Katz, 2008). On another, quite dramatic example, Science Magazine recently alerted about the increase in ‘stem cell tourism’, which consists of travelling to another country in the hope of finding a stem cell-based treatment for a disease when such a treatment has not yet been approved in one’s own country (Kiatpongsan & Sipp, 2009). This being the current state of affairs it is not easy to counteract the power and credibility of pseudoscience." Matute H, Yarritu I, Vadillo MA (2010). "Illusions of causality at the heart of pseudoscience". Br J Psychol. PMID 21092400. doi:10.1348/000712610X532210. 
"Surveys indicate that those with the most serious and debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, chronic pain, and HIV, tend to be the most frequent users of the CAM practices’ (White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, 2002, p. 15)." There are examples of the public health matters. I previously explained this but you did not understand my argument. There are more examples of these matters that are summarised in the article. See Pseudoscience#Demographics for a summary. QuackGuru (talk) 14:18, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you Really I do, look at my user page and being from Texas my hatred of pseudoscience knows few bounds. Please. Read my reply again. Slowly. It is not a matter of WP:V or WP:RS those are not in question. It is a problem of weight. We cannot go from the current "practical implications" to "critical matter" based on the Matute source. I wish we could. - ArtifexMayhem (talk) 16:29, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
You agree the text is sourced. You have not made an argument what is the WEIGHT problem when we are using a mainstream peer-reviewed source. QuackGuru (talk) 16:36, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Apparently QuackGuru has a POV and is adding it back persistently (and copy-pasting text to flood this talk page does not contribute to this discussion). Is there a reason to keep this "discussion" alive? A simple block seem to be sufficient. --Fama Clamosa (talk) 16:44, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

You have not made an argument why the text can't be in the article. I edited in accordance with WEIGHT. QuackGuru (talk) 16:48, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Maybe you should take a little break from editing and read over all this again. Several times. Slowly. Please? - ArtifexMayhem (talk) 17:56, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

"A simple block seem to be sufficient." Only if we block both sides, as the people doing blind reverts of all content added by the editor in question are just as bad as people adding the information. Worse, probably. Or maybe we should not block anyone and actually try to solve the problem here by making a good faith effort to address the very real problem with the article QuackGuru is trying (albeit a little clumsily) to fix. DreamGuy (talk) 00:42, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Pseudoscience defined

Pseudoscience may be defined as whatever a consensus of opinion does not understand and therefore wishes to condemn. Use of the term, "pseudoscience" is therefore a mark of ignorance tinged with intolerance. It is by definition an unscientific term, and highly disrespectful of other cultures. Use of the term is therefore discouraged.

Unless you can think of something better, the above should constitute the whole of Wiki's entry on Pseudoscience. When "pseudoscience" appears on other Wiki pages, it should be deleted or strictly qualified as the opinion of the author. Dave of Maryland (talk) 21:55, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Dave, thanks for your comments. You'll find that on Wikipedia we don't take a stance on the propriety of topics; instead, we reflect the world as reliable sources--rather than individual editors--approach it. Many credible sources refer to pseudoscience as a meaningful and identifiable concept. It's not a bulletproof definition, but it has some concrete examples, and the article goes into depth about what criteria are used to delineate it. We also talk about the 'demarcation problem'--the gray area where pseudoscience is unclear, and we should address the view of some reliable sources (but not editors) that pseudoscience is used to shut out unpopular views. That's just one view among many, though, and it's not the view expressed by mainstream and most academic sources. Since those are the sources we reflect primarily, your suggestion can't work. You can read about our policies: WP:V, WP:NPOV, WP:PSEUDOSCIENCE, WP:FRINGE, WP:OR. You'll find the community has thought about these issues extensively, and though we welcome new perspectives, we require those perspectives grapple with the world through the eyes of reliable sources. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 23:48, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Hi Dave. While you are entitled to your own personal opinion, the topic of whether other articles can reference the fact that they have been called pseudoscientitific has already been thoroughly discussed and decided on Wikipedia. An ArbCom ruling states not only that they can be mentioned but indeed that they must. Removing that information would be trying to hide valid and important information that our readers need to know to make decisions. If you try to edit in support of your personal opinion on the matter the edits in question will have to be removed as in conflict of well established principles here, and if you continue edits beyond that you undoubtedly will be blocked from editing. Just fair warning. DreamGuy (talk) 00:37, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Public health issue

I find it remarkable that editors keep removing from this article the fact that pseudoscience is considered a public health issue. Any changes adding this information seem to be blindly reverted as a whole without any attempt to improve them to fix the problems ostensibly being offered as rationale for their removal. It is completely uncontroversial that pseudoscience can and does adversely affect health. If you do not like the particular source (and I do not fully understand those arguments) or the wording then take the time to find a source yourself and fix the wording. Removing it entirely seems instead to be an attempt to hide important information from the article to have the end result of pushing a POV. The fact that multiple editors seem to be removing this seems less like informed, good faith consensus building and more like civil POV pushing. DreamGuy (talk) 00:37, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Pseudoscience is not necessarily a public health issue. Astrology is pseudoscience. It is not a public health issue. IMHO, this isn't a POV issue, it is a sourcing issue and a weight issue. If we can find a reliable source that gives adequate weight to the public health aspects of pseudoscience, lets use it! DigitalC (talk) 15:56, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
More accurately, there are "disciplines" which are pseudoscientific that could give rise to public health issues. Therefore, address those disciplines and the public health aspect will be covered. •Jim62sch•dissera! 16:00, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Confusing the specific with the general is a common category error. It might be considered uncontroversial to say that bacteria cause disease but actually very few bacteria cause disease. Care is taken in the Bacteria article to make this point in the introduction, providing a frame for subsequent discussion on bacteria and disease. Only a few forms of pseudoscience (mostly quackery) pose a risk to public health. We should avoid perpetuating common errors in thinking and expression. Jojalozzo 21:01, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
I'll admit my revert of a few weeks ago, while not done blindly, does look like a bit of a drive-by and for giving that appearance I apologize. I completely agree that "disciplines" of pseudoscience can and do adversely affect health and that the issue should most definitely be covered (in depth) in this article. I will start looking for sources. ArtifexMayhem (talk) 22:27, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
I propose we use the current reliable source until better sourcing is found. You will start looking for sources? That is not a reason to delete the relevant text specifically about pseudoscience. QuackGuru (talk) 06:01, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
That source isn't good enough for what you want to use it for. There is consensus not to use that source in such a manner. DigitalC (talk) 16:27, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
You claim the source is not good enough? QuackGuru (talk) 22:18, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Uh, where's the consensus? I don't see it. •Jim62sch•dissera! 22:36, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Where's your argument based on Wikipedia's core policies? QuackGuru (talk) 22:40, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Many of us have repeatedly stated the core policy points in the discussion of this issue over the last eight months. Continually requiring we repeat them for you reinforces your reputation for not hearing when things don't go your way. Jojalozzo 01:37, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
You claimed at the Fringe theories noticeboard:

Wikipedia:Verifiability: "Sources should directly support the material presented in an article and should be appropriate to the claims made. The appropriateness of any source depends on the context." (my emphasis)

I am one of the editors who finds this source inappropriate for the claims that QuackGuru wishes to make in the Pseudoscience article. This paper is about the psychology of pseudoscience and cognitive distortion and would be a very good source for that. However, the authors make general and unsupported claims about the public health risks of pseudoscience that are a) tangential to the research or even to psychology in general and b) apply only to quackery and not the whole field of pseudoscience. No other good sources have been located to support these extremely broad claims. While this source is reliable within it's domain and is welcome for use in the section on the psychology of pseudoscience, it is unsuited as the sole basis for claims about the public health risks of pseudoscience except in the more narrow case of quackery (for which many superior references exist).

You can see the full text on the authors' web site. (This paper was not published in the intended issue (11/2010) of the BJP but exists as a preprint. There is no explanation for its exclusion from the intended issue and there are no published plans to include it in a future issue.) Jojalozzo 02:27, 22 June 2011 (UTC)
One who disputes the reliability of apparently good sources
You find yourself engaging in discussions about the reliability of sources that substantially meet the criteria for reliable sources.
There is nothing wrong with questioning the reliability of sources, to a point. But there is a limit to how far one may reasonably go in an effort to discredit the validity of what most other contributors consider to be reliable sources, especially when multiple sources are being questioned in this manner. This may take the form of arguing about the number or validity of the sources cited by the sources. The danger here is in judging the reliability of sources by how well they support the desired viewpoint.
You misinformed other editors. The part you wrote "This paper was not published in the intended issue (11/2010) of the BJP but exists as a preprint. There is no explanation for its exclusion from the intended issue and there are no published plans to include it in a future issue."
You claimed the source was never intended to be published. This is not true. Your misrepresenting of the source led to you deleting an entire paragraph from a peer-reviewed source. Do you understand your behaviour is Wikipedia:Tendentious editing.
Matute H, Yarritu I, Vadillo MA (2011). "Illusions of causality at the heart of pseudoscience". Br J Psychol. 102 (3): 392–405. PMID 21751996. doi:10.1348/000712610X532210.  You can confirm it was recently published. Do you agree the source was published and you made a mistake. QuackGuru (talk) 03:22, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Do you agree that you ignored the part of that comment that directly quoted from the reliable sources policy, "The reliability of a source depends on context. Each source must be carefully weighed to judge whether it is reliable for the statement being made and is the best such source for that context. In general, the more people engaged in checking facts, analyzing legal issues, and scrutinizing the writing, the more reliable the publication. Sources should directly support the information as it is presented in an article, and should be appropriate to the claims made". The issue with this source is the context in which you want to use it. It is not appropriate for the claims you wish to make. You link to WP:TE, but fail to take Wikipedia:TE#One_who_repeats_the_same_argument_without_convincing_people to heart. When many people disagree with you, it might be worth considering whether you are wrong, rather than considering them all to be tendentious editors. The part of WP:TE that you linked to also includes "...most other contributors consider to be reliable sources." I don't see any indication that most other contributors consider this source to be reliable for the content you wish to use it for. DigitalC (talk) 19:50, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Who are the "many"? I'm not seeing much dissention except from one source. Just sayin'. •Jim62sch•dissera! 20:18, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
This is an old (looks like it started 8 months ago), ongoing discussion, and if you are new to it, you may have missed the input from other editors. At the risk of mischaracterizing others' edits, I would say that input against using Matute in such a manner has been received from Lugwigs2, ZuluPapa5, Ocaasi, Xxanthippe, Jojalozzo, Fama Clamosa(?), Hans Adler, PPdd, Be Critical, Tom Butler, Lambiam, DGG, User:Itsmejudith, User:Griswaldo, User:Binksternet. If you aren't seeing dissention except from one source, then please read up on the previous discussions from the last 8 months, including at WP:FTN and also including at least one RfC. DigitalC (talk) 03:53, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
The problem with that is that it is not current, and the concerns of those editors may well have been resolved -- hence their objections no longer stand. Perhaps you might wish to invoke one of WP's dispute mechanisms. •Jim62sch•dissera! 14:59, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
You will see that the rejections of that reference is pretty current if you took the time to read the comments here. Also please note that all of the discussion has been about the same issue for the 8 months. I for one continue to think that using the proposed reference will only perpetuate this argument.
I havenn't see any evidence that any concerns have been resolved, or that editors objections no longer stand. In fact, I would find it quite disrespectful if someone considered my objections to no longer stand if I didn't keep repeating them. DigitalC (talk) 21:32, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps QG's inability to find a better reference is your final proof that Matute really is a bad reference. Tom Butler (talk) 15:56, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. My point was, primarily, that only one person appeared to be complaining. I'm not sure why, if this has been an ongoing discussion, one needs to search for the threads -- active disputes shouldn't be archived.
That being said, I think an RFC might be in order. The arb request is about the editor, not the topic. Obviously, if we just delete the ref we run the risk of starting one of those blinkered edit wars that resolve nothing.
The ref seems to be of one man's opinion and expresses an absolute that makes no sense. I hardly see astrology or clairvoyance or time-cube stuff as a publich health issue, so a blanket statement seems very odd to me. •Jim62sch•dissera! 16:23, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
"I hardly see astrology or clairvoyance or time-cube stuff as a publich health issue, so a blanket statement seems very odd to me" - that is the main issue with the use of the source. An RfC was already conducted, but I wouldn't object to another one. DigitalC (talk) 21:28, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Yep. My goal was to get an RfC started, but as I haven't edited much in the past 2 years I hoped someone else might get it started as their opinion/concerns would carry more weight. •Jim62sch•dissera! 02:07, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
I regarded it a major threat to public health when the wife of the Star Wars President was seeking astrological guidance for them both. HiLo48 (talk) 03:57, 23 July 2011 (UTC)


The above discussion may well be going nowhere fast, but as it caused me to reread the section of the article dealing with health issues, it may have been beneficial.

