Talk:What the Bleep Do We Know!?/Archive 5

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Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6


Remember-there are certain clearly specified ways #NOT# to write for this encyclopedia. Less than 24hrs after the RFC was filed, Fireplace found a suitable reference source [1], to replace the WP:SYNTH claim, thus solving the problem. So what gives in here? For the past three days, the talk has deteriorated into personal attacks, histrionics about fringe, and hollow excuses for ignoring WP:SYNTH. Close the RFC--it's a moot issue which serves no purpose except to invite soap boxing and other tendentious mischief. The claim has been suitably sourced for days now, without sidestepping WP:NOR. Thank you, Fireplace. Professor marginalia (talk) 19:01, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I did add the quote that Fireplace found to the article, already, btw. I agree that the RfC should be closed. Dlabtot (talk) 21:12, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, thanks Dlabtot. Sometimes it feels editors are more interested at WP to throw their weight around and bust some heads than to build the encyclopedia. I'll close the RFC. Professor marginalia (talk) 22:04, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I just re-read the Grauniad review; "I despise What the Bleep Do We Know!?, because it distorts science to fit its own agenda, it is full of half-truths and misleading analogies, and some of its so-called scientific claims are downright lies. Worse still, having achieved cult status in America, this film has already duped millions into mistaking pure claptrap for something of cosmic importance." (Simon Singh) Fantastic! Couldn't have put it better myself. So all we need now is sources linking this to the precise pieces of the film which are complete bollocks and we're done. We already have sources for the basketball analogy being bogus, so let's lok around for the others. Guy (Help!) 15:02, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

false is a perfectly valid term

More people than just Bernie Hobbs have refuted this. It is completely unbalanced to make the sentence sound like only one science writer from the ABC figured out that the movie is false. It is not disputed that the movie is false, because not one reliable source about quantum mechanics agrees with the movie. It is just plain old false. Not disputed. False.Kww (talk) 21:21, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree here, though regarding wording per wp:fringe, without any scientific support might be more acceptable than false. Maybe in pop culture there is some dispute, but this movie and this article seriously invoke scientific ideas. Therefore, the mainstream scientific view holds sway on the scientific aspects of this article. I have yet to see any scientific support for the What the Bleep interpretation. There is no discernible dispute. Antelan talk 21:44, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Really no one could possibly read this article and get the mistaken impression that the film has some kind of scientific validity. Is it really worth continuing the dispute over this? Whether you call it 'false' or point out that it is disputed by reputable scientists, the way I read the article, it makes clear that a bunch of whackos who follow a cult around a woman who claims to channel an ancient Atlantean warrior believe this stuff, and the scientists who actually study these topics, don't. Dlabtot (talk) 21:48, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
They don't believe this stuff because they are idiots. They believe this stuff because on a superficial level, these ideas (especially quantum interpretations) make sense. It takes a firmer grasp of the science and math to understand why these superficially plausible ideas are actually totally implausible/unsupported/false. Our readers deserve some understanding of this. Antelan talk 21:54, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
It is also why I worry about undue weight problems. We have many editors on the article that insist on phrasing which, while superficially more neutral, places the concerns of whackos on the same level as the concerns of scientists ... clearly a problem, and one that I cannot figure out an effective solution for.Kww (talk) 21:59, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
If you believe this article lends some superficial plausibility to the ideas presented in the movie, I must disagree. In my opinion, the article makes perfectly clear that this film is a fancy packaging of sham science and a sales pitch for a New Age cult. At least that is the opinion I have formed from reading the article, not having seen the film. I don't believe that I have some sort of special insight; I didn't form my opinion by making unfounded assumptions or by employing any sort of exceptional analysis: I reached the obvious conclusion based on the information presented in the article and cited sources. Perhaps it's time to put the disputes over this article to rest. Is it really a 'controversial topic' as it says at the top of this talk page? I don't really see a huge controversy or even substantial areas of disagreement except over minor points of characterization. Dlabtot (talk) 22:11, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
If I could get Dreadstar, TimidGuy, and MartinPhi to promise not to edit the article, I would let it rest. You are looking at the results of some work on ScienceApologist's part to make the article neutral. Left unwatched, the article will drift back towards lending superficial plausibility to the ideas presented in the movie. References to Ramtha will get taken back out of the lead, for fear of creating bias. Phrases like "debunked" will get replaced and softened. Areas where there are a true scientific consensus will get credited to one science writer in Australia. It's the most frustrating article I work on.Kww (talk) 22:26, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Why even talk about what would happen if the article were left unwatched? Since we know that the article will not be left unwatched, speculation about that is pointless. Let's deal with the reality we are presented with now. Dlabtot (talk) 23:12, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
"He who forgets history is doomed to repeat it." I am in the same reality I was in before ... valid edits to this article being reverted and softened, and reduced to a handful of sources by a rigid interpretation of OR. Even when edits I make are 100% backed by the sources we have left, I get reverted. Or is deriving "false" from "tosh" and "balderdash" a violation of synthesis?Kww (talk) 23:27, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't know without reading the source where the words "tosh" and "balderdash" appear.... which source is that? They don't appear in the Hobbs article.
As for the idea that you are well served by savoring the bitterness of old disputes... I humbly disagree. Dlabtot (talk) 23:42, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Right hereKww (talk) 23:50, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
To answer, it would certainly be appropriate to quote Dawkins 'tosh', or Singh 'balderdash' or to cite them in making a general statement about misleading or false scientific claims in the movie. But it would be synthesis to try to use those general statements to justify an edit about a specific sequence or claim in the movie. At least that's my understanding of WP:SYNTH and WP:NOR. Dlabtot (talk) 00:11, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Unless it was one of the specific claims they mentioned, of course... Dlabtot (talk) 00:24, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Kww. We're just talking about semantics here.Disputed or refuted are more semantically accurate words just in terms of the English language. There's no attempt here to support the movie in some way.As well, the movie is not false. A movie can't be false.Its just a movie, however poor. Semantics again. Material in the movie may be refuted or disputed. Referencing Hobbs is just standard Wikipedia form for inserting a reliable source.An article has to be copy edited for,syntax, semantics. Please don't see this in any other way.
Dispute is appropriate as a term because the movie itself and its producers, directors and actor/interviewees may stand as the supporters of the movie while the scientists sourced dispute/refute the claims made directly or indirectly within the movie. We can be civil about this. No use of "whackos" please.
PS As an aside. As an artist,I don't think much of the artistic aspects of this movie. My point is no need to label anyone. We don't know, really, what kind of people like or dislike this movie or why. NPOV and Civility! That said, I'm not going to edit war on this .... good grief its just one word. Lighten up.(olive (talk) 22:17, 31 December 2007 (UTC))
The use of the word "disputed" lends weight to the views of the producers and directors. Those views deserve no support whatsoever. They represent fringe. It may be rude to insult them, but it violates WP:UW to use words like "disputed."Kww (talk) 22:26, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

←I agree with olive - can we please avoid using words like "whackos" to describe people? The makers of the film may have unusual beliefs, but terminology like that is divisive and unproductive, serving only to make the discussion more emotional. Also, it's possible that some people editing this article may believe the spiritual ideas in the film, and there's no need to insult them. Clearly (to me at least), the film uses what I would call fringe interpretations of science to explain spiritual or metaphysical beliefs. That, I can see in the statements made in the film and in the responses from scientists who have made debunking responses. But if someone chooses to believe that a 35,000 year old warrior speaks through a woman in present day, that's not science, that's religion. We can edit the article with NPOV and include all sides and the reader will see what's what. While discussing the edits, we do not need to insult people who believe in the content of that philosophy.

About the use of the word "false" or the word "disputed": If Bernie Hobbs said "false", we can use it. If he said something else, then we need a clear paraphrase of what he said, or we should use a quote. But if he did not make a statement as specific and strong as "false", we should not use that word to describe his comment. That particular word is not needed anyway to make the point. It's not our job to decide if the film is false or disputed, it's our job to report what people have said about it. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 22:28, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree that "whacko" is probably a bit out of line. However, you truly misinterpret the requirements of NPOV. If someone has a religious belief about quantum mechanics, that doesn't matter at all in evaluating the truth of his statements. If he makes false statements about the roles of observers according to the scientific consensus on the topic, he is making false statements, period. His religious beliefs have no bearing on the topic at all.Kww (talk) 22:37, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I just want to say, I used the term 'whackos' to describe the makers of this film. I did not and would not use it to describe any Wikipedia editor nor do I see how describing the makers of this film with this word in any way casts any aspersions towards any Wikipedia editor. Dlabtot (talk) 22:47, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, Dlabtot, I did not mean it that way. Also, I was not specifically commenting about you, several people have used words like that. But also, we can consider that even using that word regarding the makers of the film might not be appropriate. Many people like the film; some of them might be Wikipedia editors. And even if not, we don't know anything about the sincerity of the filmmakers or the depth of their beliefs, and I just feel that people in general, even when they believe very differently from me, deserve their beliefs to be respected (as long as they don't try to impose them on others forcibly). That's a bit off-topic maybe, and not specifically about Wikipedia policy. I just feel it's a good idea to avoid those kinds of characterizations in general. And it's possible some people might take it personally even though it was not all intended that way. As I said, my comment was not directed towards you personally, it was a general comment. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 23:01, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Point taken. In the future, instead of this emotionally loaded term, I will use the acronym 'PWBJZKSWTVOTTYOLWR', which stands for Person Who Believes J. Z. Knight Speaks With The Voice Of Thirty-five Thousand Year Old Lemurian Warrior Ramtha'. Plural: PWBJZKSWTVOTTYOLWRs. Dlabtot (talk) 00:18, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Reply to Kww,... I'm clear on NPOV, there's no misinterpretation here. I agree with you that religious beliefs don't affect the truth or falseness of the science. I used the word religion in the other paragraph, where I was addressing the use of the word "wacko", not the science question. A 35,000 year old warrior channeling has nothing to do with science at all; that's religion or occultism and can't be either true or false, it can just be described, according to whatever sources have said about it
Regarding the science claims, about quantum mechanics, etc., those certainly can be reported as false according to scientific consensus, with support from reliable sources. That support is available in the references in the article and listed on this page, including several solid ones I provided. It's just a question of wording the article text effectively as supported by the references, to avoid OR. The word "false" is an absolute, so unless someone has used that word to describe the claims in the film, we should not assume that's what the source meant. It's just a word after all; there are many other ways it can be said. I'm not suggesting including any doubt if there is none, but also we should not add our own ideas about the science even if we feel sure we're right, we need to focus on reporting the sources. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 23:05, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Actually, they called them "tosh" and "balderdash" ... "false" seems like a polite paraphrase. That's why it makes me so angry that every edit I make to this article gets immediately reverted.Kww (talk) 23:10, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I sympathize with your frustration. I hope you know I have never reverted any of your edits.. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 00:05, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Obviously I agree with the word "dispute" over "refuted" or "false" because I'm the one who put that word in when making the section more fluid. If it's wrong it's wrong, but here's the reason why I used that word. Hobbs himself is a remarkably neutral writer. He doesn't go off on a tirade about the film, like some of the other sources that call it "balderdash" or whatever the other guys use. He seems a lot more patient and educational about it. He uses words like "not exactly" and "misunderstands" and similar neutral wording. He doesn't say "rubbish". He's very polite in talking about the film and never once insults anyone, all the while giving the accurate scientific perspective. He doesn't say "false", he says "not exactly". It's a very neutral article. Compared to ours, his is more neutral, and we're supposed to be the neutral ones. I don't think Hobbs would use the word "refute" or "false" over "disputed". --Nealparr (talk to me) 00:33, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Well said; we relay the content of the reliable sources without adding any color or nuance. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 00:37, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it is worth noting that the Flat Earth article does not say that the Flat Earth theory is 'false', nor does it say it is 'wrong'. However no one reading the article could possibly think that Wikipedia endorses the Flat Earth theory. The facts speak for themselves. Dlabtot (talk) 00:47, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
They are different. Flat earth proponents propose an alternative theory. What the bleep just misinterprets an already-existent theory. Antelan talk 05:15, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. The flat earth theory is a theory that is simply wrong; What the bleep is a film which states as fact things which are provably false. All the same, we should be trying to attribute such arguments to noted authorities. Guy (Help!) 14:54, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Can we get a more balanced RfC request?

This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

When writing an RfC, it is important to ensure that there is a balanced summary of the goings-on. People on any side of the disagreement should be able to see the summary and think "Yes, that accurately and fairly summarizes the issue." I don't think the current summary accomplishes this. It is unfortunate, because I think the language may poison the well of ideas incoming via the RfC. Antelan talk 01:54, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Antelan, with respect, the RfC is a request for comment on the lead, and is summarized clearly without prejudice. Lets move on.(olive (talk) 02:40, 11 January 2008 (UTC))
Antelan, if you want to write a version which everyone will agree summarizes things fairly and does not poison the cesspit, you could post it here. If people agree, it could probably replace the current one. ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 02:44, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You mean like the one he did right here and politely requested comments on?Kww (talk) 02:55, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

This film is categorically, intellectually, aesthetically, and spiritually bad. I think that's all I have to say on the subject. (It's possible that it gets better after the first half hour, but I had to save my eyes, ears, brain, and girlfriend. We went to see Mean Girls instead.) -Pete (talk) 03:02, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I laughed when I saw the wording--the evil scientists are raping wikipedia, while the kind and gentle woo-woos are simply working politely toward a fair and balanced article that abides by all the guidelines. But it really doesn't matter, right? No one's going to comment just on the basis of the RfC summary.Rracecarr (talk) 03:09, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
If that's the case, why have a summary at all? ;-) Or, why not just truncate it to the first sentence, which I think we all can agree on. It really says enough to adequately summarize what we'd like responders to look at. Antelan talk 03:12, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Line by line with the current RfC


There has been an ongoing dispute about the neutrality and contents of the lead section of the film article What the Bleep Do We Know?!.

  1. Yes, this is agreeable.

One side of the dispute wishes to add a significant amount of detail to the lead on the criticism of the movie, which the opposition believes adds unnecessary bias against the movie.

  1. In fact, compared with the longstanding previous lead, the current version is no longer, and avoids direct quotations.

The opposition maintains that the lead section, per WP:LEAD should be a concise, neutral summary of the article, which the critical editors have called "fluff" or "equivocal".

  1. From this wording, you might easily think that the "pro" crowd wants to comply with WP:LEAD, while the "con" crowd (apparently?) does not want to do so. We're telling RfC responders "OK, the current lead is not neutral. Now, what do you think of the current lead?" This should be a judgment the responders ultimately make, not one used to influence their input.
  2. The "con" crowd appears to be saying that it opposes a neutral summary as being "fluff" or "equivocal." In reality, the "con" crowd believes that the current summary is a neutral summary. One previously suggested version of the lead was called "fluffy" and "equivocal," but this is a red herring since it is no longer a subject of discussion.

This summarizes a few off the problems with this RfC. The first sentence probably provides enough description to let people know what to look at, and the rest just poisons the well. Antelan talk 03:04, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Oddly enough, that first sentence you like is actually the only part that showed up on the RfC pages. I don't mind changing the wording, I was merely trying to capture what both sides were saying - no added bias intended. Dreadstar 03:19, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) I figured that you didn't mean any harm, which is why I initially messaged you on your talk page to avoid an unnecessary discussion here. When you cleared my message without a reply, I figured this was the next logical place to take the discussion. Would you mind removing the extra sentences and leaving only the first? Thanks, Antelan talk 03:26, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
No problem, I was rushing out the door to dinner when I archived my talk page, bringing it here for other opinions was fine..heck you could have just re-worded it yourself... Interestingly enough, my dinner date was with an English professor..and she didn't quite agree that 'pseudoscience' was at all in common use...yep, even my dinner conversations are tainted by my editing here...<sigh> I removed the extra wording right after I posted my above I think it should be fine now! Dreadstar 03:59, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Edit conflict: You're probably right, but it doesn't matter, as the first sentence is all that made it here: [2], at least if I understand how this works? ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 03:25, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


When the mainstream view was removed from the lead it was with a comment that removal could be reverted. It is vital per WP:NPOV that the article establishes, in the lead, the significant criticisms the film has received. This is not supposed to be an advertisement, it's supposed to be an encyclopaedia article, and the controversy caused by its misrepresentation of science and the scientists interviewed is significant. Guy (Help!) 11:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

