Talk:Trick or Treatment

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POV in Quotes[edit]

I'm concerned that the selection of quotes for this article don't meet Wikipedia standards for NPOV. While the quotes are properly sourced, they present a POV that is pro-Singh, anti-alternative medicine. If those quotes were balanced with quotes from other news sources that presented an opposing view, then we would have a balanced article. As it stands now the article is slanted. --Whoosit (talk) 18:06, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Have you read the book? The "anti-alternative medicine" quotes accurately reflect the information and point of view that is put forward in the book. This article is not about alternative medicine in general, it is about a specific book. --Krelnik (talk) 19:36, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
I agree the quotes accurately reflect the content of the book (I haven't read it, but I'm familiar with the debate). My concern is that the quotes themselves push a POV. If the quote read "Singh argues that in no case do alt medicines work... they can be life-threatening" etc. then it would be a neutral quote. But the Telegraph quote states these things don't work and they are life threatening--i.e. uncritically adopts Singh's POV. I'm sure opinion is split on such a controversial subject, and the reviewers will be split too. We need to reflect that accurately. I'm pleased to scan the book reviews to that end. --Whoosit (talk) 22:45, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Do you have evidence that they do work? Scientific opinion isn't spilt at all. We should only censor quotes from the book that accurately reflect the content and conclusions for very good reasons. The quotes are NPOV portrayal of the book. Verbal chat 09:09, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Yup. This article is about the book, which is extremely critical of alt-med, not alt-med in general. I see no problem here. Famousdog (talk) 12:13, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm not questioning the science. I'm questioning whether the book was met with near-universal acceptance, as is implied in the quotes. It was not. I've inserted a couple of quotes from Nature and the BJGP which are more cautious in their acceptance. Showing both relevant praise and criticism of the book makes the article more complete, encyclopedic and ultimately makes for a stronger article. --Whoosit (talk) 20:43, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
I have edited your edits. Bitchy letters to the editor of the Times are hardly reliable sources and don't count as 'reviews' of the book so I have removed them. Discussion of the Nature review has been moved to the generally positive reviews section. Famousdog (talk) 12:22, 26 October 2009 (UTC) -- (talk) 15:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
...and your point is...? Famousdog (talk) 08:05, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Who decides what is an improvement? Those who dislike statements of facts?[edit]

I would like to know why a statement of fact about this book: "Although the book's website - created in 2008 and updated in April 2013 - promises to give references ("over the coming weeks") for the book's claims, so far, in 2013, it has completely failed to provide any references, except for two of the six chapters, and none for the appendix." [1] which sheds light onto one particular aspect of the book - namely that the authors have not provided evidence - has been deleted by Bobrayner. Has he the power to decide what is important? A statement of fact about something that not many people know is not an improvement? Why not? Because he says so? Is this typical of wikipedia? That those with a strong agenda have the power to delete statements of fact because it doesn't support their opinions? It'd be good to know - and to let the whole world know. Johntosco (talk) 19:20, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

This looks rather like the complaint you just posted at Talk:Shiatsu. Is any reliable source treating the topic of this lack of follow-up references? Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 19:27, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Alexbrn, this looks like you clutching at straws. I have given the book's website as reference. Is the book's website (which was written by the same authors) not a reliable source for the book's lack of references? Is it typical of you to check everything those who don't agree with you have written? Is it typical of you NOT to read well the posts, and accuse people of not providing sources, when those sources are obviously there? Johntosco (talk) 19:43, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Okay ... so what source is complaining about the book's lack of follow-up? Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 19:51, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

What do you mean what source is complaining about the book's lack of follow-up? I was merely pointing out a fact. They promised in 2009 to publish their references (in the following weeks) and they haven't done so in 2013. I believe that when a book claims to be evidence-based it should provide the evidence. And I believe people should know that they are NOT providing the evidence for their claims. If it was a novel it wouldn't matter. But maybe you don't agree. Johntosco (talk) 21:02, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Other than the utterly mundane, the "facts" we tend to include here are ones which have been given some notability by being at least mentioned in independent sources. If we can't find such a source, then your proposed addition is just "Johntosco's point", a species of original research. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 20:31, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

That's good to know mate. So an encyclopedia that boasts about everyone being able to edit it, as long as they provide reliable references, is a TOTAL, ABSOLUTE LIE. Proof, evidence don't mean a thing in wikipedia, and certainly nothing to Alexbrn. Talk about agendas. I wonder if you and Bobrayner get a kick out of having the power to delete proven things. In my youth we called it 1984. Good work! Don't worry! Nobody will know the truth. Some people are bent on hiding it. I repeat, good work! Congratulate Bobrayner and all those who dislike the truth when it doesn't suit them. Johntosco (talk) 21:02, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Err, what? A "reliable reference" is exactly what I was asking for! Bear in mind WP:TINC. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 20:53, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Please! Don't take me for an idiot. You were not asking for a reliable reference - I've already provided that, the book's website. You were asking for a source that has been given some notability by being at least mentioned in independent sources. That's not the same. And please do not begin lying about what you asked for. Johntosco (talk) 21:02, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

