Talk:The Urantia Book/Archive 6

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I've placed the last several months of conversation in a new Archive, since the talk page had grown to be pretty large. Hope this suits everyone. Wazronk 03:18, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Simplifying

I think the changes made by Wazronk read more smoothly, the grammar is simpler, it flows more like an encyclopedia article. Thats what I've been advocating for months. Anyway, I agree with the grammatical changes. I would like to see that expanded in a few more sections. Part of the problem is the complexity of the subject, the multiple points of view that have validity, and that there has to be backup sources for legitimate inclusion.

Thanks for the picture of Sadler. Nicely done.Richiar 07:17, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

P.S. The section that was removed, starting with "The claim of revelation . . . . . . does not advocate tenents associated with Gnosticism", might be placed in a footnote, where it could usefully elaborate the idea. Adding more footnotes might be a way to simplify some ideas and still deal with the complexity. Richiar 07:21, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Origins of Urantia Material

Nothing is said about the similarities with earlier/previous/prior Seventh-Day Adventist writings. There is evidence of derivation from SDA mythology. I, as a birthright SDA recognized it and thought it odd when I first came upon the Urantia book. In particular, the identification of Jesus with Michael. That is a peculiar Adventist notion...well, not absolutely peculiar to them because the Jehovah's Witnesses hold that too... I haven't traced that particular wrinkle of that branch of Christian theology. The notion that Jesus is to be identified somehow with the archangel Michael (the one who fought the Satan and his angels) is historically traceable and will get us closer to the roots of Urantia. The fact that there is NO mention of Wilfred Kellogg who is the mysterious person who "channelled" the revelations is inexcusable. The connection with Seventh-Day Adventists (Kellogg was an adopted child of influential SDA pioneer, John Harvey Kellogg) is a smoking gun for those who know about Adventism.

Also, delivery of "revelations" by "sleeping" persons is know unknown. It's happened before, check out the "sleeping preachers" in Finland and among the Amish... Google it...

There is really no reason to be perpetuating the Urantia folks claims by leaving out more plausible mundane explanations for the material.

Emyth (talk) 23:53, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

The Kellogg genealogy is well documented being early settlers in the colonies. Winfred Kellogg was not adopted. He was the biological son of Emma Kellogg and Charles Kellogg; Emma Frances Kellogg was a sister of Dr John Harvey and Keith Kellogg. His mother and father were related to a grandfather nine generations back, Nathaniel Kellogg. His wife was his half-first cousin. Her father Moses was almost 20 years older than his half brothers John and Keith. Marrying a first cousin was common in the last century.
The fact that the mysterious person is not mentioned is because the idea is humorous to any person who ever was acquainted with the Forum. Anyone with access to a public library would have found evidence, newspaper articles, censuses data, etc contrary to Gardner's theories. Gardner did write his book before wide spread internet use and he made many errors that are refutable by accessing public records.
Dr John Harvey Kellogg was founder and supporter of the Chicago Missionary Society which had over 25 organizations that serviced the poor, homeless, and needy people migrating to Chicago at the turn of the century. Only one of the institutions recognized the SDA origin, the other 24+ institutions were non-demoninational and serviced all mankind. This is one of the main reasons that John Harvey was removed as a member of the church in 1907 and with it the decline of the Chicago Missions. The SDA history of the Chicago Mission should not be forgotten. Their records can be found at www.adventistarchives.com under LifeBoat magazine.
The use of the word Michael is not unusual. In reading, one usually discovers that the names are made up for the English language either because of entomology or meaning that describes the concept, location, or thing or some connection to some historical use of the name.

71.130.193.148 (talk) 02:02, 1 June 2008 (UTC)Hershberger71.130.193.148 (talk) 02:02, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Herberger —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hershberger (talkcontribs) 03:39, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Emyth -- can you find us reliable sources discussing the similarities between the Urantia material and Adventist doctrines? -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 21:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

One special quote about the cosmology teachings of The Urantia Book

Several criticists have pointed obvious errors in the cosmology of The Urantia Book. However the readers should know that on paper 101 chapter 4 the book tells about the limitations of revelation. Quote from the book: "The laws of revelation hamper us greatly by their proscription of the impartation of unearned or premature knowledge. Any cosmology presented as a part of revealed religion is destined to be outgrown in a very short time. Accordingly, future students of such a revelation are tempted to discard any element of genuine religious truth it may contain because they discover errors on the face of the associated cosmologies therein presented." 195.148.75.83 (talk) 21:48, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Kary Mullis

The artical should mention that weired Nobel-laureate Kary Mullis has a web page about the Urantia book where it seems that he believes in it.--Ortho (talk) 04:34, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

"It seems that he believes in it" appears to be wishful thinking on the part of some editors. There are only two pages on karymullis.com that even mention the Urantia Book and only one of the two is "about" the book; it observes a few coincidences between the Urantia Book and recent scientific discoveries but it does not go on to say "therefore I believe in the Urantia Book!" Mullis makes no declarations whatever on the significance of these coincidences, and frankly the nature of the coincidences does not make a good case for there being any significance to them. Take a look at the last: Mainstream science suggests that a particular allele showed up in the human population "37,000 years ago (with confidence intervals of 14,000 to 60,000 years)." [Emphasis removed and added.] This is supposed to be a coincidence with a passage from the Urantia Book describing Adam and Eve time-travelling back to 37,848 years ago and "uplifting" humans.
First of all, the Urantia Book passage is quite vague about the details of the uplift -- it says nothing about what, specifically, was improved in human stock thanks to the uplift. Therefore, anything which happened within the specified time period which resulted in improvement to human stock could therefore be considered to "coincide" with the Urantia Book's claim of uplift. And as for "specified time period" -- the Science article doesn't say "this happened 37,000 years ago", it says "it happened sometime that we're pretty sure was at least 14,000 years ago, and less than 60,000 years ago, and our best guess as to when in that 46,000 period it was is 37,000 years ago." So what if it was 40,000 years ago? Would that still be considered to "coincide" with the Urantia Book's claim of 37,848 years? But the mainstream science says it could easily have been 40,000 years ago. What if the best guess of mainstream science was 42,848 years ago? If anyone says "yes, it's still meaningful, even if the date given by the Urantia Book differs by five millenia from the date given by science," what that actually means is that the standards are so low for this sort of "coincidence" that in order for there not to be a coincidence, human evolution would have to be at a virtual standstill for a period of ten thousand years. The claim that the emergence of the allele could be considered "described rather precisely already in the Urantia Book" is, at best, an arch joke on the part of Mullis; it is certainly not a true statement, not with the word "precisely" in there. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 01:24, 7 May 2008 (UTC)


The assertion that the excerpt from [Kary Mullis] is "quite vague" has merit. It doesn't appear that Nobel-Laureate [Kary Mullis] intended to do a complete thesis on the particular topic which is from a list of recommended books on his website. He did take the time and effort though to add his comments about the book as well as references, which he not not do in any other instance.
It appears that his comments "described rather precisely already in the Urantia Book" and "Striking Coincidences" have merit as well.
It is notable that there seems to be several so-called editors here with the sole interest of trying to portray Mr. Mullis out to be either an idiot; a nutcase or delusional.
The same agenda seems to hold true for material in [The Urantia Book]; [Mark McMenamin] or any other reputable contributor who happens to find material in [The Urantia Book] more than simply coincidence or a lucky guess.
Consider a few of the scores of comments:
Dougweller (Talk | contribs) (73,697 bytes) (adding POV tag because of recent edits (esp the one that carefully left out McMenamin's critical words)) (undo)
Dougweller (Talk | contribs) (73,689 bytes) (→Criticism of science: replacing a bit of the quote left out by editor (naughty to leave out the critical bit and just leave in the praise))
65.78.13.238 (Talk) (67,196 bytes) (rv biased edits by Majeston. It's doubtful this material even belongs in this section, since it isn't "criticism of [by] science"; don't try to inflate its importance.) (undo)
Dougweller (Talk | contribs) (67,633 bytes) (→Criticism of science: let's have a bit of context about Mullis) >>>>>>>>>>The Nobel-laureate chemist Kary Mullis (who also defends astrology, denies the role of HIV in AIDs, and describes having spoken to a glowing racoon in his book Dancing Naked in the Mind Field,
the previous article was, by my reading, biased strongly towards trying to make him look bad. I happen to personally disagree strongly with his approach to AIDS and therefore am not his biggest fan, but my sides of those arguments can be made on their merits–-not by denigrating him personally. Joewright
This page spends very little time referring to the accomplishments of Kary Mullis, and it is his accomplishments which make him encyclopedically notable, whereas it spends a great deal of time trying to make him look like a raving lunatic. I feel the present article is highly unbalanced against the man, and if there are controversies that deserve treatment, they ought to be included, but if the primary purpose of the article is to discuss those controversies, this is not encyclopedic at all. Whig
Quite simply, McMenamin blew it with that speculative bit - no clue why he decided to promote some new age religious nonsense in what was supposedly a serious popular account of Ediacaran fauna. See a review here. Whatever, we surely don't need to hype that religion or pseudoscience stuff in a geology article. Vsmith 01:55, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Vsmith (Talk | contribs) (886 bytes) (→See also: rmv promo link to new age religion junk) (undo)


The comments concerning Rodinia's breakup and its influence on animal evolution are found in part III, "The History of Urantia" in The Urantia Book...... the anonymous members of the Urantia Corps hit on some remarkable scientific revelations in the mid-1930s. They embraced continental drift at a time when it was decidedly out of vogue in the scientific community. They recognized the presence of a global supercontinent (Rodinia) and superocean (Mirovia), in existence on earth before Pangea.(McMenamin 1998: 174) McMenamin, Mark A. S. (1998) Discovering the First Complex Life: The Garden of Ediacara. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.


It's a bad practice to use sneering and ridicule to block unconventional ideas. It's a very bad idea to erect near-insurmountable barriers against all seemingly irrational ideas, because doing so will discard the occasional Galileos and Arrheniuses along with the large hoards of crackpots. Or in other words, never ridicule things which you've haven't even bothered to investigate.
Some Skeptics would prefer that the apparent crackpots always prove to be just that: crackpots. But the reality is not so simple. If we fight too hard to eliminate the weird" stuff, then we run the risk of suppressing the next Copernicus. I say it this way: There are diamonds hidden in the sewage. Those who make it their job to keep Science entirely and totally "clean" will also become the newest generation of scoffing debunkers who fight to prevent the next group of genuine, disruptive, revolutionary advances.
The history of new ideas proves this by example. Any inspection of science history will reveal a long list of genuine discoveries which were treated with hostile prejudice. If skeptical people ignore such powerful evidence presented by "the crackpots," and if they instead distort the historical examples and proclaim them to be a simple logical error, then it is the skeptics who make the logical error, not the crackpots. When a crackpot drags out the old "They Laughed at the Wright Brothers" argument, that person is not stating that ongoing ridicule proves crackpot ideas must be correct. Instead that person is simply saying this:
You who make a policy of automatically rejecting 'crazy' ideas without first giving them a fair hearing, you would have joined the experts in 1905 who refused to view the Wright Flyer in action, and whose continuing public ridicule eventually forced the Wrights to abandon the USA and move to France. And to the great shame of scientists everywhere, the charge often has merit.
Theories have four stages of acceptance:
i) this is worthless nonsense;
ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view.
iii) this is true but quite unimportant.
iv) I always said so.
- J.B.S. Haldane, 1963


All great truths began as blasphemies - George Bernard Shaw


When human beings encounter ideas which threaten their fundamental worldviews, the typical response is to thoughtlessly and instantly crush the new ideas; to eliminate them. The searing discomfort engendered by new ideas is called "Cognitive Dissonance." The feeling is almost painful, and it's even more painful for scientists whose salaries or sometimes their very careers depend on correct mental models. When we feel this type of pain, most of us will take immediate steps to stop it. Researchers are not immune to this, although the historical evidence is so shameful that it is not widely acknowledged outside the fields of Science History/Sociology. Professional scientists who pursue unpopular research tend to encounter not only the expected passive disbelief and dismissal. They also suffer active suppression: ridicule, loss of funding (even loss of funding for their conventional work,) attempts to revoke honors, and myriad subtle attacks by colleagues, with the attacks often performed behind the scenes. In fact, one common attack is exactly the one above. It goes like this:
Scientists never attack each other, so if you think colleagues are trying to hurt your career, you must have mental problems and therefore need professional help.
And so, when someone complains about scientific suppression, we must never automatically dismiss them as conspiracy-theorists. Instead we should take an unbiased view of the evidence. Yes, in many cases we will find that the hated "suppressors" are simply the thoughtful skeptics who are debunking some pseudoscience beliefs. But in a few rare cases we'll find that the "supressors" are scientists whose entire world would be turned upside-down by any evidence which supports the new ideas. These scientists are individually taking action to silence those who bring forth that evidence.


Adam and Eve Report
Updated 8/2/07
.....complete report may be found ...
http://www.ubthenews.com/articles/AdamEveReport.htm


The Urantia Book's story of Adam and Even compared with the University of Chicago Study titled: Evidence that the adaptive allele of the brain size gene microcephalin introgressed into Homo sapiens from an archaic Homo lineage.
According to The Urantia Book, Adam and Eve, along with their progeny, are responsible for a genetic upgrade that has had a lasting effect on the human population. Specific details are provided about when and how this occurred. The Urantia Book also describes the degree to which this genetic upgrade has spread throughout the world. Additionally, it reveals information about the nature of this genetic upgrade. In regard to all of these aspects of our genetic history, research done out of the University of Chicago (the "Study") is in harmony with the information provided in The Urantia Book about Adam, Eve, and their progeny.1 This Study was first published online on November 7, 2006 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
http://www.ubthenews.com/articles/AdamEveReport.htm
  • the above unsigned entry was made at 00:01, 14 May 2008 by User talk:Majeston

All right, apparently User:Majeston can't bother himself to actually read the policies of Wikipedia, so let me spell a few points out a bit further:

  • Just because someone is a reliable source when they are writing in their own field of expertise and in a peer-reviewed venue does not mean they are a reliable source when they are writing outside their field of expertise and on their own private website. Kary Mullis is a reliable source on the subject of chemistry. He is not an astrophysicist. He is not an archaelogical anthropologist. He is not an authority on human evolution. His pronouncements that scientific developments in those fields were "precisely described" in the Urantia Book are not the opinions of an expert. Mullis thinks that there's something "precise" about the Urantia Book saying "prehistoric people were using flint tools 800,000 years" and an archaelogical find of flint tools that were used 700,000 years ago. Yet an expert might well say "the part they got right isn't impressive, and the part that would be impressive if they got it right, they didn't get right. Numerous finds of prehistoric flint tools had been made by 1935 when the 'prediction' was made, so it's not even a prediction but just acknowledgement of existing scientific knowledge. As far as the Urantia Book's claims of when these tools were being used, there is a difference between 800,000 years ago (the Book's claim) and what the science actually supports (700,000 years ago) of a tenth of a millenia. Who in hell considers that a close match, let alone 'precise'?" Does the fact that in his field Mullis has a truly impressive level of achievement have any relevance? Sure. But so does the fact that he also has a habit of expressing bizarre opinions about matters outside his field, and reference to which Majeston keeps trying to remove.
  • Majeston cannot modify Mullis' claims just because he thinks he is making the same point as Mullis. Several times now Majeston has tried to add passages that he feels also support Mullis' claim of a "precise" coincidence between passages in the Urantia Book and discoveries made by real science. He can't. If Mullis presents Article A and Passage B and says "See, here's a match!" we don't add Passage C because Majeston thinks Mullis should have added Passage C. We are only interested in reliable sources and as we've already seen, it's doubtful even that Kary Mullis can truly be considered a reliable source for these claims. It's 100% for sure that Majeston is not a reliable source. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 18:20, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

FYI I exchanged emails with Kary not long ago and he made it clear to me that he is not a reader-believer in the traditional or religious sense although he has owned the book for many years and is fascinated by the science and how he has noticed many cases where science seems to tend to corroborate science in the UB. This is my first contribution here, not sure how it works, hope I'm not breaking a rule or something. Mwcm1975 (talk) 13:40, 24 May 2008 (UTC)mwcm1975

Thank you for contributing! (I've just moved your comment to the bottom since comments are conventionally put in chronological order.) Even if there were no other issues, we wouldn't be able to use e-mails exchanged between a famous person and a Wikipedia editor; a Wikipedia editor is not a reliable source for such reporting. (Otherwise, of course, anyone could say "Oh, yeah, I e-mailed So-and-So right before he died and he said that he was a huge supporter of X" and no one could disprove that, even if it was completely false.) In this case, we have a webpage by Kary Mullis that seems to express the same things you say his e-mails did, that "he has noticed many cases where science seems to tend to corroborate science in the UB", but there are still other issues, namely that Mullis is not a recognized scientific authority in any of the fields of science where he's claiming to see the UB "precisely" predicting later discoveries of science. Kary Mullis may think it's "precise" when you're trying to date the usage of stone tools and you're only off by 100,000 years, but no matter how impressive the achievements he has made in chemistry, it doesn't make him an expert on the development of humankind. As a result of these issues, the material in the article regarding Kary Mullis has been removed. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 15:36, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Yeah I understand you couldn't use email exchanges. I was just mentioning that since I had read someone saying that it seemed he is a UB believer. SO I just mentioned that but I wasn't trying to say anything about Mullis needs to be on the wikipedia page - was not trying to express an opinion on that. If Katzen, for example, talks to an expert concerning alleged 'corroborations' and the expert then publish a note about such allegedly extraordinary coincidences, this could be included I imagine. I guess we will see if that happens. Mwcm1975 (talk) 19:46, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Cosmology

The Cosmology section currently reads:

The term "universe" is used to denote a number of different scales of organization. (The book was written at a time when galaxies outside of the Milky Way were still called "island universes.") A superuniverse is roughly the size of a galaxy or group of galaxies. A local universe is described as approximately 0.00001 the size of a superuniverse. The modern dictionary definition of universe — all existing matter and space taken as a whole — is referred to as the "master universe." When the term "universe" is used alone, the type usually can be inferred from the context.