What's vital to NPOV is a clear and concise, neutral lead, a recurring theme over and over again I see in these discussions is that any lead that doesn't contain the term 'misrepresents science' in big bold blinking letters in one form or the other is the only acceptable alternative and that's simply not true, what is true is that there are controversial people, who hold controversial views, who have made a movie about those views and at least one of the people in the movie feels it misrepresents his views and many of his colleagues feel the same about the movie overall. State that and let the reader decide and save most of the quotes and letters to the editor of Popular Science for later please. Awotter (talk) 05:16, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
If this were an admittedly fictional film, I would readily agree with your comment here. However, this film, a persuasive documentary/drama, tries to be many things beyond just fictional entertainment. I'd invite you to check out the lead:content ratios. The lead:content ratio is lower for the reviews+scientific response than for the rest of the article. I.e., on a per weight basis, the reviews+scientific portion of the lead is already more concise than the rest of it. Antelan talk 05:54, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Antelan. This is exactly the issue at hand. Whether the film is in anyone's "opinion" a persuasive documentary/drama," or a work of fiction, or art, or anything else cannot be the viewpoint in an encyclopedic article, on the talk pages, sure, but in the article "no" because that is a point of view no matter how universal, or considered to be right, truthful, or chuck full of hoo ha. Sure weight must be taken into account when focusing on these issues, but the lead itself must be POV free. The reader must be allowed to decide based on the information given. We cannot take that right away from the reader, and we do if we carry our own POV into the article, even if that POV is supported by every scientist in the world. As well the lead is a summarized version, an introduction to the article, weight must be calculated within context of the lead itself. Right now by any standards the lead is full to the brim of material weighted towards the opinion you are presenting. Of all of the editors I have been working with here, not one has said or even indicated in the slightest, "this is a great movie". On the contrary, I rather got the sense that most don't care about the movie at all, and some have indicated they dislike the movie. What could they possibly be arguing for if not NPOV? Some editors are arguing for neutrality - that balance be maintained whatever the issues in the movie are, and others are arguing to make sure the film is seen as an erroneous discussion on science and consciousness. I'm not making any judgments here. Its all about discussion, but please consider where the POV might be according to Wikipedia standards, not any other standards but Wikipedia/encyclopedic standards. We have to give the readers responsibility for forming opinions on the movie. Just some thoughts,and best wishes.(olive (talk) 15:58, 12 January 2008 (UTC))
Let's move away from agendas for a bit and think about why this film is notable. As far as I'm concerned, it's notable for two reasons: one) it's popularity, two) it's pseudoscience. I think that's it. Now, the film is "popular" in a really mean sense. It did "well" but it hardly deserves a passing glance by most box-office standards. However, from the perspective of science, I haven't seen another film of this sort that has been the subject of so much discussion apart from An Inconvenient Truth. So I am of the opinion that the scientific criticism is definitely not overly weighted in the lead and, indeed, should be a major focus of the article as this is, in a major part, where this movie gains much of its notoriety. ScienceApologist (talk) 16:33, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
What agenda are you referring to? Pseudoscience is the reason it was popular? Well, as it says in the lead, "most laypeople cannot tell where the quantum physics ends and the quantum nonsense begins," so I guess the particular popularity of its pseudoscience is restricted to the scientific community.
The movie was popular because the audience thought it was interesting, thought provoking, had a fun story line, nice computer graphics, and had "thought provoking" speculation. The very popularity of the movie is what attracted even the few comments made by the scientific community. Can we really even call it popular in that arena with so very few of the scientific community even bothering to comment on it? Certainly not to the tune of 41% of the lead, including details such as mentioning a letter published in Physics Today..and why mention water crystals? Was it a big part of the movie, that it needed to be detailed in the lead? Nah. In short, the scientific criticism sourcing is sparse, and so the popular view of the movie requires more weight. Also keep in mind that this is a film article, not a scientific review. Dreadstar 18:23, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
There is no source for the "popular view of the movie". All we have is promotional material, some stuff from IONS, and scientific criticism. Pseudoscience is popular, as seen in our article on the subject pseudoscience. That doesn't mean we have to accommodate it and pretend it has legitimacy. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:28, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I beg to differ, there are many sources that talk about why the film was popular, yet I see not one source that says its popularity was derived from pseudoscience. Yes, the movie presented what, in the estimation of some, is psuedoscience..but to couch the phrasing by stating that movie was popular due to pseudoscience is a flawed and biased view that violates the very spirit of Wikipedia NPOV.
The job of telling about a film's popularity, and the audience reactions to it, is in the purview of film critics and the news, of which there are articles aplenty on the internet, in print, and on the television reviews shown at the time. Audience reactions and opinions were captured and are available...I think there may even be some of those sources referenced in this Wikipedia article. And, I don't think anyone has suggested giving anything legitimacy..just that Wikipedia fairly present all views. Dreadstar 18:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Of course, the views of people who are not reliable sources in quantum mechanics do not deserve to be presented. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:57, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
What?(olive (talk) 21:27, 12 January 2008 (UTC))
You are laboring under a serious misunderstanding of the term reliable source. The word 'reliable' in this context doesn't refer to a person who has authority, it refers to a publishing entity with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Dlabtot (talk) 01:59, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh! Who fact-checked this movie? ScienceApologist (talk) 02:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Who fact-checked the film is largely irrelevant in this particular context. Wikipedia can report the film's content. Dreadstar 04:07, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Popular press science articles are suspect, and may not be considered reliable. We always have to ask ourselves "Reliable for what?", and make judgement calls. If the New York Times and the Journal of American Medicine disagree on a medical topic, the NYT loses. ScienceApologist is quite correct ... there are sources that are reliable for some things, and not for others. Those that are reliable for quantum mechanics are few and far between. The only reason we are using popular science articles at all is because of the dearth of peer-reviewed movie reviews. Even then, the statements in those popular science articles were cross-checked against more reliable sources before I trusted them.Kww (talk) 02:13, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I just want to note few things:
1. This is an article about a bogus pseudoscience New Age movie. This is not an article about quantum physics.
2. It's not our job to decide which viewpoints 'win' and which viewpoints 'lose'. It's our job to write an encyclopedia article that presents all significant viewpoints that have been published in reliable sources.
3. All of you, on both 'sides' of this 'debate', need to take a break from editing this article. A long one. Dlabtot (talk) 03:19, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
The article is about quantum physics inasmuch as the movie is about quantum physics. ScienceApologist (talk) 03:44, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
The subject of the movie is not about quantum physics, it is about "positing a conection between science and spirituality", and it speculates "about the impact of human consciousness on physics and chemistry." Dreadstar 04:01, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
"positing a conection between science and spirituality" - Which area of science do you think that happens to be? Antelan talk 06:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
There's a clear and distinct difference between a "movie about quantum physics" and "Bleep." Period. The movie speculates and talks about quantum physics, but it is not about quantum physics. Besides, the movie topics discussed in the film include neurology, psychology, epistemology, ontology, metaphysics, magical thinking and spirituality. A movie or article about Quantum Physics it ain't. Dreadstar 06:16, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Again, in your words, the movie is about "positing a conection between science and spirituality", among other things. That unnamed science is quantum physics. Epistemology, ontology, metaphysics, and magical thinking are not sciences. Neurology and psychology are discussed as impacting, or being impacted by, quantum physics. It shouldn't be like pulling teeth to agree on basic premises of the subject being discussed. Antelan talk 16:18, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
The film's subject is not quantum mechanics. Period. Can't be clearer than that. Dreadstar 17:54, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

It may deserve to be presented, but may not deserve any credence. If the Britney Spears Fan Club issued a statement saying that it thought Knight was 100% correct, that might warrant a footnote, but would not deserve to be presented as a competing view of quantum mechanics.Kww (talk) 21:56, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
No, she actually knows what she's talking about: see here... and here. Rracecarr (talk) 16:20, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Brought tears to my eyes. And for first time on this page, it wasn't out of mental anguish.Kww (talk) 16:24, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Show your stuff

We have assembled here a group of scientists, schooled in research design and statistics. We have competing hypotheses: that "pseudoscience" is obscure and that it's common. We have a corpus of data in Google News archives (better than Google itself, where I find that "what the bleep" is more apt to occur in contexts unrelated to the movie. Wouldn't it be a simple matter to test these hypotheses, perhaps looking at relative frequencies of words? TimidGuy (talk) 17:41, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

This is absolutely not how articles are written, and is tedious. This article contains phrases such as "bowdlerization" and "guerilla marketing." It also contains words such as "interviewees", which has roughly as many google hits as "pseudoscience". Nobody should care. They are English words whose use is well-suited to this article, and are all appropriate here. This is a non-issue; perhaps less than that. Antelan talk 17:48, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Where are those words in the lead, Antelan? With the exception of a proposal that contained "interviewees", I don't see them. We're talking about the lead and appropriate wording per WP:LEAD, not the contents of the entire aritlce where details can be given. Pseudoscience is a pejorative, not commonly used or fully understood by the general public, and used only in a small percentage of the total number of commentaries on the film. Discussion of wording in the lead is not a "distraction", it is significant because it sets the tone for the entire article. Dreadstar 17:58, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
No. In my comments to Antelan above I did not say there were agendas. I hope there aren't. I operate in good -faith. So we don't have to move away from anything. I am an artist and I think about the world in terms of "creating" most of the time. I'm pretty sure from the blank looks on people's faces when I launch into some toothsome idea on art, that most people don't think about art all of the time. Most people don't think about science all of the time either. The fact is in my experience most people think about themselves most of the time, and how to get through their lives in the best way possible.If Bleep was notable at all, I would suggest its because it influenced people to think about their lives /themselves. For me to say the film was about its art direction, transitions from animation to acting , colour, set design and so on, and a lot of people in my world -art- would discuss the film in that way, would be to put a slant on the film that comes out of my opinion and the opinion of artists, but not the general public . And note artists don't have the same outlets in terms of publication scientists do so your likely to hear less from them. I believe the same is true in thinking that this film's notability came out of science. Science plays an important part in understanding the film , but this is a film and general public are seeing a film not a science lecture or a commentary on art direction. An Inconvenient Truth is not about science. For most people it was about their lives, and the fear that we are witnessing and possibly aiding in the end of our planet.Science is the background support or not depending on the scientist, for theories on global warming. But it is in the background .Unless we can get to the point where we let go of our somewhat insular ways of viewing the movie and of the general public who saw it .... artist and scientist alike, progress on this article may be stalemated.(olive (talk) 18:03, 12 January 2008 (UTC))
I think I come closer to having an "agenda" than others, so I will lay it out one more time. My primary objection is to phrasing that treats the movie's misrepresentation of science in order to support New Ageism as an opinion. It is a fact, and we have sufficiently reliable sources, backed by so many other sources that we cannot quote in the article (due to OR considerations), that we don't need to treat that misrepresentation as an opinion. We can treat it as fact, and to do otherwise violates NPOV (and doesn't violate WP:SYNTH, either). I don't care if you call it "a popular movie that misrepresents science as supporting New Age philosophy", "a low budget blockbuster that uses pseudoscience to support New Age philosophy", "a masterpiece of guerilla marketing that misrepresents science to further its New Age philosophies", or any of a million variations. Just no treatment of the fact that it has bad science as some sort of opinion. If you will work around that, I can be very compromising. If you get the right phrasing in the lead sentence, it doesn't even have to show up again in the rest of the lead.Kww (talk) 19:32, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Kww. This seems hopeful. Lets see what can be done(olive (talk) 21:25, 12 January 2008 (UTC))

While worrying about individual words and their frequency in the general usage, let's not forget about other important aspects of WP:LEAD - In general, the relative emphasis given to material in the lead should reflect its relative importance to the subject according to reliable sources, and Next to establishing context, the lead section should briefly summarize the most important points covered in an article in such a way that it can stand on its own as a concise version of the article (e.g. when a related article gives a brief overview of the topic in question). Antelan talk 02:56, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Explanation for my edit

I've tidied the writing in the third paragraph of the lead, which was looking a little heated -- diff. I've named the critics and made clear that they're physicists, otherwise why are we citing them. I removed the part that said: "The American Chemical Society's review called it a "pseudoscientific docudrama." This was published in a newsletter about movies that's financed by the Society, so it wasn't really the Society's review, and the article was written by someone with no higher degree in the sciences. [3] I added that the film presents ideas about the relationship between quantum physics and consciousness, because not all these ideas can be described as "quantum mysticism," which is what the previous lead did. Hope this is okay. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 06:49, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Nice to have an NPOV edit (: ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 08:32, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I just reverted Kww's reversion of SV's lead. I feel like her version is in accord with NPOV. TimidGuy (talk) 15:54, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
And I just put it back. What is the point of having all of these discussions and RFC's and commentaries if people just bypass the discussions and put things like that (which was a very POV edit, not NPOV BTW) into the article. The author should have been well aware of the discussions ... after all, he left a note on the very talk page where it was being discussed.Kww (talk) 16:12, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Correct move, regardless of your opinion of the edit. No point in engaging in a process if people will be bypassing it, so let's respect the process. SlimVirgin, would you mind placing your version on this page so it can be discussed among the other options? Thanks for your help. Antelan talk 16:14, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry. Good point. (Though you have to admit that the current version is more the result of aggressive editing than consensus.) I just thought it was nice to have a highly respected and neutral editor give input. It's an opportunity to see what a good lead should be. TimidGuy (talk) 17:10, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

You all remember that Science Apologist made several edits adding material after the RfC had started? What gives? I guess all of the edits added by Science Apologist during the RfC should be removed now then. Slim Virgin is a neutral editor. I have to think about this . This does not smell right.(olive (talk) 17:22, 13 January 2008 (UTC))

I complained then, too, but by the time I noticed it, people had edited the edits of the edits of the edits, and I would have had to roll back a whole pile of them. I think all of us should treat this article as protected under the honor system.Kww (talk) 17:40, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
<ec> I also applaud SlimVirgin's bold edit; it was a great move towards neutrality and was far more true to the sources. I'm disappointed to see the kneejerk reaction to revert it, and per Olive, I find it fairly hypocritical to use the RfC and discussion as an excuse to revert, all the while allowing edits from other editors who seem to be aligned with those who reverted and objected to this one. This has been happening since the article was last unprotected. Dreadstar 18:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
As stated earlier, I've asked everyone, time and time again, not to edit that section while we have this RFC going. I hate being steamrolled. Why do we bother to talk on this page if editors from either side just drop in changes to the disputed section? I'm sorry that you all saw her version as a masterpiece ... it's not the worst so far, but it certainly isn't near the best. I commented on it above where it had already been copied to the discussion page for commentary This is the longest, most painful editing process I have ever been through. What will it take to get everyone to recognize that the movie actively makes false statements, and that needs to be presented, as fact, in the lead?Kww (talk) 18:10, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Kww, lets be straight here. By far the most changes to lead created after January 10th(RfC date) and were created by Science Apologis and Rracecar. Brimba's attempts to edit SA's edits were almost always reverted. We know there are two groups here working to create what each considers to be an appropriate lead. Members of one group made substantial changes after the RfC. I don't see honour in that. I am not sure what to say about editing the article right now .SlimVirgin entered edits as an neutral editor.There was an opening there to move ahead and it was squashed. Don't know what to think right now.(olive (talk) 18:07, 13 January 2008 (UTC))
I would happily roll it back to the instant before the RFC's were filed.Kww (talk) 18:12, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I would personnally consider that a move in very good faith and honourable as well.(olive (talk) 18:19, 13 January 2008 (UTC))

I'll do it, but I would like to hear at least one more voice in favor.Kww (talk) 18:49, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I second that. If you're going to do a proper RfC, roll back to the edit directly before the RfC and go from there. --Nealparr (talk to me) 18:54, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Done. Looks like it caught the article in the midst of Brimba undoing ScienceApologist's changes, so probably no one is happy now.Kww (talk) 19:09, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
The glass half full person would say, "If no one is happy, there's a lot of room for compromise" : ) --Nealparr (talk to me) 19:12, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I have an engineering background, so I always say "Look! Twice as much glass as you really needed!"Kww (talk) 19:14, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Very, very impressed Kww. Thankyou for "good-faith" move in the true spirit of Wikipedia.(not meant to be sappy!) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Littleolive oil (talkcontribs) 19:16, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
And reverted. Bad idea. The way to fix progress is not to go back to a version that was more biased. Guy (Help!) 22:50, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'll probably get blocked if screw around with any more reverts today, so I guess I'll just have to say that I disagree. I reverted to a time stamp, without any regard to content, because I think that the article should be frozen from edits while the RFC is in place. Any attempt to do it based on contents is inherently biased towards one position in this debate or another. Kww (talk) 23:01, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Guy. In case you were not aware: This rollback was as Kww indicated a concession in good faith to the RfC now in progress, and has the support of several editors. The revert has no basis in content and must not be construed as such. Any revert on your part based on content must be considered biased, and a non-neutral edit. (olive (talk) 23:12, 13 January 2008 (UTC))

Just adding my voice to the choir: I agree with the rollback. I shouldn't have edited. Can't help pointing out though, in my defense, that the edits were content neutral. Rracecarr (talk) 00:11, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Science Apologist.Four editors have agreed to roll back the lead to a version just preceding the RfC. According to WP:CON, silence is considered agreement. So two editors want a roll back and the others don't. Thats a consensus. Worse though, is that one editor asked for an honour system to be put in place while the RfC is in progress, and that all editors refrain from editing. This needs to be honoured. Its only intelligent to think that we can't vote on a lead that is constantly changing even as we try to vote. SA you don't own this article. Please respect the other editors.(olive (talk) 03:52, 14 January 2008 (UTC))
ScienceApologist, the reference to "rollback" in my edit summary was referencing Olive's comment above, "This rollback was as Kww indicated a concession in good faith", that's the rollback I was referring to, not any administrative function. Dreadstar 19:47, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with the revert. While Rracecarr and Kww seem to have acknowledged that they want to assume good faith, JzG points out, rightly, that reverting to a biased version is not a worthy compromise. ScienceApologist (talk) 19:52, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Olive, Nealparr, Rracecar, Kww, and I assume Dreadstar, agree with the revert. Science apologist and Guy do not. Consensus is for the revert. I apologize to both of you for creating the misunderstanding. I used the wrong term, I should be saying revert not rollback.(olive (talk) 20:11, 14 January 2008 (UTC))
I like the revert because it is the first, true instance of oppositional editors clearly working together and is a wonderful show of good faith and consensus. I think others should take a lesson from this example - it's how Wikipedia works best. Dreadstar 20:23, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
This isn't consensus, this is intentional feet-dragging and reveling in the process. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:39, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

RfC status?

What's the status on the RfC? It seems some editors are getting ansy. --Nealparr (talk to me) 04:10, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't sense consensus looming on the horizon.Kww (talk) 04:20, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Has anyone even responded to the RfC who was not previously involved in editing the article? An RfC is not supposed to be an additional forum for the same editors who are having the dispute to rehash the same arguments that have already been made ad nauseum. It is supposed to be a request for outside input. Dlabtot (talk) 17:25, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I think SlimVirgin is the only outside responder. Actually as I read the guidelines WP:RFC also includes consensus building.(olive (talk) 17:36, 14 January 2008 (UTC))
Of course it is meant as a tool for building consensus. Ideally:
1. A dispute reaches a stalemate. Talk page discussions seem to go nowhere towards resolving the dispute.
2. An RfC is issued, stating succinctly the nature of the dispute.
Now the all important step:
3. The disputants take a break from editing and arguing while they wait for third party opinions. And, they let the respondents make their points without cluttering up the RfCs with counter-arguments. Remember, the reason you're trying an RfC is because editing and arguing didn't get you anywhere in the first place.
4. There are two ways the RfC can be successful:
a. The resulting replies so overwhelmingly favor one side of the dispute that the other side relents, understanding that consensus does not require unanimity - sometimes things are not going to go your way.
b. The resulting replies introduce a fresh perspective that leads to compromise; or an editor new to the article is able to broker a compromise.
However, this process won't work absent the assumption of good faith.
I see the article has been protected for two weeks. That's good; but it also won't achieve anything unless folks use that time to let those passions cool. Dlabtot (talk) 04:45, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Attempt to change lead

This edit by Dreadstar wasn't good, and I am glad that ScienceApologist deleted it. The critics are so solid and representative of scientific consensus that we can treat their statements as fact. To minimise them as a group of anonymous critics understates the impact of the criticism.Kww (talk) 15:55, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

First, there is no consensus for the current lead that ScienceApologist has put back into place, as has been made very clear on this talk page. Since there is no consensus for the changes to the lead that have taken place since this version was put into place by consensus, we'll need to work forward from that point. That consensus version is back in place, and we should discuss proposals. Dreadstar 16:26, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
You're making rules up. We had this lead in place for almost a week. Taking it down now smacks of attempted ownership of the article. ScienceApologist (talk) 17:13, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
"Making rules up"? See WP:CON. And I suggest you stop making accusations and instead focus on the ediorial content of the article. Dreadstar 17:20, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I suggest you stop acting unilaterally without discussion if you really take WP:CON seriously. ScienceApologist (talk) 03:43, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
My attempt to change the lead was no different than your or Philosophus' changes. Characterizing a bold edit as a "unilateral" act that goes against WP:CON is a false comparison. If you took WP:CON seriously, then we would now be on the last version that was put into place by consensus and not the current, disputed version. Dreadstar 19:20, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Let's review: I never made any claims for consensus, you did. It seems from this last comment that you now seem to think that WP:CON applies favorably to anything bold that you do and unfavorably to anything I or Philosophus does. I encourage you to drop the consensus rhetoric once and for all. There clearly is no consensus here, not for your version, not for Philosophus' version, not for anyone's version. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:37, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
That's backwards; I'm favorably comparing my edit with Philosophus' and your changes to the lead. What I'm saying is that if my change is removed for lack of consensus, then the same should be done for the current lead, which was put into place without consensus. And sorry, but you did indeed make "claims for consensus," first by your comment in this edit summary and second, by your refusal to support going back to the last consensus version. Dreadstar 22:10, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Lead Proposal

Here is the version I proposed putting into place. Unlike this version of the lead, it abides by WP:LEAD in that it is a concise summary of the notable controversies about the film, it does not not "tease" the reader by hinting at but not explaining important facts that will appear later in the article, and it is be written in a clear, accessible style so as to invite a reading of the full article.

Adding quotations from the critics while presenting none from other views, using sweeping terms such as "pseudoscientific docudrama", "most laypeople" and "quantum nonsense" violates WP:NPOV. Dreadstar 16:26, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Version 1

What the Bleep Do We Know!? (also written What tнe #$*! Dө ωΣ (k) πow!? and What the #$*! Do We Know!?) is a 2004 film that combines documentary interviews and a fictional narrative to posit a connection between science and spirituality.[1][2] Bleep was directed by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente, members of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment, and the film features extensive interviews with the school's director Judy Zebra Knight. Computer-animated graphics are featured heavily in the film. A moderately low budget independent production, the film was promoted using unusual grass-roots marketing methods and grossed over $10 million, considered a successful result for an independent documentary film.[3][4]

Topics discussed in the film include neurology, quantum physics, psychology, epistemology, ontology, metaphysics, magical thinking and spirituality. The film intersperses interviews about quantum physics and spirituality with the fictional story of a deaf photographer (played by Marlee Matlin) as she struggles with her life.

