Talk:The Urantia Book

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Recent citations not matching sources[edit]

The following was recently added to the lead of the article:

Critics claim the Urantia Book is fanciful fiction[5] with little scientific or Biblical basis.[6] Scientific analysis reveals flaws and inaccuracies not consistent with science.[7] The Urantia Book is not embraced by any mainstream religion.[8] An examination of the Urantia text shows that material from over 150 other documents was plagiarized.[9]

I've reviewed it against the sources that were cited and found that the citations don't support the statements. Three of the citations (5, 6, 8) seem to have been picked randomly from elsewhere in the article and don't have any relation to the statements they were attached to. One source (7) could as easily be used to make a claim opposite to what was put in the lead, and the other source (9) had its number erroneously inflated ("125" -> "150") and then was used to make a significantly more definitive claim ("150 documents were plagiarized") than what the source says. Not even Gardner, a staunch critic, believed everything Block found was an instance of plagiarism, and that was only from the more limited number of possible source materials that Gardner evaluated, rather than the 125 that Block claimed to have found but didn't fully disclose to Gooch or Gardner.

Obviously, as can be seen from the rest of the wikipedia article, the spirit of what was added to the lead-in isn't drastically at odds with what could be gathered as documented criticisms from sources. But not only were the specific citations inaccurate, the language used was more absolute than is in the sources. Also, for topics with multiple POV angles such as criticisms, it would be necessary for WP:NPOV that these be presented more fully from the major perspectives. It doesn't seem to me like the lead of the article is the place for it.

Further details from my evaluation of the sources that were cited:

  • [5] - House pg 254 -- This page is the second page of House's chapter on Urantia. It is a continuation of an introduction that summarizes basic information about the book and the small religious movement around it. There is nothing assessing it as "fiction" or "fanciful fiction".
  • [6] - Gooch pgs 21-22 -- There isn't any discussion on these pages saying there is "little scientific or Biblical basis". If anything is of note along these lines it's probably the opposite, a Gardner quote on pg 22 about how he found that parts of the Urantia Book seemed to agreeably reflect the liberal Protestantism of Harry Emerson Fosdick.
  • [7] - McMenamin -- McMenamin PhD, a professor of geology, was added to this article originally because of his remarks that the Urantia Book was "precocious" and surprising in how it includes material that anticipated some scientific geological discoveries that came after it was published. He does also say there is scientifically untenable material in the book as well (which is also in the article already). To use him as just a one-sided source however that "scientific analysis reveals flaws and inaccuracies not consistent with science" isn't an accurate or NPOV use of this source.
  • [8] - Gardner pg 168 -- This page from Gardner's book is from the middle of his chapter comparing the Urantia Book to the obscure Oahspe book and has no statements or discussions at all about "mainstream religion". On this page mainly Gardner compares points about Oahspe cosmology versus Urantia Book cosmology.
  • [9] - Gooch pg 48 -- Gooch on this page of his book writes that Matthew Block claims to have found over 125 source texts. This is described later in the wikipedia article correctly. The recently added lead-in statement above said: "An examination of the Urantia text shows that material from over 150 other documents was plagiarized." First, the number "150" is incorrect. Secondly, the actual 125 number was in Gooch's book only as an unconfirmed claim Block made to him. Block wanted to write his own book and so didn't share the details about everything he thought he'd found (he hasn't published this book however from what I've found). The "125" claim in Gooch's book wasn't fully evaluated by either Gooch or Gardner, who are the two real WP:RS evaluators on this topic for purposes of the wikipedia article. (Brad Gooch a PhD English professor and Martin Gardner a professional writer, their books published WP:RS, while Block on the other hand doesn't have credentials and only self-publishes.) While some notable examples of Block's finds were independently assessed by Gardner and Gooch and found by them to be clear examples of the UB taking from other published sources, other of Block's finds were considered a lot more tenuous and not clear plagiarisms to them. The "125" number from Block can't be said to be a definitive WP:RS encyclopedic fact as to the number of "plagiarized" sources like was added to the article lead. It isn't supported by either the Gooch citation that was attached to it or by Gardner's assessments. Wazronk (talk) 04:48, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Questionable source[edit]

Xaxafrad is right. We can't talk about questionable source in section "Adventism". I have created a new section.

