Talk:Robert Boyle

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Former good article nominee Robert Boyle was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
March 26, 2006 Good article nominee Not listed

national pathos[edit]

Nationality is odd and the ascription of nationality is even odder. I think that someone like Boyle simply resists having any nationality thrust upon him. The need felt by some people to ascribe nationality in this way('one up for us') says a lot about where they want to position themselves in this particular discourse which I can describe only as one of national pathos. Pamour (talk) 15:59, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

- Absolutely, nationality didn't even exist in a modern sense back then and it should be definitely left out. If the person in question didn't make it clear, then let the readers decide for themselves. - (talk) 15:39, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Agree. We avoided it in the past. There were wars of "Irish", "English", and "Anglo-Irish". I've replaced it with a description: "born in Ireland of English descent". --RA (talk) 16:03, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Possible replacement image for Robert Boyle[edit]

I'm not sure of the etiquette around replacement of an image used on a page, so I'm bringing this to the talk page.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation has recently released a higher resolution scan (1,195 × 1,500 pixels, file size: 690 KB) of File:The Shannon Portrait of the Hon Robert Boyle.jpg The original painting has been purchased by them and is on display at the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The image currently linked to from the Robert Boyle page and others, File:Robert Boyle 0001.jpg is relatively low resolution (523 × 663 pixels, file size: 119 KB). It also has been lightened, which makes it look very grainy.

I appreciate that someone did the work to provide the earlier image. However, I would like to propose that the larger image, which is truer to the original colors of the portrait, be used instead of the the image currently on the page. Mary Mark Ockerbloom (talk) 13:11, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

 Done --Tóraí (talk) 16:30, 2 October 2013 (UTC)


I cited Encyclopedia Britannica, which describes Boyle as Anglo-Irish, but other editors keep changing his description to simply Irish. Calling him just Irish is misleading and shows a lack of understanding of the political situation in Ireland at the time. The editors' reasoning is that WP:MOSBIO says that ethnicity should not be mentioned in the lead sentence, but Anglo-Irish is not an ethnicity, it's a social class. Besides, WP:MOSBIO says not to mention ethnicity unless it is relevant to the subject's notability. The fact that Boyle was Anglo-Irish is relevant to his notability because being born to an upper class family in Ireland allowed him he to receive a gentleman's education, go to England, and become a successful scientist. Besides, Anglo-Irish is used in the lead sentence of other articles such as Jonathan Swift. Also, WP:MOSBIO says to use the country where the person was a citizen, national or permanent resident when the person became notable and that previous nationalities or the country of birth should not be mentioned in the opening sentence unless they are relevant to the subject's notability. Boyle was a resident of England when he became notable, so if we're going to go by WP:MOSBIO, we really should use English instead of Irish. I think that Anglo-Irish should remain in the lead sentence. (talk) 16:30, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Good luck getting anyone to agree on that. The reason you're edit keeps getting reverted is because this site is flooded with Irish nationalists who insist that Robert Boyle was a proud Irishman despite the fact that most reliable sources will tell you otherwise. It doesn't matter what you say to them or what indisputable facts you present them with. I think you had best just give up this cause. It's not worth the headache. They want him to be described as Irish, so he's going to be described as Irish and there's nothing you, I, or anyone else can do about it. -- (talk) 22:13, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, that's not right. We shouldn't disregard a reliable source just because it goes against some people's personal opinions. Wikipedia should be about providing readers with the most accurate information possible as provided by the most reliable sources available. Surely we can come to some kind of agreement about this. (talk) 04:22, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Try reasoning with these people. I dare you. -- (talk) 22:12, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