The statements that (1) "the book was written when galaxies were called 'island universes,'" (2) that "a superuniverse is the size of a galaxy or group of galaxies," and (3) that "master universe" is the equivalent of the modern definition of "universe" all seem to me to be original research and are possibly pushing a specific interpretation of the Book of Urantia. Or are there sources for any of these interpretations? I think they should either be clarified or removed. -- Macduff (talk) 01:08, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I don't think thats original research. You're talking about synthesis to push a point of view. That is not synthesis, it is a summarization and a clarifying statement which is just good editing.Richiar (talk) 02:05, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
But what is it a summarization of? I think it's possible to read the Book of Urantia and get the impression that "universe" simply means "universe," and that thus the book is describing how a multiverse is organized. This fits with contemporary theories in Physics that there are multiple universes. So where did the idea that "universe" is used as a code word for "galaxy", and that the book is actually describing a single 3-D universe, come from? Stating outright that "master universe is the equivalent of the modern definition of 'universe'" as fact with no sources at all seems a bit of a stretch to me. -- Macduff (talk) 00:19, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
The definitions of the different universe terms are first laid out in the Foreword of the book:
"Your world, Urantia, is one of many similar inhabited planets which comprise the local universe of Nebadon. This universe, together with similar creations, makes up the superuniverse of Orvonton, from whose capital, Uversa, our commission hails. Orvonton is one of the seven evolutionary superuniverses of time and space which circle the never-beginning, never-ending creation of divine perfection -- the central universe of Havona. At the heart of this eternal and central universe is the stationary Isle of Paradise, the geographic center of infinity and the dwelling place of the eternal God. The seven evolving superuniverses in association with the central and divine universe, we commonly refer to as the grand universe; these are the now organized and inhabited creations. They are all a part of the master universe, which also embraces the uninhabited but mobilizing universes of outer space." [italics in the original]
The book goes into quite a lot of detail in later papers that makes clear that it isn't talking about different parallel universes but that the different "universes" -- local, grand, super, central -- are subset areas of one large 3-D universe, which it calls "master universe". For instance, I would recommend reading paper 15. This answers many of your questions.
I'll note the article doesn't say that "universe" is a code word for "galaxy", it says that a superuniverse is described as roughly the size of a galaxy or group of galaxies. This is true. The book unambiguously describes superuniverses as being galactic in scale and of limited dimensions (rather than being separate parallel universes in a multiverse model):
"At the same time these more powerful telescopes will disclose that many island universes formerly believed to be in outer space are really a part of the galactic system of Orvonton."
And:
"Of the ten major divisions of Orvonton [ie, "major sectors"], eight have been roughly identified by Urantian astronomers. The other two are difficult of separate recognition because you are obliged to view these phenomena from the inside. If you could look upon the superuniverse of Orvonton from a position far distant in space, you would immediately recognize the ten major sectors of the seventh galaxy."
(Orvonton is the so-called seventh superuniverse according to the book, and a "major sector" is a very specific term -- it's a sub-unit of a superuniverse, 10 sectors comprising a superuniverse. This sentence directly uses "seventh galaxy" as a synonym for "superuniverse of Orvonton".)
And:
"The superuniverse of Orvonton is illuminated and warmed by more than ten trillion blazing suns."
(A superuniverse isn't a full "universe" in the modern sense but a very limited grouping (on astronomical scales) of 10 trillion stars.)
And:
"Nebadon is now well out towards the edge of Orvonton. From the outermost system of inhabited worlds to the center of the superuniverse is a trifle less than two hundred and fifty thousand light-years."
(The size of Orvonton according to the book is a radius of only about 250,000 light years, nowhere near the size of many billion light years in diameter that the full universe in the modern sense is thought to be.)
The quotes could go on for quite a while. Wazronk (talk) 02:48, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for the pointers. -- Macduff (talk) 03:37, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


The second paragraph of "Cosmology" states:
"A superuniverse is roughly the size of a galaxy or group of galaxies."
Orvonton is called the "seventh galaxy." There are seven superuniverses (galaxies) on the superuniverse level circulating around the central universe. The superuniverse level is a "group of galaxies." Seven of them. The sentence implies that the book is ambiguous and that a superuniverse is relatively small or very big. (BTW. The word "galaxy" has its origin in the Latin word "lac" meaning milk, as in "Milky Way.")
"A local universe is described as approximately 0.00001 the size of a superuniverse."
This appears to be someone's interpretation. The fraction "one one-hundred-thousandth" appears twice in the papers, both describing "energy charge" not size.
To me, the second paragraph seems to disturb the "general to specific" flow from para 1 to para 3. It attempts to solve the non-problem of the meaning of "universe." If this is an issue, the quote pulled by Wozronk from the Foreword clears it up perfectly. I would not object to this quote being placed after the bulleted list describing the master universe. Neufer (talk) 02:56, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
It's true, the article hedges a little and says a superuniverse is roughly the size of a galaxy or group of galaxies. Well, in one quote "Orvonton" is called "seventh galaxy" (also elsewhere the Milky Way is said to be its nucleus). But in another quote (already pasted above), the book also quite clearly says that there are more than 10 trillion "blazing suns" in it. The number of stars in the Milky Way is 0.2 - 0.4 trillion stars. That means 25 Milky Way galaxies worth of stars -- the Local Group of galaxies? -- would go into making an "Orvonton" even assuming the high end of 0.4 trillion stars in each galaxy. That's not from me personally, I've read several loop-de-loop arguments about it and there really isn't final resolutions that accounts for the different views Urantia people seem to have (that being said, maybe I've missed something, feel free to point to a source for a strongly reasoned resolution if you know of one). For the wikipedia article purposes it is just simpler to say size of a galaxy or group of galaxies. The main point anyhow is that the article is getting across how "superuniverse" doesn't mean anything like what "universe" in the modern dictionary definition means, it is something much more limited. Even a group of galaxies is much more limited than a full "universe" in the dictionary sense.
On the size of a local universe, the book says a superuniverse is "approximately" 1,000,000,000,000 inhabited worlds and a local universe is "approximately" 10,000,000 inhabited worlds. This and arithmetic division of numbers is what the article means by a local universe being "described as approximately 0.00001 the size of a superuniverse". The article doesn't say it is "exactly" that size, which is what the book says the fraction of the "energy charge" is in comparison to a superuniverse -- "exactly one one-hundred-thousandth part". But what in heck is meant by "energy charge"? I personally think it is best to stick with rough size approximation than a statement about an unclear "energy charge". And again, the point is to make clear there is a big difference between what "universe" in the modern sense means and what "local universe" in TUB means.
You say there is a "non-problem of the meaning of 'universe'", but yet this very thread exists because of that exact problem. Macduff had the understandable view people can have that "universe" in TUB may mean what modern people think it means. But that's not so, as more detailed review of what the book says does show. TUB uses a more archaic and forgotten meaning of "universe", using it in a sense similar to how "island universe" was used in astronomy in the early part of the last century (indeed, if you go back to the second quote I provided to Macduff, the one that ends "galactic system of Orvonton", the exact phrase "island universe" is used earlier in the sentence). The article always tries to define terms and make clear things like this first before using the terms so an explanation of universes would be needed before the bulleted list, allowing the "universe" terms to be used in the list without the clutter of inserted definitions throughout. All the best. Wazronk (talk) 02:57, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

To reproduce a previous comment in order to highlight a point I would like to make:

Quote from the book: "The laws of revelation hamper us greatly by their proscription of the impartation of unearned or premature knowledge. Any cosmology presented as a part of revealed religion is destined to be outgrown in a very short time. Accordingly, future students of such a revelation are tempted to discard any element of genuine religious truth it may contain because they discover errors on the face of the associated cosmologies therein presented."

Well, that's not the exact quote I'd like to use. However, if you've read the UB, you might remember a similar sounding passage talking about scientific facts becoming outdated within a short time of the book's printing. If "scientific facts" have overlap with cosmology, and if the book's depiction of the 7 superuniverses' size and internal divisions can be considered cosmological descriptions, then how can we be sure of any of the "scientific" words given to a description of the cosmos?

The point is that science is useful, but not important. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.111.31.119 (talk) 23:31, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Something to keep in mind with wikipedia, and with this article, is that one of the main policies (WP:NPOV) is that different points of view are all included to the extent they are backed by reliable, verifiable sources (WP:V). I understand that one view is as you've described, "The point is that science [in The Urantia Book] is useful, but not important." That certainly is a major point of view. And actually, the quote you were trying to remember is already in the article and has been for a long time, see the very beginning of "Criticism of science". Also there is a quote from Meredith Sprunger to document this point of view further. This POV to me is already well represented.
But that isn't the only point of view and won't ever be the only one to be on wikipedia. There are those who consider the science very important. For example, from the frame of mind that Martin Gardner and other skeptics have had, the science of any purported "revelation" should show superhuman origin in some way, for instance by predicting something that is later discovered to be true, otherwise it's really just a con and a human effort. And hence, since he and other people find problems and no predictions to their satisfaction, it's a con to them. That is a perfectly valid and well-documented, well-referenced POV to be included in the article. Also well documented and already in the article is the POV of those who believe the science is important but for the opposite reason. They think the science is so good as presented in the book that it must mean the book really is a "revelation". They think that where there are discrepencies with science, the book is what will be proven to be accurate in the future. This also is a valid POV for purposes of the article and is already represented.
The article isn't about editors choosing or highlighting the particular POVs that make the most sense to them personally but to present in a balanced way what the major POVs are as documented in reliable, verifiable, third-party sources that are appropriately cited. Hope that helps clarify why the article is the way it is on this topic. Wazronk (talk) 03:33, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Christianity and women

I think Christianity considers women to be "sons of God" except that the Christianity version is that men and women are both "equally saved". So I don't think thats a distinquishing difference between the UB and Christianity. However, the use of the "Womens Corp" for evangelism simultaneous with Jesus' own public ministry is more of a distinquishing factor, and perhaps you might want to modify the statement more in that direction. Richiar (talk) 07:02, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree the wording could stand to be improved. There has been previous attempts at similar language to distinguish between the treatment / views of women as taught in the book versus perhaps more traditional Christianity. The problem is that this is one of those areas of Christianity that has a lot of variability and people have disputed those previous attempts (justifiably so). The language was ultimately taken out. I think the current phrasing that women are considered "sons of God" is also likely going to be confusing simply for the gender implications of a female being a "son". I understand what is meant from the perspective of what TUB teaches but to the average person coming by it won't be clear. Wazronk (talk) 18:46, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Here's the proposed change I am making to the sentence in question: "Jesus commissioned twelve women as ministers, evangelists, and teachers of the gospel who were given equal status as the twelve apostles."Richiar (talk) 03:04, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Much better, I like that. One thing is I just tried to find a clear statement to the effect they were "given equal status as the twelve apostles." Do you know of any? Formation of the women's evangelic corps is in paper 150 and is noted as starting with 10 with 2 more added later. By paper 165 then, second paragraph, there is a statement about the corps "now numbering sixty-two", which seems to indicate it wasn't quite the same as a female version of the twelve apostles, who always remained a limited group. Thanks. Wazronk (talk) 04:16, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
When I used the phrase "equal status" I didn't mean to make a somewhat controversial statement: I was referring to paper 150 paragraphs 5-7 from the front, where the womens corps was formed. In my mind the commission and authorization they received, the funds originally coming from the apostles funds and the later independent status of the womens corps seemed to add up to be "equal status", and thats how I came up with the phrase. In my mind all that combined is "equal status". Its intended to be a summary of those 3 paragraphs. If it is considered to be "synthesis", then it would fall under the category of original research, and shouldn't be used. Richiar (talk) 03:58, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Oh I didn't see it as controversial at all, I just was trying to figure if it was clearly summing things up. I still like your wording much better than what's in the article, but I also still see it could be interpreted as saying "Jesus had twelve female apostles in addition to the twelve male apostles recognized by mainline Christianity" but that isn't quite how TUB has it I don't think. Wazronk (talk) 03:00, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

I see your point. I revised it and added a modification to the article. It should work pretty well, but let me know of any further concerns.Richiar (talk) 06:21, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Science sources

Two things were added to the science section, one about Vikings and the other about auroras, but sources weren't cited:

"Others have noted the apparent knowledge of the Viking exploration of America nearly five hundred years before the arrival of Columbus, even though the Viking settlements weren't discovered until decades after "The Urantia Book" was written. In Paper 79, the author writes:
"These races and cultural groups remained almost completely isolated from the remainder of the world from their arrival in the Americas down to the end of the first millennium of the Christian era, when they were discovered by the white races of Europe"
Recently, there has also been new research into what causes auroras ("The Northern Lights") which corresponds relatively closely to what is written in the Urantia Book. Both ascertain that the auroras are caused by charged particles following a magnetic path from the sun to the earth. The exact wording is, of course, different but the overall meanings of each text are questionably close."

Carl Christian Rafn published his work in 1839 to show that Vikings reached North America. See for instance the book "The Discovery of America by the Northmen In the Tenth Century" published in 1841 by himself and North Ludlow Beamish (about 100 years before The Urantia Book existed), it's available for free on books.google.com here because its copyright has expired. From the intro: "This interesting publication, the fruit of great literary labour, and extensive research, clearly shows that the eastern coast of North America was discovered and colonized by the Northmen more than five-hundred years before the reputed discovery of Columbus."

On auroras, it would need to be clarified what is the "new research into what causes auroras", and where is the published analysis in a reputable source that " the overall meanings of [the research and TUB's account] are questionably close"? Wazronk (talk) 18:47, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't know what that Viking quote was about: The sentence that reads "These races and cultural groups remained almost completely isolated etc. " is talking about the North American Indians, it has nothing to do with Vikings. I don't know what the purpose was for putting it in the article.Richiar (talk) 04:02, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I could tell what they were trying to say. The TUB quote says that North American Indians remained isolated until the "end of the first millennium", when then discovered by the "white races of Europe". The change to the article was saying that those "white races" were Vikings, and implying that since TUB correctly says there was this contact 500 years before Columbus (who normally is considered to have "discovered" North America), that it was being prophetic in some way. But though archeological discovery of the actual Viking settlements wasn't until after TUB was published, it wasn't a new idea but well documented as a strong likelihood by reputable scholars 100 years before TUB was written. Wazronk (talk) 04:30, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Then, if you use the Rafn reference would you want to keep the reference to the Vikings in the article? Richiar (talk) 18:55, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
The reason to not include it is that no reputable, verifiable source was cited to explain who and how the Viking info is meaningful in relation to TUB. The Rafn reference is a demonstration that it isn't meaningful -- the idea that Vikings reached North America before Columbus isn't original to TUB or a surprising prediction in it but was a respectable scholarly viewpoint 100 years before TUB. Wazronk (talk) 00:29, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Proposed Links

I recently placed links to two sites I made to help students of the Urantia Book. I apologize for missing the guideline about submitting one's own sites to Wikipedia. The sites are relevant and useful to those interested in the Urantia Book and, as far as I know, they meet the other guidelines. The sites carry no advertising. I present them to you for evaluation. Even if no one here elects to add the sites for Wikipedia visitors, perhaps your feedback will help me improve my web presentations. Here are the links I tried to add and the descriptions I wanted to include:

Urantia Papers Study Site A portal for searching and researching the Urantia Book

Master Universe Almanac A compendium of data amassed from the Urantia Book

Urantia Papers Study Site is a unique resource for students. Using its two column format, users can read the papers and also perform research functions without losing their place in the text. Research is done using search engines for Wikipedia, Google, the Urantia Book itself, and an online 1913 dictionary. The dictionary is most useful since its results give better definitions for a book from the 1930's than a modern dictionary can.