This paragraph is atrocious: "Pseudosciences such as homeopathy, even if generally benign, are magnets for charlatans. This poses a serious issue because incompetent practitioners should not be given the right of administering health care. True-believing zealots may pose a more serious threat than typical con men because of their affection to homeopathy's ideology. Irrational health care is not harmless, and it is careless to create patient confidence in pseudomedicine". While substantively true, it nonethrless reeds like a screed. Surely there is a more professional way for that paragraph to be written. •Jim62sch•dissera! 14:45, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Topic sentence in lead: "Eclipse any scientific issues"

The third paragraph of the lead reads:

Pseudoscientific tendencies has political implications that eclipse any scientific issues.[1]

One, has->have. But more importantly, do we really mean political implications rather than 'real-world' implications? And do we really mean "eclipse" as in completely override, and block out. I think we mean: "Pseudoscience has real-world implications." Period. Any reason we don't ditch the extra verbiage and go with that? Ocaasi t | c 10:34, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Source says "And this is why the problem of demarcation between science and pseudoscience is not a pseudo-problem of armchair philosophers: it has grave ethical and political implications". So political is correct, although I'm not sure I would say it currently passes WP:V. The source is saying that the demarcation of science vs. pseudoscience has ethical and political implications, the article says that pseudoscientific tendencies have political implications. Not quite the same thing. DigitalC (talk) 17:08, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps: "How we distinguish science and pseudoscience is an importantpolitical question as well as a philosphical and scientific one." Jojalozzo 20:02, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Really, I'd prefer something like "How we distinguish science and pseudoscience brings up debate in the realms of science, philosophy and politics". Or some such drivel. Noting the political issue as the primary and the others as adjuncts seems odd to me. •Jim62sch•dissera! 21:29, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like synthesis, Jim. We gotta use the source. Jojalozzo 01:40, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

How we distinguish science and pseudoscience is fundamental to my opposition to the article in the first place. As described, the term is used as a brand for all things that are not mainstream and in that context, calling one possibly real problem subject, like say, sitting in a mine full of radon will cure arthritis, a danger to public health ends up extending that claim of danger to everything called pseudoscience. I agree with Jojalozzo in that it is better to be specific. Find a good reference saying that a specific practice is dangerous for such and such reason.

How we distinguish science and pseudoscience is a political issue if you can say that policies of the National Science Foundation are guided by political policy. The NSF pretty much decides what subjects are researched. It depend on funding from lawmakers and is clearly taking a lead from Skeptical publications for how pseudoscience is defined. Tom Butler (talk) 16:14, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

A pseudophysics-article

I was just wondering if it would be usefull if I started an article on pseudophysics since the English version of Wikipedia does not currently have one (although they DO have a category about pseudophysics and even fringe physics, which is strange considering that fringe science—in general—is a type of pseudoscience that differs vastly from orthodox science, so all of it, really). LarsJanZeeuwRules (talk) 19:34, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Hmm, Pseudophysics sounds interesting. We used to have a stub, before it was redirected. Obviously there are articles on specific examples of pseudophysics, and there's the broader pseudoscience article, but surely there's a niche in this ecosystem for pseudophysics too... bobrayner (talk) 19:47, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
There's certainly plenty of it around. See Heim theory. Xxanthippe (talk) 22:46, 17 September 2011 (UTC).
There are various others. Would it be a good or bad idea to write a pseudophysics navbox? We could have a row for the theories-of-everything, a row for Bad Cosmology, several rows for over-unity devices and any otheer pseudophysics with rotating magnets... bobrayner (talk) 23:25, 17 September 2011 (UTC)
If you want to have fun, go ahead. But beware, the cranks are very persistent. Xxanthippe (talk) 23:50, 17 September 2011 (UTC).

Check out the article on Aryan Physics.  :Keraunos (talk) 02:48, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Before doing an article on pseudophysics, it would first be necessary to do an article on the concept of free energy in fringe science, i.e., the idea, explored in the past 30 years by various inventors, that it is possible to harness the quantum vacuum zero point energy to do work. Keraunos (talk) 13:49, 18 September 2011 (UTC)
I'll restate my WT:WikiProject Pseudoscience comment here: If you're going to write an article called "pseudophysics", before anything else you're going to have to find multiple, good-quality references that show that that term is actually widely used. I'm not convinced that it is, and I'd expect anyone who wants to challenge the article to take that angle first (stating that it's a neologism and should be deleted as such). Show that it's a term that's widely used (by the scientific community, by popular press, or what-have-you), and you'll be resistant to such objections. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 03:07, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm not keen to see yet another platform for nutcases to present their crazy theories. Yes, wiser editors can keep watch, but why create another potential mess? HiLo48 (talk) 10:34, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm not keen to see yet another platform for nutcases to present their crazy theories about science they do not like. Why create another potential mess? Tom Butler (talk) 18:33, 19 September 2011 (UTC)


Isnt Atheism in effect a pseudoscience? Based on the fact there is no evidence to back it up. How does it utilise scientific theory? Truth is, many subjects are labelled are pseudoscience when no such attempt to put the practise as scientific, exists. (Personally) I dont believe anyone is trying to make out that channeling for example is scientific as they would have to prove it as such. Therefore branding as pseudoscience any practise (regardless if it is presenting itself as science) one doesnt believe in, in order (perhaps) to lower its credibility. Maybe for example the majority of people dont believe in the existence of Richard Dawkins - perhaps evidence should be presented to prove conclusively he is real based on certain criteria! He himself would not be allowed to partake due to ruining the experiment by contamination. NOTE: How does one figure out what is a reliable source, or mainstream view, as opposed to fringe? If one were to measure world opinion one may find scepticism is a fringe science.Chris of England — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:54, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

No. Atheism isn't a science or a pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is basically bullshit trying to pass itself off as scientific. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:01, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Atheism is the absence of belief because of the absence of evidence. Neither a science, nor pseudo-. HiLo48 (talk) 00:05, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
technically, Atheism is the belief that the absence of evidence in God can be interpreted positively as the non-existence of God. Not important, just being precise. --Ludwigs2 02:34, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
HiLo is closer. Wikipedia, no less, says "Atheism is......the rejection of belief in the existence of deities."2C. Moriori (talk) 02:54, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Global Warming

Is global warming pseudoscience? Should it be added to the article? Msruzicka (talk) 00:40, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

No. Please read Global warming. Also, we need solid sourcing for any new content.   — Jess· Δ 01:26, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Pseudoscience and Proof

I wonder where the incorrect idea that proof of any theory was needed to remove the stigma of it being pseudoscience. A theory can pass tests but can never be proven. It can pass many tests but will always remain a theory, albeit a strong one. However, the very next test can be the one to damage it and force the originators/supporters into action to save the theory. If it cannot be saved that is the end of the theory. Dis-proof, not proof, surely then, is the criteria needed to make a theory respectable. Look at any theory and if you can find a way of applying a test to that theory, in other words a test which may disprove it then it should not be classed as pseudoscience. One may not like the theory for any number of reasons, but lacking proof is not an excuse for casting it into the pit of pseudoscience, or pseudo-anything. The right thing to do now is to review the list of Pseudoscientific Concepts to find those which are testable and rehabilitate them. Bolandista (talk) 23:14, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