To Jaworski: No, it isn't the case that Collins supports your opinion. You've wanted this article to advertise the UB as having "prophetic science", and you've brought up this fragment of a Collins quote about 4 or 5 times in the past, including inserting it into the "Science criticisms" section of the article a number of times as being a "severe critic" of Gardner, as if this librarian's review somehow then negated the science criticisms Gardner documented. But you know what? I looked it up and this is what I found she actually wrote:

"He rationally debunks much of the science of the Urantian Book, but gives little in the way of historic-critical analysis, systematic theology, or basic religious history, focusing more on denigrating quirky personalities. In addition, the author assumes a thorough understanding of Seventh-Day Adventism. Given the lack of scholarly distance from the subject, the patronizing tone, and the gross editorializing, it would be difficult to recommend this book to any library." -- Sandra Collins, SLIS, Univ. of Pittsburgh

In reality, Collins didn't have a problem with Gardner's science criticisms. Collins -- from the more complete look at her review -- is found instead to be yet further independent confirmation that Gardner gave a rational WP:RS critique of the science in the Urantia Book, the opposite of your view

Thank you for inserting here the whole quotation. Actually it even better supports my opinion that Gardner is questionable source. We don't discuss UB science here. If we add to this Sarah Lewis opinion, which you didn't comment: "His research is worth noting, although his position as a great skeptic does not allow his conclusions much academic credibility" the picture is complete.

Now let's see the Wikipedia guideline about questionable sources WP:QS


Questionable sources are those that have a poor reputation for checking the facts, lack meaningful editorial oversight, or have an apparent conflict of interest.[8] Such sources include websites and publications expressing views that are widely considered by other sources to be extremist or promotional, or that rely heavily on unsubstantiated gossip, rumor or personal opinion. Questionable sources should only be used as sources of material on themselves, especially in articles about themselves; see below. They are not suitable sources for contentious claims about others.


I did my own "homework" comparing Gardner statements with the text of UB and I found so many nonsense in Gardner work that I can't believe he read the whole UB, not only specific fragments. Such comparison requires very good knowledge of both books. But in the final analysis editors decide about the reliability of source according to Wikipedia guideline, and I will be happy to hear more opinions here. My proposition is to create article without any promotion of prophetic science and without Gardner controversial criticism. The draft is here. I believe such text can satisfy most of editors and finish the dispute which continues nearly from the beginning of this article. Jaworski (talk) 01:42, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