But the thought that this represents a notable failure to follow up ... is that a source's thought, or is it your original thought? (without a source, it's the latter; as the policy requires, we must not "advance a position not clearly advanced by the sources themselves"). Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 21:12, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Again taking me for an idiot. The position is CLEARLY advanced by the source itself. I repeat - you don't seem to have understood, or maybe you are pretending not to have understood - that the SOURCE ITSELF says: "we have decided to provide a fuller list of references on this website. The list of references on this site is not yet complete, but we will load them chapter by chapter over the coming weeks." Wasn't it clear when I gave the reference the first time? Wasn't it clear when I gave the reference the second time? Do I have to give the reference a third time? OK. here it is. Published in 2009. But I suppose those who dislike the truth have a different interpretation of the meaning of "over the coming weeks" Johntosco (talk) 21:18, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

So this huffy thought you put into the text:

so far, in 2013, it has completely failed to provide any references

does that come from a source, or did you originate it? Are you advancing the position of a source we use, or your own? (rhetorical questions BTW. The point is, you engaging in original research with a distinctly non-neutral tone). Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 21:29, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

There is an easy solution for that. You - or Bobrayner - suggest how to say the same thing (the fact that they haven't provided the promised references in over four years) in a more neutral tone, instead of deleting it. I am open to suggestions. But neither him nor you seem to be interested in including this fact. As I said, you are bent on hiding the truth. And I must say that you are very good at it. By the way, I believe this is part of wikipedia's guidelines: "When you find a passage in an article that is biased or inaccurate, improve it if you can instead of just deleting it." Does it apply to him or you? Apparently not. Johntosco (talk) 21:39, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Alexbrn. There is a source that has been mentioned in independent sources and complains about the lack of references in "Trick or Treatment" It is a book called "Halloween Science" and it has been mentioned in "The Quackometer" by the publications of the UK parliament and a long etc. I have asked for mediation because I think your deletion of my contribution is unwarranted and biased. Johntosco (talk) 09:16, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

You've opened a case at DRN and continued to edit war - that's an ... interesting approach. You also forgot to cite User:Bobrayner and User:Pcabotto (a sock?) as participants in the "dispute". Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 09:29, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Alexbrn. 1) It is you who is edit warring. 2) I didn't mention User:Bobrayner and User:Pcabotto because they are not edit warring as you are. 3) Insulting Pcabotto is a ... really really interesting approach. 4) The dispute seems to be between you, who refuses to accept the evidence, and to include it in the article, and me who has provided it. Johntosco (talk) 09:44, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Blackguard SF. could you please clarify what you mean by: "Original research unsupported by third party source". The lack of references in a book's website has to be supported by whom? Please explain. You could support it. ALL you have to do is go to the website and check it.Since the website is given as an external link in the article, I believe it is very simple. Johntosco (talk) 09:49, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Blackguard SF. I don't think it is very polite of you to reply on your Talk page instead of here. Furthermore, it is not original research as I pointed out since the lack of references was mentioned in the book "Halloween Science", and has been recognised by Ernst and Singh on their website.Johntosco (talk) 09:02, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Please give some details of the book Halloween Science (author, publisher, etc.). Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 08:52, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

1) I had already given some references on 09:16, 27 October 2013 (UTC) 2) Please check where the lack of references in 'Trick or Treatment' is mentioned more than once. 3) Please also check where Ernst himself acknowledges the lack of references in his reply of 26 July 2009.Johntosco (talk) 09:02, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

The homeopathy advocacy site you link to ("a website produced by H:MC21 to promote homeopathy") has a self-published text for download. Is this the "book" you meant? Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 09:08, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Ok. Let's call it an article, an essay. Whatever you want. Important enough to have been mentioned in the BMJ, by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committe. and by the journalist Martin Walker. Johntosco (talk) 09:36, 28 October 2013 (UTC)


So piecing together what the sources say, we have something like this:

A homeopath, William Alderson, self-published a 142-page book attempting to "rubbish" Trick or Treatment.[ref] Andy Lewis of the Quackometer blog called it a "dismal critique" destined to become an exemplar of the Dunning-Kruger effect,[ref] and Ernst said that Alderson's criticism, that the book lacked references, showed a failure to understand the nature of popular science publishing.[ref]