By theory, in this article we are referring to scientific theory (well-developed/established, predictive laws). This is not to be confused with the usual meaning of theory (unproven conjecture, hypothesis). Scientific theories may be disproved, but that doesn't turn them into pseudoscience. For example, Newton's law of universal gravitation remains science (not pseudoscience), even though it has been superseded by Einstein's theory of general relativity (also a scientific theory). -- Scjessey (talk) 02:24, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
(I am sorry that this response is a little longer than normal, please don't let that put you off from reading it.) Now if my understanding of my hero, Karl Popper, is correct, a theory is a theory is a theory no matter from whence it springs, any discipline can bring forth a theory. It is not possible, in philosophical terms, to split theories into their separate disciplines. They all must follow the same rule to be considered theories, simply that they are testable. Further, you may call them anything you like, discoveries, hypothesis, concepts, daft ideas, rubbish, best thing since sliced bread, whatever. All that is required is for someone to publish an idea that is new and within that idea there is a means by which it can be falsified. For example, I may say in my publication the earth has never been in any condition other than it is now. One can see that it is testable so it is a theory. I am sure that the very first test of the theory will kill it off, unless I or my "students" can find a way to save it. Very unlikely in this case. My theory has gone down the proverbial pan where it belongs. History will record it as a theory, one that failed. The best way of classifying theories is to recognise they fall into one of five classes. "Untested"; "Failed", following testing; "Weak", having passed a few tests; "Strong" having passed many tests and "Conditional", applying only in certain circumstances. It is the "Strong" category that is the best for generating new theories. I would class Darwin's theory of evolution as a "Strong" theory not because it is well-developed/established, or has predictive laws, but simply because it is testable. I'm afraid I don't understand the term "well developed" in the context of theories. Being and remaining testable after many tests of its veracity keeps it in the "Strong" category. Predictions are simply more theories arising from any other theory, in whichever category they may be placed, except the "Failed" category of course. Now, it is interesting that you mention Newton's theories and link them to Einstein's theory. The parts of Newton's theories which have failed by testing in the light of Einstein's work are no longer applied universally but restricted to certain conditions, therefore they still have relevance but are now "Conditional" theories. Other aspects of Newton's theories have not been affected by Einstein, therefore, remain "Strong". Last example, we currently have a theory, a very "Strong" theory that I think has a chance of failing in the near future because it is now being tested virtually continuously. The theory, often called a law, is that "Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light". Bolandista (talk) 14:10, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure what any of that has to do with improving the article. That being said, I specifically chose the Newton/Einstein examples to make a point. Newton's "law" of gravity is no longer a law, but Einstein's "theory" of gravity is. Incidentally, Newton's law of gravity is not a "conditional" theory either because it has been completely superseded. Calculations based on Newton's law can only offer very close approximations. -- Scjessey (talk) 14:18, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
I would like the term"Proof" removed and placed firmly in the round file when considering whether a published idea concerning anything in nature is properly a "theory" in the proper sense of the word or something else, perhaps it is a belief based on faith, perhaps it is purely fiction and so on. Proof is not a standard, one can only gain momentary relief through testing the theory and not falsifying it. Testing can never provide "Proof" that the theory is correct . Assuming that Proof is a standard implies confirmation of the theory for all time. As you rightly say, Newton's law of gravity is no longer a "Law", it is what it always has been a "theory". It should still be regarded as a working theory because it was saved by adding the condition, "I you are looking for an approximation", thus making it a "Conditional" theory. Theories are miss-named "Laws" by the theory's supporters and users to aggrandize their work based on that "Law", not just a theory. Such "Laws" remain theories, which, after testing are not falsified, up to now. Such testing can only make a particular theory a "Strong" theory, never a "Law". The only test of whether a theory is a theory is, "Can it be falsified?". To add any other condition, such as a back story, may be helpful to readers of the published theory, it does not add to the definition of "Theory". Suggesting that records of tests be added to make a published idea into a theory is interesting only in as much as it has not been falsified, yet. They are not needed to qualify the idea as a theory. Now you might say, "Yes, but we are discussing "scientific theories" and they need to show "A", "B", "C" and perhaps "D"." OK, the "science community", if there is such a thing, has added their own conditions to the basic definition for a "Theory". But why? Convention, perhaps. To save time, perhaps. To avoid reinventing the wheel, perhaps. Perhaps all of the above and more. These I would accept, but only as a special institutionalised condition for "scientific theories". All other "Theories" must be allowed to be be theories, without the need to add - "A", "B", "C" and perhaps "D". As theories which do not fall into the category of "scientific theories", they must be cut free from those constraints and allowed to live or die purely on falsifiability. Oh yes, I almost forgot - "Pseudoscience" what sort of definition would be applied to this concept. Is it a "scientific theory", or just a "Theory"? Is it falsifiable? Or perhaps it is "Pseudoscience", not testable, simply invented as a vehicle by which scientists can "lord" it over non-scientists who formulate their theories in an inferior manner to scientists by not including "A", "B", "C" and perhaps "D" along with their ideas to create a testable theory. Bolandista (talk) 10:15, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
The word "proof" appears four times in the article. Which occurrence would you like to remove? In other words, can you explicitly specify the sentence you would like to modify, and exactly how you would like to modify it? DVdm (talk) 11:14, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
Bolandista: you're correct in your assessment, more or less (a little too Popperish for my tastes…), but it's not clear what you're aiming for. do you want to revise this article? are you concerned over a different article where some editors is erroneously talking about 'proof'?
Keep in mind that they entire pseudoscience rubric is more an expression of belief than an analytical concept; arguing it rationally is not going to garner quite the results you might expect. --Ludwigs2 13:15, 25 October 2011 (UTC)
I am a Popper person, that is true. I feel that the word "proof" should be excised where possible. Bolandista (talk) 11:29, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Let us start from a common understanding of the application of “proof”, “provable” and therefore “unprovable”, etc. No one expects any theory to be “proved”, just “not yet falsified”. To ask anyone to “prove” their idea is not a defensible position. Here are my specific requests DVdm:
#1. Quote - Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.
Revise to: “Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague and exaggerated or un-testable claims.” (However, this may be a moot point if no one has tested such a claim!) (The remainder of this sentence is redundant)
#2. Quote - For example, a statement such as "God created the universe" may be true or false, but no tests can be devised that could prove it either way; it simply lies outside the reach of science
Revise to: “For example, the phrase "God created the universe" may be true or false, but no test can be devised that could falsify it. Therefore, it cannot be considered a theory, simply a statement of belief through faith.”
#3. Quote - Many pseudoscientists relish being able to point out the consistency of their ideas with known facts or with predicted consequences, but they do not recognize that such consistency is not proof of anything.
Revise to: “Many pseudoscientists relish being able to point out the consistency of their ideas with known facts or with predicted consequences. (Sorry, I just couldn’t think of an alternative set of words for the preceding sentence, so I left it unchanged.) However, if they do not include in the expression of their idea the necessary condition of falsification then that idea cannot amount to a theory it may, however, be considered fiction or a statement arising from a belief."
#4. Quote - The scientific community may aim to communicate information about science out of concern for the public's susceptibility to unproven claims.
Revise to: “The scientific community may aim to communicate information about science out of concern for the public's susceptibility to un-tested claims.”
#5. Quote - In science, the burden of proof rests on those making a claim, not on the critic. "Pseudoscientific" arguments may neglect this principle and demand that skeptics demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that a claim (e.g. an assertion regarding the efficacy of a novel therapeutic technique) is false. It is essentially impossible to prove a universal negative, so this tactic incorrectly places the burden of proof on the skeptic rather than the claimant.[53] Appeals to holism as opposed to reductionism: Proponents of pseudoscientific claims, especially in organic medicine, alternative medicine, naturopathy and mental health, often resort to the "mantra of holism" to explain negative findings.
Revise to: “In science, there can be no burden of proof as “proof” is a false premise. Anyone requiring "Pseudoscientific" arguments to supply proof of their theory may be neglecting this principle and demanding unfairly that a positive demonstration, beyond a reasonable doubt, of a theory or claim is provided. Something that, hopefully, would never be pressed on members of the scientific community, should never be pressed on anyone else. It is essential that tests for falsification, however, are capable of being carried against pertinent aspects of a theory or claim.[53] (Remove the remainder as it moves away from the general to the specific) Bolandista (talk) 11:29, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Ludwigs2: If as you say, "that they(sic) entire pseudoscience rubric is more an expression of belief than an analytical concept" is true, then is it honest to use it against any theory, however way out that theory may be? Surely there must be better ways to describe these ideas than to lump them into a single category which as you say is "more an expression of belief than an analytical concept". I have just re-read the article and was surprised to see listed amid pseudoscience ideas several individuals. Please, No! People can never be described as pseudoscience. In the present climate, their individual ideas, claims, theories may, "as a matter of belief", be called pseudoscience. Never the individuals themselves. Perhaps a new "rubric" is needed which may prove helpful rather than condemnatory to the authors currently publishing "pseudoscience". By the way, what results do you think I "would expect"? Bolandista (talk) 11:29, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Bolandista, indeed scientific theories can never be proven, but individual claims can certainly be proven. Taking the quotes one by one:

#1. No need to change, since it is about individual claims, which can be proven or disproven.
#2. No need to change, since it is about a specific individual claim, which indeed cannot be proven or disproven. That is the entire point.
#3. Can't change that, as it is a literal quotation from a reliable source.
#4. Again, no need to change, since it is about individual claims.
#5. Can't change this. Both parts are properly sourced.

DVdm (talk) 14:00, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

@DVdm: No, that's wrong; or at least, you are using the word 'claim' in an imprecise manner. Modern science distinguishes between conceptual structures describing the world and the actual state of the world (which is largely unknowable but from which empirical evidence arises). The only thing that can be proven wrong are concrete hypotheses (statements of the nature "If this is done in that context, the other will follow"). Concrete hypotheses are derived from theories and claims, but the failure of a hypothesis does not disprove the theory any more than the success of the hypothesis proves the theory. a concrete hypothesis merely adds evidence to be considered when evaluating the theory. Scientists almost never use the word 'proof', except in a lazy way when referring to 'evidence'
@Bolandista: I fear you are mixing levels of discussion. We are not here to change what people think in the real world. As best I understand it, the term 'pseudoscience' was coined by some scientists who decided to step out of their scientific bailiwick and into the socio-political world to rescue people from what they saw as poor reasoning and bad science. The term was never an analytic, scientific concept, but the socio-politcal ideal behind it is one I admire. Science education is important. Unfortunately (as often happens with these things), the term got picked up by a wide variety of people who misunderstood the core ideal and adopted it as a kind of secular faith: dropping the ideal of opposing cloudy reasoning in the general public, in preference to combatting evil charlatans. That itself is not a problem (we represent all beliefs fairly, per NPOV), except that we run across editors who carry that battle onto the project and start damaging articles.
WIth respect to your particular suggestions:
  1. your is a mild improvement over the current
  2. this statement feels like wp:COATRACK;someone deciding to take a side shot at religion, even though religion is not pseudoscience. I'll have to think about that.
  3. as pointed out, this is part of a literal quote.
  4. both versions are wrong, and the whole thing is oddly paternalistic sounding. probably this needs clearer attribution - It looks like a sourced quote, but I'm not comfortable expressing it in wikipedia's voice.
  5. again, this probably needs much clearer attribution to take it out of wikipedia's voice. it's pushy wording. In fact, I suspect the last line is pure synthesis, but I'll have to look at the source..
--Ludwigs2 15:07, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Do you mind if I edit my previous entry, rather than expand this section to infinity and, -well you know the rest ;<) Bolandista (talk) 08:55, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
Please don't do that, and don't expand this section to infinity. Both options will make the entire thread useless and will probably result in its removal from this talk page. See wp:TPG, and specially the sections wp:REDACT, wp:TPYES and wp:TPNO. - DVdm (talk) 09:54, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Brian Dunning EL

An external link to Brian Dunning's web site was posted, removed, replaced, removed (by me, per BRD, with a note to discuss here). The page lists 15 points for identifying pseudoscience that may have some general utility. However, the site is also promotional, self-published and does not rise to WP:RS standards. Dunning's 15 points could be incorporated into the body of the article but each point would require proper citations which Dunning does not provide. I see no need to include a link to Dunning's site. Jojalozzo 14:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Brian Dunning (skeptic) appears to be a reliable-enough source for this purpose. Binksternet (talk) 15:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Reliability isn't the only issue - there are already several "how to spot pseudoscience" type links in the EL section (too many, in my opinion), so the Skeptoid link isn't adding anything new. The EL section isn't supposed to be a collection of links to any and all reliable sources that touch on the article's subject. The fact that the Skeptoid entries are self-published is a bit of a concern, too. Per WP:EL, the burden is on the person wanting to add a link to explain why it is necessary, not on the person who wants to remove a link. Dawn Bard (talk) 18:11, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Jojalozzo. the Dunning list is interesting and the main points are commonly cited by Skeptics with broad brushes, but he has posted it as an opinion piece and that makes it original research and self-published. Those two point alone disqualify it from Wikipedia. If the offered references support his points, then those should be referred to. However, one, the book Pseudoscience and the Paranormal appears to be just the personal opinion of the author which is not otherwise very well researched. The other three authors are already well represented in this article and more would be just be using a proxy author to push a viewpoint.Tom Butler (talk) 18:15, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
First of all, this website is also being discussed on RSN: [[3]]. Second of all, it's not only Dunning's list that is interesting and useful, but the whole site, as well, as it covers a wide range of pseudoscience and woo topics. It's incredibly useful to readers who want to explore. It's the best such comprehensive collection of articles on woo on the internet, and it's well known and trusted. The podcasts are well-writen and conscise, and pretty much represent the mainstream view. Dunning has certainly done his research, and is an excellent explainer. Most EL's are self-published, so that is not an important question here. He's more reliable than most such sites by far. I disagree that the site is "promotional". I think the link would be a valuable addition to the article, and that's coming from me, an ardent deletionist and spam-killer. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 19:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I consider Dunning's site promotional because it has a store, it promotes Dunning's broadcasts, Dunning's live shows, Dunning's videos and books, and it incorporates "tip Brian" requests for payment (albeit voluntary) in the middle of the articles. It is a commercial enterprise that will benefit financially from inclusion on Wikipedia. Jojalozzo 04:56, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I oppose his link being under external links and as a source. He's kind of just some guy with a vlog/podcast. Why use him? There's other people we could use. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 05:00, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


The only thing referenced in the article is what is already in the pseudoscience article. I propose that Protoscience be redirected to pseudoscience. Comments to Talk:Protoscience#redirect_to_pseudoscience, cheers IRWolfie- (talk) 11:25, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

The last two sections of this article are badly in need of rewriting/editing. In their current state, they devolve into a poorly written, ungrammatical mess that pushes a decidedly non-neutral POV. They drag the entire article from "decent", well into "major suck" territory. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 12 January 2012 (UTC)


As reminded at the top of this Discussion page, this article should only contain examples which are Obvious Pseudosciences or concepts which are Generally Considered Pseudoscience. Osteopathy and Chiropractic are neither. See WP:FRINGE/PS for more detail of this threshold. (talk) 16:22, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