The film has been criticized for erroneously making connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories. These critics say that the connections, speculations and conclusions in the film only appear to be based on scientific understanding, but in reality are not. David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views.

How about this as a lead and a compromise between Dreastar's and your version.

The film has been criticized for misrepresenting science. Critics say that connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories, and the ensuing speculations and conclusions the film presents appear to be based on scientific understanding, but are not.David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views.


There was pretty widespread consensus for that lead, Dreadstar. I'm putting it back.Your lead is completely unacceptable. Please don't edit war over it. Don't change it e until you gain consensus for change. Remember, it can be consensus even if you disagree with it, just as I have to swallow sections of the article that I think go far to easy on him.Kww (talk) 16:34, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Thank you. I am only one of many editors who disagreed with the changes to the lead since Philosophus was bold and put his version into there is no consensus for the version you've gone back to. Dreadstar 16:40, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
And I'm one of many that thinks the version that you put up is mealy-mouthed and apologetic, understating the widespread scientific consensus against nearly every concept in this film. If you want to create a new version with consensus, feel free to give it another try on the talk page. The one you tried on your second pass is even worse. Does it count towards 3RR if the editor reverts to different versions, or is that a loophole in the policy?Kww (talk) 16:46, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually Kww, I have to disagree. The lead should be a overview of what is coming in the article. The reader should get the whole picture in a few lines. Thats a pretty general format for any kind of writing, encyclopedia included. I thought Dreadstar's change was good because nothing is changed in terms of information or of viewpoint, except that in compliance with leads to articles its a larger view of the article . As well the specific information in the lead in place at this moment is repeated again in the academic response section, and so is redundant. We have to choose here, we can't have the same info twice. Could we look very seriously at this new lead in terms of WP:LEAD.Our lead works in terms of its tone and is pretty neutral but the last paragraph is not working in terms of Wikipedia guidelines, redundancy, and possibly excessive quotes for an encyclopedia. We do have to choose. We can't have the same info twice.So we either paraphrase in the lead and leave it in the body of the article, or leave it in the lead and remove it in the article. (not a good choice if we want a good article). Dreadstar's version solves the problem and leaves us with the tone editors have been looking for, and saves someone else doing the work of writing which I am all for.: ) I want to mention that I never agreed with the lead in place now because it did not comply with WP standards for a good lead. I just hate the negative edit warring stuff so left it alone .(olive (talk) 16:49, 6 January 2008 (UTC))
Then how about The film misrepresents science as supporting new age spiritual concepts. David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views as a rework of Dreadstar's proposed final paragraph? My objection has always been the minimizing of the critical side by referring to them as 'some critics' when there are no reliable sources about the science that say anything else. We can add a few direct citations without quotations if it makes you feel more comfortable with the neutral phrasing.Kww (talk) 16:55, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm with Kww, obviously, on this one. I think that the pro-fringe lobby has been trying to remove the facts of the film portraying pseudoscience too much. Please discuss changes to the lead here before making them. ScienceApologist (talk) 17:12, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm with Kww here, too. People asked for attribution, so we gave it to them. Now people want to remove or heavily sugarcoat these attributed criticisms. Moving goalposts? Antelan talk 17:18, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

"Pro-fringe lobby"? Stop making such sweeping generalizations about editors and what appear to me to be assumptions of bad-faith. And Antelan, I have no idea what you're talking about..I've been against this lead from the start. Attributions are fine, but the quotes are well over the top, and since there are no similar quotes from the other viewpoints - they don't belong in the lead. And I do not think quotes are necessary in the lead at all. Please read WP:LEAD. If the criticism section is summarized properly in a concise manner, neither attributions, quotes nor citations would be necessary. Dreadstar 17:26, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

There's one counter on the table, Dreadstar: The film misrepresents science as supporting new age spiritual concepts. David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views. Perhaps if you commented on it, you could demonstrate a willingness to move forward in good faith and help persuade your detractors of your good intentions. Personally, it think that it summarizes the criticism section properly in a concise manner.Kww (talk) 17:38, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I believe the sentence "The film misrepresents science as supporting new age spiritual concepts", makes it look like Wikipedia is stating that as a fact, when in actuality it is criticism leveled at the movie by several and various critics. It violates WP:NPOV, and doesn't match what is in the body of the article. Dreadstar 17:46, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
It is a fact. Can you find a reliable source about the treatment of the science that does not say this?Kww (talk) 17:53, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
That's backwards, Kww: The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. Dreadstar 18:27, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
How about this as a lead and a compromise between Dreadstar's and your version,Kww.

The film has been criticized for misrepresenting science. Critics say that connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories, and the ensuing speculations and conclusions the film presents appear to be based on scientific understanding, but are not.David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views.

I can agree with this version. Dreadstar 17:46, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to suggest that this final paragraph is not in any way sugar coated.... it lays the problems with the film in clear, cold words. As I said earlier we can't use the same material twice -redundancy, and the more detailed material including quotes should be by any writing standards, be included in the main body of the article. I paraphrased the quotes in the Academic section but if we can go with a lead style that hasn't got the Albert quote we could put the quote back in the "academic" section(olive (talk) 17:30, 6 January 2008 (UTC))

8 times more weight to noncritical information? The noncritical information in this article comprises approximately 800 words. This has been summarized in a roughly 1:5 ratio (150 words). The critical information in this article also comprises about 800 words. Dreadstar's preferred version summarizes this in a 1:40 ratio (19 words). This gross imbalance speaks for itself. Antelan talk 17:35, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Excessively passive. We have sufficient sources that we don't have to use language like "has been criticized" or "Critics say."Kww (talk) 17:38, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
It's meant to be a summary, and it is indeed correct to say that "Critics say" or "the movie has been criticized". The details of this summary are where they belong, in the body of the article. Dreadstar 17:48, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
There's no reason to state facts as being the opinions of nebulous critics.Kww (talk) 17:53, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
We're not, the critics and their opinions are detailed in the body of the article, where that type of detail belongs. Dreadstar 18:01, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

From WP:LEAD: in a well-constructed article, the relative emphasis given to information in the lead will be reflected in the rest of the text. Do not tease the reader by hinting at startling facts without describing them. Also, there is nothing wrong with placing citations in the lead if there are concerns here: (from WP:LEAD) The necessity for citations in a lead should be determined on a case-by-case basis by editorial consensus. Complex, current, or controversial subjects may require many citations; others, few or none. Antelan talk 17:57, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

I'd have to disagree. This is the introduction to an encyclopedia. Part of that information is that critics say .... not you or me but critics. Otherwise who are we talking about here..... they are part of the information we are presenting. Readers need to know what the response to the film is before we get into the nitty gritty stuff such as why the film has been criticized.We are telling them the film had been criticized, who criticized the film, and then what these critics say.I am not in any way attached to my version but I actually think your version may not strong enough . This part: Critics say that connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories, and the ensuing speculations and conclusions the film presents appear to be based on scientific understanding, but are not.", really lays it out in no uncertain terms. If Antelan is concerned with length, this version is longer. I'd like to us all to continue writing different versions until we get it right.(olive (talk) 17:58, 6 January 2008 (UTC))
Well put, Olive. The current lead section reads more like a collection of sensationalist tabloid headlines, rather than being a concise summary that is suitable for an encyclopedia. Dreadstar 18:01, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Adding fluff words is not what I had in mind when I complained about the relative emphasis. I think Philosophus's version, in its specificity and clarity, is superior to any that have been suggested here, despite the fact that his version is still weighted in against the criticism section. Giving 1/2 the article only 1/8 of the lead is not desirable. Antelan talk 18:05, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if it's even relevant here, considering the confines of the scientific criticitism, but I don't know where you're getting your calculations from: the version I've proposed is almost 30% of the lead. While you believe the last paragraph is full of "fluff", it looks pretty serious to me. Dreadstar 18:14, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
No, that is incorrect. Your most recent version on the mainpage is here. Word says 19 words, but I only count 18 by hand, actually. Antelan talk 18:18, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry dude, but that clearly is not my version, it is merely the last consensus version. Please stick to the version identified in this discussion. Your calculation above can be discounted. Dreadstar 18:24, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Somehow I mistook "the version you inserted into the article" as "your version". And, really, "dude"? Anyway, the other version that you inserted earlier is still lopsided (not 8:1 but 2.5:1). Antelan talk 18:30, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I can understand that, considering the amount of text that has been posted since I explained it..;) And, um, yeah.."dude", although it is maybe out of date is just a friendly little term..nothing just slips out now and then...:D Dreadstar 18:35, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Antelan, the scientific criticism just isn't that complex, it can be easily summarized in a concise manner without adding quotations and citations such as is being currently done. Dreadstar 18:03, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
The information that your versions keep leaving out is that the criticism is so scathing and unanimous from such a reliable group of sources that it can be treated as factual. It would do the reader a serious disservice if he could read the lead alone and believe that there was any shred of credibility in this thing. Such passive voicing and phrasing makes it sound like there are reliable and credible proponents, and there are none.Kww (talk) 18:07, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

No! nothing in this article can be treated as factual or truth whether it is or not. Thats not the job of an encyclopedia. The encyclopedia presents the information without judgment, once verifiability and reliability have been established . However true your points are , they are part of a larger picture . Some people liked the film. Some did not. We have to present both views and we have to do it the right away . Anything else is not neutral. That said, there is nothing in this last paragraph that suggests that anything about the "science" in the move is right.We have to write this in appropriate encyclopedic style .... who said this science is badly represented? The critics of the movie did .... not the supporters, the critics .... I have to leave , so good luck ... and play nice!(olive (talk) 18:28, 6 January 2008 (UTC))

YES! Every science critic agrees that the ideas presented in the movie are absurd, and the myriad of sources that are disallowed as OR agree with those critics. The misrepresentation is a fact, not an opinion of critics. We do not have to present spiritualistic views on a scientific issues ... only the scientific view. To do anything else violates WP:FRINGE and WP:NPOV.Kww (talk) 20:15, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Science isn't that complex

In the vein of "the scientific criticism just isn't that complex", here is a version that we would end up with if we gave short change to everything that just isn't that complex:

What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a 2004 film. The film grossed over $10 million.

Topics are discussed in the film. Marlee Matlin acts in the film. Some scientists do, too.

Some groups didn't like the film.

Perhaps this will be illustrative for why I don't think that Dreadstar's proposed lead is acceptable. Antelan talk 18:12, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Cute! But a red herring.(olive (talk) 18:16, 6 January 2008 (UTC))
No, not a red herring. An illustrative example of why overly short summaries, while technically accurate in a sense, are not useful. Antelan talk 18:18, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm afraid that is not a summary and to try and compare something so far-feched with what is being proposed is indeed a red-herring, strawman argument. Dreadstar 18:30, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
No, that's a misunderstanding of both terms. If I were proposing this as an actual lead, this would be a red herring (a distraction). If I were suggesting that this was actually your proposal for a lead, this would be a straw man. This is neither. It is an illustration of why your versions don't work. Antelan talk 18:32, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Although I believe you did it in good faith, I still find the example you presented to be misrepresentative of what I've proposed. From that perspective, it does indeed appear to be creating a position that is easy to refute, while attributing it to me..basic strawman. As for red herring, because it's misrepresentative, it is information provided which is not necessary to solve the given problem... Dreadstar 18:41, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
See illustration on Wiktionary: That which illustrates; a comparison or example intended to make clear or apprehensible, or to remove obscurity. This example is not misrepresentative of my point. It does not claim that this is your position. This simply illustrates my point. Now, let's stop dealing with your qualms about the way I have chosen to present this point, and focus on the point at hand, shall we? (Note: the proportionality is roughly 5:1 here, making it an imperfect parallel.)Antelan talk 18:48, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Goodnesss, gracious...and just what is it that you've illustrated? Purportedly what my lead proposal reflects: a "too short summary." Which misrepresents what I'm proposing. Dreadstar 18:54, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

What's wrong with giving credit to ideas?

I've seen this come up regularly, that editors would like to state as fact something someone actually said. For example, Kww expressed that this edit by Dreadstar was bad because it doesn't present it as fact, but rather something critics say. There's nothing ultimately wrong with that edit. What's really missing is a better explanation of who the "critics" are (ACS, Physics Today, etc.), that was Dreadstar's mistake. This is called attribution, and attribution is a good thing. Attribution isn't a way of pigeon-holing ideas. It's a way of giving appropriate weight to ideas. In this case, the ACS and Physics Today are real scientists and therefore carry a great deal of weight. A statement such as "Ramtha liked it" likewise carries its appropriate weight.

But there are other reasons to attribute, specifically at Wikipedia. A great article at Wikimedia, linked from WP:NPOV, titled "Borderline cases"[4] talks about these very issues from a logical standpoint. I wholeheartedly agree with it's viewpoint.

It starts off posing two example statements:

  1. "Iraq's population was 24 million in 2002."
  2. "The 2002 CIA World Factbook reported 24 million as an estimate of Iraq's population."

The article points out that statement 1 purports to be a fact, while 2 is a demonstrable fact, unlike 1. Some might consider it pigeon holing (a typical comment: "Other books say it as well, here we're making it look like only the Factbook says it"). Truth is, it's demonstrating the appropriate weight.

Another important point covered in the article is A. N. Whitehead's fallacy of misplaced concreteness, in other words the often difficult to notice switch from "talking about the world" to "talking about talk". You can read more about it there, too much to go into, but here we are talking about talk, not the world. It offers suggestions for this situation:

  • attribute claims to specific sources (persons, groups, a given percentage of some population, etc.) and
  • provide enough information about these sources that readers can accurately gauge for themselves the trustworthiness of each.

Finally it ends with: Articles should not "talk about the world," but they should help readers discover the truth about the world by providing sufficient (and verifiable) information about precisely who is saying what.

I completely agree. --Nealparr (talk to me) 19:52, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Nicely stated, Nealparr, I can truly agree with some attribution in the lead, although the summarized content in the lead is clearly attributed in the body of the article. I think too many details on the attribution is not the best way to concisely summarize the critic's views...and it is certainly overkill to present several quotations in this particular circumstance.
So, attribution in order to properly identify the scope of the critics in the lead section is the question.
The film has been criticized by scientists such as "xyz" and "dna" in publications such as "physics today" for misrepresenting science. These critics say that connections between te new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories, and the ensuing speculations and conclusions the film presents appear to be based on scientific understanding, but are not. David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views.
How's that structure, Nealparr? Key to this particular discussion is that we are talking specifically and solely about the lead section and not the article as a whole. Dreadstar 20:07, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Without coming up with a specific wording, it is my opinion that any "talk about talk" should be clearly attributed so that readers can clearly see who is saying what, and so the idea itself is properly weighted. That's a given.
The other thing you mentioned, about quotes, I don't think the quotations are necessary. They don't really sum up what the sources are saying overall and are instead like picking a sound byte from the review to present the topic in the worst possible way. The quote from the letter in Physics Today seems to be there there merely so we can get away with saying "nonsense" in the lead. A positive point of view can just as easily be extracted from the letter: "A letter published in Physics Today says the film inadvertedly showed that physicists haven't presented quantum physics in a way that prevents it from being adapted to spirituality". It says that too (the letter spends more time talking about the limitations of physics than the actual movie). Neither are accurate summaries. Dump the quotes and actually put some time into summarizing the source without sound bytes is what I recommend. --Nealparr (talk to me) 20:46, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Make it Scientific criticism of the film has been unanimous, with scientists such as "xyz" and "dna" in publications such as "physics today" stating that it misrepresents science. The connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories, and the ensuing speculations and conclusions the film presents appear to be based on scientific understanding, but are not. David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views. and I won't struggle too much harder.Kww (talk) 20:20, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I could go with something like this but for the word "unanimous". Its another one of those words that suggests an ultimate, like truth. Is there another word more encyclopedically acceptable that gives the sense you are looking for here.(olive (talk) 04:07, 7 January 2008 (UTC))

From the controversial An Inconvenient Truth:

An Inconvenient Truth was generally well received by scientists and film critics. Global warming skeptics have criticized the film, calling it "exaggerated and erroneous,"[5][6] and sponsored an English High Court case regarding its showing in schools.

That's a good way to word a summary intro on a controversial film. Why break the mold? Ours would read:

What the Bleep was generally well received by New Age spirituality groups. Scientists have criticized the film calling it a "pseudoscientific docudrama" that misrepresents science.[5][6] David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views.

That's all that's needed for a summary. Anything else is just insulting the intelligence of the reader who, if interested, will read the rest of the article. This "unanimous" stuff is not just unsourced, it's unnecessary. Are there any Wikipedia articles that say "unanimous" anything?

While looking around, are there any other controversial films out there to borrow summary intro ideas from? I checked Inconvenient Truth (above) and Fahrenheit 9/11. Neither go overboard. Passion of the Christ doesn't mention the antisemitism controversy, but it's also NPOV tagged : ) What other movies out there misinterpret science? --Nealparr (talk to me) 04:23, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

The main differences between An Inconvenient Truth and What the Bleep Do We Know is that the critics of AIT generally reside on the fringes of science, and there are legitimate controversies about how to interpret the data, while the critics of WTBDWK represent mainstream science, and there is no scientific controversy. I think that that is an important distinction to be made, and is the distinction that vague attributions tend to lose. As for unanimous, I'm not in love with it either, but it isn't OR ... it's just counting. No one has yet found a scientifically reliable proponent of the movie. I think that is important. This isn't a case of differing scientific interpretations of facts, or the controversies that always surround finding a new hominid bone. There are no reliable sources with positive things to say about the science in this movie, and that is an achievement in and of itself.Kww (talk) 05:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
The Secret (2006 film)'s intro sucks. Surely there's some film that makes pseudoscientific claims, but did well, with a decent intro we can look at, or even a book. I'd like to find something everyone can agree on and move on. Personally I don't have any problem with what's there now except there's no such thing as a universally panned movie, especially not one that makes millions. Someone out there must have liked it and the intro needs to reflect that if it's going to present criticism in the intro too, hence my adaptation of AIT that said "What the Bleep was generally well received by New Age spirituality groups". Our current intro reads as no one at all liked the film, which doesn't mesh with the verifiable fact that it was a successful movie. --Nealparr (talk to me) 06:26, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Here you go, the Institute of Noetic Sciences have supported the film and even published a study guide [5]. We can say "What the Bleep was well received by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, who have published a study guide.[source] However, in mainstream science [... blah blah blah]". IONS needs to be in the body as well, as they are a notable foundation for New Age research. --Nealparr (talk to me) 06:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
If memory serves, the Institute of Noetic Sciences isn't fully independent. They provided one of the speakers for the movie (which doesn't invalidate them) but I think they also helped with funding. I'll have to dig around on that one. I would prefer your introduction to read What the Bleep was well received by the Quackwatch-listed Institute of Noetic Sciences..., and, if I can verify funding involvment, eliminated. I think that's why that guide isn't in the article today.Kww (talk) 13:01, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be independent. Even if the lead said the film was well-received by JZ Knight, or the film makers who made it, that's not a reason to eliminate that statement. It's not all criticism. Of course there's reasons to criticize the people who endorse the film, they're endorsing something everyone else doesn't like, and obviously anyone who endorses the film is biased towards the concepts presented. But again, the simple fact is that the film was well received by someone, it made a lot of money. The intro has to say someone liked it. The Quackwatch thing is completely unnecessary. Framing it as a New Age research organization says it all. Readers don't have to be hand-held. --Nealparr (talk to me) 15:44, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
To mention it as reception or review, independence is required. The guide may very well be worthy of inclusion, but if the organization producing the guide helped produce the movie, it fits under the category of "promotion" or "advertising."Kww (talk) 16:46, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Since one of the speakers on the film is involved with the INS, it is not quite appropriate to list this in the lead. Find an organization that is independent of the movie entirely to provide a positive review. Maybe Deepak Chopra said something positive about it, for example. ScienceApologist (talk) 16:15, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Your logic follows that because Candice Pert worked at NIH, NIH is also "involved" in the movie, or that because William Tiller works at Stanford, Stanford is "involved" with the movie. If NIH or Stanford published a good review it'd be promotion?
Here's another one for you. I had to look up all the people to see if any of them actually is involved with IONS, as you said, to verify what you were saying is true. In the process I started wondering, why is there no mention at all in the lead about the experts interviewed and no mention at all in the article (anywhere) of what their credentials and affiliations are? The article goes out of its way to mention that the film features interviews with JZ Knight, and is made by Ramtha's school, but it says nothing at all about the film interviewing people at IONS, NIH, Stanford, the University of Oregon Institute for Theoretical Physics, and so on. What gives? If affiliations are important, and I actually had to go looking up what people's affiliations are because it's so important, that information belongs in the article. --Nealparr (talk to me) 00:27, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Finally.Thank you.I agree.(olive (talk) 01:06, 8 January 2008 (UTC))