However, I don't think this really rises above the level of the trivial, and so am not inclined to include it. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 09:39, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Look Alexbrn. I am tired. Let's end the charade there. How dare you or Blackguard SF say that my contribution was a POV or original research? It was neither. It was a simple observation about the book's website. Observation which anyone and everyone can check. You and him know the tricks of wikipedia which I don't so, Congratulations!. As anyone who reads Blackguard SF's talk page, he is not neutral, nor are you. I am also fed up with your lies. You know very well that what I wanted to include was the lack of references in the book's website and not the rubbish you have accused me of wanting to include on 09:39, 28 October 2013 (UTC) You also know - so I don't see why you have to lie about what I wanted to include - that this lack of references is important, for a book that claims to be evidence-based. So, if anyone who is neutral wants to mediate, fine. Otherwise , I grant you the victory. You have managed to keep an observation which was inconvenient for you personally (talk about POV!) out of the article. The only thing remaining for me is to wish you and Blackguard SF luck in your future attempts to destroy contributions which you don't like.Johntosco (talk) 11:15, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

I have undone some original research following wikipedia guidelines. However, Blackguard SF says - without explaining why - that it has been done against consensus, policy, mediation and talk page discussion. What talk page discussion? Has there been any talk page discussion about the contents of the book? What consensus? What policy? Which mediation? Doesn't he have to explain?Johntosco (talk) 21:24, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Fundamental misunderstanding of policy, or feigned ignorance to prove a point? Either way, it's disruptive. It's unfortunate User:Johntosco didn't use his time off a little more productively. Blackguard 21:50, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

I don't see the need for being insulted by Blackguard SF. Nor do I see him replying to my point, What talk page discussion? Has there been any talk page discussion about the contents of the book? What consensus? What policy? Which mediation? He still refuses to say why the contents page is not original researchJohntosco (talk) 23:12, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

WP:FRINGE - Article promoting pseudoscience[edit]

My entry was removed by user:Alexbrn the originator of the current text, changed from:
The BCA eventually dropped the case after a ruling on the meaning of Singh's article went against them.

to referencing the guardian as saying:
In 2010, after 2 years, the BCA dropped the case after the court of the appeal found that Singh was expressing opinion, rather than stating facts. The presiding judges commented that "this litigation has almost certainly had a chilling effect on public debate which might otherwise have assisted potential patients to make informed choices about the possible use of chiropractic".

This entry is implicating that the Guardian (and other pseudoscience rejecting media) saw this as only a technical win for Singh (or even worse), and no implication whatsoever on the BCA practices, besides 'opinion'.

Actually the article explicitly and carefully pointed out that his claims where upheld by other bodies, and that this was a victory for Singh. The tone and the content are in fact embracing Singh's words in the book, which is the prominent mainstream view.

Since Wikipedia has a clear policy about pseudoscience (WP:Fringe), which states:
... and significant-minority views published in reliable sources should be represented fairly and proportionately...
... editors should be careful not to present the pseudoscientific fringe views alongside the scientific or academic consensus as though they are opposing but still equal views. While pseudoscience may in some cases be significant to an article, it should not obfuscate the description or prominence of the mainstream views.

Please return my edit which added:
The Guardian noted that Singh had been sued because he had spoken out against chiropractors "for making claims the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled can no longer be made."

Otherwise, the article is promoting chiropractics, a trait clearly marked in the Wikipedia, and with no doubt, as pseudoscience. פשוט pashute ♫ (talk) 09:19, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

It wasn't The Guardian "noting" (please reading WP:CLAIM), but Singh's lawyer making this point. Having a sentence about a parallel development to a legal case involving the co-author of the book which is meant to be the topic of this article is a bit undue. Besides, it's all covered fully in the main articles we link to directly above. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 10:09, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Your right, it was the lawyer. I stand corrected. Still the article goes to a long length to quote both his lawyers,
Calling the BCA's lawsuit ill fated and saying:
Until we have a proper public interest defence scientists and writers are going to have to carry on making the unenviable choice of either shying away from hard-hitting debate, or paying through the nose for the privilege of defending it,
or saying that the lawsuit: was seen as a rallying point for those concerned about the abuse of UK libel laws in connection with scientific debate.
It is the end of the article, and therefor 'leaves its taste' on the reader. The way you worded it, the law proved that "it is only an opinion" while actually it should be emphasized that it was Singh's choice because he could not bare the costs of a long law suite, where he would have to prove not only that his claims that chiropractics is a "bogus practice", something which can easily be shown, but that the people advocating it were doing it deliberately in spite of their knowledge that it was quackery. פשוט pashute ♫ (talk) 13:05, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Following the above, I propose:
Singh's lawyers noted that the court case "was seen as a rallying point" for supporters of the scientific method, and that they were forced to concede to technicality, due to the high costs of proving the intentionally and knowingly fake practices of chiropractors. They said it "is the price he has paid for writing an article criticising (sic) the BCA for making claims the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled can no longer be made".[ref name="dropped" /] פשוט pashute ♫ (talk) 13:33, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
The ASA stuff could do with being better covered in some of the other Singh/chiro articles I think - but it is really undue here. In fact I'm wondering what this section is doing here at all. What RS directly connects the libel case with Trick or Treatment ? Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 13:39, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Either way is ok with me. I can't do it myself after having my fingers chopped off twice. פשוט pashute ♫ (talk) 02:20, 3 April 2014 (UTC)