These two forms of quack alternative medicine have pseudoscientific aspects, but I have to agree with the IP editor that they are probably best left out of the list. Neither are "obviously" pseudoscience, although they have been characterized as such. -- Scjessey (talk) 17:06, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
It is always hard to draw a line between pseudoscience and things "characterized as pseudoscience". See, for instance this thread and this mediation case, resulting, so to speak, in the current state of the article, containing the said examples as PS. DVdm (talk) 17:54, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
The MedCab case referenced does not relate to this article. I can see the confusion though. The article it does refer to is a list of disciplines/ideas "characterized" as a pseudoscience but are not necessarily obvious pseudosciences nor necessarily generally considered pseudosciences. This article on the other hand is making a de facto claim that the list are examples of pseudosciences. WP:PSCI and WP:FRINGE/PS (referenced at the head of this discussion page precludes us from making such a de facto claim unless the members of the list fall into either the obvious pseudosciences bucket or the generally considered pseudosciences bucket. Osteopathy and chiropractic fall into neither and should thus be removed.
From User:SteveBaker on the MedCab case referenced: There is a subtle distinction between what would be in "List of pseudosciences" versus what is actually in "List of topics characterized as pseudoscience" - that being that in the former list, we could weigh the evidence as to the number and reliability of sources that say that some topic is a pseudoscience versus those that might state that it is not. We could remove topics that were once characterized as pseudoscience yet are not considered mainsteam.
I think this comment nails the issue here on the head. The heading in question on this article is "Pseudoscientific concepts" and not the wishy-washy "Concepts characterized as pseudoscience". The section defines inclusion as: Examples of pseudoscience concepts, proposed as scientific when they are not scientific, are ... Thus this section makes it clear that the inclusion here means that the concept is a de facto example of pseudoscience. Therefore, including topics that are not "obvious pseudosciences" nor "generally considered pseudoscience" is not only a violation of WP:PSCI but also – and more important to integrity of Wikipedia – factually inaccurate. - (talk) 02:33, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Good call. This deals with the difference between this article and the List of topics characterized as pseudoscience. If this article were the only one dealing with the subject, then Wikipedia would be failing in its mission to document the sum total of human knowledge, which includes "characterizations". That's why we have the list. Together they cover the subject well and help to fulfill our goal here. -- Brangifer (talk) 02:48, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. And by this same rationale, in the "See also" section of this article, we should not include reference to "List of topics characterized as pseudoscience" under the heading "Common examples". Members of that list article are not necessarily "common examples" of pseudosciences. While we should definitely maintain a link to the list article in the "See also" section of this article, the current heading is in violation of WP:PSCI and – more important – inaccurate. We should either change the heading or just move the list under the "Related concepts" heading. (talk) 03:03, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
Good point. It's been so long since I've dealt with this subject that I hadn't even noticed it. I've fixed it. Hope it's good enough now. -- Brangifer (talk) 07:52, 6 November 2011 (UTC)


Acupuncture is another discipline that is neither an "obvious pseudoscience" nor "generally considered pseudoscience". Thus, per WP:PSCI should not be included in the list here as such. Any arguments against removing it? (talk) 21:08, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Hm... nothing in wp:PSCI seems to speak about including or omitting it here in or from the list. The policy says that "inclusion of pseudoscientific views should be proportionate with the scientific view." I think that acupunture is indeed proportionally included with the scientific view in those medicine-related articles where it is mentioned. But that has nothing to do with this article. This is not a medine-related article. - DVdm (talk) 21:32, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
It is generally considered as pseudoscience. See List_of_topics_characterized_as_pseudoscience where it is listed for example. IRWolfie- (talk) 21:35, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I should be more specific in my PSCI reference... Please see Wikipedia:Fringe_theories#Pseudoscience_and_other_fringe_theories. Acupuncture is not generally considered a pseudoscience. There are certain aspects of acupuncture which are indeed pseudoscientific but there there are aspect which are more scientific. I encourage everyone to read the very well written Wikipedia article Acupuncture which explains how acupuncture may be characterized as pseudoscience by some, but how there is also scientific evidence published in reputable journals supporting some of its claims. As discussed above, List of topics characterized as pseudoscience is where we list items which have merely been "characterized" as pseudoscience by some reliable source. However, in this article - as throughout the rest of Wikipedia - we have a higher threshold for inclusion. Referenced at the top of this discussion page, WP:PSCI and WP:FRINGE prohibit us from stating that something is a de facto pseudoscience unless it is indeed an obvious pseudoscience or it is generally considered pseudoscience. Acupuncture skirts the line of the latter, but if the authors of its Wikipedia article haven't been able to conclusively state that it is a pseudoscience, then I don't believe we should be categorizing it as such here. (talk) 01:08, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Acupuncture is generally regarded as a pseudoscience by the scientific community as is shown in the acupuncture article. IRWolfie- (talk) 01:17, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
I see discussion in the Acupuncture article about 3 or 4 scientists characterizing Acupuncture as a pseudoscience; however, I also see discussion about it being endorsed by organizations such as WHO. What I am looking for is something like the authors of Phrenology have done... an outright statement: Phrenology is a pseudoscience. No one is arguing that it isn't. Phrenology is clearly therefore generally considered to be a pseudoscience. I am not seeing this kind of of de facto statement on Acupuncture but rather statements such as "so-and-so has characterized acupuncture as pseudoscience." If it is just a characterization then it belongs on List of topics characterized as pseudoscience but not on this article's examples of pseudosciences. (talk) 01:34, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
The central basis for acupuncture is pseudoscience, and any endorsements given by organizations such as the WHO are based on placebo effects. I see no reason for removal. -- Scjessey (talk) 02:42, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
Where is this statement supported? The central basis for acupuncture is pseudoscience The point being, I don't find acupuncture to be a helpful example in this article based on evidence from a well-regarded scientific publications (e.g. the Cochran systematic review) supported at least some of its claims. (talk) 03:14, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
In the article on acupuncture. A fistful of sources follows the line: "There is no anatomical or scientific evidence for the existence of qi or meridians, concepts central to acupuncture." It's quack medicine passing itself off as legitimate and scientifically-based, which is more or less a textbook pseudoscience. -- Scjessey (talk) 20:37, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

I think we're treading on cultural and legal thin ice here. Insurance companies pay for it. The Chinese practice it. It's part of Taoism and other beliefs. This listing of acupuncture as a pseudoscience is at best vulgar and at worst... well, do I have to draw a picture? Gingermint (talk) 00:34, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Cold fusion?

My understanding is that cold fusion is generally considered to be the result of bad science or pathological science (Simon 2002) but not a case of pseudoscience. I'm sure there's a lot pseudoscience that has grown out of the scientific pursuit of CF but I don't think Fleischmann and Pons are considered to have participated in pseudoscience. Comments? Jojalozzo 02:35, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

I cited a source, I'll admit that it's weak. If you want to revert the addition (and the addition of the source) I won't revert you. My knee jerk reaction was to the lack of edit summary. Anyway, not attached to the claim so totally your call. Noformation Talk 09:39, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
I think there's enough crackpot work going on with CF now that we can keep it. Jojalozzo 14:42, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
I seem to remember this question coming up several times before, and there are a number of sources that call much of the work on it pseudoscience, but it's hard to deal with since it's such a broad term. a13ean (talk) 16:43, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

It is a broad term. Though there are those who claim to have achieved it, there are theories that certainly ARE scientific and it is an ongoing study. I don't think it should be written-off as pseudoscience (although there have been pseudoscience claims attached to the study). Gingermint (talk) 00:30, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Economics as Pseudoscience

Should economics be included in the pseudosciences? Or mainstream economics at least? It seems to conform to many of the criteria of pseudoscience as listed in this article. And its role in the context of predicting recent events seems to be particularly dismal. However, I'm not aware of any particular sources that make the claim that economics is a pseudoscience. (If anyone is, perhaps they could add it with a citation.) (talk) 18:57, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, without sources, it's, at best, your original research. Jojalozzo 21:33, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Economics may be infested with political and ideological biases, and often use mathematics in an attempt to pass as more scientific than it really is, and some sections, schools etc. may be especially questionable, but a blanket statement portraying economics as a whole as a pseudoscience is certainly excessive. It is doubtless possible to conduct sound research into economical phenomena and I don't think even the most critical observer would deny that any valid research is really done in that area.
As a comparison, I've often seen Chomskyan generative linguistics criticised for its over-reliance on theoretical constructs as well as overemphasis on Standard English and other widely-used written languages, and neglect (or ex post rationalisation) of empirical data, variations (through space, time and society), rare exceptions and exotic phenomena and anything that threatens its theoretical edifices, attempts to fit any inconvenient messy real-life data into a predetermined theoretical corset or Procrustes bed, or unrealistic or dubious assumptions (such as the nativist theory of language, the idealised speaker-listener and the competence vs. performance separation, the exclusion of context or pragmatical aspects, the neglect of conversational structures, language change, etc.), or lack of theoretical unity with dozens of competing variants (which is, admittedly, a general problem of linguistics), and personally, I think that the central assumption that natural languages are context-free just like formal languages and can therefore be studied using the same methods and tools is critically flawed. But even if you think that Chomskyan linguistics or other subfields, such as evolutionary or cognitive linguistics, are to some smaller or larger extent pseudoscientific or have pseudoscientific aspects, that would never invalidate linguistic research as a whole. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:09, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Whipping Boy

This has been an article ripe for anyone who really wants to promote their beliefs. I.e. this is pseudoscience or that is pseudoscience. I've eliminated a few things here and there to restore some semblance of POV before Democrats started listing Republican ideas as pseudoscience and vice versa! Also, there were several references of terribly dubious scientific nature and I've eliminated those, as well. (talk) 23:22, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Your edits appear to violate the neutrality policy and have been undone. CityOfSilver 23:25, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
A lot of the content you removed was sourced to reliable sources, which are extremely important here. Do you have contrary sources we could look at which support your proposal? Thanks!   — Jess· Δ 23:28, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Your assertion that this article is ripe for anyone who wants to promote their believes seems to fly in the face of the fat that this page has been around since 2002 and nothing like what you've mentioned has actually happened. See WP:BEANS and remember, if it ain't broke...SÆdontalk 23:39, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

That doesn't mean that it won't happen. Well, it certainly is. Also, there is absolutely nothing wring with making this a reasonable article devoid of POV problems. At present the article has several and appears to be guarded rigorously by those with a definite agenda. I don't buy astrology or any number of things... but I know they are culturally imbedded in numerous countries. Any number of people in the Near East or Asia could (maybe rightly) regard this page as centric and another opportunity for Westerners to denigrate their cultural beliefs. Is it? Well, there is intent and there is appearance. At any rate, it is obvious that there are people editing this page that have very strong ideas and they certainly ARE using this page to promote their ideas Gingermint (talk) 00:22, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

And the sources were hardly reliable. This is the problem when people who are not scientists try to edit a science article. They don't know a good source from a bad one. Gingermint (talk) 00:23, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Science is science all over the world, and in every culture. Astrology may well be a significant part of some folks' culture, but that cannot ever make it science. At BEST, it's pseudoscience. At worst, it's bullshit. It can be part of culture. But nowhere is it science. That's not POV. That's fact. HiLo48 (talk) 00:31, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm a biologist and philosopher of science, or rather will be one soonish, so such presumptions are neither necessary nor true (I believe Mann Jess is also a scientist), and there's generally no point to considering the qualifications of editors here. You may be a scientist, or you may be a cat, no one here knows and no one cares.
Whether something is culturally imbedded is irrelevant to its standing as a science. The masses of any culture - East or West - are irrelevant when discussing the validity or standing of a topic. Science is not cultural viewpoint, it transcends culture. What you're essentially saying is that some non-American cultures widely hold an irrational belief and therefore to criticize that belief is to be culturally insensitive (or some other such adjective) and this is simply not the case. Astrology (etc) is bullshit regardless of the culture of origin and encyclopedic articles reflect that without deference to majority opinion. American Creationism is also treated the same way and for the same reasons.
Yes, you are correct that it "doesn't mean it won't happen," but if democrats ever try to do such a thing then we will just remove it as a POV issue; it's not relevant to this conversation as this isn't a policy page. SÆdontalk 00:35, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