This attitude toward Gardner is nothing new. The fact is he's well-established as WP:RS for this sort of topic. From Gardner's wiki page:
Gardner's uncompromising attitude toward pseudoscience made him one of the foremost anti-pseudoscience polemicists of the 20th century.[1] His book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (1952, revised 1957) is a classic and seminal work of the skeptical movement. It explored myriad dubious outlooks and projects including Fletcherism, creationism, food faddism, Charles Fort, Rudolf Steiner, Scientology, Dianetics, UFOs, dowsing, extra-sensory perception, the Bates method, and psychokinesis. This book and his subsequent efforts (Science: Good, Bad and Bogus, 1981; Order and Surprise, 1983, Gardner's Whys & Wherefores, 1989, etc.) earned him a wealth of detractors and antagonists in the fields of "fringe science" and New Age philosophy, with many of whom he kept up running dialogs (both public and private) for decades.
On August 21, 2010, Gardner was posthumously honored with an award recognizing his contributions in the skeptical field, from the Independent Investigations Group during its 10th Anniversary Gala.[2]
You're just one of a long line of "detractors and antagonists in the fields of fringe science and New Age philosophy" that have disliked Gardner. Him and his publishers have plenty enough of a reputation for fact checking and reliability for wikipedia. Collins herself in her review notes his being a regular contributor to Scientific American. Collins was writing as a librarian advising other librarians on what she felt would be worth including in their collections (her review was published in Library Journal, a trade publication for librarians). She just felt his book didn't cover the topics she would have preferred -- "gives little in the way of historic-critical analysis, systematic theology, or basic religious history, focusing more on denigrating quirky personalities" -- while at the same time specifically noting his science criticisms of the UB were a rational debunking. (Meanwhile, her review didn't even have much impact, there are multiple libraries in my area at least that have Gardner's book. It's how I first read it.) Lewis wrote that "his research is worth noting". It's not like everyone has to universally praise all aspects of a work for all purposes in order for it to be a source for wikipedia. There's no doubt Gardner is WP:RS as used in the article. Wazronk (talk) 19:39, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
You very easy jumped to the conclusion that I am "one of a long line of detractors and antagonists in the fields of fringe science and New Age philosophy". I am talking here about the opinions of two university lecturers regarding Gardner book and it would be rather difficult to sweep these opinions under the carpet. The number of mistakes in Gardner book discredits it as a reliable source. Gardner writes about 9 planets in Solar System to prove his theory that UB statement about 12 planets is wrong. More planets were discovered a few years before the second publication of his book but this fact oddly escaped author attention. He changed the date of neutrino discovery from 1956 to 1953 to show that existence of this particle was proved before the year of first UB publication (1955). Using a simply but dirty trick, calling all angels and other celestial beings "gods" Gardner persistently speaks about UB polytheism. According to Gardner, Jesus toured Far East and the largest pigeons were trained as "passenger birds" to carry humans; Urantians worship angels (angelolatry), these angels which "move rapidly about in nonmaterial Etherean spirit ships". All these information are pure nonsense and they don't exist in UB, and this is only the top of iceberg. I can quote much more. The number of false and misleading information in Gardner’s book is stunning but maybe such depart from the statements of UB is the only way to discredit this book. If any book about the Bible would contain so many misstatement of its text, nobody will regard such book seriously. But the Bible is better or worse known by many people, contrary to The Urantia Book and Gardner used this fact to discredit it to discourage potential readers. You are doing the same job on Wikipedia. For me to approve Gardner book as reliable source is to deny obvious facts. Jaworski (talk) 01:26, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately you're zero out of two with sourcing of criticism you've offered up. Another reason I'm unconvinced by your argumentation is that for Lewis, I looked that one up too and re-read it, and like with Collins, found again you've selectively truncated a quote, left out the context, and on top of that didn't notice that Lewis wasn't even talking about Gardner's book. For the record, this is the fuller Lewis quote:
"Martin Gardner[43] is one of the few people outside the Urantia Foundation who has undertaken research into the movement. His research is worth noting, although his position as a great skeptic does not allow his conclusions much academic credibility. Gardner believes that he has unearthed the identity of the ‘‘sleeping subject’’ (he says it was a man called Wilfred Kellogg) and appears to think that this somehow discredits the Revelation. But knowing the identity of the ‘‘sleeping subject’’ does not at all prove that the Revelation was false."
Lewis didn't agree with Gardner's conclusion about the sleeping subject as is clear not only from the quote but all the material around it. That was what she talked about not having "academic credibility" to her. Her information that is contrary to Gardner isn't "swept under the carpet" as you say, it has already been included in the wikipedia article (that statistical analysis shows at least 9 authors etc), as is also Gooch's conclusion about the origin of the UB (that Sadler probably wrote it).
The fact of the matter beyond this is that you're wrong that Lewis was talking about Gardner's book. The citation Lewis made ([43]) to Gardner wasn't to "Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery, it was to "Gardner, On the Wild Side, p. 103." She in fact had no assessment about his detailed science criticisms or any review of his full book which is the actual source used for the wikipedia article. Wazronk (talk) 21:57, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Concur with Wazronk. I don't see any valid evidence to dispute Gardner's book as RS for the content it supports. - - MrBill3 (talk) 04:53, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Magazine Names the Ten Outstanding Skeptics of the Century. at the Wayback Machine (archived March 25, 2008), Skeptical Inquirer
  2. ^ "About the IIG Awards". Iigwest.com. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 

Jehovah's Witnesses?[edit]

Was the Watchtower Society or any Jehovah's Witnesses involved with this book? For example Jesus is said to be Michael. 174.4.163.53 (talk) 14:22, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

See The_Urantia_Book#Comparison_to_Seventh-day_Adventism. Seventh Day Adventism and both derived from Millerism. The Urantia book runs in the opposite direction of the Watchtower society on some rather heavy points (but in ways more compatible for former SDAs). Ian.thomson (talk) 14:50, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Malcolm Locke's "The Urantia Revelation"[edit]

Should Malcolm Locke's "The Urantia Revelation" be added to this article in a "Further reading" section? User:Wakantanka added it here, and I removed it, and then they left messages on my talk page and User:Doug Weller answered there too; I'm going to copy the arguments from there to here since this is a more appropriate venue for this discussion.

