Talk:The God Delusion

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Former good article nominee The God Delusion 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.
January 8, 2008 Good article nominee Not listed

Let's avoid subjective judgments![edit]

Science textbooks and papers are non-fiction. One can reasonable argue that The God Delusion is not a non-fiction but merely a diatribe against religion. Vanguard Scholar (talk) 02:55, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

It is not a work of imagination or a story, which is what fiction is. Dbrodbeck (talk) 03:04, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Non-fiction is a category of writing, not an assessment of the quality or accuracy of the work. A "diatribe against religion" is still non-fiction. Guettarda (talk) 03:33, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Dbrodbeck and Guettarda. "Merely a diatribe" seems like a far more subjective judgment than calling it nonfiction. According to the first sentence of non-fiction, it's a matter of presentation; the truth or falsity (nevermind the tone) are irrelevant. --Rhododendrites (talk) 04:15, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • It is a theoretical work, its about his ideas. Non-fiction is about verifiable stuff. Calling a theory non-fiction just because it uses scientific ideas is not correct. It could be right or wrong, many scientific theory's turn out to be fictitious. Thus it is not correct to call it non-fiction! (talk) 16:30, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Please look at the Wikipedia entry for non-fiction (or any other). Books of theory are without a doubt non-fiction. Books of science are non-fiction. If it's NOT (non) in the genre of FICTION, it's non-fiction. By your own logic, the entirety of scientific output that has since been disproven (or not been proven) would have to move over to fiction. Books of maps with names of cities that have since changed names are fiction. What exactly can you really prove in such a timeless and absolute way such that it cannot ever be false? Your non-fiction section sounds empty. --Rhododendrites (talk) 16:41, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
IP, there is no consensus for the changes you have made [1], please revert them and discuss them here. Thank you. Dbrodbeck (talk) 17:01, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Saying that it is a work of philosophy is correct saying that his ideas are not fictional is not!. (talk) 17:05, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
I encourage you to go read our article on what non fiction is. Please also go read WP:CONSENSUS. Dbrodbeck (talk) 17:08, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
I know what the word fiction means and what the word non means and putting the two together to describe this book is not really a good idea. I think philosophy should be acceptable to both atheists, agnostics and fundamentalist wack jobs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Dbrodbeck et. al. The book is shelved under non-fiction in libraries. That's the broad category. That's how we should describe it here unless there is consensus for a narrower category. "Philosophy" doesn't work for me as said category. Barte (talk) 17:49, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Philosophy doesn't work for you et. al. Well you might as-well tag it for WP:Speedy Deletion then. (talk) 18:04, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Dawkins is not a philosopher, indeed we have had that discussion at talk:Richard Dawkins. There is no consensus for this change, please revert it.Dbrodbeck (talk) 18:40, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Oh whatever, I'll leave you to your consensus. Have nice life! (talk) 19:21, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
As a latecomer to this discussion, I agree with the consensus. Philosophy is not fiction anyway. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:32, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

It's just Dawkins' ego on paper. If this is non-fiction you guys might as well convince me Family Guy is an animated biography about Seth MacFarlane's college life since Brian's basically his mouthpiece. Hitmonchan (talk) 14:43, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Many autobiographies are ego-driven. But on library book shelves, all are still classed as "non-fiction". Barte (talk) 15:22, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Lo! Biographical, ideological, political, and/or philosophical messages does not void categorization as fiction! And non-fiction is not defined by verified or even verifiable truths. Indeed, it can encompass conspiracy theories, abstract cultural criticism, extremist punditry, scientific studies, unscientific hypothetical musings, notes on recent knitting projects... I think the article explains this pretty well. --Rhododendrites (talk) 18:58, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. "I don't think the book is true/valid/sound/well written" is a fair critique, but it doesn't disqualify it as non-fiction. Barte (talk) 20:21, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

"[Non-]Fiction book" can be interpreted as a truth claim[edit]

Re:This edit, just call it a book and let it stand on its own merits. If the description non-fiction or fiction is given, some readers will naturally see that as meaning that there is a consensus on the truth of the book. --Javaweb (talk) 12:51, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Javaweb