I wish only scientists and reasonable people edited articles such as this. It is relevant and it is obvious that there are people editing this article who are blind to everything but their own opinion. It's a shame. As I said before, real scientists (good ones) are the best judges of scientific articles. Gingermint (talk) 00:40, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

And I must point out that my own opinions jive perfectly with the article as it stands. But it is obvious to me that there are serious POV issues here. And I am not arrogant enough to shove my beliefs onto others in the guise of science. Gingermint (talk) 00:41, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Please comment on content and not on contributors. If you have nothing to discuss regarding content then kindly don't engage. Your opinion notwithstanding, there is not and never will be a litmus test to edit aritlces on WP. If you're looking for a place where only experts edit then there are plenty of alternatives. SÆdontalk 00:47, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes Gingermint, with those two posts you are attacking the behaviour of some editors here, but doing it without naming them nor describing precisely what you see as the problem with what they say. That's quite destructive and unhelpful. HiLo48 (talk) 00:49, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Look, I don't know who's messing with the page. I do know that there is a POV problem here. It's an obvious one and I myself have attempted to correct it. Also, Wikipedia is not a place, or should not be a place, where people promote their own beliefs (or mine for that matter) and support them with dubious sources. And to say that I've in any way been destructive is disingenuous. As for content... that's what this whole thing has been about. Gingermint (talk) 00:52, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

It doesn't appear as though any content in the article is sourced to a WP editor and so what's being promoted are the views of our sources. If you have a problem with the sourcing then start a section and explain why. Making broad statements doesn't help anyone. If you choose to do so, please familiarize yourself with WP:PARITY beforehand, because many times that pseudoscience sources are criticized it is without knowing said policy. SÆdontalk 01:01, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, the article is unstable, probably for the reasons cited by Gingermint. We just suffered through QuackGuru's attempt to use the article to promote his point of view. It took a long time to overcome one editor's determined POV.
You all have a pretty high regard for science. I would agree if you were talking about such subjects as the acceleration of gravity or the calculation of a constant, but when you get into subjects such as alternative energy or climate--especially things associated with human nature--your science looks a lot like a craft rather than an exact science. From an engineer's viewpoint, too many scientists have too high a regard for their worth.
It would be better if some of you stopped being so righteous and listen to Gingermint. Tom Butler (talk) 01:07, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree with everything said so far. Tom and Gingermint, please read WP:NOTFORUM. We need solid proposals, not vague assertions of bias. Gingermint, please read WP:EW, since if you continue to edit war, you will break 3rr and end up blocked. That's not good for anyone. If we want to continue this discussion, then we need solid sources listed which we can review and reflect in the article. If you're looking for a site written only by 'experts' and not based on sources, then try scholarpedia; WP doesn't operate that way. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 01:12, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
It would be better if you heeded the same advice I gave to GM about commenting on content because nothing you said above has made this conversation more productive in any way. 100 more editors can come in here and complain about other editors and still the article won't improve.
Climate science is as hard a science as any other, and alternative energy is not a separate field of science, though there might be political aspects, a fuck about which I do not give. How either of those things relate to psuedoscience (with the caveat of Climate change denialism), I'm not sure. And since QG is gone I'm not sure how that's relevant either. Do you have an actual opinion on the point of this thread or should we just pretend that WP is a social network? Regarding article brought this up and it wasn't part of the conversation before. I also don't think you're correct that the article is unstable, when was the last major edit war besides the own brewing now started by an IP who is unlikely familiar with policy? SÆdontalk 01:18, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

This article is about science and pseudoscience and determining the validity of practices within that context. That should be clear from the title and from the text. Yes, that's a POV, but it's an explicit and acknowledged POV. Deleting content here because you think something is valid within some other context is no more appropriate than deleting examples of sin in Christian ethics because one knows some people do not believe the behaviors are wrong. Jojalozzo 01:35, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

SÆdon, bluster and cussing does not give you more authority here. I am sorry that you are unable to see the association between Gingermint’s comments and the idea that this article is unstable. In almost every round of arguments, the validity of references and point of view have been the main issue.
Accusing editors of not reading the rules and policies is something of a traditional way of avoiding the point.
Gingermint, if you have the stamina to put up with the owners of this article, then I would remind you that nothing in the article is sacred. If something is said that is not well supported by references, then it is not your responsibility to find a better reference. It is more important to remove the something until whoever wanted it in the article can find a better reference. At the very least, you can put a tag on it. It is important to discuss changes first. Tom Butler (talk) 02:24, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
When you say things like "bluster and cussing does not give you more authority here" you are of course insinuating that I believe that bluster and cussing give me more authority here, which is yet again another comment on editors and not article content (and it ignores all the other possible reasons one may cuss, perhaps when one just fucking feels like it).
Simply saying that a resource is invalid does not make it so. I'm looking forward to the actual arguments you are waiting to present as soon as we're done with our facebook chat here.
I am not avoiding any points; as of yet there have been no concrete points to which to respond. I will not respond to vague generalizations about multiple sources because it will not lead to fruitful discussion. Pointing to policies isn't a tactic unless it actually is attempting to avoid the point (you seem to be equivocating the act of pointing to policy with the act of point to policy to avoid discussions - they are not the same). Pointing to WP:PARITY when talking about WP:PARITY sources?! Who would have thought?
At the moment, the only person attempting to avoid the point is you, since you are clearly uninterested in anything but talking about other editors. Get to the content or go do something else productive, you're wasting your time and mine. SÆdontalk 02:37, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Health and education implications section -- VERY POOR No NPOV

I tried to clean up this section, but my changes were reverted carelessly, so hopefully someone else will fix. The entire section, excepting parts of the first paragraph, does not belong in an encyclopedia. Here is a select line: "...pseudoscientific beliefs are irrational and impossible to combat with rational arguments and even agreeing to talk about pseudoscience we accept it as a credible discipline. Pseudoscience harbor a continuous and an increasing threat to our society.[82] It is impossible to determine the irreversible harm that will happen in the distance." This is not neutral, not encyclopedic, not cogently written. For God's sake, it makes arguments in the name of "we". I realize I am not a trusted user, but this is possibly the most blatantly biased article I've ever read on here and clearly written by someone without a firm grasp of the English language (and no, this is not coming from a supporter of pseudoscience). I really don't understand why my edit, while imperfect (open tag, etc), was completely reverted. I will not redo any changes, so hopefully someone else will. And for the record, save one, I do not recognize the other edits made under my IP. (talk) 18:59, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree, it is a terribly written section and definitely not in an encyclopedic tone. Have you gone over the source at all and if so can you tell me if it supports the statements being made? If so, it might be worth it to just rewrite the section, but if not then removal is probably the best bet. SÆdontalk 19:41, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I think it's badly written, but I'm not sure what you are saying it is biased against? I think most mainstream sources would treat pseudoscience as a negative thing. IRWolfie- (talk) 21:28, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Sure they would, and the OP too from what he said, but this is presenting those opinions as fact. For instance, it includes the line: "Pseudoscience harbor a continuous and an increasing threat to our society." This is clearly opinion, and could be rephrased, but why bother? It's all opinion with no concrete point being made. And I looked at the source being cited throughout this section; it's a six page mess about teaching a course at FSU called Physics in Films that presenting opinion as fact with very few references and no substantive data. The paper may have been written by the same person as this article. Has someone else read the rest of this Pseudoscience article? I glanced and it's generally painful, so I had to stop. It's an important topic, but treating it so carelessly just fuels the Jenny McCarthys of the world and, imo, it would be better being shorter if that would help it not read like a polemic. (talk) 00:43, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Sadly I agree, I think a lot of the page could benefit from a rewrite. SÆdontalk 00:53, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, but I am reticent to edit anymore. Maybe it's because I don't have an account (or static IP), but it seems like everything I change, including obvious grammar or factual issues with supporting evidence, are immediately reverted without any discussion or consideration. And on this page's history, I see a lot of reasonable edits undone. There are clearly interests that are preserving the status quo; I assume they think they are doing so against the anti-science crowd but to me it seems like a lot poor logic on display. Saedon, is there a place to request that a trusted editor (not that you aren't, I'm just unfamiliar with how quality is achieved on WP in general) take a close look at this page and bring it in line and not be reverted? Or is it best here to just go ahead and edit? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:15, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Your changes have been the mass removal of referenced content rather than the mentioned copyedit. IRWolfie- (talk) 10:18, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
Just a procedural note, 69.86/65.217, the way you're presenting yourself under these two ips makes it appear as though you're attempting to sock in order to vote-stack. That won't help matters. You may have a case about the article content, but it will only be tainted by that sort of behavior. Please don't refer to yourself in third person when hopping ips, for instance. Getting an account would also really help to communicate effectively. There's no need to respond to this directly (I'm only putting it here so you see it in case your ip changes again); it's clear to me, at least, that your edits are made in good faith, and that you're really making an effort to actually affect the article text. Going forward, it may be best to either propose a specific rewrite to the section, or to directly indicate where the source diverges from the article, e.g. "On page 22, the source says X, but in the article we say Y", or to propose new sources which may have a different conclusion. Unfortunately, your edit probably won't be made unless you help to make it happen. All the best,   — Jess· Δ 18:37, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Criticism of the term

I should just explain this edit. I listened to the section of the podcast noted in the reference and I could not see how the comment was a criticism of the term, or even of the use of the term. Furthermore, this was a brief comment that mentioned pseudoscience, rather it being a discussion about pseudoscience. Finally, after searching for information about Robert Shug, I could find almost nothing about him and certainly no mention of him in mainstream or scholarly sources; therefore, I determined this was nothing more than an idle comment about pseudoscience by a non-notable person who had no real connection to the subject at all. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:52, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Can anyone else listen to this podcast ? In my opinion there is clear reference to this term. It is also a clear example by a practising academic and criminologist "Robert Shug, Ph.D of criticism of the term and is therefore a good example to have on the page. I agree that further references could be added to strengthen the paragraph so would like to see this paragraph left in in order to encourage this. "this was a brief comment that mentioned pseudoscience" ... this is true, but it does give a good example of professional/academic use of the term vis'a'vis Criminology vs Graphology which documents very well, I think, a current working attitude towards the term. I merely put in the paragraph as part of a developing section of the main article in light of the previous two paragraphs. I think a more appropriate approach would have been to add a special reference template ( like the "fact" one and "questionable reference") to give other contributors a chance to expand this paragraph if possible. Lastly I can't find anything about a source having to be notable in Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources although, as I said, the paragraph just needs strengthening with more sources/edits. I am contacting (Dr Shug) to ask him for a list of published sources where he is mentioned ... papers, journals, etc. I'll get back here when I'm done DJ Barney (talk) 14:52, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I've listened to the podcast, and the comment you mention is merely a very brief, tangential offhand comment that is not elaborated upon. You are gossly exaggerating its significance. Nor can it be said that the comment represents a "criticism of the term". I'm sorry, but I don't see any encyclopedic value in even mentioning it, especially since Dr. Shug rather emphatically states about half a dozen times that he does not know much about the subject of graphology. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 16:36, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Shug is not a respected commentator on the topic; he should not be quoted definitively. Binksternet (talk) 17:15, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Is not a respected commentator on the topic of the article, or Criminology ? To come back on another point ... to rebuff the original critiscism of "not notable" I found many references to his work ...