Master Universe Almanac is a reference site I've been working on for several years. The mission of the site it to present data from the Urantia Book in the form of tables and charts. This does not replace reading the book; it is meant to help new readers understand the material. The almanac is referenced and attempts to present information objectively with a minimum of interpretation.

... I'm assuming the sites were pulled because they are my own. There might be other reasons. Feel free to say.

Neufer (talk) 04:09, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I went to your sites and I like them, and will probably use them. They would be useful for researching material to work on here in Wikipedia. The links can't represent ones own work, so that may be a reason they were pulled. Also they have to be notable I believe, but I don't know enough about links to comment. Wazronk knows more about that kind of thing and maybe he/she can put some comments here about that. Richiar (talk) 19:27, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Hi Neufer,
Thanks for the comments and for appropriately bringing this up for discussion on the talk page. Yes, noticed that the links were to your own website. As you've read in WP:EL using wikipedia to post links to your own site isn't generally accepted. (It's especially a red flag when a person has had almost no editing activity on wikipedia except to add their link to an article.) While your style of presenting TUB concepts may be unique, that doesn't mean so much it's encyclopedic or a fit for wikipedia. Wikipedia isn't about presenting an exhaustive compendium of all internet resources on a topic but about presenting encyclopedic articles that are referenced to reliable, verifiable sources. (See WP:V and WP:RS). In terms of external links, only the very most "meritable, accessible and relevant" should be included. There shouldn't be a lot of links. Out on the internet are many many sites where people personally present their own teaching aids on the TUB topic, maybe none quite in the way you have, but in their own unique way. Wikipedia just isn't the place for people to add links to promote their own personal unique takes on subjects in this way.
But, if you would like to help with articles, and use some of the knowledge that you obviously have, there is definitely room to assist. There is this article of course and even more neglected is universe reality where I see Richiar has had some recent activity and is looking for assistance. Wazronk (talk) 02:45, 9 February 2008 (UTC)


Thanks Richiar. It's gratifying that you find the sites useful.
Hi Wazronk. The best way for me to help with the Urantia Book article is with the contents of the Master Universe Almanac. The tables on the site are referenced to the Foundation's online Urantia Book so they can be checked for accuracy. If you would like to include any of these tables in the article, just let me know, and I will put it in an acceptable format. Tables make data easier to grasp. I'm sure they are not forbidden by Wikipedia. In fact, the original impetus to start the almanac was because of Wikipedia. I was studying the UB about the apostles. I checked both the article about apostles and the UB article. Neither had the Urantia Book version. I thought it would make a good table. I didn't know enough about editing Wikipedia or whether it would be appropriate to add an apostle section to the Apostles article. Making a table of Apostle info and stats sounded good, and the Almanac got started.
If I had to push for one link, I'd ask you to reconsider adding the Urantia Papers Study Site link. It's a decent reference tool and that's what Wikipedia is for. But you're the boss. If I can help with tables, just say. Neufer (talk) 03:53, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

In reviewing the link guidlines, it does say that WP wouldn't want links that promote a site. Having said that, it seems there is leeway for judgement on what is a legitimate link: there are 3 links to online sites that allow word searches to TUB. I don't think we need a fourth, but there seems to be some unique tables on the master almanac site. I think this would be a case for editor judgement and could go either way, with a consensus perhaps to decide one way or the other. 131.216.130.2 (talk) 20:43, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

There is leeway for judgment, and that is the reason it was good for Neufer to present his or her thoughts in an open way for editors to consider, and then for other editors to give their open opinions to say why they think it should go one way or the other. I'll point out more how my view comes about regarding the links, speaking from the perspective of someone with a longer term involvement on wikipedia and the article.
My view, after considering it more, still is that the links just aren't a fit for wikipedia. One of your points, 131.216.130.2, is also a part of my rationale. In following the links already present that point to organizations that are verifiable in third-party independent books as being of some significance to the Urantia "movement" (ie, Urantia Foundation, Urantia Book Fellowship, and Urantia Association International), these sites provides study aids, essays, newsletters, search features. Probably a few books worth of content. Also, there is the one external link to a site called "Urantia Book Related Web Sites" which is then a directory of a couple hundred sites, include 19 in a section title "UB-based studies". Well, make that 21 -- I see these two links proposed by Neufer have been added now. This was exactly a point I was going to make, Neufer's links seem more appropriate to a type of link list such as that than to be singled out on the WP article as being more significant than the many other references people have developed on their websites. I do think this is the most appropriate solution, the links be included on that site, and I'm glad to see that has happened.
It should be kept in mind this isn't just a consideration of the 1 or 2 links by Neufer but that all other links meeting a lower bar for inclusion than the most "meritable, accessible and relevant" will start to appear like weeds once 1 or 2 appear. If Neufer's links are to be added, why not the other 19 for "UB-based studies"? And then why not the links to sites like ubhoax.org? (It's not true that people coming to this site only are interested in finding pro-UB materials or are in some way "students" of the book, there is just as much a rationale that lower-bar skeptical sites would need to be represented.) Etc. Soon the external links grows and grows with non-major references, this has happened in the past.
As for the tables, it is helpful to familiarize with featured articles - the best of the best on wikipedia - to see how information on complex topics is organized and presented in as polished a way as possible at WP. (For example, see Sikhism.) I also would suggest reading WP:SUMMARY. It is true that wikipedia is about presenting data and information, but it is important for it to be organized in a thoughtful way to keep in mind the many different kinds of readers that will arrive to make use of it. Some people want only the highest level details, they won't read more than the introductory few paragraphs. Others may want to get some more detail, but can quickly get swamped by unfamiliar, unexplained terminology and an overload of topics. Going into the type of detail suggested by having the tables to me is for those readers who are after significant, in-depth details, which probably wouldn't be a fit for the main article. See also Wikipedia:When to use tables. It should be noted that many of these suggested tables use terminology and TUB-centric phrases that would need to be explained in a lot more detail to make sense to a general audience. These are the type of readers that would read the summary for a section like "History and future of the world", for example, and then click over to the article on that topic for more. As I said before, as a start for incorporating information that may be valuable from the tables, I would suggest that the universe reality article may benefit the most from this technique. All the best. Wazronk (talk) 03:22, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Gardner as a source

Hi Wazronk. I am new to this so please forgive me if I am out of line or breaking some rule. I understand from reading the archives that you consider Gardner to be a reliable and credible published source. At one point you seemed to say that referencing ubthenews would be like referencing ubhoax.org - and the thought came to my mind that Gardner's book is the equivalent of ubhoax. It does not pretend to be neutral. It ridicules and has a rude tone toward the book and movement. It is not of the tone that you would find from an academic scholar. Gardner may have a reputation from previously published works, but it is still possible that the quality, and thus credibility, of this work was not very high isn't it? When you called him third party, (I believe it was you in the archives) you make him sound as if he were neutral towards the book, and not in the 'pro or con' parties. But reading his book shows that he is clearly in the 'con' party. How many verifiable major blunders would it take for you to see that his book may not be all that well researched and that it often stretches and does not stand up to close scrutiny from someone who knows about the book? Maybe we could start a list, because Gardner, for example, even talks about Jesus' having traveled to India in his book, which he did not do in the story in the UB. In reviewing Gardner's book, the credible and neutral third party source, the Library Journal, in its April 15, 1995 issue, said "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." Gooch was much more neutral toward his topic of study, and he seemed a bit perturbed by how unfriendly Gardner was toward the book. He calls Gardner's book 'scabrous' (p. 48) and Gooch finds it worth mentioning that Gardner 'admitted' to him (in a telephone interview) that 'The Urantia Book is remarkable among these types of books claiming divine revelation, in that it is occasionally well written...', Gooch goes on to say that 'This response mildly echoed the much harsher appraisal in his book...' (page 22). His book was written for a skeptical publisher by a skeptic who set out to debunk the book, in stark contrast to the neutral perspective of the sociologist or historian of religion etcetera that lends credibility. It is more in the 'anti-cult' genre, like ubhoax, than the neutral. Do you think it might be considered to add a remark about Gardner's having aimed to discredit the book from the get-go, or about his many inaccuracies (which I imagine myself and others here can be demonstrate if you wish), or about his 'lack of scholarly distance from the subject,... patronizing tone, and ... gross editorializing' as noted by a very credible reviewer? (and which is also clear to anyone who reads his book). Best regards... Mwcm1975 (talk) 17:11, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Sorry about that, I meant to post that to the science section... and it is really addressed to whoever feels like Gardner is a neutral or highly-credible source - or whoever would have say as to if a note could be added regarding the fact that he was not neutral - that he had an agenda and used a patronizing tone, gross editorializing etcetera.Mwcm1975 (talk) 17:16, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

It seems like you're trying to make the following argument:
  1. Gardner's end result was a profound lack of respect for the Urantia Book.
  2. Therefore Gardner's starting place must have been a profound lack of respect for the Urantia Book.
  3. Therefore Gardner's end result should be discarded as meaningless.
The flaw in that argument is not difficult at all to find.
It also seems like you're trying to suggest that Martin Gardner and "ubthenews.org" are comparable, in terms of meeting the criteria at Wikipedia:Reliable sources. Martin Gardner published in Scientific American for a quarter of a century and has been writing works about scientific skepticism for over half a century, including perhaps the most classic work in the field. By contrast, "ubthenews.org" is a private website, run by "Urantia Book enthusiasts" who can basically publish whatever they want on that website, with no peer review at all. For Wikipedia purposes, no, the two are not comparable. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 19:02, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

You do not respond to the issues that I brought up. Have your read Gardner's book? Would it make a difference to you if you were aware of the evidence of the sloppyness and lack of accuracy in his book. His patronizing and editorializing etc. do detract from his credibility - at least most scholars would not stoop to that level and find it distasteful and detracting from credibility. (I know this is just my view, but I imagine you are also aware of this).

Yes, the argument you felt I was trying to convey certainly is not flawless. I probably would not have formulated such an argument for that reason. Unlike others who are respected and write about religious groups, he does not pretend to try to be neutral. But that was the genre he was writing in and maybe this does not detract from his credibility but I think that most would agree that it is not done in good taste.

You wrote that: It also seems like you're trying to suggest that Martin Gardner and "ubthenews.org" are comparable, in terms of meeting the criteria at Wikipedia:Reliable sources.

I did not mean to suggest that, as I understand that they are not. Sorry for the confusion on that.

I ended earlier with the following, which you did not respond to:

Do you think it might be considered to add a remark about Gardner's having aimed to discredit the book from the get-go, or about his many inaccuracies (which I imagine myself and others here can be demonstrate if you wish), or about his 'lack of scholarly distance from the subject,... patronizing tone, and ... gross editorializing' as noted by a very credible reviewer? (and which is also clear to anyone who reads his book)

I'm not trying to argue that he should be discarded as a source - even if it is a skeptic's highly flawed attempt at debunking the book. Maybe the quality of his work dropped later in his life due to his old age, or maybe he was swayed by his strong anti-UB bias, maybe he knew that most people wouldn't know the difference if he did not do his homework on this or that and stretched this or that, since UB readers wouldn't be seen as credible, and there are so few anyway, and others would most likely not have a clue.

Please don't put words into my mouth this time. I wanted to bring these things up in the spirit of friendly discussion. I'm no expert on wikipedia's guidelines and I'm not saying you need to do this or that, just expressing my thoughts and observations for consideration. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mwcm1975 (talkcontribs) 20:15, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi and welcome. No, it wouldn't be acceptable to add opinions about Gardner's tone, etc, as those would be opinions, and Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, a tertiary source that records what other people have written. Perhaps it would help if you read WP:Reliable and WP:Verifiable so you can get a better idea of what is meant on Wikipedia by reliable and why Gardner is considered reliable. --Doug Weller (talk) 20:26, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
The fact that you are still testifying to something you have no knowledge of (namely, that Gardner "aimed to discredit the book from the get-go", instead of reading the book and finding it quite easily discredited) and are still suggesting that we should without any proof of such a slanderous allegation "add a remark" about it to the article (talk about putting words in someone's mouth) testifies far more eloquently to bias on your part than to bias on Gardner's. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 20:53, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Wow such an unfriendly response. Whats up with that? At exactly what point he came to the conclusion that he wanted to discredit the book is not so important and probably hard to know. I am under the impression that this is what he was commissioned to do. He was writing for a humanist/skeptic publisher - or? I don't think it is so slanderous or unrealistic. He approached it from the point of view of a skeptic didn't he? If it is so offensive to you that I suggested this, since it seems it is very important to you, I can ask him for you.

You must have quite a bias to lash out at me like that - pretty hypocritical of you to accuse me of having a 'bias' as if it were a sin. I hadn't claimed not to have a bias. I am curious as to what is the background to your bias which is so strong that it evokes such unfriendliness?

These issues are still a problem with his book whether he had set out to be neutral or not - and his patronizing take away from it whether or not he started off as neutral (an atheist writing about a religious book naturally starts from an atheist bias, but scholars usually try to be, or appear, as neutral as possible.

Do you have a thing for Gardner, or just a dislike for anyone who seems to like The Urantia Book, or both? Again, what about his many inaccuracies (which I imagine myself and others here can be demonstrate if you wish), or about his 'lack of scholarly distance from the subject,... patronizing tone, and ... gross editorializing' as noted by a very credible reviewer? (and which is also clear to anyone who reads his book)

You ignored those questions which don't need to mean he is not credible enough for wikipedia anyway, but you could at least admit to them rather than getting so annoyed at me. I didn't mean add a remark saying 'Gardner hated the UB from the get go' but that he approached it as a skeptic and was writing for a skeptic publisher (which I believe is the case but of course it would have to be verified if such a remark were to be added, but of course no such remark is going to be added which is fine if that is what fits best with wikipedia policy but you don't need to get all annoyed about it.)

If your rudeness is due to a desire to rid this page of people with a different bias than your own, you probably got your way in this case.Mwcm1975 (talk) 23:20, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, it's unfortunate that you perceive such "unfriendliness" and "rudeness" and "lashing out" in my response. However, if you can't discuss Gardner and the Urantia Book without perceiving ulterior motives in everyone who disagrees with you, whether it be Gardner or your fellow editors, perhaps it is better if you concentrate on articles where you do not have such prejudices. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 00:45, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Mwcm1975, I see what you're saying. One thing to keep in mind about wikipedia though is that it provides all major points-of-view in a neutral way, see WP:NPOV. Gardner is a valuable and fully WP:RS published reference. Not only is he a good representative of skeptical POV, he did collect a lot of factual historical information, as well as evaluating science and plagiarism claims, which are useful to the article's criticisms sections. When you say things like Gardner "aimed to discredit the book from the get-go", you need to back that claim up with a reference from a reliable source, otherwise it's just hearsay. While Gardner's tone and writing style in his book weren't what would be considered WP:NPOV on wikipedia, the information he published certainly can still be utilized and doesn't need to have caveats alongside it about him. I'm not sure even if you have a specific dispute with anything the article currently says, do you? Wazronk (talk) 19:35, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi Wazronk! I appreciate your response. I think you are right, I'm not sure that I do have a specific dispute. It is important that the page be balanced. I probably chimed in prematurely. I just wanted to express my thoughts and the facts that were presented to no particular end necessarily as I am still learning about wikipedia. I'm still not really sure how this all works - who has the final say as to what goes on the Urantia page and what doesn't etc. As you said, Gardner is the primary figure when it comes to a published credible skeptic, and all perspectives should be presented.