My initial response was that "... I removed the Locke book because it is self-published via CreateSpace. Self-published books are about as good as blog posts -- they are typically not "worthy" of being listed in Wikipedia articles." — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 07:24, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

That's too bad because it is by far the best summary of THE URANTIA BOOK. By the way, THE URANTIA BOOK itself is self-published! I think that the Locke book should be listed in a Further Reading section. Also, please note that only the second edition is published by CREATE SPACE. the first edition was published by BASCOM HILL BOOKS of Minneapolis (not sure they are still in business though). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wakantanka (talkcontribs) 18:43, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Also, the Locke book has been translated into Korean!

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=korean+urantia+revelation+locke&qpvt=korean+urantia+revelation+locke+&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=FA0259C3F1DAF3AA93B6FA0259C3F1DAF3AA93B6

Around 400 pages in length, it is hardy like a blog post. I think Wikipedia owes it to its readers to include this book in a FURTHER READING section. wakan (talk) 19:03, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Bascom Hill still exists, but they aren't a traditional publisher - it isn't clear if they expect the author to invest in the publication, but they do expect the author to have a marketing strategy and be involved in that. I agree that it shouldn't be in the article. I'll add that it has hardly any Google hits and doesn't seem mentioned in other more standard books (or any books perhaps). Doug Weller (talk) 20:51, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Doug Weller is certainly mistaken. The book has an international distribution (as proven by the translation into Korean) and is listed, for example, on

http://urantia-book.org/index_secondary_books.htm


I am surely puzzled by your reluctance to include this very important publication in a FURTHER READING section.wakan (talk) 00:08, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

On the Barnes and Noble book site the following comes from a reader in South Africa:

"I appreciate Malcolm Locke's efforts in writing and eventually publishing The Urantia Revelation - The Structure and Meaning of the Universe Explained.

I first came across the mention of this book on the Urantia Book Fellowship site - a site I frequently visit for anything UB-like. After reading the information on offer, I just could not rest until I had a hard copy in my own hands, for various reasons.and the four-week interval between ordering and delivery somehow appeared unreasonably long ;o)

With all due respect to the wonderful efforts of others who have attempted abridged editions of the Fifth Epochal Revelation, I personally am of the opinion that Martin Locke has done a super-sterling job in presenting the FER in plain language for the man in the street - of which I am but one of many! - I cannot even start to imagine the time and effort the author must have spent in putting this much appreciated version together for the layperson, and I want to make use of this opportunity to thank Martin Locke from the very depths of my being for having had a vision.and then having had the courage not only to run, but also to finish it. Thank you so much. Now I can go back to the big and formidable tome with so much more gusto!

I am sure that the celestials are very well pleased as well with this wonderful effort. I mean, all of a sudden everything became so much clearer and comprehensible to a person such as I who often labored over the unabridged version.

This introduction to The Urantia Book is not so much for the learned and highly intellectually minded amongst us, but a must-read for the simple man/woman on the street.like me. I highly recommend The Structure and Meaning of the Universe Explained, to any person who craves a foretaste of what is locked-up in that vast and original tome that some of us have labored through at one time or another, but just have not got the heart to do just that as yet.

What I am also marveling about is the fact that the author's writing-style makes translation so very, very easy to do. I have done some work of other authors in the past and used to groan under the exacting and laboring task ahead of me. Martin Locke's way of presenting technical and theoretical "stuff" is any translator's DREAM. His thoughts are so easy to follow! I guess it needed a Urantian to do just this :o)

Yes, I want to thank the author once again for having given us such an incredible secondary work as intro to the original. My prayer is that the Celestial Recorders will take special note of what Mr. Locke has done. Many of us, whether in or outside the Urantia-community, have for so long been in need of something like this Structure and Meaning of the Universe Explained.