Cachelin, Fary M (2006-12-01). "Acculturation and Eating Disorders in a Mexican American Community Sample". Psychology of Women Quarterly. 30 (4): 340–347. ISSN 0361-6843, Check |issn= value (help). doi:10.1111/j.1471-6402.2006.00309.x. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Schug, Robert August (2009-09). "Biopsychosocial and forensic clinical correlates of schizophrenia and homicide". UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Schug, Robert A. (2009-04). "Comparative meta-analyses of neuropsychological functioning in antisocial schizophrenic persons". Clinical Psychology Review. 29 (3): 230–242. ISSN 0272-7358. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2009.01.004. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)

Towl, Graham J. (2010-03-16). Forensic Psychology. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781405186186.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Glenn, A L (2009-10-01). "Increased DLPFC activity during moral decision-making in psychopathy". Molecular Psychiatry. 14 (10): 909–911. ISSN 1359-4184. doi:10.1038/mp.2009.76. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Glenn, Andrea L. (2011). "Increased testosterone-to-cortisol ratio in psychopathy". Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 120 (2): 389–399. ISSN 1939-1846(Electronic);0021-843X(Print) Check |issn= value (help). doi:10.1037/a0021407.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Nordstrom, Benjamin R (2011). "Neurocriminology". Advances in Genetics. 75: 255–283. ISSN 0065-2660. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-380858-5.00006-X. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Gao, Yu (2011-11). "P3 event-related potentials and childhood maltreatment in successful and unsuccessful psychopaths". Brain and Cognition. 77 (2): 176–182. ISSN 0278-2626. doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2011.06.010. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)

Schleim, S (2011). "PHILOSOPHICAL IMPLICATIONS AND MULTIDISCIPLINARY CHALLENGES OF MORAL PHYSIOLOGY". Trames. Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences. 15 (2): 127. ISSN 1406-0922. doi:10.3176/tr.2011.2.02. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

"Presentations at the Annual Meeting of the Neuroethics Society: An Index of Online Abstracts Available at". The American Journal of Bioethics. 9 (1): 57–58. 2009. ISSN 1526-5161. doi:10.1080/15265160802617910. 

Schug, Robert A (2007-01-11). "Psychophysiological and Behavioural Characteristics of Individuals Comorbid for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Schizophrenia-Spectrum Personality Disorder". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 191 (5): 408–414. ISSN 1472-1465 0007-1250, 1472-1465 Check |issn= value (help). doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.106.034801. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Yang, Yaling (2010-04-30). "Reduced hippocampal and parahippocampal volumes in murderers with schizophrenia". Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. 182 (1): 9–13. ISSN 0925-4927. doi:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2009.10.013. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Schug, Robert (2011-10-30). "Resting EEG deficits in accused murderers with schizophrenia.". Psychiatry research. 194 (1): 85–94. ISSN 0165-1781. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Schug, Robert A (2011-01-05). "Schizophrenia and Matricide: An Integrative Review". Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. 27 (2): 204–229. ISSN 1552-5406 1043-9862, 1552-5406 Check |issn= value (help). doi:10.1177/1043986211405894. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 

Gao, Yu. "Somatic aphasia: Mismatch of body sensations with autonomic stress reactivity in psychopathy". Biological Psychology (0). ISSN 0301-0511. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.03.015. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Schug, Robert A. (2010-12). "Structural and Psychosocial Correlates of Birth Order Anomalies in Schizophrenia and Homicide". The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 198 (12): 870–875. ISSN 0022-3018. doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181fe7280. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)

Glenn, Andrea L (2009). The Neural Correlates of Moral Decision-Making in Psychopathy. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

Gao, Yu (2009-12). "The neurobiology of psychopathy: a neurodevelopmental perspective.". Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie. 54 (12): 813–823. ISSN 1497-0015. Retrieved 2012-04-23.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)
DJ Barney (talk) at 13:00, April 24, 2012

The interviewee says (after reading a quote about graphology or the study of handwriting) "it also says it's pseudoscientific" and Shug says "which doesn't mean it's bad necessarily it just means it may lack the empirical validation of that of our other sort-of hard sciences." That's not a criticism of the term, it's Shug's summary understanding of it. It's so offhand and tangential to the interview that it's certainly nothing to base a Wikipedia statement on. The fact that Shug doesn't explore the issue of graphologists' scientific claims (if any) despite the lack of empirical validation is even more reason to avoid this source here. Jojalozzo 17:32, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Yes, you are correct. On it's own this is a minor reference in light of the entire article. However, as I said I was trying to establish another part of the critiscism section. I picked up on Shug's comment as an indicator of a general professional attitude towards the term documented in the article. I don't understand why this is not seen as an example of critiscism of the term (however minor or in passing the reference). His colloeague in the show definetly uses the term in an attempt to discredit Graphology. Shug rejects that in an attempt to uphold an area that could be useful in the field of Criminology. So, to repeat. This reference is not the most amazing reference on it's own. However I was planning to put in other strengthening references, but I can't do this if my edit is summarily removed every time I put it in. DJ Barney (talk) 13:00, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
No. Earlier in the podcast, Shug says REPEATEDLY (to the point of distraction, even) that he knows very little about graphology, and he very clearly does not hold himself out to be an expert on that topic. His opinion of the pseudoscientific nature of graphology is therefore not the opinion of an expert, but a casual, off-hand comment that is no more significant than yours or mine would be. Whether he is an expert in other areas of criminology is irrelevant. The term pseudoscience was attached specifically to graphology, not to criminology. The comment has ZERO value, so even if combined with other such cmments, it adds nothing. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 13:11, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
So this edit has no value whatsoever. I don't feel you are seriously considering my reasoning. I hope other editors will consider the discussion here in a reasonable light. I am leaving this now. Thankyou for your input DJ Barney (talk) 14:30, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry if we came off rather dismissive of your contribution. I believe all contributions to Wikipedia are useful, even if they don't make it into an article. Editors here have formed a consensus of opinion that this particular material isn't appropriate; nevertheless, your contribution was certainly welcome and we know it was made in good faith. Don't let this experience put you off. -- Scjessey (talk) 17:30, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

I think a critical point is that Shug just said that calling something pseudoscientific wasn't necessarily bad. I do not see how that statement can be construed as a criticism of the term. While DJB was being facetious when he said the edit had no value whatsoever, it does seem that we're dipping our spoons into an empty bowl. Jojalozzo 20:33, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

The word "pseudoscience" can be sometimes used as a pejorative.[4] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:23, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Does Academic Consensus dictate whether something is Pseudoscience or not?

I didn't see this mentioned in the article. Should there be some clarification?

I have seen several claims labeled pseudoscience simply because they contradict widely accepted beliefs in Academia. Is this enough criteria to label them as such or should the claim be judged on the merits of its own well-sourced evidence? Everyone knows the academic authorities of the day have been wrong many times in the past, so it seems a bit silly to use consensus as a measuring device for if a claim is scientific or not. (talk) 14:38, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Something being pseudoscience is not because of their predictions but because of the methods used. A pseudoscientific theory is still pseudoscience even if it makes predictions which there is evidence for, because the methods are not scientific. IRWolfie- (talk) 14:45, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Because if we remove reliable sources as a criteria for examining fringe claims, then we open the floodgates. Each group has a convenient explanation for why experts can't be trusted. On the 911 conspiracy talk page, it was argued by some that "official" sources can't be trusted and should be ignored. --Harizotoh9 (talk) 23:06, 10 May 2012 (UTC)


(copied from User talk:Machine Elf 1735)...

Edits to Pseudoscience

Hi Machine Elf. I'm concerned about this edit. In it, you made an accusation that SmittysmithIII was a suspected sock. This is a serious accusation, and not one to be cast around lightly. Do you have any evidence of this, such as an active discussion at a noticeboard of which I'm unaware?

By the way, the content issues of the revert can be discussed on talk, but far less importantly, I'd also point out that WP:Citing sources is a guideline which primarily concerns the use of citations (over bare urls) generally. It's pretty common for editors to switch to harvnb or sfn when an article's citations create too much clutter. Neither template actually changes the way the citations themselves are presented; they simply shorten their presentation in the article content themselves. Maybe they are not appropriate here (I'd be happy to read and participate in a discussion on talk if you feel that way), but I'm not sure WP:CITEVAR applies to override WP:BOLD in this case, and I think insinuating it does is a misreading of the guideline and examples therein. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 03:33, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Hi, actually that was User:Sacramentosam, a suspected sock of User:Mthoodhood/User:SmittysmithIII... When I confronted the user about it, he/she admitted on both user pages that they sometime sign in using those two accounts "just for fun". That's not a valid excuse, but I saw no reason to press the matter. I haven't yet confronted them regarding User:Sacramentosam... Although I said "suspected", I have no doubt about it whatsoever, and I'm assembling a request to have it investigated, so I take it there will be an active discussion about it shortly.
The user's edits to List of topics characterized as pseudoscience demonstrate how time-consuming it can be to separate legitimate portions of their edits from problematic ones:
In that case, I simply added back the Creationism/ID content they had been surreptitiously removing... but unfortunately that approach doesn't correct the various manipulations they used to obscure their disassembly of undesired content, little by little: such as moving citations elsewhere:
and even harder to spot, using malformed html comments to hide intervening material, for example, on the Pseudoscience article:
Please notice that the user is not citing sources, those citations already exist: for the most part, the user is simply altering the existing citation format for the sake of it. That speaks directly to WP:CITEVAR.
In regard to "overriding" WP:BOLD, as it's been reverted, it is still incumbent on the user to discuss, and gain consensus...
+ (And you... see WP:BRD rather than reverting, thanks —Machine Elf 1735 06:26, 23 June 2012 (UTC))
Harvnb/sfn is one possible option, for example, to cope with multiple, partially varying citations to the same source... As seen in the article, optional cite templates in simple ref tags are by far the most common, both for one-off citations and multiple uniform cites, (using a name attribute rather than repeating the entire thing). As a matter of course, references are not routinely consolidated into the reflist...
Given the user's misleading edit summaries, whatever modest value they add by introducing additional cite templates is more than offset by the effort required to double check their work: generally, they rapidly post a large number of seemingly legitimate edits apropos their edit summaries, "above the fold". But every so often, they include a surreptitious edit "below the fold": individually, they might not even make sense, and sometimes they're hard to spot... but the cumulative effect achieves an ulterior motive, though not without collateral damage:
Machine Elf 1735 06:01, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

(the preceding was inappropriately deleted / contrary to my request to continue the discussion here, the following accusations and mis-information were posted to my talk page)

If what you're saying is true, then the correct step forward is to discuss the matter with the community (such as at ANI or RFCU). Reverting a user making productive edits on the basis that you feel strongly that he is a bad faith sock (and further accusing him of being a sock) is definitely not the right step forward, even if (especially if) you are correct. Please don't go around accusing editors of this, regardless of how you feel. Bring it to the appropriate venue. If you're right, then the matter needs to be addressed properly.   — Jess· Δ 14:03, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll comment further on what you mistakenly call "productive edits" on the article talk page. You should assume I have compelling evidence, not that I "feel strongly he is a bad faith sock", which is quite transparent, if you cared to look. I have no idea what you mean by "especially if" I'm correct. I have no intention of prosecuting the user, and it seems to me that neither ANI nor RFCU are appropriate venues, so I'll thank you to stop implying that "I'm going around accusing editors of this, regardless of how [I] feel" which is an obnoxious accusation. As I said, I'm in the process of writing a post to the appropriate venue, and I'll post it shortly. It would have been sooner if you weren't distracting me with inappropriate reverts, bad faith and worse advice.—Machine Elf 1735 14:25, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

(here's what the admin replaced the discussion with... Mann_jess can ignore my so-called "extraneous accusations" about the content if he likes...)