The main point of what I was saying was not to prove that Gardner "aimed to discredit the book from the get-go" and I figured people who had read his book or knew about Gardner knew that from having read his book - but I didn't think I needed to prove it with a reliable source if I was not trying to have it added to the Urantia page. As a skeptic who is in the habit of writing from a skeptics point of view for a skeptic/humanist publisher, my understanding is that he normally approaches religious texts etc from the perspective of building a skeptical argument / gathering evidence of why people should be skeptical of it. I have been involved in studying comparative religions / sociology of and anthropology of religion etc. and there is a contrast from this approach to the academic scholar approach that usually does not aim to glorify nor discredit but just to describe in a neutral way. It is not such an important point anyway so I don't know why I keep discussing it - anyone who reads this (65.78.13.238) please note that I do not want to argue about this and I hope you won't respond in a way that can easily be interpreted as unfriendly and antagonistic (if you choose to respond). I believe he says toward the start of his book that he chose to write the book because to his dismay, the movement was gaining converts. This is one statement that implies his discrediting-motive, if my memory serves me correctly - I don't see the point of looking the quote up since it really doesn't make much difference except to defend what I originally was trying to say which seemed to annoy at least one other person here quite a bit. Not that Gardner has singled the UB out to dislike - he seems to hold it in higher regard than the 'bibles' of other New Religions Movements. (I provided the quote in Gooch's book where he expresses thoughts along the lines that it is not as badly written as other books claiming to be revelations). After noting that his wife 'thinks that writing this book was a total waste of my energies', on p. 407 he says that he chose to write the book because he finds 'Urantianism' 'almost as funny as' Mormonism, Christian Science, and Sun-Moonism. Then he ends the final chapter of his book by criticizing (seeming to - as elsewhere in the book) the mindsets of all 'true believers' (p. 407 and 408). It seems the guy who runs UBhoax.org and draws so much ammunition from Gardner's book, seems also to be a 'true believer' of a non 'Urantian' categorization. With all his apparent feelings that the UB is a threat that needs to be combated, I wonder if he is here among editors.

Yeah I agree with what you wrote here: Not only is he a good representative of skeptical POV, he did collect a lot of factual historical information, as well as evaluating science and plagiarism claims, which are useful to the article's criticisms sections.

As I said before, I probably shouldn't have chimed in. I want to avoid the tendency to get into interactions of an unfriendly nature here (or anywhere). Of course online communications can often be misinterpreted.

I have little or no experience in interacting with people who know a lot about the book or are somehow involved in activities related to the book (editing wikipedia) who are not more or less 'believers' or don't at least like parts of the book. I don't know if you guys love, hate, or are indifferent to it or something in between, but anyway, from what I've seen it seems there are a few people here who hold 'believers' in low regard and are (as I probably would be if in their shoes) sick of believers coming here and annoying them.

Anyway, I don't mean to annoy you guys and I don't have experience with wikipedia so I'm not at a point where I feel confident to propose specific adjustments (rather than just suggest them). I'm actually involved in trying to write a summary of various 'science and UB' issues, but from a comparative-religions perspective where I present various points of view without claiming that this or that is 'truth' since I'm not a scientist and that isn't the purpose of what I'm writing.

Maybe I'll post a bit here that I'm working on, although not to argue it or say it should be added to the urantia page. I was going to suggest that it might be more fair to expand a bit on the Mark McMenamin section, but see that this has already been expanded for the time being at least.

Since the later part of the 'science criticisms' section is about beliefs in alleged 'prophetically anticipated scientific advances', it seems this sub-section might deserve a heading. While the topic has to do with science, it is certainly not on the topic of science criticisms of the book but more the opposite. I can provide references to the below in the future if needed.

It could be an interesting connection to say something about his dismissal as described below right after the remark about how Gardner dismissed all but one instances of allegedly predictive science.


Gardner dismissed the claim made by Glasziou and company earlier on that Wegener’s theory of continental drift was out of vogue at the time the book was written, denying that lucky guessing or predictive science is indicated by the UB’s account, claiming that it was a credible theory at the time The Urantia Book was written, held by many scientists in the USA. Gardner wrote this even after, as Glasziou describes in his article, 'Continental Drift – The Gardner critique demolished', about how he had written Gardner a personal letter ‘referring him to a book by science historian, H.E. LeGrand which emphasized the universality of the opposition, Chamberlin's vehement denunciations, and a previous article by Gardner himself debunking Wegener’ . (In a later article, on science errors in the book, Glasziou brings up some aspects of The Urantia Book’s descriptions associated with continental drift that he says are off the mark in comparison with today’s science). Since Urantia Book believers generally have less credibility in the eyes of the public compared with a non-reader science writer and skeptic like Gardner, Glasziou felt vindicated when someone with more credibility on the matter than Gardner, a professor of geology and thus expert on the topic from outside the Urantia Book readership, contradicted Gardner’s dismissal of the issue, not only confirming that Wegener’s theory was ‘out of vogue’ when The Urantia Book was written, but also marveling at The Urantia Book’s apparently correct predictions in its account of continental drift. Geology professor at Mt. Holyoke College, Mark McMenamin, wrote about how The Urantia Book’s authors ‘hit on some remarkable scientific revelations’ since the book ‘anticipates scientific results that did not actually appear in the scientific literature until many decades later’ having to do with continental drift, in his 1998 book Garden of Ediacara. While McMenamin stated that the book contains much ‘scientifically untenable material’, he also marvelled about how The Urantia Book not only ‘embraced continental drift at a time when it was decidedly out of vogue in the scientific community’, but that the more specific and ‘amazing passage’ containing the ‘concept of a billion-year-old supercontinent split apart, forming gradually widening ocean basins in which early marine life flourished, is unquestionably in this book’. ‘Furthermore, they even got the timing of that approximately correct at 650 to 600 million years ago.'

That is not a final draft and I'm aware that I didn't add the references and most of those quotes are already on the page. Please note that I'm not trying to argue with or annoy anyone or demand that this or that be done with the Urantia page, so I would appreciate if anyone tempted to respond antagonistically or in an attempt to 'shoot down' what I've written take this into consideration and try to at least be polite. Thanks and thanks for your polite post Wazronk.80.216.228.134 (talk) 21:08, 27 May 2008 (UTC) When I signed this post, my name (mwcm1975 didn't appear for some reason)80.216.228.134 (talk) 09:32, 28 May 2008 (UTC)


Thanks 80.216.228.134 for your contribution and interest. As you noticed (" I was going to suggest that it might be more fair to expand a bit on the Mark McMenamin section, but see that this has already been expanded for the time being at least."), the McMenamin entry is fairly complete and cited with proper references and will stay that way. There appears to be a few contentious editors who have latched onto this article with the sole motivation of disruption and chaos or to diminish McMenamin's insights regarding this important observation regarding Urantia science. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Majeston (talkcontribs) 22:35, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Mwcm1975, you wrote "As I said before, I probably shouldn't have chimed in. I want to avoid the tendency to get into interactions of an unfriendly nature here (or anywhere)." Don't worry about that too much. Although people jumped on the one thing about Gardner you said that wasn't clearly linked to a source, I appreciate that you did provide quotes and even page numbers to sources to demonstrate almost all of what you were saying. That's certainly the right instinct for wikipedia.
Do keep a consideration of how your interactions specifically are meant to improve the quality of the article. That is always the goal, and dealing with specifics are the best for it. On the McMenamin topic, there shouldn't be disagreement from anyone that it comes from a WP:RS published source and the material should be fine for wikipedia in that respect. My view is more to keep in balance the proportion of the material in relation to other material. In comparison to all the possible encyclopedic topics to be discussed in the article, expanding this one thing into a huge paragraph or two gives it undue weight. Gardner wrote 2 lengthy chapters on science criticism, had more on plagiarism, and Gooch also his say on the plagiarism topic, but these have been compressed down to the most digestable, salient points for the article. Likewise the McMenamin point needs to stick to the salient gist of the matter.
I know you're new to wikipedia, and people have been pointing out all sorts of different links to rules and regulations for you. It can be a lot to absorb. But sincerely, it 90% really comes down to these three things:
  • WP:NPOV - all articles need to be written in neutral point of view
  • WP:V - all information in articles need to be backed by verifiable, reliable sourcing
  • WP:NOR - no original research
I highly recommend that you read those. About another 9% is common sense and common courtesy. Add up all that, with a bit of WP:Be bold, and you're on your way to being a productive contributor. Maybe you found the responses a little prickly -- it doesn't seem that bad to me, it's just how the internet is -- but I'm sure that will just mean you will be that much more understanding and less likely to WP:BITE others yourself when you're a more advanced wikipedia editor coming across people who are new to it.
One last thing, I will say that from what I'm picking up from your comments you seem to have read both Gardner's book and Gooch's book, and as a believer in The Urantia Book, that book as well of course. It is a rarity for contributors to come by with that. How about other additional third party sources that could be used for material for the article, do you know of more? Wazronk (talk) 06:36, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi Wazronk, mwcm1975 here even though for some reason it doesn't show up when I sign - maybe I didn't sign in properly or something. Thanks for your pointers. It seems you guys have most of the independent sources that I am aware of covered. It is almost worth noting that the book and movement do not appear in a lot of dictionaries or encyclopedias of religion - something I am going to summarize soon - it really still is quite 'off the map' to a great extent still. I agree that the section on McMenamin was probably too long as it was when I saw it yesterday, but now I think it is too short - or maybe not necessarily too short but that it doesn't capture all the essence of what he said. I'll try and propose something of similar length but with more packed into it when I get a chance. Who said I am a believer!?  ;-) I don't know what to think/believe about sections like the science content, but I certainly do hope that an afterlife and universe that is at least as appealing to me as the one described in the UB awaits us. I guess I am an enthusiast but I'm also trying to look at it and write about it from a neutral point of view. Best mwcm1975 80.216.228.134 (talk) 09:46, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I am curious, I had heard that one person has ultimate control over the Urantia page, but now I'm wondering if it is a case where everyone can make changes and the people who spend the most time editing the page and re-editing most frequently are the ones who ultimately have the most sway as to the content on the page when there are disagreements about things etc. Would someone mind letting me know which is the case or how this works?

Concerning McMenamin, I agree that 'Likewise the McMenamin point needs to stick to the salient gist of the matter.' as I said earlier, which I think could be improved on compared to what is there now, but I thought I would mention the unusual situation that McMenamin wrote about the UB in a book not about the UB since he found the parallels to his research so noteworthy. Most non-readers would expect the science in the book to be flawed, as is the science of just about any book written decades ago as science has evolved. It seems successful published scientific predictions or whatever they might be called are unusual enough that McMenamin felt the ones he noted were worth making a big deal about in his book - which is also unusual (that such predictions would not only be noticed but also acknowledged and described in published material by the expert in the field). For this reason it seems the matter might deserve more special attention than just being a few lines under science criticisms, not that I think it needs to be several huge paragraphs... the gist should be pretty compactable.

As Halbert Katzen continues to promote ubthenews.com on a full time basis in the small Urantia community, the influence of his website and the movement of him and those who support him in the community, will continue to grow on the matter of investigating and noting and seeing credibility in and spreading the word about allegedly predictive science, do you think this would deserve a note on the matter (not as to whether it is scholarly or propaganda - I know it isn't a credible source by wikipedia standards, but rather to mention this growing trend in the movement)? Just a thought. Katzen is very active in the small reader community, and he is being supported by other readers to work full-time on his 'mission', and one full-time worker in a movement like the UB one is a lot in a movement with so few full-time reader-workers (I can't point to a source on this but I know enough about the movement to know it to be true.) Best mwcm197580.216.228.134 (talk) 14:01, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

If you look at User talk:Mwcm1975 which is your Talk page when you log in, you will find the guidelines and policies editors are supposed to follow (I just put lihks to them there). So long as they are followed, it shouldn't matter how many editors there are. WP:UNDUE is also important here. I hope that helps.--Doug Weller (talk) 14:30, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Hi mwcm1975, go ahead and give a shot at better summarizing the McMenamin material. I think the primary complaint other editors had (myself included) about the McMenamin thing originally was that it was presented in the article as unbalanced and over the top both in size and in trying to assert that he was totally supporting the book as in some way predicting scientific discoveries and being a revelation. Yes, he was quite impressed with some of the geology it presented and thought it was precocious. As you pointed out in your summary, he also says though there is much "scientifically untenable material". I think if you maintain this more honest and balanced presentation, improvements are always possible and changes won't be seen as so problematic. I would not attempt any comparison between him and Gardner (and especially not Glasziou, who I don't think has published in a book or other reliable source), as this would amount to original research, but instead just stick to McMenamin.
You ask about whether one person controls the page or whether many people make edits. Have you ever clicked on the "history" tab at the top of the article? This shows all the edits and you can see every single one back to the creation of the article years ago. You'll see that many many different people have contributed. Anybody with a web browser can click "edit" on the page and make a change. But if a change isn't backed by a source, or if it doesn't seem worded well or isn't neutral, to another editor it will stick out and probably get changed back or "edited mercilessly". Each person making a contribution to wikipedia is relinquishing all control over the writing and allowing others to edit it or republish it freely anywhere.
As for Katzen, unless the material ends up published by a reliable source, any speculations and theorizing from his site won't be useable for the wikipedia article. I do think that the phenomenom of how Urantia people try to prove science predictions is one aspect to mention but it already seems to be covered perhaps to a sufficient degree?: "While some adherents of the book believe that all of the information in The Urantia Book including its science is literally true, some others accept the book's caveats and do not believe that the science is fully accurate.... Other believers maintain that the book has prophetically anticipated scientific advances already. They believe more of its science — if not all of it — will be proven correct in the future."
One thing about having posted with your IP address is that it can be used to see in a general way where you're posting from in the world. I was curious and took a look. Is it true you're posting from Stockholm? As it happens I just noticed an interesting thing, and mentioned it to the IP editor 65.78.13.238 further below in another comment, according to Google Trends there are more Finnish-speaking people googling for the word "urantia" than English-speaking. Helsinki in particular shows up as a hot spot of people interested in looking up the word. Do you have any insights into why there may be this interest in Urantia there of all places? Spanish speakers far out-search English (and Finnish) speakers, and I believe this may be related to a best selling series of Spanish novels that borrowed material from The Urantia Book, and I was wondering if there was some sort of event or cultural thing that happened to make the Urantia Book appear on people's radar in Finland. Thanks. Wazronk (talk) 05:36, 29 May 2008 (UTC)


Hi Wazronk. Yep I'm in Stockholm. Yeah, I understood Katzen couldn't be quoted, but thought it could be useful to maybe offer his site as an example of a project on 'prophetic science' that is getting a lot of energy and support, but I haven't looked into the policies on such things and assume it might be against a policy to do so.

I haven't checked out Google Trends before - hmmm interesting... I am looking into it - have you found more info than this page?: http://www.google.com/trends?q=urantia

I think an important factor is the receptivity of potential readers is their 'cultural' mindset. For some reason, Finns seem more matter-of-fact, less worried about current trends in political correctness, and more interested in the UB than Swedes for example, in general. Latin Americans seem to have a similar relative pro-UB inclination compared with most Europeans. There are probably as many Finnish and Latin American readers in Sweden as there are Swedish readers, and most of them did not find the book through connections with someone in the country of their origin but rather on their own through the internet for example. Maybe education level has something to do with it in Finland, their schools are much better than Sweden's these days and rank among the very top in the world (Sweden still ranks pretty high though of course), maybe they are more inclined to not feel intimidated by such a huge and detailed book with so much vocabulary etc. I don't know... Estonians are probably among the 'ethnically closest' to the Finns, and they have a high proportion of readers considering they are such a small country. I was under the impression that the readership in Finland was stagnant, that it was mostly the same baby-boomers who found it decades ago, but maybe more people are discovering it there lately as the google trends seems to indicate. Though I have heard that booksales have been pretty low during the past decades. It was among the first translations to be published after a UFO research network heard that it provides a map to our universe... my understanding is that the first readers in Finland came from that group - most of them were not new-agers or religious at all at the time but then ended up getting into something much more than just a map of the universe. I can only speculate and I suspect that there is much more to the various trends than I have ever considered. Book sales are pretty high in English - about on par with Spanish or a little higher from what I understand - maybe there is a simple explanation to why fewer English speakers search Urantia like that people in the USA might be more inclined to use alternate search engines compared with people in various other parts of the world.