We have had this discussion before, check the archives, and discussion just above this. Dbrodbeck (talk) 13:09, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
TL;DR version (for informational purposes only -- not looking to rehash a debate): It can be interpreted as a truth claim, but shouldn't be because "non-fiction" is just a genre that means "not fiction." Since it isn't included as "fiction" anywhere, we can conclude it's "non-fiction." It's more nuanced than that, but that's the gist. --— Rhododendrites talk |  14:59, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Austin Cline quote[edit]

The Cline quote is, in context, a critique of Terry Eagleton's critique of Dawkins. In the past, the criticism section of this entry has overtaken the rest of the article, and only vigilant trimming has kept it in check. I'd trim here. Thoughts? Barte (talk) 18:25, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

I forget (if I ever knew!) what Eagleton was criticizing. Was it this book, specifically? I don't see Eagleton in that section of the page currently. If we could clarify that, I'd be happy to put Cline's response in better context. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:44, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
What I know of is in the footnote after the Cline quote. I do see now that its placement is next to a London Review of Books review, written by Eagleton. If we're going to keep (I'm still dubious, but not insistent), that should probably be noted. Barte (talk) 19:09, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
With embarrassment, I note that I, myself, moved the quote there without having realized that Eagleton is the author of that review. I've just made some edits, attributing the review to Eagleton and defining the comment by Cline as a response to it. I think that makes it a statement from one POV followed by a response from the opposing POV, and, as such, I'd argue for keeping Cline's quote. To my eyes, the weight is approximately equal between the two of them. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:52, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. But if someone adds a response to Cline's response to Eagleton's response to Dawkins, I'm reverting. Barte (talk) 00:26, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, indeed! I agree entirely with that. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:08, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

Table of contents of the book[edit]

Hello everyone. The article contains the table of contents of the book as a hidden table in the article. As someone deleted it, I would like to express here the fact that this is useful information to get a comprehensive idea of the content and structure of the book which the whole article is about. And the fact that is is actually hidden and use only one line of space should make it acceptable for everyone. What do you think? Latheae smitherii (talk) 15:10, 16 January 2015 (UTC).

We don't need a copy paste of the TOC. Plus, please read WP:BRD. This is new content, it has been reverted, there is no consensus for its addition, please do not re add it without consensus. Thank you. Dbrodbeck (talk) 15:37, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Should I recommend you to read WP:ROWN and ask you to tell me where is the consensus for deletion? I do not understand why this single line of useful content is so hard to accept for you... Latheae smitherii (talk) 15:55, 16 January 2015 (UTC).
Please don't edit war. The content has just been added and has been reverted by more than one editor. There is no consensus to add it. It can be tough to learn how things work around here as you have been here for a bit over an hour I realize it can be a bit intimidating, it was for me too. Don't take people changing stuff personally. Yes aware of the link you have provided. Thanks. Dbrodbeck (talk) 16:13, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm concerned that adding the book's exact TOC, hidden or not, violates WP:NFC: it appears to be an "excessively long copyrighted excerpt" that is better handled as a summary. Which the entry already does. Barte (talk) 15:59, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Don't you think that the table of contents is something that is typically open-access even when the book is not? It is often freely available on-line even when other parts of the book are not. In this case, it is (see the editor, Google books and this link). Latheae smitherii (talk) 19:27, 16 January 2015 (UTC). Updated at 21:06.

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I don't think there's a copyright issue with the table of contents, but there's a stylistic question. In my experience adding a table of contents in its entirety falls under WP:INDISCRIMINATE. That it is "useful" does not mean it's encyclopedic. Some articles end up talking about each and every chapter just because the book is so notable there exist multiple sources about each part. That said, I cannot seem to find any guideline (from the mos or otherwise) which specifically addresses this. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 19:48, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