New rewrite of lead

I think that they are important. An affiliation or appearance doesn't disqualify a mention, but it is important for understanding when you have a review and when you have promotion. FWIW, I haven't found a source tying INS to the production of the film, so I can't argue against calling their guide a "reaction."Kww (talk) 01:26, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

It's my understanding that IONS wasn't involved in the production in any way, received no financial benefit from ticket or DVD sales, or had any other involvement beyond Tiller being both one of the panel experts while at the same time associated with IONS. So I think if they are "promoting" the film it shows that it was "well received" by them rather than it "involved" them. But let's drop all of that because it really doesn't matter if it says Chopra liked it, just that someone liked it, otherwise it appears we are censoring that out in favor of a solely critical treatment and this conflicts with the demonstrable financial success of the movie if not Wikipedia general guidelines. If we cut to the chase, this is what I think the intro really needs to say in the third paragraph:
The film employs a panel of experts who discuss the fringe theory that quantum mechanics is linked with consciousness. Many of these experts hold academic degrees, but are also affiliated with New Age research organizations including the Institute of Noetic Sciences. Among the New Age spiritual community the film was well received. However, the idea that consciousness plays a role in quantum mechanics is not an accepted theory in mainstream science and the film sparked criticism from mainstream scientists who strongly disagree with it's premise. One of the experts interviewed in the film, David Albert, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to make it appear he agrees with the ideas presented in the film.
--Nealparr (talk to me) 07:40, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Two main comments:
  1. We all know that the IONS is a New Age organisation, but can you find a reliable source that admits it? They refuse to describe themselves that way.
  2. "Not an accepted theory" is too weak. Maybe "These theories are pseudoscience, and the film ...". Kww (talk) 13:57, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Nice lead, Neal. Thanks for sticking with this. Might not need to repeat the word "mainstream." I guess I would disagree with Kww's point that that phrase is too weak. There are, after all, some physicists who have conjectured that Consciousness causes collapse. TimidGuy (talk) 15:53, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Which is precisely the bit of science that WTB expands beyond all recognition into pseudoscience. That kernel of truth is the nature of pseudoscience, so finding it doesn't validate the movie's nonsense.Kww (talk) 18:00, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
  1. IONS has been independently described as a New Age organization, and not necessarily as a criticism or pejorative but rather as calling a spade a spade. They don't describe themselves that way because they feel it might discriminate against them, but I haven't seen anything where they strongly argue against it. In short, it's not a controversial description.
  2. "Not an accepted theory" is an uncontroversial fact. Critics have stated that the theories are pseudoscience, but that is their argument. It's not a fact, it's their analysis. No one called it pseudoscience when Erwin Schrödinger supported the relationship between quantum theory and mysticism so let's just call it what it is, an unaccepted fringe theory. "Fringe theory" in this case replaces "pseudoscience". "These theories are pseudoscience", again, explains nothing where my wording explains everything. We can continue to go back and forth on the intro or we can try and come up with something everybody can agree with that accurately discusses the issues concerned with the film and move on.
--Nealparr (talk to me) 18:45, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
It's more than "not an accepted theory". It's not a "theory" at all in the sense of a scientific theory. See WP:WTA#Theory. We can say something like, "However, the idea that consciousness plays a role in quantum mechanics is not part of quantum theory and has been labeled by mainstream scientists and critics as pseudoscience." ScienceApologist (talk) 18:47, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for bringing another pseudoscientific article onto our radar screen, TimidGuy. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:46, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

I guess I agree with everyone in some part on this.I have put together another version for the lead using aspects of all of the other versions for the kind perusal of the editors involved. Some thoughts:

  • I am concerned about using the term New Age it may be OR or POV to use the term without a reference . Definitely we should use it only once if not referenced. Also, the movie has been well received by all kinds of people so using New Age to describe those providing positive response may be inaccurate, and a point of view.
  • should we cite Noetic Institute as New Age without a reference .... sure we might all agree it is a so-called New Age institution but there's that word again, and exactly what is New Age and what does it mean....I again have concerns with using the word unless we reference.
  • I think we have references for pseudscientific and Kww has fought long and hard to include this . I think its fair and appropriate to use the term with a reference. However its the material that's pseudoscientific not the movie itself so I have pout in the lines I think Dreadstar originally wrote saying that the "conclusions" and so on, drawn are a concern.
  • I realized that the most positive response and the best referenced and least Pov point to the film may be indicated by its box office success. A thought

Well just another version to look at:

The movie received both positive and negative responses. A moderately low budget independent production, the film was promoted using unusual grass-roots marketing methods and grossed over $10 million, considered a successful result for an independent documentary film.[5][4] The film employs a panel of experts, many of whom hold academic degrees, and who link quantum physics to consciousness. The connections between spiritual concepts and established scientific theories, and the ensuing speculations and conclusions the film presents appear to be based on scientific understanding. The idea that consciousness plays such a role in quantum mechanics sparked criticism from scientists who disagree. The American Chemical Society's review criticized it as a "pseudoscientific docudrama, and David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to make it appear he agrees with the ideas presented in the film.

I have just removed this. Doesn't seem necessary, isn't referenced and so may be seen by some as a subtle POV. "Many of these experts are affiliated with New Age research organizations including the Institute of Noetic Sciences." (olive (talk) 19:19, 8 January 2008 (UTC))

It looks like you have missed the point entirely with regards to the idea that consciousness plays a role in quantum mechanics. First of all, the sentence you put it in is weird from a logical standpoint. While it is true that the film posits connections, the current wording states as an errant dependent clause the connection without pointing out it is erroneous (which is indeed the mainstream and therefore most weighted view). More than this the caveat that "the idea that consciousness plays a role in quantum mechanics sparked criticism from scientists who disagree with this premise" is weasel-y and basically wrong. Scientists don't disagree with the "premise" (which is primarily spiritual and not scientific), rather they disagree with the conclusion (that the human mind can affect quantum mechanical events). You'll need to do a lot better than this. ScienceApologist (talk) 19:34, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, you're right. I agree that the sentence isn't right.I have added another version. Please see paragraph above. Its not up to the writer to point out that this is the mainstream and therefore erroneous unless there is a references that says so. We initially had something like this, but may need a reference for "but is not".... This is a viewpoint unless we add someone who said this.
The connections between spiritual concepts and established scientific theories, and the ensuing speculations and conclusions the film presents appear to be based on scientific understanding, but

is not.

PS no have not missed the point just didn't construct the sentences very well.(olive (talk) 20:04, 8 January 2008 (UTC))
Well, the sentence is improving, but it is now hopeless run-on and almost impossible to follow. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:08, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Yea, its a long sentence although not technically a run on sentence. I have repaired it a little and may do more later... have to leave.(olive (talk) 20:14, 8 January 2008 (UTC))
Well, now we can see the problems with your wording. The first sentence is clearly an opinion: I, for one, did not see "the ensuing speculations and conclusions the film presents appear to be based on scientific understanding." I thought that maybe the filmmakers thought that they were basing it on scientific understanding, but they were clearly mistaken or misleading the audience. Furthermore, it's not just that "scientists" disagree with the singular idea. There are many points in the film with which scientists disagree and this particular one was not the "spark" that led to the film's panning by the scientific community. As I said before, you're going to have to do better at writing for the enemy than that. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:24, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The “film presents” means of course the filmmakers since no film really presents anything. I guess we can use the English language this way. If the filmmakers are wrong, thats not for an editor to say unless very clear specific, references or reference says so. “Plays a role in consciousness” ensues after the opening sentence “that link quantum physics to consciousness”. If you want to change the tone and meaning of the entire paragraph please write a version and place on the talk pages for other editors to look at and discuss. This version is a combination of versions written by other editors. Please feel free to try something else. (olive (talk) 20:55, 8 January 2008 (UTC))
Hey, I'm happy with the current version and unhappy with your version. That's really all I have to offer and I've basically shown why your version does not have my support. It is too easy to misinterpret it to be accommodationist. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:07, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Keep in mind that the lead section is meant to be a concise summary overview of the article and does not require the same level of detail as may be found in the body of the article. Also, I would think that a sentence that begins with "the film presents", is obviously meant to be a statement showing what the filmmakers and the film say the film presents, not what the critics believe it to present. The critics' view would begin with something like "The film has been criticized" or "Critics say.." Something like that. Dreadstar 21:02, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The "film presents" should be followed with an objective fact. For example, "The film presents JZ Knight as Ramtha." or "The film presents pseudoscience as scientific fact." ScienceApologist (talk) 21:07, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean as regards the lead section of an article, but see WP:NPOV, WP:V, and WP:NOR. The lead must concisely summarize its article, creating a " concise overview of the article, establishing context, summarizing the most important points, explaining why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describing its notable controversies..." Synthesizing views to come up with a presumably statement of "objective fact" as you have just outlined may violate policy. What you have outlined in your second example is the opinion of certain critics of the movie, and clearly does not represent the filmmaker's stated intent. Dreadstar 21:21, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Can you point to where the filmmakers stated their "intent"? ScienceApologist (talk) 21:29, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Sure, an entire website, plus the books and movie itself. I'm also pretty sure there are TV, print and online interviews with the makers of the film out there... Dreadstar 21:36, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
No direct quotes? Pity. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:43, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The intent of the film makers was, as Arntz described it, was to create a film "for the metaphysical left." BeliefNet That was in the article but someone removed it as being "partisan" or something. It really belongs back in there because the film maker's words as to their intent can be attributed and is informative. --Nealparr (talk to me) 23:48, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not an advocate for putting quotes in this article's lead - it's unnecessary. And it's irrelevant to the point I was making above. Dreadstar 21:48, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, you seem to think you know what the filmmaker's intent is, but instead of sharing with us your thoughts on the matter, you've just linked to the promotional websites that do little more than advertise. I'm curious to know what you have for us, that's all. ScienceApologist (talk) 22:26, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The "promotional website", books and movie are where the producers of the film have made some of their statements about the purpose and intent of the movie. For the purposes of this discussion, the details are irrelevant - this a general discussion of what should be included in the lead section. Taking the "promotional" material and summarizing it for the purposes of presenting that particular viewpoint is the issue, not the specific details of the material. We're attempting to summarize what is in this Wikipedia article. In any case, the disputed section is the "criticism" section of the lead, so this particular avenue of discussion about details from the producer's perspective and supplying you with quotes, is a bit off-track. 22:50, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Dreadstar, it would be nice if you would quit using minimizing words like "critics". The weight of science is on their side. All of those books on quantum mechanics that didn't bother to review this movie agree on the science. The movie misrepresents science, and presents pseudoscience as scientific fact. We have reliable sources that say so. We don't have a single reliable source about the science that disagrees. The moviemakers "intent" doesn't factor into things at all.Kww (talk) 21:37, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not referring to just the film critics, I'm using the word critic in its broader sense. And the filmmaker's stated intent certainly does factor in, per WP:NPOV and WP:V. This is an article about the filmmaker's product...the naturally their view counts. Dreadstar 21:45, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
It counts, but we are also not in the business of advertising and so we need to couch it very carefully. The filmmakers have an obvious agenda that is opposed by mainstream science. It is no different than the creation museum or Of Pandas and People. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:48, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
It's one part of maintaining an NPOV I'm firmly opposed to crossing. The choice would become between leads like "Ramtha intended to prosleytize his own spiritual views, but actually misrepresented pseudoscience as science", or "Ramtha intended to bilk his followers out of millions of dollars, and misrepresented pseudoscience as science to do so." Absent a confessed intention of committing fraud, we have no idea whether the filmmakers were sincere.Kww (talk) 21:52, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Thats one way of doing it but not the only way. SA I am not the opposition. There is no need to make a division or create a conflict where none exists. Several editors have been working on this for days trying to create something better than what is there now . If you like what is there now fine. That is your prerogative. There has been a fair amount of collaboration on this lead and several versions have been offered as possibilities . I don't care at all about this movie but I really care about Wikipedia standards. I am working with different versions of a new rewrite for the lead using the WP: guidelines/polocies as I understand them. Thats all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Littleolive oil (talkcontribs) 21:30, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Addressing comments above:
The film employs a panel of experts who discuss the fringe view that quantum mechanics may be linked with consciousness. Many of these experts hold academic degrees, but are also affiliated with New Age research organizations including the Institute of Noetic Sciences. (Source: Reel Science, 5th paragraph) Among the New Age spiritual community the film was well received. (Source:Publisher's Weekly & BeliefNet) However, the idea that consciousness plays a role in quantum mechanics, and other pseudoscientific conclusions drawn in the film, are not accepted theories in mainstream science. The film sparked criticism from scientists who strongly disagree with the conclusion that spiritual beliefs are linked to quantum mechanics. One of the experts interviewed in the film, David Albert, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to make it appear he agrees with the ideas presented in the film.
  • Changed "fringe theory" in first line to "fringe view" per ScienceApologist's concerns. Changed "is" to "may" (the possibility is seriously discussed by some physics theorists even if it isn't a "theory" per se).
  • Added sources for the word "New Age", per Olive.
  • Reworded "However, the idea that consciousness plays a role in quantum mechanics is not an accepted theory in mainstream science and the film sparked criticism from mainstream scientists who strongly disagree with it's premise" per ScienceApologist and Olive. Now it is two sentences noting objections by SA that it's not just the consciousness/quantum mechanics idea, but other ideas as well, adds Kww's "pseudoscientific", and changes "premise" to "conclusions", etc.
  • Note that this intro, as before, does not include quotes and is in summary style, per Dreadstar's concerns.
  • The concern of Dreadstar and TimidGuy about pseudoscience in the lead has been addressed by the line containing "pseudoscientific conclusions" and the line directly after. It clearly conveys what we mean by pseudoscience (spiritual conclusions not supported by science and not accepted by mainstream science). It doesn't bias the reader because it is fully explained what is meant by the term.
This addresses everyone's major concerns while also addressing mine that the intro is currently all criticism and doesn't even mention the panel of experts who are the most notable part of the film. It covers what everyone said, and the current intro doesn't. Can we move on yet? --Nealparr (talk to me) 23:36, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Replace "experts" with "experts as well as fringe scientists" and you'll be getting warmer. I've identified sources to back this in my discussion with Dreadstar at the top of this Talk page. Antelan talk 00:31, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I think that experts would be a good word to avoid altogether. Who determines in this situation who is an expert? They don't interview anyone who is recognized in mainstream academia as an expert in the subjects that they address, for example. I would say, rather, that they have selectively interviewed proponents of the ideas of the movie, some of whom have academic degrees. ScienceApologist (talk) 00:34, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't say proponents either. At least one disagrees with the concepts. That's why it says "discuss the..." rather than "supports the...". What's a generic term for interviewees that doesn't sound made up like "interviewees" <-is that a word? --Nealparr (talk to me) 00:48, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Victims comes to my mind, but I don't think you need to characterize them at all. The film employs a panel that discusses the fringe....Kww (talk) 01:30, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Which version?

In this diff, I present my version beside Dreadstar's version. I think mine is preferable (of course) as it is more detailed and less equivocal, but I'd like feedback. Antelan talk 03:36, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Per WP:LEAD, the lead section does not need too much detail, it is supposed to be a concise summary of the article. The details, such as the different organization names and other specifics of that nature, belong in the body of the article and not the lead. Does a letter about the movie that is published in Physics Today really mean that Physics Today needs to be specifically mentioned in the lead? As for "equivocal", I'm not sure what that means..are you referring to calling some of the participants "fringe scientists? What exactly do you mean? Dreadstar 03:52, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
They look about the same to me, but we're beyond that now anyway. ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 04:22, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
How exactly did we "move beyond this"? Why have people started directly editing the article when we are still pretty far from any consensus as to wording? I'm about to go to bed, will look at this in the morning, and hope I don't wake up to a 300-revert long edit trail. It's really hard to work on an article when everyone feels free to just hack away, knowing full well that there are other editors interested in the article that take extremely different views. Ignoring the views of others is where edit wars start. At least NeilParr and Olive try to discuss their changes before the make them.Kww (talk) 04:42, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Dreadstar, if you would go ahead and read the source that I used to back the "fringe scientists" statement, you would see exactly what I use that wording. I did cite a source for that reason, since the source itself was where I got the idea for that sentence.Antelan talk 04:57, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

I like this change. Reads much better now. Rracecarr (talk) 05:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

For the record, my WP:BOLD edit to the lead was based on existing concerns raised on the talk page and is considered by me to be my "best effort" at resolving the disputes. I felt it was a good lead, followed Wikipedia guidelines that call for a neutral summary of the current version of the article, and felt that it reflected consensus because I made changes based on everyone's concern at the time. I went ahead and made the change because I don't think I'll be able to come up with a better one, and left a disclaimer that anyone can revert if they disagree. I thought it (and some of the variations) make a good lead but would be more than happy to be proved wrong by a better one. --Nealparr (talk to me) 05:26, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

RfC: Lead section dispute

  • Several editors have worked on multiple versions of the lead in attempts to reach consensus, but without success. Comments on the most neutral and most appropriate version for the lead to an article would be appreciated.

Lead proposals

For everyone’s consideration, here are two proposals to replace the current criticism portion of the lead section (current 2nd paragraph). Please indicate in the polling section if either of these is an acceptable replacement for the current lead. Two additional options are included: one for keeping the current lead as is, and one for any completely new proposals.

Version A:

  • The film has been criticized for erroneously making connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories. These critics say that the connections, speculations and conclusions in the film only appear to be based on scientific understanding, but in reality are not. David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views.

Version B:

  • The film employs a panel of interviewees who speculate that quantum mechanics may be linked with consciousness. Many of those who were interviewed hold academic degrees and are affiliated with New Age research organizations. Among the New Age spiritual community the film was well received. [4][6], however the film sparked criticism from scientists who strongly disagree with the conclusion that spiritual beliefs are linked to quantum mechanics. One of the experts interviewed in the film, David Albert, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to make it appear he agrees with the ideas presented in the film.

Option C:

  • Other. (please make new proposals in the New version proposals section)

Option D:

  • Keep current version as is.