Accusing editors of being socks without providing evidence is unhelpful to collaboration, and serves only to poison the well. It is against our community standards, and further, not appropriate for this article talk page per WP:TPG. I'm hatting the section. I'm happy to discuss it further at the venue it was started, Machine Elf's talk page, or at the appropriate venue at SPI, ANI or RFCU. Thank you.   — Jess· Δ 18:06, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Harvnb / sfn change

Machine Elf recently reverted the addition of harvnb and sfn templates added by Mthoodhood. Without addressing the extraneous accusations about the users specifically, I'd like to request discussion on the merits of the additions themselves. In my experience, harvnb and sfn greatly reduce clutter within the prose introduced by long (and frequent) citations. I don't understand the edit in particular. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 14:10, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Objectively, it was an increase of 1800 bytes. Subjectively, cites aren't clutter, they're crucial information that are closely associated with specific portions of the text. Consolidating one-off cites in the reflist is not convenient. When editing they might not be included a section edit, and the browser's "find" feature probably can't easily go back forth to the citation. As there's very little to be gained contradicting WP:CITEVAR based on your experience, and it's time-consuming for other editors to have to double check the user's efforts, I'd rather not have every citation in the article decoupled by an editor who has so clearly demonstrated their intention, both here and on the "list version" of this article:
Personally, I wouldn't call the unobtrusive and unexpected hiding of intervening material via malformed html comments, a "productive contribution". It's actually against WP:NPOV policy to remove material solely for ideological reasons. Even if no one realizes it's been hidden, right under their nose... If there was anything unencumbered by the pending consensus on WP:CITEVAR that you'd like to salvage, feel free.—Machine Elf 1735 15:17, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
I do not think the work done here by Mthoodhood and other likely sockpuppets is helpful. I think the change in reference style adds clutter and limits the pool of people who feel comfortable editing the article. I object to the tactic of hiding controversial changes to article content within a nominally minor change to reference style. Something should be done about harmful editors making changes. Binksternet (talk) 16:37, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
I agree that some of the diffs provided appear to be an attempt at hiding information. That's bad. I'd urge Mthoodhood to stop doing that, and discuss his changes on this talk page. I think labeling other editors "socks" without providing evidence is unlikely to encourage him to do so, and I think we should avoid doing that. I disagree that adding sfn and harvnb templates "adds clutter and limits the pool of people comfortable editing the article". I think, if anything, a bunch of clutter within the prose itself where cite templates are used is a greater bar to editing than familiarity with harvnb. I'd be happy to discuss that further, but it would be helpful to divorce that issue with general editor conduct and the specific edits which precipitated this discussion. Thanks guys.   — Jess· Δ 18:14, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
As you now agree that some of the diffs appear to be a (successful) attempt at hiding information, and you consider that a "bad" thing, I find it ironic that you nonetheless persist in hiding part of this discussion: that being almost my entire contribution to it, including all but one of the diffs you mention, the grounds on which I reverted, the explanation of what's wrong and how the problem had been obscured, and my detailed response to every content issues which you raised. Of course, much to my chagrin, you only recognize that I addressed your somewhat exaggerated concern over my use of the term "suspected sock" in an edit summary (that isn't even included in what you're hiding). As you've requested that I redact it, or some such, I'll point out that the user had already admitted to 2 of the 3 socks, and because the identical edits are so distinctive, I "suspect" the user will correct that error of omission at the SPI, where the clerk has endorsed the request for WP:CHECKUSER "as there is clear socking..." I'll simply note your steadfast refusal to acknowledge the courtesy of having promptly provided any evidence on demand. I find it disturbing in the extreme, however, that by voicing my objections here, you intend to consider it disruptive, on threat of being "forced" to take action. By no stretch of the imagination can any part of my participation in this discussion be considered disruptive. I hope that you will promptly remove your "hat" and agree to forego the exercise of any administrative privilege in connection with this matter.—Machine Elf 1735 04:42, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Machine Elf, this is starting to get frustrating. If the problem is my inability to effectively communicate the idea, I'll accept that, but I don't know how to better express it. WP:TPG specifies very clearly the content which is appropriate for article talk pages. Making accusations about sockpuppetry are not appropriate here. If you are incorrect, it poisons the well and creates a battleground atmosphere which will be difficult to pull out of. Whether or not you are correct, it is irrelevant to the discussion at hand, which is about improving the article. If there's a specific content issue you'd like to discuss, I'd be very happy to discuss it, but I'd prefer to keep the socking discussion at your talk page and SPI, where they are appropriate. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 13:24, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
Starting to? WP:TPG does not entitle you to indiscriminately hide everything based on part of my response to you. That observation, or "accusation" as you call it, isn't what you've hidden, that was in an edit summary. I was merely informing editors, where to look in the list article... and while it has nothing to do with why I reverted, in point of fact, I was not wrong. You are the one "poisoning the well" and creating a "battleground" by 1) reverting my revert to the article (which you neglected to mention), 2) initially reverting my talk page post 3) hiding my talk page posts 4) while commenting on it yourself, as well as my intentions, and factually misrepresenting what I had said, and finally 5) maintaining that untenable position. And you are most certainly the one who has made it part of this discussion, so I find your platitude about "improving the article" rather whimsical. Although you've hidden it, the discussion was about whether the current citation format should be changed, considering the substantial amount of time it would take to double check for subterfuge. Since you won't, I'll indiscriminately unhide the reasons I disagree with your personal format preference...—Machine Elf 1735 14:02, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
-sigh- I've done my best to have a civil discussion, but it seems like my efforts are getting nowhere. I'd urge you to read the section above again; it's not at all about article improvement, but instead about disruption from Mthoodood and other accounts on a variety of articles. It was started by me on your talk page, and then copied here without my permission, which I don't really appreciate. Now that Mthoodood is blocked, such off-topic material is unlikely to start any further drama, so frankly it's no longer worth discussing. I'm going to go do something productive. I regret that we were unable to have a reasonable discussion about this. I'd urge you, in the future, not to make accusations about sockpuppetry before providing evidence at the appropriate venue. I'm off now. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 14:16, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Oh? Am I being uncivil? Perhaps you should consider the possibility that your efforts are a contributing factor? I'd humbly suggest you read it yourself and realize that "WP:TPG does not entitle you to indiscriminately hide everything based on part of my response to you". Call the POV edits "disruption" if you like; no one even noticed... they were anything but disruptive. It was not a "variety of articles", (?!?) it was this article and List of topics characterized as pseudoscience. If you had mentioned that you were reverting, I would have responded here instead, as I had already spent quite some time responding to you, I copied the response here. 'With all due respect, your permission is not required. I'm pretty sure you don't mean to say that off-topic material is only worth discussing if it's likely to start further drama. Frankly, I'll admit, disclosing a problem is not worth the hassle. I am not being unreasonable Mann_jess. Thank you, good advice against the advent of a series of unexpected delays.—Machine Elf 1735 15:05, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
I think it would be helpful to focus on content, not contributors. If there's bad content, let's fix it; if there's no bad content any more then we've already solved the most important problem. (Spoken as somebody who respects you both as editors but who doesn't want to get caught in a minefield) bobrayner (talk) 16:07, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Blocked sockpuppets

SmittysmithIII (talk · contribs) and Mthoodhood (talk · contribs) are now blocked as sockpuppets evading permanent blocks. Their talk page posts have no standing and their edits can be reverted. Dougweller (talk) 15:50, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Which I see has been done. Dougweller (talk) 15:53, 24 June 2012 (UTC)
These accounts haven't been blocked. edit: found the SPI case [5].IRWolfie- (talk) 15:54, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Broken Link

The first external link: "Checklist for identifying dubious technical processes and products – Rainer Bunge, PhD" should link to a PDF and instead returns a 404. Brauden (talk) 21:17, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Too Political

I know this is a contentious topic, but there is a lot of overly emotive language on this page. In particular the Political implications section is full of non-arguments, i.e. just someones opinion and unrelated broken links. - Lucaswilkins (talk) 13:26, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

I fixed the broken link. -- Scjessey (talk) 14:24, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Edits to pseudoscience concepts,

Re this edit where I added; "and drinking water to prevent dyhydration[39][40][41]. Examples of a pseudoscience changing to being concidered scientific include surgens washing their hands before surgery[42][43] and the effects of St_John's_wort[44]."

This may seem at first glimpse a little bit silly, but I feel this artical is biased and this is an attempt to nudge it back in the direction of neutrality. Wikipeadia policy of needing citations for everything, even if a subject has no assesable referance, also struggles to deal with this issue; That something can be true, but it still falls into the pseudoscience catagory due to lack of referance material. The drinking water to prevent dyhydration is an extreame example, but it does fit the pseudoscience catagory. Examples of a pseudoscience changing to be proven science should also be included, along with examples of proven science reverting to pseudoscience. These examples would help define the line where something is either proven science or pseudoscience.

Can whoever reverted this edit please explain why they did so.

Laughton.andrew (talk) 23:03, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

When you post a new section to a talk page, you position it at the bottom of the page, which is the reason I have moved your contribution to here.
I must add that your idea of pseudoscience changing to science is puzzling. How could something that never existed be a pseudoscience? Like docs not washing their hands! Moriori (talk) 23:55, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
It can and has been a pseudoscience while a minority noticed the effects of washing hands, based on statistics, but others choose not to believe the evidence, labelling the concept as pseudo-science.
What exactly are you claiming does not exist ?
That nurses/doctors did not wash their hands was due to ignorance, not a pseudoscience. After Semmelweis showed hand-washing could drastically reduce the number of women dying after childbirth, and Lister made surgeons wear gloves and wash their hands, the practice became widespread because it was based on scientifically observed new knowledge which overcame the ignorance. There was no pseudoscience that suddenly became science. Moriori (talk) 00:43, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
For approx 20 years after Semmelweis showed that washing hands reduced fatalitys, it was still considered pseudo-science and many people died as a result. It is a very good example of pseudoscience becoming science, even if it was only pseudoscience for 20 years. Laughton.andrew (talk) 11:49, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Wrong. The science began even before the day they first started washing hands. They didn't do it because they wanted to look nice, but because they thought cleanliness was in the best interest of patients, and gradually the scientific method using observation and examination built up a reliable databank of knowledge. The science was there at the very start of the 20 years you mention. It was science, using scientific method. Ignorant people questioning the science did not change it from science to pseudoscience.. Moriori (talk) 00:02, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Higgs_mechanism is pseudoscience until this theory is either proved or disproved. Because it has not been proven does not mean that it is not true, and it does not mean that it does not exist. Laughton.andrew (talk) 12:44, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
You are incorrect. I suggest you carefully read this article about what pseudoscience is. A scientific hypothesis is not pseudoscience; on the contrary it is a normal part of science. IRWolfie- (talk) 12:56, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
You are partly right, the higgs partical is a grey area and a poor example. It does adhere to a valid scientific method, but also lacks supporting evidence, for the moment. Laughton.andrew (talk) 11:49, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
I looked at the sources in Laughton's edit. They don't mention pseudoscience by name, and they don't seem to describe anything that fits the definition of pseudoscience. --Enric Naval (talk) 16:20, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes I had noticed the OR as well, IRWolfie- (talk) 09:32, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
There are a few referances, I will deal with them one by one.

Drinking water to prevent dyhydration. The reason this claim was not allowed was because it has not been scientifically proven. The first paragraph defines pseudoscience as, amoungst other things, lacking supporting evidence. Perhaps someone can enlighten me about the difference. Surgens washing hands to reduce fatalitys. This lacked plausibility for about 20 years. St_John's_wort. The tests to prove or disprove the effects were done to provide supporting scientific evidance either way. Before these tests were done the effects would of fitted the pseudoscince definition in the lack of scientific data definition.

In order to provide examples where pseduoscience has become science, it is by definition necessary to use examples that are no longer referred to as pseduoscience. If they were still regarded as pseduoscience they would not be suitable examples. Can you please explain to me why you would expect to find proven science to be refered to as pseduoscience ? Laughton.andrew (talk) 11:49, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps unhelpfully, some philosophers have used "pseduoscience" as catch-all jargon for not science, but in general, its limited to unwarranted pretensions... which raises the related, but separate, issue of an anachronistic portrayal by appeal to bivalence.—Machine Elf 1735 01:59, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
It took me a little while to decipher this, but yes.