Thanks for pointing the googletrends info out to me, I would appreciate hearing about any other similar information! Best mwcm197580.216.228.134 (talk) 07:43, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Very generous of you Wazk, to take my original article on McMenamin that was hi-jacked and mangled beyond recognition and pass it around. I'm quite sure you have only done that in good faith. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Majeston (talkcontribs) 10:29, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the interesting details and insights, mwcm1975. In terms of book sales being low and interest stagnation, one thing I thought was interesting about the Google Trends link was the steady downward drift in searches for the term. Just speculation on my part, but since the searches predominately represent Spanish speaking people by a wide margin, maybe the trend going down is from the J.J. Benitz books fading in popularity. No idea really though, like you say, probably is much more to the trends than can be considered from one person's vantage. I was curious if the Finnish interest could be traceable to one or two things in particular, like a TV show that mentions it or a magazine feature, but maybe it is more like when separate small waves just happen to meet and their peaks overlap by chance to amplify into one large temporary peak. Or maybe google's algorithms have mistakenly over-weighted it in some way (Google Trends is "in early stages of development"). Who knows. Thanks again for taking a stab at the question. Wazronk (talk) 05:43, 30 May 2008 (UTC)


Hello Wazronk: Check out this 'credible source'!!! http://books.google.se/books?id=Aqhdas-u1UgC&pg=PA129&lpg=PA129&dq=sarah+lewis+urantia&source=web&ots=RFq0DjmASm&sig=DpPvlOas4gpNZ7h3EQOub9Ja1S8&hl=sv Sara Lewis' article in UFO religions. She is a PhD researcher in new religious movements. She seems to be the only academically employed person who has taken a stab at Urantia. And now she has a new article that I really want to get my hands on, but I'll have to wait till I can get to one of the libraries that has it, unless you or someone else here finds it first! It looks like it is an article about the book's origin.

The recently published The invention of sacred tradition / edited by James R. Lewis and Olav Hammer. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2007. has a chapter by Lewis on the UB titled: 10. The peculiar sleep: receiving the URANTIA book Sarah Lewis

Lewis as a source would probably be a good addition to the page - she seems to have a non-biased researcher perspective.

I'm not sure how these pages work - hope you or whoever else are looking for sources for the page will you notice that mentioned this. :-)

Best, mwcm197580.216.226.95 (talk) 18:55, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

I just happened to drop by for the first time in a week or so. Very good find mwcm1975, that definitely has material for the article, and yes is WP:RS (Cambridge University Press). On reading the chapter, primarily it's a source that could help with the "Authorship" section I think, but there are also good, serviceable quotes on adherents and comparative analysis of the Urantia movement versus other "emergent movements" in general. A bit of comparison to Seventh Day Adventism is covered more specifically.
Wazronk (talk) 01:10, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I've deleted a bit of your edit as per Wiki guidance on copyright violations. I am pretty sure that it is not legal, and unless we can show it is, then we shouldn't be giving leads to it. A legal source for recent books on the web is [1], but that was just a file storage site. You could check with the publishers. Doug Weller (talk) 06:01, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

By the way, I see Gardner's book has been printed in a new paperback edition with 'In a new postscript to this paperback edition, Gardner details recent developments in the Urantia movement, corrects some errors in the original edition, and responds to critical reactions from Urantia believers to his skeptical perspective on the book and the movement.' (http://www.prometheusbooks.com/) It will be interesting to eventually read that post script! Best, MWCM197580.216.237.106 (talk) 11:17, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Work on this article first

Before creating forks of this article, it is imperative that we work on the content, style, and readability of this article. Right now, it is not so much serving as an encyclopedia article as a mish-mash puff piece. Reorganization and prioritization is our first order of business before we decide the article is too long and have to fork. Thanks. ScienceApologist (talk) 17:48, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

See talk archives, which are quite extensive on these topics. This didn't just happen yesterday. It's just that you personally only showed up in recent days. Welcome. Be sure to pick up the sources that the article uses, such as Martin Gardner's book, the Gooch book, and others -- how about even the topic of the article itself, The Urantia Book -- in order to intelligently be able to discuss what should be covered in the article. Wazronk (talk) 18:13, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, until now, most of the "discussion" was with true believers. You need to stop pretending with your WP:OWN issues. ScienceApologist (talk) 19:36, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
True about the true believers, and thankfully I was here to prevent them from repeatedly stripping out criticisms and constantly inserting their non-NPOV language. Wazronk (talk) 19:42, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
The issue is that single purpose accounts such as your own should not be dictating Wikipedia content. You do not own the content nor the article and need to work with others. The first order of business is improving this article. After it is clear that this article needs to be content forked, we'll do so. Not before. The previous archived discussions did not address this fundamental point. ScienceApologist (talk) 19:58, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
I am not dictating the content. I am a person who happens to have read a large number of the secondary sources and the book itself and edit according to those sources. I do not in any way own the content, I make it match the sources and I back up my edits with citations. Wazronk (talk) 20:05, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

I welcome your expertise in this area, but please realize that this article is not very well-written or sourced. Too many quotes make it read like a propaganda piece and not like an encyclopedic article. There is no assertion of notability or prominence with respect to the subjects it is about, nor is there any indication of the relative impact that this book has had on New Age communities or other groups. The organization of the article is terrible: it seems that the people who wrote it were not familiar with WP:SS or WP:MoS. There is a lot of improvement that needs to be done before we even think about writing other articles related to this subject. And even then, there are four articles that need attention primarily including the foundation article and the article on the two purported authors. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:53, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Great, finally, some actual specific points of contention from you to discuss: "more sourcing", "assertion of notability or prominence with respect to the subjects it is about", "quotes", "organization", "relative impact the book has had". All along I've been more than willing to discuss any of this, but nobody is a mind reader, editors can't work with you on your concerns if you don't tell them specifically what you see as problematic. Wazronk (talk) 21:28, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Those are issues with this article in particular. Until they are addressed, there is no way we should have content forks. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:46, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
ScienceApologist, I'm a bit confused. You're using the term content forks, but what you seem to be describing is instead splitting the content. It wouldn't be content forking unless someone made some of the split-off articles treat the common subject in a very different manner. (As regards the issue of content splitting, though, I agree with you: if the main article on the subject can't be kept in a well-written, neutrally-described state, then why attempt to split it up? So that POV-pushers now have a wider choice of articles to slant?) -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 13:40, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
ScienceApologist sorta knows what phrases like "content fork" mean but more importantly is that they have a nice pejorative rhetorical gloss to them, which can be used as a part of broader ad hominem argumentation. It's not as important whether there is accuracy. Take WP:OWN as another example. Here and here are the only edits he has made to date ever on the article, and the comments above are the only participation on the talk page. Boy, he sure has been stifled in an awful WP:OWN situation. Wazronk (talk) 03:42, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Wazronk, please avoid making these sorts of personal attacks. They are not helpful in either gathering cooperation or in resolving the substantive issues. ScienceApologist is right that if we cannot make one single well-sourced and well-balanced article at The Urantia Book we have no reason to be spreading the content out to even more articles. You claim that "all along I've been more than willing to discuss any of this" but given the opportunity to discuss it, you instead put your effort into denigrating ScienceApologist (ironically, for his alleged use of ad hominem argumentation.)
Can we just start from a clean slate, please? Let's just try to identify what actions we think can be taken that would improve the article. I will start by saying that I think we need to get more reliably sourced information on what influence the Book has had. I know the "Adherents" section says why it's impossible to get an exact census but we don't need an exact census as much as we need some indication of the order of magnitude we're talking about. Did anyone ever make a list of how many different cities had some sort of Urantia study group, for instance? Once we get that information, it will probably be best to put it in the introduction, and start moving out some of the details that aren't really necessary for the "big picture" that the introduction is supposed to give. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 02:27, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
He disappeared two months ago. Yes, I was more than willing to discuss anything with User:ScienceApologist, same as with anyone, yourself included. Still am. If you're worried about denigration, how about giving WP:AGF a try and not denigrating others like me by saying I was only "claiming" to be more than open to discussion. I'm the one that asked for specifics and approached him for cooperation multiple times (here, here, here), the one-day breeze through above (and personal attack on me that I was WP:OWNing) was all that resulted from it in terms of getting anything beyond vague generalities from him on this topic, so I'd appreciate if you don't tell me I'm the one that didn't make a suitable enough effort or passed up an "opportunity". Now, how about if we go on and deal with something of substance that actually has to do with improving this article. Wazronk (talk) 18:49, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
If ScienceApologist disappeared two months ago, it makes even less sense to me to go off-topic onto his personal flaws. WP:AGF does not mean "assert that everybody did everything perfectly"; if you really, truly are interested in getting this article improved, this sabotaged your goals. Letting whatever ScienceApologist did in the past be in the past would have been a far better move, and it's a better move now. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 19:37, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
It makes perfect sense and is not off topic to me at all to show how unsubstantiated his personal attack on me about WP:OWN was then and still is now in light of the fact of his never bothering to participate in the article before or since, except for two trivial edits and the few brief posts above in a 4-hour span. The bit of rhetoric from two months ago didn't add up to anything. I'm glad to see that more meaningful progress looks likely now since contributors like Doug and yourself actually are participating with substantive edits instead of ad hominems and rhetoric. Great. Let's keep it rolling! As far as WP:AGF goes and "assert that everybody did everything perfectly", you lost me there, I don't understand what you're saying. If you want to continue it on my talk page, feel free, maybe is getting beside the point here. Thanks. Wazronk (talk) 22:06, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
For a clean slate, probably should start a new subtoptic to focus on specifics. I had a similar impression as you described above and bulked up the adherents section with better sourcing several months ago, trying to get more substantive details. I don't have a lot of time at the moment, but when I read Gooch's book a while back, I jotted down some quotes from it that I thought might be useful in terms of having numbers and figures. I haven't incorporated much of them into the article but maybe you'll find something along the lines of what you have in mind that the article could use. I'll paste them below. Thanks. Wazronk (talk) 18:49, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I look forward to seeing it. I think that it would really help the article to have a clean introduction, one that meets the ideal of being a "mini-article" which gives a balanced summary of the most important aspects of the subject. Clearly the level of influence the book has had would be one of its most important aspects. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 19:37, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

karymullis.com as a source

I've been thinking about this and I have decided to remove it all. First, reliability is not the default position, and personal websites are explicitly disallowed WP:SPS. Yes, there is an exception, "Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. However, caution should be exercised when using such sources: if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else is likely to have done so." Kary Mullis is not a geneticist. This seems a pretty open and shut case. --Doug Weller (talk) 06:25, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Kary Mullis is not an established expert in any of the fields where he claims to have found "precise" matches between the Urantia Book's claims and the discoveries of modern science. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 13:44, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Also agree. Wazronk (talk) 03:44, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I disagree strongly. Kary Mullis Nobel-Laureate is an expert in DNA research and analysis of DNA related data and statistics. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Majeston (talkcontribs) 22:04, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Kary Mullis invented an impressive way to deal with the chemical DNA, which is why he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. That does not make him "an expert in DNA research and analysis of DNA related data and statistics", any more than being a geologic engineer who develops state-of-the-art processing techniques to extract clay minerals from soil is automatically an expert on the history of clay pots and other ceramic artifacts. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 02:04, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Excerpts from Gooch's book about the movement

Since there is an interest in putting more specific information into the article about the scope of the movement, here are a few notes I wrote down when I read Gooch's book Godtalk that maybe can be of use:

"For all of the surrounding secret-handshake style of mystery, though, The Urantia Book has endured and spread, if not quite flourished, during the nearly half century since its publication. More than half a million copies have been sold in hardback and paperback. Sales jumped from 7,000 in 1990 to 24,700 in 1997, and steadily increased to nearly 38,000 in 2000, a dramatic upturn that seems to represent a genuine trend rather than just some spike on a sales chart. (The hefty hardcover, weighing 4.3 pounds, is now in its fourteenth printing.)"
.... "A Russian office also opened in 2000. That same year, the Urantia Foundation's website recorded thirty thousand hits per month. The International Urantia Association twenty-six reader associations worldwide. The Urantia Book Fellowship, originally the Urantia Brotherhood -- a spin-off of the foundation -- claims roughly twelve hundred official members, with the highest concentrations in the West and the Sun Belt, especially California, Colorado, Florida, and Texas." pgs 13-14
"The number of actual readers remains a question. (I was told of a homeless man in New York City who discovered the book in a trash bin in Central Park.) Many readers come to groups after reading in solitude for twenty years. The book is often passed on, or lent to friends. Reading groups have never been officially counted, as they tend to sprout, ripen, then vanish or splinter. (A rough estimate from a fellowship official puts the number at about five hundred.) ... In Boulder, CO, I attended a meeting of a robust group with nearly one hundred members who gathered on Friday evenings in the First Congregational Church." pg 14
"The line between reading and worshipping in the Urantia movement is blurred. Some readers simply want to crack open the book and discuss its contents with friends. Others feel invited to a more worshipful, even liturgical response. So far the movement is making up its rituals as it goes along." pg 14
"But for most, worship remains as individual as the act of reading." pg 15

Wazronk (talk) 19:41, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm, interesting stuff. I'd say we could start beefing up the "Adherents" section right away by mentioning the Urantia Foundation, the International Urantia Association, and the Urantia Book Fellowship (the highest-level organizations mentioned by Gooch) and giving the indicators Gooch gives of relative size. For the introduction, though, the book sales reported by Gooch might be the best way to give a ballpark indication of the size (potential size, perhaps) of the movement. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 22:25, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I think I have some additional notes on my computer from when I found the other sources used in the article's adherents section, I'll see if I can find them and paste them also. Wazronk (talk) 22:29, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
And Gardner had a bit I think, although his book was published in 1995, so it might not be as useful on this topic. Wazronk (talk) 22:30, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Additional independently published sources about the movement

Below are a few other notes I found that I wrote down from various third-party published sources consulted for the article, maybe some more details from them can be considered useful. Wazronk (talk) 06:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Dawson, Lorne L. (2006). Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements (2nd Edition).

[Note: There's at least one factual error, the book was published in 1955 not 1935. Also note, ellipses are where I've skipped over things when I took down the notes. Wazronk (talk) 06:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)]

pgs 9-10

The Urantia movement is based on the study of The Urantia Book, a 2,097-page collection of papers first published in 1935....The messages were 'channeled' by a sleeping man, and recorded by Dr. William Samuel Sadler (1875 - 1969), a respected psychiatrist at the University of Chicago and lecturer at McCormick Theological Seminary. The book describes a universe of multiple dimensions containing thousands of inhabited worlds ruled over by gods of varying ranks, with diverse duties... The last part of the book contains many new claims about the childhood, travels, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The students of Urantia believe that a 'thought adjuster' dwells in each of us, seeking to direct our lives to the truth.... The sole activity of the membership of the Urantia movement is to study the book, often in groups. There are no clergy or churches, so it is difficult to gauge the size of the movement or speak of its structure. This amorphous nature was partly responsible for recent struggles between different groups over the legal ownership of the book, its interpretation, and the reception of new revelations, although these issues have now largely been resolved.

Melton, J. Gordon. 1990. New Age Encyclopedia (First Edition). Gale Research Inc.

[Note: I don't know how accurate some of this is anymore, it was published almost 20 years ago. Wazronk (talk) 06:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)]

pgs 170-171

Fifth Epochal Fellowship

The Fifth Epochal Fellowship, formerly the URANTIA Brotherhood (529 Wrightwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60614), founded in 1955, has its roots in the URANTIA Foundation, which had been founded in 1950 to promote the study and distribution of The Urantia Book, a 2,100-page collection of materials received from various celestial beings, channeled through a person who remains anonymous. First published in 1955, the book claims to present the true history of the universe and further information on the life of Jesus. The foundation's goals are to promote the true teachings of Jesus as well as the increased well-being, comfort, and happiness of humanity.

The Fifth Epochal Fellowship began as a result of the publication and circulation of The URANTIA Book and the work of the foundation. Members of the fellowship are those individuals who believe in The Urantia Book and its message. Composed of local societies, the fellowship incorporates a nonsectarian methodology, contending that members with differing religious views can receive its teachings as an enrichment rather than as a contradiction of their faiths. The fellowship's various publications include the "Fifth Epochal Fellowship Bulletin".

In 1989, the URANTIA Foundation and the URANTIA Brotherhood had a disagreement which led the foundation to revoke the right to use the symbols and the name URANTIA by the URANTIA Brotherhood. As a result, the brotherhood reorganized as the Fifth Epochal Fellowship, established new headquarters, but otherwise continues its programs and teachings.