RfC responder comments

Version opinion polling

  • Replace current lead with version: A (first choice), B (second choice). Dreadstar 17:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep current lead. It's no longer than before Nealparr and I began editing, but it contains less extraneous detail and more relevant detail. The current lead does a good, concise job of summarizing the rest of the article. It's not perfect, but it's better than these options.Antelan talk 17:58, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Concur with Antelan. ScienceApologist (talk) 19:02, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep current lead. Basically concur with Antelan. If I had a second choice, it's B.Kww (talk) 19:41, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep current lead or write a new one. I think the current lead is far superior to A or B. There are other possibilities. See my attempt below. I don't think David Albert needs to be in the lead. He's just one of many scientists who disagree with the premise. He is discussed later in the article. I think 2 major points need to be gotten across in the lead: 1)It was a successful film (lots of people saw it); and 2)It contains significant discussion of scientific topics, and the conclusions it draws on the basis of those discussions are scientifically bad, wrong, made up. The more succinctly the lead get those 2 points across, the better the lead. Rracecarr (talk) 19:48, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Succinctly is right. Don't you think there is already too much in the current lead or do you believe it is succinct as it is? Anthon01 (talk) 22:17, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Did you read my suggested lead paragraph below?Rracecarr (talk) 22:19, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I did see that without realizing that it was you. I like the fact that it is covering the science part more succinctly. THe question is could you have made the scientific criticism more general? Anthon01 (talk) 22:36, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Definitely remove current lead, and replace with version A, with addition ( see below in New Versions somewhat like version created by Nealparr and Rracecarr). This present version is weak in terms of syntax, encyclopedic wording, somewhat jumbled in terms of clarity. I am uncomfortable with pseudoscience in the lead. We are dealing with the general public not scientists or even science students necessarily so explanations are better in an introduction. I feel actually that using pseudoscience this way is somewhat lazy intellectually because it gathers under its umbrella of meaning numerous meanings,references, and connotations not necessarily consistent with every person using the word. I would make any student of mine explain what exactly he or she means when using the word. In this article we meet up with pseudoscience later on so its well represented. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Littleolive oil (talkcontribs) 23:06, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
    Can you point to an example in the current lead of weak syntax? Wording? Clarity? Just one concrete example of each would suffice for demonstration's sake. Antelan talk 07:25, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Good enough I don't even know what the "current lead" is anymore, but all the intros I reviewed below good enough. They all say pretty much the same thing with only minor variations in wording. Some are more critical than others. Some are less strong than others. But none of them are overboard in any direction to a degree that matters. On the issue of "pseudoscience" in the lead, there are enough sources to justify it, so yes, definitely. --Nealparr (talk to me) 22:29, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Version A&B Discussion

  • Version A (with statements like ... connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories) really tells you nothing about why the commentary is noteworthy or even interesting. I'd see that and think, "Sure, some scientists don't like New Age stuff, moving on now..." Version B (with statements like speculate that quantum mechanics may be linked with consciousness) gives you much more precise and interesting picture. Neither of these are more desirable than the current lead, which does an even better job of neatly summarizing the article. Antelan talk 17:54, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Current lead discussions

Pseudoscience in lead

  • The pseudoscience contribution in the lead should be "Members of the scientific community have criticized the film for promulgating pseudoscience." Nothing more. The rest is overkill. Please note the lack of balance currently in the lead. The pro get short shrift and the con gets center stage.
Pro: Among the New Age spiritual community, the film was well received.
Con: Members of the scientific community have criticized the film for promulgating pseudoscience. The film presents many ideas which are not supported by science, such as that consciousness and quantum mechanics are related, and that ice crystals can be influenced by thought.[3][4][5] Physicist David Albert, who was interviewed for the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to make it appear that he agrees with the ideas presented in the film.[6]
Anthon01 (talk) 17:53, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Or taking into consideration the perjorative nature of "pseudoscience" "Members of the scientific community have criticized the film for promulgating unscientific concepts" or something to that effect. Anthon01 (talk) 18:39, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The issue with pseudoscience in the lead is that it is a little-used word in the general population, and is a word that is viewed by many editors as a pejorative (stated on this talk page by one of its proponents to be a euphemism for "balderdash") and it reads more like a sensationalistic headline: "It's a Pseudoscientific movie!!". Version A actually uses the definition of pseudoscience, a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific." Use of the actual word 'pseudoscience' is unnecessary if the meaning of the word is used, and when stated in a concise summary manner, it doesn't require additional explanation or examples of what its meaning. "Version A" uses the definition for pseudoscience, and neatly summarizes the entire scientific criticism of the movie:
"The film has been criticized for erroneously making connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories. These critics say that the connections, speculations and conclusions in the film only appear to be based on scientific understanding, but in reality are not".
The word is used in the body of the article, because there is no question of including it...the only question is whether or not it is suitable for the lead section. Dreadstar 18:22, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I find these arguments to be specious. Pseudoscience is pseudoscience. It's neither an "obscure term" nor is it particularly sensational. It's used quite a bit in introductory science texts to describe ideas such as the ones this movie promulgates and it is used frequently whenever a scientist mentions this film. Since the film is purportedly a documentary that is supposed to describe scientific ideas, it is only fair that the response of the scientific community be given and it should be given primacy in terms of the science over the protestations of occultists who have neither the expertise in the science nor the familiarity with the ideas to comment. Granted the movie is about "more" than just the science, but like it or not that's the place where this movie derives much of its notoriety. Trying to claim an equality between the pseudoscience pushers and scientific analysis is directly in contradiction to the spirit and tenor of WP:WEIGHT. ScienceApologist (talk) 19:17, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Pseudoscience quite aptly summarizes the bulk of the scientific criticisms of this movie that are noted in this article. Sure, we could avoid this word by writing out its definition in the lead. On the other hand, we could use this word whose very purpose in existing is to avoid all that circumlocutory hassle. The cinematic criticism, of course, is another matter. Antelan talk 19:29, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Pseudoscience is an extremely common, generally understood word, not at all obscure. As long as reliable sources have published the view that the film is 'psuedoscience' or 'pseudoscientific', (and they have), there's no reason not to use the term. Dlabtot (talk) 20:38, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Are the above versions to replace the entire lead or just a section of the lead? Also, the text in the second paragraph "... the scientific community have criticized the film for promulgating pseudoscience. The film presents many ideas which are not supported by science ..." seems redundant as pseudoscience is never supported by science. --Anthon01 (talk) 22:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Anthon01, just to replace the criticism portion of the lead (current 2nd paragraph). The first and third paragraphs are great. Dreadstar 22:45, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • The focus on the relative obscurity of pseudoscience amongst the non-scientific populace, and the low percentage of sources that use the word in relation to the film, pales beside the inherently pejorative potential of the word. Sure, it can be used, but it must be used cautiously and judiciously. I think a plainly worded statement, per the critic's comments and covers their view of the film's speculations "about theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific", is the better option for the lead section. Dreadstar 23:16, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I think the meaning of the term is not well known outside the scientific community. I suspect that what the average reader gets is the negative connotation and not what the word denotes. The fact that the word is common in scientific textbooks, as I think ScienceApologist mentioned, does not support the claim that it is a widely used word as textbooks use jargon. Big words is talking down to reader. Simple is better.
    Regarding WP:WEIGHT, giving WEIGHT doesn't require more sentences. One sentence can nullify 20 others. Science deserves more WEIGHT in regards to science aspect but it doesn't deserve more WEIGHT in regards to the movie. This is first and foremost a movie, a work of art, not a science thesis. Yes it invokes science and misstates the facts, but that doesn't require an excessive amount of scientific criticism. The addition of so many sentences is kinda like throwing up enough sh*t in the hope that some will stick. One sentence says it all "many of the ideas presented in the movie are not supported by science." If people refuse to accept the non-science of the movie than it is up to them. It is not our place to convince them, just to state the facts from RS and let them decide for themselves. Anthon01 (talk) 11:20, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
This is a specious argument. I couldn't begin to count how many times you've made this assertion, but simply saying something a lot doesn't add to its credibility. What evidence do you have for your assertion? And by evidence, I mean real evidence, not some meaningless search engine test. I'm not a member of the scientific community. I'm not any kind of genius or exceptional person. Why do I know what the word means if it is so supposedly rare? Dlabtot (talk) 21:50, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Which assertion? I have made more than one assertion, and I believe this is the first time I have said that the term is not well known. What difference does it make how often I make an assertion? What are you trying to do? I suspect if I look around I'll find assertions you have made that are lacking real evidence? Anthon01 (talk) 14:13, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
All I can do is note, again, that that pseudoscience is a common, not at all obscure, word. Assertions to the contrary test the limits of WP:AGF. Dlabtot (talk) 17:31, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Wait a minute. You accuse me with "I couldn't begin to count how many times" and that's it? Asserions to the contrary test the limits of WP:AGF? Really? How about your accusation without diffs or a retraction? I would say that is a much more concrete example of testing the limits of WP:AGF? Just a suggestion. Maybe you are overreacting to the presence of this RfC? Anthon01 (talk) 19:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
In addition, you too have made an assertion right here without providing real evidence. Seems like a case of the "pot calling the kettle ..." Your experience with the word proves nothing. If you decide to provide evidence make sure it is "real evidence, not some meaningless search engine test." Anthon01 (talk) 17:41, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Once the producers used the word "documentary" they put themselves out of the realm of "work of art". The only notable thing about this "documentary" is that it got essentially nothing right. The criticisms on the scientific level are much more important, and the positive reception from people that don't know any better is worthy of a small footnote, at best.Kww (talk) 18:35, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Beyond pseudoscience

  • Beyond the pseudoscience issue, I believe that one of the sides in this dispute is adding significantly more critical detail than is necessary for the lead section of this particular movie. Too much critical detail in the lead adds unnecessary bias against the movie. My view is that the lead section, per WP:LEAD should be a concise, neutral summary of the article; but the current lead does not fit those criteria. I agree with Attwotter's analysis, the language can be..and more importantly should be simple. The 'sordid' details can be fully explored in the body of the article. Dreadstar 04:13, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Several good short leads have been proposed, but get vetoed on the grounds of being unsupported. Once enough detail is added to support the statement, it gets criticised for being too long. Bad short leads have also been proposed, but they all failed by giving undue weight to the new agers. I still could settle for "The movie misrepresents New Age spirituality as being supported by science".Kww (talk) 04:20, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
No, being "unsupported" does not necessarily mean we need to add a bunch of details to support it. The issue with your example ""The movie misrepresents New Age spirituality as being supported by science" is that it doesn't indicate who is saying it. The way it's worded makes it look like Wikipedia is saying it. It's a simple matter to say "Members of the scientific community have criticized the movie for misrepresenting New Age spirituality as being supported by science"." Just a few added words to say who said it, no details on what they said, or why they said it, or how they said it, is necessary - all that detail can be in the body of the article. Dreadstar 04:31, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
If what you mean by Wikipedia is saying it is Wikipedia editors have examined all reliable sources, and all reliable sources agree, then that's exactly what I want to say. There are no reliable sources about the science that support this movie, so there is no opposition which deserves weight. Mentioning that proponents exist is OK, but for that, you need a qualifier like "the New Age community".Kww (talk) 04:42, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
No, saying that would violate WP:NOR. I'm not sure why there is a problem with saying, in a general way, who said it. Wikipedia and its editors never say anything, we merly report what others say. In the same way you say qualifiers are needed for the proponents, we need to identify the critics. NPOV. Dreadstar 05:02, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps Kww's point is, who better to decide whether or not science supports the ideas than scientists? Pluto is not considered a planet. Never you mind who doesn't consider it a planet--just be assured that authoritative sources agree. In the same way, Bleep is not considered good science. Rracecarr (talk) 05:14, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Sample leads, from issues of similar controversy levels:
  • Earth (pronounced /ˈɜrθ/) is the third planet from the Sun and is the largest of the terrestrial planets in the Solar System, in both diameter and mass.
  • Water is a common chemical substance that is essential to all known forms of life.
  • Oxygen (pronounced /ˈɒksɪdʒən/) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, gaseous chemical element with the chemical symbol O and atomic number 8.
Kww (talk) 13:21, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Pluto's status as a planet is an excellent example, the article clearly identifies the authoratitive scientific group who said it, the International Astronomical Union; a global authority representing national astronomical societies from around the world that also acts as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies. By comparison, only a handful of individual scientists have commented on Bleep, and I don't think any group or organization has made an official commment on the movie. So yes, we need to identify who said it.
As for the other examples, Oxygen identifies who coined the term...although comparing a movie - even a controversial one - with Earth, Water and Air is not the best way to evaluate how to identify where the view is from...I mean, honestly, the more apt comparison would be like asking for sources to show that Bleep was actaully a film or movie. We really need to identify who said it. I really do wish the entire scientific community had commented - it would make this much easier...
What is being asked is for Wikipedia to say "oh, we Wikipedia editors checked every single available source and we couldn't find anything that said the science was good, so therefore the news is all bad." We just can't say that... Dreadstar 19:30, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Let's stick with Pluto, because you like it. The first sentence is Pluto (pronounced /ˈpluːtoʊ/, from Latin: Plūto, Greek: Πλούτων), also designated 134340 Pluto, is the second-largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System (after Eris) and the tenth-largest body observed directly orbiting the Sun. Bald assertion of fact. I agree, the later discussion credits it, which we also do in this article. I'm not asking for all citations to be deleted from the article. I'm don't even mind if you put direct citations on the lead sentence that states that the movie is false/balderdash/tosh/pseudoscience/other adjective. I'm just asking that the sentence not treat the falsehood of the movie as an opinion held by some group of people. Treat it as a fact, one verified by the citations provided.Kww (talk) 19:44, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Right, the opening statement of Pluto is a bold assertion of fact which is backed up by sources and is therefore verifiable. The sheer number and quality of reliable sources to back up that opening statement has no matching equivalent for "the science" of Bleep. The only reasonable comparison is the Bleep statement "What the Bleep Do We Know!? a 2004 film that combines documentary interviews and a fictional narrative to posit a connection between science and spirituality." Now that is the comparison to the first sentence in Pluto. I never said the sources had to be in the lead or a bunch of details on why, the simple matter of the fact is that Bleep does not have similar sources on the science. Dreadstar 19:59, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
The scientific criticisms of this movie have less controversy behind them than the "dwarf planet" status of Pluto. There is excellent backing for those criticisms. It's been ruled that the thousands of sources on quantum mechanics can't be used in this article, and I grudgingly accept that. However, then handful of people that bothered to notice this movie are on extremely strong ground. Are you saying that those thousands of sources aren't even usable for verifying the reliability of the critics?Kww (talk) 20:07, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with reliability of the critics, there has been no question about that at all. The question is sourcing comments and criticism directed at the film. I totally understand that the critics are standing on strong, firm ground...but that's not the point. If they weren't on strong, firm would certainly change the tenor of any mention of their criticism in the article. If the movie was so important, then there would have been a much louder and significant outcry. As it is, the scientific community hardly felt even a tiny little blip. The outcry here on Wikipedia against the film is far more intense than in any real-world's a tempest that shouldn't even fill the teapot. Dreadstar 20:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I fully agree, there. I suspect we differ as to why this tempest has persisted so long and grown to such outlandish proportions. Your logic is fundamentally flawed ... if the critics are on strong ground, and are backed so well by so many sources, we can treat their criticisms as fact. If you will allow the lead to be written that way, maybe we can just have some tea.Kww (talk) 20:21, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

New version proposals

V. Rracecarr

  • Reactions to Bleep have been mixed. Among the New Age spiritual community, the film was well received, playing in 200 theaters across the US and grossing over $10 million. It attracted the attention of scientists as well; the scientific community has criticized the film for inappropriately applying quantum mechanical principles and concluding, erroneously, that human consciousness directly influences the physical world.Rracecarr (talk) 19:38, 10 January 2008 (UTC) Have been convinced by Kww that paragraph needs a straightforward statement that the science is wrong.Rracecarr (talk) 00:24, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

or (working toward verifiability per Dreadstar)

  • Reactions to Bleep have been mixed. It was well received by many members of the New Age spiritual community, playing in 200 theaters across the US and grossing over $10 million. Presenting many ideas not supported by science, the film attracted the attention of scientists as well, a number of whom have criticized it as pseudoscientific, saying that it inappropriately applies quantum mechanical principles and thereby concludes, erroneously, that human consciousness directly influences the physical world. Rracecarr (talk) 03:53, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Comments V.R
  • I like this one, Rracecarr. Only one minor change so it doesn't appear that the whole, entire scientific community has talked about or criticized the film..;) Just make it "It attracted the attention of scientists as well; members of the scientific community have criticized...". Sourcing criticism from the scientific community as a whole has proven elusive, although I'm sure the vast majority would say it's..well.."balderdash". Can't argue with that..but verifiability is our motto..  :D Dreadstar 22:41, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Er, yes I was aware of the verifiability problems. But why then is it ok to say that the film was "well received by the New Age community"? Doesn't that present similar issues? It seems to me a stronger statement without the "members of". Despite policy, I can't help feeling that sometimes Truth deserves a bit of a say.... And I agree with you about the vast majority: I doubt one physical science researcher in 100 would have anything to say in defense of Bleep's science.Rracecarr (talk) 03:23, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I have no particular attachement to "well received by the New Age community", that's not even in my preferred version, "A". I think Nealparr might have added that, so he may have more data on that particular statement. Dreadstar 03:30, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree, this just states the facts entirely neutrally without getting into things which should be left to the body of the article. MilesAgain (talk) 22:48, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Problem is, the reaction has not been mixed. Any credible source about the science in the film reacted negatively. The reaction of the New Age community deserves mention, but it cannot be presented as being on the same level of credibility as the scientific reaction. There are zero reliable sources that support the science in this film. I greatly prefer the existing lead to this one. Describing the reaction as "mixed" violates WP:UW and WP:FRINGE.Kww (talk) 03:56, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
The reaction to the FILM has been mixed. I have talked to many people who loved the film. I (and many others) hated it. (That's anecdotal, but you can also find written reviews that go either way.) I did not write that scientific critiques of the film were mixed. I agree that reliable sources all discredit the science. That's what I was trying to get across with "the scientific community has criticized...". It is a truism that scientists know science better than new agers. So saying new agers like the film and scientists say it's a load of bunk is not presenting each side as having equal scientific credibility. The fact is, some readers will not care whether the film's claims are scientifically valid or not, but will just want to get an idea of the basic thrust, perhaps to decide whether they want to waste 2 hours on it or not. This is an article about the film, NOT the science in the film. The fact that the science is bad is important, but it should not necessarily dominate the introduction. On a more pragmatic note, you are never going to get consensus for any lead in which it does. Regardless, glad to have your feedback. Rracecarr (talk) 04:25, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I could go with Rracecars version with the changes mentioned. Would it read like this: Hope its ok to paste it here with changes:

Reactions to Bleep have been mixed. The film was well received for a low budget film, playing in 200 theaters across the US and grossing over $10 million. It attracted the attention of scientists as well. Members of the the scientific community have criticized the film for inappropriately applying quantum mechanical principles and concluding, that human consciousness directly influences the physical world.

