Talk:Rupert Sheldrake

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Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

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

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Biologist, lead and background[edit]

Further to our discussion above, and the suggestion to add "biologist" to the lead in order to reflect the consensus of reliable sources, plus a sentence or two to put this into some context, I offer the following:

In the lead (my addition in bold):

Alfred Rupert Sheldrake is an English author,[3] public speaker,[4] biologist,[1][2] and researcher in the field of parapsychology,[5] known for his "morphic resonance" concept.[6]

In the section "Life and Career", before the paragraph that starts "After writing A New Science of Life...", add:

Although some critics have described some of his work as "not scientific",[3], Sheldrake notes that "although some of these areas overlap the field of parapsychology", he says that "he approaches them as a biologist, and bases his research on natural history and experiments under natural conditions, as opposed to laboratory studies".[4]

--Iantresman (talk) 21:37, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

So I don't see how your new addition to the background really justifies your desire to change the lede. Your sourcing for the lede is not very good, to be honest. I also am not convinced that your desired addition to the background is really worth including. The sourcing is somewhat weak. jps (talk) 17:29, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
"some critics"? and no, his "biology" is not what he is noted for. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 17:48, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Correct TRPoD, I always think of him as being notable for his interesting speculations about reality. -Roxy the dog™ woof 19:30, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
It is worth considering that we don't really describe how much Sheldrake has rejected the scientific method as shown by the quote Ian highlights where he seems to balk at proper laboratory controls. Of course, I'm not sure people have paid that close attention to his particular choice in how he has chosen to pursue his research. We do, of course have a lot of good sources on how essentially no one agrees (save perhaps for other people who believe that paranormal phenomena exist) with his critique of the scientific method. jps (talk) 23:08, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
My new addition is not the justification for changing the lead. A preponderance of reliable sources that describes Sheldrake as a biologist, is the justification. The extra material is not necessary, but just adds some context. If you feel this Sheldrake is no longer considered a biologist, then all you need to do is provide some reliable sources so we can assess this view.
Likewise, if you have sources that suggest that Sheldrake has rejected scientific method, please bring them to the table so they can be assessed. We need to strive for WP:NPOV, and meet WP:BURDEN, and I've seen absolutely nothing on this page that supports these views. --Iantresman (talk) 22:08, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't think your proposed changes deserve inclusion. jps (talk) 23:19, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I respect your personal opinion, but Wikipedia works on reliable sources. Despite having requested source for some time supporting your views, I note that none have been forthcoming. --Iantresman (talk) 07:31, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Obviously, editorial decisions like which sources to use when to reference which content and how are made by consensus. That's what you're coming up against. You haven't been convincing. jps (talk) 10:54, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
There is enough to support a reference to his degree and initial work, but not to support it as a designation in the lede. There is a clear consensus on that from all who have contributed so unless other editors get involved to support you I think this one is over. ----Snowded TALK 07:45, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
So what you are saying, is that although there are a preponderance of sources that described Sheldrake as a biologist (I think 20+ sources from the BBC, to university websites, to peer reviewed journals, which have been provided), that these are all overruled by a consensus of editors, who have provided not a single source to support their view, and do not need to, despite WP:BURDEN? --Iantresman (talk) 08:14, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
So, we have the subject of a BLP who trained as a biologist who did a little biology in his early years, which is covered in sentence two of the article, and the body. He hasn't been a biologist since he stopped doing biology; when was that? Thirty years ago? Where are his peer reviewed papers in prestigious, or even not quite so prestigious journals. What has he been doing since then? Where should I find out? I know, lets take a look at Wikipedia. Ah. -Roxy the dog™ woof 08:36, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
WP:BURDEN is about proposed inclusion of content. If you can't convince others, then your next step is to go look for dispute resolution. jps (talk) 10:55, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
@Roxy. I have only your word that (a) Sheldrake has stopped doing biology (b) that a published peer reviewed paper is required in a journal of your choice to deserve the label. That others describe him as a biologist, as been amply demonstrated in a preponderance of reliable sources (20+), all of which you have rejected, again, based only on your whim, your criteria, your opinion. --Iantresman (talk) 15:13, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
See sentence 2. -Roxy the dog™ woof 15:20, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Exactly, your opinion, your assessment, your criteria, and not a single source in sight. --Iantresman (talk) 11:18, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
... and yet you haven't proposed removing that unsourced sentence. Why not? -Roxy the dog™ woof 13:24, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
My focus is elsewhere, one word at a time. I also do not know which sentence you are referring to, so I don't know whether I would propose removing it, or trying to source it better. Either way, one sentence does influence our decision to source other material. --Iantresman (talk) 15:58, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Since no one agrees with your suggestion, it would be better if you tried something else. jps (talk) 16:13, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

I shall not continue further, despite the addition of "biologist" being consistent with a preponderance of reliable sources, and the idea that he is no longer a biologist has not been supported by a single source. --Iantresman (talk) 17:43, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, you've made your position heard loud and clear. We all could faithfully reproduce it. Yet none of us are convinced, so maybe try another technique? jps (talk) 17:54, 21 November 2015 (UTC)