Gardner, Martin. Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery

I didn't keep many notes beyond the numerous criticisms he had about the science in the book. If someone wants to go back to it, maybe would be able to find some more about the movement. Wazronk (talk) 06:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Various writers. You've Got to Read this Book.

This collection of essays from different people has each of them describing a book that was important to them. From the book's website: "Jack Canfield, cocreator of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, and self-actualization pioneer Gay Hendricks have invited notable people to share personal stories of books that changed their lives. What book shaped their outlook and habits? Helped them navigate rough seas? Spurred them to satisfaction and success?"

One of the people they invited to contribute was Mo Siegel, cofounder of the tea company Celestial Seasonings, and also a Urantia believer (it appears he is even on the board of trustees at Urantia Foundation). I found that his chapter has been reproduced on a website for Urantia devotees, here.

Seems minimal is there about the movement, but maybe there are a handful of details that could be used. One factoid, in terms of influence or impact of the book, is that Siegel says that teachings from it "were the inspiration for the uplifting quotes we print on the side of our tea boxes and on our teabag tags". Wazronk (talk) 06:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

That's something I think would improve the article -- we don't want to go overboard and put in every famous adherent we can find, but putting in a few like those would help a reader understand where the influence of the Urantia Book is to be found. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 02:33, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
On its own, I kind of ranked it as a trivia, something perhaps for "In popular culture". I'm ambivalent about that part of the article and not one to expand it. But in terms of mentioning a few notable people in the adherents section, there was a famous arctic explorer I think who was involved in the so-called "Forum". The guitarist Steve Vai I think is or was into the book. Of course, the "In popular culture" section has some items that potentially could be reshuffled into adherents. Wazronk (talk) 06:48, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree that "in popular culture" sections tend to be just trivia sections and don't frequently contribute to actual understanding of the subject. However, an article really isn't incomplete unless it gives the reader the answer to the question "why does this subject even merit an article?" If we were able to give a simple clear answer like "there are 450,000 people worldwide who consider themselves adherents" that would be one answer to that question; since there doesn't seem to be any clear numerical answer like that, giving the somewhat vaguer numbers we do have, plus some specifics about where the influence of the book has been felt (in prose format, of course, rather than a laundry list) will still help readers understand why the article exists. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 23:56, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
In terms of "where the influence of the book has been felt", there is a significant international aspect to consider. Though the book came from Chicago, it isn't primarily an American thing or really even an English language thing anymore. Of the figure of a half million books cited by Gooch, if memory serves I believe I read somewhere that half of those were books sold in languages other than English, predominately Spanish.
(Another side note about the figure Gooch cited, I believe that may only be Urantia Foundation figures, the original publisher. However, since the book legally became settled as being in the public domain, other organizations also print and distribute it, adding more uncertainty about arriving at any meaningul number for books sold.)
Take a look at this, a search for the word "urantia" on Google Trends. Searches from English users for the word aren't number one but are *fourth* on the list after Spanish, Finnish, and Portuguese. It's only one brief mention in the "In popular culture" section, but the J. J. Benitz books may be the single biggest example of influence.
I'm really curious about why there is so much googling for "urantia" coming out of Helsinki, Finland. Maybe mwcm1975 / 80.216.228.134 has an insight. By their IP address, the person is posting from Stockholm, Sweden. Wazronk (talk) 05:25, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
You don't suppose that Steve Vai might have had an album entitled "Urantia" do you or that he had a record company called Urantia Records and you don't suppose that Stefan Talqvist the scientist from Helsinki Finland who has been prolifically writing and blogging with other Finnish scientists about Urantia for over 15 years now http://kotisivu.dnainternet.net/adslfor/ or that there has been a Urantia Finnish translation for many years could have any influence do you? Majeston (talk) 15:02, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

[Snip the irrelevant and malformed copy and paste.]

About Steve Vai: No I don't suppose he had an album entitled "Urantia". According to the complete discography from the official Steve Vai site -- no album "Urantia". A complete google search of his website for the term "urantia" yields a blip buried deep in his discography about how almost a quarter of a century ago, in 1984, he released a solo album and one follow-up using "Akashic Records / Urantia Records". The world has never been the same. From the name of this humble record company, which apparently was formed only to sell young Steve Vai's inordinately Frank Zappa-influenced album "Flex-able", in fact the world in this way was unexpectedly alerted to the word "akashic", leading millions in a quest to discover the enlightening mysteries of the Hindu concept of akasha.

About Tallvquist: Scientist? Try: retired engineer and former chairman of "Sallskapet for Psyksisk Forskning" in Helsinki for ten years, which is "Society for Psychic Research". Not so much a go-to guy on particle physics.

Do I think that the existence of a Finnish translation of The Urantia Book is the reason why Helsinki shows up in Google Trends as searching for the word "urantia" more than any English region in the world? No. The book has been in existence in English the longest, why not Chicago? There is a French translation, why doesn't Paris show up? Do I think that one elderly guy with a circa 1997-style webpage and an interest in gluing together ping pong balls has led the well-educated Finnish populace into the top 10 in the world for googling the internet for "urantia"? No. Wazronk (talk) 05:57, 30 May 2008 (UTC)


Well, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, everybody has one, even if they are not all correct. It is quite a stretch of a fertile imagination to think that the obscure Steve Vai Urantia album from Urantia Records which I happen to have several copies of led "MILLIONS" of people on a quest for the term "akashic". You don't suppose that it was the famed arctic explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins who also just happened to be an original Forum member and the first contributor towards the printing of the Urantia Book in 1955 do you? And, why would you attempt to denigrate an accomplished credentialed engineer and a chairman of Psyksisk Forsking as if psychic research and the study of physics was some kind of badge of dishonor and also happens to be far more knowledgeable and respected on the material you are also interested in and given so much of your life to? You seem to give an undue amount of credence and respect to editors who have demonstrated repeatedly that their only intention is to destroy what you have spent hundreds of hours trying to accomplish? What's with that? Majeston (talk) 12:10, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Seeing as "what I'm trying to accomplish" is to ensure that the WP:V, WP:RS science and plagiarism criticisms don't get stripped out or falsified by believer-editors who try so consistently to turn the article into even more of a proselytizing tract than it can already be seen by some, I've been glad to see like-minded, communicative, level-headed editors coming by and keeping an eye on things.
Praise the Tallqvuist guy all that you want, I've never seen a peer reviewed publication or anything resembling WP:RS out of him, so in terms of this wikipedia article, there's nothing of relevance from him.
It's too bad no idea more substantial than "Tallqvuist" is offered about the Finnish interest in searching for "urantia" on google compared to other places. It doesn't seem realistic and it doesn't lead toward any WP:V, WP:RS details that can be included to better document underlying dynamics about the movement. That was the point in the first place. Wazronk (talk) 01:01, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

NPOV

Looking at these comments above, it would seem that the neutrality of this article is disputed. I have marked it accordingly with the NPOV tag. Roger Pearse 16:06, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

"After looking at the NPOV policy and the comments on the talk page, and indeed the Urantia page itself, I've marked it with the NPOV disputed tag. Frankly the article is a disgrace to Wikipedia. Roger Pearse"

Roger, your tag is inappropriate for the article. I understand you placed it there impulsively in anger about something. Certainly some individual entries are controversial and those are being addressed by several editors, perhaps you can contribute something of value to the article itself. Majeston (talk) 16:57, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I actually agree. Putting a tag on a page is easy, and IMO when it's done without making a single edit to improve NPOV, or without giving a single specific suggestion of what to improve, it's laziness more or less. Make actual edits to improve or at a minimum constructively and WP:AGF communicate about specific areas to improve. To follow my own advice, I'll second the suggestion by 65.78.13.238 from the other day, I agree that the lead paragraphs as a "mini article" could really stand to be improved and cleaned. Wazronk (talk) 01:01, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

The Book

I've suggested before and it seemed to go nowhere, so let's address the problem again. The article should be titled Urantia. The book is only part of what has expanded into a worldwide movement, a phenomenon; an enigma that is changing the way reality is viewed on planet Earth. There are over 60 secondary publications either inspired by the information in the book or have been written about the book itself. The book has inspired scientists; theologians; historians; archaeologists; film-makers; writers; artists; musicians and virtually every profession known to mankind in one way or another in the short span of some seventy plus years. The baby hasn't even been birthed yet. It has even inspired a growing opposition of fundamentalist believers of whatever ilk to attempt to erase any mention or trace of it's information and teachings yet it continues to grow at an ever increasing rate. The fourth epochal revelation was Jesus himself and the same mindset attempted to distort and destroy that revelation. We all know what happened there. The Urantia Papers are the Fifth Revelation; directly built upon the spiritual power of the Fourth and expanded.

"Page 2068- if this counsel or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them, lest haply you be found even to be fighting against God."

How ironic that this article is part of Wikipedia when in reality Wikipedia is a tiny part of Urantia.

O.K. LOL, Let's deal with the issue at hand. The article about THE BOOK needs to be reworked. Probably the entire article needs to be blanked and a fresh approach brought about. I'll start with getting rid of the repetitious term "The Urantia Book" which appears in the article "The Urantia Book" at least a hundred times. Quite overdone, don't you think? Let's look at it from the prospective of these drive by shooters. If you don't like the edit, reverse it. Majeston (talk) 02:52, 31 May 2008 (UTC)


The Thought Adjuster concept is repetitive in the sections God and the Individual and section Thought Adjuster.

needs editing. Majeston (talk) 04:29, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Everyone can agree that there is a book titled The Urantia Book. By contrast, not everyone agrees that there is "a worldwide movement, a phenomenon; an enigma that is changing the way reality is viewed on planet Earth," much less of "a growing opposition of fundamentalist believers of whatever ilk to attempt to erase any mention or trace of it's sic information and teachings". So we write about the book.
On the issue of "getting rid of the repetitious term 'The Urantia Book'", that is not necessary -- or desirable. Leaving aside the fact that in many cases your removal created the impression that there was a book whose title was simply "the book" ("The Urantia Foundation first published The book in 1955 in English."), or that several passages did not even make grammatical sense after your removals ("Buddhism one of the 'great international, interracial faiths' and it 'has shown an adaptability to the mores of many peoples that has been equaled only by Christianity.'") the major problem with the edit is that Wikipedia describes religions and philosophies in an NPOV fashion by identifying who believes what. Removing all references to the "who" and retaining only the "what" jeopardizes the clarity of the text and therefore its NPOV nature. This is certainly not worth doing if the only benefit would be to get rid of a "repetitious term". If we were talking about the achievements of an individual we would see no pressing need to remove mentions of the individual to keep a "repetitious term" from being used; likewise, since we are talking about a set of teachings that originate from a specific book, there is no sense in removing mention of their origin in that book.
On a side issue, I have also reverted the instances where you changed "Sadler" to "Dr. Sadler". If we do not insert such titles even in the first sentence of a person's own biography then I do not see why we would do so in any other article. The article text already says that both the Sadlers were physicians, which should be sufficient. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 17:59, 31 May 2008 (UTC)


I appreciate your comments and suggestions. I will change the Dr. prefix as per wiki policy. You could have done that as well without reverting all the work I did to make the article more readable with simply your lazy stroke of the keyboard. You also have identified a few instances that could use clarification which I intend to do. Thank you for pointing that out. You also could have done that instead of an entire lazy revert. This article is not here just to please your personal likes or dislikes. You make some fine suggestions and we should see what imput other editors of this article have. Where would we be if every editor simply came along and reverted an article that somehow didn't please his/her personal standards. This article happens to be several years old and is constantly being improved. Thanks for your attention but next time consider making improvements or having a discussion before simply reverting. Majeston (talk) 19:20, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Make up your mind, above you write " If you don't like the edit, reverse it" but when someone takes you up on that, you rv them and your edit summary says "wiki policy is to discuss and reach concensus b4 revert" which isn't actually true anyway.--Doug Weller (talk) 19:43, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Please stop the personal attacks. There was no "lazy revert"; I examined each and every change made by your edit and did not find a single change that was for the better. There was no attempt to "please" my "personal likes and dislikes"; there was an attempt to improve the article by changing it to a better revision. I explained why a revision that identified views coming from the Urantia Book as views coming from the Urantia Book was better than one that constantly omitted that information; you have not made any meaningful response to that.
Out of curiosity, exactly how do you reconcile offering "Probably the entire article needs to be blanked and a fresh approach brought about. I'll start with getting rid of the repetitious term "The Urantia Book" which appears in the article "The Urantia Book" at least a hundred times." as a justification for making an un-agreed-upon change, but offering "This article happens to be several years old and is constantly being improved." as a justification for keeping your less-than-a-full-day-old version in place? It seems highly inconsistent for you to insist that the alterations you made this morning without input from anyone else must be respected because the article you altered is several years old -- after expressing the opinion that the same article, despite being several years old, "probably ... needs to be blanked". -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 20:07, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Unlike yourselves, I've been trying to improve the article. None of you Urantia stalkers have made any edits aside from occasionally inserting derogatory material in the article or tag-team deleting or reverting any improved entries made. I have taken into consideration some of the positive suggestions and incorporated them into the article, but even that is not good enough for the stalker tag-team. The article is about The Urantia Book, it is quite tedious reading and quite unnecessary to repeat THE Urantia Book every time something is quoted from The Urantia Book. Any reader of the Urantia Book article about The Urantia Book knows the quotations are from The Urantia Book. It doesn't help the Wikipedia entry of The Urantia Book to repeat The Urantia Book a thousand times in an article about The Urantia Book. If you think I am incorrect, then I can easily improve the article by adding The Urantia Book many more times in the article. I am assuming good faith on the edits, but that is certainly quite a stretch for even a fertile imagination considering the recent rash of reverts by a handful of editors who have contributed nothing at all to the article except WP:Harass or WP:Stalk.

Recently the comment was made.. "After looking at the NPOV policy and the comments on the talk page, and indeed the Urantia page itself, I've marked it with the NPOV disputed tag. Frankly the article is a disgrace to Wikipedia. Roger Pearse"

Frankly, I don't know how an article titled The Urantia Book can be either a POV or an NPOV. It is what it is and says what it says. The book itself certainly has its own point of view on many things and that is one of the reasons there are over a dozen translations and more than a million copies in print. There are over a hundred books written about it or inspired by it as well as World class artists, musicians, scientists and common ordinary people from every religion and walk of life all over the world who just so happen to be quite impressed by the information it contains. Of course, not everyone either understands it; believes it or agrees with it, but to apply POV or NPOV seems quite inappropriate.

Certainly, I am open to positive suggestions about improving the entry and am willing to take the time and effort, as I'm sure others are and have, but constant stalking; edit warring and coming to the article and associated articles with definite bias; prejudice or outright ignorance of the material being edited for whatever reason, religious; non-religious; pseudo-scientific or otherwise, serves no purpose except to cause chaos. If you have no interest in contributing to and improving the Urantia Book entry, go about your business, whatever that is, in peace. Why all the contentious puerile behavior?

Majeston (talk) 22:11, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

First of all, stop the personal attacks. They do not help your case. Secondly, I will reply to the sole portion of your post in which you addressed the issues: "The article is about The Urantia Book, it is quite tedious reading and quite unnecessary to repeat THE Urantia Book every time something is quoted from The Urantia Book. Any reader of the Urantia Book article about The Urantia Book knows the quotations are from The Urantia Book. It doesn't help the Wikipedia entry of The Urantia Book to repeat The Urantia Book a thousand times in an article about The Urantia Book. If you think I am incorrect, then I can easily improve the article by adding The Urantia Book many more times in the article." You would be violating Wikipedia policy by disrupting Wikipedia to make a point in that fashion, so I advise you not to try it. Has anyone suggested that "The Urantia Book" should appear several times a sentence, as in your attempt at a reductio ad absurdum? No. However, there does happen to be a middle ground between "inserted wherever possible" and "removed wherever possible" and that middle ground is "appearing when doing so keeps clear the distinction between what the Urantia Book claims and what Wikipedia claims." The effect of your edit was to blur that distinction, which made it a poor edit. And one way to improve an article which has been made worse by poor edits is by undoing those poor edits. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 23:59, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
It's worrying that we have an editor who thinks he is promulgating the truth and who doesn't understand WP:NPOV. Doug Weller (talk) 06:19, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Gaming the system

   Further information: Wikipedia:Gaming the system

Gaming the system means using Wikipedia policies and guidelines in bad faith, to deliberately thwart the aims of Wikipedia and the process of communal editorship. Gaming the system is subversive and in some cases, a form of disruption. It usually involves improper use of (or appeal to) a policy, to purposefully derail or disrupt Wikipedia processes, to claim support for a viewpoint which clearly contradicts those policies, or to attack a genuinely policy-based stance.