I did take out erroneously since I would thinks its POV

I added "for a low budget film" to qualify well received, otherwise well received without New Age is inaccurate , maybe. (olive (talk) 03:50, 11 January 2008 (UTC))

I would not want to say "the film was well received" without specifying "in the New Age community". That seems pretty false. See above for a second version that tries to incorporate Dreadstar's comments.Rracecarr (talk) 04:31, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
From the way olive's is worded, it's probably "The film was well received by the general public for a low budget film". So I would say:
  • Reactions to Bleep have been mixed. Playing in 200 theaters across the US and grossing over $10 million, it was well received by many members of the New Age spiritual community as well as the general public. The film also attracted the attention of scientists, a number of whom have criticized it, saying that it inappropriately applies quantum mechanical principles and erroneously concludes that human consciousness directly influences the physical world.
Dreadstar 18:05, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I thinks this version is better than mine and ties Rracecar's and Dreadstar's versions together quite well. I could agree to this version.(olive (talk) 20:23, 11 January 2008 (UTC))
That version is terrible. First of all, I know of no active scientist who hasn't criticized the movie when commenting on it. Stating "a number of whom have criticized it" doesn't get this across. Secondly, none of these scientists think that the film "inappropriately applies quantum mechanical principles". In fact, what the film does is make shit up. Thirdly, it is "human consciousness" as an idea definitely "influences the physical world". The issue is that human consciousness alone does not affect the fundamental macrophysical scenarios. So, on the whole, this version gets the perspective of the scientific community wrong. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:00, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I don't know of any active scientists who haven't criticized it either (well outside those identified as scientists in the movie). Even the ones I know that are more accepting of new age, quantum, or spiritual connections between the mind and matter have criticized the movie for not clearly distinguishing between accepted science and speculation. How can we word it so that it fits the actual sources available? I don't want to open the door to rampant additions of content that violates WP:NOR, but I can agree with trying to find a way to get the full picture of criticism versus support for the scientific connections attempted in the film. So far, we've been at the extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. Isn't there any middle ground...and keep in mind, this is only about the lead section, the article has a very robust criticism's just the lead. Dreadstar 21:19, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
1) I think "inappropriately applies quantum mechanical principles" is another way to say "makes shit up". And you're wrong about no scientists agreeing with that statement: I'm one of them. I'm not implying that anyone screwed up any quantum mechanical calculations--of course they didn't do any. They just took a little information about, for example, wavefunction collapse, and pretended it meant things it didn't.
2)I don't understand your criticism of the "influences the physical world" bit--could you be clearer?
3)Is it the version immediately above your comment that you find terrible, or do you think the original versions I wrote above are going in the wrong direction?Rracecarr (talk) 21:33, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
1) YMMV. I think that a strict interpretation of this idea is problematic, as you point out.
2) If we accept that there is such a thing as "human consciousness" and that it interacts with the world, then obviously human consciousness "influences" the physical world in some way. My human consciousness influences the physical world when I, for example, send a signal to my nerves to pick up a pencil.
3) It was Dreadstar's version that I disliked -- apart from the general comments about influencing the physical world and human consciousness which is also in your version.
ScienceApologist (talk) 22:10, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


  • "Among the New Age spiritual community, the film was well received (needs a little more here). Members of the scientific community have criticized the film for promulgating pseudoscience concepts, like a relationship between consciousness and quantum mechanics, and modification of ice crystals by thought." Anthon01 (talk) 23:01, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

or for those not comfortable with the perjorative

  • "Among the New Age spiritual community, the film was well received. Members of the scientific community have criticized the film for many ideas which are not supported by science, such as a relationship between consciousness and quantum mechanics, and modification of ice crystals by thought." Anthon01 (talk) 23:04, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

V.olive - Version A with possible additions/addition

  • Reactions to Bleep have been mixed. The film, a moderately inexpensive, low budget production played in 200 theaters across the US, and grossed over $10 million. The film has been criticized for making connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories. These critics say that the connections, speculations and conclusions in the film appear to be based on scientific understanding, but in reality are not.


  • Among the New Age spiritual communities, the film was well received. or In the New Age spiritual community, the film was well received.The film has been criticized for making connections between new age, spiritual concepts and established scientific theories. These critics say that the connections, speculations and conclusions made in the film appear to be based on scientific understanding, but in reality are not.(olive (talk) 23:33, 10 January 2008 (UTC))

Thanks Anthon01 for fixing that mess! Caught it faster than I did.(olive (talk) 23:47, 10 January 2008 (UTC))

V.awotter - My idea of a simplified concise lead section

What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a 2004 independent film that seeks to explore the relationship between spirituality and science. The film combines special effects and documentary interviews with the fictional story of the life and struggles of a deaf photographer (Marlee Matlin).

Considered a moderate to low budget film, Bleep grossed over $10 million dollars, a success some see as the result of grassroots and guerrilla marketing to members of New Age spiritual groups. [7][2] Bleep was directed by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente, members of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. Bleep features extensive interviews with the school's controversial director, Judy Zebra Knight.[8] Knight and others interviewed in the film explain their views of the supposed impact of human consciousness on physics and chemistry.

Some members of the scientific community have criticized the film, believing it supports what they consider unscientific theories such as quantum mysticism, and that ice crystals can be influenced by thought.[4][6][9]David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views, making him appear to agree with the ideas presented in the film.[10]

Refs (Named refs following unscientific theory that appear later in body of text are remarked out in text)

Version, Version, Everyone's got a version ... here's Kww's

What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a 2004 independent film that misrepresents science as supporting New Age beliefs. The film combines special effects and interviews with the story of the life and struggles of a fictional deaf photographer, played by Marlee Matlin. Considered a moderate to low budget film, Bleep grossed over $10 million dollars, a success some see as the result of grassroots and guerrilla marketing to members of New Age spiritual groups. Bleep was directed by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente, members of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. Bleep features extensive interviews with the school's controversial director, Judy Zebra Knight. Knight and others interviewed in the film explain their views of the supposed impact of human consciousness on physics and chemistry. Members of the scientific community that have commented on the film have criticized the film for supporting unscientific theories such as quantum mysticism, and that ice crystals can be influenced by thought.David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views, making him appear to agree with the ideas presented in the film. Kww (talk) 01:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Just to make clear, I don't have a dog in this hunt so to speak. I appreciate that you quoted much of what I suggested above, however, I think that what is really holding back an acceptance of a reasonable consensus on this issue of a simple, concise, neutral and accurate lead appears to me to be a certain lack of respect toward any version one side or the other seems to think minimizes their particular point of view. Give the facts and let those who want to delve deeper into the subject the choice of making up their own minds. The lead isn't the place for "defense" of any POV, period.Awotter (talk) 05:06, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
No disrespect intended. Your opening was about the right length, and presented the things that needed to be presented, in roughly the right order. It just had serious POV problems that needed correction before I would find it acceptable.Kww (talk) 13:52, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Awotter: I think you version is the excellent, perhaps the best I've read so far. In particular, your version sounds NPOV. Anthon01 (talk) 19:26, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you Anthon01, I appreciate that. The level of discourse is pretty intense in here, I thought helping rewrite the Alger Hiss lead was tough. I think folks will come up with something balanced.Awotter (talk) 15:57, 14 January 2008 (UTC)


I'm sorry to see that was reverted. I'll post it here as requested. This is instead of the current final paragraph of the lead:

The film presents ideas about the relationship between quantum physics and consciousness — such as that the shape of ice crystals can be influenced by thought — that have been criticized by members of the scientific community. Fred Kuttner and Bruce Rosenbaum, physicists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, wrote in a letter about the film to Physics Today, that "most laypeople cannot tell where the quantum physics ends and the quantum nonsense begins."[11] David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to make him appear to agree with the ideas presented.[10]

SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 17:58, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
POV via faint criticism. "ideas ... that have been criticized by the scientific community" holds out the possibility that they are correct. There isn't such a possibility, and we have sufficient sourcing that we don't have to pretend that there is. Minimizes the "Physics Today" letter, which are reviewed ... not equivalent to a standard "Letter to the Editor." Kww (talk) 16:42, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Proposed revision of first part of sentence:
"The film presents ideas positing a relationship between quantum physics and consciousness — ..."
The previous wording suggests that such a relationship is a given, and the wikilinking of the entire phrase risks getting interpreted as POV editorializing. I'm not sure if my revision of the wikilink is any better....;-) -- Fyslee / talk 18:51, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I like this version a lot and would support it. I agree with Fyslee, though, it needs some sort of rewording to reflect that it is an interpretation of QM, not a given idea in QM. Here's my shot at it: "The film presents ideas about [a] relationship between quantum physics and consciousness [found in some interpretations of quantum mechanics]" <- or something like that. --Nealparr (talk to me) 19:06, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I was sorry to see that it was reverted also. IMO, your version is encyclopedic. Hence the problem with these pages were pseudoscience may be an issue. Perhaps you will persist in helping bring sanity to these topics. Resolving this here may help resolve it in other similar pages. Some folks here will not accept the removal of the term pseudoscience. For some it is a mantra.
Anthon01 (talk) 19:55, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Other comments

  • I can't believe you folks are still arguing about this tempest in a teapot. Some of these versions are stylistically clumsy but they're all more-or-less ok. My suggestion is that anyone who has ever edited this article take a voluntary 3 month moratorium from editing it and see what at looks like at that time. Hopefully by then, some of your passions will have cooled. Dlabtot (talk) 18:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I've said before, and will repeat : if you can get Dreadstar, Martinphi, and TimidGuy to promise not to influence the article contents, I'll happily stop working on it. I hate working on this article.Kww (talk) 18:32, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I'd like to suggest, that we do not focus on the other editors and just deal with the issue at hand. (olive (talk) 18:51, 10 January 2008 (UTC))
  • New Age community etc. seems to be language that is unwarranted given that that it is a broad and general categorization. Words like promulgated, pseudoscience and erroneous likewise don't meet MOS guidelines for leads. The language can be as simple as the film has generated some controversy among viewers. It does seem like some time away from this would benefit both sides. Awotter (talk) 00:23, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
How does the use of words like promulgated, pseudoscience and erroneous in the lead fall short of the MOS guidelines. Anthon01 (talk) 02:19, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Replied here and on my talk page.

The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, establishing context, summarizing the most important points, explaining why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describing its notable controversies, if there are any. The emphasis given to material in the lead should roughly reflect its importance to the topic according to reliable, published sources. The lead should not "tease" the reader by hinting at but not explaining important facts that will appear later in the article. It should contain up to four paragraphs, should be carefully sourced as appropriate, and should be written in a clear, accessible style so as to invite a reading of the full article.

Next to establishing context, the lead section should briefly summarize the most important points covered in an article in such a way that it can stand on its own as a concise version of the article (e.g. when a related article gives a brief overview of the topic in question). It is even more important here than for the rest of the article that the text be accessible, and consideration should be given to creating interest in reading the whole article (see news style and summary style). The first sentence in the lead section should be a concise definition of the topic unless that definition is implied by the title (such as 'History of …' and similar titles).

Never use a five dollar word when a two dollar one will work. Try critics state, considered unscientific, incorrect etc.Awotter (talk) 06:22, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
And I'm adding posit, intersperse and employs to my avoid list as well. (The preceding message was intended to lighten things up a bit around here).Awotter (talk) 06:31, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, hello hi there! Antelan talk 21:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Antelan, what, do you think your words are worth a dollar a letter?  ;) Rracecarr (talk) 21:55, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


One of the sentences in the current lead looks a bit odd. It says: "The film presents many ideas which are not supported by science, such as that consciousness and quantum mechanics are related ..."

It's hard to unpack this, but first of all, there has been a scholarly debate for hundreds of years about the role of the observer in the thing observed, a debate that intensified with attempts to understand the implications of quantum physics. So in that sense there is indeed a relationship between consciousness and quantum physics, though that's not really an accurate way of expressing the complexity of it.

It's also not clear what it would mean to say that this idea "is not supported by science." What is "science"? (Imagine a sentence that read: "This is a hairstyle not supported by hairdressing.") And which idea exactly is "science" not supporting?

Part of the problem with the film (as I understand it -- I've not seen it myself) is that it massively simplifies extremely complex issues and draws conclusions not supported by any of the scholarly debates. The problem with this article is that it's almost doing the same thing from the opposite direction. A lighter touch when it comes to the writing would help to avoid that. SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 09:44, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Please clarify what your mean by "The problem with this article is that it's almost doing the same thing from the opposite direction," as there are a number of possible permutations. Thanks. --Anthon01 (talk) 13:40, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I've decided I need to watch this before saying any more, because I'm responding only to the way the article's written without knowing enough about the film itself. Will get back to you when I've done that. :-) SlimVirgin (talk)(contribs) 13:43, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

An excellent NPOV overview of Quantum Approaches to Consciousness can be found at - The bottom line is that at present there exist philosophical conjectures linking Quantum Physics and Consciousness; but no equations or experiments (no formalism nor evidence) linking the two. It remains outside the realm of science even more than string theory. String theory has equations (formalism) and is expecting to have actual experiments that can be done when a super-colider being built is finished. Two key issues (quantum effects are too small, and it is just using one unknown to pretend to explain another unknown) that I have seen used to dismiss the idea is presented in the article this way:

"Influential criticism of the possibility that quantum states can in fact survive long enough in the thermal environment of the brain has been raised by Tegmark (2000). He estimates the decoherence time of tubulin superpositions due to interactions in the brain to be less than 10-12 sec. Compared to typical time scales of microtubule processes of the order of milliseconds and more, he concludes that the lifetime of tubulin superpositions is much too short to be significant for neurophysiological processes in the microtubuli. In a response to this criticism, Hagan et al. (2002) have shown that a revised version of Tegmark's model provides decoherence times up to 10 to 100 μ sec, and it has been argued that this can be extended up to the neurophysiologically relevant range of 10 to 100 msec under particular assumptions of the scenario by Penrose and Hameroff.
However, decoherence is just a tiny piece in the debate about the overall picture proposed by Penrose and Hameroff. From a philosophical perspective, their proposal has occasionally received outspoken rejection, see e.g., Grush and Churchland (1995). Indeed, their approach collects several top level mysteries, among them the relation between mind and matter itself, the ultimate unification of all physical interactions, the origin of mathematical truth, and the understanding of brain dynamics across hierarchical levels. Combining such deep issues is certainly fascinating, but it is as ambitious as it is provocative." WAS 4.250 (talk) 16:10, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you Was 4.250. For me these comments illustrate why we need here in the most neutral way possible to deal with as closely as possible with what is said in the movie. The issues the movie deals with are complex, and obviously scientists are weighing in on different sides. The lay person coming to the article probably won't come to this article for accurate information on the most up to date science on these issues. They more likely are just movie goers. My thoughts anyway and thanks so much SlimVirgin for coming in. You add a breath of fresh air. (olive (talk) 17:17, 14 January 2008 (UTC))
There aren't any scientists who have weighed in on the side of this nonsense being anything more than quantum quackery. ScienceApologist (talk) 19:10, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Quantum Approaches to Consciousness at also says:
"There are quite a number of accounts discussing quantum theory in relation to consciousness that adopt basic ideas of quantum theory in a purely metaphorical manner. Quantum theoretical terms such as entanglement, superposition, collapse, complementarity, and others are used without specific reference to how they are defined precisely and how they are applicable to specific situations. For instance, conscious acts are just postulated to be interpretable somehow analogously to physical acts of measurement, or correlations in psychological systems are just postulated to be interpretable somehow analogously to physical entanglement. Such accounts may provide fascinating science fiction, and they may even be important to inspire nuclei of ideas to be worked out in detail. But unless such detailed work leads beyond vague metaphors and analogies, they do not yet represent scientific progress. Approaches falling into this category will not be discussed in this contribution."
When you talk of quantum quackery as being the quantum approach to consciousness used in this film, I am guessing that you believe it to be similar to what this article more neutrally identifies as metaphorical and thus unworthy of serious philosophical or scientific discussion. As I have not seen the movie, I lack an informed opinion as to that specific question. WAS 4.250 (talk) 20:14, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
There is no indication that the people in the film believe they are talking metaphorically. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:16, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
There is no indication that the above paragraph is limiting itself to people who believe they are talking metaphorically. It is commonplace for science to be explained with analogies and for people to misunderstand that they have been told an analogy and mistake the analogy for the science when the science itself is better identified as the application of specific equations in specific ways. WAS 4.250 (talk) 20:49, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
The analogy between science and hairdressing would be apt if science were the realm of all ideas in a similar sense to hairdressing being the realm of all hairstyles. However, not all ideas fall into the realm of science. Science does not support ideas that connect events taking place on widely differing scales of time, size, and distance without mediating events. For example, take the idea that a poodle had a litter of a certain size because unobserved planets collided at that very moment. With no mediating particles travelling between the planets and the poodle, this idea is not supported by science. The poodle/planet connection in terms of distance and time/space scales is (kinda) analogous to the quantum-theory/conciousness connection presented in the film. It is an unscientific idea that may nevertheless be interesting. I think an NPOV article would label the ideas in this film strongly and correctly in the introduction. Flying Jazz (talk) 20:32, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Please try again. I have no idea what that meant.Kww (talk) 20:34, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
At the core of SlimVirgin's criticism of a phrase from the article ("The film presents many ideas which are not supported by science") was an analogy between science dealing with ideas and hairdressers dealing with hairstyles. I disagree with her criticism and I was encouraging editors here to part ways with this analogy. The scientific community does science and the hairstyling community does hairstyling, and there are ideas that fall within and outside these realms of professional practice. If a film pretended to be about hairstyling matters and it began to present supposed hairstylists seriously discussing surgery and dentistry like some barbers of old used to do, then I would support an NPOV statement in a Wikipedia article introduction that the film presented ideas that are not supported by the hairstyling community. My memory of this film from a few years ago (which may be flawed) is that it pretended to be about scientific matters and then began to present supposed scientists seriously discussing some relationship between wishful thinking and reality like some philosophers of old used to do, so I support a similar sort of statement in the introduction. Flying Jazz (talk) 21:02, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, astrology is both interesting to some people and known to be totally unscientific - even when terms used in science are thrown in to appear credible. WAS 4.250 (talk) 20:41, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Boiling it down

Let's try to get to the point. As I see it, the bone of contention that is halting forward progress is this:

Some editors (ScienceApologist, Kww, Antelan, JzG, Rracecarr, Naturezak, Flying Jazz, etc--call them group I) believe that there are ample references to support a statement such as "Bleep makes up false things and presents them as science," and that any qualification of such a statement does a disservice to the reader by giving the impression that there is more doubt as to the quality of the science than there actually is.

Other editors (Olive, TimidGuy, Dreadstar, Nealparr, etc--group II) are in favor of a phrasing such as "Some scientists have criticized Bleep for what they say are made up false things presented as science." They believe that such a statement is the only kind that can truly be backed up by references, and that readers should be able to form their own opinion of the validity of the ideas in the movie after reading the comments of certain scientists and others, duly collected and reported without any synthesizing by editors.