I disagree. The TOC is part of the book's copyrighted content and therefore is subject to Wikipedia's rigorous fair use practices. Note the note on the TOC page linked above: "Pages displayed by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt." Followed by a copyright notice. Barte (talk) 19:57, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Whether or not it is copyrighted Wikipedia is not a guide. It is not needed and having an entire collapsed section is stylistically unattractive.Charles (talk) 23:19, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
The rules of our encyclopaedia do allow this kind of lists (WP:5P, WP:L, etc.) and I do not think that there is a copyright issue here. The only question is that not everyone think it is very useful. I do think that this is interesting for many people. Some of you do not think that it looks so good; I would agree it it were uncollapsed, however a collapsed list does not use excessive space. If the issue is its colour, we can change it to something lighter. What do you think? Latheae smitherii (talk) 08:22, 17 January 2015 (UTC).
A list of chapters probably isn't copyrightable, since it's a simple list of information; a detailed list like this might well be. It's not obviously not copyrightable. Get consensus at WP:NFCR first, then try to convince people here that it's worth including. Guettarda (talk) 15:26, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
This material has been added [2] very recently. We need consensus to add stuff, not for deleting it. It should be deleted until there is consensus to add it, per WP:BRD, not, as stated in the edit summary for re adding it [3] keep it until there is consensus to remove it. Latheae smitten, I would appreciate it if you self reverted. Thank you. Dbrodbeck (talk) 14:37, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
Why do you say that a consensus is necessary to add this? There is nothing controversial here, no violation of Wikipedia's guidelines, no copyright issue or significant part of the article affected... It is only a little useful information that takes no space but provides a useful summary of the book. Why do you fight this? Latheae smitherii (talk) 19:04, 17 January 2015 (UTC).
Per my comment above, I do suspect that there are copyright issues. Guettarda (talk) 19:08, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
About the use, if you personally need this information, you should simply not expand the hidden table and continue to read the article noramlly, I do not see any issue here. About the copyright, ask advice of experts if you think it is useful. I do think that it is legal. And it is certainly not the first complete table of contents of a book included in our encyclopaedia (e.g. The World Until Yesterday). Latheae smitherii (talk) 19:17, 17 January 2015 (UTC).
The onus is on the person adding the content - i.e., you. I have provided you a link to the correct place for that discussion. Guettarda (talk) 19:26, 17 January 2015 (UTC)
I posted a message on the page you recommended. Latheae smitherii (talk) 19:33, 17 January 2015 (UTC).
'Why do you say that a consensus is necessary to add this?' See WP:CONSENSUS. Also, I did not indent my comments for a reason, please don't do that again, thanks. Dbrodbeck (talk) 21:16, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There's an administrator reply to the the NFCR query. Based on that, I think the TOC, with subchapters or without, should be omitted. Yes it's additional information. But no, it's not crucial here, given the amount of summary material the article already contains. Barte (talk) 21:49, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

Why are you so intolerant? Don't you think that a much shorter table of contents, without subtitles, would be a good compromise in order to take in accounts all opinions expressed here? Latheae smitherii (talk) 10:16, 18 January 2015 (UTC).
I fail to see any intolerance. I do see a case of WP:IDHT though. Dbrodbeck (talk) 15:26, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
It's not intolerance. As above, consensus and playing it safe regarding copyright are two basic Wikipedia principles. Given that 5-6 (depending on whether we count the noticeboard) have objected and only one supports it, there seems to be pretty clear consensus to remove it. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:55, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

FYI a major participant in this thread, Latheae smitherii, was blocked at SPI. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 04:06, 23 January 2015 (UTC)


This article needs a book quote. I say go big, what do you say ?

  • The fact that something is written down is persuasive to people not used to asking questions like: ‘Who wrote it, and when?’ ‘How did they know what to write?’ ‘Did they, in their time, really mean what we, in our time, understand them to be saying?’ ‘Were they unbiased observers, or did they have an agenda that coloured their writing?’ Ever since the nineteenth century, scholarly theologians have made an overwhelming case that the gospels are not reliable accounts of what happened in the history of the real world. All were written long after the death of Jesus, and also after the epistles of Paul, which mention almost none of the alleged facts of Jesus’ life.

or shorter;

  • Ever since the nineteenth century, scholarly theologians have made an overwhelming case that the gospels are not reliable accounts of what happened in the history of the real world. All were written long after the death of Jesus, and also after the epistles of Paul, which mention almost none of the alleged facts of Jesus’ life.

or even shorter;

  • The gospels are not reliable accounts of what happened in the history of the real world. All were written long after the death of Jesus, and also after the epistles of Paul, which mention almost none of the alleged facts of Jesus’ life. (Dawkins 2006, p. 118. The God Delusion) (talk) 06:52, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

That's not really the purpose of an encyclopedic article. A book review or a fan page may well have significant quotes, but more seems unnecessary here. Johnuniq (talk) 10:06, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Agreed, I don't think we need them. Dbrodbeck (talk) 13:37, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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