There have been several long, drawn out and painful disputes regarding Boyle's nationality here on this talk page. You can find them by simply scrolling up the page. Read them if you want, but be sure to bring water and supplies. The last dispute seemed to have ended with the decision not to use a nationality in the lead sentence, but that didn't last long because Irish was added to the lead sentence by an Irish nationalist and of course, the other Irish nationalists aren't going to remove it. -- (talk) 22:20, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Thank you. I was not aware of these past disputes. Who would have thought that something like Robert Boyle's nationality would be such a matter of controversy? I think it's best if we leave his nationality out of the lead sentence and leave it up to the readers to decide for themselves. (talk) 18:06, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
"I think it's best if we leave his nationality out of the lead sentence " Read above, consensus shows Irish, not British- no act of Union, not what your thinking is on it, but please feel free to show how consensus may change. Murry1975 (talk) 19:45, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
I don't understand your reason for reverting my edits. I don't see any consensus in the above disputes to use Irish. I see people fighting for English, people fighting for Irish, and people fighting for Anglo-Irish. In the most recent thread regarding Boyle's nationality titled "national pathos", there seems to be an agreement not to use a nationality in the lead sentence. Adding Irish to the lead sentence is not going to make everyone happy and is only going to lead to future disputes. Like I said, calling Boyle Irish is misleading and shows a lack of understanding of the political situation in Ireland at the time. Even if there was a consensus to use Irish, we shouldn't disregard a reliable source in favor of a consensus per WP:V. Britannica calls Boyle Anglo-Irish, so I don't understand why he can't be described as Anglo-Irish here. Your only argument is that WP:MOSBIO says not to use ethnicity in the lead sentence, but like I said, Anglo-Irish is not an ethnicity and even if it were, WP:MOSBIO says not to mention ethnicity unless it is relevant to the subject's notability. The fact that Boyle was Anglo-Irish is relevant to his notability because if he wasn't, he would not have received the education that he did and would not have become the famous scientist that he is today. I know that you want Boyle to be described as Irish, but I think we need to put our personal feelings aside for the greater good of Wikipedia. -- (talk) 03:08, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
"like I said, Anglo-Irish is not an ethnicity ", yes it is, even if your POV says its not. Boyle as born and raised in the Kingdom of Ireland, that alone makes him Irish. If you seem to understand otherwise that is entirely your choice. Murry1975 (talk) 10:24, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Okay, Anglo-Irish is an ethnicity. Like I've been saying, WP:MOSBIO says not to mention ethnicity unless it is relevant to the subject's notability and the fact that Boyle was Anglo-Irish is relevant to his notability. Also, I looked up Robert Boyle in the Random House College Dictionary and it actually describes him as English. Also, the book "Boyle on Atheism" by J.J. MacIntosh says "notwithstanding his birthplace, Boyle was English, or perhaps Anglo-Irish, not Irish, and at the time he would have been made clearly aware of the difference". I don't think that we should disregard these reliable sources just because your opinion is that he was Irish. That's why I think that it's best if we be neutral and just leave his nationality out of the lead sentence, which is what the editors in the above disputes seemed to have agreed on. Again, I don't see any consensus in the above discussions to use Irish and you haven't provided a source that describes him as such. You just said that he was Irish because he was born and raised in the Kingdom of Ireland, but that seems like original research to me. Now look, I'm not trying to be difficult; I'm a good faith editor and only want what's best for Wikipedia and I really think that it's best if we leave Boyle's nationality out of the lead sentence. -- (talk) 03:36, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
See? I told you that these people can't be reasoned with and that it doesn't matter what you say to them, but you wouldn't listen. Now the IRA is going to be out to start a lynch mob for you. -- (talk) 22:31, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
Yeah. It looks like you were right. There really are editors on this site whose only aim is to get the articles saying what they want them to say even if there are indisputable reliable sources that say otherwise and it looks like they are allowed to just get away with it. No wonder Wikipedia has been banned as a research tool in most schools. I'm sure glad it has been. -- (talk) 05:04, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Suggest you try your luck with the John Field page, where rabid nationalists will insist on describing him as Irish even though he was clearly English/French/Russian/etc (lived and composed mostly in England, and France, and Russia, dont'cha know) ... Straw Cat (talk) 11:25, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes and clearly there are sources that describe him as English, French, and Russian dont'cha know. -- (talk) 02:55, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Born and bred in Ireland. Sources call him Irish. Yet it's a sign that Wikipedia is "flooded with rabid Irish nationalists", someone changes the article to call him so? I think some people need to check their baggage.
In any case, there's no need to say he was Irish, English, or whatever you're having yourself. His biography is enough for a reader to draw their own conclusions about his nation. There's no need to turn every article in to a nationalist pissing match, a game at which our English colleagues are every bit the equals of their rivals. --Tóraí (talk) 20:44, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
They sure do need to check their baggage. Robert Boyle was even voted Ireland's Greatest Scientist in Ireland's Greatest. Do they think that poll was taken by a bunch of "rabid Irish nationalists"? What bollocks. (talk) 18:26, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

When deciding on a dead person's nationality, think how would he or she have described himself or herself. Sometimes this self-identity is clear. Robert Boyle would have been offended by being called Irish. Calling Ireland "a barbarous country" was very, very typical of the English at that time. He spend his first 8 years in Ireland in an English milieu, left for England, spend " much of 1652–54 in Ireland", and lived in England till the end of his life, some of that time in his ancestral possession. At the most, he spent in Ireland 10 years out of his 64; according to the Wikipedia rules, country of birth is irrelevant when determining nationality, and this is clearly the case with Robert Boyle. What pleasure do Irish nationalists get from stealing him from the English if deep down they know he was English, and even called Ireland "a barbarous country"? By the way, I'm not English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:48, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

New photos on Commons from the Royal Society Library[edit]

As part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Royal Society a special photo session in the Royal Society Library in London has resulted in Commons:Category:Royal Society Library, with over 50 photos of their treasures, mostly 17th century manuscripts, including several of one of Boyle's notebooks. Please add these as appropriate. Thanks! Wiki at Royal Society John (talk) 22:05, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks! I added one to the article. --Tóraí (talk) 22:40, 26 June 2014 (UTC)


I've read a few books and articles that try to give a history of Dowsing, and several of them claim that Robert Boyle wrote about it. Would anybody happen to know if that claim is true? If it were, would it warrant a mention here, or in an article on dowsing? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:29, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

A google search for "Robert Boyle dowsing" comes up with a number of sources that mention he believed it worked, the longest one being here where he said it should be used to find water and metal deposits only. There is nothing I can find that would be pertinent to this article but it would be worth mentioning in the dowsing article. Richerman (talk) 10:32, 8 November 2015 (UTC)