Did I get this right? If so, let's try to write this one sentence--I have a feeling things will flow easily from there. Is any kind of compromise possible? Group II (and Group I for that matter), would you be amenable to a phrasing such as "mainstream scientists agree...", or "the unequivocal consensus of the scientific community is..."? These are not quite a direct statement that Bleep is wrong, but still, to my mind, leave little doubt as to the veracity of the science.Rracecarr (talk) 22:30, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I think you have it basically right. The one problem to be dealt with is that our situation on the sources is that we have a handful of sources that noticed the movie. Those sources can be verified as being accurate and reliable, and we can easily turn up hundreds of sources that back them on the science, but not hundreds dealing with the movie. Thus, we cannot apply the word consensus to the movie, just the science.Kww (talk) 22:46, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I edited the article to reflect my idea of a compromise. Benjaminbruheim (talk) 22:49, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
His contribution may be seen here.Kww (talk) 22:54, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Good edit. Support. Guy (Help!) 22:59, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the constant excision from the article of mainstream critique is a pressing problem. The quotes from ACS and others offset the claim to be a documentary. It is not a documentary, it is a propaganda film by some rather questionable new-age cultists, and the article in failing to reflect that mainstream perspective is failing WP:NPOV pretty badly - it is reasonable to quote those people because they are normally very moderate voices, and it takes a special kind of fautity to provoke them to invective. Needless to say it's another science v. pseudoscience fight, and as always we are hapmered by the fact that in the main science simply points and laughs at this kind of twaddle because it is so self-evidently bogus, but as always we must strive to reflect the fact that anybody seriously involved with what the film portrays as its subject, including quantum mechanics, has either ignored the film as fatuous or has derided it in whatever venue comes to hand. Guy (Help!) 22:57, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Great, that's an opinion to express in the RfC. Everyone editing the intro to insert their opinion goes absolutely nowhere. You're an admin right? Shouldn't you be helping to see the RfC process work? --Nealparr (talk to me) 23:01, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Really, the half article are scientists pointing out that the movie is not very likely to represent science properly. And I see nothing in the article that conveys a message that the movie is factual. Where exactly is there a NPOV? I see it reflect a mainstream opinion. Benjaminbruheim (talk) 23:18, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I have an idea to help WP:NPOV in this article, but I don't think you'd like it very much. Guy (Help!) 23:05, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Feel free to post it. I'm open to suggestions. --Nealparr (talk to me) 23:08, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
It involves a compulsory vacation for fringe and pseudoscience POV-pushers. That would improve a lot of articles. Guy (Help!) 23:14, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia supports compulsory vacation for POV-pushers. The thing about that is that you have to develop consensus that an editor is pushing a non-neutral point of view. So at some point you have to build consensus whatever way you go. --Nealparr (talk to me) 05:25, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the problem is the exact opposite. I see articles being written from a non-scientific rational skeptic way too often. This is not why rules against pseudoscience/fringe POV was made. Making the article "rational skeptic" POV is not NPOV. Benjaminbruheim (talk) 23:18, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
With the exception of Benjamin's edit, I'm ignoring the article itself right now because there seems to be an edit war going on there. I will say that Benjamin changing "The film presents many ideas which are not supported by science" to "The film presents many concepts which are considered unlikely according to mainstream science" does not seem to be a compromise to me. I just began posting on this talk page today so I can't talk too much about groups of editors here, but I suspect that many of the editors characterized as falling in Group I ("Bleep makes up false things and presents them as science") may actually be in a different group with me (Group zero?) and would say there is an important distinction between "False things" and "unscientific things." Many false statements still fall within the realm of science, but when ideas are presented as science that are not science, then whether they are true or false is indeterminate because, with a scientific standpoint, the ideas fall in the realm of Not even wrong. Back to the hairstylist analogy, if a film about hairstyling depicted hairstylists discussing surgical techniques, would the introduction to an NPOV article focus on whether the surgical techniques were correct or not? I don't think so. It would focus on the fact that surgery does not fall within the realm of hairstyling during this century. The three references cited by the current version of the introduction indicate that this film depicted people who seemed to be scientists discussing ideas about topics that do not fall within the realm of science. "Not supported by science" already looks like an NPOV compromise to me between group zero and group 2. Flying Jazz (talk) 23:56, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
That's why I proposed What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a 2004 independent film that misrepresents science as supporting New Age beliefs as an introductory sentence. Even if, by some stretch if the imagination, their beliefs are true, they are not supported by science, and to state that they are is a misrepresentation. I think it passes NPOV, and gets the major point across.Kww (talk) 00:25, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
well..if we were having an anti-pseudoscience rally then your introductory sentence would win. But if a fairly uninvolved editor like SlimVirgin thinks the current introduction requires a lighter touch, imagine what she would think of that opening sentence! C' you really think the opening sentence in an encyclopedia should be so confrontational? Flying Jazz (talk) 00:34, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
While I think that it is crucial that this information is conveyed in the lead, I don't think that that specific wording works in the intro sentence. The fact that it misrepresents science is lead-worthy, but the intro sentence will probably be fine if we note that it is controversial, and then expand on the controversy below. So I agree with the sentiment, just not with this exact wording. Antelan talk 00:29, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
What I struggled with was an alternate for the first sentence that didn't give excessive credence to the movie. "... a controversial movie that explores the link between science and New Age beliefs"? Nope, because there isn't a link to explore. All alternatives that I could come up with failed for similar reasons.Kww (talk) 00:35, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Posits? Antelan talk 00:38, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
That's an even fancier word than "pseudoscience", but accurate. Another worry is that if we don't state the lack of support in the first sentence, it's going to get lost in a morass of "criticized by some" language again.Kww (talk) 00:45, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I think what's important for the first sentence is the goal attempted by the filmmaker. How about " a 2004 film that attempts to relate science and spirituality using documentary interviews and a fictional narrative "? Flying Jazz (talk) 00:54, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
How do you know their intent? Perhaps it "succeeded in bilking people for millions of dollars by confusing them about quantum physics." I suggest that we stay many miles away from "intent."Kww (talk) 00:58, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Uhhh...Some previous editor wrote copy and I am making an effort to edit it. The current version says "combines documentary interviews and a fictional narrative to posit a connection between science and spirituality" and the verb "attempt" seems more Wikipediaish to me than "posit" for an article about a film. I reasonably suspect that was their intent because the references left by a previous editor direct me to an official webpage that declares the film is a "blend of Quantum Physics, spirituality, neurology and evolutionary thought," so I suspect that even critics of the film would say that the filmmakers attempted to relate science to spirituality. However, "attempts to blend" might work better than "attempts to relate" and is more verifiable. I've already said you won the anti-pseudoscience competition. Say? Care to collaborate in editing an article for Wikipedia? Flying Jazz (talk) 01:13, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I am cooperative. I simply don't believe that we have access to the filmmakers "goal" or "intent", so that can't be the focus of the lead sentence. We just don't know what it is. We can only describe what they actually did, and we need to keep that in mind.Kww (talk) 01:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
No, the discussion was in regards to the filmmaker's stated intent, not about some attempt to read their minds or divine what lies behind the scenes. Wikipedia needs to report what they have said thier intent was. Dreadstar 03:59, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
This kind of reporting is where it is important to use language that attributes the statement, because the veracity of the statement cannot be cross-checked.Kww (talk) 12:56, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps "... that suggests a connection between science and New Age beliefs." I'm not partial to any of this, just lobbing verbs out there. Antelan talk 01:23, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I prefer posits. Kww (talk) 12:56, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe it is meant to be entertainment. At least Brian Josephson mentioned that in passing somewhere. However, I do feel that the "science" in the movie is really "fringe science" and IMO any science, true or not, any method, qualifies as science. It is just not mainstream science. That is why I feel this qualification is important. Even astrology, can be considered science in that it is knowledge; but it is not mainstream, hard science, or true. I guess I just hate the word "science" used as if it was a singular concept. Well, it can be actually useful for primitive societies. :) Benjaminbruheim (talk) 01:27, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
With regards to this article, what are you suggesting? Antelan talk 01:58, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, messed up my edit. I am awaiting more discussion, but mentioning both that it is accused of "misrepresenting" or "using science in a problematic fashion" in addition to saying that the movie "presents claims mainstream science find unlikely" should cover all bases. The act of mixing science and spirituality has implications that science has huge problems dealing with. For example the quantum-consciousness link is something that has been discussed a lot in science throughout ages, and is known for being an "unanswerable question". The debunking depends on what interpretation you subscribe to. So, absolute claims are problematic, but it is fair to call it very unlikely. :) Perhaps I am rambling, but this would probably satisfy those who object to skeptical POV. Benjaminbruheim (talk) 02:28, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

<outdent> I responded awhile back to an RfC, and swoop by every once in awhile to catch the latest episode in what's certainly become one of the most childish and enduring temper tantrums in all of wikipedia. These are my recommendations for settling the remaining disputes: a) nobody who has seen the film should edit or comment, b) nobody who has already formed an opinion about this film based on what they heard from their friends, their New Age Guru, or the Skeptic blogs, or the Oprah show, or Bullshit! or anything else of that ilk should edit or comment, c) nobody who can't tell the difference between his or her own bias and what the published sources wrote on the page should edit or comment, and d) anyone else left, who can actually and honestly read a source and knows how to contribute properly to articles here at wikipedia should come to the rescue, leaving everyone else who feels so passionately about this movie to carry on as they have been at the nearest special interest messageboard of their choice. If the shoe fits, ... well, yes -indeed it does then. Professor marginalia (talk) 01:00, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I just arrived here today, and I agree strongly with your "c" and "d." As for "a" and "b," I disagree just as strongly. If knowledgeable opinionated people can create Wikipedia articles about important political matters then they should be able to do so about a silly little movie! Flying Jazz (talk) 01:23, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

RfC clean up

I'm lost and the talk page is a mess. Can someone more familiar with the RfC reformat it below so we can look at it from the perspective of finishing it up? --Nealparr (talk to me) 23:08, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Is good now? Dreadstar 04:13, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


The editors of the movie released a rebuttal, and it could be a useful primary source. At least it sheds light to a few questions posed above. Benjaminbruheim (talk) 03:14, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

What questions are those?Kww (talk) 03:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, it sheds light for me that they're not a reliable source on spirituality at least, whatever their ability to present quantum mechanics correctly. I'm not a physicist, but I do understand mystic traditions and have a fairly good understanding of Aldous Huxley and the Perennial Philosophy.
The concepts we present in "Bleep" can be found in Taoism, Buddhism, Yoga, the Alice Bailey material, Kabballah, Theosophy, Unitarianism, Christian Science, and dozens of other religions, spiritual disciplines and paths. This explains why audience members from all these spiritual backgrounds, and others, embrace our film as a reflection of their own teachings.
Also known as The Perennial Wisdom, or The Perennial Philosophy, these teachings have been defined as "a body of knowledge designed to promote a spiritual understanding of our lives as human souls incarnate." It’s been around forever.
That's complete BS. The idea presented in the film is that spirit can be reduced to matter through quantum mechanics. Anyone the least bit familiar with the world's wisdom traditions can point out that the Perennial Philosophy is based on the hierarchy of the Great Chain of Being, or nested spheres of existence. Most commonly this is referred to in the West as body/mind/spirit, but Eastern philosophies have dozens of levels in the hierarchy. They're right when they say the Perennial Philosophy shows up in every culture in some way or another, but no wisdom tradition would ever reduce spirit (always at the top of the hierarchy) to gross matter (always at the bottom of the hierarchy). That's pure flatland New Age postmodernism.
Add pseudo-mysticism to the list along with pseudoscience. --Nealparr (talk to me) 05:55, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
<personal insecurity>The funny thing is, I understand what you mean when you say 'pseudo-mysticism' despite the fact I've never seen that phrase before.</personal insecurity> It's interesting - perhaps not surprising, with the benefit of hindsight - that the movie is controversial on multiple fronts. Antelan talk 07:04, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
It's kind of a word I thought I made up, but Google shows it's been used before in connection with Bleep [6]. I wouldn't use it in the article, but that's exactly what it is. --Nealparr (talk to me) 07:10, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Resource on spiritual views

With all the talk about the rejection of the film by mainstream science, it may have been overlooked that mainstream spirituality doesn't really accept the ideas either. Contrary to the film maker's assertion that the concepts in the film "can be found in Taoism, Buddhism, Yoga, the Alice Bailey material, Kabballah, Theosophy, Unitarianism, Christian Science, and dozens of other religions, spiritual disciplines and paths", it's really only found in New Age circles. An excellent critical review of the film from the mainstream spirituality side can be found in "Taking the Quantum Leap... Too Far?" an article in What is Enlightenment? Magazine.

Great quote:

...even the founding fathers of quantum physics/mechanics—Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger, Sir Arthur Eddington, et al.—who were all self-proclaimed mystics, strongly rejected the notion that mysticism and physics were describing the same realm. The attempt to unify them is, in the words of Planck, “founded on a misunderstanding, or, more precisely, on a confusion of the images of religion with scientific statements. Needless to say, the result makes no sense at all.” Eddington was even more explicit: “We should suspect an intention to reduce God to a system of differential equations. That fiasco at any rate must be avoided. However much the ramifications of physics may be extended by further scientific discovery, they cannot from their very nature [impinge upon] the background in which they have their being.”

And there's the crux of the confusion. Quantum physics deals with the abstract, symbolic analysis of the physical world—space, time, matter, and energy—even down to the subtlest level, the quantum vacuum. Mysticism deals with the direct apprehension of the transcendent Source of all those things. The former is a mathematical system involving intensive intellectual study, and the latter is a spiritual discipline involving the transcendence of the intellectual mind altogether. It's apparently only a very loose interpretation of physics, and a looser interpretation of mysticism, that allows for their surprising convergence—and opens the door to the even wilder idea that by drinking some of this quantum mystical brew, you'll be able to create your own reality.

Not sure if anyone is interested in adding something along these lines when the article becomes unlocked, but I personally feel it is an important point of view. --Nealparr (talk to me) 06:49, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

This perhaps is more relevant to the quantum mysticism article. But I notice the movie is more along Consciousness causes collapse‎ which is an inconclusive philosophical discussion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Benjaminbruheim (talkcontribs) 00:41, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
If it were about the mathematics of CCC, it'd be a boring film. The reason viewers latched onto it is because of the New Age ideas presented in the film: we create our own reality, everyone is One, and so on. It is a movie about quantum mysticism, not quantum physics. --Nealparr (talk to me) 00:47, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Extent of scientific criticism

Is there a reliable source for this lack of support? Dreadstar 22:21, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Actually, the onus would be on those who suggest that there is support to provide such evidence. Antelan talk 22:32, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
We've established that the critics are reliable, and no one has found a credible proponent of the science in the movie ... I don't know why you feel you need any more.Kww (talk) 22:40, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Who is suggesting there is support? Antelan, you're the one who just said "but doesn't convey the degree to which this movie's ideas lack any support within that community.". Source it, then. I'm afraid the onus is on you.
Yes Kww, but just because those scientific critics ae reliable and no 'credible proponent' has been found, doesn't mean we don't need to properly source views and who has those views in relation to the movie. WP:V "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth". Dreadstar 22:50, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
We tried that, and then you got upset that we had too many citations in the lead. Don't argue in circles. The sources we have are reliable, as unanimous as sources can get, and they all say that the movie is "tosh", "balderdash", and "pseudoscience." It's sourced. There is no valid reason, either in logic or policy, to avoid a statement that simply says "What the Bleep is a movie that misrepresents science." , with full citations if that's what you want. That's what is necessary, not some mealy-mouthed "been criticized by members of the scientific community"Kww (talk) 23:03, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
That's a strawman argument Kww. There was never a source provided that shows either: A) the scientific community as a whole has spoken on the movie, or B) there is no support in the scientific community for the movie. Dreadstar 23:31, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
It is not a strawman. The scientific community has not spoken as a whole on the movie ... those members that have have used verifiable science to do so. The onus to find support is on you ... we've looked, it doesn't seem to exist, and as Antelan points out, WP:FRINGE requires us to assume that there is no support. Stop raising this argument without evidence. Unless you can find support, there is no support. If you will get past this issue, we can build an article. If you cannot get past it, we might as well delete and salt it.Kww (talk) 23:36, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
No, Dreadstar. From WP:FRINGE: If proper attribution cannot be found among reliable sources of an idea's standing, it should be assumed that the idea has not received consideration or acceptance Well, this article does have reliable sources that comment on the ideas in this movie, and they reject the ideas. If these sources are not enough for you, you will have to find others that support your views. Antelan talk 23:01, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
This is a film, not an article on quantum mechanics. Dreadstar 23:31, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
It's also just a lead, not an article. It just needs to summarize the critical responses in the article, which in turn summarize the sources supporting them. All of that taken together, without any sort of synthesis, spells out a degree of response... "that have been criticized by many members of the scientific community" (sans-bolding, of course). Many is a non-number-specific word, but it accurately reflects the degree to which this film has not gained acceptance by members of science. Make that change to SlimVirgin's proposal and see if it gains support. --Nealparr (talk to me) 23:44, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Policy still applies despite your preferences. Furthermore, your statement would be an argument in favor of relaxing, not tightening, the standards of scientific consensus in this article. Antelan talk 01:30, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe policy supports my "preferences," and the applicable sourcing standards from WP:V apply. They're not overriden by anything in the WP:FRINGE guideline. Dreadstar 01:55, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

So what is the consensus on this issue? Do we put in a lead section statement that is not verifiable per WP:V, yet apparently tells the truth as some editors here believe it to be? If so, how should that lead sentence be structured? Do we just out-and-out say, as has been suggested, that there is "no support from the scientific community" for some or all of the ideas expressed in this movie? How do we make a short, concise statement to that effect? Dreadstar 23:43, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

See above for my suggestion. --Nealparr (talk to me) 23:45, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, had a bit of an edit confict, apparently..;) Dreadstar 23:59, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Please stop being insulting, Dreadstar. The statement "What the Bleep Do We Know misrepresents science" is verifiable ... we have multiple sources for it. I'm not asking for any statement to be made that violates any Wikipedia policy. My whole suggested lead of What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a 2004 independent film that misrepresents science as supporting New Age beliefs. The film combines special effects and interviews with the story of the life and struggles of a fictional deaf photographer, played by Marlee Matlin. Considered a moderate to low budget film, Bleep grossed over $10 million dollars, a success some see as the result of grassroots and guerrilla marketing to members of New Age spiritual groups. Bleep was directed by William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente, members of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. Bleep features extensive interviews with the school's controversial director, Judy Zebra Knight. Knight and others interviewed in the film explain their views of the supposed impact of human consciousness on physics and chemistry. Members of the scientific community that have commented on the film have criticized the film for supporting unscientific theories such as quantum mysticism, and that ice crystals can be influenced by thought.David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to misrepresent his views, making him appear to agree with the ideas presented in the film. is verifiable.Kww (talk) 23:53, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
WP:AGF, Kww. Dreadstar 23:59, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Then refactor your statement that says that I am asking for people to place unverifiable content into an article. I am not doing so, and I believe that you know that. It's an insulting statement to make, and implies a lack of good faith on my part.Kww (talk) 00:07, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
It's unverifiable per the standards outlined in WP:V, and it wasn't meant to be an insult - it was meant to try and find a way around this impasse. Dreadstar 00:13, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
The Guardian article alone is sufficiently verifiable, and the remaining sources all serve to confirm it. Or would you prefer a direct quote like "distorts science to fit its own agenda"? The way out of this impasse is for you to accept that the statement is verifiable under WP:V. Please refactor your insulting statement.Kww (talk) 00:20, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Fine, and that statement, attributed to its source, is allowed in the article. Point is, it is not sufficient for a stand-alone, sweeping comment in the lead. Wikipedia cannot make that statement. Period.Dreadstar 01:42, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
The combination of sources we have for that kind of statement is more than sufficient. Period. It's a perfectly acceptable lead sentence.Kww (talk) 02:02, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
"Combination of sources we have", well that sounds a lot like WP:SYNTH to me. I can accept a sentence that attributes the criticism, yet also indicates the lack of support by mainstream science. It needs to be carefully worded. Haven't seen that careful wording yet.
No one is saying all of the proponents in the movie are anything at all..except that which is sourced. You're mixing apples and oranges. Dreadstar 02:11, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
We've been through this argument, too. We are not allowed to use those sources in the article, but you conceded that we can use them to check the reliability of our sources. Our sources check out. While not enough people noticed this thing to directly allows us to quote a consensus, we can say that the criticisms are in line with the scientific consensus on each topic. No violation of WP:SYNTH either. You want to treat the existence of the criticisms as the only fact we can report, and I vehemently disagree ... we can and must treat those criticisms themselves as factual. No need to say "some scientists say". The movie does not represent the science it presents accurately ... it mispresents it. That is a fact. I don't want to say lies about, and I don't think the sources are in enough agreement to back phrasings like "intentionally distorts" ... it just "misrepresents" it.Kww (talk) 02:24, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, we certainly have been through this argument before, and consensus was that OR was not allowed. This: " While not enough people noticed this thing to directly allows us to quote a consensus, we can say that the criticisms are in line with the scientific consensus on each topic." is the very definition of WP:NOR. What I agreed to was the reliability of the sources used; if they weren't reliable then we couldn't use them. That does not mean we can take those different sources, and combine them together to advance a position. Apples. Oranges. Different. Dreadstar 02:32, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
The OR question was whether we could use science coverage that didn't reference the movie in the article. I'm not. Not planning on it. I am simply using the sources that we have deemed reliable. The movie misrepresents science. If there's a different word that you feel more accurately summarizes our sources, fine, but don't act like the sources can't be treated as reporting facts. Suggest a better summary of: "pretends to be an exploration of the grand questions of science", "dishonest[...] charlatans who peddle such tosh", "distorts science to fit its own agenda, it is full of half-truths and misleading analogies, and some of its so-called scientific claims are downright lies", "What the Bleep Do We Know draws heavily on the role of the observer in quantum physics. Unfortunately, it also completely misunderstands it.", "pseudoscientific docudrama that purports to link quantum mechanics and consciousness". I think "misrepresents science" is a good summarization ... not a synthesis. Kww (talk) 03:10, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
You're dancing way too close to OR. Those statements aren't facts; they're opinions or statements. They need to be attributed in the text and summarized in the lead. The simplest summary is one that says "Some scientists have criticized the movie for misrepresenting science". You are trying to have Wikipedia say, "the movie misrepresents science". Even if the entire scientific community said such a thing, we'd still attribute it: "The entire scientific community has said the movie misrepresents science." It's not done your way. There may be a compromise, but your wording is not per policy and is unacceptable. Dreadstar 03:22, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
If I was in a pointy mood, oxygen would be considered to be an element. It's not a violation of Wikipedia policy to state facts as facts. Be a pretty bad encyclopedia if it was.Kww (talk) 03:34, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I see. Well, we've been through that one before too. Discussions between you and I appear to be fruitless, so hopefully WP:CON will resolve the issue..else, we'll have to go to the next step of the Wikipedia:Resolving disputes process. Dreadstar 03:41, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Just a question- but tell me what makes all of the proponents in the movie not credible- besides that they are proponents?