Examples of gaming include (but are not limited to): -

1. Wikilawyering
2. Playing policies against each other
3. Relying upon the letter of policy as a defense when breaking the spirit of policy
4. Mischaracterizing other editors' actions to make them seem unreasonable or improper
5. Selectively 'cherry picking' wording from a policy (or cherry picking one policy to apply such as verifiability but willfully ignoring others such as neutrality)
6. Attempting to force an untoward interpretation of policy, or impose one's own view of "standards to apply" rather than those of the community
7. False consensus
8. Stonewalling (willfully stalling discussion or preventing it moving forward)
9. 'Borderlining' (habitually treading the edge of policy breach or engaging in low-grade policy breach to make it hard to actually prove misconduct)
10. Abuse of process

Gaming can sometimes overlap with policies and guidelines such as disruption (including "disruption to illustrate a point"), incivility (including posting of repeated spurious 'warnings'), personal attack, and failure to assume good faith.

If there is no evidence of improper intent or there is a genuine mistake, it is not usually considered to be gaming. But it may well be, if the action is deliberate, or it is clear there is no way they can reasonably claim to be unaware. Majeston (talk) 10:49, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

Stop the personal attacks. What part of that do you not understand? -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 03:04, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Sorry,  I'm not biting, please see WP:BAIT

Wikipedia:Don't take the bait

WP:BAIT This page in a nutshell: Goading others into making uncivil comments is a distressingly common tactic. Don't take the bait. This is a fish. This is bait. A smart fish doesn't take the bait.

Wikipedia's policy on civility is the most straightforward policy for administrators to enforce. Disruptive or agenda-driven editors often are clever enough to realize this, and manipulate the civility policy as a weapon in content disputes. A common way to do this is by badgering their opposite number — while being careful to remain superficially civil — until their victim lashes out. They then complain to an administrator. Time-pressed administrators may look only at specific edits without delving into the background that led up to the incident, resulting in a warning or block for the targeted editor. Most discouraging of all, this tactic is nearly risk-free. There rarely are negative consequences for those who use it, in part because a pattern of ongoing provocation can't easily be explained following the usual "diffs please" request.

Don't fall for it. You are under no obligation to respond to goading. Avoid the temptation to get in the last word. It's only polite to reply to the first inquiry or two, but you are free to end the discussion at the point where you feel further exchanges serve no useful purpose. Don't tell your harasser that they aren't welcome, as this can be used against you. In short, don't take the bait. Just swim away. Majeston (talk) 16:06, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

CULTURAL INFLUENCE

Proposal for comments; suggestions and ideas for creating a new section with the above heading to improve and replace the "Pop Culture" section Majeston (talk) 00:57, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Most trivia and popular cultures sections are pretty bad, often used to promote stuff. I've pruned a few, even deleted some including one today. This one is no better and even seems to include possible libel. The one today was on Osiris, picked up while monitoring changes in Egyptology articles. I deleted it, here is what I wrote on the talk page:

"I noticed a recent edit while watching recent changes in Egyptology edits and decided to find out what should go in such sections, following the discussion above. WP:POPCULTURE says 'in a nutshell' "In popular culture" sections should be carefully maintained and contain sourced examples demonstrating a subject's cultural significance." In more detail, it says "Some degree of selectivity should always be used when adding items, and passing references to the article subject are usually not good examples. "In popular culture" lists should contain verifiable facts of genuine interest to a broad audience of readers. Although some information can be verified from primary sources, this does not demonstrate whether such information has been discussed in independent secondary sources. If a cultural reference is genuinely significant it should be possible to find a secondary reliable source to attribute that judgment. Quoting a respected expert as attesting to the importance of a subject as a cultural influence is encouraged." The current section simply didn't get anywhere near meeting the guidelines, so I've removed it. I've nothing against a decent section with references to independent secondary sources, and if someone wants to start one, go ahead."

I need to add to the above. First, that was an essay and I've incorrectly referred to it as guidelines. I must correct that, but I think it gives good guidance. The guidelines on trivia sections are at WP:TRIVIA which notes " A trivia section is one that contains a disorganized and "unselective" list." Which I think pretty much describes the current Popular culture section.

Secondly, I'm not completely impressed by the Cultural impact section in the Startrek article. It's a bit disjointed and has original research such as "Roddenberry explicitly intended the show to have a political agenda, as can be heard in phrases like "Those who hate and fight must stop themselves, otherwise it is not stopped." -- that sort of comment definitely needs a reliable secondary source.

And third, I think it should be called 'The Urantia Book in popular culture', definitely not 'Cultural influence'. That smacks a bit of POV.Doug Weller (talk)

"Adherents and influence"?

We have two problematic sections: an "adherents" section, for which it's difficult to find hard data, and an "in popular culture" section which is pretty much a laundry list of trivia items. However, it occurs to me that we might broaden the former section to cover "adherents and influence", and then offer a careful selection of items showing where the influence of the book has shown (in prose rather than proseline format, of course.)

This possibility only occurred to me tonight, and I'm not even sure I support it yet, so I don't recommend that we implement it before there's been a chance to discuss it. But let's discuss it. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 01:54, 3 June 2008 (UTC)


This is a good suggestion and I support your interest in improving the article. By combining the two sections, a poorly drafted adherents section could be eliminated.

I have been looking at The Star Trek entry and how the Cultural Influences sections incorporate the desired information for the benefit of any interested party as well as creating a more pleasant experience for the reader. There are two articles there which may provide a template for this article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_impact_of_Star_Trek and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek#Cultural_impact . It is kind of ironic to use the Star Trek article as I knew Gene Roddenberry personally and The Urantia book was his main inspiration for the Star Trek series with many themes and ideas taken directly from it. In fact, science fiction as a whole has been completely changed since The Urantia Book was published in 1955. Majeston (talk) 02:36, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Authorship

I believe the Authorship section needs to be revised for NPOV and for clarity. Currently, the section is almost wholly the "official" account of how the Book came to be, told as if that account was undisputed, and it seems that any information which does not fit in with that official account is either omitted or saved for one paragraph at the very end of the section.

Perhaps we could rearrange the section to start with the information that all sides agree upon, and then discuss the accounts which are disputed, and where the disputation comes in. -- 65.78.13.238 (talk) 14:48, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Use of NASA image for "cosmic" purposes

I have removed Image:The Earth seen from Apollo 17.jpg from the top of the article because it does not serve an informational purpose. User:Macduff has reinstated the image, arguing "The purpose is cosmic in nature".

An encyclopedia article is not for "cosmic purposes", but aims to inform about its subject, and the image is not about this article's subject at all - it is very likely that its creators did not even know about The Urantia Book -; it does not serve to give the reader a better understanding of the article's subject. It may be that for the Wikipedian who inserted the photo, it elicits some personal feelings or associations connected with The Urantia Book, but per WP:NPOV such personal viewpoints do not have a place in Wikipedia articles unless attributed to a notable commentator.

Regards, HaeB (talk) 12:19, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree, the image is really an editorial statement expressing their personal POV and as we shouldn't have those, it shouldn't be in the article. Doug Weller (talk) 12:42, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining this and for your understanding. I think I've found a solution everyone can agree on. -- Macduff (talk) 15:38, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
I added the image of the Earth about 2 years ago because "Urantia" means that planet. It certainly wasn't any type of POV pushing, I am not sure of the motives of the person who returned it. I did not think it would be controversial. The book is a book about the history of the Earth and titled after the Earth. I do know about the Urantia book and have read it. If people still feel that the image is not appropriate fine, but don't assume it was some sort of POV pushing. Chillum 18:18, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

Gene Roddenberry

Two months ago, I removed the mention of Gene Roddenberry from the popular culture section, stating that it was unreferenced as my reason. Shortly thereafter, another user put him back along with a reference. I notice that he has now been removed again. What is the situation with him and the Urantia book, and was it ever resolved as to whether or not it is appropriate to list him? I have read claims in on-line Urantian circles that the book was an influence on him and on Star Trek, but I have never read or heard anything about it elsewhere. -- Macduff (talk) 02:10, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

Macduff, you will notice that this article has been usurped by a small group of anti-Urantia trolls intent on disrupting and basically vandalizing any material included which may give credibility to it. Roddenberry of course should be included as should Kary Mullis and Mark Mcmenamin's actual evaluation. Instead, what has been included is distorted and vandalized. This is one of the great failings of Wikipedia credibility which allows this type of vandalism to remain a controlling force. I have moved on. If you enjoy wasting your time and playing silly games you should stay. Majeston (talk) 14:35, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

The other view of course is that an editor who names himself after one of the chief characters in the Urantia book and thinks he is on some sort of mission to add The Truth to Wikipedia (and elsewhere) and who calls anyone who disagrees a troll or a vandal in defiance of WP:Civil is the root of any problems in this article. Whatever Majeston may know about Roddenberry from personal contact, what we need here is reliable and verifiable sources. Doug Weller (talk) 15:09, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Authorship source...

PDF... court ruling Page 27 states.... "The parties in Urantia agreed that the words in "The Urantia Book" were authored by divine spiritual beings, who initially communicated with a psychiatric patient who wrote the words down by hand. See Urantia, 114 F.3d at 957; Urantia Found. v. Burton, 210 U.S.P.Q. 217, 1980 WL 1176, at *1 (W.D. Mich. 1980) ("Urantia II"). The handwritten manuscript was then typed out by the patient's psychiatrist." --Emesee (talk) 04:33, 29 June 2008 (UTC)


Statement dispute

I am disputing the neutrality/accuracy of the statement "Of all current world religions, The Urantia Book's teachings are most consistent with the teachings of Christianity." This is a subjective assessment that I also think many Christians and even New Agers working with The Course in Miracles would dispute. Definitions of "religion" and "teachings," as well as interpretations of "teachings of Christianity," since there are thousands of Christian sects in the US alone today, are not objective or identifiable. Blessedtoes 15:10, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

The section seems to read well enough without that particular opening statement (copied below), and since it is without citation, I'll remove it from the main article. Xaxafrad 00:42, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Of all current world religions, The Urantia Book's teachings are most consistent with the teachings of Christianity. However, there are numerous and significant differences between The Urantia Book and commonly accepted Christian beliefs.

Glad you decided to remove that. In my memory the statement came from a published source which was arguably useful to the article here. The argument stated that because the source was published it was therefore "not original material". However, it was partially false even though published - that is, it was only true in some aspects. Thanks for removing it, I never thought it was useful information for an article that is supposed to be objective. The book is unique, really. It may be closest to SOME Christian belief because it is wholly supportive of the incarnation of Jesus on earth. But that is very crude to say the least compared to what is actually encompassed in the book. Thanks ... Hanely 05:47, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

The following dispute has to do with this section: "The following are attributed to Jesus, as in the Bible:[1]

* He was a Son of God incarnate, born to Mary and Joseph;
* He was God in man, both human and divine;
* He lived a perfect life;
* He revealed God to man as "the way, the truth, and the life";
* He performed many of the miracles described in the Bible, such as the resurrection of Lazarus, the turning of water into wine, the feeding of the five thousand, and numerous healings of the blind, diseased, and infirm;
* He taught twelve apostles, most of whom went on to spread his teachings;
* He was crucified, and on the third day after his death, rose from the dead;
* He will return to our world again some day."

Although many of these statements are similarities, there are some phraseologies that need to be addressed that might even relegate the statements to a different section. The first statement is that Jesus was ONE son of God incarnate,born to Mary and Joseph. There is a difference here, in that Christians believe that Jesus is the ONLY Son of God, as we reject the idea that Jesus is not a part of the Trinity. That is stated in the "differences" section, yet this was allowed to remain as a similarity. The second problem I have with this particular statement is that the wording is confusing at the end. If the believers of the Urantia Book believe in Christ's virginal birth, then the wording should be akin to, "Mary, whose husband was Joseph" to allay any confusion. If not, it needs to be omitted as a similarity. I also object to the fourth statement. In John 14:6-7 Jesus Christ clearly states this about himself: "Jesus said to them, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.'" (English Standard Version) The author took the verse out of context. It explicitly says that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that He IS the Father. The context of this verse precludes it from being a BIBLICAL similarity due to Christ's declaration of equality with the Father. Amusingly enough, because Jesus states, "I am the Way...", the only way to reconcile that Jesus is referring to God as the Way, the Truth, and the Life would be to admit that God and Christ are fully the same being, which the adherents of the Urantia Book do not believe. ~JeMoCo —Preceding unsigned comment added by JeMoCo (talkcontribs) 01:54, 18 January 2009 (UTC)


The following is refuted by numerous professional religious scholars:

"It explicitly says that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that He IS the Father."

In fact, scholarship has conclusively proven that Jesus' own teachings were theocentric, not christocentric. Jesus did not claim he WAS God the Father; this is an later intepretation placed upon the scripture by the later church. Increasingly, religions scholars, Chrisian and non-Christian, are differentianting between the teachings of Jesus' about the "kingdom of God" and the later teachings about his person. To ignore this vast body of scholarship is to allow one biased view to be given to much weight. The body of professional scholarship from Christian and non-Christians alike refutes this narrow sectarian view of Jesus' teachings in realationship to the early and later churches teachings about his person. Dogyo (talk) 05:33, 17 November 2009 (UTC) Dogyo

The Urantia Book in popular culture -- New Item

It has been speculated that some of Garcia's lyrics were inspired by The Urantia Book and this text on his having read the book is from an LA times opinion piece as found below. I'm just posting this in case someone who works on this page thinks it is appropriate for the 'in popular culture' page:

"Even though President Bill Clinton occasionally wears a Jerry Garcia designer necktie, Garcia himself never wore a tie. But he did have a drawer filled with black T-shirts, along with a copy of the "Urantia Book." He once told me that anyone who read that 2,097-page sci-fi/spiritual tome from cover to cover, which he had done, would receive a mysterious visit from three elderly women. They never arrived at his door."

Jerry Garcia on Tour: The Way We Were [Home Edition] Los Angeles Times Los Angeles, Calif. Author: Paul Krassner Date: Aug 13, 1995 Start Page: 2 Section: Opinion; PART-M; Opinion Desk Text Word Count: 1161 Abstract (Document Summary)

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/21435197.html?dids=21435197:21435197&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Aug+13%2C+1995&author=Paul+Krassner&pub=Los+Angeles+Times+(pre-1997+Fulltext)&edition=&startpage=2&desc=THE+NATION+PERSONAL+PERSPECTIVE+Jerry+Garcia+on+Tour%3A+The+Way+We+Were

80.216.138.153 (talk) 17:03, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Rick Griffin (June 18, 1944 - August 18, 1991) describes, in Tales from the Tube, how a surfer discovers the Isle of Paradise.

Yurivs (talk) 21:30, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

"Overview" section

An older version of the "Overview" section of the article was pasted back in that I'd previously edited down to be NPOV and more succinct and which another editor had also added to slightly. The older text was pasted back verbatim with the comment "This version is the most accurate and is within NPOV exactly".

Actually that version isn't NPOV, it states as encyclopedic fact the tiny-minority POV that "Vorondadek Sons" and "Universal Censors" etc actually wrote the book, which is not "a piece of information about which there is no serious dispute". It is very much "a matter which is subject to dispute". Please see WP:ASF for more (a part of the WP:NPOV policy on wikipedia).

To me it also hasn't read as "Overview" material about the contents of the book, which could sensibly and understandably be expanded I can agree, since this summary section has been lean. What was added though was lumps of undigested Urantia-speak to no discernable effect in increasing understanding of the topic. All of the words in bold were added to one paragraph for example:

"Part II is composed of 25 papers "Sponsored by a Nebadon Corps of Local Universe Personalities acting by authority of Gabriel of Salvington" and is authored by Mighty Messengers, the Chief of Archangels, Vorondadek Sons, Brilliant Evening Stars, Melchizedeks, Malavatia Melchizedek, Archangels, Secondary Lanonandeks, Manovandet Melchizedek, and Machiventa Melchizedek."

What's a "Lanonandek"? What's a "Salvington"? What's a Manovandet Melchizedek? What is any of this to someone looking for a readable summary of the book's basics since they don't know the topic already? It doesn't read as encyclopedic, it's not explained in any way, and it increases the "Overview" section 50% or more in size just from the litany of unexplained Urantia neologisms.