May our Triune God, the Paradise Trinity, BLESS the author in all his future endeavors, and may this present work prove to be an "introductory" blessing to the nations.

Nieu-Bethesda Eastern Cape South Africa"

These sentiments may not be to everyone's taste, but they again attest to the international appeal of this book, which ought to be mentioned in the Wikipedia article. wakan (talk) 00:29, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

And this is all basically you promoting the book. Not a guideline or policy reason to add a self-published book with few search engine hits. Doug Weller (talk) 12:58, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Re: Original question: Should Malcolm Locke's "The Urantia Revelation" be added to this article in a "Further reading" section? Maybe so, maybe not, but whether or not a book about a cult is approved reading material for said cult should not be the deciding factor for its inclusion in a NPOV article on said cult. I remember the old ones talking about this cult from the time I was a small child. They were so uncomfortable about it that they were unable to speak about it in their own language, so they used other language to talk about it: they called its Fifth Epochal Revelation a "period of visitation." Then they denied its existence, mocked the Urantia preachers for their inability to count, and began preaching the fourth and final period of visitation. When I say that they mocked them for their inability to count, I mean they counted in cant in Finnish, as if one were counting cards or pips on the face of a die in a high-stakes game at a casino, or bills of large denomination in a drug deal: ykkönen, kakkonen, kolmonen, nelonen, viitonen, kuutonen, seitsemän, kah'eksan, yh'eksän. They said that Urantia has viitonen, but we have ykkönen, kakkonen, kolmonen, ja nelonen. When people asked them what a period of visitation was, they spoke of the horrific tortures endured by the first Christians during the apostolic period of the first three hundred years after the birth of Christ, of the Catholic Church's burning of John Huss at the stake, and of Martin Luther's subsistence on bread and water during his period of solitary confinement in a monastic cell, while the Catholics alleged that he was eating sumptuous meals and drinking plenty of beer. This drink-spiking, drug-dealing, and date-raping, all too typical of such cults, is the fourth period of visitation. Now with Marijuana Dealers in Law in the states of Washington and Colorado, and Ψychiatrists in Law and Mental Health Practitioners at Law in all fifty states, the fourth and final period of visitation is in full swing, and with all God's power and might, we pound the hammer of the Law even to the harvesting of souls in our war on drugs and sexual offenses. Think about this, you who put us on the front lines of this battle and then withdrew support from us. 192.65.245.23 (talk) 00:17, 26 December 2016 (UTC)

PURPOSE of the Urantia Book[edit]

The Wikipedia article, although excellent, does not discuss a primary purpose for the existence of the Urantia book, other than its claim to be the Fifth Epochal Revelation from God to mankind, authored by celestial beings. Criticisms include subjects such as plagiarism, scientific anomalies, and some variation from mainstream Christian or Biblical understanding, but in no way diminishes the universal message to humanity contained in life and teachings of Jesus. What then is the purpose or reason for its existence? Consider the following: ~All of the humans involved in the recording, safeguarding, organizing and ultimate publication of the Urantia papers are deceased, and have no claim to financial gain or notoriety in the long term. ~The "high level of consistency" within more than two thousand pages, absence of contradiction, exquisite use of language, and elaborate presentation of everything from celestial hierarchy, organization of the cosmos, and intimate detail of the life of Jesus, challenges fabrication from human imagination. ~The Urantia Book does not seek to undermine, disestablish, or establish any religion, church, sect, organization or institution. ~The Urantia Book unfailingly serves to inform and inspire its readers, bringing New Testament theology into languange and concepts relevant to our time, and reinforces Jesus' ulimate purpose for His incarnation on Earth: To teach and demonstrate the brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God, faith in whom qualifies life eternal. Perhaps its true purpose or origin is not meant to be known, only embraced. Ennescea (talk) 03:06, 18 April 2017 (UTC)Peter Ennescea, April 17, 2017

[1]The Bible (NIV)

  1. ^ The Urantia Book