The Pseduoscience definition does not mean that something is wrong, just that it has not been proven one way or another. In the medical field this could simply mean that it is too expensive to prove.Laughton.andrew (talk) 12:10, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

You should read the definition again. Because this is absolutely not what pseudoscience means.--McSly (talk) 14:01, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
There is stuff that remains unproven, like String theory, but is not pseudoscience. higgs boson remained unproven for a long time but it was never considered pseudoscience. I agree with McSly that you need to re-read the definition of pseudoscience. --Enric Naval (talk) 14:24, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately what is and is not called pseudoscience is (as with everything else) left up to the interpretation and whims of human beings. As such, I think it is important to acknowledge that theories like Germ theory were initially labeled as "pseudoscience", "nonscience", or otherwise rejected by the established scientific community. Conversely, the scientific community's wide-spread acceptance of things like Scientific racism, now considered pseudoscience, is an example of a trend in the other direction. (talk) 06:11, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I highly doubt Germ theory was ever labeled a pseudoscience but I'd love to be proven wrong. TippyGoomba (talk) 07:53, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, you can always find various pseudoscientists applying the label to established science. :-) The reference is probably to the initial rejection of Ignaz Semmelweis, but his conclusions were not pseudoscientific (and the germ theory hadn't yet been formulated at the time anyways). Arc de Ciel (talk) 09:52, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
I have not seen a source describe the Germ Theory as pseudoscience, however, our Quackery article indicates that both Ignaz Semmelweis and Louis Pasteur were considered 'quacks' for their theories before they were proven true [6]. I dont know that this was the same as calling their theories pseudoscience....but more like fraud. Puhlaa (talk) 01:56, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
It's basically the same. As you see, since it was legitimate science and the conclusions were valid, it was eventually accepted. Arc de Ciel (talk) 21:31, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Arc de Ciel (talk) 21:31, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

How do we know pseudoscience has become science?

This is not about making changes to the article. WP:NOT#FORUM

This brings up an interesting question: how does one note that something traditionally referred to as pseudoscience has joined the mainstream? What if someone writes about the subject in a reputable journal without calling it pseudoscience after someone else calls it pseudoscience? Would that do it?

I note that recently:

The Swiss government’s recent report on homeopathic medicine affirms that homeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective. Homeopathic treatment will be reimbursed by Switzerland’s national health insurance program. The report represents the most comprehensive evaluation of homeopathic medicine ever written by a government. Based on research the Swiss report affirms that homeopathy seems to induce regulatory effects and specific changes in cells or living organisms. The report also reported that 20 of 22 systematic reviews of clinical research testing homeopathic medicines detected at least a trend in favor of homeopathy.

From: “The Swiss Government’s Remarkable report on Homeopathy,”by Dana Ullman, 2/15/2012, [7]

I expect a government does not qualify as "reputable" around here. Still, understanding that the most avid detractors of a concept will probably go to their graves refusing to accept such changes in status, what is the "trigger" for acceptability of a concept? Tom Butler (talk) 00:56, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Not to say that I accept the premise behind homeopathy, but I do agree with your sentiments. I am surprised that 'Acupuncture' is still repeatedly used as an example of pseudoescience in this article? It is being actively tested using RCT experimental design and thus, regardless of the outcomes of the research, it is being tested with accepted scientific methods. Does this not seem contradictory to the definition of pseudscience? Moreover, mainstream medical sources are suggesting that there is actually sufficient scientific evidence to make claims of efficacy for some conditions [8], again, is this not inconsistent with 'Acupuncture' being defined as pseudoscience? Puhlaa (talk) 03:51, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
It's only mentioned twice in the article. I would agree that acupuncture is possibly a bad example, although it's still possible for acupuncture-related claims to be pseudoscientific - for example, anything about qi and meridians, which seem to be core components of the original. :-) Arc de Ciel (talk) 09:46, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Agreed that specific concepts might still be viewed as pseudoscience, while the profession as a whole progresses. Similar is the situation with Chiropractic, where the profession is now actively involved with real research, but still contains elements of pseudscientific concepts like Innate Intelligence. Puhlaa (talk) 16:14, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
  • This isn't a forum. IRWolfie- (talk) 23:53, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
The question still stands: how does Wikipedia know when a field of study is no longer considered pseudoscience. The subject needs to be addressed here since it is this article that is used to condemn field of study.
IRWolfie, of course, this is not a soapbox. However, I wonder if what is and is not soapbox material is in the eyes of the beholder. Are you uncomfortable with discussing possible changes of status of field of study --any field--? Tom Butler (talk) 18:24, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Something is a science when the peer-reviewed scholarship says it is. TippyGoomba (talk) 02:59, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

IRWolfie,I reverted your archive of this article because I think you are premature. When specific fields of study are cited in the article on pseudoscience, then the article becomes about those fields as well. With the public reach of Wikipedia, that condemnation of pseudoscience will stay with those fields long after (and if) mainstream science decides they are valid science. So the question remains, how does Wikipedia, and especially the pseudoscience article, follow that change? If you don't know, then just stay out of the discussion! Tom Butler (talk) 17:24, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Right now, virtually all of the "peer-reviewed scholarship" is considered as unreliable sources. They would have to be redeemed first. TippyGoomba, are you saying that the policy is that a journal for an unrelated subject would need to include articles deeming the field of study is science? Would research reports be required or would opinion pieces do? For instance, when a respected scientist decides magnetic bracelets really work and writes an opinion piece for Nature magazine, is that enough for Wikipedia editors to stop calling magnetic bracelets pseudoscience?
One of the reasons I am asking this question is that I have stopped trying to use the most respected references in fields of study deemed to be pseudoscience in Wikipedia because they are virtually always challenged as unreliable sources. If I am typical, then that means there is a lot of momentum in Wikipedia. How does that momentum be changed when there is good reason? What is good reason? Tom Butler (talk) 17:37, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Opinion pieces are not peer-reviewed, so your example would not qualify. In the case of magnetic bracelets, we would likely need at least one high-quality meta-study of clinical trials and a few more papers explaining the physics behind the effects. So far, I haven't even seen an opinion piece making a falsifiable claim, so we're way off.
Do you have any peer-viewed citations for the topics you are considering? TippyGoomba (talk) 17:53, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Discussion to restore pseudoscience as part of definition in Alternative medicine article, using sources Annals of New York Academy of Sciences, Journal of Academic Medicine, etc.

A discussion involving retoring content from sources describing alternative medicine as being based on pseudoscience, antiscience, tradition, and bad science, including the first 14 sources of this version, such as Journal of the Association of Medical Colleges, Annals of New York Academy of Sciences, Academic Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Medical Journal of Australia, Nature Medicine, etc., to the Alternative medicine article is now going on here. ParkSehJik (talk) 02:57, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Is psychiatry a pseudoscience?

I made this edit, and plan more similar edits as I find MEDRS for them. The term "psychiatry" was coined to mean "medical treatment of the soul". Discussion begins here, and be expanded, especially re forensic psychiatry (the modern equivalent of testimony by an exorcist-priest in a witch trial, with almost identical personalities of the players, and identical descriptiopn of "symptoms" but for a change in terminology to create the facade of scientific respectability - all to be reliably sourced, of course). ParkSehJik (talk) 22:39, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

The proper place for this discussion is Talk:Psychiatry. The etymology of modern terms derived from Greek or Latin are irrelevant to their validity as scientific. Many scientific terms in fact was created in that way. It is not a pseudoscience, although like medicine itself, it has attracted practitioners who may have acted as if it were one. TFD (talk) 22:53, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I thought the origninal paradigmatic example of "pseudoscience" by Popper was psychiatry. ParkSehJik (talk) 23:54, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
No, it was astrology and psycho-analysis and even then there is disagreement about psycho-analysis. TFD (talk) 00:21, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I qualified the comment by attributing it to Popper. I brought the discussion here because I was surprised not to find "pseudoscience" in RS, which given the sources in the following, is surprising. They sure imply pseudoscience, or at best "integrative medicine", and maybe someone here has some RS for the controversy section of the lede and article body. - (from Psychiatry per MOS (lede) "including significant controiversies" -
"There is controversy regarding the scientific validity of pscyhiatric determination of presence of disease (mental "disorders"). Peer reviewed published criticism in medical journals goes so far as to state as a fact that "Politics and economics has replaced quality science" in psychiatry.[2] Unlike evidence based medicine or even traditional medicine, psychiatry may use the term “disease” or "disorder" without a systemic etiology indicated, i.e. even without any observable and measurable abnormalities in anatomy, chemistry, and physiology hypothesized as causative for mental categories declared by psychiatrists to be diseases or disorders.[2] Psychiatry may apply the term “disease” politically, for the mere belief that a cluster of symptoms must be a disease because the symptoms are very uncommon, to justify crude its own specialty treatments such as lobotomies, to justify involuntary commitments, and for financial profit to justify the sale of psychotropic drugs.[2] Philosopher of science Karl Popper cited examples from Freudian psychiatry in explaining what counted as a "pseudoscience".[3] Forensic psychiatrists have been called "whores" so frequently[4] that the expression appears in titles of academic publications on the subject.[5][4]" (Sources- International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, American Academy of Academic Psychiatry and the Law, Conjectures and Refutations, New York Law School Legal Studies) ParkSehJik (talk) 01:35, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
It does not matter what you think it implies but what it actually says. Its only reference to pseudoscience is a mention of Popper's comment on psycho-analysis. It does not say that psychiatry is not science. You should read more about these topics before continuing your postings. No one questions that psychiatrists are able to predict whether certain individuals will have hallucinations and are able to prescribe drugs that stop them. Hence it meets Popper's criterion of Pseudoscience#Falsifiability. It may of course be true that psychiatrists are unethical, prescribe drugs whose side effects are not fully known, etc. But it puts them in a separate category from astrologers who are unable to effectively predict behavior or prescribe treatment. Furthermore the passage expresses the opinions of its authors and does not explain the degree of acceptance. It is therefore a primary study and fails MEDRS. TFD (talk) 01:59, 27 November 2012 (UTC)


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Imre-Lakatos was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b c "While an operational definition for the term disease is lacking in traditional medicine, consensus indicates that it infers observable and measurable abnormalities in anatomy, chemistry, and physiology as causative for an observed cluster of symptoms. However, the term disease in psychiatry and psychology has a very different historical usage. It has been used when no systemic etiology has been indicated, it has been used politically for addictions, it has been used for the mere belief that a cluster of symptoms must be a disease because the symptoms are bizarre, and it has been used to justify crude medically based treatments, such as electroshock, lobotomies, involuntary commitments, and the sale of powerful drugs. With the advent of new medical machines, such as CAT scans, PET scans, and MRI's, a large volume of poorly conducted and questionable research has been pouring fourth to find diseases as a justification to promote psychotropic drugs. Politics and economics has replaced quality science.", Toward an Operational Definition of Disease in Psychiatry and Psychology: Implications for Diagnosis and Treatment, David B. Stein, Steve Baldwin, Medicine, Pharmacy and Medical Law and Ethics, International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, Volume 13, Number 1, 2000
  3. ^ Popper, Karl (1963) Conjectures and Refutations
  4. ^ a b “The pejorative phrase ‘defendant’s whore’ or ‘prosecutor’s whore’ is frequently used describing experts who would ‘say anything [the side in question that has retained him] wants him to say.’”, 'They’re An Illusion to Me Now': Forensic Ethics, Sanism and Pretextuality, Michael L. Perlin, New York Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series 07/08 # 27, [1]
  5. ^ "Courtroom Whores" ?--or Why Do Attorneys Call Us? Findings from a Survey on Attorneys' Use of Mental Health Experts, Douglas Mossman & Marshall Kapp, 26 J. American Academy of Academic Psychiatry and the Law, 27 (1998)