I've made a careful edit to the summary section to incorporate suggestions of wording changes from most recent edits by Hanely, some of the wording from the past that seemed crisper, and a few additional clarifications. A book of this one's length and complexity is understandably going to be difficult to summarize with only a few paragraphs and I welcome discussion about it. Wazronk (talk) 20:33, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Sections comparing the UB with other religions

I've deleted most of this as they were clearly written by editors making their own comparisons, whereas what we need to do is source this from reliable third part sources. I've left in what appears to be sourced, although I haven't checked the sources and each statement should be cited (including the page number(s)) to meet our criteria at WP:Verifiable. Dougweller (talk) 13:18, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

In consideration of WP:OR, WP:NPOV, and WP:V and knowing how much of the material originated, I don't arrive at the conclusion that you have, and so I've restored the material pending further discussion and referencing. From WP:V: "Any material lacking a reliable source may be removed, but editors might object if you remove material without giving them sufficient time to provide references, and it has always been good practice, and expected behavior of Wikipedia editors (in line with our editing policy), to make reasonable efforts to find sources oneself that support such material, and cite them."
While the 3 subsections that were deleted did not have inline citations it isn't the case that they are therefore original research lacking a basis in sources. And some of the material that was deleted in fact was explicitly linked to sourcing by how it was written. From the edit summaries, it appears that it was the instances where a primary source was used that article material was deleted, with a claim that a primary source (UB) isn't to be used. That is not true. WP:OR is clear that primary sourcing can be used, though with this to keep in mind: "A primary source may be used only to make descriptive claims, the accuracy of which is verifiable by a reasonable, educated person without specialist knowledge. For example, an article about a novel may cite passages from the novel to describe the plot, but any interpretation of those passages needs a secondary source. Do not make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims about information found in a primary source."
The following text was deleted from the article for example with the statement "OR, no sources". In the text there's no original research however, and no interpretations extending source material. There are only descriptive statements of what the source says as per WP:OR and WP:NPOV:
The Urantia Book considers Buddhism one of the "great international, interracial faiths" and says it "has shown an adaptability to the mores of many peoples that has been equaled only by Christianity".
Gautama Siddhartha is called a real prophet whose doctrines were "revolutionary and amazing" for their time. He is credited with being one of the seven outstanding teachers in human history in the matter of combining contemporaneous systems of ethical and religious teachings, a group that includes Moses, Laozi, and the Apostle Paul.
The teaching that a divine nature — the Buddha-nature — resides in all people, and that through their own endeavors people can attain a realization of this inner divinity, is cited as one of the clearest presentations of the concept of the Thought Adjuster to be found in non-revelatory religion.
The book says Gautama's experience was tragic, however, in that he was an "orphan prophet" whose philosophy failed early on to envision the reality of a spiritual God.
Despite this, the book states: "Buddhism is a living, growing religion today because it succeeds in conserving many of the highest moral values of its adherents. It promotes calmness and self-control, augments serenity and happiness, and does much to prevent sorrow and mourning. Those who believe this philosophy live better lives than many who do not."
Every statement is in attribution to source and descriptive in plain wording concerning what the source material conveys. The text asserts only the fact of what the source contains on the topic and doesn't give any extension of it with analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims. I ask that you cite more specifically which aspect of WP:OR the text above in some way doesn't appear to meet to you. As OR policy says: "Research that consists of collecting and organizing material from existing sources within the provisions of this and other content policies is encouraged: this is "source-based research", and it is fundamental to writing an encyclopedia."
The "Comparison to Christianity" material probably merits a separate thread, I do see where you are coming from on it, but it's not as unrooted in secondary sources as you seem to think, as well as there being aspects from primary. I've mostly left as is for the moment. I reworked the "Comparison to other world religions" subsection somewhat though. Wazronk (talk) 20:25, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
For the sake of clarity I have cited the source material in context for each of the statements below:
Original: The Urantia Book considers Buddhism one of the "great international, interracial faiths" and says it "has shown an adaptability to the mores of many peoples that has been equaled only by Christianity".
‘’The great international, interracial faiths are the Hebraic, Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic. Buddhism stretches from Ceylon and Burma through Tibet and China to Japan. It has shown an adaptability to the mores of many peoples that has been equaled only by Christianity. ‘’ (92:6.16)
Comment: This is an accurate summary statement of the UB text, and therefore conforms with of WP:OR, WP:NPOV, and WP:V.
Original: Gautama Siddhartha is called a real prophet whose doctrines were "revolutionary and amazing" for their time. He is credited with being one of the seven outstanding teachers in human history in the matter of combining contemporaneous systems of ethical and religious teachings, a group that includes Moses, Laozi, and the Apostle Paul.
There was a lofty sincerity and a unique unselfishness about this young prophet prince that greatly appealed to the men of those days. (94:7.2)
the prophet prince of India. (94:11.9)
When proclaimed at its best, Gautama's gospel of universal salvation, free from sacrifice, torture, ritual, and priests, was a revolutionary and amazing doctrine for its time.' (94:7.7)
In the matter of the combination of the better elements in contemporaneous systems of ethical and religious teachings, there have been seven outstanding human teachers: Sethard, Moses, Zoroaster, Lao-tse, Buddha, Philo, and Paul. (121:6.4)
Gautama was a real prophet, and had he heeded the instruction of the hermit Godad, he might have aroused all India by the inspiration of the revival of the Salem gospel of salvation by faith. (94:7.4)
Comment: This is an accurate summary statement of the UB text, and therefore conforms with of WP:OR, WP:NPOV, and WP:V.
The teaching that a divine nature — the Buddha-nature — resides in all people, and that through their own endeavors people can attain a realization of this inner divinity, is cited as one of the clearest presentations of the concept of the Thought Adjuster to be found in non-revelatory religion.
This philosophy also held that the Buddha (divine) nature resided in all men; that man, through his own endeavors, could attain to the realization of this inner divinity. And this teaching is one of the clearest presentations of the truth of the indwelling Adjusters ever to be made by a Urantian religion. (94:11.5)
Comment: This is an accurate summary statement of the UB text, and therefore conforms with of WP:OR, WP:NPOV, and WP:V.
Original: The book says Gautama's experience was tragic, however, in that he was an "orphan prophet" whose philosophy failed early on to envision the reality of a spiritual God.
Your Buddha was much better than your Buddhism. Buddha was a great man, even a prophet to his people, but he was an orphan prophet; by that I mean that he early lost sight of his spiritual Father, the Father in heaven. His experience was tragic. He tried to live and teach as a messenger of God, but without God. Buddha guided his ship of salvation right up to the safe harbor, right up to the entrance to the haven of mortal salvation, and there, because of faulty charts of navigation, the good ship ran aground. There it has rested these many generations, motionless and almost hopelessly stranded. And thereon have many of your people remained all these years. They live within hailing distance of the safe waters of rest, but they refuse to enter because the noble craft of the good Buddha met the misfortune of grounding just outside the harbor. And the Buddhist peoples never will enter this harbor unless they abandon the philosophic craft of their prophet and seize upon his noble spirit. Had your people remained true to the spirit of Buddha, you would have long since entered your haven of spirit tranquillity, soul rest, and assurance of salvation. (132:7.4)
Comment: This is an accurate summary statement of the UB text, and therefore conforms with of WP:OR, WP:NPOV, and WP:V.
Original: Despite this, the book states: "Buddhism is a living, growing religion today because it succeeds in conserving many of the highest moral values of its adherents. It promotes calmness and self-control, augments serenity and happiness, and does much to prevent sorrow and mourning. Those who believe this philosophy live better lives than many who do not."
Buddhism is a living, growing religion today because it succeeds in conserving many of the highest moral values of its adherents. It promotes calmness and self-control, augments serenity and happiness, and does much to prevent sorrow and mourning. Those who believe this philosophy live better lives than many who do not. (94:9.6)
Comment: This is an accurate summary statement of the UB text, and therefore conforms with of WP:OR, WP:NPOV, and WP:V.
I believe the evidence confirms Wazronk claim to have been in conformance with WP:OR, WP:NPOV, and WP:V. The original should stand as published in my view.

--Dogyo (talk) 17:49, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia's Sometimes Inconsistent Topics

In the “Comparison to Christianity” section it is claimed that “Some differences with Christianity include,” and then it states:

Jesus' crucifixion is not considered an atonement for the sins of humanity. The crucifixion is taught to be an outcome of the fears of religious leaders of the day, who regarded his teachings as a threat to their positions of authority.

This raises an interesting question. Which version of Christianity is this denial of the atonement different from? The UB most certainly does reject atonement as traditionally understood within the Western Augustinian tradition, but that is only one stream of thinking on this issue within the wider Christian tradition, which includes the Eastern Orthodox Church and its teachings about theōsis. Wikipedia itself states:

In Christian theology, particularly in ... Eastern Orthodoxy, and Oriental Orthodoxy theology, theosis (written also: theiosis, theopoiesis, theōsis; Greek: Θέωσις, meaning divinization, deification, or making divine) is the process of transformation of a believer who is putting into practise (called praxis) the spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ and His gospel.
Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism have a substantively different soteriology; this is sometimes cited as the core difference between Eastern and Western Christianity. Salvation is not seen as legal release, but transformation of the human nature itself in the Son taking on human nature. In contrast to other forms of Christianity, the Orthodox tend to use the word "expiation" with regard to what is accomplished in the sacrificial act. In Orthodox theology, expiation is an act of offering that seeks to change the one making the offering. The Greek word that is translated both into propitiation and expiation is "hilasmos" which means "to make acceptable and enable one to draw close to God". Thus the Orthodox emphasis would be that Christ died, not to appease an angry and vindictive Father, or to avert the wrath of God, but to change people so that they may become more like God (see Theosis).

While this is not the place for a detailed discussion of the history of Eastern Orthodox theology on the atonement or to make a detailed comparison of the UB's teachings on this subject and the brief comment above regarding the Eastern Orthodoxy theory of theosis, there are nevertheless striking similarities in these two views as described within the UB and the Eastern Orthodoxy concept of Theosis. In fact, upon close examination they are similar enough that if it is correct to claim that the UB is different than Christianity because it rejects the Augustinian traditions legalistic theories regarding the atonement than it would have to be equally correct to say that Eastern Orthodox Christianity is different from "Christianity" too, and of course this would be an absurd statement without a more careful, nuanced, and meaningful explanation. It would be more accurate to say it differs from the Western Augustinian version of Christianity, while it is similar to the Eastern Orthodox Christianity's idea of Theosis.

Dogyo (talk) 06:17, 17 November 2009 (UTC) Dogyo

Your logic seems reasonable. There are some clear differences between Christianity and The Urantia Book, but atonement is not one of them. --Uikku (talk) 05:03, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Yes, there are indeed clear differences, but even more interesting is that one does not need to go as far as the Eastern Orthodoxy tradition to see views expressed regarding the atonement similar those expressed in the UB. Personally, I believe the authors of the UB utilized the progressive liberal Christian tradition as a source when creating the Urantia Papers. One can study the history of Liberal Christianity, such as the work of Gary Dorrien's trilogy The Making of American Liberal Theology (Westminster: John Knox Press; 2001, 2003, 2006), and find a long history of thought criticizing the atonement doctrine. Or even more ironic, if one examines the progressive branch of evangelical Christianity one finds the same (and yes, there is such a thing! See Gary Dorrien, The Remaking of Evangelical Theology. Westminster: John Knox Press. 1998) Consider that recently one leading evangelical pastor caused a big controversy in his critique of the atonement doctrine. He stated in part:

John’s Gospel famously declares, “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). How then, have we come to believe that at the cross this God of love suddenly decides to vent his anger and wrath on his own Son?
The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse — a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the Church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a concept stands in total contradiction to the statement “God is love.” If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his Son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teachings to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil.
The truth is, the cross is a symbol of love. It is a demonstration of just how far God as Father and Jesus as his Son are prepared to go to prove that love. (Chalke, Steve and Mann, Alan. The Lost Message of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 2003: 182-183)

What is obvious to those trained in today's seminary is that this kind of critique is common knowledge, and now, as is exemplified by Chalke, it is becoming expressed on the laypersons level. For an excellent summary of the history of the critique of the atonement doctrine within Christianity see Stephen Finlan's forthcoming (2010) "Jesus in Atonement Theories." In The Blackwell Companion to Jesus. Edited by Delbert Burkett. London: Blackwell. --Dogyo (talk) 06:34, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Tidal friction, Mercury, and the moon

This topic was already discussed in Archive 4 under the same subject. The Urantia Book, on page 57 states: "The planets nearest the sun were the first to have their revolutions slowed down by tidal friction. Such gravitational influences also contribute to the stabilization of planetary orbits while acting as a brake on the rate of planetary-axial revolution, causing a planet to revolve ever slower until axial revolution ceases, leaving one hemisphere of the planet always turned toward the sun or larger body, as is illustrated by the planet Mercury and by the moon, which always turns the same face toward Urantia." The bolded part neatly clarifies what was claimed. Mercury is still slowing and the moon keeps the familiar face towards the earth. Uikku (talk) 21:19, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Possibly Fixing a Weasel Word

Re the section in need of a citation and with a weasel-word "Who?" that says some people claim it is Gnostic.

Dan R. Smedra calls The Urantia Book "an Arian/Gnostic cult" on his site, withchrist.org.

Mike Oppenheimer, founder of Let Us Reason Ministries says this:

"The Urantia book is nothing less than new age gnostic enlightenment with a space age twist. It attracts the pride of man" on his website, and a story ran in a Colorado Holistic Journal quoting him. --Chuffable (talk) 09:43, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Wouter J. Hanegraaff in his New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought (New York: SUNY; 2003.) writes regarding the professional methodology used in the field of religious studies that "New Age research has usually been conducted in the context of the study of New Religious Movements (NRM's) in general." He goes on to note that in general there have been different approaches to the study of NRMs.

Empirical. The empirical study of religions can be distinguished from theological, positivist-reductionist or religionist approaches by its practice of permanent epoché (suspension of normative judgment), also known as methodological agnosticism. According to the positivist-reductionist approach, the religious views under study are delusions. This view (represented in the case of New Age research by the skeptical literature) rests on an ideological foundation, the truth of which can be neither verified nor falsified by inductive methods. The same holds true for the religionist perspective, which is based on a priori assumptions about the truth and validity of religion (cf. the "perennialist" school of Religious Studies); and for the approach of Christian theology which is based on the truth of the Christian faith as perceived by the theologian in question. In contrast to all these approaches, the empirical approach to the study of religions holds that it is impossible to answer the question of ultimate religious or metaphysical truth on scientific grounds, and that it cannot therefore be the business of the researcher to adjudicate on the validity of the believer's truth. (Hanegraaff 2003: 3-7)

A subset of the Christian theology approach is the develepment of the countercult movement in the 1970s and 1980s:

The flourishing of new religious movements in the 1970s and 1980s and the increasing criticism of them by the media, family members of participants, conservative Christians, and the anticult movement increased the need for scholarship in this area. (Pike, Sarah M. New Age and Neopagan Religions in America. New York: Columbia University Press; 2004; p. ix. (The Columbia Contemporary American Religious Series.)

Smedra, Oppenheimer, et. al. fall into the category of conservative Christians who are part of the "countercult movement" which engages in a form of narrow conservative Christian polemics and apologetics that ignores current scholarship of both Christian theologians and within academic religious studies. The claim that the Urantia Book is "nothing less than new age gnostic enlightenment with a space age twist" exemplifies this kind of polemics. Such claims are made based upon a prior conservative theological beliefs rather than a careful examination of the actual teachings of either the Urantia Book or Christian theological thought throughout the centuries. Such claims are hardly representative of a unbiased viewpoint. For a detailed and scholarly analysis of the countercult and anticult movements see Douglas E. Cowan's Bearing False Witness? An Introduction to the Christian Countercult (Westport, Connecticut: PRAEGER; 2003) --Dogyo (talk) 18:14, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

UrantiaWiki

Hello! I don't know if this is the right place to discuss this, but I think some people here might be interested in my project. I've made a new website, http://www.urantiawiki.org, which goal is to create an encyclopedia with the terms and concepts found in the Urantia book. For now, there is not much work done, so there is a great place for initiatives from people willing to contribute to the project. Feel free to give me comments and suggestions concerning this. Thank you :)

--Martin BENOIT (talk) 13:34, 2 March 2010 (UTC)