"WP:FRINGE requires us to assume that there is no support." Absolutely wrong- it requires us, rather, to not assume anything. Look at Antelan's quote.

What we need is a sentence like this: "WTBDWK does not draw a clear line between valid representations of science, and speculations which some scientists have criticized as pseudoscience, for example that there is a connection between consciousness and the quantum wave function collapse" I guess I got the terms right? ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 00:34, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

It should be assumed that the idea has not received consideration or acceptance seems pretty direct to me. And yes, supporting WTB does pretty much blow your credibility, but it wouldn't be fair to use that as a standard. Can you identify a proponent of the science that is is not associated with a fringe organisation like the Institute of Noetic Sciences or Maharishi University of Management? One that actually could be considered credible on the topic of quantum mechanics?Kww (talk) 00:57, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the so-called fringe proponents are more relevant than physicists to this movie. It is after all just speculation, and the movie doesn't present it as truth. The physics talked about in the movie is speculative, but not directly wrong. Under a Copenhagen interpretation, which is mainstream, it can be argued to be wrong. Your request is like finding a supporter of the green party from the ruling party of US. But Brian Josephson has supported the movie. Besides, mainstream science has no opinion on spiritual matters. I think the movie is fairly interesting and brave, although it could have been better. The criticism seems to come from people who subscribe to strict materialistic philosophy. Which is not weird considering the movie tries to unite spirituality and science. Perhaps the claim are unverified, but the only way it could be considered "wrong" is if there are specific counterclaims. All we have got is the opinions from some scientists. Opinions! Benjaminbruheim (talk) 04:36, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
You know, that is a point we haven't really talked about, that the movie doesn't present it as truth. ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 05:42, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
My opinion, since you asked for it, is that your post exemplifies why this movie description needs to closely follow WP:FRINGE guidelines. For instance, you say both "mainstream science has no opinion on spiritual matters" and "the movie tries to unite spirituality and science", which reinforces the notion that this movie is far astray from the mainstream in presenting scientific claims. Your suggestion that the movie doesn't present this information as true is interesting. If that's the case, we need to make it very clear that nobody, not even the movie's creators, actually holds this stuff to be true. Antelan talk 06:20, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Not all science is mainstream. I prefer to think of science as "body of knowledge" and this includes all kinds of discussions and philosophy. The movie is highly critical of dogmatic materialistic science, and this is what is considered authoritarian and generally called "science" in the US. And are you trying to raise a WP:POINT? Anyone who is slightly interested in science and how science progresses know that speculation is part of the scientific process. To frame it from the view you are suggesting is to impose the POV of authoritarian positivist materialism. Fact is that a lot of what is said in the movie is also true, for example its summary of the history of science. And nothing in the movie is highly controversial to anyone who has ever studied a bit of philosophy. It is just that some people react emotionally when confronted with spirituality. I agree that it conflicts with mainstream science, but mainstream science is not truth either. And the concept of mainstream science is really problematic in itself too, which is why portions of the world now uses other standards of science to promote progress. --Benjaminbruheim (talk) 07:50, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Not to speak for them, but I don’t think that’s what either Martin or Benjamin were saying, quite the opposite. The movie does not present information as "truth" in the form of "verified facts", that's why they use words and phrases like "speculate", "posit", "the possibilities", even "odd science". On the other side, to counter the movie’s speculations, we only have the opinions of the few scientists that bothered to comment on it.
This isn't an article about a fringe science, it's an article about a movie that speculates, asks questions, and is meant to “make you think.” WP:FRINGE cannot be applied to this, much less "followed closely" as if this article was on a subject like Time Cube. Even if this were a scientific article, the self-admitted “speculation” in the movie puts it beyond that limitation. WP:V and WP:NPOV apply, and they should not be infringed upon by WP:FRINGE for this subject..
BTW, have you seen the film and read the books Antelan? Just curious. Dreadstar 06:54, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Given that there are several reliable sources that state that What the Bleep is full of Bleep when it comes to science, and that there are no disinterested reliable sources that contradict this, why is it against policy to write in the article that the science is bad? How is this different from other esoteric scientific facts? Would such a statement be more acceptable if it weren't contained in the first sentence of the lead--instead of Kww's "What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a 2004 independent film that misrepresents science as supporting New Age beliefs.", the article could start off with basic info like "WTB is a 2004 independent film combining documentary-style interviews with a fictional storyline to advance new age ideas." The sentence stating that the ideas are unsupported by science could come later in the lead. What say you?Rracecarr (talk) 14:50, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Rracecar. Hello. … Some thought on the dilemma at hand. The issue isn't whether its fact or truth. Because the article is encyclopedic editors are bound to report what has been said and not what each might see as the truth, or is in fact the truth. Wikipedia uses the example of Hitler. Millions of people died at his hands. The writer can’t say that, but must say “So and so” says that millions of people died at his hands, “So and so” being a reliable, verifiable source. A research paper that contains support for an idea applied to arguments to prove the idea to be a truth is different than encyclopedic writing, it seems. That’s research, and OR here on WP. If there is a limitation to encyclopedias it might be that there is no room for original thought. This isn’t the place to change that, in my mind. We are writing the lead and just plain good writing style dictates that the introduction should give a general sense of the information in the article, but yet does not and cannot create generalizations because that’s not encyclopedic. New Age is a generalization for a group of people who we are saying liked the movie, but is of course inaccurate because we don’t know if Joe down the street who is a Baptist and no “New Ager” loved the movie. Saying in so many words that the “science is bad” is a generalization, and original thought because there is a jump here from what the editor discovers what the critics say, to actually writing about the what the critics say. All the editor can write is, this is what the critics say, and must connect as closely as possible to the critics’ words for the sake of accuracy. Generalizations require synthesis in thinking and writing and so cannot be encyclopedic - weasel writing according to Wikipedia, because the words imply more than they say. There is an unencyclopedic jump from identifying the source… to writing about the source… if a generalization or conclusion from the source material is made. No matter however frustrating for someone who is looking for truth, this is an encyclopedia, and editors by definition are not original researchers. We have to live with that or write somewhere else where original thought and the proving of truth is the modus operandi. There are a couple of new versions near the bottom of the page … did you check them out.Any better See what you think.(olive (talk) 18:47, 16 January 2008 (UTC))

Littleolive oil, the Hitler article makes it painstakingly clear that he embodied evil. The second sentence of lead on Adolf Hitler: The Nazi Party gained power during Germany's period of crisis after World War I, exploiting effective propaganda and Hitler's charismatic oratory to gain popularity. The Party emphasised nationalism and antisemitism as its primary political expressions, eventually resorting to murdering its opponents to ensure success. Stated as fact. Just like the scientific statements in this article should be. Antelan talk 19:03, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
All this about what we can and can't say--what is the difference between the scientific fact this movie presents bad science and the scientific fact that gravity produces an attractive force between massive objects? Both are straightforward assertions about the way the world works (or doesn't). No one seems to even feel the need for a reference in the first sentence of the gravity article, let alone some weaselly "Scientists believe". I will check out the new versions. Rracecarr (talk) 19:55, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Antelan,the implication in your summary is inappropriate.You know it and I know it. (olive (talk) 19:22, 16 January 2008 (UTC))
It's not an implication. It's a summary of the frustration expressed in my post that you actually made a Nazi reference in this discussion. I did convert that frustration into a valid point, which you have not yet commented on. I take it you do not disagree. Antelan talk 19:26, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
What absolute rot... I referenced Wikipedia's example using Hitler, because it is obviously extreme. I didn't make a Nazi reference, and I was attempting to explain a thought on truth and fact vs verifiability using Wikipedia's example. I do not agree , and this discussion is over from my side. If this is how you discuss please feel free, but I am not part of it.(olive (talk) 19:51, 16 January 2008 (UTC))
Antelan, olive was correctly using the example in WP:NPOV: Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#Let the facts speak for themselves. Your edit summary was inappropriate, as is your comment about Olive using a "Nazi reference" in the discussion. Dreadstar 19:41, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Invoking Hitler is the quintessential Nazi reference. It may be inappropriate to bring up such a reference, as olive has done, but to continue with it and use her very reference to rebut her point? Perfectly "appropriate". This line of argumentation completely avoids my point, which was actually relevant to this article, so to comply with talk page guidelines let's get back to it, shall we? Antelan talk 19:46, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems this discussion got off track and trailed off. To answer Dreadstar's original question: Yes. There's a reliable source and sources have been provided. /Conversation over

And as Antelan said above, the burden of proof is on you to show that it's accepted by the mainstream. It clearly isn't, based on the sources provided.

Now, it just seems like folks want to put apologetics for fringe theories in the lead and delete reliable, verifiable, sourced criticism. The community can't let you do that.

As for the Nazi reference, per Godwin's law, /conversation DEFINITELY over

  Zenwhat (talk) 19:58, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I just think it should be attributed correctly. The Consciousness causes collapse is indeed science, but it is not mainstream science. You can cite sources till the cow comes home but they are just opinions from scientists. The experiments haven't been falsified either, as I can see. The reaction from the sources seems highly emotional IMO. Nobody is claiming it is supported by mainstream science, but "science" alone doesn't have an opinion on the movie. Get the terms right! So, yes, it does not have support in mainstream science, but it has support in science. Fringe science is also science. I feel this is kinda like objecting to passion of christ's mainstream scientific originBenjaminbruheim (talk) 21:11, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
To clarify, I am fine with most ways to put things. Even a huge criticism section. But as it is now the article is more about the criticism than the concepts laid out in the movie. The criticism isn't very relevant either. I think those who comes to this pages wants a discussion about the subjects the movie raise, not just the emotional outrage it caused amongst those who deny spirituality. Benjaminbruheim (talk) 21:28, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Care to provide a link to the reliable source you mention? I suggest we quit harping on this presumed "nazi reference". If you have a problem with it, address the policy it came from - that should eliminate such an issue. Dreadstar 20:03, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Nevermind the Physics Society and Chemical Society references that have already been provided. Nevermind that I have made a relevant content point above that has never been responded to. Dreadstar, circular argumentation is not productive on this page. Antelan talk 20:10, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

As far as using the example of the Hitler article, it is obvious that it needs changing to be NPOV, for example, need to take out the word "murder" and "resorting."

Rracecarr, read the theory of science. "Scientific fact" is an oxymoron.

Please don't accuse of bad faith, Antelan and ZenWhat: using the Hitler article as a reference is not a Nazi reference- read her actual post.

Criticism in the lead is fine, if appropriate per WEIGHT, does not make the article look like an attack, and is properly attributed. "Pseudoscience" would be fine to mention.

Antelan, you say the article should make clear the movie is using speculation. That would be why we say:

" film that combines documentary interviews and a fictional narrative to posit a connection between science and spirituality.[1][2] Computer-animated graphics are featured heavily in the film. The film intersperses interviews about quantum physics and spirituality with the fictional story of a deaf photographer as she struggles with her life. The film employs a panel of interviewees who speculate about the impact of human consciousness on physics and chemistry."

——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 23:19, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Hee hee, that's right, teach me about the theory of science.Rracecarr (talk) 23:31, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Funny that. When Newton first published he was accused of giving immaterial mass spiritual properties by saying that it somehow magically influenced a field. But yeah, you physicists tends to think of hard science as the only kind of science. But if it weren't for controversial theories the field would never progress. And many scientists who are well versed in fundamental physics agree that spirituality and philosophy is the way to go in order to go beyond what we can get out of instruments. Stating that it is not following the scientific method is fallacious, because there is many cases where inituition and speculation has resulted in verifiable empirical proof. It is part of the process. I dunno, perhaps it is a cultural thing because this harsh attitude is regarded as highly unprofessional over here. Benjaminbruheim (talk) 23:44, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
With regards to science, Wikipedia gives most weight to the mainstream; it is not a place to right great wrongs. There are ways to go about changing policy if you think you could get community consensus, and I'll point you there if you'd like. This, however, is not the place. Antelan talk 23:52, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I have been discussing the issue(s) left and right, and it really seems a WP:SCIENCE is required. I would love to participate in such a policy debate. The problem is that this movie is within a entirely different epistemology of science than hard science, as many other speculative fringe subjects. The concepts raised in the movie are verifiable, and they are in the domain of philosophy rather than hard science. Giving weight to mainstream science may be right in many cases, but in this article mainstream science has no opinion or empirical proof. Philosophy supports the concepts, and might even be considered mainstream. The sources given are just a bunch of opinions and doesn't really constitute science. But yeah, this is an overarching issue that needs discussion elsewhere. I think we are very close to a consensus for a tone for this article; trying to say that this movie is scientifically impossible would be contrary to the scientific method pr mainstream science, thus the "soft wording" would be the most NPOV and appropriate. Benjaminbruheim (talk) 00:15, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, WP:SCIENCE in a nonscience encyclopedia would be a blessing. Anthon01 (talk) 00:48, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

New header, above section

Rracecarr, Science is not an absolute set of beliefs. You can get close to scientific fact in things like "the world is round," but we are not nearly there yet with much related to QM.

Antelan: Want to write from the mainstream? Then let's set the numbers of people who liked the movie against the numbers who disliked it. You don't want mainstream. You want scientific mainstream, and WP is not SPOV. But if you want to go with that concept, let's see if we can even fit a criticism into the lead, maybe a short sentence, to go with the short paragraph of criticism way down the page.

Let me ad to that: Usually, "mainstream" around here means a tiny cohort of skeptics. In this case, we have a mainstream, and a scientific mainstream. The mainstream liked the movie. The scientific mainstream didn't. There is no problem with writing the scientific mainstream's opinion of Bleep. However, the article is about Bleep, not the science of Bleep, so giving undue weight to scientific arguments is just not correct. Also, I don't think we've discussed the scientific concepts in the movie nearly enough to warrant that much criticism. But setting all this aside, at the very least we should not just make an absolute statement about the movie being "pseudoscience." In addition to being totally wrong according to the mainstream sources, and totally unfair, it is against WP:ATT. ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 01:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

How about this - I'll speak for myself, and you can misrepresent my views in your head instead of in writing. Antelan talk 02:36, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Antelan-that is uncivil and uncalled for. Please cease. RlevseTalk 03:01, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
When someone directly misattributes views to me on a public talk page, I will correct them. Antelan talk 03:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Then correct them, but do it civilly. RlevseTalk 03:15, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
It would be easier to remain so if there was more balance. Here, you have let someone get away with writing a polemic directed at me by name, but you have censured me for correcting his incorrect claims about me. Antelan talk 03:21, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't quite see it that way, but all the continual never-ending wikidrama and incivility on science/pseudoscience-paranormal articles needs to stop, so I'll warn everyone to stay civil, this applies to both sides. RlevseTalk 03:43, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Benjaminbruheim & Dreadstar make it seem like this documentary presents fringe science (punished by oh so closeminded materialistic editors) when its actually dealing with absolutely unscientific spiritual theories, side by side with unrelated scientific tidbits, this is not a matter of opinion, that is why they make no assertions on it. so its not a matter of scientific mainstream vs scientific minorities, the interpretations of black hole properties as singularities are a matter of currents of science, where there is a mainstream and many other interpretations, wether you can make appear a ham by thinking real hard about it or get a clinically depressed adult leave its medication and be fine by praying are not. they also talk about the coppenhaggen interpretation being too materialistic, but the coppenhaggen interpretation is in itself a very spiritual one, and an actually materialistic approach can be devised by reading marxist interpretations, such as in omelianovsky's philosophical problems of quantum mechanics. the ideas presented, if in good will are not better than misunderstanding of complicated matters into simple and exciting but erroneous mystic conclusions, and if in ill will, a concoction of falacies and truths to beddazzle the unninformed into believing unfounded myths. its not even pseudoscience but scientification of esoteric postures thowards reality. its is nothing alike to newton and electromagnetc properties, its more like a victorian fortuneteller using newton's electromagnetic descriptions to sum up how a glass ball conducts the future into visual 'vortexes'. the reason you wont find any respected scientists agreeing with the movie nor a lot actually talking about it is because it is not science, it is not proposing anything, it is not reviewing scientific data, it is not even based on scientific principles (if you have any doubt about what constitutes science please review the Scientific_method) and this is not OR either, this is what dawkings was reffering to in a very abbreviated manner, and what all other scientific reviews read Yupi666 (talk) 06:55, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


I gather there is some debate here. But what on earth is it about? I think that although the film is pretty flaky (the last half in particular), it does serve to highlight some modern physics in a relatively digestable form. It is definitely better than the Dancing Wu Li Masters.--Filll (talk) 23:58, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeh. The debate is about whether we should, basically, bash it or not. ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 00:51, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
  1. Do we have sufficiently strong sources that we are able to simply say "What the Bleep is a movie that misrepresents science" and still satisfy WP:NPOV and WP:V? Or do we have to refer to it as a movie that has been "criticized for misrepresenting science"?
  2. Is the article governed by the standards of science articles (where we are fairly rigid about whose say counts, and avoiding statements that give credence to fringe positions), or is it governed by the standards of pop culture articles, where Roger Ebert and Richard Dawkins have equally valid viewpoints?
That's about as neutral as I can get. I'm avoiding this article today, because I'm near explosion point.Kww (talk) 01:03, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, you put it well, and I think you get to the nub of things.

1. There isn't really any such thing: we always attribute, certainly in cases such as this.

2. It's about a movie. It's pop culture. What did you think? ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 01:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

If it's a movie about pop culture, then it looks like we've misidentified it as a movie that posits a connection between science and spirituality. If science isn't part of it, what is? Antelan talk 01:50, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
What User:Martinphi said was that the article is about a movie, a piece of pop culture. He didn't say or in any way imply that the movie is about pop culture. No doubt you simply misunderstood his comment. Dlabtot (talk) 03:38, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Right. If the movie isn't about pop culture, but instead is about science, then its scientific claims are fair game for evaluation on a scientific basis. We don't get to make this evaluation, but the reliable sources that we have certainly do. Antelan talk 03:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, there is something in that. But the problem is that we never really discuss the movie's speculations. But we have lots of criticism. So, we need to beef up one or cut down the other. But I don't care, I just don't want it biased from the start, in the form of absolute statements without ATT. ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 05:15, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I think there is something to that, as well. I have always argued for attribution (not necessarily in the form of quotation) for statements likely to be challenged in this article. Antelan talk 20:00, 17 January 2008 (UTC)